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satisfied with these little things; and so we see mere men of the world, even with everything life can give, secretly unhappy, unsatisfied, restless, and this more and more as life goes on. For the world's first portion is her best ; her first cup is the sweetest, and it is soon drunk to the very dregs. They are that of which the caged eagle is the symbol-weary of the very mightiness of its wings, and dashing them fruitlessly against the bars which shut it in. They have shut up themselves in these mere outward things; and because they would not soar to God, their strength becomes their torment.-BISHOP WILBERFORCE.
MARCH 3. Oh that I had wings like a dove, for then I wonld flee away,
and be at rest.-Psalm lv. 6. What can be more separated by leagues and æons of outward circumstances and inward sentiments than is the life of the hermit's from our own ? What more unlike their loneliness than the dashing waves of this sea of men ? What more removed from their calm than the feverish throbbing of the world's great beating heart? What more unlike their utter indifference to temporal interests and earthly cares than all that we see and hear of around us ?
. . What have we, who have our part in such life in this, what have we in common with the "sainted eremites"? Was not their life with its
errors, no less than with its noblenesses, the dream of a bygone age; an ideal which we condemn as mistaken; a torch which has long since smouldered out? .... But let me only remind you that one of the noblest characters in the Old Testament, as well as one of the noblest in the New, was nothing more nor less than a hermit; in the Old, Elijah, the rough, wild, half-Arab prophet who shattered the monstrous idols of Jezebel ; in the New, John the Baptist, over whom the lips of his Saviour pronounced the unequalled eulogy,“ Among them that are born of women, there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist.” We cannot imitate the outer life of the hermits; it is not necessary or desirable that we should; but we can learn their strong horror of sin; their noble struggle for righteousness; their entire simplicity of character; their utter aloofness from the mean and greedy scramble of the world; the sincerity with which they cultivated the duty of mutual forbearance, and their intense conviction that the life is more than meat, and the body than raiment.-FARRAR.
The lion's gory mane,
Who follows in their train ? It was by faith that Ignatius faced the lions; by faith that Polycarp stood unflinching in the flame; by faith Antony lived his twenty years in his moun
tain cell; by faith Benedict rolled his naked body among the thorns to subdue the lusts of the flesh; by faith Fra Angelico despised the honours of the world; by faith Francis reproduced on the Umbrian hills the life of Christ; by faith St. Columban faced the fierce tyranny of Burgundean kings; by faith St. Boniface hewed down the idol oak, ... And even so, by faith, God helping us, we too, may learn from the martyrs that better is fearful death than shamed life; from the hermits, that the life is more than meat; from the monks, the sacredness of poverty, chastity, and obedience; from the early Franciscans, contempt of gold; from the missionaries, devotion to God's other sheep which are not of this flock. All these died in the faith, having received the promises, in part on earth, and seen them afar off in heaven. Let us with them follow our common Lord. All these lessons have come down as an heritage to age after age of mission workers. The day for missions is not past, nor ever will be till the kingdoms of the world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ.–FARRAR.
Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and
righteousness.-PP.OVERBS viii. 18. While the praises of this heavenly wisdom are painted in such fair colours—while its worth is set far above rubies and crystal, the gold of Ophir and the topaz of Ethiopia, it is both in the Proverbs and
other parts of Scripture united constantly with knowledge. Solomon said unto God, "Give me now wisdom and knowledge,” and God said unto Solomon, “Wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee. They are not mere synonyms. Knowledge may come when wisdom lingers; and, on the other hand, wisdom may exist in rich and divine abundance when knowledge is scanty and superficial. And it is clear that in Scripture, wisdom is the loftier and more sacred of the two. . . . Wisdom is the principal thing, therefore get wisdom. But what is wisdom? In that most magnificent outburst of Semitic poetry, the twenty-second chapter of Job, after pointing out that there is such a thing as a high and noble natural knowledge, the Patriarch asks, “But where shall wisdom be found, and where is the place of understanding ?” and after showing with marvellous power that it is beyond man's unaided search-that the depths and the sea say, "It is not in me," and Destruction and Death have but heard the name thereof with their ears,—then he adds, as with one great thunder-crash of concluding music, “God understandeth the way thereof, and He knoweth the place thereof." And unto man He said, “Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.”—FARRAR.
When Israel was yet a child God loved him, and out of Egypt He
called His son.-HOSEA xi, 1. In the Old Testament we see that son grow up to life. Many were the sins, the follies, the apostasies of his life. Can you point me to one folly which was not visited with its natural consequences; to one pleasant vice which did not become its own punishment; to one sin which was not lashed with its own appropriate scourge? Then came the ruinous and crushing humiliation of the Babylonish captivity. A remnant, which they themselves compared but to the chaff of the wheat, returned; and of the old temptation, the temptation to a sensual idolatry, they were cured for ever. But they were not saved from other sins. Keeping the form of their religion, they lost its spirit; from a living truth they suffered it to degenerate into a meaningless ritual, into a dead formula, into a hypocritical sham. They had for centuries been hoping, dreaming, talking of a Messiah, and their Messiah came; and how did they receive Him? They received Him with yells of “ Crucify!” And then, in Scripture, at the Cross which consummated their iniquity, the story of their nation ends. But history, which proves the responsibility of nations, -history adds its chapter to the Sacred Book. It shows how soon the wings of every vulture flapped heavily over the corpse of a nation that had fallen into moral death. Some of those who had shared