« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
Moses was born, and was, in fact, co-existent with the creation and government of man.
The interview closed. Death had marked its victim, and waited at a distance to conduct him down the descending steps to the tomb. Referring to his contemplated voyage, and the future which loomed in the distant prospective, he observed,
Perhaps a black flag, half-mast high, will intimate my death, as the packet reaches Barbadoes.”
66 And to have entered the haven above will exceed everything else,” it was observed to him. 6 That is too much for me to expect."
A tear in the eye, a faltering in the voice, and evident emotion in the heart, told their own expressive tale. His sister, who stood by, was deeply moved; and together, the little group sought that relief which an approach to the throne of mercy can alone afford.
As they rose from their knees, the barrister expressed the comfort he realized in the fact, that the mercy of God was never more set forth, than in having appointed a Redeemer for men, who is also an advocate with God.
· Employ that Advocate for yourself,” said the minister. • Deal with him as a client would be required to deal with you; tell him all ; open out your
whole soul. His tenderness is illimitable; his wisdom infinite ; and his ability to save stretches to the uttermost of your necessities or your fears. Commit your case into his hands; accept what he offers ; and thus you will enjoy the redemption he freely gives."
“ Freely !” he exclaimed; “I shall never forget that one word.”
The day following was the sabbath. The rain fell in torrents ; the wind howled; and the spray covered the hotel. The robust in health almost feared to venture out. Our invalid was therefore prevented appearing at public worship. He, however, was engaged in domestic worship. Late on the Saturday evening, an intimate friend arrived at the hotel. He had learned that the packet was detained, and, in the hope of catching a few more hours with him, had hurried all the
way from Dublin, in order a second time to bid him farewell. On the sabbath they held a service at home. He, one who had often sécured the attention of the House of Commons, conducted the solemnity. Portions of the Scripture he read and expounded; prayer was offered, and praise ascended to Him in whose name they were assembled, and whose promised presence they realized.
X second detention of the packet was announced. During this interval, repeated interviews took place, the details of which would swell this little book beyond its assigned limits. It must therefore suffice to state, that the subject of this narrative bimself described the great change which had passed upon his mind, by saying,
“I was an intellectually proud seeptic, by which I mean, not so much proud of my own intellect, as disposed to think it an act of injustice for God to banish any intellect from himself. I was too religious to acknowledge myself a sceptic, and yet not religious enough to renounce my scepticism. I am now conscious of one absorbing desire, that of knowing and enjoying the whole of the simple and sublime truths of Christianity.”
At last, the signal to sail was hoisted. With mingled emotions the barrister and the minister parted. From Barbadoes he received a letter, part of which will explain the mental distrust which still reigned, although it had fastened upon a perfectly different subject, and was under the guidance of diametrically opposite regulations than onee had agitated a highly educated mind.
“Barbadoes, January 3, 1825. “MY DEAR SIR, God has been pleased to spare me hitherto ; but so far as my bodily health is concerned, I think time and climate have wrought no beneficial change. With respect to my spiritual state, dulness and apathy are still the ills I most especially suffer, and in vain do I strive to wrestle against them. Death, which alarmed me at first, seems, by having been delayed, to have lost its terrors: had I lost them by having in their stead spiritual hope, I should rejoice; but though occasionally I feel fervency and courage, and trust in my Redeemer, yet when I again contemplate departure, again I feel reluctance. It is painful for me to write; you will therefore excuse brevity. Pray for me.
“ I remain, yours spiritually obliged, J. E To this expressive illustration of mental conflict a reply was sent. Scarcely, however, had the packet conveying the letter cleared the English Channel, than the following announcement was made in one of the London papers :
Died, at Barbadoes, whither he had gone for the recovery of his health, J:- E- -, Esq., Barrister-at-Law, and Recorder of
Reader ! accept, enjoy, and prove that you have been “ justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."
J. F. SHAW, BOOKSELLER, SOUTHAMPTON ROW, AND
PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON; AND W. INNES, BOOKSELLER, SOUTH HANOVER STREET, EDINBURGD. London: J. & W. RIDBR, Printers, 14, Bartholomew Close.
" The bell strikes one. We take no note of time,
But from its loss. To give it then a tongue
ONCE more are we rem by the striking of the midnight bell, that we are another year nearer the world of spirits—the ocean of eternity! How rapid our advance! The world, like a swift chariot, is hurrying us onward to the great tribunalwithout rest or pause—where, prepared or unprepared, we shall meet God face to face, and hear that sentence which never can be reversed.
How many, during the past year, have been awakened out of their slumber on the very confines of eternity, to perceive, when too late, that they had been throughout their career under a fatal lethargy in regard to their eternal prospects ! How many, again, of God's servants, under a brighter review, have been summoned home to the rest which remaineth for the people of God!
Could the spirits of those departed ones pass in awful procession before us, without speaking a word, but only giving an impressive look, one can easily conceive how eloquent would that look be to the heart. First I behold those passing by who have died in the Lord during the past year ; those who had previously proved, by a holy and devoted life, that they
were habitually constrained by divine love, and who were found on their death-beds reposing on the blood and righteousness of the Redeemer. How seraphic-how beseeching their look! It seemed to say to all, “O live now to the Lord, and when you come to die, you shall share in our blessedness. Eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, neither hath it entered into the mind of unrenewed man what exalted felicity we now enjoy, what rivers of pleasures are at God's right hand for evermore!” But next I can conceive the awful train of those who died last year while still neglecting the great salvation. How dreadful the sight! They appear to look terror, and their anguish would seem to say, “ Follow not in our dread career,
share in our torments. This time last year we were thoughtless about eternal things,-saying to ourselves, Take thine ease,-eat, drink, and be merry. We dreamed of many future days and much earthly prosperity. But though we heard, from time to time, warnings of our danger and entreaties no longer to neglect the great salvation, but to come at once to the Saviour, yet we ever inwardly replied, “Go thy way this time, at a more convenient season we will attend to these things. At length, vengeance overtook us suddenly in the midst of worldly prospects ! In an unlooked-for hour, God said, “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee.' O, then, do not follow our example, lest you come to our dark and hopeless despair.”
These are not figments of imagination, but are the certain expression of unseen realities ; just as was the awful picture held forth by our Lord of the rich man and Lazarus. What, then, I demand, is wisdom? Is it to banish the subject of eternity from our minds, because it might depress the feelings, and interrupt the momentary pleasures of life? Oh, no. This would be the depth of folly ; but wisdom consists in looking forward with intense, all-absorbing earnestness to the future, and duly preparing to meet our God. But how can we prepare for this awful meeting amid the innumerable cares,-attractions,—delusions of life, -except our minds are continuously impressed with a sense of our IMMORTALITY,—the shortness of time, and the awful relation between time improved to the glory of God, and an eternity of joy in his own immediate presence ? And how can we possibly meet God in eternity as a friend, except we first meet him here on the ground of Calvary, where the claims of law and justice for our guilt were duly met, and where the soul becomes reconciled, -pardoned, - sanctified, through the precious blood of the Lord Jesus ? There is not a mind on earth, however capacious, which can perfectly conceive the value of time; for no one but the Omniscient God can fully estimate its eternal consequences, its exclusive privileges, its awful relations. Compared with the value of time, in relation to the gospel and eternity, all the gold and silver, the honours and pleasures of the world, are but empty toys. For through the sovereign appointment of God, it is the only period in which man can possibly fly from everlasting destruction, and begin to rise, through faith in the blood of the Redeemer, to unmeasured heights of glory in heaven.
Thus it is our immortality and its unchangeable issues, when duly apprehended in relation to this world and the proclamation of the gospel, which gives such an unspeakable value, --not merely to our lifetime as a whole - but to the employment of all its days,-hours--minutes, ---moments. In this light,-even one quarter of an hour-may be the turning point of a man's eternal existence, and can be demonstrated to have, in certain respects, more real value than thousands of ages in eternity; for it is evident, that that may be done in one quarter of an hour below, through the grace of God, which never can be done in eternity. Here, for example, in less than that brief space, yea, even in a moment, a soul may pass from death unto life through faith in Jesus-may become united, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to the Redeemer,--and thus receive a commencing meetness for the inheritance of the saints in light. But should he cross the confines of this world--unpardoned, -unreconciled to God, we are assured by revelation that millions of ages would fail to procure for him these inestimable privileges. Thus on every moment may be said to hang “the vast concerns of an eternal scene;" while the Spirit of God proclaims, with trumpet voice, to every unpardoned soul, “ To-day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” “ Be wise to day, 'tis madness to defer.”
Who, then, can calculate the infinite privileges which the love of God has connected with every passing minute on earth ? In that brief period the true believer may, through the Spirit, sow immortal seeds in his own soul or in the minds of others, which, through the atonement and intercession of Christ, may bud, blossom, and bear fruit for ever and ever. O never does a saint realize the value of time as when, to him, it is about to expire !
But as a faint illustration of the infinite value of time, let it be imagined that two persons were appointed by God to live for a hundred years in this world, and that it was revealed to them that a treasury full of gold and silver should be opened