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most convincing proof of the truth of our holy religion,- The things which we do hear and see! The effect, the visible effect of the Gospel upon men's hearts and lives, these proclaim that Jesus is the Christ. They furnish the answer to the question of John—they bear witness that this is He that should come: neither need we look for another. This is the Saviour! This is the Redeemer! This is the Undoer of heavy burdens ! This is the Healer of every sickness, every disease ! All power has been given into His hands. He is able to save to the uttermost He, and He alone! For there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be suved, but only the name of the Lord Jesus Christ 1-1, even I, am the Lord, and beside me there is no Saviour !
And now, in concluding, the works of Jesus Christ, as He Himself tells us, are ever His best witnesses. They were so at the first, and they are so still. Many believed in His name, when they saw the miracles which He did. And of these works, not the least are those which He yet works amongst us-His miracles of converting, renewing, enlightening man's soul, leavening the world from age to age with the leaven of His Spirit — gentleness, goodness, purity, mercy, and love ! These are His witnesses that He is God. To these can we point, and point with confidence, when our object is to confute the gainsayer, or to extend the Gospel, or to deepen its hold upon our hearts, or to show a reason for the faith that is
But what, if our own hearts, and lives tell a different tale? What, if the work of Christ be not visible there, so as to be seen and read of all men ? What a triumph in that case does the unbeliever gain over us ! How do we injure Christianity, instead of advancing it! How do we give occasion to the enemy to blaspheme !
Oh, think, I beseech you, of this ! Think how Christianity suffers from the unworthy lives of its professors! Think how sad it is when, in any case, Christ cannot answer John's messengers !- cannot say of this or that member, He is my witness! when, instead of pointing to us as persons in whom He is honoured, who reflect His Spirit, and attest His influence, He can only lament over us, as He did over those of old, — This people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed, lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should be converted, and I should heal them!
Would, brethren, it may be more true of you to use the words which follow,— Blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear ! Would that in these days of doubt, and unbelief, of hollow formality, and religious show, you might be enabled to come to the Lord's help against the mighty,—to produce your individual witness that the Lord He is God, and by well - doing by acting out the Gospel which you have received, put to silence the ignorance of foolish men !
FOURTH SUNDAY IN ADVENT.
JOY AT CHRISTMAS.*
PHILIP. iv. 4.
Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
Such is the beginning of the Epistle for this Sunday—the Sunday next before Christmas-day. And no passage of Holy Scripture could be chosen more suited to the usual circumstances of the season, than the whole of that Epistle. For therein we are shown the cause of our rejoicing, and the spirit in which we ought to rejoice at Christmas. Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. And yet-as you must have feltthe very first word of this Epistle chimes ill with the affliction into which, within the last few days, our country has been plunged.
* Preached the Sunday after the death of the muchlamented Prince Consort.
It speaks of rejoicing-and how can we rejoice or be glad just now? How can we look to spending Christmas merrily, when the gracious Lady who rules this land, whose long-proved virtues have enshrined her in all our hearts, sits bereaved of the husband of her choice P- a hus band so worthy of her great love, so worthy of her people's love as well !
Yes, it is indeed a day of pain and sorrow for the land —such a day of sorrow as the greater part of us have never before seen. And this sorrow
comes home to strongly to-day when met together here. For till to-day, these twenty years and more, we have offered
with one accord in this Church our supplication to Almighty God for a blessing upon our Queen's husband ; and now his name has no more a place in our prayers !
The first we mention of the Royal family in our public worship, after the Queen's Majesty, is now" Albert, Prince of Wales." His name, which for years has been preceded by the name of his illustrious father, now stands foremost. God has taken
God has taken away the Head. The young prince, the heir and hope of this great kingdom, must henceforth be without a good father's care, and a good father's counsel, and a good father's bright example !
And this sorrowful thought is especially, I