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unto you. But he tells you
that if you set at nought his counsel, he will laugh at your calamity, and mock when your fear cometh-when your fear cometh as desolation, and your
destruction cometh as a whirlwind-when distress and anguish cometh upon you ;-then, saith the Lord, " they shall call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: for that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord: they would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.”
Still more it shows that bereavement often fails to produce the desired moral influence. The stroke of death has a voice to the survivors, and that voice is—PREPARE! Oh, how suited to awaken attention, to produce the most serious thoughts ! A brother, a sister, a parent dies. In the chamber lies the corpse awaiting the funeral hour. What awful suggestiveness is in that scene ! If that mighty, though silent voice, do not rouse to serious inquiry the bereaved, whence is to come a more potent messenger? Yet in this case it failed.
A few days, perhaps, passed off, and things assumed their wonted aspect ; the sigh was hushed, the tear was dried, and the world again displayed its mastery. Reader, has death entered your family? Did
you attend to the voice of the loved one as he lay cold and motionless in your chamber ? If not, go yet to the grave, and try to catch the admonition. God has a momentous purpose in this visitation ; a purpose involving the highest interest of your future moral life. Estimate this purpose by his own intelligence and benevolence. He sees you in all the future stages of your being, in all your capabilities; and he would bless you by turning you away from your sins, and raising you to the highest happiness.
Thirdly. It was a family whose probable ruin roused the apprehensions of the departed. Listen to the prayer of the lost brother: “I pray thee, therefore, send him to my
father's house, for I have five brethren, lest they come into this place of torment.” Whatever might have been the principle that dictated this prayer, selfishness or benevolence, there are three solemn truths that it suggests.
That departed spirits carry with them the remembrance of their past history. He thought of his father's house, of his five brethren and their character, and probable ruin. In eternity there is a resurrection of thoughts. Oh! what a power is memory
! As the ocean prints its undulating waves upon the shore, so life prints all its circumstances, and actions, and thoughts, upon the memory—a tablet this whose characters
everlasting ages will not efface. Who will ever forget “his father's house?” There did we not only receive existence, but consciousness and character. There impressions were first made, there inquiries were first commenced, there the first habits were formed, and there were originated those principles from which would spring either the upas or the tree of life. There were we sowing the infallible seeds of a future harvest, and whatever a man soweth that shall he also reap; he that soweth to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption; while he that soweth to the spirit, shall of the spirit reap life everlasting. Every hour of our being, by every thought we cherish, by every word we speak, by every action we perform, we are either treasuring up for ourselves wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, or, by seeking for glory, honour, and immortality, eternal life. We press the momentous question, Reader, which are you doing ? For what are you preparing ? What will the character you are now forming necessarily produce in the future? Does there await you a resurrection of life, or a resurrection of condemnation ? Obliterate the memory of the past, you cannot. The past will be with you in its effects; it must identify itself with your moral being ; it must either give intensity to the fire that cannot be quenched, and nerve to the worm that dieth not, or burst forth in the fuller beauties of holiness, and develop itself in the consummated happiness of heaven. Pause and consider before another hour of your seed time is spent. Here I am sowing either for future life or for future death.
The fact also suggests that hell is no desirable place for the renewal of old associations. His prayer is against nature. The language of the social heart would say, “Let my five brethren come hither.” A poor convict in his chains and toil, far away from the land of his birth, would say, “Would that my friends could visit me-would that parents and brethren were here; their sympathy would cheer me, their conversation would while away the time, their presence would soothe my sinking spirit.” All this is natural. But here you have a man putting up a cry that he may never see his kindred again—a cry amounting to an eternal separation from old friends. Does not this impressively show the undesirableness of renewing old associations in hell ? Mutual friends on earth would be mutual tormentors in hell.
The fact also suggests that the tendency of sin is to dissociulize human nature, to reduce it to a state in which the loving, sympathetic heart shall utter as its most earnest prayer, that no renewal of former friendships take place. Parents praying for eternal separation from children, and children from parents. Reader, are you a parent ? Dear are your children to your heart; the idea of parting from them now amounts to anguish; but if you are living in sin, there are principles at work which must, from an eternal necessity, produce a disruption of all the tender ties that now unite you. Religion alone consecrates, beautifies, and immortalizes human friendship. But the prayer is offered in vain. “ The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” It was said of Judas that he went to his own place, i.e., to his appropriate place. This is emphatically true of every man. The appropriate place of all who sympathize with irreligion is the same.
Fain would they be separated. Fain would the parent never see that child whose ruin shall remind him of the past neglect; whose weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth shall be but the fearful echo of his own oft-repeated assault on the principles of spiritual life. Fain would Dives never see those companions in sin whose ungodly living he encouraged, and whose thoughtlessness and folly reacted to increase the hardness of his own heart. Oh, what thoughts of the past must their presence recal ! what new fires of remorse must the scene of their ruin rekindle! But I dare not follow out the fearful thought. On the ground of reason, of conscience, of scripture ; by the responsibilities of the present, and the inevitable retribution of the future, I plead with you against sin. Its necessary tendency is to dissocialize every society, to blacken every scene, to wither every hope, to blast every relationship, to convert the sources of the highest life into the elements of the second death.
Finally. It was a family possessing all the religious advantages they required, or would ever have. They had “ Moses and the prophets." Had they been left to the light of nature to find out God, duty, and destiny, they would have been inexcusable, “ for the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead ; so that they are without excuse.” But in addition to the revelations of nature, this family had special communications of divine instruction. Through Moses and the prophets God revealed himself to them as the Redeemer--a relation suited to them in their fallen and depraved condition. Through these he unfolded to them a sacrifice commensurate with their sins, and presented an agency “mighty to save.” What more did they require ? Thousands as depraved as themselves had been saved through these. The piety of the world for nearly forty centuries had been generated and sustained by their influence. No; they needed no more ; nor would they ever have any more. It was heaven's final disclosure to them ; yet, notwithstanding these advantages, they were irreligious they were on the road to hell. There is no necessary connexion between the possession of the scriptures and the salvation of the soul; but there is a necessary connexion between their possession and the augmentation of responsibility, and the blackness and poignancy of future woe. Reader, you have more than Moses and the prophets ; you have Christ and the apostles. The shadows and prophecies of the ancients have become facts to you. Are your family saved ? If not, why? Are you looking for another revelation? If so, you will be disappointed. Christianity is the final revelation of mercy to our world. Besides, were another revelation to come, it would not succeed when this fails. The certainty is that he who rejects one form of revelation, would reject another; he who rejected Patriarchism, would reject Judaism; he who rejected Judaism, would reject Christianity; and he who rejected Christianity, would reject any other messenger from the eternal world. Thank God that whilst all that you will ever have is with you now, all you want is with you now. O beware! “See that ye refuse not him that speaketh.
For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven.”
J. F. SHAW, BOOKSELLER, SOUTHAMPTON ROW, AND
PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON; AND W.INNES, BOOKSELLER, SOUTH HANOVER STREET, EDINBURGH. London: J. & W. Rider, Printers, 14, Bartholomew Close.
Our great captain is gone; and all England mourns. The mourning may be said to resemble, in one respect, the reputation of Wellington; it borrows nothing from extraneous circumstances, tragic, pathetic, or untimely, but derives all its strength from what is practical, a sheer sense of loss. It is simply the wisdom of the nation lamenting its wisest man, the valour lamenting the bravest, the loyalty the most loyal, the love of law the greatest venerator of law, the love of order the most noted instance of order, the love of duty the highest example of duty, and the love of peace the most powerful friend
At the death of Clive, Wolfe, Moore, and Nelson, there was much in attendant circumstances to touch the sensibilities ; but in this case there is only the simple fact, “Wellington is dead.” Yet this announcement will not only sadden the heart of every loyal man in England, but will cloud faces in the sunshine of Malta and Corfu ; will subdue the tone of manly voices in the bush of Kaffirland ; will make the golddigger in Australia feel that he has had a loss; will overcast the looks of many a ship's company as they hear, across the sea, in the hoarse notes of the speaking-trumpet, “Wellington is dead."
In tracing the progress of this sorrow round the world, and imagining the looks, words, reflections, movements it will cause, one sees a touching example of the moral power which a man is capable of gaining. The grief which the death of Wellington causes to tens of millions is evidence that his was a power which, to some extent at least, had an influence on their minds. Among the spectacles which impress us in this life, there is scarcely any which has a higher significance, than that of one man thus swaying a multitude of his brothers. To what an extent does the Great Father of this human race commit the lot of one to the keeping of others !
Reflect on the share which he who is now gone has had in forming the character and determining the circumstances of his fellow-men. Let any one of us sit down and endeavour to recal the various ways in which Wellington has mingled with our course of thought or trains of feeling. When, in boyhood, you read the histories of ancient states, did he not often start up in your mind, side by side with the heroes of those days, while you debated which was greater, he or they ? When you read the singular story of India's acquisition, he met you in actual presence. When you read the history of Europe, he was there ; at first by comparison and contrast, and at length by an influence which coloured the whole field of vision. Even when you read of the origin of the United States, he followed you, making you wonder how the contest