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John Percival

      The Rt. Rev. John Percival, D.D., Lord Bishop Of Hereford sometime headmaster of Rugby.

      This little group of Rugby Sermons is to be taken and read as being nothing more than a few stray chips from the workshop of a busy schoolmaster, brought together by a kindly publisher, and arranged as he thought best.

      They represent no body of continuous doctrine. In one case the subject may have been suggested by the season of the Christian year; in another it was the meeting or the parting at the beginning or the end of a term that suggested it; or more frequently some incident in the school life of the moment.

      Such, indeed, almost inevitably is the teaching of a schoolmaster, engrossed in the training of the boys committed to his charge and growing under his hand towards the destiny of their endless life.

      To those boys, and to the masters, my p. vicolleagues, and to other fellow-labourers—some gone to their rest, some still doing their appointed work—I dedicate this brief reminder of our common life in days of happy fellowship.

      J. HEREFORD.
      July 1905.

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SermonA NEW HEART
      "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you."--EZEKIEL xxxvi. 26. In the beautiful and suggestive dream of Solomon, which is recorded in the third chapter of the First Book of Kings, God appears to him, saying, "Ask what I shall give thee"; and Solomon's answer is, "O Lord, I am but a child set over this great peopl ...read
SermonAN UNANSWERABLE QUESTION
      "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one."--JOB xiv. 4. This is one of those simple questions which, by their very simplicity and directness, set us thinking about the importance of our personal life. "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?" But all our common life is somehow the outcome of our separate individual lives ...read
SermonGOD'S CURSE ON SIN
      "Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord God. Repent and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin."--EZEKIEL xviii. 30. These words of Ezekiel may be understood as expressing in the prophet's language what the Book of Deuteronomy expresses in such denu ...read
SermonHE THAT OVERCOMETH
      "He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My son."--REVELATION xxi. 7. Year by year as at this time, when the week of our Saviour's Passion and Death is just in front of us, and the shadow of His Cross is falling over us, one generation after another of the boys of this school gather here, and in the fa ...read
SermonMEMBERS ONE OF ANOTHER
      "So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another."--ROMANS xii. 5. There are some moral and spiritual truths which it seems to be almost impossible to impress upon the practical life of the world, although they meet with a sort of universal acceptance. Men agree with them, they re-echo them, they applaud them; ...read
SermonPRIVATE PRAYER, AND PUBLIC WORSHIP
      "And, as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day."--ST. LUKE iv. 16. "He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there He prayed."--ST. MARK i. 35. These two texts set before us our Saviour's habit in regard to public and private spiritual exercise; and they suggest to us the question, What have we, on our part ...read
SermonRELIGIOUS PATRIOTISM
      "Jerusalem is built as a city that is at unity in itself. . . . O pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls, and plenteousness within thy palaces. For my brethren and companions' sakes I will wish thee prosperity. Yea, because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek to do thee good."--PSALM c ...read
SermonSANCTIFIED FOR SERVICE
      "We are labourers together with God; ye are God's husbandry; ye are God's building."--1 COR. iii. 9. In this passage St. Paul is rebuking the Corinthians for that spirit of party which was dividing them into followers of this or that teacher and so destroying their unity in Christ. You do not belong, he says, to Paul or to Apollos; 'we' have no ...read
SermonSOWING BESIDE ALL WATERS
      "Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters."--ISAIAH xxxii. 20. These words form part of a great prophetic vision. The prophet is standing among his countrymen like a watchman on the walls of Jerusalem. And far away, as he looks, the distant horizon of his stormy sky is bright with Messianic hopes, but around him the shadows lie dark and heavy. ...read
SermonSPIRITUAL BLINDNESS
      "As it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear."--ROMANS xi. 8. "Blindness in part is happened to Israel."--ROMANS xi. 25. It is a sad and painful reflection, and one which is continually forced upon us as we read the New Testament, that the long training and pre ...read
SermonSPIRITUAL POWER
      "And behold I send 'the promise of My Father upon you'; but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye be 'endued with power from on high'."--ST. LUKE xxiv. 49. "Ye shall receive 'power', after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you."--ACTS i. 8. To-day we are celebrating the last of the series of historical festivals which mark the springtime ...read
SermonTHE BREVITY OF LIFE
      "I must work the works of Him that sent Me, while it is day: the night cometh."--ST. JOHN ix. 4. There are few things more commonly disregarded by us in our early years than the brevity of our life through all its successive stages, and the fleeting nature of its opportunities. In childhood we are almost entirely unconscious of both these cha ...read
SermonTHE CHILD IN THE MIDST
      "And He took a child and set Him in the midst of them: and when He had taken him in His arms, He said unto them, Whosoever shall receive one of such children in My name, receiveth Me: and whosoever shall receive Me, receiveth not Me, but Him that sent Me."--ST. MARK ix. 36, 37. It is one of the characteristics of our time, one of its most hopefu ...read
SermonTHE CONFLICT WITH EVIL
      "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."--ST. MATTHEW vi. 13. It is good for us sometimes to stand still for a moment and consider our use of very familiar words. And this petition may appropriately illustrate our need of such an exercise. It is on your lips every day. Every Sunday you offer it you hardly know how many tim ...read
SermonTHE INFLUENCE OF TRADITION
      "Making the word of God of none effect through your traditions: and many such like things ye do."--ST. MARK vii. 13. Such was our Lord's word to the Pharisees; and if we turn to our own life it is difficult if not impossible for us fully to estimate the influence which traditions exercise upon it. They are so woven into the web of thought and ...read
SermonTHE LENTEN FAST
      "This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer."--ST. MARK ix. 29. You remember the narrative from which I have taken this verse. Jesus, as we read, had just come down from the Mount of Transfiguration, and when He was come to the multitude, a certain man besought him saying, "Have mercy on my son, for he is lunatic and sore vexed, and I br ...read
SermonTHE PRESENCE OF GOD
      "And Jacob awakened out of his sleep and said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not."--GENESIS xxviii. 16. These words indicate the beginning of a new life in the patriarch Jacob. They tell us of the moment when, as it would appear, his soul awoke in him. And they surprise us in some degree, as such awakenings of spiritual capacit ...read
SermonTHE SOWER AND THE SEED
      "A sower went out to sow his seed."--ST. LUKE viii. 5. It is significant that the first of the Saviour's parables is the parable of the sower, that the first thing to which He likens His own work is that of the sower of seed, the first lesson He has to impress upon us by any kind of comparison is that the word of God is a seed sown in our hearts ...read
SermonVAIN HOPES
      "And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. But he said, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead."--ST. LUKE xvi. 30, 31. It is by no means uncommon for any one who is living a life which does not satisfy his own conscience to console ...read
SermonWHAT DOEST THOU HERE?
      "And, behold, the word of the Lord came unto him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?"--1 KINGS xix. 9. There is a sound of rebuke in these words. They seem to imply that the lonely mountain of Horeb was not the place in which God expected to find such a servant as Elijah, and that there should be no indefinite tarrying, no linge ...read

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