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“ Let not your
66 In my
and the suggestions of unbelief. hearts be troubled.” Alas! how could it be otherwise? How was it possible for faithful and affectionate disciples, not to mourn and to be full of the inost uneasy apprehensions, when he who was their Master, their Head, their Life, was about to leave them. “But,” says Christ, “ your fears are groundless : you believe in God, believe also in me: ye profess to believe and rely upon God's wisdom, power, and faithfulness; let me tell you I myself am as wise, as powerful, and as true, for I and my Father are one." Then he goes on: Father's house are many mansions." This was another circumstance highly encouraging. Here we have no continuing city, our situation and our circumstances perpetually changing; and it is 110 wonder if, in such an unsettled state, our comforts are interrupted and precarious. Besides, we are strangers and sojourners, as all our fathers were, in a far country; and must not expect all the conveniences and accommodations we have at home. But, in our Father's house (for his father is our Father, and his God is our God) there are many mansions; a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
There we may safely say, Soul, take thine ease.” There we may rest. There we may live and triumph for ever, without any danger, without any possibility of removal or decay. “If it were not so, I would
have told you,” says Christ. He is the faithful and true Witness, and would never encourage us to expect what God never intended to bestow. If there had not been room enough in his Father's house, and bread enough and to spare ; if we were likely to be disappointed in our expected recompense of reward, he would certainly have undeceived us. It is almost blasphemy to mention such a thing. “ I go to prepare a place for you.” Gracious Saviour, if we consider ourselves only, any place in all thy vast creation were good enough for us, and the lowest place in heaven infinitely too good. But, when we consider thee, the dignity of thy person, the extremity of thy sufferings, and the value of thy blood, our expectations rise high; and nothing that is great and good, not even the greatest and best that heaven can afford or that God can bestow, seems an equivalent to the price which thou hast paid for it. This single circumstance serves more to aggrandize our notions of heaven, than the longest and most minute descriptions. It is the place which the eternal Son of God purchased with his own blood. It is the place which the King of saints has prepared for the residence and portion of his friends and favourites. What a dignity does this confer upon human nature ! hereby led to reverence ourselves, when we see how important we are in Christ's esteem, that he would go himself to prepare a place for us. As if
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he doubted the ability or affection of angels; as if he thought that none could provide well enough for his brethren; he would
and see that every thing was ready. 0! how do we despise the world and all things in it, when we think of the preparations that he has made in heaven, for our future settlement. And such is the greatness of his condescension, and the strength of his love, that, as if he could not enjoy heaven without us, as if the time of our separation seemed as tedious to himself as it doth to us, he says, and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself.”
Could it ever be imagined that he would be at such vast pains and expense to purchase and prepare a place for his faithful and affectionate disciples, and after all forget them or desert them? No; having loved his own, he will love them to the end. As certainly as ever he is gone before, to take possession in our name and stead, so surely he will come again, in the fulness of time, to receive us to himself, that where he is, there we may be also. And it is this, my fellow-christians, this is the heaven of heaven.
Notwithstanding all the glorious things that are spoken of thee, O thou city of the living God, it would be an unfurnished solitary place, if Jesus were not there. And
my soul, what have I rendered, what can I render to the Lord for all his benefits towards me? Has my love, my gratitude, or my obedience, been any way proportioned to such mighty obligations? Would any one imagine, by my cold and distant behaviour towards him, that I owed all my hopes of heaven to his merits and mediation ? Could it be known, from the vanity and worldliness of my temper and conversation, that I had ever been with Jesus of Galilee? True, indeed, my best affections and best services would be of little worth ; but should not he have them all? What a rock of ice is this heart of mine, which all this love and mercy will not melt! Draw nearer, O my soul, and look again to this surprising spectacle of love. See how much he endured, and think from whom, and for whom he endured it. See with what silent majesty he stands before the bar of his own creatures : see with what spiteful indignation they procure false witnesses to accuse him : see with what insult and cruelty they bind, and blind, and buffet him: see how they lead him as a lamb to the slaughter; and, as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth: see where he hangs between two thieves : see how the blood flows from his head, and hands, and feet, and heart. Hark! how passionately he complains, not of the sharpness of his bodily pains, but of the withdrawment of his heavenly Father! And, specially hark ! how, with his dying breath, he prays for the forgiveness of his persecutors! And was all this for me? Did the Son of God undergo all this, and more than all this, to purchase and prepare a place for me? Me; a poor, despicable, wicked, worthless worm ? I can no longer resist such kindness. I will love thee, O Lord my King. I will follow thee, whithersoever thou goest. I will make no terms with thee, so that thou wilt but prepare heaven for me, and prepare me for heaven. I cheerfully leave all the rest to thy management and disposal. And my business now at thy table is, to declare before all the world my poverty and guilt; and to avow that I humbly and thankfully accept of eternal life, as the gift of God, through Jesus Christ my
“For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread : and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you : this do in remembrance of me, After the same manner also he took the cup when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood : this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come,” 1 Cor. xi. 23-26.
And now, my fellow-christians, shall Christ be