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military achievements and victories? Their earthly glory followed their remains indeed to the
tens of thousands assembled, with princes and captains to honour their memories ; but not one ray of all the mournful splendour could penetrate the world of spirits, or cheer their departed souls.
If they now rejoice and triumph in eternity, it is not in remembrance of their splendid military career, but in the victory gained by the Lord of glory while pouring forth his life on Calvary for their eternal redemption. And if they are now singing in higher realms with the heavenly host, the burden of their song is praise,—not of themselves or their victories,—but of the Captain of their salvation; it is, “ Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.”
If, then, this world is but at best a fleeting show; if human life is but a vapour, which appeareth for a little time and then passeth away;
the favour and riches of the world can give us no comfort in a dying hour; if our happiness for eternity depend on our being now pardoned, -justified through the blood of Christ, and delivered from the love and power of sin through the grace of the Holy Spirit ; and if Jesus Christ be now ready to receive and welcome every returning sinner, however previously wicked and worthless ;—then surely every thoughtful being must see that true wisdom consists in seeking the Lord' now, while he is to be found, -and calling on him while he is near.
Surely on a death-bed, --on which the youngest or strongest of my readers may soon be laid, the only great questions which occupy a truly awakened mind are those on which our eternity is suspended. They will not be—What does man think of me?-but how does God—the God with whom I have to do—regard me? Am I reconciled to him through an absolute surrender to the sceptre of his beloved Son, who died to save me? Am I saved,-pardoned, -at peace with God, through his precious blood ? Shall I meet him in eternity as my Friend-Father— Redeemer ? Or, through neglecting
the great salvation, shall I be hurried into his presence as into that of a condemning Judge ? Shall I be borne to heaven in the arms of angels, when I have drawn my last breath? Or (0 dreadful alternative !) be cast down amongst the crowds of the finally lost ?
If these, then, be the chief, the all-absorbing questions on a death-bed, when about to launch into eternity; and so also when we are eventually arraigned with countless hosts before the Great White Throne at the coming of our Lord ; and if any or every moment, for aught we know to the contrary, may be our last in this world-Ought they not to be the chief questions now ? Ought we to remain one hour without earnestly seeking to have the question thoroughly and favourably answered, Am I saved? Do I know on good grounds that my sins are really forgiven ?—that I am regenerated by the Spirit of God ?—that heaven is mine? if only a very doubtful or wavering answer can be given to the awful, the momentous demands, then surely to allow any earthly considerations, whether personal, domestic, professional, or political, to cause us to postpone their awful solution to a future day, is the very height of folly,—the triumph of the powers of darkness.
For if we be not thus brought to let down the flag of rebellion, and cordially accept the overtures of mercy through the Redeemer, and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit to enlighten, to regenerate, and sanctify our souls; if we be not induced by the amazing love of God, in giving up his Son to die for our salvation, to forsake all, to take up our cross, and follow him through good report and evil report; then there remaineth nothing for us but a fearful looking-for of judgment and fiery condemnation, which shall devour the adversaries. For God shall at last be revealed from heaven in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel.
But what will lead a man to let go his hold of the world, so as no longer to seek his happiness in the things of time and sense ? It is in vain to argue that it is his duty to do it ;—that the world will not afford him complete happiness ;—that there are many miseries in this life. For you may convince his judgment theoretically, but will never in this way gain the victory in the oniy citadel where the victory is decisive-the heart. It requires, to effect this, another kind of influence, even faith in the infinite love of God, manifested to the soul in the unspeakable gift of a Redeemer ; and the bringing before the heart a better object than this world, with the absolute conviction that it can at once be received by letting go the latter. “ This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” It is accomplished through grace, quite in accordance with the constitution of the human mind. Hence when God and Christ, heaven and eternal blessings, are brought near to the soul, and their superiority are seen; and when it is firmly believed that no interval need elapse ere the enjoyment of these begin ; then the soul lets go the world and self; while it hastens to receive the free and everlasting portion thus held out. Having discovered the pearl of great price, and perceived the certainty of obtaining it, the believer then for joy goes at once and sells all that he has to procure the treasure. O ! the love of God labours, so to speak, to throw aside every suspicion of its freeness in the awakened sinner's heart;presses on his mind a present salvation, without previous goodness :—and reiterates the joyful anouncement, “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."
And now, dear reader, you may recklessly throw aside this tract and forget these glorious tidings- but at the last day you will remember-it may be—too late—that along with all the loud voices of Providence, you have had another call to PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD.
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 START IN LIFE.
The above title—the Start in Life-was at once suggested by a recent unexpected visit from a youthful stranger, who had been till very lately an officer in the East India service, but had now begun an entirely new career. Being much interested in the object of his visit-special efforts on behalf of young men—I felt desirous to know the true commencement of his own life, and how, through the grace of God, he had started in the race for glory and immortality. He at once met my
desire. He had been, he said, trained up by pious parents. Many were the prayers, anxious were the instructions, of his devoted Christian mother, to lead him, in very early youth, to the Saviour. But, ere long, the whole of these efforts appeared to be frustrated, and these affectionate and oft repeated lessons lost for ever. At the age of fifteen, he entered an East India Company's, vessel, and from year to year rushed heedlessly onward in the path to ruin! Regardless of all counsel, he plunged into every vice; never entering the house of God when on shore ; and altogether neglecting the reading of God's holy word.
But a mother's fervent, believing prayers had been registered in heaven ; and evidence was soon to be given, that her anxious efforts for the salvation of her child, and the corresponding holy example of his parents, had not been in vain. After seven long years spent in sin—and many almost miraculous escapes from destruction by shipwreck and other disastersma new year was about to dawn on the prodigal son. The miseries which he had endured often caused him to tremble in anticipation of the "wrath to come;" but they produced no abiding effect on his mind. At last he was startled from his fearful delusions, by being suddenly called to behold the dead body of the fireman of the vessel—to whom he had spoken but a little before in perfect health-lying fearfully mutilated before him on the deck. He had been killed by a derangement of the machinery under his charge. The young officer exclaimed, in view of the dread spectacle—“To whom shall this sudden death be a warning ?. God grant it may be me!”
His prayer was heard. From that hour he began to live for eternity. He became deeply alarmed for the safety of his soul. Soon his mother's long-slighted instructions rushed into his mind with the freshness of yesterday. Though unacquainted with the nature of justification by faith, yet remembering her precious lessons, he knew full well where to gothat Jesus Christ was the Saviour of sinners—and that he must in humble confidence apply to Him for pardon and salvation through his atoning blood. “ I paced up and down the deck," said he, “during the whole of my watch that night, looking stedfastly at the beautiful constellation, “the Cross," only visible in the southern hemisphere. I think I hardly took off my eyes from it. I sought out from a heap of rubbish my long-neglected Bible, which my father had given me years before, and spent much time in reading it. I at once gave myself up, soul, body, and spirit to the service of the Redeemer, who had died to save me from destruction; and within one fortnight from the date of my awakening, with, out a human counsellor to advise me, having only my Bible, a few tracts, and the recollection of my mother's instructions to guide me, I knew that I had obtained pardon for all my sins, and peace with God through the blood of Jesus Christ. Before that happy hour arrived, my inward alarms, conflicts, and temptations were great indeed; nevertheless, I fixed my mind op that simple promise of the Redeemer, “ Ask, and ye shall receive." I read the chapter of the New Testament in wnich these words are recorded (Luke xi.) with increasing interest night after night; and with all my heart pleaded for pardoning mercy, and the teaching of the Holy Spirit. Had worlds been offered me, they would have been