« PreviousContinue »
verse that immediately follows our text: "Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another, although my reins be consumed within me." Yes, it was to the vision of his God, that he joyfully looked forward, as the consummation of all his hopes and wishes. He gloried in the thought, that he should one day ascend to the regions of eternal light, and there contemplate the divine image as it is reflected from the countenance of his reigning Redeemer. He felt the same thrilling foretaste of heaven which prompted the apostle John to exclaim, "Now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." What a blessed-what a glorious prospect is this which the gospel opens on the eye of faith! Who would exchange it for the treasures, the distinctions, or the gratifications of earth! Surely no object can be conceived more worthy the pursuit of an immortal mind, than the privilege of beholding with open face, as in a glass, the majesty of the Godhead, so as to become gradually transformed into the same image of purity and complacency. There will be afforded, in such circumstances, the highest and the noblest sphere for the exercise of that imitative principle which the Creator has implanted so deeply in human nature. In the world of bliss the Holy One himself is the pattern-the model-the standard of rectitude -to which all the inhabitants deem it at once their duty and their honour to conform. In short, to use the phraseology of a passage just quoted, they see the Deity as he is, and so become like him.
And now, brethren, we would inquire, whether you know any thing of the faith which glowed in the bosom of Job, when he uttered the language of this text. You may believe, as a speculative truth, that there is a Re
deemer. But the question which we ask, and which we want you at once to answer to your own consciences, is, Do you act under the influence of the belief that this Redeemer liveth, and shall stand at the latter day on the earth for the purpose of calling you to a strict account for your conduct, and then pronouncing your interminable sentence? Are you consoled amid the many trials, and difficulties, and sorrows incident to the present state, and especially when meditating on death and the grave, by the reflection that Christ has arisen from the tomb, and become the first-fruits of them that slept? Do you rejoice in the hope, that though you must go down to the sepulchre, where worms shall riot on your mortal remains, yet the period approaches when you shall be raised in honour, and permitted to behold the Saviour in whom you trust, and whom you love, mantled in a nature like your own? Are these, in truth, the sublime prospects which sustain, and cheer, and animate you in your pilgrimage through the wilderness of this world?
We would have you, dear hearers, to deal faithfully and rigorously with yourselves. You may deceive your fellow men, if you are depraved enough to wish to do so. You may deceive your own hearts. But One there is whom you cannot deceive. His eye has been incessantly upon you since the first dawn of your being. No incident of your moral history has escaped his notice. He has witnessed every action of your lives-every emotion of your souls. How important, then, is the self-examination to which we now exhort you! Compare your religious feelings and views with those expressed by Job in the passage under consideration. We do not require that your faith should be the same in degree with his. But it should be the same in kind. All your hopes must cluster around the Redeemer. In his name you must
trust. On his merits you must rely. With his righteousness you must be clothed. Of his spirit you must be possessed. Along the path which he has travelled, you must cheerfully and constantly tread. To the contemplation of his glory, and the fruition of his fulness in the celestial world, you must look forward as the end of being the consummation of your desires. then, an interest in the Lord Jesus Christ? is one which, if you are not remiss in the work of selfexamination, it is possible for you to answer. We have, indeed, said—and we say it again-that a full and satisfactory conviction on this point, is by no means essential to the nature and reality of faith. But it is surely a very desirable attainment-an attainment that must contribute largely to present comfort in religion, and is particularly valuable in the solemn hour of death. Ah! if the dying man is without some ground of confidence that his sins are forgiven, and that his memorial is on high, what must be the feelings and the anticipations that rend and overwhelm his soul!
This last consideration is one which we would particularly press upon the consciences of those who know that they are devoid of an interest in the great Redeemer. We cannot doubt that there are such in this assembly. Would to God, dear hearers, that we could render you sensible of your wretched condition! We say wretched, for it is a solemn fact, that so long as you are without a title to the salvation of Christ, you are in the gall of bitterness, and in the bonds of iniquity-you must be strangers to real peace of mind, even in this world, while the portion of your cup in the world to come, must be indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish. And O! have you no desire to alter your condition? Are you content to remain in your present state? Tell us, would it'
not be wiser and better to obtain the pardon of your sins, and secure the favour of your Maker, before the opportunity of doing so is withdrawn-for ever withdrawn? Why, then, do you hesitate? Why do you tarry? Your life is a span-a vapour. Your days are melting away like snow drops on the ocean. Now is the time to make your peace with God, and provide for the exigencies of eternity. Repent while the door of mercy is open. "Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, Turn ye unto me, and I will turn unto you."
DANIEL VI. 10.
"Now when Daniel knew, that the writing was signed, he went into his house, and his windows being open in his chamber towards Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime."
DANIEL was a descendant of one of the principal families of Judea. On the subversion of the Jewish government by Nebuchadnezzar, he was removed, with many more of his countrymen, as a captive to Babylon. His qualities, notwithstanding his extreme youth, attracted the particular notice of the conqueror, who ordered, that he and three other young men of similar rank, should be taken under the royal patronage, and furnished with the amplest opportunities of instruction, that Chaldea, then the seat of letters and science, could afford.
As Daniel advanced in years, he became distinguished for his superior wisdom and piety. He possessed the esteem and confidence, not only of Nebuchadnezzar himself, of his son Evil-merodach, and his grandson Belshazzar, but also of Darius, or, as he is otherwise called, Cyaxares, who ascended the throne of Babylon, on the capture of that magnificent metropolis, by his nephew, the celebrated Cyrus. Indeed, one of the first acts of Darius, on obtaining possession of the Chaldean empire, was the promotion of Daniel to the highest office in his gift. We are told, that he "preferred" him "above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was