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he has not withdrawn himself. Perhaps | WHOM THE MESSAGE IS ADDRESSED. II. THE you have been left alone of friends and rela- SUBSTANCE OF THE INTELLIGENCE. tions—but with the Saviour you can say, I I. It may be asked-Why was not this am not alone: because the Father is with me. information sent to the scribes and pharisees
Do not therefore groan under your exer- and chief priests? Why did he not thus cises if I am his, why am I thus? You are convince his enemies, and render his resurthus because you are his. He chastens you rection undeniable? Because" whosoever because he loves you. He will not let you hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have alone because you are not' bastards, but sons! more abundance; but whosoever hath not, He destroys the cisterns to bring you nearer from him shall be taken away even that he to himself-the fountain of living waters. He hath. The meek will he guide in judgment, hedges up your way with thorns, that you and the meek will he teach his way. The may not pursue those paths which lead you secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; astray from him, your "exceeding joy." and he will show them his covenant." He
And rather than you should stop short of never refused explanation to any humble inthe prize of your high calling; rather than quirer-but he was surely not obliged to you should sit down satisfied with a portion force information upon those that “ hated in this world-he will spoil your prospects -- knowledge." To what purpose is it to adturn every pleasure into a pain--and imbit-duce evidence to those that shut their eyes ter or dry up every spring of comfort. and will not see? They had seen him heal
Heavenly Father! who knowest what the sick with a touch, and raise the dead things we have need of before we ask thee, with a word. They knew the report of the express thy concern in what way thou pleas- guards, and had given them money to propaest; but never treat me with neglect! Chide gate a known falsehood," saying, his disciples me if I err; take peace from me when I sin; came by night and stole him away while we fill me with painful reflections and apprehen- slept." sions when the world is drawing me away But his own followers only laboured under from thee; but never-never say—“He is infirmities. They loved him, and had forjoined to idols: LET HIM ALONE!"
saken all to attend him. They wished to be established in the truth; they were willing
to come to the light, and had doubtless been DISCOURSE XLIII,
praying, " That which I see not, teach thou me.” And, " then shall we know if we follow
on to know the Lord: his going forth is preTHE ASCENSION OF OUR SAVIOUR. pared as the morning: and he shall come unto
us as the rain, as the latter and former rain Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I as- l unto the earth.” And thus enlightening, and
cend unto my Father, and your Father ; and thus refreshing was this message to the perto my God, and your God.—John xx. 17. plexed and desponding disciples.
It is not necessary to inquire-Whose But what I wished to observe here was not language is this? No sooner do we hear it only his sending this message exclusively to than we exclaim, with one of his followers his disciples, but also his addressing them on another occasion -_" It is the Lord !" under a particular name—“my brethren.”
The words are addressed to Mary Magda This is more than he could have said of lene, as a reward for her constancy in adher- angels. He is only their Lord; but he is our ing so firmly to him, and for her affection in brother. “He took not on him the nature of seeking so early after him. He appeared to angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraher before he showed himself to his Apostles. ham.” Thus he is “bone of our bone, and The relation is singularly interesting. But flesh of our flesh.” - Both he that sanctifieth, we have only to remark, that she was so and they who are sanctified, are all of one; transported with the sight of her Lord and for which cause he is not ashamed to call Saviour, that she was going to embrace his them brethren, saying, I will declare thy feet and bedew them with tears of joy. But name unto my brethren, in the midst of the he said unto her, “ * Touch me not; for I am church will I sing praises unto thee. Wherenot yet ascended to my Father'—but shall soon; fore in all things it behoved him to be made and there is no time to lose-private satis- like unto his brethren; that he might be a faction is to be relinquished for public ser- merciful and faithful high priest in things vice-I employ you immediately as my pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for herald; what you have seen I wish others to the sins of the people.” Many an elder hear-use no delay; but go to my brethren, brother has stood between the affections of and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, the father and the rest of the children, by enand your Father; and to my God, and your grossing the whole of the inheritance has reGod.'”
duced the younger branches to dependence, There are two things in the words which if not to want; but Jesus pitied those who require our attention. I. THE PERSONS TO I were less happy than himself, pleaded for them, shared with them in all their miseries, / brethren notwithstanding your imperfectione and determined to make them partakers of all follow my example; acknowledge each other his honours and riches. Thus they have as brethren; love as brethren; let there be fellowship with him; they are “heirs of God, no strife between you, for ye are brethren.' and joint heirs with Jesus Christ.” . Disclaim me for your brother, or receive as
By using this name he would show that such every follower of mine. Whether his elevation had not made him forgetful of strong in the faith or weak; whether young those he was to leave behind. Though he men or babes—they all stand in the same was now rich, and they were poor; though relation to me, and in the same relation to he had now a glorious body, and they were you.” groaning under the burden of the flesh; II. Hence he adds, “Go to my brethren, though he had now all power in heaven and and—say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, in earth, and they were weak, despised, and and your Father; and to my God, and your persecuted—he calls them brethren. Yea, God.”—LET US TAKE SOME VIEWS OF THIS he will not be ashamed to do this even in the INTERESTING INTELLIGENCE. great day when he shall sit upon the throne It may be necessary to premise that this of his glory, and before him shall be ga- ascension was real and local. He had a body, thered all nations. In the presence of men, and this he assured his disciples after his reof angels, and of God, he will say, “ Inas- surrection, had flesh and bones, and could not much as ye have done it unto one of the only be seen, but touched and handled. With least of these my brethren, ye have done it this he ascended. Heaven therefore is a unto me."
place, as well as a state; his body cannot be His addressing them in this message, as every where; but wherever it be, there is brethren, would comfort his disciples. One heaven, at least there is the Christian's had denied him; the rest had forsaken him heaven. Let us now consider this ascension and fled. They had acted a very unworthy -in reference to HIMSELF-HIS ENEMIES part, and their consciences made them un- and HIS PEOPLE. easy. And had they heard only of his resur- If we view it in reference to HIMSELF, we rection, it would have filled them not merely may observe—that in ascending he returned with surprise, but with terror; and afraid of to the place whence he came, and assumed his rebukes they would have hid themselves the glory which he had laid aside, or rather from him rather than have approached him. obscured. Did you never observe with what When therefore he sends them word that he ease and freedom from surprise he always is risen from the dead, he calls them “bre-spoke of heaven? Prophets and Apostles thren; and by this he seems to extend his seemed to labour for expressions when they arins to embrace them again; by this he spoke of it-to them heaven was new as seems to call after them, and say, « • Return, / well as vast; but He speaks of it familiarly ye backsliding children ;' I am ready to pity | -as one to whom there was nothing in it the weak, and to pardon the penitent.” Thus novel or wonderful. And this was the case. he dispels their anxiety, and fills them with He was the Prince of heaven-and the palace hope. And thus he realizes his illustrious was only his home. “What,” says he, “and type when he made himself known to those if ye shall see the Son of man ascending up who had treated him with baseness and cru- where he was before !—I have glorified theo elty. Joseph saw what confusion, and an- on the earth : I have finished the work which guish, and dread, the discovery of himself thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, had produced in those who were now in his glorify thou me with thine own self, with power, and at his mercy; and therefore with the glory which I had with thee before the his name he is eager to mention his relation, world was." and to give them encouragement to trust in! He also ascended to enjoy the reward of him. “He said unto his brethren, I am Jo his humiliation and sufferings. For our sakes seph; doth my father yet live? And his he became poor. He was born in a stable, brethren could not answer him; for they and laid in a manger. As he grew up he apwere troubled at his presence. And Joseph / peared “a man of sorrows and acquainted said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I with grief.” After a life of contradiction and pray you. And they came near. And he anguish, he “became obedient unto death, said, I am Joseph your BROTHER, whom ye even the death of the cross. Wherefore sold into Egypt. Now therefore be not God also hath highly exalted him, and given grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye him a name which is above every name." sold me hither: for God did send me before | His humiliation and death are not to be op you to preserve life.”
posed to his glory—they were the road that And did not our Lord, by using this en- led to it. There was “ a joy set before him, dearing name in these circumstances, con- for which he endured the cross, despising the vey to them an intimation of duty ? “Since shame:" and what he died to procure he now I do not disown the relation in which you ascends to possess. What a change in his stand to me; since I acknowledge you as condition! Ye who have sympathized with
him in the garden, come rejoice with him | enemies, and from the raña of them that upon the throne. “He dieth no more : death hate us!" How certainly would they, and hath no more dominion over him." The head how nearly had they proved our destruction ! that once wore a “crown of thorns," is now But as he triumphs, he also bestows upon us « crowned with glory and honour!”—The various and inestimable blessings. “Wherehands once nailed to a tree now wield the fore he saith, when he ascended up on high, sceptre of universal empire. And he who he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto was once surrounded by blaspheming men men. And he gave some, apostles; and is now worshipped by all the angels in hea- some, prophets, and some, evangelists; and ven!
some, pastors and teachers; for the perfectWe may consider the ascension of our ing of the saints, for the work of the minisLord in reference to his ENEMIES. Thus he try, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” is a conqueror. He had foes, but he van- There is another gift, without which we quished them; "and having spoiled princi- should still have perished, and this also depalities and powers, he made a show of them scends from a glorified Saviour. “Thereopenly." "He triumphed over them." It fore, being by the right hand of God exalted, was customary for a Roman general, after a and having received of the Father the prosuccessful and glorious termination of a war, mise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth to return to the capital of his country. This this which ye now see and hear." He hath he entered in triumph. He rode in a lofty said to his disciples, “Nevertheless I tell you car. Some of the spoils were suspended the truth; it is expedient for you that I go from on high. A number of the captives away: for if I go not away, the Comforter were fastened to the axle-tree of the chariot will not come unto you; but if I depart, I wheels. Myriads gazed and shouted; while will send him unto you." "This promise was the conqueror scattered largesses among the soon fulfilled, not only in miraculous, but also admiring and applauding multitude. | in saving and sanctifying operations; and
Behold the triumph of our Redeemer! continues to be accomplished in the enlight“Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led ening, conversion, and establishment of every captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for real believer. men: yea, for the rebellious also, that the But this has led us to anticipate the Third Lord God might dwell among them.” He view we are to take of the Saviour's ascenhas conquered the conquerors, and bound sion. It regards his PEOPLE. those who had enslaved us. Sin, the devil, And thus he ascended as the High Priest of the world, death-these are the enemies he their profession. “If he were on the earth,” has overcome. And to-day he enjoys his says the Apostle," he should not be a priest." triumph. “Lift up your heads, () ye gates; He means that had he continued here, he and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and could not have completely fulfilled the office the King of glory shall come in. Who is this that typified him. To understand this, it is King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, necessary to observe, that the high priest the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your was not only to offer sacrifice: when he had heads, 0 ye gates; even lift them up, ye slain the atoning victim, he took the blood everlasting doors; and the King of glory into the holy place, and sprinkled it upon the shall come in. Who is this King of glory? mercy-seat, and also burned incense. WheThe Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory. ther on this occasion he used any words we God is gone up with a shout, the Lord with are not informed—but the action spake loud the sound of a trumpet. Sing praises to God, enough. Thus Jesus having suffered on earth, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, produces and pleads his sufferings in heaven: sing praises."
“Christ being come an high priest of good 0 Christians! what have you to fear? | things to come, by a greater and more perYou behold your chief in triumph, and your fect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is enemies in chains. We can easily imagine to say, not of this building; neither by the how a Roman could fear the enemy while blood of goats and calves, but by his own they waged the war, and before the victory blood he entered in once into the holy place, was obtained—but would he tremble, think having obtained eternal redemption for us. you, when he saw these foes defeated, spoiled, For Christ is not entered into the holy places and exposed to view, to prove the reality of made with hands, which are the figures of their subjection? What emotions were ex- the true; but into heaven itself, now to apcited in all parts of England, through which pear in the presence of God for us." There the Spaniards were led, after the destruction he maintains our cause; there, as our interof their invincible armada, and when the cessor, he offers much incense with the prayinstruments of their cruelty were carried ers of all the saints, and obtains for us both along with them! How fearless of enemies the acceptance of our persons and services. now taken captive-what joy at having es- - Wherefore he is able also to save them to the caped from their teeth! And shall not we uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing rejoice in him who has "saved us from our / he ever liveth to make intercession for them,
Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ present and everlasting welfare is secured; la that died, yea, rather that is risen again, who since he has all creatures under his control, is even at the right hand of God, who also and can make all things work together for maketh intercession for us." How eloquent their good! are his wounds! How vocal is his sacrifice! And now what remains but that we trans “ Blood of sprinkling, which speaketh better late this article of our creed into our lives, things than that of Abel!" speak not only to express his government in our subjection, God, but to our souls, that hearing thy voice and by being the most obedient of all serwe may enter into rest; and, though unwor- vants, declare him to be the greatest of all thy and imperfect in all our duties, we may masters! have “boldness and access with confidence, And First, follow him where he now it by the faith of thee!"
“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those He ascended as their head and representa-things which are above, where Christ sitteth tive. Two characters had ascended before, on the right hand of God.” Is not be your Enoch and Elias. But they ascended as pri- portion and your treasure? Why then are vate individuals; and it did not follow be- you so attached to earth? Why seek ye the cause they ascended, that others would living among the dead? “He is not here: ascend too: they were not so connected with he is risen; he is aseended." Far above this others as to move them by their influence. vain world is your Saviour and your exceedBut he attracts, he draws millions. His ing joy. How strange is it that you do not glory is the pledge of our own. By virtue more long to depart to be with him! When of an intimate and inseparable union which a most beloved friend has removed from no event can destroy, no distance can weak- you to a distant part of the kingdom, has it en-because he lives, we shall live also. He not weakened your attachment to your own is the master, and we are the servants; he is situation, and made you think much of his ! the head, and we are the body. We are You have buried a relation; you have a child therefore said to be "raised up and made to in heaven. How you follow him thither in sit together with him in heavenly places.” your thoughts and desires! You have some The apostle, speaking of the Christian's hope, thing to render heaven more endearing and says, “Which hope we have as an anchor of attractive. And oh! how much less has the the soul both sure and steadfast, and which world to charm and to chain you! But the entereth into that within the vail; whither body is deposited in yonder grave-thither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, you go-feel an interest, and claim a property made an high priest for ever after the order in the dust—this was—it is-mine. But of Melchisedec." You see even heaven would nothing of the Saviour remains here--Not be no refuge for us, if he were not there. I even his dust-for he saw not corruption: his When our hope penetrates heaven, there is body forsook the tomb, and was “received up nothing on which our hope can fix but him into glory.” Away then from earth and self. But he has entered, and not for him- follow after him to hea ven. self only but for us—to procure a passage Secondly. “Seeing that we have a great to prepare a place for us and to insure our High Priest that is passed into the heavens, following after. When he entered his glory Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our prohe opened the kingdom of heaven to all be- fession." Let not those who know where lievers. And the gates he left open-saying, he is, be ashamed of their connexion with “ More are coming. I am only the forerun- him or dependence upon him. Boldly avow ner of a multitude which no man can num-l his truth, and openly employ yourselves ber, out of all nations, and kindreds, and his service. If you disown him, you are rar people, and tongues,' I saw them loosening worse than Peter. Peter denied him-but from the world and asking for a better coun- he was then at Pilate's bar, and going to be try. Some were coming from agreeable crucified. But you deny him now he is Lor scenes, and many from great tribulation. of all, and coming to judge the world! They are now upon the road, at unequal dis- Thirdly. What encouragement can you tances. I have made provision for their want to rejoice in him? You have a brother guidance and safety, and here in due time at court. He says to you, as Elisha said to will they all arrive."
the Shunamite, “Wilt thou be spoken for to He ascended as their protector and go- the king ?" In every difficulty you can go vernor. “He that descended is the same to him and say, “Lord, I am oppressed; u also that ascended up far above all heavens dertake for me." His ear is open to, that he might fill all things.". His situation prayer; his eye views all your wala and capacity are sufficient to relieve all the through this great wilderness; his arms wants, and accomplish all the hopes of those underneath you; he will make you that are under his care. He has universal than conquerors over all your enemies. sovereignty and boundless resources and he by-and-by he will come again and rec has all this for them. “He is head over all you to himself, that where he is, there y things unto his body the Church." Their I may be also.”
« But where will the ungodly and the sin- ed before the God of heaven." And thus he ner appear ?" Beware of opposing. Beware concludes his humiliation and devotion : “O of neglecting him! It is unreasonable. It Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be is ruinous. He is now “exalted to be a attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear unto Israel, and remission of sins." If you thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy serseek him, he will be found of you. But if vant this day, and grant him mercy in the you make light of these things, how can you sight of this man. For I was the king's escape? Remember that he is ascended to cupbearer." These words furnish us with be your Judge. “Behold, he cometh with the following remarks. clouds, and every eye shall see him. But I. GOD HAS HIS SERVANTS IN ALL CONDIwho may abide the day of his coming, and TIONS AND OCCUPATIONS OF LIFE. In his who can stand when he appeareth ?" Church “ there is neither Jew nor Greek;
there is neither bond nor free; there is
neither rich nor poor." We behold Zenas DISCOURSE XLIV. the lawyer, Erastus the chamberlain, Paul
the tent-maker, Luke the physician, Zaccheus
the publican, Peter the fisherman, Joseph the THE PRAYER OF NEHEMIAH.
carpenter, Amos the herdsman, Daniel the
minister of state, Nehemiah the cupbearerO Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be all standing in the same relation, swayed by
attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and the same influence, rejoicing in the same to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to hope, and destined to live together in the fear thy name : and prosper, I pray thee,
same everlasting kingdom. thy servant this day, and grant him mency | This is by no means a useless remark. Let in the sight of this man. For I was the it teach us two things. king's cupbearer.-Nehemiah i. 11.
First, not to condemn bodies and professions This book partially records the history of of men indiscriminately. All such reflecthe children of the captivity after their return tions are not only illiberal, but dangerous, from Babylon, in consequence of the decree and often produce very mischievous conseand proclamation of Cyrus. The Persian quences. For too many are governed by empire now flourished in all its grandeur; l opinion, rather than principle; and what they and Greece and Rome were rising to emi- know they are commonly supposed to be, nence in the world. But “the Lord's portion they are very likely to become; concluding is his people: Jacob is the lot of his inherit that since they are doomed to wear the ance."
scandal of the character, they may as well We find therefore the attention of the have the profit of it. There may be excepScripture principally confined to the Jews; tions; but in general we shall find, that if and the affairs of the surrounding nations are we honour those with whom we have to do no otherwise mentioned than as they have with our confidence, they will feel a resome connexion with the concerns of the sponsibility, and be concerned to repay us. Israel of God. And Nehemiah, in the view But when we indulge suspicions, and behave of the Supreme Being, was a far more illus- towards our fellow-creatures as spies and trious character than Demosthenes the orator, enemies—is it likely that they will feel toZenophon the commander, or Plato the wards us as friends ? philosopher who lived about the same time. Secondly; let us not make our business an
The eye affecteth the heart, and so does excuse for ungodliness. Some lines of life the ear. Nehemiah was at too great a dis- are indeed much less favourable to morality tance to see the ruinous condition of Jerusa- and religion than others; they afford fewer lem-but he heard of it, and the effect it had helps, or more hinderances than others and upon his mind did him honour. “It came to this consideration should powerfully influence pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth those who have the disposal of youth. But year, as I was in Shushan the palace, that where the providence of God places us, the Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and grace of God can keep us. And hereafter certain men of Judah; and I asked them con- you will see many of the glorified taken cerning the Jews that had escaped, which from the same employments with yourselves. were left of the captivity, and concerning" These," says God, "these had the same Jerusalem. And they said unto me, The nature, were partakers of the same infirmiremnant that are left of the captivity there ties, and placed in the same circumstances in the province are in great affliction and re- with yourselves. But they escaped the proach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken corruption of the world through faith.' They down, and the gates thereof are burned with found time to serve me. They distinguished fire. And it came to pass, when I heard between the duties and the vices of their these words, that I sat down and wept, and calling, and so performed the one as to avoid mourned certain days, and fasted, and pray. I the other. They followed me in the new