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Old Jacob was right. The happiness he and his dear old -wife experienced on finding that their pastor had been at work for them in this Timothy's Trust, is nothing to the happiness that you, my reader, may experience in regard to an interest in the Heavenly Trust! For you may know at once, to your endless comfort, that Jesus is working for you, pleading for you, preparing for you, and only waiting to make you a partaker of all the rich blessings which He purchased for you by His death upon the cross: blessings for soul and body, in the redemption of one from the power of the grave, and the salvation of the other from the second death.
In the grand concern of everlasting life, Christ is not only our Intercessor, but also our Saviour.
The Heavenly Trust is in the bestowing of One who is more ready to give than you are to ask. That One is God, who for Jesus' sake gives eternal life to all who seek it through the leading and teaching of the Holy Spirit. Seek it at once; no interloper can creep in and deprive you of it, or set the great Giver up "against you," as the worldly saying is: but death—death may come between your intentions and God's appointments! Another New Year may dawn upon your neighbours, but will it upon you? Christ, in His twofold character of Saviour and Intercessor, is ready to do all for you to-day that will ensure you a glorious partaking in the benefits of this Heavenly Trust; but to-morrow—ah, whoever saw a to-morrow to tell you upon what basis you may found any hope from its promises, or its power to help?
Let me beg you to seek ah interest in this Heavenly Trust. It is free to all seekers; none are too poor, none are too young, none are too old, and, oh, mark this well, none are too sinful, for
NeVer despair! never despair!
Never despair! never despair!
And in the record of men's lives, there
[ou have dangerous work here, my friend," said a
gentleman to a workman who was engaged in
cutting out a portion of a steep embankment.
"Rather, sir," replied the labourer quietly. "I
think of it every morning before I come to work when I am
looking ahead for the day."
"And not afterwards?" questioned the gentleman with a smile.
"Not arterwards," returned the other (whom we shall call Jim), with a nod. "You see, it would not do to be jobbing away in a sort of dread, like, or expecting trouble, when the work requires one's attention. I know it's all right."
The gentleman was a Christian, and he paused for a moment while he reflected on the meaning of the words he had heard. "How can one have a heart to do anything while a secret dread is oppressing him?" he thought. "' Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.' Is this a contradiction? No, the salvation is your own, the 'fear' must be the dread of offending a Holy God while engaged in His service; not of sudden destruction or sure judgment." He did not express his thoughts aloud, however, but spoke again after a time.
"What do you know is all right, my man?"
"I know where I am going to, sir, if anything should happen; and that's what all in the world don't know, and it is a grand secret to have."
"I understand you," replied his questioner; "you mean you are sure of heaven; but, my friend, you are a sinner."
Jim looked fully up into the face of his companion, and a smile of singular intelligence broke over his sunburnt, rugged features.
"Ah, sir, can it be as you don't know there is a gobetween?"
It was simple faith, and yet true philosophy. The poor unlearned labourer knew he was a sinner meriting God's wrath, but trusted in another, who had met all claims against him by enduring the punishment due to sin, and dying, "the just for the unjust," upon the cross.
It is this principle of a go-between, or, in other words, of a mediator, which makes the plan of salvation such a mighty conception, worthy the great mind of God, and yet, as told to us, a simple story which a child can receive and understand. It is the strong point of the gospel, or good news to man, for instead of fanaticism it is, as we have said, sound philosophy, which "cannot be gainsaid or resisted."
The same principle rules in nature as in grace. God governs by fixed laws, which are never infringed or set aside save in rare cases, as by a miracle. The same necessity for something to stand as a shield between us and impending danger, strong enough to bear its full brunt without being destroyed, is apparent everywhere. For example:
When there is a strife of the elements, and the storm rages without, you could not endure its fury if exposed to it for some time; but when enclosed in well-built walls, round which the wild wind howls in vain, you sleep securely. The ship tossed on the bosom of the ocean has no chance of escape unless her timbers are strong enough to resist the surging billows. Only something fire-proof can remain unharmed amid the action of the devouring flames.
God gave to mankind a law; man disobeyed and broke it, and so must die under its curse. God's justice demanded full satisfaction; He was merciful, but He was also strictly just. His Son came into the world to stand in the sinners' place. He came between the poor fallen guilty one and justice. He fulfilled the law and "made it honourable," yet died under its curse as an evil-doer. He met the full tide of wrath, and could say, "AH Thy waves and Thy billows have gone over Me;" the fire of God's wrath consumed Him, as it did the burnt-offering in the Jewish tabernacle, and yet He was not destroyed. He passed through the gates of death, and yet it was not possible He could be holden of it; God did not "suffer His Holy One to see corruption." He burst its bands; He ascended triumphant o'er the grave. "He died for our sins, and rose again for our justification." In His release the believer's full discharge may be read. If He who took our place is free, then we, believing it, receiving it, are free. Still, God does not save people against their will; nay, they are "made willing in the day of His power." If any of you who read this are lost, it will not be because there was no door of escape opened to you, or no remedy provided, but because you deliberately turned away from it, and rejected the means of safety which your Creator had placed within your reach.
A terrible gulf separates the unholy sinner from the Holy God, but this gulf is bridged across in Christ. Job earnestly desired "a days-man who could lay his hands upon both;" but, with a clearer light than prophetic vision, even the full blaze of gospel liberty, we can see One stooping from His throne of glory above to touch the poor leper, saying, "I will; be thou clean."
Dear readers, accept the Mediator; God looks with complacency upon Him: may He become "all your salvation and all your desire." If you know Him as your go-between, as the poor labourer did, you will also know Him as your Advocate and High Priest. Then you will be able to make the language of this beautiful hymn your own:
"O sin, thou art vanquished,