Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

standings by that of father and child. The depth and which the child, at the time, is totally unable to comintensity of the affections vary in different individuals, prehend,—that submission to wiser guidance becomes as much, perhaps, as the intellectual capacity; but absolutely needful for its future welfare: many years every one is more or less sensible of their influence. must elapse before it can be aware either of the necesAn immense distance, wbich our thoughts cannot sity of the means which were used, or even of the traverse, separates us from God; when we meditate purpose which was to be gained. It is the same with upon him only as the Almighty, one only faculty is every person in this world: there are many circumcalled into action-awe. Such was the extreme reach stances, many dispensations, many chains of events, of pagan understanding, which inscribed upon the for which we cannot see the use or object, and which temple of Isis the words, “ I am all that is, and that we are therefore tempted to think would be much shall be; and no man hath ever listed my veil." The better altered. Never was, perhaps, missionary zeal height of their wisdom consisted in the confession, more untiringly displayed than by the Danish ministhat there was indeed an unknown God: nor bas the ters, who endeavoured to found a Christian colony on modern philosopher drawn nearer in spiritual know the frozen and desolate shores of Greenland, and win ledge and communion with his Creator, whilst he only the barbarous and miserable inhabitants to partake of acknowledges him as the great First Cause. “The the blessings of Christianity, and consequent civilisaLord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious," revealed tion. For a long series of years every attempt proved his name of old to his chosen people; and the revela abortive ; and amongst other sources of vexation was tion was perfected when Christ put into the mouth of the impracticability even of instructing the children. his disciples the name of father. Beautifully adapted, After the missionary had succeeded in getting a few in every respect, to supply the wants and meet the youths together, and had begun the attempt of inunderstanding of man, the Gospel thus immediately structing them, things went on very well while they enlightens the heart, into which its testimony is sin continued to receive a fish-hook, or some other precerely received, as to the nature of the feelings to be sent, for every letter; but as soon as these rewards exercised towards its Creator.

were stopped, they grew tired, and plainly informed It is only through faith in Christ that we are capable the missionary that they really saw no use in sitting of entering into this new state of being, which will be all day long locking at a piece of paper, and crying seen in considering the nature and evidences of the a! 1!c! In vain he reasoned with them, in vain be spirit of adoption.

endeavoured to convince them of the benefits of know. In the first place, it implies a sense of the love of ledge, especially religious knowledge: no, it was of God towards us. To say that a child never doubts the no present use io them, and they neither understood Jove of its parent, would be to impute a perfection to nor believed the future benefit. So it is with us in this human affections which they do not possess; but still world: trials, vexations, disappointments, seem often there exists a strong instinctive reliarice in the heart to us like a! 1!c! to the Greenlanders,- no present of a child upon the love of its parent. Is this said to use, and only a great deal of unnecessary trouble. arise from habit or experience? No; if the child had We know that knowledge is necessary to the savage, been separated from iis parent from its earliest years bosh as a means of communicating to him the doc-if lands, and seas, and oceans intervened,--would not trines of salvation, and also of advancing him to the its heart, especially when dejected or forlorn, traverse blessings of civilisation in this world, — advantages them all, to rest in thought upon the human being which his mind, in its natural state, is totally inade. who it would think, if near, would certainly befriend quate to form any idea of: in a far greater degree is it? If no counteracting influence had been at work, this the case with us; our life here is fitting us for a surely we may safely conclude such would be the state of existence which we can yet form no idea of: path of the natural affections. And such is the turning let us, then, be contented to learn the a, b, c. of the trusting heart towards God-it implies a con Conformity to the image of God is also an evidence viction of his love. There are some sweet little of the spirit of adoption. “Be ye persect, as your verses written for young children, entitled, “Who Father which is in heaven is perfect;" " be ye sol. loves you best ?" in which there is an endeavour to lowers of God as dear children.” There is no arguimpress upon the infant disciple, that better than by ment, perhaps, more frequently addressed by parents father or mother, sister or brother, he is beloved by to their children than this—“If you love me, you will his God. But how hard it is for the human mind, endeavour to please me.” Obcdicnce is urged upon whether in childhood or maturity, fully to embrace and the child as a proof of love the only real proof which rely upon this conviction! The dificulty is sin (Col. the parent is willing to accept. The same is required i. 21): we are alienated, and made enemies in our of the children of God. "If ye love me, keep my mind by wicked works-by the sense both of present commandments,” stands almost first among the pariand past sin, which withdraws our hearts from God, ing precepts of our Saviour. “If I be a father," says and teaches us to look upon him rather as an offended Jehovah, in reproving the disobedient Israelites, judge, than as a tender father. That we may have access “ where is my honour " Our Lord has censured the to him as such, it is necessary that we should have a pretended obedience of words without deeds, in the sense of pardon, of justification in his sight; which parable of the two sons (Matt. xxi.). We should not can only be ours through faith in the atonement of rest the proof of our love to God only upon the emoChrist. The clearer conviction we have of pardon, tions of our own hearts. It is true he seeth into the and consequently of the love of God towards us, the heart: the sincere Christian may therefore say, “ Lord, stronger will be our love towards him.

" We love thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love him," as it is written, " because he first loved us." thee;" and we are told, “the Spirit itself beareth

In the second place, the spirit of adoption implies witness with our spirit that we are the children of submission to the will of God-a duty which calls God” (Rom. viii. 16): but those who claim adoption daily upon faith for its fulfilment. · We must bave into the household of God, must yet be renewed in his strong faith, both in the wisdom of God and in his love image ; "he that saith, I know him, and keepeth not towards us, to be able to submit to him patiently in his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in the painful and often mysterious course of this world's him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the events. Submission is a prominent trait in the charac love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in ter of true filial love; what wise and judicious parent him. He that saith he abideth in him, ought himself does not expect it from a child ? There are so many also so to walk even as he walked” (1 John, ii.). They ways in which a child cannot judge for itself; so many must give proof of that renewal by the course of their ways in which the years of childhood must be employ life: the “light," which should glorify their Father ed; so many restraints to which it must be subjected; which is in heaven, must shine in good works."

[ocr errors]

As imperfection cannot express perfection, the love | death, bring this nearer every hour to its bright, gloof God far exceeds any idea that we can form of it from rious, and everlasting perfection. the love of a parent; yet there are many other points "Go to my brethren," saith the Lord, " and say in which it may be yet further brought within our unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your l'ather, comprehension, by the analogy of parental affection; and to my God and your God." Happy is he who and in which the duties required from us may be yet thus has fellowship with Christ; and who, calling further illustrated by the comparison of filial love. upon the Lord in the days of life and in the hour of

In the first place, a parent's love is unpurchased by death, can exclaim, " My Father and my God!" any merit in the object of it: parents love their child. ren independently of their gifts, their graces, or even their merits; it therefore calls for the strongest gratitude. “But God commendeth his love towards us, in

ON THE REDEMPTION OF TIME: that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”

7 A Sermon, (Rom. v. 8).

Secondly,–It commences before the child is con By The Rev. Tuomas HARTWELL Honne, B.D. scious of it, much less able to return it. “ We love Rector of the United Parishes of St. Edmund the King Him, because he first loved us” (1 John, iv. 19). and Martyr, and St. Nicholas Acons, Lombard Street.

Thirdly,- It is a pardoning love. How much perverseness and disobedience has not a parent's love to

Epit. v. 15, 16. contend with, through infancy, childhood, and youth ! " See that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as yet it is ever ready to forget all, and to drop the veil of

wise, redeeming the time." forgiveness over every failing: “And I saith the Brethren, if those tombs which lie beneath Lord, “will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth bim" (Mal. iii. 17).

our feet were at this moment to open, and Fourthly,–It is a protecting love. Such a strong disclose to view the numerous dead of former confidence in this exists in the heart of the child, that

ages, as well as those of later times, whose it will rest contented and quiet in the midst of the greatest danger, if it is with its parent. It is written,

remains they now contain ; nay, if those only “ The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them

who have been cut down by the unerring that fear him, and delivereth them” (Ps. xxxiv. 7). band of death during the year which has just

Fifthly, - It has for its object the welfare of the closed upon us ; if these, our fellow-citizens child; and God hath ordered all things in the course of providence, so that they shall be productive of

and neighbours, or relatives, whose loss we good to his children. "We know that all things deplore;—if these, bursting the barriers which work together for good to them that love God” (Rom. death has interposed between them and ourviii. 28).

selves, were now to present themselves before If such is the love of God towards us, surely the

us, and for a single moment were permitted knowledge of it should call forth the implicit trust, willing obedience, unbounded gratitude, and fervent

once more to accost us in the language of love, which marks the strength and ardour of filial affection and of friendship,—what, think you, affection, and call them forth in a far greater degree would be the exhortation they would address than they can be felt for earthly parents.

to us—the anxious wish to which they would Poets and philosopbers, all classes of writers, have lavished their praises upon the golden age of life ; give utterance—the urgent entreaty to which but the greater degree which we possess of the spirit they would implore us to listen?' Unquesof adoption, the nearer shall we be in the years of tionably it would be that which St. Paul maturity to the enjoyment of that freedom from care

addressed to the Christian Church at Ephefulness and anxiety which made the happiness of childhood.

sus, and which in effect he this day addresses The human mind in its strongest form needs some to each of us, as the highest proof of wisdom : thing to lean upon - some support upon which to “See that ye walk circumspectly, not as rest the weight of daily cares; and happy is he who finds it, where power to relieve is united with sympathy advice of the apostle is, indeed, peculiarly

fools, but as wise, redeeming the time.” This to pity. “A father of the fatherless is God in his holý habitation.". More forlorn, perhaps, than even appropriate to us, who have been spared to the usual lot of humanity, is that of the orphan; and "worship and bow down before the Lord our therefore probably it is, that to those who share it Maker," on this the first Sunday in the new there are such a number of promises addressed : but every human being is, in a certain sense, “father

year ; for the continual revolutions of seasons lezs," while without a feeling of dependence upon

and of years, and the constant changes which God; for, like a destitute child, he is ignorant, with time is producing within us and around us, none to instruct; helpless, with none to protect; sor all naturally admonish us, that if time is passrowful, with none to comfort him ;--for even if he is ing away, we also are passing away with it; which distinguishes the lot of mortality, where their and consequently that we ought, without furinstruction, help, and sympathy, can avail nothing. ther delay, to appropriate it to those purposes

To crown the blessedness of the spirit of adoption, for which it is entrusted to us; and, with the it is unchangeable and eternal. Whilst earthly affec

utmost care, to economise every one of those tions are changing every hour, dropping into the grave in the lengthened series of advancing years, precious moments, which will shortly be no as flower after flower disappears from the garden- | longer at our disposal. ground at the approach of winter,-this continues Let us, then, on this day of grace and the same; and he who is a partaker of it has not only, amidst the changes of this world, one sure and

world, one sure and mercy, consider, first, the import of the apostle's unalterable blessing, but the very years which often • This discourse was delivered on the first Sunday in the bring darkness upon the domestic hearth, putting out

year 1839 : but as the text forms part of the epistle for the twen

tieth Sunday after Trinity, Mr. Horne has contributed it for the one by one the lights of earthly love in the silence of

present number of our Journal.

exhortation to redeem time ; and then shew the a manner suitable to the circumstances and importance and necessity of attending to this situations in which we are actually placed. duty.

As those circumstances vary, our occupations God grant that the moments which we also will vary: but they are all sanctified shall give to the consideration of these topics when we perform our several duties in submay not augment the number of those which mission to the will of God, and with a desire we shall have to redeem!

to promote his glory; following our neces1. See that ye walle circumspectly, not as sary earthly employments with a devout, confools, but as wise, redeeming the time. Such is tented, grateful, and heavenly mind; beginthe apostle's exhortation, which first claims ning and ending the day with God; and, in our attention.

short, "whatsoever we do, doing it to his Time is the succession of moments which glory." composes the duration of a living and intel 2. But the apostle's expression, “ redeemligent being in this world. If there were ing the time," also has reference to time past ; nothing in existence, in strict propriety of and it points out a remedy by which we may speech there would be no such thing as recover the time we have lost. That remedy time. But, in the text, time is, to every consists in redoubling our efforts, in order individual, the particular term or duration of that we may perform, in a short space of time, our natural life, - the period which elapses what we ought to have done in the time which between the moment of our birth, and that of is already past. This redoubled ardour in some our death. On our use of this time depends measure recalls time past. It is as if it had our eternal happiness or misery: therefore not come; and we may say that it again comes St. Paul exhorts us to redeem it. This to us, if our sorrow for what is already lost expression, "redeeming the time," signifies, increase our earnest desire to improve the that we improve it to the best advantage; portion which may yet be alloited to us. A buying up those precious moments, which person, therefore, who has lived thirty or others seem to throw away, and assiduously forty years, and, in consequence of his past making a good use of the time present; that neglect of time, finds himself ignorant of we earnestly endeavour to recover the time many things which he ought to have known, past, which has passed away through neglect ; can only redeem it by sedulously applying and that we strive in some degree to antici- himself to the means of instruction, and by pate the time to come by wise precautions and devoting the present time to the acquisition deliberate reflection. Such, briefly, it is to of knowledge, in proportion to the length redeem the time. Let us enter a little into of time which has already past. So, again ; the important details thus offered to our a person, who in the midst of his course finds consideration.

himself a slave to his passions, "tied and 1. It is not difficult to point out the legiti- bound with the chains of sin," can only remate use to be made of time present. It must deem time thus doubly lost, by shaking off be employed principally in acquiring a evil habits, and, with renewed fervour and knowledge of those things which belong to diligence, "ceasing to do evil, and learning our present peace and everlasting happiness ; to do well ;" by " forsaking every wicked way in the use of all those means of grace which and every unrighteous thought, and returnare appointed for our “growth in grace, and ing to the Lord, who will have mercy upon in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour;" him.” Brethren, time is that on which eterin endeavouring, through Christ strengthen- nity depends. In time, while time lasts, we ing us, to overcome our passions, and resist are to be made meet for the inheritance of the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the saints in light. We are guilty: in time the devil; in obeying the precepts of God's we must seek the pardon of our sins. We word; in advancing his glory and the king- are by nature and practice unholy: in time dom of his Son ; in “ working out our own we must seek the renewal of our souls by the salvation :" and, as far as we can, in promot- Holy Spirit of God. We are lost : and it is ing the salvation of others. This it is to only in time that we must seek salvation. improve time to the best advantage, and to We cannot save ourselves : in time, therefill up every moment of it in the most profita fore, we must apply to another, who is apable manner. Yet, let it not be imagined pointed for this very purpose; and, in our that every other employment of time is abso-case, such an one there is; his name is Jesus ; lutely to be condemned. It is not necessary, he is mighty to save ; he is willing to save: in order to employ time religiously, that the he is now on the throne of grace ; but he will whole of it should be devoted to the mme- not be always there: he will one day ascend diate duties of religion : this our condition in the tribunal of judgment. 0, let us "seek the world will not always admit. But we him while he may be found, and call upon employ our time well when we employ it in him while he is near. Behold, now is the

“ We

accepted time; behold, now is the day of upon the greater part of mankind. They salvation." If we do not obtain this salvation have them, indeed, perpetually upon their in time, the opportunity will be for ever past, lips ; but their hearts are not affected by and our ruin will be inevitable.

them. In order, then, that we may form a 3. Not only, however, may time past be right estimate of the value of time, let us thus redeemed; it is possible also to redeem endeavour to enter a little into each of these the time which is to come. It is possible (if we reasons for its redemption. may use the expression) to encroach upon the 1. The shortness of time is the first reason whole remaining term of our life, and even why it should be redeemed. upon time which belongs to posterity. Thus, The shortness of life, and the narrow limits every one who, in humble dependence upon within which it is confined, are the theme of the Divine blessing, proposes to himself a universal complaint. Question the man of wise and holy plan of living-who forms letters and of science on this subject, and he good resolutions, and concerts measures he will tell you that it is so difficult to attain proper for carrying them into execution ; to distinguished eminence in knowledge or in such an one smoothes the difficulties of the the sciences, that the life of man is too short future, and may be said to labour for time to enable him fully to explore them. Ask future. So, also, he who performs charitable the man of the world, and he will tell you that or pious deeds, from a sense of gratitude to so much time is absolutely necessary in order God for temporal and spiritual mercies; and to make even a moderate fortune, that

very who, by his liberality, evinces his regard to little remains for the enjoyment of it. And bis country, his love for religion and for the ask the aged man, bending beneath the weight poor members of Jesus Christ;—such a person of years, who has beheld successive generaredeems the time which belongs to posterity. tions pass away before him, and he will tell

II. These, then, are the various ways in you, that that time, which to your imaginawhich we may redeem time present, time tion seems to be so long, has disappeared past, and time to come. This improvement

like a dream ; and that the life of man, conof our time is of the highest importance : we sidered in its utmost length, is but an unsubcannot neglect it without incurring guilt, as I stantial vapour, “which appeareth for a little am pow, secondly, to shew, by representing while, and then vanisheth away.” to you the necessity of attending to the apostle's spend our years as a tale that is told.” But, exhortation, redeem the time."

not to dwell upon the confessions of others, The very importance of time proves that we let us consider the measure of our days ought to neglect no means of turning it to good simply as it is in itself, and relatively to account. Time is the most precious thing in ourselves. And if from the longest life the world; for "God, who giveth plenteously we deduct the years of helpless infancy; all to all creatures, in the distribution of our time those hours which human infirmity constrains seems to be strait-handed ; and gives it to us to pass in sleep, and which run away with us -- not as nature gives us rivers, enough the third part of our existence; the time to drown us,—but drop by drop, moment spent in indecision and inaction; the time after moment; so that we never can have spent in preparation and design ; the time two moments together, but he takes away spent in travelling; the time necessarily deone when he gives us another."* The first voted to the care of our health ;--after all has disappeared before its successor is within these deductions, what does there remain of our grasp: and whether it will please him to life properly so called ? Alas! the longest give or retain the next, is beyond our know- life is but an hand-breadth ; and three-score ledge. Yet, how is the value of time in- years' abode in this world is reduced to an creased in the judgment of every thinking actual and real existence of about twenty person, when he views it in all its circum- years. How important, then, is the apostle's stances, and reflects, seriously and with counsel," redeem the time !" attention, how short time is ; how rapid in 2. Yet, short as is the space of time allotted its course; and, at the same time, how uncer to us in this life, the rapidity with which that tain it is ; how irrevocable; how much our space flies seems to render it still shorter : eternal happiness or misery depends upon the and the images of quicker than lightning, right use or misuse of time, and what an sound, and thought, which are alike used by account we shall have to give of it! I say, sacred and profane writers in order to denote when we reflect on these things seriously the swiftness of its course, are no longer meand with attention ; for these truths, obvious taphors, but literal and faithful expressions, and self-evident as they are, so that no one when applied to time. Hours, days, months, can be ignorant of them, yet seem scarcely and years, fly away with astonishing rapidity. ever felt, or to make any suitable impression Youth, the spring-time of life, from the • Bishop Taylor.

novelty, multitude, and variety of the objects

which engage attention, marks (so to speak) time by the figure of a young man running at the moments, and seems to slacken their full speed, having a lock of hair on his forecourse. It passes away, however, like a head, in order to denote that it must be flower that fadeth before the blighting wind, seized as it approaches (whence the pro"and the place thereof knoweth it no more.” verbial expression, so common among us, of It lasts but for a day; and, notwithstanding " taking time by the forelock"): but behind the fruitless efforts made to prolong its dura- he was quite bald, to intimate that when tion, youth soon gives place to mature age, time is once gone by, there is no possibility when other enjoyments and pursuits, more of seizing and detaining it. This beautiful equal and more regular, impart a more uni- and apposite emblem may suggest to all who form course to our years, and confound them, are in the spring-time of life, an additional as it were, together, until old age at length motive for the redemption of their precious arrives, which being deprived of all those time; particularly when, to the consideration passions, interests, and impressions, that of its shortness, of its rapid flight, of its form an era in our lives, old age no longer uncertainty and irrevocabiliiy, we add, distinguishes the fleeting moments, but sees 5. Its momentous influence upon our eternal them succeed and destroy one another with destiny. "The present state of man is prothe rapidity of a resistless torrent.

bationary in its nature, and decisive in its 3. Not only, however, does time fly with influence upon our eternal condition. It is in rapidity, but no one can be sure of enjoying time that the character is formed for eternity. it. Its uncertainty equals its rapidity ; nor Earth alone is the scene of operation for that can any one, without being guilty of unpar- mercy which is exercised through the amazing donable temerity, promise himself'any future provisions of the gospel of Christ, and which time. We are surrounded by so many dangers, is of the last importance as a preparation for that life seems to subsist only by a perpetual participating in the felicities of the heavenly miracle ; our bodies are so fearfully and world.” O, that we were wise, that we would wonderfully made," that the least accident is consider our latter end; and, while God capable of deranging and destroying them ; | worketh in us by his word, bis ordinances, so that we can promise ourselves nothing and his grace, that we would work out our certain. Experience also convinces us of the own salvation with fear and trembling, minduncertainty of time. We daily see falling ful of the influence of time upon our eternal around us the young and the old, the strong state ; and remembering that a single moand the weak, the rich and the poor, the ment, wilfully lost or mis-spent, can never noble and the beggar. Nothing can ransom be recalled. Nor is this all: for, us from death : it is an enemy with whom we 6. Reflect--and this is the last consideracan make no covenant; "it cometh up into tion we shall urge to induce you to redeem the our windows, and entereth into our palaces ;" time---reflect upon the account which you and when we purpose to take our ease, and must one day give of it. "Imagine not that to enjoy the goods we have laid up in store, you have done with time past; or that you our souls are required of us. Who, then, will hear no more of the days which are can be too solicitous rightly to employ time gone." Hours have wings, and fly up to the present, when no dependence can be placed Author of time, and carry news of our usage upon time future, either for its arrival, or for of them. All our prayers cannot entreat one its being duly improved ?

of them either to return or to slacken its 4. With the rapid flight and uncertainty of pace; "they are gone--gone to make a record time connect another characteristic, which in the court of heaven. Every moment, as it ought to make us attach the highest value passed, bore its report along with it. Time to it; and it is this,-time, once past, is ir mis-spent will be an accuser at the tribunal revocable : once gone, it is gone for ever. of God, and a gnawing worm in the regions Earthly goods may be acquired by human of despair. It is only when 'wilfully impeniefforts; wealth, ordinarily at least, is ob- tent' sinners shall see themselves upon the tained by the blessing of God upon honest brink of eternity, when time thall be no more industry; knowledge, by long and patient for them, that they will begin to be convinced study ; reputation, sometimes by merit; and of its inestimable value, and of the infinite honours and office, either by talents, by inte importance of redeeming it.” What would grity, by intrigue, or by favour. Time, and not lost souls give for one of their mis-spent time alone, is beyond our grasp : and the hours! How well would they employ it, if it very moment in which I am addressing you, could be permitted to them ! But they would is as irrevocable, and as far distant from each not come unto Christ, that they might have of us, as that when the Almighty Creator life; they would not work whilst time was ; spoke the universe into existence.

and now the dismal night of eternity has The ancients very significantly represented overtaken them, when no one can work; but

« PoprzedniaDalej »