« السابقةمتابعة »
we know not what may be on the morrow-when, on the morrow, the bright scenes of prosperity in which we now delight, may have vanished in darkness and in sorrow; when the health which to-day gives vigour to our exertions and zest to our enjoyments, may to-morrow be exchanged for the languor and the pains of sickness; when that life which to-day is ours, may to-morrow be extinguished in death; when to-day is the appointed time, the day of salvation, and to-morrow may behold us in that eternity where is to be the award of happiness or misery eternal.
Brethren, let the reflection daily occur to us, and be seriously pondered by us-"we know not what shall be on the morrow." Let it be pondered by us, in order that we may make him our refuge under whose control is that morrow, and who can mark it to us either with the light of prosperity or with the darkness of wo; who can continue it to us as the gracious period of our probation, or, closing with it our mortal course, summon us to the unchanging scenes of an eternal existence. In the consideration of the uncertainty which hangs over the morrow, let not this day pass without the resolution, if that resolution has not been already made and executed, to make our peace with that almighty Being who thus regulates the destinies of time and eternity, and whom we have offended by our sins. Let his pardon be implored and obtained in deep penitence, in entire dependence on his mercy and grace through his eternal Son, who, as at this time, he sent into the world, to take upon him our nature, and to become obedient to the law, that he might free us from its penalties. Reconciled unto God through penitence and faith in the merits and
mediation of his Son Jesus Christ, renewed to holiness in the powers and affections of our souls, and evermore studying to do the will of our Father in heaven, we may confide in his protection and his favour. Whatever may be the changes of tomorrow, whatever may be the number of the days of our probation, whatever may be its vicissitudes, we shall enjoy the assurance of that high and holy One who sits on the throne of the universe, that they shall "all work together for our good,"* all contribute to our spiritual improvement here, and to the perfection of our natures and the consummation of our bliss hereafter. Then the blessings of prosperity will be heightened to us in the grateful recognition of the goodness and love of the almighty Benefactor who bestows them; the sufferings of this vale of tears will be eased in the humble but lively conviction, that even these our heavenly Father and God designs for our good, our eternal good. And then, even the close of life, the entrance on a future and eternal state of being, which to sinful and unsupported nature is so full of apprehension, if not of terror, will be viewed by us with resigned composure, if not with triumphant hope; for to us it will be the commencement of that day which will never be changed by the vicissitudes, nor clouded by the sorrows, of time, but which will shine forth in the splendour of divine glory, in the lustre of a felicity glowing more and more through the revolutions of eternal ages.
That such may be to each one of us, brethren, the termination of the present life, God of his infinite mercy grant, for Christ's sake; to whom, &c. * Rom. viii. 28.
THE INSTABILITY OF HUMAN REASONINGS IN CONTRAST WITH THE STABILITY OF THE WORD OF GOD.
1 COR. vii. 31.
The fashion of this world passeth away.
AND yet, to witness the eagerness, the constancy, the irrepressible perseverance with which men pursue its gratifications and pleasures, the confidence which they place on its principles and maxims, one would suppose that it would endure for ever. Is not this infatuation as extraordinary as it is absurd, that the aspiring thoughts, the vigorous desires, the exalted affections of an immortal spirit, a spirit which sprung from the eternal source of goodness and bliss, is designed finally to centre its enjoyment in him, should be wrapt up in a world, "the fashion of which passeth away?" Ah! may it not be said that deep sleep hath fallen upon man, darkening his understanding and benumbing his noble powers, so that he values not the moral excellence of the divine perfections, the glories of that celestial kingdom for which he is destined, while he is pleased with the glittering toys of worldly pleasure, and eagerly seeks for happiness in the illusive phantoms of worldly wealth and honour? In vain does the unerring voice of inspiration declare the utter incompetency of all created enjoyments to fill the boundless desires of a soul VOL. III.
designed to be satisfied only with the glory and bliss of the eternal source of truth and felicity. In vain does the voice of inspiration confirm the representation of daily experience, that the world is a scene ever varying and shifting, where principles, and manners, and pleasures, different, and often opposite, dazzle, and interest for a while, and then pass away, the attention of their votaries being caught by the novelty or splendour of those that succeed. Untaught by observation, and deaf to the unerring dictates of that word which proclaims that the fashion of this world passeth away, men continue ensnared by its delusive principles, bent solely on obtaining its uncertain and fleeting plea
Can it be necessary, when the solemn knell yet sounds that proclaimed the departure of the past year, with the varying principles and events, characters and manners, which marked its fleeting progress-when, enlivened by new hopes, and cheered by brighter prospects, we shut out both the inquietudes and pleasures of the past year, and welcome, in that which is to come, new and more extensive schemes of aggrandisement, a more uninterrupted and exalted flow of prosperity and happiness-in the very moment when we hail the commencement of another fleeting portion of time, can it be necessary for me to prove the truth, that "the fashion of this world passeth away?”
All, no doubt, will concede that the world is changing and uncertain in its principles and customs; that its enjoyments are fleeting and disappointing; that many of the events and labours that interest and agitate the present generation, will be forgotten in the new concerns and events of suc
ceeding ages. So far all will allow that "the fashion of this world passeth away."
It is, however, my design to consider the assertion of the apostle as extended to subjects in which it is deemed that certain and immutable principles may be attained by the light of reason, and which an infidel and licentious spirit opposes to revelation, to that "word of God which" only "abideth for ever."
From the uncertainty stamped on the "fashion of this world," we are called to exempt the discoveries of reason in regard to the human mind, and which, it is said, without the aid of revelation, establish the obligations and duties of man.
But have the nature and powers of the human mind been analyzed with certainty! So far from this, reason, left to itself, has maintained that a thinking principle could not exist independently of body; and supposed the soul to be but a nice organization of the more refined particles of matter. It is revelation which redeems the noblest part of man from that destruction to which matter, frail and perishing, is subjected, and restores the soul to its true dignity, as an emanation from the everblessed God, spiritual and eternal, as its adorable Author.
Are the discoveries of reason in regard to the human mind fixed and certain? So far from this, you find philosophers maintaining opposite and contradictory opinions on the important and fundamental question of the freedom of the will in its operations. It is revelation only which rescues man from those false theories which would make him a mere machine, irresistibly set in motion, necessarily determined in its choice by external impulses. It is