Page images
PDF
EPUB

in the present discourse to explain wbich bears upon it the curse of barand to apply to the case of the il- renness, That man, therefore, can lustrious personage, whose depar- never arrive at the maturity, proture from this transitory scene is, perly so called, of his being, who we would hope, but his entrance proposes to himself any inferior aim; upon an eternal state of unfading who either spends bis labour for honour and bliss.

nought, or does not rise to the level Aod first, There is a figurative of his immortal hopes and prossense in which a man may come to pects. If he is not actually to be his grave in a full age.

compared to those tares which are Life is not to be measured by fit only for burning, he is like corn the few or the mauy fleeting blasted with mildew, stopt in its hours which may happen to com- growth, and incapable of yielding pose the term of our mortal exist- seed to the sower, or bread to the ence, but by the use to which it is reaper, Very different, however, applied ; and that young person is the case of the man who sees life who shall have given the morning in its true colours, and considers it of his days to God, and whose as a season of probation, and a day “sun may have gone down at poon of grace in which to secure the salday," shall have lived longer than vation of his soul. He will view another who may have arrived at himself as a fallen creature, exposthe longest age of man without at. ed to the displeasure of God, and tending to the concerns of his soul. deriving from the first Adam a That was not a mere fanciful dis- corrupt and sinful nature. He will tinction preserved on the ancient perceive that the image of God, lost epitaph of a great man, which re at the fall, must be regained ere posted him to have died at an ad, man can be again admitted, as he vanced old age, yet to have lived once was in a state of innocence, only the period of infancy. Act to the beatific and heavenly vision. cordingly that man may be said to He will see that now is the time for have arrived at a full age, without mercy, and that now a remedy can reference to actual duration, who be found in the blood of Christ shall have rightly conceived, and from sin, that worst of all human rightly followed the grand object evils; and that, as now is the day and end of his present being.

of salvation on the part of God, so Ist, He must rightly have con- it is the season for exertion on the ceived the object of his present part of man, the period in which he being. If we take our opinions of must become reconciled to God life from the world, we should say through Jesus Christ, and believe, that its object was to derive the and watch, and labour, and pray for greatest possible enjoyment from his immortal welf

his immortal welfare. With such This short inch of our existence; but a sober view of the true objects of if we derire them from the infalli- life be will be little liable to be ble word of God, the true object dazzled by its flattering splendours, bf life is to prepare for eternity. to be attracted by its fading honours, A mistake then at this stage unust to be overcome by its emply pleabe fatal, since it is clear that we sures, or cheated by its lying vanicannot arrive at a fixed point by a ties. From viewing the world and road which runs in a contrary di- its yotary as equally doomed to rection ; and that men, the heirs of perish, be is not likely to cast in immortality, who shall live exclusive- bis lot or his foxtunes with them; ly or chiefly for the objects of time, but baving seen things by the light can no more answer the purposes of God's word, and the clear shinof their being than a plant of Edening of his Spirit, in their real disuddenly transferred from its ori- mensions, and conceived rightly of ginal seat could flourish in a soil God as the Author of all our mer

CHRIST. OBSERV, No. 219. X

cies; of himself as a dependant whatever time death may have been and sinful being, of Christ as his commissioned to put in his sickle, Saviour, and the Holy Ghost as his he has found “the full corn in the Comforter and Sanctifier; what can ear.” The believer has arrived at be do less than transfer these con- his full age; because, whatever be ceptions as ruling principles into the term of his natural life, he has his life, and go on to perfection ; outstept in his feelings the boundand from conceiving, proceed to aries which separate time from pursue rightly ibe things which be. eternity, and is ripened into a long to his eternal peace?

meetness for the glorious and hea2. The man then who comes to a veuly state. At whatever time bis full age pursues rightly, in the se- Lord shall come (and he cannot cond place, the grand object of life. come unseasonably), he shall find Inferior objects must necessarily him with his loins girded, his lamp engage, but they do not engross burning, and himself like a servant his attention ; animal life must call waiting for bis Lord. He has arfor sustenance and support; but his rived at his full age; for“ blessed," true life is not that of sense but that adds the Saviour, " is that servant of faith, and is “ hid with Christ in whom his lord when be cometh God." This unites him to his bea- shall find watching." venly Father, and proves at the Such being the figurative and same time the ground of his justi. most important sense in which a fication, and the animating and un- man may be said to come to his ceasing principle of a holy and spi- grave in a full age, I proceed now ritual course. Here he lives in- to notice shortly, a literal sense deed, because he lives under the in which this expression may resunshine of that favour which is ceive its accomplishment. Now better than life, and in the exercise this takes place, when the disposiof those dispositions which are to tions which imply the true life of be perpetuated eternally, though the soul, its death unto sin, and its in some new and appropriate forms, new birth unto righteousness, are in the world of spirits. He then exhibited through a lengthened term truly lives, because delivered from of years; and the natural life prolongthe depressing weight of worldly ed to a good old age becomes more cares, and set free from the en- nearly the measure of the spiritual; tanglements of sin, and from either when these two flow on in graceful extreme of passion or indolence, his union together, and the promise of spirit is at liberty to seek and to the Old Testament appears in the find its proper rest in God; the later stages of their progress, to animal is subdued to the spiritual have received its fulfilment: “With nature; and while still confined in long life will I satisfy him, and shew person within the range of this him my salvation." Such was the lower world, and chained down to case with Abraham, the father of its necessary occupations, his best the faithful; who, having long swaffections yet speed their flight to journed in a strange land, died in a holier and happier regions. It is good old age and full of years, in no longer he that lives, but Christ faith of that heavenly inheritance, of that lives in him, and the life that which the earthly Capaan was but a he lives in the flesh, be lives by type and pledge. Such was the case the faith of the Son of God, who with Jacob, who, preserved through gave himself for him. The seed the perils of a long life, and actually of a progressive sanctification hav- engaged in pronouncing a blessing ing been planted in his soul, a fruit- upon his sons, exclaimed, “I have ful and ripened barvest has sprung waited for thy salvation, O Lord.” up from it: it has appeared first in Such were Joshua and Hezekiah the blade, then in the ear; and at amovg the Old-Testament saints; and such was good old Simeon, who ed that august act of thanksgiving though he had watched for the which followed upon his first resConsolation of Israel, until his bodi- toration to health, have been swept ly eyesight was almost gone, was away;

and all who now remember it yet content to die as soon as he bad will, ere long, be numbered with been permitted to see the infant the dead; but the act itself is en. Messiah, and indeed prayed for his graved in the annals of the worlddismissal: “Lord, now lettest thou that the first in rank and in obligathy servant depart in peace, for tion was the first to return thanks mine eyes bave seen thy salvation.' to bis Supreme Benefactor. And lo these holy men the principle of truly, the sight of a monarch ad. life had reached its utmost limit; vancing with a firm and steady in both senses they bad attained to pace, at the head of a devoted a good old age, and descended as people, for the purpose of returning naturally into the grave, as the thanks to God, is one which will be ripened fruit disengages itself by represented in unfading colours to its own weight from the sustaining theimagination of a Christian people branch. And such is the promise to the end of time. Surely bad of the text: “Thou shalt come to thy he died upon the spot, when he grave iu a good old age, as a shock reached the cathedral of the Proof corn cometh in in his season." testant world, we might have fol

And now, to apply these remarks lowed bim in faith and hope withto the case of our late bonoured and out presumption, from the thanks. most beloved Monarch, between givings of the church on earth, to whom and the persons in question those of the church triumphant in there may be traced several points heaven. of resemblance, and whose death But perhaps it was the improvemay be considered rather as the ment of this very affliction which burning out, tban the forcible ex- led to his longer continuance tinction of the taper-Judging of amongst us. He did not despise the him by wbat he was in bis moments chastening of the Lord. He heard of soundest reason and intelligence, the rod, and Him who liad appointI trust we are warranted in believing ed it. He saw and traced the finthat he came to his full age in a ger of goodness and mercy in the spiritual, as well as natural sense, stroke, and therefore was permitbecause, though a king, he never ted to preside over his people forgot his dependance upon God. It through many years of trouble, and is not easy to dive into the interior rebuke, and blaspheiny, in which, of the human breast; but if a tree but for the bold he possessed on may be known by the fruits which their affections, and the energy of it puts forth to view, we shall be his government, the horrors of reable to trace, in the leading features volution had probably overwhelmof a reign remarkable both for its ed the goodly fabric of our constitudangers and its deliverances, a con

tion in church and state. In answer stant recoguition of His power, to our prayers, he was preserved through whom alone “ kings reign to a good old age, and guided, and princes decree justice." Who though unconsciously, the vessel was foremost in seasons of calamity of the state in safety through the 10 propose, and himself to practise, storm which assailed it. I would humiliation before Almighty God? say then, in summiog up the chaWbo, in the returns of national racter of our late revered and never prosperity, was first to disclaim any to be forgotten Sovereign, that as a sbare in producing it, and to ascribe king he was ever disposed to postall the glory to the Divine interpo- pone all selfish feeling to the inte. silion ? It was the king and father rests of his subjects ; that he was, of his people. Many who witness- mild and tolerant in his principles and firm in the maintenance of his As individuals, let us learn to own rights only when the infringe-' make a right estimate of life. If ment of them would have impaired death has no respect to persons, that balance of the differeut orders but the highest must in due time of the state upon which the wel- submit to his power, let us take fare of the whole depends; that, as care to answer the ends of life, that a man, he was condescending in be may not surprise us when as his manners, and benevolent in his yet not arrived at the maturity actions that he was an affectionate of the Christian life, without and judicious father-a faithful and which we may be considered as devoted busband; that, as a Chris- dead while we live. The very grant tian, he was a man of conscience of life demands its improvement : and of prayer. Let his attendance the very possession of reason and on all the ordinances of the church immortal powers implies that they the devotions of his palace--and should be employed for the noblest the prayer which be composed for purposes. And what purpose so himself on the day of his corona- noble as the recovery of the soul tion, attest how zealously he wore from the guilt and dominion of sin, shipped God in private, as well as in and its translation into thie glorious public. Eugland may possibly owe liberty of the children of God ? much of her prosperity to him, who What distinction so great as to be doubtless often thought of his sub- united to our glorious Redeemer jects when, perhaps, too many of by a living faith; to die with him them thoughi not of themselves“ unto sin, and to live again unto who prayed for them that prayed not righteousness-to be planted in the for themselves. May I not add, likeness of his death here, that we that he was a nursing faiber to the may be planted in the likeness of eburch-the patron of piety at his resurrection hereafter? May home and abroad, and himself an

we be enabled, by the Spirit of example of meekness, temperance, God, to learn this lesson from the faith, and charity ? Such numerous present solemn visitation! May He and consistent virtues, we may as. fasten home upon our consciences sume, could have proceeded but an abiding conviction of the unfrom one source ; namely, a live- certainty of life, and the nearness ly and stedfast faith in Christ our of death-of the danger of delaySaviour. Having been watered and the wisdom of begioning early by Divine grace, and obtained to live for God, seeing there are their full ripeness in a lengthen- only a few short years, perhaps only ed life, they bave, as we trust, been a few days, interposing between us plucked only to be transplanted, and judgment ! 'May we and to flourish for ever in the while it is called to-day; for the night paradise of God. Our late Sove. cometh when no man can work !" reigo has come to his grave in a Lastly, As persons living under good old age, and been gathered like the shade of the mildest government å shock of corn in its proper seasou. in the world, let us uot fail to ex

But to conclude this subject by press our sympathy and loyalty toa few remarks more inmediately wards his present majesty, the ilapplicable toourselves-If the bless- lustrious and rightful heir to these ings of the text be intimately con- kingdoms. Let us raliy round that nected with the improvement of af- throne which has been consecrated fiction, if not absolutely suspended by the piety of a long and revered upon ií, let us be careful to im- life. Let us make every sacrifice, prove

this solemn season of mourn- and use every effort to stop that tide ing to our own individual good, and, of infidelity, which is as much opas far as our influence extends, to posed to the government of man as that of the nation,

to that of God, and would involve

at work

if it could) both church and state the attention of your clerical read in one common rain. Let us pray ers to the point, without dwelling that, as God has taken away our upon it. It is plain, that if this late king, a double portion of his clause be omitted, the doxology spírit may rest upon his successor; becomes not only Trinitarian but that he may long be preserved as the Tri-theistic, which certainly is not noble head of a free and loyal peo- the intention of those who thus ple; that he may wield the sceptre curtail it. Our old formularies are of these realms with honour to him- very correct and explicit upon such self and with advantage to his points; our Trinity churches are subjects, and not only preserve and churches dedicated to "The Holy improve the sources of our pational and Undivided Trinity in Unity;" prosperity, but, what is of yet far and our creeds and articles, in an more importance, encourage and especial manner, teach us that while promote our progress in morality we believe in Three Divine Persons, aod true religion; that we may be a We believe in one God. The impeople serving God and working propriety of curtailing this doxorighteousness, and that after having logy is, if possible, now greater fulfilled the duties of his lofty sta- than ever; as the opposers of the tion, he may, late in life, exchange Divinity of our Lord, and of the his earthly for a heavenly crown, Holy Spirit, do not scruple to urge which shall never fade. Amen. the absurd charge of Polytheism

against us. But “ the Catholic

faith is this ; that we worship one To the Editor of the Christian Obserder. God in Trinity, and Trinity in AMONG the doxologies made use Unity;" and although " the Father of in the Christian church, the fol- is God, the Son is God, and the lowing is the one usually selected Holy Ghost is God,” yet we beby clergymen in concluding their lieve that “ there are not three sermons: Now to God the Father, Gods, but one God.”

R. E. L. God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, three Persons and one God, be ascribed all praise, glory, 8c.To the Editor of the Christian Observer. I am not aware by whom this doxo- Your correspondent QUÆRENS, logy was composed, or when it was in your last Number, has touched first admitted into the church. Its upon a very important subject, on design is evidently to shew our be- which, as he requests further comlief in the Divinity of each of the munications, he, perhaps, will not Three Persons in the Godhead, in be displeased if I venture to sugopposition to all false doctrives af- gest a few nts. fecting this fundamental point. lt, He begins with mentioning the however, guards, with equal care, great advantages which may be against the charge so unfairly made often derived by a clergyman against the orthodox, that they be- causing a suitable number of his lieve in three Deities, by the addi- parishioners to meet together on tion of the words “ Three Persons some week day, for the purpose of and one God." These words are strengthening the impression of the essential to the correctness of the Sunday's devotions and instrucdoxology. “Hear, O Israel, the tions, by a more familiar exposiLord our God is one Lord.” Yet tion of Scripture than can be well they are very frequently omitted introduced in the regular service. not only in parish churches, but in large and scattered parishes, and eren in our cathedrals and univer- especially among the poor, the adsity pulpits. As the omission evi- vantages of the plan are very great, dently arises only from inadver- and I fully agree with Quærens, tence, it will be sufficient to turn that in fit hands and under proper

« PreviousContinue »