Imágenes de páginas

chains by an insulting foe. O! my dear Madam, to know God; (can we too often repeat this precious truth?) and, in knowing God, to know that he is our eternal life, is more than sufficient to compensate for the loss of every other comfort. Blessed be God, you have not only seen the condemning law, which came by Moses, but the emancipating grace aad truth, which came by Jesus Christ. You have, therefore, an abiding consolation with which a stranger intermeddleth not. This crown of your rejoicing, cannot be taken from you. It is in this world only you will be called to suffer; and your sufferings, during the present scene, will enhance your future felicity; will work out for you a far more exceeding weight of glory. When you arrive at the house of your Father, you will enter into perfect rest and peace : you will not then struggle with that cruel spoiler, pain; there shall be no more pain: tears will no more bedew your fine face; for all tears shall be wiped away: there the wicked will cease from troubling, and the weary will be at rest.

I love to dwell upon such subjects, as are calculated to refresh your spirit, your drooping spirit. I was solicitous to speak of the good things of the kingdom; to recur to what you already know; but of what perhaps you, as well as I, need often to be reminded. Look unto me, says your Redeemer, and be ye savedSaved from every anxious, distressing care. May God in mercy lead you into all peace.

I do not know if the intelligence to which you advert be an established fact. Ah, Madam, there is little to be depended upon, save what is recorded in the sacred volume. There, indeed, as Young beautifully observes, "Truths abound of sovereign aid to peace." My love to my sweet pupil; I hope he still attends his book. I am, Madam, your ever faithfully

devoted friend and servant, &c. &c.


To the same.



Now set down with a heart full of gratitude to the merciful Preserver of men, for the many signal tokens of his favour, conferred upon me; so many that the utmost powers of my soul cannot enumerate them. I never can forget the goodness of God, in preserving and bringing me through this long, toilsome, tedious journey. I have passed through many difficulties since I had the happiness of seeing you: but what a mercy that I am able to say, I have passed through them. I reflect upon these things, with thankfulness to God. Yet, great as are these favours, they are small when compared with others. My heart swells when I reflect upon the treasures of friendship, upon the inestimable friend, to whom I am now writing. But as often as I recur to the rich treasures of redeeming love, my bosom glows, my soul is on fire, and I feel as if touched by a coal from the living altar of my God.

It has not been for lack of faithful, fervent, christian affection, that I have not frequently employed myself in writing to you; but my time has been unusually occupied. Subjects of a gloomy nature frequently press upon me: these would fill me with dismay, if not with terror: but I am at present in a humour to spurn them with becoming disdain: they seem unfit for me to write upon, or for you to read: to dwell upon such dark subjects, is rendering service to the adversary. We are taught to conceive of the prince of darknesss, as a malignant being, who takes pleasure (if such a spirit can properly be said to take pleasure) in the distresses of mankind: whatever, therefore, distresses us, answers his purposes. I will not, then, dwell upon the dark side of our prospects: I will not render the arch fiend any service of this sort, this morning: on the contrary, I will bend my thoughts, and the eye of my honoured friend, to subjects that will, of necessity, torment him.

With respect to the things of the present state, although he is said to be the god of this world, yet, to his confusion we declare,

he cannot do, even in this world, as he pleases: and when, by permission, he seems to reign, as if there were no power to control him, he ultimately reaps nothing but disappointment, and consequent anguish; and his torment is beyond description, when he finds all things result in the advancement of the family of man.

Let us then, my dear Madam, cease to tremble in the fear of evil tidings; for no evil can come into the city, of which God doth not take cognizance; and it is God who saith, Hitherto shalt thou go, but no farther, and here shall thy proud waves be stopped.

It is true, the messenger of evil may not be sensible from whom his commission is received, yet it should be our abiding consolation, that the God, to whom we properly belong, will never permit an evil, which will not finally be productive of good.

The vision is for an appointed time; if it tarry, wait for it. Let things respecting this world turn out how they may, they must, eventually, be beneficial; not only because they are under the direction of heaven, but because they will be really salutary to us.

[ocr errors]

I know there are occasions upon which it is next to impossible thus to think; and, indeed, if we could always thus think, we should cease to agonize; and then we should not be subjected to much tribulation: and, were our prospects not finally illumined, I do not see how our mourning could be turned into joy. Madam, believe me, our God is good, very good; and he will always proportion our strength to our day. Have we not found countless instances of his goodness; and is his hand shortened that he cannot save? Believe me, Madam, he will either provide delicacies for tender stomachs, or he will give healthy stomachs for substantial food. After all, we cannot receive a solace until it be administered.

Well, then, if clouds gather round us, in the present scene, let us look beyond this changing state, to an inheritance, incorruptible, and undefiled, that fadeth not away. There our expectations can never be frustrated. In worlds beyond the sky, every thing will far surpass the promise: "for eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man to imagine." With respect to the things of this present, passing world, those who possess them, should be as those who possess them not, for the fashion of this world flitteth away. But blessed, for ever blessed, be our God, through him we are entitled to mansions in a land of unclouded enjoyment, where we shall come into possession of uninterrupted bliss.


And, even here, some moments of enjoyment will be allowed us; the bitter cup of life will occasionally be sweetened. We shall again hear the voice of love, the love of God, of our God. Our elder brother will speak to his brethren, and in whatever light we may be viewed by others, or in whatever light we may view ourselves, the faithful, genuine believer, will never be ashamed to call us brethren. God is our unchangeable friend, and we shall again hear the voice of our good shepherd, than music, in its softest strains, more sweet. Indeed, I long, ardently long to see you once more, and to unite with you, in attending the voice of grace, mercy and peace, from God our Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ.

Events, which you have so long feared, may be more fortunate than you have calculated. Yet I know, nor reason nor argument ean always assuage the tempest of the soul, I cannot drive back the storm, but my Redeemer hath this power; and, I humbly trust, he will say unto your dear, timid, apprehensive mind, peace, be still, and know that your God is ever with you.

I wish, my dear Madam, you had made one of my congregation last evening, I preached, by the request of a friend, on those words of our Saviour. Matthew, xvi. 26,

"For, what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"

I know you have listened to the teaching spirit, upon this subject, but I was anxious you should have been a hearer last evening; and I mention it now, in consequence of a remark, which then occurred to me, and which received its birth in my mind, at the moment I was engaged in my examination of the passage. Please to read the 21st, 22d, 23d, 24th and 25th verses of this chapter.

"From that time forth Jesus began to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders, and chief priests, and Scribes, and be killed, and raised again the third day.

"Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.

[ocr errors]

"But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan : for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

"For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life, for my sake, shall find it." Then follows our text;

"For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"

The force of my observation rests upon the following considerations :

Peter, and indeed all the disciples, had their eyes fixed on worldly grandeur. What shall we have, said Peter, who have left all? The woman, who accompanied her sons, requesting they may be placed on the right and left hand of the King in his kingdom, thought, with his disciples, that, as he was a lineal descendant from the son of Jesse, he was appointed to rebuild that desolated monarchy, to restore its ancient splendour, even as it was in in the days of Solomon, and to emancipate them from every yoke.

This is evident to all who listen to the conversation of the disciples, journeying to Emmaus; " But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel."

Now, as all the disciples had expectations of this nature, our Saviour observed to Peter, and the rest of his followers, that it would be no profit to them, should they gain, not only what their ambitious hearts were panting after, viz. the re-establishment of the Israelitish throne, but the whole world, and lose their own souls and yet, had the Redeemer been influenced by the remonstrances of Peter, and exerted his almighty power, in the restitution of the kingdom in its fullest glory, even surpassing the days of David, and of Solomon, and thus erected his kingdom in this world, they might, agreeably to their expectations, have been associated with him in his elevation: but they must have lost their souls, inasmuch as nothing could save the soul, but that, against which Peter so seriously protested; that is, his Master's suffering death in Jerusalem. Be it far from thee Lord, this shall not be unto thee. But it was written that the God-man should suffer in Jerusalem. The substance of the Master's reply to Peter, and the other disciples, may be understood, or expressed, in the following manner.

"Simple men, you are solicitous, that, by my almighty power, I should avoid this death, that I should continue among you, and VOL. H.


« AnteriorContinuar »