« PreviousContinue »
hundred years are past, perhaps long before, we shall all, without one exception, have been removed from the world. And however strong we may be now, however healthful, however proud, we must give way before the power, we must bow before the majesty, of the King of Terrors. The place that knows us now, shall then know us no more. The society in which we move shall then, like ourselves, have passed for ever away. Our hearts will then have ceased to beat, and our blood to flow, every eye will be dim, every tongue will be silent, every limb will be paralysed and cold. Oh, it is a sad, a solemn thought, that one hundred years hence, all the inhabitants of the world, from the highest to the lowest, the richest to the poorest, shall have joined the long race who lived beyond the flood,-that we, with all our friends, and relatives, and connexions, shall have mingled our dust with the clods of the valley.
But one hundred years hence, a still more solemn change shall have passed over us all. Here we are in a state of probation. Upon our conduct now depends our condition for eternity. But, then, we shall each have passed the great tribunal. We shall have stood before the judgment-seat. We shall have entered the precincts of the world of spirits. And with us the final ordeal will be over; the last sentence will have been pronounced; all uncertainty will be removed; our doom for eternity will be decided.
But-one hundred years hence—where, where shall we be? We shall be dead, but yet shall be living. Our bodies shall have moul. dered in the grave, our souls immortal shall continue. Shall we be rejoicing before the throne of God, or weeping and wailing in the lake of fire ? Shall we enjoy the society of angels, or mingle with the spirits of the lost ? Shall we unite our voices to swell the music of heaven, or shall our groans ascend with those of the inhabitants of hell ?
My reader, it is a solemn truth, that you have but these two before you: Heaven, with all its joys,—or Hell, with all its terrors ; the society of the holy, or the society of the lost; eternal blessedness before the throne of God, or endless misery in the realms of bottom. less despair. Oh, that you could be induced to look forward to the future! Are you an Infidel ? one hundred years hence, what will you think of your infidelity! Are you a Blasphemer? one hundred years hence, what will you think of your blasphemy! Are you sensual or licentious ? one hundred years hence, with what detestation will you look back upon your course ! Are you any thing but a christian? And will you continue so to the close of life? Then, one hundred years hence, you will be in the full realization of what it is to “dwell with the devouring fire, to lie down in everlasting burnings."
But that time has not yet arrived. Still is the way of life open. Still to you is the word of salvation sent. Flee from the wrath to come. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus shall you be safe and happy now, and, one hundred years hence, yea, for EVER AND EVER, you shall enjoy the blessedness of a son of God.
LIFE'S GREAT ERRAND.
Every individual has come into this world on a most solemn and important errand. He came under the direction of Providence. The nature of the errand is made known to him; he is commanded to perform it with all diligence. This is the first duty. It takes precedence of all others in importance. It may not be neglected or deferred, but at the peril of the soul. The responsibility of doing it promptly, faithfully, diligently, is imposed on each individual, with all the weight of its eternal consequences. On the fulfilment of this errand depends all that is valuable in existence, all that is desirable in an eternity of bliss, all that is dreadful in an eternity of woe. The time allotted for the performance of this errand is short and uncertain; at longest it will soon terminate. The last day-the last hour of this uncertain period is hid behind the dark curtain of the impenetrable future. That dread hour hangs out no signal of its approach. It comes steadily but stealthily on, like a thief in the night, and often sounds no alarm till its footsteps are at the door, or till it lays its cold hand on the face of the sleeper in his bed-chamber.
All admit this,-none can deny it; and yet the multitude conduct themselves practically as if in their case, at least, death had a long way to travel before its fatal javelin could pierce their heart. But often while these dreamers are dreaming of long life to come, the destroying angel is at the door, the chills of life's evening pass over the form, paleness gathers on the brow, the wheels of nature stand still, and life's journey is ended. But the errand, the great errand on which the traveller came into this world, is not performed. It never will be. He neglected it. He deferred it till the last hour had come and gone, and he, with it, to a returnless hereafter. In an unexpected moment the scene changes; the curtain of Time drops, and that of Eternity rolls up before his astonished vision, and behold that solemn world, with its unchanging realities, spreads out before him in interminable being! He would recross that mysterious boundary if he could; a thousand worlds he would give if he could go back for a day, to do that great errand which all his life he neglected. But the wheels of Eternity never roll backward. He cannot go back: the decisions of eternal Providence prevent it. The die is cast. His allotments for eternity are fixed. Bitter lamentations and regrets cannot avail him. The bridgeless gulf opens no avenue to hope. No traveller returns from that mysterious world to live life's days over again, and make amends, and repair the mischief of his guilty neglect and misimproved opportunities.
Dear Reader! Hast thou accomplished thy life's great errand. Thou knowest what it is, and how urgently it presses its claims on thee. Shouldst thou hear the footsteps of the dread messenger suddenly approach the door of thy bed-chamber, and come in and lay his cold hand on thy brow, and feel for thy heartstrings, that he might cut thee loose from this life, couldst thou calmly say, “I am ready! My errand in this world is done. Grim messenger, do thy worst! Thy sting may pierce my body, and bid its throbbings cease for a time; but cannot touch my ethereal spirit?”
Reader! ask thyself the question, Have I performed life's great errand? Press the question on the attention of thy innerself. To obtain citizenship in heaven, is thy life's great errand. Hasten its performance. The messenger is on his way to meet thee; perhaps a year, a month, or a day's journey off. Do thy errand with thy might, lest he come and find it not done.
THE LORD'S CALL.
“ Come now.”—Isaiah i. 18.
The Lord speaks, who will listen to his voice? He speaks to the greatest sinners, will they regard his word? He speaks in the kindest tones of love, shall we receive his communication ? He might justly have driven us from his throne, but he invites us to come to his mercy-seat. He says to the vilest of the sons of men, Come." He calls to the most hardened and depraved, while they are living in sin, blaspheming his name, and aggravating their crimes, and he says, “Come now.” Come just as you are. Come without any preparation. Come now, and I will receive you. Come and confess your sins, and I will pardon them. Come and acknowledge your desert, and I will save you from it. Come and plead the perfect work of Jesus, and I will justify you through his obedience. Come and seek grace to sanctify your nature, and you shall receive it. Come like the prodigal, and you shall be accepted, restored, and blessed. Come like Mary Magdalene, and you shall be pardoned and made happy. Come like the dying thief, and you shall have a place in Paradise with him. Let nothing induce you to delay, but “Come now.” Let nothing discourage you, but “ Come now.” My arms are now open to receive you; my Father is now ready to forgive you. The way is now open for you. Everything is ready; nothing is necessary but for you to
Reader, what do you desire? Is it the immediate and everlasting pardon of all sin? Then come to God, and for Christ's sake he will forgive you all your trespasses. Is it peace of mind? Then come to God, and, being justified by faith, you will enjoy peace with God. Is it power over sin and sinful habits ? Then come to God, and sin shall not have dominion over you, for you will no longer be under the law, but under grace. Is it relief under your trials?
Then come to God, and he will comfort you in all your tribulations, and cause all things to work together for your good. Is it victory over death? Then come to God, and he will enable you to look death in the face without fear, and, when passing out of time into eternity, to ask, “O death where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory?” Is it to escape the horrors of the second death? Then come to God, and you shall have part in the first resurrection, and over you the second death shall have no power. Whatever may be your state of mind, whatever your circumstances in the world, or whatever the number or nature of your sins, your God says, “ Come now, and let us reason together : though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” May the language of your heart be
“ Jesus, to thy wounds I fly,
Not one spot of guilt in me."
At twilight's pensive hour,
Was gazing on a flower.
The little prattler said,
Within that lovely bed.”
And gave it to his child ;-
She seized the gift and smiled.
This little violet blue :
And such a lovely hue?”
His eye grew strangely wild,
By that sweet, artless child.
The truth-in all its power ;
“ Who made that little flower."
Narratives, Anecdotes, &c.
THE RICH POOR MAN.
William and Jane M- married about ten years ago. Both were young; both were sincerely and unpretendingly pious; both were prudent, except in one most important transaction, namely, that of marriage; for they had barely enough money at the time to buy the most needful articles of furniture for a small room. This pecuniary imprudence, however, was due to the only circumstance which could partially excuse it, and that is, they were both very tenderly attached to each other.
I have not, Reader, to tell you of any marvellous good fortune which remedied the consequences of their one imprudence,---no won. derful bargain in railway scrip,—no twenty-five pound lump of California gold falling in their way;—no, they had to remedy all themselves as they best could. Nor was that all; but trade took an unfavourable turn, employment fell off, and William being determined not to go to the parish, with the greatest difficulty picked up a few shillings a week. They were, in fact, reduced to want, within a few weeks after marriage. “When poverty comes in at the door, love Aies out at the window,”- !_s0 says an old proverb; but proverbs have exceptions. This one had, in the case of William and Jane. Religion did much for them. They feared, and justly, that they had hardly followed the leadings of God's providence in marrying when they did; they now thought they should have waited till His blessing on their industry enabled them to marry better. They patiently bore, therefore, the unlooked-for addition to their difficulties with which their Heavenly Father saw good to try them. They knew He would not leave them, if they did not leave Him: “He will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able,” (1 Cor. x. 13), was often in their thoughts. There were no mutual accusations of each other-no com. plaints of Providence. William was intelligent and self-denying; but in the latter point Jane certainly excelled. They both determined never to get into debt, let things be as bad as they might; and they kept their determination. Not a penny was wasted in needless things. A meal better than dry bread they never knew for a long time, and many did they eat of humbler fare than that! Yet Jane managed to keep their external appearance so neat, that none in the place of worship suspected how hardly they were off. Upwards of a year passed in this manner; they had got accustomed to hardship-it began to be comparatively bearable. Yet the prospect of a baby, with attendant expenses, and no earthly means to find a spare shilling, sometimes almost overcame their faith and hope. Happily, employment became a little