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you. O, blessed Jesus! can there ever be a doubt of this in the minds of any of thy people? Can we ever question with ourselves, as we go forth obeying thy command to disciple the nations, whether on thy throne thou rememberest us, and carest for us, and hast delight in our work? We know that thou art with us, and that no heart in all the universe like thine own is concerned for the enterprise which thou hast committed to our hands. Is not Jesus with us, my brethren? Is he not with us in our counsels? Is he not with us in our prayers? Is he not with us in our labors? Is he not with us in every thought we think, in every word we speak, in every act we do for him, for the furtherance of his cause and the upbuilding of his kingdom? Whose servants are we? Are we not his servants? Whose work are we performing? Is it not his work? Whose kingdom are we seeking to promote? Is it not his kingdom? and is not he with us? He, of all the beings on earth or in heaven, is the being whom we should suspect last of all of not being with us. Nay, whomsoever else we might suspect of looking with indifference or with feeble interest on the work in which we are engaged, he is the being on whom suspicion in this regard can never fall. Men may fail us the kings and the princes of this world may look on us in our gospel work with unconcern, or even with hostile eyes. Professed friends may prove treacherous and deceitful, but there is one higher than all men, higher than all earthly potentates, one friend dearer than all friends, whose fidelity may be trusted forever, and of whose friendly sympathies we never can be deprived -Jesus, with all the capacity of his infinite heart, is with us. He looks down upon us from that height of glory to which he is exalted, and yearns over us, and over the enterprise committed to us, with an interest which no creature, no angel even, can ever fully comprehend.
Why, my dear brethren, we ought not to require the word of our Redeemer's promise to assure us of this. It is enough to know that we have but entered into his labors; for this salvation "first began to be preached by the Lord himself." He inaugurated personally the work in which we are engaged. And think you that the zeal which consumed him consumed itself? Was it quenched amid the agonies and blood of Calvary? Who is he that sits on the throne of heaven but the very same that hung upon the cross? The very same that, by the shedding of his blood, was made "the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world?" the very same who, after His resurrection from the dead, in one of his appearances to his disciples, when they doubted and were amazed before him, supposing that it was a spirit and not his real self that they beheld, after he had persuaded them by infallible signs, "opened their understanding that they might understand the Scriptures, and said unto them-Thus it is written, and thus it behooved
Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem? and now when we go forth preaching that gospel to the nations, and discipling them to its faith, is not he with us? Has Jesus forgotten? Has he ceased to care? Oh, Christian brethren, whatever else we doubt, let us never dare to doubt that we have the sympathy of Jesus in our missionary work. It would be impious to question this. Nay, verily, the heart of the Lord is with us.
2. I am with you by my power and by my providence. My hand is with you. The sympathy of Christ is not a barren sympathy like the sympathy of some men. It is not his heart only that he gives, but his hand with it. He pledges to the Church the effectual co-operation of his omnipotence.
"All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth; go ye, therefore, and disciple all nations; and lo, I am with you"-with you to defend you against your enemies, to defeat their counsels, and to bring all their devices to nought; with you to strengthen you in every conflict, and to make you victorious; with you to overthrow the mountains and to cast up the valleys, and to make a highway before you in all your goings; with you to make all things work together for your good-to bring good out of evil, light out of darkness, order out of confusion; with you to cause even the wrath of men to serve your purposes, and to restrain the remainder; with you, sometimes indeed "riding on the wings of the wind, making darkness my secret place, and my pavilion round about me, dark waters, and thick clouds of the sky," yet truly with you ordering your paths and developing your conclusions, to make your paths straight, and your conclusions glorious. "Fear not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea I will help thee; yea I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Behold, all they that are incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded; they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish. For I the Lord will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. Fear not thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the Lord, and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. Behold I will make thee a new threshing instrument having teeth; and thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and make the hills as chaff. Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them, and thou shalt rejoice in the Lord, and glory in the Holy One of Israel."
Such, brethren, is the promise which Jesus gives. His divine power shall accompany his obedient church, and though weak in herself, she shall be strong in him to do his will.
3. With the assurance of our Lord's everlasting sympathy, and of the effectual help of his Omnipotence, there is included also
the pledge of his perpetual presence by his Spirit to enlighten and guide, and comfort and bless his people.
We are not to think of Jesus simply as our infinite friend far distant in the heavens, remembering us there where he sits in glory on his throne, and caring for us, and deeply concerned for our cause; nor are we to think of him simply as ruling and reigning for our good, overlooking the affairs of his kingdom, and ordering all things with however wise and gracious a reference to our advantage, or with whatever infallible certainty of compassing his ends. We are to understand that by his Spirit, his presence with us is a real presence; that he is with us in every deed, a God at hand and not afar off, ready with all-sufficient grace to sustain us in every emergency; to whom we may go in every hour of trial, in every danger and every distress, in all our perplexities and our fears, just the same as if he were personally with us and we beheld him with our eyes. If ye love me, keep my commandments, and I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of Truth; whom the world cannot receive because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless I will come to you."
It is no figure, my brethren, that Jesus says to us-" Lo, I am with you," but he speaks plainly. It is even so. The Lord is with his people.
4. Is it not also, somewhat in the way of warning that Jesus speaks? Is there not a caution in his words? Do we not see a finger of faithful admonition lifted towards us when he says— "All power is given to me. Go ye therefore and disciple all nations, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always?" Are we not reminded that our labor is to be performed under the ceaseless inspection of his eye? Does he not seem to be telling us of that solemn office which appertains to him as the searcher of hearts, and the trier of the reins? Does he not seem to be purposely directing our thoughts to that day when he will judge his servants, and render to every one according to his works?
"And lo, I am with you." O, my soul, receive the comfort of this assurance; and O, my soul, be not unmindful of the warning. Jesus is with thee in the faithful remembrance and unfailing sympathies of His infinite heart. Jesus is with thee by His all-conquering and untiring power. Jesus is with thee by His comforting and guiding Spirit; and Jesus is with thee, also, by His searching and trying eye. As thy Master, he is with thee, to think on thee and to care for thee; to help thee and to uphold thee; to instruct thee, and to bless thee; and, in the end, to Judge thee and to reward thee.
IV. Let us consider, very briefly, in conclusion, the practical influence which these words of Jesus should have upon our minds, and
1. As it respects our judgment of the sum of Christian duty here upon the earth. Ten thousand duties demand our attention and our diligence-everywhere there is labor to be performed: labor on ourselves, and labor on other men; labor in the church, and labor in the world, and labor in our own families. But, the one end of all labors the sum of all duties-is to speed on the conquest of the world for Christ. Nothing is duty which does not tend to this. Nothing is great, or glorious, or good, which does not serve directly or indirectly to hasten it. He is no disciple of Jesus who is not living for it. He is no disciple of Jesus, with whom all things else are not subordinated to it. This is the end comprehending all ends at which we are to aim. It is the end for which Jesus reigns on His mediatorial throne, and for which He is ceaslessly directing all the energies of His kingdom; and it is the end to which should be directed all the energies of His church on earth.
We must look upon the world as a revolted empire of God's dominions, and upon the Church of Christ as an army organized and established within its borders for the resubjection of it to its rightful Lord. In this view, a thousand things are, indeed, imperative on the Church, not directly tending to the accomplishment of her great object. She must care for herself and for her camp. She must nurture herself, and husband her resources. She must strengthen and make sure the positions she has already taken, and multiply, in every direction, the arms and sinews of her war. She must train her soldiers, and raise up and prepare the men who are to be leaders of her host; but she must do all these things with reference solely to her greater efficiency as an army of aggression and conquest. She must never look upon herself as doing her proper work-as fulfilling her proper mission-only when she is casting forward her bands of fighting men, and taking possession of new ground in her great Commander's name. She is doing nothing, in fact, when she is not advancing her arms against the foe. Nothing, when she is not spreading herself out on the enemy's territory, and subduing, and annexing it. Nothing, when she is not "enlarging the place of her tent, and stretching forth the curtains of her habitations." The cry of the host must be forever, Onward! They that lead must cry it to them that follow; and they that follow must cry it to them that lead; and from front to rear, from rear to front, cry must meet cry, Onward! onward! until the last enemy has been met, and the last foot of earth has been subjected.
2. In the second place, courage, my brethren! courage! Think who is upon our side. Think who it is that says, "And lo, I am with you always even unto the end of the world." "The Lord of hosts is with us: the God of Jacob is our refuge."
ye the word of the Lord: "Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the heathen; I will be exalted in the earth."
"Oh clap your hands all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph: "For the Lord most high is terrible; He is a great king over all the earth. "He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet. "He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom He loved. "God is gone up with a shout; the Lord with the sound of a trumpet. "Sing praises unto God, sing praises; sing praises unto our king, sing praises: "For God is the king of all the earth; sing ye praises with the understanding. "God reigneth over the heathen; God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness. "The princes of the people are gathered together even the people of the God Abraham:
"For the shields of the earth belong unto God; He is greatly exalted.”
There is no fear but we shall conquer in this war, for "if the Lord be for us, who can be against us? Let
"The kings of the earth set themselves,
"And the rulers take counsel together,
"Against the Lord, and against his Anointed, saying,
"Let us break their bands asunder,
"And cast away their cords from us.
"He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh.
Oh, my brethren, sometimes we are tempted to despond. Sometimes looking at the feebleness of all human resources, and at the magnitude of the enterprise in which we are engaged, we are ready even to despair. But alas, for us! Alas, for our blindness and our folly! Like Elisha's servant in Dothan, when he saw the "horses and the chariots and the great host" which the King of Syria had sent up to take Elisha, but could not see that "the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about him" for his defence, who cried, in his terror, "Alas, my Master! how shall we do?" So we often are at our wit's end, and can see no
way of deliverance before us. Oh, could our eyes be opened when we are thus perplexed, as the eyes of Elisha's servant were when Elisha prayed for him, what wonders should we behold! Should we not see "the chariots of God which are twenty thousand-even thousands of angels, and the Lord among them as in Sinai ?" More than Israel saw in the wilderness-more than the pillar of cloud by day, and of fire by night, should our eyes behold. Even Jesus and the host of His mighty ones encamping round about us. Let us arm ourselves with the strength of this assurance. Let us be "Strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might." "Be strong, O Zerubbabel, with the Lord; be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, and work: for I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts."
Finally there should abide with us continually all the weight of that solemn admonition which our text conveys. A holy fear should take possession of our minds; for oh, the Lord is here,