Immagini della pagina
PDF
ePub

dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept, “ For since by man came death, by man came also the " resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, 6 even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But eve. ry man in his own order ; Christ the first-fruits

i " afterward they that are Christ's at bis coming.”

In the times of the apostle, this doctrine was more felt than it is now; a strong impression of immortality did then animate the disciples of Jesus. From whence, but from this doctrine, proceeded the zea! and spirit of the primitive Christians, who embraced the religion of Jesus at the expence of all that was dear, and at the peril of their lives. The sword of the persecutor had no terror's, when they saw it succeeded by a crown of glory. they looked on the shore of bliss and' immortality, they trembled not, though they knew they had to swim through a sea of blood. Even when death was before their eyes, their hearts sprung with joy, and their hopes began to bloom. "Not the frown of the tyrant, nor the face of the king of terrors, nor the executioner that thirsted for blood, could rob them of their peace. They looked upon these as messengers sent by Providence, to carry them to that better world where their hearts longed to be. This was the armour by which the saints and martyrs, overcaine the world ; by which they triumphed over pain, and ignominy, and death, and looked upon fires, and racks, and gibbets, upon every engine of torture, and every form of dissolution, as so many doors opening into the kingdom of gļory. They were invincible, because they knew they were immortal.

Froin the doctrines which have been now laid down, let us conclude with some inferences and reflections. Christians, you are the disciples of a risen Redeem.

As we glory in his cross and passion, let us also rejoice in his resurrection. The disciples were glad when they saw their Lord restored to life again ; and the first Christians considered it as such a joyful event, that they used to grect one another with this saluta. tion,

er.'

“ Christ is risen." He who was once dead is now alive, and lives for evermore. He hath removed the terror and the sting of death ; he hath hallowed the grave as a place of rest for all his followers, and risen as the Forerunner of the faithful, who shall rise to eternal life, He left the vestments of mortality behind him. Death hath no more dominion. And if ye be risen with Christ, put off the old man and his affections ; let sin have no more dominion over you ; walk in newness of life. As you have set out in the paths of righteousness, continue your course therein. Religion was not intended for extraordinary occasions. Holiness is not a robe which you can put off and on at pleasure. You must never lay aside the weddinggarment. Transient emotions which you may now feel, will not change the heart. Starts and sallies of goodness which you may now experience, will not form the character. The temper of the mind, and the tenor of the life are all in all. When religion and virtue have been matured by time, and grown into habit, then we can pronounce them to be sincere and genuine. Let him that is righteous then, be righteous still. Let him that is holy, be holy still. Let the spirit of this day accompany you all the days of your lives. Carry into the world, into the business, and into the pleasures of the world, the purity of this ordinance, the dispositions you now feel, and the purposes you now form. Be faithful unto death, and God will give you the crown of life.

Farther, as ye have gained the victory over death, through our Lord Jesus Christ, therefore be assured, that a life of faith and duty will effectually conduct you to happiness. " Therefore, my beloved breth

ren, be ye stedfast, immoveable, always abounding “ in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your

labour is not in vain in the Lord.” Miserable, indeed, would be the condition of the human kind; feeble would be our efforts, and few our attainments, if, after a well-ordered life, we were obliged to sit down with the sad confession, that virtue was but an empty name; that we had cleansed our hands in vain, and purified our hearts to 'no purpose. But, Christians, our labour shall not be in vain ; our works of faith and love, our exertions of magnanimity, our efforts of patience in the cause of goodness :, the ten: der offices of humanity, charity, and pity, that we have performed, the kind dispositions that we have cherished or improved, the upright intentions which we have maintained, even the silent aspirations of a good heart, the warm wishes of the benevolent, for the happiness of the human kind, are now well pleasing in the sight of God. We know, even from our own experience, that there is a reward for the righteous. Never have we done a good deed, but we have obtained the gratulations of our own conscience, and enjoyed the triumph of the mind.

Let the wicked call upon the mountains to overwhelm, and the rocks to hide them in the day of the Lord. Let infidels look for the shades of annihilation to conceal them, and the curtains of the dark night to be drawn around them for ever. Better prospects are presented to us. The hope of immortality is set before us, and heaven opens its everlasting gates to receive us to its mansions:

Because of this our heart is glad, and our glory rejoiceth. The Everlasting Father will not leave us in the grave, nor suffer his holy ones to see corruption. He hath shewed us the path of life.

path of life.' In his

In his presence there is fulness of joy, and at his right hand there are pleasures for evermorè. Know then thyself, O man! make thyself acquainted with thy future state. Enter early, my brethren, upon your eternal life ; and now think, and act, and live, as the heirs of immortality. Implore the Divine goodness to give you the spirit of that better country to which you tend, and to bless you with a foretaste of the joys which are to come. And in the strength of Heaven, go forth from thwüssembly, immortal ; go forth into the world the sons of God, the heirs of heaven, candidates for a crown of glory which fadeth not away. Then you

will have good cause to remember this day, as one of the days of the right hand of the Most High, and to endless ages you will bless the time when retired from the vanities of the world, and learned to meditate at your Saviour's tomb.

Now may the God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the Sheep, make you perfect in every good work, to do his-will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

PRAYER, “ Follow now, O God, with thy blessing, the whole solemn service of this day. Accept of the praises, and hear the humble prayers of thy people. Our souls would again bless thee, O Lord : all that is within us would magnify thy holy name; for thou hast forgiven our iniquities, healed our diseases, redeemed our lives from destruction, and crowned us with loving-kindness and with tender mercies. Adored be that Providence which hath watched over us ever since we had a being. Thou wast the guardian and protector of our tender years; Thou didst supply our wants, before we knew how to express them to thee in prayer : thou didst distinguish us with thy love, before, we knew that liberal hand from which our blessings flowed. Thy good Providence has brought us up hitherto: Thou hast kept our feet from falling, and our eyes froni tears : Thou hast not been far off when trouble was near, nor like an absent friend to the distressed. Thou hast given songs to us in the night of adversity.

“ Above all thy mercies, wc thank thee for eternal life, through Jesus Christ. Glory to God in the highest, for peace proclaimed on earth, and good-will to the children of men. We thank thee for the divine doctrines which he taught, for his meritorious life, for his atoning death, for his glorious ascension

us.

into heaven, and his prevailing intercession for us within the vail.

" While we enjoy the blessings of the Gospel, may we improve them. Let it not be our condemnation, that when the light hath come into the world, we have loved 'darkness rather than light; but having the promise of the life which now is, and of that which is to come, may we purify ourselves from the pollutions of the world, and perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord. May we live blameless and harmless in the world, as the children of God, in the midst of a perverse and crooked generation. Among men may our light so shine, that they seeing our good works, may glorify thee also, our Father which art in heaven. May we put on, as the dearly beloved of the Lord, bowels of compassion and inercy : forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven,

While yet on earth, may our conversation be in heaven. May we run our Christian race with patience, and with cheerfulness, pressing forward to the mark set before us, as heirs of immortality, and candidates for a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

We would again humbly offer up our prayers, in behalf of these our native lands. We would again pray for thy blessing upon our King, and Queen, and Royal Family. Extend thy favour to all ranks, of men, and conditions of life among us.

“We offer up our prayers for the whole churches of Christianity, and for all the race of man. Spread the knowledge of the faith further and further over the world. We implore thy favour in behalf of the dark corners of the earth, on which the light from heaven hath not yet shone. May the Day-spring from on high visit them, and the Sun of righteousness arise over their heads. Give thy Son the heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession. May a light arise in the regions of darkness, and the dry and parched land become as a field which the Lord hath blessed. Thou hast

« IndietroContinua »