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ful for them; but his highest note of praise is "Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift!" Does he read or hear the word?—he loves it, because it is the "word of Christ;" and no preaching has any sweetness in it, if Jesus be forgotten or slighted.
Look at the sacraments, and you will find them saying Christ is all. What is baptism but a declaration of our misery by sin, our need of Christ as a purifier, and a badge of our belonging to him? We are " baptized unto Christ," we are "buried and risen with Christ," we " put on Christ." The Lord's Supper was instituted to be a memorial of Christ; the bread is the communion of his body, and the cup the communion of his blood. This ordinance shows us that Christ is the food of our souls, sufficient to nourish them unto eternal life; and is intended to stir up and strengthen believers to receive and feed upon him in their hearts by faith, with thanksgiving.
As Christ is the Christian's all through life, so is he, especially, his all in a dying hour. In that important season, creatures, however useful before, are no longer of any use. What can then support the soul, just entering into eternity, but a precious Christ? It is His death that takes away the sting of death: It is the hope of being with Him, and being like Him, that reconciles the believer to the great change; together with his faithful promise, that "of all the Father hath given him, none shall be lost, and he will raise them up at the last day."—Through Christ alone it is, that the dying Christian may, and often does triumph, saying, "O death! where is thy sting? O grave! where is thy victory?"
We go one step further, and add, that in heaven itself Jesus Christ is all in all. It is His glorious presence that brightens and cheers the heavenly world. "I have a desire to depart, and to be with Christ," said St. Paul. This was what he thought "far better" than all his spiritual enjoyments and useful engagements below. Yea, Christ himself expresses his most affectionate desires for the happiness of his people, by saying, " Father, I will, that they whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory." It is an infinite mercy to be in Christ: this is our security: it is an unspeakable favour to have Christ with us; this is our chief happiness on earth: but the blessing that completes and crowns the whole, is to be with Christ for ever and ever. There all the millions of the redeemed shall be of one heart and of one mind, and with one voice concur to sing, that Jesus Christ is all in all.
1. From what has been said, it appears how erroneous, unscriptural, defective, and destructive, every system of religion must be, wherein Christ is not all. Look around you; such systems will readily be found, in which Christ is not all; in which he is little or nothing.- The mere moral scheme, or the notion of men's being saved by their good works, deprives him of all his glory, and renders the expence of his precious blood a needless waste; "for if righteousness comes by the law, Christ is dead in vain." Gal. ii. 21. Beware of every doctrine that would lessen the honour of Jesus, and your regard to him. You cannot raise him too high, or exalt him too much, for he is all in all.
2. Let every one of us then examine his own religion by this rule:—What is Christ to me? Do J prize and esteem him above all, as " the chief of ten thousand, and altogether lovely?" In the all-important concern of approaching to God, and seeking acceptance with him, what do /, a guilty, filthy, helpless sinner, look to and rest upon 1 Is it Jesus alone r Is he my all in coming to God? In the grand affair of sanctification— the love of God and the love of man—do I consider this as a part of the salvation that is in Christ, as prepared for me, and laid up in Jesus, to be received daily out of his fulness by faith? And as to my happiness in this world of misery, do I draw it out of the broken cisterns of perishing creatures, or from the unfailing and boundless ocean of divine love? Do I daily endeavour to walk with God as my God, reconciled to me in Jesus; trusting in him for all needful blessings, to keep me safe, and render me happy; seeing all my affairs in his hands, working together for good, and leading me forward, step by step, to his blessed presence, where there is fulness of joy and pleasures for evermore? Happy, thrice " happy is the man that is in such a case; yea, happy is the man whose God is the Lord!" Ps. cxliv. 15.
How rich is the believer! He who has Christ has all, for Christ is all. All are yours, says the apostle, "whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours." I Cor. iii. 22. The various gifts of Christian ministers are yours; the government of the world is upon the shoulders of Christ, who is "Head over all things to the church." Your lives are given you for a blessing, whether they be long or short, prosperous or afflicted; death itself, the king of terrors, is disarmed of its sting; and in whatever form it conies, it comes to be your eternal gain; all present things, spiritual or temporal, comfortable or painful, work together for your good ; every occurrence yet before us in this world, is wisely adjusted by infinite love; and, to crown all, in the future world there is " an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved for you, and ready to be revealed."
On the other hand, how poor, how miserably poor, is the carnal worldling, the careless sinner, the man who lives " without Christ in the world!" He has nothing, let him possess what he may. Could he call both the Indies his own, he is "poor, and wretched, and miserable, and blind, and naked:" even now he feels an aching void; and death will soon convince him that all is vanity and vexation of spirit. O that you may be wise in time! Behold, this glorious Saviour stands at the door of your hearts, and sues for admission. O consider the matter well before it be too late. "Have you sins, or have you none? If you have, whither should you go but to the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world? Have you souls, or have you none? If you have, whither should you go but to the Saviour of souls? Is there a life to come, or is there not? If there is, whither should you go but to Him who only hath the words of eternal life? Is there a wrath to come, or is there not? If there is, whither should you go but to Him who only can deliver from the wrath to come? And will he not receive you? If he yielded himself into the hands of them that sought his life, will he hide himself from the hearts of them that seek his mercy? If he was willing to be taken by the hand of Violence, is he not much more willing to be taken by the hand of Faith? O come, come, come! 1 charge you come. I beseech you come. Come, and he will give you life. Come, and he will give you rest. Come, and he will receive you. Come as thou art, come poor, come needy, come empty; Christ is all, and has all, and will give thee all, to make thee happy now and for ever.
John vi. 67, 68.
Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.
THESE words were occasioned by a remarkable falling off among the followers of our Lord. Vast numbers of people attended his ministry—and no wonder. The sanctity of his character, the benevolence of his heart, the amazing miracles that he wrought, and especially his sweet, heavenly,- powerful manner of preaching, could not but excite great multitudes to follow him. Thousands and thousands listened to him with pleasure; and yet the number of his genuine disciples was very small.
Having performed an amazing miracle, in feeding - five thousand people with five loaves, the people were satisfied that he was the Messaih, and determined to make him a king. Our Lord withdrew, and crossed the sea; the people followed him; when he took occasion to deal very closely with them, and to point out the cause of their not coming to h:m for life. This gave them great offence; but it proved who were his true disciples, and that the rest were such only in pretence. The whole of his conference with them displays the faithfulness of Christ, and the fickleness of man.
The words of our text are very affecting :—Many of his nominal disciples have left him; he puts the question to the twelve apostles, "Will ye also go
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