Слике страница

and heavenly felicity tasted below, and shall be the eternal admiration of angels, the envy of devils and damned spirits, and the wonder of the higher house!



How pitiful are our highest attainments in this imperfect state! But, O how beautiful is it for the child of grace to grow daily in grace, and in the knowledge of God! to rise step by step, till at length complete in Him who is the pattern of perfection! Let it be my continual struggle, then, that my grace, like the shining light, may shine more and more until the perfect day of glory. I can never get so near to God, but there still remains, and through eternity will remain, a distance, to be destroyed by approaching yet more near. Mine attainments can never be so high, but there remains something attainable, which I have not yet attained: "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect, but I follow after, if I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus." If this was the confession of the great apostle, what must I say, who am but just setting my head through the shadows of the night, and peeping into the dawning of divine things?

Hence, let me press vigorously towards perfection, and not be contented with one beam of his glory, seeing he is willing to reveal it all. Let me daily be drawing more near to him, till, Enoch.

like, I walk with God, and have my conversation in heaven. Let me daily sit at wisdom's door, and stand at the gate of paradise, that, since as yet I cannot enter in, I may send in my faith to view the fields, the land of my Beloved, and returning, bring me the substance of the excellencies hoped for, the evidence of the glorious things not seen. Let me walk in the mount of God, with him whose form is like the Son of God. Let the desire of my soul be to thy name, and the remembrance of thee. Let an uninterrupted communication be broken up between the fountain of life and my soul, that I may bear no more the reproach of barrenness. And from that river of life that springs from the throne of God, and of the Lamb, let me daily drink, that I may thirst no more after the vanities of time. Let me live quite above the world, above its pleasures and above its pains, disdain its flatteries, and despise its frowns. Let grace grow from one degree unto another, till, at last, O desirable perfection! it grow to glory. Let me hold thee, and not let thee go, till thou bless me, in perfecting my attainments, and crowning my happiness with the full fruition, unclouded vision, and uninterrupted communion with Jehovah,. and the Lamb, for evermore!



May 19. 1748.

Ir is surprising, that government allows the least boy the same kind and quantity of provisions that

any man or any officer aboard can claim; yet it is no more than may be expected from royal generosity, since they, in their capacity, support the same cause, undergo the same hardships, rush into the same dangers, and expose their lives, though young and tender, at the commandment and for the honour of the King.

Even so, every child of grace that is born into the family of God, has the same ample right to all the heavenly blessings. No sooner is he a son, than he is an heir of all the fulness of the covenant. The young convert is allowed, by the King eternal, to plead the performance of all the promises, and to claim all the privileges that the aged saint can do.

Again, as nothing can be more pleasant than to see early youth walking in the ways of holiness; so, often to such have bright manifestations of love and large communications of grace been given. And the love of espousals, and the kindness of youth, is a melting, a long-remembered kindness. Have not some children gone off the stage, with such a gale of glory on their spirits, that aged saints have been at once astonished and ashamed?

Have not some youths, who have suffered martyrdom for the name of Jesus, been so assisted with grace, that they despised reproach, and smiled in the face of danger,-been so refreshed with foretastes of glory, that they could contema torment, and mount the scaffold with the same joy as if they had been going up the rounds of Jacob's ladder? And have not some striplings on a death-bed had such a double portion of communion, that they could look on dissolution with delight, forbid their friends to pray for their recovery, and could meet

[ocr errors]

their fatal moments with the same alacrity as a young prince going to the grand solemnity of his own coronation?



MANY are the appearances which death puts on, and in every one of them he is terrible. Sometimes his commission bears him to lay siege to the clay-walls for a long time, and to waste them away with a lingering consumption; and then he steals on them so insensibly, that they still entertain hopes of recovery, and believe themselves better a day or two before death. At one time he comes in flames of fire, at another time in swelling floods; and at another time, by a sudden stroke, he sweeps the man at once off the stage.

Though fire is terrible any where, yet much more so when the burning pile is surrounded by a boundless sea. It is, no doubt, a moving sight, to see a naked family, with wringing hands, and weeping eyes, deplore their all in flames! A family, just alarmed out of their midnight sleep, by the doleful cries of affrighted spectators, with no more than time to escape the burning blaze! However, by the assistance of water-engines, and a thousand friendly hands, the fire is got under, and half the house is saved; or, should all be consumed, they are still happy in the possession of life, and the charity of well-disposed Christians. But the scene alters at sea, and is much more dismal, as the ship I speak of felt.

Strong and well equipped, the glory of the fleet, she spread the pompous sails, suspended by the lofty masts, divided the rolling billows with the nimble keel, was rich in men and officers, and waved the honorary flag from the highest top; but, all at once, while no danger is dreamed of, and at noon, a fire bewrays itself below, too far advanced to be got under, too terrible to be beheld without trembling. It kindles fear in every breast, and nothing can be done. Signals of dis tress are fired, but only a poor merchantman comes to her assistance; yet dares not come too near, for fear of sinking by the wreck. The fire rages still, and it is strange, in the midst of water, to perish by fire. Were the oceans a plain, with what chearfulness would they come down, and see the last plank in flames! But death, gaping from the hollow waves, forbids them to descend, and every moment they expect to be blown into the air, and strewed in mangled legs and arms along the briny deep. What confused counsels! what feeble hands! what fainting hearts! what struggling thoughts! what staring eyes! what screams and cries! The ship's sides are lined with expectants of deliver ance. They look every way, but in vain, for relief. One boat only appears, which dares not come along-side; yet many take the desperate leap, and falling short of the boat, plunge into the sea, and are seen no more, a terrifying sight to all behind! Still the fire increases, till anon the guns, loaded for action, sweep the crowded sides of the ship, of those very men they were designed to defend. Death is in the waters, death is in the fires; it pursues behind, attacks before, and hedges in on every side! Old and young, who had survived the day of battle, are, in this melancholy manner,

« ПретходнаНастави »