« PreviousContinue »
give, and could not take away. And now the world is gone, I keep my peace, I keep my treasure, still. My peace is where it was, in my own heart. My peace is what it was : my faith in God,-faith that my sins are forgiven me for Christ's sake: my faith that God my Father loves me, and cares for me; and that nothing,—height or depth, or time or space, or life or death, can part me from his love: my faith that I have not been quite useless in the world; that I have tried to do my duty in my place; and that the good which I have done, little as it has been, will not go forgotten by that merciful God, by whose help it was done, who rewards all men according to the works which he gives them heart to perform. And my treasure is where it was in my heart; and what it was,—the Holy Spirit of God, the spirit of goodness, of faith and truth, of mercy and justice, of love to God ånd love to man, which is everlasting life itself. That I have. That time cannot abate, nor death abolish, nor the world, nor the destruction of the world, nor of all worlds, can take away,
Choose, my friends, which of these two frames of mind would you rather be in when the great day of the Lord comes, foretold by that earthquake, and by all earthquakes that ever were.
Will you be then like those whom St. John saw calling on the mountains to fall on them, and the hills to hide them from the wrath of him that sat on the throne, and from the anger of the Lamb ?
Or will you be like him who saith—God is my hope and strength, my present help in trouble. Therefore will I not fear, though the earth be shaken, and though the mountains be carried into the depth of the sea ?
THE METEOR SHOWER.
(Preached at the Chapel Royal, St. James's, Nov. 26, 1866.)
St. MATTHEW X. 29, 30.
Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing ? and one of them
shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
TT will be well for us to recollect, once for all
who spoke these words ; even Jesus Christ, who declared that he was one with God the Father; Jesus Christ, whom his apostles declared to be the Creator of the universe. If we believe this, as Christian men, it will be well for us to take our Lord's account of a universe which he himself created; and to believe that in the most minute occurrence of nature, there is a special providence, by which not a sparrow falls to the ground without our Father.
I confess that it is difficult to believe this heartily. It was never anything but difficult. In the earliest ages, those who first thought about the universe found it so difficult that they took refuge in the fancy of a special providence which was administered by the planets above their heads, and believed that the affairs of men, and of the world on which they lived, were ruled by the aspects of the sun and moon, and the host of heaven.
Men found it so difficult in the Middle Age, that they took refuge in the fancy of a special providence administered by certain demi-gods whom they called “The Saints ;' and believed that each special disease, or accident, was warded off from mankind, from their cattle, or from their crops, by a special saint who overlooked their welfare.
Men find it so difficult now-a-days, that the great majority of civilized people believe in no special providence at all, and take refuge in the belief that the universe is ruled by something which they call law.
Therein, doubtless, they have hold of a great
truth; but one which will be only half-true, and therefore injurious, unless it be combined with other truths; unless questions are answered which too many do not care to answer : as, for instance-Can there be a law without a law-giver? Can a law work without one who administers the law ? Are not the popular phrases of ‘laws impressed on matter,' 'laws inherent in matter,' mere metaphors-dangerous, because inaccurate; .confirmed as little by experience and reason, as by Scripture ? Does not all law imply a will ? Does not an Almighty Will imply a special providence ?
But these are questions for which most persons have neither time nor inclination. Indeed, the whole matter is unimportant to them. They have no special need of a special providence. Their lives and properties are very safe in this civilized country; and their secret belief is that, whatever influence God may have on the next world, he has little or no influence on this world ; neither on the facts of nature, nor on the events of history, nor on the course of their own lives; and that a special providence