Page images
PDF
EPUB

object to the soul, there the body of sin is destroyed. He who thus believes on the Lord Jesus, takes God's remedy for the distempers of the soul, and will not be disappointed. While he contemplates his Saviour as humbled, afflicted, and crucified for him; or traces him through the cloud of his sorrows to those serenest heavens, where he still continues his ceaseless intercessions for him ; —there is a power in this exhibition, which can cleanse the heart, and bring a present salvation to the soul; which can purge off the baser fire of sin victorious; and lead the spirit forth from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

Others are brought home to God by seeing the vanity and emptiness of the world. Their spirits sink; the charm of light has fled; all is flat, uncheering, and without interest; and they now say of the things they once enjoyed, “There is no pleasure in them.” No one who has not felt it, can tell how deep this depression of the mind may be. When the bustle which before engaged it is at rest, and when, in the centre of that dreary void, the spirit thus enquires—“Is the soul then formed only to drag on this living death? Is this the end of its early aspirations, and its vast desires ? When the spiritual nature calls, is there none to answer—to fill its emptiness—or to allay its thirst? Shall men's hopes be thus ever coming to the birth, while there is no strength to bring forth? In a word, is the inbred

longing after happiness but a mockery, and a sickly dream?"

In no instance does the power of God more illustriously appear, than when the times of refreshing come to such a soul. The clouds disperse, the morning breaks, new scenes and ever varying objects seem to open upon the mind. The soul, awakened to the realities of eternity, finds room for all its energies, and motive to give life and spring to all its powers. Religion is, in a word, to such a man, like Paradise opened in the desert. Old things are passed away, and new Heavens and a new Earth arise. Such, high as the colouring may seem, has, nevertheless, been the experience of some. For Christ can suit all cases, and heal all diseases. He can cheer the drooping soul, and fill the hungry soul with good things. He is himself that substantial happiness, after which man's instinctive wishes breathe. “ He that cometh to him shall never hunger, and he that believeth on him shall never thirst.”

Others, lastly, owe their extrication from the ruin of the world to affliction; to some sanctified sorrow; and to none, more frequently, than the loss of relatives or friends. Our once cheerful home is now become a house of mourning. There is a blank in the domestic circle which nothing earthly can fill up, and every object to which sorrowing friends can look, repeats the same sad story,—that the desire of their eyes is taken from them. And yet these seasons are sometimes blessed beyond all description. And many have known more happiness, even in the multitude of their sorrows, than they ever knew before. For often will that Being who came to heal the brokenhearted, seize the softened moments, and visit the mourner as he sits in solitary places. In Him the afflicted find a Friend formed for adversity. One who can penetrate the soul, and converse with all that is most intimate and peculiar in our bereavement. One who knew the object for which we grieve, better than we did ourselves. One who was himself “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” In sympathizing with Him, the soul is gently lifted above the world. It becomes the sweetest consolation to think of that blessed place, where we shall see our friends again, and fall down before the throne of Him who comforted us in our troubles. Those are “tears that delight, and sighs that waft to heaven." These sorrows are turned into joy: they unite us to Him who is the salvation of the soul: they bring us to that High Priest who is touched with a feeling of our infirmities; and, through him, we cast our anchor within the vail.

In these cases, there is a diversity of operations; but it is the same Spirit that works in all. All come through the same Mediator to God. All unite under the same head,--and, believing in one Saviour, they bring forth the same fruits of righteousness unto God. United, not less in tempers

than in views, they are all conformed to the image of God's Son; and bear the marks of him who was the first-born among many brethren. It is this conformity to Christ, which renders the children of God a peculiar people. They are not like other men. Outwardly fulfilling the responsibilities of their several callings, they are inwardly weaned from all below. They have learned of Him who was meek and lowly in heart. They have closed their eyes for ever upon every object of earthly ambition; and now can glory only in the Cross of Christ, by which the world is crucified unto them, and they unto the world. Planted in the likeness of Christ's death, they do, indeed, emerge from the waters of that mystical baptism, into the likeness of his resurrection. But be it well observed, that the elevation of the Christian life is, if possible, still more separate from the world than its mortification. For the Christian's liberty is not a licence to please himself, or to indulge his passions. It is a deliverance from the tyranny of his corruptions; from pride, from impurity, from slavery to man's opinion, and from the fear of death. On these wings, he rises to the hopes of a brighter world ;-he seeks a city in the heavens,-he stands with his loins girded, and his lights burning, in readiness to meet his Saviour,—he longs for the open daylight of that eternity, where the pure in heart shall see God.

STANZAS,

Composed at Torquay, Devon, 1836, on the Death of the

late Professor A -e, of King's College, London.

E. R.

I CAME to the lone churchyard,

When through the elm trees' shade,
The mellow light was streaming

On the graves beneath them made;
And I searched for one I deemed was hid

Among the many nigh;
His grave whose manly form I see,

With his bright poetic eye.
When last we met, beside his wife,

From childhood loved, he stood;
The lover, husband, brother, friend,

The gifted—and the good.
And if there be a dearer tie,

'Twas hers to bind it still;
She little dreamed a mother's name

Her widowed heart would thrill.
A path of toil and fame he trod;

But his spirit high was bent
To win a sunny home for her,

And unwearied on he went.
She saw him sink—the thoughtful brow

Wore a transparent hue,

« PreviousContinue »