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The Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Trinity.
by the Rev. Prebendary Melville Scott, D.D.
from The Harmony of the Collects, Epistles, and Gospels.
A Devotional Exposition of the Continuous Teaching of the Church Throughout the Year,
S.P.C.K., London, 1902.
WITH this Sunday ends the long series of the Sundays after Trinity, for though next Sunday is within the Trinity Season, it is, and has always been regarded as, the Sunday before Advent.  Thus the Trinity Series is divisible into its halves of twelve, the first dealing with Christian motives, the second with the Christian character.  That character has now passed in review before us Sunday by Sunday. We have seen its internal graces and their manifestation in active service.  We have seen its culmination in perseverance and heavenly-mindedness; we are now to gaze upon the final scene, to which all that has gone before is the long preparation—the final deliverance from guilt and sinfulness in the inheritance of the Saints in light.

It is to be noticed that, as in the case of that for the Nineteenth Sunday, the Epistle has received considerable additions, one verse being added at the close and no less than six verses at the beginning.  The ancient Epistle possessed only three verses, but these three sound the keynote of the Sunday, and contain a prayer of S. Paul for the final perfection of the Saints at Colossae.  This prayer should be compared with that of the Epistle for the Twenty-second Sunday for the perseverance of the Saints.  The Epistle may be divided as follows :—

     A.   A Thanksgiving for Past Progress.

S. Paul has heard good tidings of the Colossians.  They were evidently showing the three great marks of the Christian character which correspond to the three necessary relations of life, which have to do with God, man, and ourselves.  In relation to God they possessed “faith in Christ Jesus,” in relation to men they showed " love toward all the Saints,” while in relation to them-selves they were conscious of “the hope laid up for them in the heavens.”

Thus their progress had been continuous, as had been that of all other Churches, and was due everywhere to the Gospel in its two aspects of truth and grace, giving them both a new standard of life and power to attain it.

     B.   A Prayer for Future Perfection.

This their past progress was to be the foundation for yet greater attainments in the future, and what he has heard only stirs up S. Paul to more earnest prayers on their behalf.  He prays for such progress as may know no limit whatever, for five times over he repeats the comprehensive all. Absolute perfection, though never attainable, is always to be before us as the goal and aim of our effort, and that in three directions—

     (1)   In Knowledge.
We must seek knowledge with a view to obedience—” the know. ledge of His Will”: a knowledge so digested as to become wisdom in the mind and understanding in its practical application to conduct.

     (2)   In Holiness.
We are to desire such a holiness as shall be worthy of our Lord, of the motives of His love, and the perfection of His example: such holiness as shall both be pleasing to God and shall produce every sort of good fruit towards men.

     (3)   In Strength.
We are to long to receive strength proportioned to the glorious power of its Giver, and especially such strength as is needed for cheerful endurance in the duties and trials of the Christian life.
There is thus to be no limit to the attainments in knowledge, holiness, and strength, which are open to us, and which it is our duty to secure.


The Sarum Gospel, omitting the second miracle, abruptly ends with the words, “made whole from that hour,” in which the great lesson of the day is concentrated. It is a marked feature of the ancient Epistles and Gospels that they only record so much as bears on the theme of the Sunday, and the object of the present Sunday is not to record miracles but to teach the lesson of spiritual deliverance by the power of Christ. Christ’s power can deliver :—

     A.   From the Disease of Sin.

This poor woman, after twelve years of suffering and conscious uncleanness, came to Christ polluted, exhausted, disappointed, impoverished, and altogether hopeless. Such are the ravages of sin.

We learn from her example how to approach Christ in faith and humility, and that no touch of faith, however hesitating, will escape His observation.  No case, however desperate and long continued, is past His power to heal. But there must on our side be the touch of faith, a personal contact with the personal Lord of health, a contact hindered by no sense of inward guilt and impurity, and by no crowd of worldly impediments. We must touch the Saviour if His Salvation is to be ours, in our daily prayers and in His Holy Word and Sacraments, when our hearts are dead, when sin tempts and evil thoughts arise, in the midst of daily duties and employments, and we shall never touch Him in vain.

     B.   From the Death of Sin.

Sin is disease, and, like disease, tends to death, but from this also Christ can deliver us.  He delivers—

     (1)   By Encouraging Faith.
Jairus had faith, as shown by his humble access and earnest prayer.  Christ so acted by performing a miracle on the way as to increase and confirm his faith.  All Christ’s dealings with us in our lives’ history have this as their object.

     (2)   By the Touch of Power.
Men may scoff, but their scorn only helps the truth by showing that if death be real, yet more real must be the power that can conquer death.  Christ’s power, manifested in the silent chamber, is now manifested in the secret chamber of the heart, and one day in the silence of the tomb.

This miracle is the converse of the last, which taught that deliverance must come through our touch of Christ, for here it was Christ’s touch that aroused one who could not touch Him.  To touch and be touched by Christ is the secret of deliverance.


In this most appropriate Collect we pray for entire deliverance, and, therefore, for a twofold deliverance.

     A.   From the Guilt of Sin.

To be absolved from our offences means to be absolved from the guilt which our offences have brought upon us.  We desire that conscience should be unburdened of the debt of unforgiven sin. We long to hear the voice which said, “Daughter, be of good comfort.”

     B.   From the Power of Sin.

We pray not only to be relieved from guilt, but from the power of those special sins which, committed through frailty, hold us bound by the bands of evil habits, so that we cannot do the things that we would.  Absolution from guilt is impossible, unless we desire also to be free from the dominion of sin.  There can be no holiness that does not spring from pardon, and no pardon that does not lead to holiness.