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cheered under the darkest appearances of Human Nature. When we look to that grave to which we are all drawing down, and which, before we ourselves sink into it, so frequently covers from our view whatever we most love in existence ;-when we contemplate the dread havoc which encircles it, the buds of childhood, the brightest hopes of youth, no less than the fulness or the decline of years, all indiscriminately gathered into its merciless womb;—is there not in the gloom of this chaos something which the eye of unassisted man in vain endeavours to penetrate?--and when, even in the dispensations of a just and bountiful Providence, there is at times so much to sink us into despondency, how requisite for our consolation is the light of a Divine Sympathy arising amid the horrors themselves of that" valley of the shadow of death !” There are, indeed, in this dark page of earthly existence, obscurities which reason would in vain attempt to explore; but how fully are they met by that still more wonderful aspect of a Heavenly Compassion which opens upon the eye of Faith! If there is, in the appearances of mortality and all its connected evils, something quite overpowering to the feebleness of nature ;
is it possible for the utmost effort of imagina. tion to conceive anything so condescending, and, at the same time, so sublime as the form of a Heavenly Being, of One who, in the language of inspiration, “ thought it not robbery to be equal with God,” bowed down under all the burden of these very afflictions, even submitting to a painful and ignominious Death, and borne along at last pale and lifeless to the Sepulchre ? Was there not something here, even if no bright restoration had visibly followed, sufficient to throw a glory around the melancholy and the degradation of mortality, sufficient to give faith and firmness to the faltering step of man, when he is advancing into the depth of an awful and impenetrable futurity ; and is there not an union here formed between a frail and most uncertain Being with the highest and most secure of all Natures in the contemplation of which we can only adore in silence, but for which no human language can find adequate expression ? That High and Holy Nature could not, indeed, long be fettered by death; the Day is at hand in which we are to commemorate its Triumphant Rise, and the resurrection, at the same time, of all the hopes
and aspirations of our fallen and mortal condition. But, in the present hour, my brethren, the Sepulchre alone is before us; and is there not a voice which speaks to us, from its gloom, of the deep sympathy of Heaven with every human suffering and affliction, and with that death in which they all must close ; and while, for many inscrutable reasons of a Wisdom far above the reach of our conjectures, these are still accumulated around the devoted head of man, can he yet repine when he sees the Son of God bearing them all, and bearing them, too, for Him?
“ I am the vine,” (said He to his disciples, and He still says to us,) and ye are the branches." We are joined to Him in baptism. Our spiritual and moral life hangs upon his words, his example, and his assisting Spirit. We are joined to Him in these hours in his Death. We shall soon contemplate his glorious Resurrection, in which we hope likewise to be joined, and to abide in Him, and through Him, in the kingdom of his Father for ever! What need have we for any farther incitement to make this great Saviour and His appearance upon earth in all its varied aspects, the leading objects around
which our meditations ought to revolve-that we may be enabled ever to entertain hopeful and happy views of that nature, which has been honoured by so high an adoption—that we may cheerfully advance into all the labours and duties of life in the energy of that “ faith which worketh by love,"—that we may meet all the afflictions of our mortal state with that resignation and trust in God which His Gospel alone can fully inspire—and that we may at last lie down in death, with the well-grounded hope of peace and pardon through Him, and of a blessed resurrection in his heavenly kingdom !
ON THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST. *
2 COR. v. 15.
And that he died for all, that they which live,
should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again.
In a former discourse, my brethren, I called your attention to the verse preceding that which I have now read, as affording some important meditations, when we were more particularly engaged in contemplating the Death of our Sa
* Preached on Easter-day.