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SERMON V.

ST. JOHN.

ST. JOHN xxi. 23, 24.

Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that

that disciple should not die : yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true.

I am come now to the last of the Evangelists: the last, both with respect to the position which his work occupies in the Canon of the New Testament, the period at which it was written, and the death of the writer. The personal history of St. John himself affords a singular proof of the truth of that which he has recorded respecting others, and more particularly his Divine Master. The text, you will perceive, contains a pro

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This, then, is the man whose praise is described by his illustrious friend and fellow-labourer, St. Paul, as being sounded through all the Churches at that early period of Christianity; and not that only,

but who was also chosen of the Churches “ to travel with him with that grace which

was administered by him to the glory of • the Lord.”

From thence has the name of St. Luke been handed down to posterity through successive ages : but let us not forget that his highest praise will be found in the lives of those who profess to believe his Gospel. The object for which Evangelists and Apostles wrote and travelled, and devoted themselves to martyrdom, was to improve mankind in virtue and holiness, to save their

rendered themselves to the new faith, were men rendered competent to the task by previous habits : Mark, of the tribe of Levi, and of a sacerdotal family *, and Luke, a physician, who had cultivated science in the schools of Antioch. The disciples, who conversed with their Divine Master, obeyed the irresistible perceptions of their natural

senses.

Hieron. Præf. in Marcum, Vol. ix.

souls;

but our own earnest and sincere cooperation is necessary to the attainment of that blessed end. The vineyard is given to us to cultivate, but the Lord of the vineyard expects fruit. Those who have not now to be converted to the belief of Christianity may

still have need to be converted to the practice of its precepts, may still have need to be reclaimed from those vices which disgrace the doctrine they profess, and to be conducted into an upright and holy course of life. Let all such consider the perilous state in which they stand. Their conscience must inform them, more particularly in solitude and silence, that they derive no real comfort from those practices which God has forbidden : but they calculate upon the only thing which is denied to them, for the reformation of their lives: they have the assurance of God's grace to aid them, if they will begin the work now ; but they have no assurance that any future time will be allowed them, at which they may commence, as it were at leisure, the healing of those spiritual maladies which are preying upon, and will, if not eradicated, finally destroy, the

soul. Let us fervently address God in the words of the collect appropriated to that day on which our Church celebrates or commemorates the merits of this Evangelist :

Almighty God, who calledst Luke the physician, whose praise is in the Gospel, to be an evangelist and physician of the

soul, may it please thee, that by the “ wholesome medicines of the doctrine de

livered by him all the diseases of our “ souls may be healed, through the merits “ of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.”

SERMON V.

ST. JOHN.

St. John xxi. 23, 24.

Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that

that disciple should not die : yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true.

I am come now to the last of the Evangelists: the last, both with respect to the position which his work occupies in the Canon of the New Testament, the period at which it was written, and the death of the writer. The personal history of St. John himself affords a singular proof of the truth of that which he has recorded respecting others, and more particularly his Divine Master. The text, you will perceive, contains a pro

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