« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
through which many are inclined to view it, gives to it a character which it utterly repudiates. It requires to be seen as it is, in order to a right understanding of its nature, and a correct impression of its worth. Its claims are imperative. It will not allow of any compromise. It will not consent to be treated as a secondary matter, or to be made subservient to other things. It requires to be enthroned in the affections, and to establish its pre-eminence by rendering the interests of time subordinate to those of eternity. It is a heavenly birth. It is the region of spiritual life. It is the element of holy love. It is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” “It is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to le entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” Its foundation is the finished work of Christ, its rule is the example of Christ, and its end is the glory of Christ. In this world there is a process of character which all are constantly undergoing, and the question whether we are in a process of recovery from sin to holiness, is that on a right answer to which our everlasting well-being depends. We have not yet seen much of the present year. It is nearly all future. Its history, however, though concealed from us, is known to Him, who has his eye, not only upon its beginning, but also accurately views and correctly estimates all the varieties of its course, down to the moment of its termination. Before it finishes its revolution, great numbers will have reached the boundary line of their earthly being. Some in the bloom of youth, others in the prime of their days, and others of more advanced age, will be laid low before the expiration of December next. And what region will they inhabit ? With whom will they associate? What subjects will occupy their thoughts ? What scenes will open to their contemplation? The Supreme Judge, and Judge of all, will pronounce upon their character. He will give judgment in righteousness. He is no respecter of persons, and cannot be induced to give an unrighteous sentence. No doubtful evidences, no artful insinuations, no plausible appearances can impose upon Him. He is the God of truth, without iniquity; just and right is He. From his supreme decision there lies no appeal. From his omnipresence there is no escape. From his omniscience there is no concealment. “ Whither shall I go from thy spirit?” says the Psalmist; “or whither shall I flee from thy presence ? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there : if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shallcover me ; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee,” Psa. cxxxix. 7–12. Our motives, as well as our actions, are open to his view, and subject to his scrutiny. By what rule will sentence be pronounced upon our case? The book of God is given to us, and we are commanded to give heed to it. The gospel is at once a transcript of the divine mind and a record of the divine will. It reveals the method of grace, and exhibits the rule of judgment. “He that rejecteth me," said Christ to the Jews, “and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him : the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” With respect to the heathen, they cannot be judged by a revelation of which they never heard : they will be judged according to the light of natural conscience, and the discovery God has made of himself in his works. At least we know and are assured that whatever be the standard by which they will be judged, it will be according to that they have, and not according to that they have not, for the Judge of all the earth shall do right. We shall be judged according to the dispensation of the gospel. It will not be merely whether we were innocent or guilty, but whether we were believers or unbelievers ; whether our views, and principles, and habits were in harmony with the truth as it is in Jesus, or whether we indulged in sentiments and practices at variance with its claims, and incompatible with its interests. Disobedience to the gospel will not only subject us to the wrath of incensed justice, but to the wrath of incensed merey
“ the wrath of the Lamb." The higher the precipice, the more tremendous the fall. In proportion to the greatness of our privileges, if slighted or unimproved, will be our condemnation and ruin at the last. Time is urging us on. All will, ere long, ascertain their real position. And how dreadful will it be for those who will find, when it is too late, that their position has been a false one—that the harvest of opportunity is passed, and the summer of grace is ended, and they, alas ! are not saved! There are farewells in time, and there are farewells to time, but there is no dissevering of associations in eternity. No saint, in glory, will ever be compelled to say adieu in heaven; no sinner, in perdition, will ever be permitted to say adieu in hell. In the future world things růn on in unbroken and constant succession. All there is stamped with the impress of immortality. Here we pass on and quickly pass away.
There is an end. What am I? Whither am I going? Where shall I be ? My Sovereign Judge knows my heart, marks my course, and will fix my destiny. I hear him say—for he speaks in his word_" He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” “ Enter
in at the strait gate : for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and
many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." “ Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven ; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils ? and in thy name done many wonderful works ? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." His followers are of his mind—they are under his training. They bear his image. They reflect his glory. Their humility, their contrition, their faith, their hope, their love, their joy, their peace, their devout solicitudes, their holy aspirations, and glorious prospects, all evince that they belong to a kingdom which is not of this world; and are the heirs of an “inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away in the world which is yet to come.”
God of eternity, from thee
Silent and slow they glide away,
With it the thoughtless sons of men
Yet while the shore on either side
Great Source of wisdom, teach my hcart
J. F. SHAW, BOOKSELLER, SOUTHAMPTON ROW, AND
PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON; AND W.INNES, BOOKSELLER, SOUTH HANOVER STREET, EDINBURGH.
J. & W. Rider, Printers, 14, Bartholomew Close, London.
THE COVETOUS MAN,
On the bank of one of our English rivers may be seen a mansion of considerable architectural embellishments. It stands on elevated ground, with terraces of grass sloping down to the water's edge. At the south side is the principal entrance, which has a handsome portico, over which rises a tower of moderate elevation. From its summit a beautiful landscape presents itself to the eye of the observer. The reception-rooms are of considerable dimensions, replete with furniture that forty years ago was deemed modern and handsome. The library, rich in works of classical and scientific merit, was also stored with philosophical apparatus, particularly with whatever could facilitate the culture of astronomical science.
The owner of this mansion was Mr. Tempest. He was the son of an affiluent gentleman, distinguished in the commercial world by an integrity that was never questioned, and by a prudence and enterprise which almost invariably ensured
He received a liberal education, and his mind was not only enriched with the fruit of varied studies, but was also rendered acute and logical by the severity of mental discipline. At an early age he was established in business, a liberal sum having been handed to him by his father, as the basis of his commercial operations.
From his first entrance into business, Mr. Tempest was eminently successful. His personal expenditure being moderate, capital immediately began to accumulate, and his commercial transactions expanded in proportion.
At the age of twenty-nine he married, and as the fruit of this union he had two children. He was then highly esteemed as an intelligent and honourable member of society, and in a more select circle was considered a young man of great promise. He attended church twice on the sabbath, with a regularity that indicated depth of religious conviction, and he lent his aid to works of benevolence, as though his heart were gratified by the diffusive happiness they created.
But gradually a change came over his spirit. His wealth rapidly increased, and out of its growth came a withering influence on all that was morally beautiful and benevolent in his disposition. The love of money crept like an evil spirit into his bosom, and corrupted the life-blood of his higher moral nature. Accumulation became the one absorbing object of his