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the death of sin. The struggle may be long
within thee. The passions that have held
tyranny over thee for years may not be con-
tent easily to die. Lingering thoughts of evil,
carnal thoughts, not utterly subdued, may
harass thee, like the guerilla forces of an
enemy — Diabolonians, lurking yet in the
holes and corners of the " Town of Man-
soul ; " but keep thy trust in Christ, and thou



138 LIFE THOUGHTS.

shalt be loosed from ever}' cerement and from
every grave-cloth of the sepulchre ; not even
the mould of its dampness, nor its fetid and
unwholesome odour, shall remain. There
shall not be a vestige of death about thee,
and thou shalt rise up in the faultlessness of
thy new character— the Lamb's unspotted
bride. This is your privilege, brethren, and
it is mine. Let us realise the double conso-
lation — comfort for the mourners who are
crushed beneath some pressing sorrow, com-
fort for the mourners who wrestle with some
giant sin ; and in our distress and in our
feebleness let us hear the voice again, as once,
by the charnel cave of Lazarus, it ran electric,
like a line of light, to make the blood flow
freely in the veins of the living, and then
leaped into the sepulchre to relax even the
very grasp of death itself — " I am the resur-
rertion and the life."



Conscious Life in Heaven.

It is manifest that if the life of heaven is to
be a life of enjoyment for us, it must be a
conscious life. There must be no moment



LIFE THOUGHTS, 139

of interruption in this life, although it may be
somewhat changed in its conditions. In all
ages men have bewildered themselves by-
speculations as to the mode of their future
existence, and in their labyrinthine thoughts
we find they have wandered into nearly every
imaginable error. Some have taken refuge
in the dark caves of materialism ; others have
held to the old Pythagorean belief of the trans-
mutation of souls. Their inability to conceive
of the spirit existing and acting apart from
its vehicle, the body, seems to have been at
the root of it all ; and modern theorisers, per-
plexed by the same mystery, have tried to get
out of it by teaching us that the soul shall
sleep until the body shall rise. But I am not
disposed to yield grim Death one atom of
advantage over the diviner part of man. If
for ages he can paralyse my soul, then the
Saviour has gained only a partial triumph.
It is as impossible to reconcile this view with
the teachings of Scripture, as it is to refrain
from being humbled by it. We feel it as an
insult upon our nature, just as a patriot
writhes under some brand of national dis-
honour. When Paul passed through that



UO LIFE THOUGHTS.

interrupted life that made him hesitate. " I
am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to
depart and to be with Christ, which is far
better." "Far better!" What, that that
mighty mind should cease its thinking, and
that that loving heart should be for ages
still, and that that resistless energy should be
cribbed, powerless, and unconscious, through
a cycle of years ! Far better ! — nay, verily,
if this were the alternative, better a protracted
existence upon earth — that were far better
than to go down into the dust dishonoured
and inactive for ages. Ah ! but Paul knew
better than that. He knew full well that the
moment he was released from mortality, he
should be with Christ, which is far better ;
that to close his eyes upon the fair presences
of this world would be only to open them
upon the presences that are higher and that
are diviner, and with this consciousness
heaven came into his soul. Yes, brethren,
that solemn other v/orld is a world of con-
scious life. There is not a moment's interval
of slumber for the soul. We die, but we do
not cease to be ; we only change the condi-
tions of our being. For the soul, in the first
instant of its immortahty, there is an antici-



LIFE THOUGHTS. 141

pation of the last assize. The pure have the
foretaste of their own eternal happiness, the
ungodly have premonitions of their own
eternal doom. The paradise into which the
righteous are ushered, and where they, sur-
prised to find themselves, associate with the
dying thief and with the dying thief s Re-
deemer, is like the heaven which it adjoins,
undeluged by one wave of trouble. The
dungeon where the impenitent abide their
trial is like the hell which it approximates,
unvisited by one ray of hope. For all prac-
tical purposes there comes the judgment to
every man in the first moment of his de-
parture from the body, when the countenance
is scarce calmed from the throes of the dying
convulsion, and when the cold mortal sweat
has only just been wiped from off the marble
brow. Oh, it is a thought at once animating
and awful ! There is no human soul which
from the days of Adam until now has ever
dwelt in clay that is not alive to-day / It is
a conscious world into which we are rapidly
passing. ,



142 LIFE THOUGHTS.

Precio2is Pi'omises.

It is not my Bible this, it is not your Bible
this ; it is our Bible, it is common property,
it belongs to the universal Church. We have
no sympathy, of course, with those who would
monopolise this sacred treasure, keep this
light of the gospel burning, and that with a
precious dimness, only in the study of the
priest, or fettered, as it used to be, like a
curiosity, to the altars of the churches.
Thank God, these days of darkness are gone
by for ever; and yet there is a Church some-
where, professedly Christian, which denies to
its members the light and comfort of the
Bible in their own tongue, thus most abso-
lutely " exalting itself against all that is called
God." Oh most foul corruption! Deprive
us of the Bible ! As well forbid us to gaze
upon the jewelled sky, or to be fanned by the
wind and searching air. Deprive us of the
Bible ! Call it a sin for us to look at the sun,
and to bask in the blaze of his enlivening
beams ! The very same Hand that launched
yon orb upon the ocean of hfe, and bade him
shine upon the evil and the good, has sent
this orb into the world, and has sent it on



LIFE THOUGHTS. 143

purpose that it may be a light to all our feet,
and a lantern to all our paths. We devoutly
thank the gooii Spirit of the Lord that He
put it into the hearts of our forefathers to
protest against so flagrant and monstrous an
impiety. We cannot afford to be thus robbed
of our birthright, to be thus cheated of our
inheritance, to be thus basely swindled out
of the possession of the Book of God. It is
the legacy of the apostle's labour, the bulwark
of the confessor's faith, the purchase of the
martyr's blood. Thank God ! we have the
Bible in possession ; let us prove that we
love it by drawing from it all the encourage-
ment which its heaven-inspired pages are cal-
culated to afford, and by cleaving to it with an
intensity of attachment and affection which
all the efforts of scoffers and traitors will
never be able to disturb.

We say, then, we have a right to expect
this sufficiency, because it is promised in the
Bible. We gather it from the declarations of
Scripture. Listen to them, you that are in
Christ — listen to them ; they are yours : —
" Thus saith the Lord, who created thee, O
Jacob, and formed thee, O Israel; fear not
for I have redeemed thee ; I have called thee



144 LIFE THOUGHTS.

by thy name." Oh what a beautiful thoughi;
that is ! How many behevers were there
that in the early ages of the world, in the
patriarchal and Levitical times, went up by
faith in a Saviour to come ! How many
thousands upon thousands have listened to
apostohc teaching, and rejoiced in the glad-
ness and the beauty of the new covenant !
How many thousands upon thousands in all
succeeding ages have there been who have
participated in the same hope, and enjoyed
the same immunity from sin ! How many
thousands upon thousands are there now
upon the earth working out their salvation
with fear and trembling ! How many thou-
sands upon thousands shall come into the
Church in that day of its millennial fulness,
when the gates of it shall not be shut day or
night, because the porter shall have no chance
of shutting them, the people shall crowd in
so fast ! Now think of all this mass of re-
generate minds, believers past, believers pre-
sent, believers future, and then come and
hear God saying, " I have called thee by thy
name," to every one out of that mass. " I
have called thee by thy name. Thou art
not lost in the crowd. I did not know thee



LIFE THOUGHTS. 145

simply as a believer in Jesus. 1 know all
about thee, and could at any moment call
thee by thy name. Tell the world the story
of the fears from which thou hast been deli-
vered, and what struggles thou hast made
against evil, and of all the hope and joy that
have made thy path jubilant and glad. I
have called thee by thy name. Thou art
mine. When thou passest through the
waters I will be with thee ; through the
rivers " — deeper than the waters — " they shall
not overflow thee ; when thou walkest through
the fire, thou shalt not be burned, neither
shall the flame kindle upon thee." "The
Lord God is a sun and a shield," light and
defence : we do not want much more in our
passage. " He will give grace and glory;"
and if any of you are so perversely clever, so
mischievously ingenious in multiplying argu-
ments in favour of your own despair, that
you can think of some blessing that is not
wrapped up either in grace or glory, "No
good thing will He withhold from them that
walk uprightly." "Fear not, I am with
thee ; be not dismayed, for I am thy God.
Cast all thy care upon Me, for I care for

thee."

G



146 LIFE THOUGHTS.

Are you still dissatisfied ? God conde-
scends to expostulate with you.



Moiitit Sion.

Oil, it is a happy thing to have come to
Mount Sion ! Only think of the companion-
ship. I cannot enlarge upon it. The apostle
takes you very rapidly through it in the
verses in connexion with the text. The most
exalted associations in the universe become
yours if you are faithful in the improvement
of your privileges. When you come to Mount
Sion, there will be an innumerable company
of angels. Heaven and earth are reconciled
and united in the new covenant, and an in-
numerable company of angels smile down
upon the church of the first-born, upon the
earliest regenerated, upon the predestined
heirs of that heaven in which they abode
from the beginning. The chariots of God on
Sinai were twenty thousand, even thousands
of angels, but they terrified the people then,
and the poor multitude quailed down on the
plain, stricken with the consciousness of sin.
The angels live yet, and are bright in the



LIFE THOUGHTS. 147

glory of their first estate, but they minister to
the people now ; they bear in their hands
some helpless child of grace lest in the world's
rugged and wayward pilgrimage he should
dash his foot against a stone. And they look
on, for there is no envy in the angels now.
There was once, when one of them fell be-
cause of it, but they look on now, sympathetic
and unenvying, while poor ransomed mortals
are lifted up into a glory that is higher and
brighter than theirs. And then, besides this,
you come into union with all that believe, all
that are professors of the same precious faith,
and whose names are written in heaven —
your hallowed confederacy. You can claim
help from sufferers everywhere ; it is a com-
monwealth. Your wants and sorrows are the
wants and sorrows of alL The sympathy of
the Hebrew was a very contracted sort of
thing — bounded by kindred and clanship,
and so on. Hence the priest and the Levite
could not come down from the proprieties on
the other side of the way and assist the poor
plundered stranger. But the sympathy to
which you are entitled is a sympathy catholic
as the heart of Christ, and universal as the
brotherhood of man. "Ye are come to God,



148 LIFE THOUGHTS.

the Judge of all." He was the special law-
giver to the Hebrews, and yet they dared not
come to Him ; but the energy and force of
this passage in reference to the Christian is,
that through Christ he may come straight up
to the Jttdge^ — not to the Father, but to the
Judge, — and claim, by virtue of his substitute,
acquittal, and smile, and recompence, and
reward. And then, "Ye are come to the
spirits of the just made perfect." For them
the tears are shed — for them the crown is
won. But you are linked to them yet — by
covenant, and by struggle, and by faith you
mingle with them. Across the dark waters
which separate you there are mutual interests
and a hearty oneness of feeling. They look
down — a cloud of witnesses — in loving andL
helpful encouragement of your strife, for they •
know what it is. They have struggled them-
selves, and have themselves overcome ; and
you, at the heat of the battle, gaze wistfully
upwards towards them where they are in
their brightness and in their beauty, and —



" E'en now by faith you join your hands
With those who went before,
And greet the blood-besprinkled bands
Upon the eternal shore."






i



LIFE THOUGHTS, 149

And then, crown of all other privileges —
we could not leave that out — the reason why-
all other privileges are inherited : " Ye are
come to Jesus the Mediator, and to the elo-
quent blood of sprinkling that speaketh better
things than that of Abel." The Hebrew's day
of atonement only came once a year — Jesus
is ever nigh. In all your lapses and short-
comings — your sudden yieldings to tempta-
tion — your unworthy acts of compromise to
evil, there is heaven and the Divine Advo-
cate ; here on earth is the open fountain ; your
means of propitiation are ever at hand. The
voice that pleads for you does not know how
to be silent. The tired sun may pause some-
times, perhaps, in his march — the light may
drop upon weary wings — there may come a
shadow upon the bright hues of the ocean,
and a tremor of age upon the everlasting
hills ; but through all times, and through all
change, the atonement retains its efficacy,
and the speaking blood yet pleads with its
glad tidings before the throne. " Ye are not
come to Sinai, but to Sion.



ISO LIFE THOUGHTS,

Time was when it was fashionable to de-
preciate knowledge : time was when it was
fashionable, in certain circles, to dwell on the
pious but untaught cottager, who knew of no
book but his Bible, who deemed the world to
be wrapt up within the few miles or acres of
his own parish ; who thought the moon, as
she walked in brightness, to be no bigger
than his father's shield ; and the stars that
glitter in the sky only as the light points in
the kingdom of heaven, as the nails in the
floor of the city that hath foundations : but
all this is mere sentimentalism now. Such a
man may become the pearl of great price ; he
may be gifted for the performance of duty,
and gladdened with enjoyments of privilege,
and sustained by immortal hope ; but harkye,
one thing he lacketh — he should add to faith,
knowledge. It is enlightened piety that is
progressive, to which, bating not a jot of the
vitality of its faith, preserving all the original
warmth of freedom, there is added an all-
comprehensive survey of the mighty evi-
dences of truth, a view of the innumerable
domains which cluster in the economy of



LIFE THOUGHTS. 151

God, Then it is that the Christian, contem-
plating dehghtfully the manifestations of re-
demptive energy, traverses step by step God's
extensive and excellent government —

** Soaring on Contemplation's wing to trace
The continuity and amplitude of unnumber'd worlds ;
Sees all things moving in one glorious circle,
Whose centre and circumference is God ;"

and hears alike from nature and from revela-
tion, and from earth and air, and sea and sky,
the blending voice of solemn music : " For of
him, and through him, and to him are all
things : to whom be glory both now and for
ever."



The Faithful Mimste7'.

"Commending ourselves to every man's
conscience in the sight of God," " In the
sight of God." Ah ! that is the thought that
hallows it. All our endeavours for the en-
lightenment of our fellows are under the felt
inspection of Almighty God. His eye marks
the effort, — His voice, " I know thy works,"
is constantly inspoken to the soul. It is
necessary that we should feel this, in order to
fit us for our duty. If we do not feel this, we



152 LIFE THOUGHTS.

shall have no courage. Depend upon it, th?
heroism which the pulpit needs — which it
never needed in this world's history half so
much as it needs to-day — the heroism which
the pulpit needs, which the ministry must
have, will not be wrought in the soul, unless
this thought is there. There is so much to
enslave a man : the consciousness of his own
unworthiness, — the weakness of his best and
holiest moments, — the love of approbation^
which forms a natural instinct, swells often
into a sore temptation, — the reluctance to give
offence, lest the ministry should be blamed, —
the haunting anxiety as to what men think of
him and say of him ; — oh ! how often have
these things checked the stern reproof and
the faithful warning, and made the preacher
the slave, instead of the monarch of his con-
gregation ; and, instead of the stern, strong,
fearless utterances of the prophet, you may
stammer forth his lispings with the hesitancy
of a blushing child ! Depend upon it, this is
no light matter. It requires no common
boldness to stand single-handed before the
pride of birth, and the pride of rank, and the
pride of office, and the pride of intellect, and
the pride of money, and to rebuke their trans-



LIFE THOUGHTS. 153

gressions, and to strip off their false confi-
dence, and tear away their refuges of hes ;
but if a man has only burned into his heart,
that he is speaking in the sight of God —
ah ! he will do it. Yes ; God-fear will banish
man-fear. He will feel that, for the time, the
pulpit is his empire, and the temple is his
throne ; and, Hke another Baptist, he will
thunder out his denunciations against rich
and poor together, with his honest eyes
straight flashing into theirs : " Except ye re-
pent, ye shall all likewise perish."

" In the sight of God." Give him that
thought, and he will be tender as well as
brave. He will look upon his congregation
as immortal ; he will see in each one before
him (oh, the thought is overwhelming !) an
offspring of the Divine, an heir of the ever-
lasting ; and in this aspect of it he will
tremble before the majesty of man. He will
be awe-struck, as he thinks of trying to in-
fluence them for eternity. There will be no
harshness in his tones, there will be no seve-
rity in his countenance. If the violated law
must speak out its thunders, it will be through
brimming eyes and faltering tongues. He
will remember his own recent deliverance ;

G 2



154 LIFE THOUGHTS.

like Joseph, he will scatter blessings round
him with large and liberal hand ; but there
will be no ostentation, there will be no vanity,
for he will remember that he is but the
almoner of another's bounty, and that his
own soul has only just been brought out
of prison. He will be like one shipwrecked
mariner who has got upon the rock, and is
stretching out a helping hand to another who
yet struggles in the waters ; he that is on the
rock knows that he has only a slippery foot-
ing, and that the yawning ocean is beneath
him. Oh ! let us realise that we are in the
sight of God, and we shall have larger sym-
pathies for man. We shall have more of the
spirit of Him who "came eating and drink-
ing," and who was " the friend of publicans
and sinners." There will be no fierce rebukes,
no proud exclusivism, no pharisaical arro-
gance then. The sleeper will not be harshly
chided ; the remonstrance of affection will
yearn over him, and the tear will gather in his
eye as the invitation is given, or the regret is
breathed : " Ye will not come unto me that ye
might have life." " Com^e, all ye that are
weary and heavy laden, and I will give you
rest."



LIFE THOUGHTS, 155

**^ In the sight of God." That will help us
to persevere. We shall be constant, as well
as brave and tender, if we realise continually
that we are in the sight of God. Though diffi-
culties multiply, this will prevent us from
becoming weary and faint in our minds. We
shall remember Him who endured the con-
tradiction of sinners against Himself ; and
through perverseness and obduracy, whether
men will hear, or whether men will forbear,
we shall labour on for the cause of Christ,
and for the good of souls. Wc shall not be
satisfied v/ith good report, with extensive
popularity, with decorous congi-egations,
with attention, settled and serious, upon
every countenance. We shall want souls.
We shall press right away through, to the
great end of restoring the supremacy of con-
science, and brmging a disordered world back
again to its allegiance to God. This is our
life-work, and we are doing it day by day —
unfaithfully, imperfectly — but we are doing
it. Moral truth upon the mind of man is
something like a flat stone in a churchyai'd
through which there is a thoroughfare. Hun-
dreds of pattering feet go over it day by day ;
famiharity with it has weakened the impres-



156 LIFE THOUGHTS.

sion, and time has effaced the letters. The
foot of each passer-by adds something to the
work of decay ; but God has sent us with a
friendly chisel to bring it out again into
sharp, clearest, distinctest outline before the
spirits of men. That is our life-work, and
we are labouring on amid the driving sleet
and pelting rain, — jostled now and then by
the rude and heedless passenger, — fitfully
looked at by those who flit away to the farm
and the merchandise, — regarded with a sort
of contemptuous admiration by those who
admire our industry, while they pity our en-
thusiasm. Patient, earnest workers, we must
labour on, and we intend to do so. God
helping us, the ministry of reconciliation is
to be proclaimed here. Sabbath after Sab-
bath, universally, unto those who will come,
without money and without price ; and
verily, we shall have our reward. I cannot
labour in vain. What, think you, would
sustain me under the pressure of multiplied
excitement, and multiplied sorrow, and mul-
tiplied labour, but the thought that I cannot
labour in vain ? The words I have spoken
to-night are flung forward, and they have
lodged in the conscience, and I cannot recall



LIFE THOUGHTS. 157

them : simple, well-known Bible truths, they
have gone into your consciences, and I cannot
recall them. But they shall come up some
day. You and I may never meet again,
until we stand at the judgment-seat of God ;
then they shall come up — then^ and, verily,
I shall have my reward. I shall have it, when
some fair-haired child stops to spell out the
syllables upon that flat stone, and goes away
with a new purpose in his heart ; I shall
have it, when some weather-beaten man,
bronzed with the hues of climate and the
shades of years, takes the solemn warning,
numbers his days, and applies his heart unto
wisdom ; I shall have it, in the welcome given
to my ascending spirit by some whom I first
taught, it may be unworthily, to swell the
hosanna of praise, or to wrestle in all the
litanies of prayer ; I shall have it, in that
smile that wraps up all heaven in itself, and
in those tones of kindness which flood the
soul with ineffable and everlasting music :
" Well done, good and faithful servant ;
enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." I leave
with you and with the Spirit the word of His
grace, praying that He who alone can accom-
plish it, may give it life and power.



158 LIFE THOUGHTS,

God Mindful of Man.

How is God mindful of man? I need
scarcely put the question, for every phase
of man's life, every aspect in which it is
possible to lock on him, give the answer.
He is mindful of man in every moment of
his existence — mindful of infancy on its
mother's breast or in its nurse's arms. Who
else can understand an infant's language,
and interpret an infant's look? He is mind-
ful of boyhood in the season of passionate
and wayward youth, when it sports with
existence and tosses it about as if it were
one of the playthings of its pleasure. He is
mindful of manhood in the toils of active
life — of age when all other mindfulness ter-
minates, and when the tics to earth have
been loosened one by one. He is mindful
of them all. And so constantly is this
mindfulness manifested — so intense and all-
pervading is this essence, that we might
almost adopt the language though not the


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