Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

sooner

[ocr errors]

the last day.

mistake, when we have not God for Continuing in their sinful ways, till our guide, yet we may observe in the they had filled up the measure of their

II. Second place, that whatever he has iniquities, divine “ wrath came upon signified to us in his word 'shall in due them to the uttermost," and cut them time be accomplished. The destruction off from the earth, and from every hope of the Jews, and deliverance of the of mercy. And thus shall it be with Christians from among them, were all the ungodly. In vain are all their emblematical of the judgments to be hopes while they continue in their sins. executed, and the salvation to be vouch- In vain is all their dependence upon safed, in the last day. Indeed the external privileges. They must recircumstances of the two events are pent-be born again—be renewed in bere so interwoven together in our the spirit of their minds, or there is no Lord's discourse, that it is not easy to interest in a Saviour, and no salvation. separate them. As the expressions relat. The declaration of the Almighty will ing to Jerusalem do not so particularly be fulfilled in its season ; concern us, we may well fix our' atten. heaven and earth pass away, than one tion upon those more interesting ones, jot or one tittle of the law shall fail.” which relate to the final judgment of 2. The deliverance and salvation

of the faithful is also plainly declared. 1. The destruction of God's enemies, It is asserted as frequently as the de. or rather their banishment from his struction of the wicked. - Though savour and bis mercy, is frequently and indeed their sins are great unto the plainly foretold in the scripture. It is heavens, and may justly condemn sufficiently declared in the old testa- them for ever, though they may appear ment, but more clearly and strongly in to be shut up and imprisoned under the the new. And the judgments which bondage of sin, yet shall they be deare now executed in the world, instead livered, and brought triumphantly to of being a substitute, are only a pre- glory. As the Christians were enclosed sage, of a future retribution. The in Jerusalem by the besieging.army, calamities inflicted here are signs of so that there appeared no way of esthe divine displeasure. And unless cape, and yet the siege was given up they are instrumental, through grace, for a while, and they were suffered to in humbling the soul, and bringing it depart; so shall some way be found to repentance, they will be multiplied for the deliverance of all those who live and made perpetual in the eternal godly in Christ Jesus. They may be world. The wrath of the Almighty persecuted by the world, or buffeted will be poured out without mixture into by satan, or borne down by their evil the cup of his indignation ; and the affections; but, if they continue faithful, wicked shall drink it to the very dregs. they shall be preserved through all Whether people believe it, and think these trials, and receive the crown at of it, or not, the awful judgment will God's right hand. surely come. The Jews imagined, that 1. This subject may be rendered because they professed a religion that profitable for our own improvement and came from beaven, though their hearts instruction in righteousness. What, my were not conformed to it, they should bearers, are the signs that appear in never suffer the threatened calamities. us, and what do they indicate ? Is the They seem to have supposed, that an fig-tree budding and promising fruit, outward profession, and a few outward and are all the trees putting forth observances, would answer their pur- leaves ? Has our winter of cold indifpose, though their whole souls were ference passed away, and are we given up to evil dispositions. But their reviving under the influence of the sun vain expectations were disappointed. of righteousness ? or do we continue

destitute of blossoms and foliage, and rejoice ; under the severest of our daily assuming a more lifeless and troubles we will rejoice, that the Lord's barren appearance ? Though our gra. name is not forgotten, and that bis ces may be small, yet are they increas- cause is still making some progress in ing? Are they growing in beauty and this sinful world. And all those, who fruitfulness ; spreading and expanding are thus advancing in the Christian on every side, abounding in love to God graces, may increase their joy in the and charity to men? Or are we mere Lord. From what they now expecumberers of the ground, that bring rience of his goodness, they may be forth no fruit to God? I wish these comforted with the assurance, that he inquiries could be suitably answer. will yet multiply his mercies upon ed ; but O my hearers, the very in. them, and that if they continue faithquiries themselves recall to my mind ful, they « shall revive as the corn, some of the most painful considerations. and grow as the vine," and their souls They remind me, how many of us are shall be “as a field which the Lord cold and lifeless, like the dead of win- hath blest." Let them be cheered, as ter, as to all spiritual things ; and how well as instructed, at the present anisome have appeared for a time to re- mating season.

And let us all, my vive, like the opening spring, and have hearers, for days and years to come, again sunk back into spiritual death. let us all see to it with the utmost care, For these things the Lord will visit that we bring forth fruit unto God, them; the spring of life will soon wear that it may never be said of us,

" The away; the frosts of age

will come upon

harvest is past, the summer is ended, them; death will close the scene, and and we are not saved." consign them to their final doom.

2. This subject may also be ren. dered profitable for our consolation.We are not to despise the day of small

To the Editor of the Gospel Advocate: things. We are not to be discouraged It has been questioned whether any because there is but little of holiness benefit has been derived to mankind

Let us be thankful, if there is from religion debased with errour, and any thing good found in our hearts.- whether pure deism is not better than The full warmth of summer comes not Christianity when mixed with a wild all at once; it approaches gradually ; fanatical zeal, or a degrading and bigotfirst the bud, then the expanded leaf, ed superstition. But however alloyed the blossom, and then the fruit. And if the pure metal may be by the admixthere appear to be any symptoms of ture of base materials, still if a portion vegetation, we may wait with patience of gold remain, it will give a value to for the early and latter rain. If the the whole mass. These reflections good work be begun in us, we may were excited by reading in the Chrishope that it will be found completed at tian Observer for November last, some the day of Christ. When I see any observations on the account of the last promising appearances, I am always days of James II, which has been redisposed to take courage. And though cently published, and comparing it in many cases I am disappointed, yet with the view of James's character as some comforts remain; in some pleas- sketched in the same number in the reing instances we behold not only view of the life of archbishop Sanblossoms, but fruit ; we behold the croft. The bigotry, intolerance, and Christian life advancing to real maturi- tyranny of James, are familiar to every ty, and the soul confirmed in substan- reader. In his prosperity he was tial holiness. In such cases we may deficient in almost every virtue which

in us.

66

can adorn the monarch, or dignify the « In all his devotional exercises man. He was a bad man, and a bad king, the grace which he most anxiously imand used his zeal for religion only as plored and sought to cherish, was a mean of extending his tyranny. The humility. He regarded it as the basis latter years of his life are less known ; of the spiritual life, without which and it is delightful to find Christiani. there could be no advancement. . I ty, even when debased with all the er. am persuaded,' he was accustomed to rours of popery, shedding its benign say, “that without humility none can influence upon such a bigoted mind as be saved, and without humiliation it is that of James. We subjoin the follow. hard to be humble. Now, as it is not ing quotation from the article in the easy for kings to abase themselves, Christian Observer above referred to. God often takes care himself to abase

them when he has an especial design to “Being one day on a visit to a reli- save them.' In the same spirit he gious community, soon after the defeat forbad those around him to address to at La Hogue, the supérieure ventured bim the language of flattery, of which 10 condole with bim upon that event; he declared his abhorrence: and to and to express to him the extreme sor- improve this feeling, he set apart one row of herself and pious sisters, that day in the month for special spiritual the prayers they had unceasingly offer- retirement, from which he was accused up for his success had not been tomed to return to his little world with answered. The king made no answer a more tranquil air, and a more exact to her remarks; and the supérieure, attention to every duty. supposing he did not hear her, repeat. “ But his zeal,” observes the biogra. ed her observations in a more elevated pher, was not confined to his own tone. The king then said, very calm. improvement. His neighbours likewise ly and gravely, My mother, I heard always occupied a part of his attention. you very well the first time; I made with this view he formed judicious you no answer because I was unwilling rules for his household, which he comto contradict you; but now you oblige manded his principal officers to see me to tell you that I am not of your observed. At bis levee, whether pubmind. You seem to fancy, that what lick or private, he never failed to give you asked of God was better than what good advice, where he saw occasion; he has done : now whatever God does and the way in which he expressed his is well done ; and I may add, there is sentiments, whether to condemn vice or nothing well done but what he does.' to encourage virtue, left an internal

“King James formed very precise conviction in the breast of the hearer, rules for his conduct, which he commit- that he felt whatever he had said, and ted to writing, with a view to regular that he was animated by a desire to self-examination. He employed the render them service, not to obtrude morning hours in private devotions, and his opinion. In fact, such was the in. in the publick ordinances of religion. nocency of his retired life, that his He then applied himself to the discharge confessor, after having resided with of his various relative and social obli- him nine years, says, I may safely gations, in which he endeavoured to affirm that in the most reformed state improve even the most indifferent of Christianity, and among the most things to the purposes of Christian edi- virtuous and pious souls, it is very fication. Part of

every afternoon was rare to find more unspotted intentions, passed in private devotion; and the a more exact vigilance, and a greater evening was spent in reading instruc- delicacy and tenderness of conscience tive books, and in intercourse with his with respect to the least faults or smalfamily and friends.

lest imperfections, than was exhibited 23

ADVOCATE, VOL II.

in my royal master.' And God al. God'; and it was a maxim deeply immighty,' adds the good father, ' re• printed on his mind, that Christians warded him even in this life ; as, ought to desire death. Upon this unfortunate as he seemed in the eye of subject he had frequent conversations the world, he esteemed himself more with the queen, who was distressed at bappy than the most prosperous prince. the vehement desire he expressed for After this manner he would often ex- death; and she was wont to tell him, press himself ; and bis calmness of that it evidenced a higher degree of mind, in the midst of the most mclan- perfection to resign up ourselves to choly crosses, with his serenity of coun. Providence, and that it was for none tenance, on which appeared the but great saints (she thought) to desire brightest and most Christian joy, was death. The king replied, and I for an evident proof of the sincerity of his my part, believe, that if a sinner, newwords. This calm arose from an en- ly converted, were surprised by death, tire disengagement from earthly things, before he had done all that penance and a high esteem and value for those he purposed afterwards to do, be would, that are eternal. The king used often for all that, find mercy with God for to read with delight a pious book his good intentions. I am a very which treated of the difference between great sinner myself, and yet cannot but time and eternity. A certain noble. desire death with all my beart.' The man in his court once complained of queen reminded him, that his life some anxieties which deprived him of might be useful to many catholicks : but the power of composing himself to be replied, “it was want of faith to sleep;' I will give you,' said the king, think that the life of any man was ne* a very good remedy for that;' and cessary.' The queen then weeping presented him with his little favourite said, "Is it possible that you should rebook, adding, There, my lord; read gard us as nothing-me and our dear that book attentively, and I will en- children? What will become of us gage you will sleep well after the when you are once gone ?' He replied, study :' intimating, that nothing would •God almighty will take care of you deprive him of rest if he could learn to and your children; for what am I but Joose himself from the world and its a frail man, who can do nothing at all anxieties. Another principle of the without him, be has no need of me to inward peace he experienced, was the execute his designs.' He was entreatfirm hope he reposed in God. Though ed not to express so passionate a desire sorrowful for his sins, still he sunk not of dying before the queen : he answer in despair, nor did he set an undue ed • I do it on purpose ; because it is value upon the penances he bad done, what will infallibly come to pass, and and was doing ; persuaded that God she ought to accustom herself to think alone accepted the will. God is just,' of it.' » he would say, “and regards all : he “It cannot be necessary to point out understands our most secret thoughts: the singular mixture of right feeling he knows I have a sincere sorrow for with wrong views which pervades this my sins, and that I would henceforth passage. The very humility which be willing to suffer all sorts of pains ra- the king so anxiously cultivated, and ther than offend him ; that I am not only wbich, I doubt not, amidst all the er. content to have lost all for him, but tours of his creed, he really felt, and would sacrifice all the kingdoms of the also the sacrifices he might have it in world if I had them, for his sake.' He his power to make, seem strangely to made it a subject of his daily petition be spoken of as the ground of bis chalto heaven, that he might be removed lenging, as it were, the justice of the from all fear or occasion of offending Almighty, instead of being humbly re

garded as evidences of his having be- dying father, who, as well as his weak. come the subject of the Divine mercy ness allowed, tenderly embraced and and grace. Nay, it seems to be to the soothed him. Blessing him earnestly, perfection of his penance that his sal- he exhorted him, above all things, to ration is ascribed, rather than to the remain firm to his religion and the sermediation of Christ, and to the agency vice of God, whatsoever might be the of the Holy Spirit. Still let us whose consequences. He entreated him to creed is more correctly constructed, behave with respect and submission to and who can see and reprehend the er. the queen, as the best of mothers; and rours of James's faith, take care that with ever to be grateful to the king of his inferiour light, he does not rise up France, to whom he was under the in judgment against us in the great day deepest obligations. It being suggestof account.

ed that his earnestness might be inju. “ The closing scene of this mon. rious to him, and that the prince had arch's life is thus described :

better withdraw ; • Leave me, my son,' “On the 4th of March, 1701, he he said, tenderly-Let me give him was seized with a fainting fit, while at my blessing once more.' Which hav. chapel : recovering, however, very ing done, the prince returned, with soon from it, he seemed perfectly well great regret, to his apartment. The again in a few hours; but the following little princess was then brought to his week he was seized with a paralytick bedside. “Adieu, my dear child,' he affection as he was dressing : it so said, caressing her: serve your Cremuch affected one side as to render it ator in the days of your youth, and difficult for him to walk. The waters consider virtue as the greatest ornament of Bourbon were prescribed ; and he of your sex. Follow closely the steps went thither about three weeks after of that pattern of it, your mother, who the attack. He seemed to recover his bas no less than myself been overstrength by the change, and was ena. whelmed with calumnies ; but time, bled to take gentle exercise, although he the mother of truth, I hope, will at last had a slight spitting of blood ; but, on make her virtues shine as bright as the the 2d of September, he was again sup. The princess showed, by abunseized with a fainting while at chapel. dance of her innocent tears, how He was conveyed to his chamber, sensibly she was affected by the lanwhere he again fainted. He, however, guishing situation of her royal father. recovered from this frightful attack in He then exhorted every one about him a few hours, and seemed as usual the to practise virtue, and protestants to next day; but on Sunday was seized embrace the catholick faith. During with a far severer fit, and vomited a this time, the prior curate of saint large quantity of blood, and the danger Germains arrived, bearing the most of his situation became evident. Of holy sacrament; and, as he advanced, this he needed not to be told ; and as the king in a holy transport cried out, he had long been familiarizing bimself “See then, O my God, the happy hour to death, its near approach caused him is come! The prior asked him as no terrour. As soon as the violence of usual, whether he believed Jesus Christ the bleeding subsided, he desired his to be really and substantially in the confessor to send for the blessed sa holy host : to which the king answercrament, and requested he would ob- ed, "Yes, I believe it; I believe it serve that he received all the sacraments with all my heart.' He pronounced of the church. In the mean while he these words with an accent so ardent, sent for his children. When the prince and a faith so lively, that the persons of Wales saw the state he was in, he were moved to tears who witnessed burst into tears, and clung round bis his action and heard the words. He

« PoprzedniaDalej »