Page images

duces in the mind a peace“ which passeth all understanding." It is too solid for th: winds of changing events to drive away. It is too substantial for the flames of trouble to consume; it is too enduring for death to destroy. It is a treasure which makes the possessor richer than if all the wealth of the world were his, for it will last for ever. Are you neglecting this solid gold while running after the gilt paper ? If so, are you sober?

A ship has sailed with many passengers for a distant port. She springs a leak. In spite of every effort at the pumps, the water rises in the hold. The captain says that in a few hours the ship will sink. The crew are hard at work preparing a raft, and getting ready the boats in order to save their lives. But one passenger is busy making his cabin comfortable. He pays no attention to the alarm of danger. He makes no preparation for leaving the ship, but seems only anxious to make his berth snug during the few hours that remain. Would you say such a man was in his right nind? But if you are neglecting the gospel, is not this your case ? You are on board a sinking ship. Your life must soon, very soon end. Compared with the eternity which is before you, there are but a few hours left. Your thoughts are wholly taken up with making those few hours as pleasant as you can, while you are neglecting the means of saving your soul: are you not acting the part of an intoxicated -an insane person? Jesus is the only Saviour of sinners. By trusting in him, you can be saved. He alone can deliver us from the wrath to come. But if you “neglect so great salvation," and your heart is not given to God, can you be regarded as sober ?

“The end of all things is at hand.” You will soon serve your last customer, or make your last purchase, or write your last entry, or drive your last nail, or thread your last needle. You will sing your last song, and read your last book, and join in your last party of pleasure. You will hear your last sermon, and read your last tract. Your place in the shop will soon be vacant, your chair at the fireside will soon be empty. The place which knows you now, will soon know you no more for ever. And what then? Have you a Friend on the other side of the dark valley to greet you when you leave your earthly friends on this? Have you an eternal home in the kingdom of heaven when you are obliged to leave your earthly home?

But though the “ natural body" will perish, the soul will not. You are destined to live for ever. When the "heavens shall pass away with a great noise," you will survive, capable of enjoyinent or of woe. Your condition in the future state will be


time for manhood, so is the present life the season for preparing for eternity. Whatever we sow now, we shall reap hereafter: “He that soweth to the flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” What kind of seed, then, are you sowing ? Sow sin, and you reap sorrow; sow faith in Christ, and you reap safety ; sow holiness, and you reap happiness. The connexion is certain between the kind of seed sown and the kind of harvest reaped. No man can sow thistles, and gather wheat. Are you sowing what will spring up as a harvest of despair and woe? Not one seed will be lost! And are you diligent in scattering what will spring up at the judgment for your condemnation and destruction? Is this sobriety?

“Seek, and ye shall find." This is, in a sense, true of the sinner and the saint. Whatever we most desire and seek after, we shall have. If now we seek to be far from God and his ways, we shall hear our own sentence confirmed when the Judge says, “ Depart." But how terrible will that sentence sound when He utters it! You are now shutting the door of your own dungeon ; but how will your soul awake to horrible despair when you hear the lock turned and the chain fastened from the outside, and find that you are there for ever!

“ The end of all things is at hand." Yes, the end of invitations to come to Jesus; the end of the convictions which have been produced in the heart; the end of sabbaths, and of Bibles. A day is fast hastening when, if you have rejected Christ, you will think of prayer, and pardon, and Jesus, and salvation, as of things for ever ended and done with for you. Oh then, before that terrible end comes, “Be ye sober, and watch unto prayer.” “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near.” Listen to the voice of the Saviour, who says to all sinners, however guilty, however long they may have neglected his mercy, “ Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Biblesbeen prode to Jesus is at handen eve

“ The end of all things is at hand; be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.” Be ye sober. Estimate things by their true value. Ask how long they will last. Remember that “the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” Neglect no duty, but let every duty have its proper place and its due attention. Then the soul will be more cared for than the body, and the life that is to come than that which now is. Be not absorbed in what you must so soon leave. Regard not so much the favour or the enmity of men, but seek rather to be approved of God. Live as you will wish you had lived when you are about to die. And “watch unto prayer.” Watch! you are on an enemy's ground; foes lurk in ambush at every turn; new sins and old sins are ready to bind their chains round you; many snares are lạid for your feet; and unless you watch, you fall. But watchfulness will not avail without prayer. We can do nothing without the grace of God. No man can save himself, but God will save every man who sincerely and faithfully prays to him. He is always waiting to receive and grant our petitions. He is pleased when we ask much, and ask earnestly. It is his delight to bless : “ Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.”

All that we need for our salvation is provided for us by Jesus. He put himself in our place that he might, by his obedience and sufferings, magnify the law, which we have broken. His blood “cleanseth us from all sin.”—“ He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him." Him that cometh he will in no wise cast out. To those that believe in him, there shall soon be an end of all sorrows, all cares, all sins ; but no end of glory: “In thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."

Come then, rouse thyself from the intoxication of worldliness and sin. Of what importance will it soon be whether thou wert rich or poor, learned or ignorant, honoured or despised, in this world ? Is it not far better to be Lazarus in rags, hungering at the rich man's gate, and covered with sores, but with the kingdom of heaven in prospect; than Dives, clothed in purple, and faring sumptuously every day, with the dreadful expectation of soon crying out “in hell, being in torments ?" Why then spend all thy time and occupy all thy thoughts about those things which “perish in the using ?” Shall the sneers or threats of men shame or frighten you out of an inheritance “incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away ?” Shall the sloth of an hour cheat thee of such a prize ? Shall the vain delights of this world beguile thee from heaven ? Shall the deceitful music of Satan shut thy ears to the voice of God? Will you still be putting off till to-morrow what should be done to-day? Know you not that to-morrow may never dawn on you? and if it does, will you not again defer for another ? But have you an unlimited life to trifle with? While you are delaying, does death delay? Is not your time for escape every hour less than it was ?-" The end of all things is AT HAND: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.”

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed]

REST AT HOME. A MINISTER, in America, being expected at a distant village, an old negro, named Jeddy, arrived in the afternoon to conduct him to the place, which was nineteen miles off. The minister hesitated, as it was late in the day, but Jeddy said, “ Do go, massa, for no massa preacher been there for four months." He yielded, and started with Jeddy, whom he took on his horse behind him. The old negro was astonished at his kindness, and, as they rode together, gave a history of his Christian experience, while tears flowed from his eyes.

The road was bad, night was coming on, and the minister expressed a wish to return, rather than risk the perils of the way. “ No, massa," said Jeddy, “ don't lose heart; there be rest at home for you.” “Yes," exclaimed the ninister; "thank God, there is a home for us, Jeddy, where the weary are at rest." “Oh yes, massa," said the poor labour-worn slave, “me often tink of dat; me hope to get dere some day.”

“ There is rest at home. The sentence," writes the minister, “ gave me new energy, and has often done so since in many a harder trial. 'How old are you, Iddy ?' I inquired. 'Seventie


three, massa; me be getting toward dat home, massa.' 'Have you a wife, Jeddy?' 'Yes, massa ; but me don't know where she be. Old massa not love God, and sold her far away.'

Have you children?' 'Yes, massa.' 'And where are they?' All gone too, massa; me don't know where; but we all loved God, massa, and hope to meet in dat home where be rest.' What, thought I, are my sufferings, compared with those of this poor sorrow-stricken servant of my Master ? There is rest at home,' said I involuntarily, and motioned to proceed:”

It was very dark; but through rain, and mud, and ruts, they plodded on, the minister still nerved by the thought that there was “ rest at home.” At length was seen the glimmer of a distant light. “ Dat is home, massa," exclaimed Jeddy, with delight. There, in the midst of kindness and comforts, they soon forgot their weariness; but, sleeping or waking, the minister's thoughts were filled with the delightful truth, that there is “rest at home."

Home, it is said, is home, however homely. It is so in this passing world, and is felt to be such by the right-minded part of mankind. Not to have a home is extreme misery; and not to love home, shows a hardened mind, The Christian, the poorest Christian, loves his home ; but it is the Christian's happiness, like poor Jeddy, to expect a better home than the best on earth. The kingdom of heaven is his home, and there is rest; while all the excellences which endear a beloved earthly home, adorn with brighter glory the Christian's eternal home.

Home is a refuge from the toils, and cares, and strife of a vexing world. The labourer who has toiled for many hours beneath a burning sun longs for home, “ as a servant earnestly desireth the shadow, and as an hireling looketh for the reward of his work,” Job vii. 2. The man of business, wearied by the world's cares and anxieties, retires from the scene to find rest at home; and there, amidst the smiles of a beloved family, forgets for a few hours his vexations. Sweeter still is the hope of home to the worn-out traveller, or to the mariner long tossed on stormy waves ; but more sweet and soothing to the righteous is the prospect of their heavenly abode, with the delightful confidence that there “is rest at home;" for “ there remaineth a rest to the people of God," Heb. iv. 9.

Cares and anxieties, sooner or later, enter every earthly home, but will never break the peaceful calm of heavenly rest. There is rest from affliction in its thousand forms: “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them ;-and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away," Rev. xxi. 3, 4. No lifeless bodies, no opened graves, no fune

« PreviousContinue »