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SERMON I.

THE WORK OF THE CHRISTIAN.

Septuagesima.

Psalm civ. 23.-—“Man goeth forth to his work and to his labour

until the evening.”

Though God created the heavens and the earth in six days, and then rested, yet He rested only to begin a work of another kind; for our Lord says, “My Father worketh hitherto,"'* and He adds, “and I work.” And at another time He says, concerning Himself more expressly, “ I must work the works of Him that sent Me, while it is day : the night cometh, when no man can work.”+ And when that night came, He said, “I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do.' “It is finished.”\ And in the text we are told generally of all men, “ Man goeth forth to his work and to his labour until the evening.” The Creator.wrought till the Sabbath caine; the Redeemer wrought till the sun was darkened, and it was night. “ The sun ariseth,” and “man goeth forth," and works "till the evening;" when “the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men bow themselves, and those that look out at the windows are darkened, and desire fails, because man goeth to his long

.

* 1 John v. 17.

+ Ib. ix. 4.

# Ib. xix. 30.

home, and the mourners go about the streets ;" when “the silver cord is loosed, and the golden bowl is broken, and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns unto God who gave it."* In the evening man returns to God, and his works, whether good or whether evil, do follow him.

This solemn truth, that we are sent here to do a work, is in various ways set before us in the Service appointed for this day. First, we read, in the beginning of Genesis, of Almighty God's work in the creation of the world, which is the archetype of all works which His creatures are able to do through His grace unto His glory. Then we read of Adam, placed in Paradise, the garden in Eden,“ to dress it and to keep it.”+ Soon, alas, did he fall, and become subject to heavier toil, the earth being cursed for his sake, and bringing forth unto him thorns and thistles. God, however, in His mercy, did not desert him; and, accordingly, we read in the Gospel of the householder going out from morning till evening “to hire labourers into His vineyard."! He went out early, and then about the third hour, and about the sixth and ninth, nor stopped till the eleventh. Such were His dealings with the race of man till the fulness of time was come, and in the last days, even at the eleventh hour, He sent His Son to gather together labourers for His work from all parts of the earth. And the history of those fresh Gospel labourers is presented to us in to-day's Epistle, in the pattern of St. Paul, who “ went a warfare;''S who planted a vineyard; who ploughed, and thrashed, and trod out the corn; for necessity was laid upon him, and it was woe unto him if he preached not the Gospel. Nay, moreover, who kept under his body, and brought it into subjection, lest after he had preached to others, the end should come, and he should be a castaway.

* Eccles. xii. 3-7.

Gen. ii. 15.

Matt. xx. 1.

§ 1 Cor. ix. 7.

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