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increase of genuine religion in order to growth in grateful praise. This is the way to pass through life comfortably, to bear affliction submissively, to look at death without dread, and forward, into eternity, with joyful hope. This, in short, evidences a growing meetness for a better life—life in the society of angels, in the immediate presence of God. That life is heaven! And what is the business of heaven? It is singing, " Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb:" it is "giving thanks always, for all things, unto God even the Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
THE SORROW AND RESIGNATION OF CHRIST.
JOHN xii. 27, 28.
Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour; but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name.
"WHATEVER is recorded of Jesus Christ is interesting: his whole history is full of important matter: his birth, his early years, his public ministry: the miracles he performed, the doctrines he delivered, the precepts he inculcated, the temper and spirit which he exemplified, are all peculiar, and command our admiring attention.
But the life of Jesus Christ becomes more interesting as it draws near to a close. Events of the greatest consequence crowd thick in the last days of his sojourning here; and those events chiefly regard the suffering which he endured. He often spoke of his suffering, and evidently felt much in the prospect of that bitter anguish which he had to undergo. Hear his language: " Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground, and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." In these words he plainly taught the necessity of his death, and foretold clearly the happy result in the salvation of multitudes. But, as he himself should suffer, he knew that his disciples would do the same. This he told them, and endeavoured to fortify their minds against the worst, as in the verses immediately preceding the text: "He that loveth his life shall lose it, and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour."
While thus discoursing about suffering, the terror of his last conflict began to afflict him. What he really felt we cannot describe; these were his words: "Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour; but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name."
In these words, we have the Hour which the Saviour met—the Affliction which he felt—the ResignaTion which he exemplified—and the Prayer which he presented. In considering these things, may our hearts be suitably affected, and our spiritual benefit promoted !—We have,
I. The memorable Hour which the Saviour met.
He names it twice, and in a very emphatic manner; "this hour." Doubtless he refers to the solemn period of his last agony and death. There is frequent notice of " this hour" in the history of his life, particularly in regard to the rage of his enemies against him. Repeatedly it is said, "No man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come." And he says himself, referring to the treachery of Judas, "It is enough; the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners." There have been many important hours since the creation of the world; hours in which great events have transpired, mighty deliverances have been wrought, stupendous judgments have been executed; but none was ever so remarkable, so vastly important, as this which the Saviour anticipated, and which he met.
It was the hour, the point of time, for which time was made. The great Author of all things, seeing the end from the beginning, had always respect to "this hour." In the counsels of eternity his plan was formed with a particular reference to the Saviour's agony and death. It was the good pleasure of Jehovah to glorify himself in this way, and in this way to bring " many sons to glory;" and, therefore, time itself received its birth, and the hours of which it is composed were bid to revolve.
It was the hour to which all the dispensations of God referred. He did nothing, in the ages preceding the Saviour's suffering, but which bore relation, more or less, to this event. When he gave that promise to our first parent, that the seed of the woman should bruise the head of the serpent, it evidently pointed to "this hour." When he established his covenant with Abraham, that in his seed all the nations of the earth should be blessed, it regarded " this hour." When he instituted the ordinances of Israel, and the religious ceremonies of the Jews, which consisted so much in typical allusions, in bloody rites, and sacrifices, and offerings; all referred plainly to the same point of time, when Christ the glorious substance of those shadows, gave his life a ransom, and put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
It was the hour which all the prophets foretold. "The Spirit of Christ which was in them testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory which should follow *." They predicted the time, the place, the manner, of his sufferings: they spoke of his death, and of the circumstances which attended it, with the exactness and minuteness of history rather than of prophecy. Nothing occurred in "this hour," but "according to the Scriptures;" so that Paul could appeal to king Agrippa, that in all his ministiy he had affirmed, "none other things than those which the Prophets and Moses did say should come; that Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that sheuld rise from the dead."
It was the hour in which the greatest work was accomplished, the grandest victory achieved. We have heard of heroes suffering, and of generals falling in the field of battle: we have heard of fleets captured, of armies defeated, of cities depopulated, of kingdoms laid waste, and of mighty empires completely overturned: but such events are of no importance when compared with the event of " this hour." The Lord of angels suffered! The Son of God fell! But as he fell he conquered; he baffled the designs of the grand adversary of God and men: he vanquished all his legions; "and, having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them" by his cross: yes, by his cross; the very means by which they hoped to have prevailed and triumphed over him. No
• 1 Pet. i; 11.