« ForrigeFortsæt »
the angel had said to the blessed virgin : “ The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” Our Savior's person was thus holy, because of his Most High Godhead, not only dwelling in his soul and body, but really and for ever united thereto, so as to make one Christ, one Person, very God, and very Man. Now here the same name, Holy One, is ascribed to his sacred body as it laid in the grave, three days and three nights, separate from his soul. It was still holy, still united in a mysterious but real manner to the Eternal Word. When Joseph of Arimathea, when Nicodemus, when the pious women gathered round it, and showed it all affectionate honor, bringing sweet spices, wrapping it in fine linen, reverentially laying it in a new tomb, hewn out of the rock; do not imagine that they were only paying the last honors to a dead saint; whether they were fully aware of it or no, they were religiously worshipping God toward that most holy temple, in which he still dwelt, the body of the only begotten Son. When the chief priests and Pharisees, in their spite and scorn, put a guard on that body, sealing the stone, and setting a watch; and when the soldiers, as it should seem in insolence, with a spear pierced his side; they were not only dealing disrespectfully with the innocent dead, but they were profaning that flesh and blood, which was united for ever to the Eternal Word of God. Their sin was like the sin of those who behave to the holy communion rudely or scornfully; as the pious care of the others is an encouragement to all who came with adoring hearts, however imperfect their knowledge, to that heavenly feast. For Christ's body is there mystically present, as it was present visibly and outwardly in the grave and on the cross: that body which is called the Holy One, being not only most holy in itself, but also the channel and conveyance of holiness to the souls and bodies of all who communicate worthily. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man but God; not discerning the Lord's body; not making a due difference between other
bread and wine, and this which is verily and indeed the conveyance of Christ's body and blood : he is guilty therefore not merely of disparaging a holy part of God's worship, but also of slighting the body and blood of the Lord.
Lastly, seeing that even in the grave the Godhead of the Lord Christ still abode with his blessed body; seeing that body was still God's Holy One, it could not be suffered to see corruption, according to the exposition of St. Peter beforementioned: “God raised him up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that he should be holden of it." Why not possible? Because he was the very Son of God. And to whomsoever he has given power to become adopted sons of God, regenerating them by water and the Spirit, and nourishing them with his own body and blood: although, because of the infection of sin remaining in them, which never was in him, they must still expect to see corruption, their bodies will decay like those of other men, as a corn of wheat dies when cast into the earth--yet there is in them a something glorious and immortal, a seed of a heavenly life which can never decay. Living or dying, nothing shall separate them from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord ; nothing, that is but their own wilful unworthiness. A most comfortable thought, that God has done, and is doing, so much for us; a most grave and awful thought, that all rests now (if one may say so) with ourselves.
Doubtless, many of us would rather choose to be quite certain, positively assured that we never can fall
away ; but God, who knows what is best for us, speaks not after that manner in Holy Scripture. He everywhere addresses all, even the most perfect among Christians, as being yet on their trial, as though it were yet but too possible for the best of them to fall
away. As men indeed, their bodies must rise again, and as baptized Christians they have in them the seed and leaven, as it were, of a glorious resurrection ; but they may stifle that good seed, they may behave so as to force God to raise them, not to everlasting life, but to shame and everlasting
contempt. We may fall from God, and we surely shall, if we be not careful to lay our foundation where the holy Psalmist lays it in the beginning of this bis Easter hymn: “ I have set God always before me, for he is on my right hand, therefore I shall not fall.” As long as we set God before us, as long as we devoutly remember the presence of the holy, blessed, and glorious trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and meekly endeavor to walk as in that presence; so long we are safe, and no longer.
And who is sufficient for these things ? who can walk by so holy a rule without God's special grace ? and who dare hope for his grace, without earnestly seeking him in prayers, in sacraments, and in all the discipline of his church? That is the only safe way, for that is the way which God himself has promised to bless. That is the very path of life, leading to him, in whose presence is the fulness of joy, and at whose right hand there is pleasure for evermore.
JOY IN CHRIST'S RESURRECTION.
PREACHED ON EASTER MONDAY.
Psalm xvi. 10.
“Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell neither wilt thou suffer thy Holy
One to see corruption."
Without all question, this prophecy belongs in an especial sense to our Lord and Savior. He it was, whose pure and divine soul could not stay long in the place of hope and imperfection'; whose body could not possibly be holden of death long enough to see change and corruption. Yet so it is, that almost all the Psalms which relate in this manner to the king and head of the church, do also relate, in a merciful and mysterious way, to the church itself, and to every member of it. therefore, without presumption, go on to consider these heavenly promises as spoken to ourselves and to all who are in covenant with God through Jesus Christ.
We are particularly warranted in taking this Psalm to ourselves, inasmuch as the first verses
of it plainly belong to David as well as to Christ. It is David, who so earnestly pledges himself never to run after another god. “Their drink-offerings of blood will I not offer, neither make mention of their names within my lips.” It is David, who thanks God so earnestly, for having given him a portion among his own people and in his church. “The lot has fallen unto me in a fair ground, yea, I have a goodly heritage.” It will be found on examination that every part of the Psalm may be applied to David in some sense, except that one clause, in which, as both St. Peter and St. Paul have told us, our Lord only can be meant. “ Thou wilt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.”
The rest belongs to the king of Israel ; and to all who like him faithfully serve or have served God in his church, whether before or after the coming of our Lord.
Here then, we may see, first of all, what consolation devout persons had, even under the Old Testament; how they did, as it were, keep a kind of Easter beforehand. We see what happiness it was to holy David, to know for certain that he was on God's side, and not on the side of the idols, and false gods. “O my soul, thou hast said unto the Lord, thou art my God; but they that run after another god shall have great trouble. Their drink-offerings of blood will I not offer, neither make mention of their names within my lips.' So far, he declares he will have nothing to do with idols; he will not join in their abominable sacrifices, nor will he own them to be gods by swearing in their names. Then he rejoices in his own happiness, in having so good and bountiful a God, and being one of his peculiar people. “ The Lord himself is the portion of mine inheritance, and of my cup: thou shalt maintain my lot. The lot is fallen unto me in a fair ground; yea, I have a goodly heritage.”
Why was the holy Psalmist so contented, so thankful for his own condition ? Not because he was altogether what this world calls prosperous: on the other hand, the next verse shows that he had serious affliction to try him. “I will thank the Lord,” he says, “ for giving me warning ; my reins also chasten me in the night-season:” that is, “I have bodily pain, which keeps me awake: I am thankful for it; it is a warning from God for my good.”
Observe, next, what use the man after God's own heart made of his nightly pain and sickness. As he lay awake, he practised himself in heavenly contemplation. " I have set God,” he says, “always before me, for he is on my right hand, therefore I shall not fall. Wherefore my heart was glad, and my glory rejoiced: moreover also, my flesh shall rest in hope .. Thou wilt show me the path of life ; in thy presence is the fulness of joy, and at thy right hand there is pleasure for ever