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parture from his habitation, and his arrival at the place where this tremendous sacrifice was to be offered up! What emotions must that question of Isaac have excited in a father's bosom ; behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt-offering ? Gen. xxii. 7. Abraham comes off victorious in all these combats : Abraham binds his son with cords; he stretches him out on the wooden pile; he lifts up his hand to pierce the bosom of this innocent victim. God arrests his uplifted arm. Abraham has done his duty: he carries back bis own son with him: What a transport of delight!
But this is not all. Will God be outdone in generosity by Abraham ? He crowns the obedience of his servant; he accumulates upon him new marks of favor ; he promises himself to immulate his own Son for the man, who could summon up the resolution to devote his son at God's command. This is, according to St. Paul, the sense of those mysterious words : But myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son : that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore ;
and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, Gen. xxii 16, 17, 18. Gal. iii. 8. Christians, true posterity of the father of believers, you have a reward similar to his.
4. While he is partaking in the sacred mysteries of redeeming love, likewise, the believer feels himself quickened, raised up, seated together with Jesus Christ. I cannot refrain, however, from here deploring the superstition of ce tain Christians, which mingles with this part of our religious worship, and from repeating one of the advices which
I suggested at the opening of this discourse. Make not the success of your communion to depend on certain emotions, in which mechanism has much more to do than piety has. It but too frequently happens, that a man shall apprehend he has communicated worthily or unworthily, in proportion as he has carried to a less or greater length the art of moving the senses, and of heating the imagination, while he partakes of the Lord's Supper. The touch-stone by which we ought to judge, whether we brought, to the Lord's table, the dispositions which be requires, is the sincerity with which we have renewed our baptismal engagements, and the exertions which we shall afterwardsmake punctually to fulfil them.
It is true, nevertheless, that a participation of the Sacrament of the Supper, is one of the situations, in which a believer most frequently experiences those gracious operations, of which our apostle is speaking in his text. A soul, whose undivided attention the Holy Spirit fixes on the mystery of the cross; and on whom he is pleased to impress, in a lively manner, the great events which the symbolical representation in the Eucharist retraces on the heart ; a soul, which, through grace, loses itself in the abyss of that love which God has manifested toward us in Jesus Christ: a soul, which has learned to infer, from what God has already done, what is still farther to be expected from him: a soul, which feels, and, if I may use the expression, which relishes the conclusiveness of this reasoning, He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not, with him, also freely give us all things ? Rom. viii. 32. Is not a soul in such a state, already quickened, already raised up, already seated in heavenly places, together with Christ Jesus?
5. But it is particularly, when the believer is grappling with the king of terrors, that he experiences those communications of divine grace, which transport him into another world, and which verify, in the most sublime of all senses, the idea which the apostle conveys to us of it, in the words of the text. Witness that patience and submission under sufferings the most acute, and that entire acquiescence in the sovereign will of God: I was dumb, I opened not my mouth, because thou didst it, Psa. xxxix 9. Witness that supernatural detachment from the world, which enables him to resign, without murmuring and without reserve, all that he was most tenderly united to: henceforth know I no man after the flesh, 2 Cor. v. 16. I have no connection now, save with that Jesus, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, Eph. iii. 15. Witness that immoveable hope, in the midst of universal desertion : though he slay me, yet will I trust in him, Job. xiii. 15. yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil : for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me, Psa. xxiii. 4. Witness that faith, which pierces through the clouds, which the devil, and heil, and the world spread around his bed of languishing: I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day, 2 Tim. i. 12. I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another, Job. xix. 25, 26, 27. Witness that holy impatience, with which he looks forward to the moment of his dismission: I have waited for thy salvation, O God, Gen. xlix. 18. Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly, Rev. xxii. 20.
Witness those songs of triumph, amidst the very sharpest of the conflict : Thanks be unto God, which always causeih us to triumph in Christ, 2 Cor. ii. 14. Blessed be the Lord, my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight, Psa. cxlix. 1.
Witness, once more, those tender, those instructive, those edifying conversations, which take place between the dying Christian and his pastor. Tue pastor addresses, to the dying person, these words on the part of God: Seek my face ; and the dying believer replies: Thy face, Lord, will I seek, Psa. xxvii. 8. The pastor says: Behold, what manner of love the Father huth bestowed upon thee, 1 John ii. 1. and the dying person replies; the love of God is shed abroad in my heart, by the Holy Ghost which is given unto me, Rom. y. 5.
The pastor says: Seck those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God : the dying person replies; I have a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, Phil. i. 23. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: Whin shall I come and appear before God ? Psa. xlii 2. The pastor says : Run with patience the race that is set before thee, looking unto Jesus, the au' hor and finisher of thy faith, Heb. xii. 1, 2. The dying believer replies; I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, 2 Tim. iv. 7, 8. Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God, Acts vii. 56.
Such are the wonders which the grace of God displays, in favor of those who are in earnest to obtain it, and give themselves up to its direction. And such are the treasures, unhappy worldlings,
which you are sacrificing to a transient world, and its lying vanities. Such is the felicity which you experience, which you have already experienced in part, happy, happy Christians, whose condition is so far preferable to that of all the rest of mankind.
What now remains for me to do, after having employed my feeble efforts to draw you to God, by attractions so powerful: what remains, but to address my most fervent prayers to him, and to entreat that he would be pleased to make known those pure and exalted delights, to those who are, as yet, utter strangers to them; and that he may powerfully confirm, even unto the end, those to whom he has already graciously communicated them. With this we shall conclude the solemn business of a day of sacred rest. We are going, once more, to lift up to heaven, in your behalf, hands purified in the blood of the Redeemer of mankind. Come, my beloved brethren, support these hands, should they wax heavy : perform for us the service which Aaron and Hur rendered to Moses, as we are attempting to render the service of a Moses unto you. Assist us in muving the bowels of the God of mercy. And graciously vouchsafe, blessed Jesus, who, on the memorable day, of which we are now celebrating the anniversary, wert made higher than the heavens ; set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens ; and who presentest unto God, in a golden censer, the prayers of all saints : Vouchsafe, blessed Jesus, to give energy to those which we are about to put up, and support them by thy all-powerful intercession. Amen.
N. B. The reader may here peruse the next sermon in the series, that on The Effusion of the Holy Spirit, which is the ninth of Vol. II. of Mr. Robinson's selection.