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our own way and leave him to perish unwarned. As an illustration of what has been said, how often we find that people who are usually pretty regular Church-goers, when some friends come to visit them on a Sunday, instead of persuading their friends to come with them to the House of God, allow their friends to persuade them to stay away from Church, and even, sometimes, from Holy Communion! They put Jesus away for the sake of their friends, instead of bringing them to Him, and actually prefer the society of their relatives to the worship of JESUS and communion with Him! And often people fall into this great sin, for a great sin it is thus to put the creature before the Creator, from nothing but timidity, want of courage to speak out plainly and kindly to their friends, to tell them that they are going to let nothing keep them from the worship of God, and to urge them to go with them! If ever you should be tempted to act thus, dear friends, think of the story of S. Andrew, and stand in fear for yourselves, lest if you let your friends keep you from the House where Jesus has promised to be with those gathered together in His Name, the end of it be, that earthly ties keep you out from
the happy family circle of the Saints of JESUS in Heaven,
But remember this, that before S. Andrew went to seek his own brother Simon to bring him to JESUS, S. Andrew had himself “ found JESUS." He had seen Him, believed in Him as “the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world," listened to the gracious words which proceeded from His mouth with an ardent desire to guide his life by that heavenly teaching, had become, in short, a true disciple of JESUS Christ. He had come to know Christ, not merely by hearsay : but by experience. So it must be with us, dear brethren; if we would bring others to JESUS, we must ourselves have come to know Him by experience. We must have come to Him by the path of repentance and confession, weary and heavy laden with the burden of our sins, and found in Him, pardon and peace and rest. Then we can go to others and tell them what we have found in JESUS. We shall be living witnesses to the joy and peace of believing in Him, not telling merely what we have heard and read of Him, but what we have actually proved Him to be.
But notice this, that S. Andrew had not yet
become the saintly man that he afterwards became, when he went to find his brother to bring him to JESUS. He was not free from all infirmities and inconsistencies from that time when he first truly believed. He, like the rest of His disciples, forsook JESUS and fled in the hour of danger and trial ; he was among those who strove which should be greatest, and looked for honours in the temporal kingdom which they thought the Lord would restore to Israel. And I draw your
I attention to this, because some although themselves earnest Christians and believers in JESUS, may fear to attempt to persuade others who are careless, through a dread lest they should themselves be guilty of inconsistencies, and not be able to “live up to” their profession. You will see that such misgivings did not keep S. Andrew from his act of brotherly love, and they should not hinder any of us from doing as he did. “ By reason of “the frailty of our nature we cannot always “ stand upright”; but shall we therefore forbear to lead others to Him Who can strengthen such as do stand; comfort and help the weakhearted, raise up them that fall, and finally beat down Satan under our feet? No, dear brethren, if we wait until we are perfect and free from all failure
and inconsistency, before we begin to seek to win souls to Christ, the work will never be done at all. Enough, if truly feeling and owning our sinfulness, and believing in Him who came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance, we go forth, like S. Andrew, on this errand of Christian love, and, seeking our frail and erring brethren, not as though we were holier than they, but as fellow sinners equally needing the Saviour, win the reward of those that turn many to righteousness and shine as the stars for ever and ever.
FAITH, NOT SIGHT.
BY REV. 7. E. VERNON, M.A.,
(Vicar of Bicknoller, Taunton.)
S. JOHN XX. 28, 29. " And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”
THERE are two classes of sceptics or doubters ; the one class consists of those who do not believe and do not wish to believe ; the other class consists of those who wish to believe, long to believe, but are tormented by doubts and difficulties which they feel unable to set at rest. S. Thomas was a doubter of this latter class. Nothing could have given him greater joy than to have been convinced that his beloved Master Whom he knew to have been crucified, dead and buried, had indeed risen again from the dead. He had shewn his love and devotion to Jesus by his proposal to the other disciples when they had vainly tried to turn our Lord from His intention to risk His life by going again to Jerusalem