« السابقةمتابعة »
meadow; to the drops of the ocean, and to the sands upon its shores; to the stars of the sky, and to the beams of the sun; but what are leaves and blades, and drops and sands, and stars and sunbeams, to eternity? Add the whole, and multiply them by cach other, subtract the mighty sum, and it would diminish nothing from the ages of immortality; from the duration of a soul!
It is this idea which gives importance to human life. Considered in itself, "What is our life? It is a vapor." But consider it in connexion with a future state, and it is of infinite importance. The vapor ascends, and loses itself in the atmosphere, till, by and by, the whole horizon is covered, and the heavens are clothed in blackness. Thus time expands into eternity; and human life, vain and transient as it is, acquires the character of infinity.
Characters for eternity are formed in time. The blos som is set, and the fruit must correspond. Heaven and hell are begun on earth.
Here the affections choose their object, which eternity will not change. The heart naturally embraces sinful pleasures, and, while in a state of unregeneracy, will seek no higher enjoyment; but, if renewed by grace, these things will become rather objects of aversion, and the affections will aspire to purer and sublimer objects; that is, to the enjoyment of eternity.
Here a taste is formed. which we shall carry with us to the eternal state. If this taste be spiritual, it will prepare us for the spiritual and divine enjoyments of the heavenly world; for communion with saints and angels, with God and the Lamb; but, if "earthly, sensual, and devilish," it is an awful preparation for the burning lake.
In short, this subject, ETERNITY, has a twofold aspect, like that of the miraculous cloud in the wilderness, which, while it afforded light and guidance to the chosen race of Israel, exhibited to the Egyptians nothing but gloom,horror, and the "blackness of darkness;" an awful type of that which is for ever.
God of eternity! Open to our minds such a view of this infinitely important subject, as may, while it diminishes all the little concerns of mortality, fix our attention and our hearts upon the sublime and celestial glories of the eternal world!
Gently flows the stream of life
Soft along the flow'ry vale;
'Tis an ever vary'd flood,
CONSIDERATIONS FOR MINISTERS.
GOOD Mr. W. used to say he considered three things when he preached. 1. I have immortal souls to deal with. 2. There is a full and free salvation for such. 3. All the blessings of that gospel are treasured up in the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is desirable that every mininster would consider well, the same things.
A LAY COMMENTATOR.
AT the time when the late Mr. Lacy was pastor of the
those of the dockyard, constantly ushered in the morning of the Lord's day, at six o'clock, by meeting in the vestry for social prayer, exhortation, and conference on some por. tion of scripture alternately.* At one of these conference meetings, the text led to charity; all spoke in their turn, if they chose, when it rested with Charles Benjamin, who' was a waterman, and lived between Portsmouth and Gosport. His comment on the text was as follows; "I shall say nothing more than this; we have been talking of char. ity; it would be good to put it in exercise; here is our brother, Ephraim Forth, goes to dock every morning this cold weather, without a great coat; and here is my shilling towards buying him one." The good men took the hint; and Ephraim was enabled to purchase the necessary next day, and went toɖock, + "warmed, if not quite filled." Query....Can the laity expound scripture?
THE PRAYING SOLDIER.
DURING the late unhappy commotions in Ireland, a private soldier in the army of Lord Cornwallis was daily observed to be absent from his quarters, and from the company of his fellow soldiers. He began to be suspected of withdrawing himself for the purpose of holding intercourse with the rebels; and on this suspicion, probably increased by the malice of his wicked comrades, he was tried by a court martial, and condemned to die. The marquis hearing of this, wished to examine the minutes of the trial; and, not being satisfied, sent for the man to converse
* This laudable custom, I find, is still continued there, and Imas been without intermission, for more than half a century.
† James ii. 16
with him. Upon being interrogated, the prisoner solemnly disavowed every treasonable practice or intention, declared his sincere attachment to his sovereign, and his readiness to live and die in his service; he affirmed, that the real cause of his frequent absence was, that he might obtain a place of retirement for the purpose of private prayer; for which his lordship knew he had no opportunity among his profane comrades, who had become his enemies merely on account of his profession of religion. He said, he had made this defence on his trial; but the officers thought it so improbable, that they paid no attention to it. The mar quis, in order to satisfy himself as to the truth of his defence, observed, that if so, he must have acquired some considerable aptness in this exercise. The poor man replied, that as to ability, he had nothing to boast of. The marquis then insisted on his kneeling down and praying aloud before him; which he did, and poured forth his soul before God with such copiousness, fluency, and ardor, that the marquis took him by the hand, and said, he was satisfied that no man could pray in that manner whe did not live in the habit of intercourse with his God. He not only revoked the sentence, but received him into his peculiar favor, placing him among his personal attendants; where, it is said, he still continues in the way to promotion.
On reading the above, every serious mind will be led to reflect on the remarkable intervention of Providence in behalf of this man of prayer; for this is the most prominent feature in the Christian character. He could not live without prayer, though he thereby exposed himself to the suspicion and hatred of his associates, and even endangered his life; but the God whom, like Daniel, he served, knew how to deliver him in the perilous hour; and not only
heard his prayers, but made the exercise of this duty itself the mean of his deliverance. O how does this reproach those who live without prayer, though they have every opportunity for retirement, unseen and unsuspected!
This anecdote also does equal honor to the character of the illustrious marquis, and to the British nation; who can boast of commanders warmly attached to that religion and piety, which so many, in the present day, treat with contemptuous scorn.
THE REV. MR HERVEY AND THE PLOUGHMAN.
In the parish where Mr. Hervey preached, when of Arminian sentiments, there resided a ploughman, who usually attended the ministry of the late Dr. Doddridge. Mr. Hervey being advised by his physician, for the benefit of his health, to follow the plough, in order to smell the fresh earth, frequently accompanied the ploughman in his rural avocation. One morning the following conversation passed:
Mr Hervey. My friend, I understand you can speak the language of Canaan.
Ploughman. A little, sir..
Mr. It. Then I will propose you a question; What do you think is the hardest thing in religion?
Plough. I am a poor illiterate man, and you, sir, are a minister; I beg leave to return the question.
Mr. H. Then, I conceive the hardest thing in religion is to renounce sinful flesh.
Plough. I do not think So, sir.
Mr. H. Then, will you give me your opinion?