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ened by sorrow and contrition, will behold the Saviour in all his charms. The heart, which was here burdened with grief on account of guilt, will gush forth gratitude for its deliverance. The ears, here closed to error and scandal, will hear the songs of saints and angels. The hands, here raised in prayer, will grasp unfading palms of victory; and the lips, which here moved in prayer, shall shout the praises of Him who sitteth upon the throne, and the praises of the Lamb! O, it will be indeed a jubilee to those who have "died in Jesus," when his voice enters the low chambers of their graves!

But while this subject affords special consolations to believers in the Lord, it should carry fear and trembling to the impenitent.

"All that are in the graves," said our Saviour, "shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and shall come forth;"-all-"they that have done good,"-have believed in Christ, and have been led by his Spirit," to the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil," have been unbelieving and disobedient, "to the resurrection of damnation." O what scenes of horror will then open upon the impenitent! Their bodies here members of unrighteousness,-instruments of guilty pleasures, will burst out from the tombs, their external appearance befitting the guilty souls who will inhabit them. How will these souls shudder at the deformities of their own habitations! How will they shrink from bodies once occupied in Satan's service, and now bearing their master's hateful image! They will wish, but vainly wish, to hide them. They will call, but call in vain, upon the rocks and mountains, to do this. They must enter them, though bearing the curse of sin, to be unitedly dragged away to conviction, and sentence, and hell;-to endure gnawing appetites, insatiable cravings, and tormenting passions, forever and ever! My impenitent hearers, are you prepared for a scene like this? Have you made ready for, have you thought of, the morning of the resurrection? Very soon will you be laid in the grave;-are you prepared to be summoned from it? Flatter not yourselves with vain hopes. Those only will be raised in glory, who undergo a moral transformation in this world. Those only will come forth to the resurrection of life hereafter, who come forth to the resurrection of regeneration and piety now. Awake, then, now, from a death in trespasses and sins, and Christ shall give thee life. "The hour now is, when the dead hear the voice of the Son of God," and so hear as to live. Every Sabbath that the gospel is preached, some soul starts from the slumbers of sin to a life of faith and religion. Be thou of that wise number, who, in this state of their probation, attend to "the things which belong unto their peace." Trifle not away your day of grace. Hear your God when he says, Repent and believe; hear and do, as you would not die the second death, as you would not come forth to the resurrection of damnation." My friends, you may harden yourselves against this appeal; but


when the earth is heaving, charnel-houses rattling, and graves opening, how will it then appear to you? You may now close your ears to the truth, but to the shout of your descending Judge, you cannot close your ears. You may refuse to hear and obey the gospel, but the archangel's trump you must hear, and its summons you must obey.





"But ye are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels. To the general assembly and church of the first-born which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect. And to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel."-HEBREWS xii. 22-24.

THE Apostle would comfort his brethren in the faith. Their afflictions were manifold. The lusts of the flesh annoyed them. The world was in arms against them. Satan desired to have them, that he might sift them as wheat. Dangers girded them round on every side, and often they saw only destruction before them. Nothing would comfort them more than a lively perception of the blessings of their condition, as united to Christ by faith, and sanctified by his Spirit.

To those blessings the Apostle refers them. The language he employs is so elevated, as to seem descriptive of the state of believers after death. But the context clearly requires its application to Christians in the present world. The scope of the argument used is to dissuade the brethren then living, from refusing him that speaketh from heaven;-i. e., from thinking lightly of the author and finisher of faith, and to constrain them to serve God with reverence and godly fear, notwithstanding temptations and trials. To strengthen this argument, he refers distinctly to the privileges they were now enjoying through the mediation of Christ, in contrast with the terrors attending the introduction of the preceding dispensation. "Ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness and darkness and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words-but ye are come unto Mount Zion, &c. The argument would clearly have been out of place, but in application

to their actual condition. It is not said, ye will come, but "ye are come." They are privileges not to be waited for, but are already possessed.

All will acknowledge it the duty of the Christian to live above the world, and hold himself consecrated in body, soul, and spirit, to Christ; nor is it more his duty than his privilege. Real bles sedness attends him when faithful to his holy vocation. Nor can this blessedness be better understood than by attending closely to its sources, as developed in the text.

I. It is a blessedness of Christians that God has here established a church, and provided the means of its perpetuity and enlargement. Its foundations are laid in the counsels of eternal wisdom. Its ordinances are settled. The gates of hell cannot prevail against it.

This church is often spoken of under the name of Zion, a name originally applied to "the city where our Lord was crucified." Moriah, one of the two principal eminences within the walls, formed the site of the temple; and Zion, the other principal eminence, was occupied by the palaces of the kings; and being the stronghold of the city, the whole city was called by its name.

It was named also "the city of the living God," because the worship of Jehovah was here alone maintained, and his special presence betokened, by the visible glory called the Shekinah, hovering over the mercy-seat. And because the worship offered here had respect to the Lamb that was slain, and is now adored by the hosts of heaven, it was also called "the heavenly Jerusalem."

"Mount Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem," well fortified, and splendidly built, is placed in striking contrast with the rugged mountain of Sinai, rising in the midst of the desert, a misshapen pile of unsightly rock, scathed by the lightnings, and beaten by the storms of heaven.

Sinai, too, gendereth to bondage. There was given the law; there the justice of God was manifested amid thunderings and earthquakes, and voices proclaiming, "Do this, and thou shall live." But Zion proclaims the liberty wherewith Christ makes his people free, pours forth its tones of mercy, comforts the broken-hearted, throws open the prison-doors, and gives the blessed assurance, "He that believeth shall be saved."

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In the earthly Zion stood the Saviour of the world, when he proclaimed, "I am the way, the truth and the life." man thirst, let hin come unto me and drink." pleted the work of man's redemption, declared it "finished," bowed his head beneath the weight of the world's corruption, and died. Here was his church first organized in an upper chamber; here the Holy Spirit first descended, and constrained the cry from thousands, "What must we do to be saved?" And hence

issued the heralds of salvation, bearing on their tongues the glad news of salvation to the most distant dwellers on the earth.

Hence the propriety of the figure, by which the Christian church is denominated "Zion." "Ye are come unto mount Zion;" ye have entered the church of God, and "are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God." This is said, on the supposition that the piety of those entering the church is sincere that they are truly partakers of the spirit of Christ.

Every true disciple of Jesus is surrounded with a wall firm as the everlasting hills, sustained against the assaults of earth and hell by almighty power, and defended by a vigilance that never slumbers nor sleeps. Trials he must have: conflicts he must maintain heart-breakings he must endure: but, all things conspire to secure him an exceeding great and eternal weight of glory. Nothing shall be able to separate him from the love of God. He shall come off conqueror, and more than conqueror.

Surely it is the blessedness of the Christian, that in the church of the living God, with its holy ordinances, copious instructions, and manifold excitements to activity and vigilance, he has strong security against temptation, and the pledge of protection amid whatever hostilities and treacheries he may meet. In God alone can he trust. His own heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; and every rebel against God is meditating his destruction. And in view only of the fact taught him by the establishment of the church can he exclaim, "The Lord is my helper, what can man do to me? The Lord is my rock and my fortress, of whom shall I be afraid?"


II. It is a further blessedness of Christians, that they are surrounded by invisible beings, whose office it is to minister to the heirs of salvation.

They are come "to an innumerable company of angels." These are God's hosts. We see them not. We know, however, that they are ever about us, sympathizing in our sorrows, helping our infirmities, guiding our steps, and holding us up in their hands. Their numbers, man's arithmetic cannot compute; but they are thousands of thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand, "an innumerable company," ever obedient to the will of God, and ready to fly to distant parts of the universe to execute his commands. They excel in strength. To their sphere of vision and of movements we can set no bounds, and God uses them as instruments of communication with this, and probably with other worlds. Think you that the patriarchs and prophets alone had to do with them?-that their embassies to earth, and back to heaven, were confined to Jacob, reposing in the wilderness of Paran, to Elisha, shut up in Dothan, or even to Abraham, and Manoah, and others who are specified as the objects of their care?

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I tell you nay-but the poorest, the most ignorant, and neglected, among Christ's disciples, are equally cared for by the angels of God, as the most noble and elevated. Of each of the little ones, children and babes, given to Christ, we are assured, that their angels do always behold the face of God-i. e., they stand in God's presence, to wait his commands concerning them.

The Christian, contemplating the wickedness of the world around him, and the fewness of those who sympathize in his sorrows, and partake of his labors, not unfrequently exclaims with Elijah, "I am left alone;" and with the servant of Elisha, surrounded by the hosts of Assyria, "What shall I do?" But he is not alone. The hosts of heaven encompass him. And those hosts are as truly his brethren, throwing their arms around him, as if he saw them with his eyes, and heard them with his ears. Do they not love and adore the Christian's Saviour? Is it not the command of God, "Let all the angels of God worship him?" They own him as their Lord. As they ministered to him while in the flesh, and would, if permitted, have rescued him from the hands of his enemies, so now, they cast their crowns at his feet, pour their songs of praise into his ear, and unite with his disciples in crowning him "Lord of all." It is of them that he speaks, when he says that he has "other sheep that are not of this fold"— sheep that he will hereafter bring with him, when he appears in the clouds of heaven to judge the world, and shall thenceforward constitute, in connection with saints on earth, one fold, under one and the same "good Shepherd."

And this blessedness appears the greater, when viewed in contrast with the condition from which the Christian is delivered. Once, the prince of the power of the air held dominion over him; evil spirits encompassed him, filled his mind with darkness, inflated his head with pride, strengthened him in error, whispered in his ear the soul-destroying falsehood, "You shall not surely die," stifled his conscience, drew great swelling words of vanity from his lips, aud urged him on in folly's beaten path, till he had reached the verge of the precipice overhanging the world of death. Then, no angel from heaven attended him, no guardian spirit protected him, nor one from the throne of God threw over him heaven's broad shield, and called him brother.

How great his happiness now, when all the myriads of heaven enter into his companionship, draw water for him from the wells of salvation, stanch the wounds of his bleeding heart, and help him to fasten his eye immovably on the Lamb of God! Such is the Christian's privilege.

III. The blessedness of Christians consists also in their union with each other. They are come "to the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are written in heaven."

The family of Christ is one. Whatever diversities of feature

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