« PoprzedniaDalej »
luxuries of life, placed under the sovereign control of one man, we pause and contemplate the mighty subject. We behold the monarch surrounded by armies “ numerous as the locusts of the summer, and resistless as the blasts of pestilence," holding as it were in his hand, the destiny of millions, and we are lost in amaze. ment.--If the contemplation of a being like ourselves, exalted to grandeur, fills the mind with ideas of sublimity, what language can express, what heart conceive, the greatness of Him, in whose sight the mighty monarch is a worm, at whose command the universe arose out of chaos, by whose wisdom it is upheld, and by whose power it can be annihilated ; for even, according to the theory of Dr. Herschell, the planets have their satellites revolving around them, these in like manner revolve round the sun, the sun with the system of which it is the centre, revolve round another, and a greater system ; these two systems revolve round another, and so on until the whole stupendous fabric revolves around the Almighty architect. Even this consideration, grand as it is, does not give us a perfect idea of the Deity; he is eternal, how can his duration be comprehended by the creature of a day; he is omnipotent, how can his power be imagined by a frail child of the dust; he is omnipresent, how can his existence be conceived by a being whose deepest penetration cannot discover the events of the next moment of his existence.
Son of presumption ! now look on thyself and tremble. Why art thou vain thou perishable dust of the earth? Cast thy eyes on the ground within a space narrow and insignificant as thy body, within this sod upon which thou walkest in the steps of pride, shall thyself and thy vanity be buried forever, and like the innocent beggar, whom thou hast so often spurned from thy door, shalt thou become food for worms, but unlįke him, thy soul shall be a prey ta torment, while his shall repose in the bosom of his maker.
REFLECTION. What can be more grand, majestic, or sublime, than when the pious soul in heaven's own melody, sings the praises of its God, its thanks to a sacrificed Saviour.-Or what can be more awful, solemn, and moving, than the voice of a congregated people, with holy zeal inviting all mankind to view the ground where they must shortly lie ; telling them the language of Scripture, with the voices of angels ; that the powerful and meek, the wise, and reverend head, must lie in earth's cold bosom. Mournful thought. The elegant of exterior, the beautiful in mind; the strong of body, and the noble of soul : in one general mass of corruption must mingle, and leave but their remembrance hehind; which also like them, must speedily perish, and be lost in oblivion's dark wave. Wretched man, is this the fate that awaits thee; must you live but to die, and die but to be forgotten ? What an enquiry! How awful, yet how necessary. The world, and all its vanities shut out with sober resolution ; search thy soul ; and discover if there be or not, some fear, much hope, of a longer existence, than life's narrow span—a spiritual life beyond the grave. If there be such an existence, (and who can have the presumptuous hardihood to deny it) what course of conduct ought of necessity be pursued, in life terrestrial, to prepare for life celestial. Have you ever reflected that the Being called GOD, is consummate, in wisdom, power and justice, and delights in truth, love and mercy. That His ways are to man inscrutable ; but not therefore less correct. That He punishes vice, and rewards virtue ; and although wickedness for awhile, may seem to triumph ; justice though slow, is always certain. If you have not, now with humble contrition, bow before the Lord of heaven and earth ; and beseech Him, through his mercy, that forgiveth the penitent sinner ; through his love, that gave his only Son; that your sins might be forgiven; that he would for Christ's sake, have compassion on you, a miserable sinner; and remit you your sins; and grant you his grace, that you may be kept therefrom; and that by it, you may be led in the way of everlasting truth; in performing the will of the Father.
BRIEF EXTRACTS. It was not the troubling of the pool in Bethesda, that made it healing ; but the coming down of the angel into it. That man must famish at last, who always feeds upon the dish instead of the meat. There is no instruction to be got from the sun dial of duty, except the Sun of Righteousness shine upon
That hawk which follows the world's prey, is in danger of falling into God's snare. Why should I lay out that time in seeking pebbles, which may be better employed in search of jewels ? What God bestows on some men as a temporary pension, they embrace as their only portion. Such foolish travellers are so taken ар
with the inn, as to forget the end of their journey. They may indeed sow the seed, but it will produce nothing but wormwood.
Saints should resemble a spire steeple, which is smallest where it is highest; or those orient stars, which the higher they are seated, the less they are viewed. Usually the greatest boasters, are the smallest workers. The deep rivers pay a larger tribute to the sea, than shallow brooks ; and yet empty themselves with less noise." I have read of an harlot, who offered to rebuild the walls of a city, which Alexander had demolished, so that she might but get her own arms upon them. What will not a hypocrite do, so he might but set his own signet upon it, when it is done !
When THEODOSIUS lay on his dying pillow, he was more studious how to do his kingdom good, than how to sustain his torturing pains, as appears by his counsel to his sons, to whom he left it.
I counsel you to be deeply concerned for the promotion of religion, and the good of man; for by this (said be) peace will be preserved, and wars no more known.
Wisdom shines every moment in the work of creation, it glitters every day in the work of Providence ; but all the treasures of wisdom are hid in Christ.
It is owing to our having early imbibed false notions of virtue, that the word Christian does not carry with it, at first view, all that is great, worthy, friendly, generous, and heroic.
REFLECTIONS ON PAST LIFE.
'Tis greatly wise to talk with our past hours,
And how they might have born more welcome news. Last evening I very calmly seated myself in my study and intended to give myself up to those reflections on past life which are sometimes far from being disagreeable. I began to revolve in my mind the circumstances of early youth; called up the remembrance of my former companions, and felt once more those delightful sensations, which accompany the actions of careless infancy: The happy hours when a father beheld me with joy, and when a mother's knee sustained my little frame ; when I clung to the caresses of the latter, and enjoyed the entertaining conversation of the former; all, all was with thrilling sensibility reflected on my mind. I brought up the recollection of those spots where the principal scenes of my younger years were acted ; remembered the beauties of my favorite walks, and pictured the delight I experienced while reading some childish tale under the shade of a towering tree, or by the side of a refreshing rivulet. I pursued the history of my life a little further. I beheld my tender parents
laid low in the silent tomb, no companion of my early happiness now in the 6 land of the living,” except a few, tottering in the winter of life, and verging towards that everlasting home, which has been in all ages the final lot of mortals. I beheld myself almost alone in the world, surrounded only by those whom I had not known at a time which would have endeared them, and a prospect of soon quitting the stage of life for a succeeding generation,
Such reflections as these were naturally followed by an enquiry into the great purpose of my existence.' Ever since I arrived at manhood, cares and sorrows have been my portion. But these 1 am willing to endure in common with the rest of mankind, provided in the end there may be some recompense
of disappointment and vexation. I reflected on the attributes of Deity, I remembered the mercies of God which are daily tasted even by the most wretched son of mortality, and was convinced that the infinite goodness of Providence could never prompt him to inflict upon his children so many trials of mind and body, without some wise intention of subduing them to himself, and finally receiving them to the enjoyment of that felicity which is the portion of the ever blessed inhabitants of paradise,
But there are rules of conduct indispensable to those who would meet the last and greatest gifts of the Almighty. These rules have a tendency to root out every favorite vice, and to lay open the natural weakness of the human character; to exhibit sin in its own deformity," and to set forth the charms of virtue, arrayed only in the simple ornaments of sincerity and truth. This it is which affrights the human soul, nursed in transgression, and languishing with indifference ; and yet to practise these gospel precepts is the chief end of man,” that a suitable preparation may be made against the coming of that year, which shall usher us into
last and narrow homes." Such reflections as the above present nothing novel. They tell the dull, but important tale, that man is mortal. Although they comprise the best interests of man, they are considered as uninteresting, and very many try to get rid of the torture of thought by converting their time into noisy mirth and disgusting licentious
One day at least might be very properly devoted to resolving upon future plans of more correct life, and in thinking upon the warnings of the tomb.
I have always looked upon it as a duty, which every man owes to his Creator and to himself, to inquire at the close of each day,
into the business of it. If every day was thus improved to the extent which it ought, the dominion of immorality and vice would be diminished in the world, and religion and virtue would proportionably increase.
FROM THE LONDON MONTHLY MAGAZINE. It was a few years since urged, in certain debates, that some of our most cruel, brutal, and shameful pastimes, were necessary to keep up a spirit of courage amongst the lower class of people. It has always given me disgust to hear such absurd and foolish no. tions entertained and vindicated ; and I will venture to assert, that those who can urge such arguments, are utterly ignorant of true courage : for so far is true courage from delighting to inflict misery, that it has a contrary disposition, and delights in mercy. On the contrary, it is the coward who is cruel ? That scenes of cruel ty have a tendency to render men unfeeling, I allow ; but courage and want of feeling are by no means synonymous, and for this reason every thing of this kind ought to be suppressed, and particularly the present detestable plan of boxing. That two wretches (I will not call them men, as they disgrace human nature,) should challenge each other for a sum of money, to see which can bear the most disgraceful abuse, or can longest inflict it upon the oth
is a scene of the most despicable infamy, and surely ought to be put a stop to.
But, what I have now more particularly in view, is the shameful practice of duelling, by which many lives have been sacrificed to what is falsely called principles of honour. When duels have terminated fatally to one of the parties, and the matter has been enquired into by a coroner's inquest, the jury have generally brought in a verdict of wilful murder against the survivor : but, when the person has been tried upon this indictment at an assize, for murder, those juries have as uniformly given a verdict of manslaughter. I shall not attempt to give any reason why two different juries, called to judge of the same fact, should give such different verdicts ; but, as we hear of persons killed in duels, and that in consequence of a challenge previously given, to meet with murderous weapons, and evidently design to kill each other; and, if one kills the other, the survivor escapes, at least capital punishment. I have often wondered what kind of evidence was produced upon the trial (for I never was present at such a trial) that could convince a jury that there was no malice prepense in a matter of this