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of his cross. The saints of God feel many anxieties lest their feet should slide as they descend from the mount, and their profession be disgraced by their folly; but he will go down with you, who is able to keep you from falling. Amid the pleasures of religious fellowship, it is painful to think of the evils of the world, and of the malice of the wicked. You are quitting the harbour for the troubled sea, but he is with you who rules in the raging of the ocean, and in the very hour when the idea of being left by him to destruction is filling you with horror, he will come to you walking on the waves, and dissipate your fears. He will go forth with you to mark whether your conduct corresponds with your profession, if your resolutions are kept, and your vows are fulfilled. The eyes of your brethren are on you,
and you feel a desire to maintain their respect and their confidence; but there is an eye also upon you which follows you where human inspection cannot penetrate, and marks every wish, and every thought. “ Study to show thyself approved unto God.”
Be zealous for the glory of your Prince's name, the rights of his throne, and the obligations of his law. Active and steady goodness is the best allegiance to your Prince and Saviour.
Be regular in your attendance on religious ordinances. Shall the presence of Christ ever become less attractive to you? He notes every instance of neglect of his worship, and will call you to an account for it; and if the excuses of many are so frivolous that they cannot offer them to their own consciences without shame and fear, how shall they present them to him “ who is greater than our hearts, and who knows all things?”
Be conscientious in your observance of all private ordinances; and rejoice that Jesus goes with the pious to the closet of prayer to animate their devotion ; to the
scene of meditation, that he may elevate and tranquillize the soul; and to the secret corner, where the Bible is read, to open the understanding, and to sanctify the heart by his truth. The shepherd boy reading his Bible on the mountain's side, and the peasant shut out from many of the sources of knowledge, have often shewn how. “ the entrance of God's word gives light, and makes the simple wise." He will be with you in your domestic worship to shew his love to a pious family, to bless the habitations of the just, and to point them out to attending angels as an image of heaven.
Let the consciousness of Christ's being with you keep you from every thing offensive in his sight. “Hear, O my people, and I will testify to thee; there shall be no strange God in the midst of thee.” Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy by our evil passions, or shall hypocrisy compass him about with lies ? If this is the case, he will leave us with the marks of his abhorrence, or if he stays, it will be to take vengeance on our inventions.
Beware of going to any scene where you cannot expect him to go in with you. None can ask his Lord to go with him to the scene of licentious amusement ; and no tokens of the Saviour's presence are to be seen in the laughter of folly, and the dissolute excess which is worse than mad. It is impossible for a good man to go to such scenes without injury to sobriety and to seriousness, and when he adds to this the encouragment which the wicked take from such conduct to scoff at the restraints and the enjoyments of religion, he will turn away from every enticement to dissipation. But be of good comfort, Christians; your Lord will go with you
wherever you go at his call. When he calls
you to for
you into the scene of trial, he will
with tify your virtue, and he will go out with you from it to teach you to walk circumspectly. He will go in with you to the furnace of affliction, that your experience there may be like that of the three children in Babylon. The astonished monarch said, “ Lo, I see four men loose walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” And he will go forth with you to heighten the joy, and to secure the fruit of deliver ance. He will go with you to the house of mourning to give the oil of joy, and he will go forth with you, that in your path, darkened by the shadows of death, you may walk in the light of his countenance.
The time is coming when you must go forth from the world by a path dark and dismal. Your dear companions in all your former dangers and sorrows cannot then
shall not depart alone: he will take you by the hand, and be your guide through death. And he will go in with you to heaven. Are you terrified at the idea of going to God the judge of all? He will go with you to present you to his Father as the subjects of his kingdom, and the friends of his heart; and his presence will open to you all the mansions of rest, and all the fountains of joy. Amen.
The Ascension notified.
JOIX xx. 17.
« Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not, for I am not yet as. cended to my Father ; but go to my brethren, and say to them, I ascend to my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God.”
The narrative of which these words form a part, is uncommonly beautiful and affecting. The events which it relates are highly important, and the impressions which it describes are the genuine movements of the purest feelings. It teaches the most valuable lessons in a style whose sweet simplicity affords a fine contrast to the laboured rant and puerile embellishments of false taste, and touches without effort or parade every principle of sensibility in the heart.
Mary had come to our Saviour's tomb to pay the last tribute of respect to his sacred body. She wished to behold him whom she had seen so barbarously treata ed, reposing in that quiet mansion where the wicked cease from troubling, and to mourn by his side whose friendship and whose mercy had been the honour and the happiness of her life. To her great surprise she fuund the tomb empty, and immediately communicated the intelligence to Peter and John. When they were convinced, by inspecting the tomb, that the body was not there, they went away to their own home; but
Mary could not quit this scene. Dreading that her Saviour's body had been taken away to be subjected to some new indignity, she wept bitterly. The sight of the two angels in white sitting in the sepulchre, could not assuage her sorrow; and no appearance, however splendid, could divert her mind from the subject which completely engrossed her feelings. A generous heart may, during deep sorrow, heave a sigh for the misery which it passes by, but it sees nought in the scene of prosperity or pomp to which its emotions can be assimilated. Our Lord knew the sincerity and the bitterness of her grief, and, with a considerate kindness, would not suffer her to continue long a prey to distracting solicitude. The manner in which he made himself known to her, beautifully exhibits his wisdom and love. Jesus asked her, “ Why weepest thou? whom seekest thou ?” She, supposing him to be the gardener, said, “ If thou hast borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away." She thought she would convey the body to some place where she would have the melancholy satisfaction of knowing that it slept unmolested. Though our Lord was pleased with that affection to him which this purpose expressed, he could not keep her longer in anxiety and suspense, but in a tone which her ear and her heart instantly recognized, said to her, “ Mary." It is impossible to describe her astonishment and rapture at this blessed moment.
She could only say, 66 Rabboni.” Her heart was so full that she could not utter another syllable, but kneeled down to embrace his feet, to give vent to a joy that was unspeakable. At that moment Jesus addressed to her the words of the text; in which he taught her to prefer the comfort of her brethren, and obedience to his will, to the indulgence of her own feelings.