Page images

ragement and hope; but to all we say-beware how you trust to the prospect of a deathbed repentance. Seek for reconciliation and peace with God, while the offer of mercy is still made to you: let there be no trifling, no delay. Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, Now is the day of salvation.*

* 2 Cor. vi. 2.





St. Luke, xxiv. 50–53.

“ And He led them out as far as to Bethany; and He lifted

up His hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass while He blessed them, He was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.”

It is one of the excellencies of our apostolical church, that so far as her influence extends, she suffers none of her people to be ignorant of the leading facts belonging to the narrative of man's redemption. She well knows how closely these facts are connected with the doctrines of the gospel, and how powerfully they appeal to the understandings, and the hearts of multitudes among us, upon whom the mere exposition of scriptural doctrine might be attended with little effect. Hence in the course of the last few months, independently of the instruction afforded by her ministers, she has herself taken us by the hand, and accompanied us to the principal scenes of our Saviour's eventful history. Under her guidance, we have been taught to hear the voice of the prophet, crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord.* She has conducted us to the stable at Bethlehem; has pointed out to us the infant Saviour, and led us to listen to that song from heaven, which celebrated His appearance. If under the guidance of a star, the wise men of the east repaired to visit the Messiah, and to present to Him their offerings, the church has instructed us to hail the same manifestation; to share in the feelings which it excited in those Gentile sages; and like them to rejoice, and like them to worship.

Thus, also, have we witnessed the Redeemer's triumphant entry into Jerusalem : with the favoured disciples we have been present at His last supper; we have entered with Him into the garden of Gethsemane; we have followed Him up the steep of Calvary; have stood by His cross, and witnessed the

* John i. 23.

last conflicts of His human nature; with Joseph of Arimathea, we have beheld the dead body laid in the sepulchre; and again on the third day after the crucifixion, have been assured that He is no longer here but is risen. We have observed the two disciples on their way to Emmaus, as they unconsciously discoursed with their lamented master; and are at this period conducted to the concluding interview which He held personally with the apostles, in whose presence He ascended into heaven.

In considering the text it may be convenient to notice, I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES



[blocks in formation]


We shall close with a few remarks suggested by these inquiries.


For forty days previous to this event, He had. held frequent intercourse with His disciples, imparting to them such information as their


exigencies required. When the period had at length arrived, which was to deprive them of His personal instructions, He led them out as far as to Bethany; He took them from Jerusalem, to a place with which they were well acquainted, at the distance of about two miles, as if it were His purpose to afford them the clearest evidence of His ascension, and to spend with them in uninterrupted communication, the last moments of His visible appearance upon earth, Of His conversation by the way, a brief account is recorded in the first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles; from which it appears, that the apostles were not entirely free from their long cherished prepossessions, and that they were, at this time, in expectation of some new and extraordinary event. They had seen enough to convince them of His authority and power; they were well persuaded by the fact of His resurrection, and by his subsequent discourses with them, that the object for which He came into the world, would assuredly be accomplished; and that they themselves should be the witnesses of His glory: but whether it should be by the restoration at that time of the kingdom to Trael, or by some other purpose of heaven,

« PreviousContinue »