Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

continue to sing his praise. This was David's manner, as set down in Psalm xlii.; on reading which, the mind asks, Can a man sing, under such awful trials, “ All thy waves are gone over me?Yes, amid all these he is thinking on the song he shall sing on his deliverance.

When death comes, and we must retire from the fair face of nature and of day, then must we praise him. Then, looking back, we see, as it were, a lovely rainbow ; one end resting on the earliest recollection of our existence, the other on the moment we take the survey. And all along it sparkles with mercy and goodness, lovingkindness, faithfulness, and love. Then turning our eye to the future ---- all is hope. We see the hills of holiness : yonder, the inhabitants, the redeemed of the Lord, walking in white. Hark! they sing a new song; and soon shall ye be permitted to join in their song, if this book be your support, this holy work your delight now. Anxious relatives will require a proof of your being at the door of Paradise, and that it is ready opened to admit you. If therefore ye raise not the song of praise now, how can they be satisfied that ye will be permitted to sing it in glory?

Return unto thy rest, O my soul ; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.—“ Return;" this implies the exercise of reposing in peace. Ye that doubt, give your fears to the winds; yield not to appearances, however fearful; nor despair though deep should call unto deep.Amid all, maintain composure; and, with David, meditate on the song ye shall sing when delivered. What a mind was his! How did his faith rise, although he was under the wave. God is your refuge, as he was David's; therefore be not cast down nor afraid, although the mountains should be cast into the midst of the sea. What! says distrust or weak faith, were the Cheviot Hills to be cast into the sea, could the shepherds be blamed for trembling? Yet such is the figure David, by divine inspiration, uses. Therefore, whatever be the danger that threatens, or the foe that assails, if thy heart is stayed on God, be assured he will deliver ; nay, more the promise is, that thou shalt be kept in perfect peace. Cast, then, the anchor of your faith amid the promises, where if it bite, or take fast hold, the vessel will ride in security.

() praise the Lord, all ye nations : praise him, all ye people. For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever. Praise ye the Lord.—God's merciful kindness, where doth it appear? Say rather, where is it not seen? In what object in our enjoyments, in family life, in our redemption ?-In each, in all, God's mercy stands forth in front to the view of the renewed mind. Hath not mercy flowed towards you, ye young, in full tide, when the anxiety of your mother, leaning over you, earnestly watched each sigh as the last? Ye were restored to health-ought ye not to sing his praise ? Since then hath he not provided for your support with boundless liberality, in feeding you, clothing you, giving you friends; and are not his witnesses on every side of you, and within you, to testify the truth of all we have said ? The mind needs but a touch, and man becomes an idiot; your faculties he hath preserved in full vigour; or have they been taken away from you, and in mercy restored, then we call on you to read and digest Nebuchadnezzar's liturgy, as Daniel hath preserved it to us, and cease not to make it the pious aspiration of your own heart to God the restorer.

We have, as a nation, suffered much through a long, bloody, and an expensive war. God said, Let there be peace; and it is to him alone that we owe its continuance. Religious liberty we enjoy in an abundant measure. The law of the land protects us in every thing that is upright; and for the practice of that which is wrong only, can we be punished. Where is the land upon the face of our earth, to which so many privileges, and so much merciful kindness, have been extended by God as to ours? O! ye young, whose mellifluent voices raise the song of praise, be fully impressed with the care of God over you. Ye live: many of your compeers are under the green sod. Pleasing prospects open before you. The morning of life scarce opened on others, when their sun set to rise no more. O! raise then your hearts in your song of praise. We subsist, nay, more, while with liberal hand God supplies the necessaries of life, many of its luxuries are not withheld; and who among us can claim an exemption from joining in the pious ejaculation of the Psalmist, when he says, my foot was almost gone, but thy hand held me in safely?For all these, and innumerable mercies besides, let us raise the song.

We must now ascend and touch a higher key. It is to the cross that we summon each of you, where you may refuse the tear of gratitude if you can. “Transport is temper here.” Is Gabriel's heart cold while he stands before the throne of the Eternal ? Ah no! they manage these things better in heaven, where the Hallelujah of praise and the ardent devotion of the heart are in unison. Have these promises sounded on your heart? I have blotted out as a thick cloud your transgressions, and as a cloud thy sins : return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.I will forgive thine iniquity, and I will remember thy sin no more.To men who have received pardon of their sins, all is mercy. Are afflictions measured out unto them? The trials of life, are they strewed thick in their path ? Amid all these, peace has possession of the heart; the peace of God, that passeth all understanding, reigns within. There shall it continue till death shall usher the weary traveller into a land of endless peace and rest. Have the enemies of the mind been brought low? have envy and pride been broken, and all foul tempers

PP

been subdued ? Is the mind recovered from her vassalage to sin, and has the heart become purified ? Then what peace and calm now pervade it! Such vassals “ were some of you ; but ye are washed, but ye are sunctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." Your lusts are not now on the throne ; but are where they should be, under your feet. Then we call on you to join in the song —" To Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.” Thus hath God, by renewing your own hearts, made you blessings to your own families, - blessings at the market, - blessings at the place of public resort; no act of parliament is now required for the enforcing a due regard to integrity in all your dealings and intercourse with your fellow-men. Formerly ye were the heirs of hell, and your conduct publicly testified this to all around you : ye have now been brought into God's family from that of the devil. Ye are now children of Christ. How different are the moving springs of all your actions now from what they formerly were! Now ye are a law unto yourselves. To be popular in your own bosom is now your high ambition. If betrayed into doing an unkind action, your own mind is the greatest sufferer. You now, from choice, take the lowest form. You now are contented to become all things to all men, for Christ's sake ; and to do a kind action to the meanest of Christ's flock; for who would thank you to minister to the necessities of St. John or St. Paul, were they to be suppliants at your door? Again : God's mercies are great toward us, if we look at his peerless dignity and glory, and our own low and degraded condition. A bow from a prince, a kind word from a king, expressed to a person of low degree, elevates the heart; and the more so, if the individual had incurred merited displeasure. Then let us hear the prophet: Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” What infinite kindness and condescension are here! Yet is this as nothing compared with the gift of his own Son, whom he withheld not, that guilty men might be admitted to his favour. That meek and lowly young man, who appeared in Jewry some eighteen ages ago, and who, for acts of kindness and mercy, was by his countrymen crucified and slain, was indeed the Son of God. Then cast your eye on your low estate. Ye were dead in trespasses and sins when Christ found you. Hear an apostle : “We ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.

Bare your brow to the lightning; open your bosom to the thunderbolt! but, О do not increase the Divine displeasure, and the severity of your final doom, by your settled rejection of Heaven's last, best gift!

It is not always convenient to know a man whom we have been intimate with in better circumstances, and from whom we may have received many favours. O no! sympathy in such cases is an expensive virtue!

In order that our fellowship with the Son of God may be advanced, it is necessary that we should " walk after the Spirit.Speaking where? In the wild impulses of my own imagination ? Perish the thought! Our religion is a system of facts; and when we speak of walking after the Spirit,” we mean that we should hear him speaking to us in the Bible - in the life of the Saviour, and in the approved examples of good men. By this book does the Spirit of God illumine my mind, and

« ZurückWeiter »