that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day." The reason of which was, that they considered the resurrection of Christ as a direct and decisive proof of their own resurrection at the last day. Without doubt if it pleased God willingly to give mankind the plainest possible argument of his intention to raise them up at the last, we cannot imagine any more satisfactory than his raising up a dead man before their eyes. St. Paul was so struck with this proof, that he thought no man could resist. Christ be risen, how then say some among you (that is, how are any among you so absurd as to say), "there is no resurrection ?".


Let us lay these things to heart. If Christ be risen, of which we have proof that cannot deceive us, then most certainly will the day arrive when all that are in the grave shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and come forth. We shall arise indeedbut to what? 66 They that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. Tribulation and

anguish upon every soul of man that doeth evil, but glory, honour, and peace to every one that worketh good."



MARK X. 17.

And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?

THE question which was here asked our Saviour, "What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” comprehends the whole of religion. He that can tell me this, tells me every thing. All knowledge and all faith is but to ascertain this one great point.

"What shall I do to inherit eternal life?" is a question which there is no man or woman living, one would suppose, but must have thought upon. In the height and vigour of health and spirits; when every night brings rest, and every morning joy; when pleasures, new and fresh, are continually presenting themselves to the imagination; it is possible to be so in love with this world, as to forget, or rather wilfully to shut our eyes against the thoughts that it is ever to have an end. But this round of festivity and delight is not every man's portion, nor any man's portion

long. The amusements of life flag and slacken. Vexations and disappointments teach us that they are not to be relied upon. We pursue them with the eagerness of a child who is chasing a butterfly; and who, when he has caught it, finds that he is only grasping painted dust. We find that something more solid than mere diversion and sport must be attended to, to make even the present life comfortable and satisfactory. When we once grow serious, the most awful of all reflections opens itself full before our eyes, namely, that our interests and pleasures and prospects here will soon be finished; that we have another, and a far greater, concern to take care of. There is, we acknowledge, a period of man's life, about the time of his coming to manhood, when, himself and his acquaintance being all young and strong, he, for a course of perhaps nine or ten years, sees little alteration in the world about him. All things appear to stand firm. His enjoyments and connexions seem secure and stedfast. Instances of the fickleness of human affairs happen, but none which reach him. He is not yet admonished by experience, the only lesson which many will attend to, that this world is not the place to set up our staff in; and that we are called upon by the events of life, which is the voice of God himself, to look beyond it. However this season, so flattering to thoughtlessness, is of short duration. In the course of no great number of years, the most happy and fortunate have examples brought home to them of the uncertainty of every earthly de

pendence. Their acquaintance drop off; their friends and equals and companions go down into the grave; instances of mortality take place in their own families, or immediately before their eyes. Decay, and change, and death press upon them on all sides, and in a thousand shapes; the scene of the world moves and shifts; the present generation he sees passing along, and soon to be swept away from off the face of the earth. Finding therefore this world to be no abiding place for any one; that, however it once smiled and delighted, its gay prospects are either gone or going, have either left us or are preparing to leave us: finding, I say, this; not taught it by others, but finding it out itself; the mind musing and meditating upon what is hereafter to become of it, into what new scene it shall next be introduced, is powerfully led to the inquiry which the words of the text present us with, "What shall I do to inherit eternal life?" Diversion, or company, or hurry of business may keep this reflection for a while out of our thoughts; but in a silent hour or a wakeful night, in a solitary walk, or a pensive evening, it must and will come over our souls.

"What shall I do to inherit eternal life?" If there be any who have not yet asked themselves this grand question, let me assure them that the time will come, and that it will not be long before it comes, when it will be the only question in the world which they will think worth caring about at all: that, although they may try to remove it from their minds

at present, as being too awful for their spirits, they will soon come to know, that awful or not, it must be regarded, and inquired after, and searched into. It is, I think, a strong observation, that in managing our worldly affairs, we always consider ourselves as having an interest and concern after our deaths. Now it appears to me to be the very excess of unreasonableness and stupidity to be so careful and solicitous, so pleased and distressed as we are, about what is to take place after our deaths in this world, in which our existence then is only imaginary; and not to provide and look forward to our fate in the next world, where we are to be, where our interest is real and actual, where we shall ourselves feel, where we shall ourselves enjoy or suffer, the happiness or misery which our former conduct has brought upon us.

These observations are made in order to show the deep importance of the question which was proposed to our blessed Lord, and that it is a point which it is natural for every man and woman breathing to think upon most anxiously. I would next wish you to attend to the character and circumstances of the person who proposed the question; for that is a consideration of some consequence. If you read Saint Matthew's account of the transaction (xix. 20), you will find, that the person who addressed this question to our Saviour was a young man; and that is the circumstance in the history which I desire may be particularly taken notice of. The earnestness and anxiety

« VorigeDoorgaan »