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a desire to depart;" but also, "and to be with Christ." This is the true fountain of heavenly joy. To be with Christ;" that is, with Him who is "altogether lovely," and beautiful before the sons of men:- to be with Him who loves us; whom also we love again; who loves us with a love above all human intensity, and whom we love in turn, if we dare so speak, with a love before which all human affections melt away. If, indeed, we could say this, if only we dared to think that we could leave all and lose all for love of Him—if this were so, then the thought of departure would be blessed. Then we might say, "Life and God's world are beautiful: the light of the sun is sweet, friends are dear, and home is more sweet than all; but there is One more beautiful, more sweet, more loved; and to Him I desire to go, with Him to be." If we could say this, if we could feel it in the inmost soul of our heart. To be with Him, to see His face, to follow Him whithersoever He goeth; to be conscious of His eye; to hear, it may be, His words of love; to see the gathered fruit of His Passion in the glory of His elect; to be filled with a living consciousness that the work of His love has been for ever made perfect in ourselves: what, if not this, is heaven? It is only our dull love of this Song of Sol. v. 16.
world, or our blindness of heart, or, alas, our consciousness of penetrating guilt, which makes this desire of saints a thought of fear to us. We fear the meeting of our darkness with His light, not knowing what may be revealed both in us and against us. But for this, how blessed to go to dwell in Him for ever!
What, then, shall we do to make ready for that hour? There is one thing which is enough. us go to Him now. Let us live in Him by holy obedience, and by continual prayer. It is prayer that makes us love and desire His presence unveiled. If we knew that He was on earth, sitting "at meat in the house," should we dare to go to Him? What should we do? should we not desire and yet fear to go? Would not our hearts beat backwards and forwards, with a trust in His exceeding tenderness, and a "horrible dread" of our own guilt? Should we not desire, and, at last, should we not dare to go and stand behind Him, -not to meet His eye, as unworthy to come into His sight, but to draw near to Him in shame and tears? Would it not be a consolation to be in His presence? Should we not feel ourselves half forgiven, shielded altogether from the power of sin, if it were only by being where He is? It is strange what relief we feel from fears when we come into the presence of those we dread. It seems to take
off half the terror, by taking away all the waiting and foreboding. Would He cast us out? He has said Himself, "Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out." Would He say, Thou art a sinner? Would He say, Touch Me not? Would He
not rather say, Come unto Me. Thou art heavyladen, but thou art wounded with fear and sorrow. Thou art sincere at last; come, and sin no more. -So may we trust it will be hereafter. Perhaps the poor Magdalene little thought to kiss His feet, when she first drew near to Him. She came to anoint them in reverence; but His love cast out her fear. So it may be with you, when the word is brought, "The Master is come, and calleth for thee." At first, thick bursts of fear beat full upon the heart, and life seems to come down like a waterflood, in an overwhelming consciousness of sin; it seems impossible that you should see His face and live. But we may trust that He will so inspire us with the persuasion of His love to sinners, that we may insensibly draw near, until we are bold in faith to touch, even to embrace, His feet, in silent and imploring faith. your daily preparation for departure. live in a perpetual readiness to die
Let this be
; and this you shall attain, if learn to love His presence now. If you go to Him even saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord;" or,
"I am not worthy that Thou shouldest come under my roof" or if you come day by day, trembling to "touch so much as the hem of His garment," He, of His tender compassion, will breathe into your hearts an abasing trust in His forgiveness, and a fervent desire of His presence. What but sin
makes you to shrink from the thought of your departure? And if your sin were blotted out, what could make you endure to linger here?
THE SNARE OF THE WORLD AND THE DRAWING OF CHRIST THE TWO GREAT ANTAGONISTS.
SONG OF SOLOMON i. 4.
"Draw me, we will run after Thee."
THESE are the words of the Church praying to be drawn to the presence and vision of Christ. They express the love a faithful soul bears to Him for His holiness and His passion, and a desire to be drawn more and more into fellowship with His sanctity and His Cross,-a desire, that is, to walk the way of the imitation of Christ. But they express more than this desire: they confess also our spiritual impotence and our spiritual slowness to follow Him. "Draw me," for alone I cannot move a foot; I cannot begin my course in me there is no power to originate all comes from Thee, both to will and to do, to desire and to begin.
It is also to be noted that the Church here