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of no possible value 1 What is your state
to-night ? Oh, it is sad to think that after
the gleams of light and beauty that you
have had in connexion with this moral
change to-night, that some of you may .
continue just as before, sighing over the
ruins of departed privilege, of departed
sight, and departed opportunity, just as the
wind sighs mournfully through the corridors
and aisles of some roofless and deserted



I



LIFE THOUGHTS. 95

temple ; and you may go on, stricken spirits,
knowing nothing, caring nothing, enjoying
nothing of God or His service, moaning help-
lessly in your travail, nothing but "bhnd,
blind, blind."

Oh, is it so with you ? I came to proclaim
the giving of sight to the bhnd. The Saviour
passes by ! He passes by to-night ! It was
on His way from the temple that He met
the man that was born blind. What a glori-
ous thing if He were to meet you on your
way from the temple, and just as He goes
from the temple, where a crowd of wor-
shippers have been gathered, He meets with
a man that has been born blind and heals
him ! Now, if you are conscious of your
state and of your peril, lift up your plaint to
Him. " Command me to be brought to
thee, and say, ' Sinner, receive thy sight' "
Surely you will pray, and your prayer will be
heard. It shall be so. May God grant it
for the Redeemer's sake. Amen.



The First Moment after Death.
What must be the feelings of the ran-



96 LIFE THOUGHTS.

somed soul just the first moment after death
— the first moment when it is about to pene-
trate into those mysterious secrets which no
one who has ever known them has come back
to unravel ? The first moment after death —
the spirit freed from the trammel of this taber-
nacle of clay, clogged no longer by the bond
that has held it down to earth — oh, in what
rapture must it catch the first burst of hea-
ven's melody ! oh, in what rapture must the
first glimpse of the beatific vision dawn upon
its eye, now purified from the film and from
the shadow ! and then an eternity, an eternity
without an interval and without an end, for
they shall be " for ever with the Lord." Be-
liever, wherever thou art, in whatever corner
thou hast ensconced thyself, though thou art
ragged and homely, though thou hast few
friends, though nothing but the green turf
shall cover thy clay, though there shall not
be a friend to follow or to mourn thee, and
though, when thou standest at the right-hand
company, there may not be one of thy fellows
there that shall be able to recollect thy name,
this is thy portion if thou art in Christ ; the
word of the Lord has spoken it, and " that
word endureth for ever."



LIFE THOUGHTS. 97

I ask you to pursue the analogy in a con-
verse way, and to think for a moment what
must be the feehngs of the impenitent and
unransomed soul the first moment after death.
The first moment after death ! no confusion
of intellectual belief then — all made terribly
clear by the startling revealer that has sepa-
rated the soul from the body — dread reflec-
tions on a misspent life — the awful accusa-
tions of an aroused conscience — terrible anti-
cipations of a coming judgment — the angry
glances of the Judge's eye — the unknown tor-
ments of an unfathomable hell. Oh, drop the
curtain, we cannot bear it. Whither would
it lead us if we pursued the analogy further ?
whither, but into deeper, darker, profounder
regions of unknown and of unimagined hor-
ror ? Sinner, sinner ! oh for a tone of tender-
ness and power that should reach thy heart
to-night ; this is thy portion, however thou
mayest have joined hand in hand, and made
potent alliances, and rejoiced thyself in the
things of this world ; this is thy portion — the
word of the Lord hath spoken it, and " that
word endureth for ever !"



98 LIFE THOUGHTS.

The Efficacy of the Gospel.

When it first appeared in the world, it ap-
peared as a universal remedy, and a universal
remedy it proved itself. Sinners were con-
verted, believers were edified and confirmed.
Wherever it went it spread its divine and
blessed influence, and its reputation became
established as a message from God. It is
as searching in its nature as ever, however
potent may be the principle of evil ; how-
ever, like the fabled chameleon, it can shape
itself to circumstances, it cannot twist itself
into any shape in which Christ cannot find
it, and follow it, and overthrow it. The
gospel is the only system for man — for man
always, for man everywhere ; man in the
infancy of the world, man in its maturer
years, man in the depths of barbarism, man
in the heights of refinement — for man a profli-
gate sinner, for man a regenerated saint,
for man on earth — ay, and for man even in
heaven, for into it thousands of the spirits of
the just made perfect still desire to look.
And it has lost none of its power, moreover,
by the lapse of time. The sun, after it has
shone for a thousand years with unabated



LIFE THOUGHTS. 99

vigour, is the sun still ; is it not brilliant
and beautiful as the first day of its shining ?
A river, after it has flowed in fertilising
streams for ages, is a river still, and still
freshens the earth upon its banks, and
makes it " to bring forth and bud, pro-
ducing seed to the soAver and bread to the
eater." And so it is with the gospel ; it is
never the laggard of the age, its doctrines
never become antiquated, its facts never
shrivel up ; it presents itself to the world
young as it ever was, in all its strength and
tone and energy ; it saves numbers still, it
converts believers now, it shines with sweetest
lustre and comfort in the chamber of afflic-
tion, and its praises are gasped painfully
from many a bed of death.

Many of you have felt it ; and many of
you have tried the gospel — you have trusted
your whole salvation here ; you have brought
your souls when they were racked by an
agony of doubt and suspense, and there has
come a hush upon the soul, as if an angel
had stood by, and, with sweet voice, has
whispered, "Peace, peace, be still." I appeal
to you, then, has it failed ? Have you ever
had occasion to reproach yourself because



lOO LIFE THOUGHTS.

you were in Christ ? If this gospel of Christ
has deceived you ; if it has mocked you with
fugitive promises instead of substantial bene-
fits ; if it has denied you relief from the
terrors of your troubled conscience when
you asked it in the name of Christ ; if it has
refused to confer blessings upon you when
you asked for those blessings aright, — I, as its
advocate, desiring nothing in this world so
much as its universal spread, tell you to cast
it off, discard it for ever as a foolish and
accursed thing. But oh, if it has been the
delight of your being ; if it has been your
refuge, and strength, and very present help
in trouble ; if it has strewed your earth with
comfort ; if it has allied your heaven with
glory, — hold it fast ; do not be swindled of
this comfort and of this blessing now ; clasp
it as your choicest treasure ; it is the word
of the- Lord, and "that word endure th for
ever."



The Mount of Pi-ophecy.

** God at sundry times and in divers
manners spake unto our fathers by the



LIFE THOUGHTS, loi

prophets." There were many things that
were predicted in reference to the future of
nations and to the future of men. Many of
those promises have already received their
accomphshment ; but the argument from
prophecy is by no means exhausted, and
multipHed and accumulative evidences are
rising up from the exhumed bones of the
desert, and from the deciphered rocks of
the wilderness, day by day. The burden
of Tyre was foretold, and the ships of
Tarshish have had to howl because their
strength was laid waste. The burden of
Babylon was foretold, and that ancient city
now sits in the unnoticed and forgotten
desert ; and owls, and satyrs, and dragons
are the only tenants of the chambers where
her princes dwelt. The burden of Jerusalem
was made matter of prediction, and that
queen of cities, like Rachel weeping for her
children, sits depressed and melancholy, bur-
dened with lamentation at the remembrance
of her former glory. But there are multi-
tudes of the promises which have not yet
received their accomplishment, and which
lead us to expect glorious triumphs for the
future of the gospel of Christ. I know there



102 LIFE THOUGHTS.

is a great deal in the prophetical canon that
we cannot understand, and it never will be
understood, in spite of all professed inter-
preters, until the hght of eternity shall flash
upon the doings of time. But there is very
much that is clear, glorious, cloudless. A
deep mine is the mine of prophecy, out of
which the humble believer can extract all
the glory of the kingdom. A deep well is
the well of prophecy, from which the humble
believer can get draughts of the crystal and
refreshing water of life. I want to know
something about the future of the world. I
am pained at heart as I think of it ; I am
sickened with the contentions that are around
me. Is it always to be thus? Are good and
evil always to struggle .'' Is there to be no
manifestation of a royal mind and of a tri-
umphant power ? Is there to be no supreme
Arbitrator who shall bring all things to
pass according to the counsel of His own
will. 1 go up the mount of prophecy, and
I read this, the inscription graven as it were
in letters on the sky, " They shall not hurt
nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith
the Lord : all flesh shall see the salvation of
our God. He must reign until he hath put



LIFE THOUGHTS. 103

all enemies under his feet. The world shall
be his possession, and the uttermost parts of
it his footstool." I go up the mount of pro-
phecy, and the mists roll gradually from the
face of the sky, and the fair and smiling
landscape lies before me ; I see the earth
reposing in its beauty, marred with no sin,
smitten with no scourge, discoloured with
no track of blood ; glad hymns of praise flow
on every breeze, soft notes of prayer are
heard from every lip, and from all the re-
joicing homesteads there floats one flag of
peaceful and hallowed gladness, and on it is
inscribed " Emmanuel," and it is the old
banner of the cross. Now, I want to know
something about myself, my own individual
part in the great jubilee of the world's his-
tory. I go up to the mount of prophecy
again, and there, gleaming brightly in the
distance, I see the walls of the New Jeru-
salem, the saints' abode, the temple of the
indwelling God, and my heart throbs within
me as I think of the city whose walls are
of jasper, and her gates of pearl, and her
pavement of burnished gold, not because
of the jasper, and the pearl, and the gold,
but because there dwelleth Jesus, and that



104 LIFE IHOUGHTS,

is my distant inheritance, my everlasting
home — ■

" The promised land from Pisgah s top
I now exult to see ;
My hope is full — oh, glorious hope 1—
Of immortality."



The Man Christ yesus.

The Saviour's assumption of humanity was
complete. The whole nature was taken on.
He had a human body with all its infirmities ;
he had a human soul with its completeness
of faculty and its capability of endurance,
W'ith its every capacity, with its every affec-
tion. There were three reasons which seemed
to render this entire assumption of human
nature necessary. It was necessary, first, be-
cause the man had sinned, and upon the man,
therefore, must come the brand of Jehovah's
displeasure. It was necessary, secondly, that
the world might have the best and utmost
manifestation of God, and that humanity, too
gross and bewildered to comprehend ideas
that were purely spiritual, might see in the
Incarnate Son the highest embodied possi-
bility of being. It was necessary, thirdly, that



LIFE THOUGHTS. 105

the felt need of the people in all ages of the
world's history might be supplied — the need
of perfect pureness allied to perfect sympathy
— of the strength which was omnipotent to
deliver married to the tenderness that was
brave and deep to feel. The complete huma-
nity of Jesus has been attested by abundant
authentications. In every legitimate sense of
the word He was a man with man. He did
not take our sinful nature upon Him — that is
only an inseparable accident of humanity ;
it came in after the creation, and it should go
out before the end. Therefore, in every legi-
timate sense of the word, He was man with
man. He was born helpless as other chil-
dren are. His early years were spent in the
house of His reputed father, working at His
handicraft for bread. He grew in wisdom
and in stature as other children grow ; not at
once, but by the slow ripening of years de-
veloped into the maturity of man. When He
entered on His public ministry, and went
among His fellows. He sustained as they did
the relationships of mutual dependence and
help. He was no self-elected reformer. He
was no turbulent inflamer of unholy passions.

Faulty as was the government under which
E 2



in6 LIFE THOUGHTS.

He lived, He was a loyal subject, paid the
tribute monej'' without murmuring, and sub-
mitted Himself to every ordinance of man.
He was no dark ascetic ; He was a brother of
the multitudes, mingling in all the grief and
cheerfulness of life. If men invited Him to
their houses, He went and sat down with
them at their boards. If they asked Him to
their marriage festivals, He graced them with
His presence, and turned the water into wine ;
and mingled His tears with theirs when the
light of their homes was quenched, and when
some loved one was suddenly withdrawn.
His care for them who trusted Him ceased
not with His own danger, for, having loved
His own. He loved them to the end. His
filial affection was conspicuous throughout
every part of His life, and shone radiant as a
star through the darkness of His agony. He
vv^as the man Christ Jesus. How is it that
you identify Him with our nature.^ What are
the peculiar characteristics by which you
understand that such a one is partaker of
Humanity? Does human nature hunger.?
He hungered in the plain where the delusive
fig-tree grew. Does human nature thirst.?
He felt the pang sharply upon the cross. Is



LIFE THOUGHTS. 107

human nature wearied under the pressure of
travelling and of toil ? He sat thus upon the
well. Does human nature weep unbidden
tears? Pity wrung them from Him as He
gazed upon the fated and lost Jerusalem ;
and sorrow wrung them from Him at the
grave where Lazarus lay. Does human na-
ture shrink and fear in the prospect of im-
pending trial, cowering beneath the appre-
hended peril, and pray that dread pangs may
be spared it ? In the days of His flesh, when
He poured out His supplications with strong
crying and tears, " He was heard, in that He
feared." He was the man Christ. Come, ye
seekers after the subhme, behold this man
■ — marred enough by sorrow, but not at all by
sin ; decorated with every grace, yet dis-
figured by no blemish of mortality ; raying
out warmth and life into the hearts and
homes of men ; with not an act that you can
trace up to selfishness, and not a word that
you can brand as insincere ; with His whole
life a kindness, and His death an expiation-
behold the Divine Man ! Talk of the dignity
of human nature — it is there, and you can
find it nowhere in the universe beside. " The
boast of heraldry, the pomp of power," the



io8 LIFE THOUGHTS.

skill to make canvas speak or marble breathe,
or to play upon men's hearts as upon a harp
of many tunes, the mad ambition that would
climb to fame by slopes where the trampled
lie, and where the red rain drops from many
a heart's blood — what are their claims to
His ? Hush, ye candidates for greatness, and
let Him speak alone. Erase meaner names
from thy tablets, thou applauding world, and
chronicle this name instead. Shrine it in
your living hearts, those of you who trust in
His atonement, and who come by His media-
tion unto God ; grave it there, deeper than
all other names — the man Christ Jesus.



Gethsemane a7id Calvajy.

Man's eternal Saviour ; God's incarnate
Son. Follow Him in the shadow of His
passion. Close upon the agony of Geth-
semane came His arrest by the treachery of
one whom He had honoured. Patiently He
bears the ribaldry and insult in the dishon-
oured judgment-hall of Pilate. Wearily He
treads the pathway to Calvary, bearing His
own cross. Now the cross is reared. The



LIFE THOUGHTS. 109

multitude are gathered about the hill of
shame. The nails are fastened into the
quivering flesh ; and in agony and torture
ebbs His pure life away. The last min-
istering angel leaves Him ; for He must
tread the wine-press alone. Darkness gathers
suddenly round ; and — oh, mystery of mys-
tery ! — the Father hides His face from
the Beloved. Darkness deepens in the sky
and in the mind — how long, the affrighted
gazers know not. A cry bursts through the
gloom, sharp, shrill, piercing. All is
silent — it is finished ! The night, that had
climbed up strangely to the throne of noon,
as suddenly dispersed. The multitude, that
eager and wondering had gathered round the
hill of shame, separated to their several
homes, talking about the tragedy they had
witnessed. The moon rose on high as calmly
as if the sun had not set on a scene of blood.
But, oh ! what a change those few hours had
wrought in the fortunes of the world. Christ
had died, the just for the unjust, that He
might bring us to God. Go, tell it to that
despairing sinner — that man, I mean, who
has the cord about his neck, and the pistol
at his throat, who is just about to escape



no LIFE THOUGHTS.

from the terrible harrowings of an alarmed
conscience, by the dreadful alternative of
self-murder. Go to him ; be quick ; tell him
he need not die, for Christ has died, has died to
bear his sins away. Proclaim salvation from
the Lord for wretched, dying men. Sound it
out from the summit of that hill-side of Cal-
vary, and let the sister hills echo it, until round
the earth has spread the rapturous hosanna —
Salvation ! Go with it to the wretched, and
miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked :
it is just the thing they need— Salvation !
Ring it out through every avenue of this vast
metropolis of a world, till it rouse the slum-
bering dust, and awake the coffined dead —
Salvation ! Take it to your own hearts — be
sure of that ; and, in the' fulness of your own
experience, let us hear your song: — "There
is, therefore, now no condemnation to them
that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after
the flesh, but after the Spirit."



Meet for Heaven,
To create enjoyment for man in the world,
there must be agreement between the
inward tastes and the outward objects. If



LIFE THOUGHTS. in

you want to make a man happy here, you set
about it in a business-hke way, and you give
him everything that his heart requires or his
fancy conceives. You let competence attend
his circumstances ; you let friends gather in
his halls ; you let his board be well spread ;
you give him a retinue of servants to attend
him ; you do not let him withhold his hand
from every joy with which the world festoons
the track of its travellers. You have done
your best for that man ; you have given him
" richly all things to enjoy." Let the same
tastes, let the same outward circumstances
surround him, and the man will be happy
in heaven. Ah ! but the circumstances of
heaven are fixed already, and they are
changeless ; happiness there depends on
certain conditions of mind which the man
has not. It is not enough, in order to make
a heaven for the sinner, that you should
prepare a place for him ; you must go further
than that, you must prepare him for the
place. It is not enough that he should hold
the title-deeds ; you must work in him, some-
how, a personal meetness. It is not enough
that a forensic change should pass upon his
character ; a transforming change must pass



112 LIFE THOUGHTS.

upon his life. Even if he should pass into
heaven — if it were possible for him, by any
chance, to elude the vigilance of the seraph-
guard, and to enter heaven as he is — with his
earthliness unrestrained, and with all his
impurity reigning — heaven would be un-
paradised to him ; its music would gravi-
tate downwards into a sad and melancholy
misef^ere ; its labour to him would be a
toilsome drudgery, and its atmosphere of
holiness would be unsupportable to his dis-
eased and leprous soul.



The Fifty-first Psalm.

The psalm before us has, by common
consent, been called a penitential psalm.
Where could penitence find readier utterance
for its sorrow? Am I addressing any one
to-day, who has been roused to a conscious-
ness of his life's dark mystery of sin, upon
whom there rests a shadow, and a fear, and
a sense of unsettled controversy, and afeeling
of the possession of a nature warped sadly
from its grand original ! Is there a trouble
in any spirit before me, because of an immor-



LIFE THOUGHTS. 113

tality which it feels to be both prisoned and
polluted, because of a holy ideal from which
it feels divorced, because of a God whom it
knows it ought to rejoice in, but from whom
it seems to be hopelessly alien ? Do all the
longings, and all the listenings of the spirit
for years pant and struggle for expression to-
day ? My brother, in this psalm there is the
anatomy of a heart that has feared and has
bled like thine. All the process of thine own
perplexity is recorded here, all thy apprehen-
sions are recorded here. There is the heart,
like thine, agonised, imploring, satisfied
There is the wail, the hush, the thank-song ;
there is the descent into the depths, the joyous
mounting up on the crest of the wave ; the
frantic flight from the old city of destruction,
the clear heaven sight from the summit of the
delectable hills. It is impossible for you to
fail to trace, and to be comforted by the
analogy. The same grace which pardoned
the transgressions of the royal sinner, and
filled him with satisfaction and rest — the same
grace is this morning available for you.

The occasion of the psalm is supposed to be
the mourning of David, under the searching
rebuke of Nathan the prophet, for his sin in



114 LIFE THOUGHTS.

the matter of Uriah the Hittite ; and in the
structure of the psalm it is divided into two
parts, the first twelve verses being the record
of his vows, of the doxology which his re-
covered heart would sing, and of the acts of
personal and official consecration in which he
would perpetuate his praise.

There are two facts in the psalm, to which
I want to call your attention. The first is the
fact of sin. This is the basis at once of the
confession and of the entreaty. There must
have been in the Psalmist's spirit, not merely
a general sense of wrong doing, and a dread
recollection of estrangement, but a burden
of personal condemnation and the presen-
tation of particular sin. Such a plaintive
melody as this was never struck from angel
harps. Spirits that kept their first estate
never sang such deprecating minstrelsy — from
the beginning to the end, it is the record of
the sinner's misery, and the supplication of
the sinner's breath. There was prayer, doubt-
less, in Eden, in its two grand elements of
adoration and thanksgiving ; but there was
never prayer like this : it is depravity which
has infused this new property into our wants,
and which has invented a numberless range



LIFE THOUGHTS. 115

of its own. There is alienation now, which
must be transformed into confidence ; there
is sin now, which pants to be forgiven ; there
is remorse of conscience now, that must be
chased away ; there are dread anticipations
,of future torment now, which must be ex-
changed for a serene prospect of blessedness ;
there is a dark and blighted curse, that must
be cancelled ere the sinner can be happy.
^ All these are the wants of the sinner, and
they are yours — you know they are— and
they are mine. There is not one of you, I am
bold to affirm it, who is conscious, naturally,
of any other experience than this. No thought-
ful mind can ponder upon its own condition,
can meditate upon its own belongings, and
upon its surroundings, without the conviction
that dislocation has come upon the symmetry
of a nature once perfect, and that broods of
evil passions and vices, like a flock of birds
unholy, nestle in the corners of the heart.
This is the basal fact then, upon which every
religiousness of man reposes — the existence
Df sin ; of sin, as an acknowledged fact — of
sin as an acknowledged evil, which has not


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