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tion; and at the same time much is said and implied, which
well save every one, who really believes, from despair. -Though the road to heaven be narrow, yet is every one urged to seek it, and to
therein; and this would not be, were it so small in its compass as to prevent a rightful number of candidates from occupying the “ many mansions” to which it leads. When Christ was asked by one, more curious probably in inquiring about the salvation of others, than diligent in securing his own, “Lord, are there few that be saved ?" He bade the inquirer, and ourselves in him, look to himself: Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able."* Many will seek other ways, different from that which God hath provided in and through our Lord Jesus Christ alone; and many will wish to seek the right way, when, through long continued wickedness, their day of trial shall be at an end.
The mercy of redeeming love is surely greater, if we may presume to compare the tokens of the divine goodness, than the mercy of creating love; and to plan a way for sinners to be saved, seems a more awakening call for gratitude, than that man should have been created at all. If that be so, surely the love
St. Luke, xiii. 22, 24.
which urged a plan for our redemption, will, in its gracious and encouraging exercise, be at least equal to the love which at first brought mán from the dust. No one, therefore, who hath already experienced His Creator's love in his first existence, will ever be excluded, but through his own wilful disobedience and continuance in sin, from his Redeemer's love, in his complete and final happiness.
In the text before us, Christ most expressly tells us, that in heaven “are many mansions,” rewards for the true believer, great in kind, in degree, in number. But we are no where told the exact measure of service which shall secure heaven under His covenanted mercy; nor the real number, in reference to the whole human race, who shall finally be saved. Both, for very evident and wise purposes, are left secret and uncertain. He hath warned us of the danger and difficulties of sin, when He tells us, that there are but two roads, in one or other of which all walk; and that the road to destruction is broad, and that many go in thereat, that the road to life is narrow, “and few there be that find it.”
Thus shewing us our danger, and thus assuring us of the capacity of His heavenly mansions for many candidates, we are dealt with, by this, our gracious Saviour, wisely and mercifully. Idle curiosity is checked ; exertion is called forth, and coldness and indifference in His service are shewn in all their dreadful and impending danger. Without, therefore, perplexing our minds about the vain and unprofitable inquiry of who shall be saved, and what proportion of mankind shall at last be admitted into heaven, we shall do well to remember and profit by the two great encouragements to the spiritual life, the “ narrow road,” and the “many mansions.
Happy will it be for us, it, in the faith of our Redeemer's atonement, and in the sufficiency of His promised help, we each strive to be of the number of those who may be finally saved, and, through Him, gain our “full reward.” For all other questions upon
ways and decrees of God, save such only as may be made practical in gratitude, obedience, and love, are vain and dangerous; and
all such it hath been well advised, that we should
never suffer what we do know, to be disturbed by what we do not know.”
In the second part of the text, our blessed Lord hath said of himself, “I go to prepare a place for you.”*
It was due to the sufferings of Jesus of Nazareth, that, as the atonement of our transgressions was laid upon Him, so the mercy and the glorious fruits of His great sacrifice,
* Archdeacon Paley.
our re-admission to forfeited bliss, should also proceed from Him. As He it was who died for men, so did He take upon Himself the great office of our merciful High Priest. ) With the perfect sacrifice of His own offering up
of Himself, He entered into the Holy, of Holies once for all, where He now performs the great work of our salvation as the Medi-, ator between God and man, and graciously fulfils His own promise, in preparing His many
mansions in our Heavenly Father's kingdom.
The real nature and due valuing of mercies, such as these, can be known to those only. among us, who shall hereafter be blest with their full enjoyment. At present, we know them by faith only.
But that knowledge, if it be truly grounded, and made practical in our daily life, is more than'sufficient to teach us all, that these glorious promises of future blessedness in Christ are worthy of God to give, and merit far better thankfulness, love, and obedience on our part, than we can ever repay.
But, at the same time, we must not suffer our sense of the utter unworthiness of our best services and best affections to be any overpowering hindrance to our earnest and increasing endeavours, that they shall be less and less unworthy. God weighs our duty
and love, not after the estimate of a meritorious service, but with the scriptural assurance, that our faith in His redemption can in no other way be made manifest, than by “the deeds done in the body.” Of such, if performed in reference to our Saviour's undoubted merits, and real propitiation, He hath mercifully promised His entire acceptance; and, more than that, He hath graciously promised such a reward for the believer's faithful services, as
Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man ; a reward laid up in His holy heaven, and hereafter to be dealt out by Him who hath told us all, of the many mansions of future glory, "I go to prepare a place for you,”
In reflecting upon the certainty of these things as proved by manifold testimonies in the word of God, and upon the slight impression which they seem to make upon the understandings and the consciences of mankind in general, we cannot but be struck with this, among a multitude of other instances of the inconsistent and perverse character of man. The understanding is really convinced, when neither the affections are much warmed, nor, the will at all subdued. - If there be one subject upon which we are all, in this respect, in a greater or less degree more heavily charge
* 1 Cor. ii. 9.