« הקודםהמשך »
you will «
you have need of his
your hearts, and of his strength to sustain
but you probably would not know this, if you had not to pray for it; therefore let your prayers be almost exclusively for spiritual gifts ; let them be earnest, frequent, persevering ; thus
grow in grace.” Be careful only not to “quench and grieve the spirit” for which you ask, but to cherish and improve all the suggestions put into your hearts, not doubting whence they come, though you know not the manner of their coming ;-diligently use the means already granted you—the sacred scriptures, and the ordinances of religion ;-cultivate, by reflection, and conversation, and reading, the good thoughts, and purposes, and desires, that exist within you. Persist in this course with steadfastness, shunning all temptations to sin, and relinquishing every practice manifestly hostile and dangerous to your hope of advancement in religion, and doubt not that in the end you shall attain to such a Christian frame of mind, and be so fruitful in all holy living, as to be thought worthy, through the merits of
Redeemer, of appearing with him in glory, and partaking with him in happiness, inconceivable and everlasting in his heavenly kingdom.
THE DEATH OF THE RIGHTEOUS.
NUMBERS xxiii. latter part of v. 10. Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his.
I PROPOSE in my present discourse, to draw your attention to the peaceful and happy nature of the Christian religion, so plainly exemplified in its powers of preparing man for, and of comforting and sustaining him in, the most important and awful period of his life- its final close. You have seen what encouragement the gospel offers to the anxious mind of a self-convicted sinner, by assuring him that the natural enmity between a just God and fallen man, is removed, " is slain,' (as the apostle expresses it) by the cross of the Redeemer, who paid his ransom; you have seen what consolation it administers to all those who are any ways afflicted or distressed (as all must at times expect to be) in mind, body, or estate ; and
you have seen also, how greatly it is able to improve the happiness of human society, by promoting good will and brotherly kindness among all the members of the great family of rational creatures, whom God has planted in the earth. But there is a solemn hour awaiting every one of us, against which, and in which, we shall have more need of its comfort and support, than in any other period or circumstance of life, the hour of death; and on this occasion it is that religion wears her brightest crown, and enjoys her fullest triumph.
Death being an event of most common occurrence, it does not in ordinary cases much affect us, knowing, as we do, that to every one who is born into life, it is inevitable that he should, at some time or other, depart out of it again ; and it is so often witnessed, that it scarcely excites a remark, except when it bereaves us of a friend, or when there has been something particularly striking and impressive in the manner of it. Still, although so frequent in the world, by every individual it is but once to be experienced ; and therefore to every individual it is, in the eye of sober reason, as important an event, as if it never
were to happen to any one besides himself, but were a new thing appointed to be his peculiar destiny alone.
Were we from some place of safety to be spectators of the slaughter of thousands on a field of battle, the fall of any one amongst so many, would be observed with indifference; and yet to every one that perished, the circumstance would be one of the same tremendous importance. Each one would, in that moment, experience the conclusion of all the interests and cares of life; each one would then close the account of his probationary state of existence, and pass into a world, in which either his joys or his sorrows should never cease; and each one, who should have been so inconsiderate as not to have thought of it before, would then, if allowed time for reflection, wish in the agony of his soul, that his whole life had been a preparation for that dreadful hour.
Such a field of battle is the world itself, and such spectators are we, with this grand difference, that all must eventually be slain, and that we who behold are no more exempted than those who seem most exposed to the danger. Can we therefore look around us with composure, while this work of destruction is going on, and not reflect, as we observe one and the other falling