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kind, we know that there are some who care for us, who feel with us, and try to relieve us. Generally there are some such close around us,-almost certainly there are some such in the world,-quite certainly there is One such at the right hand of God, our truest friend, as well as our mightiest. But when we are unbelieving at the last, all this is over.
There exist for us in infinite space no loving looks, no kind words, no feeling of sympathy, no desire to relieve us. Relations, friends, neighbours, fellow-creatures, whatever term includes in it any notion of regard, is to us utterly perished. There is One still at the right hand of God; but He sits no longer to intercede, but to judge. The only words that proceed from Him are the eternal sentence—“Depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
This, we say, will surely happen to some of us. Let each, then, suppose it to be his own case. We say, too, that some of us will be believers at the last : it will not be injurious to us to try to connect this notion also, each of us, with ourselves. Hope is as allowed a motive as fear; nay, it is one which God would far rather employ upon us. But in the portion of the believer, the greatest and most blessed point is one which only a believer can well conceive of,—the being allowed to be with Christ, and to know God. Other and lower points we can all fancy. Absence of pain and
fear-absence of all unkindness, of all falsehoodthe being surrounded by loving hearts—the making happy and being made happy perpetually. But the crown of all the rest, the Christian's hope, the Christian's inheritance, this none but a Christian can long for. He only who has listened long and obediently to the voice of God's Spirit, can truly desire to know God as He is. He only who has thought of Jesus often, who has believed on Him, trusted in Him, loved Him, followed Him, can truly long for that moment when he shall see Him, and hear Him, and be with Him
Yet even they who can least feel this can bring home to themselves the notion of some part of the joy of believing at last, as they can the misery of not believing at last. It is this which will make us anxious to be believers now. It is this which will make us, when the congregation is broken up, still follow after the words which we had heard while we were together. May it make us each and all do so. What has been spoken here we shall now hear of each us in
different places, and with very different congregations. But it is the same word of life leading to the same Saviour; and when we meet again—as many of us as shall meet, to form again the same congregation within these same walls—may it be
with hearts that have retained the impression of God's word spoken before, and ready to increase the impression every time that they shall hear it again.
ST. PAUL'S EPISTLES.
2 PETER, iii. 15, 16.
Account that the long suffering of our Lord is salvation; even
as our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given unto him, hath written unto you ; as also in all his Epistles speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction,
LEAVING out of sight for the present all other points contained in these verses, I would wish now to confine myself to two;—the divine wisdom here ascribed to the Epistles of St. Paul generally, and the difficulty spoken of as existing in some particular parts of them,--a character which some, we might imagine, have been almost tempted to reverse; as if the general character of St. Paul's writings was difficulty, and only some particular
passages were full of that wisdom which tends to edify God's people.
“Our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given unto him, hath written unto you." According to that wisdom which God had given him, that he should fully make known to the Gentiles all the revelation of God. First he spoke according to this wisdom, and taught by word of mouth ; but afterwards he wrote according to it, that the wisdom might not die with him and his first hearers, nor be trusted to the handing down of others, who, not having it in themselves, could not well appreciate it, but would be sure to corrupt it by some additions or alterations of their own; but that it might be kept safe and pure through the course of ages, as fresh and perfect for us as at the time when it was first delivered.
He wrote according to it in fourteen Epistles ; for although the Greek words of the present text of the Epistle to the Hebrews may not be his own, yet the wisdom of it is no doubt his; and no one has ever supposed but that it was written at least by one of those who went about with him, Luke or Silas, or Apollos or Clement. Now, then, taking these fourteen Epistles, and dividing them according to the order of time in which they were written, we find, first, the two Epistles to the Thessalonians, then those to the Corinthians, and that to the Romans, all written before that journey