« 上一頁繼續 »
worth the torture he had felt in his mind.”—Let those who seek for happiness in a life of sinful pleasure think of these words!
The testimony of the celebrated Earl of Chesterfield strongly marks the insufficiency of the world to bestow real happiness. This nobleman said, at the close of his life, “ I have enjoyed all the pleasures of the world, and consequently know how vain they are, and I do not regret their loss. When I reflect back upon what I have seen, and what I have heard, and what I have done, I can hardly persuade myself that all that frivolous hurry and bustle, and pleasure of the world, had any reality; but I look back upon all that is past as one of those romantic dreams which opium commonly occasions; and I do by no means wish to repeat the nauseous dose for the sake of the fugitive dream. Shall I say that I bear this melancholy situation with constancy and resignation ? No; for I really cannot help it. I bear it, because I must bear it, whether I will or no. I think of nothing but killing time, the best I can, now that he is become mine enemy.' Here is another lesson to show what poor comfort, when we want it most, a life of worldly pleasure can afford.
Let us now look at the last hours of one who had placed his happiness in religion, and in the service of God. This was Richard Hooker. “ I have lived," says this true Christian, " to see that this world is made up of perturbations, and have been long preparing to leave it, and gathering comfort for the dreadful hour of making my account with God, which I now apprehend to be near; and though I have, by his grace, loved him in my youth, and feared him in mine age, and laboured to have a conscience void of offence to him and to all men, yet, if thou, O Lord, be extreme to mark what is done amiss, who may abide it? And therefore where I have failed, Lord, shew mercy to me; for I plead not my righteousness, but the forgiveness of my unrighteousness, for his merits who died to purchase a pardon for penitent sinners. And since I owe thee a death, Lord, let it not be terrible, and then take thine own time. I submit to it. Let not mine, O Lord, but let Thy Will be done! God hath heard my daily petitions, and I am at peace with all men, and He is at peace with me, and from which blessed assurance I feel that inward joy, which this world can neither give nor take from me !"
Let us add one more example of the last hours of a Christian ; even the Apostle Paul. “I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth, there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me at that day.”
ON THE FESTIVALS OF THE CHURCH.
(A Fragment.) We lately picked up a scrap of paper written upon: and, as we once told our readers, that a useful hint might sometimes be found on what looked like a piece of waste paper; we thought it would be but consistent in us to look at the
before mitted it to the flames. It seems to have been a leaf dropped out of a sermon preached on some festival of the Church.
“ The great work of a Christian in this world is to labour to subdue his sins, and to be prepared to enter heaven. And, in this conflict, he has every help promised him from above. The message of salvation delivered to us in the Gospel, is a message of glad tidings; because it shews us, that, for the sake of Christ's sufferings, an atonement is made for the past sins of the penitent; and that grace is bestowed on him to enable him to live like a Christian for the time to come. The celebration of such sacred days as this, is appointed hy our Church for the sake of recalling to our minds the great things which have been done for us, and of thus quickening us to Christian diligence and watchfulness in the great work of the preparation of our souls for everlasting happiness. These are holy days; days set apart for holy purposes. But the evil minds of men have so perverted the holy designs of our Church, that they are often turned to days of riot and disorder, are made to administer to dissipation and drunkenness and profligacy; and thus the opportunities which God has given us for the purposes of drawing us neare: to himself
, are made the very means of throwing us farther from him, and bringing us, by wicked practices, nearer to our final ruin. Now the words of the text * should be grafted in our hearts; and we should then see that we had occasion, at all times, to. be watchful; and should feel the privilege of having particular days set apart for more particular consideration of the great things which have been done for us, and for the more earnest excitement of our minds to be watchful in the duties of our calling, and in our spiritual preparation for heaven.
" It is true that these things belong to every season - to every day. They ought, therefore, to be thought of every day: but still, the weak efforts of our corrupt nature require to be frequently roused to exertion. And, this being so, let us think of the appointment of the sacred festivals of our Church, as intended to remind us of our Christian warfare, and to awaken us to Christian watchfulness. But as these consi. derations belong to us at all times, let us consider the words of the text as of constant and universal application.”
* Probably, “ Watch and pray,”. &c.
If then we would earnestly engage in the Chris. tian warfare, we ought first to see clearly that there is such a warfare--that there is, in the evil mind of man, an opposition to the truths, and to the practices, which the religion of the Gospel requires ; and we shall then know what a work we have to perform, and we shall feel the need we have to * watch and pray,” &c.
Letter from a Father to his Son, an Apprentice Boy.
MY DEAR Boy, After the death of Charles the Second, his brother, the Duke of York, became king. His name was James, and he was the second king of that name. We have already seen what pains the good bishops and other Christian men had taken to get rid of the Roman Catholic religion, and how they had suffered in this cause during the reign of Queen Mary. Since that time, the Protestant religion was professed and established in this kingdom-; but James the Second was not attached to the reformed religion; he was a papist at heart; and it is moreover said, that he sent over to the Pope of Rome, and begged to put himself and his kingdom under his authority in all matters of religion. This, you may be sure, caused great discontent; and a rebellion broke out, which was headed by a young man called the Duke of Monmouth, who pretended to be the lawful son of the late king. People were so dissatisfied with James, that they willingly listened to this youth, and would have been very glad to have had him for their king, and especially as he was a very fine, graceful, pleasing young man. He came over from Holland, and landed in Dorsetshire, with a small army, expecting to be joined by many of the discontented English. Many, indeed, did join him, but not enough to enable him to overcome the army which the King sent out against him. There was, however, a bloody battle fought at Sedgemore; and, at one time, the young Duke had almost the best of it; but, in the end, the King was victorious—the rebels fled ; about three hundred of them were killed in battle, and about a thousand in the pursuit, and thus an end was put to this rash expedition. The Duke of Monmouth had no right whatever to the throne, and it was therefore a wicked act of rebellion in him to attempt to disturb the King or the country: but still his sad fate must excite our compassion. After the battle, he fled for his life. He rode for twenty miles, expecting every moment to be overtaken and seized. At length, his horse, exhausted with fatigue, could go no further. He was obliged then to alight and to proceed on foot; then, to avoid being seized, he exchanged clothes with a shepherd. He was soon completely worn out with hunger and weariness, and was obliged to stop. He lay down in a rough field, and covered himself with fern. The poor shepherd was soon found in the Duke's clothes ; and this discovery encouraged the pursuers to search more diligently for the Duke himself. They pursued him with blood-hounds, and they found him in his dirty clothes, and in a most miserable situation, with raw peas in his pocket, which he had gathered in the fields, having no other food to keep him alive. He was then seized, and carried before the King; he earnestly begged for pardon; but it was denied him he was tried and condemned, and beheaded. When he was on the scaffold, he begged of the executioner to strike boldly, that he might not have to strike a second blow, as he had done in the case of Lord Russel. But this, instead of giving courage to the man, put him into such a trepidation, that he could scarcely strike at all. After the first feeble blow, the. Duke raised his head from the