He Is Risen; Or,
"The Sight of a Living Christ the Joy of the Christian"
"Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord." -John 20:20
The three days of our Lord's burial were days of gloom and sadness to the disciples. Not less truly or darkly did the shadows of the grave drape His sacred form than they did the hearts and hopes of His little band of followers. Their faith in His often-repeated assurance that He would rise again from the dead was faint and fluctuating. To their spiritual eye, wailed by unbelief and dimmed with tears, the Sun of Righteousness, which set in darkness and in blood, had set forever. Although He had forewarned them He should be delivered into the hands of men, that they should kill Him, and that after He was killed He should rise the third day, yet we are told, "they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask Him." And even after His resurrection was an accomplished and indisputable fact, attested by eyewitnesses, angels and men, and confirmed by many infallible proofs, yet how slow of heart were they to give it their full and unhesitating credence?
Don't we see, beloved, a reflection of our own Christianity in these unbelieving, timid disciples? We as faintly believe all that Christ is, all that Christ has done, and all that Christ has promised. The fact that He is risen from the dead, that He is alive in heaven spending His life for us at this moment, and that with His our life is essentially and indissolubly bound, is so faintly believed, so imperfectly realized, so little lived upon by faith, no marvel that, like the disciples of old, we "walk, and are sad," with tears gazing into the tomb in search of a dead Christ, rather than looking above the grave, above sin, above sorrow, above a poor, changing world up to a living Christ in heaven.
Strange that we should for a moment lose sight of the fact that true faith, "the faith of God's elect," has solely to do with all that Christ is. God has deposited all our grace and glory in the person of Christ. All the fullness of God, all the promises of God, all the supplies of the covenant, and all the granaries of the gospel, are lodged in the hands of our risen Lord. It follows, then, that faith, the receiving grace of the believer, has to do immediately, simply, and only with Christ. It can believe nothing that Christ has not taught, can obey nothing that Christ has not commanded, can practice nothing that Christ has not exemplified; in short, Christ to true faith is all and in all. It trusts in Christ as a Redeemer, obeys Christ as a Lawgiver, yields allegiance to Christ as a King, lives upon Him as his Preserver, and in grief, and trial, and need repairs to Him as the Brother born for adversity; in a word, turns to Him under all circumstances, as truly and spontaneously as the needle to the magnet, as the flower to the sun.
The fact of the resurrection of Christ must ever be regarded as one of the most essential, and, as a doctrine, one of the most precious of the Christian faith. The argument in support of the fact, as drawn from the experience of the early apostles, is simply this- They went forth enduring every species of scorn, submitting to every kind of persecution, and exposing their lives to every form of death in their firm belief that Christ was risen from the dead. Would they, or could they, have subjected themselves to all this in the propagation of what they knew to be a lie? Impossible!
In attempting to crush the new and rising religion, it was everything to the Jewish rulers to prove that Christ was not alive- in propagating and establishing that religion it was everything to the Christian apostles to prove that Christ was alive. This was the question of dispute between them. But when the Sanhedrin, in attempting to disprove the fact of the resurrection, substituted physical force for moral argument, violence for proof, and cruelty for evidence, they but demonstrated the fallacy of their own statement and the truth of the apostles'. When, by bribery and corruption, they sought to win over to their cause the Roman soldiers, and by stripes and imprisonment to silence the apostles, who does not see that they betrayed the falsehood of the one statement, that Christ was not risen, and confirmed the truth of the other, that He was?
Now we argue that the apostles- men who, on former occasions, had manifested so much natural timidity, and had betrayed so great a lack of moral courage- when they went forth and throughout Jerusalem and the provinces, preaching the resurrection of Christ in the face of persecution and death, gave the strongest moral attestation to the fact that their Lord and Master was alive. In support of this truth, they were willing to wade through a sea of tribulation, to be regarded as false witnesses and wild enthusiasts, to suffer the confiscation of property and the loss of personal liberty, to go to a loathsome prison and to meet a martyr's death!
My reader, are you a religious skeptic? do you disbelieve the truth of Christ's resurrection from the grave? Ponder, I beseech you, honestly, calmly, this, one fact- the willingness of the apostles to suffer loss, persecution, and death for their belief of this truth. Who was it that supported these apostles in the fiery furnace which they endured for their faith in this doctrine? It was by no natural, no human power and courage that they were sustained. They were suffering for Christ, and they were fortified, strengthened, and upheld by Christ. Do you think that God would become a party to a lie? that Christ would lend Himself to the propagation of a fiction? that the Holy Spirit would impart might, energy, and fortitude to men who were seeking to palm a falsehood upon the world? And yet to this monstrous, this awful conclusion you must come, if you deny the cardinal doctrine of the Christian faith-the resurrection of Christ from the dead.
The fact that the apostles bore about with them in their bodies the death of the Lord Jesus in the sufferings which they endured was one of the strongest evidences of the life of the Lord Jesus- in the succor which they experienced.
But the resurrection of Christ is not only a historical fact, it is also an essential doctrine and an experimental truth of Christianity. It is in reality the foundation of the fabric- the key-stone of the arch of our divine and holy faith. The resurrection of Christ is inseparable from the truth of the Christian religion. If Christ is alive, then the gospel of Christ is what it affirms itself to be- divine. Viewed in this point of light, it is inexpressibly precious.
The believer sees in it the evidence and the pledge of his full pardon, his complete justification, of non-condemnation. There is now no condemnation to those who are mystically risen with Him. The argument of the apostle is conclusive- "Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification." That is, Christ was surrendered to death to expiate our sins, and was raised again from the dead to justify our person. By the death of our Lord a full atonement was made for sin, and by His resurrection our complete acceptance with God was sealed and secured.
His death would have availed us nothing apart from His resurrection. The one would have been imperfect but for the other. It is true, justice would have been satisfied, but the evidence of that satisfaction had been lacking if Jesus had not come back from the grave. There was death so long as He remained a prisoner within the tomb. A great stone lay upon the hope and salvation of the Church. But when He rose from the dead, He rose as the "Resurrection and the Life" of His people. He then gave to the universe full proof that His work was complete and accepted of the Father, that His sacrifice was perfect and approved, and that henceforth whoever believed in Him were fully pardoned, freely justified, and eternally saved.
But we return to the apostles. After much doubt and hesitation, the glorious fact burst upon their minds with overpowering conviction that their Lord was alive, that Christ was risen from the dead. A new world glowing with life and beauty seemed to unveil to their view. "Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun." After three days of entombment, according to His promise, often made and as often disbelieved, He rose from the dead, and once more, as of old, appeared alive in their midst.
Again they saw their beloved Friend, heard the well known tones of His voice, gently touched His wounds, and ate the bread He broke. And now their gladness was great! Their night of weeping had brightened into a morning of joy; and, filled with the thought of His resurrection, their hearts glowing with the truth that He who was dead was alive again, and lived, to succor, to comfort and to be ever with them, they went forth to chant through the wide world their Easter hymn of gladness- "THE LORD IS RISEN INDEED!" "Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord."
Not less vital or joyous to us is the truth that Christ is alive. What to the first disciples was a gladsome object of sense, is to us a yet more gladsome object of faith. They beheld their living Lord with a bodily, we with a spiritual eye. They believed because they saw, we believe though we see not. Our mind rests upon a less material, but more spiritual and assuring evidence, since faith is a higher, more convincing and God-glorifying principle than sight. Hence our Lord said to Thomas, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen, and yet have believed."
Listen to the language of the apostle, "Though having not seen you love, in whom, though now you see Him not, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory." In what sense, then, should the truth of a living Savior be a cause of joy and gladness to the Christian? First, it is a soul-quickening truth. There is no spiritual life but that which flows from Christ. I have come," says our Lord, "that you might have life, and that you might have it more abundantly." The apostle confirms this truth when he says, "Christ, who is our life."
The inference from this fact is a solemn one, namely, that he who has not Christ has not life! That, whatever may be the vigor of his natural life, the splendor of his intellectual life, the purity of his moral life, the strictness of his religious life, if he has no spiritual, vital, personal union with a risen Christ, he is dead while he lives, and when he dies, is the heir of the second death, whose worm never dies, whose fire is never quenched! "Awake, you that sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you life."
But how replete with the material of true joy is the life of Christ to His people! Life, beautiful in any form, was transcendently so when "Christ who is our life" rose from the dead. So long as our Lord remained locked in the rigid chain of death, and in the cold embrace of the tomb, the life of the Church was in eclipse, veiled with the deep, dark shadows of the grave. But when He broke that chain, and emerged from that imprisonment, life and immortality appeared as in a new form and with more resplendent glory, and took its place in the universe as never seen before. Never before had death slain so illustrious a victim, or the grave held so great a prisoner, or had both been so signally defeated, as when the Son of God died and rose again.
All this was representative. How much we overlook the substitutionary life of Jesus. How faintly we realize our personal identity with the Savior in all that He did as the Head of the Church, as the Surety and Mediator of His people. The risen life of Christ is the resurrection life of our souls. As mystically they were crucified with Christ, so mystically we are risen with Christ. Figuratively, we are "buried with Him in baptism, and are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who has raised Him from the dead."
Blessed union! One with Christ in all that He did. One life in many forms- the risen life of Jesus pulsating in countless myriads of living souls; the whole Body, the Church, quickened with new vitality from the new-born life of its Divine and Risen Head. Let the life you live, beloved, be a life of faith in the resurrection-life of Christ. And when you are conscious that your spiritual life is depressed, that its pulse beats faintly, and its actings are fitful; that faith is weak and the spirit of prayer languishes, that grace is at a low ebb, and that your soul mounts, if it mount at all, towards God and heaven but upon a feeble wing, then travel afresh to the resurrection-life of the Savior, and give Him no rest until you feel afresh the quickening power of His resurrection in your soul.
Do not be satisfied with mere spiritual existence, a moral vegetation only in the Lord's garden; aim after the higher life, and after the highest development of that life- even to know your individual and vital oneness with Christ in His resurrection. Oh, holy, happy life this! Clouds may wreath your sky, thorns may strew your path, your faith may be assailed, your circumstances may be trying, your spirit sad and lonely, but yet, walking in sweet fellowship with a risen Christ, you will rise above it all, filled with the peace, joy, and gladness which the believing sight of a living Savior ever inspires. Then will you be enabled in some blessed measure to enter into the apostle's exalted experience, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."
A believing apprehension of a living Christ seals the conscience with peace. Peace is a precious, priceless jewel. None possess it but those who are sprinkled with the peace-speaking blood of Jesus. Peace springing from a sense of friendship with God, of pardoned sin, of acceptance in Christ, of life with a living Savior, is theirs only who have felt in their souls the power of Christ's resurrection. The sense and enjoyment of peace may fluctuate because the spiritual life is a ceaseless conflict with the flesh, with corroding doubts and unbelieving fears, with outward assaults, temptations, and trials; so that the peace of the believer is often interrupted and ruffled by hostile and disturbing influences. But Christ is alive! Walking upon the broken waves of our doubts and fears, He comes to us in all the majesty of Divine power and the meekness of human compassion; and says, "Peace, be still, and there is a great calm."
Oh, how gladsome is the soul when thus it sees the Lord! In all this holy war between the old man and the new, with all the "mire and dirt " which indwelling sin, "like the troubled sea," is ever casting up, with all your battle with doubts and fears, only realize your oneness, not so much with the life of Christ, as with a personal, living Christ Himself, and you shall know the peace of God in your soul, passing all understanding. Because Christ lives, indwelling sin shall not slay you. It will struggle for the mastery, the flesh will contend for the pre-eminence, but the power of a living Savior through the indwelling of the Spirit will prevail, and sin shall not have dominion over you.
Not less effectual is a sight of our living Lord in the removal of spiritual doubts and in the quelling of unbelieving fear. Until these disciples "saw the Lord," saw Him in His risen, resurrection-life, their minds were assailed by carnal reasoning and unbelieving despondency. "Is this the Christ that should come? Is His religion true? Was He a deceiver, and are we the victims of the deception? Will He really come back again from the grave? Will He fulfil His promise? Shall we once more behold the form that attracted us, hear the voice that charmed us, feel the presence that soothed us, and again lean our head upon His loving heart?" But all this carnal reasoning vanished, all these unbelieving doubts and fears gave way, when they saw the Lord, as the gray mists and spectral illusions of the morning vanish before the light and splendor of the ascending sun.
By like spiritual doubts and fears are we, beloved, often assailed. Seeing more and more clearly the sin that dwells in us, knowing increasingly the spiritual war, the fight of faith, we are ready to doubt our saint-ship, to renounce our sonship, and to relinquish our humble hope of ever reaching heaven at last. But one simple, believing sight of Jesus alive, ever living to make intercession that our weak, assailed, and trembling faith fail not, disperses all our doubts, annihilates all our fears, silences our fleshly reasoning, and reassures our trembling souls with the blessed hope that, because Christ lives we shall live also.
Thus, then, when assailed by doubts and fears touching your salvation, behold afresh your risen Lord. Realize His life in your soul. One sight of Jesus, one throb of His risen life, one moment's realization of your present oneness with Him who came back from the grave to seal forever the justification of all who believe in Him, will lift you from the region of uncertainty and cloud into the meridian of assurance and joy, awaking in your soul the exclamation, "This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend? Now I believe and am sure that this is the very Christ of God, the Savior of sinners, even of me!"
A sight of Christ alive will make your afflicted and sorrowful heart joyful. Never was sadness so real, turned into joy so great, as when the first disciples once more saw their risen and living Lord. Sorrow, beloved, is the heritage of all God's people. The disciples and followers of the "Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief," can we expect or even desire that it should be otherwise? Thus, for the members to be assimilated to the Head is a great privilege and honor. Deem not, then, that some strange thing has happened unto you if your Lord calls you to drink a cup of bitter woe, to tread a path of piercing sorrow, to bear a cross that chafes or a burden that crushes you, since it is the royal road to heaven.
Little, oh, how little, would you know of the blessedness of possessing spiritual life in, of drawing fresh life from, Jesus- life-supporting, life-soothing, life-sanctifying- but for the very discipline of suffering and of trial through which you are, perhaps, now passing. The Lord is writing death upon some living blessing, is blighting some blooming mercy, is enshrouding in the grave some choice and precious treasure of your heart, and your cup of sorrow overflows. Is all dead? is all gone? Is He Himself, who has blasted health, who has broken the strong and beautiful staff, who has dried up earth's resources, who has emptied you from vessel to vessel, entirely and forever withdrawn? Oh, no! Jesus lives! He lives to strengthen you in weakness, to make all your bed in sickness, to supply all your temporal need, to give you a much greater blessing than He has removed, and to stand fast by your side when days are dark, and riches take wing, and friends prove false, and health decays, and suffering and weakness incapacitate you for service and isolate you from God's sanctuary.
The season of bereavement is one in which a believing apprehension of a risen, living Savior brings to the mind especial comfort and repose. When death flings its deep, cold shade upon life's sunniest spots, then faith takes hold of a living Friend- a Friend and Brother who, though once dead, is alive again, and lives for evermore. Oh, how sweet is this life of Jesus in the moment of death! If "in the midst of life,'' as the beautiful service for the burial of the dead, expresses it, "we are in death," in a nobler sense he who has a living Christ in him can exclaim, "In the midst of death I am in life."
The Lord, dear reader, may write the sentence of death on earth's fairest, dearest mercy, but He has erased that sentence from your soul and its solemn future. The sentence of death is repealed and cancelled in all those who believe in a risen and living Savior, and not even shall they "see death" when he, the "last enemy," draws near to break the silver cord and let the ransomed spirit free.
But death has entered your abode, and its ravages and its blank are unmistakable, sad, and painful. You feel his icy shadow is upon you. You behold the ravages of the spoiler in the faded leaf, in the broken stem, in the smitten flower, and your lone and darkened home is but the emblem of your more lonely and darkened heart! But be still! Jesus is alive and lives for you. All that you have lost in the counsel of that wise father, all that you miss in the love of that fond mother, all that you possessed in the strong arm of that kind-hearted brother, or in the sweet devotion of that affectionate wife, or in the faithful, filial attachment of that dear child, you have now in the love, the wisdom, the protection, the presence of a living Savior!
Death cannot rob you of this precious treasure. He will guide your future of perplexity with His counsel, He will light your future loneliness with His smile, He will strengthen your weak frame with His encircling arm, and will bid you repose your weary, aching head where the beloved disciple gently rested his- upon the bosom of your risen, living Lord. Oh, let your faith, then- though it be a weeping faith, a feeble faith, a lowly, trembling faith, a faith that bends in tears over the grave that seems to entomb all that made life so sweet and now death less bitter- let it rise above the coffin, the shroud, the dust, and see Jesus only, still wearing your bereaved nature, and bending upon you from His throne in heaven an eye of unutterable tenderness, sympathy, and love!
Nor this alone. The resurrection of Christ is the pledge that you shall meet again those loved ones from whom you have lately parted and who died in the Lord. The hope of the believer is a living hope, because it is a hope in a living Christ. " God has begotten us again unto a lively (a living, real) hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." Yes, we shall see them again! "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so those also who sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him." Let us then, fellow-bereaved, comfort one another with these soothing words and with this glorious hope!
In the spiritual conflict of the Christian, the power arising from faith dealing with the risen life of Christ, is appropriate and mighty. It is only as we enter into the death of Christ that we can have fellowship with Him in His life. We must be partakers of His death before we become partakers of His resurrection. It is in the daily cross we are bearing of the dying of Jesus, that we learn the blessedness of the life of Jesus. Thus the apostle puts it-, "Always bearing about in the body the DYING of the Lord Jesus, that the LIFE also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body, "
Hence, as previously remarked, the thought and the feeling that Christ was alive, which strengthened the apostles for service, nerved them for trial, soothed them in sorrow, and sustained them in suffering and in death. It was only as they bore about the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus was made manifest in them. They believed that He was alive, and they proved that He was alive. It was to them not an empty fiction, but a confirmed fact; not an empty theory, but blessed and precious experience.
And is it less so with us? We, too, exclaim, "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live. I go to a risen, living Christ weak, I come away strengthened; I go to Him sad, I return rejoicing; I go to Him carrying a heavy burden, and am lightened. I take to Him my sins, my backslidings, my infirmities, my guilt, and He raises me out of the horrible pit and the miry clay, and places my feet upon a Rock, even the Rock that is higher than I, and puts a new song into my mouth, even salvation unto my God, -and now, I need no trumpet-tongue of angel, or silver voice of man, to announce that Jesus is alive and lives in heaven for me. I have, in the grace which He gives, in the strength which He inspires, in the love, sympathy, and smile with which He soothes and cheers me, proof which no foe can gainsay that Jesus lives, and ever lives to make intercession for me within the veil."
This spiritual subject is eminently practical; and, indeed, the more spiritual any truth or ministry of the truth is, the more deeply sanctifying will the spiritually-minded Christian experience it to be. The first use we should make of it is, earnestly to seek to know more of the POWER of Christ's resurrection in our souls. It has a vitalizing influence of which the believer, raised from a death of sin to a life of righteousness, is blessedly sensible. It is a mighty lever to raise the soul above the world, sin, and death. If the corpse flung into the grave of the Prophet quickened into life by contact with the body of the buried seer, how much more shall we, who believe in Jesus, feel the quickening, life-increasing power of a daily faith in the resurrection of the Great Prophet of the Church- Jesus Christ?
Oh, deeply sanctifying truth! Who feels not the solemnity and power of the apostle's magnificent reasoning on this subject? "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." This it is to feel the power of Christ's resurrection; it is to rise above the things of sense, the attractions of earth, the pleasures of the world, the power of sin to mortify our lusts, and to have our mind, and heart and hopes in heaven, where our precious Treasure, our living, loving Savior, is.
Weeping mourner after Jesus, gaze not down into the empty grave, but up to the glorious throne where your Savior is. He is not here, "He is risen." You are, perhaps, earnestly seeking Him. You long to see Him, to hear His sin-pardoning voice, to have a manifestation of His risen life to your soul. Let your faith look up! Come away from the emptiness, the silence, and the grave-clothes of the tomb, and gaze up into heaven, and see Him who was crucified for you, now alive to pray for you at the Father's right hand.
Do not doubt either His willingness or His power to save you. "He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever lives to make intercession for them." Oh, the magic, the life-giving power of these words, "save to the uttermost!" Sin-distressed, guilt-burdened soul, will you, can you, now despair? Look at your darkest, vilest sins- look at your deepest, greatest unworthiness- look into the mouth of the bottomless pit, glowing, flashing with the fires of a hell you have so long and so richly deserved- then, let your weak and trembling faith uplift its eye and gaze upon Christ in heaven, alive to save your soul to the uttermost of all its crime, to the uttermost of all its guilt and hell deserving, and you shall rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
Who can doubt, from this truth, the final blessedness, the eternal glory, of all the Lord's people? The life of every believing soul is bound up in the life of Christ. Listen to His life-inspiring, life-sustaining declaration, "because I live, you shall live also." The risen and glorified life of Jesus is the pledge and the security of the everlasting bliss of every humble believer. Not one shall perish. Not a poor sinner who has touched in faith the hem of His robe shall die- no, not one. As Abraham Booth somewhere observes, If any one may perish whom God the Father gave to His Son, two might perish; and if two, why not a hundred?- and if a hundred, why not a thousand?- and if a thousand, why not all? Hence our dear Lord says, "All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me;" and coming to Him in grace now, they shall most assuredly come to Him in glory hereafter.
How certain and glorious is the first resurrection of the saints! "Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of those who slept." Christ the first fruits! Oh, what a glorious harvest, then, will the angel reapers sickle, and heaven's garners treasure up! All, from the believing Adam to the last believing sinner on earth, will rise on that bright morning, and enter upon the thousand years of millennial bliss and glory, undimmed by a cloud, and undisturbed by a wail of the despair which will gather round the rest of the dead, who shall rise to shame and everlasting contempt.
Oh, to have part in the first resurrection; for on such the second death shall have no power! Strive, brother, sister, strive against sin, against the world, and against Satan, "if by any means you might attain unto the resurrection of the dead." What a fearful thing to have no prospect of a happy and glorious resurrection! To be looking forward to a Christless death, and a hopeless burial, and a resurrection to all the untold, inconceivable horrors of the second death!
Behold, I place before you life and death! Do you count your soul of so little worth, your endless future so unsubstantial a dream, as to imperil the precious salvation of the one and to forego the eternal blessedness of the other for the earthly riches, the sensual joys, the shadowy honors of a moment! Fly to Christ- this moment fly. Escape for your life! Fall in penitence at His feet, and ask Him that you might "know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, and be made conformable to His death."
Another practical deduction from this subject is, to live in the continuous realization of our identity with the life of Christ. It is the same spiritual life pulsating in the souls of all the regenerate, and that life is from Christ. He imparts it, He nourishes it, He preserves it. It follows, then, from this that we are as believers to live upon a living Christ, to prove to the world that He is alive by His life manifest in our mortal bodies. We go to Christ weak, and are made strong; we go to Him sorrowful, and we rejoice; we go to Him burdened, and we are lightened; and so, while we bear about with us the dying of the Lord Jesus- dying to sin and to the world and to self, and enduring persecution and loss for His name- we also bear about with us the life of the Lord Jesus in its daily succourings, consolation, and joy.
And what a sanctifying truth is this! Did we manfully realize the oneness of our life with Christ, how holy should we be as becomes those whose life is hid with Christ in God. Bearing about with us the consciousness of a life so divine and heavenly, life so pure and holy, how should we tremble to plunge into society and scenes, or embark in enterprises and engagements with which we know our Lord could have no sympathy or fellowship! Oh, saint of God! remember whose life and what a life dwells within you! Can you willingly compromise such a life by a worldly course, or by indulged sin? You are a living temple -for Christ dwells in you by the Spirit.
Nor would I fail to remind you how ready Christ is to breathe His life into you more abundantly. When spiritual decays creep in, and converse with God languishes, and eternal realities lose their all-commanding control of your mind and heart and life, then fly to Christ for life more abundant. Go and draw a fresh inspiration from Him, "the fountain of life." Ask Jesus to quicken and revive you afresh. Tell Him that your life languishes, that grace decays, that love is cold, that faith is weak, and that you are in yourself powerless to resist the world, the flesh, and Satan. Oh, how blessedly will He, in response to your prayer, cause the fresh springs of life to flow through your soul, now to pulsate with stronger life, and bloom with richer beauty, and ripen into more golden fruit. Is this your spiritual state? Are you living upon the life of Christ? So living, you will die daily; and in daily dying, behold you live!
"Dying, yet in Christ we live!
Living, yet in Christ we die!
We die to sin, we live to God,
"Living, and behold we die!
Dying, yet from death we rise!
This is our resurrection-
life the life beyond the skies.
"Savior, give us now Your grace,
Quicken us to faith and love;
Be now our life, and through Your death
May we have life above."
Once more I implore you to seek by earnest, persevering prayer, spiritual life from Christ. Oh that you may now hear the voice of the Son of God and live! Renounce your deadly doings, your lifeless ritual, and touch by faith the Savior's hem, and you shall live! Jesus was never known to spurn from Him a suppliant who humbly sought at His hands this life- nor will He spurn you! Then, when you have received it in your soul, let it have full, unfettered scope, nothing of the old nature deadening its power or fading its light. Soon- oh, how soon! it will ascend to the source from where it came, and lose itself in the boundless ocean of life eternal!
Grant, O Lord, that as we are baptized into the death of your blessed Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, so by continually mortifying our corrupt affections we may be buried with Him; and that through the grave and gate of death we may pass to our joyful resurrection; for His merits, who died and was buried, and rose again for us, Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.