תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

It was his intention (and thanks be' to God that it was) that our faith should stand, not in the wisdom or eloquence of man, but in the demonstration of the spirit and of power. He went about therefore, not only preaching the word, but doing good, doing good miraculously, making the principles and the evidences of his religion palpable to the senses of mankind. When John sent to know whether he was the expected Messias or no, Jesus, instead of entering into a long and laboured proof of his divinity, took the more compendious and convincing way of proving his point, by performing in that instant

many

miraculous cures, and then referring the Baptist to what his messengers had seen and heard*. In the very same manner, in the present instance, the assurance he

gave us of our resurrection was 'not speculative and argumentative, bịt practical and visible. A thousand objections might have been formed by the fashionable philosophers of that age against the possibility of restoring breath to a dead body, Tanidraising it alive again from the grave. Our Lord could very easily have shown, byunanswers

[blocks in formation]

able arguments, the futility and absurdity of any such objections. But the disputers of this world would have cavilled and objected without end. And therefore, to put an effec

tual stop to all such idle controversy, and to convince all the world that it was not a thing incredible that God should raise the dead, he himself rose again from the grave, and became the first fruits of them that slept. : He triumphed over death, he threw

open of everlasting life; and whoever treads in his steps as nearly as they can through life, shall follow him through death into those blessed regions, where he is gone before to prepare a place for such as love and imitate him. 45 For if the spirit of him who raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his spirit that dwelleth in

the gates

you*.":

Since then we have such expectations and such hopes, what manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness? The ancient heathen might say, the unbeliev, ing libertine may still say, let us eat and

了 * Rom. viii. 11.

drink,

[ocr errors]

drink, foreto-morrow we die; let us enjoy, Fwithout reserve, and without measure, all the pleasures which this world affords, for to-morTow we may leave it, and we know. oof no oother. But how absurd would it be for sthe Christian to say this, how mad wouldi itobe

for him to act accordingly, when he knows, Othat though to-morrow, his soul may be separated from his body, yet that they will be again united, and live for ever in a future state of existence? Whatan amazing difference does this fact make in our circumstances, and Chow inexcusable shall we be, if it does not procluce a suitable difference in our conduct! Even the possibility of such an event must have acpowerful influence over our mind and marrqers - what then must be the case when it amounts, as it does with every sincere believer in the Gospel, to absolute certainty With what cheerfulness shall we aequiesce under poverty and misfortunes, when we refeet, that if we bear them patiently, and hold fast our integrity, these light afflictions, which are but for a moment, shall work out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory?

With

Y4

With what indifference shall we contemplate the charms of wealth and power, with what horror shall we turn away from the pleasures of sin, which are but for a season, when we know that the one may, and the other most certainly will, cut us off from an eternal and invaluable inheritance.

Suppose yourselves for a moment in some foreign kingdom, where, after having been obliged to spend many years, you are at ·length-suffered to return to your own country. Suppose further, that in this country you have left families that are infinitely dear to you, 'friends whom you exceedingly love and esteem, wealth and honours to the utmost extent of your wishes. When, with the most impatient longings after all these blessings, you set out upon your return to your native land, will any allurements that

you

meet with on the road tempt you

from
your

main object? Will any accidental hardships or inconveniencies" deter you from pursuing your journey? Will you not break through all obstructions, resist all temptations, and

press

forwards with alacrity and vigour towards your beloved home? And

why

3

why then will you not seek your heavenly :country with the same ardour and persevercance that you

would

your earthly one? You care all“ strangers and pilgrims upon earth." This world is not your home, though you are too apt to think it so. You belong to another city, you are subjects of a better kingdom, where infinitely greater joys await you

than have been just described, or can by the utmost stretch of imagination be conceived. Every day you live, every moment you breathe, brings you nearer to this country; and the grave itself, dismal as it appears, is nothing more than the gate that leads you

into it. Conscious then of the dignity and importance of our high and heavenly calling, which renders us candidates for the kingdom of God, and heirs of immortality, let us persevere steadily and uniformly in our progress towards those celestial mansions, which are prepared for all the faithful servants of Christ ; where we shall be released from all the endless anxieties, the vain hopes, and causeless fears that now agitate and disquiet us; and shall, through the merits of our Redeemer, be rewarded, not merely with uninterrupted tranquillity and re

pose,

« הקודםהמשך »