« ÎnapoiContinuați »
persuade you, to form a right estimate of the comparative value of heavenly and earthly things; and to “set your affection upon, and to seek after, the things, not in earth, but in heaven?”
EARTH IS NOT THE CHRISTIAN'S HOME.
Earth is no home of thine! A pilgrim thou
Art journeying onward to thine own abode,
Thy proper resting place. The inn, the road, Each common traveller's haunts, thy sojourn now, And now another's, these wilt thou allow
The love to challenge to thy homestead ow'd ?
There shall thy heart be set, thy care bestow'd,
That man his thoughts may elevate to high
Fit for immortal souls. Beyond the sky Thy home is fix'd: thereon be fix'd thy love,
Nor seek from earth what earth can ne'er supply!
THE CONTEMPLATION OF HEAVEN A REMEDY FOR EARTHLY
Let us apply the like CONTEMPLATION, in forming our estimate of the sufferings of this world.
I neither entertain, nor affect, an unnatural insensibility to such sufferings. “Evils” they are called by the word of God himself: “ Lazarus
received evil things.” i Evils they are, when absolutely considered ; and painful, and sometimes hardly possible to be borne by flesh and blood : though by God's grace they are capable of being converted into good, and to be made the occasion of the greatest spiritual improvement, and eventually to be the means of introducing the sufferer to happiness. “ No chastening,” saith the Apostle to the Hebrews, "for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousuess unto them which are exercised thereby.” 2
The proper way of regarding the evils of this life is to regard them, not absolutely, but with reference to another life. And then, what says the Apostle St. Peter ?
Wherein," namely, in the prospect of the “salvation ready to be revealed in the last time,” “ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations; that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise, and honor, and glory, at the appearing of Jesus Christ; whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory; receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” 3 And as he afterwards exhcuts,
1. Luke xvi. 25.
Heb. xii, 11.
1 Pet. i. 6.-9.
“ Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you; but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy." 1 And what says his brother in the apostleship, St. Paul ? “I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us : " 2 for, as he elsewhere says, “our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 3
The greatest sufferings of this life are capable of being mitigated by some circumstances of a consolatory nature ; by some circumstances of alleviation. To the religious man, the sincere and faithful Christian, the affectionate child of his heavenly Father, the devoted follower of his meek and lowly Redeemer, such circumstances are wonderfully multiplied and increased. He has been admonished, “My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him ; for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If
11 Pet. iy. 13.
2 Rom. viii. 18.
* 2 Cor. iv. 18.
ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons.' He has been taught, that “ the trying of his faith worketh patience." ? He has been taught, “ Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him." 3 Dreary as may be his
. passage through this world's wilderness, weatherbeaten and torn as may be his tabernacle, and comfortless the accommodations to which he may be sometimes compelled to submit; worn out, as he may be, by fatigue, weighed down by affliction, beset with difficulties, impeded by sin, with a body liable to infirmities, diseases, and death, and a soul harassed by perplexity, and seeing dimly its way through surrounding darkness; molested and annoyed, assaulted perhaps and smitten, by his enemies, a solitary wanderer, separated and estranged from his friends; his soul vexed by the contradiction of sinners, his better thoughts and feelings liable to be distracted by the seductions of sense, and the cares of this world: how abundant in consolation to him is the reflection, that, for every evil, which he can suffer, God has provided a corresponding remedy; corresponding in kind, but infinitely surpassing the evil in measure and extent! How · encouraging and cheering is the reflection, that, if he persevere faithfully in "running the race which
1 Heb. xii, 5--7.
? James i. 3
• James i. 12.
is set before him,” i ever relying on the mercy of God, and ever “ looking unto Jesus
looking unto Jesus as the author and finisher of his faith," he will arrive in the end at a glorious and continuing home; where he will dwell for ever and ever, in life everlasting, in glory, honor, and peace, in security and happiness, in holiness and purity; with a body glorified, and a spirit made perfect; in the society of angels, and of good men, improved like himself into the likeness of the angelical, of the divine nature; and in the presence and in the service of his Maker, his Redeemer, and his Sanctifier, God blessed for ever, Amen!
Surely the contemplation of such scenes, as these, should make us comparatively indifferent to the things of this life: should induce us to cherish its good things with moderation, as things which must pass away, and be no more found; and to bear its evil things with meekness, as things of which likewise there will soon be an end : on the one hand, “ not to be high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches," ? “ lay up for ourselves treasures upon earth, where the rust and the moth doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal ;” nor, on the other hand, to be beyond
" 3 measure troubled with “ affliction, which is but for a moment;"4 nor to “cast away our confidence, which hath great recompence of reward;" 5 but to
* Matt. vi. 19.
1 Heh. xii. J.
91 Tim. vi. 17.