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call to us to try our constancy, our readiness to suffer according to the will of God, and to the glory of the Name of JESUS CHRIST. After the winter of this sorrow, the spring of hope and confidence will return again ; and the day of joy after the night of gloom.
Think earnestly of the nature of your heavenly calling, and your best condition in the midst of a sinful world. It would be no great trial for a Christian to despise the trifling pleasures and comforts of this life, if he had always with him a sense of Divine comfort. The great victory over ourselves, the true conquest of things eternal over things temporal, is to be content to be under the thick cloud of present heaviness, to love to wait for deliverance in the land of banishment, and to labour on, seeking nothing in the way of ease or rest to our hours of appointed toil. What wonder, if you are cheerful and devout, when you seem to walk with Christ and His Holy SPIRIT as your present Help and Guide ? But you must prepare for the days “when the Bridegroom will be taken from you”; you must arm your soul for strong temptations and hard labours, that when you have fought the good fight of faith, you may lay hold on eternal life. It is well said by a holy man:' “ The flower that follows the sun, does so even in cloudy days; when the sun shines not forth, it yet follows its hidden course and motion. So the soul that moves after God, keeps that course when He is behind the cloud; it is glad at His Will in all estates and conditions.”
God Himself has ordained in mercy this discipline of suffering : it is His Mercy itself that is veiled behind the sorrows that we feel, when He hides His face, and seems as though He did not hear. Even then, as Job
Leighton, Serm. xxii.
speaks, “He visits us every morning, and is trying us every moment.”
The end of these chastenings is to keep the soul low and humble, to root out all false confidence, and yet to strengthen it for the contest with the enemies of our salvation. The army that had passed the night in revelling and feasting, was put to flight before the men who had kept their silent watch with fastings and prayer. So shall we find courage to welcome the day of the Lord's battle ; too much peace and plenty of spiritual comfort would undo us; but he who has felt the misery of the want, will knit together his whole force, and nerve his arm with strong desire to obtain the conquest which his Captain has promised.
Yet again, is there not something further in these words, if we apply them not only to the moral, but the intellectual part of man? Do we complain that “we walk in darkness, and have no light," in that we want more lively impressions of God's holiness and truth upon the mirror of our minds ? But how are these impressions to be found ? It is true, that this is the very
life of the soul, to have God revealed to it in His highest attributes,--to know Him, as He was declared in visions to His saints, to be “ the LORD God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,”—“ to receive the Spirit which is of God, that we may know the things that are freely given to us of GoD ?" But was there ever saint of God, who was so enlightened and carried beyond himself, without the discipline of patience ? No, it has been well said by one who meditated much on God's Providence and Grace: “He is not worthy of the high contemplation of God, who has not been exercised with some tribulation for the sake of God.” Something is needful for us all, to raise us from the dimness of the thoughts, and the weak and earthly conceptions which surround us, when we first begin to meditate on heaven. Religious and faithful friends, holy books, the voice of the preacher well-instructed in the mysteries of Grace, the songs of the sanctuary, which seem to give the spirit wings to soar beyond the clouds, the blessed Sacrament, wherein our REDEEMER comes to refresh our souls,—all these may do much ; and evermore be their help sought, and God's promised blessing on them implored ! But to all these may He, Who loves us, add the mild severity of suffering, — may He “know our souls in adversity,” and purify them to make them capable of the knowledge of Himself, that so “ in the night His song. may be with us, and our prayer unto the God of our life."
1 Job vii. 18.
WALK TO EMMA U S.
First Sunday after Easter.
13, 14. BEHOLD, TWO OF THEM WENT THAT SAME DAY TO A VILLAGE
CALLED EMMAUS, WHICH WAS FROM JERUSALEM ABOUT THREESCORE FURLONGS ; AND THEY TALKED TOGETHER OF ALL THESE THINGS WHICH HAD HAPPENED.
The ancient Church regarded the Easter Festival as so great and important a Feast, that even the Sunday after Easter was to them a kind of lower Easter-daywhence this day still retains the name of Low-Sunday. Herein perhaps the Gentile Church intended to follow her sister of Israel, to whom it was commanded, that, on the first day of the Passover, and on the seventh day of the Passover, there should be “an holy convocation."
The Church of England has followed the ancient practice, not only in the title of the day, but also in the services. The Collect, Epistle, and Gospel might even serve for Easter,' and the Easter Preface at the Holy Communion is directed to be used this day. It will then only be in the spirit of our liturgy, if we this day set before our hearts a portion of Scripture history connected with the greatest truth of our religion, and related in the week-day services of Easter.2
1 Exod. xii. 16.
St. Luke has preserved for us the memory of a very solemn and interesting occurrence.
Two of our LORD's Disciples were going to Emmaus on the day when He had arisen from the dead: they did not believe His Resurrection, and were all sorrow and despondency, supposing Him under the power of death, and all His mighty works extinguished for ever. They were, it has been thought, on their road home, having given up all hope of those blessings which they had expected to receive at the hand of their Master, and intending to pass their remaining lives, if their triumphant enemies should spare them, in lamentation for this disappointment of all their hopes. On their way, their arisen Saviour drew nigh to them, and, after some conversation, revealed HIMSELF to them; and thus the day which had risen upon them in clouds, set upon them in serenity and glory.
No reader of this narrative can be unaffected by it; but it cannot surely be enough to read it with interest. It is our duty, as well as our privilege, to study it with profit; and that we may do so shall be the aim, my Brethren, of the remarks now addressed to you. And
1 The Collect was used for the second Communion on Easter Day, in the first Prayer Book of K. Edw. VI., and, before the last Review, the Easter Collect was repeated on Low Sunday,—so closely were these Sundays supposed to be connected.
Gospels for Monday and Tuesday. Lesson for Tuesday.