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Lastly, is it the part of a friend to stand by us at the hour of need? O then is the time to experience the friendship of Christ! To save us at our hour of need is his proper office and work. He was crucified for no other purpose. We may rely on him as on a friend who will stand by us when the world is closing upon us. To whom else shall we go? He hath the keys of hell and death. He maketh intercession for us to save us from His Father's wrath. Is not this the office of a friend? What friend is able to do so much for us as He will do? What friend is willing to do so much for us as He hath done? Our friends here are always actuated by some caprice, or will be kind to us today and not to-morrow.
But Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. Other friends fall off from us in times of adversity, but Christ will stand by us in the deepest distress. No disgrace will make Him cast us off. O let those who rely upon other friends, and use many endeavours to attach to themselves a heart that is hard or ho)low,-let them for the sake of the trial for once turn their endeavours another way. Let us bestow half that hearty, sedulous attendance upon our Saviour that men do upon those whom they wish to make their friends: let us be as diligent in what He hath commanded us to do as in following our own fancies; let us be as diligent in prayer, in reading the Scriptures, in meditation, in attendance on the sacraments, in works of charity; and let us study to please Him who died for us as much as to please those who care not for us, and we shall have Him our friend for ever; a friend who will own us in our lowest condition, speak comfort to us in our sorrows, counsel us in our doubts, supply our wants, and never leave us nor forsake us; a friend who when we discover friendships to fail and promises to be broken, will take us into his bosom and support us; a friend from whose love neither tribulation, nor distress, nor persecution, nor famine, nor nakedness, nor peril, nor sword, nor death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height, nor depth shall separate us. O my
brethren is not this a friend worth attending upon? When the golden bowl is broken and the silver cord is loosed, when the pitcher is broken at the well, and the wheel is broken at the cistern; when all the friendships of the world shall cease, -when we shall say “my life is done! My time is gone! It is past recalling, and there is nothing now but heaven or hell before me!” to whom shall we have recourse for succour? How shall we claim our Saviour for a friend if we never obeyed nor held communion with him here? It will be too late to make acquaintance with him, too late to claim his friendship towards us when we can give no proof of ours towards Him. His friendship is bestowed conditionally. Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I command you. If we do not whatsoever He commands He will not extend his friendship to us, but will profess unto us I never knew you, depart from
But if we study to please him, and are diligent in prayer, in reading the Scriptures, in meditation, in attendance on the sacraments, and in works of charity, then when we are leaving the world we shall
“I know where I am going. I have gone this way
often before by faith and hope. Christ is my friend. He knoweth me, and I have some knowledge of Him. It is He who through life has been my stay and refuge, my Lord and Master, my peace and comfort. It is He who is now supporting my soul in peace and comfort. It is He with whom I am now going to live and reign for ever.
Because He liveth I shall live also."
Now to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, be ascribed all honour, praise, and glory, might, majesty, dominion, and thanksgiving, for ever and ever. Amen.
THE LOVE OF CHRIST.
SONG OF SOLOMON ii, 10, 11, 12,
My beloved spake and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair
one, and come away. For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.
The soul that implicitly relies on Christ is not altogether a stranger to the holy warmth of this beautiful book of the Scriptures. The spirit maketh intercession with groanings which cannot be uttered. The devotion which a Christian feels towards his Redeemer is not to be expressed by words, or if it be, it is in such words as is contained in this canticle. In this book of the Scriptures the mutual love of Christ, and the Church, that is, all and each of the souls that depend on and derive their life from Him is expressed by two of the strongest attractions which human nature knows, the love of the bridegroom to the bride, and vernal and rural delight, such as is felt in gardens of spices, when the sun is rising on the mountains. The scenes of love and happiness exhibited in this part of the sacred writings between Christ and his redeemed may be prophetical, and meant to refer to that more perfect and happy communion which his redeemed shall enjoy with Him in his mediatorial kingdom as soon as they depart from the body: but the Song of Solomon is also a lively and faithful description of that spiritual union with the Redeemer which is begun and which is often perceptible, even in the present life.
The same Redeemer who will receive into his protection the souls of his redeemed when they depart from the body affords them succour which is often perceptible while in the body, strengthening them with might by his Spirit in the inner man. The same sun which rises at length in full splendour gives light to the world at the dawn of day before it is seen. the light of the world, saith Christ. He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life, even though he be yet in the flesh. If a man love me, he will keep my words, and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him and make our abode with him. A Christian feels persuaded that He has that within him, imparted by Christ, which is the seed of everlasting life, and the token of his approximation unto Christ. The persuasion of this union is more soothing to the soul than the spring of the year is to the senses,
, when the flowers appear on the earth, when the voice of the turtle is heard in the land.