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Thursday before Easter.
ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who, of Thy tender love towards mankind, has sent Thy Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, to take upon Him our flesh, and to suffer death upon the cross, that all mankind should follow the example of His great humility; Mercifully grant, that we may both follow the example of His patience, and also be made partakers of His resurrection ; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
“ This do in remembrance of me."-1 Cor. xi. 24.
THEREFORE it is the will of Christ that the
remembrance of Him should be kept alive in His disciples minds. O my soul ! does thy leisure hang
' heavily upon thee ? Art thou often at a loss to determine how certain hours may be profitably employed ? This I may know, that the time is not profitlessly spent which complies with the wishes of the Judge of the quick and dead, in efforts to keep up and excite a remembrance of Him. We may draw parables from surrounding objects, and scenes illustrative of the great events of evangelical history. We may lay nature under tribute for meditation as He did for instruction, and the effects will not cease with the relaxation of the exercise. In my prayers I am bound to keep in constant remembrance the ground of my hope, even Christ “who is in us the hope of glory,” and, in the expression of my thanks to the Father, to dwell most of all upon His “unspeakable gift."
” I have often thought that special meditations, at stated times, upon the passages of Scripture which are more peculiarly devoted to these subjects, would be highly beneficial to the soul. And the present context would seem to confirm the supposition that this mode of religious exercise is one of those which are especially agreeable to the purpose and intention of our Lord Jesus Christ.
“ And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, to day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise.”-LUKE xxiii. 43.
HO said this ? He who said that the Son of
man “shall reward every man according to his works." And what works had this man performed ?
None ; for his life was cut short when his faith began. Therefore his faith was imputed unto him for righteousness; and the works which it would have produced were reckoned as if extant. We have here then a conspicuous proof, that provided Christ is formed in the heart, it is not necessary that our lives should be prolonged to furnish evidence of our sincerity to God. It is true that man cannot give this comfortable assurance to the departing penitent ; nay, he cannot judge the sincerity of his own heart without the experimental evidence of his previous life; else he must depart in uncertainty as to whether his ardent feelings, like the enthusiasm of Peter, should pass away like a summer cloud. But it is no less true that the Searcher of hearts can tell what faith would work, as well as what faith would not work, if opportunity allowed ; and we can have no doubt that such as would work is reckoned as righteousness. The same passage teaches us that the process of regeneration is not necessarily a thing of days, and months, and years, but that a sincere believer may attain his sonship in a comparatively short space of time. Some go about to prove that the thief did not commence his repentance on the cross, as they infer from the tenor of his language. But it is evident that he did not commence it before his arrest, and the space of time between that event and his execution we have no reason to think was of very long con
tinuance. This may be encouraging for those whom a consumption or other chronic disease is calling from the world, but leaves them a few months of declining health remaining still. But how much more comfortable still for the dying believer, who has in the flower of his strength turned unto God, to feel that the work does not necessarily require a period unusually long, but that those servants are always blessed whom their Lord when He cometh shall find watching; and that if He comes in the second, or even in the first watch, and finds them so doing, “ blessed are those servants.” A godly mind may draw much sweet comfort from this narrative; but he who will convert the lesson which it teaches, into a means of encouragement to delay repentance to the last, exhibits the black mark of a reprobate spirit. Indeed, he need not desire much better proof of the insincerity of his deathbed repentance, and how little likely it should be to þring forth fruit were his health restored.
Then, leaving all I loved below,
Lord Jesus, help me now to flee,
Then when the solemn bell I hear,
Rather, my spirit would rejoice,