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afforded light in so many dark hours, and whence has been derived strength in the midst of so many spiritual conflicts; these ever precious, ever glorious hopes are now about to be realized. The good to which he has been looking forward during his entire Christian race is almost reached-the prize almost won. His work as a Christian soldier has been long prosecuted ; and now that he is about to lay down his armor, now that the good fight of faith is well nigh fought, he rejoices in the prospect of speedily wearing the crown of victory. He has long pursued his journey on earth, a stranger and a pilgrim here, seeking a better country; and now that his destination is almost reached, now that the shores of the heavenly Canaan are almost in sight, now that the glory of the New Jerusalem almost gleams on his vision, he rejoices in the prospect of soon entering into the rest of his eternal home. He is weary with his long journeying, but happy in the thought that the next tottering step may introduce him to a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Verily the old age of the Christian, marked by infirmity and weakness though it be, is a bright and happy period in his history. “When I am old and gray-headed, O God, forsake me not !"
Aged disciples of Jesus! you have reason for the profoundest gratitude that yours is the old age of the Christian. think of what you are, and what you enjoy, in comparison with what you would have been, and what you would have suffered, but for the grace that directed your steps in former years into the path of life, you may well adopt the words of the Psalmist as the language of your hearts: “Bless the Lord, O my soul ; and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Much of worldly comfort that once was yours has passed beyond your reach; but there are still open to you rich and abundant sources of blessedness. From a past, through which the grace and mercy of God have led you; a past, whose days have been spent in the enjoyment of his love, and in self-consecration to his service; a past, bright with the displays and experiences of his grace, and rich in lessons of wisdom and truth, there come joys such as the heart of the aged transgressor may never feel. The present, notwithstanding the evident failing of life's vital energies, and the consequent loss of capacity for your wonted earthly pleasures, is rendered happy by an inward and spiritual light reflected from a Saviour's smiling countenance. The good which has been the choice and pursuit of your life-time, is with you now in increased and increasing measures. The future, how glorious! and its glory, how near! Pilgrims, weary and worn, ye are almost home! A few more of those tottering steps, a few more of those exhausted breathings, and your feet shall have passed the threshold of that heavenly mansion which a Saviour's love has prepared.
Aged disciples ! soon you will all be gone, your term of service ended, your crown awarded. In your places will soon stand those upon whom the frosts of age are now only beginning to fall, and afterwards those who are yet amid the years of their fullest vigor and strength. Let these not think of life's later years as a burden, nor shrink at the thought of their approach. Let them rather look forward to the period when they shall be “old and gray-headed”-if they shall be permitted to behold it—as one which grace is adequate to make the most cheerful and happy of their lives. Let the desire to rejoice in the highest blessedness of the Christian's old age be among the motives that shall induce the highest devotion during the years by which it is preceded !
A word to such of the young and middle-aged as are numbered with the unconverted, will conclude this discourse.
Few of your number, in comparison with the whole, will ever know what it is to be bowed down under the burden of years. This your observation of the ravages of death compels you to admit; and yet each of you doubtless indulges the hope, if not the expectation, that he shall be spared to old age. If this hope is be realized in the case of any, they are one day to know the self-reproaches, the joylessness and hopelessness of the aged transgressor, or rejoice in the blessedness of the aged disciple. Which ? Spend your life in sin, and your old age shall be all a burden and a curse. Consecrate the freshness of youth (if it be still yours) and the strength of manhood to God, and your declining years shall constitute a rich inheritance of joy, and be a fitting prelude to the pleasures that are at God's right hand for evermore.
No. 10, Vol. xxv.
Whole No. 298.
BY REV. DAVID MAGIE, D. D.,
1 PASTOR OF THE SEC. PRES. CHURCH, ELIZABETHTOWN, N. J. 1
THE BELIEVER'S PEACE. ** Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is, stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee." ---ISATAH 26 : 3.
Life is in all cases a pilgrimage, and to the best of men it brings its seasons of sorrow, as well as of joy. From causes too numerous to mention, fear sometime: prevails over hope ; and the soul, instead of enjoying those consolations, which are neither few nor small, is cast down and disquieted. Such are the checkquered scenes through which believers pass, that they often become discouraged because of the way.
These vicissitudes, though trying to the feelings, are, nevertheless, proof of real spirituality. A stone, every one knows, is the same in its properties and aspects all the year round, but not so the tree, at the foot of which it lies. Here we see per. petual changes, frequent revival and decay. If leafless branches and a naked top appear in the months of storm and frost, we expect to find buds, and blossoms, and fruit in the season of warmth and showers. The reason is : in the one case no principle of life exists, while in the other there is all along a real, abiding, energetic vitality. And this, let me say, marks the difference between a genuine, honest-hearted Christian, and the man' that merely has a name to live, but is dead. Where. ever the root of the matter is found, there will be a lamenting after the Lord, if there is no actual rejoicing in him.
These lights and shadows of the divine lite add to the interest with which we contemplate a truly pious character. It is useful to follow such an one in days of darkness, as well as those of light ; and the tears on his cheeks are no less instructive than the smiles which irradiate his countenance. If his path to a better world is rough and thorny, this only the more clearly evinces the riches of those resources that grace is able to supply
But though sorrow may be evidence of spirituality as well as joy, we love to see mon happy in God ; and what is more,
there are good reasons for being so. Light, we are told, is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart. The language before us is still more explicit : "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whore mir:d is stayed on Thee. because be trusteth in Thee." These are precious words-replete with encouragement to such as are harassed with doubts, and beset with temptations. We may consider the text as an infallible remedy for that worst of asl forms of human illi- a burdened and disconsolate spirit. There are three things here which invite and claim attention : the Author of the peace referred to, its elevated nature, anı! the meuns of its enjoyment. The subject addresses itself with special emphasis to such as walk in darkness, and see little or no light.
We begin with the Author of this peace, which we learn is none other than God himself.
The mind of man is too active in its essence, and too large in its capacity, even to find rest, unless it be in its Maker. Experience and observation teach this scarcely less clearly than the Bible itself. Were all the holy and happy beings in the universe to concentrate their powers upon ihe one object of giving peace to a single individual, they would find it a hope. less task. What can the kindest parent do towards making a beloved child truly and permanently bappy? How is the fondness of a brother's love, or the tenderness of a sister's affcction to displace the hidden anguish of the heart, and fill it with calmness? The warmest earthly friendship fails here. This is work for an Almighty arm-an achievement for divine grace.
If the thing is ever done, God must do it ; and he can do it only by leading the mind to repose in himself, as the supreme and unchanging good None but the Creator, the Preserver, and the Redeemer of the soul can allay its apprehensions. soothe its restlessness, and impart to it undisturbed tranquility; There must be a combination here of that same power and mercy which once said to the waves of the sea, “ Peace, be still.” Mere external and sublunary good can avail nothing to ease the torment of the mind. Man, viewed either in the helplessness of his condition as a creature, or the alarm of his guilt as a sinner, must look to the rock that is bigher than bimself. In vain is it that you fill bis coffers, and encompass him with the pomps and luxuries of life. The possessions of the world, unhallowed by the blessing, and unsweetned by the smiles of a gracious God and a redeeming Saviour, can never contribute one iota towards his real and enduring happiness. There will still be a void, which, if ever filled at all, must be filled with the fullness of God. Most certain is it, that that part of man which we call mind can never be effectually quieted, unless it be done by Him who has the skill to understand, and the ability to supply all its wants.
But here a question must be met and satisfactorily answer: ed, before we are able to proceed a single step. Admit, as admit we must, that we are sinners, justly exposed to the divine
displeasure, how can God, the righteous
governor of this world, ever be at peace with us? This is a difficulty which no wisdom of the wise, not understanding of the prudent, has power to solve. But blessed be God, there is One in human form, clothed with a vesture dipped in blood, who has prevailed to open the book of divine mercy, and loose the seven seales thereof. To meet the consequences growing out of man's sin. fulness on the one hand, and God's justice on the other, the glorious scheme of redemption' was planned and executed. Jesus undertook to be a peace-makerbetween heaven and earth, and he has accomplished the work effectually.
As we turn over the leaves of the Inspired Volume, we find the features of a great plan of reconciliation standing out every where. Patriarchs, prophets and apostles all unite in illustrating its character, and setting forth its glory. It is the 'one grand and gracious idea' which runs through and distinguishes the entire book, from the promise to our first parents in Eden, to the last utterance of the beloved John in Patmos. The chief reason why God has spoken to man' at all, is to make known the terms on which He can consistently be at peace with him again, and own him as His. To procure a blessing so necessary and so inestimable, Christ died on the cross ; to announce it, a choir of angels came down over the plains of Bethlehem; and to awaken it in the bosom, the Holy Spirit, the Comforter is given. This is the blood-bought legacy which Jesus bequeathed to his disciples, when he was about to return to his Father and our Father, and his God and our God. Nor can any son or daughter of Adam ever enjoy true peace, who does not build his hopes of acceptance with his Maker on the atonement of the cross.
Think for a moment what it cost to purchase this rich blegsing of peace for the mind agitated by guilt, and filled with apprehensions. That curse which the law denounces against every soul of man that doeth evil; had to be met and borne, before a single overture of reconciliation could be made, or a single word of friendship uttered. But who could so bring God and man together, that concord might again be established between them? The person to do it must be divine, otherwisc he could make no satisfaction to violated justice; and he must at the same time be human, otherwise he could not die as an expiation. To merrit what was necessary, and to suffer what was necessary, a double nature was required—that of deity, and that of humanity. Infinite worthiness was indespensible ; and as this could belong only to God, Jesus had to be God : 'and partaking of flesh and blood was indispensable ; and as this could belong only to man, Jesus had to be man.
This doctrine of incarnate divinity-immaculate God with 48—one in human form, and yet the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace—is essential to every well-founded hope in the bosom of a sinner. It is Jehovah's method of bringing back to its ancient allegiance á revolted