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themselves by the name of Christ, is no trivial one. It is not a question of mere shades of opinion, it is no less a question than whether they withhold worship from him who is God, or whether we are idolaters worshipping a creature; which is not less abominable in the sight of God than if we were to worship wood and stone, the work of our own hands. No; God will not give his glory to another. And yet we are told "that all men should honour the Son even as they honour the Father." They are one in essence, and therefore one in glory; nor does that glory which the Son has acquired as mediator militate against the inherent glory which he has as God. As mediator he is indeed raised, he has a mediatorial power and greatness as the God-man, which is alluded to as the reward of his astonishing humiliation, as the stipulated reward; "wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father." This declares nothing more than the triumphant result of his mediatorial work, which all created nature must acknowledge, and that to the glory of the Father, for the Father is glorified in the Son." But this in no way detracts from that eternal glory and eternal godhead which was his always, and which alone can be the object


6 Phil. ii. 9.

7 John xiv. 13.

of worship. When therefore Stephen departed this life, calling upon God and addressing himself to Jesus, he acknowledges that which is the great article of the Christian's faith, and upon which his whole dependence rests-that the Lord to whom he looks is the eternal God, the great I AM; whose increased glory, (if it be possible to suppose an increase to it,) arises from his humiliation, from his laying aside that glory and veiling it for a time, when he left the bosom of the Father and the glory which he had with him before the world was; an and when by his mysterious union with us he became our brother, as he was, and is, and ever will be our God.

In the full confidence then of this, as well perhaps as in the perception of this more peculiar relation, we find the dying martyr committing his spirit to Jesus-"LORD JESUS, RECEIVE MY SPIRIT.” He cared little about his body, it was no more than the tabernacle or tent; and when once the spirit, had departed from it, they could no more injure, him who had ceased to occupy it, than we should be injured by the overthrow or ruin of a house in which we had once dwelt. Not that he would overlook the great truth that be again raised, and that the be its inhabitant; but until then its treatment would be of little consequence. The body that is entombed with all the care of friends, or embalmed with all the costliness of art, would have no advantage over his poor shattered and disfigured re

that house should spirit should again

mains; which the Lord, in his own time, would raise again from the dead, call into being, and glorify. But HIS SPIRIT Wwas now about to depart, and whither was it to go? O what a contrast! "They STONED Stephen;" men may kill the body, but after that have nothing more that they can do." Nay, the murderous hands of the persecutor may be overruled to set free a spirit that is ripe for glory, and enable it to rise up to Jesus. And this was his blessed confidence, when he exclaimed, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." With Paul he knew the gracious truth, that "to be present in the body was only to be absent from the Lord,"9 and that "to depart and to be with Christ" was "far better;" and that he might safely commit his spirit into the hands of him who had not only created it, but had redeemed it with his own blood. How blessed in the season of approaching departure to have such a confidence; to know that the Lord Jesus is ready to receive us. What a peace it sheds over the hour of death! what holy joy! This joy, however, for himself, was not unattended with compassion for others; nay, for those who were then persecuting him. And to the same LORD who could receive his spirit; to the same God he prays, to forgive them their sin; to Him to whom it alone appertaineth to forgive sins, for "who can forgive sins but God only?" 2 To him who is over all, God blessed for ever," he addresses his supplication,

8 Luke xii. 4.

1 Phil. i. 23.

9 2 Cor. v. 6.

2 Mark ii. 7.

3 Rom. ix. 5.

"Lord, lay not this sin to their charge." These were his last words here below, and they were words of prayer; for as soon as his freed spirit entered into his Saviour's presence, all was praise.

My dear brethren, who does not pity those poor infatuated creatures? Who, when they contemplate this end, would not rather be the martyr than the persecutors? Who does not say of Stephen, so far at least as to his peace and hope, "Let my last end be like his?"

But would you be enabled to depart in peace, and to commit your spirit unto Jesus dying. See that you commit it unto him living. It is our business to preach Christ to you; to declare that he came to die for sinners; to assure you that "though your sins have been as scarlet they shall be white as snow,' ,"5 if you now without delay flee to him; to remind you that he died even for the chief of sinners; and that one of those very persecutors was that same Saul, who was afterwards able to rejoice, as well as Stephen, in the prospect of his own departure; and to say with confidence that there was laid up for him a crown of glory which the righteous Lord would give to him in that day, and not to him only but to all who love his appearing. Do I then address any who are opposed to God's truth, who have resisted it for themselves, or resisted it for others? who have felt their hearts rise against it? O repent, lest ye perish; and turn to Jesus. Yea, turn to him all, whether ye have

4 Numbers xxiii. 10.

5 Isaiah i. 18.

6 2 Tim. iv. 6-8.

opposed his truth or not; he is willing to save you. O leave it not to the last hour to commit your souls to Jesus; nor let it be then your care to seek a Saviour whom you have not known, when it may be too late to find him. But commit them to him now, and seek to be enabled to say with Paul, "I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him, against that day;" and in that hour you will commit your departing spirit into his hands, as into the hands of one whose faithfulness you have tried. And if you now commit yourselves to him for safe keeping, O commit yourselves to him for guidance also; and when you take him as your Saviour, take him also as your Lord. Neither invert the order of these things, nor separate them. Go first to him as you are, ask him to wash your guilty souls. Go to him to reconcile you to the Father; but ask him at the same time to renew you by his Spirit, to "write his laws upon your hearts," and to enable you to glorify him in your bodies and in your spirits which are his.9

Should there be any here who humbly trust that they have been led by grace to commit themselves to Christ; that they have seen their guilt and turned to the Saviour, who yet have their misgivings and their fears, and who shrink from the approaching trial-O look at these promises! All this

72 Tim. i. 12.

8 Heb. viii. 10.

91 Cor. vi. 20.

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