« EdellinenJatka »
sion, he had lost for ever, and knew an infallible method, by which that treasure could be restored; could you cease to implore that parent, if incredulous, no longer to disregard those counsels, which could give him back the desire of his eyes, and stop the bleeding of his heart? So would I desire to speak to those, who, like the world at large, are seeking for happiness, but alas! flying from the very object, which they would fain
I cannot know the private and peculiar features which mark the individual case of each person, who is now amongst my hearers. But each must know for himself, that the things of this life cannot satisfy man's active, anxious soul. You have, all, your troubles; and every heart knoweth its own bitterness. Poverty is, perhaps, the peculiar trial of some. Others, though not in actual want, struggle hard, amidst the cares of fluctuating business, to preserve some creditable appearance; while God best knows the secret of their hearts' discomfort. Others have wept in solitary places, for the loss of friends, with whom every earthly hope has been buried in the silent tomb. Others have been pierced with the keen arrows of ingratitude; have been treated with unkindness, where they were least prepared to meet it; and have lived to see how vain it is to trust in any child
of man. To others, languor, and disease, and wearisome nights are appointed: or they feel the torments of a wounded spirit: or they have reached those years, when the appetite for life is gone; and when they say of the things they once enjoyed, "there is no pleasure in them."
To all such-to all, in a word, who labour under any affliction of mind, body, or estate-does the language of my text hold out the richest consolation. The troubles of this mortal life, will, indeed, be felt; and chastisements will, for the present, appear not joyous, but grievous. But if we feel that we are citizens of heaven, amidst the severest trials, comforts will refresh the soul. These visible heavens may be dark and clouded: but faith will pierce the veil; and lo! new heavens and a new earth The vessel may appear.
be tossed, amidst the tempests of life's voyage: but the Christian's hope will still fix its steadfast anchor upon the land of everlasting life.
My brethren, in that great and decisive day, which every hour brings nearer, and which the death of every man will, in substance, realize to him; when the awful judge of quick and dead, shall summon all that inhabit these mortal bodies to appear before him; when that register is opened, in which the name of every citizen of the new Jerusalem is written;-with what trembling
anxiety will you listen, that you may know whether your name is entered in that book of life! Surely you all believe, that that decisive moment is approaching and is it not your wisdom—is it not your only important business, to stand prepared? Is prosperity in life—is the favourable opinion, or fleeting smile, of those who are perishing around you is the whole world-more than the small dust in the balance, when compared with the soul;that soul which must stand at the bar of God, and go forward through eternity? Ah! how little will all that many of you now take comfort in, and all that supports you now, and that you place your confidence in now, avail you, when heaven and hell are in the balance; when your trembling soul stands forth, to hear the sentence of endless happiness, or endless misery!
And considering these things, have not we that preach to you important business on our hands? These sermons which we deliver to you, are not mere senseless forms. They are solemn messages from heaven. They are an ambassage from God. They are a proclamation from the great king— calls to separate his subjects, and his children, from the ruin of a lost world; to gather the citizens of heaven from their dispersion amongst the enemies of God; and to redeem them, from the east, and from the west, out of the captivity of
the mystical Babylon. All that we can do, is to deliver the message on which we are sent. With God, and with yourselves, it rests, who will hear, or who will shut their ears. But oh! if conscience whispers in the breasts of any of you, that to be a citizen of heaven, is more than all the treasures of the world; if that secret witness pleads, in the hidden chambers of your souls, and places the hopes and fears of eternity before you:—remember, that it is God's vicegerent you hear. Whatever it commands, or whatever it forbids, you must, at your peril, obey. If you disregard its admonitions, you are lost. If you are obedient to the heavenly calling, your salvation is built upon the assurances of God himself; and your happiness will be as lasting as the days of eternity.
ST. MATTHEW, xiii. 45, 46.
"THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS LIKE UNTO A MER
CHANTMAN SEEKING GOODLY PEARLS: WHO, WHEN
In the New Testament, the kingdom of heaven does not always, or even generally, signify the life to come, or the state of blessedness in the other world. In my text, as in many other parts of Scripture, it denotes the Gospel dispensation upon earth; and it is called the kingdom of heaven, because its great end and purpose is the conformity of the soul to the laws of righteousness, whereby it pays a willing obedience unto Christ, and becomes a real subject of his invisible authority, and spiritual reign. Thus, every soul which is born again, enters into the kingdom of heaven.
To visit that new region, implies not that we traverse seas, or pass over tracts of mountains, such as fix the bounds of earthly territories. No; -such is the nature of the spiritual world, that