Page images
PDF
EPUB

while the former shall eat the fruit of its doings for ever in the pit of destruction, the latter shall gather its everlasting reward from the tree of life in the paradise of God.

CHAPTER XII.

RELIGION CONSIDERED AS A PREPARATION FOR SUIER

INTENDING A HOME OF YOUR OWN UPON EARTH, AND FOR GOING TO AN ETERNAL HOME IN HEAVEN.

You are preparing, in your present situation, to act the part to which Providence may have destined you upon earth; and it is every way probable, according to the natural course of events, that in a few years you will be found at the head of a household of your own. This opens to you not only an interesting scene, but also an important and very responsible one. From the nature and constitution of society, the destiny of one generation is powerfully affected by the conduct of that which precedes it. The husband influences the wife, the father the child, and the master the servani; consequently, of how much moment is the character of the head of a family! How many households are scenes of discord and wretchedness, and are at length reduced to poverty and ruin, by a drunken, or pleasure-loving, or idle father! How many who enter life with the fairest prospects of comfort and success, throw all away by sin! They draw some lovely and virtuous young woman into the companionship of life with them, see a family rising around, and are bound by every tie of justice and honour to provide for the comfort of their

wife, and the prosperity of their children; but habits of indolence and extravagance had been acquired in youth, and all goes wrong till ruin drives them from that home, which industry and sobriety would have enabled them to maintain; at length the wife dies of a broken heart, and the children become vagrants in the world. Religion would have prevented all this, and preserved that home to be a scene of order, peace, plenty, and respectability.

But even where things do not reach this point, and there is neither vice nor want, but sober morals and success, still, think of a family without religion-an atheistic household, in which there is no worship, no instruction, no regard to eternity a mere temporal confederation, though still followed with eternal consequences. For the souls of their children and servants, every father and mother is answerable to God; and oh what an account will irreligious ones have to render to him at the day of judgment! What an eternity will such parents have to spend in the bottomless pit, with those children whose souls sank thither through their guilty neglect !

Religion will fit you to preside with dignity over your household: it will add the sanctity of the Christian to the authority of the parent and the master, and render obedience, on the part of your children and servants, more pleasant and easy, as given to one who has such high claims to it. How will your family prayers tend to keep up in all

other respects family order! Piety will strengthen and soften every domestic tie, as well as consecrate every domestic occupation. It will lighten the cares of business, brighten the scenes of prosperity, and yield consolation in the dark season of family sorrow. If called to leave your wife and family, it will mitigate the pang of separation by the prospect of eternal union in a world where death has no power: or if required to surrender a pious wife or children, it will prevent the sting of that sorrow which has no hope. What a bliss then to a family, what a benign and heavenly inmate, is sincere, consistent eminent religion, as it shines forth in the form and character of a godly father and master.

And now, young man, let me entreat you to consider what is the true character of your present life, viewed in relation to the life that is to come. Are you now at home, or are you away from home? Let the poet answer.

Strangers into life we come,

And dying is but going home.” This world is not our home, and unhappy is the man who makes it such. HEAVEN IS THE HOME OF IMMORTAL MAN. During the whole time we are upon earth, we are away from home; and away from it, that we may prepare, like a child at school or a youth in his apprenticeship, to go at length finally and fully, to possess and enjoy it. This is not your rest. How short and uncertain

is your continuance upon earth! You cannot remain many years, you may not remain one; for what is your life but “a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away?” At a moment's notice you may depart. A flash of lightning, a stroke of apoplexy, a ruptured bloodvessel, the overturn of a boat or a carriage, may plunge you suddenly into eternity. You are suspended over that vast gulf by the brittle thread of human life. Instead of living to old age, you may not live to be of age; instead of living to be a master, you may die before your apprenticeship is finished. Place your finger on your pulse, and say, “If this stop but a second, and any second it may stop, I am instantly in heaven or hell.” Can you call this home? Ought you to feel at home here? Should you wish to consider this your home? For what a home is it, but such a one as he had whose dwelling was among the tombs ? Home! What! would you desire it to be such, where there is so much to disturb, distress, and annoy? No. God has provided some better thing for us: heaven, I repeat, is the home of immortal man.

Think what heaven is, and how long it lasts. Heaven is the habitation of Jehovah, the dwellingplace of God, the palace of the King eternal, immortal, invisible. Heaven is the residence of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, where he displays the glory which he had with the Father before the world was.

Heaven is the house of many man.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »