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also; and we of all men most miserable." But he proceeds, and inspiration in mere man never took a loftier flight. "But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept. For since by man (the fallen Adam) came death, by man (the restoring Jesus) came also the resurrection of the dead."
the same fearful storm, for we are all | preaching vain, and your faith is vain born to trouble as the sparks fly upwards-in this sad dreary voyage the cares and anxieties, the distresses and disappointments, the losses and privi- | tions to which we are liable, are so various and severe that we want every support we can call to our aid, to bear up against them with fortitude and resignation. The Spirit of God, whose glorious outpouring on the day of Pentecost we have celebrated to day, can alone sustain us amid such trials; and this support, thank heaven, this firm support, this sufficient abiding consolation is held out to us in our text, like water to a thristy traveller under the burning sun, or like a plank to a drowning mariner amid the howling tempest, "If we be dead with Christ, we shall also live with him. If we suffer we shall also reign with him."
In further expounding the text which will appear as soothing to the just believer, as alarming to the guilty impenitent, two important truths will be laid before you, into which the words we are considering naturally divide themselves. FIRST the advantage of mortification and affliction in the exercise of a Christian spirit. "If we be dead with him we shall also live with him." SECONDLY-The disadvantage of every thing, however, temporally prosperous, if attended by a carnal mind, a mind adverse to the honour of Christ's religion." If we deny him, he also will deny us."
FIRST-Let us trace upon scriptural grounds, THE ADVANTAGE
MORTIFICATION AND AFFLICTION IF WE
The Apostle is peculiarly majestic in his prefaces when introducing to his converts the leading doctrines of the Gospel. I would in proof of this, call to your mind that remarkable introduction to the doctrine of immortality revealed in 1 Cor. xv. 17, 19. "If Christ be not raised, then is our
The preface to our text is also very striking. "It is a faithful saying." From which it seems as if this fine passage in St. Paul's letter to Timothy was a saying in common use among the primitive followers of our blessed Lord. For it is worthy of your particular notice, that it is introduced by the same words as other memorable doctrines of holy writ. Thus we read in one place of its being "a faithful saying, that they who believed in GoD should be careful to maintain good works." In another place it is declared to be," a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." And to revert to our text, we are told, and it adds great weight to the words, that the benefit of suffering for and dying with Christ, and the danger of denying him were, in the days of the Apostle, a faithful saying, that is, they were proverbial and in general use among the Christians. From which circumstance many serious persons have been led to believe, when reading and reflecting upon the acts of the Apostles and first disciples, that it was their custom whenever they met, to repeat to each other such scriptural sayings as encouragements to exertion, zeal and perseverance in their conflicts with Satan and the world.
It is not the fashion we know too well in these days of levity and worldly mindedness for Christians, when they meet their friends, or sit in the circle of their families, to converse with each other about such solemn
nity and His judgment, the salvation which he purchased for believers by his sacrific death, and the blessedness of a good man's living for, and dying for his Saviour. But it would be well for us, my dear brethren, if we each, and all of us, of whatever age or rank of life, both more often thought and talked respecting these things of serious import, till they brought us to repentance, and prayer, and godly love, and steadfast obedience-the evidences of a genuine faith-we should be more fit to live in this world, and more prepared to leave it when the LORD shall summon us. The habits of virtue would be our delight, and the sanctions of religion our solace. The Son of GOD would be our Saviour in every conflict, and heaven be our home.
realities, as Christ and his Cross, Eter- | misery so heavy as his. They had beheld him, who never did wrong, hated and rejected by the very people whom he came to save. They had attended the heavenly sufferer through many a journey, and observed how he laboured, and fasted, and watched, and prayed, and preached for the salvation of his creatures. They had witnessed the drops of blood which followed each other down his furrowed cheeks, when he had supplicated his Father that if possible the cup might pass from him. They remembered how they all themselves forsook him and fled, when the perfidious Judas sold him for a few pieces of silver, and then betrayed him with a kiss. They had seen him fainting beneath the weight of his own cross, when the soldiers were dragging him to Mount Calvary, a crown of thorns leaving deep gashes in his bleeding temples, and the air resounding with the impious cry of "Crucify him, crucify him." All this they had seen the Saviour suffer, and they had been solemly assured by their Lord, that themselves must drink of the same cup he had drank of, and take up the same cross which he had carried.
But our present enquiry is rather, keeping our eyes upon the text, what was the primitive habit of the teacher of the Gentiles and his fellow labourers in the cause of a crucified Master, and what the refuge of consolation which they gathered from it? They used, as I have said, when they were together to tell each other of their happy experience and hopes arising from the faithful sayings of Scripture. And well it was timed, and great the comfort which flowed from the practice into their honest hearts. For certainly, no fruit of the Spirit could be better suited to the condition of men, who, like the Apostles, viewed persecution and bereavement, perils and pains, torture and death approaching them in every varied form, than a firm belief of the atonement, and as its purchase, some immortal state of infinite reward. They had many of them seen their heavenly master, the innocent bene. volent Jesus treated with all manner of treachery, contempt, and cruelty. They had heard him declare that no poverty was ever so abject, no
What, then, be it asked, could have enabled the holy Apostles of a martyred Master to glory and exult amid the faggots of persecution and the agonies of torture, but the unshaken belief that if they died for the sake of Christ they should live with him in his kingdom; if they suffered above all others, they should, above all others, reign with him in the mansions of heaven. This was the view which Paul had when he drew his admirable comparison between time and eternity, and threw all the pomp and possessions of the world into a shade, as not entitled to any serious place in the affections of a candidate for immortality. "I reckon, that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory
thirst for his kingdom. We can obtain a crown without carrying the actual cross to our tragic end. But we must carry a cross, and a painful one too. For little does that man know of his Saviour's religion, who expects to gain the immortal prize without many a conflict and many a suffering. Yet, be it remembered, that whether they are sharper or less severe, the same God who supported the earliest champions of the faith, will support his servants in every age. He will never suffer us, if we serve Him, to be brought into distress or persecution without giving us from the same Divine fountain a sufficient portion of strength and comfort to bear our trials and afflictions with constancy and resignation. "If we suffer, we shall reign with Him."
which shall be revealed in us. I am absent from the body-I am present with the LORD. Nor count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy. For me 'tis true to live is Christ; but still, for me to die is gain." Here let it be impressed upon your hearts, that such a triumphan thope of blissful futurity is not compatible with an earthly mind. It belongs not to the worldit is not carnal-it is not sensual-it is of heavenly origin,-it is wholly spiritual-it is purely the gift of the grace of God, merited for his people by the sufferings of his Son, and obtained for them, by the all-prevailing prayers of Christ in their behalf. These owe their holiness, their happiness, their hopes, their all, to the supplicating intercession of the Prince of Peace. And the transcendent gift of his Holy Spirit which he promised under the name of the Comforter, has been ever found sufficient, and never forsook the people of GOD. The Spirit was so plentifully poured out both upon the Apostles in the first ages of Christianity, the Peters', the James', and the Stephens', and upon the martyrs which suffered at the glorious reformation, such as Bilney, and Hooper, and Ridley, that when they were tortured they would not accept of deliverance because they knew they should obtain a better resurrection. This is religion, worthy the exalted name and character of Christianity. Would to GOD, that more of such a spirit lived in the world; that we were more ready, not only to talk of the grace of GOD and his wonderful love to us in Christ Jesus, but to do something for religion by labouring and living for Christ, by sufferings and self-denials for his sake and the Gospel's. Immortal praise to GOD! we live not in an age when it is necessary for us to bleed, and be burnt for the confession of our love for Christ, and our
In his own good time, and for this gracious scheme, He will, as a pious writer well observes, either lighten our burden or add to our strength. He will either mitigate our pain or increase our patience. He will either give us power and victory to triumph over the world, the flesh and the devil, or He will, in greater mercy, remove us from their snares and tempests to a land of safety and repose, where we shall see and adore the glorious Trinity through everlasting ages. "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord. They rest from their labours, and their works do follow them.”
O, how delightful, how full of peace is the doctrine of our Apostle in almost every page of his letters upon this point. To give one instance more; "God,” saith he, " is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above what ye are able to bear, but will, with the temptation, also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." With what satisfaction, therefore, with what sincerity may we deposit our lives, our fortunes, our faithful wives, our beloved children, and all that remains to us
into the hands of Providence,-that good and generous Parent, whose merciful care hath, from our birth, so tenderly preserved us, and whose inexhaustible bounty still rises with us every morning. We are his creatures -his children he hath called Did any of his children, since the world began, ever serve God and repent of his obedience? Did one sanctified man ever trust in his Maker and fall short of grace and glory? It might be further asked of the saints in heaven, if, in their presence, we were standing-Did any disciple, did any martyr ever die with Christ, and not live with Christ, or suffer and not reign with him? Did the Omnipotent forsake Daniel in the den of lions, or Shadrach and his companions in the fiery furnace? Was a bone of the former broken, or a hair of the latters' head so much as singed? Or did the pious Psalmist in vain encourage himself in the Lord his God, when he was falsely accused unto Saul of conspiracy and treason, and when afterwards rebellion in his family and his kingdom drove him weeping into the wilderness? Were the bitterest curses of Shemei, or the slyest counsels of Ahithophdel suffered to prevail against him? No, my fellowChristians, see the believing monarch after he had mourned for his favourite "O Absalom, my son, my son, would to God I had died for thee"-dry up his tears and say, with a patience and fortitude which the blessed Spirit could only give him in such a season of tribulation. "Let the enemy persecute my soul and take it; let him tread my life down to the ground. Thou wilt not leave, O Lord, my soul in hell, but thou wilt awake up for me to judge the people, when the wickedness of the wicked shall come to an end, but the just shall be established. Therefore, my defence is of God, who saveth the upright and will not suffer them to go down in silence to the dust."
Why, then, with such a cloud of witnesses before us, I would fearlessly ask the blindest sceptic, or the proudest materialist, why should the children of the world be so surprised, that Addison should send for his friend to see how a Christian could die, and venerable Latimer should say to his fellow-martyr, when on his way to the scaffold, where the faggots were piled for his burning, "Brother Ridley, we shall to-day light up a candle in Christendom, which shall never be extinguished." It was not human strength, it was not the stoicism of philosophy, that carried these Christian heroes conquering through-it was the spirit of GOD. And why should the earthborn votaries of time and sense be so surprised, that a genuine Christian thus enlightened, thus strengthened by the Comforter, can bear afflic tions with composure, and close his eyes upon the world, when it is the will of God who gave that spirit, without a tear of lamentation or a sigh of regret? Why? It is because those men of the world, who have never been born again, never been engaged in the spirit of their minds, are ignorant of the supports and peacefulness of religion. They have not been taught of God, therefore they know not the Gospel of his grace, nor hath the Holy Ghost ever taken up his dwelling within their hearts. They never drank at the sweet refreshing fountain from which spring the waters of life-life which only really begins when the soul escapes from its earthly tabernacle of sin and sorrow. If they also firmly believed, that when they should pass through the gates of the grave, they would change this temporal, miserable existence for a sublimer state of happiness and joy, and meet with a reward of their sufferings, through their Redeemer's merits, greater in weight and duration than their mind is yet capable of conceiving
-surely, in such a case, their view | impiety or profaneness, which man, of every thing would be proportionally from the depravity of his nature, is caenlarged and felicitated according to the degree of their superior light and holiness. Time and eternity, life and death would all wear a different face. And from that hour they would be so resigned to the will of God, and so satisfied with all his dispensations, so stablished in the "truth as it is in Jesus," and so preserved by his mighty power through faith unto salvation, that they would sit loose, as it were, to the world, and be so on the wing for eternity, that whenever their Heavenly Parent should see fit to call them from this vale of suffering, they would not only bid adieu to the earth with composure, but would even have a desire to depart that they might be in heaven with Christ and with his angels. I think, then, it has been made clearly to appear, as well from the light of reason and the Providence of God, as from the testimony of revelation, that the advantages of mortification and suffering in the cause of Christ are unquestionable.
pable of committing, more offensive in the sight of God than the sin of denying his Son. It is, indeed, flying in the face of the Eternal Spirit, and resisting the light of revelation—the last offer of Divine mercy. "Surely, they will reverence my Son when they see him." And when a person hath arrived at this extremity of pride and arrogance, he is represented in Scripture as not having life, as being dead in tres| passes and sins, removed beyond the reach of grace and the possibility of pardon.
We now come, SECONDLY, to consider a saying which is equally faithful, but not so pleasing to contemplate
THE FEARFUL END OF THE WICKED,
WHO FORGET THE SAVIOUR-GOD. "If we deny him he also will deny us."
Dreadful truth! It seems as if denunciation could not reach farther. It is enough to overwhelm the impenitent sinner, and drive him to distraction and despondency. But not to dwell, for time forbids, upon the awful threatenings of the Gospel, which might convince the transgressor of what he forfeits by his ingratitude and incurs by his guilt, it may be safely asserted, that the sin denounced in our text is one of the most flagrant and excessive among the darts of the evil-one. I will go farther. If that sin❘ against the Holy Ghost, never to be forgiven, may be excepted, there is not an
Happily for religion and human happiness, proportionally small is the number of those who formally deny that Jesus Christ is the Son of GoD and the Saviour of the world. For his divinity and atonement are so plainly proved in the Bible, that they have almost disarmed presumption, and silenced unbelief as to the person of our Lord. But great, very great is the number of those thoughtless, hardened men, who deny the Lord Jesus in their life and conversation, and even crucify Him afresh with their sinful lusts.
And what must be the destiny of such profane characters? "If the righteous be scarely saved, where, the Scripture asks, shall the sinner and ungodly appear at the last day, when they will be judged every man according to their works?" The words of the text are not to be misunderstood. It reveals this everlasting truth, that because they have denied the Son of GOD in this world before men, He will deny them in the next before his Father.
And if God the Son shall deny them-if He who alone can justify them from their sins, and sanctify them by His spirit-if He who alone can reconcile them to the Almighty, and deliver them from the infernal destroyer, be not their peacemaker, their Saviour, but forsake and despise