« AnteriorContinuar »
This must be of paramount importance, and to risk the chances of our undying state, and to make no arrangement, to have no certainty respecting the future-must be awful in the extreme! Orlando said " "tell my father that there is nothing definitely arranged yet," and, may I ask, is this your state with respect to the future? If so, be at once decided; follow the example of Joshua, who said, "But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Let not ministering spirits report in the hearing of the "blood-besprinkled band" that, notwithstanding all the strivings of the Spirit, the teachings and admonitions of providence, and the intercessions of the Redeemer, you remain undecided, heedless, and without any definite arrangements being made. Death is only unwelcome and terrible to those who have not a passport to admit them into heaven. Religion is a personal thing. God saves individuals. We must not look upon piety the same as we do hereditary wealth. Whether the wife of your bosom, whom you have vowed to cherish, protect, and respect, will run the Christian race or not, you must, if you would lay hold on eternal life. True! it is a very painful reflection that, having drunk of life's mingled cup together, you should, at the bar of God, be separated for ever; this will and must be if you definitely settle your affairs for heaven, and she does not. Wife, your husband will not serve the Lord, you must do so alone, if you would become an inhabitant of the realms of the blest. All that are now before the throne of God in heaven have arranged and definitely settled all their
affairs with Him on earth. They made religion the great business of their life, and the consummation of all their hopes and desires. So must we-if we would secure the same end, and achieve the same conquest. The ransomed of the Lord had to contend with the same threefold enemy, the world, the flesh, and the devil as we have; but, they "all overcame through the blood of the Lamb."
"I ask them whence their victory came :
They, with united breath,
Ascribe their conquest to the Lamb,
Their triumph to his death.
They mark'd the footsteps that he trod,
Possess the promised rest."
Reader, may this be the end of your journey. May your lot be among them that are sanctified. May you daily feel that, for you to live is Christ, and to die will be eternal gain,
The Funeral, or a Scene in the City of Nain.
"O præclarum diem, quum ad illud divinum animorum concilum coetumque proficiscar, quumque ex hac turba et colluvione discedam! Proficiscar enim non ab eos solum viros, de quibus ante dixi; verum etiam ad Catonem meum, quo nemo vir melior natus est, nemo pietate praestantior; cujus a me corpus crematum est: quod contra decuit ab illo meum; animus vero non me deserens, sed respectans, in ea profecto loco discessit, quo mihi ipsi oernebat esse veniendum." Cie. de Senectute.
Suspense and uncertainty, fear and darkness, doubts and problematical speculations, the opaque and semitransparent mists of the most exalted and refined philosophy of the ancients concerning a future state of existence, are all removed by the Gospel of Christ, and the distant hills are radiant with the glorious truth, that "Life and immortality are brought to light by the Gospel." Both worlds, as well as the written word, and the craving desire for an unending life which is implanted in every breast, alike testify to the same fact. Dives and Abraham bore their testimony to the same truth: the one to immortality replete with all the inconceivable horrors of the lost; the other to life with all its blessed reunions and socialities. The Christian looks forward to the day of his death, not only as the ending of his trials, perse
cutions, and adversities, but as the consummation of all his hopes, and most enlarged desires. The good man fears not death, but sin, which is the sting of death. He is not troubled about the end of his earthly pilgrimage; when, or where he may come in contact with the last enemy, but to be found in Christ. This is his shelter, shield, strong tower, covert from the stormy wind and tempest, and his harbour of refuge where death is not-and may not enter. Death can only be terrible to those who have made no provision for the future, who have centred all their hopes and anxieties in time, and have thus been dead while living. To live implies a great deal. The man of God is he who really lives. To be unduly anxious about the present, to be full of forebodings, to feed upon the husks of the world's gilded and fleeting pleasures, and not to answer the great end of our being, is to be really dead; then, as Cato observes
"Ne timeas illam quae vitae est ultima finis :
Qui mortem metuit, quod vivit perdit id ipsum."
The partially enlightened heathen looked upon the body as the soul's place of sojourn; and upon death as the soul's release to its permanent residence in a future state of abode, where it should enjoy eternally the smiles of the gods, and the society of all those who had rendered themselves worthy of esteem in this world for their indissoluble friendship, patriotism, military prowess, learning and piety.
How varied the incidents in the Redeemer's life! At
and shed tears over his tomb; but now he sees his own winding-sheet, and the pompous and empty insignia of death. Now, he sees himself seated on the bier on which, perhaps, many before had been carried to the silent grave, and whither they had but just left off carrying him; his youthful and loving associates, and the elders of the city, and more to him than they all-his weeping widowed mother; but the brighest, and fairest, and best, Jesus was seen by him. Yes, he now sees by whom he has been raised to life, "When the quicken
ing voice of God reaches the heart of a sinner, his first business is to lift up his head to contemplate the awful state in which he is found, and the horrible pit over which he hangs, and look about for a deliverer from the hell which is moved from beneath to meet him at his coming. Prayer to God for the salvation he needs is indispensably requisite to every awakened sinner: let him speak in prayer and praise. Let him also declare the power and goodness which have thus rescued him from the pains of an eternal death.”*
"He speaks, and listening to His voice,
New life the dead receive;
The mournful, broken hearts rejoice :
The humble poor believe."
The bier being set down on the ground, the young man steps off, and is presented by the Saviour to his mother. A profoundly reverential fear takes hold of the bystanders,
* Dr. Adam Clarke.