Page images
PDF
EPUB

well-adapted for business and professions. They will not easily vacillate or allow themselves to be misled; but still, invulnerable they are not ! Behold a well-illuminated saloon : mischievous youths come and extinguish lamps and tapers one after the other, it is possible, and experience has shown the possibility : but who can extinguish the meridian sun in the heavens ?—Religion is this sun, she must shine forth in the lives of your children. Give them God—but God as He is, not as you would represent Him to be; not a God who beholds silently all their folly, not a God as weak and frail and indulgent as a human master: give them a God full of love and goodness, but full also of justice and holiness, that in His mercy will allow no sin to pass unobserved ;* a God whom we cannot serve by fasting, sacrifice, and empty ceremonies, but by pure great deeds. Give them not a God who sits on high, and beholds but heeds not the actions of men: no, give them a living God, who looks down from His dwelling-place on the children of men, notes all they do and leave undone, and from whose sight no one can remain hidden. Teach them to know themselves: teach them how great, and yet how small they are; how little, and insignificant, for they are but tools in the hands of the Almighty; how great and important, if they make the will of the Almighty theirs, and work in His name; how little and insignificant, for they have, with all their power and intelligence, no control over one moment, if He calls; how great, and important, if they have God within them, if He be theirs for ever and ever. Let such religion as this be

[merged small][ocr errors]

active within them, and truly they will enjoy a blessing whose source can never be dried; it will lead them when their path is even and smooth; it will guide them among thorns and thistles; it will support them when the burdens of life become heavy in the weary pilgrimage; it will illumine them in the midst of darkness; it will protect them in conflicts with adverse fate and wicked men; it will be unto them balm and strength when the poor heart is wounded and bleeding; it will dry the tears of sorrow and suffering; and, when all else is lost, it will remain unto them, because it will live in their innermost life—this is religion! This is what the earth can neither give nor take away. This must your children possess, if you would leave them as blessed ones here below. My dearly beloved friends, let me not have said this in vain ; keep these words in your hearts, and prove by your lives that you do earnestly seek your children's welfare. And in order better to attain that end, do not neglect the means presented by religion herself; open to them the sacred courts of the temples. Truly it is but little to come here once each Sabbath morning: sinful, unpardonable it is to neglect the service of God. Take care that they begin and end each day with an intelligible, fervent prayer: such a look on high strengthens us, improves us. Conduct them to the preaching of the Divine word, and convince yourselves that they have understood and accepted the lessons therein taught. Let them receive careful instruction in the word of God, and think not this of less importance than instruction in the sciences and arts invented by man! Consecrate them unto Him, the One, the only One, who was, is, and ever will be! Honor the marriage vow, that they

may learn to know conjugal union, in all its worthiness and holiness, that they may be reminded, in that great and important relation of their lives, of something great, something holy! Do not disregard the rational observance of the holy festivals, that your children may know that life is more than a mere table unceasingly spread. Take heed that they be reminded that man is more than dust of the earth! Thus will religion truly be unto them religion; that is, a help, a consolation, a friend, a guide, a conductor to happiness, temporal and eternal. Amen! Amen!

SERMON VI.

THE GREATNESS AND LOVELINESS OF

HUMAN VIRTUE.

GENESIS xlv. 24-28.

What a charge hast thou given unto us! O Father, what a blessed vocation is ours! To embellish the earth by our own lives, to shed a blessing on our brief existence. Would that we might be ever filled with this great, this holy office! Would that the idea of that to which we are destined, might ever penetrate our inmost thoughts, and that we might fulfil it wholly and entirely. Help us O Father, aid us to attain that end, let our actions ever bear upon them the stamp of virtue, of mildness, of grace! Depart not from us, dwell ever in our hearts, then will the several relations of our life acquire a fairer aspect. We shall act as children, brothers, men, in a filial, brotherly, human, and yet, God-like manner, according unto Thy will, for ever and

Amen.

ever.

So HE

SENT HIS BRETHREN AWAY, AND THEY DEPARTED: AND HE SAID UNTO THEM,

FALL NOT OUT BY THE WAY. AND THEY WENT UP OUT OF EGYPT, AND CAME INTO THE LAND OF CANAAN,

UNTO JACOB THEIR FATHER, AND TOLD HIM, SAYING, JOSEPH IS YET ALIVE, AND HE IS GOVERNOR OVER ALL THE LAND OF EGYPT. And Jacob's HEART FAINTED, FOR HE BELIEVED THEM NOT.

AND THEY TOLD HIM ALL THE WORDS OF JOSEPH, WHICH HE HAD SAID UNTO THEM: AND

WHEN

SAW THE WAGONS which JOSEPH HAD SENT TO CARRY HIM, THE SPIRIT OF JACOB THEIR FATHER REVIVED: AND ISRAEL SAID, IT IS ENOUGH: JOSEPH MY SON YET ALIVE: I WILL GO

HIM BEFORE I

HE

IS

AND

SEE

DIE.

scene.

Our text conducts us into the midst of this family

How is every thing changed, transformed ! Joseph's brothers talk no longer of the cold, roughspoken, Egyptian lord of the country.* Their only speech is of their brother. “JOSEPH IS YET ALIVE!The old man, Jacob, no longer bowed down by grief, no longer weeping and childless.t No: joy dwells again in his heart, he is revived, grown young again—a rich, a happy father. It is enough. “ JOSEPH MY SON is YET ALIVE!” We will enquire somewhat more closely what preceded this happy event, and how it came to pass; and the greatness and loveliness of human virtue will be placed before us.

You shall contemplate them in four pictures, that you may learn to imitate them, my beloved hearers.

Every virtue, my friends, if it merits the name of

* Gen. xlii. 30.

+ Ibid. xlv. 28.

« PreviousContinue »