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the world to come; some possession, or purpose of life, or wish of heart; some of the permitted selfindulgences common to his rank and fortune: and this foregone for the sake of living a life of larger charity, or of more abstracted devotion, that is, for the sake of making charity or devotion the great and governing aim of the whole life, and all other things as means and opportunities to it, shall not be forgotten where all self-denials are remembered: and so shall you have your lot with him who said, "Behold, we have left all things; what shall we have therefore?"
Remember, then, brethren, that in all these acts of self-restriction there must be the sincere intent to do it for Christ's sake; otherwise our acts are like inarticulate sounds, without emphasis or meaning. Many men seem to live a mortified life, and, as far as mere self-restraint, really do so, and yet not for Christ's sake, but for some earthly end. Doubtless the rich young man denied himself for his great possessions. None forsake and forfeit more than "they that will be rich." But we know that the severest life without a conscious choice, is less than the least acts of self-impoverishment with a clear and single aim of foregoing something, that we may find it in His kingdom. Peter's worldly all was a boat and a net; and the alabaster box of ointment had a great testimony of acceptance, because she
had "done what she could." They are oftentimes the little ministries of love that shew most devotion, and most intimate resolution of heart. And remember also, that, having chosen deliberately, a man must act boldly, not looking back. Half our difficulty in doing any thing worthy of our high calling, is the shrinking anticipation of its possible after-consequences. But if Peter had tarried, and cast up all that was to come, the poverty, and wandering, and solitude, and lonely old age, the outcast life, and chance of a fearful death, it may be he would have been neither an Apostle nor a Christian.
And, once more; whereinsoever you resolve to forsake any thing for Christ's service, bear the trial patiently, and wait for the end. There must be some irksomeness, nay, some sharpness, some burden in our yoke, or we have need to look well lest we be carrying a mere mocking shadow of His cross. Be not afraid though your life be deemed singular and solitary; His was so; and theirs who at any time have followed Him, each in his way and kind, has been so likewise. When He promises you an hundred-fold, be not content with thirtyfold, or with sixty-fold. You would be happy to have any reward in His blissful kingdom; but be not therefore slack in striving for it. True, He does not offer you the crowns of Apostles; but He
offers you more than you can ask or think, more than we are ever reaching after. Every day we might attain we know not what; every day, it may be, loses or wins something of the brightness of the resurrection. All we do or leave undone has its counterpart in the unseen world. And what then is life, and what is the world, to that day, when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of His glory?
Forsake all, rather than forfeit your reward, rather than be set far off from Him when He cometh in to order the guests that are bidden to the marriage-supper of the Lamb.
GOD'S KINGDOM INVISIBLE.
ST. LUKE Xvii. 20, 21.
"And when He was demanded of the Pharisees when the kingdom of God should come, He answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."
THE state of the Jews, at that time, affords to the Church of Christ an awful example of inward blindness in the full light of God's revelation. They were looking out for the coming of Christ's kingdom; but they knew not for what they were watching. God had told them that Messiah should come; but they had formed for themselves a low and earthly idea of His character and His kingdom. They verily thought that He would make His entry among them with the sound of the trumpet and the banners of the tribe of Judah; with the pomp of kingly splendour, and a royal train of chariots and horses, as their kings of old came riding through the gates of Jerusalem." Doubtless they thought that all men would know by the tokens
and the heralds, and by the very majesty of its coming, when the kingdom of God should appear. So they dreamed and wandered in the blindness of their hearts. An obstinate prepossession had filled them with the thoughts and images of earth, and all the prophets of God could not purge this film from their inward sight. They looked out every way for the signs of His coming; but the signs they looked for came not; or came and spake other things, and mocked their expectation, and darkened their foolish hearts the more, and lulled them into security, at the time when of a truth the kingdom of God was come upon them. Before so much as a stray thought of foreboding arose in their hearts, whilst their eyes were all turned another way, it came upon them like a thief; suddenly and in silence it came, no man seeing it; without visible token; without the warning of a prophet; without the sound of a footfall: it was among them, and they knew it not; it was within them, and they knew not that it was of God. The kingdom came in the coming of the King Himself, as the day comes in the sun's rising. While men slept, Christ was born: a poor child and unheeded of men, none knew of His coming but His lowly mother and Joseph, and a few shepherds: to the rest He was as any other child; as one of the who are born in sorrow, and die in silence.