Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

bodies in the slumber of the grave, while their spirits are conveyed by the angels of God to Abraham's bosom, there to await, in happy and peaceful expectation, the morning of the resurrection. Then, while the voice of the archangel and the trump of God shake the solid earth to its centre, what thought can realize the eager and rejoicing sympathy which wings the spirit to its former beloved abode, now renewed in the lustre of immortal beauty, and the vigor of unfading bloom. With what delight must these companions and fellow-sufferers throughout the sorrows and trials of their earthly state, mark the glorious exaltation of each other—the soul, no longer obliged to distrust the body, nor to watch it like a domestic foe—the body, no longer inclined to mutiny and rebel against the soul, but both filled with the Holy Spirit, beaming with celestial light and rejoicing in their mutual purity, able to lift up an united offering of perfect love and rapturous thanksgiving to him who washed them in his own blood, and made both body and spirit triumphant partakers in his own glory.

But not alone does the morning of the resurrection bring to the just the blessed consciousness of their own felicity. Parents and children, husbands and wives, again meet each other, with countenances irradiated at once by the glow of divine affection and the light of heaven. The teacher and the taught, the pious poor and his pious benefactor, the Christian friends who took sweet counsel together and walked to the house of God in company, the faithful pastor and the zealous flock, all recognize each other in the ransomed throng, and rejoice in the angelic oommunion of the skies with an ecstacy of delight, of which the best communion of the saints on earth affords a poor and most imperfect emblem. Where are now the sacrifices and the trials of their mortal pilgrimage, where are the sorrows and die repinings of their former condition, where are the fears within, the contests without, the oppressing cares, the reluctant obedience, the days of suffering, the nights of anguish, the tears of repentance, the bitterness of soul? All gone, all lost in the present glory, or, if remembered, only remembered to heighten their happiness and to crown their

joyFearful, however, even to our poor imagination is the

contrast afforded by the unjust, who, called by the same awful summoner, arise to shame and everlasting contempt. Their souls, devoted to earth and earthly things, are driven, reluctant, from their bodies; they die not the death of the righteous, their last end is not like his. Agonized by many a pang, tortured by many a foreboding, clinging to life with the desperate grasp of the drowning wretch, and with their last look fixed on the world which they are forced to abandon, the power which they once despised is at last felt to be indeed Divine, the mercy which they once contemned, is indeed found to have fled forever. The interval between death and the last day is one dreary waste of terrified anticipation and of sullen gloom : and when the thrilling trumpet calls their bodies from ,the grave, the unwilling souls re-enter them in horror, for even the loveliness of earth is gone, and the livid and haggard expression of misery and vice., the dark lines of indulged passion, the debasing contamination of evij habits and low desires, all show themselves in the aspect of their true deformity, and arise again, only strengthened to endure the consequences of their awful choice. Nor is it the whole of their wretchedness that they are destroyed alone. Here, too, the husband and the wife meet, not with the look of love, but with the scowl of settled hatred. The child .upbraids the ungodly parent with his eternal ruin, and .the parent curses the disr obedient and rebellious child. The companions in sin and the profligate associates in sensual pleasure now turn on eacft other with mutual reproach and crimination. Specially is the careless and the Worldly minister followed by a crowd of wretches whom he was the means of thrusting into ruin. Dire are the imprecations which, from every side, burst upon his devoted head, while one mingled prayer of desperation is heard amidst the elemental war, that the rocks might fall on them and the mountains cover them from the wrath of Him that sitteth on the throne. Vain shelter, useless covering! The sentence goes forth, the doom is fixed. 'In the volume of the book it is written,' 'These Shall Go Away Into'everlasting Punishment, But The Righteous Into Life Eternal.

Brethren, what can the language of man express on subjects like these? What so fully exposes the poverty of mortal thought, the utter impotence of mortal intellect? In vain does the heart yearn and the imagination toil after the wonders of the resurrection. They lie not within the narrow limits of mortal sight, nor the humble range of mortal apprehension. No, thanks be to God! an angel's tongue could not worthily describe the glory and the bliss of Christ's redeemed, in the blessed morning of that day. And O! as little could a demon tell us of the torture and the agony of that fearful doom, which finds in the burnings of an endless flame, in the gnawing of a worm that dieth not, in thick and utter darkness, in weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth, the only metaphors this earth can furnish to shadow out the horrors of its hopeless condemnation.

Do you believe in the resurrection of the dead, both of the just and of the unjust? Christians, look to yourselves, look well, look narrowly, whether you are walking in the way which shall lead you to salvation, If you would have those bodies arise in the immortal bloom and beauty of that resurrection, pamper them not now, in vanity, in slothful ease, in folly or in sin. 'Mortify your members upon the earth.' Yield them not to any defilement, to any corruption. 'Flee those fleshly lusts which war against the soul,' and beware, O beware, how, for a little self indulgence here, you barter your eternity of bliss hereafter. My beloved brethren in the Lord, now is the day of our labor, now is the period of our Christian toil. Work while it is day. Whatsoever good your hand findeth to do, do it with all your might, for there is no working for salvation, no repentance, no change of heart, no offer of mercy, in the grave. O then, be wise in time, watch and pray, and that so much the more as ye find the day approaching. Look unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith, and relax not in the effort to have more and more of his image impressed upon your souls. Thus may your life be hid with Christ in God, and when he who is your life shall appear, then, in the blessed resurrection of the just, shall ye also appear with him in glory.

And you, my fellow sinners, who have not as yet set your faces towards the eternal city, nor begun to walk in the good way of salvation—what shall I say to you, how may I prevail? Too well do I know how little interest you feel in these momentous truths. Dull is the ear, and insensible the heart with which you listen to them. The world that now is, with all its cares, its business, and its vanities—the body that now is, with all its infirmities, its temptations, its vices, and defects—these occupy, these absorb your whole souls, and the admonition which speaks to you of eternity, seems almost like the voice of one that mocks. And yet so surely as you live, so surely the days of the years are nigh, when your souls shall say that you have no pleasured them—when your pulse shall no longer throb in the vigor of health and strength—when pale disease shall sieze upon your vitals—when wealth shall lose its power, and amusement its attraction, and ambition its excitement— when intemperance and revelry, and riot, and dissipation shall be regarded with utter loathing and disgust—when your eyes shall no more be cheered by the gaze of affection, nor your ear soothed by the voice of love—when the cold and clammy dews of the parting struggle shall gather on your brow—when the spirit within, overwhelmed, cast down, affrighted and despairing, shall look to the future with terror, and to the past with bitter remorse—and when ten thousand worlds shall seem a paltry price for one promise of salvation. O yes, my careless friends, whether you will think of it or not, even such a death is before you all. Then comes an interval for your solitary souls to pass in awful anticipation—then, the resurrection of the just and of the unjust—and where will you be? Shall your spirits rejoice in triumph on the morning of that day, or shall they shudder in chilling dread as they listen to the voice of the archangel, and the pealing trump of God? Shall your bodies be made like unto the glorious body of Christ, in the celestial loveliness of immortal youth and beauty, or shall they wear the dark aspect, the endless deformity, the demoniac expression of the damned? Shall the dawning of that blessed day unfold to your dazzled sight the realms of endless and Divine felicity, or shall it open beneath your feet the yawning gulf of eternal horror and despair? Choose you now, my friends, choose you now your portion. Life and death, heaven and hell are set before you. Alas! who can tell whether to some of you, at least, this may not be the last warning which the grace of God has allotted to you. Who can tell how soon you

« AnteriorContinuar »