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have had the light which shone upon S. Paul and blinded his eyes by its bright and strange splendour, shining upon us all our lives—from the very time that we could spiritually see anything at all. And the voice of Jesus, which startled and amazed him, we have had sounding in our ears by the loving tones of our parents, the earnest teaching of our masters and instructors, the faithful preaching of the ministers of Christ. There is no ner light to shine upon us. There is no nen voice to be heard. If the Jews would not hear Moses and the Prophets neither, said our Saviour, would they have been persuaded though one rose unto them from the dead. And if we do not see the light of the Gospel and hear the voice of Jesus in the preaching of His ministers, neither shall we be converted by any new light or any new voice.
My dear brethren-converted indeed we must all be. Unless we are living to God we need conversion indeed! And God of His infinite mercy grant conversion to us all! but let us not look for anything sudden, anything new, anything strange. God works in the spiritual world, as gradually as He works in the natural world. The oak grows from the acorn day by day, and little by little. The full grown corn, ready to be cut and harvested, has grown gradually, day by day, little by little, from the tiny seed which was put into the ground. So is it with the perfect Christian! So it is with the saved soul!
And God works by the same means too. His sun shines upon the sprouting seed, upon the budding flower, and upon the growing tree. His rain imparts nourishment into the soil, and His dews and His frosts freshen and revive the fading leaf, and the drooping grass. So with the soul of man. The growth in grace is gradual, carried on by the slowest degrees—sometimes so slow that only the eye of God can see it. But with many of us I hope is the growth no less sure, no less visible in God's sight. And this grace given, this growth begun, by the waters of Baptism, is carried on afterwards in childhood, in youth, in mature years, in old age, by the means of grace which God has appointed. And the means of grace are Prayer, public and private—the careful and diligent reading of God's Word-the preaching of the Gospel by the ministers of Christ -above all other things the frequent and constant receiving of the Blessed Communion of the Body and Blood of Christ. These means of grace to
the Christian's soul are like the rains and the winds, and the dews and the frosts, to the growing seed, and to the spreading tree. Without rain, and dew, and sunshine, the grass would wither and die—without the ordained means of grace, the dew of God's blessing—the soul will die also. But if we neglect the ordinary means which God Himself has appointed—if we neglect Prayer, if we neglect to read the Word of God-if we fail to attend at His church, and turn our backs on the Lord's Table, why should we expect that God will work by any extraordinary means. It may be that He will—but it may much more likely be that He will not.
In conclusion, my brethren, never forget what conversion is--never forget what the word means. It matters not whether it has been the work of a moment, or the work of years, or the work of a life-time-it means the same. It means a change of heart, a change of life, a change of the whole man. It must be a change that men can see, not merely a feeling of the mind, giving inward comfort. It must be a giving up of sin, and an active serving of God. All men by your manner of living shall know that you are disciples of the blessed Jesus. They must see that your conduct is so upright, your hatred of sin so great, your love of God so earnest, the change in fact so manifest, that as in the case of S. Paul, they shall all be amazed and say with astonishment, " this hath God done !” for “they shall perceive " that it is His work !" You may not be different, so it may seem, to-day, to what you were yesterday—but you may be different to-day to what you were years back. Your growth in grace may have been slow and gradual but it may yet have been certain—and God's Spirit working within you-not as He worked, suddenly and miraculously with the apostles of old on a certain Pentecost Sunday—but working within you as He works now, gradually, by the ordained means of grace, you shall arrive not indeed to a perfect state in this world, but a change shall be begun in you here which shall be perfected to your eternal happiness and welfare hereafter.
CHURCHING OF WOMEN,
(PURIFICATION OF THE VIRGIN MARY.)
BY THE EDITOR.
S, LUKE XI. 22, 24.
“And when the days of her purification, according to the law of Moses, were accomplished, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord............and to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtlo doves or two young pigeons."
To-Day is the 2nd of February, on which we keep an important event connected with our Saviour's infancy, in which also His holy mother takes a prominent part. This day is called by two names which explain their own meaning. It is either :
1. The Presentation of Christ in the Temple. 2. Or the Purification of S. Mary, the Virgin.
And these two events are always kept on their proper day, the fortieth day after the birth of the Blessed Jesus, which comes on the 2nd of February. We will refer to-day to the Purification of the Virgin Mary.