صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

are truths which are received by the believing sinner with joyful satisfaction. The sin which led Eve to listen to the serpent, and to take the forbidden fruit, is found in us: the sin which crucified the Lord of life and glory, attaches itself to our body; it is the polluted instrument which acts against God, by which our souls have meditated evil, our tongues used deceit, our feet followed mischief, our eyes feasted on vanity, our hands wrought wickedness, and our bodies have been defiled with their own sins and the sin of our souls. And oh my friends, on becoming savingly acquainted with these truths, how thankful will you feel in being assured, that at the end of your days here, the Redeemer will take your spirit to himself, and plant the natural body in the ground, as the seed which shall be raised incorruptible and glorious, then to partake of his own immortality through the ever revolving ages of eternal joy, and praise, and blessedness. Such is the unfailing promise, "Because I live, ye shall live also."

The dissolution of the body is desirable, for, in its present condition, it cannot see God. Here, by reason of sin, we cannot serve God perfectly : the happiest moments I have ever known below were, in serving him with you; but to serve him in heaven is happier. By reason of the weight and burden of the sin which attaches itself to our mortal body, how welcome is the day of liberty, the moment when the imprisoned soul ascends to its eternal rest! Even here, there is "joy and peace in believing;" but to be delivered from sin is its completion and perfection. "To depart, and to be with Christ, is far better." The con

sideration of the dissolution of the body, and its resurrection, is delightful to the Christian: he longs for heaven; and "flesh and blood cannot enter the kingdom" above; death and life, ruin and perfection, sin and holiness, cannot harmonize: hence, how grateful, how welcome are these doctrines !

Our bodies are dear to us, "for what man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourished and cherished it?" Do we not love our bodies? are we not grieved when our limbs are injured, and when they are overtaken with pain? nay, the Lord himself does not hate the bodies of his servants, for he redeems them from their pollution, he loves the vessels of mercy, and separates the body from the soul for a season, in order to cleanse it from its defilement, and fit it for the paradise above. In this precious belief, "Joseph gave commandment concerning his bones ;" and we which have the first-fruits of the Spiritgroan within ourselves, waiting for the redemption of our body."


The worldly man has no conception of the joy which this blessed text brings to the heart of the Christian : 66 Though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God." The faithful servant shall behold his Lord in the palaces of eternal glory! the grateful captive shall see his gracious Deliverer! the church of Jesus shall behold the Bridegroom! "For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality."

IV.-Let me invite your attention to the soundness of Divine knowledge: "I know that my

Redeemer liveth." How different is this knowledge to that which, whilst it takes the name of wisdom, is the most dangerous ignorance, which, the apostle saith, "puffeth up," and elevates human pride.

This best of all knowledge rests on the promise of grace and mercy in Jesus Christ, applied to the sinner's heart by the Holy Spirit, and confirmed by corresponding effects: hence the true Christian can say with deep humility and gratitude, "I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand in the latter day upon the earth; and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God." It was his omnipotent voice which awakened my soul from spiritual death, to a sense of my sin and danger by nature: he instructed me to take refuge in the gospel, from the curse of the law which was suspended over me; and “I know that my Redeemer liveth."

In contemplating this beautiful passage of holy writ, and describing the excellency of the knowledge of which I am now speaking, why should I hesitate, on this solemn occasion, to affirm to you, my friends, that all I knew of happiness below, and the bliss of heaven, is comprehended in the knowledge of my Divine Redeemer ! I know that he liveth, by the goodness which I have experienced from him since being called into his happy service, and adopted into his family. My departures from him in thought, even when employed in my first duties, and in the enjoyment of my happiest and dearest privileges, have ever been followed by pardoning mercy, and the

application of his precious blood to my conscience. In my long-continued labours with you, which afforded me so much satisfaction, how sincerely have I mourned before Him in secret, the imperfections which stained those performances; but they were all forgiven, and "I know in whom I have believed."

My knowledge of my Redeemer has also been confirmed, when he taught me to care for you. Sinner as I was, the Lord instructed me to pray, not only for myself, but for others. Selfish and unkind as my nature was, there were instances in which the knowledge of him led me to serve others: hence I address you from my own experience of the religion which is devoutly excellent, and assure you that it is not "a cunningly devised fable."

This knowledge, which in me is now perfected, was imparted by the Spirit of God and his word, and confirmed in time by many years of experience. It is clear and satisfactory to the conscience, for the knowledge of God in Jesus Christ is Divine illumination, as it is written, "In thy light we see light."

The believer, when accustomed to behold by faith "the King in his beauty," does not find his attention constantly diverted by the follies which delude the world. When the knowledge of Jesus Christ, in all his glorious attributes, and in his mediatorial character and offices, is possessed, what more can the soul desire? In its best moments, nothing; for it is satisfied.

Being delivered by the Redeemer from his former tyrant, Satan, he enjoys glorious liberty:

love binds him to his heavenly Master, and with the heart he will not obey another, for “ ye cannot serve God and mammon." With heaven before him, and "Jesus in the midst of the throne," what on earth can charm him, what delusion seduce his heart? Such, my friends, is the soundness of Divine knowledge, and it is confirmed by such effects as I have described, in those who possess it.

The Christian has much to contend against, much to conquer-ignorance, unbelief, hardness of heart, yea, 66 a body of sin and death:" and nothing but the knowledge of Jesus Christ and him crucified, is able to produce one good thought, or to overcome an evil one. rupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit."

"A cor

And now, my friends, I speak to you under very different circumstances to those in which I ever addressed you before; now I know by sight the reality of the truth, which I have so long been accustomed to express to you by faith. At the close of former discourses prepared for you, I have often said to this effect," What improvement shall we make of these truths?" but my day of improvement in the world of time is expired, and you alone are called upon to embrace that benefit. I am become an inhabitant of eternity, with my ever-living Redeemer; yet hearken to this my last exhortation-"Prepare to meet your God." You ever heard me with kind attention, when I was your fellow worshipper. I repeat it now: verily there is but a step between you, and the eternity which I have entered; and if you die in your sins, no refuge will then be set

« السابقةمتابعة »