« ÎnapoiContinuați »
-in our families and neighbourhood-by prayer, by example, by influence. As much sin as we hinder, so much misery and danger shall we prevent.
Let us prize those institutions which are favourable to the morality and sanctification of mankind. Especially let us value the GOSPEL. It is the grand, and the only effectual means of "teaching men to deny all ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present world."
We are called upon to confess and bewail our national wickedness, and on such an eccasion as this, we should feel ourselves to be parts of one great whole. But no man will ever be properly affected with the sins of others, till he is impressed with his own. Here, then, our concern is to begin. We are individually to look backward, and inquire, what have I done, and to look forward, and ask, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? In Nehemiah, we find the builders labouring every one over against his own house. And it is a plain, but an expressive image, of an old writer, that the best way to have a clean street, is for every one to sweep before his own door.
Let us therefore personally cease to do evil, and learn to do well. Let us fear the Lord, and serve him, and mourn and weep for the abominations that are done in the land. And if we be not the repairers of the breach, the restorers of paths to dwell in let us remember, it shall be well with us. If we suffer with others, we shall not suffer like them. And we shall soon reach Immanuel's land, where the din of war will be heard no more.
And O remember, if your country should be saved, and you as an individual continue impenitent-you-you will certainly be destroyed. And
what is any national calamity to "everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and the glory of his power?”.
"I say unto you, (my friends,) be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do; but I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: fear him, who, after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell: yea, I say unto you, fear him.”
THE SAVIOUR COMFORTING HIS DISCIPLES. (AFTER A FUNERAL.)
In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you: and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.-John xiv. 2, 3.
"NEVER man spake like this man! Grace was poured into his lips!" And in him were accomplished, in the highest sense, the words of the prophet-"He hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary.
-Having assembled with his disciples in an upper room, and administered to them the memorials of his death-he announced his approaching departure. Sorrow filled their hearts. Perhaps they expressed it in words; perhaps it was visible in their countenances. However this may be, he perceived it, and said, Let not your heart be troubled.
But what can bear them up under such a loss? We grieve when we lose a good man, a friend, a common benefactor. But they were to lose their Lord and Saviour, their teacher, the resolver of their doubts, their comforter in every affliction. -How then would he relieve them? what is the remedy he applies-it is faith! The discoveries of faith are the best supports under the evils of sense. "I had fainted," says David, "unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.-Ye believe in God," says our Saviour, "believe also in me." But what would he have them believe? You have heard: "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you; and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."
Let us consider the various particulars of this intelligence; and the certainty of the whole.
1. The declaration of our Saviour contains every thing that can feed the contemplation, and enliven the hope of the Christian.
In describing heaven, he calls it his Father's house-as much as to say, I am only going home. Now he is not ashamed to call his people brethren. "Behold," says he, after his resurrection, "Behold, I ascend to my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God." Heaven, therefore, is their home also. The world knoweth them not; it knew him not. They are only strangers and pilgrims on earth. They take many a weary step; and often meet with rough usage, and trying weather. But when tempted to complain, they are prevented, by the reflection that this is not their home-better entertainment awaits them at
their journey's end-heaven will make amends for all. Dr. Rowland Taylor, when drawing near the tower of Hudley, in Suffolk, where he had been a minister, and was now going to be a martyr-being asked how he did-answered, "Never better; for now I know that I am almost at home."-And looking over the meadow between him and the place where he was to be immediately burnt, he said, "Only two stiles more to get over, and I am at my Father's house." And when the venerable Mr. Mede was asked how he did, replied, "I am going home as fast as I can, as every honest man ought to do, when his day's work is over; and I bless God I have a good home to go to."
Yes-a good home, indeed! Think of a building of God and for him; think of an edifice in which he resides; and which is worthy of his infinite majesty! We have seen splendid palaces. We have read of others, the magnificence of which seems to exceed belief. The scripture tells us that Solomon's palace was the wonder of the earth; and that when the queen of Sheba had surveyed it, there remained no more spirit in her. But what is all this to heaven, "the palace of the Great King?" No man could see it and live. But all this is your home; it is your "Father's house."
Our Lord tells us, that in this house there are many mansions. No inconsiderable number will be required. For if it be asked, are there few that shall be saved?-taking them all eventually and collectively, we answer, No. The Captain of our Salvation is leading many sons unto glory. And John saw before the throne "a great multitude which no man could number," from all the diversities of the human race. But there is room
enough in the house of God to accommodate all his immense family. There is, therefore, nothing to justify monopoly. There is enough and to spare-enough for us-for others--for all.
But the expression implies, not only multiplicity, but variety. Though the house is one, the apartments are many. There is something in the heavenly state suited to the circumstances and character, and taste of every inhabitant.The land of Canaan was given to the Jews, but each tribe had its own division, and the lots of no two of them were in all respects alike. In the world of nature we see one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differeth from another star in glory. Among the angels we read of thrones and dominions, principalities and powers; they have their orders and degrees. This also, we have reason to believe, will be the case with glorified saints. We see endless diversity in all God's works and ways; and will heaven be an exception? All will be perfectly blessed-but why should all be similarly employed; or equally endowed? Plunge a number of vessels into the sea-they are all alike filled-but various in their dimensions, they hold unequal proportions.
Farther; he tells them, "I go to prepare a place for you." "You are coming, too-but I must go first-to remove every impediment; to perform every condition: to secure every advantage."
For this happiness is not such as Adam would have obtained after a proper trial of his obedience in paradise. It is the happiness of a lost creature, in whose restoration difficulties were found, which the Saviour alone could remove. And be