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the golden chain of providence. A happy belief, too precious to be parted with! Let the thought that Jesus watches over your fortunes, and guards your welfare, and guides your way, banish every care. I do not say that you will never be disappointed, but certainly you ought never to be discontented. Many things in your circumstances may occasion anxious thought, but nothing should occasion or can excuse repining. Child of God! he has numbered the hairs of thy head, as well as the stars of heaven. Charge of angels! they shall keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
By him all things consist; and on raising our eyes to Jesus exalted, crowned, enthroned, with the government on his shoulder, two thoughts suggest themselves. First, our mind reverts, by way of contrast, to Jerusalem, to Calvary, to the doleful day when he sank beneath the weight, and expired amid the agonies of his cross. If he, who now bears the weight of worlds, once staggered under the burden of our sins, oh! what an incalculable, mysterious load of guilt must there be in sin! It bent the back that bears with ease the burden of ten thousand worlds. That load you cannot bear; and if you would not have it sink your souls into the deepest hell, flee to Calvary, leave it at the Cross. Cast sins and sorrow, cast both on him who invites the burden, saying, Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Again, beholding Christ thus exalted to the right hand of God, we think of the security of his people. They are to watch and pray, and rejoice with trembling. Yet they cannot sink whom he holds up, nor lose the battle on whose side he fights. Believer, what art thou doing, going groaning through the world beneath a load of fears and cares? What should discourage thee? What should disturb thy peace? What ruffle the calm spirit of a man who knows that the hands once nailed for him to the tree now hold the helm of his fortunes; and that the blessed Saviour, who by love's golden sceptre reigns within his heart, holds sovereign sway over earth and heaven; and by both bitter and sweet providences, by coffins and cradles, by disappointments and joys, by losses and gains, shall make all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
He is tlie head of the body, the Church.—Colossians i. 18.
At a celebrated battle there was one position from which the enemy, after suffering defeat in every other part of the field, kept up an unabated fire. There, a huge twenty-four pounder vomited forth galling and continuous discharges; nor could our artillery, nor musketry, nor riflemen, silence it. "That gun," said the commanding officer, addressing the men of two regiments in a few brief, brave words, " must be taken by the bayonet. I must have it;" adding, as he placed himself at their head, " No firing, and recollect that I am with you." There needed no more. They advanced, the grape from the battery crashing through their ranks. They fired four rolling volleys before they charged; but when they did charge, the onset was irresistible.
The importance of a military position may be always estimated by the determination with which it is on the one hand assailed, and on the other hand defended. By this test I have been able to discover the key of an old battle-field. Who fought there, and in what cause they fell, are matters about which history is altogether silent; and even the lingering traditions of the glen are dim and vague, like objects seen through its gray creeping mists. Yet the hoary cairns that are scattered on rolling moor and rugged hill-sides tell how war once raged over that abode of peace; and how, where the moorcock crows to the morning, and the shy plover rings out her wail, and lambs chase each other, or playfully engage in mimic fight around these old gray stones, men once had trampled down the heather, staining it of a deeper crimson with their blood. And there, where the rude monuments of the dead stand crowded together for want of room, we know that the opposing tides of battle with direst shock, and human passions spent their wildest fury. These marks of hardest fighting and greatest carnage still point out the key of the position—the most important post that they had to hold or win in that old field of battle.
According to this rule, we should conclude that the church of Christ has regarded the headship of her Lord as in some respects the very key of her position. She has maintained it as not the least important of the doctrines which she has been charged to hold against all men—holding them to the death. For the sake of this doctrine, for Christ's crown, for his sole right to rule his own house, and to regulate, without Cesar's interference, the affairs of his church, her largest, costliest, and most painful sacrifices have been made. An d as if there was an instinct of grace corresponding to that remarkable instinct of nature which teaches even an infant, in the act of falling, to throw out its hands and arms, and save the head at the expense of its members, with a fidelity that has done her honor, the church has sacrificed her members, and lavishly shed her blood in support of Christ's headship. For this cause, counting all things but loss, many have suffered the spoiling of their goods; many have gone into banishment and exile; many have ascended the scaffoId to lay down their heads on the block, or, embracing the stake with a lover's ardor, have gone to heaven in a chariot of fire, to wear the crown of martyrdom, and learn how well Christ keeps the promise, Them that honor me I will honor.
The apostles Peter and John were the first publicly to maintain this doctrine. At their parting, our Lord commanded his disciples to go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature; and when the Jewish rulers, attempting to infringe on Christian liberty, commanded them not to speak at all, nor teach in the name of Jesus, how prompt and how decisive was their reply! It leaves Christian men in corresponding circumstances in no doubt as to the path of duty, whether they have courage to take it or not. Hear their memorable words: "Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." Nor less clear and decisive this reply of Peter's, on being charged a few days afterwards with having preached contrary to the injunctions of the civil magistrate, " We ought to obey God rather than men." Thus plainly did these men assert and boldly maintain the doctrine that Christ is head of his body, the church. They would have held it treason to own any other authority. So ought we.
It becomes not man to be proud of anything. We have defects enough to clothe us with humility. And a sense of many sins and many shortcomings will teach us, for any grace or honor we may possess, to ascribe glory to him who maketh one to differ from another, and out of the mouth of babes ordaineth strength. Yet, as patriots, we may be permitted to dwell with