« VorigeDoorgaan »
ON THE EARLY DEATH OF THE VIRTUOUS
MARK xi. 22. And Jesus answering, saith unto them, have
faith in God!
THERE is no sentiment so salutary and important as that which is here recommended by our Saviour. It gives to the hours of happiness and prosperity their best and noblest enjoyment. It takes away from the hours of affliction and adversity their most bitter sting. There is something low and earthly in those pleasures which are not heightened by a sense of gratitude to Him from whom they proceed, and are not felt as calls to place an undeviating confidence in all his ways and dispensations. There is a deadness and a heaviness in that affliction which is not softened by any feelings of resig, nation, and which cannot lift an eye of hope to Heaven even under the load which is crushing to the ground.
* Preached on June 21, 1818, being the Sunday after the funerals of Mr F. Napier, W. S., and John Gordon, M. D.
If, then, we ask what principle it is, which will add a zest to the enjoyments of life, and will blunt the edge of its sorrows; “ Jesus answering, saith unto us, Have faith in God.” Look up in every situation and circumstance to your
6 Father which is in Heaven," and while you behold Him showering blessings upon you, and upon all creation, and even in the midst of his severest chastisements, opening sources of the highest consolation, never forego that holy sentiment which binds you to Him, and which will at last make you His for ever, when this world and all its joys and sorrows shall alike be no more!
If ever there was a time, my brethren, when Nature herself addressed us with the distinctness of revelation, we see it in the glories of that wonderful season now before us. Wher
ever we walk abroad, our steps are encircircled with a profusion of bounty, and of good
“ The Heavens, indeed, declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handy work," and when the varied splendour of the evening sun seems to unveil to our admiring eyes the magnificence of His Eternal Throne or the moon walketh forth in her beauty, the gentle messenger of his mercy-or the countless host of stars in all their harmony and order, speak alike of his power, his beneficence, and his wisdom is there an intelligent heart that will not, in these moments, rise from the creatures to the Creator, and feel itself drawn by the cords of love, to repose all its thoughts and its cares upon Him? The grandeur of his works, it is true, and the immensity of every thing that surrounds us, inspire sentiments of an awe, and an indescribable veneration, that seem at first to preclude every more familiar emotion; yet, when we permit the impression of the universe of God, to sink deep into our souls, amidst all our ignorance of His thoughts, and of His ways, the prevailing sentiment which the high contemplation must awaken, will be that of a fixed and unalterable
Faith a steady belief, that the bounty and the wisdom, which, in hours like the present, are so conspicuously displayed, will never, in reality, be withdrawn, and that whatever may be at times, the seeming severities of his Providencé, the God who made us can never, in truth, have forgotten to be gracious !
My brethren, as if to try us, whether or no we have attained this firm impression of confidence in Him,-in the same moments of this profuse display of His universal goodness, and while He is disclosing to our eyes, and contemplations, the loveliest aspects of His works, He has yet permitted some most melancholy events to draw down our eyes to the dust, and to weigh upon our thoughts, and our souls. Amidst the glory and the magnificence of nature, while the sun has been looking down upon us from the Heavens, in all the splendour of his unclouded brightness, the processions of death have blackened, and the most genuine“ mourners have gone about, our streets.” We have seen Fathers and Husbands suddenly torn from their families in the flower of their years, at the very time when their lives were most important, and least to be spared, and when their firm vigour
seemed to promise a long course of usefulness and honour. One, a member of our own congregation, most cordially beloved, and deeply mourned, by a wide circle of friends and associates; Another, still more recently, whose loss is not merely private, upon whose lips of youthful wisdom and science, the young and ardent of our City hung with admiration and delight, and to whose increasing experience and fame, She looked forward with an undoubting expectation for the progressive continuance of those venerable honours of the Healing Art, which have long been so peculiarly her boast. Alas! he has been lost to us by the too fearless performance of his duty, and that fatal Disease* which has been thinning our population, and not confined to the houses of poverty, has even, in those where our nearest friendships lie, quenched their most blooming and brightest hopes, or, at least, suspended them for a time in trembling anxiety-now, at last, with a peculiar malignity, has found in Him, its greatest, though not its first victim, in the very Art which was arresting its progress, and has, by
* The Typhus Fever at this time fatally prevalent.