Page images
PDF
EPUB

besides this, there are times of our being we are alone.” when the truest companions Happy is he who can say of must fail. Companionship such times, “Nevertheless, can do little in our intense the Lord stood with me and bodily pain, mental anguish, strengthened me." spiritual conflict, throes of

Bristol. U. R. T. death. “In the central depths

Seeds of Sermons on the Book of

Proverbs.

SOUL.

(No. XCIV.)

from the Father of lights," and THE LIGHTS OP SOULS. in their radiance they live, walk, "The light of the righteous rejoiceth:

and rejoice. They rejoice in their but the lamp of the wicked shall be put faith. Their faith connects them out."-Prov. xiii. 9.

with the Everlasting Sun. They "LIGHT,” if not essential to life, rejoice in their hope. Their hope is essential to its well-being. Life bears them into the regions of the without light, could it be, would blest. They rejoice in their love. be cold, chaotic, wretched. There Their love fixes their enrapturing are different kinds of light even gaze on Him in whose presence in the material world--some there is fullness of joy. feeble, flickering, transient, others II. THE TRANSIENT LIGHT OF as the lights of heaven, strong,

“The lamp of the wicked steady, permanent. There are shall be put out.” It is implied different moral lights—the lights that the light of the righteous is of soul. The text leads us to permanent. And so it is. It consider two :

is inextinguishable. “It shines I. THE JOYOUS LIGHT OF SOUL. brighter and brighter, even unto “The light of the righteous re- perfect day." Not so the light joiceth." In what does the light of the wicked. Their light, too, of the soul consist? There are at is in their faith, their hope, their least three elements-faith, hope, love. But their faith is in the love. The first fills the soul with false, and it must give way. The the light of ideas; the second with temple of their hope is built on the light of a bright future; the sand, and the storm of destiny will third, with the light of happy destroy it. Their love is on coraffections. In all souls on earth rupt things, and all that is corrupt these three exist. There is a faith must be burnt by the all-consuming in all

, a hope in all, a love in all. fire of eternal justice. Thus the Extinguish these in any soul, and lamp of the wicked must be put out. there is the blackness of darkness The light of the righteous is an for ever. The righteous have these inextinguishable sun--that of the as divine impartations, as beams wicked a mere flickering "lamp;”

VOL. XX.

the breath of destiny will put it
out. “How oft is the candle of the
wicked put out.” To live in a world
without a sun, were it possible,
would be wretched existence
-such a world as Byron de-
scribes :-
“ The bright sun was extinguished, and

the stars
Did wander darkening in the eternal

space, Rayless and pathless; and the icy earth Swung blind and blackening in the

moonless air." But to live without faith, hope, charity, is infinitely more calamitous.

SELs. This is implied in the last
clause rather than expressed.
“But with the well-advised is wis-
dom.” The proud man is too
great to take the counsel of any.
“Pride," says Gurnell, “takes
for its motto great I, and little
you.” Who can teach him?
“ Pride (of all others, the most danger

ous fault)
Proceeds from want of sense or want of

thought. The men who labour and digest things

most, Will be much apter to despond than

boast; For if your author be profoundly good, 'Twill cost you dear before he's under

stood."

(2.) The

(No. XCV.)
PRIDB.

(No. XCVI.) “Only by pride cometh contention:

WORLDLY WEALTH. but with the well-advised is wisdom."

“Wealth gotten by vanity shall be ---Proy. xiii. 10.

diminished: but he that gathereth by Pride is an exaggerated estimate labour shall increase."-Prov. xiii. 11. of our own superiority, leading This verse implies three thingsoften to an insolent exultation. I, THAT WORLDLY WEALTH 18 “ There is no such thing," says A GOOD THING. (1.) The univerFuller, "as proper pride, a reason- sal feeling of man shows this all able and judicious estimate of men strive after it. one's character has nothing to do services it can render show this. with it.” From the text we Man's physical comforta, intelleclearn

tual opportunities, social reI. THAT PRIDE GENERATES sources, and the progress of his DISCORDS. “Only by pride cometh religious institutions greatly decontention.” “Pride,” says Col- pend upon this. (3.) The Word lier, “ is so unsociable a vice, and of God shows this. Money," does all things with so ill a grace,

says Solomon,

answers all that there is no closing with it. things." The Bible does not A proud man will be sure to despise wealth. It legislates for challenge more than belongs to its employment and denounces him. You must expect him stiff its abuse. We inferin conversation, fulsome in com- II. THAT WEALTH

MAY BE mending himself, and bitter in OBTAINED IN DIFFERENT WAYS. his reproofs." And Colton says, There are two ways referred to in “ Prido either finds & desert or the text. First: The way of vanity: makes one; submission cannot “Wealth gotten by vanity." tamo its ferocity, nor satisfy or The word vanity may represent fill its voracity, and it requires all those tricks of trade, reckless very costly food-its keeper's speculations, and idle gambling, happiness.” Being in society by which large fortunes are often essentially exacting, insolent, heart- easily gained. Within our own less, detracting, it is ever gene- circle of acquaintance, we know rating " contention."

many who have become milII. THAT PRIDE REJECTS COUN- lionaires by happy hits.

[ocr errors]

Secondly: The way of labour.

(No. XCVII.) “He that gathereth by labour."

HOPE DEFERRED. Honest, industrious, frugal la

“Hope deferred maketh the heart bour, is the legitimate way to sick: but when the deeire cometh, it is wealth. Honest industry is God's a tree of life.”—Prov. xiii. 12. road to fortune. We infer- Hope is a complex state of mind III. THAT THE DECREABB OR

- desire and expectation are its INCREASE OP WEALTH 18 DETER

constituents. We define it as an XINED BY THE METHOD IN WHICH expectant desire. It implies the IT HAS BEEN OBTAINED. " The

existence of a future good, and a wealth gotten by vanity shall be

belief in the possibility of obdiminished: but he that gathereth taining it. by labour shall increase." Two The text leads us to make three facts in human nature will illus- remarks concerning it. trate this principle.

I. THAT MAN'S OBJECT OF HOPE First: What man does not highly IS OFTEN LONG DELAYED. “Hope value he is likely to squander. That deferred." The future good which which we hold cheaply we are not men hope for they seldom get at cautions in guarding nor tenacious once. Long years of struggle in holding

often intervene. It looms a far Secondly: What comes to him distant thing before their vision. without labour he is not likely

There is kindness in this arrangehighly to appreciate. We generally ment, although we may fail somevalue a thing in proportion to the

times to see it. difficulty in getting it. The man

First: It serves to stimulate effort. who has toiled hard for what he

It is the goal before the eye of the has got, will take care of it; racer, keeping every muscle on the whereas he who has got it easily

stretch. by a hit or by a trick, treats it

Secondly: It serves to culture with less caution, and is more

patience. We have need of patience. likely to squander it away. Thus

If what we hope for came at once, the text announces a law in hu- was not deferred, not a tithe of man experience: “Wealth gotten

ourmanhood would be brought out. by vanity shall be diminished:

II. THAT THE DELAY IS GENEbat he that gathereth by labour RALLY VERY TRYING. It maketh shall increase."

the heart sick.” It is trying to Brothers, whilst we would not the strength, to the temper, and to have you to disparage wordly

the religion of man. Still, those wealth, we would not have you

men will not give up the put it in its wrong place. Use it

hope. “Hope," says Diogenes, as the instrument of action, not

“is the last thing that dies in as the representative of wealth or

man.' Pandora's fabled box conthe source of happiness.

tained all the miseries of man"To purchase heaven, has gold the

kind, and when her husband took power?

off its lid, all rushed away, but Can gold remove the mortal hour! hope remained at the bottom. In life, can love be bought with gold ! Ay, hope sticks to the last. How. Are Friendship's pleasures to be sold? No; all that's worth a wish, a thought,

ever sick at heart, we hold it still. Fair Virtue gives unbribed, 'unbought. “The wretch condemned with life to Cease, then, on trash thy hopes to bind;

part, Let nobler views engage thy mind."

Still, still on hope relies;
Johnsox. And every pang that rends the heart

Bids expectation rise.
Hope, like the glimmering taper's light,
Adorns and cheers the way,

6 sick

And still, the darker grows the night,
Emits a brighter ray."

III. THAT THE TRIAL OF THE DELAY IS FULLY COMPENSATED IN ITS REALIZATION.

" When the desire cometh, it is a tree of life." The longer and more anxiously you wait and toil for a good, the higher the enjoyment when it is grasped. Hence the delight of Simeon, who waited for the consolation of Israel when he clasped the infant Jesus in his arms, and said, “Now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace.” A realized divine hope is, indeed, “a tree of life,” and especially so when realized in the pure heavens of God. Hope in fruition is the Eden of the soul.

“Oh! how blest To look from this dark prison to that

shrine, To inhale one breath of Paradise divine; And enter into that eternal rest Which waits the sons of God.”

BOWRING.

(No. XCVIII.)

THE WORD. “Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed : but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.”—Prov. xiii. 13. The world abounds with words. Every day the air is loaded with oral words; the libraries of the world are crowded with written ones. Some human words are unspeakably more valuable than others. The word that expresses the noblest heart, the strongest intellect, the loftiest genius, the highest intelligence, is the best human word on earth. A human word is at once the mind's mirror, and the mind's weapon. In it the soul of the speaker is seen, and by it the soul of the speaker wins its victories over others. But there is one word on earth incomparably and infinitely above all others. It is emaphatically the word—the word of God. The text teaches us two things concerning this word.

I. THIS WORD DESPISED IS RUIN. “Who despiseth the word shall be destroyed.” Who is the despiser of this word ? The scorner, the rejector, the unbeliever, the neglector, the trifler. Why is ruin involved in despising this word ? First: Because he who despises, rejects the only instrument of soul - salvation. The Gospel" is the word of salvation. “Unto you is the word of thesalvation sent." The only word that can save. It is the only balm for the diseased soul. It is the only quickening power for the dead. Second : Because he who despises it brings on his nature the condemnation of Heaven. Most tremendous guilt is contracted in despising this word. “See that ye refuse not him that speaketh, for if they escaped not," &c. (Heb. xii. 25.)

II. THIS WORD REVERENCED IS BLESSEDNESS. “ He that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.” The word is a “commandment," it is an authoritative utterance, and to fear it, in a scriptural sense, is to have & proper practical regard for it. First: Such a man is rewarded in its blessed influences upon his own soul. It enlightens, purifies, cheers, ennobles. Second : Such å man is rewarded with the approbation of Heaven. “ Unto that man will I look, who his of a broken heart, and contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word." What a wonderful thing is the word! Man's character and des. tiny are determined by his conduct toward it. How few treat this word as it ought to be treated in this age. In proportion to its aboundings, men seem to despise it. There was a time, in Edward the First's reign, when one volume cost £37, to gain which, a labouring man would have to work fifteen long years,

(No. XCIX.) THE LAW OF THE GOOD. “The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.” -Prov. xiii. 14.

I. THE GOOD ARE RULED BY LAW. “The law of the wise." What is law? There are many definitions ; many most unphilosophic, some most conflicting. The clearest and most general idea I have of it is-rule of motion. In this sense all things are under law, for all things are in motion. The material universe is in motion, and there is the law that regulates it. The spiritual universe is in motion, and law presides over it. "Of law, says Hooker, there can be no less acknowledged, than that her seat is the bosom of God, her voice the harmony of the world. All things do her homage, the very least as feeling her care, and the greatest as not exempted from her power; both angels and men, and creatures of what condition soever, though each in different sort and manner, yet all with uniform consent, admiring her as the mother of their peace and joy.” But what is the law of the goodthat which rules them in all their activities? Supreme love to the supremely good. It is not a written commandment, but an all-pervading, inspiring spirit, called in Scripture, “the royal law," the

“law of liberty,” the "law of the Spirit.”

II. THE LAW THAT RULES THE GOOD IS BENEFICENT. “ The law of the wise is a fountain of life to depart from the snares of death." First: This law delivers from death. The word death here must not be regarded as the separation of body from soul, but as the separation of the soul from God. This is the awfullest death, and supreme love to God is a guarantee against this. Secondly: This law secures an abundance of life. “The law of the wise is a fountain of life;" a fountain gives the idea of actipity, plenitude, perennialness. The law of the good is happiness. The happiness of the true soul is not something, then and yonder, but it is something in the law that controls him. In the midst of his privations and dangers, John Howard, England's illustrious philanthropist, wrote from Riga these words,

I hope I have sources of enjoyment that depend not on the particular spot I inhabit. A rightly cultivated mind, under the power of religion, and the exercise of beneficent dispositions, affords a ground of satisfaction little affected by heres and theres." “If solid happiness ve prize, Within our breast this jewel lies; The world has nothing to bestow,From our own selves our joy must flow."

« PreviousContinue »