« הקודםהמשך »
they yet followed Him in lowliness, love and meekness. “They followed Him through good “ report and evil report; they shared His poverty " and His destitution ; they went with Him through
all His reverses of fortune—sometimes honoured "and made much of by the multitudes who fol“lowed, sometimes received as guests in great "men's houses, but much more often not knowing "what they would live upon on the morrow-and 6 with their Master not knowing where to lay " their head.” And our Saviour speaks of their conduct, their constancy and devotion, in the highest terms of praise and commendation, and tells them of the reward laid up for them. “Ye v have continued with me in my temptations, and
as a reward for this I have appointed unto you “ a Kingdom, as My Father hath appointed unto “Me. And ye shall eat and drink with Me at “My table in My kingdom above, and sit on " thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel."
And we are able to speak of the disciples further for at last the end of their Master's career came and tried their faith to the utmost. They saw their dear Lord delivered by one of themselves into the hands of the chief Priests and Pharisees. They saw Him crucified, dead and buried. Their
hopes entirely died with Him—but after three days, marvellous to think and talk about, they saw Him alive again. He appeared to them at different times, and ate and drank with them. They saw Him ascend into Heaven and ever after, endued with the power of the Holy Spirit, they did what the Collect and Epistle for this day assure us—they believed and preached the Word; they wrought signs and wonders among the people, they cured the sick and healed those who were vexed with unclean spirits. As time went on they followed their blessed Lord nearer and
Their walk in His steps was closer, more constant, more faithful, more loving, more devoted, until at last they laid down their lives to the death for the Gospel which they preached. Knowing all this we may as well join in the commendation of Jesus and feel sure that as they had continued with their Master in His temptations and trials, they should receive their reward in another world, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, in the Kingdom of their Father.
Let us then learn this lesson on this St. Bartholomew's Day, and I shall not have preached and you shall not have heard in vain. We have been called upon just as much as His disciples of old—and it becomes us to follow Him just as closely, just as devotedly, just as lovingly. We also are witness of all the things which Jesus did for the deeds of His life have come down to us. Some of us have to preach the Gospel which St. Bartholomew preached-some of us have to teach to the young and the ignorant the blessed truths of God's Holy Word ; some of us have to help in works of love and mercy by our influence and example; we all of us whether of high or of low station-whether men of property or men of business, whether working men or working women, we have all of us first to believe in the Word ourselves, and then to spread that knowledge by all the means in our power.
And if we do this we also shall not lose our reward. We also shall receive the commendation of our Blessed Lord.“ Well done, thou good and « faithful servant. Thou hast been faithful in " a few things, I will make thee ruler over many 6. things. I appoint unto you a Kingdom as my “Father hath appointed unto Me.”
THE HID TREASURE.
BY REV. J. R. VERNON, M.A.,
(Rector of S. Audries, Somerset).
S. MATTHEW XIII, 44.
The kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field, the which, when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and bayeth that field.” MORE than 1800 years ago, on the shores of the Lake of Gennesareth, busy at the receipt of custom, sat one of that despised and abhorred class of men,-a Publican. There were the busy turbaned merchants, there the bands of Roman soldiers, there the hated tax-gatherers, and sinful men and degraded women; there were the hardy boatmen toiling on the lake and casting their nets into the water, or spreading them out and washing and drying and mending them on the shore. And the publican or tax-gatherer sat lonely there, seeing all this busy scene, and thronging crowd ; but shut out from the sympathy and love of his race, and looked upon only with contempt and dislike.
But suddenly a more dense and concentrated crowd came into view, and set toward the lake, following closely upon one Man. Perhaps the Publican knew who that Man was ; perhaps the fame of His miracles and His teaching had reached his ear; perhaps the rumour of a great miracle even then just wrought by that. Teacher, and of His claim to forgive sins also, had already reached the toll house and the bench of that receiver of custom beside the lake. However, the crowd swept on, and their Leader, Jesus of Nazareth, the Friend of Publicans and Sinners, must certainly pass close in front of the place at which Matthew sat. Something already perhaps moved that lonely heart with a yearning for such a Friend, but he must still sit at the receipt of custom, -and what were that gracious teaching and that loving power to such as he ? Still, his eyes were fixed earnestly upon that approaching Form ; his heart felt strangely stirred. Judge, then, its emotion when the Great Teacher passed before the shunned Publican's seat, and with a look and tone in which love and authority were blended, said unto Him just these two simple words, "Follow Me."
A strange command, we might think. To