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reign uninterrupted, and give cheerfulness to every countenance, some fatal arrow, shot unperceived by the king of terrors, whom we fondly hoped to be far, far distant, makes a breach in the happy circle, and puts lover and friend far from us, and our acquaintance into darkness. Health (without which, neither riches, nor friends, nor any thing else, can be enjoyed with satisfaction) is the most precarious of all. A thousand accidents may deprive us of that invaluable blessing: the least disorder, in vessels almost too small to be seen, will throw the whole frame into confusion, and open a way for sickness and death. Nothing (if we will credit the experience of others, or if we will be convinced by our own) in this world of shadows, is permanent and valuable. What week passes, but robs us of some of our enjoyments? At every little puff, some leaves drop off. Sometimes a blast strikes us, and the better half of our widespreading top withers and dies; and sometimes a rude storm shakes the very roots, and threatens a total overthrow. Many such we may possibly outlive: but the axe will be laid to the root at last, and we must resign our places, and make room for another plantation,

But there is a world, thanks be to God for the joyful discovery—there is a world whose inhabitants and enjoyments are all immortal; where we shall never be pained with want, nor cloyed with possession; where are fulness of joy, and pleasures for evermore. There thou hast a friend: yes, Christian, destitute as

thou mayest be, and forsaken by thy fellow-mortals, · however stripped of what thy heart was most set upon, and to whatever circumstances of distress and sorrow reduced, thou hast a friend, whose compassions never


fail, whose love is subject to no such variations and interruptions as the most confirmed earthly friendships, and who, when clouds and darkness cover all thy earthly prospects, will “ lift up the light of his countenance upon thee, and crown thee with loving kindness and tender mercies.” A servant of God, therefore, in this life, is the only happy character ; happy even in the midst of trouble, and under burdens which overwhelm others. This implies not that a Christian has no sense of pain ; but he possesses his soul in patience. It means not that he has no relish for the innocent enjoyments of life ; but he has learnt to live without them; and, by an art peculiar to himself, in " whatsoever state he is, therewith to be content.” For this reason, we often see a Christian stand unmoved at the severest shocks, and, to the astonishment of an observing world, smile in adversity, "glory in tribulation," and triumph in death; for the stream of his comfort depends not on broken cisterns for its supply : his happiness is built, not on the favour, or on the fate, of fickle, dying creatures, but on the rock of ages; "on Jesus Christ,” who is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.

The important truth contained in these words, was suggested by the Apostle, to comfort the Hebrews under the loss of their venerable pastors; and hence I shall endeavour to illustrate the immutability and eternity of Christ.

For the illustration of this glorious truth, I would observe,

First, That Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and for ever, with regard to his person. Minis. ters, and private Christians, the most eminent and



distinguished not being excepted, are all creatures but of yesterday, whose foundation is in the dust, and who are crushed before the moth. To-day we love, honour, and delight in them ; perhaps before tomorrow, they become the objects of our pity and abhorrence. Nothing is more precarious than our life; and when extended to its utmost length, it is not more than a span. But Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. “ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. By him were all things created, that are in heaven, or that are on earth, visible and in. visíble, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers : all things were created by him, and for him; and he is before all things, and by him all things consist. He is the first and the last. It is he that liveth, and was dead; and behold he is alive for evermore." Is it not then a satisfaction to you, Christians, when you are sinking under your infirmities, or lamenting those of your friends, to consider that Jesus Christ is always the same, uninjured by external accident, or internal decay? That same glory which he wore yesterday, or in the days of old, when he discovered himself to Moses, or to Isaiah, or to the disciples on the mount of Transhguration, or to St. John in the Isle of Patmos, or which he had before the birth of time, he wears now, and will wear for ever. His crown grows brighter with age, and will shine most gloriously, when all the tinsel diadems which mortals are so proud of, shall moulder and pels rish. Is it not a satisfaction to you, amongst the various disappointments and vexations of the present state, to consider, that the object of your choice and veneration can never be less deserving; and that the more you are acquainted with his excellencies and worth, the more ready you are to confess, that the one half was not told you ? Let others then say, who will shew us any good, and look which way they will for security and comfort ; or let them make creatures, as fickle and feeble as themselves, the objects of their affection and dependence ; let us, my fellow Christians, wisely provide against a disappointment, by looking only to Jesus, that burning and shining light, that bright and morning star, that glorious sun of righteousness, which, like the Father of lights, knows no variableness, nor the least shadow of a turning.

Secondly. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever, as to his office.

With regard to the pastors of the church of Christ, or private Christians of the most distinguished abilities, and extensive usefulness, though they occupied stations of the greatest importance, and filled them too with reputation and success, and though their removal makes our hearts tremble for the ark of God, yet they all pass away one after another, and the places that knew them shall know them no more. Our fathers, where are they? and the prophets, do they live for ever? But Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. The priests under the law were not suffered to continue by reason of death ; but the High-priest of our profession, because he continueth for ever, has an unchangeable priesthood. The blessed Jesus, since he has ascended to heaven, has not forgotten the character of our intercessor, which he graciously undertook. The office, indeed,


of saving sinners shall be laid aside, but not till their salvation be completed, and all the chosen of God be brought safely to glory. This is a consideration of particular importance to every Christian. “ If Jesus Christ, says he, who was kind and condescending yesterday, be not the same to-day, and for ever, I am undone ; for I find the wants and the sins of

yesterday repeated to-day. I feel the enemies which vexed and threatened me then, now renewing their assaults and threatenings. If my supplies should not be afforded, and in new difficulties and trials, and after the commission of new sins, I have not directions, strength, and pardon imparted anew; every fresh disturber of my peace be not engaged and overcome by the Captain of my salvation ; in short, if he who has been the author of my faith, be not the finisher of it too, I can never persevere. But I rejoice that he will safely keep that which I have committed to him, and preserve me by his mighty power through faith to salvation. For his compassions are not the compassions of a day: his bounty is not the effect of a momentary tenderness: his victories and deliverance are not the mere flashes of his power, to excite the astonishment of his rational creatures: they are the deliberate and uniform compassions of a God, and the vigorous emanations of divine wisdom and faithfulness. Worldly treasures will soon be exhausted; earthly fountains will be speedily dry; all dependance on man will soon disappoint us: but Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.”

Thirdly, Christ is also the same as to his purposes and promises.

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