Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

great drops of blood; yet in all this, throughout the whole scene, the constant conclusion of his prayer was, “not my will, but thine be

, done." It was the greatest occasion that ever was : and the earnestness of our Lord's prayer, the devotion of his soul, corresponded with it. Scenes of deep distress await us all. It is in vain to expect to pass through the world, without falling into them. We have, in our Lord's example, a model for our behaviour, in the most severe and most trying of these occasions: afflicted, yet resigned; grieved and wounded, yet submissive; not insensible of our sufferings, but increasing the ardor and fervency of our prayer, in proportion to the pain and acuteness of our feelings.

But, whatever may be the fortune of our lives, one great extremity, at least, the hour of approaching death, is certainly to be passed through. What ought then to occupy us? what can then support us ? Prayer. Prayer, with our blessed Lord himself, was a refuge from the storm; almost every word he utter

ed, ed, during that tremendous scene, was prayer: prayer the most earnest, the most urgent; repeated, continued, proceeding from the recesses of his soul; private, solitary: prayer for deliverance; prayer for strength; above every thing, prayer for resignation.

SERMON IX.

ON FILIAL PIETY.

GENESIS XLVII. 12.

And Joseph nourished his father, and his brethren, and all his father's household, with bread, according to their families.

WHOEVER reads the Bible at all, has read the history of Joseph. It has universally attracted attention: and, without doubt, there is not one, but many points in it, which deserve to be noticed. It is a strong and plain example of the circuitous providence of God: that is to say, of his bringing about the ends and purposes of his providence, by seemingly casual and unsuspected means. That is á high doctrine, both of natural and revealed re

ligion;

;

ligion; and is clearly exemplified in this history. It is an useful example, at the same time, of the protection and final reward of virtue, though for a season oppressed and calumniated, or carried through a long series of distresses and misfortunes. I say, it is an useful example, if duly understood, and not urged too far. It shews the protection of providence to be with virtue under 'all its difficulties: and this being believed upon good grounds, it is enough; for the virtuous man will be assured, that this protection will keep with him in and through all stages of his existence-living and dying he is in its handsmand for the same reason that it accompanies him, like an invisible guardian, through his trials, it will finally recompence him. This is the true application of that doctrine of a directing providence, which is illustrated by the history of Joseph, as it relates to ourselves I mean as it relates to those, who are looking forward to a future state. If we draw from it an opinion, or an

. expectation, that, because Joseph was at length rewarded with riches and honours, therefore we shall be the same, we carry the example further than it will bear. It proves that virtue is under the protection of God, and will ultimately be taken care of and rewarded: but in what manner, and in what stage of our existence, whether in the present or the future, or in both, is left open by the example: and both may, and must depend, upon reasons, in a great measure, unknown to and incalculable by us.

shall

Again, The history of Joseph is a domestic example. It is an example of the ruinous consequences of partiality in a parent, and of the quarrels and contentions in a family, which naturally spring from such partiality.

Again, it is a lesson to all schemers and confederates in guilt, to teach them this truth, that, when their scheme does not succeed, they are sure to quarrel amongst themselves, and to go into the utmost bitterness of mutual accusation and reproach; as the brethren of Joseph,

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
« ÎnapoiContinuați »