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Psalm xc. 2. I behold thee not only lying in a manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes, but I behold thee seated on a throne of glory, highly exalted, having a name that is above every name, adored by angels and seraphims, encircled with rays of divinity.
Every power of my understanding shall henceforth be devoted to the knowledge of thee : it shall be my constant endeavour to please thee, my supreme delight to possess thee; and it shall be my noblest ambition to prostrate myself one day before thy throne, and to sing with the innumerable multitudes of the redeemed of every nation, and people, and tongue : Unto him who sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, be honour and glory, and power, for ever and ever. Amen.
Christ's Valedictory Address to his Disciples.
JOHN xiv. xv. xvi.
* Let not your heart be troubled : ye believe in God,
believe also in me, &c.
WE begin, this morning, with explaining to you the texts which refer to our blessed Saviour's passion. If the knowledge of the Christian be all reducible to this, to know Jesus Christ, and him crucified, 1 Cor. ii. 2. it is impossible to fix your eyes too frequently on the mysteries of the cross. Very few discourses, accordingly, are addressed to you, in which these great objects are not brought forward to view. Nay, more; it is the pleasure of this church, that, at certain stated seasons, the doctrine of the cross, to the exclusion of every other, should be the subject of our preaching : that all the circumstances attending it should be detailed, and every view of it displayed. But whatever powers may be applied to the execution of this work, it cannot possibly be accomplished within the space of a few weeks. We have especially had to lament that our Saviour's last address to his disciples should be omitted. I mean the dis
* Those who wish to derive benefit from the following discourse, must previously peruse, with attention, the xiv. xy, and xvi. chapters of John's gospel.
course which he addressed to them, a little while before he retired into the garden of Gethsemane, and which St. John has preserved to us in the xiv. xv. and xvj. chapters of his gospel. This part of the history of the passion is, unqestionably, one of the most tender and most interesting.
e propose to make it pass in review before you this day, as far as the bounds prescribed to us will permit.
Were it proper to make the place where I stand a vehicle for communications of this kind, I am ready ingenuously to acknowledge, that a particular circumstance determined my choice on this occasion. A few days only have elapsed since I was called to be witness of the dying agonies of a valuable minister,* whom Providence has just removed from the superintendance of a neighbouring church. God was pleased to visit him for some months past, if we may presume to speak so, with a temptation, more than is common to man, 1 Cor. x. 13. but he granted him a fortitude more than human to support it. filled with astonishment at the violence of his sufferings; and still more at the patience with which he endured them: I could not help expressing a wish to know, what particular article of religion had contributed the most to produce in him that prodigy of resolution: Have you ever paid a closer attention, my dear brother, said he to me, “to the last address of Jesus Christ to his disciples ? My God, exclaimed he, what charity! what tenderness! but above all, what an inexhaustible source of consolation in the extremity of distress!" His words filled me with astonishment: my thoughts were immediately turned toward you, my dearly beloved brethren; and I said within myself, I must furnish my hearers with this powerful defence against suffering and death. I enter this day on the execution of my design. Condescend to concur with me in it. Come and meditate on the last expressions which fell from the lips of a dying Saviour; let us penetrate into thé very centre of that heart which the sacred flame of charity animated..
* Mr. Begnon, pastor of the church at Leyden.
I must proceed on the supposition that your minds are impressed with the subject of the three chapters of which I am going to attempt an analysis. The great object which our Lord proposes to himself, in this address, is to fortify his disciples against the temptations to which they were about to be exposed, And, in order to reduce our reflections to distinct classes, Jesus Christ means to fortify his disciples.
I. Against the offence of his crose.
II. Against the persecution wbich bis doctrine was going to excite.
III. Against forgetfulness of his precepts.
I. First, Jesus Christ means to fortify his disciples against the offence of the cross. A man must be a mere novice in the history of the gospel if he knows not how extremely confused their ideas were with respect to the mystery of redemption. Those who ascribe to them superior illumination, are mistaken both in the principle, and in the consequences which they deduce from it. Their principle is, that the Jewish church was perfectly well acquainted with