« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
resting place of faith, would then be swept away. Indeed, in separation from the idea of divine immutability, faith would instantly change to a word without meaning; and even with regard to the Christian's hope, it would degenerate far below that hope, which the Apostle to the Hebrews so feelingly and forcibly describes: “Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise, the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it with an oath; that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us; which hope we have as an anchor to the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil."
Indeed, the abiding nature of the divine character, speaks favorably to the whole of mankind. Its beneficial influence is not confined to the godly, but extends to the ungodly likewise, and that in no small degree. Hence the words of God, by His servant Malachi, to the men of that peculiarly degenerate age—"and I will come near to you in judgment, and I will be a swift witness against the socerer, and against false swearers, and against those who oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not Me, saith the Lord of Hosts. For I am the Lord; I change not ; therefore, ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”
Secondly. The passing, variable character of every thing earthly, bespeaks the wisdom and beneficence of the divine government. For a perfect being, or a perfect state of things, to be unchangeable, is a great recommendation ; but with respect to an imperfect being, or an imperfect state of things, the direct reverse is true. No thought could be more painful, than that the character and circumstances of the imperfect beings of which this world is composed, should remain fixed and unalterable. Changeable themselves, and surrounded on every side by decay, the whole often conduces to increased improvement and stability.
Thirdly. Does the world pass away--we are "thus forcibly admonished not to be greatly elevated, or over-much depressed, by whatever now happens to us. We should regard the admonition given by the Apostle to the Corinthians : “But this I say brethren, the time is short; it remaineth that both thev that have wives, be as though they had none ; and they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as thongh they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; and they that use this world, as not abusing it; for the fashion of this world passeth away.” Did we universally feel, as the Apostle did, when he pronounced these words, much less would the world trouble us, than it does at present. Considering that its pleasures and pains, its smiles and frowns, its profits and
losses, its honors and disgrace were only transitory diversifications of the scene, we should be less concerned in view of what happens--less restive and envious, and less liable to be moved,--so that we might finish our course with joy.
Fourthly. A realizing sense of the unestablished and passing character of this world, is happily adapted to make us feel and live as dying creatures ought to do. Feeling that we are constantly amidst the scenes of a varying, departing world, we can hardly fail to realize, that we ourselves are transient like all around us, and must shortly share the common fate. As was observed in the former part of the discourse, with States and Empires passing into oblivion, the most costly and magnificent works of art already mouldering in the dust, and even the productions of nature every year withering and perishing before our eyes—how can we forget that the places which now know us, must soon know us no
Hence the Prophet's exclamation—"we all do fade as the leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away”—and at another time by the same one and the voice said cry; and he said what shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field—the grass withereth, the flower fadeth, because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it; surely the people is
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, but the word of our God shall stand forever."
Lastly. Does the world, and all that is in it, pass away-in what a most commanding point of light, does it present heaven to our view. There, all shall be stability and uninterrupted rest. It was in contemplation of this truly animating thought, that the apostle wrote thus to the Corinthians :-“ While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen, are temporal, but the things which are not scen, are eternal; for we know, that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly deserving to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven ; if so be, that being clothed we shall not be found naked. We are confident I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labor, that whether present or absent, we may be accepted of Him."
After having overcome and once entered the New Jerusalem, the believer will then be made a pillar in the temple of God, and he shall go no more out. The only change which he shall experience, will be from glory to glory, as by the spirit of the Lord.
While indulging in such a train of reflection, the rightly disposed mind will be satisfied to have the world pass away.
The number of tears shed over
its misfortunes, will be sensibly diminished, and the farewell moment, in the place of being dreaded, will be anticipated with no small pleasure.
Every thing conspires to prove that here is not our home. Every pain which we endure, or change for the worse which we experience, proclaims the admonition aloud in our hearing-arise, and depart, for this is not your rest. May a gracious God grant that we do all in fact thus arise, in the most important sense of the word. Provided the present painful effects of sin are made instrumental in hereafter raising us above its power, Jehovah will be adored and blessed for ever and ever-the rod which has smitten, will be kissed with fervour—the mighty hand which has overturned and overturned, will be relied upon with incrcased confidence, and the retrospect, to a troubled and constantly changing world, will add to the measure of unceasing glory.