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the fountain of the Saviour's blood, and heaven's sanctifying grace, no dead souls lie. Once a Golgotha, Calvary has ceased to be a place of skulls. Where men went once to die, they go now to live; and to none that ever went there to seek pardon, and peace, and holiness, did God ever say, Seek ye me in vain. There are times when the peace of God's people, always like a river, is like one in flood, overflowing its margin, and rolling its mighty current between bank and brae. There are times when the righteousness of God's people, always like the waves of the sea, seems like the tide at the stream, as, swelling beyond its ordinary bounds, it floats the boats and ships that lie highest, driest on the beach. But at all times and seasons, faith and prayer find fullness of mercy to pardon, and of grace to sanctify, in Jesus Christ. The supply is inexhaustible. Mountains have been exhausted of their gold, mines of their diamonds, and the depths of ocean of their pearly gems. The demand has emptied the supply. Over once busy scenes, silence and solitude now reign ; the caverns ring no longer to the miner's hammer, nor is the song of the pearl-fisher heard upon the deep. But the riches of grace are inexhaustible. All that have gone before us have not made them less, and we shall make them no less to those who follow us. When they have supplied the wants of unborn millions, the last of Adam's race, that lonely man, over whose head the sun is dying, beneath whose feet the earth is reeling, shall stand by as full a fountain as this day invites you to drink and live, to wash and be clean. I have found it an interesting thing to stand on the edge of a noble rolling river, and to think, that although it has been flowing on for six thousand years, watering the fields, and slaking the thirst of a hundred generations, it shows no sign of waste or want ; and when I have watched the rise of the sun, as he shot above the crest of the mountain, or in a sky draped with golden curtains, sprang up from his ocean bed, I have wondered to think that he has melted the snows of so many winters, and renewed the verdure of so many springs, and painted the flowers of so many summers, and ripened the golden harvests of so many autumns, and yet shines as brilliant as ever, his eye not dim, nor his natural strength abated, nor his floods of light less full for centuries of boundless profusion. Yet what are these but images of the fullness that is in Christ? Let that feed your hopes, and cheer your hearts, and brighten your faith, and send you away this day happy and rejoicing. For, when judgment flames have licked up that flowing stream, and the light of that glorious sun shall be quenched in darkness or veiled in the smoke of a burning world, the fullness that is in Christ shall flow on throughout eternity in the bliss of the redeemed. Blessed Saviour, Image of God, divine Redeemer! in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. What thou hast gone to heaven to prepare, may we be called up at death to enjoy!
And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself—CoLOSSIANS i. 20.
THE salutations that pass between man and man differ in different countries. Boaz, for example, goes out to see his reapers. The field is flashing with sickles; the tall corn is falling to the sweep of young men's arms, and to maidens' songs; and gleaning on behind them come widows, and orphans, and little children, all made welcome to share the bounties of providence and the fullness of a good man's cup. A busy, joyous, crowded harvest-field, where brown labor piles her healthful task in a bright autumn day, is one of the most pleasant scenes a man can look on ; though now-a-days we not only miss the gleaners, but also that kindly, pious intercourse between master and servants which lent a peculiar charm to Bethlehem's harvests. Boaz moves on from band to band, and, as each stops to do him reverence, he says, The Lord be with you, and, meet reply to such pious and courteous language, they answer, The Lord bless thee. Without undervaluing the progress which the world has made since then, in arts and science, in wealth and the more general diffusion of the pleasures and comforts of life, surely it has not been all gain. It is difficult to look back without some regret on those happy days when children played, and no ragged orphans pined, in the streets, when manners were simple, and people were guileless, and the rich were kind to the poor, and the poor did not scowl upon the rich, and nobody was trodden on or neglected, and no wide yawning gulf separated the highest from the lowest classes of the community. The ordinary salutation of the East, however, was one of peace. It is so still. Seated on his fiery steed and armed to the teeth, the Bedouin careers along the desert. Catching, away in the haze of the burning sands, a form similarly mounted and similarly armed approaching him, he is instantly on the alert; for life is a precarious possession among these wild sons of freedom. His long spear drops to the level; and grasping it in his sinewy hand he presses forward, till the black eyes that glance out from the folds of his shawl recognise in the stranger one of a friendly tribe, between whom and him there is no quarrel, no question of blood to settle. So, for the sun is hot, and it is far to their tents, like two ships in mid-ocean, they pass; they pull no reign, but sweep on, with a “Salem Aleikum,” Peace be unto you. Like their flowing attire, the black tents of Kedar, the torch procession at their marriages, this salutation is one of the many stereotyped habits of the East. Throughout the Holy Land and the neighboring countries, the modern traveller hears the old salutation, fresh and unchanged, as if it were but yesterday that David was a fugitive in the wilderness of Paran, and sent this message to that rude, surly, niggard churl, with whom Abigail, “a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance,” was unhappily mated, Peace he both to thee, and peace be to thine house, and peace be unto all that thou hast. Beautiful as this custom is, like the fragrant wallflower that springs from the mouldering ruin it adorns, it sprung from an unhappy condition of society. Why peace? Because frequent wars, sudden interruptions of hostile tribes, made the people of these lands sigh for peace. Hence their habit of expressing their kindly feelings to each other in the wish that they might have peace ; a blessing which many had not, and which they who had might not long enjoy. War does not take us unawares. We see the black stormcloud gathering before it bursts; and by prudent policy we may avert it, or, if it be inevitable, prepare bravely to meet it. But this course of humanity, this dreadful scourge fell on the villages and cities of these countries with the suddenness of the sea-squall that strikes the ship, and, ere time is found to reef a sail or lower a boat, throws her on her beam-ends, and sends her, crew and cargo, foundering into the deep. Look at the case of Job ; camels, cattle, sheep and servants gone, he is reduced in one short day from affluence to the most abject poverty. One morning the sun rises in peace on Abraham's tents; and ere noon or nightfall they are ringing with cries to the rescue; in wild confusion children are crying, women are weeping, and men are arming ; there is hot haste to mount and away; and, with two hundred retainers at his back, Abraham scours the country, raising it as he goes, to deliver Lot and his family from the hand of the spoilers. Three days ago, David and his followers left Ziklag, sweet peace brooding over the quiet scene ; and where is Ziklag on their return ? They come back, but not to happy homes; they are silent, a