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Gospel, he ceased to be a physician of the body only that he might become a physician of the soul. His work was raised, not changed. And this seems to be a leading principle in God's dealings with us all. Things earthly, earthly callings, habits, tastes, occupations, if pure and blameless in themselves, are capable of being ennobled, and enlisted in God's service. Take a simple illustration. What can be more degrading and soul-destroying than many of the pictures which we sometimes see, depicting scenes of sin, or stirring up idle and wicked imaginations ? And yet, surely painting has been made to serve the very highest and holiest purposes, and incite to devotion, love, pity. Who does not know how music, though oftentimes turned to the vilest purposes, has a charm quite its own to thrill or subdue the souls of men ? Nor can we ever fulfil the creature's supreme duty without calling it in to our aid.
God would have us see then in all our earthly duties and interests, types and memorials of higher duties and more enduring pleasures, and so make this world in very truth the school and nursery for heaven.
This, I think, is a very obvious lesson, (we dare
not say a fanciful one), which we learn from the beloved physician, called (as the collect says) to be “a physician of souls."
3. And further-notice this. His lower work FITTED him for his higher. As the Galilean fishermen learnt, no doubt, to be patient and watchful and self-denying in their apostolic labours, when they called to mind those nights of bootless toil on the lake; so we can hardly doubt that, as the skilful physician, Luke, remembered the marvellous intricacies of man's body, and the care and skill needed in the treatment of many diseases, he too learnt something of the difficulties of dealing with diseases of the soul. He could bardly have expected that the higher part of man would be a less mysterious part to deal with than the lower. If, in order to practise in the one department successfully, he must be educated in the far-famed schools of Antioch, how necessary if he would exercise the other office aright, to seek the teaching and training of the Good Physician Himself.
And here it is that the lessons of S. Luke's Day seem to come home to each one of us, and especially perhaps in these days. It is a great and awful title with which the Collect invests for
all time the memory of the beloved Physician, when it calls him “the Physician of the soul." In one sense, indeed, our Lord Himself is the One Physician, as He is, too, the One Shepherd, the One Priest. But in another, S. Luke is most truly and fittingly called so too. And in another still, the office, if not the title, belongs now to those who are called to the Ministry of souls in Christ's Church. The name matters little ; the work, the office remains. Such, whether they will or not, are entrusted with the duty, awful and solemn as it is, of dealing individually, under the Good Physician, with sin-sick souls. If they would be true to their Master, they can neither escape it, if they desired to do so, nor dare they refrain from administering in His Great Name, such remedies, whether of punishment or relief which the patient needs.
Would that those of us who are called to this ministry, apprehending more its difficulties, and its responsibilities, sought oftener and more sincerely His help, and His teaching to discharge their office aright! Would that they had caught more of His Spirit in dealing faithfully, and yet wisely and lovingly with the souls committed to them !
And would that those to whom they are sent to minister, accepted more often the remedies which the Good Physician has provided through the ministry of His Church. We all need such remedies and such ministry. They may be bitter and painful. What medicines are otherwise ? Do not let us refuse them, because they are so. If our souls were well and healthful we should not want them. Those who know themselves, best know most their need. May we each know ours, and whether in health or on the bed of sickness, have ever to minister to us one who will be true to His Master and ours, who has realized the fearfulness of his office as a Physician of the soul, and who will not fear to administer faithfully that medicine of the Holy Gospel which the Good Physician has taught him our soul most needs !
ZEAL to be TEMPERED WITH LOVE
MON AND JUDE.)
BY REV. F. C. BLYTH, M.A.,
(Curate of Kew-cum-Petersham.)
S. JOHN XV. 17
“ These things I command you, that ye love one another."
S. JUDE 3. That ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once
delivered unto the saints." THE Church commemorates in her services to-day “Simon called Zelotes, and Judas, the brother “of James," two of the twelve. Very little is told us of either of them. The former is sometimes called the Canaanite, which is supposed to express, not the name of the city or country where he was born, but the zeal which was the chief feature in his character. The word is in Hebrew equivalent to the word Zelotes in Greek -both signifying zealot. But it is uncertain why this name of zealot was given to him. There was a sect of the Jews called zealots, who were remarkable for the fierce zeal which charac