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before as I experienced then. My terrors were so great that I thought myself to be dying.”
Happily the Holy Spirit brought home the consolations and promises and hopes of the gospel to the subject of these convictions. From that hour she began earnestly to seek the pardon of her sins; and ere long she found peace in believing. And then it was to her a matter of great surprise that she could have lived so long regardless of the question, “ Where shall I spend eternity ?”
Alas that so many treat this same question with indifference! It is one of the most painful and astounding facts connected with mankind, that such multitudes live without reference to the retributions of the future and endless existence.
They wish to spend time pleasantly; they shrink from discomfort, pain, and hardship; a day which is without excitement, or in which they have not amusement, they regard as tedious; a toilsome journey, without the society of friends, they would not willingly undertake ; a lonely evening they carefully avoid ; an hour at a railway station, while waiting for a train, they feel to be wearisome; and yet they give no serious attention to the question, “ Where shall I spend eternity ?”
They are sensitive as to pain, whether of body or mind, and would gladly avoid the “ills which flesh is heir to ;" they dread a cut, a bruise, or a broken limb; they dislike disappointment, chagrin, and remorse; severe sickness for a few days seems a great evil; the mental anxiety and anguish of a few hours, in view of some impending misfortune, is a load hard to bear; a life-long subjection to the power of incurable disease they would regard as a terrible calamity, and take all possible pains to avoid ; and yet they are not anxious to avoid the pains of that world where “their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.”
The idea of confinement or punishment is repulsive to them; they cannot bear the thought of months of banishment to some inhospitable clime, or of a few years within prison walls; and yet they never seriously consider how they may escape an endless isolation from all that is good, an endless existence in the prison-house of despair.
God has shown an intense desire to save men from the fearful doom awaiting them. He has plainly taught that nothing else is so important to man as to decide aright the question, “ Where shall I spend eternity ?” Divinity in
carnate, Gethsemane and Calvary, show how the salvation of the human soul is regarded in heaven. To create worlds, God had but to speak, and it was done; but to redeem mankind he gave his Son to become subject unto death, even the death of the cross; and yet this redemption is treated with indifference or contempt by millions of our race. God threatens, warns, admonishes, invites, and expostulates; but millions remain careless and reckless, as if Jehovah could say nothing worth their heeding, and inflict no punishment worth their fearing.
Where do you wish to spend eternity? Not in hell, with the fallen angels and all the haters of God, in torments unmitigated and everlasting. But you must spend it there, or in heaven; and you cannot spend it in heaven without regeneration. “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” If you are to escape perdition, and find a home in the realms of light and love, you must repent of sin, and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ; for “There is none other name given under heaven among men, whereby we must he saved.”
Have you done so ? If you have, then give diligence to “make your calling and election sure.” Hear the voice of your Saviour, saying, “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”
If you have not done so, your guilt is great, and your danger of spending eternity in the world of despair is imminent. God may never call upon you more loudly than he has already, to flee from the wrath to come. Few are arrested in a manner so powerful and startling as was this young lady in the ball-room. Most persons, if they do not yield to the gentler strivings of the Holy Spirit, will enter eternity unreconciled to God. My friend, as life is uncertain, will you delay making preparation for death ? He who had such a dreadful view of endless misery, as to leave his throne and crown, become incarnate, suffer, and die, that you might escape an eternity of despair, says to you, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God.” It is madness not to obey. Does the world present its manifold inducements to a life of sin and selfishness, and plead for the delay of repentance ? Remember, Christ has said, “ What shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul ?”
“ To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” To-day decide where you will spend eternity.
“Spurn not the call to life and light;
Regard in time the warning kind :
And yet the gate of mercy find.
With harden'd, self-destroying men':
May never hear his voice again.
Thy last accepted time may be :
Then hope may never beam on thee."
Dies on the ear, and all again is still,
of this cold, heartless world in which I roam; There's but one only spot where all is bright
Not here, not here; it is my heavenly home! : Oft have I wounded thee by wilful sin,
Oft have I grieved thee, my sweet, gentle Lord;
And ne'er hast uttered one reproachful word,
While time shall run its course, or heaven is heaven. Saviour, I love thee! Palaces were poor
And kingdoms mean, to make me give thee up: Weak the attempts of earthly pomp and power
To take away my bright, my cherished hope. Then let the world deride me as they may;
In fairer robes than theirs I soon shall shine. I do not envy them their little day,
For I am Christ's, and my Beloved is mine!
Quickly to see my Saviour's lovely face-
And teach my feeble lips the songs of praise,
Thou canst but tune my voice's faltering chord To notes of triumph with th' angelic host,
While loud I sing, “For ever with the Lord !”
PEHE ferry-boat was crowded. A great annual fair
was about to be held at a place on the opposite side of the water, which was several miles broad.
The company on board, numbering about two hundred, were mostly dissolute vagabonds of the class who wander about from fair to fair. Their ostensible
business was to buy and sell, and get gain, or to make gain in less reputable ways. Almost all were ignorant, depraved, vicious, and profane. Oaths and curses polluted the ear, and contaminated the dark souls of utterers and listeners alike.
But among this herd of wicked men was one who, though with them, was not of them. His business was not at the fair, or, if so, it was lawful business on which he was going. Of one thing we may be sure—he utterly loathed the company in which he found himself; for his righteous soul, like that of Lot in Sodom," was vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked." The name of this godly and God-fearing man was John Brown, a faithful preacher of the gospel at Haddington.
He was alone, but not alone; for, withdrawing himself as much as he could from the crowd on deck, he communed with God in prayer, secretly and silently, but with a full and sorrowful heart, praying for the wicked men around him.
He had not long been on board, however, before he was recognised; and while some, probably, declared with maths that if they had known a parson was among them before the boat started, either he or they should have: remained behind, others made up their minds to have some sport ont of "the black-coat," since he was there. The sport was rough, for they were rough men; even had their intentions been playful and good-humoured, which they were not. Stirred up by hatred of religion and teachers of religion, and further instigated by the master they served, they proceeded, in every conceivable way, to annoy and insult their fellow-passenger, whose only offence was his daring to show himself among them. They hustled him from side to side of the boat, mocked at his garb and his office, and poured their filthy jests and blasphemies into his ears. The good man bore all with patience and meekness. Resistance, indeed, would have been not only vain, but would have brought upon him more serious bodily injury; and remonstrance would, at that time, have been useless also; SO“ he held his peace, even from good, though his sorrow was stirred.”
But now a sudden change came over the whole scene. On leaving Newhaven the sun was bright, the water calm, and the wind gentle. The boat was half way across the Frith, four miles from either shore, when the sky became