« ÎnapoiContinuați »
will be exerted in our behalf. Let us, therefore, submit ourselves to the proof which our Lord is willing to impose on us, by expressing our belief in these his glorious attributes of mercy and power: he himself has already purchased bread that we may eat: he himself knows what he will do in respect of all who reqạire his protection and assistance.
May you therefore, brethren, under the full persuasion that there is a God above who looks down upon you with an all-seeing eye, and whose scan is so perfect and so comprehensive that even a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his knowledge; may you, under the full conviction of such an assurance, endeavour to do such things as may secure to you that protection from above, which, great and powerful as it is, will not be bestowed on those who neither desire it, nor are ready to apply it to their souls' health. For while, with such grounded confidence, you look to Christ for help and safety, you will be at least so indifferent to the things of this world, as will prevent them from creating any uneasiness within you, whatever accidents or misfortunes may befall you, provided these be of a worldly nature only, and such as in no way interfere with your hopes of everlasting salvation. You have enough, brethren; we have enough, I ought rather to say, to make us happy and contented, provided we apply all that we have to our edification and comfort. We have Christ the Redeemer, the Son of God and the Saviour of man-him who has come to seek and to save that which was lost-him who has come to feed the hungry, to enrich the poor, to refresh the weary and heavy laden—him, brethren, have we, who has already made his resolve; who knows what he will do; who will befriend us in the hour of need; who will satisfy our most craving wants. To Him, therefore, be the glory for all the blessings, comparatively trifling though they be, which we at present enjoy, more especially for those great and eternal privileges which, unless, like Esau, we in a voluntary manner dispose of our birth-right", we shall most assuredly receive hereafter, when time and its paltry honours and distinctions shall be engulphed in the abyss of eternity. To God, therefore, through Christ, by the gracious help of the Spirit, let us render unceasing praise, while we acknowledge Him, the Eternal Trinity, to be equally and alike instrumental in the work of our salvation, for ever and ever.
MISERIES OF LIFE NECESSARILY PRELIMI
NARY TO THE HAPPINESS OF ETERNITY.
DEUTERONOMY viii. 16.
“ Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna,
which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end."
In the foregoing words we are assured, on the testimony of one who received his commission from God, that the sufferings and calamities with which the whole of mankind are more or less afflicted, are sent for no other purpose whatever than that of doing good to those who suffer by them. Were we, however, to endeavour to make ourselves acquainted with the reason why the rugged path of pain and misfortune is the only one by which we can arrive at tranquillity and happiness, there can be no doubt that we should altogether fail in our attempt. It would be quite as reasonable to inquire why the element of water is alone adapted to transport a floating body from one point to another, as to ask why we could not reach heaven by a route different from that which is marked by affliction and adversity. The answer, in either case, is, that God has ordained it thus. And it has been correctly ordained, because it is not possible that the “Judge of all the earth” can do otherwise than “right;" though this right is very frequently unintelligible to the limited and imperfect understanding of man.
Such is the proposition suggested by our text, and which is undoubtedly received as indisputable by every one here present. Every one of the present congregation, and indeed every individual in the world at large, knows full well that complete happiness is nowhere to be found in this mortal state of existence. Not only, moreover, is there not complete happiness to be found, but if we look at that perfect and complete bliss, of which indeed we can only form a faint conception, we shall be persuaded that none other than the most incomplete happiness, rather nothing else than the most decided and indisputable unhappiness, is to be experienced here on earth. If, indeed, we but reflect for a moment, if but for a moment we lay aside the affairs of the world, and raise our thoughts to the glorious and extensive canopy above, we shall see, intuitively though it be, that there and there only is perfect happiness. After this, let us descend to the transitory scene which we had for a short time quitted, and compare what is here to be found with that which we had just been contemplating. Here, we shall perceive
wars and rumours of wars;" discord and confusion among nations and among individuals; disappointed hopes and unlooked-for misfortunes; and things and events too numerous and too varied; which indicate that happiness is only to be found in heaven, and that this can be reached by no other route than that of sorrow and distress!
The two points which we have just been laying down are, that misery is the lot of the present world, and happiness of that which is to come. The inference which follows is, that the former must of necessity precede the latter; and that the latter will follow as the consequence of the former; that is to say, that the happiness of heaven will follow the troubles and misfortunes of the world, is a fact indisputably insisted on in the Holy Scriptures, and most effectually strengthened and confirmed by reason and experience.
Let us for a moment, however, suppose, that nothing of a decisive nature was contained in the Inspired Volume, in regard to the joy and the bliss of eternity. Let us suppose that the voice of revelation has been altogether silent in reference to future happiness and immortality. The supposition is only for the sake of argument; for to suppose that God would have communicated his will to man, if the latter had not been destined to immortality, for. any other purpose than for argument's sake, would be to be guilty of a most gross and evident inconsistency; for man, by nature, is acquainted with the things which concern his mortal existence: when, therefore, an extraordinary communication is con