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are founded entirely upon some measure, that is but for a moment? What does the Ambitious Man know of this world, who is building on a wave? What does the Pleasure-Taker know of this world, who grasps it as his portion, whue it is vanishing away?
If I see a child building on the sand; taking his advantage while the tide is gone down, and there is some dry sand for him to build his house on and amuse himself, thinking it will stand—I say, “It is a child! he does not consider that the tide is coming in, and will wash it all away!" If I see another child overjoyed; its little heart filled with the consideration that it is going to see a procession, like that which passed in this week ;* quite satisfied to think it shall see a sight, nor looking beyond this—I say, “It is a child! This is natural!" It is nothing to that child whether it is a coronation or a funeral: the child makes no moral reflections on the subject. I wish this could be said only of children. I wish it could be said of no person of mature growth, That they will see such a procession, and make no moral reflection on it.
Brethren, the men of this world actually know but little of the world, because they take not the Bible for their instructor! The little that man can do for man enters not into their thoughts! A nation may unite in determining to honour an extraordinary character, and one justly lamented--yet how little can man do for man !- he can dress out his funeral! he can pronounce a pompous oration! he can rear a statue! How feeble, how evanescant, yet how imposing the scene! But the scene shifts, and patron and client are both gone! No doubt, in their day, a vast sensation was raised in the respective nations of such men as Pharaoh and Sennacherib-“What will posterity say of this !"—What?
-Posterity has its own pageants to admire! In the days of Alexander, and Cæsar, and Tamerlane, a vast sensation was doubtless raised with respect to the pa
Alluding to the Public Funeral of Lord Nelson.
geant that was then passing; and great swelling words of vanity' were heard concerning the immense affair then in hand! If any thing could make angels weep, it must surely be the beholding of such effects on men from the passing pageant of this world.
Let us consider, therefore, Brethren, how little real knowledge the worldling has of the world. He builds all his hope on this unstable foundation. He is disquieted in vain.
I speak to young people. Shall such men be your guide? Shall such men form your sentiments ? Will you study to be in reputation with such men ; and thus build, like them, on the sand! Young man! read thy Bible: hear God : form your sentiments, so as that they will bear examining ten thousand ages hence: then you will be truly wise : but, till then, you will not, while living in this world, judge rightly concerning it; for it is but as a procession, or a pageant, that passes by.
2. If, then, the scene is continually changing, if there is nothing here like rest for the foot of man, then I would remark, how GRACIOUS IS IT IN GOD,
WANTS OF A GUILTY, DYING TURE, LIKE MAN, IN SUCH A WORLD AS THIS!
It is appointed unto men once to die : they must all vanish after the procession is over, as to the eye of their fellow-creatures : but after that, the judgment ! Small and great must stand before the bar of God. Our Lord shows us, in St. Luke's Gospel, a striking picture of that state. The rich man acted a conspicuous part in the passing pageant, and the poor man at his gate sustained a very poor one; but in condescension to our weakness, it pleased our Lord to take us behind the scenes, and to show us what was going on after the pageant was passed. And why did he show us the rich man in hell, lifting up his eyes in torments, and Lazarus taken to Abraham's bosom?-why? to terrify the mind of man?-rather, let me say, to in
struct his mind; to give us a right notion of character; to show us, that we are to aim, not at sustaining a high part in the procession, but rightly sustaining the part assigned us.
The Son of God himself came down, and passed in the procession : and what did he preach as he passed ? -did he flatter men ; and speak smooth things to please them, meeting their tastes and prejudices? No? he wept over Jerusalem : he exposed the rich fool, that gloried in his barns and in his goods : he commended the woman that sat at his feet, and heard his word, as seeking the one thing needful, and choosing the better part that should never be taken from her. When his disciples came to him, to show him the stones and great buildings of the temple, was he struck with the scene? “ Alas !” says he, teaching them as a father would his children, “your eyes have caught the spectacle: this is a picture that strikes you: but I tell you, that there is not a stone here that shall be left upon another. I see it as dust. I see the end of the pageant : it is passing away! The temple itself, which stands like a rock, the glory of the nation ; and which even the conqueror shall strive to save, that it may be a trophy; even that shall be thrown down, and not one stone left
another." Who is then the wise man, while the earth is thus moving in the procession? “I will tell you," our Lord said, whom he is like: he is like a man that builds his house upon a rock: the floods may come : the waves. may beat: the wind
blow: but, standing upon this Rock of Ages, he shall stand : and, while others are passing away, he, that doeth the will of God, abideth for ever."
How gracious then is it to meet the wants of such an evanescent and guilty creature as man !-to show him the way!-to plant the footsteps of the flock before him!—to prove to him what will not bear him up, and what will !.
3. If the pageant of this world passeth by, and this truth is demonstrated in experience as well as declared in Scripture, and yet men go on heedless of all consequences--HOW INFATUATED AND CRIMINAL IS THE WORLDLING!
How beguiled his mind, and how criminal his heart, if he will still act against all experience, and all the declarations which God hath made! When a ship has been wrecked, and no hope of escape remained, the sailors have sometimes been so infatuated, that despising every consideration most suited to their danger, they have staved the liquor casks; determining, that when there was no hope on earth, they would at least die in the midst of sensual gratification ! You are ready to exclaim, “Surely these are not rational creatures !" But I scruple not to say, that if you continue to live a careless and ungodly life, while the pageant of this world is passing, and die in that state, such a wretched sailor is, in comparison, more rational than you are.
If one were to remonstrate with such a stupid creature, it is probable he would say,
66 There is no help. I may live half an hour; and I am determined to get rid of what sensibility I have, in order not to perceive my death, and enjoy a present gratification. I have no hope ! no prospect! I can do nothing !"-But no man, who has the Gospel preached in his ears, can say, however the world passeth away, and the procession is advancing, and with many of us almost gone, yet, no man can say, “There is no help :” for he may yet flee for refuge to the hope set before him : he may yet place his foot on the rock : he may yet escape the shipwreck : deliverance is proclaimed whenever the Gospel is preached, and whenever the Holy Spirit brings any light to the heart of man.
The decree is gone forth : the procession must move on, whether men sleep or whether they awake : the pageant must pass : but, let it be remembered, that if the men of London are like the men of Athens, who spent their time wholly in inquiring after some new thing; if the men of London are asking, even while the procession is passing, “Can you tell us any news ? Can you inform us when there will be another sight ? Do you hear of any fresh amusement that is promised ?"—then I say, while men live and die in this manner-trifling with their time, when time will soon be no longer-let them call themselves any thing but sober--any thing but virtuous--any thing but religious; for God calls them infatuated, and mere
; worshippers of their present idols !
4. Ministers may labour to stop men in this infatuated state, and to convince them of their strange levity of heart; but let us, lastly, remark how MERCIFUL IT IS IN GOD, TO WEAN AND DRIVE MEN FROM THE WORLD, as well as to draw them by the invitations of the Gospel
If our friend's house is on fire, we would bring him out kindly and carefully, if possible; but, if our persuasions do not move him, we drag him out of danger! When God sent a message to Lot in Sodom, it is said, that'he lingered :' but the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters, the Lord being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city. It is thus that God frequently acts with respect to us, when we appear to rest satisfied with the pageant as it passes.
It is a merciful dispensation, however severe and mortifying to the feelings, that drives thee, Christian, to reflection; that rouses thee from thy sleep of death; that prevents thy perishing in thy dream ; that preaches to thy heart ; that says, This is not your rest, it is polluted.
My dear hearers, what practical feeling have you