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were dead, yet shall he live: I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death :" The christian, relying on these divine declarations, may cxult in the elevated strains of the inspired poet, “my fiesh also shall rest in hope : Thou wilt shew me the path of life; in thy presence is fulness of joy, and at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. While his body descends to the grave, softened and prepared for its reception, bis immortal spirit, amidst a retinue of angels, soars aloft to the regions of bliss, and reclines on the bosom of its God.
Nay, we have not only the evidence of faith founded on the testimony of Jehovalı to assure us of this life and immortality, but we have the evidence of sense as an additional confirmation. Enoch, in the age of the patriarchs, was translated without seeing deaib : the body of Elijah was miracu. lously transformed, and caught up to the celestial paradise ; and although it was requisite that the Saviour should die, being substituted in the room of sinners, yet he afterwards arose as a pledge and pattern of their resurrection. The living God has thus brought“ immortality to light,” not merely to the eye of faith, but has in infinite condescension afforded outward, ocular denonstration.
As in the gospel the doctrine of “life and immortality” is clearly revealed2. There its blessings are indiscriminately
announced for the reception of all nations.
Thecconomy of grace, under the christian dispensation, is much more liberal than during the reign of the law, and tenders its benefits not to a particular kindred only, but to all the kindreds of mankind. The light of life, which was confined for ages within the limits of a single country, has now burst heyond these narrow boundaries, and is shedding its radiance on every quarter of the globe, and “making glad" with its influences all the nations of men. phet of the former dispensation was direcied in his mission to thie lost sheep of the house of Israel, and was confined in his range to the inconsilerable region of Judea ; but a more unlimitcil field for exertion opens to the view of the apostles and their successors, and a more estended, unqualified commission is put into their lands. They are fully authorized, and explicitly enjoined to go into ALL THE WORLD; “to preach the goapel to EVERY CREATURE, and thus bring them to the knowledge of life and immortality;"to baptize, and thus introduce them to the visible communion of the faithful: There are no limits not prescribed 10 ihe herald of the cross, but the boundaries of the earth, and the assembly, which he is instrucied to evangelize, comprehends every “ tion under beaven." And while he goes forth, exploring the field which is opened before him, and fulling his high commission, he may be animated by that prophesy
and promise, “they that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before Messiah: The kinys of Tarshish and of the Isles shall bring presents; the kings of Sheba and Seba shall of fer gifts : Yea, ail kings shall fall down before hiin, all nations shall serve him." The ambassador of Jesus, and indeed every lover of Jesus, may look abroad to the east and to the south, and to the west and to the north, anticipating that peaceful, blissful, period when “nation shall not lift up sword against pation :" When “the wolf shalldwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;" tribes the most savage in themselves, and the most hostile to each other, shall live together in harmony ; when the standard of the Saviour, through the zeal of the spiritual soldiery, shall be borne in triumph over every land, and our globe, which has for ages been the theatre of crime; and confusion, and blood, shall be consecra. ted a temple for his praise.
Reverend fathers and brethren, your imaginations have probably anticipated the most suitable application of this subject.
1. Is not gratitude, gratitude the inost ardent and unfeigned due to the great God for this disclosure of his will in the oracles of truth, for lighting up this celestial lamp in our dark, benighted world? “Natural light is indeed sweet.” Ifow reviving to a mariner, tossed on thie tempestuous ocean, without chart, or pilot; without a ray from either Sun or star to illumine, would be a light
suddenly rising before and directing him to his desireri haven! How cheering to the traveller, bewildered in some lonely desert, without any path to pursue, with no friendly guide to direct, remote from the abodes of men, and enveloped in the shadows of the night, would be a star unexpectedly appearing to his view, and shedding its light on the path to bis wished for home! But to him who realizes the worth of the soul, or the magnitude of his eternal destinies, the light of divine truth must appear infinitely more precious. Say, my fellow mortals and iminortals, how deplorable in the extreme, how desperate must liave been your situation and mine this evening without the "glo. rious gospel of the blessed God?” Extinguish all the luminaries of heaven, and darkness less awful would cover the natural, than must have brooded on the moral world without this lamp of truth, this word of salvation. We should have indeed known our disease, but could have known of no healing balm, or tender physician to apply it: We should have felt the sting of remorse, the torturings of a guilty conscience, but we could have known nothing of that blood which speaks reconciliation and peace, of that crimson flood which rolls from the bill of Calvary and washes away the guilt of the nations: We must have entered into conflict with the king of terrors and felt his iron, unrelenting grasp, but should have been strangers to that Jesus who has “abolished
death,” and will render all his followers -“ more than conquerors” in the arduous struggle: In looking down into the grave, to which we are rapidly tending, it must have appeared sullen, horrible as the gloom of midnight, but we should have heard no. friendly voice whispering in our ears, “be not afraid to go doin; I am he that liveth and was dead, and I revived and arose as 2 security, yea, as ihe very pattern of your resurrection: This grave is now numbered among my trophies as your victorious Caplain, and froin its dark dominions I will raise your bodies radiant as the sun in his ineridian lustre.” In looking still forward into eternity, it must have appeared at best a mighty void, awful, immeasurable, from whose bourn no traveller ever returned, but we could have discovered no "heavenly city, no new Jerusalem” with its jasper walls, with its golden streets, with its ivory palaces, with“ the tree of life growing in the inidst of it, yielding its fruits every month and healing the nations with its leaves :" all these discoveries so interesting to our present peace, so essential to our future wolfare, it is reserved for the “gospel of the Son of God" to afford. This, this bible is The record that God hath given to us eternal life ; and this life is in his Son. It announces pardon for human guilt; liealing for the desperate disease of sin, consolation amidst the varied sorrows of life, and the jubilee of