Hebrews 6:11
We want each of you to show the same diligence to the very end, so that your hope may be fully assured.
Sermons
Confident ExpectationJ.S. Bright Hebrews 6:9-12
Great Attention Needed to Maintain the Christian's HopeD. Young Hebrews 6:9-12
An Exhortation to DiligenceS. Coley.Hebrews 6:11-12
Assurance DesirableT. Adams.Hebrews 6:11-12
Assurance of HopeK. Arvine.Hebrews 6:11-12
Christian ExamplesW. Jay.Hebrews 6:11-12
Departed Saints Our ExamplesS. Bridge, M. A.Hebrews 6:11-12
Development of HopeT. Brooks.Hebrews 6:11-12
Diligence in Seeking SalvationJ. W. Hardman, LL. D.Hebrews 6:11-12
Example an EducatorG. W. Conder.Hebrews 6:11-12
False AssuranceJohn Newton.Hebrews 6:11-12
Fitful AssuranceC. H. Spurgeon.Hebrews 6:11-12
Following the Holy DeadHomilistHebrews 6:11-12
Full Assurance of HopeJ. Elstob.Hebrews 6:11-12
Full Assurance of HopeW. Jones, D. D.Hebrews 6:11-12
Going on to Full AssuranceG. Macdonald's "Thomas Wingfold."Hebrews 6:11-12
Good ExampleCawdray.Hebrews 6:11-12
HopeG. Spring.Hebrews 6:11-12
Hope -- an Uncultivated GraceChristian Union.Hebrews 6:11-12
Hope an Active GraceT. Watson.Hebrews 6:11-12
How to Realise Full AssuranceA. Whyre, D. D.Hebrews 6:11-12
In the Footsteps of HeroesE. Mellor, D. D.Hebrews 6:11-12
IndolenceHebrews 6:11-12
Inspiration of HopeC. H. Spurgeon.Hebrews 6:11-12
Motives to DiligenceN. Caussin.Hebrews 6:11-12
Persistency NeededG. Peck, D. D.Hebrews 6:11-12
SlothfullnessR. Tuck, B. A.Hebrews 6:11-12
Spiritual DiligenceJohn Hawtrey.Hebrews 6:11-12
Spiritual SluggishnessW. S. Page.Hebrews 6:11-12
Sure and Certain HopeA. Maclaren, D. D.Hebrews 6:11-12
The Attainment of HeavenJames Finlayson, D. D.Hebrews 6:11-12
The Believer's AssuranceJ. H. Hitchens.Hebrews 6:11-12
The Evil of SlothF. A. Krummacher.Hebrews 6:11-12
The Footsteps of the BeatifiedP. Morrison.Hebrews 6:11-12
The Holy DeadHomilistHebrews 6:11-12
The Path to HeavenJ. W. Reeve, M. A.Hebrews 6:11-12
The Warning Against SlothfulnessR. Newton, D. D.Hebrews 6:11-12
The Young Called to Follow Departed SaintsH. Belfrage.Hebrews 6:11-12
There is Light BeyondA. J. Symington.Hebrews 6:11-12
True and False ImitationH. W. Beecher.Hebrews 6:11-12
The Influence of Hope on Christian SteadfastnessC. New Hebrews 6:11-20


The third part of the parenthesis. To the solemn warning against apostasy he hastens to add how they can be delivered from the evil, and tells them of the power of hope on Christian steadfastness.

I. THE WRITER ENCOURAGES THE CULTIVATION OF CHRISTIAN HOPE. He says he is full of hope with regard to them, and desires that they would cherish that hope for themselves. (Note: It is remarkable, if the previous verses are aimed against assurance, that they should occur in a passage which reveals the writer's ardent desire not to destroy assurance, but to increase it!)

1. Hope must be preceded by faith. The Epistle is addressed to those who have faith, and to these it is said - Go on to hope. Hope is higher than faith. Faith reveals; hope anticipates.

2. Hope is, to a great extent, the fruit of spiritual diligence. "Diligence unto," etc. It is the work of the Spirit ("Abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost"), but it is also spoken of as though it were secured by human diligence. God gives this fruit in the soul's vineyard to human toil. Hope can be cultivated by an increase of Christian knowledge; its lack is due to neglect of Scripture. Also by constant meditation - meditation on the things we know about. Also by the right use of the discipline of sorrow, for sorrow carries in it the message, "Set your affections on things above." We can have hope if we are willing to pay the price for it.

3. Hope tends to the production of full assurance. It is the fruit of assurance, and bears a seed which sows itself in the heart, and produces assurance in its turn. Earthly hopes do not tend to assurance - they may disappoint; but the hope based on Scripture is declared to be the work of the Spirit; and since he could not deceive us, there must be a reality corresponding to this. "If it were not so, I would have told you."

II. THE WRITER AFFIRMS THAT THE GROUND OF CHRISTIAN HOPE IS THE INFALLIBILITY OF GOD'S WORD ABOUT CHRIST. In showing the ground on which hope is possible, the case of Abraham is introduced as an illustration. He was a conspicuous example of hope (Romans 4:18; Hebrews 11:10) and his hope is here said to have been founded on the Divine promise. Thus:

1. Christian hope is based on the Divine Word. Not on experience, feelings, attainments - these are sand; but on the infallible truth of God's utterance - that is rock.

2. This Divine Word is confirmed by an oath. God's oath is not more true than his simple declaration, but he condescends to it in pity for our infirm faith. God swears by himself, i.e. he appeals to the perfections of his own nature. Is not as much as that implied in every "Verily, verily, I say unto you"? Think of a soul refusing to trust God when - I say it reverently - he is on his oath!

3. The particular Word on which hope is based is the Word about Christ's high priesthood. Our hope is fixed on that which is within the veil, that is, Jesus. (Note: Before this parenthesis begins, the apostle was resting his argument on Psalm 110., "The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever," etc. The perpetual high priesthood of Jesus was secured by the Divine oath. In this passage, therefore, the writer is, no doubt, referring to the same oath about Christ, with which the reference to Jesus within the veil corresponds.) In what capacity is Jesus within the veil? He is there as Redeemer, presenting his atoning blood which cries for mercy. He is there as Intercessor, the High Priest with the graven breastplate, and the incense of prevailing prayer for his people. He is there as Forerunner, pledge of his people's exaltation: "Where I am, there shall also," etc. God has said, promised, sworn all this. What an infallible ground of hope for those who simply flee for refuge to lay hold thereof!

III. THE WRITER POINTS OUT THE POWER OF THIS CHRISTIAN HOPE TO PRODUCE CHRISTIAN STEADFASTNESS. "Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul." They are vacillating, in danger of falling away. Hope can hold them fast.

1. Hope prevents our drifting away with the current. In Christ we have reached the soul's haven, but even there - idly rocking on a peaceful sea - we are in peril. Life's calm may lull us to slumber, and noiseless currents carry us away to where he is not - where the soul makes shipwreck, and is saved only "on boards." The antidote to this evil is in the soul's hope fixed on Christ within the veil, the affections set on things above, "where Christ," etc.

2. Hope holds us safe in the storms. When a storm is gathering, ships enter the bay and anchor there in safety. Storms of temptation, and sorrow sweeping down on us with a cruel blast, are the time to fix our hope - our longing desire, calm confidence, eager anticipation - on Christ within the veil. To cast out anchor then, and wish for the day, is to ride out the storm unhurt.

3. Hope keeps us within cheering sight of the shore. You are come to the harbor, but not permitted to enter; but the anchor of hope holds you fast there, and the sweet sounds and gracious influences of the fair land, to be yours presently, are yours now. - C.N.









Show the same diligence.
I. THE MEANS BY WHICH THE HAPPINESS OF HEAVEN MAY BE ATTAINED. "Faith and patience." Faith describes the sound state of the understanding in the perception and application of religious truth; and patience denotes that calm fortitude of heart which enables us to resist every seduction, and, at the call of faith, to hold onward undaunted in the path which conscience prescribes. These virtues form, by their union, the perfection of the human character.

II. THE ENCOURAGEMENT TO EXERTION IN PURSUIT OF IT. "Followers of them who... inherit the promises." Faith and patience, like all other blessings, descend from heaven. They are the gifts of God through Jesus Christ. But the use and improvement of them, from which alone they become blessings to us, are left dependent on ourselves. Many motives concur to excite our diligence in improving them; but there is a peculiar tenderness and force in that which is suggested by the text. Through them the saints who have gone before us are now inheriting the promises. This argument addresses at once our interest, our understanding, and the best affections of our heart. It raises our view to the recompense of reward; it places before us a visible proof that the attainment of this inheritance is not beyond the reach of men like us; it warms within us the sentiment of generous emulation; and it attracts us onward by ties that are dear as life to the virtuous soul — by the love of those whom death has consecrated in our imagination, and by the ravishing prospect of rejoining them in heaven.

(James Finlayson, D. D.)

Suppose every day a day of harvest; suppose it a market-day; suppose it a day wherein you are to work in a golden mine; suppose it a ring which you are to engrave and enamel with your actions, to be at night presented on God's altar.

(N. Caussin.)

I. THE CHARACTER OF THE PERSONS WHOM THE APOSTLE WAS AT THIS THE ADDRESSING. They were converted characters. Christianity consists of three things — knowledge, experience, and practice. These three things the persons whom the apostle was now addressing evidently possessed. They were acquainted with the principles of religion, and had tasted the heavenly gift.

II. THOSE BLESSINGS WHICH WERE HELD OUT TO THEIR ACCEPTANCE. "Let us go on unto perfection" — such a perfection as was commanded by Christ, and which formed the subject of the ministrations and preaching of the apostle.

1. I conceive this implies, comprehending as it does all the blessings of Christianity, a perfect knowledge of Christian doctrine, that we should no longer be tossed to and fro by every wave of the sea, but be settled in the faith of the Bible.

2. I conceive it implies also a perfect possession of all Christian graces, of which one is the full assurance of hope, as in the text — "Resting in full assurance of hope in Christ." I conceive it implies also that perfect love that casteth out all fear.

3. It implies also the perfect performance of Christian duty.

4. It implies also entire sanctification to the will of God. In the Old Testament dispensation, God promised that the day should come when He would sprinkle clean water on His inheritance and make it clean; wen from all their filthiness and idols He would cleanse them: when He would take from them hearts of stone and give them hearts of flesh, and write upon the fleshly tables of their heart His law and commandments, that they might do them.

5. It implies the entire dedication of ourselves to God, doing all to the glory of God, looking for the glorious appearance of Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

III. THE DILIGENCE WHICH IS REQUISITE IN ORDER TO THE ATTAINMENT OF THIS HIGH AND HAPPY STATE OF CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE. And here we shall have to answer a query: If this be Christianity, how is it that we see so little of it in the world? The answer is here: "Be not slothful, but followers of them who, through faith and patience, inherit the promises." These blessings, of which I have been speaking, are not given to idlers. Spiritual sloth is incompatible with Christianity. Christianity is exhibited to us under the character — and a strong figure it is — of a warfare, of a race in which a candidate for the prize is to put forth all his energies. And what kind of diligence, then, is to be put forth on this occasion?

1. "That you do show the same diligence" as they had shown in the commencement. Oh, let the Christian continue to use the same diligence in his career which he did when he first became awakened! Oh, what zeal, what energy, is evinced in young converts! Oh, the sincerity, the loveliness, and the excellency of religious experience when they have perceived their danger, and fled from it to Christ, and experienced somewhat of the consolations of the Divine regard!

2. Thus, then, we are to use the same diligence-diligence proportioned to the end to be obtained. We profess to be Christians: what, then, is the object proposed to us by a profession of Christianity? Surely it is more than a name! Surely it is eternal life — it is to save the deathless, immortal soul!

3. It is to be proportioned, not only to the blessings to be obtained, but to the evil to be avoided. The evil to be avoided here is the everlasting loss of the soul, the punishment which awaits disobedience to God throughout eternity!

4. There must be diligence, again, proportioned to the time allotted to us. How long have you and I to live? How long will probation continue?

5. There must be diligence, again, proportionate to that which our enemies are using in seeking our destruction. Are you ignorant of Satan's devices? Does he ever slumber? Are not his temptations, as well as his emissaries, countless?

6. There must be diligence, again, proportionate to the means that God giveth us for this important end. God has given grace to every one of us; a measure of the Spirit is given to every one to profit withal. We have the influences of the Holy Ghost, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the instituted ordinances of religion, and all the opportunities of drawing near to God to receive continual strength of grace.

7. There must be diligence proportioned to our daily mercies. Our whole life is one continued mercy. Our creation is a mercy. Then ought we not to be diligent in the service of God, seeing that the mercies of God are so inexhaustible?

8. There must be diligence proportioned to the price paid for our redemption. "We are not redeemed with silver and gold. and corruptible things, but we are bought with a price." Ought we not- considering how valuable we are in the sight of God, considering at what we have been estimated by Jehovah, who created us — to use diligence proportionate, that we rob not God?

9. There must be diligence, finally, in proportion to the relation in which we stand to God, who is our Master, our Father, and our God; and in proportion to the accountability which we must render up to Him in that awful and dreadful day to which we are hastening.

(John Hawtrey.)

If in thought we compare the efforts of an excited crowd to enter some building, or to see some remarkable sight, or to get some freely offered advantage; if we compare their earnestness with what we observe to be the ordinary attitude of men concerning religion! How on the contrary we observe apathy and delay! There is no pressing forward to enter in. but rather an indolent lounging outside the gates, as though we could pass in whenever we liked, and there was no need for haste m the matter. Only a short time ago there came from America a curious account of the government throwing open to settlement a tract of country which had before been closed to white settlers. A certain day and hour was fixed on which emigrants might cross the boundary. Meanwhile "the cordon" was defended by a party of military. A motley multitude gathered on the bank of the dividing river. Rough "cow-boys " from the west, with their swift ponies, and waggons with oxen, and poorer emigrants, with their wives and children trudging by their side, hungry and weary, waited till the day and hour came, and hardly had the midday hour come when a strange scene ensued. Horsemen spurred their steeds into the river, heavy waggons plunged into the water at the ford, all pressed forward with the utmost speed and impetuosity to seize upon some portion of the new territory, and ere darkness came hundreds of tents had been set up, and even houses had been started, All this wild excitement and confusion; all this eagerness and energy, to gain a few acres of earthly possessions; whilst in the matter of laying hold of that kingdom, of which we have been made heirs by baptism, how little interest is taken to make sure an inheritance I But if it be asked, why this haste and unnecessary excitement? Does not God at all times "wait to be gracious "? — then we answer, True, "He doth devise means whereby his banished ones may be restored." True, "He willeth not the death of a sinner"; but yet remember that though he invites us to enter His kingdom, He does not force men to be saved. He has laid this responsibility on us. Then, too, those dangerous enemies — the world, the flesh, and the devil — are thrusting back the souls that seek to enter in. Every one who goes in must be prepared for a struggle, and for the exertion of all his powers — "tire kingdom of heaven suffereth violence."

(J. W. Hardman, LL. D.)

Full assurance of hope unto the end.
I. THE ATTAINMENT INDICATED. "The full assurance of hope."

II. THE COURSE PRESCRIBED. Being diligent in every religious exercise, as prayer, reading the Scriptures, the worship of God, &c.

III. THE MODELS RECOMMENDED. "Those who through faith," &c. A long roll of such worthies is given in chapter eleven. Their earthly course was distinguished by —

1. Believing obedience. "Faith."

2. Patient endurance. They patiently waited for good, and meekly suffered evil for God's sake. This is(1) A profitable virtue. "It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord."(2) A necessary virtue. "Ye have need of patience."(3) A rare virtue. There are few patient waiters for promised good, or passive endurers of present evil.

IV. THE MOTIVE ADDUCED. Those whom we are urged to imitate now inherit the promises, and this is mentioned as a motive to stimulate us to the same diligence. They now inherit the promises which they embraced here, and which sustained them in all their trials.

1. Eternal immunity from

(1)Physical,

(2)Mental,

(3)Moral evil.

2. Eternal possessions.

(1)Moral dignities.

(2)Social festivities.

(3)Perennial enjoyments.

(J. Elstob.)

I. THE PARTIES ADDRESSED. The apostle was writing to converts from Judaism to Christianity; persons, who by reason of the persecutions to which they were exposed and the strong persuasive efforts of the followers of Jewish customs and laws, were in danger of apostatising from the faith they had embraced.

II. THE ATTAINMENT RECOMMENDED. "The full assurance of hope." Paul has referred in his epistles to three kinds of assurance. In writing to the Colossians he speaks of the "riches of the full assurance of understanding." In the Epistle from which our text is then, he exhorts the Hebrew Christians to approach the throne of grace with "full assurance of faith." Whilst in the passage before us he recommends the" lull assurance of hope." By the first, he means a clear lively, knowledge of Divine truth; by the second an unwavering belief of the Gospel promises; and by the third, a firm conviction of the soul's union to Jesus and adoption into the family of the Most High. Though these three assurances are closely allied, yet each is different from the other. There are two reasons why we may speak of this assurance as a desirable attainment.

1. It will be profitable to ourselves. An old divine well said, "The greatest thing that we can desire, next to the glory of God, is our own salvation; and the sweetest thing we can desire is the assurance of our salvation. In this life we cannot get higher than to be assured of that which in the next life is to be enjoyed. All saints shall enjoy a heaven when they leave this earth; some saints enjoy a heaven while they are here on earth.' The original word here rendered "full assurance: means full lading or full burden. It is a word which may be applied to a ship and her cargo. If, then, we are fully laden with the treasure of assurance, our sails being well filled by the gales of faith and love. we shall steer straight for the harbour of God. Full assurance shall keep us from being all our life, "through fear of death, subject to bondage." We shall not be like the empty vessel tossed to and fro by every wind and wave of doubt. Our full lading shall keep us stable in the sea of life, and we shall at last ride triumphantly into the regions of repose amid the applause of the heavenly host. The original word is likewise applied to the plenitude of fruit produced by a tree. Sty, will it not be better for him to be fully laden with precious fruit, richly decked with luscious clusters, than to have expended all his time and strength in sending out useless tend for his support, fearing lest the roots, though firmly grounded, should not be able to sustain him? Depend on it, we shall find assurance a blessing of no mean order. It will make our devotional exercises doubly delightful, because we shall feel that the promises will be fulfilled, and the earnest prayer receive the attention of our Father. Aye, all our engagements shall have a tenfold interest and we shall have a double amount of decision in the discharge of our duties. Our peace shall flow as a river — steadily — evenly — uninterruptedly.

2. This full assurance of hope will be pleasurable to God. We all know how pleasant it is to discover that our friends and associates have firm faith in our integrity — truthfulness — love. The Eternal God is pleased with our confidence in Him. He wishes us to believe His Word. He is grieved by our doubts and fears.

III. THE MEANS OF ACQUIRING THIS ASSURANCE. "Show the same diligence unto the end."

1. Watchfulness against all sin is included in showing diligence.

2. Waiting at the feet of God is also included in "diligence." They who have walked in the light of God's countenance and felt the Spirit's clear witness within them, have been men of prayer; men, whose closets were oft-frequented spots: men who upon their knees fought their way through ranks of foes. So must it be with us.

3. Perseverance in all religious duties is likewise necessary. We must "give the same diligence unto the end." There must be " a patient continuance in well doing." Our sighing after assurance, to-day, will avail us little, it to-morrow all desires for the blessing are foreign to our souls, and our hearts are engrossed with earthly matters. Our purpose mast be unwavering.

(J. H. Hitchens.)

Many of us have seen a picture in which the artist paints "Hope" as a pale, fragile figure, blind and bent, wistfully listening to the poor music which her own fingers draws from a broken one-stringed lyre. It is a profoundly true and pathetic confession. So sad, languid, blind, yearning, self-beguiled is Hope, as most men know her. Put side by side with that the figure which an unknown sculptor has carved on one of the capitals of the Ducal palace in Venice, where Hope lifts up praying hands, and a waiting, confident face, to a hand stretched out towards her from a glory of sunbeams. Who does not feel the contrast between the two conceptions? What makes the difference? The upward look. When Hope is directed heaven wards she is strong, assured, and glad.

I. Let us look, first, at THE CERTAINTY of Christian hope. Universal experience tells us that hope means an anticipation which is less than sure. Hopes and fears are bracketed together in common language, as always united, like a double star, one black and the other brilliant, which revolve round a common axis, and are knit together by invisible bands. But if we avail ourselves of the possibilities in reference to the future, which Christianity puts into our hands, on, hope may be no less certain than our memory; and even more sure than it. For the grounds on which Christian men may forecast their future as infinitely bright and blessed; as the possession of an inheritance incorruptible; an absolute and entire conformity to the likeness of God, which is peace and joy, — are triple, each of them affording certitude.

1. It rests upon the eternal God to whom all the future is certain and upon His faithful Word, which makes it as certain to us.

2. Our hope further rests on a past fact (1 Peter 1:3). The one real proof that, when we paint heaven we are not painting mist and moonshine, is the fact that Jesus Christ rose again from the dead. There were many reasons for believing in America before Columbus came back and said "I have been there." And there are many reasons, no doubt, that may incline sanguine spirits and wearied spirits, and desiring spirits, and even sin-stricken and guilty spit its to anticipate a life beyond, which shall be a hope or a dread; but there is only one ground upon which men can say, "We know that it is not cloud-land, but solid earth"; and that is, that our Brother has come back from the bourne from which "no traveller returns"; that He thereby has shown us all, not by argumentation but by historical fact, that to die is not to cease to be; that to die draws after it the resurrection of the body. We lift our eyes to the heavens, and though " the cloud receive Him out of our sight" the hope, which is better than vision, pierces the cloud and travels straight on to the throne whilst He bends from His crowned glory and says, "Because I live ye shall live also."

3. The Christian hope is based, not only on these two strong pillars, but on a third — namely, on present experience. You can tell a cedar of Lebanon, though it is not yet bigger than a dandelion, and know what it is coming to. You can tell the infant prince. And the joy and peace of faith, feeble and interrupted as they may be in our present experience, have on them the stamp of supremacy and are manifestly destined for dominion over our whole nature. They are indeed experiences "whose very sweetness yieldeth proof that they were born for immortality." I have often seen in rich men's greenhouses some exotic plant grown right up to the roof, which had to be raised in order to let it go higher. The Christian life here is plainly an exotic, growing where it cannot attain its full height, and it presses against the fragile over-arching glass, yearning upwards to the open sky and the throne of God. So, because we can love so much and do love so little, because we can trust thus far and do truest no more, because we have some spark of the Divine life in us and that spark so contradicted and thwarted and oppressed, there must be somewhere a region which shall correspond to this cur deepest nature, and the time must come, when the righteous, who here shone, but so dimly, shall "blaze forth like the sun in the kingdom of the Father."

II. Now as to THE ASSURANCE of the Christian hope. Certainty is one thing, and assurance is another. A man may have the most firm conviction based upon the most unsubstantial foundation. His expectation may have no roots to it, and yet the confidence with which he cherishes the expectation may be perfect. There may be entire assurance without any certainty; and there may be what people call objective certainty with a very tremulous and unworthy subjective assurance. But the only temper that corresponds to and is worthy of the absolute certainties, with which the Christian man has to deal, is the temper of unwavering and assured confidence. Do not disgrace the sure and steadfast anchor, by fastening a slim piece of packthread to it. that may snap at any moment. Do not build flimsy structures upon the rock, and put up canvas shanties that any puff of wind may sweep away, upon such a foundation. If you have a staff to lean upon which will neither give, nor warp, nor crack, whatever stress is put upon it, see that you lean on it, not with a tremulous finger, but with your whole hand. Let me remind you further, that this assured hope is permanent. "The full assurance unto the end," my text says, "Unto the end." How many a lighthouse that you and I once steered towards is behind us now I As we get older, how many of the aims and hopes that drew us on have sunk below the horizon! And how much less there is left for us people with grey hairs in our heads, and years on our backs to hope for, than we used to think there was! But, dear brethren, what does it matter though the sea be washing away the coast on one side the channel, if it is depositing fertile land on the other? What does it matter though the earthly hopes are becoming fewer and those few graver and sadder, if the one great hope is shining brighter? Winter nights are made brilliant by keener stars than the soft summer evenings, and the violet and red and green streamers that fill the northern heavens only come in the late year. So it is well and blessed for us if, when the leaves fall, we see a wider sky; and if as hope dies for earth, it revives and lives again for heaven.

III. Lastly, note here THE CULTURE Of this certitude of hope. My text is an exhortation to all Christian people "to show the same diligence" in order to such an assurance. The same diligence as what? The same diligence as they had shown " in their work and labour of love towards God's name." The fashionable type of a Christian to-day is a worker. By common consent theology seems put into the background, and by almost as common consent there is comparatively little said about what our fathers used to call "experimental religion," feelings, emotions, inward experiences, but everything is drive, drive; drive at getting people to work. God forbid that I should say one word against that. But "we desire that ye should show the same diligence" as in your mission halls and schools and various other benevolent operations, in cultivating the emotions and sentiments — yes, and the doctrinal beliefs of the Christian life, or else you will be lopsided Christians. Further, did it ever occur to you, Christian people, that your hope was a thing to be cultivated, that you ought to set yourselves to distinct and specific efforts for that purpose? Have you ever done so? Hew is it to be done? Get into the habit of meditating upon the objects towards which it is directed, and the grounds on which it is built. If you never lift your eyes to the goal, you will never be drawn towards it. If you never think about heaven it will have no attraction for you. If you never go over the bases of your hope, your hope will get dim, and there will be little realisation or lifting power in it. Let me say, lastly, in the matter of practical advice, that this cultivation of the assurance of hope is largely to be effected by pruning the wild luxuriance and earthward-stooping tendrils of our hope. "If you want the tree to grow high, nip the side shoots and the leader will gain strength. "If you desire that your hope should ever be vigorous you must be abstinent from, or temperate in earthly things,

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

Some men may be assured of their good estate. St. Paul is so sure of it that he sings a triumph over all his enemies (Romans 8:33, 34), &c. Neither is it his song alone, but the song of all the faithful (Job 19:25; 2 Corinthians 5:1). How come we by this assurance? not by revelation from heaven, but by good works practised by us here on the earth (2 Peter 1:10). When St. Paul was ready to depart out of the world, he was sure of the crown of life. How? Not by revelation, but by the godly life which he had led (2 Timothy 4:8; 2 Timothy 2:19). Depart from sin, be sure of good works, as Dorcas was, and thou mayest have a full assurance of the kingdom of heaven. It is not a bare and naked faith that can assure thee of heaven, but such as worketh by love. Men in this age flatter themselves in a supposed faith, and cast away the care of good works. But how long must we be diligent? Nut for a time, but to the end. It is a folly to run at all, unless we run to the end: a folly to fight at all, unless we fight to the end'. Remember Lot's wife, she went out of Sodom, but because she looked back she was turned into a pillar of salt, Let not us be diligent for a time, but to the end; we must be working to our lives end, so long as any breath is in our body; it is not enough to be young disciples, but we must be old disciples, as Mnason was. As we have been diligent in prayer, almsdeeds, in hearing of sermons, in crucifying of sin, so we must be diligent to the end.

(W. Jones, D. D.)

I would not give one straw for that assurance that sin will not damp. If David had come to me in his adultery, and had talked to me of his assurance, I should have despised his speech.

(John Newton.)

Indeed nothing else seems interesting enough — nothing to repay the labour, but the telling of my fellow-men about the one man who is the truth, and to know whom is the life. Even if there be no hereafter, I would live my time believing in a grand thing that ought to be true if it is not. No facts can take the place of truths, and if these be not truths, then is the loftiest part of our nature a waste. Let me hold by the better than the actual, and fall into nothingness off the same precipice with Jesus and John and Paul and a thousand more, who were lovely in their lives, and with their death make even the nothingness into which they have passed like the garden of the Lord. I will go further, Polwarth, and say, I would rather die for evermore believing as Jesus believed, than live for evermore believing as those that deny Him. If there be no God, I feel assured that existence is and could be but a chaos of contradictions, whence can emerge nothing worthy to be called a truth, nothing worth living for. — No, I will not give up my curacy. I will teach that which is good, even if there should be no God to make a fact of it, and I will spend my life on it, in the growing hope, which may become assurance, and there is indeed a perfect God, worthy of being the Father of Jesus Christ, and that it was because they are true, that these things were lovely to me and to so many men and women, of whom some have died for them, and some would be yet ready to die. I thank my God to hear you say so. Nor wilt you stand still there, said Polwarth.

(G. Macdonald's "Thomas Wingfold.")

We hear, sometimes, a great deal said about possessing a full assurance of being a child of God; and then, every now and then, we hear of a doubt, a hope. As good Joseph Irons used to say, "They keep hope, hope, hoping — hop, hop, hopping — all their lives, because they can't walk." Little faith is always lame.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

The celebrated Philip de Morney, prime minister to Henry IV. of France, one of the greatest statesmen, and the most exemplary Christians of his age, being asked, a little before his death, if he still retained the same assured hope of future bliss which he had enjoyed during his illness, he made this memorable reply, "I am as confident of it, from the incontestable evidence of the Spirit of God, as ever I was of any mathematical truth from all the demonstrations of Euclid."

(K. Arvine.)

Once on a time, certain strong labourers were sent forth by the great king to level a primeval forest, to plough it, to sow it, and to bring to him the harvest. They were stout-hearted and strong, and willing enough for labour, and much they needed all their strength and more. One stalwart labourer was named Industry — consecrated work was his. His brother Patience, with thews of steel, went with him, and tired not in the longest days under the heaviest labours. To help them they had Zeal, clothed with ardent and indomitable energy. Side by side there stood his kinsman Self-denial, and his friend Importunity. These went forth to their labour, and they took with them, to cheer their toils, their well-beloved sister Hope; and well it was they did, for they needed the music of her consolation ere the work was done. for the forest trees were huge, and demanded many sturdy blows of the axe ere they would fall prone upon the ground. One by one the giant forest kings were overthrown, but the labour was immense and incessant. At night when they went to their rest, the day's work always seemed so light, for as they crossed the threshold, Patience, wiping the sweat from his brow, would be encouraged, and Self-denial would be strengthened by hearing the sweet voice of Hope within singing, "God will bless us; God, even our own God, will bless us." They felled the lofty trees to the music of that strain; they cleared the acres one by one, they tore from their sockets the huge roots, they delved the soil, they sowed the corn, and waited for the harvest, often much discouraged, but still held to their work as by silver chains and golden fetters by the sweet sound of the voice which chanted so constantly, "God, even our own God, will bless us." They never could refrain from service, for Hope never could refrain from song. They were ashamed to be discouraged, they were shocked to be despairing, for still the voice rang clearly out at noon and eventide, "God will bless us; God, even our own God, will bless us."

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

A man can never be too sure of his going to heaven. If we purchase an inheritance on earth, we make it as sure, and our tenure as strong as the brain of the law, or the brains of the lawyers, can devise. We have conveyances, and bonds, and fines, no strength too much. And shall we not be more curious in the settling our eternal inheritance in heaven?

(T. Adams.)

An old author (alas, they were more familiar with these things long ago than the moderns seem to be!) says epigrammatically, truthfully, and scripturally, that God gifts His acceptance, but He sells assurance. And His people buy assurance by a life of secret prayer, not prayer meeting prayer, by crucifying the deepest lusts, by a sweet and holy life. The traffic for this great blessing goes on between God and the sinner; and the reward for gospel obedience comes in the shape of full assurance to his weak and trembling heart.

(A. Whyre, D. D.)

A Christian without love would be an anomaly; a Christian without faith, a self-contradiction; and yet Christians without hope are as common in the Church as empty shells on the sea-shore, and unlighted gas lamps in the city on dark nights when the almanac says the moon is shining. The three graces are reduced to two; and they mourn their sister dead and buried. Even Christian ministers forget that the Bible is a book of hope, and treat it as a book chiefly of warnings. Children learn to regard it as an awful book, and never quite recover from the misapprehension. The " God of hope" is converted into a "God of fear," and we are driven to duty by a rod instead of drawn to life by inspiring hope. The Christian repeats the experience of his prototype in the vision of Bunyan, and forgets that he has a key in his bosom which will let him out of Castle Doubting anti the custody of Giant Despair. Hope is one of the threefold cords out of which Christian experience is woven. If a man has no hope, let him examine himself and see if he have any faith; let him beware lest love, unfed by its mother hope, die and leave him without either faith, hope, or charity. Men scoff at the optimistic spirit. It is fashionable to be cynical and mildly despairing. Dean Swift's spirit is contagious among men of Dean Swift's type; and his beatitude is accepted for substance of doctrine by many men who do not know of its existence: Blessed are they who do not expect much, for they shall not be disappointed. Bat what pessimist ever achieved anything for himself or for humanity? Hope is the inspiration of all noble activity. The world's leaders have all been men of great hope,

(Christian Union.)

An assured hope is not like a mountain torrent, but like a stream flowing from a living fountain, and often so quietly that it is scarcely visible but for the verdure of its banks.

(G. Spring.)

Hope takes fast hold of heaven itself. A Christian's hope is not like that of Pandora, which may fly out of the box, and bid the soul farewell, as the hope of the hypocrite does; no, it is like the morning light, the least beam of it shall go on into a complete sunshine; it shall shine forth brighter and brighter till the perfect day.

(T. Brooks.)

Hope is an active grace; it is called a lively hope. Hope is like the spring in the watch, it sets all the wheels of the soul in motion; hope of a crop makes the husbandman sow his seed; hope of victory makes the soldier fight; and a true hope of glory makes a Christian vigorously pursue glory. Here is a spiritual touch-stone to try our hope by.

(T. Watson.)

Not slothful
I. THE EXHORTATION. "Be not slothful."

1. I should think you would not be if you thought of your Master. Good old Rutherford, when he lay in prison, said, "I wish all my brethren did but know what a Master I have served." If you thought more of your Master, methinks you would be inclined to say such a Master deserves your service.

2. Then your work: this is a service that may well call forth all your energies. Don t imagine that you have done all now you have begun to make a Christian profession. You have but just put on the sandals; you have the pilgrimage to go yet. There is a great work before thee to do; but He float hath called thee to fight will strengthen thee. What a precious thing when the soul is intent upon noble objects! Oh, young people, to give your youth to holy purposes; to take so noble an object as this of glorifying God and blessing your fellows as the object for which you are living — oh, what a grand thing is this, the giving of your youth to Him! it is like harnessing a steed of fire to some noble chariot. How much evil you will prevent, how much good you will do, how many tears you will wipe away, how many sad hearts you will make happy! May God give you a holy emulation in this matter. Think of your work. It was said of Dr John Harris, of Oxford, who lived soon after the time of Cromwell, that when he came to die he called his friends and said this — "Of all the sins which I have ever committed, the sin of misspent time troubleth me most," and yet he had been a very busy man; but when he came to look at the past from his death-bed, he thought how little he had done. When Leigh Richmond was dying, a minister came and sat by his bed-side, and he said to him, "Oh, if you could see the value of the golden moments now as you will see them when you stand at the rim of the grave, and look back, how earnst would be your work!" It was the prayer of Alline every morning — "Lord, Thou hast given me a new day; help me to make my crown brighter and to bless my fellows." What a blessed effect such a prayer would have on each of our lives! It was said of Boston, when he came towards the close of his life, that he used to say — "Hold out, faith and patience, thou shalt soon be crowned, the battle shall not last much longer." Work while thou canst, there are many things thou canst not do in eternity. Many a good thing you can do now that you cannot do then. You cannot hold up a sinking head in heaven, for there is no sickness or sorrow there. Be not slothful — think of your Master, think of your work, think of your reward. Now I want to tell you why a great many of you become slothful. There are many slothful, because they are not sufficiently aware of those crises — times when special difficulties come in upon them. You may be very busy for the world and very slothful for God. John Bunyan describes two sleeping-places in his "Pilgrim's Progress," and he does it exceedingly wisely. When Christian was going up the hill Difficulty, and when half-way up the hill, he fell asleep in the arbour and lost his roll, and had a sore journey back again to recover it. The other sleeping-place was on the Enchanted Ground. The one was in the midst of difficulties, 'and the other where the sky was clear and the scenes were like fairyland; clusters hung from every tree, and the earth was carpeted with green and flowers. This is true religious experience. The two times of greatest danger to our spiritual vigilance are, special adversity and special prosperity. In times of the world's adversity, if you do not go to Him who layeth on the burden, for strength to bear it, you will go to sleep in spiritual things — you will be losing your roll. And if the sky is clear and everything go smoothly, you will be in the same danger. Sometimes when things look very smiling in this world we get wrong for the next. I have no doubt Israel were quite willing to go on when they were at the bitter waters of Marah; but when they came to Elim, with its fountains and palm-trees, they would have liked to have stopped a little longer. Let us take care that we hold nothing on earth so dear that we would make our rest here. Be not slothful. In order that you may not be so there must be self-culture, self-discipline, self denial. Another reason for tour slothfulness is, that you have not fixed upon any standard of Christian character. The Lord Jesus is the standard that you should set before you.

II. THE EXAMPLE. "Followers of them," &c. Many a man admires the martyrs who does not mean to follow them. The noble army of martyrs were faithful to their duty and to truth. They were not fanatics. They did not seek after suffering out of a spirit of bravado. When holy Bradford lay in prison, and Queen Mary sent offers of mercy to him if he would give up his gospelling, what said the good man? "If I might have her Majesty's favour, without losing that of my Lord, gladly would I accept of it; but it is too dear a price to give God's favour for that of the Queen." Give me a man who really fears God, and I know he will fear nobody else. It is a grand thing for a man to have the presence of Jehovah. Those are striking words of St. Basil to an empress who tempted him to sin, and theatened punishment, because he would not comply with her — "How can you make me fear confiscation, who have long since learned that nothing I have is my own? or exile, when I know that the remotest province of your empire is no farther from heaven than Constantinople? Or how can you make me tear even death, when to me death would be the entrance to glory?" The martyrs were sustained by their faith. When came to the stake, they wanted to fasten him with a chain. "You need not do that," said he, "for my Master, who brought me here, will keep me in the fire." Sometimes their place, on such occasions, swelled into ecstasy, as when holy Bradford said, "What am I, and what is my father's house, that the Lord for me, as for Elijah, should send a chariot of fire?" and so he went up into the fiery chariot to heaven. These were men who through faith and patience inherit the promises. They showed their fidelity to the truth by sealing it with their blood. Oh, how many of our privileges do we owe to the faithfulness of such men But notice further, you must be followers of those who showed their fidelity to the Word, by their diligent study of it. How much you owe to the translators of the Scriptures, who toiled at their work night and day! Think of the marvellous story of the venerable , who died, just as he had finished the last word of the translation of the Scriptures, over which he had toiled in faith and patience for many years. Then you must be followers of those who keep on with their duty under all circumstances. What a beautiful description that is which John Bunyan gives of one Mr. By-ends, and he tells you he was related to one, Mr. Face-both-ways, and to one Mr. Fair-speak, and to some other people with strange and significant names. He tells yea that By-ends had a great love for religion when she went in silver slippers, when the sun shone upon her and the people applauded; but he had no liking for being with her when the mob hooted and yelled; no liking for Christ when the mob cried, "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!" But that won't do; you must follow Christ at all times, it at all. You must be followers of those who did their duty when duty was costly. You must go where Christ would have you go, and do what Christ put you to do, and be willing ""o work for God in secret, and without the applause of the world. How blessedly many who have now received the promises showed their faith and patience! Think of Abraham waiting five-and-twenty years for the promise of Isaac. But though the time was so long, Abraham's heart never misgave him. The language of his h, art was, "My Lord has said it, and I believe my Isaac will come." And the Lord fulfilled this promise. How long , the mother of , waited for her son's conversion! He indulged in all manner of wickedness, and she went to and told of her prayers and tears for her son. "Ah! " said Ambrose, "a child of so many tears and prayers shall not perish." At length Augustine was converted, and became the great luminary of the Western Church. When your prayers are long in being answered, do not give up. Sometimes the ship that is long. st on its voyage brings home the richest freight. If the promise tarries, wait for it. A promise long waited for is very precious in its fulfilment.

III. THE ENCOURAGEMENT. Those who endured — where are they now? Inheriting the promises. Those early martyrs — early Christians, those who were often in tears and troubles — as many of you will be — where are they now? Inheriting the promises. Oh, ye of little faith, look up and take comfort. There they stand. They used to fear just as you do; they thought, sometimes, they should never get there, just as you do. Now, if you be not slothful, just as they have triumphed you shall triumph, just as they are crowned you shall be crowned.

(S. Coley.)

Slothfulness is the same as idleness. An idle person is one who neglects his duty, and who never can succeed in anything. Solomon says that "slothfulness" — or idleness — "will clothe a man with rags." We need not wonder therefore, to find among the warnings of the Bible, one against idleness, or slothfulness. And God, who gives us this warning, has set before us splendid examples of industry. See what an example of this we have in God Himself. When our Saviour was on earth, He said to the Jews — "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." And then think of the angels of heaven. They wait before God continually to do His bidding. And the moment He tells them to go any. where, or do anything, they fly away and do it. There is no slothfulness, or idleness among the angels. And then think of the sun. God made it, thousands of years ago, by its shining to light up our world, and the worlds around it. And. since then it has kept on shining day and night, without ever stopping for a moment. And so it is with the moon, and the stars, and the seasons, and day and night. There is no slothfulness or idleness about any of them.

I. The first reason why we ought to mind this warning is — FOR THE SAKE OF OUR EXAMPLE. About the year 1725, an American boy, nineteen years old, found himself in London, where he had to earn his own bread. He went one day to a printing office, and asked for employment. "Where are you from?" asked the foreman. "From America," was the answer. "Ah!" said the foreman, "from America! a lad from America seeking employment as a printer! Well, do you really understand the art of printing? Can you set type? " The young man stepped up to one of the type-eases, and in a short time set up the following passage, from St. John's Gospel, which he handed to the foreman — "Nathaniel said unto him, 'Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?; Philip saith unto him, 'Come and see.'" The foreman was so pleased with the readiness and smartness of this American youth, that he took him into his employ at once. He was very industrious, and soon gained the confidence and respect of all connected with the office. He was always in his place, and did his work well. He never would drink beer or strong drink. He saved his money, and after a while returned to his own country. Then he had a printing establishment of his own. He became an author, a publisher, the Postmaster General of the country — a member for Congress — a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and an ambassador from his country to some of the royal courts of Europe, and finally he died in Philadelphia, on the 17th of April, 1790, at the age of eighty-four, full of years and honours. This was Benjamin Franklin. No one can tell the influence which his example for industry has had upon thousands of the youth of our country. But we may form a pretty fair idea of this when we bear in mind that there are more than a hundred and filly counties, towns, and villages that have been called Franklin, in honour of this industrious printer's boy.

II. The second reason why we ought to mind this warning is — FOR OUR SUCCESS IN LIFE. A lady once asked Mr. Turner, the great English painter, what the secret of his success was? His reply was: "I have no secret, madam, but hard work." "The difference between one man and another," says Dr. Arnold, "is not so much in talent, as in industry." "Nothing," says Sir Joshua Reynolds, "is denied to well-directed labour, and nothing is to be attained without it." "Success," says Dr. Johnson, "may be won by patient industry, but it is not to be looked for in any other way." Solomon says — "The hand of the diligent maketh rich." Again he says, "Seest thou a man diligent in his business; he shall stand before kings, he shall not stand before mean men." Periander, one of the seven wise men of Greece, wrote a motto, which was inscribed on the walls of the celebrated temple of Delphos, in these words — "Nothing is impossible to industry."

III. The third reason why we ought to mind it is — FOR OUR REWARD IN HEAVEN. If we get to heaven at all, we shall owe it entirely to the grace and love of Jesus. But what our place in heaven shall be, when we get there, will be decided according to the way in which we have served Jesus on earth. And this is a good reason why we should mind the warning against slothfulness.

(R. Newton, D. D.)

Almost everywhere is the fact recognised that novelty has much to do with enthusiasm. Very few are prepared to judge of the value of a worker by what he is at the commencement of his work. "Wait a while," they say. "He is new to the duties as yet; when the charm of their freshness is over then we shall be able better to estimate what we may daily expect from him." Splendid enthusiasm to start with! If it were only kept up, the worker would soon have everything at his feet, but unfortunately, it is not kept up. Soon the inquiry has to be raised, "Who did hinder you?" The fine gold has become dim. The simple fact is that the novelty of the experience has gone, and then the enthusiasm with it. Such was the great danger of these Hebrew Christians. Let us consider the sluggishness here referred to, and how it may be avoided. Spiritual sluggishness. The word is one which usually relates to a bodily condition, and we must therefore first gain a clear idea of it in that sense before we can understand its use by the writer in relation to the soul. It is a difficult matter to define health in a way that will satisfy a scientific mind, but generally speaking, it is that condition when "all the functions of the body are performed easily, naturally, and well." All of us, however, have passed through seasons when some one bodily organ was not capable of performing its function, and when, in consequence of some complaint or other, it caused us considerable pain. We had no difficulty in localising the matter; we could lay our finger upon the exact spot, and our ability to do so led to the use of remedies which, happily, soon restored us. All disorders, however, are not of his acute kind. Although sharp pain is the usual herald of a deviation from the standard of health, there are conditions in which the body is not us it should be, though there is no great suffering. There are other heralds besides pain, and sluggishness is one of them. In this case you cannot put your finger upon any one spot and say, "The pain is here! " No, there is a dulness, a lethargy which affects the whole body. Such was precisely the condition of these Hebrews in relation to spiritual things. There was no glaring sin to rebuke. They went to the same places as before, and performed the same acts; yet they were not the same men. The difference was here: formerly, whatever they did, they did zealously; now, whatever they did, they did sluggishly. The stream was confined within the same banks; but whereas once it rushed on, smiling in the sunlight, carrying away many a poisonous element, turning many a water wheel — musical, purifying, useful — now it moved slowly — the music a as gone, the poison was accumulating, and the wheels were still. The same stream? Yes; if you looked only at the old landmarks, but not the same stream by any means, if you looked at its flow and the purposes it served. To particularise they still spoke of Christ as their Saviour, but there was no glow of affection on their faces or in their hearts. They prayed to Him still, but the old fervour was not there. They ministered to the needy, but the poor felt that the gift and the giver were separate. They had drifted into another zone. and they who in the warmer climate had been full of activity, now were almost torpid in the cold. Two other points in the analogy demand our attention, although I can only touch upon them lightly. In its milder forms sluggishness is generally the result of the neglect of healthy exercise, and further, although it does not always imply organic disease, yet, if not remedied, it is likely to lead to it, and so shorten the days. There were certain exercises of the Christian life which these Hebrews had neglected. They had not forsaken their tea. hers, but they did not give them proper attention. The truth was explained, but they were not mentally on the alert, and so it found no lodgment within them. The neglect of that duty was yielding its baneful fruit. Disease was threatening them. Thorns and thistles spring up on neglected land, and the apostle feared that such growths would speedily appear in them. What had been a garden of the Lord was likely to become a fruitless tract, bearing growths only fit to be burned. Observe, it is not a mere matter of slowness or swiftness; rightly regarded, it is one of life or death. "Not sluggish," but "imitators of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises." Who can tell how much inspiration men have received by considering a noble end and noble human examples? Now, the writer calls his readers to that twofold contemplation. He reminds them first of the promises of God. Some of them had already been fulfilled, but many of them were still but promises — i.e., they had relation to the future. The reference, of course, is to the heavenly life which he wished them to contemplate, so that they might patiently endure their present afflictions. God had in store for them a tranquility such as they had never yet known — a tranquility which should never be ruffled by the stormy winds of trial, and a service which should never be hindered by persecution, or in which they should ever tire or grow weary. In that higher life work and rest should sweetly blend. In their present circumstances they were sharply and painfully separated from each other; but then the twain, by a heavenly we, doth, should become one for ever. Did any of them, however, regard their difficulties and hindrances as insuperable? If so, the apostle corrects the error by reminding them that many had already inherited the promises. Was their case while on earth different in any essential respect from that of his readers? Nay, they inherited the promises " through faith and patience."

(W. S. Page.)

"Slothful" — a word which has quite passed out of common use. It is a strong old Saxon word, very little changed. The Saxon form is slewdeth, from slaw, slow; and the idea of the word is tardiness, disinclination to action or labour. This slothfulness was the characteristic sin of the civilised and effeminate times of the Book of Proverbs. It is the great sin, in respect of religious things, of all highly civilised and luxurious ages and nations, and the great peril of all persons who are not placed under the stern necessity of working with band or brain for their daily bread. But a more precise idea can be given to this term as it is used. in this Epistle. Slothfulness is action which has in it no energy; nothing of that essential characteristic of manliness — energy.

I. THE SIN OF SLOTHFULNESS IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE. We know the sin and its ruinous consequences well enough in business life. We have often been wearied out with the kid-gloved young man, who counts business a bore, dawdles about, puts no soul into anything, drags through his day's work. and tries the patience of everybody that has to do with him. Can it possibly be that he represents the way in which, by our Christian slothfulness, we are wearying God and all good men? It must be a sin to live a listless, easeful Christian life: a sin like that of the soldier who hides among the stuff or feigns a sickness when the trumpet blast is summoning all heroic souls to the front. It must be sin in view of those all-absorbing claims of King Jesus under which we come. He demands body, soul, and spirit, life, time, powers, all. No man can be truly His without being wholly His. It must be sin in viewer the consecration vow which we have made, yielding ourselves up as living sacrifices, like the whole burnt-offering, given over, body, and fat, and skin, and blood, and life, for a whole consuming on the Lord's altar. It must be sin in view of that great work in the world which has yet to be done ere Christ shall "see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied." It must be the sin of the most shameful ingratitude, when we remember how He bought us with His precious blood, giving Himself unto the death for us.

II. THE TEMPTATIONS TO THE SIN OF CHRISTIAN SLOTHFULNESS IN MODERN LIFE. Certainly there is no temptation to slothfulness in modern business life. Intensity, haste, keenness, over-grasping, are the modern business sins. But this business life of ours in many ways brings temptation to a weak Christian living. Observe how it tends to exhaust energy, expending all the gathered stores of physical and mental strength, and leaving none to be given to Christian uses. Then, too, it brings wealth and the enervating influence of luxury — precisely the sin of old Sodom, old Jerusalem, and old Tyre, against which a prophet's voice is ever needed. Other things besides business are seriously telling on the energy of religious life. To what an alarming extent personal Christian effort is excused by an arrangement for most payment; as if cold cash could ever do in the world for Christ what living souls can! The extravagant pursuit of mere pleasure, and interest in the excitingly sensational and weakly sentimental in literature. And then in other departments of life we have the open enthronement of intellect as the deity for modem worship.

III. THE DISHONOUR WHICH CHRISTIAN SLOTHFULNESS PUTS UPON THOSE SAINTS AND HEROES WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE US, AND WHO SEEK TO LIVE AGAIN IN us. Oh, the glorious vision of the saints of God! Sainted fathers, mothers, pastors, heroes! They have inherited the promises, and now they rest. But how? Through "faith," which is but another name for energy — energy seen on another side; and through "patience," which enabled them, amid all their toils, and discouragements, and failures, to keep up their energy. They live again in us. What dishonour do we put upon them, if our Christian living is faithless and weak, self-indulgent and restless and fretful! How we disgrace them, if we sink down as low as to make our lives a mere response to the questions, What shall we eat? What shall we drink? And wherewithal shall we be clothed? They live again in us. They were the Church of Christ for their time, and we are for ours. Would to God that in earnest, energetic, Christian lives we could be worthy of them. Nay, would to God that we might be worthy of Him whom they and we alike should imitate, who hath called us by His grace unto His kingdom and glory.

(R. Tuck, B. A.)

Among the disciples of Hillel, the wise teacher of the sons of Israel, was one named Saboth, to whom every work was a great trouble, and who gave himself up to idleness and sloth. Hillel was grieved thereat for the youth, and resolved to cure him of his fault. To this end he took him out to the valley of Hinnom, by Jerusalem. There was a standing pool full of snakes and vermin, and covered with muddy weeds. When they reached this place, Hillel put down his staff, and said, "Let us rest here from our way." The youth was surprised, and said, "How, master, near this foul bog? Dost thou not perceive what poisonous vapours it exhales?" "Thou art right, my son," answered the master: "this bog is like the soul of a slothful man. Who would wish to be near it? " Then Hillel took the youth to a waste field, producing nothing but thistles and thorns, which choked the corn and the salutary herbs. Now, Hillel leaned on his staff, and said, "Behold this field has good soil to produce all that is useful and pleasant, but it is forgotten and neglected, therefore it brings forth thistles, and thorns, and poisonous weeds, beneath which lurk toads and serpents. A little while ago thou didst see the soul; now behold the life of an idle man." Then Saboth was full of shame and repentance, and said, "Master, why leadest thou me to these lonely and dreary spots? They are the reproachful picture of my soul and life!" Hillel answered, and said, "Thou wouldst not believe my words, therefore I tried whether the voice of Nature would penetrate to thy heart." Saboth pressed his master's hand, and said, "Thy endeavours shall not be in vain; thou wilt see that a new life has begun within me." And after this day Saboth became an active youth. Then Hillel took him to a fertile valley, by the side of a clear brook, which flowed meandering between fruitful trees, flowery meadows and shady shrubberies. "See here," said the old man to the rejoicing youth, "the picture of thy new, industrious life. Nature, which warned thee, will now reward thee. Her beauty and grace can only give joy to him who sees in her life a picture of his own."

(F. A. Krummacher.)

The soul's idling time is the devil's working time. Followers of them who... inherit the promises. —

It must be owned, although it is a melancholy confession, that fear comparatively set out in the road to heaven, and fewer still persevere unto the end. "Many of the disciples of Jesus turned back, and walked no more with Him."

I. THE CAUTION against a sore evil in the Church of Christ. "We desire that ye be not slothful." Can he be slothful who has for long years felt the bitterness of bondage, but having shaken off, through the might of another, the bonds of misery, is now on his way to the land of liberty? Can he be slothful who has seen the wild storm gathering in the heavens, with destruction, and is on the road to the refuge set before him? Can he be slothful who flees, while sin and Satan and avenging justice are pursuing? Can the Christian ever need such an exhortation when he has so much to excite him to diligence? So prevalent is the evil, that no Christian should regard himself as not standing in need of caution here. Such, too, is its deceitful nature that it is often overlooked or mistaken for something else. It is a kind of negative vice; not so much the doing of what is directly wrong, as the omitting to do what is obviously right. Depend upon it, if we omit a duty, we are on the high. way to the perpetration of an actual crime. The great tempter knows ,his full well, and therefore strives thus to draw us aside rather than to drive us into evil. The citadel has come into the possession of the foe, not by the might, but by the stratagem of the enemy; it has been brought low, not by the strength of the assailants, but through the indifference of the defenders. But there is a class of persons whose strength seems paralysed, and who shrink from effort, because they see everything in an unfavourable light. They behold difficulties in the way, and regard them as unscaleable; they consider the exertions demanded as beyond their strength, and I he self-denial required as more than they can bear. Such characters as those to which we have alluded seek, but do not strive. They do not set about the matter with all the heart and soul and strength; there is none of that combating with the habit of evil which will not rest until it is destroyed. Love with its note of tenderness, peace with its words of sweetness, joy by its language of rapture, zeal with its burbling syllables, and faith by the accents of assurance — all urge us never to be slothful. Remember the nature of that duty which is laid upon you. You have a prize to win and a soul to save. Shall earthly competitors and worldly combatants put you to the blush? Think, again, of the character you bear and the profession you make. You are children of God, whose meat and drink should be to do their Father's will, to "count all things but loss for Christ." Can you, then, bear the thought of belying your character, of regarding spiritual things as little worth when earthly interests come in the way?

II. A POWERFUL ENCOURAGEMENT to diligence, as enforced by the example of those who have preceded us in the road to heaven — "Be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises." There is something in this mode of exciting the Hebrew Christians to diligence, which by its suitableness recommends itself to us. It shows how practicable it is to accomplish that which sloth suggests is impossible; it puts to flight every false fear by giving instances of complete success, and assures us of what may be done by reminding us of what has been done. Think of the zeal of patriarchs, prophets, and apostles, the trials they endured, and the difficulties they overcame. Look at Abraham hoping against hope, obeying the Divine command regardless of the consequences. Look at Moses" choosing affliction with the people of God" in preference to all the riches of an Egyptian throne. Look at David waiting for the kingdom while year after year he was hunted for his life, serving the Lord diligently amid all the cares of royalty, and all the trials of the most troublous times. Look at the apostles or martyrs who " counted not their lives dear unto them" for the sake of Jesus. But how did the saints of God check every rising tendency to discouragement or indolence? How did they so walk as to arrive safely at their journey's end? By " faith and patience." These are graces peculiar to the Christian's stale of probation. He is called to exercise faith in the Word of God, and to rely entirely upon Christ. It is by faith that we become interested in the promises; pardon and salvation are promised to faith — believing, we become children of God, and heirs of the promise of eternal life. But "patience must also have her perfect work"; the promises will be delayed, that this suffering grace may be called into exercise. This is the grace that checks the murmur, Nature might sometimes suggest, "Why are my conflicts prolonged?" But patience maintains the calmness of a heart not struck dumb by sullen desperation, but tranquilised by resignation and supported by hope.

(S. Bridge, M. A.)

I. We must endear your to ascertain OUR MODELS. Whom are we to follow? Them "who through faith and patience inherit the promises." Passing over successive generations, passing by princes, and heroes, and statesmen, and scholars, the apostle goes back to the very early ages of the new world, and points us to a small company of rustics and shepherds, distinguished only by their communion with God and their obedience to Him. The days are coming when men will be judged, not by their adventitiousness, but by their real worth, by their intellectual, moral, and religious character, when vile persons, however rich, shall be condemned, and we shall honour them that fear the Lord, however poor. For the righteous are the excellent of the earth. They are called, observe, "repairers of the breach, restorers of places to dwell in," and though they were destitute, tormented, and afflicted, the world was not worthy of them.

II. Having ascertained our models, we must, in the second place, consider THEIR PRESENT CONDITION, which is the enjoyment of the inheritance. They "inherit the promises." Many advantages are derived from the promises; some even in time. Few of the promises of God, indeed, are ever completely accomplished in this world: they draw us, therefore, forward and upward. We are saved by hope; heaven will perfect everything that concerns us. Now you will observe, also, that this inheritance is a present possession. They " inherit," not they " shall inherit." They inherit now the promises. The) have done with sorrows and with sin: they are freed from all their infirmities and all their distractions: they are there for ever with the Lord, and waiting to receive you into everlasting communion,

III. Let us now consider, thirdly, their PREVIOUS DISPOSITIONS.

1. Let us, then, observe their dependence and order. "Faith and patience." Patience does not precede faith, but follows it: so does everything. Faith is not the superstructure, but the foundation.

2. The nature of their service. One word here will explain this fully; it is the word "through" — "Through faith and patience," says the apostle, "they inherit the promises." What could you do without either of them? What could you do without faith? Take the most simple principle in religion: the creation of the world. The heathen philosophers commonly believed in the eternity of the world, or that it was produced by a casual concourse of atoms. And the apostle expressly tells us, that "through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God; so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." What wonder, therefore, that as to other things these should depend upon faith? What could you do without patience? Patience has two offices to perform; the one regards waiting for good, and the other the bearing of evil.

IV. OUR DUTY IN REFERENCE TO THEM; which is. to be followers of them: "Be ye followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises." The in)unction implies three things:

1. That there is nothing unattainable or impracticable in the examples of those who have gone before us. We may, we can, follow them. They were exercised b the very same temptations, and they had the very same passions with us.

2. That we should acquaint ourselves with them. You cannot follow what you are ignorant of imitation is something voluntary, something intentional, something that requires observation, and to have the thing much before the eye of the mind, in order to have the mind impressed.

3. And you should not be satisfied with anything short of resemblance and conformity. In this conformity allow me just to mention two things which are worthy of your regard.(1) You should distinguish what was peculiar in their situation to themselves, and what was common and general.(2) Then again, with regard to such things, in which they were exemplars, you should attend to these things chiefly as regards yourselves.

V. Having ascertained our models, and having seen their present condition, and their previous disposition, and observed our duty with regard to them, let us finally remark, WHAT IS NECESSARY IN ORDER TO DISCHARGE IT; namely, that you fling away sloth. A philosopher was asked, "What is the sin most universal to all mankind?" and his answer was, and we are persuaded that he answered justly, "Idleness and sloth." See a child: with what difficulty can you obtain anything like continued serious attention to subjects you are attempting to teach it. It is like your endeavouring to tie it with a ball of mercury to the legs of a table. Look at man: in what state should we find the community now, of how many thousand things should we remain ignorant, if individuals were not urged by the most powerful considerations of want or advantage. But mental sloth is much greater than bodily sloth, and spiritual sloth is much greater than even mental. It seems very astonishing as well as unnatural; allowing that a man is on the bed of sloth, we should suppose that it would be impossible for him to remain there when he opens his eyes and looks about him in the light of revelation. Can be see such honours as these, and not feel something like ambition? Can he see such riches, and not feel something like avarice? Can he learn that the Judge standeth at the door and not be afraid? Can he see such a heaven and not agonise in order to enter it? Can he see hell moving to meet him and not tremble, and flee from the wrath to come?

(W. Jay.)

The principle of imitation which is spoken of in our text (for The word "followers " ought to have been " imitators ") has an imperial influence on man. It is almost impossible to define its range. Imitation begins in early childhood, long before either our moral perceptions or our reason have become developed; and the infant is often, though its parents may be unconscious of it, hearing and watching and making its little efforts to imitate their doings and sayings. It is imitation which is both the creative principle and the preserving bond of society. The moralists of every age have shown their deep insight into human nature and their just appreciation of the value of the principle of imitation by enforcing their precepts with suitable examples. Aristides has been cited and pressed upon the young as an example of justice; and Solon as an example of wisdom; and Socrates as an example of goodness. Nor has the Word of God been less alive to the importance of a similar course. There is not a book in the whole compass of literature which has so extensively availed itself of examples as this; nor is there one which has such examples to present, whether of vice or virtue. And so our text exhorts us not to be slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

I. WHAT IS INHERITED? The promises. What promises? These must be the final promises which are embodied in the one word — heaven. Many promises are fulfilled to us on our way there; but these are promises whose fruition is postponed until death. What promises are fulfilled then in heaven?

1. This is one thing — freedom from sin. This at least. This, if there be nothing more; and this will be a great and glorious heaven in itself; for it will be a soul brought into harmony with itself, and with its God and Saviour.

2. Another promise assures us of the end of sorrow. End of sorrow?. you may say. Can that be? Life begins with a cry and ends with a sigh, and suffering is sown like seed from cradle to grave. Can sorrow have an end? It seems incredible to the reason but not to faith, and it is to faith that these promises are made. Oh I what a gathering shall be there, when brother shall meet sister; husband, wife; parents, their children. They will dwell together in love; jealousy and envy will be alike unknown. Selfishness will not disturb the common interest by seeking its own. Holiness will produce peace, and peace will fill every breast with unutterable joy.

3. Knowledge.

II. THE CONDITIONS upon which the inheritance is secured. "By faith and patience." By faith. This is the key which opens the door of salvation to every one of us. "Without faith it is impossible to please God." We begin to live when we begin to believe. The first act of faith is like the first throb of the heart, or the first heaving of the lungs; it shows that there is life. But if faith unlock the door of salvation, it is not to be thrown away when once the door is opened. It is not merely a key; it is a principle which must abide with us for ever. You may have sharp lessons given to you in Providence — lessons that may make you speak sorrowfully of the vanity of all things here. But you will still be unweaned from the world, unless your faith attach itself to higher powers, and surrender itself to more pure and enduring fascinations. There are times when the invisible seems nearest to us; when earthly interests sink back and we feel as if we dwelt amid the light of eternal things. Faith gets a view of the hills from whence cometh all her help. She sees the redeemed walking in the heavenly city, and then she can bear all things and endure all things. But faith must have as her companion patience. This we must have, for as yet the blessing tarries. But if we have faith, we can well afford to have patience; for the end on which our heart is set is sure. How patient the mariner can be amid storm and calm, if he knows that he will reach the haven at last! How patient the sufferer on his sick-bed, if he knows that recovery will come at the end of all his pangs! And the Christian has a certainty before him. And if he hopes for it, then doth he with patience wait for it. Be not slothful then, but followers. Let the devil's servants sleep, but sleep not, ye sons of God!

(E. Mellor, D. D.)

Homilist.
I. THEY HAVE REACHED A POSITION WORTH STRUGGLING AFTER. They "inherit the promises."

1. A priceless possession.

2. A permanent possession.

II. THEY HAVE REACHED THEIR POSITION BY MEANS AVAILABLE TO ALL

1. Faith.

2. Patience.

3. Diligence.

(Homilist.)

Homilist.
I. They have reached A VERY ELEVATED POSITION.

1. Vast possessions.

2. Sublime fellowships.

3. Perfect enjoyments.

4. Celestial royalties.

II. They have reached an elevated position THROUGH A CERTAIN COURSE OF SPIRITUAL CONDUCT.

1. Faith — in Christ as the All-wise, All-loving, Almighty Saviour.

2. Patience — implying

(1)Sensibility;

(2)Suffering;

(3)Waiting.

III. The course of spiritual conduct by which they reached their exalted position is BINDING ON ALL SURVIVORS.

1. We must imitate them.

2. With earnestness.

(Homilist.)

I. THE INHERITANCE.

1. The vision of God.

2. Assimilation to God.

3. To be filled with all the fulness of God.

4. To dwell for ever with God.

II. THE MEANS WHICH THE INHERITANCE IS REACHED.

1. The way of faith.

2. The way of patience.

(1)In the service of God.

(2)In suffering affliction.

(3)Patience is called for, from the delay of the anticipated rest and reward.

3. The way of diligence.

III. THE MOTIVES BY WHICH IMITATION OF THE EXAMPLE LEFT US IS ENFORCED.

1. The glory of their inheritance.

2. The triumphant issue of their conflict.

3. The present peace and happiness realised.

(P. Morrison.)

I. WE ARE NOT TO BE SLOTHFUL. A man needs much spiritual discrimination in deciding what is sloth, for men's physical powers are so different, their mental powers also are so different, their temperaments are so different, their dispositions are so different, their habits and their circumstances. Some, for instance, are all activity, arising from physical causes: they cannot be quiet. Some need to be urged to everything in the path of duty, they are so tardy. Some, again, burn with zeal, and so work far beyond their strength. Others, with much physical power, can scarcely be goaded up to their strength, they lack energy so much. Again, some who are capable of very much. do very little, either for their own souls, or in the ways of God; and others, with very little strength, do very much, they are altogether so earnest in the ways of the Lord. The great outward characteristics of a healthy Christian are diligence and progress, and spiritual sloth may be said to be that in us which we allow to oppose these characteristics; which we consciously allow to work within us so as to oppose our diligence in the ways of the Lord and our progress in godliness. Now, this spiritual sloth shows itself in a great variety of ways, which it would be impossible to particularise with anything like minuteness. I can only bring before you some broad features. For instance, it will show itself in coldness and formality in religion. Sloth, again, will show itself in making no effort to avert occasions which, as we think, justify the omission of known duties. Let us put this familiarly. A man is hurried by some pressure of business; he has to start, perhaps, by a very early train. Instead of making arrangements that his own soul be not damaged, family or private prayer is postponed, because time is so short. There is no self-denial in rising earlier, and adapting time to the welfare of the soul; but the care of the soul is postponed to the urgency of temporal circumstances. Again, a man must be said to be guilty of spiritual sloth when he neglects what he conscientiously believes to be due time for private prayer and for the maintenance of spirituality in his own soul — when he neglects the study of the Word of God, with an express intention to bring its principles to bear upon his daily life. Now, a man may be extremely slothful in the study of the Word of God, who nevertheless may be intently occupied in the perusal of it from morning till night. A man may be slothful with regard to the improvement of his own soul, not reading for that purpose, but reading, perhaps, with a different object altogether: to get a grasp on a certain subject or on a particular doctrine. But we are bound to study the Word of God in order that a certain effect may be produced in our own souls, the result of which may be seen in our daily walk and conversation. Again, too, a man may be said to be a sluggard when he is unwilling to use those opportunities by which he might escape temptation, when he runs needlessly in the way of temptation. Or again, when the man sinks down lazily under difficulties, instead of endeavouring by trust in God to overcome them. Or again, when, in conflict about duty, the scale is turned on the side of the flesh and unbelief. I may say again, too, that the love of personal ease, and the love of money, and the love of pleasure will continually make a man slothful in spiritual matters.

II. Let us turn now to WHAT WE OUGHT TO BE — "followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises." These are no doubt the patriarchs. By "inheriting the promises" he means a real participation of the grace and blessedness which is promised, in the gift of Christ, with eternal glory. These they entered upon as fully as any who have died since our Lord Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. Now, we are to be "followers of them." We are to be "followers of them" as they clung to the promise of the Word of God and obeyed it; we are to be "followers of them" as they followed Christ: not otherwise. Christ is alone our perfect Example; but these patriarchs whom we are taught to follow so far as faith and patience were in real exercise, stand out, in many points of their character, as beacons which warn us of the rocks upon which we ourselves may split. But we are to be followers of them also in their principles, and especially in respect to the principles which are laid down in this verse — their "faith and patience." The faith which saves the soul as well as conducts a man to the inheritance, is not that which has respect merely to the truth of God in general, but that which respects Christ in particular. The word which is translated "patience," perhaps, means rather lonsuffering; the same idea which is conveyed in " the longsuffering of God," the longsuffering of God with provoking sinners. So here; the " patience" used in the text means rather that which is exercised under provocations; without having our desire to do good entirely turned aside by the hindrances we encounter, by the outward annoyances to which we are exposed, or by the inward corruptions which we feel working within, but patiently enduring to the end. Well, we shall never patiently endure to the end if our hearts are not warmed with love to the person of our Lord Jesus Christ. No abstract system of truth will ever carry a man through such circumstances as these.

(J. W. Reeve, M. A.)

I. Let us attend to the view which the apostle gives of THE HAPPINESS OF DEPARTED SAINTS.

1. The apostle intimates his persuasion that they were existing m a state of happiness. The statement of the text is directly opposite to the notion that the soul sleeps with the body from death till the resurrection.

2. This representation intimates that the happiness of heaven has been revealed in various promises, and that these promises have been fulfilled to departed saints. Who can conceive the extent of their knowledge, the sweetness of their pleasures, the brightness of their glory, the ardour of their love, and the sublimity of their praise? Not a wish shall be left ungratified, and not a hope deferred.

3. The language, of the text intimates that this felicity belongs to them as the children of God. Among men, the inheritance is not possessed by the child till the death of the father, but the life of our heavenly Father is the source and the security of this happiness; and in the world of immortality God shall be all in all.

4. The expression intimates that this felicity is entirely of grace.

5. They possess this felicity for ever. Their happiness is sure in itself and in their persuasion. They feel that they are safe for eternity.

II. Let us now consider THE MEANS BY WHICH DEPARTED SAINTS ATTAINED THIS HAPPINESS.

1. The saintsmay be said to have attained this felicity by faith, because by it they believed the various assurances of the gospel respecting the reality and the blessedness of this state. It is by faith, also, that the righteousness of Christ is received, which entitles us to the possession of heaven. Faith also animates good men to the cultivation of those graces and to the performance of those actions which prepare for glory. I only add on this topic, that it is through faith that the saints are kept by Divine power" to salvation.

2. But these saints attained this felicity through patience. It was by this principle that they endured the afflictions through which they had to pass in their way to the kingdom. Patience also kept them waiting for this felicity till the period which God had fixed for their admission to heaven.

III. I shall now recommend, by a few arguments, THE IMITATION OF DEPARTED SAINTS.

1. Consider that it is the command of God that you should follow them (James 5:10; Hebrews 12:1, 2).

2. Consider, also, that their excellences were exhibited before you to awaken in your hearts admiration of holiness and to excite you to labour to resemble them. If you act differently from these examples, your guilt will be aggravated by their being set before you.

3. Consider, too, that this is the only way by which you can be joined with them in their happiness.Exhortations:

1. Let us lament that this admirable precept has been so much abused. Under pretence of obedience to this precept, invocation of departed saints has been practised — the house of silence has been ransacked, and the bones of martyrs and confessors brought out and placed on shrines as objects of worship, or used for the performance of miraculous cures.

2. Let us leave such an example of faith and patience, that it may be the duty of the Church to make us the objects of remembrance and imitation.

3. Let this felicity which you have been contemplaning cherish heavenly-mindedness in you. Say not of this world, "This is my home."

4. I would exhort the unconverted to seek a title to this happiness, and preparation for it.

(H. Belfrage.)

— "When in Madeira," writes a traveller, "I set off one morning to reach the summit of a mountain, to gaze upon the distant scene and enjoy the balmy air. I had a guide with me, and we bad with difficulty ascended some two thousand feet, when a thick mist was seen descending upon us, quite obscuring the whole face of the heavens. I thought I had no hope left but at once to retrace our steps or be lost, but as the cloud came nearer, and darkness overshadowed us, my guide ran on before me, penetrating the mist, and calling to me, ever and anon, saying: 'Press on, master — press on — there's light beyond!' I did press on. In a few minutes the mist was passed, and I gazed upon a scene of transcendent beauty. All was light and cloudless above, and beneath was the almost level mist, concealing the world below me, and glistening in the rays of the sun like a field of untrodden snow. There was nothing at that moment between me and the heavens." Oh, ye over whom the clouds are gathering, or who have sat beneath the shadows, be not dismayed if they rise before you! Bless on — there is light beyond.

(A. J. Symington.)

We are to imitate the apostles; but the imitation is to be, not in doing what they did, but in doing, like them, tbat which is fit in every case. A doctor is called to prescribe for a fever, and he gives a cooling draught. His young Esculapius, coming after him, is called to prescribe for congestive chills. He says, "My teacher gave a cooling draught, and I will give a cooling draught." He imitates his teacher exactly, like a fool. And there is no greater fool than a man who imitates just what the apostles did, instead of imitating the principle on which they did it. It is the inside which is to be followed, and not the outside. One of my boys comes in crying, and says, "Father, I ran against a lamp-post and bruised my face." I say, "My son, do not run against lamp-posts." The next day he comes in again with another bruise on his face, and says, "I did not run against a lamp-post; I ran against a tree." "Well," I say, "do not run against lamp-posts nor trees." The next day he comes in, having had another whack, and says, "I did not run against a lamp-post nor a tree; I ran against an iron railing." He had obeyed me, and yet he was hurt. But the spirit of my order was that he should not run against anything that would hurt him.

(H. W. Beecher.)

As they who deck themselves have the looking-glass before their eyes; so they who go ablaut any worthy thing must have the example of worthy men in mind, and do it in that manner that others may not scorn to make them their example.

(Cawdray.)

When Hannibal had defeated the Romans upon the plains of Italy, nothing was wanted but a determined spirit of perseverance to give him the possession of Rome itself. But, flushed with their victory, the Carthaginians spent the time in rioting on the spoils which should have been employed in pushing their conquests. In the meantime the Romans collected their whole strength, and soon proved more than a match for their terrible invaders. Our foe is wily and powerful, and we can only maintain our ground against him by pushing forward our conquests.

(G. Peck, D. D.)

But what are the great educators of the world — those who insensibly mould us, or to which we resort for influence upon our own or others' lives? Are they moral maxims, wise sayings, proverbs, and " saws"? Is it not rather example? These axioms and maxims, proverbs and precepts, are but the instruments by which we clench the truths which example has driven into the mind. They are the labels which we affix to the illustrated lessons — the pictures and the models. At all events, we none of us begin to live by principles. These may come afterwards to be our sufficient instructors, but I much doubt whether one in a hundred men has ever adopted a principle of life until some signal example of it has convinced him of its worth.

(G. W. Conder.)

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