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which, in His sight, is more than whole burntofferings and sacrifices !
And when I say this, I do not wish to restrain our lip-praise. It is right, fit, and our duty, to speak the praises of the Lord, to speak of them amongst ourselves at home, and here in the congregation of His worshippers ; it is right and fit to use the harp, and the organ, and all instruments of sound in setting forth the great Creator's goodness ; it is right, fit, and our bounden duty, to come before Him with thanksgiving, and to show ourselves glad in Him with psalms. But more right, more fit, more binding upon us, it is to praise God by works of mercy, and self-denial, and by the even tenor of a Christian life; to come before Him, and to stand before Him each day, as His obedient children in Christ Jesus, not fashioning ourselves according to the former lusts, not following the corrupt impulses of our fallen nature, but doing the will of God from the heart, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless !
That, be sure, is ever the best way of giving God thanks—that is, the way recommended to us in the Scripture. Whoso offereth me thanks and praise, he honoureth me; and to him that ordereth his conversation right will I show the salvation of God!
Again, let us learn from this season to have trust and confidence in God. Let us love to mark, in what we see now, the care of God for all His creatures. Not all the cunning of man could make a single blade of grass, or cause one leaf to come out of its sheaf, or one flower to bud and bloom. That which is now being done is all
. God's doing. He maketh the grass to grow upon the mountains, and herb for the use of man. He giveth fodder unto the cattle, and feedeth the young ravens that call
Him! Think of these things, brethren. Think of the witness which spring bears to the providence and love of God. Think how the invisible things of Him, even His eternal power and Godhead, are made manifest and revealed to our sight, through and by the things that are made— through and by the workmanship of spring. Think how, not the heavens only, but the earth and all that is in it, declares the glory of God ! And let that thought bow down your hearts in solemn awe and reverence before Him. Worship the Lord with a holy and humble worship! Oh, speak good of the Lord! Oh, let your songs be of Him and praise Him! And let your talking be of all His wondrous works! In' wisdom has He made them all. The earth is full of His riches !
Once more, let us learn from the present sea
son at least a hint about our immortal destiny. A few weeks ago, and all nature seemed dead. The trees were leafless -the ground was barethere was no song of birds in the air. But now there is life, visible and joyous life, all around
The earth has had her Easter, and is risen. The earth has thrown off her winter sleep, and has awakened, with renewed power, and larger life, at the touch of the breath of the Almighty !
And shall not we see in this a type and parable of our own resurrection ? Shall it not help, in its degree, to confirm the hope — the blessed Christian hope—that we shall live though we die ? — that death is not the end of our being ?
That great hope rests, as you well know, on a sure foundation, even on Christ having risen. He it is who has brought life and immortality to light. He, by dying, hath destroyed death, and by rising again hath made it possible for us, who are of the same human nature, all the sons of Adam, to rise also. That, I would have you always remember, that is the rock on which we build our trust. Because He liveth, His people shall live also !
But, even apart from this, we are not left without hints of a future life after we have died. And it is well that we should lose none of these. It is well that we should build ourselves up in
our most precious faith of a resurrection, by every means, small as well as great, which God has put within our reach. And therefore do I say it, treasure up the evidence which spring bears to our great hope of a renewed life. And when, as now, by God's mercy you look again upon this great awakening of herb, and seed, and plant, and tree; when you see the earth bringing forth her bud ; and the garden causing the things that are sown in it to spring forth, and all nature rejoicing before the Lord; think of those your kinsfolk and friends who rest beneath the churchyard sod, and of the glorious revival which awaits them in God's appointed time. Think of the hour when the Word of the Lord and the Spirit of the Lord shall go forth on His mission, to renew, not the mere face of the earth, but the slumbering relics of mankind,—when the mystic vision of the prophet that he saw concerning the dry bones shall be fulfilled, —Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain that they may live.
And the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet an exceeding great army!
FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER.
St. John, xvi. 7. If I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you ;
but if I depart, I will send Him unto you.
Our Lord, in the Gospel for this Sunday, speaks much about the Holy Ghost the Comforter, and the part which He was to fill in the scheme of man’s redemption. Now I go my way to Him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away : for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you.
Now this coming of the Holy Ghost, thus solemnly announced, we celebrate by our yearly