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he cannot do, even in this world, as he pleases : and when, by permission, he seems to reign, as if there were no power to control him, he ultimately reaps nothing but disappointment, and consequent anguish; and his torment is beyond description, when he finds all things result in the advancement of the family of man.
Let us then, my dear Madam, cease to tremble in the fear of evil tidings; for no evil can come into the city, of which God doth not take cognizance; and it is God who saith, Hitherto shalt thou go, but no farther, and here shall thy proud waves be stopped.
It is true, the messenger of evil may not be sensible from whom his commission is received, yet it should be our abiding consolation, that the God, to whom we properly belong, will never permit an evil, which will not finally be productive of good.
The vision is for an appointed time; if it tarry, wait for it. Let things respecting this world turn out how they may, they must, eventually, be beneficial ; not only because they are under the direction of heaven, but because they will be really salutary to us.
I know there are occasions upon which it is next to impossible thus to think ; and, indeed, if we could always thus think, we should cease to aganize; and then we should not be subjected to much tribulation : and, were our prospects not finally illumined, I do not see how our mourning could be turned into joy. Madam, believe me, our God is good, very good; and he will always proportion our strength to our day. Have we not found countless instances of his goodness; and is his hand shortened that he cannot save ? Believe me, Madam, he will either provide delicacies for tender stomachs, or he will give healthy stomachs for substantial food. After all, we cannot receive a solace until it be admin, istered.
Well, then, if clouds gather round us, in the present scene, let us look beyond this changing state, to an inheritance, incorruptible, and undefiled, that fadeth not away. There our expectations can never be frustrated. In worlds beyond the sky, every thing will far surpass the promise : eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man to imagine.”
With respect to the things of this present, passing world, those who possess them, should be as those who possess them not, for the fashion of this world flitteth away. But blessed, for ever blessed, be our God, through him we are entitled to mansions in a land of unclouded enjoyment, where we shall come into possession of uninterrupted bliss.
And, even here, some moments of enjoyment will be allowed us; the bitter cup of life will occasionally be sweetened. We shall again hear the voice of love, the love of God, of our God. Our elder brother will speak to his brethren, and in whatever light we may be viewed by others, or in whatever light we may view ourselves, the faithful, genuine believer, will never be ashamed to call us brethren. God is our unchangeable friend, and we shall again hear the voice of our good shepherd, than 'music, in its softest strains, more sweet. Indeed, I long, ardently long to see you once more, and to unite with you, in attending the voice of grace, mercy and peace, from God our Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ.
Events, which you have so long feared, may be more fortunate than you have calculated. Yet I know, nor reason nor argument can always assuage the tempest of the soul, I cannot drive back the storm, but my Redeemer hath this power; and, I humbly trust, he will say unto your dear, timid, apprehensive mind, peace, be still, and know that your God is ever with you.
I wish, my dear Madam, you had made one of my congregation last evening, I preached, by the request of a friend, on those words of our Saviour. Matthew, xvi. 26,
" For, what is a man profited; if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul ? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul ?"
I know you have listened to the teaching spirit, upon this subject, but I was anxious you should have been a hearer last evening; and I mention it now, in consequence of a remark, which then occurred to me, and which received its birth in my mind, at the moment I was engaged in my examination of the passage, Please to read the 21st, 220, 23d, 24th and 25th verses of this chapter.
“ From that time forth Jesus began to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders, and chief priests, and Scribes, and be killed, and raised again the third day.
“ Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.
“But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan : for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
“ Then said Jesus unto his disciples, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
“ For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life, for my, sake, shall find it.” Then follows our text;
“ For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul ?”
The force of my observation rests upon the following considerations : ni
Peter, and indeed all the disciples, had their eyes fixed on worldly grandeur. What shall we have, said Peter, who have left all? The woman, who accompanied her sons, requesting they may be placed on the right and left hand of the King in his kingdom, thought, with his disciples, that, as he was a lineal descendant from the son of Jesse, he was appointed to rebuild that desolated monarchy, to restore its ancient splendour, even as it was in in the days of Solomon, and to emancipate them from every yoke.
This is evident to all who listen to the conversation of the disciples, journeying to Emmaus ; “But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel.”
Now, as all the disciples had expectations of this nature, our Saviour observed to Peter, and the rest of his followers, that it would be no profit to them, should they gain, not only what their ambitious hearts were panting after, viz. the re-establishment of the Israelitish throne, but the whole world, and lose their own souls : and yet, had the Redeemer been influenced by the remonstrances of Peter, and exerted his almighty power, in the restitution of the kingdom in its fullest glory, even surpassing the days of David, and of Solomon, and thus erected his kingdom in this world, they might, agreeably to their expectations, have been associated with him in his elevation : but they must have lost their souls, inasmuch as nothing could save the soul, but that, against which Peter so seriously protested; that is, his Master's suffering death in Jerusalem. Be it far from thee Lord, this shall not be unto thee. But it was written that the God-man should suffer in Jerusalem. The substance of the Master's reply to Peter, and the other disciples, may be understood, or expressed, in the following manner.
Simple men, you are solicitous, that, by niy almighty power, I should avoid this death, that I should continue , among you, and
VOL. II. 50
create, or restore for you, a temporal kingdom. But should I adopt your plan, as there is no way for your guilty souls to te saved, but by my tasting death for them, should I avoid this death, your souls must inevitably be lost ! and what would it profit you, should I, as a temporal potentate, gratify your most sanguine wishes, even to the bestowing upon you, all with which the grand adversary offered to endow me, all the kingdoms of this world, and you were thereby to lose your own souls?” This, my dear Madam, appears to me the plain, simple and obvious meaning of
May God preserve you, lead you into all truth, and give you peace and joy in believing.
I am, my honoured friend, most devotedly and respectfully, your very humble servant, &c. &c.
To Mr. L. of K
MY EVER DEAR FRIEND,
SHALL never forget the pleasing visit with which the great Master indulged me in your charming residence. Of a truth, God was there, blessing us with a hearing ear, and, as I trust in many instances, with the understanding heart.
I shall, as long as I live, feel grateful for the kindness you extended unto me, in your hospitable dwelling. God only knows whether we shall ever again meet in this vale of tears; but this we know, it is good that we resign ourselves to his unerring pleasure.
Remember me to your venerable pastor. I have met but few of the clerical character, who have done what every Christian ought to do, viz. that have done unto me as they would that others should do unto them. True it is, that if the only wise God'our Saviour was not the Saviour of sinners, I could have no hope for myself, nor for any one of those reverend gentlemen ;&but as the just God is ..
a Saviour, I have, for them, as well as for myself, a hope full of immortality, and I expect to meet them in my Father's house, divested of every thing which can offend.
I trust, you and your friends will grow in the grace, and in the knowledge and love of God, and that your light will so shine before men, as that they may be constrained to glorify our common Father, who is in heaven. We must all be friends or enemies to the cross of Christ. They cannot be friends, who, while they in words profess him in whom we have believed, in works deny him. I am persuaded, our Saviour never required any thing of any
of his disciples, that was not for their advantage, in every point of view. Do we feel ambitious ? Are we fond of gaining the esteem of our fellow-men? This is natural, this is laudable, and the only legitimate way of gratifying this virtuous solicitude is by living a blameless life. Are we fond of property? Do we wish to obtain, and to enjoy affluence? Honesty and sobriety point out the only sure road to well-earned and durable riches. Do we wish for what is far preferable to opulence, permanent health? This blessing can only be found in the ways of wisdom, which are indeed 'ways of pleasantness. Are we anxious to obtain what is still better than all, peace of mind ? Be assured it is only the virtuous who possess this good.
Thus, it is equally every man's interest and duty, to live a sober, religious life. God is our Father; he is the Father of all, but he is a wise and a good Father. Tell me, my friend, do you think a Parent, who is wise and good, would leave the child whom he loved to himself? A child, left to himself, would bring his parent to shame, but a wise parent will, by his conduct toward his children, take care to avoid a catastrophe so fatal ; and be asrured, the infinitely wise and good Parent will not let his offending children go unpunished, “ If,” saith the Lord, “ my
children walk not in my statutes, I will visit their transgressions with the rod.” The rod is made for the fool's back; shame shall be the promotion of fools, not only fools of one, but of every description. O, that
you and I, my much loved friend, may be wise unto salvation, salvation from every evil of body, of mind, and of estate, as far as it relates to our conduct through life.
But, it is said, that if we be of Christ Jesus, we shall suffer persecution, that all manner of evil shall be said of us; and this is