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leges are passing by us, to escape the woes of hell, and fill eternity with joys. Each opportunity we pass, will tell of eternal losses, or eternal gains. While then we greet each passing season, privileged with grace, how watchful should we be to seize and use it for our God! With what fear of misimprovement and its woes, pass every day of our sojourning here ! How ardent in our love to God and man! How constant to urge our bright and burning way, and spread the savor of our love around on fellow-pilgrims to eternity!
Again: the fact that "here we have no continuing city" should influence us to maintain a constant readiness for our departure into eternity.
Soon the period will come, when we shall exchange our abode e; and bidding adieu to the beings, the scenes, and the privileges of the city where we spent the first years of our existence, pass through the gates of death, and enter the eternal abode assigned us by our God. We have before us this season of solemnities in exchanging worlds.
That awful day will surely come;
Oh, to be able, in the day of our departure, to know that we have believed in a Saviour who has prepared mansions for us above; to have our souls filled with love to his glories and joys in his kingdom; to look, with the even serenity of trust, alike on a retiring world and on an opening eternity; to leave a sweet savor of our godliness on friends below, as the joys of eternity break on our souls; to be able to pass the solemnities of exchanging worlds in such a state of preparation,--brethren, is it not worth maintaining a constant readiness during our abode below! What anguish will wring the hearts of those who come to these solemnities, without having confided with devotedness in a Saviour; when, torn from their portion below, they enter on endless wailings! What terrors will distract those who, having believed in a Saviour, are so surprised, in that state, of worldliness and unwatchfulness as to cling with desire to their present abode, and recoil with horror from the clouds of uncertainty that veil eternity! Think, fellow-strangers here, of this approaching season of solemnities! While loud monitions tell you of the scene, awake from your lethargy, and prepare !
Take heed to yourselves least at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and cares of this life, and so that day overtake you unawares.” Stand with your loins girded about, and your lights burning, like unto men that wait for their lord." "Be sober" "watch" "pray" always; that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things which shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man."
Fellow-travelers to eternity! we have passed another year of our residence in the world below. As we have just bidden it adieu, and have closed up its concerns for the judgment and eternity, let us survey the paths in which we have been walking, and see whether we have been living for time or for eternity. Whither have been tending our thoughts, our words, our conduct, our hearts? At every step through the revolving year, God followed us with kind monitions of an hereafter. The ashes of the dead we trod, the monuments we saw of sleeping ancestors, these scenes where others lived, once busied here, now mouldered into dust, have whispered, as we passed along, 'eternity.' Companions too, flushed with health and life, as we when we stood together on the threshold of the year and hailed it with bright wishes, have passed beyond the vale and left their warnings. We saw them leave us; and as we looked around to scenes where once with us they mingled souls, the vacant place said for them 'eternity.' Our advancing life, and our frail tenements that scarcely held us here, have given us monitions. God the Saviour has passed us with his word, with his days of grace, with the triumphs of his redeeming love.
Have we lived for time? Or have we for eternity? Put the question home. The year is past. We cannot now recall its hours. Its records are now written in heaven. When the arch
with his golden wing,
Sweeps stars and suns aside,
preparing the Son of God his way, the unrolled records of this year may tell. When ages after ages roll away, high in the realms of bliss, or deep in the prison of despair, will you look back on years below, and date this, celestial joys, or woes unending. Convert of Christ, who dost date this year the era of thy heavenly hopes, praise God that gave thee such a year of grace, and feel constraining love to yield him the willing sacrifice of life! Wavering follower of Christ, weep thy misspent hours, and pray the grace that blots such records out, and helps to spend remaining days for God! Christless sinner, see your path of death; awake, and live!
THIS WORLD A SOLEMN WORLD.
"And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! This is none other but the house of God, and this is the Gate of Heaven."-GENESIS XViii : 17.
At the earnest
THESE are the words of the Patriarch Jacob. request of Rebecca, who was anxious that her favorite son should escape the vengeance of Esau ;-and under the solemn charge of Isaac, his father, who was unwilling that he should take a wife from the idolatrous Canaanites, Jacob arose to go to Padan-Aram, to the house of Bethuel, his mother's father. He went wholly unattended, and with small supplies, probably to escape the notice, and thus avoid the rage and envy of his brother Esau. Night came on him in a certain place ;-the sun was set, and he lay down to sleep, a stone his pillow, the canopy of heaven his covering. In his dream he saw a vision,-a ladder reaching from earth to Heaven, the angels of God ascending and descending upon the ladder, and over it, the Lord God, who called to him, and confirmed the promise before made to Abraham. 'And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place, and I knew it not. And he was afraid, and said,-How dreadful is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of Heaven.'
The place of the vision, the expanse above and around him, seemed to him as the house of God. The extended earth on which he stood seemed the floor, and the arches of the sky, the lofty roof of the magnificent dwelling place of the Almighty. It seemed indeed the house of God, for in it he had seen the visible presence of the Lord of Hosts, attended by his retinue of holy Angels.
It was this sight that made the Patriarch afraid. Though it is said 'he was afraid,' yet he could not have a fear for his personal safety. The whole vision was fitted to banish such fear. The mercy of God to a guilty world was shadowed forth, the angels descending with messages of grace and errands of mercy, ascending with reports of their services, showed the gracious Providence of God, and the blessing which God himself pronounced on Jacob, confirming to him the promise before made to Abraham, was all of it adapted and designed by God to banish fear and despondency from the heart of the solitary wan
* Name of the author not given.
derer, and to fill him with hope and comfort on his journey of exile from his father's roof. Yet, 'he was afraid,' and said, 'how dreadful is this place.' The fear which Jacob felt was religious awe, the dread which falls upon men from the sensible presence of Almighty God. This vision brought to him a realizing view of a present God. He felt as if suddenly and unexpectedly brought, not into the palace of an earthly monarch, but into the house of the living God.
Oh could the vision of the Almighty burst at once upon a thoughtless world,-could they see him inhabiting this universe, which he has built for his dwelling place,—could they see his arm guiding the hosts of heaven in their circuits, and moving forward the operations of nature around them,- could they see bim by their side, upholding every power and faculty, which they pervert to opposition against him, and bestowing with his own hand every blessing which they ungratefully enjoy and abuse,—could they see his eye, which is in every place, beholding the evil and the good,-how would astonishment and dread fall upon them!
And yet, God is surely thus in this world, though many know it not. He is here thus upholding by his power, directing by his wisdom, and blessing from his goodness, and thus beholding us as a Lord and Judge. 'He is not far from every one of us. him we live, and move, and have our being. This earth is his footstool, heaven his throne, the universe is his dwelling place. Here he governs his mighty household. Here his angels descend and ascend on errands of grace and mercy--encamping about the just, and ministering to them who shall be heirs of salvation. And though the eye of sense does not see God, though he retires from human view, behind his own creation, and makes this material universe a garment with which he covers himself; though even reason, dimined with sensual passions, does but faintly discover the presence of the Almighty, yet faith sees the invisible God. By faith the believer walks with God, lives in his presence, is awed by his majesty and glory, prays for the light of his countenance, and seeks to be directed and upheld by his powerful hand.
This constant sense of the presence of a holy God, makes this, to him, a solemn world, and the state he holds in it, an awful place. The believer, though filled with joy and peace, possesses a joy which is far from levity. How dare he trifle in the presence of God, his Judge. How dare he behave with irreverent impropriety in the house of God. In every place, he discovers some manifestation of the presence of his Lord and Judge, and therefore, always, according to the liveliness of his faith, is ready to say, 'How dreadful is this place. This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of Heaven.'
1. This, then, is a solemn world. The station we hold in it as accountable beings in the presence of God, is a solemn station.
In view of our subject, we observe more particularly in t first place: To be capable, as we are, of discovering 'the invisble things of God, from the things which he has made, even his eternal power and Godhead,' to be able to trace the hand of God in his works, to behold the matchless skill exhibited in the exquisite productions of nature, and see the strength of his arm in her powerful operations-to see the Maker of all, present amidst his works, is a distinguished privilege, which marks our exalted rank in the creation of God. But it is also a fearful privilege, and connected with dread responsibilities. It gives us a knowledge of the Infinite God. It shows us our relation to him, as our Creator and Preserver, our Lord and Judge. It renders us responsible, accountable creatures. It raises obligation, creates duty, and inspires conscience with a living soul. Inferior creatures, who can have no idea of a Creator, live, of course, without God in the world. It is to them as if there were no God. They can have no sense of duty, none of accountability, and no solemnity of feeling. But man, who is exalted to that rank in the creation, and endowed with those faculties, which qualify him to know his God and Maker, and enable him to see a present Deity wherever he moves-man may well be sober and solemn.
2. It is also a privilege, to know the will of God; in other words, to see God, as a ruler-to know the end for which we were made, and the end for which therefore we should live, and the course of conduct we should adopt to attain that end. To have understanding, to know the law of God which should regulate our conduct, which is binding on the conscience, which points to a day of account, to be followed with everlasting rewards and punishments-is justly esteemed a noble privilege; and to have all these laws distinctly and formally laid down in his word, is a still greater privilege; but it is a privilege connected with dread responsibility. To know our duty and to feel the obligation to perform it, to see the law of God, exceeding broad, reaching even to the thoughts and intents of the heart, and requiring that every thought and feeling be brought into subjection to it; then to hear its threatening, 'cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them.' and 'every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment,' and to know, finally, that all this is applicable to ourselves, co ning home to our business and bosoms, following us, like the e re of God, in public and in private, with an obligation which we cannot escape; gives importance to every action, to every thought.
"Of the innumerable eyes," says one, "that open upon nature, none, but those of man see its Author, and its end. There is something very solemn in this mighty privilege of a being not