« ForrigeFortsæt »
wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God?" Many are in adversity and tribulation; and yet have no such prospect. All is fighting against them, and they have no refuge. Their thoughts are broken off, even the purposes of their hearts, and their earthly schemes, laid desolate; yet they have nothing better before them. Yea, conscience tells them, this is only the beginning of sorrows; the short preface to a long roll written within and without, with lamentation, and mourning, and wo. But to the upright there ariseth light in the darkness. He sees the storm beginning to clear up; and he knows that no cloud shall return after the rain. "I reckon," says he, "that the sufferings of the present time is not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us." Soon, want will be followed with fulness. Soon, the wormwood and the gall will be succeeded by the cup of salvation.
With this prospect, how superior is he to the envied, the indulged, the successful man of the world. He has his portica in this life: but, says the Christian, "As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeHis good things are temporal; mine are eternal. He is leaving his; I am advancing to mine. Every hour diminishes the value of his hope; but every moment adds interest to mine.
Nor need the Christian envy the man of claims merely intellectual. Wisdom indeed excelleth folly, as much as light excelleth darkness. Money is a defence; but the excellency of knowledge is, that
wisdom giveth life to them that have it. But what wisdom? It was a fine reply of the converted astronomer, who, when interrogated concerning the science which he had been idolizing, answered, "I am now bound for heaven, and I take the stars in my way." How humiliating is it to reflect, that the treasures of learning and science depend upon the brain; that an accident or disease may abolish them; or that, at most, they are limited to the life that now is, and which we spend as a shadow. Whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away—unless it be the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord, for this is life eternal.
In much wisdom, also, there is much grief; and he that increaseth knowledge, increaseth sorrow. Some of the most expansive and cultivated minds are the most miserable. Nor is it difficult to account for this. Genius implies a sensibility which strangers intermeddle not with. It is attended with a keenness of feeling, that renders the possessor like a sensitive plant, that shrinks at every touch. He lives in a world of imagination, as well as a world of reality. He views nothing simply and purely. Every thing is dressed up to his conceptions; the beautiful in preternatural tints, and the evil in preternatural horHis thoughts are sentiments. He feels intensely and nothing very intense can continue. Then follows a void which is irksome, and a listlessness which is intolerable, and which are sometimes productive of fatal effects. In Madame de Stael's memoirs of her father, we have the following remark: "I have a proof," says Mr. Necker, "of the immortality of the soul in this; that it is at least after a while desirable, and essential to our happiness. By
the time we have reached three score years and ten, we have looked around us, and become familiar with the whole scene; and though not satisfied, we are sated. Then we feel our need of a new residence ; a new sphere of activity; and new sources of employment and enjoyment." This is a striking remark; and we may observe, that if at such a period, religion with its motives and promises is not present to the mind, the man, wearied of existence, and feeling every thing here to be vanity, is likely to become the victim of an insupportable oppression, and in a moment of rashness, may welcome self-destruction. Have we had no instances of this?
Here the Christian is guarded; here he is provided for. As this world palls upon him, another opens to his view. This prospect enlivens the solitudes which bereavement and decays of nature have produced. This prospect becomes a substitute for the scenes and charms which have faded and fled. This prospect entertains and engages, now the days are come in which he says, I have no pleasure in them. The outward man perisheth, but the inward man is renewed day by day. His heart and his flesh fail; but God is the strength of his heart and his portion for ever. He departs but he leaves what is not his rest, what is polluted, what is nigh unto cursing, and whose end is to be burned-while he enters a creation where every thing that is new, and marvellous, and pure, and attractive, and beautifying, says, Arise, and come away. And the hour that obscures and quenches for ever all other glories, immortalizes
THE CHRISTIAN, IN CHRIST.
2 COR. xiv. 2.-" I knew a man in Christ."
THE CHRISTIAN, IN THE CLOSET.
MATT. iv. 6.—"Enter into thy closet."
THE CHRISTIAN, IN THE FAMILY.
2 SAM. vi. 20.—" Then David returned to bless his household."
THE CHRISTIAN, IN THE CHURCH.
1 TIM. iii. 15.—“That thou mayest know how thou oughtest to be-
THE CHRISTIAN, IN THE WORLD.
JOHN Xxvii. 11.-"And now I am no more in the world; but these
THE CHRISTIAN, IN PROSPERITY.
JER. Xxii. 21.-"I spake unto thee in thy prosperity; but thou saidst,
THE CHRISTIAN, IN ADVERSITY.
THE CHRISTIAN, IN HIS SPIRITUAL SORROWS.
THE CHRISTIAN, IN HIS SPIRITUAL JOYS.
THE CHRISTIAN, IN DEATH.
THE CHRISTIAN, IN THE GRAVE,
JOB Xvii. 13. "If I wait, the grave is mine house."
THE CHRISTIAN, IN HEAVEN.
2 TIM. i. 10. "Who hath brought life and immortality to light