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A Sermon


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" There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth."-Luke xv. 10.

Man's heart is never big enough to hold either its joys or its sorrows. You never heard of a man whose heart was exactly full of sorrow; for no sooner is it full, than it overflows. The first prompting of the soul is to tell its sorrow to another. The reason is, that our heart is not large enough to hold our grief; and we need to have another heart to receire a portion thereof. It is even so with our joy. When the heart is full of joy, it always allows its joy to escape. It is like the fountain in the market-place; whenever it is full it runs away in streams, and so soon as it ceases to overflow, you may be quite sure that it has ceased to be full. The only full heart is the overflowing heart. You know this, beloved, you have proved it to be true; for when your soul has been full of joy, vou have first called together your own kindred and friends, and you have communicated to them the cause of your gladness; and when those vessels have been full even to the brim, you have been like the woman who borrowed empty vessels of her neighbours, for you have asked each of them to become partakers in your joy, and when the hearts of all your neighbours have been full, you have felt as if they were not large enough, and the whole world has been called upon to join in your praise. You bade the fathomless ocean drink in your joy; you spoke to the trees and bade them clap their hands, while the mountains and hills were invoked by you to break forth into singing; the very stars of heaven seemed to look down upon you, and you bade them sing for you, and all the world was full of music through the music that was in your heart. And, after all, what is man but the great musician of the world? The universe is a great organ with mighty pipes. Space, time, eternity, are like the throats of this great organ; and man, a little creature, puts his fingers on the keys, and wakes the universe to thunders of harmony, stirring up the whole creation to mightiest acclamations of praise. Know ye not that man is God's high priest in the universe? All things else are but the sacrifice; but he is the priest,-carrying in his heart the fire, and in his hand the wood, and in his mouth the two-edged sword of dedication, with which he offers up all things to God.

But I have no doubt, beloved, the thought has sometimes struck us that our praise does not go far enough. We seem as if we dwelt in an isle cut off from the mainland. This world, like a fair planet, swims in a sea of ether unnavigated by mortal ship. We have sometimes thought that surely our praise was confined to the shores of this poor nartow world, that it was impossible for us to pull the No. 203.

Penny Pulpit, No. 2,965.

ropes which might ring the bells of heaven, that we could by no means whatever reach our hands so high as to sweep the celestial chords of angelic harps. We have said to ourselves there is no connection between earth and heaven. A huge black wall divides us. A strait of unnavigable waters shuts us out. Our prayers cannot reach to heaven, neither can our praises affect the celestials. Let us learn from our text how mistaken we are. We are, after all, however much we seem to be shut out from heaven, and from the great universe, but a province of God's vast united empire, and what is done on earth is known in heaven; what is sung on earth is sung in heaven; and there is a sense in which it is true that the tears of earth are wept again in paradise, and the sorrows of mankind are felt again, even on the throne of the Most High.

My text tells us, “ There is joy in the presence of the angels of God, over one sinner that repenteth.” It seems as if it showed me a bridge by which I might cross over into eternity. It doth, as it were, exhibit to me, certain magnetic wires which convey the intelligence of what is done here to spirits in another world. It teaches me that there is a real and wonderful connection between this lower world, and that which is beyond the skies, where God dwelleth, in the land of the happy.

We shall talk about that subject a little this morning. My first head will be the sympathy of the world above with the world below; the second, the judyment of the angels,-they rejoice over repenting sinners; we shall see what is their ground for so doing. The third, will be a lesson for the saints; if the angels in heaven rejoice over repenting sinners, 80 should we.

I. In the first place, our text teaches us THE SYMPATHY OF THE TWO WORLDS. Imagine not, O son of man, that thou art cut off from heaven: for there is a ladder the top whereof doth rest at the foot of the throne of the Almighty, the base whereof is fixed in the lowest place of man's misery! Conceive not that there is a great gulph fixed between thee and the Father, across which his mercy cannot come, and over which thy prayers and faith can never leap. Oh, think not, son of man, that thou dwellest in a storm-girt island, cut off from the continent of eternity. I beseech thee, believe that there is a bridge across that chasm, a road along which feet may travel. This world is not separated, for all creation is but one body. And know thou, O son of man, though thou in this world doth but dwell, as it were on the foot, yet from the feet even to the head, there are nerves and veins that do unite the whole. The same great heart which beats in heaven beats on earth. The love of the Eternal Father which cheers the celestial, makes glad the terrestrial too. Rest assured that though the glory of the celestial be one and the glory of the terrestrial be another, yet are they but another in appearance, for after all, they are the same. Oh! list thee, son of man, and thou wilt soon learn that thou art no stranger in a strange land—a houseless Joseph in the land of Egypt, shut out from his Father, and his children, who still remain in the happy paradise of Canaan. No, thy Father loves thee still. There is a connection between thee and him. Strange that though leagues of distance lie between the finite creature and the infinite Creator, yet there are links that unite us both! When a tear is wept by thee, think not thy Father doth not behold; for, “ Like as a father pitieth his children so the Lord pi ieth them that fear him." Thy sigh is able to move the heart of Jehovah; thy whisper can incline his ear unto thee; thy prayer can stay bis hands; thy faith can move his arm. Oh! think not that God sits on high in an eternal slumber, taking no account of thee. “Shall a mother forget her suckling child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, she may forget, yet will I not forget thee." Engraven upon the Father's hand thy name remains; and on his heart recorded there thy person stan is. lla

thought of thee before the worlds were made; before the channels of the sea were scooped, or the gigantic mountains lifted their heads in the white clouds, he thought of thee. He thinketh on thee still. “I, the Lord, do keep it; I will water it every moment:lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day.” For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro in every place, to show himself strong on the behalf of all them that fear him. Thou art not cut off from him. Thou dost move in him; in him thou dost live and have thy being. “ He is a very present help in time of trouble."

Remember, again, O heir of immortality, that thou art not only linked to the Godhead, but there is another one in heaven with whom thou hast a strange, yet near connection. In the centre of the throne sits one who is thy brother, allied to thee by blood. The Son of God, eternal, equal with his Father, became in the fulness of time the Son of Mary, an infant of a span long. He was, yea is, bone of thy bone and flesh of thy flesh. Think not that thou art cut off from the celestial world, while he is there; for is he not thy head, and hath he not himself declared that thou art a member of his body, of his flesh and of his bones? Ob, man, thou art not separated from heaven whilst Jesus tells thee

“I feel at my heart all thy sighs and thy groans,
For thou art most near me, my flesh and my bones,
In all thy distresses, thy Head feels the pain,
They all are most needful, not one is in vain.”

Oh, poor, disconsolate mourner, Christ remembers thee every hour. Thy sighs are his sighs; thy groans are his groans; thy prayers are his prayers:

“ He in his measure feels afresh,
What every member bears."

Crucified he is when thou art crucified; he dies when thou diest; thou livest in him, and he lives in thee, and because he lives shalt thou live also: thou shalt rise in him, and thou shalt sit together in the heavenly places with him. Oh, never was husband nearer to his wife, and never head nearer to the members, and never soul nearer to the body of this flesh, than Christ is unto thee, and while it is so, think not that heaven and earth are divided. They are but kindred worlds; two ships moored close to one another, and one short plank of death will enable you to step from one into the other: this ship, all black and coaly, having done the coasting trade, the dusty business of to-day, and being full of the blackness of sorrow; and that ship all golden, with its painted pennon flying, and its sail all spread, white as the down of the sea-bird, fair as the angel's wing-I tell thee, man, the ship of heaven is moored side by side with the ship of earth, and rock though this ship may, and career though she will on stormy winds and tempests, yet the invisible and golden ship of heaven sails by her side never sundered, never divided, always ready, in order that when the hour shall come, thou mayest leap from the black, dark ship, and step upon the golden deck of that thrice happy one in which thou shalt sail for ever.

But, О man of God, there are other golden links besides this which bind the present to the future, and time unto eternity. And what are time and eternity, after all, to the believer, but like the Siamese twins, never to be separated? This earth is heaven below, the next world is but a heaven above; it is the same house -this is the lower room, and that the upper, but the same roof cover both, and the same dew falls upon each. Remember, beloved, that the spirits of the just

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ed that Sabbath was an high day." There are days when the angels say than usual; they are always harping well God's praise, but thering hosts who have been flitting far through the universe, ir centre; and round the throne of God, standing in serried

not for battle but for music, on certain set and appointed she praises of the Son of God, “ who loved us and gave himI do you ask me when those days occur? I tell you, the birthday " is a sonnet day in heaven. There are Christmas-days in rist's high mass is kept, and Christ is glorified not because manger, but because he is born in a broken heart. There are in heaven; days of sonnet, red letter days, of overflowing These are days when the shepherd brings home the lost sheep when the church has swept her house and found the lost piece

are these friends and neighbours called together, and they speakable and full of glory over one sinner that repenteth. - spe, shown you that there is a greater connection between earth

ny of us dreamed. And now let none of us think, when we le blue sky, that we are far from heaven; it is a very little

When the day comes we shall go post-haste there, even without ts of fire. Balaam called it a land that is very far off; we know that is very near. Even now

** By faith we join our hands

With those that went before,
And greet the blood-besprinkled bands

Upon the eternal shore.”

t spirits! I see you now. All hail, angels! All hail, ye brethren iew more hours, or days, or months, and we shall join your happy on your joyous fellowship, your sweet compassion shall ever be our ur consolation-and having weathered all storms of life, we shall at h you within the port of everlasting peace. angels are said to sing whenever a sinner repents. Let us see if there “?NT IN THEIR SONG, or whether they make a mistake. Why do ir penitent sinners? place, I think it is because they remember the days of creation. You od made this world, and fixed the beams of the heavens in sockets porning stars gang together, and the sons of God shouted for joy; star after star flying abroad like sparks from the great anvil e, they began to sing; and every time they saw a new creature is little earth, they praised afresh. When first they saw light their hands, and said, “Great is Jehovah; for he said ‘Light be!'

And when they saw sun and moon, and stars, again they clapped ! they said, “ He hath made great lights; for his mercy endureth to rule the day; for his mercy endureth for ever. The moon to

his mercy endureth for ever.” And over everything he made, more that sweet song, “Creator, thou art to be magnified; for i for ever." Now, when they see a sinner returning, they see gain; for repentance is a new creation. No man ever-repents im a new heart and a right spirit. I do not know that ever God made the world, with the exception of new hearts, the I make anything else. He may, if he hath so pleased, have ce that time. But perhaps the only instance of new creation


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