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signs shall follow them that believe ; in my pame 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 tbem : they shall lay bands on the sick, and they shall recover.” Here every obstruction is removed, all opposition dies, every enemy is subdued, and the scriptures are fulfilled, which say: Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low : and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain :" "Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night, nor for the arrow that flieth by day, nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness, nor for the destruction that wasteth at noon-day.” ** Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder : the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.” Thus was the serpent's head bruised, and the triumph of the Redeemer completed. Compare spiritual things with spiritual, the commission of the great Head of the Church with the execution of it, the promised support of the apostles with what they were enabled actually to achieve, as the facts stand recorded in the book of their acts.
But Jesus points out to his disciples a purer source of joy than even a grant of miraculous powers could bestow. It was highly honourable and unspeakably grateful to be invested with authority to control evil spirits, to cure inveterate distemper and quicken the dead, and to enjoy perfect personal security amidst snares, and dangers and the shadow of death, to speak with tongues and instruct the ignorant. But these and other choice gifts of God hare been conferred on the unworthy. Great talents are not always sanctified to the possessor. Beneficial to others they may be unprofitable or even pernicious to the man himself. He may speak with the tongues of men and of angels: he may have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge: he may have all faith so as to able to remove mountains; he may lay out his whole estate in works of charity, and even submit to suffer martyrdom, and after all remain destitute of that principle which alone admits into the kingdom of heaven. The magicians of Egypt performed wonders, but they served only to harden the heart against God. Balaam was a true prophet, but “ he loved the wages of unrighteousness :” he knew and approved the better course, but he deliberately persevered in the worse. Simon had the art of bewitching the people of Samaria with sorceries; “10 him they all gave heed, from the least io the greatest, saying, this man is the great power of God."
“ He himself believed also, and was baptized," but his “ heart was not right in the sight of God;" he was still " in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity."
"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name ? and in thy name have cast out devils ? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you : depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Where God has bestowed much, he will expect much, and in proportion to the number and value of the gifts received is the account that must be given. Who was equally honoured with the apostle of the gentiles, by extraordinary communications from heaven ? but " it is not expedient for me," says he “to glory :" 6 of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.” In what then does a Paul, in what does every belivever chiefly rejoice and glory? In the composing reflection, “my name is written in the book of life.” “I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day." “ Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing,” Compared to this, what a poor trifle it is for a man to know that his
name is in an opulent testator's will for a splended bequest, were it even the reversion of a kingdom ? This is that “ peace of God which passeth ali understanding, which shall keep the heart and mind through Christ Jesus, " and which the world can neither give nor take away.
This is " the hour," the eventful hour when Jesus rejoiced in spirit :” the hour when the great Sovereign of the universe was subjecting spiritual wickednesses to human agents, and perfecting praise out of the mouths of babes and sucklings; when all the glories of the kingdom of heaven unveiled themselves to his view, and the nations of the earth bastened into it.
The scenes of sorrow and suffering which must intervene are absorbed in contemplating the blessed effects which they were to produce. • In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes : even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.”
Here we behold our great pattern setting us the example of referring every thing to God, as the first cause and the last end of all; who acts by his own uncontrolable, inexplicable supremacy, and with a view to his own glory. But we are not to understand our Lord as giving thanks that “ the wise and prudent” were kept in a state of ignorance respecting the things of God, but that while they were so, while they remained under the power of wilful blindness, it had graciously pleased God to manifest these things to the comparatively simple and illiterate. We have a similar mode of expression, and which falls under the same mode of interpretation, in' the epistle to the Romans, vi. 17, where the apostle says: " But God be thanked that ye were the servants of sin ;' meaning obviously, “ that although, that whereas ye were the servants of sin, ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was deliyered you :” So here, “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that while the wise in their own conceits, and the prudent in the estimation of the world, neglect and despise the things which belong to their peace, their all-importance is discerned, felt, prized and improved by persons, lowly in their own sight, contemptible in the eyes of men, but estimable in the eyes of Him who “resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble."
Jesus ascribes to the Father universality of dominion, under the title of " Lord of heaven and earth;' and he resolves all creatures and all events into divine sovereignty : “ Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight." “ He giveth not account of any of his matters.' “ He doth according to his will in the armies of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou ?” That which is good in the eyes of man is frequently a sore evil; but that which is good in the sight of God must be good in itself; and when Deity shall have executed the whole plan of his providence, the myriads of his saints and angels shall with one voice proclaim “all is good.” “ Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever."
Having made this ascription of universal power, authority and property to the Father, he represents himself as invested in an equal extent of dominion, as sole and sovereign administrator of the world which he made, which he upholds, and which he came to redeem. “ All things are delivered to me of my Father." God is “ Lord of heaven and earth." Now these two words imply all space, with all the beings which inhabit the worlds " visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities, or powers. To the utmost extent of the words, therefore, and of their import, the sovereignty of God, Redeemer extends, and it is asserted and ascribed neither in a single passage, nor in doubtful terms. “ All power," says he in another place, “ is given unto me in heaven and in earth ;" "authority to execute
judgement also ;" “ power over all flesh, to give eternal life.” The Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them : even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. For the Father judgeth no inan; but hath committed all judgement unto the Son ; that all men should honour the Son, even as they bonour the Father.” Now this is either mere pretension, unfounded as that of the devil over
“all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them,” or it is a claim of right: and who but God can support such a claim ? Who but God can possess and exercise the power of quickening the dead, of executing judgement upon all, not only according to their works, but according to their most secret thoughts, and of bestowing eternal life ? Is a creature, a mere man like ourselves, to be entrusted with, is he capable of managing such an empire ? No; Where all power, then, is lodged, there is Deity ; " in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under bim." Behold, Christian, and rejoice in spirit, the powers of darkness prostrate under the feet of the Prince of Peace: He“ maketh his angels spirits, his ministers a flaming fire,” and “ are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation ?" Behold the heathen given him for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for a possession ; “ He must reign until he hath put all enemies under his feet.” beloved brethren, are part of the all things which are delivered by the Father unto the Son; and the precious deposit is securely placed : Thine they were and thou gavest them me :-those ihat thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is “ lost :” and you are going this day solemnly to deliver up yourselves to him, to be taught by his spirit, to be governed by his laws, to be protected by his arm, to be supplied by his providential care ; therefore "ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price : therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.”
It is added, " and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father ; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him." That is, the nature, excellency, and dignity of the Godhead can be known only by Deity. God is intioite in all his perfections, but in contemplating infinity all created understanding is lost. This reciprocal knowledge of the Father and of the Son is itself a mystery inscrutable, for it presents at once plurality and unity; which human reason sinks under. * No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father he hath declared him.” If man has been enabled to form any right notion of God, he is indebted for it to the rerelation of Jesus Christ the Son of God. That revelation has unfolded God's purpose and grace, before the world began. That revelation has explained the history of Providence through ages and generations past. That revelation has disclosed an eternal duration to come, for unfolding, in endless succession, the inexhaustible treasure of the knowledge of "the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent." Every past, every present, every future discovery of the divine counsels, and of their execution, is the operation of the great light of the world ; " for God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of
If such were the honour and the power conferred on the twelve and on the seventy simple Galileans; if through the grace of Christ they not only exceeded the attainments of science, and the operations of art, but exercised authority over the devil and his angels, then what may not man become ! What bounds shall be set to the progress of an immortal being, " the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness ?" The eye of sense discerns a frail child of dust, sinking under a load of growing infirmity; "in heaviness through manifold temptations;" "s through fear of death
subjected to bondage.” The eye of faith beholds in that same forlorn creature, one hastening unto the resurrection of the dead, about 10 assume a glorio'is body fashioned after the similitude of that of a risen and glorified Redeemer, arising “ to meet the Lord in the air,” triumphing over death, and “ him who has the power of death,” “ with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, and changing into the 'same image from glory to
Christ has taught us, my brethren, to resort to the radical source of consolation; “ rejoice, because your names are written in heaven." It'is a pleasant and an honourable feeling to take complacency in an illustrious or even reputable descent; to reflect on the attainment of eminence of station by eminence in talent; to contemplate wealth earned by industry and fair dealing. But these, and such advantages as these are transient. They may be marred and embittered by untoward circumstances. But to meditate on an inalienable, unalterable good, running through the whole progress of duration, increasing continually in lustre and value ; to think that all is the free gift of a Father, whose love is not liable to change, whose bounty is inexhaustible, whose power sustains the worlds visible and invisible, and whose existence is from everlasting to everlasting; this soothes the soul to peace, this sweetens the bitterest morsel, this quenches the flame of the fiery trial, this disarms the king of terrors. “ These things saith he that hath the seven spirits of God, and the seven stars." “ He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out bis name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.”
The bighest privileges which Christianity confers, and the fairest prospect which it opens, powerfully recommend the spirit of humility. Is thy name written in heaven? What band wrote it there? Might not the hand that wrote blot it out again ? Has not thy own right hand made many a dreadful attempt to erase the signature? If it has found a place on that hallowed page, if it has been permitted to remain there, if it has not in fatherly displeasure been forever obliterated, it is all of free sovereign grace. Art thou an heir of "a kingdom which cannot be moved ?" “it is your father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom,” have grace, whereby you may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear. The highest and holiest are also the humblest of beings. With whom does " the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy,” delight to dwe!? “ With him who is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. Ile who is most humble has the greatest similitude to his divine Master, and to be like Christ is to possess the highest glory which the creature is capable of attaining. “Learn of me," says he, not to walk upon the water or rebuke the wind, not to open the eyes of the blind or quicken the dead, but “ Learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in leart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”
“ Jesus rejoiced in spirit,” as he contemplated the rise, the progress, the Gorsummation of his kingdom, and the correspondent downfal of the empire of sin and Satan. He is the same who wept over the grave of Lazarus, who "groaned in the spirit and was troubled," in sympathy with the wo of others; the same who beheld the devoted city, “and wept over it;" the same who in the agony of Gethsemane exclaimed, “ My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death." Let our sorrows and joys flow from the same sources with his. Are the ravages of time and death presented to our view, or the still more dreadful ravages, which issue in death committed by " the carnal mind which is enmity against God," and hatred to man ? Are we the spectators of the progress of moral corruption from evil to worse, till all is lost? Can we hehold it unmoved ? “ Fools make a mock at sin," but every serious spirit is very
differently affected. “I beheld the transgressors," says the Psalmist, “and was grieved because they kept not thy word. Rivers of waters run down mine eyes; because they keep not thy law.” On the other hand, how delightful is it, to mark the progress of goodness; "the path of the just as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day;" 10 behold "a brand plucked out of the fire," a soul saved from death, an heir born into the kingdom of God! This causes “joy in heaven, in the presence of the angels of God.” This is that " travail of his soul,” which the Redeemer "shall see, and shall be satisfied.” This is the dawning of that eternal day when the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs, and everlasting joy upon their heads : they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” That we all may be found in that company, partake of that joy, assist in raising those songs, may God of his infinite mercy grant, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
PRAYER IN CONSECRATING THE ELEMENTS.
We thank thee, O Father, Lord of hearen and earth, for all thy inexpreg. sible, all thy inconceivable goodness to the children of men. Thou didst form the first human body of dust of the ground,” and thou didst breathe into man the breath of life, and he became a living soul, capable of knowing, of admiring, of loving, and of enjoying the glorious excellencies of the Divine Nature. Under thy creative benediction he increased, and multiplied, and replenished the earth. But man that was in honour continued not. Sin entered into the world, and death by sin has passed upon all men. Nevertheless, God who is rich in mercy pitied and spared, and said, “ Deliver him from going down to the pit; I have found a ransom. To guilty man, driven out from paradise, a door of grace opened, a dawn of hope arose. That dawning light, that day-spring from on high, through thy favour, waxed brighter and brighter, till it reached meridian splendour. The fulness of time came, when “ God, who at sundry times, and in divers manners, spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets," was pleased to speak 6 unto us by his Son, the heir of all things,” who “made the worlds, being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power.” But he “ made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:" He was "despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief:” and “ being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross," and “when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high." " Which things the angels desire to look into ;" let our souls rejoice and adore.
To thee, voluntarily humbled, to thee, highly exalted Saviour, our knees shall bow : that name which is above every name our tongue shall confess ; " the love of Christ constraineth us :” “ we love him : because he first loved us." And what proof, blessed Lord, what proof of love art thou this day demanding of thine infinitely indebted creatures ? Not to suffer the loss of all things, not to go to prison and to death for thee, not to give our body to be burut, not to give but to receive: “ Take and eat, Take and drink, Do this in remembrance of Me.” Of a truth thy commandments are not grievous; thy yoke is easy, and thy burden is light. Draw us, we will run after thee; these are cords of a man, these are bands of love. We hear the command and we obey. We present our bodies a living sacrifice, which is our reasonable service. We devote the superiour powers of our immortal spirits to the