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history. (1) It was John himself who made the enquiry. (2) To John, in return, was the reply expressly sent. Our Lord pointedly says “Go and "shew John again the things, which ye do hear " and see.” (3) With words- of warning most applicable to John, if at this time his faith was wavering, does the reply conclude. "Blessed is “he, whosoever shall not be offended in Me"; as though the Lord would say, "Blessed be John, if, whilst so sorely tried as now he is, his faith in ME shall not fail”. (4) And then, once more, after the messenger had left, observe that the remarks made by our Lord to the people, all have relation to St. John, the last of them being indeed most pointed in its significance. After saying “Verily “I say unto you, Among them that are born of

women there hath not risen a greater than “ John the Baptist,” He concludes with the solemn declaration, “notwithstanding, he that is " least in the Kingdom of Heaven, is greater " than he.” Greater, that is, is he, (even though he be least in Heaven,) whose trials on earth are already safely passed through, than the greatest Saint still engaged, like John, in his earthly conflict, still liable to waver in faith, still liable to fall away.'

III. And now, dear brethren, when we picture to ourselves the Baptist in his prison, feeble in faith, desponding in spirit, cast down, troubled with many a doubt, what thoughts most naturally occur to our minds ?

Are they not these: (1) That if the greatest of God's Saints may at times be feeble in faith, is it surprising that sometimes ours be feeble and wavering too? (2) That, if the Baptist, even, needed solemn words of warning, much more may we. (3) And, lastly, that, when things seem worst, and we may even appear, for the time, forgotten of God, He is still ever near, and knoweth our trials and wants.

Ah, dear brethren, we do, one and all of us, have our dark clouds, many a thought of fear and many a moment of unbelief. But O let us remember that now we are to walk by faith and “not by sight”; that non, at times, we cannot but see things darkly, but then, in the great hereafter, we shall see them perfectly,—shall know, even as we ourselves are known.

When, then, faithless fears or questioning doubts arise, let 118 recall to our minds, let us hear said to ourselves the words of Jesus, "Blessed 46 is he, whosoever shall not be offended in ME."

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And perhaps, at the very time, when things seem worst, and the clouds darkest, and friends to help us fewest, then the very best help may be nearest, and the Surest Friend of all be watching by us.

“Who is among you that feareth the LORD, “that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that “walketh in darkness, and hath no light? Let “him trust in the Name of the LORD and stay VIGILANCE,

upon his God.”

(S. PETER'S DAY.)

BY REV. S. BARING GOULD, M.A.,

(Rector of East Mersea, Colchester.)

1 PETER V. 8.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour, whom resist, steadfast in the faith."

S. PETER is here giving a piece of advice founded on his own personal experience. He had been full of confidence, boastful, and self-complacent, on the eventful night when Christ was seized. “ Though all should deny Thee, yet will not 1," said he. And yet, not long after, when the moment of temptation came, he fell grievously. He denied his Lord and Master with oaths and

curses.

And in his old age he looked back on that dreadful night. He thought how very confident he had been, how unexpected was the sudden change, that he was one of Christ's disciples, and how at once he had given way. So in his old age he wrote a solemn piece of warning to all

No. 14.

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Christian people, which came from the depths of his heart. “Brethren, be sober, be vigilant, be

cause your adversary, the devil, as a roaring " lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may “devour, whom resist, steadfast in the faith."

And this advice, spoken so earnestly by the old apostle, sank deep into the heart of Christendom, and it came to be the one piece of advice given by S. Peter, which was oftenest remembered and repeated. Throughout the whole Western Church this passage has formed the lesson for the last evening service which was said by every clergyman for many hundreds of years in England every night, and which is yet said by thousands and thousands of clergy still in the same way, every night before they go to bed, and is used still in England in great numbers of households, by clergy and laymen, before they retire to rest.

Be sober means be moderate. S. Peter had shown no moderation in his self-assurance, in his protestations of fidelity to Christ; and now he warns others to self distrust, and bids them be less loud in their professions. It is the same advice which S. Paul gave to the Philippians, “Let your moderation be known unto all men.”

Be vigilant,—that means be wakeful and

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