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of all mercy, perfect remission and forgive
But how strong is the consolation which this subject affords to every christian mourner! From whatever source his griefs arise, if they are soothed by faith and love, and sanctified by divine grace, they are blessed sorrows. Temporal afflictions thus endured produce the most happy results. For “ tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts.”+ And though “no affliction is for the present joyous, but grievous, yet afterwards it yields the peaceable fruits of righteousness in them that are exercised thereby.” Let then all those “ who in this transitory life are in trouble, sorrow, need, sickness, or any other adversity," possess their souls in patience, and let them meekly receive the cup
of bitterness at the hand of their Heavenly Father, assured that all is for their good, and that it is of “his very faithfulness that they are troubled.”
Here, too, is consolation for the believer under spiritual trials !—His sorrow is then emphatically
godly sorrow :" it has respect to God—it draws the soul out in communion with God—it is pleasing to God, and is the fruit of His Holy Spirit ! Happy mourner! Blessed sufferer! How surely * Collect for Ash Wednesday.
+ Rom. v. 4, 5.
art thou pressing onward to a peaceful termination of all thy troubles ! “ Blessed are ye that weep now, for
shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. “ Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”* Sweet is that sorrow that hath so joyful a termination! Oh that every timid and discouraged soul might find solace and strength in these contemplations! That our eye might be immoveably fixed on God's promises, that our step might be more firm and vigorous; and “that, strengthened with might by God's Spirit in the inner man, we might go right on our way through sorrow and through joyin trial or repose, undeviating, unhesitating“stedfast, immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that our labour is not in vain in the Lord,” and that though “ sorrow may endure for a night, joy cometh in the morning !"
* Psalın cxxvi. 5, 6.
THE HEAVENLY MANSIONS.
JOHN xiv. 1-3.
“ LET NOT YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED: YE BELIEVE IN GOD,
BELIEVE ALSO IN ME. IN MY FATHER'S HOUSE ARE MANY MANSIONS: IF IT WERE NOT SO, I WOULD HAVE TOLD YOU. I GO TO PREPARE A PLACE FOR YOU. AND IF I GO AND PREPARE A PLACE FOR YOU, I WILL COME AGAIN, AND RECEIVE YOU UNTO MYSELF; THAT WHERE I AM, THERE YE MAY BE ALSO.”
If it is the undoubted office of the ministers of God to sound an alarm, to proclaim the approach of the Lord in judgment, and to entreat and exhort all men every where to repent, and prepare to meet their God,--so is it equally a part of their commission to bind up the broken-hearted, to comfort all that mourn, to feed with the rich food of the gospel “that flock of God which He hath purchased with his own blood,” and to cheer and animate them in their arduous course by exhibiting the glory which shall shortly be revealed. In the beautiful passage before us, the Lord himself is the comforter of his church and people; and may he be pleased to make his gra cious words effectual by his blessed Spirit poured out on us ! diffusing heavenly consolation among us, delivering us from the fear of death, and filling us with such bright and blessed prospects of the glory beyond, that instead of lingering here below, and halting, and trembling upon the margin of the cold, dark waters of Jordan, we may anxiously desire the appointed moment when the cheering summons shall bid us arise and depart; and boldly fording the depths of that river, we shall fear nothing, because the Lord will be with us, “ his rod and his staff they shall comfort us !"
It is not, indeed, surprising that they should tremble at death whose joys are bounded by the narrow confines of this world; their treasure, their all is here; and beyond the grave they have nothing !-But far otherwise should it be with any man who has hope towards God !Unless he is grievously deluded “ death to him is gain;" and all unworthy fears of its approach should be driven far away. Yet many truly converted persons, through the temptation of the devil, and the weakness and corruption of their nature, have been agitated by a groundless fear of this great enemy: the circumstances of death, disease, decay, the pangs of dissolution, and the loneliness of the grave, have shaken their confidence, and they have been greatly troubled. To all such persons how consolatory are the words of their Saviour! Let them contemplate the unfading glories which he is preparing for them, and then the dreariness of the way thither will be forgotten : Jesus saith to them, “ Let not your heart be troubled : ye believe in God, believe also in me. In
Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you.
go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, , I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” Interesting and important is the intelligence thus revealed respecting our absent Lord, intelligence full of comfort to every believer-may we. be enabled to lay hold of the consolation by faith, that every fear may be driven from our bosoms, and that we may rejoice in hope of the glory of God!
The Lord Jesus was placed in circumstances deeply affecting when he addressed these words to his disciples : he was about to leave them; they had an indistinct idea that he was to be torn from them by some terrible catastrophe, and their hearts were sad : he suggests many consolatory reflections, and bequeaths many precious promises-promises secured not to them only, but to us also, and to the church of God's redeemed to the end of time.