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patience and cheerful resignation he submitted to the most ignominious and painful sufferings : he “ endured the cross, despising the shame.”-Oh that the eyes of all his people, that the eyes of all the world, were fastened on Jesus! Then we should run-oh, how swiftly should we run !--- the 'race that is set before us.---Hindrances of various kinds we must expect to meet with: the world and our hearts are full of them ; but there is a world where we shall entirely get above them; where there shall be nothing within us, nor without us, to stop our course or interrupt our joy:
“ There, to fulfil his sweet commands,
Our speedy feet shall move :
Or cool our burning love.” O Christians! with such prospects before us, is it not strange that we run no faster now :---that, when we are professedly aiming at heaven, and (if we are in the right road) heaven, with respect to some of us, can be at no great distance, it should be possible for the comparatively trifling concerns of this world to engage our attention ;---that we do not spurn it from us with indignation ; and like the Pilgrim, who ran through Vanity Fair, shutting his eyes and stopping his ears---I say, that we do not make all the haste we can to get through the wilderness and be out of the reach of its temptations ? One would wonder that we can think of any thing but heaven: the place, the company, the work, the joys, the glory, all so animating !---At present you hardly know how to believe the promise of the text,
so often and so soon tired. scarcely be engaged an hour, before your jaded
faculties complain, and oblige you to break off; so that you can hardly comprehend, at least you never attain to, the full meaning of this precious promise. But in heaven it shall be most gloriously fulfilled : there you shall rest not, day nor night, from the most ardent and elevated devotion; and yet, after millions of years, you shall be as fresh and lively as the first moment you began. Then you will be convinced that it is possible to run and not be weary, and will adore the grace that made you happy examples of it.
THE CHRISTIAN'S FRIEND.
Prov. xviii. 23.
And there is a friend that sticketh closer than a
And who do you think it is?
You are right. I was sure you could not hesitate a moment: it is indeed the man Christ Jesus. “There is no other name under heaven given among men, to which this character so properly belongs. Men of high degree are vanity, and men of low degree are a lie, and men of every degree are broken reeds: there is no dependence upon any of them; they speak fair, and for a little while carry it fair; but they fail at last, either through fickleness or frailty, from insincerity or incapacity ; they fail us, when most we need their help. Not so our “ elder Brother," our divine Friend: he is “ Christ Jesus, the same yesterday, to day, and for ever.-Say now, Christians, could I have mentioned one with whom you would rather wish to spend an hour? who believe, I know he is precious ; at all times precious; but particularly so when you have been reviewing the wonders of his love, and admiring the “ grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who though he was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, that
we through his poverty might be rich;" who “humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross ;” and “gave his life a ransom for many." Your hearts have been so warmed with these and similar meditations, that you can think of no one else, you can talk of no one else, but Immanuel; this Friend, that sticketh closer than a brother.
There are instances, and they are not unfrequent, where the bonds of friendship have proved stronger than the ties of brotherly affection; and a stranger (I mean in point of relationship) has done more, and hazarded more, for his friend, tban those who may be said to be their own flesh and blood: which fully justifies the observation of the Wise Man in the text: and I make no apology for applying it to the Lord Jesus Christ, who is emphatically the Friend of publicans and sinners.
Let me hold him up to you, as the most ancient Friend, the most affectionate Friend, the most faithful Friend, the most powerful Friend, and the most constant Friend, that ever you had or heard of.
I. Jesus Christ is the most ancient Friend :
“ Thine own friend, and thy father's friend, forsake thou not;”-intimating, that such a person
one who hath been a fast friend to our family for a great number of years— is to be highly vaJued. And herein Christ infinitely excels the oldest friend we have. Hear what he says of himself: “ When he appointed the foundations of the earth, then I was by him, as one brought up with him; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; rejoicing in the habitable part of his
earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.” (Prov. viii. 29.) Here was friendship, disinterested and unparalleled. While he was happy in that glory, “ which he had with the Father before the foundation of the world,” yet foreseeing the guilt and misery into which mankind would plunge themselves, he took pleasure in thinking how he should hereafter go down and save them.- Under the Old Testament we see him frequently appearing as the “ Angel of the Lord” and the “ Angel of the Covenant,” with messages of love to his people. But nothing can express it so emphatically as his own word: “In all their afflictions he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them : in his love and in his pity he redeemed them: and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.” (Isai. Ixiii. 9.) And when the fulness of time was come, he actually came down, and was made flesh, and dwelt among us: and during the three years of his public appearance, every thing he said, and every thing he did, was friendly: his life was friendly, and his death was more so. And through all ages, from that time to this, one generation to another hath declared his unremitting kindness ;---a circumstance inconceivably supporting.
If one that was a perfect stranger were to come to us in our distress, and offer to relieve us, we should hardly know how to trust him.
« How do I know who, or what, he is ? Perhaps he only mocks my woe; and may take pleasure in raising expectations in me which he never intends to fulfil. If he do as he says, I shall thank him; but I am afraid to believe it, till I see it.'-Now, with respect to Christ, this objection is happily removed; he is