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love of Christ

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The Love of Christ in Coming into the World to Save Sinners

"This is a true saying, and everyone should believe it: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—and I was the worst of them all." 1 Tim. 1:15

The gospel, as the name signifies, denotes glad tidings. This blessed gospel is sent to us: to you, reader, are these glad tidings conveyed. "That Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners," is the best news that ever fell on the ears of a dying world. Life and immortality are brought to light through this gospel of the grace of God. Let us now contemplate the glorious character of our blessed Redeemer, and the love which he has manifested in coming into the world to save sinners.

1. In the person of Christ, the human and divine natures are united. His DIVINITY is clearly asserted in the Scriptures. The Redeemer of lost sinners is the eternal Son of God -equal with the Father, the Creator of the universe, the upholder of all things. Endued with supreme power, he reigns universal Lord. All power is given to him, in heaven and earth. All worlds are his. All kingdoms are his domain. He made all things. At his command, worlds sprung into being. By his power all created matter is upheld in existence. He has caused the sun to shine with undiminished splendor on our globe for nearly six thousand years. "Without warning, he moves the mountains, overturning them in his anger. He shakes the earth from its place, and its foundations tremble. If he commands it, the sun won't rise and the stars won't shine. He alone has spread out the heavens and marches on the waves of the sea. He made all the stars—the Bear, Orion, the Pleiades, and the constellations of the southern sky. His great works are too marvelous to understand. He performs miracles without number."

Open the blessed volume, and read the fundamental doctrine of Christianity, that Christ, the redeemer of sinners, is God. "In the beginning the Word already existed. He was with God, and he was God. He was in the beginning with God. He created everything there is. Nothing exists that he didn't make." It is a matter of great consolation for the believer who has entrusted his immortal concerns in the hands of his blessed Redeemer, to know that he is God over all, blessed forever. Let him ever bear in mind that the Savior, who loves him is the only begotten Son of God, and bears his very image. He is the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person. He is clothed with divine majesty, and possesses all divine perfections, and infinite excellences. He is equal with God in all his glorious perfections.

He is called "the Lord of Glory," the "King of glory," "the mighty God," "Jehovah;" and in the Revelation he is described as having on his vesture, and on his thigh a name written, "King of kings, and Lord of lords." Again, it is said of him that "Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before God made anything at all and is supreme over all creation. Christ is the one through whom God created everything in heaven and earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can't see—kings, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities. Everything has been created through him and for him. He existed before everything else began, and he holds all creation together. Christ is the head of the church, which is his body. He is the first of all who will rise from the dead, so he is first in everything. For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ."

There is a transcendent loveliness in the person of Christ. He is "fairer than the children of men:" "the chief among ten thousand; yes, he is altogether lovely." What glorious and lovely attractions center in Emmanuel! Such is the character of Him who came into our sin-polluted world, to shed on Calvary his precious blood for the redemption of his people.

2. Christ came into the world by being manifested in the flesh, yet he lost nothing of his essential glory and dominion. He was as truly "the brightness of his Father's glory," and the owner of the universe, when in the manger, and on the cross, as he is now at the right hand of God: "Even the son of man who is in heaven." Yet out of love to sinners, he chose to suffer that glory to be veiled in humanity, and himself to be made under the law to redeem his people. What amazing love is seen here. "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." "God was manifest in the flesh." Christ Jesus was in the form of God, and thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but "He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. "

The coming of Christ was the signal of peace on earth. His incarnation was an event of great joy to the world. To the shepherds of Bethlehem, the glad tidings of his birth were conveyed by an angel of the Lord. To them he proclaimed: "Don't be afraid! I bring you good news of great joy for everyone! The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David!" A new light then burst upon the world. The glorious Sun of Righteousness, emitting his resplendent rays upon kingdoms and nations involved in moral darkness, arose to enlighten, to gladden, and to bless our benighted planet. The prince of peace made his appearance. The messenger of reconciliation came, to reconcile alienated man to the friendship of his offended Creator, and fit him for the mansions of glory.

When such a momentous event had occurred, when the eternal Son of God had invested himself with humanity, and became bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh; well might the song of the heavenly host resound among the hills of Judea, proclaiming, "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to all whom God favors." For unto us a Savior was born. And never was human nature so highly honored and exalted as when Christ assumed it. What blessings are bestowed upon fallen man, through the incarnation of the Son of God! Eternity alone can unfold them.

Christ came most willingly into the world to do the will of his heavenly Father. His words were "Look, I have come. And this has been written about me in your scroll: I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your law is written on my heart." Christ offered himself a willing victim upon the altar of divine wrath. He came into the world. But Oh! wonderful condescension and boundless love, that Christ should come into this sinful world. On the matchless condescension and kindness of Christ, as manifested by his incarnation, a pious writer has the following beautiful remarks: "Earthly princes are only feeble worms; their loftiest elevation is a molehill, and their brightest splendor a vain show. Yet how rarely do they descend from their thrones, to visit and relieve those who languish in the abodes of poverty and wretchedness! In our low and lost estate Jesus Christ not only saw and pitied us, but also hastened on the wings of love to bring salvation. He was eternally rich, yet for our sakes he became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich."

He was clothed with light, and surrounded with hosts of happy, adoring spirits; yet he submitted to put on our nature, and sojourn among guilty, worthless mortals. Herein is love! love without a parallel, love that exceeds description, and passes knowledge!

The incarnation of the only begotten Son of God is a mystery of wisdom and love, in which all our thoughts ought to be absorbed, and all our hearts with it should be enraptured. The wonders of the vast universe, could they be collected and presented to us in one view, would lose all their attraction and dwindle into insignificance, were we steadfastly to contemplate the marvelous condescension of the Redeemer, manifested in the humiliation to which he submitted on our account.

When he exchanged his throne for the manger of Bethlehem, the shining host of heaven burst into that sublime song, "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to all whom God favors." Here is condescension which we could not have believed possible, had it not been so clearly and amply revealed. The kindness and love of God our Savior towards man, appeared with pre-eminent luster in the whole of that great work which he undertook to perform for their salvation. How ardent was that love which brought the ever blessed Son of God from heaven to earth, that he might save sinners. What but infinite love could have induced him to come into the world- to be made sin for us- to bear our sins in his own body, that we might be reconciled to God, and be brought at last into the everlasting mansions of glory; to be ever with the Lord.

Jesus Christ is love itself embodied in a human form: that form once appeared on our earth, and trod the thorny pathway from the manger to the cross, till it was seen to bleed, and groan, and die, on Calvary, for sinners as vile as we are! Reader! have you a saving interest in that great work which Christ, by coming into the world, has finished? Are you deeply interested in his atonement, and righteousness? Is his love shed abroad in your heart? Is he unspeakably precious to you? For, says the Apostle, "unto you therefore who believe, he is precious." Can you adopt the language of the poet, and sweetly sing,
"Sweeter sounds than music knows,
Charm me in Emmanuel's name
All her hopes my spirit owes
To his birth, and cross, and shame.
When he came, the angels sung
'Glory be to God on high!'
Lord, unloose my stammering tongue;
Who shall louder sing than I!" -Newton

By his coming into the world and accomplishing our salvation, Christ has opened the gates of the celestial city, through which redeemed sinners may now pass into mansions of eternal bliss. O sinner, the gates of Paradise are now wide open for your reception; enter in and be saved. The arms of Christ are now stretched from heaven for your relief. Look up, then, with confidence to your loving Savior. He now calls upon you from his eternal throne, "For there is no other God but me—a just God and a Savior—no, not one! Let all the world look to me for salvation! For I am God; there is no other."

Sinner, have you looked to Christ for salvation? In him you will find an everlasting salvation. Everlasting salvation! precious words! It is the gift of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. In the incarnation of the Son of God, we behold immeasurably great love manifested to sinners. With love unparalleled, he descends to this sinful world, and lives and dies for the redemption of his people. Love led him to forsake the regions of glory, for this dark abode of sin and suffering.
"Nothing brought him from above,
Nothing but redeeming love."

O, what love is here manifested to a guilty, rebellious world! "You know how full of love and kindness our Lord Jesus Christ was. Though he was very rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich."

But why did he thus veil his glory in humanity, and come into this world? It was to save sinners. "This is a true saying, and everyone should believe it: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—and I was the worst of them all."

3. To save sinners was the very object for which Messiah left his throne; for which the Son of God became incarnate. "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." "The Son of man has come to seek and to save those who are lost." When Christ veiled his glory, and left the regions of bliss, it was to save sinners. When he assumed mortal flesh, and became a suffering man, it was to save sinners. When he bled and died on the cross, it was to save sinners. When he burst the fetters of death, and in a glorified form ascended to heaven, it was to save sinners; and now that he is sat down at the right hand of the throne of God, he is still carrying on his blessed work of saving sinners.

It was infinite love that brought Christ into the world to save sinners. What amazing love is here displayed! In man's redemption the love of Christ shines with pre-eminent luster! In his love Christ came to save sinners, and most willingly does he receive even the vilest sinner that comes to him for salvation.

Have you yet fled for refuge to the world's Redeemer? There is but one refuge provided for a lost world– Christ is that refuge. He shelters all that come to him. In him is eternal safety. Happy are they, whose hopes are fixed on him– they are safe. Though all around them are changes and fluctuations, yet their rest is pitched aloft, far above this sphere of changing and perishing mortality. Onward and heavenward will be their course, and glorious will be their destiny! When Christ shall appear, they shall appear with him in glory!

Animated by the hope of immortality, look with holy contempt upon the world and all its delusive pleasures. Let a joyful eternity be ever in your view. Choose Christ as your Savior and portion, and heaven will be your home. You will quickly glide over the tempestuous sea of life, and land on "the peaceful shore of blest eternity." Come, O sinner! come and entrust your salvation to the blessed Jesus, who came to save sinners. He will not east you out. "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away." He has a willing ear to hear your cry; a willing heart to receive you; willing arms to embrace you; almighty lower to save you.

O do not refuse the Lord of glory! Do not contemn the gospel message of love. Behold your loving Savior! See what an interest he has taken in your eternal welfare. See him laying aside the robes of his glory for you. See him, though high, becoming low; though rich, becoming poor for you! and see him coming into this world to save you. Attend to his gracious calls. Seek him instantly. May the sweet influences of Christ's redeeming love constrain you to come and partake of the joys of salvation. Salvation by Christ! Blessed gospel; well may you be styled glad tidings of great joy!

In a word, I beseech you, dear reader, as you value the happiness of your immortal soul and the bliss of eternity, to make sure of your salvation. "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." Tomorrow may be too late. Tomorrow's sun may set upon your grave. Now "Seek the Lord while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near. Let the people turn from their wicked deeds. Let them banish from their minds the very thought of doing wrong! Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will abundantly pardon."

"Come, lepers, seize the present hour,
The Savior's grace to prove
He can relieve, for he has power;
He will, for he is love." -Newton

The Love of Christ, as Manifested in His Sufferings and Death

"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13

"Religion! you are the soul of happiness;
And groaning Calvary, of you! There shine
The noblest truths; there strongest motives sting;
There sacred violence assaults the soul;
There nothing but compulsion is forborne.
                        You my all!
My theme! my inspiration, and my crown!
My strength in age! my rise in low estate!
My soul's ambition, pleasure, wealth; my world
My light in darkness, and my life in death!
My boast through time! bliss through eternity!
Eternity is too short to speak your praise,
Or fathom your profound of love to man!
To man of men the lowest, even to me!
My sacrifice! my God! What things are these!
They talk of morals! O bleeding Love!
You maker of new morals to mankind!
The grand morality is love to You!"

In the death of Christ, we behold the most astonishing exhibition of divine love that has ever been manifested to a lost world. Such love as is here displayed without a precedent; without a parallel in the annals of time or in the records of eternity. To behold the Son of God, the Maker of worlds, bowing his head on the cross, and yielding up his immaculate soul amid the agonies of death, is the most wonderful, the most affecting, the most melting sight that mortals ever witnessed! Around the Cross of Christ there shine the most resplendent rays of divine love that ever beamed from the Sun of Righteousness- that ever emanated from the Deity!

Here then is the brightest display of love, that Christ has manifested to a world of perishing sinners. "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." But, oh! amazing love! that Christ breathed out his precious life, poured out his holy soul unto death, for his enemies, for the ungodly, for sinners. "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Christ died to save sinners! without his death, their salvation could not have been accomplished. Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission; and without the shedding of Christ's precious blood, not a single sinner could have been saved. The salvation of countless millions was suspended on the death of Christ; but, in love, he died to save them!

Here we may behold a little of the vastness of that love which cannot be measured, and which cannot be told. The Savior's love met death itself to the face, and triumphed over the grave. O, my soul, look and wonder! Behold your Savior bleeding on the cross; bleeding from every pore, that your sins might be washed away in the flowing stream! See him pouring out his soul unto death, for your salvation; and ask, Is not this a manifestation of unparalleled love to you?

O, blessed Jesus! we come far short of comprehending the greatness of your dying love. It is a great deep. It is a fathomless ocean. May we contemplate more and more this mystery of divine love!

Christ's suffering and dying for us is a great mystery, a mystery of unfathomable love. How vehement was the love of Christ, that led him to endure death in its most terrible form, even the death of the cross! "Love is strong as death; the coals thereof are coals of fire, which has a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love; neither can the floods drown it." Such is the love of Christ. All the waters of affliction and suffering; all the billows of divine wrath that rolled over our blessed Redeemer, were not sufficient to quench the ardency of that love which he felt for a dying world of sinners. It will endure through time. It will shine with undiminished splendor, and glow brighter and brighter through eternity.

Oh! the infinite love of the Son of God, to shed his precious blood for sinners. The love of Christ, in dying for sinners, passes all knowledge. It is immeasurable. It is as incomprehensible as the duration of eternity. It is as illimitable as boundless space. "Such knowledge is higher than the heavens—but who are you? It is deeper than the underworld—what can you know in comparison to him? It is broader than the earth and wider than the sea." O love divine! where are your limits? Great God! beyond the sight of mortals, and of angels? The stupendous sun, the brilliant moon, the blazing stars, the extended earth– these have their bounds, but his love has none!

Lift up your eyes, and behold this vast world, the product of his power! See its continents, and its oceans extending for thousands of miles: these continents may be measured; but not his love; who, though God, became man, to die for man. Sooner would those unfathomable oceans be fathomed, than the depths of his compassion!

Lift up your eyes to the heavens! Survey the countless glories of the starry firmament; all its fixed or moving worlds of light! Let your thoughts rove from star to star. How great is he who formed them all! How glorious he who bids them shine with undiminished splendor through six thousand years, and to whom they are inconsequential as a speck of flying dust! Yet he who hung out those brilliant fires stooped from his amazing height of bliss and majesty, to assume mortal flesh, and appear a feeble infant and a suffering man. Far sooner could you measure their immeasurable distances, and count their countless numbers, than tell all the vastness of his love, and the blessings it bestows. The sun is darkness compared with his superior glory who hung it in the heavens! And yet he humbled himself to the dark abodes of misery and death for guilty man.

O! when you gaze upon the blue expanse, or when the solemn stillness of night banishes from your mind the thoughts of a vain, departing world; when you behold the midnight sky and mark the thousands of its glowing fires; then think that he who fixed them there once hung on Calvary for you, that you might shine a star, a sun, in heaven, when all those stars shall shine no more. Think that he was once humbled and dishonored, stained with blood, and blue with blows, that you might have a treasure greater than a thousand united worlds, and infinitely more lasting than the countless lights which illuminate the skies. Amazing love!

Here we must pause, and wonder, and praise, and adore; and in the midst of our adoration, exclaim, Lord! what is man, that you are mindful of him; and the son of man, that you should thus visit him? O blessed Jesus! you visited us in love- in great mercy. You bled your life's blood, that we might be washed from our sins in that blood of infinite virtue. You died, that we might live. You wore a crown of thorns, that we might wear a crown of glory, and shine as stars in heaven forever.

Oh! to know more and more about the dying love of the Lord Jesus! The heart of Jesus is nothing but a heart of love: love to sinners, even the chief. It has been well remarked by Maclaurin, that "were all the love of all the men that ever were or shall be on the earth, and all the love of all the angels in heaven, united in one heart, it would be a cold heart compared to that which was pierced with the soldier's spear." Oh, loving, bleeding Lamb of God! come, wash us in that blood which flowed from your wounded heart, from your pierced side; which streamed from Calvary, a fountain of overflowing, inexhaustible depths of redeeming blood! "On that day a fountain will be opened for the dynasty of David and for the people of Jerusalem, a fountain to cleanse them from all their sins and defilement." Blessed be God! that fountain has been opened these eighteen hundred years, and is as inexhaustible as ever.

Ho! every one that thirsts, come to the waters; and he that has no money, come, buy and eat; yes, come, buy wine and milk– without money and without price." What stupendous love has Christ here manifested, in washing away the sins of a lost multitude in his own most precious blood. Well may redeemed sinners shout in songs of praise to their adorable Redeemer, "Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and has made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; unto him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen." "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing!"

Oh! the infinite efficacy of the blood of Christ to cleanse from all sin– "The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin." Through the blood of Christ, pardon and peace flow to guilty sinners. "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace." "Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures." "Through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins." "He made peace through the blood of his cross." Precious blood that redeems us from eternal misery, and brings us to God! "But now you belong to Christ Jesus. Though you once were far away from God, now you have been brought near to him because of the blood of Christ."

Oh! costly price of man's redemption- the precious blood of Christ. "For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. He paid for you with the precious lifeblood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God." O, my soul! look with astonishment at the price paid for your redemption- the infinitely precious blood of Christ!

Dear reader, look and live! Look at the blessed Jesus, bleeding and dying on the cross for your sins. "And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so I, the Son of Man, must be lifted up on a pole, so that everyone who believes in me will have eternal life."
"Upon the cross I see him bleed,
And by the sight from guilt am freed:
This sight destroys the life of sin,
And quickens heavenly life within."

A bleeding Savior, seen by faith, is the sight that gives peace to the guilty, heavy-laden soul. It is the blood of Christ sprinkled upon the conscience, that makes peace between God and the sinner.

But what intense sufferings our divine Redeemer endured, when he "bore our sins in his own body;" when he was made to be sin for us; when he suffered, the just for the unjust. As our substitute, he endured the wrath of God, and suffered for our sins. It was infinite love that led the blessed Son of God to endure all these sufferings, and, at last to submit to the painful death of the cross.

How brightly did that love shine in the last hours of his life, when he was about to bleed on Calvary! What but infinite love led him to the garden of Gethsemane, to endure that bitter agony; when he said, "My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death," and where "his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground!"

What but infinite love led him to the judgment hall, there to be derided, condemned to death, and crowned with thorns; where "his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men!'' What but infinite love brought him to Calvary's mount, there to hang a suffering, bleeding victim on the cross, for our sins!

There is nothing that slows the love of Christ like Calvary. It is there that all the rays of divine love are blended together. In that dark hour in which our Savior hung on the cross, he showed to the world that his love was stronger dean death: these he exhibited more human love; he manifested the infinite love of God. Amid all his sufferings, divine love shone with the greatest luster. Who can tell what love Christ felt for a lost world when he suffered on the cross? Then he was about to accomplish our salvation; and his love became stronger and stronger. Though he grappled with the powers of darkness, yet his arm brought salvation. He endured the hidings of his Father's countenance, until he was led to exclaim, in the bitterness of his soul, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

But he made an end of sin, and brought in an everlasting righteousness; and amid the last struggles of his holy soul, there fell from his lips in dying accents, these most blessed words- the most joyful ever conveyed to a sinner's ear, "It is finished!" Yes, your salvation, sinner, is accomplished by this wondrous death by that divine personage who endured it.

O, look at this exhibition of love! Was there ever such love manifested to a lost world, as is here displayed before your eyes? Reader, contemplate Christ crucified. How intently was the mind of the great apostle fixed on this prolific theme! His language to the Corinthians is, "I determined not to know anything among you, except Jesus Christ and him crucified." You also may look towards Calvary, and with the same apostle, exclaim, "God forbid that I should boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." Blessed Jesus! we cannot comprehend the vastness of your dying love!

"The propitiatory death of Christ," says Thornton, "viewed by faith, fills and absorbs the mind, touches and melts the heart, raises and refines the affections, and completely transforms the whole character." "This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins." "For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again."

Is it surprising, then, that Christ should be precious to believers? Can we see his matchless condescension, in stooping from a throne of glory, to a cross of suffering and shame; can we understand the great end of his amazing humiliation and vicarious death; can we feel the sprinkling of his peace-speaking blood upon the conscience, and not love, adore, and magnify him? "O you cold-hearted, frozen formalists! on such a theme it is impious to be calm. Passion is reason, transport is temperance, here."

What can elevate and rejoice the soul, if it remains unaffected with the highest manifestations of eternal love? In the death of Christ, the power, wisdom, justice, and mercy of God, shine forth in full unclouded splendor. What language can, with due force, express the tender and lively emotions which spring up in the Christian's breast as he silently muses on the delightful subject of redeeming love?

O God! what is man, that you are mindful of him? You did not even spare your own Son, but freely delivered him up for us all. Who am I, that such a price should be paid for my ransom? It was not with silver and gold, and corruptible things, that my soul was redeemed, but by the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. Why, blessed and adorable Savior, did you look in compassion on me, a worthless worm, a vile apostate, a hell deserving rebel? O how is my soul lost in admiration and delight, when I contemplate this mystery! May your love ever glow in my heart, and your praise on my tongue! May I wholly live to you, who has died for me.

"Oh, wondrous love! to bleed and die
To bear the cross and shame;
That guilty sinners, such as I,
Might plead your gracious name."

The death of Christ delivers us from condemnation. When a sinner, by faith, obtains a sight of the crucified One, he boldly exclaims in the face of all his enemies, "Who then will condemn us? Will Christ Jesus? No, for he is the one who died for us and was raised to life for us and is sitting at the place of highest honor next to God, pleading for us." By his death he has satisfied divine justice, and reconciled us to God; and "there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus." "Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ;" and being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. "When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son." O, to have an interest in that atonement which Christ made for our sins! "By whom we have now received the atonement."

Reader, I would not lead you to Sinai, but to Calvary- to the Savior's bleeding side. I would point you to the cross of Christ; to him, who, in his great love, once suffered, and bled, and died for sinners. I would direct you to the bleeding Lamb of God, "who takes away the sin of the world." May you behold him with the eye of faith; even Him who so loved you, that he laid down his own life for you. Then shall the peace of God, which passes all understanding, fill your heart. Then shall heavenly joys possess your renewed spirit; and one unbroken strain of praise shall, through time and eternity, arise from your purified, exalted, and enraptured soul, to Him who loved you, and washed you from your sins in his own blood. Look at Jesus now. Have faith in his atoning blood. Endeavor to obtain a glimpse of the bleeding Savior.

"A bleeding Savior, seen by faith,
A sense of pardoning love;
A hope that triumphs over death,
Give joys like those above,
To take a glimpse within the veil;
To know that God is mine;
Are springs of joy that never fail,
Unspeakable! divine!"

The sufferings and death of the Son of God afford the most illustrious exhibition of divine love that has ever been displayed on this terrestrial globe. Here is exhibited love, such as never before shone on earth; love, surpassing human thought and comprehension. Truly, here the love of Christ passes knowledge! What wonderful love and condescension are here manifested! Christ dying for sinners! The Son of God nailed to the cross for sinners! The blood of Emmanuel flowing from Calvary for sinners! Our blessed Savior, "Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal's death on a cross." O, wonderful love that made the only begotten Son of God lay down his life for sinners!

"That such a person as Christ," says Vincent, "so excellent, so innocent; should undergo death, and such a death as that of the cross, so disgraceful, so painful; that he should submit to such ignominy, and endure such agony, such tearing of his flesh, such pressure in his spirit, with such submission and patience, for strangers and enemies! Here was love, stronger than death. Oh! the sleight, oh! the depth of this love! There are such dimensions in this love of Christ, as the longest line of our most extended thoughts and imaginations can never be able to reach and measure."

What amazing love did Christ manifest, when he, who was the brightness of his Father's glory, exchanged that crown of glory which he wore in heaven, for a crown of thorns on earth, and bled, and died on the cross for guilty man! Sinner, "Behold the Lamb of God!" Contemplate your divine Redeemer, who has shed his precious blood to save your soul from eternal misery. In love he died to save you. O, then, contemplate this loving Savior in his sufferings and death!

"Think how on the cross he hung,
Pierced with a thousand wounds!
Hark, from each, as with a tongue,
The voice of pardon sounds!
See, from all his bursting veins,
Blood of wondrous virtue flow!
Shed to wash away your stains,
And ransom you from woe."

Sinner, flee to Christ. He will receive you joyfully, and save you with an everlasting salvation. He will rejoice over you with great joy. He is a loving Savior, and he loves to save sinners. "He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward (the joy of saving sinners). Now he is seated in the place of highest honor beside God's throne in heaven." "Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save everyone who comes to God through him. He lives forever to plead with God on their behalf."

Come, now, and put your trust in this Savior. Leave with him your immortal concerns. Entrust fearlessly your whole salvation to him. Do not think that he will reject you, if you attempt to cast your sin-burdened soul into his compassionate arms. His atonement is all-sufficient. He saves to the very uttermost. Despair not– only come and commit your soul to Christ, and salvation is yours.

There is an infinite efficacy in the precious blood of Christ, to cleanse you from all sin. Blessed be God! that blood which washes away the deepest stains, has been shed; and that atonement which expiates the greatest guilt, has been made. God now says to us, in language the most strong and encouraging, "I have swept away your sins like the morning mists. I have scattered your offenses like the clouds. Oh, return to me, for I have redeemed you."

In the contemplation of our salvation, well may we exclaim with the prophet, "Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done this wondrous thing. Shout, O earth! Break forth into song, O mountains and forests and every tree! For the Lord has redeemed Jacob and is glorified in Israel."

Blessed Jesus! It is from your death that we derive eternal life and blessedness. How should our hearts glow with love to you, and sound with the high praises of our God! "I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit or a bride with her jewels."

Reader, are you deeply interested in the atonement and righteousness of Christ? Then go forward in your pilgrimage journey with joy; leaning upon Jesus, the beloved of your soul. "Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ, who loved you and gave himself as a sacrifice to take away your sins. And God was pleased, because that sacrifice was like sweet perfume to him." "....Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless."

With their robes washed white in the blood of the Emmanuel, invested with his spotless, perfect righteousness, the saints shall at last be presented before God, a faultless church; and the redeeming love of Christ constituting their unending theme, shall engage their enlarged and exalted faculties, and employ their ransomed souls in holy meditations through the everlasting sabbath of eternity.

Sinner, resort immediately to the fountain of the Redeemer's blood, while it is yet open. Come, without delay: "Wash, and be clean." "The Spirit and the bride say, "Come." Let each one who hears them say, "Come." Let the thirsty ones come—anyone who wants to. Let them come and drink the water of life without charge." If you thus come to the fountain of living water, you will be able to adopt the language of Cowper, and say–

There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel's veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.
Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.
Washed all my sins away, washed all my sins away;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.

Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood shall never lose its power
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.
Be saved, to sin no more, be saved, to sin no more;
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.

E'er since, by faith, I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.
And shall be till I die, and shall be till I die;
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.

Then in a nobler, sweeter song, I'll sing Thy power to save,
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.
Lies silent in the grave, lies silent in the grave;
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.

Lord, I believe Thou hast prepared, unworthy though I be,
For me a blood bought free reward, a golden harp for me!
'Tis strung and tuned for endless years, and formed by power divine,
To sound in God the Father's ears no other name but Thine.

THE LOVE OF CHRIST CONTEMPLATED

"And to know the love of Christ." Eph. 3:19

On no other subject did the mind of the apostle Paul dwell with so much delight, as on that of the redeeming love of Christ. This was his favorite theme. It was his ardent desire to exhibit to a lost world, the grace of the Lord Jesus, which had been so abundantly manifested to himself, once a great sinner. It was the love of Christ that sustained him amid all his trials, and distresses, and persecutions, and enabled him to finish a glorious career. Neither the threats of the Jews, nor the terror of the Romans, could separate him from the love of Christ, or in the least abate his zeal for spreading the news of salvation, and the wonders of redeeming love through a lost world.

Writing to the Romans, he boldly exclaims, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: 'For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.' No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

The same apostle, writing to the Ephesians, desires and prays that Christ may dwell in their hearts by faith, that they being rooted and grounded in love, "may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge."

Let us contemplate the love of Christ in all its extent, and in all its vastness. When did it commence? In the past eternity. The love of Christ to his people extends from eternity. Though it was manifested in time, yet it existed from eternity. "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." Christ says to each of his chosen ones, "I have loved you with an everlasting love therefore, with loving kindness have I drawn you."

Oh! wonderful thought, everlasting love! Who can comprehend the import of these words– everlasting love? Christ loves us, and his love is everlasting. Yes, dear believer, Christ loved you before the world was created; before you had an existence. From all eternity he thought upon your lost condition by nature; and oh! how willingly, how gladly, he left the throne of glory to bring salvation to you. His love never had a beginning. "This river of love began to flow before the world was; from everlasting, from the beginning, before ever the earth was. Christ's love to us is as old as the Father's love to the Son. This river of light began to stream from Jesus towards us, before the beams poured from the sun; before the rivers flowed to the ocean; before angel loved angel, or man loved man: before creatures were, Christ loved us. This is a great mystery; who can fathom it? This love passes knowledge." (McCheyne)

The love of Christ will reach into eternity; will extend throughout its immeasurable ages it has no end. This is the sweet declaration of Christ, with regard to his love, that "For the mountains may depart and the hills disappear, but even then I will remain loyal to you. My covenant of blessing will never be broken," says the Lord, who has mercy on you."

O, to be among that happy number, who will enjoy in heaven the eternal favor of Christ's love, which will make eternity itself one joyous unclouded day of everlasting light and immortal felicity! Blessed Jesus! Give us a saving interest in your unchanging loving-kindness, which is better than life. O, let one ray of your most wonderful love light on our benighted hearts: soften them by the manifestation of your grace.

Of the vastness of the love of Christ, we can form no adequate conceptions; much less can we, by any power of the understanding, comprehend it. To use the emphatic language of Rutherford, "it is as if a child could take the globe of earth and sea in his two short arms." The love of Christ is like a great ocean, whose depths are unfathomable. There is a height in this love, to which no human intelligence can soar; a depth which no created mind can penetrate. In viewing the love of Christ, there lies a wide unbounded prospect before us. The mental vision wanders at liberty over this illimitable range. The love of Christ is circumscribed by no limits; it is bounded by no horizon: it is one vast expanse in which the soul may lose itself in wonder, delight, and admiration.

The pious McCheyne, whom we have already quoted, has the following beautiful remarks on the love of Christ– "Paul says: 'The love of Christ passes knowledge.' It is like the blue sky into which you may see clearly, but the real vastness of which you cannot measure. It is like the deep, deep sea, into whose bosom you can look a little way, but its depths are unfathomable. It has a breadth without a bound, length without top, and depth without bottom. If holy Paul said this, who was so deeply taught in divine things; who had been in the third heaven, and seen the glorified face of Jesus; how much more may we, poor and weak believers, look into that love, and say, It passes knowledge!"

If we cannot comprehend the love of Christ; if we cannot fathom it, let us contemplate and admire it. It was the love of Christ that led him to assume human nature, in order that he might suffer and die, and thus atone for the sins of his people. It was this love that induced him to leave the bosom of his Father, and the adoration of the angelic host, and to sojourn among guilty, worthless mortals.

It was love that led him to exchange the throne of glory for the manger of Bethlehem and the cross of Calvary. It was love that made his whole life, from the manger to the cross, one of grief and sorrow. Love made him "a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief."

Well might the blessed Jesus have exclaimed, "Behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, with which the Lord has afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger." It was love that made him suffer and die for sinners. Yes, love led him to the gloomy garden of Gethsemane; love drew him to the judgment hall; love nailed him to the cross; and love enabled him to exclaim with his expiring breath, "It is finished."

"Greater love has no man than this." The love of Christ is wonderful love: it is surpassing, boundless love. Look at that amazing love which Christ has manifested to sinners; and may you be able to comprehend with all saints what is its breadth, and length, and depth, and height! When you intently contemplate that redeeming love which brought Christ from his throne, to live and suffer, and die for sinners, does not your breast heave with emotions of gratitude? Does not your soul rise in adoration, and is it not lost in wonder, love, and praise?

Have you a heart so cold as not to be warmed by such unbounded love; a heart so hard as not to be softened by such grace as is here set before the eyes of a wondering world?

No feeble mortal can express the vastness of the love of Christ to sinners! It is a mystery which eternity itself will never fully unravel. "God only, knows the love of God." We know that it is great love, and that it is manifested to sinners, but it is love too boundless for the most capacious mind to grasp. None can comprehend its vastness: none can measure its immensity; language fails to describe it; human thought cannot fathom it; time cannot disclose its depths; and vast eternity itself will roll away in its continual and delightful contemplation. How transcendent is the love of Christ! It passes knowledge.

O my soul, are you not lost in wonder and admiration when you contemplate this divine love– the love of Jesus? And love so amazing, love so boundless as the love of Christ should call forth our loftiest strains of praise, and exercise our highest powers of mind in devout contemplations. It should be the constant theme of our meditation here, until we come to possess its full and eternal enjoyment in that world where all is love. And if we possess the love of Christ on earth, it will cheer our hearts, brighten our prospects, alleviate our sorrows, mitigate our afflictions, and emit a ray of hope that will enable us to rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, even in this valley of tears.

To be the object of Christ's love is desirable, and it is a blessed attainment to know that you enjoy it; to say with Paul, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." There is nothing so much calculated to drive from sin, or excite to good works, as a ray of the love of Christ darting into the sinner's heart! This will more effectually melt it, than all tide terrors of the law, or the thunders of Sinai.

The love of Christ fills the soul with immortal joys. There is nothing so reviving to the believer, as the sweet thought of Christ's love to him. There is no subject stored with such an exuberance of divine consolation, and heavenly joy, as that of redeeming love– the love of the Son of God to a lost world. Every other subject loses its luster when contrasted with this sublime, soul-reviving theme; and nothing tends so effectually to expand, elevate, and purify the soul, as that faith "which works by love."

And what do we not owe to the love of Christ? All the comforts and happiness of life, and all the joys of a blissful eternity flow from this love. You should meditate much upon the love of Christ; and may that love ever glow within you, and be like a perpetual fire burning upon the altar of your heart.

"The love of Christ is a subject too lofty for a seraph's harp. The soul, renewed by the spirit, is often incapable of expressing the sublime feelings which pass through the mind, when thinking on this glorious subject. The love of Christ conveys a joy to the believer's heart, which is unspeakable and full of glory. The tongue cannot express the delight of heart which arises from the manifestation of this love. The joy of harvest, the joy of the bridegroom on his wedding day; the joy of victory, and taking great spoils from the enemy; the joy of a poor man in finding great treasures; all these are not worthy to be compared with the joy and exultation of the believer's heart, on the manifestation of this love to his soul." (Vincent)

What does the blessed Jesus deserve for such unbounded love to sinners? All our hearts should be devoted to his service, and all our affections should be placed upon him. We should love him, because he first loved us. "Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy."

O to be made like the adorable Redeemer, and to praise him throughout the countless age's of eternity, for the wonders of his redeeming love! May this be the desire of every reader; and may each be enabled to exclaim with the Psalmist, "Whom have I in heaven but you? There is none upon earth that I desire besides you!"

"One there is, above all others,
Well deserves the name of Friend
His is love beyond a brother's;
Costly, free, and knows no end.
They who once his kindness prove,
Find it everlasting love.
Which of all our friends to save us,
Could or would have shed their blood!
But our Jesus died to save us
Reconciled, in him to God;
This was boundless love indeed
Jesus is a friend in need."

THE LOVE OF CHRIST IN THE BESTOWMENT OF GRACE, IN THE GIFT OF HIS WORD, AND IN THE INSTITUTION OF DIVINE ORDINANCES.

"He gives us grace and glory." Psalm 84:11

"I have given them your word." John 17:14

"He is the one who gave these gifts to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers." Ephes. 4:11

"He gives us grace and glory." But will he give grace to sinners? Yes, to great sinners. Paul was the chief of sinners, and yet to him was the grace of the Lord Jesus manifested. He asserts, concerning himself, that "The grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant, with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus."

Oh! what surpassing, boundless love, has Christ manifested to sinners! And on millions of Adam's lost and guilty race, who were once as vile as sin could make them, has he in his great love bestowed his boundless grace. It is his love that makes sinners saints, and distinguishes them from the rest of mankind; and every sinner that will enter heaven's gates, must first feel the constraining influence of this love. How sweet are the words, "By grace (without merit) you are saved!" Here is an overflowing fountain of divine consolation for guilty sinners. What wonderful love is here manifested to us! "But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so very much, that even while we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God's special favor that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ, and we are seated with him in the heavenly realms—all because we are one with Christ Jesus. And so God can always point to us as examples of the incredible wealth of his favor and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us through Christ Jesus."

"Most amazingly rich mercy! most astonishingly great love! When dead in sins, blinded by pride to our wretchedness, and full of enmity against God and goodness, even then he loved us with great love, and of rich mercy quickened us. O look at, live and feed upon this rich mercy and great love. Oh! to grace what mighty debtors." (Mason)

This grace is greatly celebrated by prophets, and apostles, and saints. Paul cries, "By the grace of God, I am what I am." The Psalmist exclaims," How excellent is your loving kindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of your wings." A good man says, "Nothing but free grace makes any difference between me and the vilest of sinners." One says, "I know no sweeter way to heaven, than through free grace and hard trials together; and where grace is, hard trials are seldom lacking." Another says, "Two things I chiefly know: one is, that I am a great sinner; the other is, that Jesus Christ is a great Savior. O the riches of divine grace!"

When Christ shall bring forth the headstone of his living, glorious temple, all the redeemed shall shout "Grace, grace, unto it." Grace is glory begun, glory is grace perfected. Grace is the first degree of glory. The Lord will give grace, and glory also. O what precious words! Who can weigh their import?

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.

Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
'Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me,
His Word my hope secures;
He will my Shield and Portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, Who called me here below,
Shall be forever mine.

When we've been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we've first begun. -Newton

As soon as sinners are brought into a state of grace, they have need of continual spiritual instruction; and such instruction, Christ in his love has provided them. He has given them his word. He has favored them with the means of grace, and with the institution of divine ordinances. In the gift of his word, Christ has manifested great love to his people. While journeying through this bleak, arid, wilderness world, to mansions of glory, he refreshes their souls with the bread of life, and with the living waters of salvation. The word of God, and the ordinances of his grace, afford them abundant provisions by the way.

What transcendent love has the blessed Jesus manifested in giving us this unspeakably precious treasure, the holy Scriptures, in which are contained such inexhaustible stores of rich grace. The whole Bible is an epistle of love, unspeakable love, to perishing sinners. It unfolds the way of salvation; it proclaims a risen, glorified Savior; it points to the Lamb of God; it is full of Christ, full of immortal love; it leads the sinner to glory. O then, may this precious treasure, this precious volume be yours, be mine, to guide us through this dark, bewildering scene of sin and sorrow, to a brighter world above. "Your word," says the psalmist, "is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."

How highly has the word of God been prized by every Christian pilgrim, by every traveler to Zion– it was David's comfort in his affliction; it was his song in the house of his pilgrimage. "This is my comfort in my affliction, for your word has quickened me." "Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage." How precious was the holy law of God, to this eminent saint, Israel's sacred bard! Hear him exclaim, "O, how I love your law! it is my meditation all the day." "Your testimonies have I taken as a heritage forever, for they are the rejoicing of my heart." "Therefore I love your commandments above gold; yes, above fine gold." "How sweet are your words unto my taste! yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth." "Consider how I love your precepts." "My soul has kept your testimonies, and I love them exceedingly."

Reader, may you also love the word of God, and may it ever be your greatest delight to read its sacred pages. You cannot prize this blessed book sufficiently. Blessed Jesus, what do we not owe you for the gift of this precious volume!

"Let everlasting thanks be thine,
For such a bright display,
As makes a world of darkness shine
With beams of heavenly day.
My soul rejoices to pursue
The steps of him I love;
Till glory breaks upon my view,
In brighter worlds above." -Cowper

In his love, Christ "has given unto us exceeding great and precious promises." May you ever contemplate these "precious promises;" and may your prayer be, "Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law." If you are a believer, you will love and value the word of God; you will meditate much on it. It is true of a righteous man, that "his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law does he meditate day and night."

On a dying bed, you will not regret having spent too much time in the study of the Scriptures, but you may lament that you had not devoted more of your time to the diligent perusal of the divine pages. When Salmasius, one of the most consummate scholars of his age, came to die, he exclaimed, "O! I have lost a world of time! Time, the most precious thing in the world! whereof had I but one year more, I would spend it in reading David's Psalms and Paul's Epistles." The immortal John Locke, when asked which was the surest way for a young man to attain a knowledge of the Christian religion, replied, "Let him study the Holy Scriptures, especially the New Testament; therein are contained the words of eternal life; it has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter."

It is from the Bible that we obtain that knowledge, which will guide us to the abodes of immortality which will lead us to the glory and honor that will endure when sun and stars have lost their light. Then study, the word of God. "It embodies all," says Waterbury, " that a Christian in this pilgrimage can need– it is his only chart through this tempestuous life; in trouble, it is his consolation; in prosperity, his monitor; in difficulty, his guide; amid the darkness of death, and while descending into the shadowy valley, it is the day-star that illuminates his path, makes his dying eye bright with hope, and cheers his soul with the prospect of immortal glory."

Always remember the divine admonition of our blessed Savior, "You search the scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me." And "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom." Let the language of your heart ever be–
"May this blest volume ever lie
Close to my heart, and near my eye;
Till life's last hour my soul engage,
And be my chosen heritage."

In the institution of the ordinances of grace, Christ has manifested the tenderest love and concern for the spiritual welfare of his people while in this world. In his love, "He is the one who gave these gifts to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God's people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ, until we come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God's Son that we will be mature and full grown in the Lord, measuring up to the full stature of Christ."

A preached Gospel is the gift of Christ- a gift of love to a lost world. The Redeemer's last command, was, "Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." This blessed gospel, Christ in his love has sent to us. The lines are fallen unto us in pleasant places; yes, we leave a goodly heritage.

Blessed be God! that the glad tidings of life and salvation, through a crucified Redeemer, have reached our ears. O, happy they, whose lot is cast within the joyful sound of the glorious gospel! "Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound; they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of your countenance." "Blessed are those who dwell your house; they will be still praising you.'' What a blessed privilege is it, that we enjoy, of entering into the house of God, with voices of joy and praise! Let us prize this privilege, and let us love to dwell in the house of God.

How ardently did David love the sanctuary of God! "Lord, I have loved the habitation of your house, and the place where your honor dwells." "One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple." To David, no spot on earth was so dear as Zion's holy hill; no service so sweet as that of divine worship. How highly should you, who live amid the meridian splendor of Christianity, prize the means of grace which you enjoy! With the Psalmist may you extol him from the heart, "How amiable are your tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! a day in your courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness."

In the institution of the sacramental supper, Christ has afforded a grand exhibition of love. In his love, yes in his dying love, he instituted it. The Lord's Supper is the sweetest of all ordinances; it is, emphatically, a feast of love. The very banner that Christ unfurls over the head of every believing communicant, is love; love written in such legible characters that he who runs may read. "He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love." With what joy does the redeemed sinner approach this sacred table, that he may commemorate the dying love of his blessed Savior. His language is, "I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste."

This ordinance, exhibiting as it does a crucified Savior, vividly displays the vastness of redeeming love and the riches of divine grace. A loving Savior has spread this table for us, and he cries, "Eat, O friends; drink, yes, drink abundantly, O beloved." What blessings are here provided for dying sinners? the bread of life, the waters of salvation, remission of sins; yes, an abundant pardon, peace with God, a fitness for heaven!

Come and show your love to Christ, at this feast of love; remember, and obey his dying injunction, "This do in remembrance of me." Can you lay any claim to the name of a Christian, while you live in the utter neglect of this duty? Surely not. The love of Christ should constrain you to observe it. Surely it becomes a ransomed captive, a captive bought at such an inestimable price, to testily his obligations to his loving Redeemer! "Come, for all things are now ready." Come to the Lord's table, and behold the most amazing love manifested to you, the infinite love of the dying Son of God!

O Blessed Jesus! may it be our delight, on earth to confess and own you as our divine Redeemer before men, and to commemorate your dying love in this sweet ordinance. Refreshed by that spiritual provision, which you have laid up for us in the gospel of your grace, may we press onward in our pilgrimage journey heavenward; and at last realize the joys of a blessed home in the world of glory!

Dear believer, we shall soon exchange the table below for the table above. Jesus our divine Redeemer, himself shall be at the head of that table, and shall feed us, and lead us to living fountains of waters, and God shall wipe away all tears from our eyes. Until then, let us endeavor to be profited by all those means of grace, with which Christ in his love has favored us. "Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.''

THE LOVE OF CHRIST IN AFFLICTIONS

"But evil does not spring from the soil, and trouble does not sprout from the earth. People are born for trouble as predictably as sparks fly upward from a fire." Job 5:6-7

"For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes those he accepts as his children." Hebrews 12:6


Affliction comes upon all. None are exempt from the sufferings incident to our fallen nature. The young, the old, the rich and the poor, alike feel the withering touch of affliction and of sorrow. Disease invades the strongest constitution, and affliction prostrates the mightiest energy. Often those in the prime and vigor of life are laid down on the bed of sickness, and made to feel that they are dying creatures. How true it is, that "How frail is humanity! How short is life, and how full of trouble!"

The children of God are not exempted from the afflictions of this life; but it is their blessed consolation to know that they have a Friend to sympathize with them in all their sorrows and sufferings, while in this mortal state. Yes, Jesus is that friend, who watches over their sick beds, and consoles their desponding spirits amid the frailty of sinking nature. Oh! how often does the blessed Jesus wonderfully manifest his love to his afflicted ones! How often does he whisper words of peace and love and consolation in their ears! How often, in the manifestation of his love, do their souls overflow with joy, even when their bodies are racked with severe pain!

Christ will always make that promise good, "As your days, so shall your strength be;" and amid all our trials and afflictions here, we may rely with unshaken confidence on the promises of our loving Redeemer, who will not forsake us in the hour of extremity. Then he will manifest his love to us, and display the riches of his grace. In all our trials, his promise runs thus: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness."

All the afflictions of the children of God are designed for their good. They come from a kind heavenly Father, from a God of love; and one of their designs is the purification and sanctification of believers. "I will turn my hand upon you, and purely purge away your dross, and take away all your tin." "By this, therefore, shall all the iniquity of Jacob be purged; and this is all the fruit– to take away his sin." "In this way, they will be refined and cleansed and made pure until the time of the end, for the appointed time is still to come." "Many will be purified, cleansed, and refined by these trials."

Afflictions make us fit for glory: they enable us to obtain a correct view of the vanity of terrestrial happiness; they tend, through grace, to fix our souls on Him, in whom alone we can find true happiness and immortal joys. Happy sickness, that leads the soul to Jesus, the only source of blessedness! Afflictions, then, promote our spiritual welfare, and are ordered for our good. It is expressly declared, "that all things work together for good, to those who love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose;" and afflictions are among the "all things" that are beneficial to the present and eternal welfare and happiness of God's children.

Afflicted believer, Christ says to you, "You don't understand now why I am doing it; someday you will." You will soon know the merciful design, which Christ had in afflicting you. In the light of eternity, you will look back and say that he has brought you by a way that is right.

In their afflictions here, Christ manifests most tender love to believers: he renews their fainting souls, by the manifestation of his love and the revelation of his grace; he strengthens them inwardly. "In the day when I cried, you answered me, and strengthened me with strength in my soul." It was the manifestation of the love and grace of the Lord Jesus, that supported the Apostle Paul amid all his afflictions. "That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are quite small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! So we don't look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever."

How greatly will our light afflictions and trials here, add to the weight of that crown of glory, which we shall wear hereafter! How will they sweeten that eternal rest which remains for the people of God, our happy home in heaven!

Were the sun of prosperity always to shine upon us, we would soon forget our Father's house, our heritage above. Christ sends us afflictions to tell us that this is not our rest, that our blessed home is far above this scene of perishing mortality. Here, we must be fitted for glory; and Christ says to his followers, "In the world you shall have tribulation." It is through much tribulation that we must enter into the kingdom of God. Of that happy throng who stand around the throne of the Eternal, it is said, "these are they who came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."

The way to Mount Zion lies through the valley of Baca. The road to glory is a rough one. Believers may exclaim with the Psalmist, "You have tested us, O God; you have purified us like silver melted in a crucible. You captured us in your net and laid the burden of slavery on our backs. You sent troops to ride across our broken bodies. We went through fire and flood. But you brought us to a place of great abundance." But when we come to that abundant place, even to the heavenly Canaan, we will find that it will make amends for all our momentary afflictions on earth– that one hour with Christ in glory, will make us forget a lifetime of suffering.

"Though rough and thorny be the road,
It leads you home, apace, to God
Then count your present trials small,
For heaven will make amends for all."

Even now, when we are traveling through this valley of tears to mansions of glory, we have our comforts and enjoyments. The love of Christ sweetens every affliction; turns the darkest night of adversity into the light of day, and the saddest night of weeping into the morning of joy. Come afflictions, come trials, come whatever may, we are assured that all things shall work together for our good.

Reader, are you afflicted? Is it sanctified to you? If so, look upon it as an evidence of Christ's love. Let it ever be remembered, that "For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes those he accepts as his children." And again, "For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights." The Lord afflicts his people, because he loves them. "As many as I love," says Christ, "I rebuke and chasten.'' He does it "for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness." And though now, "No chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto those who are exercised thereby."

Afflictions are often sent to arrest the wanderer in his course, and to bring him back to God. Many a child of God can say with David, who had often been tried and made to pass through the furnace of affliction, " Before I was afflicted, I went astray; but now have I kept your word. It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn your statutes. I know, O Lord, that your judgments are right, and that you in faithfulness have afflicted me."

Afflictions are also designed for the conversion of sinners. Thousands have been chosen in the furnace of affliction. Oh! how many saints of God, in every age, can witness to the truth of these words: "Behold, I have refined you, but not with silver; I lave chosen you in the furnace of affliction." How many careless sinners, under the softening touch of affliction, have been brought to Jesus, and have found peace in his atoning blood! How many, without the saving knowledge of Christ, have been cast on beds of sickness, and there made, for the first time, to feel that Jesus is precious! Then they enjoyed his love, received his grace, and knew by experience that the Lord is gracious. Then affliction became light, Christ precious, and heaven sweet. The manifestation of a Savior's love dispelled every gloom, and heavenly light irradiated their souls. In affliction, Christ manifests the tenderest love to his people, and then it is that they get a glimpse of his matchless perfections. He is always near them, and "in all their affliction he is afflicted, and the angel of his presence saves them."

How happy are they to whom the love of Christ is manifested in affliction; in whose hearts the love of God is shed abroad; and who are filled with joy unspeakable, and full of glory! Such are enabled to say, with an experienced apostle, "We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us—they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation. And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love."

A young lady who had lain on a bed of sickness for many months, once declared to the writer, that she would rather suffer affliction with the people of God, than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. Whence arose this resignation to the will of God, amid extreme sufferings? From the manifestation of Christ's love; from that love being shed abroad in her heart.

"How often does Christ manifest his dearest love to his suffering ones," said an eminent saint of other days (Hannah Housman), during her sickness. "Blessed be God for all his mercies, and for this comfort in my affliction. O, how many mercies I have! I lack for nothing. Hitherto I can say, the Lord is gracious. He has been very merciful to me, in sustaining me under all my trials. The Lord brings affliction, but it is not because he delights to afflict his children; it is at all times for our profit. I can say it has been good for me to be afflicted; it has enabled me to discern things, which, when I was in health, I could not perceive. It has made me know more of the vanity and emptiness of this world, and all its delusive pleasures- for at best they are but vanity."

Said an amiable and devoted young minister (Thomas Taylor) in his last sickness, "I do not consider my circumstances melancholy or painful. I am very mercifully dealt with. My passage to the tomb is easy. I have comparatively little suffering, and I enjoy that peace of God which passes all understanding. I can truly say, that goodness and mercy have followed me all my days, including these suffering days: and looking upwards to that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, I can also add, I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for ever." Thus afflictions work for our good, and qualify us for the joys and bliss of heaven.

And now, afflicted reader, remember the divine exhortation, "My child, don't ignore it when the Lord disciplines you, and don't be discouraged when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes those he accepts as his children." "But consider the joy of those corrected by God! Do not despise the chastening of the Almighty when you sin. For though he wounds, he also bandages. He strikes, but his hands also heal." "As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Whoever heard of a child who was never disciplined? If God doesn't discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children after all." Dear believer, the time is short. Your afflictions are nearly over.

"A few more trials; a few more tears; a few more days of darkness, and we shall be forever with the Lord. In this tabernacle we groan, being burdened: All dark things shall yet be cleared up; all sufferings healed; all blanks supplied; and we shall find fullness of joy (not one drop lacking) in the smile and presence of our God. It is one of the laws of Christ's kingdom– 'we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.' We must not reckon upon a smooth road to glory, but it will be a short one." (McCheyne)

"Be still, my soul, and know the Lord;
In meek submission wait his will,
His presence can true peace afford,
His power can shield from every ill.
Your path is strewed with piercing thorns;
Each step is gained by arduous fight,
Yet wait, till hope's bright morning dawns,
Till darkness changes into light.
Soon shall the painful conflict cease;
Soon shall the raging storm be o'er;
Soon shall you reach the realms of peace,
Where suffering shall be known no more.
There shall your joy forever flow
In one unbroken stream of bliss;
There shall you God the Savior know,
And feel him your as you are his."

Cleave closely to Jesus; you shall soon see him as he is; then your afflictions, and trials, and days of mourning will have ended; you shall reign with Jesus, and be like him. "And I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again."

Sanctified afflictions are fitting you for heaven. " Happy are those whom you discipline, Lord, and those whom you teach from your law. You give them relief from troubled times until a pit is dug for the wicked."

Choose Christ now, and you may rest assured that goodness and mercy shall follow you through life, and glory and immortality crown you at death. You will enjoy the love of Christ in health, and in sickness, and when you come to feel your last pain, and draw your last breath, you will shout forth, "O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory? Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ."

THE LOVE OF CHRIST, AS MANIFESTED TO HIS PEOPLE IN THE HOUR OF DEATH

"Even when I walk through the dark valley of death, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me." Psalm 23:4

"And when the closing scenes prevail,
When wealth, state, pleasure, all shall fail;
All that a foolish world admires,
Or passion craves or pride inspires;
At that important hour of need,
Jesus shall prove a friend indeed.
His hand shall smooth your dying bed,
His arm sustain your drooping head;
And when the painful struggle's o'er,
And that vain thing, the world, no more
He'll bear his humble friend away,
To rapture and eternal day."

It is a solemn truth that you and I must die. Death will soon overtake us. Before the termination of the present year; yes, before the sun shall have again passed the horizon, the hand that now writes these lines, and the eye that now reads them, may both have felt the chill of death.

Oh, what is human life? A vapor; a dream; a tale that is soon told; a feeble spark of vitality, emitting its light for a moment, and then forever extinguished! "How frail is humanity! How short is life, and how full of trouble! Like a flower, we blossom for a moment and then wither. Like the shadow of a passing cloud, we quickly disappear." "My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle flying back and forth. They end without hope. O God, remember that my life is but a breath."

Our continuance on earth is but for a short moment. "Our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding." "As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourishes; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and the place thereof shall know it no more." "For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away." How short, how uncertain is life; but how certain is death!

How true it is that God will bring us to death, and to "the house appointed for all living." "It is appointed unto men once to die." Millions have fallen before the irresistible stroke of death. All mankind are dying creatures, and are pressing onward to the grave.

Reflect upon the past history of mankind. "Generation after generation," says a beautiful writer, "have passed away. Time was, when they were alive upon the earth, and active amid its busy scenes. They had their joys and their sorrows. They flitted across life's busy stage, and disappeared forever behind the curtain of mortality. They have gone. The winds of centuries have swept over their graves."

As it was with them, so it will soon be with us. Look at the future. It is computed that eight hundred million people constitute the population of our globe: these, in less than a century, will all be lodged in the grave. The grave receives alike as its victims the inmate of the cottage, and him who sits on his throne and sways the scepter of nations. The paths of glory and honor lead but to the grave. Here come the nobles with their titles, kings with their crowns, and scholars with their volumes. Here is the home of the mighty hero, who once with his steel-clad millions thundered over the field of battle, and with an arm of power shook the foundations of kingdoms.

"How populous, how capacious is the grave!
This is creation's melancholy vault."

O look at the brevity and vanity of human life, and learn a solemn lesson. Though you have soared in fame, or have accumulated wealth in abundance; though you glory in human power, and, like Alexander, could ride triumphantly over the ruins of desolated nations, yet the time will soon have arrived when the feeble tenement of clay shall moulder, leaving its only epitaph upon the crumbling marble; when it may be pronounced, over your mortal remains–
"How loved, how valued once, avails you not;
To whom related, or by whom begot:
A heap of dust alone remains of thee;
'Tis all you are, and all the great shall be."

But death does not annihilate our existence. We are immortal beings. Human life is but a prelude to an immortal state of being. As we close our eyes on the visionary scenes of time, we open them amid the solemn realities of eternity; we enter upon that life which will never end. To die, then, is but to live.

Oh! how important it is that we should become interested in the atonement of Christ; that we may find redemption in his blood, and forgiveness of sins, that we may be in peace. All must tread the dark valley alone. All must cross the Jordan of death. But the humble follower of Christ is, through grace, enabled to exclaim, as he approaches the dreadful precipice that hides the view of mortality: "Even when I walk through the dark valley of death, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me."

Christ's presence is with believers in the hour of death; he cheers their departing spirits. They have fled for refuge to him, and he sustains them in their trying hour. Then he is a friend indeed; a friend that sticks closer than a brother. This love is manifested to them; it enables them to shout forth triumphantly, in the face of the last enemy, "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. How we thank God, who gives us victory over sin and death through Jesus Christ our Lord!"

It is to the believer in Jesus, and to him alone, that death comes disarmed of his terrors; being only a faithful messenger to convey him to his dear Lord and Savior: so that in the prospect of dissolution, he can express a desire with Paul, "To depart and be with Christ, which is far better." He knows that Christ is his loving friend, that he is watching over his dying bed, ready to receive his departing spirit, and he can confidently say with Stephen, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." And with David, "Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth." "I will behold your face in righteousness. I will be satisfied, when I awake, with your likeness." And with Simeon, "Lord, now let your servant depart in peace according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation."

Such is the peaceful end of the Christian's mortal career. He dies in peace. He passes the swellings of Jordan, cheered by the Savior's presence, and animated by the manifestation of his love. It is in the trying hour of death, when flesh and heart fail, that the love of Christ is amazingly manifested to believers.

It is when the 'swellings of Jordan' come almost over the poor believer's soul; when he is ready to sink beneath the boisterous waves, that Christ reveals to him his wonderful love, which fills his heart with joy; which enables him to shout forth joyfully upon his bed, and be more than a conqueror through Him that loved us. "Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds." "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." And at that solemn period, when the last sands of life are running out, when life's last hour is closing, he visits them individually, and unfolds the riches of his grace, and the wonders of his love. He whispers in their ears his gracious promises. "Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior."

And they find him faithful to his promises; yes, when they tread the verge of Jordan, they find him like the high priest of old, who bore the ark of the covenant, standing in the midst of the waters, that they may safely pass through its proud waves to the heavenly Canaan, that glorious land of promise- the happy home of the believers, the heaven of eternal rest. "They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven." Jesus Christ, our blessed high priest, himself has passed through the Jordan of death. He has dipped his feet into this stream. He has rolled back its swelling waves. He has made a safe and easy passage for all his followers.

Christian, why then are you afraid to die, to plunge into this stream, when you see the very footprints of your Savior in the bottom? "Who is he that condemns? It is Christ who died." His eyes have been closed in death. O, believer! Christ has been laid in the cold and silent grave before you. He has felt the chill of death. But he has removed its sting. Through death, he has destroyed him that had the power of it. Fear not, death is a vanquished foe. Christ says concerning his people, "I will ransom them from the power of the grave. I will redeem there from death O death! I will be your plague; O grave! I will be your destruction."

Christian, death cannot hurt you. It is but a sure step into glory! Are you in bondage through the fear of death? Christ has delivered you from this bondage. "Because God's children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—Jesus also became flesh and blood by being born in human form. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he deliver those who have lived all their lives as slaves to the fear of dying."

Thus, the children of God are safely conducted through death to mansions of glory, and awake amid the splendors of are immortal day. How happy they, who, when walking through the valley of the shadow of death, find that Jesus is their friend and companion!
"How glorious he! how happy they,
In such a glorious friend!
Whose love secures them all the way,
And crowns them at the end."

Thus, while the believer is standing on the verge of the grave, and looking back on his past life, his past conflicts, his earthly pilgrimage, he can exclaim in the language of the Apostle Paul, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith;" and as he looks forward into a vast eternity, and sees the rich rewards that are shortly to be his, the kingdom that he is going to possess, the crown of glory that is soon to he placed upon his brow, he triumphantly adds, "And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness that the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that great day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his glorious return." At last, he hears that happy approbation, and joyful invitation, "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into time joy of your Lord."

The solemn scene closes. The dark valley is passed. Jordan is crossed. No more struggles. No more pain. No more tears of sorrow, and affliction. No more death. "He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces." The believer is "absent from the body, and present with the Lord." In the Savior's perfect love, he rests, and finds his eternity of joy. In his dying moments he could say, "God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave; for he shall receive me." "For this God is our God, forever and ever; he will be our guide, even unto death." And he has experienced a happy realization of these promises. That Savior who loved him in life, also manifests his love to him in the hour of death. His love is abiding, it is not subject to mutation; it knows no change. "Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them unto the end."

As the believer's mortal career is about to terminate, the Savior stands by him, and encircles him with the arms of his love. He sheds abroad his love in the believer's heart. He sustains him amid the agonies of dissolving nature. He strengthens him by his grace. The dying Christian cries, "My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever." "That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are quite small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! So we don't look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever."

Thus he finishes his earthly course with joy. His end is peace. "Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright; for the end of that man is peace." With him all is calm, and peaceful. The heavens are serene. The thunders of the law are hushed. Calvary is in his view. Around him all is sprinkled with atoning blood. No wonder, then, that he should die in peace; for, "being justified by faith," he has "peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ." He has obtained the victory over death, the last enemy. Hence, many a dying Christian has been able to say, with Goodwin, "Is this dying? Is this the enemy that dismayed me so long, now so harmless, and even pleasant?"

Not so with the end of the wicked. To him, death is terrible; the grave, gloomy; and eternity, dark. "The wicked are crushed by their sins, but the godly have a refuge when they die."

The death-bed of the Christian is a glorious, happy place– "The chamber where the good man meets his fate, Is privileged beyond the common walk of virtuous life, Quite on the verge of heaven."

THE LOVE OF CHRIST IN THE HOUR OF DEATH (continued); THE CLOUD OF WITNESSES

"Seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses." Hebrews 12:1

A great many delightful records of the death bed scenes of martyrs, ministers of Jesus Christ, and private Christians, who have enjoyed the presence of Christ in a dying hour, who have felt his love manifested to them, and have received his consolations, might be adduced to corroborate the assertions we have already made, and to confirm the truth, that Christ does thus manifest his love to dying believers. We shall introduce the following.

1. Lambert, a martyr under Henry VIII, while he was cruelly mangled by the soldiers' halberts, and consuming in a slow fire, raised his burning hands amid the flames, and, with a distinct voice, exclaimed, "None but Christ; none but Christ!"

2. Lawrence Saunders, suffered martyrdom under the "bloody Queen Mary." He kissed the stake at which he was bound, and cried aloud, "Welcome the cross of Christ! Welcome the cross of Christ! Welcome life everlasting!"

3. John Knox, the Scottish Reformer's dying words, were, "Come, Lord Jesus, sweet Jesus! into your hands I commend my spirit." Again he said, "I have tasted of the heavenly joys where presently I shall be! Now, for the last time I commit soul, body, and spirit into his hands." Uttering a deep sigh, he said, "Now it is come!" His attendant desired him to give his friends a sign that he died in peace. On this he waved his hand, and uttering two deep sighs, he fell asleep in Jesus.

4. John Welsh, the son-in-law of John Knox, was one of the most eminent ministers that the Church of Scotland ever produced. He died in great joy. On his death-bed, he seemed to feel himself on the very threshold of glory: he was filled and overpowered with the sensible manifestations of God's love and glory. His last words were uttered in an ecstasy of joy: "It is enough, O Lord, it is now enough! hold your hand; your servant is a clay vessel, and can hold no more!"

5. Samuel Rutherford, professor of divinity in the University of St. Andrew's, was one of the most resplendent lights that ever rose in Scotland He died a triumphant death. His last moments, he was favored with a most wonderful manifestation of Christ's love. He felt that Christ was with him, and that he manifested his grace to him; and he was, through that manifested love and grace, enabled to exclaim with his dying breath, "There is none like Christ. I feel, I feel, I believe, I joy, I rejoice, I feed on manna! My eyes shall see my Redeemer, and I shall be ever with him! And what would you more want? I have been a sinful man; but I stand at the best pass that over a man did. Christ is mine, and I am his! Glory, glory, to my Creator and Redeemer forever! Glory shines in Emmanuel's land! O for arms to embrace him! O for a well-tuned harp." He continued exulting in God his Savior to the last, as one in full vision of joy and glory. At length he entered into the joy of his Lord.

"In vain my fancy strives to paint
The moment after death;
The glories that surround the saints,
When yielding up their breath.
One gentle sigh their fetters breaks;
We scarce can say 'they're gone,'
Before the willing spirit takes
Her mansion near the throne."

6. James Durham, on his dying bed, was at first in much darkness of his mind. He said to a friend, "For all that I have preached and written, there is but one scripture that I can think of, or dare to lay hold of. Tell me, brother, if I may dare lay the weight of my salvation on it: "Whoever comes unto me, I will in nowise cast out!" "That you may depend on," said the minister in reply," though you had a thousand salvations at hazard!" Having remained some time in silence, he at length came joyfully from beneath the dark cloud, and cried, in a rapture of joy, "Is not the Lord good? Is he not infinitely good? See how he smiles! I do say it, and I do proclaim it!"

7. The noble Marquis of Argyle, on the morning of his execution, while settling his worldly business, was so overpowered by the manifestation of divine love and goodness, that he broke out in a holy rapture, and said, "I thought to leave concealed the Lord's goodness; but it will not do. I am now ordering my affairs; and God is sealing my charter to my heavenly inheritance, and is just now saying to me, Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you!"

8. James Guthrie, a godly minister, the companion of the noble Argyle, exclaimed, when on the scaffold, "Jesus is my light and life, My righteousness my strength and salvation and all my desire! Him, O Him do I commend with all my soul unto you. Bless Him, O my soul, now and forever! Now, O Lord, let your servant depart in peace; for my eyes have seen your salvation."

9. The pious Hervey closed his life in peace. His last words were: "How thankful am I for death! It is the passage to the Lord and Giver of eternal life. O welcome, welcome death! You may well be reckoned among the treasures of a Christian– to live is Christ; to die, is gain! Lord, now let your servant depart in peace; for my eyes have seen your salvation!" Then he fell asleep in Jesus. Oh, what a happy death; to die unto the Lord- to sleep in Jesus!

10. William Romaine was an eminent preacher of the gospel of Jesus, and died a joyful death. He had the love of Christ in his heart; and He was very precious to him in the hour of death. "I have," said he, "the peace of God in my conscience, and the love of God in my heart. Jesus is more precious than rubies; and all that can be desired on earth, is not to be compared to Him." Being near his dissolution, he cried out, "Holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty! Glory be to you on High, for such peace on earth, and goodwill to men." One time he said, "I have much of the presence of Jesus with me."

11. Doddridge, an eminent servant of Christ, said, on his death-bed, "I am full of confidence: there is a hope set before me; I have fled; I still fly for refuge to that hope. In him I trust. In him I have strong consolation, and shall assuredly be accepted in the beloved of my soul."

12. The immortal Baxter closed his course full of joy and peace. To some ministers around him, he said, "I have peace, I have peace!" "You are now drawing near your long- desired home," said one. "I believe I believe," was the reply. When the question was put to him, "How are you?" he promptly answered, "Almost well!" To a friend who entered the chamber, he said, "I thank you, I thank you for coming." Then fixing his eye on him, he added, "The Lord teach you how to die!" These were his last words.

13. John Janeway, a young minister of England, died one of the must triumphant Christian deaths on record. Not a word dropped from his lips, which did not breathe of Christ and heaven. His Savior was with him in the hark valley; the arms of Christ supported him; the love and smiles of Christ cheered his departing soul, and made death itself sweet to him. He broke out in such words as these: "O, he is come! he is come! O, how glorious is the blessed Jesus! How shall I speak the thousandth part of his praises! O for words to set out a little of that excellency; but it is inexpressible! O, my friends, come look upon a dying man, and wonder! I myself cannot but wonder! Was there ever greater kindness? Were there ever such manifestations of rich grace? O, why me, Lord; why me? If this be dying, dying is sweet! Let no Christian be afraid of dying. O, death is sweet to me! This bed is soft! Christ's arms, his smiles, his visits; surely they would turn hell into heaven! What are all human pleasures compared to one glimpse of his glory, which shines so strongly on My soul? I shall soon be in eternity! I shall soon see Christ himself, who died for me, who loved me, and washed me in his blood! I shall soon mingle in the hallelujahs of glory! I think I hear the melody of heaven, and by faith I see the angels waiting to carry me to the bosom of Jesus, and I shall be forever with the Lord! And who can choose but rejoice in all this?"

Often he would say, "O, that I could but let you know what I now feel! O, that I could express the thousandth part of that sweetness that I now find in Christ! You would all then think it well worth while to make it your business to be religious. O, my dear friends, we little think what Christ is worth upon a death bed! I would not for a world, no, for millions of worlds, be now without Christ and pardon." To those around him, he said, "O that glory, the unspeakable glory that I behold. My heart is full! my heart is full! Christ smiles, and I cannot but smile. The arms of my blessed Savior are open to embrace me; the angels stand ready to carry my soul into his bosom. O, did you but see what I see, you would all cry out with me, 'How long, dear Lord? Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!' O, why are his chariot wheels so long in coming? I so long to be with Christ, that I would be contented to be cut in pieces, and to be put to the most exquisite torments, so that I might but die and be with Christ! O, how sweet is Jesus! 'Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!' Death, do your worst. Death has lost its terribleness. Death! it is nothing to me! Death is nothing (through grace) to me. I can as easily die, as shut my eyes, or turn my head and sleep. I long to be with Christ: I long to die."

To his Christian friends who came to see him, he said, "O help me to praise God, I have nothing else to do, from this time to eternity, but to praise; and love God! O, praise, praise, praise, that infinite boundless love that has to a wonder, looked upon my soul, and done more for me than for thousands of his children! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Help me, help me, O my friends, to praise and admire him that has done such astonishing wonders for my soul– he has pardoned all my sins; he has filled me with his goodness; he has given me grace and glory, and no good thing has he withheld from me."

On another occasion, he uttered such words as these, "Admire God forever and ever, O you redeemed ones! O, those joys, the taste of which I have! The everlasting joys which are at his right hand forever more! Eternity, eternity itself is too short to praise God in. O bless the Lord with me! Come, let us shout for joy, and boast in the God of our salvation. O, help me to praise the Lord, for his mercy endures forever." Again he said, "I shall presently behold Christ himself who died for me, and loved me, and washed me in his own blood. I shall, before a few hours are over, be in eternity, singing the song of Moses, and the song of the Lamb. I shall presently stand upon Mount Zion, with all innumerable company of angels, and the spirits of the just made perfect, and Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant. I shall hear the voice of many people, and be one among them, who shall say, hallelujah, salvation, glory, honor and power, unto the Lord our God! And yet a little while, and I shall sing unto the Lamb a song of praise, saying, Worthy are you to receive praise, who was slain, and has redeemed us to God by your blood, out of every kindred and tongue, and people, and nation, and have made us unto our God, kings and priests, and we shall reign with you forever and ever."

A few hours before his death, he said, "And now, dear Lord, my work is done. I have finished my course, I have fought the good fight; and henceforth there remains for me a crown of righteousness. Now come, dear Lord Jesus, come quickly." At length his course was completed, and this lovely servant of the Lord fell asleep in Jesus.

14. The great Thomas Halyburton, one of the most learned divines of Scotland, and professor of divinity in the University St. Andrew's, breathed out his soul to God in a triumphant death. The following were his last words: "I dare look death in the face, in its most ghastly shape, and hope soon to have the victory over it. Glory, glory to him! O, what a God do I see! I have never seen anything like it. The beginning and the end of religion are wonderfully sweet! I long for his salvation: I bless his name, I have found him! I am taken up in blessing him; I am dying rejoicing in the Lord! O, I could not have believed that I should bear, and bear cheerfully, as I have done, this rod which has lain long on me. This is a miracle! Pain without pain! You see a man dying; a monument of the glorious power of astonishing grace!"

Some time after, he said, "When I shall be so weak as no longer to be able to speak, I will, if I can, give you a sign of triumph when I am near to glory." He did so: for when one said, "I hope you are encouraging yourself in the Lord," being now unable to speak, he lifted tip his hands and clapped them, and in a few moments expired.

15. Augustus Toplady closed a long and eminently holy life, by a very triumphant death. He said, "O how this soul of mine longs to be gone: like an imprisoned bird, it longs to take its flight. O, that I had the wings of a dove, I would flee away to the realms of bliss, and be at rest forever! I long to be absent from the body, and present with the Lord." At another time he said, "O what a day of sunshine has this been to me! I have no words to express it; it is unutterable! O, my friend, how good our God is! Almost without interruption his presence has been with me." Being near his end, he said, "O what delights! Who can fathom the joys of the third heavens!" And just before he expired, he said, "The sky is clear; there is no cloud; come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!"

16. Thomas Scott, the commentator, died a happy, triumphant death. The love of Christ filled his soul; and his dying bed may be said to have been sublimely Christian! Among the last words he uttered were these, "Lord support me! Lord Jesus receive my spirit! Christ is my all! He is my only hope! O to realize the fullness of joy! O, to be done with temptation! This is heaven begun! I am done with darkness forever! Satan is vanquished! Nothing remains but salvation with eternal glory, eternal glory!"

17. Dr. Condict, President of Queen's (now Rutger's) College, New Jersey, was known to be much afraid of death, but he died triumphantly. Raising himself from his pillow, he stretched out his quivering hands, and exclaimed, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me." Then he added, "Let us pray;" and having uttered a brief and solemn prayer, he gently leaned back on his billow, and closing his eyes with his own hands, soon fell asleep in Jesus.

18. Dr. Dwight, President of Yale College, closed his useful life by a peaceful and happy death. He requested his brother to read to him the 17th chapter of John. While listening to the latter verses of that chapter, he exclaimed, "O, what triumphant truths!" Some one recited to him a part of the 23rd Psalm, and asked "Can you now say, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me?" He replied, "I hope so." He died in peace, cheered by his Savior's presence and love.

19. Dr. Edward Payson was an eminent Christian, and a devoted minister of the Lord. He died a most triumphant death. When about to finish his course, he thus commenced a letter- "Dear sister, were I to adopt the figurative language of Bunyan, I might date this letter from the land of Beulah, of which I have been for some weeks a happy inhabitant. The celestial city is fully in my view; its glories beam upon me; its breezes fan me; its odors are wafted to me; its sounds strike upon my ears; and its spirit is breathed into my heart. Nothing separates me from it but the river of death, which now appears but as an insignificant brook that may be crossed at a single step, whenever God shall give permission. The Sun of righteousness has been gradually drawing nearer and nearer, appearing larger and brighter as he approached; and now fills the whole hemisphere, pouring forth a flood of glory, in which I seem to float like an insect in the beams of the sun, exulting, yet almost trembling, while I gaze on this excessive brightness, and wondering with unutterable wonder why God should condescend thus to shine upon a sinful worm. A single heart, and a single tongue, seem altogether inadequate to my desires; I want a whole heart for every separate emotion, and a whole tongue to express that emotion."

Among the last words of this excellent and pious divine, are the following: "A young man, when about to leave the world, exclaimed, "The battle's fought, the battle's fought; but the victory is lost forever!" But I can say, "The battle's fought, the battle's fought, and the victory is won! The victory is won forever! I am going to bathe in an ocean of purity, and benevolence, and happiness, to all eternity!"

Again– "Hitherto I have viewed God as a fixed star; bright indeed, but often intercepted by clouds. But now he is coming nearer and nearer; and he spreads into a sight so vast, and so glorious, that the sight is too dazzling for flesh and blood to sustain!"

On one occasion, when laboring under vary acute pains, he exclaimed, "These are God's arrows; but they are sharpened with love." Once he exclaimed, "Victory, victory! Peace, peace!" The last words he was heard to whisper, were these: "Faith and patience, hold out!" Thus died Dr. Payson; and he has left a glorious testimony to the truth of the religion of Jesus.

20. Harlan Page was an eminent Christian, and used great personal efforts for the souls of individuals; and in his death, Christ was with him. "A death-bed," said he, "is a precious place, when we have the presence of Christ– then to wake to a glorious immortality." Again, "I feel as if I had got half way home. I cannot bear to stop. It would be a pity to have the flesh return on these limbs again." Again he said, "I commit myself to you, Jesus, Savior of sinners. O the infinite love of Christ! I may stop my mouth, and lie in the dust." He appeared to feel that he had obtained a new view of the love of Christ; therefore he said, "It seems as if I never knew before what it was to love him. O, who can help loving such a blessed Savior!"

Again he repeated these words: "O when shall I go home? How long must I be burdened with this body! The Lord knows how much suffering I need, to prepare me for his kingdom." A little before his death, he exclaimed, "Home! home!" and prayed: "O for a free and full discharge! Lord Jesus, come quickly! Why wait your chariot wheels so long? I dedicate myself to you. O may I have the victory. O come quickly! Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!"

21. David Brainerd died a happy death. With perfect composure of mind, this eminent servant of God saw the approaches of dissolution. To him, death was not an enemy, but a friend– it was the long expected messenger, sent to convey him home to his heavenly Father's house. He would exclaim, "Oh! why is the chariot so long in coming? Why tarry the wheels of his chariot? Come, Lord Jesus; come, quickly!" In this happy frame of mind, he expired.

22. Risdon Darracott, an eminent servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, said on his death-bed, "I am going to that Jesus whom I love, and whom I have so often preached. Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly! Why are your chariot wheels so long a coming?" The night before, he died, he said, "O what a good God have I in Christ Jesus! I would praise him, but my lips cannot. Eternity will be too short to speak his praises." He related his experience of the goodness of God to him during his sickness, and said, "If I had a thousand lives to live, I would live them all for Christ! I have cast anchor on him, and rely on his blood, and am going to venture my all upon him. There is nothing on earth I desire! Here I m waiting! What a mercy to be in Jesus!" He then threw abroad his arms, and exclaimed, "He is coming! he is coming! But surely this can't be death! O how astonishingly is the Lord softening my passage! Surely God is too good to such a worm! O speed your chariot wheels! Why are they so long in coming? I long to be gone." At length he fell asleep in Jesus, whom he so much loved, and who manifested such tender love to him in the hour of death.

23. Mrs. Catharine Brettergh, a singular Christian of Lancashire, England, was blessed to die a comfortable and joyful death. The following were some of her last words: "O the joys that I feel in my soul! O my sweet Savior, shall I be one with you, as you are one with the Father? O wonderful is your love me, who am but dust! To make such a one as I a partaker of your glory! O that my tongue and heart were able to sound forth your praises as I ought!"

24. The amiable and pious Hannah Housman, when on her death-bed, often said, with smiles in her face, and transports of joy: "Come, Lord Jesus; come quickly! Why tarry the wheels of your chariot? O, blessed convoy! come and fetch my soul, to dwell with God, and Christ, and perfect spirits, forever and ever! When I join that blessed society above, my pleasures will never end. O, the glory, the glory that shall be set on the head of faith and love!"

25. Jeremiah Evarts, so well known by every friend of missionaries, died a triumphant death. Feeling the love of Christ in his last moments, he broke out into rapturous expressions: "Praise him, praise him, praise him in a way which you know not of." Some one said to him, "You will soon see Jesus as he is, and know how to praise him." He replied, "O wonderful, wonderful, wonderful glory! I will praise him! I will praise him! Wonderful glory! Jesus reigns!"

2O. Richard Cecil often exclaimed on his death-bed, with the martyr Lambert, "None but Christ; none but Christ!" As he drew nearer and nearer to death Jesus Christ was his only topic, and a short time before he died, he requested one of his family to write down for him in a book the following sentence: "'None but Christ, none but Christ,' said Lambert, dying at the stake; the same, in dying circumstances, with his whole heart, says Richard Cecil."

27. John Rees, of London, uttered the following words on his death-bed: "Christ in his person, Christ in the love of his heart, and Christ in the power of his arm, is the rock on which I rest; and now, (reclining his head on the pillow,) "Death, strike!"

28. Mrs. Hannah Woodd, repeated the following words, when near her dissolution: "Oh! I am very happy! I am going to my mansion in the skies. Thank God, I have a hope built on the Rock of ages. I am dying, but I am going to glory. I shall see Him as he is. I shall be forever near him, and behold his face. Blessed be God! Blessed be God!"

29. Mrs. Atthans, an excellent Christian lady, left this testimony to the cause of Christianity: "I bless God, I have not one fear concerning dying. That Almighty Lord, who has so wonderfully preserved me to the present moment, will not forsake me in my last extremity. No! when flesh and heart fail, he will be the strength of my heart, and my portion forever."

30. We shall close our records of triumphant deaths, with an account of the last hours of a remarkably pious young lady, who lately went to glory; and whose death-bed scene, it was the privilege of the author to witness.

He had often read accounts of the triumphant deaths of believers, but never before had he seen such an illustrious exhibition of divine grace, and love, manifested to a saint, in the hour of death. Not until then, did he feel that there was such power in the religion of Jesus, to sustain, and to cheer in the hour of dissolution. This young lady had been confined to a bed of severe suffering for one year. At last her soul was ripened for glory. The time came that she must die and her death-bed was a scene of triumph. Christ was very precious to her; and his love was wonderfully manifested to her soul. She often exclaimed, "My beloved is mine, and I am his."

The following are among her last words. To her distant brother she thus dictated a letter. "Dear brother, I know not whether I shall meet you again on earth; but I hope to meet you in heaven, where we shall be forever singing the praises of God; where the Lamb, who is in the midst of the throne, shall feed us, and lead us unto living fountains of waters, and where God shall wipe away all tears from our eyes." To her father, who said to her, "I fear I must lose you;" she replied, "Your loss will be my gain! I have a building from God, a house, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." And again when he said, "I think you will fall asleep in Jesus;" she responded, "It will be a happy change."

As her friends were standing around her dying bed, she said to a brother, "Have you any words to say?" He immediately repeated Psalm 23:4 "Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me." These words were very reviving to her. She seemed to feel that Christ was with her in that trying moment, that his love was shed abroad in her heart; for, turning herself, she exclaimed in a transport of joy, "Oh! I would not give up Christ for all the world!"

"Whom have I in the heavens high,
But you, O Lord, alone?
And in the earth whom I desire,
Beside you there is none."

"I hope that I shall meet you all in heaven, where we shall be forever with the Lord." She wished that Christ might be praised; and that he might be magnified by her dying breath. To her brother she said, "I hope you may live with Christ, and praise him throughout the endless ages of eternity."

She was asked by one, if, during her sickness she had not often experienced something like heaven upon earth. She replied that she had. Her earthly course being nearly finished, she opened her eyes, which were soon to be closed in death, and in the language of strong, unshaken faith, exclaimed with Job, "But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and that he will stand upon the earth at last. And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God! I will see him for myself. Yes, I will see him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought!" Once she broke out into a rapture and exclaimed, "O, to be ever with the Lord, what a happy change!"

A little while before her death, one said to her, "It is a happy thing when the believer can say when about to leave the world, I have finished the work which you gave me to do." She said yes; and added, (though with great difficulty, her breath being almost gone), "I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course. I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but also unto all those who love his appearing." Her faith remained firm unto the end, and her hope and confidence unshaken to the last. Her sky was clear and serene, her mind calm and composed, and thus she fell asleep in Jesus, and entered into the joy of her Lord.

As the writer gazed upon the solemn scene before him, he could not but feel the force of Revelation 14:3, "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord." A few days before this young lady died, she requested the following verses to be read at her funeral. They are too beautiful, and impressive to be omitted here.

To my young companions–

"My youthful mates, both small and great,
Stand here, and you shall see,
An awful sight, which is a type
Of what you soon will be!

I used to appear once fresh and fair
Among the youthful crowd;
But now behold me dead and cold,
Wrapped in a sable shroud!

My cheeks once red, like roses spread,
My sparkling eyes so gay;
But now you see how 'tis with me,
A lifeless lump of clay!

When you are dressed in all your best,
In 'fashion' so complete,
You soon must be as you see me,
Wrapped in a shrouding sheet!

Ah, youth beware, and do prepare
To meet the monster, death!
For he may come when you are young,
And steal away your breath!

When you unto your frolics go,
Remember what I say;
In a short time, though in your prime,
You may be called away!

Now I am gone, I can't return;
No more of me you'll see;
But it is true that all of you,
Must shortly follow me!

When you unto my grave do go,
That gloomy place to see,
I say to you who stand and view,
Prepare to follow me!"

And now, reader, can you not say, "Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!" How important is it then that you should now choose Christ in order that you may enjoy his love and presence, not only through life, but also in the hour of death! If you belong to Christ, you will find him, in the last hour of life, a friend that sticks closer than a brother. What an awful thing it is to die without salvation by Christ, without a saving interest in him; and yet millions live without God, and without hope in the world; and millions more die in the same awful condition, and plunge into a dark and miserable eternity. O, be admonished to choose Christ in time, and he will be yours in death, and in eternity.

How unspeakably blessed it is to enjoy the love and smiles of Christ in a dying hour! Then what can the world do for you? The tears of your friends, and the exertions of your physicians, will then be unavailing. It is Christ alone that can make a dying-bed easy and comfortable. His love and presence will sustain you, and his almighty arms support you.

"Though unseen by human eye,
The Redeemer's hand is nigh,
He has poured salvation's light.
Far within the vale of night;
There will God my steps control,
There his presence bless my soul.
Lord whatever my sorrows be,
Teach me to look up to thee."

"He who is thus with you," says an excellent writer, "will afford all needful comfort and support in the trying hour. He will open at that time treasures of grace and strength, to which you had been previously a stranger. The Redeemer himself is present, not only to guide his saints, but to infuse that comfort and vigor which will abundantly compensate for the sinkings of expiring nature. Who but those who have entered heaven, can tell what unearthly joys are granted the saint in a dying hour? Often, there is reason to believe, they transcend everything possessed in the present life. There may be visions of glory realized by the spirit, which are second only to those of heaven. The dying experience of many saints has been of the most delightful kind. Whether such hopes and joys as were afforded to Janeway and others, will be vouchsafed to you, you know not; nor is it necessary you should know. Whatever is necessary for you in a dying hour, Christ will bestow. He says, "My grace is sufficient for you." Remember, that he has said, "Don't be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one who died. Look, I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave."

When we contemplate those, whose deaths we have recorded in this volume, we may justly say, "These all died in faith." Let us also be "followers of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises." "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish." If you belong to Christ, he will love you in life, in death, and in that happy home, which his love has prepared for you.

In conclusion, Christian reader, you will soon exchange the abodes of mortality for the regions of bliss. Then look beyond the grave. Do not confine your thoughts to this earthly gloomy place. Contemplate the sublime raptures of your future existence beyond the precincts of time. Christ shall one day break the slumbers of the grave, and you will arise to immortality.

The love of Christ does not stop at death. It extends beyond this solemn period. It will accompany you into the heavenly world; your everlasting happy home– and you will soon arrive there. From the valley of the shadow of death you shall ascend to the summit of Zion. You shall "come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to thousands of angels in joyful assembly. You have come to the assembly of God's firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God himself, who is the judge of all people. And you have come to the spirits of the redeemed in heaven who have now been made perfect. You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which graciously forgives instead of crying out for vengeance as the blood of Abel did."

For the darkness of mortality, you shall obtain the bright glories of heaven. "Your eyes shall see the King in his beauty; they shall behold the land that is very far off." You will possess the promised land, the heavenly Canaan. Then shall the days of your mourning be ended. Raised in the likeness of your blessed Redeemer, you shall, finally, be presented faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy! Entering the fair mansions of glory, you shall reign with your glorified Redeemer, forever and ever! O! happy outcome to the Christian's short pilgrimage on earth!

With such cheering prospects to he realized, can you not also say, in the prospect of death, with many dying saints, "I have a desire to depart, and to be with Christ. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!"

In the following chapters we shall contemplate that happy home which Christ, in his great love for a lost world, has now gone to prepare for his children. "For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down—when we die and leave these bodies—we will have a home in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long for the day when we will put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing."

"How happy is the dying saint,
Whose sins are all forgiven;
With joy he passes Jordan's flood,
Upheld by hopes of heaven.
The Savior, whom he truly loved,
Now cheers him by his grace;
A glory gilds his dying bed,
And beams upon his face.
Ecstatic joy and heavenly bliss
Swell his enraptured heart;
He views the promised land of rest,
And pants for his depart.
Terror and dread are both unknown;
Sweet peace and hope appear,
To guide the blessed traveler home,
And all his footsteps cheer.
Angels of light attendant wait
His spirit to convey
Beyond this drear abode of night
To realms of endless day.
Oh! may I live the life of faith,
Abound in holy love,
Till death shall bear my joyful soul
To Zion's courts above."





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