« AnteriorContinuar »
to another, that he may carry on new plans of wisdom and goodness, and fill all space with the wonders of creation ? Successive generations of men have arisen to possess the earth. By turns they have passed away and gone into regions unknown. Us he hath raised up, to occupy their room. We too shall shortly disappear. But human existence never perishes. Life only changes its form, and is renewed. Creation is ever filling, but never full. When the whole intended course of the generations of men shall be finished, then as a shepherd leads his flock from one pasture to another, so the great Creator leads forth the souls which he hath made, into new and prepared abodes of life. They go from this earth to a new earth, and new heavens; and still they remove, only from one province of the divine dominion to another. Amidst all those changes of nature, the Great Ruler himself remains without variableness or shadow of turning. To him, these successive revolutions of being are but as yesterday when it is past. From his eternal throne, he beholds worlds rising and passing away ; measures out, to the creatures who inhabit them, powers and faculties suited to their state ; and distributes among them rewards and punishments, proportioned to their actions. — What an astonishing view do such meditations afford of the kingdom of God; infinite in its extent; everlasting in its duration ; exhibiting, in every period, the reign of perfect righteousness and wisdom! Who by searching can find out God? who can find out the Almighty to perfection ? Great and marvellous are all thy works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are all thy ways, thou King of saints !
On the Causes of Men's being weary of Life.
JOB, x. 1.
My soul is weary of my life.
JOB, in the first part of his days, was the greatest
of all the men of the East. His possessions were large ; his family was numerous and flourishing ; his own character was fair and blameless.. Yet this man it pleased God to visit with extraordinary reverses of fortune. He was robbed of his whole substance. His sons and daughters all perished; and he himself, fallen from his high estate, childless, and reduced to poverty, was smitten with sore disease. His friends came about him, seemingly with the purpose of administering comfort. But from a harsh and ill. founded construction of the intention of Providence in his disasters, they only added to his sorrows by unjust upbraiding. Hence those many pathetic lamentations with which this Book abounds, poured forth in the most beautiful and touching strain of Oriental poetry. In one of those hours of lamentation, the sentiment in the text was uttered ; My soul is weary of my life ; a sentiment, which surely, if any situation can justify it, was allowable in the case of Job.
In situations very different from that of Job, under calamities far less severe, it is not uncommon to find such a sentiment working in the heart, and sometimes breaking forth from the lips of men. Many, very many there are, who, on one occasion or other, have experienced this weariness of life, and been tempted to wish that it would come to a close. Let us now examine in what circumstances this feeling may be deemed excusable; in what it is to be held sinful ; and under what restrictions we may, on any occasion, be permitted to say, My soul is weary of
I SHALL consider the words of the text in three lights: as expressing, First, The sentiment of a discontented man : Secondly, The sentiment of an afflicted man: Thirdly, The sentiment of a devout
I. Let us consider the text as expressing the sentiment of a discontented man; with whom it is the effusion of spleen, vexation, and dissatisfaction with life, arising from causes neither laudable nor justifiable. There are chiefly three classes of men who are liable to this disease of the mind; the idle; the luxurious ; the criminal.
First, This weariness of life is often found among the idle ; persons commonly in easy circumstances of fortune, who are not engaged in any of the laborious occupations of the world, and who are at the same time without energy of mind to call them forth into any other line of active exertion. In this languid, or rather torpid state, they have so many vacant hours, and are so much at a loss how to fill up
their time, that their spirits utterly sink; they become
burdensome to themselves, and to every one around them; and drag with pain the load of existence. What a convincing proof is hereby afforded, that man was designed by his Creator to be an active being, whose happiness is to be found not merely in rest, but in occupation and pursuit! The idle are doomed to suffer the natural punishment of their inactivity and folly; and from their complaints of the tiresomeness of life there is no remedy but to awake from the dream of sloth, and to fill
with proper employment the miserable vacancies of their days. Let them study to become useful to the world, and they shall soon become less burdensome to themselves. They shall begin to enjoy existence; they shall reap the rewards which Providence has annexed to virtuous activity; and have no more cause to say, My soul is weary of my life.
Next, The luxurious and the dissipated form another class of men, among whom such complaints are still more frequent. With them they are not the fruit of idleness. These are men who have been busied enough; they have run the whole race of pleasure; but they have run it with such inconsiderate speed, that it terminates in weariness and vexation of spirit. By the perpetual course of dissipation in which they are engaged; by the excesses which they indulge; by the riotous revel, and the midnight, or rather morning, hours to which they prolong their festivity; they have debilitated their bodies, and worn out their spirits. Satiated with the repetition of their accustomed pleasures, and yet unable to find any new ones in their places; wandering round and round their former haunts of joy, and ever returning disappointed;
weary of themselves, and of all things about them, their spirits are oppressed with a deadly gloom, and the complaint bursts forth of odious life and a miserable world. Never are these complaints more frequent than at the close of rounds of amusement, and after a long repetition of festal pleasures; when the spirits which had been forced up, as by some intoxicating drug, to an unnatural height, subside into profound dejection. What increases the evil is, that it is not among the infirm, and the aged, but among the
gay, and the prosperous, who ought to be reputed the happiest men, that this distaste of life most frequently prevails.
When persons of this description, in their peevish and splenetic hours, exclaim, My soul is weary of my life, let them know, let them be assured, that this is no other than the judgment of God overtaking them for their vices and follies. Their complaints of misery are entitled to no compassion; nay, they are sinful, because they arise from a sinful cause; from a mind broken and debased by luxury and corruption. They are the authors of their own misery, by having thrown away on the follies of the world those powers which God had bestowed on them for nobler ends. - Let them return to the duties of men and Christians. Let them retreat from frivolity, and abstain from ex
Let them study temperance, moderation, and self-command. By entering on a virtuous and manly course of action, and applying to the honourable discharge of the functions of their station, they will acquire different views. They will obtain more real enjoyment of life, and become more willing to prolong it. But, after the warnings which God has given them of their misbehaviour by the inward misery