Слике страница
PDF
ePub

or forty years sweeps the world of all its inhabitants? By the same great God, who now governs with wisdom, shall all this mighty assembly be judged with equity, who will render to every one according to his works. While thousands hang their head for shame, may I be among those who shall lift up their face with joy before the great congregation!

MEDITATION VI.

GOOD AND BAD MEN MIXED TOGETHER IN
THE WORLD.

London, April 16. 1758.

Now the world of mankind is a mingled multitude; good and bad are mixed together; wheat and tares grow in one field; yea, they dwell now in one house, of whom at the last day one shall be taken, and the other left. This is a grievance which cannot be avoided, for we must have connection with the wicked in the affairs of life, else we must go out of the world. But to some persons, as to me at present, there are certain stages of life, in which they are as it were chained with the wicked, and hand-cuffed with the sons of vice, to whom the things of God are foolishness, and by whom the concerns of the immortal soul are never taken into consideration. They live as if they were to live for ever in this present state, or as if, when they die, they should never see a resurrec

tion.

What comfort, then, should it be to my soul,

that He who once made all things, will again make all things new! He will, as in the old creation, divide, not only between night and day, but between the sons of night and the children of the day. And while those are covered with shame and confusion of face, and cast into the blackness of darkness for ever, the righteous shall shine as the stars, and as the sun, in the kingdom of their Father. Then shall the people speak a pure language; and to the people of a pure language will the Lord turn, in all the brightest manifestations of his glory. Perverse thoughts within, and profane talk without, shall no more disquiet. Neither wicked company nor wandering cogitations shall vex the child of God any more in the house of God. Then they that walk with him in white, shall talk with one another on the sublimest subjects of eternity, on the love and sufferings of the Son of God. Idle words in that state of perfection shall cease, where every speech is pure and spotless, every whisper celestial, every word divine, and all is one ra vishing encomium on redeeming love!

MEDITATION VII.

ON BEING ENABLED TO RESIST A TEMPTATION.

London, April 17. 1758.

GRACE to help in time of need is the gift of God to the child of grace, and the greatest blessing we can receive from heaven in a state exposed to temptations from every quarter.

All within me desires to bless thy holy name, that when the temptation was near, thou wast not far off; and that, as it was consistent with thy di

vine wisdom to permit me to be tempted to sin, it was also consistent with thy grace and goodness to strengthen and deliver me when I was tempted. As my finite wisdom cannot prevent, by timeous foresight, my being overtaken with temptations, so my feeble powers cannot resist when overtaken. I have thy providence, therefore, to magnify, that I am not overtaken with more temptations than I am; and thy grace to adore, that I am not overcome with every temptation that I am overtaken with.

Human nature (and in me more so than in many) is like a pile of dry and prepared wood for fuel, and temptation is like a spark of fire cast into it; then it must be power divine that hinders all from going into a blaze. O kind compassion! O tender mercy! O glorious good-will! I am nothing; hence I shall think humbly of myself, but highly of thy grace.

What a thorny path is human life! how is it strewed with snares, gins, and traps, for head and feet, for heart and hands! If I lift up my head in pride, I fall into the condemnation of the devil. If I look not well to my goings, I am cast into a net by my own feet, and walk upon a snare. Vanity is ready to fill my heart, and wickedness my hands. Not an organ of my body, but Satan has his battery played against it; for my ear, the instruction that causeth to err; for my sight, the lust of the eye; and for my touch, the handling of the things that perish. He turns desire into covetousness, care into anxiety, fear into despair; would run down hope, miscall faith, and cast the soul loose of both. Seeing, then, that I am thus beset with snares on every side, from every hand, O that on my soul, my one precious stone, there may be seven eyes,

and a protection round about me better than horses and chariots of fire.

Two lessons I am taught, which, through grace, I never shall forget: 1. To be diffident of myself; 2. To be confident in God, strong in his grace, and to boast in him all the day long. Let the sanctity of my after life shew the sincerity of my gratitude. And may I mind with joy, that thy name, as to my sweet experience I have found, is a " present help in time of trouble."

MEDITATION VIII.

THE PROMISES A DIVINE TREASURE.

London, April 19. 1758.

ONCE, with the unthinking world. I esteemed the poor miserable, and called, if not the proud, yet the rich happy; but now, since I glanced the volumes of revelation, I am of another mind. If we compare poor and rich in scripture-account, we easily see a mighty odds; for while a threatening is dropt here and there against the one, to the other pertain the precious promises. "Woe to you that are rich, for ye have received your consolation." "Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you." Thus riches, though not a curse in themselves, yet, to depraved and corrupt nature, yield so many opportunities, set so many baits to sin, that it is a sacred and friendly admonition, "Labour not to be rich." Were we only to inspect the lives and deaths of the righteous, it might make us welcome

poverty, that defends us, by depriving us of so many opportunities to destroy ourselves; but when we see the surprising expressions of paternal care that Heaven has replenished the oracles of truth with, we can do no less than account the poor the happy ones; for such is the mercy of God, that when a man is in misery, then he becomes the object of his mercy.

Now, to shew that the promises of God are not bare expressions of good-will, let his providential conduct be surveyed, as recorded in the word of truth, and that in a few instances.

Hagar, an Egyptian, Sarah's handmaid, flees from the face of her unfriendly mistress; flees, to whom she knows not, whither she cannot tell. She sits down by a well of water in the wilderness, no doubt overcome with sorrow. But then the angel of the Lord accosts her; tells her that the Lord had heard her affliction; speaks comfort to her, and makes her a promise; under a grateful sense of all which, she calls the name of the Lord, that thus prevented her with unexpected kindness, "Thou, God, seest me."-Again, the same Ha, gar is plunged into a new scene of distress, Her care and confusion are augmented, as she is not now alone in her perplexity, but has her son, her only son, with her, the object of her fondest affection, and the hope of her infirm old age. The bottle is spent, and the stripling, for thirst, the worst of all deaths, must die. Her melting bowels being unable to behold the agony of his last moments, she lays him down under a shrub, to screen him from the sultry heat, and goes away from him. Yet maternal care will not let her go too far away ; so she sits down over against him, and fixes her eyes on the melancholy spot. And now her grief

« ПретходнаНастави »