« VorigeDoorgaan »
something in a mortal nature which must pass through the fiery ordeal of sorrow before it can become fitted for immortality : so it was even with the High Priest of our profession; and He has thrown a sanctity around every form of human woe which has for ever made it precious and glorious Such are the lofty and consoling views concerning the sufferings of our nature, which were finally confirmed in all their grandeur by Him who died upon the Cross, and who, when He left his sorrowing disciples, left them exposed to all the disasters of " time and chance," and even to afflictions which gathered upon their heads the more that they were his disciples. But He did not leave them till by his Resurrection he had farther disclosed the great consummation of their being :—that glorious discovery to which he so exultingly points in the concluding words of the text.
“ Ye now, therefore, have sorrow, but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you!" What words are these, my brethren, and how powerful in assuaging the sorrows through which our mortal steps must pass.
“I will see you again.” “ I who am the resurrection and the
life,--He that liveth and was dead, and behold I am alive for evermore, I will see you again!"
“ And your heart shall rejoice.” Whatever may be your present sufferings or sorrows, they shall, in that hour, be removed ;-your tears shall then for ever be wiped away: All the pious, the affectionate, the wise, and the elevated spirits who have left you mourning upon earth shall then be restored to you in Heaven, where they now partake in the unfading glory of Him“ who is alive for evermore.” “And your heart shall rejoice” when you shall again behold them clothed, no more in the stained garments of earthly excellence, but in the far brighter robes of his eternal righteous
And your joy no “ man taketh from you.” That joy no longer will hang upon the chances of time, or the uncertainty of man, but upon the unvarying counsel of the everlasting God,whose hand will now be ever stretched forth to heal, and no more to wound ;-who, when he raised from the dead the Great Shepherd of the flock, and prepared for that feeble and suffering flock, the green pastures of immortality, prepared, at the same time, the fulness of a perfect and unperishing joy. Then look up to Him with hope, with faith, with consolation ; -persevere in the glorious course which He hath set before you; bring forth, more and more, in this your day of trial, the fruits of righteousness; and ever listen to that kind and consoling voice, which, while it tells you that, for the wise and beneficent ends of his progressive kingdom, ye now must have sorrow," yet says to you, “ I will see you again;" and under the final perfection of my eternal rule, your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.”
RELIGION, THE ONE THING NEEDFUL.*
LUKE, X. 42.
But one thing is needful.
It is in these words, as you know, that our Saviour declared his preference of the conduct of Mary, who sat at his feet while he instructed her in the truths of salvation, to that of her sister, Martha, who was “ careful, and troubled about many things.” “ One thing is needful, (says he,) and Mary hath chosen that good part which shall not be taken away from her.” The error into which Martha fell, is, it is to be
* Preached on the first Sunday in Advent.
feared, one of the most prevailing of human weaknesses. The necessity of religious faith and conduct, even if acknowledged, is seldom generally felt; and among many who would be shocked to be numbered with the faithless and undevout, how often does it happen that their religion goes little farther than external observances, and has but a slight effect upon the regulation of their minds, and their practice! The reason is, that they are not impressed with the truth of our Saviour's observation, that this is, in fact, the “ one thing needful;” that every thing besides which occupies the thoughts and the anxiety of mankind, may be dismissed from their view with much less comparative detriment; but that religion, or, as it is expressed by the wise man,“ to fear God and keep his commandments, is, indeed, the whole of man.”
I. There are several views by which this truth may be illustrated, and I suppose, in the first place, it will scarcely be denied that the sentiments of Religion are of all others the most consonant with every thing that is great and elevated in the human soul. Even those who have little perception of the utility and necessi