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is rather joy in the thought, that “we have here no continuing city :"-whilst our joy should be mingled with pious gratitude, to know that a city of refuge, an abode of rest, is provided for the way-worn pilgrim, (a privilege of which however, be it remembered, there is no ground to hope the impenitent or the unbeliever will ever partake,) in that haven of everlasting peace beyond the grave, “where the wicked cease from troubling, and where the weary are at rest.”
In conclusion, dearly beloved, let me beseech you all, (in a humbling sense of your own weakness,) to be constant, earnest, in prayer, for the help and guidance of God's Holy Spirit, that amidst all the thickening darkness of death's approaching night, your faith and hope may ever be directed to the bright morning of the general resurrection :—that morning without a cloud, when the joyful company of the redeemed,-a mighty host,“ bright as the sun, clear as the moon, and awful as an army with banners,” shall ascend to meet their Lord, to be received and acknowledged by him,—and, clad in the spotless robes of his righteousness, to share a blissful eternity, in the sight and participation of his glory.
Yes, brethren, it is the promise of Christ's abounding love and faithfulness, to us, his sinful creatures, that “so shall we ever be with the Lord :"_that “to him that overcometh, he will give a crown of life,—will receive him into the fulness of his joy, and grant him to sit with him in his throne, even as he also overcame, and is made partaker of the throne of his father.” This, to all the redeemed in Christ, will be in truth a glory that shall never decay-a meeting secure from all apprehension—all possibility of future separation. And in what circumstances of affliction shall not these consolations be felt? What tears, what groans of sorrowing, agonized nature, shall not these blessed hopes convert to songs of thankfulness and joy? What real Christian but must triumph in his divine Redeemer, and in the prospect of such unmerited, such perfect, everlasting bliss, exclaim with holy exultation,“O death! where is thy sting? O grave! where is thy victory?"_“Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
ON CHRIST'S ASCENSION.
HEBREWS iv. 14, 15.—“Seeing then that we have a great
High Priest that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the
So clear and plain are the principles of heavenly wisdom, unfolded in the Holy Scriptures, that shining forth, in all the inherent brightness of the Sun of Righteousness,” they may truly be said rather to impart themselves to us, than to be discovered by us. With respect to the glorious privileges of the Gospel, the rich have no advantages over the poor. The gifts of fortune confer no superiority in the school of Christ. No: here the rich and poor, on terms of perfect equality, “meet together,” and the Lord is alike the Maker, the Redeemer, and the Sanctifier of them all. For, as it is God's eternal purpose of
mercy to his rebellious creatures, that all the
“heirs of promise” should “have a strong consolation, through the hope set before them,” so the grounds of this consolation are happily brought to the level of every Christian's capacity. Yes,—ever blessed be God! the way to Zion,—“the way of holiness,” narrow though it be, is yet so plain, that “the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein." Led by the Spirit of God, every difficulty shall be surmounted : justified by faith in his only begotten Son, all his adopted children shall have free access to their reconciled Father, and “find peace with him, through our Lord Jesus Christ.” “Him that cometh to me, (says our adorable Saviour) I will in no wise cast out:"__"and there is no respect of persons with God.” Accordingly, we may observe in the chapter before us, that while the Apostle urges the Hebrew converts generally, to stedfastness in the faith, his words of comfort are more especially addressed to the suffering, and the poor ; whom he directs where alone to seek for strength and consolation,-for pardon and peace; exhorting them (in the concluding verse) to “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that they may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
Now, the first point to be considered in the entire
passage, is the personal dignity of Jesus, our “great High Priest, that is passed into the heavens.” Of this we have a grand, a sublime description in the beginning of the epistle.
He is there styled the “Son of God,” the “ Creator of the World,” “ the Brightness of the Father's Glory, and the express Image of his person;" the Omnipotent, “who upholdeth all things by the word of his power.
Such is the Christian's great High Priest, even Jesus ; who having, by the efficacy of his own blood, and in that same human body, in which he offered for us the sacrifice of himself, entered “not into the holy places made with hands,” “but into heaven itself,” graciously condescends to plead the sinner's cause, presents our prayers before his Father's throne, perfumed with the incense of his merits, sanctified upon the altar of his atonement. Nor is this all : not only has Jesus “passed into the heavens," as our Priest, our Mediator, and Advocate: He is also our forerunner to the heavenly mansions. “I go,” says he, “ to prepare a place for you.” This was his consolatory assurance to his sorrowing disciples, the night before he suffered ;-followed by the cheering promise that he would send them another comforter, even the Holy Ghost, who should guide them into all truth, and whose abiding influence should make them meet to be partakers of the eternal inheritance; since it was He that should give repentance unto his people, as well as remission of sins. Knowing then, that “He is faithful