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which made the wicked Balaam devout for a moment, and exclaim, “Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like bis.” These revelations of death would be the most emphatic commentary on the revelation of God. What an affecting scene is a dying world! Who is that destroying angel, whom the Eternal has employed to sacrifice all our devoted race? Advancing onward over the whole field of time, he hath smitten the successive crowds of our hosts with death ; and to us he now approaches nigh. Some of our friends have trembled, and sickened, and expired, at the signals of his coming; already we hear the thunder of his wings; soon his eye of fire will throw mortal fainting on all our companies; his prodigious form will to us blot out the sun, and his sword sweep us all from the earth, for “the living know that they shall die."
I know not, I wonder how I shall succeed in mental improvement, and especially in religion. O! it is a difficult thing to be a Christian. I feel the necessity of reform through all my soul. When I retire into thought, I find myself environed by a crowd of impressive and awful images: I fix an ardent gaze on Christianity, assuredly the last best gift of Heaven to men; on Jesus, the agent and example of infinite love; on time, as it passes away: on perfection, as it shines beauteous as heaven, and, alas! as remote ; on my own beloved soul, which I have injured, and on the unhappy multitude of souls around me ; and I ask myself, why do not my passions burn? Why does not zeal arise in mighty wrath, to dash my icy habits in pieces, to scourge me from
indolence into fervid exertion, and to trample all mean sentiments in the dust? At intervals, I feel devotion and benevolence, and a surpassing ardour ; but when they are turned towards substantial, laborious operation, they fly, and leave me spiritless amid the iron labour. Still, however, I confide in the efficacy of persevering prayer; and I do hope that the Spirit of the Lord will yet come mightily upon me, and carry me on through toils, and sufferings, and death, to stand in Mount Zion, among the followers of the Lamb.
THE FRAIL AND PERISHABLE NATURE
OF EARTHLY OBJECTS.
[PROFESSOR NORTON.] CHEN the wise and the good are taken from
us, we are made to feel the instability of life, and the insecurity of the tenure by which we hold its dearest blessings. But this feeling will be of little value, if it do not lead us to look beyond this world, and if it be not thus connected with a strong sense of the proper business of life, to prepare ourselves for happiness in that world, where there shall be no change but from glory to glory. It will be in vain for us to contemplate a character that we have had reason to admire, if we do not feel that its foundation was in that religion, which teaches every one of us to regard himself as created by God, to be an image of his own eternity. It will be in vain for us to stand by the open grave of departed worth, if no earthly passion grows cool, and no holy purpose gains strength.
We are liable in this world to continual delusion, to a most extravagant over-estimate of the value of its objects. With respect to many of our cares and pursuits, the sentiment expressed in the words of David, must have borne with all its truth and force upon the mind of every considerate man, in some moments at least of serious reflection : “ Surely every one walketh in a vain show ; surely they are disquieted in vain.” The events of the next month or the next year, often assume in our eyes a most disproportionate importance; and almost exclude from our view all the other infinite variety of concerns and changes, which are to follow in the course of an immortal existence. The whole happiness of our being seems sometimes to be at stake upon the success of a plan, which, when we have grown but a little older, we may regard with indifference. These are subjects on which reason, too commonly, speaks to us in vain. But there is one lesson, that God sometimes gives us, which brings the truth home to our hearts. There is an admonition, which addresses itself directly to our feelings, and before which they bow in humility and tears. We can hardly watch the gradual decay of a man eminent for virtue and talents, and hear him uttering with a voice that will soon be heard no more, the last expressions of piety and holy hope, without feeling that the delusions of life are losing their power over our minds. Its true purposes begin to appear to us in their proper distinctness. We are accompanying one who is about
to take his leave of present objects; to whom the things of this life merely are no longer of any interest or value. The eye, which is still turned to us with kindness, will, in a few days, be closed for
The hand by which ours is still pressed, will be motionless. The affections which are still warm and vivid—they will not perish ; but we shall know nothing of their exercise. We shall be cut off from all expression and return of sympathy. He whom we love is taking leave of us for an undefined period of absence. We are placed with him on the verge between this world and the eternity into which he is entering ; we look before us; and the objects of the latter rise to view, in all their vast and solemn magnificence.
There is, I well know, an anguish which may preclude this calmness of reflection and hope. Our resolution may be prostrated to the earth ; for he on whom we were accustomed to rely for strength and support, has been taken away. We return to the world, and there is bitterness in all it presents to us; for every thing bears impressed upon it a remembrance of what we have lost. It has one, and but one, miserable consolation to offer:
“ That anguish will be wearied down, I know.
It is a consolation, which offered in this naked and offensive form, we instinctively reject. Our recol. lections and our sorrows, blended as they are toge.
ther, are far too dear to be parted with upon such terms. But God giveth not as the world giveth. There is a peace which comes from him, and brings healing to the heart. His religion would not have us forget, but cherish, our affections for the dead; for it makes known to us, that these affections shall be immortal. It gradually takes away the bitterness of our recollections, and changes them into glorious hopes ; for it teaches us to regard the friend who is with us no longer, not as one whom we have lost on earth, but as one whom we shall meet, as an angel, in heaven.
A MORTAL AND AN IMMORTAL LIFE.
[REV. JOHN KENTISH.]
curiosity, but to our situation and our wants. Disregarding speculations and opinions, it proclaims facts. The life that is, and the life that is to come, it connects by the all-important doctrine of a resurrection. ' It considers man as guilty, and informs the penitent believer that he shall be justified, and renewed, and sanctified : it finds him mortal, and
promises that he shall be made immortal.
“ We know," says the great Apostle of the Gentiles, “ that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."
Let us ask ourselves what are the uses to which