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the suspense that watches in that awful expecta-
tion ; here is that night of which our Lord spake,
wherein no man can work : He hath done our
work for us ; our righteousness is no longer of
works, but we may rest in Him.

Blessed, therefore, is this grave, because we
therein approach to the dead in Christ, and be-
cause this is the home where we ourselves shall
have to dwell ; for we, too, shall soon have to
make our bed in the dark, and the grave shall
close its doors about us; and before then it is
the home of our buried aifections, the house of all
living. Here might one pourtray human nature
itself sitting at a tomb, for our life is a continual
bereavement, and as soon as we begin to know
affection, we begin to mourn the loss of it. JSTo
one can "have lived for any time in the world, but
his best treasures and his best affections must be
with the dead ; and there is no reflecting person
who does not find that those parts of his life in
which he sinks most deeply into himself and the
' Job iii. 17.



WILLIAMS. 99

knowledge of his condition are made up of those
hours of stillness and solitude, where he seems to
sit at the grave of those who were once like him-
self, full of the same thoughts, and feelings,' and
affections. Stillness and solitude is of itself like
a holy sanctuary, wherein he seems to draw near
to them ; it is that in which they are ever found ;
and to draw near to them is to draw away from
the world ; for wherever it is that the faithful
departed are, we know that to be with them is to
be with Christ.

* * * * *

But the dead body of Christ is left here lifeless
and untenanted, not only that His dead body may
sanctify death, but that His spotless soul may
sanctify the place of the dead. One sacrificial
animal, the sin-offering, is dead in our hands ;
but the other has escaped, and gone into the wil-
derness, bearing sin. If the earth is hallowed and
preserved from corruption because the sinless Son
of man hath once made it His abode, and the flesh
His tabernacle, no less must the .place of the de-
parted have derived some great blessing from the
sojourn of His righteous soul among them. He
has not only made this world once the place of His
abode, but has continued ever since to vouchsafe
His presence to it in some high and peculiar man-
ner, so that it is not as it was before. And thus
also it is with the place of His saints that depart
hence in the Lord ; for since that time, " from
H 2



100 WILLIAMS.

henceforth blessed are the dead '," for the good to
die is "to be with Christ 2 ," which is "far better,"
and to " sleep in the Lord 3 ." It was of this that
the Prophet Isaiah spake, "Bring out the prisoners
from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out
of the prison-house *." This their darkness He has
converted into His own marvellous light. Of this
also spake the Prophet Zechariah, " By the blood
of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners,
out of the pit wherein is no water. Turn you to
the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope V

Well may we believe that place to be blessed
where the soul of Christ hath been. The great
Italian poet, when the scene of his poem is in the
abode of the wicked, is cautious lest the ever-
blessed Name should ever there escape, or be
uttered in those regions of despair ; whereby he
meant to imply that that awful Name would burst
asunder the everlasting bars of that prison-house.
How much more may we suppose that not the
name uttered by the lips, but the ever-adorable
Son of God, the soul of Christ Himself, must
have been of mighty avail for good in the place of
the faithful departed.

Nay, indeed, even nature itself, instinctively
would suggest to us this lesson of hope ; for what
reader has not been struck with wonder at Homer's
description of the place of the dead, so expressive

1 Kev. xiv. 13. 2 Phil. i. 23. * 1 Thess. iv. 14.

* Isa. xlii. 7. s Zech. ix. 12.



WILLIAMS. 101

of demerit, and the expectation of righteous judg-
ment in man, yet not without a secret hope in
God ? That first and greatest of poets describes
the souls of the dead as wrapt in mysterious
gloom, and powerless and silent, until they have
partaken of the blood of the sacrifice. Such is
the voice of nature, if it be not something greater
than nature ; or the glimmering light of primeval
tradition, that spoke of the great Sacrifice, in the
midst of that spiritual darkness, to them who
wandered beneath the dim twilight of the shadow
of death.

Blessed, therefore, is the thought of that inter-
mediate state between death and resurrection : it
is in some especial manner to be with Christ ;
there is something in the thought very full of awe
and trembling joy ; it is also to be with Abraham
and all the dead who are with Christ, as they are
selected and gathered out of this evil world. The
more we think of it, and of those who have pre-
ceded us there, the more do we seem to approach
them; for the dwelling-place and movement of
our minds depends not on bodily change of place,
but on the thoughts ; we are there where our
thoughts are. How aspiring, how exalting, how
calming, how quickening, how hallo wing, is the con-
templation, that before the rising of another sun we
may be in that country of the faithful departed
if found worthy to be there ! WILLIAMS.



102 XEWMAX.

5. If I am afflicted, or sick, or weak, or in pain,
let me not comfort myself chiefly with thinking
that it will be quickly over, or that I shall soon
be well, but rather with thinking and knowing
that it is the appointment of Divine wisdom,
for reasons of infinite concernment to myself, and
for the end which God has chiefly in view for His
people, in all His inflictions, viz. the glory of His
name in their spiritual health and recovery ; and a
blessed support it will be to know and feel that
I do not so much desire ease and deliverance from
present trouble, as grace and strength to undergo
more and greater, and even death itself, quietly,
obediently, in the spirit of faith, and with full
acceptance of the will of God. T. ADAM.



XXXY.

Such, then, were our Lord's sufferings, volun-
tarily undergone, and ennobled by an active obe-
dience ; themselves the centre of our hopes and
worship, yet borne without thoughts of self, to-
wards God, and for man. And who among us
habitually dwells upon them, but is led, without
deliberate purpose, by the very warmth of grati-
tude and adoring love, to attempt bearing his own
inferior trials in the same heavenly mind ? Who
does not see that to bear pain well is to meet it



NEWMAN. 103

courageously ? not to shrink or waver, but to pray
for God's help ; then to look at it stedfastly, to
summon what nerve we have of mind or body to
meet its attack, and to bear up against it (while
strength is given to us) as against some visible
enemy in close combat. Who will not acknow-
ledge, that when sent to us, we must make its
presence, as it were, our own voluntary act, by
the cheerful and ready acquiescence of our own
will with the will of God? Nay, who is there
but must own, that with Christ's sufferings before
us, pain and tribulation are, after all, not only the
most blessed, but even the most congruous at-
tendants upon those who are called to inherit the
benefit of them ? Most congruous, I say, not as
though necessary, but as most natural and be-
fitting ; harmonizing most fully with the main
object in the group of sacred wonders on which
the Church is called to gaze. Who, on the other
hand, does not at least perceive that all the glare
and gaudiness of this world, its excitements, its
keenly-pursued goods, its successes, and its trans-
ports, its pomps, and its luxuries, are not in cha-
racter with that pale and solemn scene which faith
must ever have in its eye ? What Christian will
not own that to " reign as kings," and to be " full,"
is not his calling ? so as to derive comfort in the
hour of sickness or bereavement, or other afflic-
tion, from the thought that he is now in his



104 NEWMAN.

place, if he be Christ's in his true home, the

sepulchre in which his Lord was laid.

*****

Could we see the Cross upon Calvary, and the
list of sufferers who resisted unto blood in the
times that followed it, is it possible that we should
feel surprise when pain overtook us, or impatience
at its continuance ? Is it strange though we are
smitten by ever so new a plague ? Is it grievous
that the cross presses upon one nerve or limb
ever so many years, till hope of relief is gone ?
Is it indeed not possible, with the Apostle, to
rejoice in " bearing in our body the marks of the
Lord Jesus l ?" And much more can we, for very
shame-sake, suffer ourselves to be troubled at
what is but ordinary pain, to be irritated or sad-
dened, made gloomy or anxious by inconvenience,
which could never surprise or unsettle those who
had studied and understood their place as servants
of a crucified Lord ?

Let us, then, determine, with cheerful hearts,
to sacrifice unto the Lord our God our comforts
and pleasures, however innocent, when He calls
for them, whether for the purposes of His Church
or in His own inscrutable purposes. Let us lend
to Him a few short hours of present ease, and we
(shall receive our own with abundant usury in the
day of His coming. There is a treasury in heaven,

1 Gal. vi. 17.



NEWMAN. 105

stored with such offerings as the natural man
abhors, with sighs and tears, wounds and blood,
torture and death. The martyrs first began the
contribution, and .we may all follow them ; all of
us, for every suffering, great or small, may, like
the widow's mite, be sacrificed to Him who sent it.
Christ gave us the words of consecration, when
He for our example said, "Thy will be done."
Henceforth, as the Apostle speaks, we may glory
in tribulation as the seed of future glory. Mean-
while, let us never forget in all we suffer, that,
properly speaking, our own sin is the cause of it ;
and it is only by Christ's mercy that we are al-
lowed to range ourselves at His side. We who
are children of wrath, are made through Him
children of grace; and our pains, which are in
themselves foretastes of hell, are changed by the
sprinkling of His blood into a preparation for
heaven. NEWMAN.

XXXYI.

How gracious is this revelation of God's parti-
cular providence to those who seek Him ! how
gracious to those who have discovered that this
world is but vanity, and who are solitary and iso-
lated in themselves, whatever shadows of power
and happiness surround them ! The multitude,
indeed, go on without these thoughts, either from
insensibility, as not understanding their own wants,
or changing from one idol to another, as each sue-



106 NEWMAN.

cessively fails : but men even of keener hearts would
be overpowered by despondency, and would even
loathe existence, did they suppose themselves
under the mere operation of fixed laws, powerless
to excite the pity or the attention of Him who has
appointed them. What should they do especially,
who are cast among persons unable to enter into
their feelings, and thus strangers to them, though
by long custom ever so much friends ; or have
perplexities of mind they cannot explain to them-
selves, much less remove, and no one to help
them ; or have affections and aspirations pent up
within them, because they have not met with ob-
jects to which to devote them; or are misunder-
stood by those around them, and find they have
no words to set themselves right with them, or no
principles in common, by way of appeal ; or seem
to themselves to be without place or purpose in
the world, or to be in the way of others ; or have
to follow their own sense of duty, without advisers
or supporters ; nay, to resist the wishes and soli-
citations of superiors or relatives, or the burden of
some painful secret, or of some incommunicable
solitary grief ! In all such cases the Gospel nar-
rative supplies our very need, not simply present-
ing- to us an unchangeable Creator to rely upon,
but a compassionate Guardian, a discriminating
Judge and Helper. God beholds thee individually,
whoever thou art ; He calls thee by thy name :
He sees thee and understands thee ; as He made



NEWMAN. 107

thee, He knows what is in thee ; all thy own pecu-
liar feelings and thoughts, thy dispositions and
likings, thy strength and thy weakness : He views
thee in thy day of rejoicing and thy day of sorrow :
He sympathizes in thy hopes and temptations :
He interests Himself in all thy anxieties and re-
membrances, all the risings and fallings of thy
spirits : He has numbered the very hairs of thy
head, and the cubits of thy stature : He compasses
thee round, and bears thee in His arms : He takes
thee up, and He sets thee down : He notes thy
very countenance, whether smiling or in tears,
whether healthful or sickly : He looks tenderly
upon thy hands and thy feet : He hears thy voice,
the beating of thy heart, and thy very breathing.
Thou dost not love thyself better than He loves
thee : thou canst not shrink from pain more than
He dislikes thy bearing it ; and if He puts it on
thee, it is as thou wilt put it on thyself for a
greater good afterwards. Thou art not only His
creature (though for the very sparrows He has
a care, and pitied the much cattle of Nineveh) ;
thou art man redeemed and sanctified, His adopted
son, favoured with a portion of that glory and
blessedness which flows from Him everlastingly
unto the Only-begotten. Thou wast one of those
for whom Christ offered up His last prayer, and
sealed it with His precious blood. What a thought
is this ! a thought almost too great for our faith.



108 ERSKINE.

Scarce can we refrain from acting Sarah's part,
when we bring it before us, so as to laugh from
amazement and perplexity. What is man, what
are we, what am I, that the Son of God should
have been so mindful of me ? What am I, that
He should have changed my soul's original con-
stitution ; new-made me, who from youth up
have been a transgressor ; and should Himself
dwell personally in this very heart of mine, mak-
ing me His temple ? What am I, that God the
Holy Ghost should enter me and draw up my
thoughts heavenwards, "with plaints unutter-
able ? " NEWMAN.



XXXVII.

Affliction is a great realizer in religion, or rather
a great detector of the want of reality in religion.
We, perhaps, thought ourselves Christians, and
that we were founded on the rock ; and now an
affliction comes, and we shake like aspen-leaves.
Could this be, if we were really on the rock ?
We thought fondly that God was the chosen por-
tion of our souls, and that, though all created
things were taken from us, we had enough when
we had Him ; and yet, when He crosses some de-
sire of our hearts, or removes some of His own
gifts, a friend, perhaps, or even a little of the
world's trash, we seem as if we had lost our all,



KRSK1XF. 109

and cry after it as that Danite did after his idols ;
and thus we learn the fact that our comfort be-
fore did not, as we idly supposed, flow from the
eternal fountain, (for that still remains to us,) but
had been drawn from perishing cisterns ; and
therefore, now that they are broken, we die of
thirst. This is an important discovery, and it was
to make this discovery to us that God sent the
affliction. Let us, then, receive it in deep humi-
lity ; let us receive it as a call from God to leave
the creature behind us, and go directly into His own'
more immediate presence, into His inner chamber.
Header, will you allow me to speak a word to
you on this matter ? Beware of occupying your
mind as to how the affliction happened, or how it
might have been prevented. Think not of the
oversight, or folly, or malice, which may appear
to you to be the immediate occasion of it. God
did it ; and you must bid away all second causes
from your thought, and carry the affliction to His
throne of grace, and cast it and yourself before
Him ; and ask Him to save your soul, and to de-
liver you from resting on any created portion ;
and pray Him to become Himself your real, and
true, and everlasting portion. Take care that this
affliction be not lost. Abide in His presence, and
be jealous of receiving comfort from any other
source; you may lose your affliction if you do.
And, oh ! remember that holiness is of more im-



1 10 ERSKINE.

portance than comfort. Be still more anxious for
profit from your own affliction, than for support
under it. You are an immortal creature, and
eternity is your great concern. Holiness is eternal
happiness comfort may be the affair of an hour.
And God sends affliction, that we may become
partakers of His holiness.

Let me conclude by saying, that all is to be
looked for and received from God : " Open thy
mouth wide, and I will fill it V It is the soul that
receives all from God, which alone can feel itself
to be the property of God ; His property to guide
and to command ; His property to bless and to
keep ; His highly-prized property, purchased at
no less a cost than the death of Christ, for this
very end, that He might sanctify it in time, and
glorify it in eternity. The soul-that feels this has
peace ; it does not make haste, for it knows how
secure it is. It possesses the secret of the Lord,
that secret which does for all circumstances and
contingencies which does for life, for death, for
duty, for suffering which gives the spirit of a
pilgrim, and yet a willing servant which gives
the foretaste of the joy of heaven, as it is the com-
mencement of the character of heaven.

T. ERSKINE.



6. How can we complain, or think hardly of

1 Ps. Ixxxi. 10.



WOODWARD. Ill

God for any thing He does, or have the least doubt
of His goodness, when He has given His Son to
die for us ? T. ADAM.

XXXVIII.

Many owe their extrication from the ruin of this
world to affliction, to some sanctified sorrow, and
to none more frequently than to the loss of rela-
tives or friends. Our once cheerful home is now
become a house of mourning ; there is a blank in
the domestic circle which nothing earthly can fill
up ; and every object to which surviving friends
can look, repeats the same sad story, that the
desire of their eyes is taken from them ; and yet
these seasons are sometimes blessed beyond all
description : and many have known more happi-
ness, even in the multitude of their sorrows, than
they ever knew before ; for often will that Being,
who came to heal the broken-hearted, seize the
softened moments, and visit the mourner as he
sits in solitary moments. In Him the afflicted
find a friend formed for adversity, one who can
penetrate the soul, and converse with all that is
most intimate and peculiar in our bereavement,
one ' who knew the object . for which we grieve
better than we did ourselves, one who was Him-
self " a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief ' . "
In sympathizing with Him, the soul is gently lifted
1 Isa. liii. 3.



112 KRSKINE.

above the world. It becomes the sweetest conso-
lation to think of that blessed place, where we shall
see our friends again, and fall down before the
throne of Him who comforted us in our troubles.
These are " tears that delight, and sighs that waft
to heaven." These sorrows are turned into joy ;
they unite us to Him who is the salvation of the
soul ; they bring us to that High Priest who is
touched with the feeling of our infirmities, and
through Him we cast our anchor within the veil.

WOODWARD.



7. that sigh ! Do happy people ever sigh ?
1 find I want something which God will not suffer
me to have ; and till we are of the same mind, life
can be nothing at bottom but one perpetual sigh.

T. ADAM.

XXXIX.

Jesus lived, offering up His own blood in sub-
missive confidence. He is thus our pattern ; and
He is more than our pattern, for in Him the grace
of God, and the forgiveness of sins committed
during the sparing mercy of God, are freely
declared to the Chief of Sinners, and through Him
living water is communicated, enabling those who
will receive it to walk in the same steps towards
the same glory.



BLUNT. 113

That spiritual stream comes back to us, as it
were, through the gates of death from the other
side of the gulf; and thus it is a stranger here,
for its home and its interests are all on the other
side ; and as it is itself a stranger, it makes those
to become strangers and pilgrims who receive it :
they seek back to the fountain-head of their life,
and desire to be with Him ; and as they know
that it is only through sorrow and death that they
can arrive at Him, they enter into the counsel of
God in His plan of leading them in this way, with
their whole hearts. T. ERSKINE.

XL.

Saul had anxiously inquired, " What wouldest
thou have me to do 1 ?" Our Lord sends His mi-
nister to tell him, not what great things he shall
do, but what far greater things he shall suffer. Suf-
ferings are, after all, the great achievements of the
Christian. Where one man is permitted to effect
mighty things for his Lord, by carrying the words
of the everlasting Gospel over the burning sands
of Africa, or the frozen mountains of the north,
thousands and tens of thousands are called to the
high privilege of the Philippians of old, " not only
to believe, but also to suffer for His name's sake V
To sit on His right hand and on His left, are not
now to be given ; but to drink of His cup of trial,

1 Acts ix. 6. * Phil. i. 29.

I



114 BLUNT.

and to be baptized with His baptism of affliction,
are still among the choicest blessings which He
bestows upon His people. Be not, then, disap-
pointed, my beloved brethren, if, with every de-
sire to do great things for your Divine Master,
you are denied the power or the opportunity. If,
as has been beautifully said, " They also serve
who only stand and wait," how much more do
they serve who are called upon to endure and to
suffer ? Yes ; in the chamber of sickness, upon
the bed of pain, you may as greatly glorify your
Redeemer, as amid the trials of the mission, or
the tortures of the stake : and often does it please
your Heavenly Father, that while you are medi-
tating what great things you shall do for Christ,
He is preparing the great things you shall suffer.
Endeavour, therefore, to live in that spiritual
frame of mind, that you may be daily willing, at
the bidding of your Lord, to take up the cross,
and to follow His footsteps, though they may lead
you through many a toilsome track, or guide you
through many a thorny passage. In your journey
to the heavenly country, you must encounter trials,
and troubles, and sorrow; no child of God was
ever yet without them ; not one of all that count-
less multitude in white robes, with palms in their
hands, but " came out of great tribulation ' :" how
can you therefore expect or desire to escape that
1 Kcv. viL 14.



BLUNT. 115

of which all the other children in God's dear
family have so largely partaken ? " Think it not,
therefore, strange concerning the fiery trial which
is to try you, as though some strange thing hap-
pened unto you ; but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are
partakers of Christ's sufferings, that when His
glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with
exceeding joy V Dwell much and frequently upon
the views of that " eternal weight of glory ;" it will
tend more than any other consideration to teach you
to form a correct and spiritual estimate of your
" light afflictions V It was thus that the Apostle
of whom we are speaking, (St. Paul,) at a later
period of his Christian course, was enabled to
bear, (and to bear without repining,) an infinitely
heavier load of suffering than will ever be laid on
you. He cast all his trials, all his sorrows, all his
sufferings, into one scale, and after consideration
of them, declares them to be light, and but for a
moment. He then lays the glory in the other
scale, and pronounces it to be ponderous, weighty,
and eternal, an exceeding " weight of glory." In
the one is sorrow for a little while, in the other
eternal joy. In the one, pain for a few moments ;
in the other, everlasting rest. In the one is the
loss of some few temporary things ; in the other,
the full fruition of God in Christ, who is " all in
all." H. BLUNT.

1 1 Pet. iv. 12, 13. 2 2 Cor. iv. 17.

I 2



116 ANON.

XLI.

Our life from baptism to our death should be a
practice of the cross, a learning to be crucified,
a crucifixion of our passions, appetites, desires,
wills, until one by one they be all nailed, and we
have no will but the will of our Father which is
in heaven. Men and brethren, soldiers, servants,
ensign-bearers of Christ, what are we doing ? We
were baptized into our Saviour's death, our Sa-


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