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jured, and destroyed, what would it produce, or cause to grow in all minds ? Righteousness. Who is he that checks and destroys its growth? The Devil. When he takes advantage of the idleness and carelessness of people, what does he sow in their minds? His tares. What do you understand by them? Bad thoughts and wishes.
Teacher. When these bad thoughts and wishes are not resisted they lead to bad actions, and at last such persons become the slaves and subjects of that wicked spirit. They are then the tares which God allows to grow together with the wheat, until the time of harvest; and thus, good and bad people are found often in the same family. God makes use of bad people sometimes, to make the good still better ;-to increase their hatred of sin ;—their forbearance, and forgiveness of injuries.
Questions. When bad thoughts and wishes are not resisted, what do they lead to ? Bad actions. And to whom do those persons become slaves and subjects? To the Devil. What does your Saviour compare them to? To tares.
Teacher. Offences will come, our Saviour tells us, but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh.
Therefore although God Almighty makes use of bad people to better others, his hatred of sin remains the same, and every wicked person will be as much punished, for his or her wickedness, as if no such good had arisen from it. When the Son of God shall send forth his angels, they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend ;-that is, all who act contrary to God's commandments, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire ;—there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Questions. What does your Saviour say must come ? Offences. And to whom does he say, that woe must come ? To that man by whom the offence cometh, How does God sometimes make use of bad people? To make others better. But, is his hatred of sin, the less for that? No. Will not their wickedness be punished as much as if no such good had taken place? Yes. When the Son of God shall send forth His holy angels, what will they then gather out of his kingdom? All things which offend. And where are those offenders to be cast ? Into a furnace of fire.
Teacher. Now, although the end of the world, when this separation is to take place, may appear to you as a thing very distant, pray remember, that the day
of death may be near to any of you.—Not a day passes but we hear or read of the young being consigned to their graves as well as the old and infirm. In whatever state of religious feeling you die, in the same state, you will be called to judgment Take heed therefore, whilst you have still the power of becoming the good wheat fit to be gathered into the garner.
The Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany.
ST. MATTHEW, xxiv. 23.
“Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not, for there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders ; insomuch that (if it were possible) they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before.”
Teacher. The verses you have now been repeating, relate to the destruction of the city of Jerusalem by the Romans, which took place about forty years after the crucifixion of your Saviour. His disciples having called their Lord's attention to the beautiful building of the temple, (See, said they, what manner of stones and what building are here !) he uses his power of foretelling future
events, and informs them that there shall not be left one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down.
Questions. What do the verses you have been repeating, relate to ? To the destruction of Jerusalem. When did that happen? In about forty years after the crucifixion of our Saviour. To what did the disciples call our Lord's attention? To the beautiful building of the temple. What did they say ? See what manner of stones, and what buildings are here. Did your Saviour foretel what would happen to the beautiful buildings ? Yes. How did he say it would fare with them ? There shall not be left one stone upon another.
Teacher. Upon his disciples desiring to be informed when these things which he foretold, would come to pass, he bids them recollect what he had told them on some former occasion, and gave them a particular caution, to beware of false prophets. The event soon proved that this was a necessary as well as an affectionate warning.–False Christs, and false prophets soon appeared.
Questions. What did the disciples desire to be informed of? When these things would come to pass. And
what did he bid them do? To recollect what he had told them on some former occasion. Of whom did he bid them beware ; Of false prophets. Did this soon prove to be a necessary, as well as an affectionate caution ? Yes.
Teacher. In about a year after your Saviour's crucifixion, Simon Magus pretended to be some great one; and even to have the power of God. After him many other false prophets arose, who pursuaded multitudes to follow them from Jerusalem into the deserts, pretending that they could show great signs and wonders. The minds of men were at that time led to expect to see wonders performed, from the miracles of your Saviour; but these deluded people could not be Christians, and must have been like the Jews of the present day, vainly looking for another Saviour. These false prophets misled the people during the destruction of Jerusalem, and prevailed on many who might have escaped the dreadful fire then raging, to stay in the Temple, “in the secret chambers.”
Questions. Who appeared in about a year after your Saviour's crucifixion, and pretended to be some great one? Simon Magus. Where did the false prophets induce the multitude to follow them? Into