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Finally, Carry the love of Christ with you wherever you go. In prosperity it will melt the heart and open the hand; in the scene of strife and debate it will maintain a generous forbearance, and prompt a soft answer; in the season of affliction it will make you patient and thankful, and lift the thoughts from the pain that is suffered, and the property that is lost to Jesus as the soul's rest and portion ; in the house of mourning it will elevate the affections from the corse inclosed in its coffin, or corrupting in its grave, to a living Redeemer on high; and in the hour of death it will lessen the pang with which you separate from all that is dear to you on earth, and make you willing to be absent from the body and present with the Lord. This will be the grand principle which will actuate the blessed when repentance shall weep, patience shall suffer, and faith and hope shall anticipate no more. And when you shall see your Lord as he is, your love to him shall attain a strength, and a tenderness more suited than what it at present has to the worth, and the kindness of the Lamb, that was slain.
Let us go on to perfection."
1 PETER 1. 8.
« In whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing ye ejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory."
How various are the feelings of which our blessed Saviour is the object! The emotions excited by any human being must be very limited, from the narrow
ness of his powers, and the imperfections which adhere to his best qualities; but such are the excellencies, and such is the influence of our Redeemer, that to him every principle of the renovated heart is directed, and finds in him an appropriate object. The man who is the object of our dread we can seldom regard with confidence and hope ; and from the friend whom we love as our own souls, our bitterest vexations sometimes arise. Gratitude to an earthly benefactor is often attended with painful sensations arising from the inferiority which is connected with the receipt of favours, and from our inability to make a suitable return. But dependence on Christ is that state of mind in which the saint enjoys the most pleasing tranquillity; that majesty of his which excites so much awe, confirms his trust in a power before which all created might is less than nothing, and love to his name, is attended with joy unspeakable and full of glory. If there is a pang felt in the exercise of this love, it is because it is so inadequate to its glorious object, and so far beneath what the good man would wish it to be. I trust that I
you, circumcisiun, who worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and put no confidence in the flesh.” Christians rejoice in the excellencies of their Savi.
Excellence produces joy in a virtuous mind, even where its display yields no personal advantage. The integrity which no prospect of gain can pervert, and no dread of loss can shake, the charity which opens its hand with 'wisdom, the purity which is superior to all the fascinations of sinful pleasure, and the fortitude which glories in tribulation, are contemplated with delight by the good, whether they are exhibited in real life, or in the page of history. This delight is always,
ye are the
heightened when we have any connection with its ob ject. If it is the excellence of a relative with whom nature hath made us one, of a benefactor who hath honoured us with his notice, or of a friend whom we dearly love, we view it with exultation. Often hath the virtuous conduct of such a connection gladdened the aged amid the gloom and languor of solitude and in. firmity.
But the excellencies of your Saviour are superior to all that man ever possessed, or fancy ever sketched. The pages of Scripture, and the songs of the blessed, are filled with his praise, who is the image of the invi. sible God. His character is adorned by all the beau. ties of holiness, his goodness is unwearied in blessing, and his heart, though he is on the summit of glory and felicity, is touched with a feeling of our infirmities and sorrows. Your minds have been taught to approve the things which are more excellent, you contemplate these qualities of your Lord with a high degree of pleasure; and when the consciousness of your own depravity, and of the wickedness which prevails around you, fills you with horror, you feel, in looking unto Jesus, as a man does in turning from an object loathsome with disease, to one blooming in health and beauty. Your interest in Jesus heightens your delight, for his wisdom is pledged for your guidance, and his power for your support: to his purity you are destined to be conformed ; and in his goodness and mercy you can trust for the supply of every want, and the relief of every sorrow.
Ye ought to rejoice too in the wonders which he hath wrought for you. Deliverance from great evils, and this accomplished in a manner which displays the courage or skill of the deliverer in a striking light, are celebrated with rapturous joy. When David was re
turning from the slaughter of the Philistines, the wo. men came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of music; and they answered one another as they played, “ Saul hath slain his thou. sands, and David his ten thousands.” But we must, with a much higher joy, contemplate him who hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, from the tyranny of Satan, from the bondage of corruption, and from the wrath to come, not merely by putting his life in jeo pardy, but by the sacrifice of himself in a manner marked by peculiar agony.
The rapture felt by delivered nations is generally most vivid at first, while the remembrance of the miseries un. der which they groaned is most poignant. In the course of years the interest decays, or is supplanted by some new incident. But though so many hundred years have elapsed since our redemption was effected, it is as much adapted to excite joy as when it was achieved. Its importance cannot sink in the lapse of time. The ordipance of the Lord's Supper sets forth Christ before our eyes evidently crucified; and such is the power of faith that it brings objects most distant from the past as well as from the future, and exhibits them before us in their most powerful attractions. I may add, that the application of this redemption to you is but of yestere day, and feeling, as you do at this moment, the efficacy of his redeeming blood, you are ready to exclaim,
Sing, O ye heavens, for the Lord hath done it, break forth into singing ye mountains, O forest, and every tree that is therein, for the Lord hath redeemed Ja. cob, and glorified himself in Israel."
The relations which your Lord sustains to you call for your joy. A peculiar pleasure is felt in a near relation to objects whose excellent qualities can render it honourable or advantageous ; and high must be the joy which is felt in union to Him who is the first and the last in relations so intimate and tender. He is the husband of his church; and delightful is the tenderness of his regard, your community of interest with him, and the indissoluble nature of this relation. He is the “ friend that sticketh closer than a brother;" and ye have, I trust, the pleasing consciousness of his fidelity to your interests, and his tender sympathy in all your woes. He is your advocate with the Father, who is ever attentive to your concerns, and ever solicitous for your welfare; and while he beholds all things under his sway,
he disdains not to plead the cause of the poor and the needy. He is the everlasting Father, and how sweet is it so mark his care, and to enjoy his liberality; to receive the testimonies of his approbation, and to feel in that kind embrace with which he welcomes us back from our wanderings, that he is pacified to us for all that we have done.
On topics so delightful as these let your thoughts now dwell.
My meditation of him shall be sweet, and I will be glad in the Lord. Eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart. Rejoice in the Lord ye righteous, and again I say rejoice."
After the Service.
“ Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord.” In communion with Jesus a joy is felt which no earthly advantage can yield, and which no worldly evil can impair. It is only the man who tastes that the Lord is gracious who can form any idea of the tenderness of his language, or the kindness of his smile. In his presence the good man would find no gloom in