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a distance; we must receive Him into our houses: and those who, like Zaccheus, look for Him with sincere affection, may rest assured that He will come to them in blessing both to themselves and to their families. You may imagine with what haste Zaccheus came down, and how joyfully he received his glorious guest.

But Zaccheus, it appears, was a publican, and one of the chief of the publicans: and, you know, how much they were disliked, and how common a thing it was among them to be greedy of unjust gains, and that, in the opinion of a Jew, a publican and a sinner were almost the same thing. No wonder then that the people all murmured when they saw Jesus go into the house of Zaccheus, to be guest to a man that was a sinner.

E. But was he a sinner, Mamma; I mean such a sinner as they meant?

M. It is not improbable that he might have made a bad use of his office, and have been guilty of covetous extortion. But, if he had been an open sinner, he was now an open and sincere penitent; ready to show his return to God by a change of life, and to make up for any wrong he had done to any one, by restoring fourfold what he had taken away; ready also to spend in acts of mercy those treasures which he had once perhaps heaped up with covetous anxiety. "Behold, Lord," he says, "the half of my goods I give to the poor; and, if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. Oh that all sinners repented thus! Oh that each one of us gave such proof that we had left off all our evil

ways! In the Catechism, you know, repentance is said to be that "whereby we forsake sin."

E. Yes, and do you remember the hymn which my sister was learning the other day, where it says,

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M. All repentance which falls short of this, and contents itself with merely lamenting and confessing șin, is not real Christian repentance, but of a worldly sort. It is not the godly sorrow which leads to salvation, but "the sorrow of the world which worketh death."

See, in the case of Zaccheus, repentance makes him quite a different person. He who had been rapacious, becomes now just; and even generous; he who once was covetous, is now abundant in mercy and almsgiving.

This is true religion, Edward; this is what Christ is pleased with; and thus it is that the lost is found again. "And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." How encouraging was this language! How happy it must have made Zaccheus! How happy it may make all who seek for the knowledge of Christ, that they may by it be delivered from all their offences, and no longer be a rebuke to the foolish, who, like the selfrighteous Jews, make a mock at sin instead of persuading the sinner to repent, and encouraging him to return! Alas! sinners they were themselves, only of a different, and perhaps more dangerous sort!

With the truly righteous there is favour, even towards the sinner, when he is willing to return. Jesus Christ the righteous is full of grace to the penitent. He came to seek and to save that which was lost. He seeks them by His Holy Spirit, He saves them by His redeeming merits. He saw the lost Zaccheus ready to return, and bade him make haste to receive Him, which he did with the utmost joy; and, what was still better, with abundant signs of a renewed and repentant spirit.

At the house of Zaccheus our blessed Lord delivered a parable on the subject of His approaching departure from this world. Jericho was near to Jerusalem, not more than twenty miles distant; and the house of Zaccheus, it appears, was still nearer. To Jerusalem our Lord was going, to suffer and to die, as He had told His disciples. Not long before, the Pharisees had asked Him when the kingdom of God should come. Their notions, however, of this kingdom, were low, and entirely of a worldly nature. It was, in their opinion, to be an earthly, not a heavenly kingdom; a reign over the bodies, not in the hearts of Even the ideas of the Apostles seem to have been much the same; for at the very time that our Lord had been predicting His death, the mother of Zebedee's children with her sons, came supplicating our Lord that they might sit the one on His right hand, the other on His left in His kingdom; meaning, I suppose, to pray that they might be exalted to the highest places in power and authority under Christ.


E. How extraordinary that they should still have thought so much of this earthly kingdom!

M. Yet so it was; and it is not unlikely that many

supposed that our Saviour was now going to Jerusalem for the very purpose of setting up His kingdom there.

St. Luke says expressly that our Lord's reason for speaking the parable which I have just mentioned, was this; "because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear. He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive to himself a kingdom, and to return." It was thus Herod went to Italy, to receive the kingdom of Judea from the senate of Rome, and then returned to punish his enemies, and to reward those who had remained faithful to him. But our Lord's kingdom is not of this world; it is not one which men could either give or destroy. It is a spiritual, a heavenly kingdom. When He compares Himself to a nobleman going into a far country, He foretels His own ascension into heaven, whither He went to receive from God the Father a kingdom and a glory above all earthly power; yet such a power as in a spiritual sense is exercised even upon earth, and shall hereafter be displayed more openly when Christ shall return at the last day, in all His kingly majesty, to judge the world, to punish His enemies, and to reward His faithful servants.

The nobleman in the parable, when he was about to depart to seek his crown, called his ten servants around him, and gave them ten pounds; to each servant he gave one, and to each he said, "Occupy till I come." E. What did he mean by that?

M. Employ and improve the pound by the time I return. In like manner Christ has bestowed upon every Christian certain especial gifts, to be diligently used now, and by and bye accounted for to Him; I

mean in that solemn hour, when He shall return to judgment. For instance, He gives us His blessed word, His holy sacraments, His sabbaths, the ministry of His servants the clergy, the advantages of a Christian education, and Christian society. He gives us too the assistance of wise and pious books, and above all He sends His grace into our hearts, to work in us both to will and to do that which is good. Now these great and invaluable privileges are by some prized highly, and used carefully; so their pound multiplies: one pound thus used becomes five, or even ten. They go from grace to grace, from strength to strength; that which they use faithfully grows under their hands. Knowledge is received thankfully into the mind, and there becomes wisdom; sabbaths and sacraments grow into habits of piety, and nourish the soul unto eternal life. The labours of Christ's faithful ministers, the blessings of a holy education, the intercourse of improving society, all these things have contributed to build the Christian up in the faith of Christ, and in that hope and charity which are ever its lovely fruits. And above all the dew of divine grace, without which the heart of man must ever remain barren and unfruitful, is shed down more and more, to soften and refresh the soul, and to cause the fruits of righteousness to spring up in greater variety and abundance continually. Such, Edward, is the faithful Christian, who remembers that his Lord is gone to receive a kingdom, and to return.

But, alas! all Christians are not faithful. Some never think of what our Lord has given them, and of the account which they must give to Him. They undervalue their privileges, or they despise and forget them.

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