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intending to do God's work and making the promise, but putting it off to the morrow that never comes, saying “I go sir,” and they go not. Are we to take this as doing the work of our Heavenly Father, or are we to believe this to be that which will recommend us to Christ ?
Now when our Saviour gave such a parable as this, he did not, as I have already hinted, intend to include all classes of men ; he applied it to the self-righteous on one side, and to the sinner that subsequently repented on the other. But there is another large class of men, not indeed as large as they ought to be, who are not included in this parable, and that is those who hear that voice, and hearing it obey it from their youth; there are those who, like John the Baptist, have been filled with the Holy Ghost from their mother's womb; who, like Timothy, have from a child known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make them wise unto salvation through faith that is in Christ Jesus; who can look back to the domestic scene with a grandmother who had the living faith of Christ in her heart, and the mother who took the infant child into her lap, and with lisping accents, taught him to speak the name of Christ, and to call upon the name of God, who, from their youth have been taught to submit to divine grace, and are taught even in comparative infancy to do so. These are a class far more blessed than either that are spoken of here, who walk in the ways of holiness from their earliest years, have never sunk down to the degradation of the immoral and profane, or never put on the outward form of unrepentant religion. It is indeed a class, however small, that may be, and that ought to be the object of the imitation of every youthful heart, and if there be youthful hearts here who have the world before them, who have the
choice to make, the opportunity of making a good choice, of choosing in early life the narrow path, painful it may be, self-restraining it must be, and yet holy and in companionship with Jesus, there is an opportunity given to such of choosing those ways which are ways of pleasantness, and walking in those paths whose promise and whose end is peace. They may walk with him from their youth, may not turn aside from that which is good; from a child clinging to the Holy Scriptures, and clinging to that Saviour to whom these Scriptures point; walking with him in youthful holiness and continuing with him in full grown maturity, may finally attain to a height of blessedness, to a beauty of holiness, to an accuracy in the Saviour's image, which shall indeed outshine those whe are delivered from the depths of sin and degradation, or those who are rescued from the errors of self-righteousness, and those are most acceptable to a Saviour's bosom and a Saviour's love.
Brethren, let it be our prayer that we may each one of us avoid the dangers and embrace the comforts brought before us here. If there be those who must look back to seasons, if not years, of profligacy, let them take the comfort that is here, “The Publicans and the Harlots go into the Kingdom of God.” If there be those who have been once self-righteous, who have put on religion without beginning at repentance, remember, there was one as self-righteous as any of you could be, who, if any man might trust in the flesh he might more, conforming to the services of religion, and attentive to all its divinely appointed ordinances, and yet learned to cast it all away, who could say, “ What things were gain to me I count loss for Christ, yea doubtless and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.” And may my youthful hearers this evening be strengthened in the holy resolution, that before they have had time to fall into the grosser corruptions, before they have had time to defile themselves with the dark deeds of sin, they may determine to set their faces Zionward, to choose their Saviour in their early days, to seek to him with the spirit of repentance, with grace and supplication, that they may go on their way walking with him, placing youthful hands in his hands, resting youthful arms upon his arms, giving youthful hearts to his heart, being guided from their youth upwards in his counsels and his love, that they may, in their dying day, be received into his blessedness and glory.
THE MYSTERIES OF THE KINGDOM.
THE HOUSEHOLDER & THE HUSBAND MEN.
St. MATTHEW, chap. xxi., 43 v.--" Therefore say I unto you, The Kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof."
Mercy and judgment are most closely connected together; love and jealousy are inseparable companions ; they are in the nature of things joined together. Our blessed Saviour the very incarnation of the divine mercy, and yet from his lips proceeded the warning voice of the terror of the divine judgment. It is a solemn reflection to think that we are in a probationary state, a state of trial, upon the issue of which depends eternal interests. Our Lord had come to offer merey to the Jewish people; he was now choosing his ministry; he stood before the rulers and teachers of the Jewish people ; no longer does he plead with its rulers as he once was willing to do; his voice is now changed to the voice of solemn judgment, and he tells them
" The Kingdom of God shall be taken from you and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof." They had as rulers passed their day of grace, the time had gone by when they could have received Jesus as their King.