« AnteriorContinua »
time, and wickedness may flourish in the earth; but it will not endure: at the blasting of the breath of God's displeasure, it will fade away, and perish as the grass of the field; which in the morning is green, and groweth up, but in the evening is cut down, dried up, and withered. Death comes to the just, and to the unjust, and is equally the end of all
It reduces all conditions to the same level, as to the goods of this world; for, as inan brought nothing with him into life, so neither can he carry any thing out of it.--Yet a little while, O man! and thou shalt behold the Almighty coming to judge the world, and to render unto every one according to his works. Let not, then, the wicked exult in his
prosperity, and say, Why should I fear, since the end of these things is far off?--Alas! it is but too near for him: the hour is coming, when the good and bad shall be for ever separated; their eternal state shall commence, and to each of them shall be given bis portion for ever!
2. When we feel doubts of the Divine Being, or distrust of his Providence arising in our hearts, let us not be discouraged; these are to be accounted the
suggestions of our great enemy, the devil, who is continually on the watch to lead us astray. Let us, therefore, not open our minds to them. We know what God requires of us, and what we must do to be saved: let us do it, then; and in an implicit obedience to his commands, and submission to his will, we shall find
peace; “for, who hath hardened himself against God, and prospered ?" If we will but taste and see how gracious the Lord is, we shall have no desire to forsake his laws, or to turn aside from the duties which he hath set before us.
S. The knowledge which is most necessary to mankind, is that in which they are generally most deficient; and it is not till after much study, that they become acquainted with the wonders and dispensations of Providence. From the facts of History, they may draw many serious and profound reflections on the corruption and inconstancy of the world; they may be convinced of the utility of certain rules and maxims, for the maintenance of good order and morality: but of what avail is all their knowledge, unless it leads them to their Creator, and to the hopes of their own salvation ?-Belief in God, and the practice of virtue, through his love and fear, is the one thing needful to the good Christian, the moving-spring of whose every action should be, the persuasion that One All-powerful God is over all ;--that every thing proceeds from him, and is ordered for the best ;-that he is the Creator and Ruler of all things; infinite in power, immutable in wisdom, and unbounded in love and mercy;—that his works are as far above our comprehepsion, as the heavens are above the earth ;—that the operation of his Will is as full and perfect in the least of the works of Nature, as in the greatest,-in the lowest reptile that crawls on the eartlı, as in the glorious Arch-angel, who worships in extacy before his throne ;-that the Power of the Almighty is in his Will, and that his Will is unbounded and unrestrained. He could create another universe with the same ease with which he causes his thunder to roll, or his rain to descend. His love, mercy, and long-suffering towards his poor sinful creatures, are as infinite in their operations as even his Wisdom and Power. From him pro
. ceed all the comforts and blessings we enjoy in this world ; and he has prepared an eternity of joys unspeakable, for all who will believe in him, and serve him. Nor is that service hard, nor is God a severe master. What can be easier than to adore Supreme Perfection, and to obey laws framed for our own happiness, both in this world and in the world to come. His Justice towards the impenitent, and his Mercy to the repenting sinner, have, each of them, their source in his perfections. He forgives, that he may fulfil his everlasting promise; --he punishes, that he may vindicate the offended sanctity of his laws.
4. In God alone, therefore, can we have hope or comfort: dreadful is the present, still more dreadful will be the future state of those who do not rest on him. It is from his Love that we derive existence; for the Power which hath created us for happiness (if it be not our own fault) might have denied us being, had it so pleased : yet our frail and finite knowledge would degrade our Creator to the standard of our own miserable conceptions; and because we cannot comprehend, we refuse to believe and obey.
5. We are told in Scripture, that God hath made all things for himself, and to contribute to his own glory. Man, therefore, the principal of his works (as far