Page images

upon the earth." Thus, by a steady perseverance in goodness, by an unshaken faith in the mercy of the Almighty, an humble resignation, and, at last, a steady obedience, she attained a present deliverance. Had she, on the contrary, been intimidated by the evils which surrounded her, and, in fear of the increasing famine, been tempted to purloin from others an immediate supply, she would have rendered herself unworthy that miraculous support she received, and have lost the calm serenity of soul, by which she is so eminently distinguished in this pathetic relation. On God was her dependence, she trusted her concerns to that all powerful friend. He had seen fit to deprive her of her husband, but he had promised to be "the father of the fatherless, and a hus. band to the widow." Her substance was reduced, but his command had forbidden to "covet any thing that is thy neighbour's." "Hungry and thirsty, her soul fainted in her; then she cried to the Lord in her trouble, and he delivered her out of her dis. tress." And so will he ever deliver all those that rely upon him; or if that does not accord with the wisdom of his dispensations,

[ocr errors]

it is better still to imitate the example before us, "to eat it and die," than to be wicked. The second death is the only real object of fear.

The evils of this world we must feel, and wish to avoid; and we are permitted to use every honest method to escape them. There are many resources under every cala. mity of human life. The mercy of God has provided remedies to soothe the violence of disease, and to comfort the drooping heart under the pressure of grief; but when no way appears to relieve us, but by the commission of a crime, we must resolve never to avoid any evil by doing what is sinful, since that will be to incur the displeasure of God-"the worst evil of any that can befal us." Whatever, my young friend, may happen to be the subject of your appre hension, recollect the wise resolve made by Job, in his severe trials: "My integrity I hold fast, and will not let it go. My heart shall not reproach me so long as I live." May this happy determination be yours; and then whatever vexations arise, though you are buffeted by the crosses, or assailed by the temptations of the world, you will

pass through it with peace of mind; and at that period when you are called to leave it for a better, you will find all the fears of mortality at an end, and humbly hope, through the goodness of God, and the merits of Christ Jesus, to be admitted into the kingdom of heaven.




You have now, my young friend, attained to that age, and, it is to be supposed, have acquired such instructions as enable you fully to understand the meaning of that sacred rite, or ceremony, which is called the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, and of which you are invited to partake as a disci. ple of Christ, who has himself ordained it to be received in remembrance of him, and commanded all his followers to observe this in. stitution, to the end of time. But as you cannot be too clearly informed in a matter which is a plain and positive precept of

our Divine Master, I shall consider the subject as a very suitable employment for your reflections at this time, and by the most serious arguments will endeavour, to the best of my abilities, to incite you to a regular attendance upon this solemn duty. The engagements that were made in your name, at your baptism, were intended by your friends as a public profession of their desire to present you to God, and that you should be regarded as a disciple of Christ; and though you were then incapable of understanding the covenant that was made for you, yet it is supposed to be what, when you came to age, you would willingly ratify and confirm, and consequently "be yourself bound to perform."

You have now, by the blessing of God, arrived at the period, when you may understand the difference between good and evil, and must be sensible of the danger of sin, and the necessity of a Redeemer. You know that there is a God, a holy, just, and powerful Being, who is too good to approve of wickedness, or to love those who practise it.. You have been taught that there is another state where mankind shall exist, when this

life is ended; and that after the death of your body, your soul shall still live, and be capable of pain or pleasure. You have been instructed that we derive this knowledge from a revelation made by God himself, who sent his Son into the world to save us from our sins; that this blessed Redeemer voluntarily submitted himself to be born of a virgin, and in the form of man condescended to endure all the evils of this mortal state, for the sake of teaching us our duty, and showing us how we might expect eternal life, and obtain forgiveness from our offended God. For this purpose, and to secure these blessings, he willingly offered up his life, and suffered a violent and ignominious death upon the cross; and on the evening which preceded that most important of all events, he instituted the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, so called, because it was after that meal that he took occasion to appoint this ceremony, to the consideration of which I must now beg your most earnest attention. Our Lord had gone up with his disciples to Jerusalem, in order to cat the passover, well knowing the malicious designs of his ene



« PreviousContinue »