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enter into the kingdom of God. And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God, for with God all things are possible." This is the very real scripture of the passage, as applied to you. What hindered the young man in the story from taking up his cross was his riches; what hinders you, so at least we hear it sometimes said, is your being young and being at school. This is the excuse urged, the extreme difficulty of making the sacrifice required in your actual circumstances, just as the young man found it so difficult in his actual circumstances to sell all that he had. His cross was surely not lighter than ours, but much heavier, but he could not take up, and he went away grieved, much grieved that he could not be good easily; that the two things which he loved, his duty and his comfort, and which had long been united, were now divided; both he could have no longer, yet it grieved him to part with either. He went away grieving; and surely with a far deeper grief did our merciful Lord look after him as he went away, and see him whom He had loved, him whom He had hoped to love always, now turning to destruction. But did He call after him and say, "Turn back, thou young man, for I love thee still, and if thou wilt not follow me taking up thy cross, follow me without
it, when thou wilt and where thou wilt, and no farther." Alas! nothing of the kind. His own way led to Calvary, thither His Father's will called Him. He was to bear the cross for us all, not figuratively, but literally. Thither He must go, and thither must those follow Him who would be with Him for ever. Wherefore He looked round about on those who still remained with Him, and said, "How hardly shall they that have riches"— they that are young and at school," He says to those to whom that is their difficulty," how hardly shall they enter into the kingdom of God!" His disciples were astonished at His words, and they are often astonished still; nay, they say, "Youth surely is an excuse, the young cannot serve Him fully." But He says again, “And therefore it is easier, if this be so, for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a young man to enter into the kingdom of God." astonishment beyond measure, saved?" But He answers, "With men it is impossible, but not with God, for with God all things are possible." Yes, if that rich man had not turned away from Christ, but had run up closer to Him, and had thrown Himself at His feet crying out and saying with tears, "Lord I will follow thee; help me to follow thee whithersoever thou goest," then surely his gracious Saviour would have beheld him and loved him far more
Then say we in "Who then can be
than at first, and would have given him the strength which he needed, and that which was so hard would have been done, and the rich man. would have entered into the kingdom of God. The application lies at the door. You have heard Christ's call, to take up your cross and follow Him, to serve Him always in all things, in small and great, in thought, word, and deed, there most carefully where it costs you most pain to do it. But do not go away grieving, because you are young, and because you are at a place where temptations are many, and faithful steady service of Christ will cost you many a sacrifice. Turn not from Him, but to Him much rather, with earnest prayer that He who bore His most painful cross for you, will enable you to bear your light one for His love; that He will help you daily, as your trial will come daily; that His strength may be made perfect in your weakness. And then, though the thing be harder than that a camel should pass through a needle's eye, yet shall it be done. The young and they that are at school, with all their carelessnesses, with all their difficulties from without as well as from within, they shall enter into the kingdom of God, for so some have entered, and so shall some enter again, and so may all enter who do not turn away from their cross, but ask Christ's grace to help them to bear it.
February 13, 1842.
GALATIANS, iii. 1.
O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
IF, on the one hand, it be a rule of common sense that we should not speak a language which our hearers do not understand, yet it is a rule of common sense no less, that, in speaking to a mixed body of hearers, we should not omit what is useful to those who can and will understand, because of those who cannot, chiefly because they will not. Nay, farther, if the want of understanding be no fault, yet unless it is accompanied with an earnest wish to understand, and is therefore as it were calling out for help, it is entitled to less consideration than the state of those who, having learned
something, are able and willing to learn something more. I do not think it wrong, therefore, sometimes to choose a subject for my sermon which I know that the very careless and the very ignorant will learn nothing from, if it be of a sort such as to be useful to those who are not careless and ignorant. To try to preach always for the lowest portion of our congregation, is a practice commended neither by reason nor by the highest example; it is a practice from which our more advanced hearers would lose far more certainly than our most ignorant ones would gain.
And when the Scriptures, ordered by authority to be read in the church, are themselves hard to be understood, are we to leave them altogether untouched, so that they will perhaps edify no one, or shall we not try so to explain them, as that many of our hearers may find in them a living word of truth, though to some they may still say nothing? The Epistle to the Galatians is ordered to be read over in the service of the church three times a-year. Shall we always allow it to be read unexplained, because it is possible, or, if you will, even certain, that our attempts to explain it will be to many uninteresting, and therefore for the most part unintelligible? I do not think that we ought at any time so to neglect it.
But if not generally, much less should we neglect it now, when the truths which it teaches are