Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

It was at that age that his spirit fell upon David, while he was yet the youngest of his father's sons, and when among the mountains of Bethlehem he fed his father's sheep.-It was at that age, also, “ that they brought young children unto Christ that he should touch them: And his disciples rebuked those that brought them : But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said to them, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of Heaven."

If these, then, are the effects and promises of youthful piety, rejoice, O young man, in thy youth !-rejoice in those days which are never to return, when religion comes to thee in all its charms, and when the God of Nature reveals himself to thy soul, like the mild radiance of the morning sun, when he rises amid the blessings of a grateful world. If already devotion bath taught thee her secret pleasures ;-if, when Nature meets thee in all its magnificence or beauty, thy heart humbleth itself in adoration before the hand which made it, and rejoiceth in the contemplation of the wisdom by which it is maintained ;--if, when revelation unveils her mercies, and the Son of God comes forth to give peace and hope to fallen man, thine eye follows with astonishment the glories of his path, and pours at last

cross those

pious tears which it is a delight to shed ;-if thy soul accompanieth him in his triumph over the grave, and entereth on the wings of faith into that Heaven “ where he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High," and seeth the

society of angels and of the spirits of just men made perfect," and listeneth to the “everlasting song which is sung before the throne;"_If such are the meditations in which thy youthful hours are passed, renounce not, for all that life can offer thee in exchange, these solitary joys. The world which is before thee, the world which thine imagination paints in such brightness, has no pleasures to bestow which can compare with these. And all that its boasted wisdom can produce, has nothing so acceptable in the sight of Heaven, as this pure offering of thy infant soul.

In these days, “ the Lord himself is thy shepherd, and thou dost not want. Amid the green pastures,

over his

and by the still waters” of youth, he now makes “ thy soul to repose.” But the years draw nigh, when life shall call thee to its trials; the evil days are on the wing, when “ thou shalt say thou hast no pleasure in them;" and, as thy steps advance, “ the valley of the shadow of death opens," through which thou must pass at last. It is then thou shalt know what it is to “ remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth.”. In these days of trial or of awe, “ his spirit shall be with you," and thou'shalt 'fear no ill; and, amid every evil which surrounds you, “ he shall restore thy soul.-His goodness and mercy shall follow thee all the days of thy life;" and when at last “ the silver cord is loosed, thy spirit shall return to the God who gave it, and thou shalt dwell in the house of the Lord for ever."

Alison.

19.-On Autumn. LET the young go out, in these hours, under the descending sun of the year, into the fields of nature. Their hearts are now ardent with hope,—with the hopes of fame, of honour, or of happiness; and in the long perspective which is before them, their imagination creates a world where all may be enjoyed. Let the scenes which they now may witness, moderate, but not extinguish their ambition:--while they see the yearly desolation of nature, let them see it as the emblem of mortal hope ;-—while they feel the disproportion between the powers they possess, and the time they are to be employed, let them carry their ambitious eye beyond the world ;-and while, in these sacred solitudes, a voice in their own bosom corresponds to the voice of decaying nature, let them take that high decision which becomes those who feel themselves the inhabitants of a greater world, and who look to a being incapable of decay.

Let the busy and the active go out, and pause for a time amid the scenes which surround them, and learn the high lesson which nature teaches in the hours of its fall. They are now ardent with all the desires of mortality ;-and fame, and interest, and pleasure, are displaying to them their shadowy promises ;--and, in the 228 SPECIMENS OF PULPIT ELOQUENCE. vulgar race of life, many weak and many worthless pas sions are too naturally engendered. Let them withdraw themselves for a time from the agitations of the world ; - let them mark the desolation of summer, and listen to the winds of winter, which begin to murmur above their heads. It is a scene which, with all its power, has yet no reproach ;-it tells them, that such is also the fate to which they must come ;-that the pulse of passion must one day beat low;-that the illusions of time must pass;

and that the spirit must return to Him who gave it." It reminds them, with gentle voice, of that innocence in which life was begun, and for which no propensity of vice can make any compensation ;-and that angel who is one day to stand upon the earth, and to “ swear that time shall be no more,” -seems now to whisper to them, amid the hollow winds of the year, what manner of men ought they to be, who must meet that decisive hour.

There is an even-tide in human life, a season when the eye becomes dim, and the strength decays, and when the winter of age begins to shed upon the human head its prophetic snow. It is the season of life to which the present is most analogous; and much it becomes, and much it would profit you, to mark the instructions which the season brings. The spring and the summer of your days are gone, and with them, not only the joys they knew, but many of the friends who gave them. You have entered upon the autumn of your being, and whatever may have been the profusion of your spring, or the warm intemperance of your summer, there is yet a season of stillness and of solitude which the beneficence of Heaven affords you, in which you may meditate upon the past and the future, and prepare yourselves for the mighty change which you are soon to undergo.

If it be thus, you have the wisdom to use the decaying season of nature, it brings with it consolation more valuable than all the enjoyments of former days. In the long retrospect of your journey, you have seen every day the shades of the eyening fall, and every year the clouds of winter gather. But you have seen also, every succeeding day, the morning arise in its brightness, and in every succeeding year the spring return to renovate the

winter of nature. It is now you may understand the magnificent language of Heaven, mit mingles its voice with that of revelation-it summons you, in these hours when the leaves fall, and the winter is gathering, to that evening study which the mercy of Heaven has provided in the book of salvation : And, while the shadowy valley opens which leads to the abode of death, it speaks of that hand which can comfort and can save, and which can conduct to those “ green pastures, and those still waters, where there is an eternal spring for the children of God.

Alison.

SPECIMENS

OF

MODERN ELOQUENCE.

1.-Funeral Eulogium on Dr Franklina FRANKLIN' is dead'.—The genius who freed America', and poured a copious stream of knowledge throughout Europe', is returned into the bosom of the Divinity'.

The sage to whom two worlds' lay claim, the man for whom science and politics' are disputing, indisputably enjoyed an elevated rank in human nature'.

The cabinets of princes have been long in the habits of notifying the death of those who were great only in their funeral orations'

. Long hath the etiquette of courts proclaimed the mourning of hypocrisy Nations' should wear mourning for none but their benefactors'. The representatives of nations should recommend to public homage, only those who have been the heroes of humanity' The congress

of America' hath ordered in the fourteen confederate states, a mourning of two months' for the death of Benjamin Franklin; and America is at this moment paying that tribute of veneration to one of the fathers of her constitution'.

Were it not worthy of us', gentlemen, to join' in the same religious act, to pay our share of that homage now rendered in the sight of the universe, at once to the rights of man', and to the philosopher who most contributed to extend the conquests of liberty over the face of the whole earth'?

Antiquity would have raised altars' to that vast and mighty genius, who for the advantage of human kind, embracing earth and heaven' in his ideas, could tame the rage of thunder' and of despotism. France' enlightened and free', owes at least some testimony of remembrance and regret to one of the greatest men who ever served the cause of philosophy' and of liberty:

Mirabeau.

2.-General Wolfe to his Army. I CONGRATULATE you, my brave countrymen, and fellow-soldiers, on the spirit and success with which you have executed this important part of our enterprise. The formidable heights of Abraham are now surmounted, and the city of Quebec, the object of all our toils, now stands in view before us. A perfidious enemy, who have dared to exasperate you by their cruelties, but not to oppose you on equal ground, are now constrained to face

you on the open plain, without ramparts or entrenchments to shelter them.

You know too well the forces which compose their army to dread their superior numbers. A few regular troops from Old France, weakened by hunger and sickness, who when fresh were unable to withstand British soldiers, are their general's chief dependence. Those numerous companies of Canadians, insolent, mutinous, unsteady, and ill-disciplined, have exercised his utmost skill to keep them together to this time; and as soon as their irregular ardour is damped by our firm fire, they will instantly turn their backs, and give you no farther trouble but in the pursuit: As for those savage tribes of Indians, whose horrid yells in the forest have struck many

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »