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respects both christian duties and christian privileges. Now who among us is endeavouring to obey the exhortation ? What anxiety do we shew to accredit our profession ; and what evidence do we give that our conversation is in heaven? When St. Paul urged the Philippians to walk as they had him for an example, there must have been something notable both in his character and conduct, which presented an object for imitation; something plainly to be read and known of all men; and we can be at no loss to discover it. With his associates in the ministry he loved the brethren; he was zealous in the work of the Lord : he kept himself unspotted from the world; he mortified the deeds of the body; he led a life of practical holiness, and of faith in the Son of God. And wherefore should not you, so far as you have attained, walk by the same rule? A man may doubtless be a sincere disciple of Christ without arriving at that eminence of christian character which distinguished St. Paul; but how dangerous is it to rest in any profession of religion, without adorning our profession to the full extent of our opportunities, and improving in the true knowledge of the gospel! We have the same ordinary influence of the Spirit to assist us which he had; the same Saviour as the Author and Finisher of our faith ; the same great and precious promises; the same privileges of religion. Therefore, my brethren, to take up the apostle's words, so stand fast in the Lord ;* be sensible of your high vocation ; live in this transitory world like the citizens of the world above, till called to join in their society and to walk in the city of their habitation.
THE PENITENT THIEF.
Sr. LUKE xxiii. 42, 43.
“ And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou
comest into thy kingdom; and Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, to-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise.”
It is mentioned by St. Matthew, as one of the aggravations of that scene of suffering which took place at the crucifixion of our blessed Saviour, that the very malefactors who were crucified with Him, united with the multitude to insult and deride Him. Whether the evangelist, in his brief narrative, is to be understood as speaking of the thieves only in general and popular terms; in which case it is not necessary to suppose that his statement applies to both of them; or whether, between the time when Christ was first raised upon the cross, and the moment of the conversation recorded in the text, one of them, after having scoffed at the Redeemer, was seized with compunction for his offence, cannot with certainty be ascertained. This at least is unquestionable, that while one railed, the other gave himself to prayer. He said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me, when thou comest into thy kingdom ; and Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, to-day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
We have in these words the prayer of the penitent, and the answer to his prayer. Let us offer a few remarks upon each ; and may the effect of them be, under the divine blessing, to bring us in a similar disposition to the throne of grace, in the well-founded persuasion that He who heard upon the cross will in heaven also hear us.
I. We have the prayer, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
(1.) This petition was evidently uttered under a strong conviction of the power and dignity of the Person addressed. We read in the gospel by St. Mark, of a person who, on the behalf of his son, then afflicted by an evil spirit, applied to Christ; and his pathetic appeal was, If thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us and help us.* The manner of his address seemed to imply something like a doubt whether the authority of our Lord extended to a case like this. We perceive nothing of that sort in the instance now before us: here is a direct acknowledgment of the sovereignty of the Messiah ; a confident belief that He had the keys of the invisible world, and was able to grant the request. This fact is rendered still more remarkable by the circumstances under which it took place; and it may be doubted whether a more striking instance of faith in Christ can be found through the whole of the sacred narrative. When the centurion | came to solicit the cure of his palsied servant, requesting of our Lord to speak the word only and his servant should be healed ; and pleading that Christ had a power as absolute over the most inveterate diseases, as he himself (being a man in authority) had over the soldiers who were under him: Jesus marvelled, it is added, and said to them that followed,