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bosom. And that this should be so is well and wisely ordained, in order to animate and encourage to exertion by the prospect of immediate results interesting the feelings. But while we thus allow their due influence to the pleasing prospects of the future in this world, we must watch, and be on our guard, that we do not permit these hopeful imaginations to intrude on the office of reason, and to inthral the mind instead of exciting it. He, who allows his fancy too much to regale itself with the airy gratifications of hope, is of all men the most removed from realising what he desires. Even if his hopes be innocent, he is wasting the powers of his mind by fairy dreams, in comparison with which all realities are flat and stale: and should his imaginations be those of sin, which he would perhaps shrink from committing, he is sapping the very
foundations of moral principle—incurring present guilt in the sight of God, though not of man, and preparing a ready victory for the tempter in the hour of proof.
Let the hopes, on which we allow our minds to dwell, be innocent above all things; and, as far as may be, sober too. They will not want, if rightly viewed even in the soberness of truth, enough to call forth our best energies—to exercise our best feelings--and to animate our best endeavours for the good of others and ourselves. Though they be concerned about earthly things, they need not be altogether earthy : but on the contrary may each and all be exalted by being brought into contact with a higher motive; and be made to lead, and tend to, and combine, and blend with a heavenly hope.
And, though other hopes may be at the mercy of beings such as ourselves; this will be more securely reposed in His hands, who alone can neither faint nor fail. Though experience show us the vanity of other hopes ; this hope, founded on experience, is proved by experience to be more sure. Though tribulation sweep away the fond fabric of worldly hope, which our imagination may have built up; the house of heavenly hope, founded upon a rock, is but proved by tribulation to stand more firm. May we all, my brethren, be of those in whose
, hearts the love of God is so shed abroad, as to be unto them a seal of this blessed hope.
May the sense of that love penetrate our minds with its vivifying influence, quickening them into love to Him again. May it water our souls with its gentle dew, causing them to bring forth flowers and fruits well pleasing to God. May it constrain us with its pervading power, drawing us “with the cords of a man,” and making us in thankful obedience adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. Thus shall we, justified by faith, have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Thus, should he visit us with troubles, will tribulation work patience, and patience experience, and experience hope : and thus will the love of God, shed abroad in our hearts, be to us indeed the seal, that our hope maketh not ashamed.
I WILL PRAY THE FATHER, AND HE SHALL GIVE YOU ANOTHER
COMFORTER, THAT HE MAY ABIDE WITH YOU FOR EVER.
There is no part of Scripture more deeply interesting, or more forcibly instructive, than that portion of St. John's gospel, which, beginning in the thirteenth, and ending with the seventeenth chapter, contains the conversation between our Saviour and his disciples in the interval between the last supper, and his agony
in the garden. On this interesting occasion, our blessed Lord, laying aside the figures and parables which he was wont to use, opened to his disciples, without reserve, the treasures of heavenly wisdom, and disclosed to them far more fully, than he had ever done before, the high mysteries of the kingdom of God. In particular, he spoke very largely of the nature and office of the third person of the Trinity, the Comforter, whom he would send to testify of himself, and to guide them into all truth.
The Apostles were dejected and alarmed at the prospect their Master exhibited to them of his own approaching death, and of the persecution to which they would be exposed. And it was to console them under this sorrow, that our Saviour dwelt upon the promised coming of the Holy Spirit, and the blessings they would enjoy as his gifts—blessings, which, he assured them, would be so great and valuable, as fully to compensate the loss they would sustain in the want of his own immediate presence on earth; and would be even more precious to them, than his guidance, his instruction, and his example.
“Because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart ; nevertheless, I tell you the truth, it is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you, but if I depart, I will send him unto
And he further led them to look for the effects of this coming, in Knowledge, in Power, in Faith, in Righteousness, and in Peace 2."
After his resurrection, he repeated to the Apostles his promise of sending to them the Holy Ghost, and commanded them to remain in Jerusalem to await his coming. The promises of God do not fail; and, accordingly, the day of Pentecost brought to the assembled Apostles the accomplishment of our Saviour's words. The Holy Ghost, who was
1 John xvi. 6.
» John xiy. 26 ; xv. 13. xiv. 27 ; xvi. 33.
Acts i. 8. John xiv. 20; xv. 3. 5. 15 ;