Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

cottage will be in stead of palace ornaments and noble visitants, and furnish a better code to guide him than the formulary of any court; and his joys and sorrows awake as deep an interest in the mind of our common Father as those of royalty; and the incidents and changes and catastrophes of his cottage scenes are as well recorded in the book of God's remembrance as the transactions of an empire; and he hath the faculty of extracting honey from the bitterest weed in his humble field of exis-' tence; and though the bed of his distress may be dark, lonely, and unattended, the bosom of his Redeemer is his pillow, and the shadow of his wings his covert; and angels that have not fallen beckon him to the house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, where is fulness of joy and pleasures for evermore.

Upon these unremoveable foundations the divine constitution placeth the contentment of every rank, high and low, and into these undebarred avenues of activity it calleth the awakened spirits of every

There is room enough in all vocations for the display of every natural faculty and superadded grace, and in every vocation hath the arch enemy reared up a fabric of delusion against the Most High; to overturn which, and raze it to the foundation, and on its ruins erect the work of faith, the labour of love, and the patience of hope, is work and honour enough for the longest lifetime and the largest faculties, aided and directed by the Spirit of God. -If men were under the influence of these prin

man.

ciples, which are but a scantling of the whole, those grievances of the various ranks of life, which we set forth as the chief irritation of society, would cease. The miserable man of whom we spoke, into whose enjoyment discontent hath eaten like : a canker, and who, oppressed with evil conditions, hath no more nerve for life, but bitterly makes his moan to the ear of solitude, and singeth sadly of departed hope and miserable fortune-to him the Comforter would come, and take him into his kindly embrace, and whisper into his ear softening and soothing speeches, telling him of life beyond the grave, where there is no sighing nor weeping nor any grief-of a Father in heaven, who watcheth over him by night and day--of a shepherd that will feed him by the still waters, and of things unutterable which await him in his Father's house. The imprisoned sympathies of the woful man being thus enlarged and satisfied out of the abundance of heavenly food, he walks abroad satisfied with himself and with his condition, loving his brethren of men whom he lately disreputed, and acting stoutly his worthy part: in that bustling scene which lately thronged upon his memory a thousand antient disappointments, but which now brightens with a thousand hopes, and is sweetened with a thousand wholesome uses.

And again, that brutal man, of whom we told, who hath his pleasure in sensual and riotous, scenes, living content with mere animal gratification, unreasonable, unspiritual, unenlightened, drudging with cattle his weary life, feeding himself

for mere drudgery, and caring for nothing beyond -to him the Comforter would come, and teach him how to become a man—a son of immortality; awaken spiritual tastes, introduce him to spiritual people, make him a husband and a father from being a regardless man, and teach him to keep at home instead of being a vagabond upon the earth.

And again, that plodding man, whose contentment with the daily routine of business we blamed

- and that scheming man, whose ambition to climb through wealth to place and power, we set forthand that toiling youth, whose miserable reliefs and refreshments in dangerous gaieties we pitied-all these forms of active man the Comforter would mightily improve and refine; touching the spiritless drudge with a wand of power that would quicken him into a thoughtful and a spiritual man, and draw him into converse with God and communion with heaven; teaching the schemer to scheme for eternity, and making him ambitious of all heavenly accomplishments; thrilling the soul of the youth with love for Christ and his christian vocation-enlivening the conscience of all to a thousand new perceptions of duty and usefulness, and filling the soul with a constant fund of devotion and peace.

Finally, those of high birth and fortune, who pass through a vain, hot, unbridled youth, to settle down into a manhood of worldly ambition and display, this divine Comforter would catch and timeously defend from the snare of fashion and folly, and when pleasure sets forth her most delicious baits, and treat succeeded treat in wellstudied succession, when by luxury and beauty the pulse of life is raised, and by congenial sentiment and song the heart is kept in unison and the fancy dazzled by the finest creations of genius -all to win favour for most unholy practices, then, in that most trying moment, the guardian Spirit of God would spread the sober shades of truth over the tempting scene, and raise up a brighter creation out of the promises of God to out-tempt the tempter, and he would fill it with the beauty of angelic forms, with the feast and fatness of God's house, and the raptures of his ravished people, and so preserving the youth uncorrupted, lead him into settled manhood, and make him a man great in well-doing, the patron of good works, an honour to this name, and the boast of the country round.

Thus, truly, it would fare with all conditions, if they would take up the pattern of Christ and imbibe his Spirit; and thus would the ills of every condition be treated, and men live happy and die peaceful and enter into everlasting habitations.

[ocr errors]

OF JUDGMENT TO COME.

PART V.

PRELIMINARIES OF THE SOLEMN JUDGMENT.

The Almighty Governor of heaven and earth, having such claims upon the human race and such a regard for their well-being, as we set forth in the first head of this argument, did accord to the wants and welfare of human nature that constitution of laws whereof we have unfolded the principles, and the excellent adaptation both to the individual and the social state of man. Having done so much, he might have left it to make way upon the strength of its own merits, without any further recommendation than its present fitness and advantage : in which case he would have stood to us in the relation of a counsellor who points out the good and evil of conduct, and the way to reach tranquillity and happiness; or of a father, who, before he departs, bequeathes to his children the legacy of his wisdom and affection. Even so, God, having revealed his best counsels to the sons of men, might have retired within the veil and left all beyond the grave secret and unknown.

But perceiving in us such contumacious neglect of himself and of all that he could do for our sakes, and such base preference of sensual and

« ForrigeFortsæt »