« PreviousContinue »
are carrying me, should I not weep?"—How important is a well-founded hope for an hour so solemn!
I have a soul, an immortal spirit united to a mortal body, (Luke xii. 4, 5,) which sees by the eye, hears by the ear, acts by my members; which thinks and plans, reasons and reflects, looks backward on the past, and forward to the future. This soul is to me unspeakably precious; “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul ?” Mark viii. 36. To me it is all things; for it is my own soul. If this be saved, all is saved ; if this be lost, all is lost. Nor will it long exist as now, inhabiting this world. My soul must soon enter another, a never-ending world. The whole family of man is divided into two classes, and only two-the righteous and the unrighteous. These, after this life, are gathered to their people, (Gen. xxv. 8, 17; Num. xx. 24; xxvii. 13,) those with whom in character and state they were connected: if in Jesus, to his glorified family; but if unrighteous, to the unpardoned. workers of iniquity.
Everything connected with death is solemn. It is a solemn thought that the fearfully and wonderfully made frame shall moulder and decay; the sparkling eye cease to see; the watchful ear to hear; the tuneful tongue to speak ; and the sentence, “ Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return," be fully executed. But that which surpasses every other fact in solemnity is, that my soul shall then be gathered to its people, and shall enter on eternal scenes, with its faculties strengthened, its capacity enlarged, and more alive to pleasure or pain, holiness or sin, than it ever could be here. This momentous change must take place when the Lord wills, Rev. i. 18.--"Lord, gather not my soul with sinners." · Were I gathered with them, what direful loss should I sustain ! In God's presence " is fulness of joy;" at his right hand “are pleasures for evermore.” Psa. xvi. 11. My soul, if cleansed in the blood of Jesus, may inherit all this good"; but if gathered with sinners, all. will be lost to me. In that bliss others will rejoice; not I. In those peaceful mansions others dwell; not I. With that surpassing glory others will be honoured; not I. With that society, in which will be enjoyed sweeter converse than can be with the best below, I shall never unite. Others will enjoy it ; not.I.-"Lord, gather not my soul with sinners.”
What must be the people of that world of woe, and what must sinners be there ? Hell is the prison that was prepared for the devil and his angels, Matt. xxv. 41, and to it are gathering the worst and most hateful of rebellious men. As in heaven there is a great multitude, which no man can number, who were pious on earth, but are far holier and happier now, Rev. vii. 9; so in hell is a great multitude, far more matured in evil than they “ GATHER NOT MY SOUL WITH SINNERS."
.' Some sinners have been notorious for profligacy. The earth has as it were sickened at their abominations. Such were the people of Sodom and Gomorrah ; now “suffering the vengeance of eternal fire," Jude 7. At one drunken revel of Alexander, the great conqueror, forty guests died; and he himself died of drunkenness soon after.
Some sinners have been infamous for treachery. Such was Judas, who sold his Lord. Such have been the demons of the Inquisition, smiling on their wretched victims, lying to them, professing friendship, while their whole intention was to torture them on the rack, or burn them in the flames. In treachery and falsehood they have, if possible, outdone Satan himself.
Some sinners, without as much treachery as the Inquisitors. have, like them, been distinguished for cruelty. Such was Nero: he murdered his mother; for amusement set Rome on fire, and then massacred an immense multitude of Christians. Some he crucified; others were covered with the skins of wild beasts and torn to pieces by dogs; and others were covered with combustible materials, then fastened to a stake and set on fire to light the streets by night. The Popish bishops, Gardiner and Bonner, in Mary's reign, vied with Nero in cruelty. Timour, an eastern warrior, marked his progress by two pyramids, on the road to Delhi, of a hundred thousand human heads, and gratified his cruelty by raising on the ruins of Bagdad a pyramid of ninety thousand heads; and at Ispahan the skulls of seventy thousand Persians were piled in the form of towers. A monster in the French National Assembly (1793) produced from a box the heads of his father and mother whom he had murdered, professedly out of love to the Republic, and was applauded by that infidel assembly.
Some sinners have displayed the most horrible love of revenge. An Italian who got an enemy into his power was about to murder him; but offered to spare his life if he would renounce Christ. The wretched man did so; and then the Italian stabbed him, exulting that he had murdered both his body and his soul.
Some sinners have been distinguished for blasphemy. “Crush the wretch," was Voltaire's usual phrase about the blessed Jesus. Others for contention and fury. Two felons, under sentence of death in one cell, in a French prison, were heavily ironed on both hands and feet; but they quarrelled, and one of them with his teeth dreadfully tore the body of the other, who contrived with his nails to tear the face of his assailant. Their savage cries brought the officers of the prison to part them. How much like hell! Could I bear to mingle with such hateful beings ?-the vile more vile, the cruel more cruel, the blasphemous fuller of blasphemy, and the revengeful of revenge, and every hellish disposition more hellish._"Lord, gather not my soul with sinners.'
The fearful apprehensions that dying sinners have had of their impending doom, add weight to these mournful considerations. Altamont cried out, “ Didst thou feel half the mountain that is on me, thou wouldest struggle with the martyr for his stake, and bless Heaven for the flames; that is not an everlasting flame; that is not an unquenchable fire.” Of Francis Newport it is stated, that seeing a fire in his room, he uttered a wish that he could lie and burn upon that fire a hundred thousand years, if in 'that way he could gain pardon and escape eternal destruction.—“Lord, gather not my soul with sinners." . . . . Above all, the dreadful representations which God gives of the future lot of the unconverted enforce this prayer. On quitting life they lift up their eyes, in hell; “ being in torments,” Luke xvi. 23. Their future dwelling is described as a “furnace of fire,” Matt. xiii. 42, “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched,” Mark ix. 46;:“Everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels;” “Everlasting punishment," Matt. xxv. 41, 46; dreaded : even by demons, Luke viii. 31. How different from the mansions of rest must be that place of woe! -"Gather not my soul with sinners."
The principal terror connected with the condition of lost souls is ETERNITY!- all is for ever. Such society were less dreadful, if there were a prospect of speedily escaping from its horrors; but there never will be. The hateful character of the lost will ever remain. Those savage dispositions will never soften. Those haters of God will for ever hate him. Those blasphemers for ever blaspheme. No glimpse of hope will ever cheer them. When shall we quit our prison? Never. Repeat the question after millions of years; still the answer is—Never! Keep asking to eternity; but there will be no other answer. Never! never!-"O Lord ! gather not my soul with sinners."
Oh, gather me with thy redeemed. Lord, save; or I perish! Like thy happy friends let me die ; like them let me rise to the resurrection of life, and like them abide in thy presence, and love and rejoice, and adore and praise for ever!
Not open sinners only, but the trifling and undecided are liable to be gathered with sinners. - How amiable and moral soever persons may be, without Christ there is no salvation. Come at once as he invites you, Matt. xi. 27–29. Believe in Christ and be saved; thus entrust your all to him, and then instead of fearing to be gathered with sinners, you may rejoice in the blessed assurance, “ As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness ; I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness," Psa. xvii. 15.
THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT.
BY THE REV. C. MALAN. I was travelling towards Bourdeaux, and had just set off from Angoulême, when a handsome, showy-looking young man got up into the same part of the coach with myself. He accosted me politely, and soon after setting off, he said, “ I think, sir, you come from Paris.” “I left Paris the day before yesterday,” I answered. “And I suppose,” he added eagerly, “ you have seen the Huguenots! (a theatrical performance, at that time, in 1839, very famous at Paris). It is a remarkably original composition; every one goes to see it; were not you delighted with it?” “The Huguenots !" I replied, putting my hand into the pocket of the coach, where I had put the New Testament, which I used for reading on my journey; “ I have their treasure with me here."
“ The treasure of the Huguenots !” said the young man, with surprise," and pray what is that?" I offered the sacred volume to him. He read the title, and returned it immediately, saying,