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Christianity a Compassionate Religion.

Christianity a Compassionate Religion.

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Published by glennpease



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Published by: glennpease on Jul 12, 2013
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CHRISTIAITY A COMPASSIOATE RELIGIO.BY ATHA PARKER, D. D.MATTHEW XXVI. 39.There is something wonderfully touching in the simplenarrative connected with my text. The situation of thebenevolent sufferer is truly affecting. A most interestinglife was about coming to its close. All the circumstancesof terror, which were to attend the final scene, were indistinct view to the Saviour's mind. He saw who was tobetray him, and how he was to be mocked by an infatuatedpopulace. He saw the friends who had attended htmscattered in the dark night of affliction. He had beforehim the awful scene of Calvary, the mockery, the torture,the desertion, the convulsions of expiring nature. He sawtoo the awful doom, by which the agents in that melan-choly tragedy were to expiate their guilt ; and he knewalso what perils and sufferings awaited those, who shouldadvocate his cause in the world, and be instrumental inbuilding up the kingdom of righteousness. He saw thepath, which his apostles and ministers were to tread, crim-soned with the blood of martyrs. With such a prospectbefore him, was it to be expected that he should haveremained unmoved? Should no painful emotion haveCHRISTIAITY. 253arisen ? Should none have been expressed ? God couldindeed have so sustained his Son, that he should not haveexperienced any sensations of suffering. But the sufferingJesus was to be an example for suffering man ; and canmfin expect not to feel the afilictions of life ? If his sensi-bility to suffering be lost, his sensibility to joy must diewith it, and he be as incapable of enjoying or communi-cating happiness, as he is of feeling pain. In order then
to become an example to man in suffering, Jesus musthave exhibited such traits of character as may be imitated,and such as would harmonize with the most perfect stateof the affections of the human heart. He must have exhib-ited fortitude without insensibility ; and feelings easilymoved by the circumstances of life, without that weaknesswhich shrinks from suffering when incurred in the path of duty. This is the character, which our blessed Masterhas placed before us. What can show this more strikinglythan the passage which I have selected for the subject of this discourse ? That he was not destitute of fortitude isevident. He conversed with his friends concerning hisdeath with the most entire composure. He met withthem and celebrated a feast. Here he gave them with themost perfect self-possession various important instructions,and established a memorial of the death, which he wassoon to endure. All this was in perfect consistency withthe habits of a mind confiding in God. But when com-paratively alone, when holding communion in private withthat merciful Father, to whom he had been accustomed toutter the inmost feelings of his soul, his emotions werestrong. He felt as a man. The language of feeling was,O my Father y if it he possible, let this cup pass from me.Yet the fortitude of* a confiding Son of God did not for-sake him. The language of feeling was hushed. He hadcome to the world to suffer, and he would not shrink fromthe bitter cup.' ot as I mil; but as thou wilt. Father,glorify thy name. How natural, how impressive, how in-254 CHRISTIAITYstractive this affecting narrative ! It is not my purpose,however, to dwell minutely upon it on the present occa- .sion. I wish rather to direct your attention to the gospelof Jesus, (connected, as it ever must be, with his perfectexample,) as a system of religion admirably suited tosoothe the sufferings of human life, and to make themcontribute essentially to man's eternal happiness.
In the views about to be given, I shall endeavoi? not torepresent the condition of man in too gloomy colors ; norwill it be supposed, I trust, from the subject of this dis-course, that man is so situated as to need a religion, whichis only fitted to soothe his sorrows* Far am I from believ-ing, that human condition is such as id inspire gloomyfeelings. The character of the divine government, as itapplies to man even in this life, is decidedly benevolent*The purposes of God, so fer as they are understood, arekind as well as wise. After all the complaints of ungratefulman, we can gather much from the actual provisions anddbpensations of providence in proof of the divine benevo-lence. We shall discover, if we look as dutifiil andaffectionate children upon the works and providence of God, many proofs that a kind parent directs the affairs of men ; and that, notwithstanding the guilty perversions of his gifts, which cause the worst evils of human life,this is on the whole a happy world. Yet sufferings are tobe endured, and they are not few, nor easy to be borne.They are such as arise from the imperfection or guilt of man ; such as are inseparable from our state, and necessaryto our improvement. With these trials in view a mercifulGod has given us the religion of the gospel ; and that thisreligion is admirably adapted to give fortitude, and to im-part consolation to the heart, it is our present purpose toprove.1. Whence proceed the greatest evils of human life?Come they from the necessary appointment of divine prov-idence ; or are they natural fruits of our own sins ? ComeA COBfPASSIOATE RELIGIO. 265they from without ; or spring they up in our own bosoms ?It is not the malice of our enemies^ the changes of fortune,the pinching of poverty, the pains of disease, or the naturalsufferings which are the forerunners of death, that produce

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