made blessings, and to those who are not his people
blessings are made curses. So sickness, persecution,
and death are made blessings to the saints. Death
to the Christian is like an honourable discharge to
the soldier after the toil and the danger of the field
of strife. But that illustration (said he) is
too feeble: I will give you another. Imagine,
on a bleak and dreary mountain, the humble dwelling
of two old people. They are bending under the
weight of years. Amidst destitution and want,
they are tottering on the verge of the grave.
A messenger comes, and tells them of a relative who
has died, and left them a large inheritance,—one
by which every want will be supplied, and every desire
realized,—one that will, the moment they
touch it with the soles of their feet, make them young
again: he points, moreover, to the very chariot
that is to convey them thither. Would this be
bad news to those old people? Now, such is death
to the child of God. The cord is cut, and the
spirit takes its flight to the abodes of the blest.
Or take another illustration. A stage-coach was
once upset. Many of the passengers were in great
danger. One man snatched a little babe from among
the wheels, and laid it down in a place of safety
on the roadside. Twenty years after the same man
was travelling in a stage, on the same road, and telling
those around him about the accident which had taken
place a long time before. A young lady, sitting
opposite, was listening to the narrative with eager
interest, and at last she burst out with rapture, “Is
it possible that I have at last found my deliverer?
I was that little babe you rescued!” Something
like this will be the disclosures that death will make.
Having thus illustrated the inheritance of the people
of God, let me ask you (said he) who are not his people—what
will all these things be to you, if you die without
Christ? The living ministry? The world?
Life? Death? Having spoken briefly, with
power and pathos, on each of these particulars, he
very coolly and deliberately turned to Rev. xxii.
17, and read, “The Spirit and the Bride say,
Come; and let him that heareth say, Come,” &c.,
&c., and closed abruptly, with neither an Amen nor
an invocation of any kind.
Such was the first sermon I heard in the United States.
It was thoroughly evangelical and good; but I listened
to it with mingled feelings. It was painful to
think that such a ministry could co-exist with slavery.
The creed it is evident may be evangelical, while there
is a woful neglect of the duties of practical piety.
First Religious Service in America (continued)—A Collection “taken
up”—Rush out—Evening Service—Sketch of the Sermon—Profanation of
the Sabbath—The Monthly Concert for Prayer.