Изображения страниц

salvation, and all my desire, although' he make it not to grow;" and, therefore, “ though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.”

You are affected, and cry out with astonishment, • Is this religion? Who would not be religious? I am quite ashamed of myself. Here is a person all resignation and serenity, under trials that would have turned my brain or broke my heart, I will go home and inquire how I may be religious too. I know not how soon I may be called to bury a near and dear relation; I know not how sool: they may be called to bury me: and what should I do, in either of these cases, who am a total stranger to the consolations of religion ?-0 Thou, who leadest the blind by a way which they know not, show me the path of life. What I know not, teach thou me; and wherein I have done iniquity, I will do so no more.'

These are some, and but some, of the lessons to be learnt there. And now, whether it be not better: to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting, judge ye. But, however, lest any, after all, should remain unconvinced, I will just mention, and shall do little more than mention,

III. The Preacher's reason for this preference.

“ It is better,” says he,“ to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of - feasting, for this is the end of all men.”. Every one of your houses will in its turn be a house of mourning; and all that you have now seen done for the deceased, shall ere long be done for you.

" What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? Shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the



grave ?” What man is he that shall escape deatır? Is it the young man ?-no; “man at his best estate is altogether vanity.” Is it the rich man ?-no; " the rich man also died, and was buried.” Is it the good man?-no; " the righteous are taken away from the evil to come.” Is it the wicked man ?

" the wicked is driven away in his wicked

In short, “it is appointed unto all men once to die.” Numerous as this assembly is, when a few years come we shall all go the way whence we shall not return, and “the places that now know us will know us no more.” It is not a matter of conjecture or probability only: the setting of the sun this evening is not more certain, than that every individual now in this house will one day be numbered among the dead. “O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!"-It is unquestionably better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, since this is the end of all men.--But, after all, it will signify nothing, unless the living will lay it to his heart.


[ocr errors][merged small]



2 Sam. xxiii. 5.

Although my house be not so with God, yet he hath

made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow.

This is, if I may so express it, the living speech of a dying saint; the last, best refuge of a believer, under the most desolating calamity. David was now on the brink of one world, and looking stedfastly into another ; at which time he had some discouraging apprehensions about his family: it did not come up to the glorious description given of it, in verses 3 and 4. He was conscious of great failings in himself; and he had lived to see much wickedness among his children ; and he, bitterly lamented family defects, as well as family decays ; but, in the midst of all, he encouraged himself in the Lord his God." He hath made with me,” says he, “ an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure.

It is no disparagement to royalty to accommodate his words to pious persons of inferior rank. Every true believer hath the honour and happiness

of being a partner with David in all the privileges of this gracious covenant. What else can be the meaning of that extensive grant! Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy wine and milk without money, and without price.

Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.” (Isai. Iv. 1 and 3.) I therefore make no apology for putting these words into the mouth of an aflicted Christian,

Breach upon breach have followed one another in such quick succession, that few houses have undergone so many changes in so short a period. Only about eighteen months, and three children (and such children too !)—and now their fatherdead. Surely “if in this life only they had hope, they were of all persons most miserable." But “ faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” It elevates the soul far above all sublunary things, where it is comparatively unaffected with the whirl of this ever-changing globe; and opens such prospects, as administer not merely support, but consolation and triumph. It sets the Christian so near the throne of God, and gives such rapturous and appropriating views of the divine perfections and promises; the things above so invite, engage, and engross their attention ; that they scarcely heed what passes in the world below. They look down from that happy elevation-0 with what an heroic firmness and composure do they ook down !--and behold the great desolations God is making among their earthly comforts. They may weep-(indeed, it were unnatural, it were unchristian, not to weep, under such smart and repeated strokes of God's rodbut, then, they “weep as though they wept not;" and, with all the serenity and exultation of this reminent believer in the text, say, Although my house be not so with God, yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure ; for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow.” A passage full of the most valuable instruction and comfort. I will endeavour to comprise as much of it as suits our present purpose, under this one general observation ; viz. That a personal interest in the covenant of grace

is a sufficient support under the greatest family

afflictions. For the illustration and improvement of this interesting point, I propose,

1. To consider the nature and properties of that covenant which God makes with all true believers :

II. Show that a personal interest in it is a suffic. cient support under family troubles.

I. Let us inquire into the nature and properties of this covenant. · Now the covenant-I mean the covenant of grace -is nothing else but a collection of promises, 'exceeding great and precious, whereby God hath condescended to bind himself to bestow on such and such persons the most important blessings of time and eternity.

“ For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord: I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »