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Dnly tainted the nature, but which has poured
:orruption upon every part of every man ;



ii6 LIFE THOUGHTS.

found everywhere, alike in the crowded city
streets, and among the scantier tribes of the
Savannah ; ahke where refinement and civi-
lisation gild and soften crime, and where in
the swarthy-bearded Druse it reigns tameless
as the pennon that flutters upon the lance of
his djeereed ; alike in sordid man, and lost
woman, in genereus youth and smiling babe
— in all circumstances, in all countries, in all
parallels of latitude, in all diversities of lan-
guage, there is no escape, and there is no ex-
ception from this disastrous uniformity of
evil. The fountain has been corrupted, and
the streams of necessity must flow polluted
and impure. Every mouth must be stopped,
for all the world is guilty before God.



The House of Mourning.

Tread softly as you enter that house. A
large family surround the bed-side of the
dying parent. That man is a Christian ;
and, knowing in whom he has believed, he
is not afraid to die. But he has a large
family, and the thought that he will leave
them without a protector, the thought of the



LIFE THOUGHTS. T17

forcible disruption of social ties, pressed
upon his spirit somewhat ; and when you
look at him, there is a shade of sadness
upon his countenance. But you gaze awhile,
and you see that shade is chased away by
a smile. What has wrought the change?
What ! why, a ministering angel whispered
him, "Leave thy fatherless children, I will
preserve them alive." He hails the pro-
miser ; faith cries out, "'Tis He! 'tis He!
my God is present here." He enjoys rapt
and high communion with celestial visitants,
and thus the chamber of death becomes the
gate of heaven.

You pass by the house the next morning,
and the half-closed shutter and the drawn
blinds tell you that he was, and is not. You
enter ; the widow is sitting in sorrow. The
first deep pang is scarcely over ; the tones of
her husband's voice, of that voice with which
she has been so long familiar, rush with all the
freshness of yesterday upon her soul. She is
worn with weeping. But she, too, is a Chris-
tian, and she flies to the Christian refuge,
and her eye traces these comfortable words,
"Thy Maker is thy husband, the Lord of
hosts is His name." It is a dark hour, it



Ii8 LIFE THOUGHTS.

has been a dark day, and the darkness has
gathered and deepened, as the twilight came
on, but now at eventime there shall be light,
because her sufficiency is of God. You pass
by the house again when about a week has
elapsed. The last sad rites have been per-
formed ; the funeral bell, with its suppressed
and heavy ominous sound, like the dividing
asunder of soul and body, has tolled, and the
very clay of her husband has been rent from
her embrace. He has died in somewhat
straitened circumstances ; he was the whole
dependence of the family, and with aching
head and throbbing heart she sits down to
seek about her for their subsistence. Her
heart begins to fail her, but before she gives
way to despair, she consults a friend ; he is a
wise man, that friend, one upon whose heart
the influences of the blessed Spirit have ope-
rated long, and he gives her his testimony
founded upon mature observation, and a
long life experience. " I have been young,
and now am old ; yet have I not seen the
righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging for
bread." Dashing away the tears that have
blinded her, she struggles on, and feels in the
darkest hour her sufficiency is still of God.



LIFE THOUGHTS. 119

Good WorJzs.

You cannot possibly, brethren, mistake

the testimony which has sounded unfaihng

from this pulpit, that the salvation of man

, in every case is of the unmerited grace of

, God, and that it is not by works of right-

Dousness which we have done, but of His

3wn mercy, and of His own mercy alone,

hat He saves. But while we insist right

iianfully upon the absence of any meritori-

)usness in what are commonly called " good

vorks," we shall not allow ourselves by fear

)f misrepresentation or of calumny to be

leterred from insisting upon the absolute

lecessity of good works as fruits meet for re-

)entance, as evidences of a living faith.

Comes there a man to me with boastful
rords, strong in sonorous comforts and in
he platitudes of an exclusive theology ?
-lakes he a loud profession to me of his
ersonal election, of his safety, whatever

■ etide, of the superiority of the heritage to
I 'hich his faith entitles him ? I ask about

■ is life. Is he lovesome, and pure, and
hilanthropic, and unworldly ? Is he a
ainstaking Christian, — like the violet, as



120 LIFE THOUGHTS.

fragrant in the mossy hedge-row as on the
table of the belted earl ? Does he love the
truth with a right-hearted love ? Does he
gird himself for the Master's sake to wash
the feet of His disciples, and perform with
alacrity the duty of every day, as well as
mix with the elders in the gate and at the
synagogue ? These are questions which it
behoves him to answer to every man that
asketh him, not in the lip, but in the life.
He may talk largely about his possession of
faith ; I cannot disprove his assertions. I
have no discernment of spirit, I cannot
pierce into the secrets of his inner and
spiritual history ; but the field of outward
manifestation is a field that is common to
both of us. There, and there only, can I
judge him. I have a right to expect, that
if he has any faith, it will exhibit itself in
comely and congenial illustration ; and I
have a right to pronounce, so far as mortals
may awfully pronounce upon each other,
that if the fruit is lacking, there is some-
thing wrong about the root of the tree, and
that if he says he loves Jesus, but does not
according to the things which Jesus says, he
is a liar, and his faith is vain. Brethren,



LIFE THOUGHTS. 121

guard always against setting God at vari-
ance with Himself. The gospel is the com-
plement, but it is never the antagonist of the
law ; and a faith which would make void
the law, or despise its ancient and eternal
morals, is a faith which must always be
powerless and vain.



Constajit Obedience,

Our obedience must be constant. We
must not exalt ourselves now and then into
a hallowed frame, and then subside into in-
difference — our life a perpetual alternation
between the chiU and the fever ; nor must
we run eagerly in the way of God's com-
mandments for a while, and then stop and
pant like a breathless racer. We must
obey, not in some moods of mind, not at
some periods of our history, but through
all change and through the long round of
rolling years. Our life must be a holocaust,
offered with all its activities and with all its
powers upon the altar of the Lord. Brethren,
here is your duty and mine. This is prac-
tical Christianity, the pervasion of the whole
F



122 LIFE THOUGHTS.

of the being with holiness : not to hve upon
a Sabbath-day in the cloud-land of a senti-
mental heaven, but all the days of the week
to bring the glory of a real heaven down ;
not to run away from the fellowship and
bustle of the world, as if our cowardly faith
could not stand a battle, but to go in and
out among them, and be angels in their
houses, and let them feel the quiet influence
of those who have been exalted into a higher
privilege and have breathed a purer air.
We are to ennoble the ordinary things of
life ; we are to make trade a beautiful thing,
and business a beautiful thing, and commerce
a beautiful thing, because it is touched, and
hued, and toned, and fringed with the love
of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Brethren, shew me where these Christians
live. Oh ! they are here, and there, and
yonder, nestling in the heart of almost every
denomination, talking little about them-
selves, not always prominent in the exe-
cutive, not always followed by the world's
applauding thunder, and not partial to
storms withal ; but often in the sick-cham-
ber, earnest in the prayer-meeting, and
present wherever there is a good deed to



LIFE THOUGHTS. 123

be done, and with a ready hand always to
help it on ; doing God's work in God's way,
and content to wait until He smile upon
them, and to be anxious only for His ap-
proval in the day when He shall number up
His jewels.

Are we of the number, brethren ? Let us
ask ourselves. Our presence here identifies
us in some sort with Christ's people. Have
we bound His laws to our neck ? Have Ave
written them upon the tablet of our hearts ?
Oh ! are there not some of whom, if the
Saviour were to pay a visit to-day. His lan-
guage would not be that of unqualified ap-
proval ? Would He not startle some of us
by the warning sound — " I have somewhat
against thee, because thou hast left thy first
love ? " Would not some of us be compelled
to listen to the rebuke, sharper than stab of
knife, or roar of thunder — "Ye call me
Lord, Lord, but ye do not the things which
I say?" "If ye know these things, happy
are ye if ye do them."



124 LIFE THOUGHTS.

Happiness,

r The very mention of the word happiness
appeals at once to all hearts, touches our
instinctive and not unworthy selfishness, and
is always inspiring. The cry comes up from
the multitude as eager and as frantic as
ever, " Who will shew us any good ? " The
old expedients are resorted to with weari-
someness ; men yet chain themselves at the
car of power, or whirl about in the pleasure-
dance of death, or climb ice-bound hills where
honour holds her court, or burrow in every
corner where there is the slightest glitter of
the sparkling gold. One after another of
the revellers disappears, each with his own
cry of "Vanity!" but the chase goes on.
Men do not get wiser because of the ex-
perience of their ancestors, and the world
writes a book of Ecclesiastes in each age of
its dissatisfied and restless history. And
the search for happiness is not a phantom
dream after all. There is a reality to be
enjoyed even in this world of sorrow. God
has not mocked His creatures with a desire
which can never be fulfilled, and which
therefore, can only consume. That can



LIFE THOUGHTS. 125

never happen to any one of the creatures
He has made. Just as in man's physical
nature all is benevolent ; there is no duct in
the body that you can look at, and say,
" This is intended to bring pain ; " there ia
not one canal throughout the whole of the
mechanism that is an inevitable channel of
death ; — so in the realms of mind and in the
realms of morals, there is no desire which
God originally implanted which has been
implanted in vain. Find me a natural in-
stinct, and there is its appropriate outlet
somewhere. Now God has placed happi-
ness in our accordance with Himself and
with His laws. While our hearts are rebel-
ling against Him, consciously burdened with
their conviction of guiltiness, we cannot be
happy ; however we may lull ourselves into
momentary forgetfulness in the social gather-
ings of the world, there will be unrest and
misgiving within, like so many thorns that
in our bosom lodge, to goad and sting us.
While we are wilful in our rejection of re-
conciliation, and bold in the energy and
fearlessness of sin, we cannot be happy, for
we are at variance with the moral fitness of
our nature, and moreover are excluded from



126 LIFE THOUGHTS,

satisfaction by the declared anathema of
God : " There is no peace, saith my God,
to the wicked." But what should hinder
our happiness when our hearts are changed,
and when our sin is forgiven ? If the know-
ledge and the practice are together in our
united hearts, we may be happy, pronounced
so by the Redeemer himself. There is the
happiness of the change itself; the sub-
sidence within us of our former unholy
passions ; the outflow of our transformed
affections towards heaven ; order introduced
upon the past chaos by the Creator, God ;
the consciousness, borne into the soul by
the Divine Spirit itself, that the enemy is
gone, and that henceforth we are at one
with the highest purpose of our Father in
heaven. There is the happiness of a peace
which no disaster ruffles, and a hope which
is bright with the hues of a recompence of
which we only unworthily conceive ; the hap-
piness of divine parentage in the season of
earth's dreariest orphanhood, and of divine
protection in the season of earth's most
pressing danger ; the happiness of a throne
of grace never emptied of its occupant, of
a prepared mansion, of a waiting crown.



LIFE THOUGHTS. 127

There is the happiness which worldlings
long for, concentrated in one long Christian
rapture ; there is pleasure that is unspeak-
able, and which no remorseful memory
embitters. There is honour, to which the
world's titles are as trash, and her costliest
crowns but the baubles of an hour. There
are riches which justify the covetousness of
a life-long desire, because they wax not old,
and abide among the spirit's treasures for
ever. There is happiness, finally, which
dies not with waning years, which outlives
departing time ; happiness which is the ever-
young inheritance of the immortal spirit —
the inheritance of a spirit of whom God is
the portion, and of which eternity is the
term. ,



God our Defence,

Thou, this morning, in the sanctuaiy^
timid and discouraged believer, shrinking
back at the sight of the perils of climbing
the Hill Difficulty ; or afraid, as thou hearest
the roar of the lions in front of the Palace
Beautiful ; lift up thy head ; be not dis-
couraged ; thy sufficiency is of God. What



128 LIFE THOUGHTS,

frightens thee — aftliction ? God is thy health.
Persecution ? God is thy crown. Perplexity ?
God is thy counsel. Death ? God is thine
everlasting life. Only trust in God, and all
shall be well ; life shall glide thee into death,
and death shall glide thee into heaven.
" Who," asks the exulting apostle, in the 8th
of Romans, " who shall separate us from the
love of Christ ? shall tribulation, or distress,
or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword ?
Nay," as if these things were hardly to be
named at all, "nay, in all these things we
are more than conquerors." Oh ! the royalty
of the language ! It is not a drawn battle ;
night does not come on to separate the com-
batants ; we have not to send a herald, after
the manner of ancient warfare, to ask per-
mission to bury our dead ; we do not come
away from the field with the armour hacked
and scarred, and the dishonoured banner
trailing after us in the dust, making it
doubtful whether we have won the victory
or not. "We are more than conquerors
through Him that loved us. For I am per-
suaded that neither death," he put that first
because it is that generally that frightens be-
lievers most, therefore he hastens to dissipate



LIFE THOUGHTS. 129

their uttermost fear at the beginning — " I
am persuaded that neither death nor hfe,"
with its ambuscades, and temptations, and
hazards, and pitfalls, really if men knew it a
great deal more perilous than death — " Nor
angels," if any of them could forget himself
so far as to come upon an errand of mischief,
and preach "another gospel," and try to
seduce the very elect themselves ; " Nor
principalities nor powers," although the great
father of lies may plant his most formidable
host, and marshal his choicest batteries
against us ; " Nor things present," though
those things present may include "famine,
and nakedness, and perils, and sword ;"
" Nor things to come," though in those
things to come may be Avrapt up gigantic
blasphemies and an originality of diabolism,
never dreamed of yet ; " No creature," no-
thing but sin, and that is not a creature,
something that God never made, a foul ex-
cresence and abortion upon tne universe of
God — " No creature shall be able to separate
us from the love of God which is in Christ
Jesus our Lord."

Oh ! the blessedness of being in this love
of God, the blessing of an approving con-
F 2



130 LIFE THOUGHTS.

science, the blessing of increasing knowledge,
the blessedness of completest victory, the
blessedness of gospel peace, the blessedness
of perfect love, I do not know what the
" sea of glass " means, about which we read
in the Revelation. I do not pretend to an
intimate acquaintance with those mysterious
disclosures ; but I know nothing which can
better image the deep, serene, reposing rap-
ture of the spirit that has finished its course
with joy. It is a "sea of glass" it has no
billows, not a breath ever by any possibility
ruffles it, and on this sea of glass, as on a
wide and waveless ocean, the believer stands
for ever, chanting eternally the song of Moses
and the Lamb. Oh ! lift up your heads and
sing—

" Let doubt, then, and danger
My progress oppose ;
They only make heaven
More sweet at the close ;
"Afflictions may damp me
They cannot destroy,
For one glimpse of His love
Turns them all into joy."



The Words of Eteriial Life.
All ancient philosophy and religion are



LIFE THOUGHTS. 131

empty of information about eternal life. As
we ask the question, we are shocked and
startled by the far-resounding echo of our own
voice. The sages are all mute ; the Pythian
priestess foams and wallows, but no voice
issues from the oracle : and if we are to know
nothing of the future except what we can
learn here, it will be unknown for ever — a
Sphinx without an CEdipus, an undecipher-
able Rosetta stone, a pyramid with a great
secret in its heart that will baffle the detec-
tion of the world. And so, too, cheerless and
unsatisfactory are all modern attempts to
solve the problem of our destiny apart from
Him who is "the Way, the Truth, and the
Life."

To whom shall we go ? Poor humanity,
distracted by many perplexities, bleeding
from many wounds, weeping over many griefs,
must go somewhere : she cannot eat out her
own heart with grief and consume her own
life with sighing. Whither shall we go 1
W^here shall the great mystery of our ex-
istence be unveiled to us .'* Is Nature to be
the temple of our worship, with its skies now
bright and now cloudy, arching over us in
alternate loveliness and terror 1



132 LIFE THOUGHTS,

One IVay of Salvation.

Oh! — if it be needful to repeat it — there is
only one way of salvation for the king and
the beggar, for purple and for poverty, for the
clown who plods in one idea content, and the
scholar who upbraids the light and weighs
the sun. Without the atonement of Christ,
and without the infinite resources of that
atonement, earth's holiest ones were leprous
always, and all earth's populations would
pass into the recompence of doom. The
faint, whose life of patient self-denial is
crowned by a triumphant end ; the meek
sufferer who endures his Father's will so
bravely that his thorns become his diadem,
and he is throned amongst earth's kingliest
kings ; the confessor who does not falter in
his testimony because great ones frown to
hear it, and whose voice swells like a clarion
from the very platform upon which he is
pilloried in shame ; the apostle who girdles
the world as with a zone of labour, and as
with a fragrant atmosphere of prayer ; the
martyr who greets the stake with a holy
laughter, and, upon the wings of a faith
which fire knows not how to singe, soars like



LIFE THOUGHTS. 133

the phoenix from his own ashes ; — all these
— the proudest, and highest, and most ec-
static types of man, reverenced while they are
living, almost worshipped when they are
dead — have no more particle of personal
merit which could be influential to purchase
their salvation, than the foulest old olas-
phemer, or than the Barabbas of sedition
and of murder.



The Mount of Olives.

Another mountain here invites our climb-
ing — one on whose slopes we have often
lingered, but never before to witness a scene
like this. There are some of the consecrated
heights which are connected in our memories
with only one scene or incident, which has
had interest about it sufficient to immortalise
it. Thus, the death of Moses has made
Pisgah always sacred, and the successes of
Elijah have crowned with a verdurous dia-
dem the brow of Carmel. But there are
many passages in the history of our Lord
Jesus which consecrate this hill, in itself
of no great relative magnitude — only little



134 LIFE THOUGHTS.

among the thousands of Judah — into a holy
spot for loving eyes and pilgrim feet, and
which has made the followers of the Lord in
all ages of the world's history dwell with fond
and pensive memory upon this mount — this
solemn, strange, sabbatic Mount of Olives.
So many of the events of the Redeemer's
incarnate life took place on its slopes or
round its base, that it might almost be called
the Mountain of the Lord Jesus. It was His
closet, for in its clefts He prayed ; it was His
pulpit, for on its gently-sloping ridge He de-
livered the Sermon on the ]\Iount ; it was
the place of His intercourse with His dis-
ciples. " And when they had sung a hymn,
they went out into the mount of Olives."
Bethany, at its base, was often their common
home, where His presence brought its sun-
shine, and where, in a brief exemption from
His own description of His ordinary lot. He
found where occasionally to lay His head.
Tradition yet shews the spot where the eye
of His body beheld the city, and where the
eye of His mind, keen in its preternatural
insight, gazed upon its future, and saw its
stricken people, its burning palaces, and its
judicially-bhnded sons, wept over the desola-



LIFE THOUGHTS 135

tion which impended, and would fain, if it
had but known, have averted from it its
coming doom. Underneath it, swept by its
darkness into greater shadow, Hes the garden
where His soul underwent one of its deepest
baptisms of sorrow ; and there, from its crest,
He rose, cleaving the upper air in conquer-
ing triumph, and in the fulfilment of His
completed design. How connected it is with
memorials of the Saviour ! We don't wonder,
therefore, that of all associations this moun-
tain wakes the tenderest, and of all places of
scriptural interest this mountain should be
most visited by those who love the Lord ;
for He prayed, and preached, and taught,
and loved, and wept, and agonised, and
triumphed, all in connexion with this Mount
of Olives.



The Resurrect io7i.

Do you wonder, brethren, that, like Paul
at Athens, we should preach to ycu "Jesus
and the resurrection .?" Is there not some-
thing in the tidings that thrills the heart of a
believer, just as an emigrant's heart is stirred
in some far settlement by a sweet song of



136 LIFE THOUGHTS.

home ? Does not time appear a more solemn
stewardship, and duty receive a richer stimu-
lus, and the life that now is appear but a
light thing in comparison with the life which
that resurrection inspires ? Dwell in this
comforting thought, thou tempted and sor-
rowing believer, for it speaks encouragement
and assurance to thee. Art thou a mourner r
The sable which thou wearest is only the
emblem of that darkness which has fallen
upon Christ for thee. Is he gone — thy
tender-hearted friend ? Doth thy gentle
wife no longer minister ? Are thy children,
entranced as by the basilisk eye, fallen into
that trance that has no waking and makes no
parade of pain ? Oh, let Jesus stand by thee,
and as thou listenest to His inspiring word
the frantic shall subside within thee into the
hush of quiet sorrow ; thy tears, if they gather
still, shall gather silently, and thy frame shall
feel the pulses of a glad hope as when nature
stirs in the first blush of spring. If they and
thou are alike in Jesus, thou hast not looked
the last upon thy friends. Thou shalt see
them again ; not wan and shrunken, as when
the latest smile played upon the face, and
there was scarce strength left to ripple it from



LIFE THOUGHTS. 137

lip to eye, but in immortal bloom that knows
no hectic of fever, and in fadeless youth that
chills beneath no frost of age. And thou
brave wrestler against evil, often foiled, but
who dost not cease in thine endeavour, take
thou the comfort too, for Jesus is the resur-
rection for thee. Thy yielding faith, thy
slavish fear, thy maddened freaks of passion,
were but the compromises of thy perverse and
unworthy unbelief. All that make up the
foulness and corruption of thy moral death
shall trouble thee no longer. Thine Easter
shall be complete, and shall be glorious.
Let thy faith fasten upon the Redeemer's
perfect work ; let there be a glad response in
'ihy heart when He says to thee, " Believest
thou this ?" and there is nothing to hinder
thine absolute and entire emergence out of


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