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their reserve, their decency, their purity- | fulfil his word to his servants upon which he See how they have adorned themselves in has caused them to hope-but he is also enmodest apparel, with shamefacedness and gaged to render vengeance to his adversasobriety! ries" he will not spare the guilty."
"What then, would you have us despair?" I would-If we are resolved still to do wickedly. If we are not brought to national repentance, I would wish every individual to expect that we shall be destroyed, both we and our king. "At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; if it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then will I repent of the good wherewith I said I would benefit them."
If such tests prove the degree of national guilt our guilt is great; and if sin destroys kingdoms-1 say, we have reason to fear.
It is not indeed for us to determine when the iniquity of a nation is full: and it seems that God sometimes prolongs the duration of a country for some providential purposes. They may be instruments in his hand of mercy or of wrath. But such a destiny does not hinder their final ruin. Though they are his instruments, they are not his favourites. He may use them and still punish them.
But the reverse is true. "At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; if that nation against whom I have pronounced turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them." Blessed be God for this welcome intelligence. For by this he assures us-and the Scripture cannot be broken-that not only innocence and righteousness will save a country-but also repentance and reforma tion. Oh that our country may be led to make trial of this encouraging truth! May we search and try our ways, and turn again unto the Lord. May we seek him while he may be found, and call upon him while he is near-" for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.”
We learn therefore who is the worst enemy of his country-the sinner; and who is the best friend-the Christian. "By the bless ing of the upright, the city is exalted; but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked!"
Let us all therefore seek after divine grace to renew our own souls, and to sanctify our own lives; and do all in our power to promote godliness around us. Let us endeavour to hinder all the sin we can-in our families and neighbourhood-by prayer, by example, by influence. As much sin as we hinder, so much misery and danger shall we prevent.
Let us prize those institutions which are favourable to the morality and sanctification of mankind. Especially let us value the GOSPEL. It is the grand, and the only ef fectual means of "teaching men to deny all ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present world."
There is one thing of which we hear very much, and many seem to consider it as a counterpoise to all our fears, that there are so many good people among us. Blessed be God this is true, and they certainly afford us encouragement. Ten righteous men would have saved Sodom. And God says of the Jews, "I sought for a man among them that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found none. Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them. I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath; their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord God." Let us therefore rejoice in this encouragement. But let us rejoice with trembling. Let us remember that it is a hopeful circumstancebut that it does not absolutely insure the salvation of a country. Let us recollect that there was a time when God used the following language to Jeremiah and Ezekiel concerning the Jews: "Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee. Then said the Lord unto me, Pray not for this people for their good. Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my mind could not be toward this people: cast them out of my sight, and let them go forth. Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord God." What learn we from all this?-That there are cases in the history of nations-when the Divine forbearance is exhausted, and then the cries of the righteous will avail no more than those of the wicked. Were there not in Judea some of the best inen that ever lived when the Babylonians invaded and conquered them? Have there not been pious people in every Christian country when destroyed? Does God love his followers now better than formerly, when he suffered them to share in a thousand public calamities?-While he punishes his enemies, may he not correct his
We are called upon to confess and bewail our national wickedness, and on such an oc casion as this we should feel ourselves to be parts of one great whole. But no man will ever be properly affected with the sins of others till he is impressed with his own. Here then our concern is to begin. We are individually to look backward-and inquire,
friends? Or cannot he indemnify them?" What have I done?"—and to look forwardOr hide them? Or deliver them? He must
and ask, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to
do?" We find the builders, in Nehemiah, | me." But what would he have them believe? labouring every one over against his own You have heard-"In my Father's house are house." And it is a plain but an expressive many mansions: if it were not so, I would image, of an old writer-" that the best way have told you. I go to prepare a place for to have a clean street is for every one to you: and if I go and prepare a place for you, sweep before his own door." I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."
Let us consider the various particulars of this intelligence; and the certainty of the whole.
Let us therefore personally "cease to do evil, and learn to do well." Let us fear the Lord and serve him. Let us mourn and weep for the abominations that are done in the land-and if we are not the repairers of the breach, the restorers of paths to dwell in-let us remember, it shall be well with us. If we suffer with others, we shall not suffer like them. And we shall soon reach Immanuel's land, where the din of war will be heard no
I. THE DECLARATION OF OUR SAVIOUR CONTAINS EVERY THING that can feed the CONTEMPLATION, AND ENLIVEN THE HOPE OF THE CHRISTIAN.
In describing heaven, he calls it his "Father's house"-as much as to say, I am only going home. Now he is not ashamed to call his people brethren. Behold," says he, after his resurrection, "behold, I ascend to my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God." Heaven therefore is their home also. The world knoweth them notit knew him not. They are only strangers and pilgrims on earth. They take many a weary step; and often meet with rough usage and trying weather. But when tempted to complain, they are prevented by the reflection that this is not their home-better entertainment awaits them at their journey's endheaven will make amends for all. Dr. Rowland Taylor, when drawing near the tower of Hadley, in Suffolk, where he had been a minister, and was now going to be a martyrbeing asked how he did-answered, “Never better; for now I know that I am almost at home!"-And looking over the meadow between him and the place where he was to be immediately burnt, he said, "Only two stiles more to get over, and I am at my Father's house." And when the venerable Mr. Mede was asked how he did, replied, “I am going home as fast as I can, as every honest man ought to do when his day's work is over; and I bless God I have a good home to go to."
And oh! remember, if your country should be saved, and you as an individual continue impenitent-you-you will be certainly destroyed! And what is any national calamity to "everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and the glory of his power!"
THE SAVIOUR COMFORTING HIS
(AFTER A FUNERAL.)
In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.-John xiv. 2, 3.
NEVER man spake like this man! Grace was poured into his lips! And in him were accomplished in the highest sense the words of the prophet-"He hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary."
Having assembled with his disciples in an upper room, and administered to them the memorials of his death-he announced his approaching departure. Sorrow filled their hearts. Perhaps they expressed it in words; perhaps it was visible in their countenances. However this may be he perceived it, and said, "Let not your heart be troubled."
But what can bear them up under such a loss?-We grieve when we lose a good man, a friend, a common benefactor. But they were to lose their Lord and Saviour, their teacher, the resolver of their doubts, their comforter in every affliction. How then would he relieve them? What is the remedy he applies?-It is faith!-The discoveries of faith are the best support under the evils of sense. "I had fainted," says David, "unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." "Ye believe in God," says our Saviour, "believe also in
Yes-a good home indeed! Think of a building of God and for him; think of an edifice in which he resides; and which is worthy of his infinite Majesty!-We have seen splendid palaces. We have read of others, the magnificence of which seems to exceed belief. The Scripture tells us that Solomon's palace was the wonder of the earth; and that when the queen of Sheba had surveyed it, "there remained no more spirit in her." But what is all this to heaven! "The palace of the great King." No man could see it and live. But all this is your home-it is your "Father's house."
Our Lord tells us that in this house there "are many mansions." No inconsiderable number will be required. For if it be asked, are there few that shall be saved?-taking them all, eventually and collectively, we answer, No. The Captain of our salvation is
leading "many sons" unto glory. And John us. He appeared in the presence of God for us, pleading his sacrifice, and claiming the purchase of the Cross: "Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world." He has taken possession of heaven in our name, and he holds it for us. And we read that he entered within the vail as our forerunner, whose office it is to prepare for the reception, and to announce the approach of those to whom he belongs.
Again. "If," says the Saviour, "I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself. This is fulfilled in two cases. He comes again at death. And this is infinitely desirable. It is an awful thing to die. And many a Christian has found himself in such a frame of mind as to say
saw before the throne "a great multitude which no man could number," from all the diversities of the human race. But there is room enough in the house of God to accommodate all his immense family. There is therefore nothing to justify monopoly. There is enough and to spare.
But the expression implies not only multiplicity, but variety. Though the house is one, the apartments are many. There is something in the heavenly state suited to the circumstances, and character, and taste of every inhabitant. The land of Canaan was given to the Jews; but each tribe had its own division, and the lots of no two of them were in all respects alike. In the world of nature we see "one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differeth from another star in glory." Among the angels we read of thrones and dominions; principalities and powers: they have their orders and degrees. This also we have reason to believe will be the case with glorified saints. We see endless diversity in all God's works and ways. He does this. He is peculiarly near to his And will heaven be an exception? All will people in their expiring moments. Many of be perfectly blessed-but why should all be them have confessed his presence in words; similarly employed; or equally endowed? while others who have not had the same dePlunge a number of vessels into the sea-gree of rapturous confidence, have equally they are all alike filled-but, various in their proved it by effects. Yes, he comes to irradimensions, they hold unequal proportions. diate the dark valley; he comes to establish their faith, and to enliven their hope, and to make all grace to abound towards them in this time of need. He comes to take them in from this world of storms to their everlasting refuge-to receive them to himselfas you would go to the door to receive a beloved friend from a distance, or hasten to embrace a dear child returning, after a long absence, from school.
Further; he tells them, "I go to prepare a place for you.' You are coming too-but I must go first-to remove every impediment; to perform every condition; to secure every advantage."
For this happiness is not such as Adam would have obtained after a proper trial of his obedience in Paradise. It is the happiness of a lost creature, in whose restoration difficulties were found which the Saviour alone could remove. And before He can remove them-see how much it was necessary for him to accomplish! It was necessary for him to come down from heaven to earth, and return from earth to heaven. To your complete happiness-his death was necessaryhis resurrection was necessary-his ascension and intercession were necessary-his universal empire, and his dispensation of the Holy Ghost were necessary.
He went away, not only to possess a personal reward, but to assume a relative dignity -not only to live a life of glory, but also a life of office; and hence says the Apostle, "If when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by his Life!" Hence he said to his disciples, "It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you: but if I depart, I will send him unto you." With his own blood he entered into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for
"Oh! if my Lord would come and meet,
He also comes again at the last day to receive them to himself. And this coming differs very much from the former. The one is spiritual, but the other will be personal. The one is private, and invisible; the other will be public and obvious, for every eye shall see him. The one is to receive his people individually; the other will be to receive them collectively. The one is to receive their souls, but the other is also to receive their bodies. This is a grand article of our faith and hope. "To them that look for him, will he appear a second time, without sin, unto salvation. Our conversation is in heaven; from whence we also look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself."
Finally he adds, "That where I am, there ye may be also." Whatever situation were prepared to receive the Christian, he would feel himself more than disappointed if when
he came he could not see him, enjoy him, be for ever with him. For he has learned to place all his happiness in him, and it is only in proportion as he can experience his presence, that he can say, of any situation, "It is good to be here."
There is in heaven company of the first sort; society the most delicious. There we shall join the innumerable company of angels. There we shall mix with all the truly wise and good. There we shall be introduced to martyrs, apostles, patriarchs. We shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of God. We shall see those who have gone before us, with whom we were once connected by the tender ties of nature or of friendship. But Jesus is "the chief of ten thousand." Whom have we in heaven but him?—And he cannot be satisfied unless we shall be with him to share in all his honour and happiness. "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. Where I am there shall also my servant be."-Such are the contents of this gracious declaration.
But the more important and interesting any intelligence be, the more anxious are we for its certainty. Our Saviour therefore,
II. MEETS THIS STATE OF MIND IN THE DISCIPLES, AND SAYS "If it were not so, I would have told you." How friendly and familiar! And yet how convincing and forcible is this address! Take it thus.
Besides on all other occasions, when they had apprehended things to be otherwise than they really were, he had set them right. We see this with regard to his sufferings, and the nature of his kingdom.
He had kept back nothing that was profitable for them. Henceforth," says he, "I call you not servants: for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.' And surely he would not have held them in darkness and error in a case of so much consequence as this!
What room was there for suspicion? Could they question his love? Had he not abundantly proved his readiness to serve them? Was he not even then going to lay down his life for them?-What could be more awful than the circumstances he was now in? He was now ready to be offered: and do men feel inclined to deceive when-dying?
Conclude we therefore by remarking, First, How unlike our Saviour is the "god of this world." The god of this world "blindeth the minds of them that believe not." He is afraid of the entrance of light. He reigns by delusion. He knows that the end of these things is death. He knows that even now the pleasures of sin are not equal to the sorrows of religion. His servants indulge expectations, every one of which will issue in disappointment. He knows this-but he refuses to tell them so: till, from the blindness of sin, he plunges them into the darkness of hell.
First. If it had not been so he could have told them. For he knew all from the beginning. He was perfectly acquainted with the situation of his Father's house; with the works and enjoyments of heaven; with the character of the persons who were to possess it; with the way in which it was to be obtained.
Second. We shall never go on well in religion till our Lord and Saviour has gained our confidence. And this he surely deserves. He is often better than his promise, but never worse. Let us in all cases run to his word, and consider what he has spoken-if he has not said such a thing, it matters not who has
Secondly. If it had not been so he should have told them. As their professed teacher.-but if he has spoken it-believe it to be it was his office to rectify their mistakes, and more sure than heaven or earth-for heaven to save them from delusion. or earth may pass away, but his word shall not pass away. If you were not welcome to come and take of the water of life freely, he would tell you-if future happiness were a fancy, or a dream, he would undeceive you; and not suffer you to run and strive in vain. Settle it therefore in your minds that he will notthat he cannot delude you.
It is expected therefore that the believer's confidence in him should be in proportion to his acquaintance with him. Hence it is said, "They that know thy name will put their trust in thee." And hence, says the Apostle,
know whom I have believed"-my faith is not a blind, rash confidence-I am sure of my ground, therefore I tread firm-I have proved the character I depend upon, and therefore I unreservedly commit myself to
Thirdly. If it had not been so he would have told them. This follows from the for-him-he is an old friend, a tried friend. How For what was proper for him to do, he always did.
Here you will also observe, that he had always laid a peculiar stress upon a future state in his doctrine. He had endeavoured to induce them to give up the present for the future to abandon treasures on earth, in expectation of treasure in heaven. Now if there were no such state of blessedness and recompence-ought he to have suffered them to give up every thing that was dear to them here, for the sake of a fool's paradise? He knew that they had forsaken all to follow him; and he knew that in consequence of their adherence to him, they would endure persecu-"I tion and death--and if there was nothing to indemnify them, should he not have told them?
many evidences have I had of his kindness, veracity, and power! How reproachful would
it be if I could not trust him now! "I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed to him against that day." If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established.
We have no reason to believe that they are acquainted with our circumstances, or can employ themselves for our welfare-yet for us they languish, and for us they die. We may improve their removal; it should draw us away from earth, and attach us the more to heaven. And thus their going away will be for our welfare. When we lose the lives of our friends, we should be careful not to lose their deaths too.
They will not come to receive us to themselves but they will welcome us when we
Third. What a Master, what a Saviour do we serve! How sincere! How kind! "His heart is made of tenderness; his bowels melt with love." How concerned is he not only for the safety, but also for the comfort of his followers! With what a soft hand does he wipe away their tears! How graciously does he reward them-how infinitely does he pro-enter their everlasting habitations. The se paration is temporary. A time of re-union will come. We shall see their faces, and hear their voices again in the flesh. O cheerful consolation!-how suitable-and how sure! "I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds,
vide for them! "This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O ye daughters of Jerusalem!" Fourth. Are you to fill any of these mansions? Is there a place above prepared for you!-How people long to rise in the state! How they envy the great! How happy would they deem themselves if they could get into such-and such places! To what humiliations will they submit; what sacrifices will they be ready to make, to attain such fleeting, unsatisfying honours! But what are they what can they be to "heavenly places!"-in which you are "blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ?"
For whom then are they prepared? I answer, for those who are prepared for them. God makes his people "meet for the inheritance of the saints in light." The vessels of mercy are "afore prepared unto glory." Others would be only miserable there; even to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we if God had not determined to exclude them.ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort But "The wicked shall not stand in his sight, one another with these words."
he hateth all workers of iniquity: without are
Lastly. Let us rejoice in hope. Let us lay open our minds to these everlasting consolations which our Saviour here reveals and insures. Let them fill us with a joy unspeakable and full of glory in all our present trials, and especially under the loss of dear and valuable friends.
A STORM at sea is one of the sublimest appearances in nature. Hence it has often employed the painter's pencil and the poet's pen. David, whose genius was very vivid and dis tinct in its conceptions, has given us an ad
Let us remember that when no longer visible to us, they are not lost. They have mirable representation of this impressive reached their Father's house. They are dis-scene. "They that go down to the sea in ships, posed of infinitely to their advantage. And that do business in great waters; these see this should subdue the selfishness of our grief. the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the If we love them, we ought to rejoice in their deep. For he commandeth and raiseth the promotion. stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves
THE DISCIPLES IN A STORM. And when he was entered into a ship, his disci ples followed him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!-Matt. viii. 23-27.