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so that, in their hearts, they are most profoundly pleased and satisfied with the favour of their God and Saviour. The children of God must, indeed, as well as other men, live in a restless world, in the midst of much sorrow, affliction, adversity, and disturbance; the children of God may also have to experience war, fire, and all kinds of misfortunes; but the dear Saviour says, " abide in me, so shall ye bring forth fruit." Therefore, however, disturbed and adverse things may be in the world : however much this or that particular thing may seek to annoy: he that hath Jesus, has so secure a habitation, that his inmost soul continues unmoved, in the midst of every storm, from within and without. The vessel lies safely at anchor, and although it may, be somewhat wasted from without: yet the favor of God inwardly refreshes us, in every disturbance, and sweetens all the toils of this life, in such a manner, that the soul may have confidence.
But lastly; Jesus evidences himself as the prince of
peace, in the last and most painful hour, in death. Then, when all is confusion; when the greatest hero is afraid, trembles, quakes, and desponds; Jesus is and continues to be, in his children, a prince of peace; and this he will prove himself to be, as far as they seek, in an artless and childlike manner, to abide in him. O he will not then withdraw his favour from their hearts, but will tranquillize their consciences through the forgiveness of sins, and refresh their hearts by his divine presence, and he
will conduct them into his glory, and into that eternal peace, which he has purchased by his blood.
A prince is also a leader, that leads through every thing. Jesus the prince of peace, is also such a leader; he leads his people through the final assault of death, quite safely and quietly, so that they land in the haven of eternal blessedness. though believers may, according to the wise hand of God upon them, be shaken and disturbed
their dying beds: yet their inmost soul, their faith, continues cleaving to Jesus, as to a firm anchor, and never forsakes him. And thus it is still true, with respect to believers, that Jesus is and continues to be their prince of peace, in death and through death.
People often boast of one or other individual, that he died so quietly, gently, and happily; but was it really so ? Was he in possession of Jesus, as the God of peace? Was he reconciled to God through him ? Was he a child of God? If not, I do not trust the most happy death. In charity, we hope, indeed, on all occasions the best, and so we ought to do; yet this hope saves none that are unsaved. And although they may be termed of blessed, highly blessed, supremely blessed memory: yet it is all nothing. But I call that a happy death, where the man has the prince of peace in his heart.
The righteous are taken away from the evil to come, and they that have walked in uprightness, enter into peace, and attain to the rest of their spirits, when they die,” (as the passage ought to be rendered,
Isaiah lvii. 1, 2.) They rest, it is true, according to the outward man, in their chambers; “but their souls are in the hands of God, and there shall no torment touch them.” (Book of Wisdom, iii. 1.) O what a peace, O what a sinking into eternal peace Their eyes close against all destruction, torment, and distress, and against all the misery of this world, and they sink into the sublime repose of eternity!
Eternal rest, thee shall my eyes behold,
Let us now, my dearest friends, return heartfelt thanks to God, for his goodness, who has once more granted us a season of refreshment and consolation for our hearts, and supplicate his blessing and the inward increase.
O what grace and inestimable mercy, it is that poor sinners are permitted to bow before thee, the high and lofty One! O what grace, that thou still givest us to hear thy precious gospel, the announcement of that salvation, which thou hast so dearly purchased and wrought out for us. Do not thy lips overflow with loving-kindness, O Immanuel ? Do not thy teachings and graces taste sweeter than
honey and the honeycomb ? O we thank thee, that thou hast deigned to grant us, with many others, here and in other places, at this season, to read, hear, and meditate upon so many good things respecting thee! O Lord Jesus, we thank thee for having sown the seed; give us therefore also thy blessing ! Let it not be sown in the wind, but in the heart, spring up, and by thy Holy Spirit, be sealed unto abundant fruitfulness.
Dearest Immanuel ! thou fairest of the children of men, we have lisped something respecting thee; O forgive its imperfectness, and the weak manner in which it has been set forth! Do thou make up, by
thy Spirit, and by the unction of thy Spirit, all > that may have been deficient in words. Make our
hearts acquainted with thee, O Lord Jesus! thou supreme and heart-rejoicing good! How distant are the hearts of men from thee! how little art thou known in power and truth, and how little art thou enjoyed within, although there is in thee such a fulness of perfection, beauty and blessedness; yet alas, the hearts of men continue lean and empty. O Lord Jesus have mercy upon us, poor mortals ! Let not our days pass away any longer so fruitlessly, whilst neglecting the precious time of grace, and trifling away the day of salvation. Let this last day of this Christian festival, which may be impressively our last, inasmuch as we may possibly not survive another let it be a blessed Christmas to us, that we may devote ourselves to thee anew, before we go hence; that with fresh courage and ear
nestness, we may venture ourselves, and all we have and are in pursuing our course, in order that we, who have seen each other here on earth, may also eventually behold each other before thy throne; and that who have contemplated thee here in the cradle of thy lowliness, may also behold thee, together, on the throne of thy glory, where thou sittest at the right hand of thy heavenly Father.
O dearest Lord Jesus! there are many hungry souls here from a distance, who are about to depart. Thou knowest whether we shall see each other again in this world or not. Now Lord, let thine eyes be upon them, and upon us all together. O protect and defend us from all the assaults of the enemies of our souls, whom thou hast overcome for us! Let not the seed of thy word be snatched away from the heart; but by thy continued grace, may it spring up and bear fruit unto complete sanctification and union with thee. O Lord Jesus, let not a single individual go empty away, let not one of us go back, not one of us return again to the world; but grant, that we may all so walk, that thy dearest name may be magnified and glorified by us !
O Jesus ! we are deeply abased at the considera-. tion, that we are called Christians, yea, that the world calls us pious, and regards us as those who belong to thee, in preference to others. But O Jesus ! how often and variously do we dishonour thy name, and become an offence and a stumblingblock to the world, whilst many might have been incited by us, did we but manifest thine image in