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and riding in a carriage; and you think, because he sits at his ease, and because he does not work with his hands, therefore he is happy. But this is a great mistake. No man can escape the general curse. The rich have many troubles; and those of them that are not pious, are often more tired with not knowing what to do, than the poor are with having too much to do.
Remember that simple prayer, which Jesus Christ has taught us: "Give us this day our daily bread." The Lord hears the young ravens that call upon him; and will he not feed his own children that pray to him?
Contentment is learned only in the school of Christ; for there we learn, that we always suffer less than our sins deserve. And in our Master, Christ Jesus, we have such a picture of one suffering for our sins, as should make us ashamed, whenever we, sinful creatures, murmur.
Men who live without God are always seeking for ease in this world, yet cannot find it. The better way is, to labour on, with our hands or our head, or both, to the last. It is better to wear out, than to rust out. Idleness is misery: honest labour is the best for man.
When sickness or grievous calamities come, we should say, "This is from the hand of the Lord. The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."
Every true believer in Christ has a source of solid comfort, which the rest of the world know
not of. He knows that his sins are forgiven him, through faith in Christ. Believing his soul to be safe for eternity, he knows he need not fear what his body may suffer in this world. The great question is, "Have you chosen the Lord for your portion?" Do you rest in Christ as your Saviour? lament your sins more than your afflictions? find your burdens made lighter by prayer? Does prayer lead you to praise? Do you rejoice in the hope of heaven, where "the wicked cease from troubling, and where the weary are at rest”? Oh, if you knew Christ, and if you really lived on him by faith, no sorrows of this life would ever overwhelm you! You would find that "all things work together for good to them that love God." You would always look upon Christ as a fellowsufferer. You would read the Gospels with new delight; for there you see how Jesus, "though he was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, that we through his poverty might be rich.”
But do not think that your present sufferings can purchase heaven. We can of ourselves deserve nothing but eternal punishment. The impenitent and unbelieving weep, both in this world and in the next. Seek, then, for salvation by Christ, as a free gift ;—and having this, you have all.
O Lord, thou righteous Judge of all the earth; what miseries hast thou laid upon the children of men, on account of our many transgressions against
thee! We have sinned, and done wickedly; and thou continuest holy, O thou worship of Israel! But as thy holiness is, so is thy mercy also towards us, miserable sinners. Thou speakest to us, as of old: "O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thy help." Yea, thou hast laid help upon One that is mighty; even on Jesus, our crucified Redeemer, who "is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto thee, through him."
Oh, suffer us not to perish through our own obstinacy, or unbelief! Incline our hearts to look to Jesus. Let us never fall into despair, when we behold so dear a ransom paid for our souls, even the precious blood of Jesus. Let us not, O Lord, sink under the load of our sins! but enable us to cast the heavy burden on Him, who bore our sins in his own body on the tree. Take out from our consciences the sting, and tormenting power of sin, through the grace of Him, who was bruised that we might be healed, and who died that we might live, even Jesus Christ our Lord.
DEATH, THE END OF ALL BELOW: LIFE ETERNAL, THROUGH JESUS CHRIST.
GENESIS iii. 19.
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
Two things there are, to most men melancholy to think of. The one is, death: the other is, the fear
Yet, if we are true Christians, we shall be willing to think of them both; and, through the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, this mournful subject will be changed into a delightful one. Through him the sting of death is quite taken away, and we may obtain victory over our last
See how the curse pronounced on Adam has been fulfilled, and is fulfilling, on all the generations of men! The words of St. Paul describe it, when he says, "Death reigned." Death, like an irresistible king, reigns over us all. He holds in his hand an iron sceptre; and when he smites, none can escape. Alike the rich and the poor, the weak and the strong, infants and the grey-headed, are every moment dropping into the grave. Every man born into the world must say, with Job, “I know that thou wilt bring me unto death, and to the house appointed for all living."
But we should
Nor is it only death that is mournful, but all the way that leads to it. When we are in health and spirits, we think too little of this. reflect on this curse, in all the sicknesses which mankind suffer. Think of the diseases and pains, the' sighs, tears and groans, which keep men company on their road to the grave. Truly, man, in his best estate, is altogether vanity! In the midst of life, we are in death. As was said before, the healthy and the gay try not to think of these things; and they are offended if you speak to them about dying. They do not like to think that their
How true is that
turn may come very quickly. saying, "The reveller is hasting to his wine, and the mourner is burying his friend!" Wise men will lay this to heart; and they will say, "Depart from me, ye sinful pleasures; and let me prepare for death and eternity!”
Would you know, What is it that makes death terrible? St. Paul will answer the question. He says, "The sting of death is sin." It was sin that brought death into the world; and it is the remembrance of our sins that makes it terrible to think of dying. Oh, if we could cast off this burden of sin -could we only be assured that God is our friend, and heaven our portion after death-who then would fear to die? Instead of cleaving to the world, we should even desire to depart, "and to be with Christ, which is far better." Oh, then, seek to win Christ, and to be found in him! Through faith in his precious blood, be reconciled to God. Mortify all worldly lusts, and live as one that loves the appearing of our Lord Jesus. Then, to you, death will no longer be a king of terrors, but a messenger of peace.
When Jesus descended into the grave, he made the dark way safe, for all that believe in Him. After three days, he burst the tomb, rose from the dead; and, after forty days, ascended into heaven. In like manner, at the great Judgment Day, he will call the dead, small and great, to come and stand before him. Those who are living on the earth, at that day, shall be caught up in the air. And they