Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

vain that build it : except the LORD keep the city, the watchman laboureth but in vain.

It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.—Psalm cxxvii. 1, 2.

How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!

If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.. cxxxix. 17, 18.

Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense ; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.-cxli. 2.

6. What is it to others,' a man may say, 'if I lie in bed in the morning, and come out of my chamber, without serious and steadfast secret prayer; or neglect it in the evening, until I am so drowsy, that my mind is unable to pray?'

“Whether it be the feeblest or the strongest of God's people that neglects secret prayer, the Universal Church, as well as that part of it with which he has intercourse, and, indeed, the whole world, has reason to complain of that man. That man must, of necessity, be an unstable, unestablished Christian : he cannot be well acquainted with his own particular, besetting, secret sins : he cannot breathe forth a spirit of holy love and tenderness in his in. tercourse with others : his tempers remain unmortified, and his graces unwatered.

“ Thus, mark him in his daily conversation : in his fa. mily, he speaks of spiritual things, in a formal or insincere manner : in conversation with his friends, he gives advice, but has not asked for wisdom from above to direct him : he knows the great outlines of Christian doctrine and Christian practice; but the details and particulars of it he is but little acquainted with; and never seriously lays it to heart, that, as a man's walking is made up of separate steps, so the Christian's daily life is made up of little things, little occurrences, many of them unexpected; by his conduct in which he brings either honour, or dishonour, on that holy name whereby he is called.” (Sermons by the Rev. John Tucker, B.D. Sermon xv., on Psalm cxli. 2.)

Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:

Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,

Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.

How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep ?

Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:

So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.-Proverbs vi. 6—11.

He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand; but the hand of the diligent maketh rich. .

He that gathereth in summer is a wise son; but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame.x. 4, 5.

The way of the slothful man is as an hedge of thorns; but the way of the righteous is made plain.xv. 19.

Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger.xix. 15.

The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.

Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty: open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread. Proverbs xx. 4, 13.

The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour.

He coveteth greedily all the day long; but the righteous giveth, and spareth not.—xxi. 25, 26.

I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding;

And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.

Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction.

Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:

So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth ; and thy want as an armed man.—xxiv. 30–34.

The slothful man saith, There is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets.

As the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed.

The slothful hideth his hand in his bosom; it grieveth him to bring it again to his mouth.—xxvi. 13—15.

Boast not thyself of to-morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.—xxvii. 1.

Scripture-passages of this kind pourtray in vivid colours the wretchedness of the victims of sloth, self-indulgence, and procrastination. These vices, when once rooted, grow as naturally as weeds in a garden. There is one among these noxious plants, which should be especially pointed out to such young persons as are desirous of properly cul. tivating their minds and habits : it is, The love of Ease ; a kind of low, creeping, Bindweed. If permitted to overrun the soil, it entwines itself about every thing, and is exceedingly difficult to root up. -The opposite of this temper is, Alacrity; so pleasing in youth, so valuable in maturer years.

[ocr errors]

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest. -Eccles. ix. 10.

In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand; for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.—xi. 6.

Some minds are quite beclouded with melancholy, when they contemplate the uncertainty of all human events : indolent and timid persons, under partial religious impressions, are especially liable to this. Strong exertion should be used, to shake it off : for it is alike destructive to the quiet repose of faith, and to the lively effort of faith.Others fastidiously choose their plans, and nicely balance their reasons: they will just do this, and not do that, as though they would expend none of their energies, excepting on measures sure to be successful. A hearty resolute Christian strikes into a different path ; undertakes every duty, from a sense of duty ; calculates consequences with self-distrust; neither wastes nor grudges his pains; but ventures on the promises of God, and the resources of Providence, largely and boldly. “The liberal deviseth liberal things; and by liberal things shall he stand.”

Rejoice, () young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth ; and walk

in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.—Eccles. xi. 9.

Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them.—xü. I.

The writing of Hezekiah king of Judah, when he had been sick, and was recovered of his sickness :

I said in the cutting off of my days, I shall go to the gates of the grave: I am deprived of the residue of my years.

I said, I shall not see the LORD, even the LORD, in the land of the living: I shall behold man no more with the inhabitants of the world.

Mine age is departed, and is removed from me as a shepherd's tent: I have cut off like a weaver my life: he will cut me off with pining sickness: from day even to night wilt thou make an end of me.

I reckoned till morning, that, as a lion, so will he break all my bones: from day even to night wilt thou make an end of me.

Like a crane, or a swallow, so did I chatter: I did mourn as a dove: mine eyes fail with looking upward: O LORD, I am oppressed : undertake for me.

What shall I say? he hath both spoken unto me, and himself hath done it: I shall go softly all my years in the bitterness of my soul.

O LORD, by these things men live, and in all these

« PoprzedniaDalej »