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the testimony of a conscience void of offence: I gave myself up to the joy of reflecting that my salvation is secure." Thou renderest thyself insensible to these sublime attractions : and then, when the world betrays thee ; when thy gods are taken away from thee, Jud. xviii. 24. when thou art bent on every side with a great fight of affliction, thou findest thyself destitute of every resource. Reform thy depraved taste. Call down Paradise to reside within thee: anticipate that glorious period, when thou shalt see God as he is, 1 Jo. iii. 2. Call to remembrance these words of thy Saviour: From henceforth ye know the Father, and have seen him : he that hath seen me, hath seen the Father: peace I leave with you ; my peace I give unto you ; not as the world giveth, give I unto you: Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
5. There is a fifth source of consolation which Jesus Christ disclosed to his disciples, and which we, after him, disclose unto you. It is the assurance of his spiritual presence, and of the presence of his heavenly Father, in the midst of you. I will not leave you comfortless, or, as it might have been rendered, I will not leave you orphans ... If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him, chap. xiv. 18, 23. In all your distresses, call to reinembrance, that God is with you of a truth. With what fortitude did this reflection inspire those holy men whom the scriptures have proposed to us as models !
With what fortitude was Moses animated by it! Wherein shall it be known here, said of old time that eminent servant of God, that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? Is it not in that thou goest with us? So shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upont the face of the earth, Ex. xxxiii. 16. With what fortitude did it animate the prophet, when he said, When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up, Psa. xxvii. 10. With what fortitude did it inspire Jesus Christ himself, under that universal desertion which he experienced at the hour of death! Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered every man to his own, and shall leave me alone ; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me, ch. xvi. 32.
Let us never lose sight of God in the day of adversity. Let us ever dwell with complacency and joy on that expression of the Redeemer, I will not leave you orphans. Let us apply to ourselves what God said of his ancient people : Surely they are my people, children that will not lie ; so he was their Saviour. In all their affliction he was af. flicted, and the angel of his presence saved them, Isa. Ixiii. 8, 9. and let us exult in the fulness of a Christian confidence: I have set the Lord always before me ; because he is al my right hand, I shall not be moved, Psa, xvi. 8.
6. Finally, the last source of consolation which Jesus Christ disclosed to his disciples, and which we, after his example, would disclose unto you, is the nearness of his return. Ye now have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you, chap. xvi. 22. In all your distresses, call to remembrance, that if Jesus Christ be not now sensibly present in the midst of you, the time is at hand when he will certainly be so. Call to remembrance what the angels said unto the apostles, when lost in astonishment at beholding a cloud receive him out of their sight: Ye men of Galilee,
why stand ye gazing up into heaven: this sume Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come, in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven, Acts. i. 11. Call to remembrance that Jesus Christ will quickly re-appear: Yet a little while, and he who shall come will come, and will not tarry, Heb. x. 37.
No, this economy is not made for eternity. The world is waxing old : our years are hastening to fill up their measure: we are advancing with rapid strides towards the tomb. The decorations of the universe are speedily to be changed with respect to us. The universe itselt is about to undergo a real change. The state of the world, that now js, presents a state of violence, which cannot be of long duration. The last trumpet must ere long utter its voice : yet a little while, and those thunders must be heard which shall shake the pillars of the earth: Arise, ye dead, and leave your tombs. . Yet a little while, and we shall see again those whose death has cost us so many tears, and we shall be re-united to them. Yet a little while, and the sign of the Son of Man shall appear in heaven, Matt. xxiv. 30. Yet a little while, and this Son of Man shall himself appear in his own, and in his Father's glory, with all his holy angels.
Ah! my brethren, till that blessed period arrive, we dare not promise you the possession of the fulness of joy. Till that blessed períod, Church of Jesus Christ, thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, Isa. liv. 2. a fearful night must involve thee in thick darkness. Till that blessed period, weep, weep, dejected Christian, disciple of the crucified Jesus, weep and lament, and let the world rejoice, because ye are sorrowful : but ere long, your sorroro shall be turned into joy ...
I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.
What powers of thought are equal to a happy termination of this subject of meditation! What pencil is capable of depicting the joy of the sons of God in that eventful day, in which they shall behold again, in which they shall embrace, a father, a friend, a child, from whom death had once separated them! Let imagination soar to the highest objects which the mind is capable of contemplating. Let nothing divide the love which we entirely owe to our adorable Redeemer, or damp the delight which we derive from the exalted hope of seeing him return to us in the clouds of heaven, with his angels that excel in strength.
Who is capable of representing the transport which the return of this Jesus shall kindle in the bosom of the faithful ! « There he is, that Jesus whom we loved, and to whom we were faithful, even unto death. Come, Redeemer of our souls, come and wipe away the tears which thy departure drew from our eyes : come, and compensate to us the heaviness of so long a separation from thee: come and receive the effusions of our gratitude and joy: suffer us, suffer us to yield to the transports of that love which absorbs every faculty, which constrains us, which exalts us to seraphic ardor.”
This is the last source of consolation which Jesus Christ disclosed to his disciples; this is, that consolation which flows out in copious streams toward you, Christian confounded, overwhelmed with wave upon wave, in all thy fears, thy sorrows, thy suffer. ings. O religion of the blessed Jesus, how powerful are thy attractions ! What charms dost thou possess for a wretched creature, who feels the whole earth a cheerless void ! Let this religion, my beloved brethren, be the object of our most ardent