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into a mountain to pray; maintaining uninterrupted
communion with the unseen world, and making it His
meat and drink to do the will of Him that sent
Him.10 His deep inner life was with the Father in
heaven, so that the turmoil of the world could not
reach it. And thus it is with the Church, His Bride;
like the calm moon, of which we catch glimpses
through the opening clouds on a stormy night, peace-
ful and still, and mildly reflecting back the rays of
the hidden sun; so the Church, in the inmost heart
of her faithful sons, lives in the calm peacefulness of
heaven, be her troubles in the world what they may.
In Him who is our refuge and strong tower, our
hope, and our fortress, we may have peace;
peace; would
that we valued it more! would that we were more
fit to "love the truth and peace." But we are not
worthy; we have not so served the Son of Peace
that His peace can rest upon us with fulness
of blessing. We seek after excitement, warm
feelings of pleasure, and present full enjoyment;
and may be, we find a false excitement, which is not
of God, we indulge warm feelings, while we are
not obedient, and obtain present enjoyment at the
expense of future. Wherein, then, does the peace
which Christ promises differ from that absolute cer-
tainty of future happiness which some persons sup-
pose to be the only remedy for despair? This is
the difference to claim absolute certainty about our
future state is to exult in natural feelings, and to
rely upon oneself.
To have peace is to trust our

St. John, vi. 15; St. Matt. xii. 15; St. Luke, v. 16.
10 Vide St. John, iv. 34.

future lot in the hands of Christ, while we simply obey Him, hoping for His salvation, if, abiding in Him now, we may be found in Him hereafter. Hope and patience combine for peace, and peace lives, and moves, and has its being, in love; and where vigorous faith and peace are united together, there is present enjoyment, such as the Apostles felt when their Lord 66 was parted from them and carried up into heaven, and they worshipped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God."

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It is most important that they who seriously, and without self-deceit, endeavour to live religiously, should be satisfied with such peace as Christ promises, and not seek (as an end) for anything more at present; because a state of calmness is the best state for obedience. Let us remember always that the end of our endeavours here is "holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord;" 12 and they who seek for holiness with the peace of Christ in their hearts, are far more likely to find it than those who are over-confident, and too fond of pleasant feelings in religion. Not that we should be gloomy; far from it. Cheerfulness is a Christian duty, as well as our privilege. Where peace is, there is no gloominess; no, not even in death. Have we not seen the sweet, calm face of the dead in Christ, when they lie shrouded in graveclothes, with hands crossed, in token of their hope, waiting for the resurrection of the just? There is peace, but no gloominess. Oh, no! for holy chil"St. Luke, xxiv. 51-53.

12 Heb. xii. 14.

dren who pass away undefiled from this wicked world, radiant in the whiteness of the robes which Christ has given them, and for those who, by the discipline of self-denial, have become again as little children, there is no gloominess in the peacefulness of death. Much less can the peace which Christ has left us as our peculiar inheritance be anything but a happy, cheerful, heavenly peace-" the peace of God which passeth all understanding." Yes, they who are at peace with God, through Christ, though they be buffeting with the world, and toiling against the waves of trouble, yet are they with Christ, who walks the waves, and stills their raging; they have bright, happy faces, and cheerful voices, and are kind and thoughtful for others, and forget themselves; and, growing ever more and more in holiness, are becoming fitted day by day for the abodes of everlasting peace.

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SERMON XV.

CAPTIVITY LED CAPTIVE.*

EPHESIANS, iv. 8.

"When He ascended up on high, He led captivity

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NOTHING shows much more plainly the strong influence that the world has over us than the cold and indifferent way in which we usually keep Ascension

Day.

The eleven disciples of our Lord "stood gazing up into heaven" as He ascended, and after the bright cloud had received Him out of their sight. But we are too often satisfied with sights, and thoughts, and employments of earth, even on this Festival of Triumph. Even they whose calling is in holy things have too often neglected Holy Thursday. They have either had no service at all, or have failed to provide for their people the glorious and joyful Eucharistic Sacrament. Whereas the Church, ever regarding this as one of the greatest festivals of the Christian year, and delighting to

* Preached on the evening of Ascension-Day.

honour her Lord at all those times when she commemorates the events of His great work of Redemption, has consecrated the memory of Ascension-Day by a Communion Service, and prepared a special thanksgiving to be used in the Holy Offices, thereby classing it with Christmas-Day, Easter-Day, WhitSunday, and Trinity-Sunday, the only other festivals that are in like manner distinguished.

And those of you, dear brethren, who communicated with us this morning (after hearing read the history of your Lord's ascension) have surely cause of great thankfulness that for you the intentions of the Church have been fulfilled, and the Sacramental emblems of those gifts which Christ, ascending as on this day, received for sinful men, have been provided.

But, alas! how many thousands have this day refused those gracious gifts even where they have been offered! How many in this place have not even come to Church! How many of those who are now present here took no pains to put aside their worldly occupations this morning, that they might dedicate themselves in the Holy Sacrament of the Altar to their ascended Saviour!

The

Alas! my brethren, it is too plain that we do not in heart and mind ascend with Christ, and with Him continually dwell. The world still holds us down, and the flesh weighs heavily upon the spirit. Nativity, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection all lay hold upon our affections more readily than the Ascension, because they were wholly transacted upon earth, but the Ascension took Him whom we contemplate up to heaven.

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