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fidence, even as a son doth to a beloved and loving parent, or a friend to the friend of his bosom, casting all our care upon him," as knowing that "he careth for us."
Let us, throughout the whole course of our lives, take care to make the thoughts of God so present, familiar, and comfortable to us here, that we may not be afraid of appearing face to face before him hereafter. Let us so inure our minds to those faint views of him which we can attain to in this life, that we may be found worthy to be admitted into the blessed vision of him in the next, when, in his presence, "there will be fulness of joy, and at his right hand pleasures for evermore."
REFLECTIONS ON DEATH.
THE records of time are emphatically the history of death; a whole review of the world, from this hour to the age of Adam, is but the vision of an infinite multitude of dying men. During the more quiet intervals, we perceive individuals falling into the dust, through all classes and all lands.
Then come floods, and conflagrations, famines, and pestilence, and earthquakes, and battles, which leave the most crowded and social scenes silent. The human race resembles the withered foliage of a wide forest; while the air is calm we perceive single leaves scattering here and there from the branches; but sometimes a tempest or whirlwind precipitates thousands in a
It is a moderate computation which supposes a
hundred thousand millions to have died since the exit of righteous Abel. Yes, it is true, that ruin has entered the creation of God! That sin has made a breach in that innocence which fenced man round with immortality! Even now, the great Spoiler is ravaging the world.
As mankind have still sunk into the dark gulf of the past, history has given buoyancy to the most wonderful of their achievements and characters, and caused them to float down the stream of time to our own age. It is well; but if, sweeping aside the pomp and deception of life, we could draw from the last hours and death-beds of our ancestors, all the illuminations, convictions, and uncontrollable emotions of heart, with which they have quitted it; what a far more affecting history of man should we possess! Behold all the gloomy apartments opening, in which the wicked have died! Contemplate, first, the triumphs of iniquity, and here behold their close; witness the terrific faith, the too late repentance; the prayers suffocated by despair, and the mortal agonies!
These once they would not believe; they refused to consider them; they could not allow that the career of time and pleasure was to end. But now, truth, like a blazing star, passing through a midnight sky, darts over the mind, and but shows the way to that "darkness visible," which no light can cheer. Dying wretch! we say in imagination to each of these, is religion true? Do you believe in a God, in another life, and a retribution? O yes, he answers, and expires.
But, "the righteous hath hope in his death." Contemplate, through the unnumbered saints that have died, the soul, the true and unextinguishable life of man, charmed away from this globe by
celestial music, and already respiring the gales of eternity. If we could assemble in one view, all the adoring addresses to the Deity, all the declarations of faith in Jesus, all the gratulations of conscience, all the admonitions and benedictions to weeping friends, and all the gleams of opening glory; our souls would burn with the sentiment which made the wicked Balaam devout for a moment, and exclaim, "Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my end be like his!"
These revelations of death would be the most emphatic commentary on the revelation of God. What an affecting scene is a dying world! Who is that destroying Angel whom the Eternal has employed to sacrifice all our devoted race? Advancing onward over the whole field of time, he hath smitten the successive crowds of our hosts with death; and to us he now approaches nigh. Some of our friends have trembled, and sickened, and expired, at the signals of his coming; already we hear the thunder of his wings; soon his eye of fire will throw mortal fainting on all our companions; his prodigious form will to us blot out the sun, and his sword sweep us al from the earth; for "the living know that they shall die."
It is a difficult thing to be a Christian. I feel the necessity of reform through all my soul; when I retire into thought, I find myself environed by a crowd of impressive and awful images; I fix an ardent gaze on Christianity; assuredly, the last best gift of heaven to men; on Jesus, the agent and example of infinite love; on time, as it passes away; on perfection, as it shines as beauteous as heaven, and, alas! as remote; on my own beloved soul, which I have injured, and on the unhappy
multitude of souls around me and I ask myself, why do not my passions burn? Why does not zeal arise in mighty wrath to dash my icy habits in pieces, to scourge me from indolence to fervid exertion, and to trample all mean sentiments in the dust? At intervals, I feel devotion and benevolence, and a surpassing ardour; but when they are turned towards substantial, laborious operation, they fly, and leave me spiritless amid the iron labour.
Still, however, I confide in the efficacy of persistive prayer; and I hope, that the Spirit of the Lord will yet come mightily upon me, and carry me on through toils, and sufferings, and death, to stand on Mount Zion among the followers of the Lamb!
REFLECTIONS SUGGESTED ON OCCASION OF THE DEATH OF A DEAR AND MUCH LAMENTED FRIEND,
Lord,. now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace.LUKE, ii. 29.
A pilgrim fainting for the rest to come;
'Tis sweet, 't is soothing to the mourner's mind, when called to stand by the dying-bed of much loved friends to witness such composedness and tranquillity in the hour of death, yea, more, such holy longings to depart and be with Jesus,
What but the "glorious gospel of the blessed God" can support and animate the mind at those solemn periods? when the world with all its al
lurements is rapidly receding from our view, and the attenuated thread, which binds us to earth, is dissolving for ever:—while weeping friends are silently watching our last agonies, and with tender solicitude removing the clay-cold damps which sit upon our forehead. In the midst of all the sufferings of our now wasted fabric, to feel a holy calm within, and to be enabled peacefully to contemplate the silent sepulchre, which must soon open to receive us, evidences a support more than human.
The presence of a Covenant God can then alone administer consolation, and enable the expiring saint, to stretch the wing of faith beyond the narrow boundaries of time, and to hasten with feelings of lively anticipation that glorious period, when mortality shall be swallowed up of life, and the now "vile body fashioned like unto the glorified body of Jesus."
Thus supported by the presence of the Saviour, my departed friend exclaimed, in the immediate prospect of death," my soul is in haste to be gone, I cannot, I would not stay here. Oh, that the happy hour would more quickly arrive, when my immortal spirit, now imprisoned in a body of corruption, shall wing its flight to the throne of God! I long to fly away; come, Lord Jesus, come quickly." Memory derives a melancholy pleasure, when reflecting on thy holy and devoted life, thy pious and chastened temper, feeling assured that thy liberated spirit, which was once incarcerated in clay, can never again taste this bitter cup of afflic tion: yes, my friend, thou art now doubtless uniting with an innumerable company, in "ascribing glory and honour to him that sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb for ever." Thou didst, in thy sojourn here, experience the deepness