Page images
PDF
EPUB

derings ? And, are we fearful lest we perish before the friendly voice can be heard, which alone can restore the stillness of conscience?

This is, indeed, the most intolerable evil to which man is subject,--the consciousness of guilt, and the consequent gloom which is thereby thrown on all his prospects of futurity! With what eagerness men have at all times sought a cure for this wound of the spirit, is evident from the practice of sacrifice, so prevalent in the ancient world, when the poor sinner was glad to have recourse to the “ blood of bulls and of

goats,” in the fond imagination that “ it could take away sins.” Yet, in the lowest condition of the human understanding, it was impossible that the mind could

any satisfaction, in the belief, “ that in such sacrifices God would “ have pleasure ;" and, while the melancholy attempt to appease the wrath of

65

repose, with

66

Heaven was constantly repeated, it was as constantly found to be vain.

In this cheerless state of Religion, in this wreck of conscience and of man,when the voice of despair was feebly uttering the words, “ Master, carest thou “ not that we perish ?”-In that awful moment, the Saviour of the world said, “ It is finished, and bowed his head, and

gave up the ghost.” The mighty expiation was now for ever accomplished; and he arose from the sleep of death, and rebuked the storms of a guilty world, and said, “ Peace, be still ;-and the wind “ ceased, and there was a great calm !" From the period of those great events, which the solemnities of the altar have brought so clearly before us, Religion has been freed of every thing that was dark and unsatisfactory,--the veil of the temple has been rent in twain, and sinful man may now approach, by “ a new “ and living way,” to contemplate the beauty of the mercy of God!

Are ye then desirous, my brethren, to forsake your sins, to regain the favour of your Maker, and to be now, at length, numbered among his children ? Have

ye prayed to Him in secret to restore you, and do

you

resolve from henceforth to go on in the strength of his Spirit ? Have you prostrated yourselves, this day, at the foot of the Cross ? Then, “ Why are ye “ so fearful? How is it that ye have no “ faith?” “ Who is he that condemneth? “ It is Christ that died, yea

rather that « is risen again, who is even at the right “ hand of God, who also maketh inter“ cession for us.'

Contemplate his sufferings for

you,

and doubt of forgiveness if you can !—Weep, but let your tears be tears of joy:-“Go and sin no more!"

That we may ever be prepared against our future dangers, it is wise

9

in us to seek, at times, the peaceful shelter of the altar.

There, I trust, we have now refitted ourselves from the storm, and have become strengthened for the course that is yet before us. There, too, I trust, we have felt the power of Him who conducts us through the deep; and, instead of continuing fearful and without faith, have been encouraged to fall down before him, and to exclaim, in all the feryour of devotion, “What man“ ner of man is this, that even the wind 6 and the sea obey him ?”.

DISCOURSE XVI.

ON CHRISTIAN FAITH.

Mark, v. 36.

As soon as Jesus heard the word that was

spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the

synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.

In the chapter, my brethren, to which I have now come, in the course of my reflections on the Gospel of St Mark, there are three very remarkable miracles of our Lord narrated. In the first of these,

* Preached on Trinity Sunday.

« PreviousContinue »