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Conjugal love : Earthly friendship. of life. The shades of evening have gathered around. In the sick chamber, all is lonely, and silent, and noiseless. Then comes over the dying one, like a sickly dream, the recollection of that festive night-of those gay and reckless scenes of vanity, which the children of pleasure are so eager to renew.
But 0, with what altered feelings are they now viewed! How worthless do they appear, as the veil is lifted up which reveals an untried eternity. How much would that dying one now give for a hope in Christ !
Again : there is no period in life more interesting, than that, in which young hearts feel the touch of kindrid sympa. thies, and are held in union by the rosied wreath of love : And there is not on earth a scene more lovely, than that which is exhibited in the domestic circle, where are hourly exchanged, all the kind and endearing offices that are due between husband and wife, parents and children, brothers and sisters. This is a scene upon which the benevolent Creator must look with approbation. Still, he did not design that it should last but a few fleeting days, lest the hearts of the sons of men should be turned away from their future residence in the skies.
“ We have seen the bride, who stood before the altar in all the bloom of youth, and with the prospect of many long years of happiness before her, in a few short months, bending with sable weeds over the
of her wedded lover. “We have seen vice working worse and wider ruin than death; planting thorns, where hope had seen nothing but flowers; leaving in the heart which, a short time before, had been the happy seat of love and joy, nothing but blighted affection and grim despair.
“We have seen families, happy in each others' society, meeting, day after day, beneath the same roof, their minds and feelings all in unison, and enjoying an intercourse, so sweet, affectionate, and heavenly, that their dwelling seemed like another paradise. Only a few years elapsed, and the circle was broken up. The hard necessity of uncontrollable circumstances placed between them a distance, scarcely less than the diameter of the earth. The great destroyer of the human race knocked at the door of their distant and separate dwellings; and the daughter felt not on her forehead, through the lingering sickness that preceded dissolution, the soft and
Biddulph's illustration : The papilio. soothing hand of a tender mother-for that hand was already cold in the grave. The son sank beneath the ravages of mor. tal disease, but the anxious eye of a father looked not on him—the unwearied affection of a sister tended not around his bed : strangers closed his dying eyes, and his grave is in a foreign land.
“And thus I might go on, and show that transitoriness is written upon every object of human possession—that wealth, and knowledge, and honor, will all pass away like the morning cloud and the early dew. In eternity, the possessor of millions will have no need of his wealth, nor the hero of his laurels, nor the statesman of his political science, nor the scholar of his erudition, nor the jurist of his legal acquirements, nor the physician of his medical skill, nor the agriculturist of his knowledge of soils; but the sinner will have infinite need of Christ and his salvation. Most affectionately, therefore, would I entreat you to build your hopes upon nothing beneath the skies. Seek first-seek early-seek in the May morning of your young being, “the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all other necessary things shall be added thereunto.'
“Do you shrink away from the thought of assuming the character of a disciple of Christ? Do you imagine that the christian has a dull and gloomy life? Do you think it will be necessary to mingle in worldly amusements, in order to render life tolerable? Do you suppose that God requires hard things of those whom he calls to be his children? I might ask, in the language of an eloquent author,* *Has the Creator dealt hardly with the papilio, because, in consequence of His ordinance, it changes its nature, ceases to crawl on the ground, and mounts aloft in the air, deriving its pleasure from a new source ? Has the captive, long a prisoner in the Siberian mines, any reason for accusing his sovereign of bar. barity, when his chains are knocked off, and he is restored to the light of day, and to the pleasures of society on the surface of the earth; because he is now separated from those low gratifications to which he was obliged to resort for want of better, while he was confined in subterranean caverns? The objection is built on falseood; for it supposes the things of the world to be suited to the faculties of an im
Sources of enjoyment to the Christian. mortal mind, which is made for the enjoyment of God, and which nothing but God, His favor, and friendship can ever satisfy. But the believer is become, by regeneration, a new creature; old things are passed away, and all things are become new.
The aspect of all those things, with which he has hitherto been conversant, is now changed. The follies of the world have lost their power of giving him contentment; if, indeed, they can be said to afford it to any person. His hopes and fears, his desires and aversions, his joys and sorrows, arise from new causes, and are directed to new ends. What he receives, in lieu of the bubble which he relinquishes, is sterling gold. Had the prodigal son any cause of complaint, when, in consequence of the gracious reception which his father gave him, he was no longer under a necessity of feeding on husks with the swine which his former master had set him to keep? Let the christian, who is enjoying the privileges of his profession, be asked, whether the requisition of renoun. cing the world be harsh; and whether God, who makes it, be an Egyptian task-master. He will know how to answer the question, by replying, 'I am dead; and my life is hid with Christ in God."*
“ Rely upon it, the true christian alone, lives an angelic life here below. If you wish for present and eternal happiness, seek it in God.”
This thrilling appeal produced a deep sensation. The whole company returned to their several homes, with good and serious impressions on their minds.
Though Mr. 0. V., in his intercourse with this gay young party, certainly acted like a minister of Jesus Christ, I presume that the reader will think, that it would have been prudent for him to have declined the invitation altogether. For taking this step, a load of censure was unsparingly heaped upon him, and the church of which he was the pastor, was denounced as destitute of Piety.
In relation to worldly conformity, and indulgence in worldly amusements, ministers and christians, in the view of the Author, cannot use too much caution. The rule is a good one, never to go to any scene, or place, where Jesus Christ would not be a welcome guest.
The idea of mixing with the giddy and frivolous, in all * Col. III. ch. 3.
The influence of worldly intercourse. their varied rounds of amusement, to exert a restraining influence upon them, and show them that religion is not gloomy, is abundantly preposterous. They who take this course, are almost always borne along with the current, and led to participate in all the extravagance and worldliness of those who are “ lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.” There is not one instance in a hundred, where even the christian min. ister, in such a scene, can cause those around him to remember, that his great business is, to win souls to Christ. Were ministers able to do this, and were it considered decorous to speak of eternal things, in those fashionable circles, where their presence is now frequently sought-were they to go with the spirit, and decision, and fearlessness of young
O. V., they would soon cease to be welcome guests in those circles. The reason that their society is now sought, is, that there is a tacit understanding, that they will not open their lips on the subject of Christ, and his salvation.
If worldliness is to be shut out from the church-if Zion is to stand, like a city upon a hill, full of light and glory, then all the professed people of God must be willing to be singular-must be willing to “come out and be separate from the world.” We cannot be true disciples of Christ, unless we are willing to take up our cross and follow Him.And my earnest prayer to God in behalf of Zion is, that there may be among professing christians, an increased wil. lingness to give up all for Christ, and have for the one great object for which they live—the glory of God.
Bunyan—the Christian Church.
A GLANCE AT ZION.
"I love to know that not alone
I meet the battle's angry tide;
Descend to combat at my side:
See here, the seal of saints impressed;
CUNNINGHAM. Bunyan's idea of the christian church is not only striking, but just-a place for shelter and refreshment to the weary pilgrim, on his way to the Celestial City. In that inimitable work, The Pilgrim's Progress, when Christian was well nigh crushed to the earth, under the recollection of his for. mer miscarriages---when he was in the very act of “acknowledging and bewailing his manifold sins and wicked. ness—and the remembrance of those sins was grievous unto him, and the burthen of them intolerable,"* he lifted up his eyes and behold, there was a very stately palace before him, the name of which was Beautiful, and it stood just by the high-way side.t This house was built by the Lord of the hill, and built for the relief and security of pilgrims. In it, Christian found the rest he needed. He was lodged in a large upper room, whose window opened towards the sun rising. “The name of the chamber was Peace, where he slept till break of day, and then he awoke and sung,
« Where am I now! is this the love and care
And dwell already the next door to Heaven!” Had we Bunyan's graphic power, we would instantly trans* Communion service of the Episcopal Church. 4 Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress.