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worse to day, by means of what he thought, designed, or did yesterday. The present day, therefore, is not only important in itself, as a season for which we must give an account, but because of the influence which it will have on the events of the morrow. Thus circumstanced, frail, irresolute, wandering, wicked, exposed to immense dangers, and yet capable of immense enjoyments, how infinitely desirable is it that we should have such a friend as Christ. In his mind are treasured up all the means of happiness, which we need, the immense power, knowledge, and goodness, the unchangeable truth, faithfulness, and mercy which, and which only, can provide and secure for us immortal blessings, or preserve us from evils which know no end. In all places he is present, over all things he rules with an irresistible dominion. No being, no event, can be hidden from his eye. No enemy, however insidious, or however powerful, can escape from his hand. His disposition is written in letters of blood on the cross. He who died that sinners might live, he who prayed for his murderers, while imbruing their hands in his blood, can need, can add no proofs of his compassion for men. This glorious Redeemer is also * the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. Such a friend to man as he was when he hung on the cross, he will be throughout eternity; and to every one, who sincerely desires an interest in his good-will, he will manifest his friendship in an endless succession of blessings.
While we wander through the wilderness of life, amid so many wants, how desirable must it be to find a friend able and willing to furnish the needed supplies ! Amid so many enemies and dangers, how desirable must it be to find a friend, able and willing to furnish the necessary protection! Amid so many temptations to watch over us! Amid so many sorrows, to relieve us; in solitude, to be our companion ; in difficulties, our helper; in despondence, our support; in disease, our physician ; in death, our hope, resurrection, and life! In a word, how desirable must it be to find a friend who, throughout all the strange, discouraging state of the present life, will give us peace, consolation, and joy, and cause all things, even the most untoward and perplexing, to work together for our good!'
On a dying bed especially, when our flesh and our hearts must fail of course, our earthly friends yield us little consola
tion, and no hope, and the world itself retires from our view, how delightful will such a friend be! Then the soul, uncertain, alone, hovering over the form which it has so long inhabited, and stretching its wings for its flight into the unknown vast, will sigh and pant for an arm on which it may lean, and a bosom on which it may safely recline. But there Christ is present, with all his tenderness and all his power. With one hand he holds the anchor of hope, and with the other he points the way to heaven.
In the final resurrection, when the universe shall rend asunder, and the elements of this great world shall rush together with immense confusion and ruin, how supporting, how ravishing will it be, when we awake from our final sleep, and ascend from the dust in which our bodies have been so long buried, to find this glorious Redeemer . re-fashioning our vilo bodies like unto his glorious body,' and re-uniting them to our minds, purified and immortal! With what emotions shall we arise, and stand, and behold the Judge descend in the glory of his Father, with all his holy angels !' With what emotions shall we see the same unchangeable and everlasting friend placing us on his right hand in glory and honour, which kings will covet in vain, and before which all earthly grandeur shall be forgotten! With what melody will the voice of the Redeemer burst on our ears, when he proclaims, · Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world !' How will the soul distend with transport, when, accompanied by · the church of the firstborn,' and surrounded by · thrones, principalities, and powers,' it shall begin its flight towards the highest heavens, to meet • his Father and our Father, his God and our God! What an internal heaven will dawn in the mind, when we shall be presented before the throne of Jehovah; and, settled amid our own brethren in our immortal inheritance and our final home, bebold all our sins washed away, our trials ended, our dangers escaped, our sorrows left behind us, and our reward begun, in that world where all things are ever new, delightful, and divine!
At these solemn and amazing seasons, how differently will those unhappy beings feel, who on a death bed find no such friend; who rise to the resurrection of damnation ; who are
left behind, when the righteous ascend to meet their Redeemer; who are placed on the left hand at the final trial; and to whom in the most awful language which was ever heard in the universe, he will say, ' Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.'
MIRACLES OF CHRIST.
JESUS OF NAZARETH, A MAN APPROVED OF GOD AMONG YOU, BY
MIRACLES, AND WONDERS, AND SIGNS, WHICH GOD DID BY HIM IN THE MIDST OF YOU, AS YE YOURSELVES ALSO KNOW.
ACTS II. 22.
In a series of Discourses, I have considered at length the character of Christ as a Prophet, Priest, and King. I shall now proceed to investigate his character as a worker of Miracles.
In the text, Christ is styled, 'Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among' the Jews. This approbation is declared to have been testified by miracles, and wonders, and signs, which God did by him in the midst' of that people : and of all this it is asserted the Jews themselves had been witnesses. These subjects I propose to consider in the following Discourse, so far as I shall judge necessary to my general design. I shall however, neglect the order of the text; and adopt one more suited to the present purpose. I shall
I. Define a miracle :
I. I shall define a miracle.
A miracle is a suspension or counteraction of what are called the laws of nature. By the laws of nature I intend those regular courses of divine agency which we discern in the world around us. God, to enable us to understand his
works, and his character as displayed in them, and to enable us also to direct with success our own conduct in the various duties of life, and probably for other purposes, has been pleased to conform his own agency to certain rules formed by his wisdoin; called by philosophers, laws of nature, and in the Scriptures,' ordinances of heaven.' To these laws all things with which we are acquainted by experience are usually conformed. A miracle is either a suspension or counteraction of these laws; or, more definitely, of the progress of things according to these laws. I have chosen both these words, because I would include all possible miracles, and because some events of this kind may more obviously seem to be suspensions, and others counteractions, of these laws.
II. I shall show that Christ wrought miracles.
In this case I shall, for the present, assume the story as true which is told us by the evangelists concerning the works of Christ, and refer my observations on this subject to another part of the discussion. Taking it then for granted that Christ really did the things ascribed to him in the Gospel, I assert, that a considerable number of these things were real miracles. I say a considerable number, because it would be idle to extend the debate on the present occasion to any thing supposed to be of a dubious nature, and because, after every deduction which can be asked, a sufficient number will remain to satisfy every wish of a Christian, and to overthrow every cavil of an infidel. Among other examples of this nature, I select the following
The case of the man, who was born blind ; who observed justly concerning it, ' Since the world began it was not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind.' No arguments are necessary to prove this to have been a miracle in the perfect sense ; for every individual knows, that it is a total counteraction of the laws of nature, that clay, made of spittle and earth, and smeared upon the eyes,
should restore sight to a person born blind. I select this case the rather, because it was formally examined by the Jewish Sanhedrim, and evinced to have been real beyond every doubt.
The case of Christ's walking upon the water in the lake of Gennaseret, is another equally unexceptionable.
The cures which he wrought on lepers by his mere word