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cess, to regulate the heat, and to watch the completion of the work. The work is completed when all the foreign substances are consumed or removed, in the form of dross, and the gold, without the loss of a single grain, is rendered so pure, that the refiner can see his own face reflected in the molten metal!'* Such is the process by which the Saviour will purify the human soul. Jehovah, speaking of the power of truth, says, 'Is not my word like as a fire, and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?'t It would seem from the reasoning of the Apostle, that one of the ways in which Jesus was to refine the human soul, was by his own sufferings : 'Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from alliniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.'I The Apostle has himself given us a fine illustration of the office of Jesus as a Refiner and Purifier; 'Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work, of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss : but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.'s Observe that the man is saved by the same fire that tries his work : "he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire.' How very careful was the Apostle in regard to the salvation of the soul!
III. The certainty of the work. On this point we need not dwell, for when we have once ascertained
* See a devotional work called “My Saviour.' By Rev. JOHN East. P. 178.
† Jer. xxiii. 29. # Tit. ii. 14. § 1 Cor. il. 13-15
what the Saviour came to perform, we may rest assured of its final accomplishment. We have his own words in regard to his ability: 'All power is given unto me, in heaven and in earth.' In treating of salvation, then, it appears to the writer better to dwell upon its nature and extent, than upon its certainty, for there seems to be a manifest impropriety in showing the work Jesus came to perform, and then doubting its performance. We know this has been the usual course in the christian world; but we believe that it is as certain that Jesus will save the world as that he came into the world. The Scriptures speak as positively in the one case as the other. We proceed, therefore, to a moral application of our whole subject, and then we shall close the whole by an incident strikingly illustrative of the office of Jesus as a Refiner and Purifier.
What a blessed work is assigned to the Redeemer of the world! He sits as a Refiner and Purifier. He will perfect our whole nature, that we 'may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.' And we should remember that in the process of refining, not a single particle of pure gold is lost. So with the human soul. Nothing will be removed from it but its impurity. The Refiner and Purifier will make 'a man more precious than fine gold, even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.' He will at last sit upon his throne as the grand Refiner and Purifier of a world.
But then we should remember that in this process we must be put into the furnace, and perhaps tried even seven times. But we have the consolation that the Refiner and Purifier will be there, and he will sit
watching over us till he can see his own face reflected in our hearts. How consoling to the afflicted and bereaved! And then the Refiner and Purifier has been himself in the furnace! And he knows all our frailties and all our weaknesses, and he will not call on us to suffer more than he himself has suffered before us.
O, I can see my Saviour in the furnace at Jerusalem, and I see him come forth unharmed, yea, perfected: 'For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through suffering.'* And now, if we only had room, how gladly and cheerfully would we take' up and illustrate the refining and purifying nature of human suffering; but we must bring our subject to a close, by the touching incident to which we have alluded as an illustration of our whole subject.
'Some ladies in Dublin, who met together from time to time, at each other's houses, to read the Scriptures, and to make them the subject of profitable conversation, when they came to the third chapter of the prophecy of Malachi, had some discussion over the second and third verses, respecting the method of purifying the precious metals. As none of the company knew anything about the process, one undertook to inquire of a silversmith, with whom she was acquainted, how it was effected, and particularly, what was the business of the refiner himself, during that operation. Without explaining her motive, she accordingly went to her friend, and asked him how
* Heb. ii. 10. See title CAPTAIN.
the silver was cleared from any dross with which it might have been mixed. He promptly explained to her the manner of doing this. "But," said the inquirer, "do you sit, sir, at the work?” “Oh yes," he replied, "for I must keep my eyes steadily fixed on the furnace, since if the silver remain too long under the intense heat it is sure to be damaged.” She at once saw the beauty and propriety of the image employed, “He shall sit as a refiner of silver;" and the moral of the illustration was equally obvious. As the lady was returning with the information to her expecting companions, the silversmith called her back, and said he had forgotten to mention one thing of importance, which was, that he only knew the exact instant when the purifying process was complete, by then seeing his own countenance in it. Again the spiritual meaning shone forth through the beautiful veil of the letter. When God sees his own image in his people, the work of sanctification is complete. It may be added, that the metal continues in a state of agitation till all the impurities are thrown off, and then it becomes quite still; a circumstance which heightens the exquisite analogy in this case; for, 0, how
“Sweet to be passive in his hand,
And know no will but his.".
"Jesus said unto her, I am the Resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.'
John xi. 25.
In what a beautiful and striking light does the Redeemer now stand before us! We have beheld him sustaining various offices. We have seen him in his sufferings. We have found all the prophecies centering in him. And now we are to contemplate him as the Resurrection and the life; as the firstfruits of a glorious and universal harvest of all the sleeping dead. How grand ! How interesting are all the circumstances! The title stands connected with the most astonishing miracle performed by our Lord during his ministry. He had in two previous instances raised the dead, but then the grave had not covered its victims. Hence, there was more room to doubt the power of him who was the Resurrection and the life. "The sisters had sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. Yet, 'he abode two days still in the same place where he was.' . After that he saith unto the disciples, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go that I may awake him out of sleep.' • When Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already.' And he now says, 'I am the Resurrection and the life.' Then the sisters and the