Sidor som bilder

deed, it is, that good men on earth rejoice with the angels in heaven, over even one sinner that repenteth. We would hope many of these were penitents; but as there was no space granted, as in the case of Onesimus, to prove their sincerity, we should be glad to see, in these statements, more contrition and less rapture. May not young delinquents be encouraged to go on from crime to crime, feeling themselves secure of heaven at last, when they see, from this incautious charity, that assurance of acceptance which is so frequently withheld from the close of a life of persevering holiness, granted to the most hardened perpetrators of the most atrocious crimes?

As it has been observed, that the baskets of the hawkers have this year abounded in these dangerous, though doubtless well-meant tracts, may not the lower class in general, and our servants


vants in particular, be encouraged to look for a happy termination of life, not so much to the dying bed of the exemplary Christian, as to the annals of the gallows? A few exceptions might be mentioned, honourable to the prudence, as well as to the piety, of the writers of some of these little narratives.

[ocr errors]




BEFORE the introduction of Chris

tianity, so dark were the notices of a state beyond the grave, that it is no wonder if men were little inclined to give up the pleasures and interests of one world, of which they were in actual possession, for the possibility of another, doubtful at best, and too indistinct for hope, too uncertain for comfort.

If a state of future happiness was believed, or rather guessed at, by a few of those who had not the light of revelation, no nation on earth believed it, no public religion in the world taught it. This single truth, then, firmly established, not only by the preaching of Jesus, but by his actual resurrection from the dead, - pro

produced a total revolution in the condition of man. It gave a new impulse to his conduct, infused a new vitality into his existence. Faith became to man an anchor of the soul, sure and stedfast. This anchorage enables him to ride out the blackest storms; and though he must still work out his passage, the haven is near, and the deliverance certain," while "he keeps his eye to the star, and his "hand to the stern."

The value and importance, then, of this doctrine, seems to have made it an especial object of Divine care. Founded on the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, perhaps it may have afforded one reason, why the long suffering of God permitted Jerusalem to stand near half a century after this last event had taken place. By this delay, not only the inhabitants of that city, but the multitudes who annually resorted thither, could gain full leisure to examine into its K 6 truth:

truth had the destruction followed immediately upon the crime which caused it, occasion might have been furnished to the Rabbies for asserting, that a truth could not now be authenticated which was buried in the ruins of the city. Nor would the enemies of Jesus have scrupled any subornation to discredit his preten sions, even though at the expence of a doctrine, which involved the happiness of worlds unborn.

Jerusalem, however, survived for a time, and the doctrine of a resurrection was established for ever. And now, had it been a doctrine of any ordinary import, as Saint Paul was not writing to persons ignorant of the truths of Christianity, but to Christian converts, it might have been less his object to propound it dogmatically, than to develope and, being a thing previously known, acknowledged, and received. In writing a letter, when we allude to facts already notorious,

« FöregåendeFortsätt »