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cious blood which cleanseth from all sin? If this be not so, I cannot pray, “Thy kingdom come.” Oh! that I were filled more and more with the earnest longing to meet the Lord Jesus in the day of His appearing, and to be made one with Him, as He is one with the Father, in that heavenly country where there is no night, nor sin, nor sorrow; not even a passing cloud to come between me and my Saviour's love!
MATT. xxi. 1.
WHEN our Lord Jesus Christ appeared for the first
time to our fallen world, His errand was an errand of mercy ; “not to destroy men's souls, but to save them.” He did not therefore reveal Himself in circumstances of terror, or accompanied with the glory of His second coming ; but in the meekness which became a suffering victim, and the mildness which harmonized with a message of grace. Such an unpretending form was agreeable as well to the predictions of Scripture as to the nature of the mission He had undertaken to
But outward grandeur and the gratification of its natural desires are the considerations which principally prevail with the world. We need not therefore be surprised that when He presented Himself among men under such humble circumstances, without the assumption of a philosopher or the majesty of a conqueror, the prejudices of the generality were shocked.
The claims of our Lord, recognized only by the temporary enthusiasm of a fickle multitude, or the devotion of a few obscure fishermen, proved offensive to the majority of His own countrymen, while to the more polished nations which surrounded them they appeared no better than “foolishness.” Such was the reception which the religion of Jesus met with at its first publication; and it is to be regretted that its reception
; in all ages has been substantially the same. The world has changed its name only ; its nature remains unchanged. The full doctrine of a crucified Saviour requires a perfect renunciation of the evil propensities of human nature, and an unqualified submission of the pride of human understanding to the authority of its teaching ; so then pride on the one side, and vanity on the other, make strait the gate and narrow the way which leadeth unto life. But we have reason to thank God that there is in every age a small number, however trifling in their own eyes, however despised in the eyes of others, capable of appreciating the truth and beauty of His doctrine, and discerning, in the form of the meek and lowly Jesus, the King of Israel “ that cometh in the name of the Lord.” The doctrine of the Cross is no stumbling-block to them—it is no foolishness to them. No; to them it is an “unspeakable gift;" to them it is precious. They experience its preciousness in their own soul—they witness its effects on the souls of those around them; and while they behold its power, they behold its wisdom too—that glorious wisdom which has reconciled the apparently irreconcilable attributes of God, His justice and mercy; which has procured God more glory from pardoning than punishing the sinner; by which He has become “just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.” This is the pillar of their hope and the ground of their permanent comfort.
This affords to them a peace which the world can neither give nor take away. By it they have access through faith into this grace wherein they stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. For the Spirit bears witness with their spirit, that if Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many," it is equally true that "He will appear to them who look for Him the second time without sin unto salvation.”
Light of those whose dreary dwelling
Borders on the shades of death;
Scatter every cloud beneath :
Life and joy thy beams impart;
Every meek and contrite heart.
Show Thy power in every nation,
O Thou Prince of peace and love ! Give the knowledge of salvation ;
Fix our hearts on things above: By Thine all-sufficient merit
Every burdened soul release; By the influence of Thy Spirit,
Guide, O guide us, into peace.
The Second Sunday in Adbent.
BLESSED Lord, who bast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience, and comfort of Thy holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which Thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
“ Now the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing.”—Rom. xv. 13. IS. my heart cast down and disquieted within me ?
Here is the way by which the cloud may be dispersed, and peace and cheerfulness return again. If joy consists in believing, Faith is the avenue through which joy must enter. Prove and examine yourself, therefore, whether you be in the faith-whether the Spirit of Christ be within you the hope of glory. The heart in which He is enshrined, like a perennial fountain wells