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guised veneration to his Lord; he had a companion. And whom? Nicodemus! Nicodemus had resembled Joseph in timidity; and now partook of his boldness. Disregarding all surmises, armed against all confequences ; he came and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in liner clothes, with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury C). Whence was this fortitude ? Did it belong to Joseph and Nicodemus by nature? Their antecedent conduct has answered the question. It was the work of the Spirit of God; the fruit of strengthening grace. The Spirit of grace, which strengthened Joseph and Nicodemus, is ready to strengthen you.
Do you desire another example ? Look to the apostle Peter. You' know his shameful fall. You know his denial of his Lord: à denial deliberate, thrice repeated, confirmed by oaths and execrations. When restored by his forgiving master to the rank of an apostle; he was forewarned of the death by which be Jould glorify God (f.) Did he now display a dread of danger? Did he now shrink from suffering? Did the full prospect of death now move him? The prayer which his Lord had (e) John, xix. 39, 40. (f) John, xxi. 18, 19.
• offered offered for him had prevailed. His faith failed not. Converted himself, he frengthened his brethren (8). He became the rock on which Christ laid the foundation of his church, both among the Jews and among the Gentiles. He was entrusted with the keys of the sheepfold of Christ; and opened the door of admission to both divisions of the flock (b). And though, on one subsequent occasion, he was ensnared by some slight remains of natural timidity into an undue compliance with the prejudices of the Jews; and received on that account the merited rebuke from St. Paul (i), whom he afterwards names with a warmth of affection probably encreased by the recollection of this very event (£): he persevered with holy fortitude in his Christian course, until it conducted him to that cross, on which his master had foretold that he should seal his teftimony with his blood. Thus effe&ual was the intercession of Christ. Thus all-sufficient was his grace. Christ now intercedes before the throne of God for you. To you he offers the all-sufficient influence of his Spirit. Having therefore an high priest, which can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities;
(8) Luke, xxii. 32. (b) Compare Matt. xvi. 18, 19. with A&ts, ii. 14–41. and X. 1–48. (i) Gal, ii. 11-14. : (K) 2 Pct. iii. 15.
an high Priest who was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without fin: let us come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need (1).
But these, you remark, are primeval examples, exhibited in the days of the apostles. You would derive greater comfort from instances drawn from modern times and ordinary men. Take an instance then from the annals of your own country. Look to the character and conduct of Cranmer. In the general current of his proceedings, during the reign of Henry the Eighth, you behold a struggle between a mind intent on a conscientious adherence to duty, and a disposition naturally characterised by timidity. You behold him at one time strengthening himself with succour fought from above; and steadily pursuing his Christian purposes, regardless of the resentment of a furious, and ungovernable monarch: at another, the victim of inherent weakness, tamely subservient to his master's will, overawed into culpable compliances. When danger, after the accesfion of Mary, mustered its terrors; Cranmer funk in the conflict. Less fervent in seeking fuccour from above, in the hour of tempta(l) Heb. iv, 15, 16.
tion he fell away. He renounced his faith! Again he looked to the grace of Christ, and he found it all-sufficient. Behold him chained to the stake, as the wind disperses at intervals the volumes of fire and smoke in which he is enveloped. Behold his undaunted demeanour: his face full of peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, as it were the face of an angel. Behold him stretching forth into the fiames the hand which had signed the recantation; and surveying with a stedfast eye the flesh wasting from the finews, bone dropping away from bone. Hear him exclaiming with exulting fervor; “ This hand offended: “ this hand shall suffer, this unworthy hand.” Contemplate this spectacle; this insensibility to pain, this facred fortitude, this fubftantial repentance, this complete subjugation of nature and its besetting sin: and say whether this is not the triumph of grace, whether this is not the finger of God.
2. The grace of Christ is sufficient to enable his servants to perform efficaciously unto his glory the undertakings, with which he entrusts them.
This is the word of the Lord: Not by might nor by power; but by My Spirit, faith the Lord
of hosts. Without me, faith our Saviour, ye -- can do nothing. Herein is my Father glorified,
that ye bear much fruit (m). Look to the display which the Scriptures spread before you of the perfections of God; and you will im-mediately be convinced, that such a Being will in no instance require from his creatures any one act of obedience, which they are not thoroughly enabled to perform : and that no instance of service, however difficult, can be required from the weakest of his creatures, to which he cannot render that weakest of his creatures equal. Look to the examples which the sacred writings exhibit of the efficacy of divine grace, in strengthening holy men of old to execute every undertaking, to which God, for the manifestation of his glory, was pleased to call them: and your conscience will proclaim to you that if, at any hour, and under any circumstances, you fail to discharge the duties, trying as they may be, of the situation in which the Lord avho appointeth your lot shall have placed you; it is not because the grace of Christ is not all-sufficient: it is because you ask it not, or aik it amils, or refuse to employ it when bestowed. When Mofes was commanded to return after an absence of forty years into Egypt, and to declare his commission to the king and to the Israelites; his feeble(m) Zech. iv. 6. John, av. 5.8,