gence, with the observance of every scruple ; people may attend church every day in Lent, and fast six times in the week, and deny them-selves the joys of life ; and yet it may all profit them nothing. It is very likely, by reason of this warning, that the chapter on charity was chosen to be read, as we have read it to-day, upon the threshold of Lent. It calls our attention to the fact that the helpfulness of Lent de-pends wholly upon the spirit in which it is kept. The outward act, though it be one of the extremest self-denial and devotion, is in-terpreted to God by the motive which is be-134 THE YEAR OF GRACE hind it. To take the instance which is used by St. Paul, people have actually suffered mar-tyrdom. They have been burned at the stake, and yet have been disapproved by God. All their pain has profited them nothing.