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demption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his grace—who has risen again from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept—who has gone into heaven, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption for us —who is at the right hand of God, making intercession for us, and is able, therefore, to save unto the uttermost all that come unto God by him.
3. Paul had, further, a view of the glory which Jesus Christ has promised to his followers. For them death hath no sting—over them the grave boasts no victory—nor the second death any power. Their Savior shall reclaim their dead bodies: He shall call, and they shall answer him out of the dust. Neither death nor hell shall retain them for an instant. They shall spring up in all the alertness of spiritual and incorruptible bodiesshall be fashioned like unto his own glorious body, and go, in their whole persons, to be forever with the Lord.
All these things the apostle saw-saw them in the light and with the eyes of that faith which is the evidence of things not seen, and the substance of things hoped for. They left on his soul an impression never to be obliterated: an impression as deep and vivid as the seal of the Holy Ghost-as the image of the living God. Whenever, afterward, he speaks of his Redeemer, and
of his people's hope in him, his spirit catches fire. O, how unlike the men who are cased in triple ice when they approach the throne of the Son of God! He darts up into the heavens, and when he descends again to earth, it is to scatter
Thoughts that breathe, and words that burn."
Hear this child of faith and of the skies, singing and shouting, and welcoming the decease which was to take him home: I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand; I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith ; henceforth there is laid up for me á crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto them also that love his appearing.
Throughout his whole representation of the glory, grace, and promises of Christ, it will not fail to be observed, that there is not so much as a a hint of any doubt. The Christian religion is not a religion of doubts. Doubting Christians there are, but doubting faith there is none. And it is only when their faith is very low, that there is any place for doubt. O thou of LITTLE FAITH, wherefore didst thou doubt? The religion of which God is the author, cannot be a religion of doubts. He is the immutable Truth. There
is no room for conjectures, or mere opinions. It is a dishonor to its glorious Revealer, to say upon a subject of eternal hope, “ That it is my opinion."
Your opinion--and to what more is it entitled than the opinion of another man? But when you speak peremptorily, “ This is the truth of God,” the ground is entirely changed-then “ to the law and the testimony.” Accordingly the declaration of Paul has no conjecture about it. He speaks with the confidence of a man intimately acquainted with Jesus Christ; I KNOW whom I have believed. A gracious boldness, for an example of which you may in vain turn over the ten thousand pages of philosophical Christians. They know nothing of Jesus Christ, the Savior. They have a great many notions; they sport their several opinions; they are very wise in their own conceit; but about the Lord Jesus, his glory, and his grace, whatever they may prate, they know nothing, and have not the effrontery to pretend that they know any thing: for the object of all their philosophy is to strip him of his glory, and to fritter away his
till it is not worth a sinner's acceptance. But what says Paul ? I know him: there is no uncertainty in the matter; I know him, and am persuaded he is able to keep what I have committed unto him.
II. We are thus brought to the second point: which is the apostle's confidence that every thing is safe in the hands of Jesus Christ.
Here two inquiries challenge our notice: First, what had the apostle committed unto his Savior? Second, whence arose his assurance that it was perfectly safe in his hands?
1: What was the deposit which Paul had committed to Jesus Christ? It was evidently something personal—something, about which if his hope were deceived, he might be put to shame something in which he peculiarly acted as a believer. What was this? What could it be but his immortal soul, his redeemed body, his whole interest in the salvation of God ? Men in health and spirits may talk, and do talk, with lightness and gayety of their own decease, and affect to think it strange that any but a villain should entertain the least apprehension about his appearance before God.
But when age, accident, or sickness, proclaims their course to be nearly run; and the stock of life to be almost exhausted—when the chill atmosphere of the grave smites them with the last ague; and death's icy hand begins to lay hold upon their frame when the world, with all its illusions, fades upon the sight, and possesses no more the power of charming—when ETERNITY rises in all its magnitude-displays its dread realities-draws back VOL. I.
the curtain from the judgment-seat-announces the approach of the righteous Judge, and the necessary and speedy appearance before him0, then, lightness and gayety flee away. They have other thoughts altogether about putting off this body. Nothing but the Christian's hope can sustain their spirits. Then there is seen an emphasis in his words of faith, which was not comprehended before: his brow, glittering in the death-sweat, is encircled with a glory, which sheds infinite contempt upon the baubles of earth; and commands them to remove with their impertinence to a respectful distance. O, I have seen a believer preparing to resign his soul into the hands of his dear Redeemer-have seen him make a practical comment upon the declaration of Paul-have seen how infinitely trifling and foolish the world appears when she presumes to draw near him, and to open her absurd lips. The very worldling could not endure it. Then is the moment of the dying conqueror's triumph. He commends his spirit to Him that loved him, and washed him in his own bloodcommits his body to the Resurrection and the Life-commits it “in sure and certain hope” of its being raised again to eternal life : and as the breath departs from his lips, he shouts, Salvation! and is away, amidst the alleluias of angels, to the "bosom of his Father and his God." What