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forth into the exclamation of despair" Wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"* This is the moment for the Saviour to pour upon the soul the glorious manifestation of his power and grace. "I am he who giveth you the victory; the Spirit of the Lord is upon me; for he anointed me to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound." "Strengthen then the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees; my grace shall be sufficient for you, my strength shall be made perfect in your weakness. I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." With these invigorating assurances, does the Saviour manifest himself to the soul as its almighty Sanctifier. The fulness of the Godhead dwelling in him, he sheds on the mind divine light and knowledge, he invests the soul with the spotless robes of righteousness, he rules every rebellious passion by the sceptre of his grace. The penitent believer no longer bows down in despair under the enslaving chains of sin. At the almighty voice of the Son of God they fell from him, leaving him in the glorious liberty of the sons of God. With profound homage he adores the Saviour who is manifested to his soul in the fulness of grace and salvation. "My Lord and my God," expresses at once profound adoration; the fervours of confidence, the resolutions of grateful and submissive love. With triumphant and undeviating faith he clings to that Saviour who is made unto him wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. Glorious and triumphant,
Rom. vii. 24.
† Isa. lxi. 1.
Isa. xli. 10.
blessed Saviour, is thy manifestation to the soul, when thou dost redeem her from corrupt passions, and shed upon her holy and celestial graces!
Faith has now opened to the true believer those manifestations of the mercy and grace of Christ which afford him the joyful assurance of rescue from the guilt and from the dominion of sin. But, to complete his redemption, and to render perfect the character and office of the Saviour, another glorious work must be effected. The believer looks forward with awful apprehension to the contest in which he must engage with death, the inexorable enemy of man. Who shall assuage the agonies of the conflict? Who shall endue his trembling spirit with strength to sustain it? On whose kind rod shall he rest when, harassed and sinking, he passes through the dark valley of the shadow of death? Who will conduct him to the everlasting hills, to the celestial city of the living God? Who will resuscitate his body from the sleep of the grave, and rescuing it from the bands of corruption, invest it with immortal garments? Who will advance his soul to those scats of blessedness, to those immortal felicities, to that eternal fruition of the presence of God, which no strength of nature can attain, which infinitely exceed the merit of the most splendid virtue? Ah! these are suggestions which, when the believer regards only the weakness, the infirmity, and imperfection of his own nature, overwhelm with despondency and despair. But the splendid glory of the Saviour disperses this gloom. In majestic power he rises on the soul of the believer, as the almighty conqueror over death and the grave. "O death, I have been thy plague; O grave, I have been thy destruction. Fear not,
for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will redeem you from death, I will ransom you from the power of the grave."*"In my Father's house are many mansions; I have gone before to prepare a place for you, that where I am there ye may be also."+ Glorious manifestation of the Redeemer, which causes the soul of the believer to triumph, and arms him with strength to encounter and overcome the king of terrors. The Saviour is seated, Lord of all things, on the throne of glory; and where he is, there his faithful people shall be also.
* Hosea xiii. 14.
+ John xiv. 2, 3,
THE FOLLY OF TRUSTING TO THE FUTURE,
JAMES iv. 14.
Ye know not what shall be on the morrow.
FIGURE to yourselves a frail, dependent, and erring being, surrounded by a thousand contingences over which he has no control, assailed by casualties that arrest his hopes, thwart his best concerted plans, and often blast his most flourishing enjoyments; who, in his most prosperous state, with every pleasure to gratify his desires, with every mean which wealth and power can furnish to ward off the assaults of calamity, must yet obey the summons that calls him for ever from the scene of his beloved delights. Would you suppose that a being thus situated could be engrossed with the objects around him, that he could be heedless of the event that may every moment hurry him into an eternal state of existence? And yet, my brethren, you here behold a picture of the condition, and you may here recognise the criminal and unaccountable infatuation of man. Though he hold his enjoyments by a tenure so uncertain, that he "knows not what shall be on the morrow;" though disappointment continually mocks his most vigorous and well directed exertions; though he must soon fall, (yes, on the morrow, or to-day,) under the stroke of that foe who often gives his victims no
warning of his approach; though the experience of every day brings home to his heart the uncertainty of life and all its joys, we yet behold him eager and unwearied in the pursuit of them, devoting to them his supreme attention and exertion. He goes on his career self-confident, ambitious, daring, as if he were the master of his own destiny, and held in his hand those numerous casualties that arrest his career and darken his prospect; or as if he could repel the messenger death-"Go thy way, at a more convenient season I will heed thee."*
Widely different is the conduct to which a just estimate of the changeable and uncertain nature of all worldly objects would direct us" we know not what will be on the morrow." Humility in prosperity, moderation in the pursuit and enjoyment of the things of the world, and above all, the abstraction of our thoughts from the present scene, so as habitually to prepare for the event, that, at an uncertain period may separate us from it, are the virtues which should arise from a just estimate of human life. Frequent reflection on its vanity and uncertainty would tend, more than any other consideration, to moderate all our feelings and views in regard to it, and to excite us earnestly and anxiously to seek the enduring realities of a future world.
"Ye know not what shall be on the morrow." How vain, then, all the triumphs of prosperity! How absurd a proud confidence in ourselves! Above all, how unwise that attachment to the world which prevents us from preparing for the inevitable event of our departure from it!