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and strengthen our hearts!
This then is what death is,
and this is what Christ our Lord has done.
To that other
one and another has been summoned in our sight. And our turn we know must one day come. We shall have to go,
each one, solitary, upon the same journey. We die alone. And the voice of nature cries within us,
"Ay but to die, and go we know not where !"
But one there is who has gone thither, and returned thence; one who being more than man, yet for our sakes became man, "that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man." And He has come back from that silent land to comfort our hearts with the inestimable assurance that it shall be with us even as with Him. There is no danger to us believing in Him. Even this so much dreaded death shall be to you but the gate of everlasting life, the necessary entrance into your chief joy.5
There is a beautiful little allegory to this effect in Christoph von Schmid's Lehr und Lesebüchlein, No. 99. It recalls the legend of Theseus and his black, or, as some say, white sail. See also a passage in Robertson's Sermons, third series, Victory over Death:-"Have we ever seen a ship preparing to sail, with its load of pauper emigrants to a distant colony? If we have, we know what that desolation is which comes from feeling unfriended on a new and untried excursion. All beyond the seas, to the ignorant poor man, is a strange land. They are going away from the helps and the friendships and the companionships of life, scarcely knowing what is before them. And it is in such a moment, when a man stands upon the deck, taking his last look of his fatherland, that there comes upon him a sensation new, strange, and in
expressibly miserable-the feeling of
3 Measure for Measure, III. i.
Rom. xiv. 9; Col. iii. 4; 1 Thess. iv. 14.
5 South (Ser. xlii. on The General Resurrection) thus speaks of the grave as "not so much a conclusion, as the interruptiou-not the period but the parenthesis of our lives-a short interval between the present and the future-and only a passage from one life to another." And yet near Berlin, we are told, is a cemetery of what is called "The Free Congregation," the name adopted by one of the atheistic societies of the place, and over the gate is the fearful inscription, “There is no hereafter, and no meeting again."
Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.
The Evangelists record some one, some another appearance of our risen Lord. The four accounts taken together present us with a perfect whole.' So St. Matthew, passing over other appearances of the Lord related by the rest, hastens to this, which had been promised before His death,2 and appointed again after His resurrection. They went to Galilee, a considerable journey, though they had already seen Him more than once in Jerusalem. They had learnt to do all things without murmurings and disputings. "Those who would maintain communion with Christ, must attend Him there where He has appointed. Those that have met Him in one ordinance must attend Him in another." They "that have seen Him at Jerusalem, must go to Galilee."4 They had conversed with Him in private, but this is not to exempt them from that solemn and general and appointed assembly, where many were gathered together to see Him.
1 That St. Matthew and St. John have stopped short of recording the historic fact of our Lord's ascension, will not perplex those who bear this in mind. The fullest account was, we find, reserved for the Acts of the Apostles. But even St. Matthew (ch. xxii. 44; xxiv. 30; xxv. 14, 31;
xxvi. 64) and St. John (ch. vi. 62; xx. 17) unmistakeably assume and refer to what they yet did not record. 2 St. Matt. xxvi. 32.
3 St. Matt. xxviii. 7, 10; St. Mark xvi. 7.
For this probably was the occasion when, as St. Paul relates, "He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once." It was on an appointed mountain that He now appeared, and tradition reports it to have been Tabor. It was at least one of those mountains which He frequented in the days of His flesh, whither He used to withdraw for prayer, where the people resorted to Him,3 where He was transfigured before His chosen. There the eleven to whom He had already appeared recognized and worshipped Him. But of the rest some doubted. They were doubtful for the moment. After His resurrection He was not, it seems, instantly recognizable as before. But as He descended from the summit of the mountain, and drew near to them, and they came within the sound of His voice, and He manifested Himself to them, they doubtless could doubt no more. Here we have the substance of His address. To Him as man, as Mediator, is given now, as the result of His completed work, all power in Heaven and in earth. That power which He had originally as God, He now claims meritoriously as Now it is His by a double right and claim. All is now His, not only in Heaven, but also on the earth; now in earth, as always in Heaven. As one whose lawful kingdom or inheritance has been usurped might retake it, and by conquest make it his again. The seed of the woman, the descendant of Eve, the Son of Mary, has, as it was foretold from the first, bruised the serpent's head. Therefore He bids them, in right of that Kingdom and Church which He is organizing, to make disciples of all nations. Of old men were discipled or admitted into Covenant by circumcision; henceforward it was to be by Baptism. This rite, with which the Jews were not unfamiliar, was to take the place of the other. Nor was it to be confined, as that, to Jews, but extended to Gentiles. All,
1 1 Cor. xv. 6.
Him, they worshipped Him.' The last words of the verse should in fact rather be translated but others doubted.'"-A Plain Commentary.
St. John xxi. 4, 7.
St. Luke xix. 12.
8 Gen, ii. 15.
See the original word.
young as well as old, male and female, of every nation,' were to be baptized into the name of the Tri-une God. A Disciple is a Scholar, and the Church is a School. Into this School of Christ we are from the first admitted that we may be taught; admitted not because we already know, but in order that we may learn. So He adds (what must always follow, though it cannot in every case precede, Baptism) this charge of actual instruction in all those things commanded of Christ, as afterwards made known by His Apostles.3 And that it might not be supposed that this was to be confined to that first age of the Church, He adds the ever-enduring promise of His perpetual presence with them and their successors. The great I am is with us, as He was with our fathers, as He will be with our children. He is with His Church all the days,5 till the end of the world, till the end or accomplishment of the age or dispensation which was then begun, till time shall be no longer, and He need be no more with us, for we shall be with Him.
THE SAME SUBJECT-continued.
St. Mark xvi. 15-18.
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
St. Mark seems to add further particulars to St. Matthew's report of our Lord's charge to His Disciples on the mountain
Gal. iii. 27, 28.
2 So the original.
3 St. John xiv. 26; Acts i. 2, 3;
Eph. iii. 2-11.
Ex. iii. 14.
in Galilee. We learn from his account that our Lord bade those first Missionaries of the faith proclaim like heralds in all the world, to the whole creation, the good tidings of His Church and Kingdom. It must be proclaimed not just generally to all, but individually to every soul. As St. Matthew has recorded the charge to baptize, so St. Mark here records the effect of Baptism. It is not enough to believe. To be admitted into the fellowship of Christ's religion, the convert must also be baptized. "What must I do to be saved?"-asked the awakened jailer at Philippi. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thine house," the Apostle answers. And soon it is added, "he was baptized, he and all his straightway." So when in the case of the man of Ethiopia, Philip preached unto him Jesus, he soon proceeds to ask, "What doth hinder me to be baptized?" From which it is evident that the preaching of Jesus includes instruction on the subject of Baptism. They did not make light of a Divine ordinance in those days. To be careless or contemptuous about Baptism was a sign of unbelief, and he that believeth not shall be condemned. In those infant days of the Church certain miraculous gifts accompanied or followed Baptism,3 which, when the Church was able, if we may so say, to walk alone, were gradually withdrawn. These things were done in Christ's name, by His authority and power. Two in particular of those here specified seem to have had a local or temporary reference. Serpents infested those parts, and the art of poisoning was cultivated in those times to a dreadful degree. In an inner and spiritual sense these promises still pertain to the Church, and are in perpetuity the privilege of the faithful.
1 See the original word.
2 Rom. viii. 22.
Rom. x. 9, 10.
"Dr. Whitby here observes, that they who hence infer that the infant seed of believers are not capable of Baptism, because they cannot believe, must hence also infer that they cannot
be saved; faith being here more ex-