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21. Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.

These two verses by giving a summary of the Ten Commandments remind us that God's Will changes not; that even "if we believe not, yet He abideth faithful: He cannot deny Himself." As St. John points out to the disciples of his day: "Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning."

Whoever worships devils transgresses glaringly the First Commandment, and less obviously that Fourth Commandment which appropriates or hallows the whole of time either to sanctioned labour or to enjoined rest. Certain heathens formally and of set purpose do, as we are assured, worship devils. This literal gross act is not perhaps likely to tempt nineteenth century Christians; or even others who, without being personally Christian, have been born and bred where in a certain sense the world itself is Christian as well as civilized. Wherefore, not so much looking at my remote neighbour, I consider myself; lest I also be tempted, although by means modified to assail my own particular weak points.

PLEASE GOD. I will have nothing to do with spiritualism, whether it be imposture or a black art; or with mesmerism, lest I clog my free will; or with hypnotism, lest wilful selfsurrender become my road to evil choice, imagination, conduct, voluntary or involuntary. Neither will I subscribe to any theory which would pursue knowledge by cruel or foul methods; or do evil that good may come. Neither will I either in jest or in earnest tamper with fortune-telling or any other fashion of prying into the future. Moreover, I will aim at avoiding both in speech and in correspondence such expressions as by good luck, or, there seems a spell against us. In performing my daily duties I must strive against the spirit of a frightened slave (which so far as it goes is the spirit of a devil worshipper), and must aim instead at the conformed will of a loving child: I ought to shrink from sin more sensitively than from punishment. In all my dealings temporal and spiritual I must adhere to a just weight, a just measure, even balances, a superhuman standard. I must set conscience above convenience, and Divine law above worldly conventions. I cannot have two masters. I cannot serve God and Mammon. "I have set the Lord always before me," sings David.

The Second Commandment is obviously broken by worship

ping idols of any sort, and the mention of their inability to "hear" suggests without stating that kindred breach of the Third Commandment which is involved in misdirected prayer, praise, deprecation, thanksgiving. Studying my own more probable temptations, I pass over idols of brass, stone, wood, to dwell rather upon those of gold and silver. A molten and graven image of gold or of silver is strictly and literally reproduced nowadays and for us moderns, although in altered guise, in the current coin of the realm: it depends on myself whether to make it my minister or my idol. Demas is a warning beacon set up against him for our encouragement and emulation stands St. Peter, who silver and gold had none. Since I cannot avoid continual contact with that which has the material and make of an idol, I must take good heed that it become not to me an idol. The "almighty dollar" seems to me a phrase simply (however unintentionally) blasphemous: in my mouth it would be blasphemy. May such an estimate of money be far from Christian tongues, and farther from Christian hearts.

Of the other sins enumerated (murders, sorceries, fornication, thefts) three more or less flagrantly transgress the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Commandments, all belonging to the Second Table (unless so far as the Fifth is concerned, of which I have seen the position discussed). Sorceries alone, at least at first sight, might appear to fall exclusively under the ban of the First Table. But if sorceries, while insulting the Divine Majesty, be regarded as likewise seducing, hoodwinking, misleading, entrapping man; then we recognize in it a distinct breach of the Ninth Commandment: it becomes a fatal false witness borne against our neighbour. One Commandment, the Tenth, remains: and this being spiritual, covetousness may be viewed as underlying and prompting the infractions of the preceding Five. For covetousness, preferring as it does self-interest to alien interest, whether or not co-extensive with selfishness, does at any rate so far as it goes cover the same ground; and is directly contrary to love, which, working no ill to its neighbour, is therefore the fulfilling of the law.

Yet the desperate element as regards these sinners against their own souls was not that they had sinned, but that they did not repent. Repentance would have bleached their scarlet to snow, their crimson to wool. It would have made them like unto ancient Israel when "Samuel said unto the people, Fear not ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart; and turn ye not aside for then should ye go after vain things,

which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain. For the Lord will not forsake His people for His great Name's sake; because it hath pleased the Lord to make you His people."

All is promised to the penitent, but repentance is not promised to any individual sinner.

Tortures and terrors cannot do the work of love. Nay, more: Love from without cannot accomplish its own work, unless there be some response from love within.

The proportion of men is one taken, two left: and the two repent not. I who write, any who read, are for the present left God vouchsafe to all, vouchsafe to me, repentance unto amendment of life, for Jesus Christ's sake.

And this thought, that two are as it were "left" even though in such extremity, brings home to all who are not reprobate certain inspired words redolent of hope: "Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up... And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him."

If then I be one of twain I must comport myself accordingly : be it in labour and in hope of reward; in falls, in arisings, in helps; in contest, in alliance, and in victory; I must as much as in me lies impart to him that hath not, and bear my neighbour's burdens.

Lord Jesus, Thou becamest Man thereby to become One of twain, Thyself and Thy Bride the Church. Thou hast laboured for her; and labourest with her, and sharest with her Thy reward. If she fall Thou liftest her up: happy she who is never alone when she falleth. If the battle go sore against her, yet with Thee she discomfiteth a host: happy she whom Thou hast joined unto Thyself.

Because the Church is moulded after Thy likeness, her least and last member is thus moulded. Lord, give me grace ever thankfully to account myself one of twain; humbly receiving help from my superiors, and myself helping any Thou empowerest me to help. Thou Who createdst all things out of nothing, lay help even on me, making my influence tend to good. Turn, I beseech Thee, my sins to repentance, my repentance to amendment, my amendment to a shining light. Even so of Thy Goodness perfect all and perfect me. Amen.

Life that was born to-day

Must make no stay,

But tend to end

Like bloom of May.

O Lord, confirm my root,
Train up my shoot,

To live and give
A wholesome fruit.

S

CHAPTER X.

1. And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven,

clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire:

2. And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth,

3. And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.

We seem to behold "storm fulfilling His word." Arrayed majestically in a cloud, crowned with beauty by a rainbow, his face splendid as the sun, his feet no less splendid than fire: if this mighty Angel appear in some sort as the lightning, his own voice was as a lion's roar, and thunders respond to him.

Not thus at His first advent came the Son of Man down from heaven. His might was not of this world. His first garments were swaddling-bands; and His last, except graveclothes, were taken away from Him. His crown was of thorns. He hid not His Face from shame and spitting. His Feet after going about to do good were nailed to the Cross. He came to send fire upon the earth; but He strove not, nor cried, neither was His voice heard in the street; and His servants the thunders held their peace.

O Good Lord, Who art above Thy servant, O Good Master, Who art above Thy disciple, grant us grace to ascend to heaven by that way of humility whereby Thou descendedst. Let communion with Thee be our strength. Clothe our children in the Font with the garment of salvation; and guide them and us in robes of righteousness to a holy sepulchre. Grant us patience for a crown, patience for a shield, patience and perseverance in our vocation, patience in suffering. Be

Thy Most Holy Almighty Spirit Fire of Love in our hearts, and His still small Voice more awful to us than thunders. Amen.

One notices a storm: another discerns an Angel. One hears thunder: another divines a message. Well it is, in default of better, to skim the surface and learn a little though better it is, God willing, to walk in the search of the depth and learn much.

A Christian hero whose ship was about to sink, encouraged his crew by pointing out that heaven is as near the sea as the land. Our assigned level is our nearest point to heaven.

Judge not thy neighbour's walk, except to follow or to lead him.

Those feet "as pillars of fire" stood on earth and sea; the left foot on the earth, the right foot on the sea. As the Left Hand is the hand of rejection, the Right of acceptance, so now this posture of the Angel suggests symbolically that sin is that sole thing which God abominates, and that it is for sin's sake alone that He overturns, overturns, overturns. The barren uninhabited sea sustains the right foot, the populous earth the left.

That Angel was celestial trustee of the "little book open," holding it in trust for St. John; who in his turn received it indeed for his own edification, but also and once more as a trust for others.

If Angels and Apostles, those princes and peers of earth and heaven, are stewards, not owners; we Christian commoners need neither dream nor desire to be constituted more. Our gifts, talents, opportunities, are a trust vested in us for the definite purpose of glorifying God, benefiting man, working out our own salvation. Ours are, then mine are. In the awful day of account, Good Lord, deliver us.

4. And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.

Both voices instructed St. John in wisdom and knowledge. I too may learn from both if not knowledge still wisdom.

Privileges entail responsibilities: to be denied the privilege is to be spared the responsibility.

More is entrusted to another than to me. Let not mine eye be evil because God is Good, Who doeth what He will with His own.

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