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Holy Spirit we must in humility submit, walking in his commandments and ordinances blameless; and then, confiding in him who only hath vanquished death and the grave, we must hope for a triumph over them, and for an entrance into those mansions of glory which he hath prepared for us.
"No man cometh unto the Father but through me," says the eternal Son of God. What then can be the hopes of acceptance of those who reject Jesus Christ as the way, the truth, and the life? They can have no access unto the Father; and thus cut off from the infinite source of happiness, they can have no solid comfort here, no bliss hereafter. Ọ let them flee for refuge to the hope set before them in the Gospel-to Jesus Christ, the way, the truth, and the life-that they may escape the wrath to
"No man cometh unto the Father but through me." Here is your direction, and here will be your solace, you who are wearied with the burden of your sins, oppressed with the sorrows of the world, and agitated with fearful anticipations concerning your future doom. Go in sincerity and in faith to Jesus Christ; by him, the new and living way of access unto God, you shall find pardon, and rest, and peace; by him who is the truth, you shall be established in the knowledge and service of God; and believing in him who is the "life," you shall rejoice in the hope, that when he who is your life shall appear, you also shall appear with him in glory.
Rejoice then, faithful Christians, in these blessed hopes-rejoice in them evermore, you whose faith is stayed upon Jesus Christ as the way, the truth, and the life. Coming unto God through him, you
have found peace to your troubled consciences, and light and holiness will beam on your souls; and now the crown of glory awaits you. The redeemed of the Lord, walk worthy of your holy vocation, your high privileges; maintain communion with the church, the mystical body of the Redeemer, through whose ministrations and ordinances his grace and favour are assured to you. Be it your constant study and endeavour to show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light, and to love and serve him who hath loved you, and hath washed you from your sins in his own blood. Having the hope of immortal glory, purify yourselves, even as he who hath called you is pure, that you may be made meet for his presence, for the inheritance of the saints in light. Pray to him that, amidst the sorrows, the sins, and the temptations of the world, your faith may not fail, nor your devotion to his service be relaxed. Comfort yourselves with his unchanging promise-"I will never leave you nor forsake you." When your warfare here is closed, you shall receive the palm of victory-when your pilgrimage on earth is ended, you shall enter on your eternal rest-when the race of life is run, your troubles, your cares, and your toils shall cease, and you shall be for ever with the Lord.
O thou life of our souls! Jesus Christ, the truth -thou only way of access unto the Father! what gratitude do we owe thee for these exalted hopes, that minister such unfailing consolation under our sorrows, and add so much to all our virtuous joys! What tribute shall we render thee? We can but offer thee our souls; and yet they are already thine, for thou hast redeemed them by thy most VOL. II. 56
precious blood. Fix their inconstant affections, subdue their unhallowed passions, and kindle in them those holy graces which, cherished here by thy power, shall hereafter be rewarded by the enjoyment of thy love. And to thee, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, be ascribed all honour, power, majesty, and dominion, world without end.
THE SCRIPTURES THE SOURCE OF HOPE AND
ROMANS XV. 4.
Whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
HOWEVER varied and powerful are the attractions which bind us to the present life, and too often lead us to regard it as our abiding place, our permanent home, there are yet numerous circumstances which, happily for our virtue, force on us the conviction that it is only a transitory state of probation. Oppressed and disgusted with the errors, the sins, the disappointments, and the sorrows which embitter human pursuits and enjoyments, surely every considerate and serious person will indulge the solicitous hope, that this evanescent state may prove but the passage to that heavenly country, where all our powers and virtuous enjoyments will be purified and perfected in the bliss and glory of an immortal existence.
This blessed hope is derived only from the Scriptures of truth. The gracious declarations and dispensations of God recorded in the Old Testament, and the example of pious and holy men, and especially the luminous prophecies of the spiritual and eternal salvation of the Messiah there set forth,
are proposed by the apostle to the imitation and faith of his Christian converts, that they, in the midst of the tribulations and persecutions to which they would be exposed, might enjoy consolation, and cherish patience and hope.
This dispensation of grace and mercy through him who, the hope of his Israel, was to be a light to lighten the Gentiles, was shadowed and prefigured in the Old Testament. Gloriously was it fulfilled in the person of Christ, the end of the law, and of whom the prophets bore witness, and whose advent the church at this season celebrates; and it is proposed to our faith and hope in the record of his life and doctrines by his holy apostles.
Of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, then, containing, under different dispensations and manifestations, the same gracious scheme of redemption through the eternal Son of the Father made flesh and dwelling among us, it may be affirmed-" Whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope."
The Scriptures are the source of hope:
Because they exhibit the Maker and Lord of heaven and of earth as our ever-present and almighty Guardian, our tender and compassionate Father and Benefactor:
Because they assure us of his protection and favour by the most affecting promises and animating examples:
And lastly, Because they exhibit him as ready to confer on us the blessings of that spiritual and eternal salvation in his Son Jesus Christ, which is calculated to gratify every desire, to alleviate