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dued by divine grace, becomes more tender and susceptible, more alive to the sorrows of the world. He feels most acutely the stroke of adversity which inflicts pain, sickness, or poverty, or consigns to the tomb those whom nature or friendship hath endeared to him. For these troubles of the heart, reason supplies no effectual remedy. She enforces submission to evils, because we cannot avoid them -acquiescence in calamities, because they will not last for ever. These are cold consolations. But faith in God's mercy, through Christ, supplies consolations which are active and lively. Faith teaches us, that the evils which we cannot indeed avoid, are, in the hands' of our gracious and merciful Father, the instruments of our spiritual good. Faith not only teaches us that the evils with which we are assailed will soon terminate, but renders us resigned to their continuance, by the assurance that they are the evidences of God's love for us, the merciful discipline by which he subdues our vices, exalts our virtues, weans us from the world, and prepares us for more exalted glory in heaven. Faith teaches us that, by these afflictions, we are conformed (and what a privilege is this !) to the likeness of our divine Master, who was despised and afflicted; and that while his grace is ready to support us under them, they are the pledges of our finally sharing with him the glory with which, after his patient endurance of suffering, he is invested at the right hand of the Father. These are remedies for affliction which reason and nature cannot supply; which enable Christians, under calamities which would overwhelm with disconsolate grief those whose only comforter is nature, to exhibit the serenity, the tenderness; the meekness of
holy resignation, and to exclaim, in the fervour of triumphant faith—". As dying, and behold we live; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.” They are remedies supplied only by that Saviour who, infinite in mercy and power, addresses to his followers the divine words of consolation—"Let not your hearts be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.”
4. In this divine declaration, also, we behold our only remedy for that trouble of the heart more severe than all others—the fear of death.
The fear of leaving the world, so long the scene of our plans, exertions, and pleasures-the fear of encountering the agonies which convulse the body when the ties which bind it to the soul are rent asunder-the fear that the vigour of intellect, the fire of imagiņation, the glow of friendship, the fervour of affection, will be extinguished in the gloom of the grave-these are the fears which clothe death with such terrors—they are fears which nature inspires, which reason cannot allay; she possesses no light with which to explore that dark futurity-no consolations with which to cheer the spirit, trembling on the confines of an unknown world.
But to this trembling spirit a voice is addressed -“ Be not troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me." It is the voice of him who hath brought life and immortality to light, and who holds the keys of death and the grave; who died and was buried, and rose again, and now liveth for ever ; 'who ascended up on high, leading captivity captive; and, seated in glory at the right hand of God, hath promised to his followers, that where he is, there they shall be also. Believing in him, the heart of the Christian is no longer troubled : his Guide through the valley of the shadow of death is that heavenly Shepherd whose rod and whose staff support him: his Comforter in his last hour is that Saviour who himself tasted the bitterness of death. Supported and invigorated by faith in this Almighty Redeemer, the Christian passes through the grave and gate of death to a joyful resurrection. The hour so terrible to nature, so tremendous to the sinner, is the hour of the Christian's triumph; for it is the hour when his trials terminate, when his warfare is closed, when he enters on a state of unspeakable and immortal glory. “() death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory ?"
Brethren, how exalted is that faith which thus proves a sovereign remedy for the troubles of the heart—the sense of guilt, the power of temptation, the sorrows of the world, the fear of death.
What a foe, then, to human happiness is that infidelity which would deprive man of this exalted faith-which would leave him with no other comforters under the troubles of the heart than nature and reason-nature and reason, which reveal no pardon for guilt, no power to overcome temptation, no effectual consolation under the sorrows of life, no refuge from the fears of death.
But what is this faith, thus exalted in its effects? Is it a cold and unproductive belief in God's mercy through a Saviour? No; it is a faith which works by love, which purifies the heart, which leads to holy obedience. It is a faith which, under a sense of guilt, trusts for pardon only to the mercy of God
through the Saviour's merits; which, under the assaults of temptation, applies to the grace of God for strength to resist it; which, under the sorrows of the world, seeks for the only effectual consolation in the favour of God; and which, under the fear of death, sees no other deliverer but Jesus Christ, who is the resurrection and the life. It is a faith so strong, so lively, so uniform in its operation, that the Christian lives by it, makes it the principle of his obedience, the source of his consolations, and the ground of his triumphs. This is the faith meant by our Saviour in his exhortation to his disciples—“Let not your heart be troubled : ye believe in God, believe also in 'me."
Let those who are conscious that they do not possess this faith, be diligent in acquiring it. Let them, under a sense of their guilt and unworthiness, in lively penitence implore pardon througlı the merits of that blood which taketh away the sins of the world. Resolving to forsake their sins, let them fervently invoke the grace of God in Christ to create a clean heart and renew a right spirit within them, and to enable them to resist temptation, and to establish them in the ways of holiness. They will find the sense of guilt removed, and the dominion of sin subdued: their hearts will not be troubled: their God and Saviour will be with them in all their sorrows to comfort them, and in the hour' of death to give them victory.
But, destitute of this faith, guilt will disturb their conscience, sin will corrupt their souls, the sorrows of the world will depress them, death will pursue them with his terrors. How happy would it be for them, if, beyond death, there were no terrors !
But the terrors of death are the prelude to that everlasting wo which is denounced (and who would make the experiment whether the denuncition will be executed ?) as the portion of transgressors, of those who despise the riches of God's mercy in Jesus Christ.
Oh, then, my Christian brethren, cultivate, by reading the word of God, by meditation, by prayer, by attention on all holy ordinances, your faith in God's mercy through Christ. In proportion to the strength of this faith will be the peace of your conscience, the power of holiness in your souls, your superiority to the changes and sorrows of the world, your composure and hope in death, and your felicity through endless ages. Believe in God, through Jesus Christ, and let not your heart be troubled.