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But there is one more

use, and that a most important one, which we may make of the subject now before us. Before our blessed Lord left the table of the Pharisee, he called away the thoughts of those who were present at that entertainment, to a far higher and richer feast, to which we are all invited: a feast where there is no dread of excess, no danger of being too often found, no fear that any shall be sent empty away. I speak, my child, of the feast of the Gospel; those good things which God has there prepared for our souls. But, alas! how few amongst us really care to partake of these things! For instance, of those who profess to believe in a Saviour's dying love, how few ever come to that supper, which He has instituted to keep the memory of it ever fresh in our hearts! The Lord Jesus has said, "Do this in remembrance of me;" and we should think that none could resist such a loving command; that all would be glad to be again and again reminded that that sacred body had been bruised, and that precious blood shed for us men and our salvation. But when we see what numbers turn away whenever that sacred feast is spread, what numbers make excuse, we perceive that it is not really so.

Happy however are those who do draw near to it; who, whilst they feel that they "are not indeed worthy to gather up the crumbs which fall from that table," do so hunger and thirst after God, that they cannot stay away! Blessed are they, for God has promised that "they shall be filled." Yea, blessed are they beyond all understanding; for they shall be accepted and honoured guests, at that glorious banquet, which is hereafter to be enjoyed in the world to come: they

shall join that great company which "shall come from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, and all the Prophets in the kingdom of God." See Luke x. 38-42; xiv. 1-24.

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M. I have often told you, Edward, how the multitudes crowded about Christ, when they saw His wonderful works, and heard His divine wisdom. How would a vain, worldly teacher have delighted in thus assembling admiring crowds to swell His own train, and gratify His love of human praise! But our Lord did not think of Himself: He only thought of the immense responsibility these poor people were incurring, if they heard His words, and then went away without really profiting by them. He knew, what they, probably, had never thought of, how much deliberation, resolution, and perseverance were necessary in order really to follow Him: they must deliberate, or think well before hand, what it was to enter His service, that when they had entered it they might be resolute in it: and they must be resolute in bearing the difficulties they should meet with in it, in order that they might persevere unto the end. Religion, the religion of Christ, is not a thing, my dear child, to be taken up without thought. It promises great blessings, it is true; but it requires great sacrifices also. It requires always that we should give up for Christ's

sake all our sins and follies; and it may sometimes require, as it did at first, that men should be ready to give up even nearest and dearest friends.

Our Lord pressed this strongly upon the multitude who crowded after Him, in the following parable: "Which of you intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first and counteth the cost, whether he hath sufficient to finish it? Lest haply after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king going to make war against another king sitteth not down first and consulteth whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?"

The inclination shown by the multitude to follow Christ was in itself very pleasing; but if it should prove to have been only a momentary feeling, if it should fail in the time of trial, it would be of little value. E. But, Mamma, I am sure our Lord did not wish to hinder people from coming to Him?

M. Far from it, Edward. His readiness to receive every penitent sinner was shown, you know, by His conduct. Do you not remember that it was frequently made a matter of reproach against him, that He did receive sinners, and eat with them? And what was His reply?

E. "They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance."

M. And as if that were not enough, we have the same assurance given us again in three most interesting parables one of the lost sheep, one of the lost

piece of money, and another of the lost son.

read the two first of these.

Let us

E." And he spake this parable unto them, saying, What man having an hundred sheep," &c.

M. How beautiful they are; and what an idea do they convey to us of Christ's love for the poor, perishing sinner! He came to seek, and to save that which was lost, and He is pleased to represent His anxiety for its recovery, and the joy which is felt in heaven when it is found again, by our feelings when we lose, or when we recover, what we love or value very much. Whilst it is lost, it engrosses all our thoughts; when it is found, it is for the time the sole subject of our joy; though but small perhaps in value, compared with many other things which we possess. Take first the case of the lost sheep: ninety and nine more the shepherd has; but for a time he forgets them all, and thinks only of the one which has strayed from the fold. For that one wanderer he is unceasingly anxious, until he has found it again: over that he rejoices, when it is restored to His flock among "the pastures of the wilderness." Now what the sheep are to the shepherd, such are we to God.

E. Yes, Mamma: the Bible tells us that we are "the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand."

M. Sheep, but, alas! lost sheep ;-every one lost, until the good Shepherd of our souls came Himself to recover again those that could be found; those that were not gone utterly astray upon the dark mountains. "All we,” saith the prophet, "like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way." And each one of us in particular may say, with David, "I have gone astray like a lost sheep: seek thy ser

vant." As the sheep, when it wanders, would never find its own way back to the fold, because it is of all creatures the most dull, and foolish, and helpless; so we should never, any one of us, return to Christ, if we were left to ourselves: we should never find our own way back to His safe and peaceful fold; for dull and foolish are we too in all that concerns our spiritual welfare, and helpless too—utterly unable to preserve ourselves from the dangers which surround us on every side.

In the instance mentioned in the parable there was only one out of a hundred lost; ninety and nine still remained. But where are the ninety and nine who have not erred and strayed from the ways of God, by following the devices and desires of their own hearts ? Not in this world certainly. The sheep that wander not from the fold, but keep quietly to their pastures, must be inhabitants of other worlds than this—blest angels who never fell; who sympathize in the loss of man, created holy like themselves; who watch affectionately for His return to God; and who rejoice, for the time, over one sinner on earth that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine of their own sinless society to whom repentance is unnecessary. May we be the occasion of such joy! and may we too rejoice over every recovered sinner, and not, with the Pharisees, refuse to join in the congratulations of angels!

E. And the parable of the lost piece of money is meant, I suppose, to teach us exactly the same thing?

M. Yes the same gracious lesson is there repeated over again. But the parable which most strongly exhibits the readiness of our heavenly Father to forgive, and His tender mercy in receiving back the penitent,

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