صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me:" the rod and the staff ave ooth symbols of perpetuity.

Now it is this attribute which cannot be predicated or believed of any worldly lot. There are many in which it may be desired—there are none in which it may be attained. Riches may be honourably acquired or transmitted to their possessors through a long line of distinguished ancestors; the accumulation of them may be without remembrance of iniquity, and the expenditure without imputation of unfaithfulness; and thus regarded and enjoyed we acknowledge them to be a good but they do not the less make to themselves wings and flee away like an eagle towards heaven; they do not the less leave behind them, if we may trust the experience of one who occupied a throne, and expressed it from the ground of his heart, when he looked on all the works of his hands, and all the labour he had laboured to do-they would not the less leave behind them " vanity and vexation of spirit." We have no ground for charging Solomon with evil in the acquirement or the distribution of his wealth: it was only upholding the power of his kingdom, that he should make him great houses, and plant vineyards, and make gardens and orchards, and plant in them all kinds of fruits and make pools of water to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees. it was only becoming his situation and years, ascending the throne in manhood immature, that he should gather silver and gold, that he should delight himself in the melody of music, and that whatever his eyes desired he should not keep from them. But during the whole time, he adds, his wisdom remained with him. But what is the end? he after all demands. "What hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured, under the sun? For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night." Ah, brethren! the portion of this world's goods is here taken at the amplest and the highest, and with the least of perversion in the use; and yet were his days sorrows, and his heart took no rest. What can bring peace to the spirit but the lot that is maintained of God? For this lot is supported by two columns that can sustain the weight of an imperishable soul; the wisdom of God that dispenses to the necessities of his people, and the power of God which is able to provide for them. And we pass beyond the Psalmist in the range of our knowledge, and therefore ought to equal him in the strength of our confidence where we know that both attributes are ministered by Christ-by One not only acquainted with the weakness of our infirmities, but touched with the feeling of them-One who compassionates while he raises up the fallen-One who himself having suffered being tempted, is able also to succour them who are tempted. Hence is Christ to us, declares the Apostle, "the power of God and the wisdom of God." Christ is the lot of the believer, and in Christ God; and God in Christ is life, and liberty, and light-all that can be desired here, all that can be enjoyed hereafter. "Who have I in heaven but thee?" asked the Psalmist : " and there is none upon earth that I desire in comparison with thee." A sentiment well worthy to be responded to by the believer in the Gospel salvation, who has in Christ all the treasures of wisdom; to whom he is "made wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption;" and having once become so continues so for ever; for "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever."

It may indeed be objected, we know, by the man who seeks happiness in mere worldly pleasures, that this is matter of opinion and of faith; that we can

[ocr errors]

know no more than he does what shall be hereafter; and that it is we who are "walking in a vain show," while we are pursuing that of which we can have no sensible demonstration that it has ever been attained. But passing over the first fact, that sensible demonstration was attained by those who saw Elias and Moses in glory talking with Jesus, we point at the dissatisfaction of those who confine their views to this world, and disregard or disparage the lot of God's people. This is matter not of opinion but of fact. Whenever a night is spent by such in solitude, it is spent for the most part in misery: the heart taketh no rest; and that which it appears to take is not the slumber or the temperate pulse of the healthy frame, but the stupefaction of the mental opiate. As soon as reflection forces itself on those who live without God in the worldand they can no more exclude it than they can shut out the light of the suntheir experience may be described in the words of the sacred writer, "When I consider I am afraid of thee." Even as to this world they have the less valuable and substantial part; they cannot enjoy what they have, from the fear of losing it: while on the contrary, the servant of God derives from that which he possesses all the happiness it is calculated to yield, because he knows that when every thing is withdrawn it will be replaced by that which is far more precious and abiding. The apostle might therefore well say that godliness will profit in both worlds, having promise of the life which now is, and of that which is to come for it not only evaporates that fear of the future which is, after all, the most intolerable ingredient in the cup of life; but it enhances the zest of every legitimate enjoyment. It takes away nothing we could justly regret to lose; and that which it imparts is in itself incalculable gain.

It is so in society as well as in solitude. In society the lot maintained by God is far better, for there is cheerfulness of converse, the interchange of kindly feeling, confidence, and love; the hearts of families drawn towards each other, because their affections meet in a common centre, which is God. There is the temperate indulgence of those pleasures, which were designed in their satisfying to excite a pleasurable sensation. There is all of taste that does not corrupt, and all of science and literature that does not vitiate or inflame. And these domestic joys would be ill exchanged for the tumult of the gay carousal, in which prodigality, and luxury, and systematic intemperance have their display, and he is the hero who can pour forth ribaldry with the greatest volubility, or drink to the furthest point of intoxication. And these would be ill exchanged for the lighter and more mixed assemblages, where vanity and bold demeanour go hand in hand; and the decorations of dress, while they display a form and symmetry, too often sparkle over a mind that is all wrath, and a heart that is all stain. Even in society, I say, God's people have the better lot, for their enjoyments bring no painful remembrances after them. But in solitude-solitude, which, after all, must constitute much of life-solitude that the man of pleasure dreads, that the man of interest hates-that the man who is prayerless, and, therefore, godless, would often avoid, for the companionship of the lowest and most degraded of his kind-in solitude, how incalculable the lot that is maintained by God. Whenever the believer is left alone, he may say, "I am not alone, for the Father is with me." If he retire from the world, it is that he may meditate undisturbed on God. If sleep flee from his eyes, and slumber from his eyelids, yet his reins are "instructed in the night season;" he blesseth God who "giveth songs in the night." If death arrives, it is death disarmed

of his terrors, divested of his sting. Ignorance of the future does not generate apprehension in the believer in Christ Jesus, for he can take to himself all the comfort condensed in that memorable assurance of the apostle-and it is a comfort which will extend itself through all eternity-" Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."

This, then, beloved brethren, is the lot which, as one put in trust for your souls, I would desire for all of you (O, surely, you will desire it for yourselves!) -it is the lot of those who fear and love God. Such a lot will not only be a source of comfort, and of joy and peace through life; but it will be a lot in which you will stand firm and sure at the end of your days. He who maintains it for you here, will maintain it in you for ever. It will rise in value and estimation in proportion as all others must sink. Where the man of this world loses every thing. (and he must lose every thing at death) you would, were his grovelling conclusions true, lose nothing: but if man be, as we believe, a living soul-a soul that should endure as long as the divine essence, which breathes into man's nostrils the breath of life-then you will have every thing to gain. There cannot be, on principles even of worldly policy, a moment's comparison between the two lots. Men are not religious only because they will not reflect: Reason may herself be led to decide, except she be perverted by sophistry, blinded by vanity, or stupified by excesses. God's word has told us, that the height of presumption is the profession of no religion; but Reason will herself tell us, that the height of all moral folly is the profession of religion without the practice of it. Happy, then, you, who endeavour to combine both! You may for a time seem to be the ridicule, but in the end, you shall be the envy, of the world. Happy you, who will be found, where duty dictates, avowing the Lord for your inheritance; acknowledging the benefits he has bestowed, and which none can bestow but he; taking the cup of salvation, and calling on his name! Happy you, who have made the most effectual preparation for the vicissitudes of life, and for the fearful contingencies of death; taking refuge, while you may, beneath the wing of the Omnipotent; trusting to Him who is mighty to save. Wisdom will, in the great day of retribution, be justified of all her children: she will be justified of you; nay, she is already so, unless it can be denied that we are all in rapid advance towards the three last things, of which I entreat you to think this day-death, judgment, and eternity. Now, to triumph in death, to stand clear in judgment, to abide in bliss throughout eternity, one thing is needful, and but one, and that one is Christ: Christ on the lip-confession; Christ in the life-holiness; Christ in the heart-love. O happy you, who, having Christ, have all!

But you are only a portion: and I would turn myself to each of the multitude here assembled-to each who will retire, as well as to each who will remain-I would turn to each, and ask, Is Christ thus yours? Does God thus maintain your lot? O, if he do not maintain it for you, consider, I entreat you, that the hour of trial, come when it may-and there are those among you, whom death has already marked-consider how you will maintain it for yourselves, if, throughout eternity, the Lord is not the portion of your inheritance. Ask, and answer for yourselves, the question-it will drive you at once to Christ "What will my portion be?"





DALE, T., A.M.

BARBER, J. R., A.M. .... Principle and Practice the Criterion of Decision at the Eternal Judgment..


Jesus washing his Disciples' Feet.

FELL, H. F., A.M.





[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]


DODSWORTH, W., A.M... The Efficacy of Baptism

The Death of the Righteous

EVANS, J. H., A.M.



[ocr errors]




[ocr errors]




Admission to the Church in Heaven....


The Prayer of Jabez .....

The State and Prospects of the Departed.


HASLEGREAVE, J., A.M... The Stedfastness of the Counsel of the Lord

The Cure of the Spiritual Disease..

Zion's Complaint and its Satisfactory Answer.

Christ our Lord and Master..

Christian Examples

The Saviour's Character, Life, and Death

The Sabbath a High Day.

The Intermediate State of the Departed Spirits..

The Preaching of Paul .

[blocks in formation]

The Fountain opened for Sin and Uncleanness
The Forgiving Power of God

[ocr errors]



PAGE 141

The Saviour the great "I AM"

2 H


67 377


Ben-hadad's Repentance a Type of Godly Sorrow.......
The Works of God in Nature, Providence, and Grace.... 426

The Investigation of Angels justified










73 264

... 125 29 221





116 305

The Mercy of the Curse


The Possession of the Iniquities of Youth in After Life .. 161

The Last Assize......



[blocks in formation]

RAMSEY, S., B.A......




[blocks in formation]

RODWELL, J. M., A. M... The New Commandment...


Jacob at Bethel

[ocr errors]


SHERMAN, J............. The Subject, Mode, and Constancy of Apostolic Ministration


The Necessity of Union to Spiritual Success

The New Wine of the Kingdom.......

Future Punishment regulated by present Opportunities of


Present Ignorance and Future Illumination


Christ alone to be preached.......

The Believer's Freedom from Sin.

On Vocal and Instrumental Music in the Church
The Beatitudes ...

The Nature of Blessedness.

The Eclipse................

The Beatitudes-Poverty of Spirit......




The Gospel Treasure in Earthen Vessels.....
The Foolishness and Excellence of Preaching..

The Kindness and Condescension of God

The Hidden Gospel

The Safety of Believers in Times of Judgment
The Believer risen with Christ




[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
« السابقةمتابعة »