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think of this, and let me be concerned to live to Him, who has done so much for me. The Jews were free agents, yet fulfilled the designs of God How mysterious! Let me adore the wisdom, power, and mercy of God. Credit is due to the testimony of the apostles. They were eye-witnesses to the sufferings of their Master. They were His daily companions. They published their testimony amidst the scenes of the Saviour's sufferings. could say, "We believe, and therefore speak."
"Behold, we go up to Jerusalem." Here we see the moral courage of the Saviour in the prospect of His sufferings and death. He saw His agony, His crown of thorns, His cross, His humiliation, His pierced side, yet He proposed to go to the scene of it all. "And it came to pass, when the time was come that He should be received up, He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem." The time appointed for Him to be on the earth was about expiring, and He resolved to go to Jerusalem and die. He was not appalled by the dangers; He was determined to brave all, and go up into the midst of His enemies. What gave such courage to Christ in the prospect of His awful sufferings? There was His love to His Father and to us; there was entire confidence in the success of His cause; there was the reward promised to Him-the approbation of His Father, and the momentous blessings resulting to His followers. Let me live to Him, who lived for me.
THE TRUE LIBERTY.
Him to be the Messiah-as the prodigies at His death, His ascension, the effusion of the Spirit, and the miracles wrought in His name. The Father concurred with the Son in all He did for our salvation. He taught the doctrines He was commissioned to teach, as the servant of His Father. As He spake these words, many believed on Him." This is the cheering sight we desire to seemany believing on Jesus-for this is essential to their salvation.(Mark xvi. 16.) The believer sits at His feet as a Teacher; trusts in his
sacrifice as a Saviour; submits to His government as a King. The Gospel requires faith in the record God has given us concerning His Son. The sick must have faith in the physician, or there can be no cure. The alien must have faith in the mediator, or there can be no reconciliation. The sinner must have confidence in the Saviour, or there can be no salvation. And this faith must be abiding, or there can be no saving interest in Christ. "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, if ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed." His disciples must continue in His school; His sheep must continue in His fold; His soldiers must continue in His army. The Saviour requires continuance in religion. The runner must continue to run the race, or he will not gain the prize; the soldier must continue to fight, or he will not conquer his enemy; the subject must continue to obey, or he will lose the crown promised to the faithful. The result of this continuance in a faithful adherence to Him will be a growing acquaintance with revealed truth; and the result of this, an increasing deliverance from the power of sin, and a growing assimilation to the moral image of the Saviour.
"And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” All Christians do know it. They have experienced its saving power in their conversion to God, in the renovation of their moral nature, and in the enthronement of the Saviour in their affections; but they must try to know it better, and
then they will grow in grace, and in meetness for heaven. 66 Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: His going forth is prepared as the morning, and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth." The text implies, that for an immortal soul to enjoy spiritual freedom is a matter of immense importance. The soul by nature is not free, but in awful bondage; sin reigns in the affections, in the will, in the spring of our actions; so that our nature is corrupt, and unfit for heaven. "Whoso committeth sin, is the servant of sin." Sinners are the servants of sin, and thereby show that their will, affections, and understanding, are enslaved by sin. Now deliverance from this moral slavery must be important, for the soul is immortal, and if not freed from sin in this life, will be miserable for ever. Deliverance is possible, for Christ visited our world in order to lay a foundation for our spiritual emancipation in His death as a sacrifice for sin; and having accomplished the sublime design of His mission, the Gospel proclaims liberty to the captives. The moment they truly believe in Jesus, this glorious freedom commences. Then the believer is justified by the imputation of the Saviour's righteousness, so that his sins are forgiven; he is acquitted at God's bar, and is treated as a child of God. "Therefore, being justified by faith, he has peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." And now he is renewed by the Holy Spirit, and seeks after conformity to the moral image of God.-(Titus iii. 5.) Now he is
united to Christ, and is interested in all the vast blessings of His great salvation. Now he is free to serve God, to run the Christian race, to draw near to God by the cultivation of communion with Him. Angels rejoice over his happy freedom. He is now safe in Jesus. He is now an heir of glory. He is now in the narrow way to eternal life. His freedom is eternal, spiritual, glorious, visible, and eternal. This is valued by the truly penitent. Hence they cleave unto Jesus; they mortify sin and cultivate holiness; they pray, 66 Wash me and I shall be clean; yea, whiter than snow." Love to Christ, confidence in Him, hope of glory, give us true freedom. "If the Son make you free, ye shall be free indeed." The Holy Spirit causes us to feel its value, and to seek after it.
"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Here we may observe, that a right knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus promotes this spiritual freedom. The way to know Gospel truth is to know Christ, as revealed to us in the Holy Scriptures. May we not say with Peter, "Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life." There is truth in the person, character, teaching, life, and work of Jesus. He is the way, the truth, and the life. There is truth in Him concerning the true character of God, the way of salvation, the nature of religion, the realities of eternity, the worth of the soul, the true end of life, the things that belong to our peace. The Scriptures contain the truth God has given us to make us wise, holy, and happy. The doctrines, promises, and precepts
of the Gospel are all true, and worthy of our entire confidence. God has given us abundant evidence that His Word is true. The truths He has revealed are all intimately related to each other, and bear internal evidence that they are from God. The belief of these truths will impress your heart, renew your soul, free you from the slavery of sin. They are the instruments the Holy Spirit employs in the regeneration of the human soul. This is seen in the prayer of Christ: "Sanctify them through thy truth, for thy word is truth." God has given to us the means of becoming acquainted with the truth. He has given us the Holy Scriptures; the Christian ministry; Christian friends, who are willing to impart religious instruction; and He has given us the promise of the Holy Spirit to help our infirmities. These means involve us in solemn responsibility. then be wise, and seek to know the truth God has revealed to us; this is given for our salvation, to inspire hope, to make us happy in the knowledge of God. Would you enjoy freedom from the slavery of sin? Then study the truth, believe the truth, meditate on the truth, hear the truth, pray for the influences of the Holy Spirit to apply the truth, and the truth will free you from sin, error, and misery, and make you fit for heaven. This heals, comforts, and saves the soul.
"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." They know its power by their conversion to God, the support it has imparted in the day of adversity, in the hope they have of a better life in
the presence of God for ever. It is the duty of all the disciples of Christ to seek a more intimate acquaintance with this truth, for this will promote their love to God, delight in His service, and stability in religion. These are powerful motives to stir us up to seek to know this truth. There is the glory of the teacher, the welfare of the soul, and our accountability to God. This truth is a talent to be used for the glory of God. Satan is ever active to seduce us from the truth, and to induce us to believe a lie. The profession we have made as the disciples of Christ, calls upon us to show our sincerity by seeking to know and do His will. This requires patient perseverance, earnest application, help from on High. How great the folly, guilt, and misery of all who neglect the truth. They remain slaves. How clear the duty of Christians, to buy the truth and sell it not, for it seeks to make us free. How obvious the duty of the Christian church, to make known the truth, for many are still slaves.
MY PRESENCE. "And He said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest." -EXODUS Xxxiii. 14.
"IN thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore." What constitutes the bliss of heaven? His presence! What the joy of earth? His presence! And who is safe without the conscious feeling of His presence, who alone upholds and sustains us, amid all the duties and trials of life?
"Walk thou before me, and be thou perfect," was the command
given to Abraham.-(Genesis xvii. 1.) And the more deeply we seek to realize the divine presence, the more diligent shall we be to be found of Him in peace, "without spot, and blameless."-(2 Peter iii.14.) In a world surrounded as we are with danger and temptation, how cheering to know that God is always with us as a Friend, a Comforter, a Guide, and Teacher. "To whom can we go but unto thee, O Lord? thou hast the words of eternal life." We may be brought into the very depths of trial and perplexity; we may not be able to make known our hidden sorrow to the dearest friend; we may be placed in straits, and overwhelmed with grief-like Jonah, the waters may go over our heads, and plunged in deep waters we may cry, when no way of escape appears, "I will look again unto thy holy temple;" or with David, "When my spirit is overwhelmed within me, I will look unto the Rock that is higher than I." "Tribulation worketh patience, patience experience, experience hope." It is even so, and the very trial which has prostrated the spirit, blighted our prospects, filled us with disappointment, is the messenger sent from above, to remind us of our high and holy vocation, of this life as a journey, of the home of the saints, of the comforting power of the divine presence to sustain, and raise us beyond all that is earthly and perishing. It is when the heart is smitten and broken, and heavy laden with some unforeseen trial, that the words, "My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest," are a sweet balm and consolation beyond all expression.
arms alone can sustain the feeble, fainting, mourning spirit; His presence is a never-failing source of strength to the sorrowing one; He is always with His people, never for a moment forsakes or forgets them. His eye is fixed with undiminished steadiness on each trodden path of life, on all the minute circumstances which befal them in their pathway to the eternal rest. Nothing, however trivial, however painful, or distressing, can happen without His permission, or appointment. Every shade in the picture must be filled in, every stroke applied, every precaution taken to make it complete, fair, and beautiful to contemplate. So it is that the great Master, with an eye to render the Christian perfect and complete in all His will, watches over His workmanship with divine skill, and adapts each touch of the chastening rod to the growing perfection of the whole, to fit and prepare him for a place by Him in the bright and everlasting mansion. "We shall know even as we are known;" we shall at length discover, in the realms of light and glory, how needful was each fiery trial to polish the jewel to be set in His diadem for ever. Our path may now appear dark, and beset with difficulties, but in the darkest hour the voice speaks to us, "My presence shall go with thee." And is not this enough to assure us, to comfort, to quicken us on our path to the heavenly Zion? He is the faithful Promiser, a tried and unfailing
Friend, and He bids us in all things to make known our requests unto Him. He is never weary of us, never unmindful of our cares, our wants, our woes. We cannot weary Him with our constant prayer, our numerous and unceasing wants. He is Jesus, the consolation of Israel -His name encourages us to come freely and unreservedly to tell Him all which bows us down, which fills us with deep and corroding care. "Is any afflicted? Let him pray." The more we go to Jesus, the more we shall know of His faithfulness and unchangeable love. In the bitterest moments of our life, it will be found that we shall know most of the Saviour's character, simply because we live wholly upon Him for light, guidance, and sustaining power. It is then that faith is in exerciseliving, bright faith, which lays hold of the promise of His presence as the Comforter, and which knows no doubt, or cherishes no unbelief of His gracious word.
"The Lord thy God is with thee, whithersoever thou goest."-(Joshua i. 9.) We cannot mourn an absent God, if we keep the eye of the mind directed to the promises, and rest securely on the word of His faithfulness. Every stone of the spiritual temple is to be fitted by the great Architect for its proper place. He is to hew it out of the quarry-polish and beautify it by successive strokes, to render it perfect and complete, to form a part of the building which shall endure through eternal ages. We little know how many and how varied trials we need, to have our roughness removed; how severe the discipline we require, to becomie