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His love-to be misrepresented and misunderstood—to live in contempt, and to die in ignominy, as a blasphemer and a liar. Here is our glorious example. Here is the highest perfection and dignity of man.
It is this sentiment which filled the minds of the blessed Apostles, and made them rejoice in the difficulties which they had to overcome. Not only are they at peace with God, and rejoice in the hope of His glory—“not only so,” saith St. Paul “but we glory in tribulations also : knowing that tribulation worketh patience?.” “Mos gladly, therefore,” he says to the Corinthians, “ most gladly, therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me; therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong?."
“My brethren,” saith St. Janies, “count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” “Blessed is the * Rom. v. 3.
? 2 Cor. xii. 9, 10.
man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him ?."
Who amongst us this day, my brethren, is willing to lay hold on eternal life, and to take up the cross of Christ, that he may follow Him into His glory? Who among us is willing to be afflicted and reproached with Him, rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin or the riches of the world? O, may the Spirit of God inspire us all with grace to remember the vows of our baptism, and to renew our resolutions to devote ourselves to His service!
We shut up our whole observations on this subject in the comprehensive exhortation of St. Peter. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour; whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal
1 James i. 2, 3, 12.
glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you : to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen?."
THE INEVITABLE CHOICE.
St. MARK, viii. 36.
" What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole
world, and lose his own soul ?”
You will recollect, my brethren, that shortly after the Apostle Peter had, in his own name and in that of the other Apostles, made his memorable confession of his belief of the divinity and mission of our Saviour, his faith was put to a severe and unexpected trial. When the Apostles acknowledged their Master to be the Christ, the Son of the living God, they had but little expectation of the terrible sufferings and humiliation which He was to undergo before He should enter into His glory, and restore the kingdom unto Israel. And
when He told them, not merely, that they had judged rightly,—not merely, that, in this perception of His divine majesty, they had received a truth beyond the discovery of human reason, a truth which flesh and blood had not revealed unto them, but His Father which is in heaven,-not merely, that He was indeed the great and mysterious being who was the subject of all prophecy, and that they had been visited with the inspirations of the Almighty;—but that He was about to confer on them immortal honours and dignities, and to identify them in all the glories of His everlasting dominion : when He told them that on them He was about to found His church, against which the gates of hell should never prevail; that in their hands He was about to deposit the keys of the kingdom of heaven; that they were to represent Him in this world, and to reign with Him for ever in that which is to come: at such a moment of triumphant expectation, they were ill prepared to bear the communications which our Redeemer had to make to them. The Apostles were honest and truly pious men; men who saw