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a prison, no loneliness in a desert, and no terrors in death. The vows and engagements you have made to your Lord in this service, will give the faithful joy on reflection. It is said that " all Israel sware to the Lord with a loud voice, and with shouting, with trumpets and cornets, and all Judah rejoiced at the oath, for they had sworn with all their heart, and sought him with their whole desire.” The consciousness of sincerity in this service, of that divine influence by which we were stirred up to magnify and bless him, and of God's acceptance of our homage, must be highly pleasing. “ Thou hast put gladness in my heart more than the wicked have in the time when their corn and wine abound.”
Some of you perhaps are saying, “ Oh, that I could rejoice in these views of Christ ; but when I attempt it, the grand and awful representations of him in Scripture rush into my mind, and fill me with dismay.” But in these representations a strong faith can discern reasons for joy. He is the King of kings; but he is also the Prince of peace. He is the mighty God; but he is able to save to the uttermost. His vesture is dipt in blood; but it is the blood of your enemies. And when he speaks to you in threatenings, it is to warn you of dangers of which you are unconscious, and to induce you to abide in the refuge in which he hath placed you.
Rejoice in your Lord's offices. His teaching dis. closes the wonders of God's love, brightens the dark ways of Providence, and makes the benighted mind to know wisdom. Rejoice in his sacrifice, for it is the triumph of his love, the conquest of your enemies, and the price of your salvation. And rejoice in his reign, for his yoke is easy, his sceptre is a sceptre of righteousness, and his throne is a throne of grace.
furnish a poor
Rejoice in the promises which he has made to you. The most part of mankind feel more joy in hope than in possession; place before them a good which they deem valuable, and let the promise of it be worthy of their trust, and they will feel a joy in the anticipation which will make the most arduous efforts for its attaine ment seem light. And when you think on the ex. ceeding great and precious promises which your Saviour hath sealed with his blood, you will rejoice exceedingly. In these promises your comfort and safety are secured in death and judgment. These are events, the idea of which saddens the gayest hours of the wicked, and against these terrors presumption and infidelia ty
defence. Jesus promises you a peace in death which the king of terrors cannot shake, and a triumph in judgment amidst the utter confusion of ungodly men. He promises you a happiness on high through eternity, in which you shall find gratification to all your wishes, and the glorious result of all that your Lord did for you on earth and in heaven.
How noble are the qualities of your joy! Some have felt it to such a degree that they could not express it. This is the case with various emotions. Silence on such occasions, is a far more striking and certain indication of the vehemence of the emotion than the strongest language which the lips can employ. But no language can convey a full idea of its power and sweetness. The compass of human language is wonderful. It can present the most splendid scenes of earthly pomp and enterprise before the imagination, with all the live. liness and strength of reality ; but it cannot exhibit in its due extent the peace which passeth understanding, and the joy with which the stranger doth not intermeddle. It is only the language of heaven which will
be adequate to describe what the presence of Christ inspires, and what the spiritually-minded feel.
Your joy is glorious in its nature. I will not compare it with the joy of the wicked man in sin, which is vile and detestable; nor with that of the worldling in his indulgencies, which is mean and grovelling. But compare it with the joy which is felt in the acquisition of knowledge, or the endearments of friendship, and behold its superiority. It does not arise from the mere workings of natural feeling in the heart, but is the fruit of the Divine Spirit,-it is akin to the delight in God which is felt by angels and archangels.
How glorious is the influence of this joy ! Carnal joy often discovers itself in excesses of folly, it so softens the heart as to unfit it for any effort of self-denial, or any exertion that is laborious and troublesome, and renders it peculiarly susceptible of the influence of temptations to pride and sensuality. But this joy makes the heart contemn every carnal allurement, and gives it such vigour and such courage, that it will wel. come the most difficult duty, and sustain the severest trial.
It detracts much from the value of any object when it is transient in its nature; and such is the character of all carnal joy. « The triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment.” It does not even last till death, for the most frivolous incident will mar it, and continued indulgence produces disgust. But though the joy of the saint may not possess at all times the same degree of vigour, he is at no time left comfortless. Wonderful is the power of that joy, which the winter of adversity cannot win ther, nor the evil days of age destroy. And your joy shall be eternal as its object. It is the beginning of the felicity which will be felt when the glory of Ime manuel shall be seen by you unveiled, when in the city of the living God, you shall bear a part in the song of the Lamb, when your love shall be purified from every fear, and your bliss be placed beyond the reach of change or termination.
Beware of every thing which may tend to mar your joy. Guard against unbelief, for this will impede your joy, by questioning the excellence of its object, or your interest in it; and against a worldly spirit, for this will make you disrelish things spiritual and heavenly. Neglect no duty, for every such omission will give rise to many painful reflections; and never yield to tempta. tion to sin, for this will fill you with remorse and fear. Shew to all around that religion is not as the wicked assert, a series of gloom and sadness, of outward austerities, and inward struggles, mingled only with a few bursts of enthusiastic ecstacy, but that it makes you happy in all circumstances. Invite them to taste and see that God is good, and while in trying whether the wicked are happy they incur mach guilt, and may receive much injury, in going with you they will enter in. to rest.
Arise from this ordinance, and go on your way rejoicing, as the Ethiopian convert did, when “ baptized into Christ;" and labour to comfort others with these consolations with which you are comforted of God. “Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions to them for whom nothing is prepared, for this day is holy unto our Lord; neither be ye sorry, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. Rejoice evermore,"
LUKE XXIII. 46.
“ And when he had cried again with a loud voice, he said, Father, irito thy hands I commerd my spirit, and having said thus he gave up the ghost.”
Such were the last words which our Lord uttered, and such was the last act which he performed on the
You now behold a life inarked by all that is excellent and useful, closed in a manner worthy of such a course. The sun setting in a sky adorned with clouds beautiful in form and colour, is an object which it is pleasing to contemplate; the warrior expiring in the field of blood, deeply interests the ardent mind of the brave; and the saints rejoicing in hope in their last hour, are beheld with wonder and love by the pious. But here we behold the Sun of Righteousness setting, whose glory covers the heavens, the Conqueror of the powers of darkness sinking into rest in the arms of victory, and the King of Saints, shewing by his exam. ple, how good men should die.
Our Lord commended his spirit into his Father's hand, and gave up the ghost to complete the sacrifice which he was offering for sin. Death was the penalty threatened in the law, and which the Surety of man must endure. Jesus knew that his last moment was now come, and as he had offered to his Father all the previous parts of his sufferings, he now presented to him their solemn close. On the altar of God the sa