Page images

speechless in the mouth. These are some of the apparent and real changes on the mortal frame. But the inmortal inhabitant has to contend all this while with principalities and powers. He is to be seeing the dawning of eternity, feebly, but firmly and rapidly advancing. The soul is either to be anticipating and tasting the beginning of endless joy, or endless misery. Guardian angels are either to be whispering peace, or accursed spirits to be howling the beginning of endless wrath. Who can tell what takes place in the soul in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye? What though we had never passed the changes of infancy, youth, manhood, and age, nor felt the changes of seasons, and states, and conditions; now there is a change, an awful and eternal change, to which all must submit. The bridegroom is come, and we must go in with Him to the marriage, else the door will be shut. The door of eternity is opened, and ready or unprepared, willing or unwilling, we must enter in. Nor can any of our relatives or friends accompany us. They may burn themselves on our funeral pile -they may drink the same poisoned cup, or fall on the same fatal sword, or sink conjoined in the same devouring flood; if honour, falsely so denominated, or courage, improperly so styled, goad them on to be fashionable even in death, they may die by an exchange of bullets; yet they will each appear singly for himself in the presence of his Judge. As there is no discharge in that war, so there is no company in that journey. Though five hundred thousand men were to fall in one field in one day, (2 Chron. xiii. 17,) and admitting, according to the ordinary rate of mortality, by computation, one hundred thousand were departing every day, still the court of heaven would not be thronged, nor the way to eternity crowded. These are awful calculations; but they shall one day be rea lized to us, when we travel along this necessarily trodden path. Both speaker and hearers have yet to submit to have their countenances changed, and to be sent away. We may meet with many changes in this world before we depart; but they will be all nothing to the last. Blessed are they, and they only, who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. But there is no change in heaven. As there is no sin, so is no death there. There is no selfishness, no competition, no overreaching, no possibility of the greatest hurting the smallest, or the lowest envying the highest. Oh! could we but show it to you! Had Moses, or Elias, or Paul, been permitted to describe it unto us. Would we be better informed, think you, or more assured, if one had been sent from the dead? Are not Moses and the Prophets, Jesus, the Son of the Father,


and His Apostles, sufficient witnesses? Does not every page, almost, of Scripture assure us, that the Lord's people shall be for ever with Him? Have not all the saints anticipated the rest which remaineth for the people of God? Do not some of you feel it by the earnest of eternal peace bequeathed to you, and implanted within you? Do not we all set our seal to the text, whatever we may think of its illustration ?-In thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand are pleasures for


May God, of His infinite mercy, bring us all to His presence, and place us all at His right hand, and satisfy us with fulness of joy, and pleasure for evermore; for the sake of Jesus Christ, the only Saviour of sinners. Amen.

It is calculated, that there are eighty millions of suns, twenty billions of miles apart from each other. Each of these suns has assigned to it a circular dominion in space, ten billions of miles in diameter; and within which wide domain, revolve, in harmonious array and order, a retinue of, at least, thirty worlds, all differing from each other in symmetry of construction, hence forming an aggregate of two hundred and forty millions of worlds, governed by eighty millions of suns. The cloudy speck on Orion is said, by some astronomers, to be an universe; and Lord Rosse's telescope is supposed to be the ultimatum of telescopic power. And it certainly cannot now be doubted, that these vast multitudes of worlds are peopled with myriads of intelligences, capable of understanding and adoring the wisdom and goodness of Him who alone can count the number of the stars, and name them every one, (Job ix. 9: xxxviii. 31, 33,) whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain ; whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and whose kingdom ruleth over all. And will there be one of these worlds where the rational inhabitants are uninformed of the amazing mission and work of their Maker and Preserver into, and in behalf of the inhabitants of this little speck of earth? (1 John iii. 1; Rom. xi. 33.)


"And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.”— GEN. v. 21.


THE Apostle John, in his life of his blessed Lord and Master, which is a continuation and completion of all that preceded it, after narrating many things which had been omitted by Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and declaring that he saw and heard what he has recorded, and vouching, in the strongest manner, for the truth of his testimony, adds, in conclusion, And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose, that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. it would have enlarged too much the Sacred Volume, for any useful and necessary purpose, to have transmitted to posterity all the discourses, parables, miracles, prophecies, and other sayings and actions which the Divine Redeemer uttered and performed, how much more voluminous and inaccessible to the many must it have been, had all the transactions, the inventions and institutions, the benefactions and aberrations, or even the very names, been recorded and handed down to us, of those who lived in the antedeluvian age! Besides, never man spake like Jesus of Nazareth, and none ever did works like unto His. Had all the good of all mankind been weighed in the balance with His,-and He did nothing but good, (1 Pet. ii. 22,)—it would have been found absolutely less than nothing and vanity. If ever, therefore, the thoughts, and words, and actions of any man, deserved to be totally recorded, it was surely those of the meek and lowly Jesus. If the least piece of gold and platina are valuable, and deserve to be preserved, the smallest thing in the life of Jesus Christ was more precious than rubies. The most trivial action that He ever did, was more worth recording than all the brilliant achievements of the heroes and saints before the flood. The accounts of them that we have received, is all that seemed necessary to Infinite and Eternal Wisdom; and while it is absolutely correct, it is, at the same time, for every useful and necessary purpose, perfectly sufficient. We are told when, how, and by whom, all things were created. In the beginning of time, as narrated by Moses, God created the visible heavens and the earth. He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it

stood fast. God said, Let there be light; and there was light. We are informed in what state man, the lord of this world, was created, (Gen. i. 26, 27.) We have a short, but sufficient intimation of the covenant transaction between God and man, mentioning its condition on man's part, and the awful penalty annexed in case of disobedience, (Gen. ii. 16, 17.) We are farther notified regarding the manner in which he fell, and sin, or moral evil, entered into the world, and death by sin, (Gen. iii. 6, 7.) We are told of the awful consequences which immediately ensued, and of the direful curse pronounced on the deceiver and the deceived, preceded, on the part of the tempted pair, by the first prophecy and the first promise, announcing the covenant of grace, contracted between the Father and the Son from everlasting, (Gen iii. 7-14, 16-19.) And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. The crown of innocence was now fallen from the head of the goodliest man of men since born his sons, and of Eve, the fairest of her daughters; and woe was unto them, for they had sinned. We are, lastly, told of their expulsion from Paradise, and of the guard that was set to prevent their access to the tree of life, (Gen. iii. 22-24.) These are facts which have puzzled the disputers of this world in all ages. They have never been able, with all their boasted wisdom, to account satisfac torily for a single one of them; and yet they still pretend to be guided by the glow-worm light of fallen reason, rather than avail themselves of the noontide rays of revelation. Professing themselves to be wise, they have shewn themselves to be the most arrant fools. Our first parents, now driven from Eden's happy garden, and no longer able to attain to righteous. ness by the works of the law, were most earnest, doubtless, to betake themselves to salvation, through the blood of the Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world. They were divinely taught, without question, to sacrifice the innocent victim, in token that they expected and depended on that great sacrifice, which, in the end of the world, was for ever to take away sin. Like persons escaped from the most imminent danger, they felt what none of their posterity could ever feel, and what no language could possibly express. They looked back on the fearful pit which, bottomless, yawned to devour, and saw the smoke of that torment which ascendeth on the unbelieving and impenitent for ever and ever; and having escaped, by grace, themselves, they wished their children to be partakers of the same mercy. Their children were, doubtless, therefore, nurtured in the same faith, that without shedding of blood, there

was no remission. Taught by their parents to offer sacrifice, Cain and Abel brought of that which the Lord had given them to offer unto Him. There was no difference of respect paid to that which they presented, had Cain presented in faith a sinoffering. The sacrifice of the younger was accepted, and, as on subsequent occasions, consumed by fire from heaven, which could not be always expected, if ever vouchsafed, save, per haps, the first time, when Adam sacrificed frequently during his long probation of nearly a hundred years. The sacrifice of the younger was accepted, while the sacrifice of the elder was rejected. An inspired commentator assigns the cause,-By faith, Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and by it he, being dead, yet speaketh. The acceptance of the offering of his brother, and the rejection of his own, without looking to the potent reason, chagrined the mind of the wicked Cain; and envy ripening into malice and deadly hatred, when a convenient opportunity offered, he lifted his fratricidal arm against his innocent, unoffending brother, and slew him. And wherefore slew he him? says the Apostle John; because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous. Thus sin having previously entered into the world, death entered by sin, and death hath passed upon all men, because all have sinned. The father and mother of mankind now saw the fruits of disobedience and the wages of sin in its most awful form on this side, the eternal punishment of the damned. Their sensations, and lamentations, and agonies, at this awful moment, the sacred historian has not been commissioned to attempt to describe. They are, therefore, for ever lost, amidst the wreck of things that were; for in heaven they shall not be able to recount them. We may, however, say, that the sincerely impassioned lamentation of David over his rebellious son, Absalom, would be compared to their mourning for their righteous son, Abel, like the drop in the bucket, or the small dust in the balance. Leaving this to be conceived, for it could not be described, the first of historians, instructed by the Holy Ghost. slightly notices other events, and hastens to give an account of Some of the descendants of Adam in the line of Seth, (from whom the seed of the woman was to spring,) during the first age of the world. He comprises his account between two of the most important points of the life of man, their birth and their death. And lengthened as was their span of life, he reckons it by days. If theirs was computed by days, surely ours might be calculated, in more than the half of mankind, by moments.

« PreviousContinue »