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his faithful followers; and if we believe that He has gone
before us, we can have no doubt that there are those mansions which his beneficence will prepare. It is thus that we can look forward with faith and hope to the hour of our dissolution, and can deliver our souls into the hands of One who not only came into the world to seek and to save us,” but, now that He has accomplished that great deliverance, has gone into those regions of purity, where he awaits the coming of those who trust in Him! How does this great truth contribute likewise to exhilarate our souls, when they are borne down with the loss of those whom we have long loved, and who are now parted from us. They have gone from us, indeed, but they are under the guardianship of no unknown Protector. They have gone to Him with whose love to men we are well acquainted, whose character is familiar to us from our earliest years ;-One who humbled Himself to Death forthe love which he bore to every thing human,—and who now, in his state of exaltation and glory, forgets not the affections which He contracted while on earth. When we think of Him, my brethren, that He has gone to prepare the mansions of immortality, can we look upon the friends who have left us as lost for ever, and shall we not rather accustom ourselves to feel that they are secure under his protection ? Shall we forget that He showered down blessings upon the world in the very moment that he left it; and that at this hour He is as powerful to bless and to call into his glory, as in that hour of triumph, when his disciples saw him visibly ascend into Heaven ?
I know not, therefore, that there is a contemplation of our Religion more animating and exalting, than that of this season, which recalls to us the Ascension of our Lord. It is the great consummation and seal of our faith,-it is the chief ground of Christian trust and dependence, amid all the changes and chances of the world, -it leads to a firm persuasion of the reality of those immortal glories which are the portion of the followers of Jesus. Yet it is impossible to have any deep feeling of those inestimable impressions, unless we endeavour to raise the character of our souls to a correspondence with their holiness and purity. If our affections are fixed upon earth alone,-if we do not seek to raise them to loftier things,-if we permit the world to wind around us all its customary chains,-then it is impossible that we can contemplate, with any steadiness or application of mind, a truth so pure and holy as that which speaks of the ascent of a Divine Nature in the form of man, into the Heaven of eternal blessedness.
“ Seek those things, then,” says the Apostle, “ which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.” “Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth.” Let us endeavour, my brethren, to wean our hearts from the love of those things which terminate solely in the world. Let us rather cultivate those affections which partake of a holy and spiritual character, and throw, in as much as we can, over all our propensities and pursuits, the mantle of celestial purity. With hearts so prepared, let us then meditate upon the wonders of our Faith, upon the glorious revelations which it has made to fallen man; and while we contemplate the exaltation of Him who abased himself for us, let us likewise endeavour to preserve heavenly and elevated thoughts. To these, our own efforts, let us join the praises of God, and prayer to him for the assistance and guidance of his Holy Spirit, whose breath of love, as it is in these moments once more awakening before us the beauty and the bounty of nature, so did it, at this season, first breathe upon the Christian world ; and, in the thankfulness of that contemplation to which we are now called, let us open our hearts to that blessed Spirit, which alone, in its gentle influence, can revive within us the vegetation of moral and immortal life, and inspire us with that perpetual faith and joyfulness which are the genuine fruits of the Gospel promises, and which so powerfully animated the Apostles of our Lord, as they are described in the close of this narrative of His Ascension. 66 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.”
ON THE DESCENT OF THE HOLY GHOST.*
ST. JOHN, xvi. 7. Nevertheless I tell you the truth, it is expedient for you that I go away : for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you ; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
THESE words probably presented to our Lord's disciples but an inadequate conception of the great truth which they were intended to convey, and there is still some difficulty attending them. They, we may believe, could form no notion of any adviser or Comforter to come who could replace the loss they
* Preached on Whitsunday.