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has received the souls that enter Paradise to Himself. They are in His hand. They are "absent from the body" and "present with the Lord." He guards, guides, and sustains them. He has turned their sad memories of the past into blessed and healing lessons of the hateful nature of sin. He quickens their longings after God, and meets those longings with fresh consolations. He soothes them after the trials of life. He visits them, and blesses them with His presence, and so leads them onwards to the day of their perfected joy at the resurrection. And then He shews Himself to be the Lord both of the dead and of the living. On Him all souls hang, in the body or out of the body. He is the strength, and hope, and life of all.
And now, dear brethren, one great lesson rises out of all that has been said. If God has given us but little clear knowledge of that state of the departed, if we have been obliged to guess at what passes in that state, and are not able to speak with absolute certainty, one thing, at least, is clear and certain,-every hope of the soul as it passes from the body centres in our blessed Lord. If, therefore, He is to be our hope and stay after death, He must be our hope and stay now. We must live in close, earnest, true communion with Him. We must live with Him as our friend, our guide, our heart's inmost life. If we wish to feel that we can commit ourselves to Him, and lean upon Him, when our spirits shall have to venture forth at His call into the dim, uncertain, untried world beyond the grave, then we must familiarize ourselves now with His love, His power, His
pline of active service." A Lutheran writer, Martensen, speaks of the same state as a kingdom of calm thought, and self-fathoming, of remembrance." He calls it "that cloister-like, that monastic, or conventual world." The similarity of thought between these two writers is very remarkable.
gifts, His might. If we hope to say with the calm, undoubting trust of St. Stephen, at that last moment, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit ;" then we must learn such trust beforehand by commending our spirits to Him now. Aim at this, then. Dwell on the greatness of that love which made our Lord die for us. Dwell on that thought during this Lent, when your sins rise up against you, and accuse you. See how He died for us while we were yet sinners. So when you have to go, all sinful as you are, to find your sins coming back upon your mind in that tremendous moment, when you come to appear before the presence of God, you will have learnt to lean on the atoning power of the Cross of your Lord. Let it be often your prayer now, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." "Stained as my soul is, take it, count it as Thine own, cleanse it, offer it to God to be accepted through Thee." Make the same prayer, the same offering of yourselves to your Lord in all the dangers of life. As any fierce temptation bears up against you, fly to Him for shelter and safety, with the words, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit ;'-keep it, shield it, hold it, 'lest it be torn away from Thee.'" As the hosts of the Evil One assault you, lift up the same cry for help. In acts of faith yield up your souls to the Lord. In acts of self-denial and self-sacrifice separate your souls from all else that may interfere with your love for Him, and give to Him, to Him only, the right over them. In acts of love, choose Him, bind yourselves to Him, fasten your affections on Him. In acts of pain and suffering, lay yourselves out, as it were, to be nailed to the Cross by Him, and leave yourselves in His hands. Above all, in acts of communion offer up your souls to Him, ask Him to come and take possession of them. "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit;" "make
it Thine own, work in it, bind it to Thyself, unite it, make it one with Thee." So you will find out more and more what He can do, what He can be to the soul. As you live with Him you will be able to die with Him. As all through life you will have found His love come out the more as the trial was the greater, so in that most tremendous trial, when you are on the borders of the unseen world, you will look for a greater love still. You will feel," He has been there in that world before me; He is there in power now: He has the keys of hell and of death; I am not going out of the borders of His kingdom, nor where His love cannot bless :-no, but nearer, nearer to Him: Lord Jesus, receive my spirit :' 'though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me.' '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.'"
The Victor, on His Throne, delivering up the
1 COR. xv. 28.
"And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all."
N the course of sermons which have been delivered
here during this Lenten season, you have had presented to you the Person and the work of Christ as the Victor in the conflict of the Church with evil. It falls to my lot this evening to wind up the series. I have to speak to you, though not without a deep sense of my own insufficiency for the handling of so great a subject -I have to speak of the termination of the conflict, and of the delivering up of the Kingdom by the Victor. The passage which I have just read to you will furnish my theme. But in order to a right understanding of it, it will be first necessary to take a brief review of the Apostle's argument in the context.
He is reproving certain amongst the Christians at Corinth, who professed indeed to be believers in Christ, but who denied that there was any resurrection of the dead. And he begins by enumerating the leading facts of the Gospel which he had delivered to them. The words seem, as has been often noticed, to assume the
form of an elementary Creed. “I delivered unto you,” he says, "first of all, that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again (or rather has risen again and now lives ) the third day, according to the Scriptures." He then rapidly accumulates some well-known evidences of Christ's resurrection, not failing to add to them the vision vouchsafed to himself, when he was on his way to Damascus; and so concludes this historical summary by affirming that the resurrection of Christ was the one great central truth of which they, the Apostles, were witnesses, the substance of their preaching, and the ground of their faith.
This, then, being the foundation of his great argument, St. Paul proceeds to shew that there is such a close connection between the fact of Christ's resurrection and the general resurrection, that he who refuses to accept the one, cannot believe in the other. Admit that Christ is risen, and as a necessary consequence you are committed to the belief in a resurrection; deny that there is a resurrection of the dead, and you must be prepared to deny that Christ now lives. If it is a true proposition that Christ is risen from the dead, then the correlative must be true, that there is a resurrection. To those who accept such evidence as carries conviction in ordinary cases, there can be no question that Jesus rose, and now lives again; and faith in that fact involves faith in a general resurrection. But how? it may be asked. Let it be granted, you will say, that there may have been an exercise of Divine power in the resurrection of Christ from the dead; how does it follow from hence that all mankind shall be raised?
• The perfect yhyeptai expresses this.