Page images

"be the Lord God of Israel, who only doeth wonder"ful things. And blessed be his glorious name for ever; and let the whole earth be filled with his glory. "Amen and Amen."




JOB. XXIX. 18.


IF we examine the world in which we live, we shall every where discover variety, changeableness, and succession. Here plains rise into mountains, and there hills sink into vallies. We see well-watered meadows, and dry and barren sands. We rejoice in the light, but we are soon enveloped in darkness. We hail the loveliness of spring, and welcome the approach of summer; but the agreeable months soon roll away, and the north pours down the desolations of winter. Equally chequered and variable is human life. Our bodies, our relations, our conditions and circumstances are perpetually changing. But this diversity constitutes the beauty and the glory of Prov idence. It displays the divine perfections, by rendering the interposition necessary and obvious. It furnishes means, by which the dispositions of men are tried, and their characters formed. It lays hold of their hope and fear, joy and sorrow; and exercises

[ocr errors]

every principle of their nature in their education for eternity.

Hence Divine Providence is always deserving of our attention. Providence-is God in motion. Providence-is God teaching by facts. Providence-is God fulfilling, explaining, enforcing his own word. Providence-is God rendering natural events subservient to spiritual purposes; rousing our attention when we are careless; reminding us of our obligations when we are ungrateful; recalling our confidence when we depart from him by dependence upon creatures. "Whoso is wise, and will observe these "things, even they shall understand the loving-kind"ness of the Lord."

The words which I have read give us an opportunity to pursue and improve these reflections. When Job uttered them" he had seven sons and three daughσε ters. His substance also was seven thousand sheep, "and three thousand cammels, and five hundred yoke "of oxen, and five hundred she-asses, and a very great "household; so that this man was the greatest of all "the men of the east." Hear his own language: "I washed my steps with butter, and the rock pour❝ed me out rivers of oil. When I went out to the

[ocr errors]

gate through the city, when I prepared my seat in "the street, the young men saw me "selves and the aged arose and

and hid themstood up. The

their hand on

princes refrained talking, and laid "their mouth. The nobles held their peace, and "their tongue cleaved to the roof of their mouth." He had something better than all this. "When the


ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the

[ocr errors]



eye saw me, it gave witness to me; because I deliv "ered the poor that cried; and the fatherless, and “him that had none to help him. The blessing of "him that was ready to perish came upon me: and "I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy. I put on ❝righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgement was "as a robe and a diadem. I was eyes to the blind, " and feet was I to the lame. I was a father to the 66 poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched And I brake the jaws of the wicked, and 66 plucked the spoil out of his teeth. Then I said, I "shall die in my nest. THEN, when I had such "wealth, power, authority, honor; THEN, when "all was green and flowery, when my sky was clear "and no cloud appeared; THEN, concluding on the cc permanency of my condition, imagining I was in no "danger of vicissitude, and supposing I should live "happy and end my days in peace; THEN I said I "shall die in my nest."


What does this passage of scripture imply and express? What views and feelings of mind does it characterize?

I. In these words we see something GOOD; even in his greatest prosperity, Job thought of DYING; whatever changes he hoped to escape in life, he expected an hour of dissolution, and knew if his possessions were continued he should be called to leave them.

Death is always an irksome consideration to the man of the world who has his portion in this life, and possesses no hope of a better. He therefore strives to banish it from his thoughts. He puts far off the evil.

[ocr errors]

day, and lives as if he flattered himself with an immortality upon earth. But the believer keeps up a familiar acquaintance with it. He does not think of death only when trouble embitters life and forcing him to say, "I loathe it, I would not live always.He reflects upon it when the world smiles, as well as when it frowns. Whatever be his present circumstances, he feels and confesses himself to be a stranger and a pilgrim on the earth : his hope is always infinitely superior to his enjoyments ; beyond the grave he has a house not made with hands, a city which hath foundations, a better, a heavenly country, more numerous, more endeared connections. There lies his inheritance ; there dwells his Father, there is his eternal home. Hence we have seen even persons possessed of riches, honour, friends, health, and surrounded with every thing desirable,“ willing to depart to be " with Christ which is far better."

It must however be acknowledged, that it is far more difficult to maintain this state of mind in pleasing and prosperous circumstances, than in trying and distressing scenes. It was a wise reflection of Charles the Fifth to the Duke of Venice, when he shewed him the Treasury of St. Mark, and the glory of his prince. ly Palace, instead of admiring them, he said, “ These « are the things that make men so loathe to die." When every thing is agreeable in our condition, we are in danger of feeling a disposition to settle, and of saying, “ It is good for us to be here ;” not, “ Arise, « let us go hence.” We think of adorning, not leaving ; of pulling down our barns and building greater, not of contracting all into the narrow limits

« PreviousContinue »