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broadcast the most awful threats of unending punishments at those who are not “keeping whole and undefiled" that particular "Catholic faith," which has best commended itself to their own minds. We complain very often of bad language in the streets; but I fear there is very often bad language in the pulpit. True religion is the gentlest, the most loveable Angel that walks the earth. If it be filled with zeal like Cherubim and Seraphim, still it has the gentleness of the Angels that sang over the Judæa hills, on the first Christmas night so tenderly, that they woke not even the little children that lay sleeping in Bethlehem. religion be a ministering angel, that which it ministers to men is love. Sectarianism preaches a ministry of condemnation; but true religion preaches Salvation. I think it will be an easy assertion to prove, that true religion can only have wishes that are good. Is Love the ruling principle of true religion? Yes. Speaking of St. John's Epistles, a writer has sweetly said, "Light and Love make up St. John's beautiful conception of
God." "God is Love." If If you have granted these two propositions, then you have assented to the truth of my argument, for the Bible says in the 13th chapter of the Romans,-"Love worketh no ill to his neighbour."
Religion then, like a blessed angel in the world, speaks to men, and says, "I am a messenger from God, with this divine wish, that 'you may see good days."
"Good days." Can you measure that word "good?" When that "good" applies to God's gifts, can you measure it? Have you any line long enough that will gifts all round? One of our beautiful Collects says, No. "O God, Who hast prepared for them that love Thee, such good things as pass man's understanding." Have you any line or plummet that will fathom the deep ocean of God's goodness? St. Paul says, No. "To know," he says, "the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge." Or again, in the Epistle to the Philippians: "The peace of God, which passeth all understanding.”
You cannot, then, measure God's gifts. You
may be able to measure the great mountains, and the circumference of worlds, but no line, however long, will encompass God's goodness! Of good things, I ask, what does He give us? I might answer it by saying: "What does He not give us ?" One of the most touching of all the Bible Parables will give us the answer as to how many good things God gives us. It is in that touching Parable of the Prodigal Son. returning prodigal is given a wealth of good things. A welcome home, a free pardon, a "best robe," a ring for his finger, shoes for his feet, a fatted calf for the feast, and music and dancing. Surely,there was a wealth of good gifts? But the elder son had the greater gift, for he had everything! The father" said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me,and all that I have is thine !" Nothing less than this is the extremity of God's goodness to us!" Son, thou art ever with Me, and all that I have is thine!" As St. Paul thought of these things, and what God in His love and mercy had given us, he was so overcome that he could hardly dare speak his thanks. As he thought of the gift, it was so wondrously
great, that he did not attempt to name it in so many words; he only said this,-" Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift." That was enough. It was to him at that moment " an unspeakable gift." But we shall not do wrong to name that gift, for it is the corner-stone of our religion, and the altar of our Temple. What God gave us you will find named in the 3rd Chapter of St. John, and the well-known 16th verse: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son." There could be no greater gift than this! It is the richest gift that God Himself could give.
Then another of His great rich gifts is the gift of His Holy Spirit. In that gentle Spirit of Love He has given us a Sanctifier, a Comforter, a Peacemaker. "I will pray the Father," said Jesus," and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever."
But this is not all. Not only has He given us His only-begotten Son, and the Holy Spirit of Comfort, but also He has given us, as a gift, "the power of an endless life." That gift is named in the 1st Epistle of St. John, the
5th chapter and the 11th verse,-"God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son." Then another gift is "our daily bread; not only or chiefly the earthly bread, that feeds and nourishes our corruptible bodies, but the Bread of Holy Communion,-the bread of divine love. Jesus said, "My Father giveth you the True Bread from heaven *
I am that Bread of Life." Once more, God has given us a kingdom; an eternal home; a rest by-and-bye for the people of God. The gift is named in the 32nd verse of the 12th chapter of St. Luke. Jesus said, "Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." Such are some of the gifts; and God says to you, and the Church that speaks for Him in the world says to you, "May you see good days!"
"Good days in store" form the message of the gospel. The temple chant is always telling of better days to come. When the storm rages, and it is dark around us, the gospel whispers, "It won't always be dark; by-and-bye it will be light."
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