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with whom he is obliged to converse, administer new causes of sorrow and disquietude to the sincere Christian. The secret treachery of pretended friends, or the open malice of avowed enemies—the general disrespect and contempt with which virtue is treated, and the honours and encouragement which are given to vice-all conspire to wound his breast, and even to render him less pleased than he wishes to be with the society of his fellow-creatures. For who that has the least spark of zeal for the honour of his God can bear to hear his name blasphemed and his religion ridiculed ? to see his precepts violated with impunity, and his ordinances neglected and despised? And yet, to oppose these prevailing enormities, to testify an abhorrence of them by private reproofs or public censures, is sometimes deemed rudeness and impertinence. Yea, such is the sad degeneracy of mankind, that if we would be truly religious, now-a-days, we must dare to be şingular.
But be not thou discouraged, thou child of God ! Though placed in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, thou hast reason to say, with David, “Wo is me, that I am constrained to dwell with Meshech, and to have my habitation among the tents of Kedar! -O that I had the wings of a dove, for then would I flee away, and be at rest!"-—though integrity, uprightness, and the fear of God should be even banished from the abodes of men—though the church of God should be laid level with the dust, and the disciples of a crucified Jesus be ridiculed and reviled—yet fear thou not, neither be dismayed! God sits at the helm of the uni
-Christ Jesus will take care of “his own:" and as for thyself, if, with Job, thou art determined “ to hold fast thy righteousness, and not to let it go, nor suffer thine heart to reproach thee, so long as thou livest”if thou hopest in God, and trustest in the Lord thy Sa.viour—if the righteousness of Christ is thy clothing, and faith in him thine impenetrable shield- -" be thine outward circumstances in life what they will, believe me, thou art still under the defence of the Most High, and safe under the shadow of his wings.” The stormy wind may blow, the billows of adversity may rise and rage; but while thou hast fast hold of the Rock of Ages, thou canst no more be moved by their blackest, rudest efforts, than are the strong foundations of some stately edifice by the light breezes of a summer sky!
Psalm xvi. 9.-My flesh also shall rest in hope. ONE of the peculiar excellences of the gospel is, that it has stripped death of its terrors and the grave of its gloom. The departure of the Christian is styled a sleep -his abode in the grave is called a rest. In the lively exercise of faith, he can sing with the poet,
“Death now no more I dread,
But cheerful close mine eyes;
With Jesus I shall rise."
Or with a Paul he may exclaim, in a tone of triumph,
“O death, where is thy sting!
O grave, where is thy victory!"
Or with David in the text, “ Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.'
In further developing the instruction and comfort contained in these words, we shall consider
First, The certainty of the believer's resurrection.
Secondly, The happy' consequences of that glorious event.
And may Almighty God, the Father of mercies, give us all a personal interest in these truths, for Jesus' sake!
If David, under the darker dispensation of the old covenant, was enabled by the Spirit to express his confident expectation of a future resurrection, much more may every true disciple of Christ look forward with unwavering faith to that stupendous event, now that he hath appeared who hath abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light by the gospel.”
The certainty of the believer's resurrection is foimded,
First, Upon the fact of the Saviour's rising from the tomb. This is the apostle's argument : “ Now, if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead ? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen.
And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.” Hence, we see how important a doctrine in the gospel scheme this is : how necessary an item in the articles of our faith.
Nothing less than the whole foundation of our hopes of heaven rests upon it. This depends therefore upon the fact of the Redeemer's resurrection. To enter into a full detail of the reasons upon which the certainty of this fact is grounded, would lead us too far from our present object. It is sufficient for us, as Christians, as believers in Divine revelation, to know from the word of God, that “ Christ is risen, and become the first fruits of them that slept.”
To this truth prophets and apostles bear witness. Christ himself had foretold his resurrection, and in confirmation of his word, after he left the tomb he showed himself “ alive to his disciples by many infallible proofs.” This was a subject to which the first preachers of the gospel not merely occasionally referred, but by which they introduced their message of peace to men; and like St. Paul, in the passage just quoted, rested the truth and authority of their mission upon it. To reject this would be to reject the whole gospel-would be to impeach the authority of Christ and the veracity of God.
And, in the closest connexion with the resurrection of the head, is that of all the members. Christ Jesus lived and acted, died and rose again, as a public characteras the representative of his church.
Secondly. Says the apostle to the Romans : “ If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” · If the former argument proved the general truth that all believers shall rise in virtue of the resurrection of Christ, this proposition of Divine truth shows who they are that have ground to hope that they shall participate in that joysul event. It is they who have the Spirit of Christ. " For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” To such only the promise belongs. By this mark, therefore, we must try our hopes.
*** The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. Are these fruits produced in our hearts ? are they visible in our lives? Then we may dwell with a cheerful hope upon the pleasing thought, that though this body is doomed to die because of sin, yet even in death “our flesh shall rest in hope.” Death shall put a stop to sin and suffering, but not to our existence. Not only the soul, the immaterial part, is proof against the mortal shaft of the “ king of terrors ;" the flesh, too, the frail and feeble body, shall once escape his grasp. Death shall be robbed of his prey—the grave shall give up its trust. The bodies of the saints that now sleep in the dust shall be raised, never to die
The majesty of God, the honour of the Saviour, and the dignity of the Holy Spirit are involved in this point. The majesty of God and the glory of his name are involved, and that in so tender a manner, that our Lord severely upbraids the Sadducees, who denied the resurrection, for robbing God of his glory by their unworthy ideas of so great a Being.
For when he condescended to be called the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, he had given satisfactory assurance that these his servants were not dead; “ for he is not the God of the dead, but of the living." And shall we, who profess to know and to honour him as our God, be guilty of holding the same degrading opinion respecting his majesty ? Never for a moment let us suffer ourselves to doubt this grand, this cheering truth, that “the dead in Christ shall rise;" that “he that believeth, though he were dead, yet shall he live;" that the sons of God are immortal, because their Father is.
The immortality of the soul was a truth of which even the heathens were not entirely ignorant. The resurrection and consequent immortality of the body was hinted at under the ancient dispensation, but its full and clear development was reserved for times of gospel splendour.
Not only the majesty of God, but the honour of Christ, as Mediator, is deeply involved in this point. Without this final triumph over death and hell, his victory would have remained for ever incomplete. One great purpose of his death and resurrection would have remained unaccomplished. “Death, the last enemy,” would have it to boast that he was invincible. But no. This boast is silenced. Victory is altogether on the side of our Captain. The
of darkness are in chains; suffered to prolong their existence only during His pleasure, till the whole work of redemption shall be achieved, and the last name " written in the book of life.” Then shall that saying be gloriously fulfilled, “ Death is swallowed up in victory."
By his “one offering,” Christ “ hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time, without sin, unto salvation.” This is that full and final adoption for which believers still continue to groan while in this vale of tears, to wit, "the redemption of our body."