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thirst for The higher Life ; who are discontented with themselves, ashamed of themselves; who are tormented by longings which they cannot satisfy, instincts which they cannot analyse, powers which they cannot employ, duties which they cannot perform, doctrinal confusions which they cannot unravel; who would welcome any change, even the most tremendous, which would make them nobler, purer, juster, more loving, more useful, more clear-headed and soundminded ; and when they think of death say with the poet,

“ 'Tis life, not death, for which I pant,
'Tis life, whereof my nerves are scant,
More life, and fuller, that I want.'

To them I say—for God has said it long ago— Be of good cheer. The calling and gifts of God are without repentance. If you have the divine thirst, it will be surely satisfied. If you long to be better men and women, better men and women you will surely be. Only be true to those higher instincts-only do not learn to despise and quench that divine thirst; only

struggle on, in spite of mistakes, of failures, even of sins—for every one of which last your heavenly Father will chastise you, even while he forgives : in spite of all falls, struggle on. Blessed are you that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for you shall be filled. To you -and not in vain— the Spirit and the Bride 'say, Come. And let him that heareth say,

Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him drink of the water of life freely



(Preached at Whitehall for St. George's Hospital.)

St. MATTHEW ix. 35. And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching

in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.

THE Gospels speak of disease and death in

a very simple and human tone. They regard them in theory, as all are forced to regard them in fact, as sore and sad evils.

The Gospels never speak of disease or death as necessities ; never as the will of God. It is Satan, not God, who binds the woman with a spirit of infirmity. It is not the will of our Father in heaven that one little one should perish. Indeed we do not sufficiently appreciate the abhorrence with which the whole of Scripture speaks of disease and death : because we are in the habit of interpreting many texts which speak of the disease and death of the body in this life as if they referred to the punishment and death of the soul in the world to come. We have a perfect right to do that; for Scripture tells us that there is a mysterious analogy and likeness between the life of the body and that of the soul, and therefore between the death of the body and that of the soul : but we must not forget, in the secondary and higher spiritual interpretation of such texts, their primary and physical meaning, which is this that disease and death are uniformly throughout Scripture held up to the abhorrence of man.

Moreover-and this is noteworthy—the Gospels, and indeed all Scripture, very seldom palliate the misery of disease, by drawing from it those moral lessons which we ourselves do. I say very seldom. The Bible does so here and there, to tell us that we may do so likewise. And we may thank God heartily that the Bible does so. It would be a miserable world, if all that the clergyman or the friend might say by the sick bed were, 'This is an inevitable evil, like

hail and thunder. You must bear it if you *can: and if not, then not. A miserable world, if he could not say with full belief, ““ My son,

despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, 'nor faint when thou art rebuked of him. For ' whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and 'scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” • Thou knowest not now why thou art * afflicted; perhaps thou wilt never know ‘in this life. But a day will come when 'thou wilt know: when thou wilt find that 'this sickness came to thee at the exact right ' time, in the exact right way; when thou

wilt find that God has been keeping thee ‘in the secret place of his presence from the

provoking of men, and hiding thee privately ' in his tabernacle from the spite of tongues ; 'when thou wilt discover that thou hast been · learning precious lessons for thy immortal 'spirit, while thou didst seem to thyself merely

tossing with clouded intellect on a bed of use' less pain ; when thou wilt find that God was * nearest to thee, at the very moment when he seemed to have left thee most utterly.'

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