Imágenes de páginas

We must not trust to flimsy feelings. We should not rest on remote experiences. If one with Christ—if he livingly incarnates himself afresh in us—then let us rejoice in anticipating the everlasting issues of such a union. But if we are not united to the Saviour, let us feel we have no right to cherish the anticipation of the slightest bliss. And jet at the same time remember that Christ longs to be united with us; that he stands at the door and knocks, desirous to be admitted to our heart; that he still lingers in our midst, desirous of finding some Bethlehem-Ephratah Eou!— little in its own esteem among the thousands around it—in which to be formed Glasgow.

afresh the power of a hope of glory. Who of us will yield the Saviour a heart-home in which to live and reign? Who of us will thus respond to the Divine love, to which we owe so much? Oh, let us all do so. Let us all, brethren, offer the prayer of a Paul-like man,—" Lord, take my heart, for I cannot give it thee: Lord, keep my heart, for I cannot keep it for thee." Let us offer this prayer, and the entrance of Jesus will be its grand amen; and from this hour, kindling with the freshness of the Divine inspiration, we shall be able in some measure rightfully to say,—" To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."



Will the reader fix his eyes on the hroad surface of one page of God's Holy Word, and there behold a series of dissolving views calculated to excite wonder, nourish hope, and call forth loud praises to the God of salvation P

The first object to be seen is a man of stern countenance, repulsive manners, and harsh speech. He is engaged in a barbarous work, and he does it right willingly, even exceeding his commission. Two persons are in his hands, upon whose bare shoulders many heavy strokes have just fallen, and this man is thrusting them with violence into the inner prison—into the worst cell of all, where all was bad. See, he puts their feet in the stocks, in order that all the night long they may remain in torture. Having accomplished this cruel work, he retires to his room, throws himself upon his bed, and is soon in a profound sleep. This is the second view. After doing the work of the evil one, he lies down, and sleeps in security. Many, alas, everywhere, are doing the same thing, though not exactly in the same way. As we look on that rugged countenance and burly form, over which slumber has spread its potent spell, we feel glad to think that he, and such as he, must needs be thus quiet some part of their time; but feel sad to think what a hurricane such sleepers will raise around them when they awake. The sleep of this man is deep ; the songs of those whom he so cruelly treated are echoing through the prison; the cheerful melody, so unusual in that dismal place, awakens all the wretched inmates, who wonder much what these ill-used Jews can have to sing about. But the sleeping jailer heeds them not. As we gaze at him we seem almost to hear his deep heavy breathing.

But hark! what crash is that? The ground shakes and quivers beneath our feet. Every door flies open, and many a pair of heavy fetters fall clanking from sore and weary limbs on the stony floors. The sleeper starts now, and with one bound leaves his couch and rushes through the open door of his chamber—that door which ho had so strongly bolted before he lay down. He reels on amidst the vibrations of the earth, finds every door opened, every prisoner at liberty. He is horror-struck. A sense of his responsibility rushes over him; his life is forfeited if the prisoners escape; disgrace and death stare him in the face; or perhaps he supposes that the released prisoners will kill him; so he resolves to kill himself. See him in this third view, rushing madly to hell. In a moment he will slay himself, and his soul will be for ever lost. His sword is unBheathed, and he is summoning all his strength to bury it deep

in _ his own heart. But he is stopped—a voice reaches him from the inner prison, "Do thyself no harm : we are all here." How did that mysterious, illused prisoner know what he was going to do amidst the darkness of that shaking prison P Surely God had told him. It may be that the alarmed man thought of this; and that the same God who spake to his servant was now speaking to his enemy.

Take another view of him, as trembling before God. "He called for a light, sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down." The iron-hearted man bows clown like a reed before the terrors of God. And now behold him breathing out desires after salvation. "What Must I Do To Be Saved P" bursts forth in tremulous tones from his agonized heart. As if he had said," I heard yesterday that the Pythoness said, 'These men are the servants of the most high God, who shew unto us the way of salvation.' O sirs, show me that way. What must I do? I am bewildered, despairing, and hopeless; yet I beseech you in mercy tell me what I must do to be saved!" How strange that this dullsouled pagan should thus utter words which thousands of hearts in all ages have felt and repeated! God's light was shining in him, disclosing his guilt and misery, and so he gave utterance to the great thought of the human soul whenever brought into real contact with the holy God.

Next see him listening to the Gospel. Yes; look and learn how to hear God's word, and how to treat his precious truth. O for many such hearers as this man was!" Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved," was the immediate response to his inquiry. There was no hesitation, no limitation. Folly and freely was the good news proclaimed; and then, with tender love and burning zeal, the messengers of Christ " spake unto him the word of the Lord." What was that word but that " God is in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them"? As he listened, he ceased to tremble, and hegan to hope. "What!" said he, "will that God whom you worship, and whom I now feel to be Almighty, holy, and terrible in his wrath, WILI He Forgive Me? not impute my many trespasses, but bury all my fearful past out of sight, and wrap my guilty soul around in a robe of Divine righteousness? Has God made that Saviour whom you preach to be sin for mo, that I may be made the righteousness of God in him P Is this the way of salvation and is it all for me P" "Even so," said the messengers of God; "believe these facts about Jesus, trust in this wondrous person, rely on his atoning blood, you shall be saved."

And now let us take one more view of this man; behold him gazing mi the cross. Oh! how glorious it appeared to him, how real, how precious! a beacon-light shining over a stormy ocean, and then a safe harbour to nis tempesttossed spirit. It is the power of God to him—he feels it; he looks, and is healed.

Now there are no more dissolving views. This one object abides before the eye of the saved man. He must continue ever gazing on that cross. "Looking unto Jesus " must be his life business now. As he still looks, what blessings and j oys come around him! What a change takes place in his feelings, his character, and conduct!" He rejoices, believing in God." That God before whom he trembled is his friend; he knows it, and he loves him now. "He joys in God through Jesus Christ, by whom he has received the atonement." H"or he alone; his family share his bliss. They, no doubt, all clung round him in his wild fright and agony. They stood by his side while he listened to God's word so lovingly presented. The same Almighty Spirit wrought in all, and now they are a happy family, gathered beneath the shelter of the cross, singing under the shadow of the Almighty. And see, he that had nothing to do for his salvation, is doing much now he is saved. See like the Eunuch, he professes the Lord in baptism who has saved him. The believing, rejoicing household are all baptized. They enlist themselves in the Saviour's service; and resolve, at any cost or risk, to be his avowed followers. What a triumph of Almighty grace! The possessors of salvation should all be professors of the Saviour. He also speedily becomes a ministering saint. The grace that pardoned him has humbled and humanized him. He tenderly washes the deep stripes of God's servants, and then he ministers to them in Christian love. And, oh! how they talk and sing of Jesus as they Bit and eat together! Truly that was a night of wonders —a night much to be remembered. What unsought, unbought, abounding grace is here! What a trophy of the riches of mercy—what a specimen of the power of grace is before us! At seven or eight o'clock at night he was a vile servant of Satan—a heathen man, dark, cruel, hateful, and hating others—and, about one or two o'clock in the morning, happy, holy, loving, with a saved family in a new creation gathered round him! Surely this was a translation from darkness into marvellous light indeed!

Header, you must realize such a change as this, or be for ever lost. .It may not be so sudden or so miraculous—that is not necessary; but it must be as real and as enduring—that is necessary. Perhaps you have not yet gone a single right step with the jailer of Philippi. You may be still doing Satan's work, as he did; and then lying down in security night after night, as if there was no God to notice or to call you to account. Or it may be you have been troubled and convicted, and have asked the question, "What must I do to be saved?'' But you have got rid of the conviction without believing in Jesus; you have constructed for yourself a frail shelter, instead of flying to the one safe refuge which God has provided. Oh, miserable mistake! As if a man living near a volcanic mountain, from which a stream of lava was fast pouring, should erect a frail wooden fence to stem its course, and hide himself behind it, instead of hastening to some height far above the level of the liery stream. "Dissolving views!" Yes, it may be you can remember many of your religious feelings and purposes, which, like the morning cloud and the early dew, have passed awayListen, I implore you, to the warning and inviting voice, "Escape for thy Ufi!" "Flee from the wrath to come!" "Blessed are all they that trust in him."

But if you can say, I have gone right through with all these views; I have not only trembled, but listened, believed, rejoiced, and now desire to obey and minister, then, all hail, thou saved one! Go,.thou, and tell to all around of the great salvation. Tell the careless sinner that wrath is coming; and fail not to tell the convinced sinner, yea, sinners of every sort, that salvation is come, and must be either received or rejected. Tell the sinner, You may believe, for God invites you to do so; you should, for God commands it; you must, or perish miserably and eternally.

Fellow-man, fellow-sinner, will you at onee do as the jailer did, "Callfor" light"? Yes, come to the light. Look at yourself and your history in *he light of God. It is said of the jailer that " he sprang in." Oh, to see such anxiety now! Alas! many creep away from truth, instead of springing towards it. But "how shall they escape if they neglect so great salvation*" Thai question is yet to be answered. God asks it now, and there is silence. Soon there will be a voice which will say, "Depart," and this will be the answer. The sinner now says to God, "Depart, I desire not the knowledge of thywayss and God's sentence hereafter will be the echo of his own desire. "Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation." And to every one who hears these tidings, He who is to be the judge at last says now, and he means what he says, "These things I say, that ye may be Saved."




"And they were in the way going np to Jerusalem; and Jeans went before them: and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid."—Mark i. 82.

This passage exhibits to us a small and interesting group of travellers. For some time past they have been itinerating in the districts of Palestine, proclaiming a system of truth called "the Gospel of the Kingdom," and enforcing their authority by the X>erformance of miracles. Without wealth, learning, and social influence, they have succeeded in creating an extensive interest in their mission, and by the simple foroe of the truth they preached, the miracles they wrought, and the character they bore, they have excited the jealous attentions of the Jewish authorities, many of whom are eagerly seeking the life of Jesus their leader. They are now pursuing a journey to Jerusalem, and will soon be in the midst of the scenes of danger. Jesus goes before them. Surprise is depicted on their countenances as they behold him advance, and they tread the earth after him with slow and timid feet. The mountains which encompass the city, crowned with so many associations of the past, now rise into view; as they approach the gates multitudes come forth to meet them; their leader is received with a triumphal greeting, and in a few days afterwards, being conducted by the infuriated populace to the place called Golgotha, he is impaled upon a cross, and "pours out his soul unto death" for the redemption of his people.

Incidents, which in tho life of an ordinary individual would be insipid, become invested with a peculiar interest through their association with the life of Jesus. When what we call his passion touches an incident, it appears to sanctify it and impart to it "virtue;" from that moment it clothes it with an impressive significance, transforms it into a vehicle of instruction, and often enriches it with consolation for hU followers. If we exercise our thoughts on the passage at the he»d of this paper, we may behold it furnishing an illustration of this truth.

I. Observe the singular conduct of Jesus on this journey. His entry into other cities, which he visited in the exercise of his public ministry, was generally subsequent to that of his disciples 3 for Luke, the evan

gelist, relates that he " sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come." But in this journey to Jerusalem the usual order was reversed; the disciples lingered behind, "and Jesus went before them."

We may see in this incident aproofofhis moral courage. On several occasions he had foretold his death with a minuteness of detail; he had appeared always to possess a vivid anticipation of his approaching sorrows, and was therefore aware of the fate which awaited him after his entrance into the city. He knew, moreover, that this was his final journey to Jerusalem. After this entry, no more would he leave it until his death, except to conduct his disciples for meditation and prayer to the shades of Gethsemane—the spot which has become hallowed in the memory of his Church as the place of his agony and bloody sweat. For three years and .upwards he had been wandering in the regions of Judea " doing good," " teaching in the synagogues, preaching the Gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people." Now he is bidding farewell to the former scenes of his toil, while the noble deeds he had wrought, and the virtues which adorned his character, were the garlands which festooned him for the altar on which he will shortly be offered "a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour." His knowledge, however, of his impending sufferings daunted not his spirit as he travelled in "the greatness of his way." Unlike his disciples, he moved with alacrity, and his feet faltered not though he knew they were carrying him onward to the scenes of death. One of the evangelists describes him as setting his face "steadfastly" to go to Jerusalem. This was no forced courage on the part of the Man of Sorrows, but the calm expression of his magnanimity; showing how expressive was the symbol by which the Apocalypse represents him, and that this "Lion of the tribe of Judah" possessed a fortitude equal to his fate.

We may also see in this incident the concern of Jesus to be released from the load of responsibility under which he laloured. When we attentively peruse the record of his life, we cannot fail of observing that his spirit was oppressed by a burden from which he felt a solicitude to be delivered. "I have," said he, " a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened until it be accomplished!" In his conversation he occasionally referred to a future period in his life which he called his "hour" —a period to which his thoughts were habitually stretching forward as being fraught with a heavy responsibility; and until this "hour " had arrived a restraint was imposed upon his feelings in the discharge of his ministry. Even on the mount of transfiguration when conversing with Moses and Elias, the subject of discourse was the " decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem." This was the grand event which often absorbed his thoughts and drank up his spirit with solicitude: and the "hour" is now drawing nigh when the tragedy of the cross shall be enacted. The reader has probably been in a position when he has anticipated a fearful crisis in his own history, and has been bowed down by the agony of suspense until the crisis be overpast. This may serve in some measure to explain the feelings of Jesus as he pursues his fatal journey. Impelled, however, by a love for his people which swayed all the powers of his soul, and was "stronger than death;" animated by a fortitude which the terrible prospect before him had no power to appal; and encouraged by the promise of a "multitude which no man can number, of all kindreds, and people, and toDgues," as the reward of his achievements; he girded himself for the ordeal which awaited him, and moved in advance of his disciples to meet it, "glorious in his apparel, and mighty to save."

II. Observe the peculiar feelings which the disciples betrayed on this occasion. As Jesus thus went before them they gazed at him with sentiments of amazement. We arrive at some knowledge of the causes which created these sentiments when we reflect that, on several previous occasions, Jesus had aimed to impress their minds with the truth that after his entry into Jerusalem he would be crucified. The evangelist Mark, however, adds the significant statement that "they understood not that Baying, and were afraid to ask him." Why were they not able to understand him? He had not veiled his meaning under a parable, but had predioted his death in the most

literal terms he could employ. Their incapacity to comprehend this saying of Jesus, arose from the secular views which they still entertained of bis mission to the world. The gross ideas of the Jewish people generally, that the Messiah would appear in the character of a temporal prince, deliver them from the Roman dominion, and afterwards enthrone himself in Judea as their king, retained possession of the minds of the disciples, even after they had enjoyed the Redeemer's instructions. He had laboured to convince them that his mission was purely of a spiritual nature, and that he "came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many;" but these carnal notions hid become so interwoven with their mental constitution that it seemed impossible to remove them until after the resurrection. Notwithstanding the past efforts of Jew to enlighten his disciples, they still dung to the expectation of a worldly kingdom, and only a short time previous to this journey there "was a strife among them which should be the greatest" in this kingdom after their Master had established it. Now, therefore, when they beheld him hastening before them to Jerusalem, tie predioted scene of his crucifixion, they were seized with amazement. Wa» his mission so soon to terminate, and was tbu to be the end of his career? How waa it that He whom they expected to "restore the kingdom to Israel," elevate them to posts of civil authority, and reign over them in royal magnificence, was thus marching before them on the road to death j si though he would accelerate the destruction of their fondest hopes, and abandon them to the taunts of their adversaries as the victims of a delusion?

The amazement with which the disciples watched Jesus advance was accompanied with sentiments of timidity while they followed him. That they should hare been amazed was natural under the circumstances we have described; but they heard no sound of an enemy's footetepsin"16 distance, and why were they afraid? B6^ in his company, they knew that to som extent they were sharers of his danger, so that the sufferings which he had for*1*1 awaited him on his arrival at Jerusalem indirectly threatened thera if they «■" tinued in association with his cause. IKf were now in a situation which tested reality of their faith and the fervour, w their attachment. Their faith was genua"'

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