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is said to have been of the shape of the letter X, and it is recorded that when he saw it at a distance, he cried out, “ Hail precious cross, thou " hast been consecrated by the Body of my Lord, "and adorned with His limbs as with rich jewels. “I come to thee exulting and glad: receive me with "joy into thine arms. O good cross, that hast re“ceived beauty from my Lord's limbs : I have “ ardently loved thee ; long have I.desired and "sought thee; now thou art found by me and art "made ready for my longing soul: receive me into “thine arms, taking me from among men, and “present me to my Master; that He who redeemed
me on thee, may receive me by thee.” When we consider what a fearful instrument of torture and death the cross was, and that death upon the cross was considered as shameful as death upon the gallows is with us, how great must have been the love and devotion to JESUS which could make S. Andrew even welcome such an end to his earthly course!
All the holy Apostles set us an example of unhesitating obedience to the call of Jesus Christ, of self-denial,andwillingness to sacrifice all things, even life itself, for love of Him. We should learn of them to be poor in spirit, active in helping for
ward all efforts to spread the knowledge of the Gospel, and to be martyrs, if not in deed, at least in will. But besides these, and other general lessons, which we should learn from them all in common, there is also some special teaching for us in what is recorded of the history and character of each of them individually. And the lesson which is most impressively taught us by the story of S. Andrew is this; anxiety to bring others to JESUS, and especially our own kinsfolk and acquaintance. S. Andrew, having himself found Jesus, the Christ, hastens first to bring to Him his own brother Simon.
Oh, my brethren, if you have found Jesus for yourselves, have you not longed to bring your nearest and dearest ones to Him also ? If you have found the emptiness and worthlessness of all earthly pleasure or profit, and found in JESUS the satisfaction of all your soul's deep longings, have you not been pained and grieved to see a brother or sister, a wife, husband, parent, or child, eagerly busied in the vain search after peace and contentment, but ignorant of the true source of all peace and happiness, a stranger to JESUS! Has not a terrible fear crossed your minds lest you and your loved ones, so dear to each other now, should be separated, not merely for a time by death, but for eternity when the day comes for dividing the sheep and the goats ? Have you never sobbed out a prayer to God on your bended knees that if your family circle must be broken on earth, as you know it must, its scattered members may yet be gathered together again and united to the one great family of God in Heaven? I cannot doubt that you have had some such feelings and longings of heart, if you have yourselves tasted and seen how gracious the Lord is. But have you done all you can to bring your dear ones to JESUS? Have you prayed for those who are yet strangers to His love, not merely now and then, when your feelings happened to be strongly moved by a sudden thought of their danger, but constantly as Monica prayed for her erring son, who after many years was given to her persevering prayers and became the great saint, Augustine ? Have you added persuasion to prayer? S. Paul warned some “day “and night with tears," although they were not his relations and had no claim upon his affection, save that Christ had died for those precious souls which they exposed so recklessly to danger. I am afraid that some of us are too timid to use persuasion and entreaty as we might and ought. It is not that we do not care for their souls, it is not that we are selfishly contented with working out our own salvation ; but we want more courage to speak the word in season. We are afraid, perhaps, of failure, and of our efforts, if unsuccessful, producing a feeling of constraint and awkwardness between us. We put it off, maybe, from time to time, hoping that a more convenient season, a more favourable opportunity, may arise. But if S. Andrew had acted thus, he might never have had the joy of bringing his brother to the Saviour.
No, he went straight to the point-went to find his brother and make him sharer in his happiness. My brethren, do let us consider if we cannot go and do likewise, if we cannot do more than we have ever yet attempted, to bring our dear ones to the knowledge and love of JESUS. Let us cast away all timidity, and without any delay seize the first opportunity, nay, make an opportunity if none seems to present itself, to make a downright, earnest effort, with prayer for God's blessing, to win some careless, erring relative to Christ. The matter is urgent beyond all power of language to describe its urgency.
plead with them not half-heartedly, but with all the force of loving persuasion ; let us beseech them to be reconciled to God, and that, not as those who feel sure of failure beforehand, but as those who are determined by God's help, to prevail, and not to give up until they prevail. The souls of all for whom Christ died, should be dear to us, but above all others, the souls of those who are bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh. And if anything more be needed to urge us to exertion, than the knowledge of their future danger and present loss, who know not JESUS as their Saviour and their Friend, be we sure of this, that if we are not winning or striving to win to Jesus those among whom we live, they are drawing us away from Him. If we are not raising them up to our level, they are, although we may scarcely perceive it, dragging us down to theirs. It sounds all very well to say “I go my way and my friends go theirs.” It cannot be so without an estrangement which is in itself a hindrance to our spiritual growth and peace of mind. Neither may we say like Cain, “Am I
my brother's keeper ?” I am not responsible for others. We cannot be free from the guilt of our brother's blood, if we, knowing better, go on