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GOING TO HEAVEN.
To go to heaven when we die, seems to be the grand wish that we form to ourselves whenever we happen to fall into a serious mood of thinking, or begin to grow melancholy at the prospect of death.
To go to heaven-and then it would appear that nothing, nothing more was wanting to complete our happiness.
And yet there is one very simple question that it is quite surprising we never think of asking, and that is, "What kind of a place we should find it if we went there?" That heaven is a scene of unbounded happiness and everlasting delight, there is no doubt whatever; but should we find it so, is quite another question. We know that a deaf man might be surrounded with the sweetest music and the most enchanting harmony, and to him it would be all dead silence; and a beautiful portrait of a lovely landscape would be nothing but darkness to a blind man's eye.
Now, is it not probable that to some men heaven would be a state either of languor or of misery? Heaven is not a theatre that shifts the scene to suit itself to every foolish fancy, and every silly humour of the spectators. It has, indeed, its fulness of joy and its pleasures for evermore; but the question is, have we the power and the relish to enjoy them? We will suppose, for a moment, that our hope of going to heaven is, some way or other, fulfilled, and that we have passed the fearful account that we shall have to render-of sins committed, of duties neglected, of blessings abused, of time squandered away; we will suppose that we have found our way into that heaven that is the object of our hopes-what have we to promise ourselves? We know, at least, what we shall not find there; we know that "naked as we came into this world, naked shall we go out of it;" that the body which held us and the earth together, is laid in the dust from which it was taken; and the bond that united us to this lower world is snapped, and the channel through which we communicated with it withdrawn; and this busy stage upon which our affections have been running to and fro, seeking rest and finding none, is at once concealed from our view, and becomes to us a dead blank. Alas! alas! what objects shall we fasten upon to fill up the dreary vacancy which was once occupied by our busy pursuits and our dear pleasures upon earth? For the gold and the silver are gone, and the pipe, and the viol, and the tabret, have died away in silence.
What can we seize upon to employ our minds, or to interest our hearts, or to excite our desires, or to fill up our conversation? Alas! where is the buying and selling, the bustle of business, or the enthusiasm of enterprise, that supplied us at once with our cares and our hopes? Where is the flowing goblet, and the wild and wanton merriment that used to set the table in a roar? Alas! alas! what shall we do for the delightful trifles by which we con. trived, while we were upon the earth, to get rid of time, and forget that it was rolling over our heads? What shall we do for those wild pursuits by which we made ourselves mad for a time, and hunted eternity out of our minds? What shall we do for conversation; upon what subjects shall we converse? And then-to go on in this way forever, and forever! We cannot sit thus dreaming through eternity. If this be heaven, would to God he had left us still upon our beloved earth! Wherefore have ye brought us out of Egypt, where we ate and drank, and were merry, and have left us here to perish in the wilderness? Better would it have been for us to have still our interchanges of hope and fear, of pleasure and pain, of repose and fatigue, of joy and sorrow, than to endure this dismal serenity-than to say in the morning, "would God it were evening:" and in the evening, "would God it were morning."
A FATHER'S MEDITATION UPON THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE DEATH OF A BELOVED CHILD.
This day, the anniversary of the death of my darling child, calls for much seriousness of mind, and deep humiliation before the righteous God, who has smitten me. I did not value as I ought the blessing for a time vouchsafed to me; and need I, or ought I, to wonder that it has been removed? The judicious observations she made from day to day-the spirituality of mind she evinced— the holy consistency which was woven as a thread throughout all her demeanour--the lively interest she took in the spread of divine truth, especially among our youth at home, and the heathen abroad -the unwearied diligence she exhibited in perusing the sacred Scriptures, and in working for the Juvenile Sunday School Society -all say to me this day, in a language I cannot but hear, Why did you not profit by this blessing more than you have done? Why did you not hold constant communion with her? Why did you not enter more into her motives-her feelings-her spiritual en
joyments? Why did you not check in yourself the rising evils which were so subdued in her? Why did you not, when you saw what God wrought, pray more for the Spirit's influence, that you might shine as brightly and live as usefully in your station as she did in hers! Keenly do I feel the force of these questions; yet were I again in possession of this treasure, I have no reason to expect that matters would be otherwise than they are: for my heart is still the same-perverse, rebellious, unfeeling, and unthankful. But this is impossible. The separation has taken place, which cuts off all hope of intercourse, until eternity bursts upon me with all its awful realities! O that I may, in the contemplation of it, be cheered by the hope of uniting with her in praising the Lord Jehovah, who sanctified her from her earliest days-kept her, indeed, unspotted from the world-upheld her under the heavy pressure of lengthened disease-gave to her mind a sweet calm under acute pain, which was reflected upon her countenance-and caused her, in the hour when flesh and heart faint, to fear no evil; but, as it were, with the eye of faith fully open to behold the glory which awaited her; and with the true nature and way of obtaining which she was so intimately acquainted.
Her Bible, which now lies before me, proves the view she took of those delightful passages which set forth the Lord Jesus Christ as the Saviour of the lost, and the Redeemer of the guilty—as the Lord our righteousness. It bears marks of her diligent perusal of it, and of the clear view she took of its precious truths. Doctrines marked in one place-precepts in another-promises in another-all most striking, and all indicative of a mind imbued by the Holy Spirit.
My beloved child! I cannot but cherish the remembrance of thee. On earth, thou wast all that a fond parent could desire; in death, the angels wafted thy purified spirit into Abraham's bosom ; and now thou art and will for ever be with them, giving praise and glory to the Lamb. Dare I, or ought I, to wish thee back again? O no!" All is well"-" Thy will, O God, be done." May the parent now learn of the child, and seek a share of that blessed inheritance which she, through grace, has obtained. May he follow her as she followed Christ.
THE LAST CALL.
The last call must come to every one. A last Sabbath-a last sermon—a last warning will come to every son and daughter of Adam. It came to those who lived in the days of Noah, "when they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came and took them all away." It came to the sensual inhabitants of Sodom, when the last sun arose upon them with no unusual indications of danger, and the warnings of Lot seemed to them as idle tales. It came to every sinner who has died impenitent. It will come to every sinner now living.
It came in a striking manner to a young lady in my congregation. She attended church on a Sunday evening in her usual health; and heard a sermon addressed to the youth, from the text, "Remember now thy Creator, in the days of thy youth." She was impressed, under the sermon, with the importance of making her peace with God, now in the morning of life. In a few days she was dying, and sent for her pastor. "Oh," said she, "I little thought it was the last sermon I was ever to hear-or that the salvation of my soul was so vastly important. I wish you to take the same text at my funeral; address the youth, and warn them, from me, not to do as I have done."
Another young lady, remarkably healthy, was a few months ago seriously impressed; the Spirit of God was evidently striving with her; and for a short time she seemed inclined to attend to her spiritual interests. But she was a lover of worldly pleasures, and postponed her soul's concerns, choosing rather to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. The Sunday before last, she was at church, in the bloom of health-heard a sermon, from the text, "No man having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." In the evening, she was taken ill, and in thirty-six hours, (twenty-four of which she was insensible,) she passed into eternity.
With the dead, we have nothing to do. They are in the hands of the God of grace and truth. But to the living we say, "Today, if ye hear his voice, harden not your hearts; for he that being often reproved, hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy."
THE THREE ENGLISH SAILORS.
As I was passing through the streets of a city in the north of Europe, I saw three young English sailors. I asked, "What ship, my lads?" "The Vigilant.” "Where is she?" At this question they all shook their heads, and George, the mate, answered, “Indeed, sir, she lies a wreck, near Hogland." "All the crew are saved, I hope." "Yes, all." "Well," said I, "this is a call for thanks to God, your preserver. You might have found a watery grave; you might have been hurried into the presence of our Judge. Yea, you might have been in hell. Where are you bound now?" "We arrived here two hours ago, from Fredericksham, and to-morrow morning we shall depart for Cronstadt, where we hope to find a ship to take us home." "Have you seen the consul?” "O yes, and he has been very kind to us.' "Well, my lads, all these things should fill your hearts with praise. Have you a Bible?" "Yes, we have one among us. "That will do. Read it with prayer, daily. That book is a safe chart; no mariner ever steered his course by it, but arrived safely at last in that happy state where all is purity and bliss. Have you any other book beside the Bible?" "No, not one.' .” “Would you like to have some?" "If you please." "Then come along with me." So I took them to my house, and furnished them with "The Saint's Everlasting Rest," "The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul," "The Annals of the Poor," a copy of "Dr. Watts' Hymns," and some tracts.
I asked, "Do you know any thing about the Bethels?" "Know any thing about them, sir!" said George, "why, we had a Bethel flag on board of our ship. This last summer we were at Archangel, when about three hundred sail were lying there, and every Sunday you might have seen three or four Bethel flags flying at once! About seventy men once came to our ship to hold Divine Service." "Who officiated?" "Several captains and sailors took part in the service." "Well, George, this is delightful! This is wonderful! You who go down to the sea in ships, and do business in great waters, see many of the wonders of the Lord in the deep. But to see the Bethel flag waving at Archangel, and to see twenty ships' companies meeting together for prayer, is the greatest wonder of all. After this, who will say any thing is too hard for the