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for angels, but for men; and, however holy men of virtue, checked in its growth; it requires you may be, their virtues always participate of the to carry, or endeavour to carry, every virtue to infirmities inseparable from human nature. the highest degree; to have perfection for your Those disciples, towards whom Jesus Christ end, and Jesus Christ for your pattern. extended his hand, committed, during the early 2. and 3. After having reviewed the nature, period of their piety, faults, and great faults too. and consequently the excellency of this conThey sometimes misconceived the object of nexion, let us next consider its strength. What their mission; sometimes distrusted his promises; we shall say on this head, naturally turns our they were sometimes slow of heart to believe thoughts towards its prodigies and effects. The the facts announced by the prophets; they once power of this connexion is so strong, that the slept when they ought to have sustained their members of this spiritual family are incomparaMaster in his agony; they abandoned him to his bly more closely united to one another, than executioners; and one denied knowing him, the members of a carnal family. This is obeven with an oath, and that he was his disciple. vious in the words of my text. Our Saviour Virtue, even the most sincere and perfect, is has borrowed figures froin whatever was most liable to wide deviations, to total eclipses, and endearing in civil society, and even from congreat faults:-hence, on this subject, you should nexions of the most opposite nature, in order to avoid too severe a standard.
elevate our ideas of the union which subsists But you should equally avoid forming of it between him and the members of his family; potions too relaxed. Do you claim kindred and of the union they have one with another: with the spiritual family of Jesus Christ? Do “Whosoever shall do the will of my Father you claim the same intimacy with the Saviour which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and which a man has with his brother, his sister, sister, and mother. In this idea there is no and his mother? Tremble then, while you hear exaggeration. Associate whatever is most enthese words of St. Paul, “What fellowship hath dearing between a brother and brother; between righteousness with unrighteousness? what com- a brother and a sister; between a child and a munion hath light with darkness; and what con- parent; associate the whole of these different cord hath Christ with Belial?" 2 Cor. vi. 14, 15. parts in one body, and imagine, if it be possible Tremble while you hear these words of Christ, to conceive an object still more closely united, “No man can serve two masters,” Matt. vi. 24. than the different parts of this body; and your Or, to unfold to you a more detailed field of views will still be imperfect of the ties which reflection, do you not exceedingly mistake con- subsist between the members of Jesus Christ's cerning obedience to the will of God?
spiritual family. The will of God not only requires negative They have in common, first a union of devirtues, which consist in abstaining froin evil; sign. In all their actions they individually have but positive virtues also, which consist not in a in view nothing but the glory of that Sovereign mere refraining from slander, but in reprehend- whom they serve with emulation; and to whom ing the slanderer;---not in a mere refusal to re- they are all unanimously devoted. ceive your neighbour's goods, but in a commu- They have, secondly, a union of inclination. nication of your own;—not only in abstaining God is the centre of their love; and being thus from blasphemy against God, but also in bless- united to him, as the third (if I may borrow an ing him at all times, and in having your mouth idea from the schoolmen,) they are united one full of his praise.
to another. The will of God not only requires of you Thirdly, they have a union of interest. They popular virtues, as sincerity, fidelity, courage, are all equally interested to see the government and submission to the laws, are generally ac- of the universe in the hands of their Sovereign. counted; it also requires those very virtues His happiness constitutes their felicity, and which are degraded by the world, and consi- each equally aspires after communion with the dered as a weakness; such as forgiveness of in- blessed God. juries, and contempt of worldly pomp.
They have, fourthly, a union coeval in its The will of God not only requires virtues cor- existence. Go back to the ages preceding the respondent to your temperature, as retirement, world, and you will see the members of this if you are naturally sullen and reserved; absti- spiritual family united in the bosom of divine nence from pleasure, if you are naturally pen- mercy;—even from the moment they were dissive and dull; patience, if you are naturally tinguished as the objects of his tenderest love, phlegmatic, heavy and indolent: it likewise re- and most distinguished grace; even from the quires virtues the most opposite to your ten- moment the victim was appointed to be immoperature, as purity, if you are inclined to con- lated in sacrifice for their sins. Descend to the cupiscence; moderation, if you are of an angry present period of the world: let us say more; disposition.
look forward to futurity, and you will find them The will of God requires, not mutilated vir- ever united, in the noble design of incessantly tues, but a constellation of virtues, approaching glorifying the Author of their existence and to perfection. It requires “whatsoever things felicity. are pure, whatsoever things are lovely; if there Hence you see the prodigies produced by this be any virtue, and if there be any praise, that connexion. You see what Jesus Christ has you should think on these,” Phil. iv. 8. It re- done for those who are united in devotion to his quires you to add, “ to faith, virtue; to virtue, Father's will. His incarnation, his passion, his knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and cross, his Spirit, his grace, his intercession, his to temperance, patience; and to patience, god- kingdom,-nothing is accounted too precious liness; and to gadliness, brotherly-kindness; and for men, joined to him by those tender and ento brotherly-kindness, charity,” 2 Pet. i. 5–7. dearing ties.
The will of God requires not an immaturity You see likewise, what the men united to
Jesus Christ are qualified to do one for another: | become your enemy when we tell you the they are all of one heart and one soul, and are truth, when we combat your prejudices, when ever ready to make the mutual sacrifices of be- we attack your errors, when we endeavour to nevolence and love.
irradiate your minds, and to take the lamp 4. The ties which connect the members of of revelation from beneath the bushel; if this Jesus Christ's family are not less happy than is your characteristic, recognise in yourselves strong. Connexions merely human, however this trait of your father, which is lying, for he endearing, however delightful, are invariably is “the father of a lie;" and take to yourselves accompanied with anguish. What anguish this awful declaration, “Ye are of your father must attend a connexion cemented with vice! the devil.” What painful sensations, even in the midst of 2. He is a murderer; and to hate our neigha criminal course! What remorse on reflection bour is, according to the language of Scripture, and thought: What horror on viewing the to kill' him; for " he that hateth his brother," consequences of unlawful pleasures! On say- as St. John has decided, “is a murderer," ing to one's self, the recollection of this inter- John iii. 15. Yes, if you obstruct your neighcourse will pierce me in a dying hour; this un-bour's happiness; if you are envious at his happy person, with whom I am now so closely prosperity: if you are irritated by his virtues; connected, will be my tormentor for ever! if mortified by his reputation; if you take de
What anguish is attended even on friend- light in aggravating his real faults, and in the ship the most innocent, when extended too far! imputation of imaginary defects, recognise Delightful connexions, formed on earth by con- another trait of your father; apply to yourselves genial souls, cemented by the intercourse of this awful assertion, which so many may apply mutual love, and crowned with prosperity: with propriety, “Ye are of your father the delightful bonds which connect a father with devil." a son, and a son with a father; a wife with a It is nevertheless true, that how numerous husband, and a husband with a wife; what re- soever the children of the devil may be on the gret you produce, when death, the allotted earth, Jesus Christ has a family among men: period, or end of man, and of all human com- and it is composed of those who believe, those forts,—what regret you cost,—when death whom a sincere faith has invested with the compels us to dissolve these ties! Witness so privilege of considering themselves, according many Josephs attending their fathers to the to St. John, as members of the family of God: tomb, who had been the glory of their families. “To as many as received him, to them gave Witness so many Rachels “refusing to be he power," which I would render right, prero comforted because their children are not,” gative, privilege, “ to become the sons of God.” Matt. xi. 18. Witness so many Davids, who The branches of God's spiritual family are exclaim with excess of grief, “O, my son not always visible to the eyes of the flesh, but Absalom-my son, my son Absalom-would they are to the eyes of the spirit; they are not to God I had died for thee~0 Absalom, my always objects of sense, but they are objects son, my son!!!” 2 Sam. xviii. 33.
of faith, which assures us of the continued exBut in the ties which connect the family of istence of a holy church. Sometimes the fary Jesus Christ, there is no mixture of anguish. of persecution, which prevents us from perThis you may infer from what we have ad-ceiving them, drives them into deserts, and vanced; and your own reflections may supply causes them to take refuge in dens and caves the scanty limits in which we are obliged to of the earth. Sometimes the prevalence of comprise this point.
calumny paints their character in shades dark 5. We shall lastly consider the persons con- as hell, calls their moderation indolence, their nected by the bonds of obedience to the will of meekness cowardice, their modesty meanness God.
of mind, their firmness obstinacy, their hope The family of Jesus Christ consist of a selec- a chimera, their zeal illusion and enthusiasm. tion of all the excellent in heaven and in earth. Sometimes it is the veil of humility by which So St. Paul has expressed himself, “Of whom they conceal their virtues, and which causes the whole parentage," or as the text may be them to be confounded with persons who have read, “Of whom the whole family in heaven no virtue, and to be less esteemed than persons and in earth is named,” Eph. iii. 15. On whose virtues are affected. “Their kingdom" earth, the family of Jesus is not distinguished invariably “is not of this world: Now are we by the greatness of its number: and to the the sons of God, and it doth not appear what shame of the human kind, there is a father we shall be. We are dead, and our life is hid whose family is far more numerous than the with Christ in God,” John xviii. 36; 1 John ïïi. Saviour's: this father is the devil. And who 2; Col. iii. 3. are the children of the devil? To this question But though the members of this spiritual Jesus Christ has given us a key. He said, family are not always visible, the reality of when speaking to the Pharisees, “Ye are of their existence is not diminished. On their your father the devil, and the lusts of your fa- account the world exists. Their prayers stay ther ye will do; he was a murderer from the the avenging arm of an angry God, and save beginning, and abode not in the truth; he is a the guilty world from being crushed beneath liar, and the father of it," John viii. 44. These the stroke: for their sakes he sometimes mitiare the two characteristics of his children; lying gates the calamities, with which human crimes and murder.
oblige him to visit the nations. It is their en1. Lying. If you betray the truth, if you treaties which cause their God and Redeemer employ your genius, your wit, your knowledge, speedily to descend, and which hasten the to embarrass the truth, instead of employing happy day that is the object of their wishes, them for the acquisition of self-knowledge, and and subject of their prayers, “Come, Lord a communication of the truth to others; if we Jesus—come quickly."
And if the family of Jesus Christ is named This idea of death, and of the felicity which on earth," it is more especially named in hea- follows, is extremely delightful; and I do most ven. There it exists, there it shines in all its sincerely believe it; at least I have never yet lustre. But who are the members of this family met with a thought, which could dissuade me of Jesus Christ? They are " the redeemed out from thinking that the glorified saints shall of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and enjoy, in heaven, the society of those with nation.” They are the ambassadors of the gos- whom they have been so intimately connected pel, who have “turned many unto righteous on earth. But how real and pleasing soever ness; they shine as the brightness of the firma- this thought may be, it is, my dear brethren, ment, and as stars" of the first magnitude. They far too contracted. Let us form more exalted are martyrs, come up out of great tribulation, notions of the happiness God has prepared for they are “clothed in white robes, which they us. Our family is in heaven, but not excluhave washed in the blood of the Lamb." They sively composed of the small circle of friends of are all saints, who having fought under his whom we have been deprived by death. Rebanner, participate the laurels of his victory. collect what we have just said. Our family is They are angels who excel in strength, and composed of the redeemed "out of every kinobey his voice. They are winged cherubim, dred, and tongue, and people, and nation:"who fly at his command. They are seraphim of the ambassadors of the gospel, “who have burning with his love. They are the thousand turned many to righteousness, who shine as millions which serve him, and ten thousand the brightness of the firmament, and as the millions which stand before him. They are stars for ever and ever:”—of martyrs, “who
great multitude, whose voice is in the came up out of great tribulation, who have sound of many waters," and whose obedience washed their robes, and made them white in the to God is crowned with glory; but they cast blood of the Lamb.” Our family is composed their crowns before the throne, and cry con- of those illustrious saints, who have fought tinually, “ Hallelujah--let us be glad and re- under the banner of Christ, and they now sit joice, and give glory unto him.”
down on his throne. Farther, our family is Such is the spiritual family of Jesus Christ, composed of those "angels that excel'in and such is the Christian family. Many of strength, and obey the voice of God:"-of its members lie scattered in different parts of those cherubim which fly at his command. the earth, but the part which is nost numerous, Our family is composed of those thousand, excellent, and consummate in virtue, is in thousand millions, and ten thousand millions heaven. What a consolation! But language which stand before him, and cast their crowns is too weak! What a consolation to the be before the throne of Him who conferred the liever, against whom old age, infirmities, and dignity upon them, crying continually, “Halsickness have pronounced the sentence of death! lelujah, let us be glad and rejoice, and give What a consolation to say "My family is in glory unto him!” Jesus Christ is the first-born heaven; a gulf separates me, but it is not like of this household; God, who is all and in all, the gulf which separates the damned from the is head of the whole: these are the beings to glorified spirits, of which Abraham said to the whom we are about to be united by death. rich man, “ between us and you there is a great What a powerful consolation against the gulf fixed.” It is a gulf whose darkness is en- fear of death! What an abundant remuneralightened by faith, whose horrors are assuaged tion of delight, for the privation of persons, by hope;—it is a gulf through which we are whose memory is so dear! O my friends, my cheered and animated by the voice of Christ;- children, and all of you, who have during my a gulf from which one final struggle shall in- abode on earth, been the objects of my tenderstantly make us free.
est and most ardent attachment;-you, who Death is sometimes represented to me under after having contributed to my happiness during an idea happily calculated to assuage its an- life, come again and surround my dying bed, guish. There is not one of you, who has at- receive the final tests of an attachment, which tained maturity of age, but has frequently seen should never be less suspected than in these those persons snatched away by death, who last moments;-collect the tears, which the constituted the greatest happiness of your life. pain of parting induces me to shed;-see, in This is inevitably the lot of those to whom the anguish of my last farewell, all that my God aceords, the precious shall I say? or the heart has felt for you. sad privilege of running the race of life. They But do not detain me any longer upon earth; live, but they see those daily taken away, whose suffer me at the moment when I feel my loss, company attached them to life. I look on to estimate my gain; allow me to fix my regards death as reuniting me to those persons, whose on those ever-during connexions I am about to loss had occasioned me so many tears during form;—on the angels who are going to convey my pilgrimage. I represent myself as arriving my soul to the bosom of God;-on the innuin heaven and seeing this friend running to meet merable multitudes of the blessed, among whom me, to whom my soul was united as the soul I am going to reside, and with whose voices I of David to Jonathan. I imagine myself as am going to join in everlasting praises to my presented to those ancestors, whose memory is God and Saviour. 80 revered, and whose example is so worthy Among the transports excited by objects so of imitation. I represent those children as elating, if any wish yet remain, it is to see you coming before me, whose death affected me speedily associated with me, in the same sowith a bitter anguish which continued all my ciety, and participating the same felicity. May days: with those innocent creatures I see my- heaven hear my prayer! To God be honour and self surrounded; whom God, to promote their glory for ever. Amen. happiness, resumed by an early death.
tation. We shall see, secondly, Jesus Christ SERMON LXXXVIII. vanquishing the enemy of our salvation, and
depriving him of his prey, by a single glance
of his eyes. We shall see, lastly, a penitent reST. PETER'S DENIAL OF HIS MASTER. covering from his fall: and replying, by his
tears, to the expressive looks of Jesus Christ:
three inexhaustible sources of reflection. Matt. xxvi. 69, &c. LUKE xxii. 61, &c.
We shall consider, first, the fall of St. Pe-
sel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with attention to the object which excited his fear,
The object which excited his fear, was mar-
And if mediately while he yet spake, the cock crew. it is awful to approach a death, obvious (so to And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter; speak) to our view, how much more awful, and Peter remembered the word of the Lord, when that death is surrounded with tortures, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, with racks, with pincers, with caldrons of boilthou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went ing oil, and all those instruments invented by out, and wept bilterly.
superstitious zeal and ingenious malice. IS, It is laudable, my brethren, to form noble however, there ever were occasions to deplore designs, to be immovable at the presence of the weakness of man, it is on account of the danger, and to cherish dignity of sentiment fears excited by the idea of martyrdom. Foland thought. This virtue distinguishes the low us then while we illustrate this assertion. heroes of our age; it equally distinguishes the That men must die, is one of the most cerheroes of religion and piety. They defy the tain and evident propositions ever advanced. whole universe to shake their faith; amid the Neither vice nor virtue, neither religion nor greatest dangers, they adopt this language of infidelity, nor any consideration, can dispense triumph: “What shall separate us from the with this common lot of man. Were a system love of Christ Shall tribulation, or distress, or introduced teaching us the art of living for persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, ever on the earth, we should undoubtedly beor the sword? Nay, in all these things we are come our own enemies, by immolating the more than conquerors, through him that hath hope of future felicity, for a life of such inloved us,” Rom. viii. 34, 35.
quietude as that we should enjoy on the earth. But how laudable soever this disposition And if there had been such a life, perhaps we may be, it ought to be restricted; it degene- should have been base enough to give it the rates into presumption when carried to ex- preference of our religious hope. If it had tremes. Many, by not knowing how to pro- failed in securing the approbation of the mind, portion their strength to their courage, have it would, at least, have interested the concufallen in the day of trial, and realized the very piscence of the heart. But whatever is our maxim, " They that love the danger, shall pe- opinion, die we must; this is an indisputable rish by the danger.” This is exemplified in the fact, which no one dares to dispute. person of St. Peter. His heart, glowing with Prudence, unable to avert the execution of attachment to his Master, every thing was the sentence, should be employed in disarming promised from his zeal. Seeing Jesus on the its terrors: destitute of all hope of escaping waters, he solicited permission to walk like death, we ought to employ all our prudence in the Saviour; but feeling his feet sink beneath the choice of that kind of death, which is most the surface of the unstable element, he dis- supportable. And what is there in the severest trusted either the power or the fidelity of his sufferings of martyrs, which is not preferable to Master; and unless he had been supported by the death we expect from nature? If I consider his compassionate arms, he had made ship- death as an abdication of all I enjoy, and as an wreck, to express myself with St. Paul, both impenetrable veil, which conceals the objects of his faith and his life together. Seeing Jesus of sense, I see nothing in the death of the marled away to the high-priest's house, he follow- tyr, that is not common to every other kind of ed without hesitation, and resolved to follow death. To die on a bed, to die on a scaffold, even to the cross. Here, likewise, on seeing is equally to leave the world; and the sole difthe Jews irritated, the soldiers armed, and a ference is, that the martyr finding nothing but thousand terrific appearances of death, he sav- troubles, gibbets, and crosses, in this life, deed his life by a base denial; and, unless his taches himself with less difficulty than the wavering faith had been restored by a look other, who dies surrounded by inviting objects. from his Lord, the bonds of union had been If I consider death, with regard to the pains totally dissolved.
which precede and attend its approach, I conIn the examination of this history, we shall fess it requires courage more than human, to seo first, the cowardice of an apostle, who be unmoved at the terrific apparatus exposed yielded, for the moment, to the force of temp-I to the eyes of a martyr. But, if we except
some peculiar cases, in which the tyrants have eyes;--you would have said, that the magnihad the barbarity to prolong the lives of the tude of the danger striking his senses, had consufferers, in order to extend their torments, founded his reason. But none of these objects there are few sudden deaths, which are not at- were, in reality, presented. The judges, soletended with less pain than natural death. ly engaged in gratifying their fury against tho There are few death-beds, which do not exhi- Master, did not so much as think upon the bit scenes more tragic than the scaffold. Pain servant. A maid spake, and her voice recalled is not more supportable, because it has symp- the idea of the council, the death, and the cross, toms less striking; nor are afflictions the less and filled his soul with horror at the thought. severe, because they are interior.
Secondly, St. Peter was warned. Jesus If I consider death, with regard to the just Christ had declared to him, in general, that fear of fainting in the conflicts, in which I'am "Satan had desired to sift him as wheat;" and, about to be vanquished by the king of terrors, in particular, that he would three times deny there are superabundant aids reserved for those him that very night. A caution so salutary, who sacrifice their lives for religion. The great- ought to have induced him to redouble his viest miracles have been achieved in favour of gilance; to fortify the place, the weakness of confessors and martyrs. St. Peter received which had been pointed out; and to avoid a some instances of the kind; but I will venture danger, of the magnitude of which he had to affirm, that we have had more than he. It been apprised. When a man is surprised was on the verge of martyrdom, that an angel by an unforeseen temptation; when he falls opened the doors of his prison. It was on the from a precipice, of which he was not aware, eve of martyrdom, that Paul and Silas felt the he is worthy of more compassion than blame. prison shake, and saw their chains broken But here is a crime, known, revealed, and preasunder. It was in the midst of martyrdom, dicted. that Stephen saw the heavens open, and the The third circumstance is derived from the Son of man standing at the right hand of God. abundant knowledge communicated to our It was also in the midst of martyrdom, that apostle. Against the offence of our Saviour's Barlaam sung this psalm, “ Blessed be the humiliation, he had been peculiarly fortified; Lord, my strength, which teacheth my hands he had heard a voice from the excellent glory to war, and my fingers to fight.”
on the holy mountain; he had been apprised, If I consider death, with regard to the aw- more than any other disciple, that the sufferful tribunal before which it cites me to appear, ings of Christ were connected with the scheme and with regard to the eternal books about to of redemption. be opened, in which are registered so many The fourth circumstance is derived from the vain thoughts, so many idle words, so many high office with which St. Peter was invested; criminal courses, the weight of which is heavy from the commission be had received from on my conscience; I see nothing still in the his Master, in common with the other memdeath of a martyr, that is not to be preferred bers of the apostolic college, "to go and preach to a natural death. It is allowed that the ex- the kingdom of heaven;" and from this declaercise of repentance, in dying circumstances, ration, "Thou art Peter, upon this rock will I the prayers, the repeated vows, the submission build my church.” This man, called to build to the will of God, who leads us through the up the church, gave it one of the greatest valley of the shadow of death, are tests of our shocks it could possibly have received. This reconciliation to him. But these tests are of- man, called to preach the gospel of Jesus ten deceitful. Experience but too frequently Christ, declared he knew him not. This man, realizes what we have often said, that the dy- constituted an established minister of his reliing take that for willing obedience, which is gion, became an apostate, and risked the drawbut constraint. A martyr has purer tests of his ing with him into the same gulf, the souls with sincerity. A martyr might preserve his life, by whose salvation he had been entrusted. Some the commission of a crime; but rather than faults affect none but the offenders, but others sin, he devotes it in sacrifice.
have a general influence on all the church. Lastly, if I consider death, with regard to the And such, ministers of the living God, are our futurity into which it will cause us to enter, I faults! Our example is contagious, it diffuses a see nothing but what should excite in the mar- baneful poison on all those, over whom Provityr transports of joy. He has not only the pro- dence has appointed us to watch. mise of celestial happiness, but celestial hap- The oaths he used to confirm his denial are piness of the highest degree. It is to the mar- a fifth circumstance. Not content with distyr, that Jesus Christ calls from the highest simulation, he denied. Not content with a abodes of heaven; “ To him that overcometh, threefold denial, he denied with an oath; a cirwill I grant to sit with me in my throne, even cumstance not in the text, but noted by the as I also overcame, and am set down with my other evangelists. Father in his throne," Rev. iii. 21.
My brethren, do you understand in these But the fall of St. Peter, though deplorable provinces, all that is execrable in the crime of in itself, becomes still more so, by its concom- perjury! "I doubt it. A perjured man is one itant circumstances. Let us review them. who takes the God who bears the motto of
It was first, the simple charge of a servant “ Faithful and true Witness,” to attest an agi maid, and of a few spectators standing by, sertion, of the falsehood of which he cannot be which shook his courage. Had the apostle ignorant. A perjured person is one who defies been cited before the sanhedrim;—had he been the power of Almighty God: who says, in orlegally called upon to give an account of his der to deceive, “Great God! thou holdest faith;-had the cross, to which he promised to thunderbolts in thy hand, launch them this follow his Master, been prepared before his moment at my head, if I do not speak as 1