Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

wretched man support himself, who knows not the hope of immortality? Aflicted with the view of his past life, tormented with present pain, and hovering over an abyss from which we know not if we shall ever emerge, How muít it imbitter the last hour, and ningle despair with the pangs of dissolution, to think on our bidding adieu to the living world ; to go perhaps for ever into the dominion of darkness, into the region of shadows, into the land of forgetfulness, where, for any thing we can tell, we shall be as though we had never been! To such persons, the end of life must be insupportable. Their fetting sun goes down in a cloud, and the long night closes over their head in its darkest and deepest shade.

But when the Sun of Righteousness arose in our region, it dispelled the shadows of the everlasting evening; revealed all the heavens to mortal view, and poured its radiance upon the path of immortali. ty. Our Saviour did not propose his doctrines as controvertible opinions, he confirmed them by proofs and miracles. Did he teach the immortality of the soul, and the resurrection of the body? As an infal. lible confirmation of these doctrines, he himself arose from the grave, and being the first-born from the dead himself, he gives life to the world. The good man need not now live in a state of anxiety about his future existence, or mourn for his deceased friends as those who have no hope. We know that our Redeemer liveth; we know that we shall in like manner revive.

There is a time appointed, when the year of the redeemed shall come ; when the everlasting morning shall dawn; when the voice of the Son of God shall

pierce the caverns of the tomb ; shall be heard over the dominions of the dead; shall reanimate the ashes of all that ever lived upon the earth, and raise a glorious and immortal army from the bosom of corruption.'

In the name, and by the authority of Him who was once dead, but is now alive, and lives for ever more, I am this day to give you the bread of life, and deliver into your hand the pledges of immortality. It is the voice which Jesus this day addresses to you from these tables, “ I am the resurrection and the “ life. He that believeth in me shall never die."

In the second place, Jesus Christ as the Priest of the world, purchased for us life and immortality.

When man came from the hands of his Creator he was innocent, and therefore happy and immortal. For although, in the present degenerate state of human nature, the imperfect virtue of good men nei. ther insures their happiness here, nor merits an everlasting reward hereafter, yet if we suppose them in a state of innocence or confirmed goodness, we can neither set bounds to their enjoyments or their existence. The ideas of perfection and felicity are inseparable; wherever pure virtue is, it is in paradise; all good beings throughout the universe are happy. Righteousness is by its own title, immortal. The spring of innocence, and the fountain of life, for ey. er mingle their streams.

Accordingly, as the world when it was first created, contained in it no principles of decay, so man, its noblest inhabitant, harboured in its nature no feeds of diffolution. The world, if it had not been cursed, had moved on in its original beauty, fresh, in undecay..

ve

ing vigour, and fair with perpetual youth; and man, if he had never fallen, would only have exchanged an earthly paradise for a heavenly one. For, as we are told, God created not death, and there was no poison of destruction in the world which he made. Immortality was a part of his image, which he conferred upon our first parents. Amid the garden of Eden a tree arose, the sacramental pledge of life, and sign of immortality to man. And if man had nev. er fallen by tasting of its fruits, he would have lived for ever. But, by the fall, death entered into the world. On the day that man became a sinner he died. The man who was made after the image of God, died ; the man who was created immortal, di. ed; and there remained a lifeless form, a guilty and a mortal creature, doomed to earn his bread with the sweat of his brows, to drag out a threescore and ten years of wretchedness and pain, and then to return to the dust from which he was taken.

How art thou fallen from heaven, son of the morning! How is the gold become dim, and the most fine gold changed! The celestial spirits, appointed the guardians of Eden, knew our first parents no longer, they recollected no traces of original innocence in a form fo fallen. They discerned none of the lineaments of heaven in a face so clouded with guilt. They drove out the man; drove him out from the garden of Eden, where he had access to the tree of life ; drove him out from the society of all thole good beings who were at once happy and obe. dient ; drove him out from the presence of the Lord, with which, in paradise, he had been often blessed.

Behold him now in his fallen state! Behold, o

man ! and mourn over this image. Fallen from the dignity of his nature, and in ruins; the beauty of innocence defaced ; the splendour of heaven obscured; cut off from the career of glory and immortal. ity; his name erased from the book of life, no more to claim alliance with the Father of spirits, no more to rank among those happy fons of God, who present themselves before the Lord; no more to behold His countenance in bliss, in whose presence there is fulness of joy, and at whose right hand there are pleasures for evermore! Such was the state into which man was brought by the fall; the sentence of death passed upon him ; the gate of heaven shut against him ; the wrath of an offended God hung over his head. To persons in this state, what conso. lation would it bring, to hear of an immortality be. yond the grave, if it was to be an immortality of misery and torment? To hear of heaven, and be cast down to hell; to be told of the rivers of pleasure, which are at God's right hand, while they were doomed to drink the unmingled cup of his wrath!

But the Great Restorer of our race, the Redeemer of mankind, not only as a Prophet, discovered to us a future state, but also as a Priest, purchased for us eternal happiness in that future state. It was the guilt of our sins that shut the gate of heaven against us, that subjected us to the wrath of God, and to misery in the world to come. But Jesus Christ, as our Surety and Redeemer, fulfilled that law which we had broken; endured that wrath which we had deserved ; made an atonement for those sins which we had committed ; and by the righteousness of his life, by the efficacy of his sufferings, by the merit of

KC

his death, he satisfied the justice of God; he blotted out the sins of the world; he abolished death; he purchased life; he quenched the fire of hell, and opened the heavens for the righteous to enter in. Thus, what the first Adam, the man of the earth, had lost, the second Adam, the Lord from heaven, restored again. By the sacrifice of himself, which we are this day to commemorate, he ranfomed us from destruction ; by his death upon the cross, of which we are this day to renew the memorials, he purchased the life of the world.

Yes, O Christian! the ransom was paid. While thousands of rams, and ten thousand rivers of oil were insufficient, a price of higher value was given ; while the blood of bulls, and of goats, and the cattle upon a thousand hills, were unavailable, a sacri. fice of greater efficacy was offered up. The fund of heaven was exhausted ; the treasures of eternity were bestowed ; the blood of the Son of God was shed upon the cross.--Yes, O Christian ! the ransom was paid. Liberal to you is the divine benignity ; free to you the blessing of life flows. But the anguish which thy Redeemer felt, when his soul was exceeding sorrowful, even unto death į the groans which he uttered; the tears which he shed ; the fears which came upon him in the hour of darkness; his bloody sweat during his agony in the garden ; the carnest prayer which he offered up, that the cup of wrath might pass from him for a time ; his complaint of dereliction upon the cross, when he cried, " My God, my God, why bast thou forsaken me ?" These testify at what a price the blessing was bought. Yes, O Christian ! the ransom was paid. When

« AnteriorContinuar »