« PreviousContinue »
If you will do
you,ếan eternal hell, an eternal heaven,—and one of them must be your portion. You may go to heaven, but if you will not, you must go to hell. If you go to hell, it will be because you chose to walk in the way
to it; and chose to do so in preference to walking in the way to heaven. God will never send you to hell, except death finds you in the way to it; and if it does, what can you expect, but to arrive at the place to which you have been journeying by choice? What can you expect from a just and holy God, but to receive the wages for which you have been labouring? “The wages of sin are death," eternal death; or the separation of both soul and body from God, from holiness, from happiness, and from ease, for ever. This must be dreadful, but who can say that it will not be just ? What! work hard in the ways of sin for twenty, forty, or sixty years, with the express understanding that the wages of sin are death, and then say it is not just to be paid the wages for which you have so long, so diligently, and so determinedly laboured! Is this consistent ? the work, expect the wages. If you will travel the road, expect to arrive at the end to which it leads. If you will live God's enemy,
do not expect to be treated as if you had been his friend. No, no, be consistent. If you wish to go to Heaven, take the road that leads to it, and be sure you take the right road. If you wish to dwell with God in another world, he reconciled to him in this. If you wish to be happy in eternity, then seek to be holy in time.
Well, friend, how is it to be ? You may go on in sin, or you may repent and turn to God. You may reject the Saviour, or you may receive him as God's free gift. You may come to Jesus and have life, or you may refuse to do so, and sink into eternal death. God hath set before you in his word, the way of life, and the way of death, therefore choose life that you may live. He has opened a way for sinners, by the sacrifice of his dear Son; and He is willing to give his Holy Spirit to sinners, if they ask him in fervent prayer. You may be happy; but if you will not, you must be for ever miserable. You may, this is of pure mercy; you must, that is of strict justice. You may, this lays you under great responsibility; you must, and this calls for the most solemn consideration. You may, and therefore should bless God for his kindness; you must, and therefore beware how you trifle with his grace. You may, oh, seize and improve the opportunity! you must, oh, flee, flee from the wrath to come! You may, oh, lose not one moment, for there is no time to spare! you must, oh, delay not, for delays have landed thousands in hell! “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.” The Scriptures must be fulfilled. God must be faithful. We must repent of sin, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and come unto God by him, or WE ARE
UNDONE FOR EVER.
Claremont Street, Shrewsbury.
Fellow-voyager, I would hail thee, not with trumpet voice or Stentor's lung, but by the page of “The Appeal,” echoing the feelings of the soul. I heed not the colour of your flag; I look not with suspicious eye on your warlike or peaceful bearing ; but simply see you braving the tumultuous sea of life : now sped on by some happy gale, you career with brightening hope over the glassy wave; again the prospect changing, beneath the strife of elements you are wellnigh lost in the yawning gulf. But whether thy path be storm or sun. shine, I heed not; that fraternal love, which binds the hearts of heaven and heaven's sons on earth, and makes them all glad coadjutors in the holy work of man's redemption, bids me hail thee; while with unintrusive, yet with earnest tones, I ask thy destined port ?
Your country I know; I see by your build the hand of that great Builder who fashioned me; but, like myself, you were scarce launched ere your fair form was marred by some cursed reef, and scarce a knot was made but injury was sustained; yet, thanks, you still float--your sails look trim,—your helm is right, and it needs but a skilful helmsman to steer you safely on.
But, again, friend, where is your port ? Are you coasting on to hell, or hopefully spreading your sails to catch the first fair breeze for heaven? This huge sea, studded by so many million vessels, has but two great trackways, and in one or the other you are speeding your onward way. Have you a chart? A thousand hands stretch out, and each presents one; but only one is correct; and that one, 'tis so plain, that though of meanest sense, you shall not err. 'Twas drawn by one who sounded each square fathom of this vast deep,—by one whose way was scarcely cheered by a radiant beam,—by one who, although each dark element of Satanic power exerted all its skill to blast his voyage, yet bore ahead of all. And there is no other chart beside this that you can take with safety. Heaven, by its songs, its happy throng, its holy host, bids you take this. Hell, by its groans, its blackness, its despair, bids you take this. Earth, by its mysticism, its pleasure bubbles, its blighted hopes and changing scenes, joins in the cry, “ Take this !” And will you not, my brother, take it, and, with your eye unscaled by prayer's holy power, ponder each plain traced line, and, with an humble mind, shape your course as its unerring finger points ?
Don't let philosophic scorn whisper, “ 'Tis mere poetic rant;" or ignorant bigotry say,
66 Tis the old tale in a new dress.” Let it be poetry, let it be a tale thrice told, is it not fact, stern, stubborn, unyielding truth-truth that has stood the attacks of paganism, hypocritical friendship, and infidelity; and still, with unblenched vigour, fronts each frowning foe? Be not beguiled, poor sinner; but listen now, ere the power of habit hardens thy yielding nature, and makes thee proof against all the influences of mercy,-ere the sombre cloud of death, that even now is mounting the sky, settles o'er thy vessel, and, with its contents, breaks up thy crazy ship, and sinks thee lost in the fathomless waters of misery,-yea, ere that day arrive when the wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God;" while the righteous shall be welcomed by their Eternal Father to an abode of unruffled peace and perfect joy.
Tell me, ye winged winds
That round my pathway roar,
Where mortals weep no more?
Some valley in the west,
The weary soul may rest ?
Tell me, thou mighty deep,
Whose billows round me play,
Some island far away,
The bliss for which he sighs,
And friendship never dies ?
And thou, serenest moon,
That with such holy face,
Asleep to night's embrace,
Hast thou not seen some spot
May find a happier lot ?
Tell me, my sacred soul,
Oh, tell me, Hope and Faith,
From sorrow, sin, and death ?
Where mortals may be blest,
And weariness a rest?
Narratives, Anecdotes, &c.
HOPE IN DEATH.
About the period of the first French Revolution, infidelity attained a popularity and extension which, at least in its modern developments, it never formerly or subsequently achieved. Amid the darkness of Romish superstition, and the sensuality which its teachings were ineffectual to reprove, scepticism the most gloomy, and yet the most refined, was silently working its destructive way. And long before it polluted the splendid temples of that unhappy land, or threw down the idolatrous shrines of a corrupt semblance of christianity, it had already supplanted, in too many, all that is vital in religious belief, or powerful in moral restraints.
Among the early and distinguished adherents of that false philosophy whose lurid glare woke Europe from its mental slumber, and at last kindled the element of universal conflagration, was Victor E., a young man of extraordinary ability and promise. Trained from his infancy to venerate the church, and scarcely less to reverence the infamous monarchy with which its interests seemed indissolubly blended, it was still hardly matter of surprise that he embraced a system which poured contempt upon the one, and eventually destroyed the other. In fact, the intense wickedness of both institutions, then hastening to decay, alienated none so certainly as those who were most familiar with their principles and operation. The provincial peasant might gaze with rapture at the gilded pageant of royal magnificence, or bow before the gaudy exterior of priestly poinp; but the cringing courtier was often a disguised democrat, and he who served at the altar, nearly always an infidel at heart.
The faction with which the subject of our narrative became asso. ciated, rapidly increased in numbers and influence, till the waves of revolutionary caprice placed it at the summit of power; borne by the infatuated people above the overthrow of a dynasty, and the ruins of a throne. Victor fought side by side with heroes, in the sanguinary struggles of this terrible crisis, and he now shared with them the blood-stained honours of a short-lived rule. The object for which they had risked their all was apparently accomplished—a God was banished, an eternity denied, existence reduced to its visible span, and death courted as a welcome, an eternal sleep. In short, atheism triumphed; but what a triumph was that!
In the proudest moment of conscious victory, one thought cast a shadow over Victor's brow, and broke unbidden upon his elated heart, before long he must die. The red-handed executioner was daily sacrificing hundreds to the ruthless spirit of the hour; but from this hired minister of vengeance he had little to fear. The worm that would ultimately consume his vitals, was already feeding upon his flesh; the burning heats of a quenchless fever were withering his very soul. The youthful senator had retired one evening from the sitting of convention, when this solemn truth at once burst upon his mind. The world had just paid to its favourite idol the highest honours enthusiasm can bestow, and now the head, a few moments before lifted in graceful triumph above the plaudits of the crowd, was throbbing with an anguish it seemed impossible to control. To have perished in the years of slavery and degradation, might have been esteemed a grateful release. To have fallen in the conflict that secured their liberty, would have been the easy purchase of a martyr's fame. But to exchange the wreath of laurel for the cypress' shade, the blaze of popularity and power for the inevitable shadows which darken the closing tomb, was a misery nothing could exceed, a misfortune for which nothing could atone.
At the close of this mournful day-the first that threw a real sad. ness over a spirit so uniformly serene - Victor was sitting at the open window of his library, which looked into a pleasure-ground, gradually sloping to the winding Seine. The cool breath of autumnal breezes fanned his aching brow, but could never recal the glow of health to his faded cheek. As the stillness of night increased, he heard the song of the boatmen, continually passing to their homes; and memory quickly carried him back to the time when his happiest hours were spent in listening to their tales, and sharing their toils. And while fancy thus pleasantly rioted on the past, holier recollections gently stole upon his mind, as the stars, one after another, spangled the deep blue firmament above his head. He remembered that at such a season, when a child, his mother's voice would direct his infant accents in a form of prayer, and her own kind hand point him to the azure heavens, as the home of the faithful and the good. Despite his cherished infidelity, he could not banish the thought that there she had a place; the conviction dwelt upon him like a peaceful day-dream; he would not, he dare not let it go.
How long he thus sat musing with melancholy pleasure upon the sacred records of the past, it is difficult to say; but night was far advanced when he closed the window, and retired to his room. The dews of evening had risen from the cooling earth, and settled upon every object like the dampness of the grave. Victor shrunk involun. tarily from the touch; it reminded him of the pallid sweats whose deadly frequency was hurrying him to that noisome prison-house. He sought his bed, but sleep was far from his waking eyes. Thoughts of childhood's innocence and joys, struck chords which, long as they had slumbered, were yet tuneful in his soul. And his mother-ah, who can tell what emotions vibrate to the sound ?-his mother, for years mouldering in the dust, still spoke to her son in the same gentle accents, of eternity and heaven, and again taught him faith.