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ceased to take an interest in him, and when to

visit him is to turn our feet aside from the beaten 17 path of life. The child of sorrow has, however,

at least this one advantage, he best can tell his real friends.

Thus to try the hearts of men in reference to God, and to put their affections to this kind of test, I do not scruple to say, the gospel has made an awful and mysterious provision. The King of Glory came down to visit us in great humility. He was despised and rejected of men. To the eye of popular feeling, he had no form or comeliness that we should desire him. We did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. And as Christ was in the world, so has his religion always been. There are, I grant, effects and collateral benefits of Christianity, which render its name and forms respected.

It inculcates obedience to the reigning powers; and giving

sanctity to an oath, it lends authority to the laws; it

it subserves men's secular interests, and binds the links of civil society. But Christianity in its true nature—the hidden life which animates the believer's soul the mind that was in Christ Jesus the faith upon the Son of God, which overcomes the world, and looks upward to the heavens this Christianity, like its Divine Author, is here, I say, a stranger in a strange land : it is foolish

ness to this world, and if it 'encounter not its ba

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hostility, escapes only because it is beneath its notice, or invisible to its eyes. And yet this is the interest in which God has made himself a party; this is the cause which is identified with Christ himself; this is the religion to which his own emphatic words apply, with still more pointed force than to its first promulgators, “whoso despiseth you despiseth me.”

Here then is the awful test to which God puts the hearts of men— the mysterious balance by which he weighs them, and by which he ascertains, shall I say, his real friends. He assumes the form of great humility, that, on the one hand, he may reach and draw forth that deep degeneracy which turns even from God himself, when placed for a moment on the suffering side ; and that, on the other hand, he may exercise and crown that tried fidelity of soul, which when all things visible were against him, confessed an invisible and crucified Redeemer.

Who then can conceive and estimate that exceeding weight of joy with which this faithful flock shall hail their triumphant Shepherd, when he appears in glory!

in glory! When the standard of the cross shall beam with insufferable brightness from all the towers and battlements of heaven! When the dead, small and great, shall stand before the Son of God; and when, from that awful judgment-seat, he shall look down with unutterable

love upon

the humblest soul that was faithful to him in life, and from amidst the dazzling glories that surround him, shall say, “It is I; be not « afraid-Fear not; I am thy shield, and thy “exceeding great reward.”

There is, in the glory to be revealed, one step higher than Christ's sublimest exaltation in his mediatorial kingdom. It is what divines have called the beatific vision. The revelation of God as he is in himself—the Trinity unveiled and without a cloud; and seen as far as created intelligences can bear to look on the divine essence and live. But on this it is unprofitable for us to dwell: we have not faculties for so high a reach. Let us abstain from all presumptuous speculation; and rest in the thankful belief, that “s. not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things that God hath prepared for them that love him.”

My brethren, these realms of everlasting joy are not displayed in Scripture to tantalize you with forbidden fruit: they are the inheritance of every one of you, who will accept the mercies freely offered you.

Hopeless, indeed, would be our condition, if in our own strength we had to tread the upward path which leads to this blessed mansion; or pay down, as the price of our admission, the ten thousand talents which we owe to God. But the

eye hath

be the blessed privilege of all who love the Lord Jesus in sincerity, to meet that friend who sticketh closer than a brother. What the unspeakable happiness of this may be, can be estimated, however imperfectly, by those alone who really feel that sacred attachment; those who have believed the record that God gave of his Son, and who have laid hold upon him as their righteousness, their sanctification, and their redemption. These are the souls for whom it is reserved to behold in glory, a Master whom they have loved and served under the vail of his humiliation. “Ye are they," says our Lord to his Apostles, 66 which have continued with me in my tempta“ tions; and I appoint unto you a kingdom, as

my Father hath appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, “ and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of “ Israel." Such promises seem to me to have a peculiar significance ; the principle of which I shall endeavour to open out.

It is not in prosperity that we can best appreciate the fidelity of our friends. Many will flutter round the favourite of the world; but few will cleave to him when things are altered : few will sooth the pillow of his affliction when he is depressed, when he is low in spirits, in fortune, and in estimation. Few are those with whom the memory of a friend still lives, when the world has ceased to take an interest in him, and when to visit him is to turn our feet aside from the beaten path of life. The child of sorrow has, however, at least this one advantage, he best can tell his real friends.

Thus to try the hearts of men in reference to God, and to put their affections to this kind of test, I do not scruple to say, the gospel has made an awful and mysterious provision. The King of Glory came down to visit us in great humility. He was despised and rejected of men. To the eye of popular feeling, he had no form or comeliness that we should desire him. We did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. And as Christ was in the world, so has his religion always been.

There are, I grant, effects and collateral benefits of Christianity, which render its name and forms respected.

It inculcates obedience to the reigning powers; and giving sanctity to an oath, it lends authority to the laws; it subserves men's secular interests, and binds the links of civil society. But Christianity in its true nature—the hidden life which animates the believer's soul--the mind that was in Christ Jesus the faith upon the Son of God, which overcomes the world, and looks upward to the heavens this Christianity, like its Divine Author, is here, 1

say, a stranger in a strange land : it is foolishness to this world ; and if it encounter not its

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