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mortality through Him, shall receive eternal life or happiness. “ For when Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him in glory.” It is not only that His rising from the grave has extended our view of our own existence, has assured us that our souls and bodies are so made imperishable, that that which seems our death shall only prove the entrance to another and endless state,-it is not in this alone that He is our life, though this had been an unspeakable boon to the doubting and fearful hopes of the heathen world ;it is that, in that new state of being, He has prepared things such as eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive them, for those that love and serve Him ; that He is gone to prepare a place for us, that where He is, there we may be also. Herein is the only antidote for the sorrows, the only thing to wean us from the joys of this world. Here are the things above, on which we may, by God's grace, set our affections: here is that unspeakable gift, for which our deepest gratitude and love are due to our most merciful Redeemer. It is very difficult for us to realize to ourselves the state of mind of those who have no hope of Heaven. Accustomed as we are from our very infancy to believe that we shall not die wholly at our mortal death, and perhaps painfully aware that we are often rendered negligent of the vast importance of this truth by our very familiarity with it, we cannot
readily picture to ourselves the blank and dismal feelings of one who is assured of nothing beyond the grave. Alas! many
of those who knew nothing of immortality were far more full of interest and anxiety in their uncertainty, than some of us are in our knowledge! But it is useful for us to try to fancy the feelings of such men ; to try to waken ourselves to a sense of that bright sunshine in which we walk; to try to rouse that earnest gratitude to God which is too much forgotten in the constant and familiar enjoyment even of the greatest of blessings. For in the contemplation and certainty of a joyful resurrection of the just, the just by faith, we are to find our best and most influential motive to a holy life. We must not deceive ourselves— neither the favour of God on earth, nor the salvation of God in Heaven, are to be obtained by those who pass through their lives in indolent inattention to that great hope of their calling, which it cost the blessed Redeemer His most holy life to purchase for them. If any desire to know the value of salvation, let them learn it from its cost; let them learn it from the fact, that though He was “ in the form of God, and thought it not robbery to be equal with God, yet He made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men : and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross,” to procure it.
“ He that believeth in me," our Lord continues, though he were dead, yet shall he live ; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.”
Though he were dead in trespasses and sins, the inheritor of half of Adam's curse, yet quickened by the Holy Spirit to believe in me, he shall live in the new life of holiness, which is the first resurrection: --though again he were naturally dead, inheritor of sin, and of death by sin, yet if He by that same Spirit have believed in me, he shall never die.
Christ is our resurrection indeed, and our life. Blessed be God for it! But it is only for those who believe in Him, who have an earnest lively heart-felt faith in Him, that that resurrection and that life will prove a blessing.
Behold the hope, and behold the condition of attaining it. “I am the resurrection and the life. He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live ; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die."
My brethren, we are of the number of those, who by God's free mercy in Jesus Christ are called to the knowledge of His grace and promises. Presented by believing parents at the font of His most holy baptism, brought up in His faith and fear, living in the midst of the means of grace, calling ourselves Christians, we are undoubtedly of those who are within the promise, for whom life and immortality are brought to light; who, when the thought or prospect of death is brought near to us, may feel that Jesus Christ is our resurrection and our life, in whom whosoever believeth shall
live though he die. God knoweth, and our own conscience, how far the knowledge of these inexpressible blessings is cherished in our hearts with gratitude and love of Him, or coldly believed, or indolently forgotten! But remember,-remember, as ye desire that these promises should be fulfilled to you,—that it is to him only that believeth, that our Lord, in these most solemn words, holds out hope or promise. Remember, how repeatedly, in every variety of phrase, the Holy Scripture assures us that without faith it is impossible to please God. In Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing nor uncircumcision, but faith which worketh by love. In Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. If we have not faith, if we do not repose every feeling of trust and hope which we dare to entertain upon the blessed Son of God, who died on the cross for our sins, and rose again for our justification, our knowledge is worse than useless to us, our privileges will only aggravate our punishment. How little do men seem to feel this ! how little do the current usages and conversation of the world around us enable or assist ourselves to feel it! And yet is it not the most assured truth of Holy Scripture; is there any thing more clear upon every page of God's Word, than that he alone that believeth and is baptized shall be saved by Christ? Must we not fear that our hearts must be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin, if we can
doubt that this is the very truth of our most holy Gospel ? Surely, then, it is most necessary for us to examine our faith : surely we cannot, as Christians, as reasonable men, having before us the most tremendous alternative which can be presented to human hope and fear, linger and waste time, and be busy and interested about all kinds of trifles, and delay to try ourselves whether we are in the faith or not. Nor is it difficult to know how such an examination is to be conducted. Difficult as it may be, and distasteful to us, to turn aside from the worldly thoughts which are so familiar to us, and so continually suggested by every thing around us, yet we do not lack the knowledge of the way to do it.
We must examine our belief-we must ask ourselves, and that not lightly, and after the manner of dissemblers with God, whether we do really believe the great doctrines of our religion ;—the sinful, ruined state of fallen man,-the glorious work of redemption, which has restored us to God's favour, --the strength of the blessed Spirit of God, by whose aid alone we are enabled to please God, the certainty of a righteous judgment. We must discover, by an honest search, where it is we put our trust,—whether it be on God's free mercy in the death of Christ, or in any imagined goodness of our own: for if there be one fatal error, one wholly at variance with the whole spirit and tenor of Christian religion, it is that of those who deceive