« AnteriorContinuar »
attract, and its frivolous amusements engross; whose every day has its alluring engagements, its unimportant pursuits, its imaginary urgencies; who art wasting imperceptibly the period of thy probation, yielding continually to the influence of present indulgence, extending continually an acquaintance with persons and things, which minister to the gratification of the passing hour, but holding no communion with him who gives thee life and health for nobler purposes; to thee also, trifling, worldly, but immortal being, belongs the admonition, "The time is short."
Thou who, intending to repent, and meditating to devote thyself to God in a holy and religious life, are yet shrinking from the open confession of his name; who, presuming upon favourable dispositions, and more convenient seasons, and dreaming of opportunity and length of days, art ever putting off until to-morrow, the care of thy soul; who art thus closing thy ears to the voice of wisdom, and thy heart to the suggestions of conscience, and refusing to enter in at that narrow gate of duty which God has set open before thee; forget not that goodness has its boundary, and forbearance its limit; be warned that the day of thy salvation is passing away, and hasten, whilst it is thine, to employ and to retrieve it; "for this "I say, brethren, The time is short."
Art thou fearful to undertake the strictness of a religious life, doubtful of successfully contend
ing against the adversaries of thy virtue, distrustful of thy ability to hold out against thy sins, and apprehensive of being overcome at the last in the conflict, and oppressed with these fears, dost thou shrink from the trial of thy faith, and hesitate at the prospect of a long probation?. It were enough to remind thee of him through whom thou canst do all things, whose grace, which is promised, is sufficient for thee, enough that heaven is worthy of thy most strenuous efforts, and thy most determined resolves; but if not, let the declaration of the text be weighed, and let it furnish a motive to excite thee to the effort; "for this I say, brethren, the time is "short."
And ye, if any such there be before me, who desiring heaven, will not be persuaded to give up the world, even though you were certain to secure it; ye ambitious, who seek for political eminence; ye studious who seek for literary or professional fame; lovers of pleasure; ye who flutter for a moment in the smiling sunshine of life, and then sink forgotten into the silent grave; and ye too, busy votaries of riches, who rise up early, and late take rest, pursue ye your idols, use well your best resources, haste ye, haste ye ye to the attainment of your desires; secure quickly the prize of ambition; ascend the seat of honour and fame; riot in pleasure; heap up your gains; let all enjoy intensely what all must resign speedily; and VOL. II.
since the past cannot admonish, nor the future invite, seize now the present, and quaff rapidly from it your fill of joy, and banish, if you can, this fearful consideration, that "the time is short."
My brethren, if we are conscious of continually leaving undone the things which we ought to have done, if we are indulging in tempers which we ought to restrain, cherishing habits which we ought to subdue, omitting duties which we ought to perform, withholding an example which we owe to our religion, our God, and our immortal hopes; if in any thing we are disregarding our Christian profession, or leaving unfulfilled its just requirement; let us now bethink us of our duty, let us now repent and amend, "for the time is "short."
And if devoted to God and obeying his will, if professing his name, and walking in his ordinances and commandments, we are the subjects of his chastening and afflicting hand; if we are called to weep for the friends who are gone, and to sorrow for the memory of the dead; if poverty and distress, pain and suffering, care and apprehension, the proofs of a Father's watchfulness, and the means of maturing us for his kingdom, be our portion in this transitory state; be this our consolation and solace, and let it give us patience to endure to the end, that " the time is short."
Christian, thou who art waiting for the coming of thy Redeemer, and rejoicing in the confidence
of his salvation, let nothing separate thee from thy God, let nothing rob thee of these thy hopes. Though the world be bright and alluring around thee, remember thou art an heir of glory, thy citizenship is in heaven, cling not, therefore, to the vanities of this perishing earth. Thou hast an inheritance which is incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away. It shall be thine to triumph when the world expires. Let the greatness of thy prospects, and the certainty of their enjoyment, be ever present to sustain thee in thy duty; and if, at any time, thou art tempted to go back to the ways of folly and of sin, to abandon thy profession, and to renounce thy hopes, reflect how little thou canst gain, how infinite will be thy loss, and how soon, how very soon, thou wilt have reason to repent thee of thy choice; "for this I say, brethren, the time is "short."
The Duty and Advantages of acquainting ourselves with God.
JOB xxii. 21.
Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace.
THESE words were spoken in a conference
held between Job and the friends who came to visit him, when he was under the pressure of affliction. Although, from a misapprehension of the nature of the Divine dealings with man, and from an endeavour to bring Job to the improper confession that all temporal calamity is the proof of sin in the sufferer, they did but vex him whom they came to comfort; yet their sentiments, in many points, were founded in truth, were expressed with energy and sublimity, and were such as did not dishonour the character of God.
In addition to this, their exhortations and admonitions bear witness to their practical wisdom, and the maxims of duty which they uttered in a period of very remote antiquity, contain advice