Images de page

hension, and sink it into despondency, and distract and toss it like so many restless waves. Glorious, soul-reviving truth! it never alters. Whether the sun cheers, or the clouds grow dark, it never alters. No change of condition alters it, nor is it altered by passing years. It decays not with withering fame, or wasted fortunes, or decaying time.

"E'en down to old age my people shall prove

I add,

My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;

And then when gray hairs shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still in my bosom be borne."

V. In the fifth and last place, Jesus Christ is a friend who is entitled by his own merits to claim for his friends all that his love desires to bestow.

[ocr errors]

He has nothing to ask for himself, but everything to ask and claim for them. When he consented to become obedient unto death, the court of heaven engaged by solemn covenant to give him all he should desire on their behalf. Ask of me, my Son, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." The reward he asks for, and claims, is the pardon of guilty men who trust in him; their acceptance and justification, their sanctification and their eternal glory. He claims it for services rendered by himself; it is but his rightful and stipulated recompense. This claim was completed when he expired on the cross, and acknowledged when he rose from the grave. All the good ever intended for sinful men is measured out and dispensed as a reward to Christ. Whatever the sinner needs is included in his promised inheritance.

And it is this which gives the friend of sinners such claims and such influence where the sinner most needs them. He has a friend at the court of heaven, whose merit is known and whose rights are acknowledged; and they are merit and rights that are sure to be honored. It is but for him to plead their cause, and it must prevail. If he does but point them out and say, "Deliver them," they shall be delivered from going down to the pit. It is but for him to say," Father, I will that they whom thou hast given me be with me, where I am," and they shall be with him, and behold his glory.

Earthly friends die. We weep because we shall see their face no more. Their affectionate heart no longer beats for us; it is cold. They have left us the rich legacy of their example and their prayers; and now their counsels of love sound in our ears only from the tomb. Sinners have a friend who never dies. "Fear not," saith he, "I am he that liveth and was dead, and behold I am alive forever more!" He lives no more to die; and their life "is hid with him in God."

Such is the sinner's friend. The more you know of him, the more ought you to confide in him. If you have felt your need of him, and have actually placed all your hopes in him, you will find him faithful and true. It is not worthiness he seeks for in you; he is the friend of sinners; he came to "justify the ungodly;" the blessings of his friendship are of pure grace, and he gives them "without money and without price."

He is the sailor's friend. It was from the lakes of Judea that he called some of his first disciples. It is you he calls to-day. Do not doubt it. "Reach hither thy finger, and behold his hands; and reach hither thy

hand, and thrust it into his side; be no more faithless, but believing." Reason hesitates here, because here are heights to which her eagle wing never soars. Conscience hesitates and trembles, because here are depths so dark and fearful that one dare not penetrate them. But faith triumphs here, because "it is Christ that died," and he is the sinner's friend.

Ye who are the friends of Christ, take heed how you abuse and betray his love. Be watchful to act the part of friends toward your Divine Lord. Humbling to be thought of, it is in the house of his friends that he sometimes is the most deeply wounded. Be you never so treacherous as to cause him pain and dishonor. Henceforth, when that hand, or those feet, or those lips are tempted to evil, let the remembrance of his friendship wake you to jealousy, shut your lips, guide those feet, and stay that hand. And when that restless and rebel heart wanders, O let the thought of him arrest the prohibited purpose, and restrain and subdue the evil desire!

I shall close this discourse with the thought with which I began it. You need a friend. No class of men need such a friend as Christ more than seamen. Earthly friends with you may be few in number; for once then gain his friendship, and prove his love who "sticketh closer than a brother." He will stand by you when all other friends forsake you. He will not fail you amid those calamities that "put lover and friend far from you, and your acquaintance into darkness." He will be with you in storm and in sunshine, and dwell with you even here, afar off upon the sea. He will be with you in trials; nor will you have to struggle in your conflicts alone. He hath said-what is it that

he hath said, and said, sailor boy, to thee? He hath said, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee!" O, what a sweet promise is this! Make but him your friend, and he will stand by you to the last. His love will breathe peace over your pillow of death, and embalm with its fragrance the sepulchre where your dust shall rest in hope. And when these seas of time shall' have been sailed over; when this low earth where you have sinned, and toiled, and suffered, and wept, and died, shall be left behind, and all its associations shall be forgotten; you shall join that company who have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

"One there is above all others,

Well deserves the name of friend;
His is love beyond a brother's,
Costly, free, and knows no end.

"Which of all our friends, to save us,

Could, or would have shed his blood?
But this Saviour died to have us
Reconciled in him to God.

"When he lived on earth abased,
Friend of sinners was his name;
Now, above all glory raised,
He rejoices in the same.

"Oh for grace our hearts to soften!
Teach us, Lord, at length to love;

We alas! forget too often,

What a friend we have above."



EPHESIANS ii. 12. Having no hope.

No hope! The condition of such a man may well excite concern and commiseration. Men can live and be happy without riches, without honors; they can suffer manfully, and struggle through accumulated sorrows, if there be but a glimmering light in their path. They can rise superior to depression, if there is anything to lull the terrors of apprehension, and they may but feel bound to the world by the consoling, the magic influence of hope. But when this last, silent stream of consolation is dried up, there is nothing left on which the mind may repose its fears, or its griefs. It has no resources left; it sinks unfortified under the burden of its calamity; and the despairing, sullen sufferer has but the one desire left him, "O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave!"

Such instances of suffering are rare; and we naturally ask, of whom is the apostle speaking, whose condition is so emphatically and mournfully described, as "having no hope?"

Perhaps it is the man who has committed the unpardonable sin, and for whom there is no forgiveness, either in this world, or that which is to come. Or it may be the man who is in the agonies of death, and is

« PrécédentContinuer »