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there is one important and interesting spot on this world's surface at this moment, it is our sister, neighbouring kingdom, Ireland,-a kingdom which has been for
ages under circumstances of necessity ruled as a conquered kingdom, and under the permissive providence of God, darkened for a long time with the gloom of superstition, and with all the fearful errors of Romanism. There is now an outpouring of God's Spirit on that land, which has awakened a deep interest in the hearts of the servants of God; and that country, which so long has been the fountain of Popish evil, sending forth its missionaries to the distant parts of the world, is now becoming more and more an encouraging spot on this world's surface, through which we may hope that much of good will go. Amongst the various agencies for good there, the “
Ladies' Hibernian Female Society” oocupies a most important place in the great struggle for scriptural education which has been going on for years in that land : the female portion of the education has been greatly watched over by that most scriptural and most benevolent society. It has laboured in friendly connection with the Church Education Society for Ire. land; and the chief way in which it disposes of its funds is in giving assistance to scriptural schools already in existence, which assistance is to be especially devoted to female education.
For many years I can bear testimony from my own observation that these schools have been and are indeed watched over with truly scriptural care. It is to instruct the daughters of our sister land in the knowledge of Christ, and he who has said, “ suffer little children to come unto me and forbid them not,” is speaking to us this morning, speaking to us to employ the talents and the
opportunities he has given to us in doing his work, if we hope at last to hear him say “ well done good and faithful servants.” How different would our feelings be if we could always feel that every appeal that comes to us in the providence of God is an appeal to us speaking by the love and intoned by the presence of Christ, that it is not man that speaks to us, but he who left his church in this world with all her sins to the love of his people, that by onr mutual care one for another we may become like the image of him who laid down his life for us that we may learn how to lay down our lives for the brethren.
I feel brethren that indeed it needs no apology for making frequent appeals for assistance in the work of Christ; if it be Christ's work to train the little ones of the flock, if it be Christ's work to put the Bible into their hands and to instruct them in the knowledge of the Gospel, it is Christ's voice that speaks to us and says “take and use the talents which I have entrusted to thee and use them for me, occupy till I come.” Employ those talents in love, employ them in earnestness, employ them in simplicity, and as surely as Christ left this parable on record, so surely will he say to those who have done so, “Well done good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.
THE MYSTERIES OF THE KINGDOM.
“ ST. MATTHEW XXV., 31, 32, v.-When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all nations : and he shall separate them one from another as shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats."
This description of the judgment of the Son of man does not in strictness belong to the parables, and yet it is so closely connected with the two preceeding ones that the exposition of them would be incomplete without this. It is the closing conversation of our blessed Redeemer as he sat with his chosen apostles on that memorable night on the Mount of Olives, when, probably about sunset, the temple before him with Ichabod written upon her walls, and Jerusalem, under the awful denunciation, was tottering to her ruin, the Lord Jesus gave to his favoured apostles the solemn declarations which we have here respecting the judgment of the Son of Man, what he should say and what he should do to all nations in that day when he should come again in his glory. Without this statement of our blessed Lord the two preceeding parables would
be incomplete in their instruction to us.
The parable of the ten virgins sets before us the need of spirituality of mind. Now there is great danger of false spirituality: Satan can put on the appearance of an angel of light, and can make the glow of very fervent affections arise from the heart of man, apparently religious affections when they are not really so, making men think themselves spiritual when they are not really spiritual, for Satan can corrupt what was at first true spirituality of mind, and so mingle his own errors with the previous work of the Spirit of God as to make those who are indeed in some respects holy, spiritually minded persons, yet so perverted by his craft and malice their state of mind is no longer the pure work of God's Holy Spirit. The awful case of Caiaphas, prophecying he being high priest that year, is an example to us of the same man at the same moment under the inspiration of the Spirit of God and the influence of Satanic feelings. On this account had we nothing in the scriptures but these parables which speak of the unction of the Spirit, we should have very imperfect instruction. The second parable gives us the religion of conscience ; it shows the necessity of taking care of the talents entrusted to us by rightly using them, and here again in itself we would have a very imperfect description of christian life, a very imperfect guidance for our footsteps in the wilderness of this world.
Men may be very busily engaged in the apparent cultivation of religious duties when they are really uninfluenced by true spiritual, holy feelings, and if there were only this test to which to bring ourselves we might be fatally mistaken. The religion of activity in the cultivation of talents is in itself but a part of the revelation of God respecting his will towards man and his work in man.
But when we