« PreviousContinue »
Happy is he who endeth the business of his life before his death; who, when the hour of it cometh, hath nothing to do but to die.
Thankless for favours from on high,
Man thinks he fades too soon;
Would he improve the boon.
Addison, when on his death-bed, sent for an accomplished youth, nearly related to him, who, on his arrival, said, “Dear sir, you sent for me, I believe, and I hope you have some commands; if you have, I shall hold them most sacred.” May distant ages not only hear but feel the reply! Forcibly grasping the youth's hand, he said, “See in what peace a Christian can die !” he spoke with difficulty, and soon expired. Through grace divine, how great is man! through divine mercy, how stingless death! Who would not thus expire ?
The chamber, where the good man meets his fate,
The advantages of frequent thoughts on death are unspeakably great; and most erroneous is the notion, that gloominess must be the consequence of such meditation.
We've no abiding city here;
Zion its name; the Lord is there;
“ That is a large house, father,” said a young person, riding by the mansion of a friend. The reply, after a lapse of thirty years, is now fresh in memory. “Ah! my dear, six feet by two will do in a little while.”
The poet Cowper observed, he would rather be the obscure tenant of a lath-and-plaster cottage with a lively sense of the interest of his Redeemer, than the most admired object of public notice without it.” “ Alas !” said he, “what is a whole poem, even one of Homer's, compared with a single aspiration that finds its way immediately to God, though clothed in ordinary language, or perhaps not articulated at all ?"
What various hind’rances we meet
O, that such as know not God could be persuaded to seek their happiness in him and his service! Then would they learn, that while the world promises fair, and can yield them eventually nothing but dissatisfaction, God can and will, even in this life, exceed the utmost of their soul's desires! They would find that the pleasures of religion are as sweet as they are pure; still expanding and still rising higher and higher, till they are perfected in heaven. They would know, that not only the assurance of heaven is attainable on earth, but the earnest of it is enjoyed; and that the peace of
a Christian is “a peace that passeth all understanding;” the joy of the believer,“ a joy that is unspeakable and full of glory.”
“And must I then die ?” said the unhappy and ambitious Cardinal Beaufort; “will not all my riches sare me? I could purchase the kingdom, if that would prolong my life. Alas! there is no bribing death !”
In human hearts, what bolder thoughts can rise,
True wisdom consists, not so much in the acquirement of knowledge, as in its right application to useful purposes.
Knowledge and wisdom, far from being one,
He is a true friend, who seeing another pursue a dangerous course, will risk the consequence of a faithful and well-timed remonstrance.
He holds no parley with unmanly fears;
Were we called upon to name the object under the sun which excites the deepest commiseration in the heart of Christian sensibility, which includes in itself the most affecting incongruities, which contains the sum and substance of real human misery, we should not hesitate to say, an irreligious old age.
While worldly men enlarge their possessions and extend their connexions, they imagine that they are strengthening themselves against all the possible vicissitudes of life. They say in their heart, “My mountain stands strong, and I shall never be moved.” But so fatal is their delusion, that, instead of strengthening, they are weakening that which only can support them when those vicissitudes come.
When the world was drowned, there was only one ark; when the Israelites in the wilderness were bitten by the fiery flying serpents, there was only one remedy; and for lost sinners, there is only one Saviour. But he is an all-sufficient and glorious Saviour,
Nothing short of that uniform, staple principle, that fixedness in religion which directs a man in all his actions, aims, and pursuits, to God as his ultimate end, can give consistency to his conduct, or tranquillity to his soul.
What is the Christian's course ?—The Scriptures say, “Brighter and brighter, to the perfect day!"
Faint, yet pursuing,” must be the Christian's motto.
His warfare is within. There unfatigu'd
There is no readier
for a man to bring his own worth into question than by endeavouring to detract from the worth of other men.
All knowledge well applied is excellent as far as it goes, and as long as it lasts. But how short is the period before “tongues shall cease, and knowledge shall vanish away!"
The busy race examine and explore
He who is brought to serious reflection by the salutary affliction of a sick-bed, will look back with astonishment on his former false estimate of worldly things.