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and bad men. As their case is opposite in every thing-the one is constantly deriving his happiness from that which is the source of the other's misery, a sense of the divine omniscience. The eye of God is a pillar of light” to tbe one, " and a cloud and darkness" to the other. It is no less a terror to him who dreads His justice than a joy to him who derives all his support from the awful thought Thou GOD SEEST!
But as we have already observed, can we want a broader line of discrimination between them, than their actual condition here, independently of the different portions reserved for them hereafter ?" Is it not distinction enough that the one though sad is safe; that the other, though confident is insecure? Is not the one as far from rest as he is fron virtue, as far from the enjoyment of quiet as from the hope of heaven? as far from peace as he is from God? Is it nothing that every day brings the Christian nearer to his crown, and that the sinner is every day working his way nearer to his ruin? The hour of death, which the one dreads as something worse than extinction, is to the other the hour of his nativity, the birth-day of immortality. At the height of his sufferings the good man knows that they will soon terminate. In the zenith of his success the siuner has a similar assurance. But how different is the result of the same conviction ! An invincible faith sustains the one, in the severest calamities, while an inextinguishable dread gives the lie to the proudest triumphs of the other.
He then, after all, is the only happy man, not whom worldly prosperity renders apparently happy, but whom no change of worldly circumstances can make essentially miserable ; whose peace depends not on external events, bnt on an internal support; not on that success which is common to all, but on that hope which is the peculiar privilege, on that promise which is the sole prerogative of the Christian.
THE TEMPER AND CONDUCT OF THE CHRISTIAN IN
SICKNESS AND IN DEATH. :
THE Pagan Philosophers have given many admirable précepts both for resigning blessings and for sustaining misfortunes ; but wanting the motives and sanctions of Christianity, though they excite much intellectual admiration, they produce little practical effect. The star's which glittered in their moral night, though bright, m. parted no warmth. Their most beautiful dissertations un death had no clarm to extract its sting. We receive no support from their most elaborate treatises on im. mortality, for want of him who “ brought life and in mortality to light.". Their consolatory discussions could not strip the grave of its terrors, for to them it was not “swallowed up in victory." To conceive of the soul as an immortal principle, without proposing a scheme for the pardon of its sins, was but cold consolation. Their future state was but a happy guess; their heaven but a fortunate conjecture,
When' we peruse their finest compositions, we admire the manner in which the medicine is administered, but we do not find it effectual for the cure, nor even for the initigation of our disease. The beauty of the sentiment we applaud, but our heart continues to ache. There is no healing balm in their elegant prescription. These four little words “ THY WILL BE DONE;" contain a charm ot' more powerful efficacy than all the discipline of the stoic school. They cut up a long train of clear but cold reasoning, and supersede wliole volumes of argli. ment on fate and necessity.
What sufferer ever derived any ease from the subtle distinction of the hair-splitting casnist, who allowed " that pain was very troublesome, but resolved never to acknowledge it to be an evil?” There is an equivocation in his manber of stating the proposition. He does not directly say that pain is not an evil, but by a sopluistical turn professes that philosophy will never confess it to be an evil. But what consolation does the sufferer draw
from the qnibbling nicety? “What difference is there." as Archbishop Tillotson well inqnires," between things being troublesome and being evils, when all the evil of an atfliction lies in the trouble it creates to us?” + Chuistianity knows none of these fanciful distinctions, She never pretends to insist that pain is not an evil, but she does more; she converts it into a good. Christianity therefore teaches a fortitude as much more noble than philosophy, as meeting pain with resignation to the hand that inflicts it, is more heroic than denying it to be an evil.
19 To submit on the mere human ground that there is no alternative, is not resignation but hopelessness. To bear atfiction solely becanse impatience will not remove it, is but an inferior, thongh a just reason for bearing it. It savours rather of despair than submission when pot sanctioned by a higher principle.--" It is the Lord), let hina do what seemeth him good," is at once a motive of more powerful obligation than all the documents which philosophy ever suggested ; a firmer ground of support than all the energies that natural fortitude ever supplied.
Under any visitation, sickness for instance, God per: "mits us to think the affliction "not joyous but grievous.”_
But though he allows us to feel, we must not allow our selves to repine. There is again a sort of heroism in bearing up against affliction, which some adopt on the ground that it raises their character, and confers dignity on their suffering. This philosophic firmness is far from being the temper which Chrsitianity inenlcates. The
When we are compelled by the hand of God to ens dure sufferings, or driven by a couviction of the vanity of the world to renounce its enjoyments, we must notendure the one on the low principle of its being inevitable, nor, in flying from the other, must we retire to the contemplation of our own virtues. We must not, with a sulien intrepidity, collect ourselves into a centre of our own; into a cold apathy to all without, and a proud approbation of all within. We must not contract our scattered faults into a sort of dignified selfishness ; nor concentrate own feelings into a proud magnanimity; we must not adopt
au in dependent rectitude. A gloomy stoicism is not chrisstatian heroism. A melancholy non-resistance is not chris.
Nor nonst we indennify ourselves for onr outward self-control by secret murmurings. We may be admired for our resolution in this instance, as for our generosity and disinterestedness in other instances; but we deserve little commendation for whatever we give up, if we do not give up our own inclination. It is inward repining that we mnst endeavour to repress; it is the discontent of the heart, the unexpressed but not unfelt murmur, against which we must pray for grace, and struggle for resistance. We must not smother our discontents before others, and feed on them in private. It is the hidden rebellion of the will we must subdue, if we would submit as christians. Nor must we justify our iinpatience by saying, that if our affliction did not disqualify us from being useful to our families, and active in the service of God, we could more cheerfully bear it. Let us rather be assured that it does not disqualify ris for that duty which we most need, and to which God calls us by the very disqualification.
A constant posture of defence against the attacks of our great spiritual enemy, is a better security than an in. cidental blow, or even an occasional victory. It is also a better preparation for all the occurrences of life. It' is not some signal act of mortification, but an habituale state of discipline which will prepare us for great trials. A soul ever on the watch, fervent in prayer, diligent in self-inspection, freqnent in meditation, fortified against the vanities of time by repeated views of eternity-all the avenges to such a heart will be in a good measure shut against temptation, barred in a great degree against the tempter. «Stropg in the Lord and in the power of his might," it will be enabled to resist the one, to expel the other. To a mind 30 prepared, the thoughts of sickness will not be new, for he knows it is the "condition of the battle:" The prospect of death will not be surprising, for he knows it is its termination.
The period is now come when we must summon all the fortitude of the rational being, all the resignation of the christian. The principles we have been learning must now be made practical.The speculations we have ad. mired we must now realize. All that we have been stu. dying was in order to furnish materials for this grand exi. gence. All the strength we have been collecting mast unw be brought into action. We must nov drair to a
point all the scattered arguments, all the several motives,
Endeavour, without harassing scrutiny or distressing
in the hardest trials. Under those trials, to the confirmed
mind was strong by suspecting its validity now it is weak.
was then firmly rooted in your spirit, and grounded in
of an enfeebied reason and the scruples of an inipaired
The reflecting christian will consider the natural evil
What a support in the dreary season of sickness is it tr-u od fat reflect, that the Captain of our salvation was made ell asas liew