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mistake, when we have not God for our guide, yet we may observe in the II. Second place, that whatever he has signified to us in his word shall in due time be accomplished. The destruction of the Jews, and deliverance of the Christians from among them, were emblematical of the judgments to be executed, and the salvation to be vouchsafed, in the last day. Indeed the circumstances of the two events are here so interwoven together in our Lord's discourse, that it is not easy to separate them. As the expressions relating to Jerusalem do not so particularly concern us, we may well fix our attenupon those more interesting ones; which relate to the final judgment of the last day.
1. The destruction of God's enemies, or rather their banishment from his favour and his mercy, is frequently and plainly foretold in the scripture. It is sufficiently declared in the old testament, but more clearly and strongly in the new. And the judgments which are now executed in the world, instead of being a substitute, are only a presage, of a future retribution. The calamities inflicted here are signs of the divine displeasure. And unless they are instrumental, through grace, in humbling the soul, and bringing it to repentance, they will be multiplied and made perpetual in the eternal world. The wrath of the Almighty will be poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and the wicked shall drink it to the very dregs. Whether people believe it, and think of it, or not, the awful judgment will surely come. The Jews imagined, that because they professed a religion that came from heaven, though their hearts were not conformed to it, they should never suffer the threatened calamities. They seem to have supposed, that an outward profession, and a few outward observances, would answer their purpose, though their whole souls were given up to evil dispositions. But their vain expectations were disappointed.
Continuing in their sinful ways, till they had filled up the measure of their iniquities, divine "wrath came upon them to the uttermost," and cut them off from the earth, and from every hope of mercy. And thus shall it be with all the ungodly. In vain are all their hopes while they continue in their sins. In vain is all their dependence upon external privileges. They must repent-be born again-be renewed in the spirit of their minds, or there is no interest in a Saviour, and no salvation. The declaration of the Almighty will be fulfilled in its season ; sooner shall heaven and earth pass away, than one jot or one tittle of the law shall fail."
2. The deliverance and salvation of the faithful is also plainly declared. It is asserted as frequently as the destruction of the wicked. Though indeed their sins are great unto the heavens, and may justly condemn them for ever, though they may appear to be shut up and imprisoned under the bondage of sin, yet shall they be delivered, and brought triumphantly to glory. As the Christians were enclosed in Jerusalem by the besieging army, so that there appeared no way of escape, and yet the siege was given up for a while, and they were suffered to depart; so shall some way be found for the deliverance of all those who live godly in Christ Jesus. They may be persecuted by the world, or buffeted by satan, or borne down by their evil affections; but, if they continue faithful, they shall be preserved through all these trials, and receive the crown at God's right hand.
1. This subject may be rendered profitable for our own improvement and instruction in righteousness. What, my hearers, are the signs that appear in us, and what do they indicate? Is the fig-tree budding and promising fruit, and are all the trees putting forth leaves? Has our winter of cold indifference passed away, and are we reviving under the influence of the sun of righteousness? or do we continue
destitute of blossoms and foliage, and daily assuming a more lifeless and barren appearance? Though our gra ces may be small, yet are they increasing? Are they growing in beauty and fruitfulness; spreading and expanding on every side, abounding in love to God and charity to men? Or are we mere cumberers of the ground, that bring forth no fruit to God? I wish these inquiries could be suitably answer ed; but O my hearers, the very inquiries themselves recall to my mind some of the most painful considerations. They remind me, how many of us are cold and lifeless, like the dead of winter, as to all spiritual things; and how some have appeared for a time to revive, like the opening spring, and have again sunk back into spiritual death. For these things the Lord will visit them; the spring of life will soon wear away; the frosts of age will come upon them; death will close the scene, and consign them to their final doom.
2. This subject may also be rendered profitable for our consolation.We are not to despise the day of small things. We are not to be discouraged because there is but little of holiness Let us be thankful, if there is any thing good found in our hearts.The full warmth of summer comes not all at once; it approaches gradually; first the bud, then the expanded leaf, the blossom, and then the fruit. And if there appear to be any symptoms of vegetation, we may wait with patience for the early and latter rain. If the good work be begun in us, we may hope that it will be found completed at the day of Christ. When I see any promising appearances, I am always disposed to take courage. And though in many cases I am disappointed, yet some comforts remain; in some pleasing instances we behold not only blossoms, but fruit; we behold the Christian life advancing to real maturity, and the soul confirmed in substantial holiness. In such cases we may
rejoice; under the severest of our troubles we will rejoice, that the Lord's name is not forgotten, and that his cause is still making some progress in this sinful world. And all those, who are thus advancing in the Christian graces, may increase their joy in the Lord.
From what they now expe
rience of his goodness, they may be comforted with the assurance, that he will yet multiply his mercies upon them, and that if they continue faithful, they "shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine," and their souls shall be "as a field which the Lord hath blest." Let them be cheered, as well as instructed, at the present aniAnd let us all, my mating season.
hearers, for days and years to come, let us all see to it with the utmost care, that we bring forth fruit unto God, that it may never be said of us, harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved."
To the Editor of the Gospel Advocate:
IT has been questioned whether any benefit has been dérived to mankind from religion debased with errour, and whether pure deism is not better than Christianity when mixed with a wild fanatical zeal, or a degrading and bigoted superstition. But however alloyed the pure metal may be by the admixture of base materials, still if a portion of gold remain, it will give a value to the whole mass. These reflections were excited by reading in the Christian Observer for November last, some observations on the account of the last days of James II, which has been recently published, and comparing it with the view of James's character as sketched in the same number in the review of the life of archbishop Sancroft. The bigotry, intolerance, and tyranny of James, are familiar to every reader. In his prosperity he was deficient in almost every virtue which
can adorn the monarch, or dignify the man. He was a bad man, and a bad king, and used his zeal for religion only as a mean of extending his tyranny. The latter years of his life are less known; and it is delightful to find Christianity, even when debased with all the errours of popery, shedding its benign influence upon such a bigoted mind as that of James. We subjoin the following quotation from the article in the Christian Observer above referred to.
"Being one day on a visit to a religious community, soon after the defeat at La Hogue, the supérieure ventured to condole with him upon that event; and to express to him the extreme sorrow of herself and pious sisters, that the prayers they had unceasingly offered up for his success had not been answered. The king made no answer to her remarks; and the supérieure, supposing he did not hear her, repeated her observations in a more elevated tone. The king then said, very calmly and gravely, 'My mother, I heard you very well the first time; I made you no answer because I was unwilling to contradict you; but now you oblige me to tell you that I am not of your mind. You seem to fancy, that what you asked of God was better than what he has done now whatever God does is well done; and I may add, there is nothing well done but what he does.' "King James formed very precise rules for his conduct, which he committed to writing, with a view to regular self-examination. He employed the morning hours in private devotions, and in the publick ordinances of religion. He then applied himself to the discharge of his various relative and social obligations, in which he endeavoured to improve even the most indifferent things to the purposes of Christian edification. Part of every afternoon was passed in private devotion; and the evening was spent in reading instructive books, and in intercourse with his family and friends.
"In all his devotional exercises the grace which he most anxiously implored and sought to cherish, was humility. He regarded it as the basis of the spiritual life, without which there could be no advancement. 'I am persuaded,' he was accustomed to say, 'that without humility none can be saved, and without humiliation it is hard to be humble. Now, as it is not easy for kings to abase themselves, God often takes care himself to abase them when he has an especial design to save them.' In the same spirit he forbad those around him to address to him the language of flattery, of which he declared his abhorrence: and to improve this feeling, he set apart one day in the month for special spiritual retirement, from which he was accustomed to return to his little world with a more tranquil air, and a more exact attention to every duty.
"But his zeal," observes the biographer, "was not confined to his own improvement. His neighbours likewise always occupied a part of his attention. With this view he formed judicious rules for his household, which he commanded his principal officers to see observed. At his levee, whether publick or private, he never failed to give good advice, where he saw occasion; and the way in which he expressed his sentiments, whether to condemn vice or to encourage virtue, left an internal conviction in the breast of the hearer, that he felt whatever he had said, and that he was animated by a desire to render them service, not to obtrude his opinion. In fact, such was the innocency of his retired life, that his confessor, after having resided with him nine years, says,-- I may safely affirm that in the most reformed state of Christianity, and among the most virtuous and pious souls, it is very rare to find more unspotted intentions, a more exact vigilance, and a greater delicacy and tenderness of conscience with respect to the least faults or smallest imperfections, than was exhibited
in my royal master.' 'And God almighty,' adds the good father, rewarded him even in this life; as, unfortunate as he seemed in the eye of the world, he esteemed himself more happy than the most prosperous prince. After this manner he would often express himself; and his calmness of mind, in the midst of the most melancholy crosses, with his serenity of countenance, on which appeared the brightest and most Christian joy, was an evident proof of the sincerity of his words. This calm arose from an entire disengagement from earthly things, and a high esteem and value for those that are eternal. The king used often to read with delight a pious book which treated of the difference between time and eternity. A certain nobleman in his court once complained of some anxieties which deprived him of the power of composing himself to sleep; 'I will give you,' said the king, a very good remedy for that;' and presented him with his little favourite book, adding, 'There, my lord; read that book attentively, and I will engage you will sleep well after the study' intimating, that nothing would deprive him of rest if he could learn to loose himself from the world and its anxieties. Another principle of the inward peace he experienced, was the firm hope he reposed in God. Though sorrowful for his sins, still he sunk not in despair, nor did he set an undue value upon the penances he had done, and was doing; persuaded that God alone accepted the will. God is just,' he would say, 'and regards all he understands our most secret thoughts: he knows I have a sincere sorrow for my sins, and that I would henceforth be willing to suffer all sorts of pains rather than offend him; that I am not only content to have lost all for him, but would sacrifice all the kingdoms of the world if I had them, for his sake.' He made it a subject of his daily petition to heaven, that he might be removed from all fear or occasion of offending
God; and it was a maxim deeply imprinted on his mind, that Christians ought to desire death. Upon this subject he had frequent conversations with the queen, who was distressed at the vehement desire he expressed for death; and she was wont to tell him, that it evidenced a higher degree of perfection to resign up ourselves to Providence, and that it was for none but great saints (she thought) to desire death. The king replied, and I for my part, believe, that if a sinner, newly converted, were surprised by death, before he had done all that penance he purposed afterwards to do, he would, for all that, find mercy with God for his good intentions. I am a very great sinner myself, and yet cannot but desire death with all my heart.' The queen reminded him, that his life might be useful to many catholicks : but he replied, 'it was want of faith to think that the life of any man was necessary.' The queen then weeping said, 'Is it possible that you should regard us as nothing-me and our dear children? What will become of us when you are once gone?' He replied, God almighty will take care of you and your children; for what am I but a frail man, who can do nothing at all without him, he has no need of me to execute his designs.' He was entreated not to express so passionate a desire of dying before the queen: he answered I do it on purpose; because it is what will infallibly come to pass, and she ought to accustom herself to think of it.'"
"It cannot be necessary to point out the singular mixture of right feeling with wrong views which pervades this passage. The very humility which the king so anxiously cultivated, and which, I doubt not, amidst all the errours of his creed, he really felt, and also the sacrifices he might have it in his power to make, seem strangely to be spoken of as the ground of his challenging, as it were, the justice of the Almighty, instead of being humbly re
garded as evidences of his having become the subject of the Divine mercy and grace. Nay, it seems to be to the perfection of his penance that his salvation is ascribed, rather than to the mediation of Christ, and to the agency of the Holy Spirit. Still let us whose creed is more correctly constructed, and who can see and reprehend the errours of James's faith, take care that with his inferiour light, he does not rise up in judgment against us in the great day of account.
"The closing scene of this monarch's life is thus described :—
"On the 4th of March, 1701, he was seized with a fainting fit, while at chapel recovering, however, very soon from it, he seemed perfectly well again in a few hours; but the following week he was seized with a paralytick affection as he was dressing it so much affected one side as to render it difficult for him to walk. The waters of Bourbon were prescribed; and he went thither about three weeks after the attack. He seemed to recover his strength by the change, and was enabled to take gentle exercise, although he had a slight spitting of blood; but, on the 2d of September, he was again seized with a fainting while at chapel. He was conveyed to his chamber, where he again fainted. He, however, recovered from this frightful attack in a few hours, and seemed as usual the next day; but on Sunday was seized with a far severer fit, and vomited a large quantity of blood, and the danger of his situation became evident. Of this he needed not to be told; and as he had long been familiarizing himself to death, its near approach caused him no terrour. As soon as the violence of the bleeding subsided, he desired his confessor to send for the blessed sa crament, and requested he would observe that he received all the sacraments of the church. In the mean while he sent for his children. When the prince of Wales saw the state he was in, he burst into tears, and clung round his
dying father, who, as well as his weakness allowed, tenderly embraced and soothed him. Blessing him earnestly, he exhorted him, above all things, to remain firm to his religion and the service of God, whatsoever might be the consequences. He entreated him to behave with respect and submission to the queen, as the best of mothers; and ever to be grateful to the king of France, to whom he was under the deepest obligations. It being suggested that his earnestness might be injurious to him, and that the prince had better withdraw; 'Leave me, my son,' he said, tenderly Let me give him my blessing once more.' Which having done, the prince returned, with great regret, to his apartment. The little princess was then brought to his bedside. Adieu, my dear child,' he
said, caressing her: · serve your Creator in the days of your youth, and consider virtue as the greatest ornament of your sex. Follow closely the steps of that pattern of it, your mother, who has no less than myself been overwhelmed with calumnies; but time, the mother of truth, I hope, will at last make her virtues shine as bright as the sun.' The princess showed, by abundance of her innocent tears, how sensibly she was
affected by the languishing situation of her royal father. He then exhorted every one about him to practise virtue, and protestants to embrace the catholick faith. During this time, the prior curate of saint Germains arrived, bearing the most holy sacrament; and, as he advanced, the king in a holy transport cried out, See then, O my God, the happy hour is come!' The prior asked him as usual, whether he believed Jesus Christ to be really and substantially in the holy host: to which the king answered, 'Yes, I believe it; I believe it with all my heart.' He pronounced these words with an accent so ardent, and a faith so lively, that the persons were moved to tears who witnessed his action and heard the words. He