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The delay of our joys shall infinitely improve them, and everything will conspire to perfect our happiness.
Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord : for they rest from their labours, and their works do follow them.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, according to his abundant mercies, hath begotten us again to a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance in corruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for us.
CHRIST, THE FIRST FRUITS.
(THE REV. JOHNSON GRANT.]
N every distressful situation of life, what floods,
what torrents of consolation are poured in by this one assurance,-that our Lord is Christ, the first fruits of them that slept!
When sin has brought on its worldly punishment, shame ; when the sincere penitent yet meets coldness and distrust on every countenance, and finds himself a lonely wanderer in the world ;
What is there, then, but heaven to restore the props of a fallen spirit?
When old age, with its attendants, infirmity and disease, draws on; when early companions have passed away;
When the horizon is narrowed, and the prospect shut in, and all around is darkness ;
When the blossoms of life have faded, and the leaves have dropped off, and the fruit itself, long tried, has become tasteless ;
What is there to turn to, but the hope of an imperisbable spring ?
When the child of fair promise, reared with many anxieties and regarded with strong affection, has been suddenly snatched away from your sight, and you have left him in his narrow grave;
When those whom you were accustomed to venerate and esteem, are gone to their long homes;
When deep oppression hangs upon the heart, and remembrance broods over the past;
When in the house and in the way, in solitude and in society, the well known image floats and hovers before your eyes ;
When it will not be excluded; when it thrusts itself between you and the book you are reading, the conversation you are holding, the train of thought you are pursuing ;
When it draws you back from your occupations, and damps the ordinary enjoyment of life, and binds you to itself with a spell which you cannot break;
When it returns a thousand and a thousand times, and, like a stream that wears a channel, still makes the impression deeper;
When the mind is crushed and its manlier powers are weakened, and it abandons itself to sadness, and thinks over many expedients ;
When, still, it is the result of the whole, that all
the physicians in the world, and all the powers of earth, cannot re-illumine the spark of life, cannot for a moment open the eyes you have sealed, and give you back but a wonted smile, or look ;
Oh, what is there then, when the gloom is on the soul-what is there but the gospel of Christ to which it can flee?
What but the blessed hope of immortality ? what but reliance on Him who can restore the treasure that you have lost, and who wounds only that he
Then, indeed, is opened a fountain of consolation, which changes the aspect of the scene.
Faith converts all the pictures of imagination into truth :
It beholds a blooming spirit, beckoning across the great gulf, or walking in bliss, or swelling the songs of the happy, or dressing the bowers of expectation for those whom it has gone before.
How does all repining now melt into confidence !
With what gratitude do you lift the brow to a Being whom you believe to have had some wise end to answer, and to have saved the object of your mourning from the evil to come!
Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, for they rest from their labours; from their doubts, from their dangers, from their sorrows;
And they rest from all these in the sure hope of a life to come, of a glorious immortality through Jesus Christ.-Amen.
THE LAST JUDGMENT.
[WASSE'S REFORMED DEVOTIONs.]
THIS life indeed is the way that we must take ;
but this alone cannot bring us to our end. Before we arrive at our appointed rest, we must be led through the gate of death.
Then we shall be stripped of all that we possess, and beyond it we shall carry nothing with us, but what we are.
Hast thou not seen in the death of a neighbour or a friend all these circumstances of sorrow?
Look upon such a case as thine own; yet a moment and it may be so; yet a little while and it must
Have not we been on the couch of sickness, and do we remember the thoughts that we then had ?
Our fears of treading the gloomy vale, our determinations to correct our passions, and to strive against the sins that endangered us?
It will soon come to this again, and no reprieve will be found to stay the hand of the destroyer even for a single moment.
He will come on us like an armed man, and bear us from the world and from all in it that we have loved.
After death is the judgment: the day of public account and restitution :
A day is coming, yea hastening upon all flesh ; wherein every thought, and word, and deed, all willful omissions, and all broken resolutions shall receive the just recompense of reward.
The voice of the arch-angel and the trump of God shall summon the dead to appear.
The faithful gathered together from the four corners of the earth shall sing, “ Let us rejoice, and “ lift up our heads, for our Redeemer is nigh : be“ hold he cometh quickly, and his reward is with “ him!”
Lo, our great Redeemer comes in the clouds of heaven, arrayed in the glory and majesty of his Father.
He commands, and the righteous are severed from the wicked : he turns to those on his right hand, with these transporting words:
“Come, ye blessed children of my Father, inherit “ the kingdom prepared for you from the founda“ tion of the world.”
Oh, the unutterable transports of soul which these words of life shall occasion !
But as for the ungodly, it shall not be so with them : the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.