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welcome. Come the hour of release! and affliction shall make it welcome. Come the hour of re-union with the loved and lost on earth! and the passionate yearnings of affection, and the strong aspirations of faith, shall bear us to their blessed land. Come death to this body-this burdened, tempted, frail, failing, dying body and to the soul, thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory !--to the soul, come freedom, light, and joy unceasing! Come the immortal life! He that liveth,' saith the Conqueror over Death, he that liveth and believeth in me shall never die.'
And when the morning of the resurrection breaks on the disordered and groaning creation, and with a bounding throb, and richer song, we feel and celebrate the wonders of redemption, then the words, THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE, will be understood in their majesty, and they will form the chorus of that noble anthem, as it swells louder and louder from world to world, 'O death! where is thy sting? 0 grave! Where is thy victory ? * * * Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.'
"Glory to God in full anthems of joy,
The being he gave us death cannot destroy!
If tears were our birthright, and death were our end;
Lift, then, your voices in triumph on high,
'And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them : and that Rock was Christ.'
1 Cor. x. 4.
THERE is said to be some difficulty in this verse. It has been asked, How could the rock follow them? To meet this objection, we are told that the rock is here put by metonymy for the water of the rock, and that this water did follow them. The ancient Jews say, that the streams followed them in all their journeyings, up the mountains, down the valleys. It has also been contended that all that was meant was, that they carried the waters with them on their journeyings. This is common in these deserts even to the present day. The Greek verb axolovőew, to follow, has this sense.
This metaphor is often applied to God, Deut. xviii. 31. xxxii. 4. Psa. xxviii. 1. xlii. 9. lxii. 2. lxxviii. 35. This is the only instance where it refers to Christ. There is a plain reference to the rock of Horeb, where the waters gushed out to sustain the hosts of Israel in the desert.
We shall offer a few remarks on the comparison involved in the motto, and then take a general view of our whole subject.
I. There was an abundance of water.
II. The water endured as long as the necessities of the people required.
I. There was an abundance of water. Let the reader imagine the scene in the desert. Two millions were there. There was the old man with his hoary locks, and the infant in its mother's arms. There were the sick and the infirm. All were famish, ing for water. Can the wilderness afford the stream? Can all this multitude be supplied ? Behold, God has not forgotten them, though they have forgotten him! He had led them through the pathless deep. He had overwhelmed their enemies. He had in a thousand ways shown his protecting care. Alas! how could they so soon become unmindful of his goodness? But hark! I hear the voice of Jehovah to the Leader of Israel : ** * Speak ye unto the rock before their eyes, and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so shalt thou give the congregation and their beasts to drink.' What joy must have thrilled the hearts of the hosts of Israel as they gathered around Horeb! I see them collecting in bands of families and kindred, partaking of the pure streams as they gush from the flinty rock!
II. The waters lasted as long as the necessities of Israel required. The Apostle says, 'for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them.' Through all their wanderings, there was the rock with its streams. If they ascended the steep mountain, it was there. If they wound among the hill-sides, it was there. If they stopped to refresh themselves in the valleys, it was there. 'He opened the rock, and the waters gushed out; they ran in the dry places like a
river.'* How joyful must this have made their pilgrimage through the desert!
But why is Christ Jesus called a Rock? What unnumbered beauties dwell in his character! He is a Vine to strengthen; a Star to guide; a Light to direct; a Foundation on which to build; Bread to sustain ; a Captain to lead; a Lamb to be sacrificed ; and a Lion for strength and magnanimity. And now we are to contemplate him as a Rock; not a barren, rugged, inaccessible rock, but one as a shadow to the weary, and from which we are to behold the waters flowing out for a famishing world! Let us
now go to Jerusalem and behold the waters of everlasting life gushing from our Rock Christ Jesus, as he stands beneath the delicious sky and the lovely scenery of Palestine. "Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.' Behold the waters flowing. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.'t And still they flow, and there is abundance, yea, the waters are risen, waters to swim in, a river that cannot be passed over,'
* * and everything shall live whither the river cometh.'
• It rises high, and drowns the hills,
Has neither shore nor bound:
Our sins can ne'er be found.'
Those that drank of the waters of Horeb thirsted
* Psa. cv. 41.
| Rev. xxii. 17.
again;' but Christ Jesus, our Rock, says, 'he that shall drink of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but it shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.?
The Rock Christ Jesus can never be moved, neither can it moulder away. He is 'the same yesterday, to-day, and forever.' The Parian marble, the firm foundations, the stately columns, the majestic buildings, and all the magnificent structures of man, though promising immortality, will be shattered into ten thousand fragments, but this Rock will stand as firm as the throne of the universe. Let thousands, let millions, with all the mountainous weight of guilt upon them, come and rest upon it, and they shall never be moved.
Such then is our Rock. Millions have sought its cooling streams and refreshing shade. Let us go and gather around it, and 'drink of that spiritual Rock.' And through all our earthly pilgrimage it will follow us, 'for that Rock was Christ.'