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gious," will "not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax," but will so purify the hearts of those who set themselves earnestly to do his will, and trust in Him for grace and strength, that their lips shall utter nothing "but that which is good for the use of edifying, and ministereth grace unto the hearers;" they shall be found among those who "follow Him whithersoever He goeth;" in their "mouths shall be found no guile," and they shall at length be "without fault before the throne of God.” *
Rev. xiv. 4, 5.
MARK XVI. 19, 20.
"So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, He was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following."
WE are assembled this day, by the ordinance of the Church, in commemoration of that great event which closed the visible course of the Lord Jesus Christ on earth, when, in the words of the Creed, "He ascended into heaven, He sitteth on the right hand of God, the Father Almighty." The last great festival of the Church called upon us to consider the
wonderful fact, which lies at the foundation of our faith, that our Lord Jesus Christ rose again from the dead with his human body, and thus overcame the power of death, and restored to human nature its lost supremacy over the power of the grave; we believe that with his body thus miraculously raised from the dead, the Lord showed Himself to chosen witnesses by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days" for the better confirmation of the faith, He permitted the apostle St. Thomas to doubt the fact of his resurrection, until that evidence of his outward senses which he incredulously demanded, was graciously vouchsafed to him. He did eat and drink with his disciples, in order to convince them that his body still refused not the same sustenance as their own; in all his actions and gestures while in their presence, He showed, and appeared to aim at showing, that He was still the same person with whom they had companied all the time that He went in and out among them, be
ginning from the baptism of John. Doubtless, the instructions which He then delivered to his apostles were numerous and important: the short notices of them which are revealed to us in the Scriptures are, as it were, samples of the whole; but they suffice to show us that the Lord Jesus Christ, before He left his disciples, prepared, animated, encouraged, and mightily convinced them, as the future witnesses of his resurrection, showing them that He was, in the words of the Athanasian creed, "Perfect God and perfect man; of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting; equal to the Father, as touching his godhead; and inferior to the Father, as touching his manhood; who although He be God and man, yet He is not two, but one Christ." Once convinced of this mighty mystery, the apostles would naturally be more ready to receive, with due submission and reverence, the last commands of their Lord, when He spake of the "things pertaining to the kingdom of God." In those memorable forty
days, which passed between the resurrection of Jesus Christ and his ascension up into heaven, we doubt not that that precious deposit of gospel truth which the apostles were commissioned to preach and to hand down in purity and unblemished perfection, without adding to it or diminishing from it in any one particular, was set forth, explained, and enforced by Christ with more authority and fulness than ever: while upon other subjects, such as the future fortunes of the Church, the interpretation of Scripture, and the like, He might have communicated much concerning which the Evangelists are silent, but which have come down to us with traditional authority.*
When, therefore, St. Mark says in my
"To his own indeed, to those who lay upon his breast at supper, or conversed with Him for forty days, He might vouchsafe to tell much, whether in the way of prophecy, or interpretation of Scripture, or Church discipline; and the result, nay, perhaps portions of such instructions, remain among us to this day."-Newman's Prophetical Office of the Church, p. 354.