« PreviousContinue »
Reveal thy mercies to my heart,
With joy, my longing spirit fill ;
To do and suffer all thy will.
O ! leave me not one moment, Lord ;
Uphold me all my journey through ;
The wonders sov'reign grace can do.
Yes-when I stand before thy throne,
A monument of love divine,
The grace, which made such blessings mine.
11. ON INSENSIBILITY TO ETERNAL THINGS.
Come, O! my soul, call in thy scattered thoughts; collect thy wandering desires, and meditate with solemn awe on everlasting things.
How busy is the world! How big with designs, all resting on tomorrow. But tomorrow's sun may never rise on thousands who are fondly hoping to behold a range of following years. Short-sighted mortals ! He who ruleth over all, hath assigned to each a limit, beyond which the worldling cannot pass. Man hath an appointed time upon earth; his days are the days of an hireling. O! for true wisdom to learn the measure of our days; and to compute with justness the extent of life.
The volume of inspiration has done this with peculiar force and beauty. There, human life is compared to a sleep; to the rapidity of a flood ; to a tale that is told ; to a vapour that appeareth for a little time; to a flower which flourisheth in the morning, and in the evening is cut down and withered ; to vanity; to a shadow that passeth away. Eternity, that solemn word, soon passes from the lip: but who can grasp the mighty, the immense idea, which this word ETERNITY conveys ? All thought is lost in its immensity, and swallowed up in its fathomless abyss.
The mind may conceive, though faintly, of millions of ages heaped upon millions, till numbers lose themselves ; or rather, till we are lost in the vast calculation.
But who can measure eternity ; compared with whose everlasting lines, myriads of years are infinitely less than atoms floating in the mid-day sun ?
All men are hastening to eternity. All are standing upon the brink of an interminable state of being. Yet all, except the little flock of Christ, are living, as if life would never end; and die, as if beyond the grave, there was nothing to awaken their solicitous concern.
Awful insensibility! how fatally has sin blinded the mind of them that believe not. Men are willing to believe that, which they wish to be true. They flatter themselves that all will be well at the last, though they follow the corrupt desires of their hearts, in direct opposition to the revealed will of God.
Here indeed the wicked, from their animal nature, have many objects to gratify their sensitive appetites, even at the very time when their spirits are enduring the stings and lashes of an upbraiding conscience. But in eternity, where the body shall no longer be the seat of animal desire; in eternity, where all the sensual gratifications shall for ever cease ; the soul will experience no change from pain to pleasure, or from pleasure to pain; but all will be either unmixed pain, or unalloyed pleasure.
Surely no thought can be more awakening then this; and yet with what subtlety does the heart evade its force; with what shocking indifference is it treated by a world of dying sinners.
0! blessed Jesus! thou compassionate HighPriest, awaken my drowsy sense. Deliver me from the fatal lethargy of unbelief. Captivate all my heart by the sweet constraining influence of thy redeeming love.
Dispel the mist of error. Dissipate every darkening cloud, which would intercept thy bright beams from shining into my soul. Thou, who art the Sun of righteousness, let all thy brightness burst upon my ravished sight; let all thy goodness pass before me.
Reveal thyself as my Saviour. Say to my trembling heart, “ I am thy salvation.” Then shall I be able to contemplate eternity with joyful expectation, knowing that to be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord.
Moses was well acquainted with the insensibility of the human heart to eternal things, when he prayed : “ So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” We are walking every moment on the verge of eternity. A slight accident can loosen the cords which unite soul and body; and thus bring us instantly into the world of spirits. Then why should we calculate upon length of days? Why should we act, as if we had years at command? This moment only is our own. So precious is time, that Infinite Bounty deals it out by seconds. And yet how prodigal we are of time, as if it were of all things the easiest to attain; or its loss the easiest to repair. Dying sinners, whose consciences are awakened, and whose eyes are opened to see their danger, know the incalculable value of time. They feel every moment to be inconceivably precious, if, in this fleeting remnant of time, they can find the Saviour whom they have. basely slighted; and through his pardoning grace be saved from the wrath to come. It is at dying beds that we learn something of the value of time. The keen self-reproaches of the convicted sinner, shew the folly of wasting days and hours, which have a value beyond the power of human calculation.
The shortness of life is continually forcing itself upon us by the passing bell, the funeral procession, and the weekly voice of public prints. Yet its very commonness, which ought to alarm us, tends only to lull us into a strange security. This is observable in large towns, where multitudes are continually summoned into eternity ; whilst in villages, where deaths are less frequent, a solemn awe is usually excited, at least for a time.
Whatever others do, O! may I think seriously on my dying hour. Lord, teach me so to number my days, that I may apply my heart unto wisdom. Enlighten my understanding to perceive what things I ought to do ; and give me grace and power faithfully to fulfil the same.
We are born in sin ; therefore to be happy we must be born again. We have lived in sin-and to be happy, we must be delivered from its reigning power.
As in this world there is no peace to the wicked ; so, in the next, they have no rest day nor night; for the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever. 0! that they were wise ; that they understood this ; that they would consider their latter end.
All that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. Then they that be wise, shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars for ever and ever.
O! blessed Lord, sit upon my heart as a refiner's fire, and as a purifier of silver; that the dross of corruption may be purged away, and my soul prepared for the hour of death, and the never-ending glories of thy heavenly kingdom.
My soul, on Pisgah's mount ascend,
By faith survey the landscape o'er,
In that blest region of delight,
The ransom'd soul, in glory clad,
Cheer up, ye saints, oppress'd with grief,
Soon will you reach the blest abode,