« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
life! the Lord teach you to pray! Go to him, as children to a father. He will be better to you than the best of parents; for he knows how to give good gifts unto his children, and knows what things you have need of before you ask him, I gave you to God when I gave him myself; and “ I know in whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep what I have committed to him against that day;" for “the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting to them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children." But I charge you before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing-1 charge you to walk so as to please God. Flee youthful lusts, and follow righteousness, faith, charity. Make the word of his grace the rule of your life, and the foundation of your hopes. Take diligent heed unto your ways according thereunto. Let it dwell richly in you, in all wisdom; and learn þetimes those holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise unto salvation. But, especially, look unto Jesus, that compassionate lover of little children ; who took them up in his arms, and blessed them, and declared that of such was the kingdom of heaven. Look unto Jesus, and learn of him; he was obedient to his parents; and as he grew in stature he increased in wisdom, and in favour with God and man. He was meek and lowly in heart: he was humble, patient, and forgiving; he was holy, harmless, and undefiled. He was never idle, but went about always doing good. He very often wanted meat, and had not a house that he could call his. own, where to lay his head: yet be minded not what he suffered, so long as he was serving God and saving souls. May the same mind be in you, thy dear children, as was in that holy child Jesus ! commend you all to God, and to the word of his grace ; that he would build you up in knowledge, faith, and holiness; and then give you an inheritance among them that are sanctified. And now, henceforth. I talk no more with you : I take my leave of the world and you, and ascend" to my Father and your father, to my God and your God.",
i I can hardly help adding those circumstances which attended our Saviour's ascension, as they are recorded in Acts i. 9: “And when he had spoketi these things, while they beheld, he was taken up, and a cloud received him out of their sight. And wbile they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven ? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." But if I may not say that, this I know I may “say unto you, by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them which are asleep: for the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first ; then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore, comfort, one another with these words.” (1 Thess. iy. 15.)
Shall we now make a short and general improvement of this subject and providence ?
1. Is she dead?Then how little is life to be depended upon! How apt are we all to deceiye ourselves in this respect! Those of us who are young, hardly care to admit the thoughts of death at all ; or if we do, it is as an eventąt:a very great distance, in which, possibly, one time or other, we may be concerned. : We think we must, of course, live to be old ; and that we might as well think of going to bed at noon, as of dying young. And those few of us that live to advanced years, and stoop under the infirmities and burthens of age, such is our unaccountable attachment to the present world, are even then still unwilling to leave it, but flatter qurselves that death is yet a great way off, and that our decays are not so great but that we may yet live some years longer. Those of us that are in health, think our time too precious, and our other engagements too important, to give way to thoughts of death, which properly belong to a sick-bed : and those whom God visits with sickness and pain, are more solicitous to get rid of their disorders, than how to improve them to any saving purpose. So that persons
of all ranks and conditions in life, persons of all ages and characters, are too apt to flatter themselves with the hopes of long life. 1. And is not thiş their way, their folly? If God had assured us that our days should be long upon the earth ; or if it were a common and general thing, for men to live several hundred years, as they did formerly; our present negligence would not be so ap-. parently inexcusable aş now it is, when God has
not only not promised us long life, bút given us the strongest assurances, and the most awful and affecting instances, i of its shortness and uncertainty. St. James reproves those in this time for laying schemes for one year only'; whereas we let our thoughts and vain imaginations run an age before us ;-yea, and if God should defer the'stroke till we thought ourselves old enough to die, we should all be immortal.
- Now, since nothing is more precarious than the period of life; since nothing is more important than the consequences of death; can any thing be more foolish and dangerous than the delay of preparation ? Every week, almost, furnishes us with instances of persons who have left the world in a hurry : if that should be your case-O sirs! if that should be your case-if you should be summoned into eternity at a moment's warning, do you
think you should ever get to heaven ; do you think you should be fit for heaven;. do you
should be happy in heaven? Can you imagine a few dying groans, extorted tears, and a hasty 'Lord have mercy,' is all that God requires, as a meetness for
the inheritance of the saints in light?" You must do a great deal more, or you are undone for ever.Say not, you will begin to-morrow--had she left it till to-morrow, she had never done it at all..." Today, if you will hear his voice harden not your hearts,” for “ now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation."
2. Does she speak ?-Then how little is death to be feared! For what is death ?-to Christians I mean.
It hinders them not from speaking; and, consequently, it hinders them not from living. Hinders them from living !--it introduces them to a
higher and nobler kind of life than ever they lived before. They live with angels, they live like angels; they do angels' work, and they eat angels' food. We shall neither have, nor want, any of those refreshments which are here so necessary; for the joy of the Lord will be our strength : so that we shall run without weariness, and walk without fainting ; and rest not day nor night from saying, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty," &c. With what pleasure then, and cheerful confidence, may we look this king of terrors in the face, and say, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?"
Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: though I fall, I shall rise again :” “ for I know that my Redeemer liveth,” and that “though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God."-Death, though he may terrify us, cannot hurt us. See where he lies, conquered, at our feet, like Sisera in the tent, with a nail through his tem, ples ; see this, and say, “ Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ.”