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that I go away.” “In my Father's house are many mansions : if it were not so, I would have told
you. I go to prepare a place for you: and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."
“ Because I live, ye shall live also.”
Thus did he with the most assiduous condescension, dispel the perplexity of their minds. Thus did he pierce the cloud of portentous obscurity which overshaded the mount of crucifixion, and through its parted gloom reveal to the eye of Faith the bright regions of immortal bliss.
Such were the consolations which our Saviour afforded his disciples in the hour of anguish. Yes, said he, with lips breathing comfort most tender and soothing—" These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation : but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” “ Peace I leave with you-my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
Thus, my Christian brethren, I have exhibited to you, though in a very imperfect manner, a most endearing trait of our Saviour's character, which shone forth so conspicuously on the night immediately preceding his crucifixion. You have seen pourtrayed the affectionate regard of Christ for his disciples in the cheering nature of the consolations which he afforded them. ' Mark, I pray you, these
things." Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day: for it is not a vain thing for you, because it is your life." This com
, passionate Saviour still lives. “ Ye have a great High Priest that is passed into the heavens-Jesus the Son of God." "He can be touched with the feeling of your infirmities: for he was in all points tempted like as ye are, yet without sin.” “He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make inter, cession for them.” Never, then, let your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Never:not under the pressure of your past guilt: “Christ hath redeemed you to God by his blood :??_not when beset with temptation : “he is able to succaur them that are tempted :"-not when called to great trials of affliction : rejoice the rather, “ inasmuch as ye
, are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy :"-not on the bed of death : he " became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross ;" that " he might destroy him that had the power of death; that is, the devil; and deliver them, who, through fear of death, were all their life-time subject to bondage.” When you pass through the last scene of suffering, fear no evil. " The Lord shall be with you, his rod and his staff shall comfort you.” The hope of soon being with Christ, and of seeing him as he is, shall be to you
as an anchor to the soul, both sure and stedfast." “ Never, then, let your heart be troubled, neither
let it be afraid ;" “ for all things are yours: whether life or death, or things present or things to come: all are yours; and ye are Christ's ; and Christ is God's."
Such, my brethren, are the strong consolations which the Saviour now affords to all who put their trust in him. And does he afford them, as he once. did, to fortify his disciples against insult and
persecution-against imprisonment and death ? Are they now necessary to cheer the heart of the Christian at midnight, in his dungeon, that he may sing praises to his God; to make serene the soul of the martyr, that, when stoned to death, he may calmly resign his spirit to Jesus, and pray for his very murderers ?
? No, my brethren: "the lines have fallen to us in pleasant places; we enjoy a goodly heritage.” Our religion has not now to dread the dungeon or the stake. The little Galilean band has become a mighty people. Christianity is honourable in the earth. Its present triumphs are astonishing. It has swayed momentous decisions, regarding its dearest interests, in the legislative halls of the most powerful European nation. “ Kings have become its nursing-fathers, and queens its nursing-mothers."The day is already dawning when Jesus shall take to himself his great power; "and the kingdom, and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom, under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High.”
Few and insignificant, then, my brethren, are your trials when compared with those of the Aposto acknowledge before the world. So true it is, that all morality is defective without piety toward God; and that a fair external decorum may exist, as the pharisaical righteousness of old, beautiful perhaps to the eye, but, like a whited sepulchre, concealing a mass of death and putrefaction. The fact is, there is no right conduct ; none that is acceptable in the sight of God ; none that is worthy of our confidence and love, but what proceeds from a heart renewed and sanctified by the Holy Spirit. And so long as we direct our intercourse among our fellow-men merely by what are called the rules of common honesty and morality; so long as we keep out of view our allegiance to the dread Sovereign of the universe, in the most minute concerns and duties of life; so long, in fine, as we remain unrenewed in the temper of our minds, and neglect to act from a principle of love to God, and to the souls of those around us ; so long, let our external deportment be what it may, we are building our hopes of safety upon the sand, and have reason to fear lest we meet with final and irremediable destruction. These solemn truths are every where inculcated in Scripture ; but in no part of it more explicitly and forcibly than in our text : “ Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as to the Lord, and not unto men.” While we attempt to discover the true import of this command, may the Spirit of Truth enable us to examine ourselves most faithfully, to see whether we do indeed recognise its authority, and conform our conduct to its holy requisitions !
I propose to consider very briefly, 1st the circumstances under which the words of the text were written, and the character of those to whom they were addressed : 2dly, to examine the nature of the command which they contain ; and 3dly, The extent of this command.
I. Let us consider the circumstances under which the text was written, and the character of those to whom it was addressed.-St. Paul was visited, near the close of his first confinement at Rome, by Ephaphras, a member of the church planted at Colosse. From him the Apostle learned the condition of the Christians in that large and flourishing city. They had, most probably, received the rudiments of the religion of Jesus from Paul himself, and were converted by his preaching, to the faith. He felt, no doubt, a lively interest in their welfare. He saw them like a handful of corn upon the top of the mountains ; a weak and defenceless band in the midst of a vast pagan people. To animate and encourage them in their Christian course, and to guard them against falling into error and temptation, he sends them the Epistle from which the text is taken. In drawing it to a close, he is mindful to enjoin upon them the importance of a strict atten-, tion to all the duties which they owed to their fellow-men : for he well knew that the religion which he taught was a religion of kindness and love, serving not only to prepare men for the future world ; but also in this, enabling them to adorn