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will be indemnified for the crown of thorns, then He will avenge the nails and spear. And then, too, those on whom the sentence falls will feel the agony He bore for the redeemed, and would have borne for them. Can you bear this? Can you bear to think that your destruction will be self destruction, that it will be all your own fault if you are lost? Think of the smallness of the pleasures you surrender to gain the great salvation. But make up your mind at once. Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation. Are you putting off the time and saying that there is time enough yet? Is this a period for such a plea ? Does a retrospect of the past year warrant you in urging it? Has no young and blooming flower been plucked from among your acquaintance--no shrub transplanted from the temporal to the eternal vineyard? Is there no voice of warning in the echoes of the past? Has the sickle of the great Reaper never flashed before our eyes in striking down some friend or relative we loved ? Or has it flashed across our eyes, but not upon our hearts? O the past has been an eloquent year to some of us, and has brought solemn lessons to us all if we would but learn them.
Let us, then, on this the opening Sabbath of an opening year, just look back, and while nations are reading in letters of blood the dismal tale of war, and all the terrible vaccillations of victory and defeat, despondency and hope—while communities are summing up the items of improvement or defection in their worldly prospects—let us each individually look back upon the goodness and mercy which has followed us hitherto, and while we thank God for it, let us think how much fruit we have brought forth to His glory. Are we coutent in such a retrospect to find that we are better off in the world than we were before, or that we stand higher with society than formerly? Let us see how much nearer we are to heaven now we are so much nearer to eternity-not how much gain we have acquired, now that we are so much nearer parting from it all. If any have come through unusual affliction and trial, are they more chastened and subdued by it, made more like God, more resigned to His sovereign will ?
Does the light of the past cast any reflection on the futu
let it enkindle a growing faith in and devotion to Him who has helped us hitherto ; and as it reveals the mists which shroud the time to come, let us lean upon the Rock that is higher than we.
Does the darkness of the past make us afraid of the future? A faithful retrospect on the part of the best of us will disclose to us many sins which call for just humiliation. But do not let us be discourged. Though we have brought forth no fruit. Though we have disappointed the expectations of a long-suffering Father. Though we have long cumbered the vineyard, and retarded the growth of the plants of grace, let us remember that we have yet an Intercessor, a faithful and earnest advocate, a high-priest whose glowing heart is touched with a feeling of our infirmities, and to whom we cannot come in vain.
Now, then, my friends, as you and I stand guilty, and defiled, and worthless, on this “ bank, and shoal of time,” and peer into the mists of the dim mysterious future, and see as it were in ghastly perspective the arrows of Death drifting like hail across the very path we have to walk, whilst we see graves opening all around, and travellers gliding in one by one as they press along the road,—whilst we see deathbeds where weeping friends stand round the suffering forms, and young and old, high and low, all marching on to a common eternity--whilst we see all this, and stand in dreadful doubt which deathbed may be ours, which grave is opening for us, which arrow is winged for our hearts, let us see to it that we have some armour in which to set out, some guide to shew us the way. We have both. The Bible is our chart, prayer our armour, Christ our guide. No heart so black, but He can cleanse it: no sin so heavy, but He can bear it: no past ingratitude so heartless, but He will freely forgive it: no tree so barren, but He can revive it. There are some who have in the past year begun to try the efficacy of this intercession, and publicly put on Christ. Will you who yet stand back ask any one of them whether they repent having taken the cross? They will tell you that they never knew what true happiness was until they found it there : and you shall find it too : only come at once, and just as you are ; that is all. My poor careless brother, let me leave you gazing on
the picture which the parable we have tried to improve presents to you in twilight of an opening year. There you are amidst the trees of God's own garden, a withered blighted plant, Justice stands with uplifted sword and indignant scowl, eager to cut you down, and cast you to the flames,-Christ, with appealing look and blood-stained brow, holds back the weapon, and points to His crimson cross on Calvary; and from the excellent glory from on high a clustering host of shining ones look down with pitying eye upon you and bid you hearken, while “ the Spirit and the Bride say, Come; and let him that heareth say, Come; and let him that is athirst, Come; and whosoever will, let him come, and take the water of life freely.” Do you
ask, Who are these shining ones, and whence came they? I answer, These are they that came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb; and that you, filthy as you are, shall be as spotless as the brightest of them, if you will but come to the same fountain ; and from the songs with which you are welcomed to their company, you shall find that “there is joy among the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth."
The Great Salvation.
EVERY attentive reader of New Testament Scripture will often be struck by the sustained beauty and power of the style. This will be more especially the case in perusing the singularly graphic and eloquent epistles of St. Paul. With such a uniform and unbroken chain of magnificence, we should scarcely expect to find any special features to overtop the rest. The general standard is so high that it seems impossible to exceed its sublimity, and yet we do find ourselves, even amidst this brilliant web and tracery of beauty, arrested ever and anon by some flashing gleam of superhuman power, when the pulse of inspiration has beat with a more than apostolic ecstacy, fevered into celestial poesy by the gathering brightness of the celestial theme. Suppose yourself wandering in company with several friends through some romantic and enchanting scenery, pursuing your way along the winding banks of some mountain stream, each turn reveals some fresh variety of loveliness to gladden the heart and charm the eye,—nature seems to be emptying her portfolio of pictures, and you do not know which to admire most,—while you are looking at the glowing landscape before you, a friend points out some fresh display of beauty to the right; and turn which way you will, fair Nature greets you with a winsome smile, which warms the heart and kindles up the soul. Still, as you penetrate further and further through the glade, and nestle deeper and deeper in the ample bosom of mother earth, where the mountains, with the cowslip and