Images de page

olate; the things that were, become as if they had never been ; Babylon is a ruin; her heroes are dust; not a trace remains of the glory that shone over the earth, and not a stone to tell where the master of the world is laid. Such, in general, is the humiliating. aspect of the tomb; but let us take a nearer view of the house appointed for all living. Man sets out in the morning of his day, high in hope, and elated with joy. The most important objects to him are the companions of his journey. They set out together in the career of life, and, after many mutual endearments, walk hand in hand through the paths of childhood and of youth. It is with a giddy recollection we look back on the past, when we consider the number and the value of those, whom unforeseen disaster and the hand of destiny have swept from our fide. Alas! When the awful mandate comes from on high concerning men, to change the countenance, and to send them away, what fad spectacles do they become! The friends whom we knew, and valued, and loved ; our companions in the path of life; the partners of our tender hours, with whom we took sweet counsel, and walked in company to the house of God, have passed to the land of forgetfulness, and have no more connection with the living world. Low lies the head that was once crowned with hon.

Silent is the tongue to whose accents we surrendered the soul, and to whose language of friendship and affection we wished to listen for ever. Beamless is the eye, and closed in night, which looked ferenity and sweetness and love. The face that was to us as the face of an angel, is mangled and deformed ; the heart that glowed with the purest fire, and beat


with the best affections, is now become a clod of the valley.

But shall it always continue so? If a man die, shall he live again! There is hope of a tree if it be cut down; but man giveth up the ghost, and where is he? Has the breath of the Almighty, which animated his frame, vanished into the air ? Is he who triumphed in the hope of immortality, inferior to the worm, his companion in the tomb ? Will light never rise on the long night of the grave ? Does the mighty flood that has swept away the nations and the ages, ebb to flow no more ? Have the wise and the worthy; the pious and the pure; the generous and the just; the great and the good; the excellent ones of the earth, who, from age to age, have thone brighter than alli the stars of heaven, withdrawn into the fhade of annihilation, and set in darkness to rise no more? No. While “ the dust returns to the earth as it was, the “ fpirit shall return unto God who gave it.”

it.” Life and immortality are brought to light by the Gofpel of Christ. “We know, that if our earthly house “ of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a build.

ing of God, an house not made with hands, eter" nal in the heavens."

The periods of human life passing away ; the certainty of the dissolution which awaits us, and the fre. quent examples of mortality, which continually strike our view, lead us to reflect with seriousness upon the house appointed for all living. Death is the great teacher of mankind; the voice of wisdom comes from the tomb ; reflections, which show us the vanity, will teach us the value of life. Such meditations are particularly suited to beings like us, who are subject

to infirmities and defects. For such is the weakness of human nature in this imperfect state ; such is the strength of tempation in this evil world, that frail man is often led astray before he is aware. The enemy of the soul attacks us in every quarter ; approaches often under false colours, and tries every disguise, to deceive and to destroy. Vice often bor. ders on virtue; the narrow path and the broad way lie so near, that it is difficult to distinguish them, so as to order our goings aright. Inadvertence may fre. quently betray ; the impetuosity of passion may precipitate, and the gentleness of our own nature mislead us into steps fatal to our peace. I speak not of wicked men, who acknowledge to guide but their palfions, and submit to no law but what one vice imposes upon another. I talk of the sincere and the good. The most watchful Christian has his unguarded moments; the most prudent man fpeaks unadvisedly with his lips, and the meekest lets the sun go down upon his wrath. Alas! Man in his best estate is al. together vanity, and always stands in need of the leffon from the tomb. . “O that they were wise,' said Moses, “that they understood this, that they would e consider their latter end !"

[merged small][ocr errors]

death! Where is thy sting? O grave ! Where is thy victory? --Thanks be to God wbo giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Chrift.

THE Messiah is foretold in ancient prophecy, as a magnificent Conqueror. His victories were celebrated, and his triumphs were sung, long before the time of his appearance to Israel. " Who is this,” saith the prophet Isaiah, pointing him out to the Old Testament Church, “ Who is " this that cometh from Edom; with dyed garments "s from Bozrah ? This that is glorious in his apparel, “ travelling in the greatness of his strength ?”-“I “ have set my King upon my holy hill of Zion.—I « shall give him the heathen for his inheritance, and " the uttermost parts of the earth for his pofseffion." As a Conqueror, he had to destroy the works of the great enemy of mankind; and to overcome death, the king of terrors.

The method of accomplishing this victory, was as surprising as the love which gave it birth. " Foras. “ much as the children are partakers of flesh and “ blood, he himself likewise took part of the same, " that through his own death, he might destroy him " that had the power of death, that is the devil, “ and deliver them, who, through fear of death, were “ all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Accorde

tle ;

ingly, his passion on the cross, which you have this day commemorated, was the very victory which he obtained. The hour in which he suffered, was also the hour in which he overcame. Then he bruised the head of the old serpent, who had seduced our first parents to rebel against their Maker ; then he difarmed the king of terrors, who had usurped domine ion over the nations ; then triumphing over the legions of hell, and the powers of darkness, he made a show of them openly. Not for himself, but for us did he conquer. The Captain of our salvation fought, that we might overcome. He obtained the victory, that we may join in the triumphal song, as we now do, when we repeat these words of the Apof

“O death! where is thy sting? O grave ! “ where is thy victory?

It is the glory of the Christian religion, that it abounds with consolations under all the evils of life; nor is its benign influence confined to the course of life, but even extends to death itself. It delivers us from the agony of the last hour ; sets us free from the fears which then perplex the timid ; from the horrors which haunt the offender, though penitent, and from all the darkness which involves our mortal ftate. So complete is the victory we obtain, that Jesus Christ is said in Scripture to have abolished death.

The evils in death, from which Jesus Christ sets us free, are the following: in the first place, The doubts and fears that are apt to perplex the mind, from the uncertainty in which a future state is involved. Secondly, The apprehensions of wrath and forebodings of punishments, proceeding from the consciousness of fin. Thirdly, The fears that arise in the

« PrécédentContinuer »