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of liberty,” because, bursting the bonds of sin and Satan, it sets you free to obey the law of God. The believer gladly accepts of Christ's yoke, and delights in the law of God after the inward man, saying, Oh how love I thy law, it is my meditation all the day.
In a general sense, we are all the subjects of Christ's kingdom. It embraces the boundless universe. And he who once had not a place wherein to lay his head, now reigns over a kingdom, the extent of which reduces our proud boast to contempt. Tell me that the sun never sets on Britain's empire, and that before he has sunk on one province, he has arisen on another; that sun, which wheels his mighty course in heaven, shines but on an outlying corner of the kingdom over which Jesus reigns. To many of its provinces he appears but as a twinkling star; and in others, lying far beyond the range of his beams, immeasurable distance hides him from view. But no distance hides any part of creation beyond our Saviour's authority. He stands on the circle of the heavens, and his kingdom ruleth over all.
In a saving sense, however, Christ's kingdom is not without, but within us. Its seat is in the heart; and unless that be right with God, all is wrong. It does not lie in outward things. It is not meat and drinknot baptism or the communion—not sobriety, purity, honesty, and the other decencies of a life of common respectability. “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Its grace and power have their emblem in the leaven this woman lays, not on the meal, but in the meal-in the heart of the lump, where, working from within outwards, from the centre to the circumference, it sets the whole mass fermenting -changing it into its own nature, Even so the work of conversion has its origin in the heart. When grace subdues a rebel man, if I may so speak, the citadel first is taken ; afterwards, the city. It is not as in those great sieges which we have lately watched with such anxious interest. There, approaching with his brigades, and cavalry, and artillery, man sits down outside the city. He begins the attack from a distance; creeping like a lion to the spring—with trench, and parallel, and battery-nearer and nearer to the walls. These at length are breached ; the gates are blown open ; through the deadly gap the red living tide rolls in. Fighting from bastion to bastion, from street to street, they press onward to the citadel, and there, giving no quarter and seeking none, beneath a defiant ilag, the rebels, perhaps, stand by their guns, prolonging a desperate resistance. But when the appointed hour of conversion coines, Christ descends by his Spirit into the heart—at once into the heart. The battle of grace begins there. Do you know that by experience? The heart won, she fights her way outward from a new heart on to new habits; a change without succeeds the change within, even until the kingdom-which, in the house of God, by the body of the solenn dead, over the pages of the Bible, amid the wreck of health or ruins of fortune, came not with observation-comes to be observed. A visible change appears in the whole man. May it appear in you! then, though the world may get up the old half-incredulous, half-scornful cry, Is Saul also among the prophets? good men shall rejoice on earth, and angels celebrate the event in beaven,
And hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.—Col. i. 13.
All pain, that is passing, and not perpetual, is, in that circumstance, attended with great consolation. This is true of pain, whether its seat be the body or mind ; whether it be a dead, or worse still, a living grief ; the pangs of disease, the lingering sufferings of a common, or the terrible shock of a violent death. It will soon be over, says a man; and, with that, he bares his quivering limb for the surgeon's knife ; or, eyeing the tall black gallows, walks with firm step and erect mein to stand beneath the dangling noose. Saying to himself, It will soon be over, he closes his eyes, casts away the handkerchief, and takes the leap into eternity.
This feeling enters as an element into Christian as well as common heroism. I knew a precious saint of God who was often cast into the furnace, but always, like real gold, to shine the brighter for the fire; and who, having now left her sorrows all behind her, has joined the company of whom the angel said, “ These are they which come out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb; therefore,” in the front rank as the highest peers of heaven,“ are they before the throne of God.” The courage with which she met adversityone trial after another, shock succeeding shock, billow
bursting on the back of billow—was as remarkable as the strength with which, though a bruised reed, she seemed to bear it. Where did her great strength lie? The grand secret of that serene demeanor and uncomplaining patience was, no doubt, a sense of the divine favor. The peace of God kept her heart and mind through Jesus Christ. Yet her sorrows found a solace, life's bitterest hour a sweetness, also, in the simple couplet that was often on her lips
"Come what, come may:
Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.”
This prospect of relief, this not distant end of suffering, has often divested even the grave of its horrors. “ There'll be no sorrow there." Ah! that sometimes turns our eyes with a longing look on its deep dreamless sleep. Supporting and restraining them by his grace, God with one hand keeps his people up under their sorrows, and with the other keeps them back from anticipating their appointed time. They do not rush on death, nor go unsuinmoned to the bar of judgment. Unless reason give way, and responsibility cease, they wait his time, and bide it as their own; holding their post like å sentinel who, however cold the night, or fierce the storm, or thick the battle, refuses to desert it till he is duly relieved. They say with Job, All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Yet, with whatever bravery trials are met, and with whatever patience they are borne, there are times when the prospect of relief, which even the grave affords, is most welcome. An object of aversion to light-hearted childhood, and to him who is bounding away over a sunny path thickly flowered with the hopes of spring, the grave is not so to many who have lived to see these fair flowers wither away, beneath whose slow and lonely steps the joys of other days lie strewed, like dead leaves in autumn. Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord. There is no sorrow for them in the tomb, or beyond it. Thus, from the grassy sod, which no troubled bosom heaves, sorrow plucks blossoms of refreshing odors; thus, weary life grows strong by feeding on the thought of death ; thus, to that grave which remorselessly devours the happiness of the ungodly, Christian faith can apply the language of the
found the lion that he had rent with a hive of honey within its skeleton ribs, Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness.
Hope may flatter in this common solace of worldly men, that the longest road has a turning. But, turn or not turn, God's people know that it has a termination; and that the weary journey, with its heaviest trials, shall end in rest. But for this, thousands had sunk beneath their griefs. And when calamity came with the shock of an earthquake, and reason sat stunned and stupified on her tottering throne, how often has that blessed prospect restrained man from turning the wish that he were dead into a daring act; and casting life away from him as a burden—one greater than he could bear.
There have been such cases. I remember in one a scene never to be forgotten. It surpassed anything it had been my fortune ever to witness in the most terrible shapes of mortal agony, and anything also which I had ever seen of the power of Christian endurance. To be hanged, or burned, or broken on the wheel, as the martyrs were-some brief hours of torture, followed by an eternity of rest-how the sufferer would