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spirit we are of, that we use them not in a worldly or angry spirit. God will not condescend to accept our services in his cause, if we presume to secularize it. Sacrifice which is not appointed is an abomination. The purest may not offend with strange fire. But what we do in “quietness and confidence," we shall do acceptably. “Only believe.” Let God do his own work. Let us not venture to step beyond ours. There is great reason to fear that we may unconsciously be doing this in these active times. We are apt to think we may do every thing by effort, and combination, and fair professions. Let us be on our guard against such expectations; and rather practise what has such an encouraging promise connected with it,
quietness and confidence.” That is prescribed,—that is safe. May God give us a holy courage and disposition to practise ourselves in it! and we shall then certainly enjoy His blessing
Thus, my brethren, the text teaches us. What I have feebly drawn from it, may serve to show what a well of refreshing
water springs from it. Let me invite you to drink of it—let me entreat you to draw for yourselves. You will not exhaust it. It will refresh and strengthen, when heat and thirst oppress you. You have enough to guide you in every difficulty in this precious sentence, “ In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.”
St. MATTHEW xvi. 24.
" Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will
come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
MANKIND have always set particular value upon those sayings of the wise and good, which have embodied in a few words some important general principle. The apophthegms of the heathen sages, and the proverbs of the wise king of Israel, are more generally interesting than any other remains of inspired or pagan wisdom. Men who are themselves little given to philosophize, and who themselves are not aware of the cause of their delight, are delighted to find in a single sentence the essence, so to speak, of some precious truth. They readily adopt what they could never have reasoned out for themselves, and are pleased with possessing in a compendious form what they recognize as the highest wisdom. And if the maxim be one that inculcates worldly prudence, or have any immediate bearing on their present welfare, it is likely to sink into their hearts, as well as to adhere to their
memory, and to have more or less effect on their outward conduct.
Now the words of the text carry the principle of moral concentration, which is so much valued, very much farther than we find it carried in ordinary maxims, and consequently possess much higher value. They only express some particular truth, or lay down a rule for some particular duty. Here we have, in a short sentence, the principles and the rule which are to regulate the whole life. It is a sentence of such importance, that it really deserves our most serious attention. We are professing to follow the Saviour; we should endeavour thoroughly to understand what He requires -absolutely requires from his disciples. May the Holy Spirit enable us all to enter into the meaning of these solemn words, and give us grace to practise what they teach us !
Our Lord's address is very intimately connected with the circumstance which the Evangelist had just related. In the 21st verse of the chapter he had told us, that “ Jesus began to show unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.” This announcement was very little to the taste of those to whom it was made. His disciples were, like the rest of their countrymen, constantly expecting our Lord to set up a temporal dominion; and they regarded the favours which they had already received, as pledges of the honour and power which would be assigned them in the kingdom of the Messiah. Peter, the most favoured and ardent of their body, ventured to expostulate with his Master on the discouraging and gloomy nature of his discourse. He