« VorigeDoorgaan »
deration of the inestimable price which has been paid for them? The Cross is erected before us, and He who dies upon it, “ dies for all, because all were dead.” Are we capable of being fixed to the salutary work of self-communion, so as to tear out from our hearts their inmost idols, and lay them open in all their nakedness? We cannot then, surely, fail so to be, by meditating on the pains that were endured, and on the Sacred Blood that was shed, that a sinful and thoughtless world might be roused from its sleep of death, and be purified from its stains and disorders! Can we look upon that Cross, and on Him who expired upon it, without feeling that all internal duplicity and hypocrisy must here for ever be at an end,--that our hearts must, indeed, be unveiled before him,—and that we can only then be partakers in his Redemption, when we come to Him in sincerity and truth? Does not the Love which he there exhibits, triumphant over pain and suffering, call us, with an irresistible voice, to entire confidence in Him, -to expose to him our most secret wounds, and to entreat the aid of his Healing Hand ?-and are we not comforted, even while we are abashed, amid every discovery of our infirmity, in
the recollection that there is no sin on our part, which has not been met by some corresponding shame or suffering on His ?
It is to such great purposes of contrition and amendment, my brethren, that“the love of Christ” ought now and ever to “constrain us.” It is not for a few passing hours of sensibility or of sorrow, that he loved us, or that we are called to love Him. It was that our lives might be formed upon his law, and our hearts upon his Spirit. For this reason it is he calls us to his altar, and collects us around his Cross. There he beseeches us to die unto sin, and to bury every thing that can offend in the kingdom of his Heavenly Father, in that grave in which He was Himself laid. There, still more, he calls to us to follow him through the grave, and the gate of death, to His glorious Resurrection,-to rise from sin, and to live again unto righteousness,-from the death of our own enfeebled and corrupted minds, to seek, through prayer and penitence, and to hold fast in perseverance that life which is to be found in Him alone,-after His example to labour in every good work, and to endeavour so to fill our earthly lamps with deeds of light, that we may be prepared to meet that
great and final hour, when “ this mortal shall put on immortality,” and when “ the Son of Man shall be seen sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of Heaven !”
ON THE UNION OF CHRIST WITH HIS PEOPLE.*
JOHN, xv. 5.
I am the vine, ye are the branches.
It was the benevolent endeavour of our Lord, before he was separated from his disciples, to assure them of the intimate connection which would continue to subsist between them. He was going to his Father, but it was to prepare mansions for them,-he was the “ good shepherd,” and they were “the sheep,”—he was “the vine,” and they were “the branches.” There is something very consolatory in all these expressions ; and they apply no less to the faithful disciples of that Heavenly Master, in every age of the Gos
* Preached on Easter-Eve.
pel, than to those whom he first selected to make his name known among men. Is there a situation of human life, in which the encouragement and consolation which such expressions of Divine Compassion convey,are not required by the wandering race of man? However we may be inclined to place our“ abiding city” here, yet do we not, in every hour of thought and of deeper feeling, long for the well-grounded hope of those eternal mansions which no one but He who came from the Father, and who again returned to Him, can prepare for us ? However we may all be eager to follow our own ways,--yet when we are thrown loose upon the world, do we not feel that we are “ as sheep that have no shepherd ?”—and is there not a natural anxiety springing up in the soul, to be brought under the conduct of that “ good shepherd,” who can alone lead us to secure pastures? The words of the text call us to a still closer union with Him, -to that spiritual connection which seems to make the existence of our souls hang upon Him, and derive from him the life of immortality, even as the branches hang and live from the vine. There are some very salutary reflections, my brethren, which we may draw from this