Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

THE VICTORY.

sin;

BY THE REV. W. BURTON.* “Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ.”—1 Cor. xv. 57. In one view, my brethren, our emotions belong to this world, enjoying the realiza to-day may be of the saddest description, tion of the words he 80 frequently in another they may be calm and even quotedjoyous. It depends very much on the

There shall we see his face, and never, never direction in which our thoughts turn, whether we shall be overwhelmed with dis- There from the rivers of his grace drink endles tress, or whether our minds be filled with pleasures in." comfort and consolation. Whatever be the If we let our minds go out in this di relation we sustained to him whom God rection, and contemplate those high reali has recently taken to himself—that of family ties that are apprehended by faith, surel tie, or connection with him in Christian there will be, to say the least, a feeling friendship and church fellowship-if we calm, quiet joy-and may it not be permit ourselves to dwell exclusively on exulting joy —when we think of him a our great loss, if we think of his place actually in the midst of those glories ; fo being vacant, his active living influence as to him to live was Christ, and to die wa come to an end, if we reflect that his many gain. services for the cause of God amongst us Now, my brethren, I prefer on this of have all come to a termination, that his casion the more joyous aspect;

I woul accustomed form our eyes shall never rather give prominence to the gloriou more behold in the earthly sanctuary, and truths brought to light in the Gosp the familiar tones of his voice we can never which bear upon the future, and which ar hear again—if we dwell on these things, 80 well adapted to encourage our hearts i grief will possess our hearts, we cannot but time of affliction and days of bereavement feel sad, and the deep shadows of sorrow I would try to lead out your mind in thi falling on us will darken our souls and nobler heavenward direction, instead o oppress our spirits. But there is light in confining your thoughts to things presen the midst of this trial — the light of life, and seen; for there, beyond us, there is the light of hope, the light of joy; so that wide and glorious expanse of things unseer we need not to sit desolate in the shadow and eternal, in which we ourselves and a of death.” There is another, an altogether who have fallen asleep in Jesus are deep! different aspect in which we may look on and joyfully interested. And surely the this event; there is another side to the is something in the removal of a belove picture, a side that has brighter, more friend to that unseen world of glory, whic glowing, more lasting colours; and the should act as a powerful attraction effect of contemplating this more lightsome drawing our thoughts upwards, whic view will certainly be more cheering, more should beckon us away from earthly thing? animating, more strengthening, and to the bright future. Surely heaven seen think one may say more elevating and nigher when we think of one with who sanctifying to our soul.

we were intimate, one who was amongst Yes, dear friends, we may think of our as one of ourselves a short time ago, bein brother as living now “ before the throne,” really there, and that at this moment b as having done with all the cares and sor- is becoming consciously familiar with tha rows of this mortal state, "compassed highest life, as familiar as he was with lif about with songs of deliverance." We may on earth. Shall we not “follow and as dwell with delight and thankfulness on his pire"? And the thought occurs, that life of faith and well-doing-on the termi- those for whom we mourn, who have gon nation to that life so calm and peaceful and to be for ever with the Lord, could com untroubled — his passing away without municate with us and influence us, the severe protracted suffering into the glory would chide us, gently chide us, if we sor of heaven, into the presence of his Lord rowed as those might who have no hope and ours, emancipated from all the ills that if we allowed our own grief so to absori

* In this sermon there are some allusions to the recent death, after a short illness, of Mr. H. Coombs the senior deacon of the church at Badcox Lane, Frome.

23

our attention that we should forget their fill every Christian heart in prospect of Joy; if we permitted the earthward view it. to draw away our thoughts from the bliss, I. FIRST, then, as to the Victory and ful immortality that is theirs.

what is comprehended in it. There is When through the mercy and grace of something that is overcome, and the overGod we can rejoice that those taken from coming is nothing less than victory. It is our side are safe, not only safe but happy, not escape or deliverance only from threatwe ought not to indulge in a spirit of ening evils ; it is not eluding the grasp of morbid grieving or repining, which, besides an adversary and seeking refuge in flight; weakening and depressing our spirits, goes though even such a blessing might make far to deprive us of the blessed results of us glad, might fill our minds with transanctified affliction. It is true that nature quillity in looking into the future, and calm shrinks from death, and we feel it painful all apprehensive fears in prospect of death, to be separated from those we love; it is But it is far more it is the destruction of true that ties of fond affection are snapt, foes, a complete triumph over opponents ; and deeply-rooted attachments violently up- it is a victory. It is victory over death. torn by the hand of death; and we cannot, Death is swallowed up in victory; death is nor does God expect us to, repress the destroyed; and so complete is the destrucloving tear of sorrow; but, ohi how it tion, so glorious the victory, that the gloom mitigates our grief, and sweetens the bit- of death vanishes and is lost in the glory of terest cup of affliction, to know there is a the triumph, as the darkness of night disglorious hereafter, that the separation is appears before the light of day. Death is but for a short time, that death is a neces- the great destroyer, the conqueror of all sary part of the process that conducts to men. They may employ death as their perfect joy, one of the links in the chain minister in conquering and destroying each of the Almighty's purposes with regard to other; but they who use death as their his saints. Men who know nothing of servant, and make a league with him Christianity

, nothing of Him who is the against their enemies, are in the end masResurrection and the Life,” nothing of the tered by him. The mightiest and the joy of hope that cheers the heart, nothing of lowliest of men must succumb to him. the inheritance of the saints in light—they “None are humble enough to be over. may confine their view to the earthly and looked and pitied; none are good enough the

seen, and with unavailing sorrow, in to be revered and spared ; none are high unalleviated darkness, mourn as if death enough to have the right to bid him stand was the end of all. But we who know that at bay." Oh, what a ruthless conqueror is death is the entrance to all that is desirable death! To no appeal of beauty, or youth, and glorious, may strike a higher note, a or affection, or moral worth, will he give more gladsome strain; we may rejoice in heed. He is the universal destroyer ; and the salvation of our God; and even now,

when he fastens his grasp on one of in the vacancy and loss which death has Christ's, one whom he cannot really harm, raught,'we may say, “O death, where is still, though the believer is safe from the tly sting? O grave, where is thy vic- full force of his deadly power, yet in one tory? The sting of death is sin, and the view death is a terrible destroyer and conStrength of sin is the law. But thanks be queror. As you look on the sickly, diseased to God , which

giveth us the victory, through frame wearing down to the grave; as you our Lord Jesus Christ.”

mark the unmistakable signs of approachOur text you will observe forms the ing dissolution—the sinking strength, the laelimax of a glorious burst of praise with boured breathing, the altered look, and then which the Apostle concludes his elaborate last of all, the motionless, inanimate body; argument on the doctrine of the resurrec- -as you behold all this, you feel death has tion

. It is a high strain of triumph, a a victory and has cruelly triumphed. But, wong we may sing over every one who falls oh, it is a short and seeming triumph at sleep in Jesus—“Thanks be to God, who the most. True, the heart beats no more, greth us the victory, through our Lord and living thought and emotion beam no desus Christ.” In discoursing on these longer in the face; the eye is dimmed, and vords let us think first of THE VICTORY,

every bodily power is motionless ; but the and what is comprehended in it ; then spirit

, the soul, is untouched and unview this victory as won for us and given to harmed. Amidst the decay and downfall 28; and lastly, the emotions that should of the house, the tenant is liberated, and

[ocr errors]

and

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

no longer has to contend with an uncon. genial companionship, no longer is held down to this earth by a body of sin, no longer is thwarted by a partner that was possessed and ruled by a law contrary to the law of the spirit; the emancipated soul is freed from the body, vile through sin. And even in the midst of death's havoc upon the body, while the frail tenement is crumbling into ruin, is there not something of triumph in the soul of the Christian, an exulting joy within the breast ? Have we not beheld, in the tranquil, placid expression of the dying believer, in the beaming countenance lit up with Divine light, a victorious joy glancing forth? Is there not a victory even in death ? and while the body succumbs to the power of the tyrant, the soul rises triumphant, and calmly rejoices in her superiority. Death is indeed a servant to the believer, and is made to do the

to plete glory; so that the Apostle Paul, in enumerating the various and rich treasures of the Christian's heritage, says, amongst other things that are subordinated to his good, “death is yours ;" not meaning thereby you shall die, not you are death's ; but “death is yours ;" yours to subserve your highest interest ; yours to minister to your well-being ; yours to work for your glorification; yours to open the portal of immortality, and to usher you into the mansions of light. But what a different thing is it if you are death's; if death, as the messenger of justice, can come, and with authority of law claim you for his own, taking you as a culprit to trial and condemnation! So death will come to every one out of Christ.

But what is the secret of the victory over death? It is connected with and springs out of another victory, namely, victory

“O death, where is thy sting ?” A triumphant challenge this, as much as to tell us (as indeed it does tell us in the most forcible way) there is no sting in death ; for the sting is sin, and that has been taken away in the death of Jesus Christ. The sting is sin. This is the deadly, poisonous, harmful thing in death; this it is which gives him power to hurt and destroy; and this gone, the power to destroy is gone ; and in this sense, death is “ abolished,” is harmless, powerless for evil. It is no longer the same thing now that the sting is gone. Yes, it is a victory over sin in the first place; and because it

is

so, it is a victory over death. What is it that makes death terrible? It is chiefly sin. What is it makes death hurtful ? Nothing but sin. It is true that nature shrinks from dissolution, shrinks from the strangeness of leaving this old familia world and from taking part in the scenes o another; shrinks from the thought of the body being laid in the cold, corrupt grave but it is a sense of sin that fills tbe mine with anxious foreboding, with dread ank terror. Assure me, then, that sin is taker away, that the blood of Jesus Christ is a.; all-sufficient atonement; let me believe thi

accept it as the truth of God, then i the prospect of death my heart is at res and a holy quiet reigns within. Thus th humblest believer is enabled to “ triump o'er the monster death and all his frightfu powers; and entering the last valley h finds it lighted up with the presence of hi Lord, and songs of victory burst fort) from his dying lips.

And beyond all this there will be con plete victory over sin, death, and the gray when in the resurrection morn the bodi, of the saints shall rise again, when the which was sown in corruption shall b raised in incorruption, that sown in die honour shall be raised in glory, that som in weakness shall be raised in power

, tha a natural body shall be raised 1 spiritual body. Then, indeed, shall tb great destroyer be fully vanquished, and th precious dust of those who slept the slee of death shall be raised up. Then the con mand to the earth shall be, “ Give up," to the sea, “Keep not back," and precious treasure "God is keeping securely in his world shall be surrendere Strange and glorious mystery! in whic we for ourselves and for those who hai died in the Lord, are so interested. Ol what triumph sball that be! for unt the resurrection day the full victory wi not be achieved. For this corruptibl must put on incorruption, and thi mortal must put on immortality; when this corruptible shall have put o incorruption, and this mortal shall hav put on immortality, then shall be brough to pass the saying that is writter Death is swallowed up in victory." An we, brethren, have the pledge and assur ance in Christ's triumph that this victor shall be ours.

“But now is Christ riset from the dead, and become the first-fruit of them that slept ;

” because he has riser we too shall rise - because he lives we ghal

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

an

over sin.

own.

ours.

loved us.

live also. Then shall be the happy reunion all power. Sin, our sin, did its worst; of soul and body; then these two, formerly death did its worst; they could do no at variance, shall be well mated, harmonized more-their power was spent and exhausted to each other, and ruled by the same holy on him; and if we are in him, if by faith principles, a pure, glorified body for a pure we accept of him as our substitute, then glorified soul. No longer shall they be our foes are overcome-we triumph over found inclining in contrary directions, and them in him. All who believe in him warring with each other, but the body will shall reap the blessed benefits of his be the willing helper and handmaid of the death. soul.

Thus the victory was won.

You see We might include as elements of this how the victory was his ; for the plain victory

, all the joys that shall follow the reason that in fair and open conflict he resurrection:-the fullfruition of glory; the achieved it. To redeem us he died, yet marriage supper of the Lamb; the banquet he could not be held in bondage to death ; of pure endless bliss; the company whero he had life in himself; he put forth the death shall not be found among the as- power of his Godhead, and the bands of sembled guests, where there will be nothing death must field before that power. But to suggest his presence, nothing to remind how does this victory become ours ? It is one of the desolation he wrought on earth; one of the things freely given to us of God. there shall be no more death, for death He “hath given us the victory." It is a shall then bave been swallowed up in gift ; it comes to us without money and victory, and throughout eternity the victory without price. We have not to work for which is yours, through Jesus Christ our this glorious privilege--have not to fight Lord, shall be celebrated and prolonged. in our own strength for this victory : it is

II. It is a victory won for us, and given not won by merit or any goodness of our to us. “Thanks be to God, which giveth

If it were offered on any other us the victory, through our Lord Jesus terms than as a free gift it could never be Christ.” It is won for us by Him who

It is like any other of the disHe has undertaken, on our tinguishing privileges of the children of behalf

, to deal with our foes, sin and death, God; it costs us nothing to procure it. and for us he has vanquished them. For But, oh, think of what it cost HIM, the

very purpose he "was manifested, that Lord of Glory! He had to fight for it, to he might destroy the works of the devil;” agonize for it; as our champion he had to and sin and death are the two great de- enter the lists and contend with our enemy. structive powers of the devil. And not And at the cost of humiliation, shame, only was he manifested to destroy the suffering, death-bis precious blood being work, but to paralyze and crush the shed—he vanquished the adversary and worker – him that had the power of death. obtained for us the victory. And being 20 And how did Jesus, the mighty conqueror,

won, it is held out to us as a gift. Through win the victory for us? How did he faith in Jesus Christ you have this glorious struggle through all our foes and defeat blessing; you receive Christ in all bis our great adversary? It was through fulness. He that hath the Son bath death-by dying for us.

And this is a life," hath the resurrection, hath immorwondrous thing, that he conquered death tality, hath an inheritance, hath a crown by death. He came as the substitute of of glory and a palm of victory. United the guilty, bearing the load of our sin, and to him by faith, you are henceforth bound with that load of sin resting on him, and up together with him-your fortune because of it, he died the death, and that throughout eternity linked to his, and death is accepted as an all-sufficient atone- through every stage of the future you exment. He could die-lay down his life as perience the blessedness of this union. a ransom for many, yet he could not be o God, who is rich in mercy,

hath holden of death. He died, and this was raised us up together, and made us sit the expiation of our guilt; but he could together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, rise again, free himself from the grasp of that in the ages to come he might show the death; and when he rose it was without the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindload of our sin, which had erewhile rested ness toward us through Christ Jesus.” on him ; that was left behind in the grave, III. With what emotions of fervent gratiburied never more to rise. He rises as one tude ought we to anticipate this complete who has life in himeelf, and is possessed of victory "Thanks be to God.” It is very

this

evident the Apostle rejoiced in the prospects body and soul shall be gloriously united. his thankfulness was a present emotion, " When the trumpet shall sound, and the although the full realization of this victory dead shall be raised incorruptible," then was yet in the future. He was, as we are shall break forth the full-toned

song

of the now, in the midst of the battle, when he redeemed, -"Blessing, and glory, and wise wrote these triumphant words. It is true dom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and we have foes yet to overcome--we have yet power, and might, be unto our God, who to grapple with death ; but even though it giveth us the victory, through our Lord be so, may we not in the grace already Jesus Christ." bestowed as an earnest, say, with grateful And, dear friends, when you have accome hearts, “Thanks be to God, which giveth panied a Christian to the gates of death, us the victory, through our Lord Jesus when he has entered with his Saviour the Christ"? Yes, we learn the song of triumph dark valley, and you have stood on the even now; and in the deliverances God

bigb ground of life and health, and fol. hath wrought already, we have the pledge lowed with the eye of fond affection the of that glorious time of never-ending vic- departing friend—when you have whis: tory. We have the victory in its com- pered to his receding spirit the last farea mencement now; for “ if sin be pardoned, well, and then watched the failing breath I'm secure, death hath no sting beside." and heard the last expiring sigh, you do You know, fellow-Christian, sin is taken well to say with all your heart, " Thanks away, and you are no longer under the be to God, who giveth us the victory law but under grace. “There is, therefore, through our Lord Jesus Christ.” And 59 now no condemnation to that are in we say of our beloved friend who has been Christ Jesus," and that is the first note of taken from us. His is a victory over all the song of victory that rises to this, the ills to which we are exposed in this “Thanks be to God, which giveth us the life--he is away beyond the reach of all victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ.” evil, sin, temptation, care, sickness, pain

, Even now you may rejoice ; “in all these death-free from the “strife of tongues," things we are more than conquerors through at rest in the rest of God, “where the Him that loved us." You feel within your wicked cease from troubling and the weary heart a delightful sense of peace, liberty, are at rest." So we take this as the ex. joy, in our Lord Jesus Christ, and these pression of our gratitude with regard to inward blessings are but the beginning of our departed brother; and oh, when we what will yet, in its consummation, be full think of the glory that is his through the eternal victory. And as you press on in abounding grace of God, with what emyour Christian course, it is ever brightening phasis, as if the whole heart were como in your view. The joy of it is more felt pressed into the brief utterance, ought we within your heart, and the blessedness of to

say, “ Thanks be to God, who giveth us it more realized as you advance. But the the victory, through our Lord Jesus full burst and prolonged shout of triumph Christ !" are reserved for another day, when the

Frome.

NOTES OF AN ADDRESS TO A SUNDAY SCHOOL AT

STAPLETON, JANUARY, 1830.*

BY THE REV. JOHN FOSTER. MY YOUNG FRIENDS, -I am glad to see you. It is a good thing you are here, that you don't wish to be let loose without restraint. Sometimes, indeed, almost every time I am going to Bristol, I am perfectly shocked to see what a number of young persons are going along the road and lanes, and to hear how they are talking, using all manner of bad language, and impelling another to go on in bad conduct. Now, when I see this, I think what a good thing it would be if those young persons were here, or anywhere where they

* Communicated by J. E. Ryland, Esq.

one

« НазадПродовжити »