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THE SWELLING OF JORDAN.

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unto men once to die.” All our possessions are uncertain, such as life, health, friends, means, but death is absolutely certain. He is an enemy that cannot be resisted, that cannot be bribed, and from his grasp we cannot escape. Death is near as well as certain-so near, that there is often but a step between us and death—so near, that this night our souls may be required. True, death generally has precursors, such as sickness, disease, weakness ; but the time of health, yea the present time, is the most favourable moment to realize our dissolution and prepare for it. It requires us to be ready for death. The priests took the ark of the covenant of the Lord and bore it, and as soon as their feet touched the waters of Jordan, a way was prepared by which all the Israelites passed over in safety. In like manner, we must take hold of Jesus, the true ark of the covenant, hide ourselves under the covering of His blood, and keep Him between us and all the trials and terrors of death, and our way will be clear, and our passage will be safe to the promised land. Reader, is not sin the sting of death? Does not the blood of Jesus cleanse from all sin ? Can a serpent without a sting do thee any harm ? The question requires each one to be ready. It is a personal question. It does not ask, are thy friends ready, but reader, it singles thee out, and asks, “What wilt thou do ?” Art thou ready?

THE THREE GRACES.

“And now abideth, faith, hope, charity, these three, but the greatest

of these, is charity."-1 Cor. xiii. 13.

Let us contemplate these three graces, their permanency in the church, and the superiority of love.

The three graces—“faith, hope, love.” Faith is the first Christian grace, the first act of the spiritual man. Its necessity is evident, in as much, as without it, we cannot please God, and without it there is no pardon, no salvation. Its object is Jesus Christ in the glory of His person, the perfection of His work, and the value of His blessings, and there is no other object. Its nature is appropriating, for faith without possession, is barren philosophy. It is the belief of the truth of the gospel ; but it is more, it is a receiving of Christ as our only Saviour. A friend holds out a shilling to me, I see it, and believe it to be a shilling, but unless I receive it, I am not benefited. Its warrant is the invitation, the command of Christ. Surely it cannot be presumption in me to do what Jesus requires. Believe, and thou shalt be saved.

Hope is the eldest daughter of faith, for when we believe in Christ, we hope for salvation. The object of Christian hope is something future,

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and something good. We hope for the end of our faith, the salvation of our souls in heaven. Its nature is a firm expectation of everlasting salvation through Christ. Its foundation is Christ and His precious promises. Its tendency is to purify us, like Christ, and fit our souls for a better world. Thus, hope sweetens the Christian's life, and he mounts up on its bright wings to the happy land.

Love is the fulfilling of the law. It is the Christian's motive power-the main-spring of all his actions. Its necessity is such, that there can be no visible religion without it. Its objects are Christ, Christian brethren, and all men. It has a bosom as wide as the shores of the ocean, and ready to embrace all men. It fires the soul of the Christian with zeal to save and to do good to others, and it leads him to holy, sincere, cheerful, constant, and universal obedience.

Their permanency in the church—“Now abideth.” Faith, hope, and love were much hid in the primitive church by gifts of miracles, prophecy, and tongues. These were so extraordinary and exciting, and so necessary to give the religion of Jesus a footing in the world, that the more useful and pleasing graces of faith, hope, and love, were apt to be overlooked. But, “Now,” henceforth, from the time when the apostle wrote, they were to be more prominent in the Christian church. Faith, hope, and love were to be in all the saints. Besides, they were to be permanent in the church, “Now abideth.” “Whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease ; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away." Not so with faith, hope, and love. They were to abide, and abide for ever. Many think that faith and hope are temporary graces, and that we shall not have them in heaven; but we shall, only they shall be somewhat changed. There faith will be fixed on a seen Saviour, for ever fixed. There hope will exult in the sure anticipation, that heaven's blessedness will never come to an end.

The superiority of love—“The greatest of these is love." Love comprehends both faith and hope, while they do not comprehend it. Faith is the spring bud upon the tree, the first sign of life. Hope is the lovely blossoms scenting the air with their fragrance, but love is the fruit that benefits and enriches the owner. As fruit is superior to buds and blossoms, so love is superior to faith and hope. Love is the test of their existence, while they are no test of the existence of love. Love is superior, because it benefits others as well as ourselves. And love is superior, because it assimilates us to God himself. We cannot conceive of God having faith and hope, but “God is love,” and love is the highest style of man, because it makes him resemble God.

Twenty-Second Sabbath—Morning.

THE BLOOD OF CHRIST.

« The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin."

1 John i. 7.

The glorious Person, the precious blood, its cleansing power, and the parties benefited, are worthy of consideration.

The glorious Person is “ Jesus Christ, His Son." He is called Jesus, " for He shall save His people from their sins.” He is a Saviour, able and willing to save, and ready to save now. He is “ Christ,” the anointed Prophet, Priest, and King of His church, still holding, and exercising these offices for our benefit. He is the Son of God, a Divine Person in our nature, that He might obey, and die, and that His obedience unto death might possess infinite worth. “ This God is my God for ever and ever ; He will be my guide even unto death."

His precious blood. This blood was necessary as an atonement. The justice of God, and the sins of men, rendered it necessary, “Without shedding of blood is no remission.” This blood made an all-sufficient atonement for sin. Being the blood of God-man, the Mediator, its worth cannot be limited, and no man, under the gospel, need perish for want of atonement. Sinner, hide thyself under its covering, and thou art safe! Its utility is incalculable. It opens for us the way to heaven, it brings us into this way, it keeps

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