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mother's womb, by one fell stroke has inflicted a double blow on some childless, widowed man. But, in their life one with Christ, believers can never die. Never : for he dieth no more. That head bows on a cross no more; that eye darkens in death no more; that brow, crowned with glory, bleeds under thorns no more. “I am he that liveth and was dead.” Thus, restored to life by Christ, and through your union with him safe from the second death, believers can dare, in a sense, to use his own great words, saying, “I am he that liveth, and was dead, and, behold, I am alive for evermore.” So long as Christ lives, you live; so long as Christ shall live, you shall live. Since your life is hid with Christ in God, why then should you dread the grisly king 2 Fear not the shaking of his dart. You are deathless men. Hear the voice of your Saviour. “I give unto them eternal life ; and they shall never perish.” “He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” Disease may rot off a limb ; an empty sleeve, pinned to a breast hung thick with stars, and crosses, and medals, may tell of losses suffered as well as battles fought in a country's cause; and accident may any day tear a member from our body, and separate it from its living head. But no accident, no chance, no, nor all the devils of hell, shall separate us from the love of Christ. I cling to that belief. Without it, where were the peace of the saints? Where the promise and care of him who says, I will never leave you, let not your heart be troubled ; ye believe in God, believe also in me.
II. As Head of his church, Jesus Christ rules its members.
It is Lot pain that makes the insect go spinning round and round, to the entertainment of the thoughtless, not cruel, boy who has beheaded it. It has lost in the head that which preserves harmony among the members, and controls their movements, and prevents such anarchy in the body corporeal as there was in the body politic, when there was no king in Israel, and every man did that which was right in his own eyes. Seated, as becomes a king, in the highest place, the head gives law to all beneath it. The tongue speaks or is silent, the arms rise or fall, the feet walk or rest, the eye opens or shuts, as this sovereign wills; and, transmitting its orders along the nerves which, ramified through the body, reach the most distant members, it receives from all them instant, implicit obedience. It rules with more despotic authority than any other sovereign. Its subjects never mutiny; they hatch no plots; they form no conspiracies.
Patterns of the obedience which we should yield to Jesus Christ, the members hesitate not to obey the head, even to their own loss and painful suffering. Take the hand, for instance. Archbishop Cranmer stands chained to the stake. The fagots are lighted. With forked tongues the flames rise through the smoke that opens, as the wind blows it aside, to show that great old man standing up firm in the fiery trial. Like a true penitent, he resolves that the hand which had signed his base recantation shall burn first; and how bravely it abides the flame! In obedience to the head, the hand lays itself down to suffer amputation ; in obedience to the head, it flings away the napkin, sign for the drop to fall; in obedience to the head, as was forescen by some of our fathers when they attached their names to the League and Covenant, it firmly signed the bond that sealed their fate and doomed them to a martyr's grave. Let the head forgive, and the hand at once opens to grasp an enemy's, in pledge of quarrel buried and estrangement gone. Would to God that Jesus Christ had such authority over us! Make us, O Lord, thy willing subjects in the day of thy power | Ascend the throne of our hearts | Prince of Peacel take unto thee thy great power, and reign How happy, how holy should we be, were our hearts, our minds, our bodies, as obedient to the laws of his word and to the influences of his Spirit, as that hand and this tongue are to the head that rules them. Brethren, what else but this is needed, not only to preserve the purity and peace of our souls, but to restore purity and peace to distracted churches? My body knows and owns no authority whatever but its own head. Why should Christ's church do otherwise? How many divisions would be healed, would she repudiate all government but his in things belonging to his kingdom, would she take his word as her only rule, and read it with the docile faith of a child, would she call none master but Jesus, nor admit anything to bind her conscience but the law and the testimony, would she throw down all sectarian walls and barriers, and make nothing necessary to church communion but what is necessary to being a Christian. There is no essential difference between the Evangelical denominations. And what should hinder them from being as ready to love and help one the other as my foot is to run in the service of my hand, and as my hand is to work in the service of my foot, and as my eyes and ears, standing on their tower of observation, are to watch for the good of the body and all its members? Were there sympathy like that among the brethren, how soon would there be harmony in Jerusalem | What triumphs would crown her arms! what prosperity would bless her palaces ! The sin, the shame, the scandal, the monstrous, unnatural, afflicting spectacle of Christian churches, up in arms against each other, and stunning the ears of a wondering, scoffing world with the din of battle, would cease, for ever cease. Let the fields of war present the horrid spectacle of men shearing off each other's limbs, and plunging their swords into each other's breasts, but who ever heard of a case so monstrous, as a man's hands and feet and other members declaring war, one with another? Alas! such a sight the church of Christ has often presented. The most wretched reasons have been considered good enough for separating or remaining separate. Paltry differences have given rise to quarrels, and quarrels have given rise to blows, and blows have ended in running sores and bitter hatreds, and a bleeding, weeping church has been left, when asked about her wounds, to reply, “These are the wounds with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.” Oh, that all our unhappy, unholy contentions would cease! How long, O Lord, how long ! Come, Holy Dove, and sweep the storms away with thy snow-white wing, bringing from heaven the branch of an olive plucked from the trees that grow by the river of life. Yet vain meanwhile the wish ! Never shall the ark rest, nor sweet peace brood, like a halcyon bird, on the troubled waters, till Christ receives the honor which is his due ; till the Head that is in heaven rules the body that is on earth ; till the names of fathers, both ancient and modern, are discarded, and no authority but Christ's is acknowledged by a church which he has bought with his precious blood, and whose members, loved so dearly by him, ought so kindly and so dearly to love one another. “Even so come, Lord Jesus.”
III. As Head of his church, Jesus Christ sympathises with its members.
According to Solomon, “all the rivers run into the sea,” and were you to dissect the body you would find that all the nerves run into the brain. The head, is the centre of the nervous system. Beneath that palatial dome the soul dwells; and by the nerves which run out from that centre she corresponds with matter, looking through the eyes, feeling by the hand, hearing by the ears, speaking by the tongue, and, unless when she seizes the hours of sleep to rest herself or to roam away in dreams, thus holding communion with the outer world. The nerves form a perfect system of living telegraphs. By means of them the soul knows in an instant what passes in all parts of her realm, and takes immediate measures for the well-being of every member of the body. Let the foot but touch a thorn, it is instantly withdrawn. And how 2 Pain, thrilling along the nerves, flashes the danger upward to the head, which, by another set of nerves, flashes back an immediate order, so that before the thorn is buried in the flesh, the foot is withdrawn. If but the wing of a gnat brush, if but a mote of dust touch the guardian fringes, the eyelid drops, like the portcullis at yonder castle gate, to keep out the enemy. Thus the head sympathizes with all the body, and, sympathizing, succours it.
Such is the sympathy between Christ and his people. Let that comfort, strengthen, cheer you. He is in constant, ay, in closest communication with every one of his members; and by means of lines that stretched