صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني
[ocr errors]

of the charmer, charm he never so One on whom the fondest bopes are wisely, is no longer beard ; and mo- placed, whose opening mind fills all tives which should influence moral its friends with joy, and who ere long agents we can no longer perceive. promises to be the prop of age and We are carried to our long bome, the ornament of society, is called and the clods cover us till the away from all terrestrial scenes. heavens be no more.

Another whose character is oppo Qur immortal part goes to the site in every respect, falls too, and world of retribution where no voice is seen no more. One whose situaof inviting mercy shall ever be lion in society seems to be such that heard, if it has not been heard on all dependence is placed upon himearth. The gospel is not proclaim- one whose counsels, or whose prayed among the miserable beings who ers, or whose every exertion seems have set at nought all its gracious to be needed—is laid aside as useless; provisions while the time of their and be who doeth all things after merciful visitation lasted. He who the counsel of his owo will, teachrefused to hear Moses and the pro es us that other instruments can phets while they lived on earth, accomplish his purposes. The will not be invited to hear them sprightly youth whose eye beams when residing in the regions of the with activity and intelligence, whose damped. They who refused to every motion is dignity and grace, credit the testimony of God, will is removed from us when he thinks not be permitted to profit by their not of it. The boary head is laid own experience so as to escape from low when hope bade us reckon mathe evils which they were warned ny more years to roll over it. He would overtake them. Though the who 10-day sits and speculates with happy spirits of heaven may be indifference on the awful message seen afar off, yet a great gull” of God, and be who bears that mes. will for ever debar ali approach sage with thoughts wandering like to them. In vain will a drop of the fool's eyes, to the ends of the water be called for to cool their earth, and be who devoutly en. parched tongues. Abraham and deavours 10 obey it, all alike may toall holy beings, will stand aloof morrow be the victims of the grave. with infinite abhorrence; and des- Death tells us not of his approach. pair will brood over them without He snatches from our arms our dearrelief, or the least gleam of hope to est friends, and leaves us to mourn alleviate for a moment their anguish. for a little while, and then clasps us

IV. The time of death is uncer- in his cold embrace. Though the tain. No usefulness, or happiness, time of death's approach is unceror love of life, can shield us from tain ; though we know not what a the arrows of the destroyer. One day may bring forth ; yet one thing man lives to a good old age, and we koow, that he will not refuse to goes to his grave, as a sbock of corn take us when God gives him the folly ripe is gathered into the gar- commission. The time of his comner. Another lives to see a family ing cannot be far distant, with any of depending upon him for support, vis. Youth, nor bealth, nor vigour, and then is burried away by the nor any thing else, cao give us secuhand of death. Another just takes rily; nor can any of ibese things a survey of the path of life, and diminish the truth of the assertion, fancies a thousand flowers, and cal- that the time of our sojourning culates upon a thousand enjoyments, here is short. The places which and he is cut down and deposited in now know us will soon know us no the grave. Another just opens his more for ever. eyes, and then shuts them for ever. V. The consequence of death, or

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

that which follows it, is the judge in vain. God who appoints it will ment. Deatb, as have already ob- see that its sentence is executed. served, closes our season of trial. He who is not a man that he should What then more proper than that the lie, or the son of man that he should judgement should be pronounced ? repent ;--He whose decrees can Our lives then receive a review never be rendered void ;-He will which is impartial. No little pre pour out the vials of his wrath upon judices can influence Him who oc- those whom he threatens, and will copies the throne; no partialities fill with joy unspeakable and tull of that would overlook our defects of glory those who receive his promcharacter ; every thing must be ex- ises. God's word must be accomposed in the light of day. And this plished. Let God be true, though judgement must be final. No appeal the consequence should be that can be had to a superior tribunal; for every man isproved a liar. the universe does not know such a Lastly. The season to prepare one. No bope can be entertained of for deaih, and the judgement which escape. Those piercing eyes that see follows it, is the present. The tbrough the inmost recesses of the voice of wisdom and of God deheart will easily discover us when- clares, with an emphasis greatly ever we may think to bide our. increased by every year that passes selves.

over us, “ Behold, now is the accepta The grand question which will ed time ; behold, noro is the day of then decide our endless fate is sim- salvation.” The present time is all ply this--whether we bave believed that we bave, and all that we are on the Son of God; or, in other sure of having. The past is gone, words, whetber we have been fol- and cannot be recovered. The lowers of Jesus Christ, or sincere wheels of time continually go forCbristians. The riches, or honours, ward, but never go backward. The or other distinctions of earth, will not days that are past are recorded in be inquired into,except to know how the book of God ; their honours, we bave used them : whether we their pleasures, their griefs, their have squandered away our property anxieties, their duties, their sinsopon our lusts, or whether we have all are gone, irrecoverably gone. sed the stranger and the fatherless- We have no concern with ibem whether we bave lived to ourselves, now, but to review them and ask or to God. We shall then know them what report they have borne to whether we have indeed loved the heaven.

heaven. There is a day coming, Lord Jesus Christ and endeavoured that day " for which all other days to obey him, or wbether all our pro- were made," when we must review fessions have been like sounding the past, and abide the decision of brass, or a tinkling cymbal. The Infinite Wisdom as to the character jogful or the read rewards will it has formed for us. Perhaps our await us. Heaven's everlasting days are already numbered and fingates will open to receive us, or the isbed. Future ones we may never harsb gratings of the inferoal doors see. The future is totally blank to will summon us to our prison. The our view. It lies hidden in the jadgement will finish our trial, and counsels of Him who directs the seal us for ever and ever in happi- affairs of the universe. The mesness or woe. Our ears will always sages of grace are delivered in our be tuned to the delightful harmony hearing to-day : we may know noof heavenly music, or be graied thing of them to-morrow. We upon by the wailing and gnashing of may then lie groaping under the teeth which the world beneath will wreck of reason, and incapable of constantly exhibit.

listening to the sweet accents of forThis jodgement then will not be giving mercy. The sabbath, with

[ocr errors]

all its blessings now shines upon us, move it, till she changes into the and tells us of its great Author,as able present. She may then hold the and willing to save to the uttermost all same language to us, and she may that come unto God by Jesus Cbrist : not. She may tell us of the mercy the future may bring along with it of God ; and she may fill us with no sabbath and no blessing from the terrible conviction that mercy Him who blesses so that none can is over with us. She may light up curse. The present spreads be- our path with the smiles of God's fore us life and strength : the future favour; and she may kindle around may soon clothe us with weakness us the flames of eternal death. and death. The gloomy funeral in- Death then takes place by God's vestments may be soon ready to en- appointment; the reason of it is robe our bodies ; and the grave sin ; the effect of it is the finishing about to receive them. Though we of our probationary state of exismay build a thousand castles for our tence; the time of it is uncertain ; future babitation; yet they may the consequence of it is the judgesoon prove to be only castles in the menl ; the season to prepare for it air, which a slight breeze may de- is now :—these simple and obvious stroy for ever. Though we may reflections have arisen to my mind strew the future with flowers, and out of the sentiment of the text, imagine that their fragrance will fill that “it is appointed onto men once us with delight ; yet all our fine im- to die, but after this the judgement." aginations may soon be dissipated by The purpose for which I have laid the coming reality. Though we them before you, it will be readily may calcutate on many days to se- perceived, is founded in the season care our interest in another world, at which, by the good hand of our yet God may have appointed that God upon us, we bave arrived. few more shall ever roll over our We are now standing on tbe threshheads, or that our last day on earth old of a new year. Another porshould be even now casting its suo tion of our state of probation bas upon the mountains. The future just closed, and a new one begun. then we have not, and may never We have seen the changes of the bave. It lies only with Him wbo. year which is gone : those, of the “declares the end from the begin- year which is now cominenced, are ning and from ancient times things yet wrapped in the impenetrable that are not yet done,” to determine veil of futurity. You have often, whether futurity shall ever tell us during the progress of the last year, of the messages of mercy ; wheth- cheered each other on the occurer the awful scenes of judgement rence of happy events, and have shall not open upon us to-morrow. smiled together in many a joyous Now is the day of hope. Now scene.

You bave wept together is the day to secure the blessedness too,no doubt,in the house of mournof the soul, the boly rewards of eter- ing; and have been often siirprised nity. The voice of the present, is, by the sudden departure of those “ Seek ye the Lord while he may whom you loved and honoured, to be found--call ye upon him while the mansions of silence. You bave he is near. Let the wicked forsake repeatedly followed the slow-moving his way and the unrighteous man hearse to the house appointed for his thoughts, and let him turn unto all living, and have bebeld it bear the Lord who will bave mercy upon away from your sight, the aged and him, and to our God who will abund- the young, the tender parent, and antly pardon.” This is the lan- the amiable child, the beloved friend guage of the present. Futurity is in the midst of usefulness, and the silent. She presses her hand on promising youth on whom many her mouth, and is forbidden to re- bopes were placed. The tears of some have flowed till the fountains through the scene of viewing were dried up ; and they could on- bis dearest friends

anxiously ly sit down in the silence of unutter- bending over his dying bed, and able grief.

some one of them kindly wiping the Many of those who are gone cold sweat from bis forehead as he hence listened, no doubt, the last an- was about to sink into the arms of niversary of the new year, to the death. Perhaps it may be remem. inooilory voice of the preacher ; bered by those who shall survive, and thought as little of being so that he anxiously looked forward to soon removed to the shades of death the appearance of the Judge who as you now do. But their seats in should take account of all bis acthe sanctuary are now vacant : their tions, and that baving put off the voices here are beard no more. subject to so late a period, God did They belong now to the great con- not vouchsafe to grant him assurance gregation of the dead, where silence of acceptance at his bar. Perhaps inust reign till the time when all too, some saint who is now devoutly that are in their graves shall bear waiting for his redemption from sin the voice of the Son of God and will be this year delivered from all shall come forth. What :heir eter- bis woes, and made for ever happy ; Bal state is, another day shall tell us, and when the record of the year and shall fix ours too.

shall be inspected, it will be found Such being the fact, who can look thus written : • Blessed are the forward with certainty to the fu- dead who die in the Lord from ture? When the events of this henceforth ; yea, saith the Spirit, for year on which we have just entered they rest from their labours, and shall be written on the tablet of the their works do follow them.” past, what will be recorded of us? Such

may

be
among

the facts Metbinks I see the parting scene of which this present year, when numsome fond parent which called tears bered with the past, shall exhibit to from every eye, described by the the view of the living as matters of pen of bistory as a past eveni that history. A thousand events may moved the sympathy of a nume- transpire which shall change the rous circle of kinsfolk and acquaint- face of all things in regard to us. ance. Methinks I see it written Known only to God are the events that such a frolicksome youth was before us. Could I lift the veil arrested by the pale messenger, his which conceals the future from our laughter iurned into sadness, his view, I would not do it. Far hapbody clothed with the melancholy pier is it that we know not what shroud, and shut up in the coffin. shall be on the morrow. Far bet Methinks I see the startled looks of ter, that we trust ourselves and all of his companions as they receive we have in the hands of Him who the solemn lidings of his exit, and I doeth all things well. hear the faint resolutions of living a With such a feeling let us begin new life that they may be prepared this new year. Let the events of for an equally sudden departure the past teach us, that “ here we from the world. Methinks I see it bave no continuing city.” Let us written also that these resolutions remember that the time is short ; passed away like the morping cloud that whatever our hands find to do and the early dew. Perhaps it will must be done with our might, for be recorded that some man of busi- there is no work nor device in the dess had all his plans frustrated by grave wbither we basten. When we the untimely visit of the destroyer, look back on the past and see all and his head laid low in the com- classes of men cut down without fortless tomb. Some one who reads discrimination ; let us acknowledge this, perhaps, will have passed the hand that has done it, and hear 1826.-_No. 1,

3

the voice that sounds from the grave lasting happiness, the present moto all of every age,

“ Be ye also ment is the time to secure your tiready, for in such an hour as ye ule. A little postponement may be think not, the Son of inan cometh” your ruin—a few more days may Count not, reader, upon future open to you the terrible prison of years. They may dance before the universe, and its awful recesses your imagination, and yet never ap- may frown upon you as your everpear in the reality. If you ever lasting habitation. Who can dwell intend to accept the offers of salva. with devouring fire? Who can lie tion, now is the time. If you ever down in everlasting burnings ? expect to enter the abodes of ever

MISCELLANEOUS.

For the Christian Spectator.

Here the cattle have no need to OBSERVATIONS OF AN AMERICAN IN break fences. They have food ENGLAND

sufficient within their own domains. Ir may be proper to repeat here, that the I came here under the impression following observations consist of miscella- that the country was bare of trees. ncous extracts of letters from agentleman, On the contrary, I find it better now resident in England to a friend in Con- stocked in this respect than the necticut. Our correspondent states, that thick settlements of our own country. they were written occasionally as the author We wantonly destroy trees as if could find leisure from other objects, and with they were of no value : here they out any reference to publication. They

are planted and nursed with as were commenced in the eleventh number of much care, as though they bore our last volume, and will be continued as

choice fruit. we may find room for them.

.“ Mr. G. and myself walked « The English carry agriculture out to Aston Hall, two miles from to great perfection. Every spot of Birmingham. It is memorable in ground capable of cultivation is history as being one of the places improved. Wherever I have been, in which Charles I. secreted himthe fields are generally small, en- self from his pursuere. Cromwell's closed by hedges, and made perfect- troops, in passing the hall, threw ly smooth, by means of cast iron some shot into it without knowing rollers. Numerous trees are left or even suspecting that it contained to grow around the hedges, and the royal' fugitive. I knocked scattered over the fields. These

at the porter's_lodge, and asked are so nicely trimmed, as to add for admission. The reply was that greatly to the beauty of the coun- his master did not admit any one try. Not a weed is suffered to

except on business.

We had to grow. The crops all look well, content ourselves therefore with and are much more productive only an outside view. The park than ours.

The cattle and sheep is very extensive, and is enclosed by feed op grass up to their knees, a highbrick wall two miles in circumand look, as we should say, fit to ference. The great avenue openkill. The slight enclosures that ing upon the Sheffield road, is about keep them in their pastures, would half a mile in length, on each side be but a poor protection against our of which are about 65 trees, appalean, half-fed, unruly animals. rently the growth of centuries. Great

« السابقةمتابعة »