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hension ; and expressed his readiness to undergo it whenever it should be deemed necessary. But the symptoms of the disorder abating, the operation, of course, did not take place. He amused himself now with some light reading, but still of a religious nature. At length he recoiled from this, and said, “ [ must have something more solid-more like the Bible." He was still able to keep up, and walk out occasionally, and even to receive a little nourishment. But the flame of his life now burnt in the socket. Of this, however, he did not appear to be sensible, continuing to talk on other subjects, and to take an interest in what was passing. It had long been the custom of the family to assemble on the Christmas-day, when it was his happiness to rise before them, saying, “ Thank God, I have all my family about me once more.” As this season was now at hand, his thoughts adverted to the family meeting, and he expressed some wishes relative to the manner in which it should be held. Who, that heard him, could have supposed, that within a few days he would be a corpse! But thus mercifully did it please God to remove him: he had always wished not to die a lingering death, and to be spared painful apprehensions. And if any one had known his end to be so nigh, his frame of mind was such, that it would hardly have been necessary to apprise him that he was at this time walking through " the valley of the shadow of death.” But there it seemed good to the Almighty, a short while to detain him, that all who saw him and heard him, might know that his Shepherd was with him, and that his rod and staff comforted him.
Aboút this time he expressed his firm hope, that God would not leave him. He observed, on being questioned if he thought on any particular passages of Scripture, that he had been chiefly impressed with those which related to the faithfulness of God. He adverted with great interest to that promise in Isaiah, which he repeated at full length : “ Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” The following also was a text of Scripture which he quoted at this time with great fervency : “ The blood of Jesus Christ bis Son, cleanseth from all sin.”
The version of the Psalms, by Tate and Brady, was very familiar to him; and he repeated the two following verses from them, in the course of the Tuesday, with great emphasis :
Through ev'ry changing scene of life,
In trouble, and in joy,
My heart and tongue employ.
Till all that be opprest,'
And lull their fears to rest.
He spoke with great satisfaction of his occasional preaching. On his being reminded, that his zeal had certainly carried him too far, he replied, “ Perhaps so; but I did not serve God by halves. I had only his glory in view. I had often great liberty. I was not altogether left destitute of success. I would not now but have done what I have done, for the world. I wished from the beginning of my course, to be a a disciple indeed ; and it has been my constant aim. I often thought of those words—Well done, good and faithful servant.' Now a man must not be idle, if ever he receives that approbation. Oh, John, I do not repent of a word I have spoken for God, nor of a step I have taken in his service."
He said, he had been courageous in many things; but confessed a recollection, in some instances, of deficiency. He mantioned one person, in particular, for whom he had a great af. fection, and whom he had often wished to warn, in the most faithful manner, against a neglect of the gospel. But her ready assent, he observed, to every thing he uttered, deprived his words of their edge, and always defeated his purpose.
On his youngest daughter's exclaiming, as she entered the room, “ My father! My dear father!” he said" Well; but do not cry; think what a comfort it is, that we shall meet again! How is your mother ?
(To be concluded in the next.)
fessed a recohe had bebis service. I have
A SERMON FOR NEW YEAR'S DAY;
(Concluded from page 20.) Part II. Above all things observe, that the apostle leaves no middle way between looking at the things which are seen, and the things which are not seen and eternal. For to imagine a state of neutrality and indifference between the two, being disgusted with this world and insensible to that which is to come, renouncing what we see and discovering nothing better, to recompence the loss we make, this would be considering the evil without remedy or alleviation, and tearing ourselves from the present without any assurance of the future. This, however, is the sad and lament. able state in which worldlings are found ; you see them perpetually fatigued and disgusted in the midst of their pleasures, and weary of their possessions and honours. Vexation seizes them at seeing themselves always agitated by the inequalities of fortune; they retire in despair, but this disgust proceeds from an excess of worldly-mindedness, and not from any desire for enjoyments of another nature; it is because their pleasures are not sufficiently refined, or their honours sufficiently great to satisfy them. At
the same time that they appear to despise the world and declaim against it, they form no idea of, nor feel any inclination for the things which are to come. And can there be any thing more grievous or deplorable than to be void of enjoyment either from God or the world? To be disgusted with what we possess, without looking for any thing better; and to be placed between time and eternity, without hope in either? It is a monstrous situation, which it behoves us to quit. Our minds cannot remain inactive; rejecting the one, emplying themselves of temporal things, it is requisite they should be filled with the things which are eternal.
For this purpose the apostle places before us the two characters of the things which he opposes to the things of this world; invisibility and eternity, they are not seen, in opposition to the things which are seen ; they are eternal, in opposition to those which are temporal. Does it pot appear, my brethren, that this opposition turns to the disadvantage of heavenly things? What must we look at, say you, except what is under our eye, and within the reach of our senses? And to what ought we to attach ourselves except to what is real and solid ? But is there any thing more stable than what we see and touch ? Is there any thing more vain than what eludes our sight, and is beyond our comprehension ? as the seeking of an unknown happiness, and of which, after the utmost effort of the mind, we can form no idea ? Nevertheless, nothing is more just than the reasoning of St. Paul, and nothing better founded than this proposition; we should look at the things which are not seen, because they are not seen. For why are they not seen? because they are spiritual and immaterial in their nature; placed in another world beyond the sphere of this inferior state; revealed unto us by shadows and the obscurity of faith; and so great and eminent as to surpass our ideas and comprehension. Reasons which, far from repulsing us from this pursuit, lead us to follow them with all our zeal and application.
For to begin with their nature; why are they not seen, but because they are spiritual, disengaged from sense and matter?
This is the idea we ought to form of them, removing from them whatever is sensual or corporeal. If by an imagination, still eartbly, we form to ourselves a sensual paradise, consisting of riches, bonours, splendour, and magnificent abodes; and if, to obtain this, we should make a few sacrifices, we only change the place of our desires; instead of attaching them to earth we transplant them to heaven : and when with this view we abstain from the world, we resemble those who, by fasting, prepare themselves for a banquet, and who are temperate merely by an excess of intemperance. All will be pure, spiritual, and incorporeal in eternity; but the blessings will not, therefore be less real or less capable of constituting the happiness of the soul. You say these
VOL. XLII. FEBRUARY, 1819.
views are too refined and abstracted, and that it is impossible to comprehend how we should be happy by things which are invisible. But is it not true, as St. Augustine very justly says, that small as our goodness is, we cannot help loving those in whom we discover great and eminent virtues: but as it is not the body that we love, it is evident ihat what we are pleased with in them is the beauty of truth and righteousness. If truth and righteousness had no beauty, how could we love the just and virtuous who are aged and infirm ? For what do they present to please the eye? Bending limbs, a wrinkled countenance, and universal feebleness; nevertheless, if distinguished by benevolence and wisdom, and if ready to deliver up their body, enfeebled as it is, a sacrifice to the truth of Christianity, we cannot forbear loving them; but as we discover nothing beautiful to eyes of flesh, we inust conclude that there is a certain beauty in righteousness, discovered by the eye of the mind, and which was admired in the Martyrs even when their limbs were torn by the executioner, or their bowels devoured by wild beasts. Now that truth and righteousness which we cannot help loving, even in the midst of earthly corruptions, will constitute our happiness in heaven; we shall contemplate them, disengaged from all those prejudices and worldly views which obscure our minds; we shall enjoy them without feeling the combat of our passions and vices; all our pleasure shall be to know God, to penetrate the depth of his mercy towards us, to love him, to serve him, te adore him, and to be in union with the blessed. Here are mental enjoyments; but their spirituality, far from lessening their value, in the highest degree shews their greatness and importance; for as far as the soul excels the body, and the mind inanimate matter, so much are the operations and pleasures of the former more delightful than those of the latter.
Wherefore, again, are these things not seen ? Because they are placed beyond the bounds of this inferior world, and in another state which we have neither seen nor tried. But should this repulse us, or lead us to disbelieve them? On the contrary, ought we not to reason thus ?-I am to pass into another world, without knowing perfectly what it is; but whatever it is, it camot be the abode of misery; for if God has furnished the world, which I am about to leave with all the necessaries of life, can I believe that he hath left destitute the world on which I am to enter? It is true that I am ignorant of its precise nature; but I knew not the pleasures of this life until I entered upon it; and it would be unreasonable to say that there are no pleasures, because I am not acquainted with what they are. Now if there are pleasures in another world, I must conclude that they are more excellent and desirable than these I now enjoy, because this world is only a prelude and preparation to the next, a sketch and rude outline. For this visible
world was only made to typify to us the intellectual. It is farther true that I have neither felt nor experienced the pleasures and joys of that state; but this, far from lessening my desire and Esteem for it, ought to redouble my zeal, because a new scene of things shall be opened before me, and I shall see what I have never beheld. Even to the present moment I am disgusted with every thing I have felt, and in spite of myself I wish for what I do pot possess. When I confine myself to this world, my disgust with it is ever renewed, and enjoyment always falls beneath the hopes I have formed. How happy, therefore, shall I be to see myself transported out of a world of which I am weary, to change my state and condition! Happy remove ! when, after what I shall discover, I shall be led to say, as the Queen of Sheba, what I see infinitely transcends all I have heard of it, even God himself had not told me all the depth of that felicity to which he has appointed me.
In the third place, Why are they not seen? Because they are revealed unto us only by shadows and the obscurity of faith. God deals with us, not as mean and mercenary men, but as believers who rest on the promises of his word; he desires that our virtues should be the effects of our liberty, and not the result of a evidence which compels our belief. This, however, far from discouraging us, affords a conviction that our virtues, thus elevated, shall be more largely and bountifully rewarded. Hereby we are put in possession of all those magnificent promises, in which the ancient patriarchs rejoiced; they saw them afar off, and believed, and were saved. Particularly we inherit the promise made to Abraham the father of the faithful, of whom it is said, he left his own country, friends, and connections, without knowing whither he went. “ By faith, Abraham, being called, obeyed, lo go to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance, and went out, not knowing whither he went.” In this he is the type and example of the faithful, who, joyfully leaving earth, their connexions, and friends, travel to a land unknown; knowing only the God that leads them, following his call, giving themselves up to the guidance of his counsel, and by an entire surrender de voting their bodies and souls unto hin, persuaded that the less they doubt, the more secure is their happiness; and the less they live by sight, the greater shall be their consolation and bliss: “ Thomas, because thou hast seen thou hast believed; blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed."
Finally: why are these things not seen? Because they are incomprehensible, and of a nature so transcendent, that the utmost stretch of our faculties cannot reach them; our eyes can neither discover nor support their glory, and our souls would be separated and rent from our bodies, were God to discover himself unto them in the greatness of his majezty: “ No man