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“Demas hath forsaken me, having loved the present world.”

And what made them fall away? One thing evidently must have contributed most of all to this, and that was self-indulgence. It is not to act as strangers and pilgrims to settle down in ease, and take our pleasure, and be anxious about food, and furniture, and houses, and horses, and amusements, and such things.

If the early Christians did these things, the Apostle warned them it was at the peril of their souls, for these things made them disinclined to the service of the Crucified, Whose rewards are hereafter; and inclined to the service of a world, whose rewards, if it has any, and it generally succeeds in making us believe that it has, are here.

If, then, we are yielding to fleshly lusts, if we are living in covetousness, in gluttony,

in drunkenness, in fornication or uncleanness, in pride, in vanity, in frivolity, in self-seeking, then we may depend upon it that we have no part or lot with the early followers of the Crucified.

If we are maintaining in good earnest our internal struggle against all sin, by prayer and watchfulness, and looking to Christ, and are doing our best by the same means of prayer, and faith, and watchfulness, to maintain a conversation worthy of our profession—if we are mortifying our evil·lusts, our evil covetousness, our evil tempers, then we have one mark, and that a very characteristic one, of the early followers of Christ, the first and truest converts of the Apostles, the strangers and pilgrims of old.

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XVI.

SUDDEN DEATH.

ST. JAMES iv. 14.

“ Ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little while, and then vanisheth away.”

Of the “four last things”—Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell—there has been much, during the last few days, to remind us of the first. Fever has been amongst us doing its baleful work. Many of our near neighbours have been summoned with more or less suddenness to their account; or rather, perhaps it is more correct to say, have had their time of probation cut short; for God, in His Holy Scriptures, assures us over and over again that the whole human race will be summoned before its Judge at one and the same moment, at the Second Coming of the Son of Man.

Besides all this, the minds of the most indifferent have been seized with indescribable horror at the accounts which we have been reading of thirty-four persons hurried into eternity, without apparently a moment's preparation, under circumstances so terrible, that we, speaking as men, are thankful to be able to

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think that their death took place in a moment; that the flames consumed corpses already rendered lifeless by a form of death which seems to have been without pain, though like all other modes of death fearful, as being death, the entrance into eternity.

Such warnings, nearer and more remote, seem to call upon the preacher to notice them, and yet what can the preacher say? What can he say but the commonest things, which the facts themselves preach far more eloquently, far more touchingly than he possibly can ?—that God's ways are most unsearchable; that life is most uncertain ; that we bear about with us a life so frail, so liable to be extinguished, that it may well be called a dying life; that with life our account closes, and we shall be raised up at the last, to be judged according to the deeds done in the body, that is, the deeds done before death. And so we can but say,

« Prepare to meet thy God,”—“ Be ready; so that whether Christ comes to thee, or whether Christ summons thee before He comes, thou mayest be able to stand before Him.”

Such, my brethren, is all that we can say. Death, as I have often told you, does not occupy anything like the place in the word of God which it occupies in that religion which professes to be derived from the word of God.

In the New Testament, death is treated as an * Preached on the Sunday after the collision at Abergele. abolished thing. "He hath abolished death,” the Apostle says, “and hath brought life and immortality to light by the Gospel.” The Second Coming of Christ is always in New Testament exhortations substituted for death. Mark, I say, alwaysnot sometimes, but always. Take as an illustration the question first put by our blessed Lord Himself, and then so often put by us His ministers: “What shall a man give in exchange for his soul ?” How does our blessed Lord estimate the value of the soul ? Is it simply because the soul will live after death, and that death is the period of its probation ? No: our Lord measures the value of the soul by the certainty of His own Second Coming “ What shall a man give in exchange for his soul ? for the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father, with His angels, and then shall He reward every man according to his works.”

Death, then, is abolished; but only in the eyes of those who have living faith in Christ its conqueror—that faith whose prerogative it is to look, not at the things which are seen, but the things which are unseen. Death, in the eye of mere outward sight, is the termination of all, for we see nothing after it. Death, in the eye of faith, is the beginning of all, for it is the ushering us into the “life that knows no ending."

Death, in the eye of mere outward vision, is

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