« PreviousContinue »
tion; that he speaks in very serious language, and with a peculiar emphasis. May you hear the rod, and who hath appointed it! May you improve by it, as they that are taught by affliction! And may you be enabled, in the lively exercise of faith and hope, to be looking and longing for that happy hour, when you shall meet with her, whose death you now lament, in the realms of light, and the world of glory!
MISS ANN WILLIAMS.
How short is that span of life which is allotted to man upon earth! He enters into existence, just looks around in the world, and then goes down to
What a promiscuous multitude inhabit these gloomy regions! The hoary sire, and the infant of days; the haughty tyrant, and the abject slave; the rich, and the poor; the prince, and the peasant, lie undistinguished in the dust of death. All the past generations of men have left our world, and are entered into an awful, a boundless eternity; and all that now survive, are making swift advances to the same eternal state.
Nor is the life which we here live, short as it is, free from pains and sorrows. No; man that is born of a woman, is but of few days and full of trouble. Many are the pains which afflict the body; many are the sorrows which affect the mind. This we know; this we feel: nor can all the enjoyments of the present world deliver us from them.
But whence all these pains and troubles? whence all these sufferings and sorrows? The answer is ready: The inhabitants of our world are a rebellious province of God's dominion. We have all sinned against our Maker: we have all offended our eternal Sovereigo. Having lost, by transgression, the fair image of our Creator, we are deformed and filthy; we wear the foul features of that apostate spirit, who was the first enemy to God, and who delights in our destruction. Hence it is, that pains and sorrows attend: hence it is, that mortality and death ensue.
But, are the troubles of the present life the only evils we have to fear? No; far, very far from it. The most awful evil is yet behind. When we consider ourselves as sinners, as offenders against the infinite God; we behold, in the page of divine reve. lation, the sentence of everlasting death gone out against us. Yes, my fellow-mortals, considered as transgressors, we are under a divine curse, and obnoxious to eternal wrath. For thus it is written, in that sacred volume by which the world shall be judged, The wages of sin is death; even everlasting destruction, from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power. Hear, O hear the solemn truth, ye that surround this gaping tomb!
How miserable, then, is man, when viewed as a sinner! Exposed to a thousand pains and sorrows, both of body and mind, in the present state, and to everlasting misery in a future world! Once, indeed, in his primitive state, he was the glory of this lower creation; he bore his Maker's image, he shone with moral excellence, exulted in Jehovah's favour, and was all immortal. But now, alas! he is reduced to the greatest poverty and the deepest disgrace. Even when on the summit of worldly glory, he claims kipdred with creeping things—with dust and putrefaction. We are all obliged to say to corruption, Thou art aur father; and to the worm, Thou art ou!" sister. The human frame, however sprightly
and vigorous, in a time of youth and health, is the predestinated food of sordid insects, which will soon riot upon it; while the immortal soul, if not renewed by divine grace, is consigned over to everlasting torment. Such is the desert, and such is the end of man, considered as a sinner!
Is there, then, no hope for us? Is there nothing but the abhorred putrefaction of a grave, and the tremendous punishment of hell, to be apprehended, or expected, by us? The gospel of divine grace, is the only thing that can furnish an answer to this important and solicitous inquiry. By this glorious truth, however, we are assured, on the authority of God himself, that he who dies in the Lord, is blessed; blessed indeed; and blessed for ever. Yes, the word of peace informs us, that whoever believes in Jesus, though he must die a natural death like other men; yet he shall be secure from the storm of divine wrath, and happy in the enjoyment of God.
With this, the dear deceased was well acquainted. This she knew, and in this she gloried: yea, she gloried in this heavenly truth, after disease had fastened on her vitals, and when death was near at hand. She knew, indeed, and freely confessed, that she was a guilty, nfiserable, helpless creature that she deserved to perish for ever; but her faith being fixed on Jesus, her hope was lively, and big with immortal glory. This prospect calmed her fears and gladdened her heart: this prospect gilded the awful solemnities of a dying bed, and shed a beam of joy through all her soul. Such were her views, of the work of Christ and her interest in it, of immortal bliss and her right to enjoy.it; that she was entirely resigned to the will of God; entirely resigned to the stroke of death. She was willing to give up her earthly all, knowing that she had in heaven a better, and more enduring substance. And now she is gone; gone, we are firmly persuaded, to behold the glory of Christ, and to enjoy the fulness of God. Her immortal spirit has taken its flight, into those mansions of light and love, into those habitations of glory and joy; where sin and sorrow, where disease and death, shall never enter. Cheering reflection this, to weeping parents and surviving friends! Blessed, then, for ever blessed are the dead that die in the Lord; for they rest from their labours, and their works follow them.
Such being the end of our departed sister, no one present can forbear to join in the ardent wish, Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his! But, if you desire to die the death, take heed that you live the life of the righteous. And what is his life? It is, in short, a life of faith on Jesus, and a life of obedience to God. It is a life of faith on Jesus. For it is written, The just, the truly righteous man, shall live by faith. He lives on heavenly bread, on more than angels' food; for he eats the flesh, and he drinks the blood of the Son of man.
He that eateth nie, shall live by me, says the saviour of the world. In the grand article of acceptance with God, the obedience and blood of Jesus are all in all, with him that is righteous in the estimate of heaven. Hence only, his peace
of conscience; hence only, his hope of glory. The life of the righteous, is also a life of obedience to God. Faith in the great Redeemer produces love to God, and this heavenly affection manifests itself