« PreviousContinue »
army! are the summer's heat and the winter's cold, the furious assaults of the enemy without, and the distressing fears within, so very desirable, that you regret the close of the campaign? Oh! how much the reverse! And who knows but that the gracious Lord, reading in the index, the whole volume of this infant's life, in mercy shut the book, to stop at once the parent's anxiety, and her offspring's sufferings. Thus then, here is at once a whole chapter of mercies; mercies to the old, mercies to the young ; and nothing but mercy to all, both in time and eternity. And where is the cruel parent, that would retard the flight of his child under such circumstances; and hinder it from taking wing, to meet the Lord in the air ? Surely, might the infant say, in just reproof to such mistaken fondness! If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I go to my Father!
And what if we reverse the circumstances, (for grace is not hereditary,) let that parent determine, for none else can determine, what it must be to see a graceless child rising up in life, in spite of all our remonstrances, all our prayers
at once regardless of his present peace, and future happiness.-Oh! how awful !'.
As my friend uttered these words, a crowd of persons ran across the street in which we were walking, which excited our curiosity to inquire into the cause. The information was a sad one,
-A youth, it seemed, unable to brook the various disappointments, which a long pampered habit of false education had induced, dared to defy Omnipotence, by putting a period to his earthly existence. The crowd was running to behold the unhappy object. As for me and my companion, we both stood motionless, struck with horror. - At length my friend recovered himself and broke silence. ' Dread Lord !' (he cried,) what an awful world is this, through which thy people are passing ! How close we walk on the confines of everlasting misery, while in the very moment we are the monuments of thy saving mercy !'-Blessed God, (he exclaimed,) write, I beseech thee, that solemn truth upon my heart ; they that are kept, - are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation - Oh! what a lesson is here, my brother, (he cried,) for the sorrowful mother whom we just now noticed! And what would this young man's parents givè, (for perhaps he may have both to survive him,) had her case been their's!!.
My heart was too full to reply. I felt all that kind of sensation which the poet entered into, to the contemplation of a subject so hopeless and awful, when he said
- Then if it be an awful thing to die,
It was sometime before I prevailed on myself to remove from the spot of this awful
But at length I caught the arm of my companion, and we walked away together towards the end of the street, which terminated in the fields. We had gone a considerable space, without any conversation ; the minds of both being, I imagined, fully absorbed in ruminating on a subject, that was beyond all others the most distressing! For my part, the circumstance had awakened in my breast a train of thoughts, which tended to dissipate all my new-formed
hopes. What, (I said to myself,) if an 'end so horrible should be at length the termination of my pilgrimage? What if all my fond desires of grace should ultimately prove a delusion? Are the people of God exposed to such overwhelming temptations of the enemy? May they really be awakened to the life of God in the soul, and yet finally fall away?
I found these, and the like distrustful questions, involuntarily arising in my mind, and inducing much anxiety ; when my friend, as if privy to what passed within me, broke silence.
How gracious, (he exclaimed,) is our God, in the midst of such awful judgments, as are walking by our side, through the world, to keep us unhurt! Do you not perceive the evidence of that scripture ; " A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand, but it shall not come nigh thee; only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked* ?' Oh! it is a blessed, soul-reviving thought, amidst all the melancholy proofs around us, that we are passing through the enemy's territories, that there is a gracious nevertheless in the covenant which screens us froin his malice. Nevertheless, says the
* Psalm xci. 7, 8.
Apostle,) the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal; the Lord knoweth them that are his*.' Let mine outcasts dwell within thee, Moab; be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoilert.' This is enough. Outcasts, and sometimes considered as the offscouring of all things, they are. But still they are God's outcasts. Tempted they may be, and certainly will; but conquered they shall not. And could a looker-on but see objects spiritually, he would discover, as the impious monarch of old did, One walking with his people in the hottest furnace, that even the smell of fire may not pass upon them.'
"You very much rejoice my heart, (I replied,) by what you say. My fears were all alive in the view of this awful scene, lest an event sa truly hopeless might one day be my portion.'
-That, (answered my companion hastily,) is impossible to a child of God. The promise is absolute. No weapon formed against thee shall prosperl.' And God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bcar it.'
• But is it not said, (I replied,) that some who
2 Tim. ii. 19. # Dan. iii. 25. 27.
+ Isaiah xvi. 4.
Isaiah liv. 17.