图书图片
PDF
ePub

THE DAY OF JUDGMENT.

The same necessity was felt by Job, thee so to direct each thought of my heart, though he was the most upright and per- that every faculty may be on the watchfect man of the age in which he lived. In tower waiting my Lord's coming. Thou the period of his great affliction, when hast said, 'Yet a little while, and he that every earthly comfort failed, and his cen- shall come will come, and will not tarry.' sorious friends added to his distress, he Oh! then, for grace to live by faith on desired to plead his cause before God; but thee; and so to live, that when I change when he reflected on the incomprehensi- worlds I may not change my company, for bility of his nature, the works of his if in time I live with Christ, and enjoy mighty power, the sovereignty of his do- Christ, I shall not live less with Christ, minion, and the inflexibility of his justice, nor enjoy Christ less, when I exchange he trembled to draw near before his Judge, time for eternity. Lord Jesus, make me on account of his conscious filthiness and watch unto prayer, and thou wilt be, both insignificance, and earnestly longed for now and then, in life and death, my porthe interposition of a competent days-man, tion for ever.

Rev. Dr Hawker to bring him nigh with acceptance by laying his hand on both parties. Under the greatest agitation of mind, he said 'How

The Lord shall come! the earth shall quake; shall I answer him, and choose out my

The mountains to their centre shake; words to reason with him? For he is not

And, withering from the vault of night, a man as I am, that I should answer him,

The stars shall pale their feeble lightand we should come together in judgment. The Lord shall come! but not the same Neither is there any days-man betwixt us, As once in lowliness He came,that might lay his hand upon us both.' A silent Lamb before his foes, Job ix. 14, 32, 33. The whole chapter,

A weary man, and full of woes, and many other passages of his book, con- The Lord shall come! a dreadful form, tain very affecting sentiments on the same

With rainbow-wreath, and robes of storm; subject. Now, if the intervention of a

On Cherub-wings, and wings of wind, mediator was found necessary to give Job Appointed Judge of all mankind. boldness and liberty of utterance before Can this be He, who wont to stray God, notwithstanding his approved and A pilgrim on the world's highway, singular integrity, it must be admitted

Oppress'd by power, and mocked by pride, that none of the human race can safely The Nazarene—the Crucified ? approach him on the ground of their per- While sinners in despair shall call, sonal worth. Those who approach his Rocks, hide us; mountains on us fall!' throne on the ground of their own righ- The saints, ascending from the tomb, teousness, necessarily offend him by their

Shall joyful sing, ' The Lord is come! presumption; and all who know the extent of their guilt, dread the Most High, and flee from him as a consuming fire,

DILIGENTLY USE THE MEANS OF GRACE. deeply sensible that they can have no REMEMBER the eunuch of Candace, comfortable intercourse with a Being so

queen of Ethiopia, who albeit he was of a great and holy, till they be introduced by wild and barbarous country, and occupied one more worthy to appear before him, with worldly duties and business ; yet who can secure their safety, and furnish riding in his chariot, he was reading the them with confidence.

Scripture. Now consider, if this man, passing in his journey, was so diligent as

to read the Scriptures, what thinkest thou, CABINET.

is it likely he was wont to do so sitting at home Again, he that read, albeit he did

not understand; what did he then, thinkest THOUGHTS ON THE CLOSE OF THE YEAR.

thou, after that, when he had learned and My soul, how hath the year been has gotten understanding? For that thou tening from thee, and thou hastening in it mayest well know that he understood not from the world! Where are the days what he read, hearken what Philip saith fled? They are gone to be numbered with there unto him, Understandest thou what the years beyond the flood ; and thou art thou readest? And he, nothing ashamed now standing as on the isthmus of time. to confess his ignorance, answered, How “The end of all things is at hand.' Friends should I understand, having nobody to are dying around thee-thou art dying show me the way? Lo, when he lacked thyself—yea, the world is dying, and the one to show him the way, and to expound end of all things is at hand.' In this state, to him the Scriptures, yet did he read; my Lord, well may I look up to thee; cir- and, therefore, God the rather provided cumstances so very solemn may well in- for him a guide of the way, that taught duce soberness and watchfulness unto him to understand it. God perceived his prayer. Yes! blessed Jesus, I would pray I willing and toward mind, and therfore he

Heber.

[ocr errors]

speedily sent him a teacher. Therefore opiate to stupify the feelings. A conlet no man be negligent about his own demned criminal, having taken a stupifyhealth and salvation. Though thou have ing draught, feels not. It is the first work not Philip always when thou wouldst, the of the Spirit to awaken man out of this Holy Ghost, who then moved and stirred stupefaction.--Howels. up Philip, will be ready and not fail thee, if thou do thy diligence accordingly.

STANZAS. Archbishop Cranmer.

Come, ye who tremble for the ark,

Unite in praise for answer'd prayer ;
SIN, AND ITS EFFECTS.

Did not the Lord our sorrows mark ? The evil effects of sin are graphically Did not our sighing reach his ear? described by the pencil of Jehovah in his

Then smaller griefs were laid aside, revealed will, that sinners may take warn

And all our cares summed up in one: ing. In Psalm vii. 12, the Lord speaks

"Let us but have thy word,' (we cry'd), of his enemies, that if they turn not he

In other things, tiy will be done.' will whet his glittering sword. Here is one instrument. 'He hath bent his bow, Since he has granted our request, and made it ready,'-one in a state of And we still hear the gospel-voice; readiness, and the other to be made ready. Although by many trials press’d, • He hath also prepared for them the in- | In this we can and will rejoice. struments of death; he ordaineth his ar

Though to our lot temptations fall, rows against them; '-showing us that

Though pain, and want, and cares annoy; God, who has his quiver full of all the shafts of justice, will eventually visit his

The precious gospel sweetens all,

and yields us med'cine, food, and joy. enemies. His bow is in his hand at the

Newton. present moment; it is already bent; the shafts of his vengeance will soon be laid upon it, and they will continue to fly

THE NECESSITY OF AFFLICTION. through the countless ages of eternity, and It is not an easy matter to be drawn will find their mark, without one exception, from, nor to be beaten from the love of the in the centre of that bosom which has de world, and this is what God mainly relight in sin here on earth.--Howels.

quires of his children, that they be not in

love with the world, nor the things of it; THE BENEFITS OF AFFLICTION. for that is contrary to the love of God, and AFFLICTIONS are God's most effectual

so far as that is entertained this is wantmeans to keep us from losing our way to

ing. And if in the midst of afflictions our heavenly rest. Without this hedge

they are sometimes subject to this disease, of thorns on the right and left, we should

| how would it grow upon them with ease hardly keep the way to heaven. If there

and prosperity When they are beaten be but one gap open, how ready are we to

from one worldly folly or delight, they are find it, and turn out at it! When we

ready through nature's corruption to lay grow wanton, or worldly, or proud, how

| hold upon some other; being thrust out doth sickness or other affliction reduce us?

from it at one door to enter at some other: Every Christian, as well as Luther, may

| as children unwilling to be weaned, if one call affliction one of his best school

| breast be embittered they seek to the other ; masters, and with David may say, 'Before

| and, therefore, there must be somewhat to I was afflicted I went astray, but now have

drive them from that too. Thus, it is I kept thy word. Many thousaud re

| clear, there is need, yea, great need of afcovered sinners may cry, O healthful sick

| flictions, yea, of many afflictions, that the ness! O comfortable sorrows! O gain

| saints' be chastened by the Lord, that they ful hope! O enriching poverty! O

may not be condemned with the world. blessed day that ever I was afilicted!

| Let us learn, then, that in regard of our Not only the green pastures and still

| present frailty there is need of afflictions, waters, but the rod and staff, they comfort

| and so not promise ourselves exemption, us. Though the word and Spirit do the

| how calm soever our seas are for the premain work, yet suffering so unbolts the

sent; and then for the number, and meadoor of the heart, that the word hath easier

sure, and weight of them, to resign that entrance.—Rev. R. Baxter.

wholly into the hands of our wise Father and Physician, who perfectly knows our

mould and maladies, and what kind and SIN.

quality of chastisement is needful for our THERE are some poisons which have a cure.---Leighton. lethargic effect, and produce a great drowsiness. Sin is a poison of this description. Before it destroys, it administers an THOMAS GRANT, PRINTEX, EDINBURGH.

THOUGHTS ON THE NEW YEAR.

man.

[ocr errors]

he puts

[ocr errors]

me

The beginning of another year, so days are unsubstantial as a shadow. You pregnant with impressive lessons, has clutch at a shadow as it fades upon the induced us, for the benefit of our readers, grass or moves upon the dial, you open to present them with a few reflections, your hand, and it is empty. So is it with founded upon the following Scripture, in He sees his days, and they seem Psalm cii., 1lth and 12th verses : My like things tangible; if not tangible themdays are like a shadow that declineth; selves, they look as if they contained

but thou, O Lord, shalt endure something within their bosom; for ever. We shall arrange our thoughts forth his hand and he grasps an impalunder these heads

pable shadow. To illustrate : a man feels First, The Psalmist's pensive reflection à void in his spirit. He flies to business, - My days are like a shadow that de- be toils at his counter or his desk, but his clineth.' Second, The Psalmst's refuge hand has grasped no real good, no satisfyand consolation-But thou, O Lord, shalt ing portion-he has found only a shadow. endure for ever.'

By dint of industry and foresight, perseThe general idea intended to be conveyed verance and prudence, he has amassed a by this passage is sufficiently clear, but fortune. He leaves the busy mart, the the metaphor is somewhat difficult of ex- buzzing exchange, the bustling shop, the planation. Three things have been sug- wearisome ledger, the noisy Rialto, and gested. Before mentioning them, allow seeks retirement in some sequestered villa.

to say, that in considering the Accustomed to the anxious activities of metaphor, we must remember that the life, ennui invades his quietude, objectless poet had' his eye exclusively upon the restlessness usurps his peace—he has found shadow, not upon the sun which produced only a shadow. He quits his solitude for it.

travel, cities of renown and splendour are First, Man's days are like a shadow that visited; battle-fields of fame and glory are declineth on a sun-dial. As the sun surveyed; the noblest monuments of archijourneys through the heavens, he projects tecture, the peerless productions of art, from the gnomon a shadow that unerringly pass before his eye; the magnificent tells the fight of time. As he rises to palaces of modern kings, and the mighty the zenith, the monitory finger wanes mausoleums of august antiquity, are seen. away into extinction. In this country the The entire panorama of world-wide celebshadow at mid-day never wholly dis- rities has revolved before his gaze: there appears. This arises from the latitude in is nothing more to be seen, he must return which we live; in the equatorial regions to his native land, and he feels he has it is found entirely to vanish. Thus, grasped a shadow. He betakes himself to man's days are like a shadow that de- amusements. He assembles his friends, and clineth.

plunges into the whirlpool of fetes, balls, Second, Standing beside a tree, in an theatres, conversaziones, and punishes open field, in the early morning, when himself with pleasure.? He pauses; he the sun is ascending, you perceive at first asks what he has found-he has grasped a a long shadow. As he continues to rise, shadow. Oh! life, life, thou art truly, the shadow gradually shortens, until it with thy hollow blandishments and illusive has utterly vanished. Of course, the splendours, but an unsubstantial shadow ! shadow of the foliage immediately beneath The heir of fortune, the studious philosothe tree remains, but the projected sha- pher, the wealthy merchant, the elegant dow is gone. Thus, man's days are as a literateur, as well as the noteless poor and shadow that declineth.

the toiling masses, all exclaim, 'Vanity of Third, You have seen long shadows vanities, all is round vanity!' I might delying upon the green sward gradually scribe the weary round of all these men in swallowed up by approaching night. Thus, the various grades of society, and at the man's days are like a shadow that de- end exclaim, with the great Preacher, clineth. In all these, whichever be the Vanity of vanities, all is vanity! Mornprecise natural appearance to which the ing after morning they rise, and evening Psalmist alludes, we have essentially the after evening they lie down, and they are same ideas suggested of human life and weary, weary, and often wish that they mortal time.

were dead, because their days are unsubIn the following remarks we shall make stantial as a shadow. The united voice of use of all or any of them that suits our humanity cries, 'Oh! who will show us purpose.

any good ?' Divorce the idea of God from First, The image implies that man’s | the days of the departed year, and ask any No. IV.–NEW SERIES.

VOL. I.

of these classes, What do they seem ? year was born. Ah! did these hailers of and they will reply, ' But as a shadow that the advent of another circle of existence declineth.

think, as Secondly, The image suggests that

* The heavy tears of sound man's days are departing. They are un

Dropp'd upon the midnight air, substantial, and they are waning away.

Shuddering, as they wept around, The sands are falling through the glass,

O'er the burial of the year,' grain by grain. Pearl after pearl is dropping from the string of life into the that it was a knell to heaven or to hell? fathomless sea, whence no diver shall re- Thirdly, The image suggests that the cover them. The flower is withering, the days of man are departing silently. Watch leaf is fading, the calm decay of man, of the shadow, cast by the sun from yonder nature, and of time is steadily advancing. tree as he rises; while it contracts by deThe last footstep sounds of departed years grees it departs in silence; insensibly and have died in the silent distance, and surely it fades, but it fades in silence. It the echoes of the year that has just pro- was there and it is gone, and soundlessly, nounced its adieu, though they linger still, noiselessly it has passed. So is it with time, are growing fainter, and still more faint, the clock from the church-tower, the watch and will soon lapse away into a stillness in the pocket, the time-piece on the manas profound as it is inviolable.

tel, the chronometer in the heart, proclaim * Like as the waves make toward the pebbl'd shore,

its flight, but the footsteps of time itself, So do our minutes hasten to their end;

fall soft as snow on snow; no foot can Each changing place with that which goes before, liarly solemnizing in the silent lapse of

tread so lightly. There is something pecuIn sequent toil all forward do contend.'

years. Eighteen-fifty-two has passed; not Go stand by a church-tower, lit up from even the slightest rustle of its wing, not within, at night, and watch the long dark even the loudest footfall of its tread, has finger as it steals to the hour. It is been heard, yet it is gone; we can scarce already there. It seems to pause. The believe it, and yet it is true. This mute warning note is flung upon the air, and lo evanishing of time contributes much to the long dark monitor is already advanced lull us into security. The striking of the on its untiring round. Man has set up hours, the ticking of the watch, the click these measurers and remembrancers of of the time-piece, and even the drum-like time, but has God not framed a monitory note of the heart, become common and chronometer within the breast? In the familiar, and therefore pass unheeded; we stillness of night, as well as in the hum of are accustomed to them, and it is only on day, the clock of the heart ceases not to special occasions that we seem startled by give its warning sound. Nearly 4000 their warning. Think solemnly, think times in every hour you may hear it beat. seriously, that time is noiselessly speeding Perhaps, amid the silence of the chamber away, and it its golden moments are allowed in which you are reading, you can hear it. to pass without improvement, they may beEach pulse is the stroke of an alarum- come in their very silentness, like the stillbell that warns you of departing time. ness of night, that induces slumber, a slumWill you listen and obey its voice? From ber on the verge of an unprepared for exsacred edifices bells are tolled as the rites istence. The noiselessness of time may of sepulture proceed. From the sacred prove soporific, and a drowsiness may sanctities of your hearts a bell is per- thereby ensue that shall end in that sleep, petually tolling as you march onwards to from which you shall awake only the the grave—the grave of the righteous or arms of an undone eternity, an eternity the grave of the wicked? Ye righteous, where no clock shall strike throughout fear not the grave to which that bell is the long dreary monotony of everlasting knolling you; it lies on the borders of the ages. A clock may be in hell, but, as a Land of Light, and through its portals the writer has said, it will never be wound up, radiance of that land is streaming. Ye and from its dial the hands shall be for wicked and impenitent, tremble at the pro- ever removed. Oh! whilst time can be spect of that tomb, whither that bell is measured, whilst public and private moniknolling you, for it yawns on the confines tions of its flight can be heard, make your of a dark rayless region, only relieved by calling and election sure. Now is the acthe forked tongues of fire that quiver cepted time, and now is the day of salvathrough its sullen gloom. Yes, dear tion.' reader, according to your state and cha- Fourthly, The image implies that the racter before God, the bell that tolls inces- days of man are departing stealthily: Cast santly within is a summons to eternal weal your eye upon yon shadow on the dial. It or eternal woe. There was a huzza in your moves so gradually you cannot distinctly streets when the last hour of the old year note the progress of its flight. You say it died, and the first moment of the new was there then, it is here now: our days

[ocr errors]

thus glide as a dial hand steals from its have wives, be as though they had none; figure, and no pace perceived.?

and they that weep, as though they wept not; * Thou by thy dial's shady stealth mayst know,

and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced Time's thievish progress to eternity.'

not; and they that buy, as though they

possessed not; and they that use this world Time is furtively fugitive: pause for an in- as not abusing it, for the fashion of this stant, that instant is passing, it is gone, world passeth away. Let the shortness silently and stealthily it has crept away. of time, suggested by our metaphor, act as If you watch not time, it will steal away a stimulus to all God's people, to begin the like a thief, and carry along with it irre- days of this year with renewed earnestness, coverable treasures, ay, the treasures of with firmer resolutions, with loftier aims, your immortality. You may cry out in with holier ends, with more self-denial, alarm stop. But if once past, no power

on more watchfulness, more prayer, more earth or in hell can retard its flight. Suffer, zeal, more faith, more energy, more genethen, not a moment to elapse without its rosity, more sympathy, more spirituality. corresponding duty discharged. Permit Let the mis-spent hours of the past year not an instant to depart without its re- be atoned for by the diligent employment lative obligation fulfilled, for, remember, of each moment of the present. See that time, like the shadow, is stealthily fuga- you have never cause to say, with a celecious, and clandestinely slipping for ever brated emperor of old, I have lost a day.' away.

Redeem the time, because the days are few Fifthly, The image suggests that the and evil. Live useful lives : I dont say days of man are short. The shadow lasts live happy lives, for perfect happiness is but a few hours, at most a day, and then not attainable in this life-we can here disappears. It soon wanes away, and the only describe a small arc in the circle of place where it was is left as unimpressed felicity:' but live useful lives, employ each as if it had never been. How fit an emblem moment for the good of men and the glory of human life! man is born, he lives of God, and you are on the high-way to through the period of youth, adolesence, happiness. And if you have squandered manhood, and old age; a few short years, your days in luxury and ease, in busia miserably small parenthesis of eternity;"ness or in sloth, hear the voice of conand then he dies. He vanishes from the science now charging you with the murder house he had dwelt in, from the family he of time and the assassination of your souls. had blessed, from the wife he had loved, The time is short, spend it not in puerile from the friends he had benefited, from trifles, but in momentous concerns. Spend the world he had served, and the place not the few moments you have to live in that once knew him, now emphatically fitting yourself for hell rather than for knows him no more-like the shadow, he is heaven. Remember, every hour you live to us as if he had never been, he has van- without God you are growing dryer and ished like a ship beneath the horizon, and dryer fuel for the everlasting burning. And the bosom of the sea bears no trace of his that fuel is becoming more plentiful day passing keel—he is dissolved like mist by day. Like the Indian fig-tree of Goa, upon the mountains, of which not a soli- which sends down its branches, and roots tary flake remains to tell of its existence.--them so firmly in the earth, that another One splash, the waves close, and all is over, stem is produced with other branches, that and the sea of time is as smooth as before accomplish the same effect in endless suc--he sports his little hour in the sunbeam, cession, until the solitary tree becomes a the light departs, and the tiny creature mighty forest; so is it with sin—it is reprosinks into oblivion.

ductive and multiplicative. The branches • Nativity, once in the main of light,

of the tree of last year are about to form

another root, and if grace prevent not, if Crawls to maturity, wherewith being crowned,

timely consideration arrest not, it will cover Crooked eclipses 'gainst his glory fight,

the days and the months of eighteen-fiftyAnd time that gave doth now his gift confound.'

three with its baleful shade: and if the careHe is melted like breath into the air-lessness continue, and this process go on, he is consumed like smoke, his days have at the end of life the breath of the Lord, been, in the language of the Scripture, like like a stream of brimstone, will kindle it, a vapour, swifter than a post or a weaver's and amid a conflagration more terrific than shuttle. With all men time is like a that of a primeval forest, for the fuel of shadow, because it is short, and most men sin, though in flames, is inconsumable, you are like a shadow, because they leave no will burn throughout a fiery eternity. Oh, trace behind, 'adding rather to the number spend your short years rather in bringing than the note of their generation.' forth fruit on the tree of righteousness,

I need not descend to commonplace that shall fall ripe on the green sward of moralizing, listen to Scripture. The time heaven. is short, it remaineth that both they that * See Sir Thomas Browne's • Christian Ethics.".

« 上一页继续 »