Page images

that I go away."

“ In my Father's house are many mansions : if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you: and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” “ Because I live, ye shall live also."

Thus did he with the most assiduous condescension, dispel the perplexity of their minds. Thus did he pierce the cloud of portentous obscurity which overshaded the mount of crucifixion, and through its parted gloom reveal to the eye of Faith the bright regions of immortal bliss.

Such were the consolations which our Saviour afforded his disciples in the hour of anguish. Yes, said he, with lips breathing comfort most tender and soothing". These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye

shall have tribulation : but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” “ Peace I leave with you--my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you." Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Thus, my Christian brethren, I have exhibited to you, though in a very imperfect manner, a most endearing trait of our Saviour's character, which shone forth so conspicuously on the night immediately preceding his crucifixion. You have seen pourtrayed the affectionate regard of Christ for his disciples in the cheering nature of the consolations which he afforded them. Mark, I pray you, these


things. “ Set

your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day: for it is not a vain thing for you, because it is your life.” This compassionate Saviour still lives.

" Ye have a great High Priest that is passed into the heavens-Jesus the Son of God." "He can be touched with the feeling of your infirmities : for he was in all points tempted like as ye are, yet without sin.” “ He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Never, then, let your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Never :-not under the pressure of your past guilt: “Christ hath

: redeemed you to God by his blood :"-not when beset with temptation : “he is able to succour them that are tempted :"-not when called to great trials of affliction : rejoice the rather, “inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy :"—not on the bed of death : he " became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross ;” that " he might destroy him that had the power of death;" that is, the devil; and deliver

; them, who, through fear of death; were all their life-time subject to bondage.” When you pass through the last scene of suffering, fear no evil.-“ The Lord shall be with you, his rod and his staff shall comfort you.” The hope of soon being with Christ, and of seeing him as he is, shall be to you

as an anchor to the soul, both sure and stedfast." " Never, then, let your heart be troubled, neither

[ocr errors]

let it be afraid ;" " for all things are yours: whether life or death, or things present or things to come: all are yours; and ye are Christ's ; and Christ is God's."

Such, my brethren, are the strong consolations which the Saviour now affords to all who put their trust in him. And does he afford them, as he once did, to fortify his disciples against insult and

persecution-against imprisonment and death ? Are they now necessary to cheer the heart of the Christian at midnight, in his dungeon, that he may sing praises 'to his God; to make serene the soul of the martyr, that, when stoned to death, he may calmly resign

, his spirit to Jesus, and pray for his very

murderers ? No, my brethren: "the lines have fallen to us in pleasant places ; we enjoy a goodly heritage.” Our religion has not now to dread the dungeon or the stake. The little Galilean band has become a mighty people. Christianity is honourable in the earth. Its present triumphs are astonishing. It has swayed momentous decisions, regarding its dearest interests, in the legislative halls of the most powerful European nation. “ Kings have become its nursing-fathers, and queens its nursing-mothers.”— The day is already dawning when Jesus shall take to himself his great power; "and the kingdom, and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom, under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High.”

Few and insignificant, then, my brethren, are your trials when compared with those of the 'Aposgraces in

[ocr errors]

tles. And yet you have consolations strong as their's. Who hath thus made you to differ ? Who is it that thus requires, as the test of your obedience, not that you should lay down your life for his sake, but that you cherish his

your hearts; that you adorn his doctrines by your life ; that you keep yourselves “ unspotted from the world;" that you act with faithful and zealous industry in dispensing the benefits of his Gospel to “ all who are ready to perish”-to your families, your friends, your neighbours, your country, and the world ? Who calls you to this delightful service ? Who promises you, as the reward of it," a crown of glory that fadeth not away ?” Who has provided for you, in all the trials and difficulties you may have to encounter, the most abundant consolation and support ? It is Jesus

? Christ-still the affectionate Saviour-still loving his own even unto the end To him, then, render the entire homage of your hearts. Let your obedience to his precepts, and your attachment to his cause, be the proof of your love and gratitude. So shall he guide you safely through the pilgrimage of this world, to the holy city above. There shall he "feed you, and shall lead you unto the living fountains of waters, and God shall wipe away all tears from your eyes."


COLOSs. iii. 23.

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as to the Lord,

and not unto men.

A VERY considerable restraint is imposed upon the conduct of men by a regard to their own safety and convenience in this world. Not a few feel within their breasts the ragings of lust, envy, avarice, ambition, malice, revenge, or rapine; and would delight to gratify these passions in their full scope, were they not deterred from it by the dread of losing property, reputation, or life. Some who are called by the world " very good and very honest men;" who are kind, industrious, benevolent, and honourable ; who pass gently through life, enjoying a full share of respect and confidence; even some of these are all the while playing a part-mere hypocrites, who fear not God, nor regard man, except so far as is agreeable to their own private interest. 3. Nay, my hearers ! this sad degeneracy of human nature does not stop here ; for it is found even among Christians : and the most pious are sometimes actuated by motives which they would blush


« PreviousContinue »