« PreviousContinue »
Christians, were you awake, here would be matter of wonder to you, to see a man assaulted with all the power of hell, and yet come off a conqueror. Is it not a wonder, to see a poor creature, who in himself is weaker than the moth, (Job iv. 19.) to stand against and overcome all devils, all the world, all his lusts and corruptions? Or, if he fall, is it not a wonder to see bim, when devils and guilt are upon him, to rise again, stand upon bis feet again, walk with God again, and persevere, after all this, in the faith and holiness of the gospel ? He that knows himself, wonders; he tbat knows temptation, wonders; be that knows what falls and guilt mean, wonders; indeed, perseverance is a wonderful thing, and is managed by the power of God; for be only is able to keep us from falling, and to present us faultless before the presence of bis glory, with exceeding joy. Jude 24.
That swallows millions at a meal.
This will be Christian's trying hour: though he may have passed
of the poor.
And ere Christian enter the chilling wave of the deep unknown, be must be stripped. Death will take from him all his earthly possessions, whether land, or tenements, or that yellow glittering stuff that he was so auxious to hoard up in his coffers—all will be taken from bim. This makes death frightful; here the heart-strings begin to break.
Secondly, be will be separated from those whom he esteemed ; those who hovered round the social board—they must now be left; and those, whose voice was as music to his soul; and the offspring of his own body, who had so large a share of his affections—even these must all be left bebind him.
And lastly, his own body, upon which so much pains and care has been bestowed, for so many years-that must also be left, as a worthless lump of putrefaction, on the beach: “for flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” Notbing will then be left; but the pure naked spirit of “ Christian"
That this must be the case with the writer and with the reader, is a law more certain than the law of the Medes and Persians, that
Let us, then, for a while indulge our meditations on this solenni theme, ere death come, and apply his cold band to our eyes, anul close the surrounding scene.
The thought of death indulge ;
Why the soul and body should be so closely united, “ the wisest cannot tell.” When man has run out his allotted term of threescore years, or threescore years and ten; he is as loth to quit the scene, as the youth at twenty. Those who are advanced to the end of the register, who bave tasted the whole vintage of life, and wbo have had nought but sour grapes, are still desirous of tasting them over again
To tread their former footsteps ; pace the round
The poor, starving on their beds of straw and racked with painthe convict, doomed to hard labour, with his scanty allowance of
bread and water-the prisoner, chained in bis cell—and the ship-
Sure 'tis a serious thing to die! My soul,
And every life-string bleeds at thoughts of parting.
The thought of death is the machine,
nation of every trouble; that it puts him beyond the reach of sin and temptation; that God has promised to be with the righteous, even to the end; Heb. xiii. 15. that Jesus Christ has taken away the sting; 1 Cor. xv. 55. and that it introduces him to a state of endless felicity; 2 Cor. v. 8.
Death but unlocks the adamantine gate,
They see attendant angels hovering round;
And hear th' eternal hallelujahs sound!
In the natural decline of life our bodily strength fails; the spine yields under its accustomed burden ; the whole bulk of the animal system gradually diminishes; tbe skin loses its former tension, especially in the face and female bosom ; the hair is more scanty, harsh, and grey; the external secretions mostly decrease; the fluids tend towards a state of pravation; the blood flows with a laugoid pace, and the arteries become obliterated at their extreme branches; sensibility is likewise blunted; the organs of vision and hearing are impaired; the digestion and absorption of nutriinent are impeded; the rigid limbs hardly advance with the superincumbent frame; the decayed teeth fall out, from a removal of their bony sockets; the rapid strides of death soon become inevitable, and the veil of eternity is at length drawn aside by complete dissolution.
The signs of decrepitude form a striking picture of weakness, and announce the approaching dissolution of the body. The me mory totally fails; the nerves become hard and blunted; deafgess, and blindness take place; the senses of smell, of touch, and of taste are destroyed; the appetite fails; the necessity of eating, and more frequently that of drinking, are alone felt; after the teeth fall out, mastication is imperfectly performed, and digestion is very bad; the lips fall inward ; the edges of the jaws can no longer approach, one another; the muscles of the lower jaw become so weak, that they are unable to raise and support it; the body, sinks down; the spine is bent outward ; and the vertebræ grow, together at the ang