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many of you, my brethren and sisters in Christ, are habitually yielding, Judas like, to some secret temptation which you know you could overcome if you chose, but which you will not take the trouble to overcome, and have not the will to overcome, and are thus daily losing the power to overcome. It matters not whether it is dishonesty, untruthfulness, gluttony, intemperance, impurity, profanity, to which you are tempted; if any of you are treacherously yielding, and not vigorously striving in God's Name and strength to overcome the tempter, you are simply becoming another Judas, betraying your Master. You will not obey Him implicitly. You will be His disciple, and will work for Him, perhaps be active and zealous, but you
will have some reserves from Him. You cannot afford to give Him your whole heart, your whole allegiance, your whole will. You cannot part with this darling lust, this cherished bad habit which has become almost part of yourself. You do not wish to be wholly CHRIST's. This would involve a sacrifice which you are not prepared to make. You must reserve some little corner of your being for yourself; in other words, for the Devil. If so, you are neither better nor worse than Judas. You are just as untrue to
your Lord as he. His whole fault was that he would reserve something for himself. He would have something of his own apart from CHRIST. He must have his own will in some matters. So he went his own way, and ended by going to his own place.
Here is the moral of the whole sad story. We cannot go to CHRIST's Holy Place by our own way. He must lead us at every step. We must have no reserves from Him. If we take our own way, follow our own course, we must abide by the consequences, and go to our own place. I know CHRIST's way looks uninviting sometimes, our own way very pleasant. He Himself tells us that the one is strait and narrow and lonely, the other wide and broad and full of people. We catch, perhaps, a glimpse of the Cross at the end of one, not so at the end of the other ; for the crosses on that road are so veiled and garlanded that we cannot discern them. But can we evade the Cross by taking the broad road? No. For a time we may; and all may seem smooth and pleasant. But come it will. And we shall find that we have only run away from CHRIST's sweet Cross, to meet one made by ourselves and Satan. Yes, for on his broad road he is ever and anon
compelling us to make crosses for ourselves, and then he gibbets us thereon. Here is another terrible lesson which Judas' history teaches us. He tried to evade CHRIBT's Cross, so he died miserably on the cross he made for himself. He died by his own hand, in his own field, on his owon gallows. S. Matthias and he both hung, like their Master, upon the tree of shame; only one on Christ's Cross, one on his own. The latter went by his own way to “his own place,” the former went by his Master's way to his Master's Place of everlasting Peace.
God give us all grace to overcome self, to subdue our unruly flesh with its affections and lusts, to be evermore true and loyal to our Divine Lord, and to make His word and will the one only rule and law of our life; and may He bring us at last by His own way to His own blessed Place, through JESUS CHRIST.
THE MOTHER OF JESUS.
(The ANNUNCIATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY.)
BY REV. JOHN B. DYKES, M.A., Mus. Doc.,
(Vicar of S. Oswald's, Durham.)
S. LUKE I. 38.
“And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me
according to Thy word.”
ALTHOUGH the present festival brings before us, in some special way, the great cardinal doctrine of the Incarnation, the central truth of Revelation; although, therefore, like all the Church's festivals, it directs our gaze primarily to Him Who at this time, that He might deliver man, “did not abhor “ the Virgin's womb;"—yet, as it is a day peculiarly associated with thoughts of her whom “all “ generations shall call blessed;" as it is known by the names " Lady Day,” “the Annunciation “of our Lady,” “the Annunciation of the Blessed “ Virgin Mary,” I will take the opportunity of speaking a few words in reference to that honoured Maiden who was at this time the subject of the mysterious overshadowing by the HOLY GHOST.
How much we should all like to know something of her early history, the circumstances under which she was trained and fitted for the overwhelming destiny awaiting her. But nothing is revealed.
We see her not till we hear of her being espoused to a man of the name of Joseph, of the royal family of David.
She has reached the years of early womanhood. She is alone, possibly engaged in devotion, although this is not told told us. A sudden blaze of light fills her solitary chamber, and she finds herself face to face with an Angel. It is the Angel Gabriel, who had been sent in former times to give the prophet Daniel skill and understanding in reference to the mysterious future of the chosen Race, who had appeared recently to Zacharias, and announced the birth of the Baptist, striking the aged priest dumb because he believed not the heavenly message, it was he who now stood before the lowly Jewish maid.
And how does this mighty Archangel, who stands in the presence of God,” open his salutation? “Hail thou that art highly favoured”or "full of grace," as the Latin version reads it* The Lord is with thee, Blessed art thou among