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of ages; we have no need to disparage the consecrated intellect of a S. Augustine or the wellused power of a S. Lewis; but such endowments as these are but the accidents of a saintly character, its vital essence is not only distinct from them, but often expands itself more freely without them. And do we not all of us, my brethren, bear testimony to this truth in the great crisis and turning points of our personal history ; do you not each one of you feel that you have that within you which transcends and is entirely independent of the various gifts of body or mind with which you have been blessed, the various offices and positions which you hold in society—that the things do not constitute that self which still remains with you when all these are stripped away ? do you not fall back at least in seasons of strange trouble and soul-conflict upon those great and simple truths, the belief in which you share with the youngest child, and the most unlettered peasant? do you not feel that these and these alone are strong enough for you to rest upon them all the weight of your existence, that without them your whole being is a moral chaos? As you stand by the corpse of one whose life seemed almost a part of your own, as the weak and failing body warns you of the approach of your own dissolution, into what utter insignificance do the distinctions and ambitions of this world drop; but at such moments the succour and consolation of faith are at their highest, and in the Creed of your childhood, and the Lord's Prayer, which you learnt at your mother's knee, you find that which explains, while it soothes, your present darkness and distress.

Let us then, dear brethren, ask of God some share of that child-like simplicity of faith and life in which He delights, let us beg of Him to bless to us this day's Festival by imparting to us something of the youthful freshness and innocence of those fair flowers which as on this day He removed to Paradise ; let us strive by His grace

to remove some of those stains which have in the course of years gathered on our baptismal garment that we too one day may be found, if not like the dear innocents without fault before the throne of God, yet with our robes washed and made white in the Blood of the Lamb.





ACTS IX. 21. “But all that heard Him were amazed, and said, Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests ?"

What a wonderful change we read of here ! The man who had been a proud Pharisee, boasting of his zeal in the law, becomes a humble Christian, trusting only on the merits of Christ! -He who had been zealous and active in persecuting the followers of Jesus becomes a faithful preacher of the Gospel !-He who had sat at the feet of Gamaliel, the great Jewish teacher, and had learned all that the wisest Jew could teach, finds that his greatest wisdom is foolishnessthat he must at last himself become a learner at the Cross of Christ.

And how quick a conversion! A journey from Jerusalem to Damascus--A sudden light from Heaven--The voice of the blessed Jesus speaking to his soul, and the work is done, the conversion is made, the change is accomplished !

And the world has never ceased to wonder. Wherever the Gospel of Christ has been preached there has this wonderful tale been told, and if men marvel at nothing else they marvel at this--and if they learn no lesson from other parts of Scripture yet they take this home with them, and believe that the incidents are to be wrought over again with themselves, that a light will some day suddenly shine upon their souls.

And we would certainly have men by no means to forget it. The Church who so wisely instructs her children, and teaches them from the Word of God by her daily services, never fails to teach them, as the year comes round, concerning the conversion of S. Paul—and we who are here to-day are taught by the Church's collect to have his wonderful conversion in remembrance, and shew forth our thankfulness unto God for the same.

But we must be careful what we learn. Many seek to learn too much. They seek to gain comfort for themselves from this part of the Word of God, and believe that God will work for thema as he worked for S. Paul ;—that some such sudden change will take place in them ;—that some sudden light will shine upon their souls from Heaven, and that they shall be converted and live. They will acknowledge to themselves that things are not all right with them at the present time, but they do not despair. S. Paul was converted, suddenly, in a moment, by the wonderful power of God—why should this not happen to themselves ? As sinners take comfort, and blind comfort it has proved itself to be with thousands, from the record given to us of the dying thief's repentance on the cross, and so have put off their repentance till their death bed—50 I firmly believe that thousands have failed to live to God; that thousands have failed to strive against sin ; that thousands have died unsaved because they have waited, and to their eternal loss have waited in vain, for God to work for them as he worked for S. Paul. They have waited, and to their eternal loss have waited in vain, for a light to shine upon their souls which has never shone because they have expected God to work by more than ordinary means.

But would I be understood to mean that men are not SUDDENLY convertedthat is that they do not all at once change their mode of life and leave

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