Abbildungen der Seite

St. Paul: “ The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God."* And David : “ Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.

Until such an assurance of salvation be obtained, the Christian cannot enter into this portion of the Saviour's joy. It is only when he knows his sins are pardoned, that “ his heart will be glad, and his glory rejoice, and his flesh rest in hope. As David speaks : “ My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee, and my soul which thou hast redeemed. And St. Peter : " Who are kept by the

power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time, wherein we greatly rejoice.” And our Lord : “ Rather rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Indispensable to such joy is a sense of sin and sin's desert, with a knowledge of Christ and of his work; of God's justice to condemn, and his mercy to save. As our sense of these increases, our joy increases. And then what delight it is! At times so overwhelming, the

* Rom. viii. 16.

soul seems incapable of more. Have the children of this world ever tasted it ? Has the cold moralist tasted it ? Let them be honest to themselves ;—they know they never have.

Add to this the future ; “ In thy presence is fulness of joy ; at thy right hand are pleasures for evermore.” What will not the ambitious of this world sacrifice for the future—the vague, uncertain, perishable future? With an object of sufficient interest in view, and the prospect of obtaining it, men pass contentedly through days of toil and nights of unrest—no suffering too much, no sacrifice too great; set but a scheme of future bliss before them, the present is absorbęd, annihilated. Without it, without a prospect or an object, ease itself becomes insupportable, possession satiates, the soul sickens and loathes its plenitude. There is not on earth a more miserable being, than he to whom the world has given all, but has no more to promise. A French writer has said, if she might ask one boon of Heaven for herself, before all things she should choose to be se

cured for ever from ennui, that torment of disoccupied powers and undefined desires.

She did not know how only that boon could be bestowed. A future, near, sufficient, certain ; in greatness above the sublimest flight of intellect-in bliss beyond imagination's stretch.

• It hath not entered into the heart of man to conceive, what God has prepared for them that love him.” But it is there ; a vision ever bright in the believer's eyes, neither idly to be waited for, nor doubtfully expected. With all the animation of the spirit-stirring race, with all the energy-inspiring vigour of the battlefield ; there is his goal, his crown, his eternal, great reward.

Children of pleasure, falsely called so, what would you give, in your diseased satiety, for a prospect such as this? To win a name that they may never hear, to earn laurels that will have no living brow to bind, the great ones of this world forego all present indulgence, and man wonders at their choice. Man knows not why, because he will not inquire of his Maker; but he does know


himself to be so constituted that he cannot do without an object, and cannot be happy without the stimulus of expectation. To regard only the present hour, and take no aim at any thing beyond, is considered a mark of an ignoble spirit, of brutish insensibility. To look forward, to reach after, is that which peculiarly distinguishes the intellectual from the animal creation. But how short a way forward-how narrow a reach, compared with the believer's immortality! Or let it be otherwise-let man have and be satisfied, enjoy and desire no more; what is his position still? In spite of himself, he too has a future. He may neither fear it, nor love it, but he is making towards it every moment. He counts his age unwillingly; he takes it ill that any should remind him of it: every day brings him nearer to the close of his enjoyment, and lessens it in doing so—like the descent of a traveller from a hill, the boundary closing every moment as he advances. But how unlike to the believer's upward progress ! The farther he proceeds, the more the prospect opens; every day he sees it wider, clearer, and more beautiful. If he counts his years, it is as the minor counts the years of his minority. He may be very rich and very happy now; but the bulk of his inheritance is to come, and it comes nearer every moment; and when possessed, it will be unbounded, exhaustless, and interminable. Jesus knew what it was, for it had been his from all eternity. His people cannot know, but they do deeply share his glad anticipations.

My subject grows under my hand. Where is the limit of the believer's joys? They increase in the measuring and multiply in the telling. Is he not a partaker also in that joy which angels feel on the calling of a sinner to repentance? Jesus doubtless was, and so are we, if we are one with Him. It is impossible it should be otherwise. One who knows the value of his own soul cannot remain indifferent to the safety of others' souls: and his heart does surely glow within him, in gladness proportioned to the divine love that animates it, when

« ZurückWeiter »