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drink of pleasures untasted here ? All things point to another world, and remind us, that for the holy and virtuous there is a state far better than this.
4. As the fashion of the world is passing away, it becomes us, under the most agreeable prospects, to rejoice as if we rejoiced not.
If, in our prosperity, we imagine, that we shall never be moved, we forget what we are, and in what a world we live. When our mountain seems to stand strong, let us remember, that it is God's hand which holds it steady, and his favour which gives us comfort. When he hides his face, we shall be troubled; when he withdraws his hand, our mountain will totter.
We should live above the world-above the creature; for the unstable world the changing creature, cannot give us permanent happiness.
True christians are described, in the revelation, as clothed with the sun, crowned with stars, and having the moon under their feet. The moon, which is an attendant on this earth, and is subject to observable changes, is emblematical of the mu. tability of earthly things. The christian, whose head is among the stars, whose faith and affections are in heaven, despises the interests and glories of the world; for these, like the moon, are always changing.
5. If the fashion of the world is passing away, let us, in affliction, weep as if we wept not.
Things may change for the better, as well as for the worse.
As adversity succeeds prosperity, so prosperity succeeds adversity. As darkness follows the day, so light chases away the darkness. Give thanks, O ye saints, at the remembrance of God's holy government ; for his anger endures for a moa ment; but in his favour is life. Weeping may continue for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Severe afflictions seldom last long. The merciful
God will not contend forever, for the spirit would fail before him. Though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his tender merciés.
6. The changing nature of things around us, should remind us of our great change. When we see the fashion of the world passing away, it becomes us to realise that we are passing away also, and have here no continuing city.
The seaman, in a feeble bark, tossed on the tu. multuous ocean, driven by changing winds, rising and falling with the fluctuating waters, surely will not imagine himself on firm ground, nor forget his danger of being swallowed up in the deep.
We are on a rolling element. Every thing, which we behold, is shifting its appearance. Nothing is permanent. The scene is changing every hour. New objects present themselves, and new events take place. Time is on the wing. Each moment is a rew portion of time, which never was ours before ; and while we speak, it is gone. Every breath imbibes a new portion of air ; and when we have expired it, we can collect it no more. Our fellow men are moving off the stage; they retire behind the curtain, and never are seen again. Like bubbles on the stream, they rise and float ; they swell and burst : They rise no mcre; but others succeed in their place. Amidst these changes, Can we forget, that we are muiable and mortal? Let us live as on the borders of eternity, looking and preparing for that solemn moment, which will remove us from this changing scene, to a world where all things will be new.
Finally :-The transient nature of worldly things should lead our thoughts to heaven, where none of the painful vicissitudes of the present state will attend us.
Changes there will be in heaven; but not like some, which now we see. They will be only changes
for the better, from glory to glory, from perfection to perfection. There will be no fear of losing the crown, which we have gained, or of being banished from the blest abodes, into which we have entered. He who is holy, will be holy still. He will be made a pillar in the temple of God, and go no more out.
Let all be solicitous to become the subjects of that moral change, which qualifies for so glorious a state. While all things are changing, let us consider, that one change is needful—a change from sin to holiness; from the fashion of the world to the image of God. Let this be the object of our fervent desires. This will prepare us for the great change which awaits us ; the change from this to ana other state.
When our souls are made partakers of a divine nature, and filled with divine love, all worldly changes will work for our good, and contribute to our growing preparation for the enjoyment of God.
Then shall we rejoice in the thought, that though the heavens and the earth are waxing old, and will be changed as a garment, yet God is the same forever, and his servants will be established before him.
There was a man in Maon, whose possessions were in Carmel; and
the man was very great, and he had three thousand sheep, and a thousand goats; and he was sheering his sheep in Carmel. And the name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife was Abignil. And she was a woman of a good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance ; but the man was churlish and evil in his doings.
HIS Nabal obtained a place in sacred history, not by any virtuous or worthy action, but merely by the churlishness of his temper, and the consequences which it produced. The severity of his manners in domestick life might probably have passed without this publick notice, had not the same severity appeared on a delicate and critical occasion.
David, with his adherents, driven into the wilder. ness by Saul's persecution, applied to this opulent farmer, in the time of family festivity, to send a small refreshment to him and his people. The
scurrilous return which he made to David's request, was such as would have touched the feelings of any man, especially such a man as David, naturally quick and sensible, and now irritated by an unprovoked persecution. David took a resolution, rash indeed, and unjustifiable, but, under his circumstances, in some measure excusable, to extirpate the churl and all that belonged to him.
Abigail bis wife, having heard of his rudeness, and apprehending the mischief which was arising, interposed with such prudence and address, as to prevent the execution.
The story is familiar to you : I shall not need to relate it at large. We shall naturally advert to the most material circumstances in illustrating the character of Nabal.
This man was placed, by providence, in a condition to enjoy as much happiness as the world can give. David salutes him, as the man who lived in prosperity. He was distinguished from all around him by extensive possessions, success in business, the multitude of his flocks, the number of his ser: vants, and the grandeur of his entertainments. In addition to all this, he was highly favoured in his domestick connexion. The woman, whom he had chosen for his companion in life, was beautiful in her person, superior in her accomplishments, sweet in her temper, soft in her manners, and engaging in her address. Such she appears through the whole story.
View the man only thus far, and you will pro. nounce him one of the happiest of mortals. In the sequel, however, you find him quite the reverse. He stands distinguished, as much for his infamous life and miserable death, as for his worldly greatness and prosperity. If you ask, What could make so prosperous a man unhappy? The hise Vol. II.