« AnteriorContinuar »
placed in their bofom, as foon as it has exhaled its perfume, they throw withered into the dirt. Of what use is the scaffolding when the building is finifhed. It is said by out of sight. “My brethren,” says the renowned sufferer, “ have dealt deceitfully as a brook, " and as the stream of brooks they pass away ; what 6 time they wax warm they vanish ; when it is hot 6 they are consumed out of their place."
Are we secure from disappointment with regard to PROPERTY ? Where can you safely lay up treasure upon earth? Water inundates, Alames devour, moth and rust corrupt, thieves break through and steal. Riches make to'themselves wings and flee away: Ap. pearances may be favourable, plans may be well laid, every affiftance necessary to success may be procured; but “ the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to
the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet c riches toʻmen of understanding, nor yet favour to 6 men of skill ; but time and chance happeneth to “them all.” “ Money is a defence," and hence it is fo anxiously desired, so universally pursued ; but how many have fallen from the highest affluence into the depths of indigence, and have had their necessities embittered by the recollection of the plenty which once made their cup to run over. "Wo to him that covCeteth an evil covetousness to his house, that he may * set his neft on high, that he may be delivered from the power of evil !" " Though thou exalt thyself as " the eagle, and though thou set thy nest amongst the “ stars, thence will I bring thee down, faith the Lord.”'
Let us conclude by observing, that it would be an abuse of this part of our subject, were you to suppose
Ꮐ Ꮐ g
that we recommend you to cherish everlasting apprehension and gloom. Much of our happiness lies in freedom from suspicion and anxiety. To live with a troubled and desponding mind is as bad as any thing we can actually suffer. Imaginary grief is frequently worse than real. It is displeasing to God when we four the mercies he gives us to enjoy by distrust. We may avoid folicitude, and not be guilty of the worldly confidence which we have condemned. But it does require you,
First, To be moderate in your attachments, and so ber in your expectations. The way to escape disappointment, is to keep your hopes humble, and to cultivate such a disposition as David expressed when he said, “ Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes
lofty : neither do I exercise myself in great matters, “ or in things too high for me. Surely I have be“ haved and quieted myself as a child that is weaned 6 of his mother : my soul is even as a weaned child.” The admonition of the wise man is not designed to embitter the comforts of life, but to remind us of its unavoidable calamities, and to keep us from being surprised and disconcerted when they arrive; “ If a “ man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet 6 let him remember the days of darkness, for they shall “ be many : all that cometh is vanity.” If, in spite of reason, and the uniform deposition of travellers, you will go forth, assured that in your journey the weather will be always fair, and the road always smooth, you must be left to the tuition of events. If you will enter the world expecting to find it a paradise, thorns and briars and scorpions and drought will foon convince you that you are in a wilderness. This caution, my young Friends, peculiarly belongs to you. Your age is fanguine. You are most liable to be deceived by appearances, because you have not found how seldom they accord with reality. Do not form too flattering a picture of human life. Believe the testimony of Scripture. Go sometimes to the house of mourning, rather than to the house of mirth. Listen to those who have gone before you. You only see a little narrow arm of the sea sheltered by the neighbouring hills ; but some have failed beyond the reach of your eye, and have seen storms and wrecks. .
Secondly, It calls upon you to seek a better ground of confidence, and to make the Lord your trust. Crea. tures are broken reeds, but he is the Rock of Ages. They are broken cisterns, but he is the Fountain of Living Waters..Put not your trust in princes, nor " in the son of man in whom there is no help. His « breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth ; in " that very day his thoughts perish.” “ Happy is he " that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope “ is in the Lord his God.” Yes, there is something firm and certain. God will not deceive us, cannot disappoint us. His power is almighty, his mercy endureth for ever, his word is faithfulness and truth. 66 Therefore will I look unto the Lord, I will wait for " the God of my falvation.” Having committed all my concerns into his hands, and knowing that he careth for me, I am careful for nothing. Persuaded that He who has the direction of every event will make all things to work together for my good, I feel a peace which pafseth all understanding, and rejoice in the
language of the Church, “ God is our refuge and s strength, a very present help in trouble : therefore « will we not fear though the earth be removed, and " though the mountains be carried into the midst of “ the sea ; though the waters thereof roar and be “ troubled, and the mountains shake with the swelling “ thereof." " There is a river, the streams whereof « shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of 56 the tabernacles of the Most High.”
Thirdly, It calls upon you to seek after a preparation for all the changing scenes of life. It is better to depend upon constitution than atmosphere, and to be equal to any climate rather than confined to one. It is better to depend upon appetite than dainties ; delicacies are not always to be procured, and what becomes of you when they are wanting if you cannot live upon common food ? Divine Grace will preserve the balance of the soul in varying conditions ; it will Secure you in prosperity, and sustain you in the day of adversity. This fanctified Daniel when a minister of state, and soothed him when in the den of lions, This enabled Paul to say, “I know both how to be " abased, and I know how to abound : every where 66 and in all things I am instructed both to be full and 56 to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. .66 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens 66 me.” • Finally, It calls upon you to look beyond this vain and mutable world, to a state of solid and unchangeable happiness. Whatever advantages religion affords, by enabling us to endure and to improve the difficulțies and troubles of life, it does not hinder us from
feeling ourselves in circumstances of trial and imperfection. “We are troubled on every fide," if « not “ distressed ; we are perplexed,” if “not in despair ; 6 persecuted,” if “not forsaken; cast down," if « not - destroyed.” To die is gain. Death ends our toil
6 for the people of God.” Then shadows will be exchanged for fubftance. Then we shall embrace our enjoyments without fear of losing them. Then farewell care and disappointment. Our “ sun shall no “ more go down, nor” our « moon withdraw her só shining ; for God” is our “ everlasting light, and
the days of” our “ mourning” are 6 ended.”