the ignorant and careless as their proper perquisites, found the doctrines of that word an adequate support in the hour of her extremity; and joyously, but calmly, anticipated the moment when nothing that is written should be applicable to her, but those portions which portray her unalloyed felicity. It was her's, while on earth, honestly to ful fill for him its requisitions: henceforward and forever, it must rest with Jesus Christ to fulfill in her behalf its glorious promises.

Go, now, you who eulogize the virtues of our apostle, and sympathize in the gladness that sweetened his last hours-go and say that it is only for prophets and apostles to imitate the Saviour by attempting ready obedience to all the words of God! go, and flatter one another with the confident assertion that in these enlightened days there is an equally sure and much more easy way of entering in to life! Be my hope, as thy hope, Margaretta Nicholas! "built upon the foundation of the prophets, and apostles; Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone!" Be my aim, like thy aim, exemplary christian! to conform to that Saviour in the likeness of his death, that I may be transformed into his image in the likeness of his resurrection, when he shall come again!

May the blessing of the Highest rest on the example of our departed friend! May the relatives whom she loved fulfill her dying wish; and, like the family of the Pilgrim, become followers of her faith, now that she is taken from them! And may you, my dear friends, who have met with her so often in this house of prayer, inherit the full advantage of her bright example! May you be built up, like her, in the apostles faith; may you emulate, like her, the deci sion of his character and boldness of his profession; and

may you share with him and her the peace and triumph of a christian's dying hour: and after many years spent usefully on earth, may the tongue of friendship number you among the dead who are blessed, as dying in the Lord; who "rest from their labours, and whose works do follow them." Amen.



"And God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." Gen. i. 26.

WHEN the great apostle of the gentiles would furnish his Roman friends and fellow-christians with the strongest inducements to the cultivation of a spirit of tenderness and disinterested kindness, he appealed to all that the scriptures have pourtrayed of the temper and conduct of our common Saviour; and wound up his appeal with these remarkable words: "for whatsoever things were written a foretime, were written for our learning; that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope." The principle applies to all the biography and to all the history of the sacred volume, as well as to those parts of it which delineate the character of our first and firmest friend.

Whatever be the theme of the pen of inspiration; whether it record the virtues and the trials and the triumphs of the faithful, or delineate the attitudes and the end of vice; whether it pursue the footsteps of an individual, or mark the movements of a mighty nation: it is still the record of that Almighty Providence which encircles alike the archangel and the sparrow-the record of that providence which governs without respect of persons, and issues ite awards by one unvarying law,

We have therefore a more than common concern in the delineations furnished by the sacred penmen. They unfold to us not only the deeds of other times, but the various motives by which those deeds were prompted: they often delineate the small beginnings of some new and extensive order of things, or trace the choice and the conduct of men to their remotest consequences; and while they thus detail the process which completes the web of providence, we derive new motives of attention from the thought that he who thus instructs us will not deceive and cannot be deceived; that his own agency has controlled the events he describes; and that while the principles of the divine economy remain unchangeable and our own nature unchanged, we may look on every event recorded as an encouragement or a warning; for he who has written impartially will judge and act impartially, and still awards to every one according to their deeds.

To-day we commence with the history of a personage from whose conduct our lot has taken a deeper tinge than from that of all other men together. Interesting in his relations as the great progenitor of the human race, interesting because the only sample of our nature endued with all its native dignity and intelligence and felicity, his history derives a deeper interest from the fact that he was the federative head whose hapless fall "brought death into the world, with all our woe."

The sacred history records few of the facts connected with the biography of Adam; those few however are of a highly important kind. We notice in the very creation of man a procedure which serves and was no doubt intended to mark with appropriate dignity the beginning of an existence to which was alloted a destiny so distinguished.

[ocr errors]

When God gave being to this universal frame, stupendous as is its mould and magnificent as are its decorations, the event was marked by nothing but the exertion of his power. He said, "let there be light, and there was light:" "Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear; and it was so." Even when he peopled it with all the classes of organic life, with beings which served to animate and were calculated to enjoy the beauties and bounties of the wide creation, there was nothing that announced a peculiar dignity in any of the creatures. He merely said, let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, and at the utterance,

"out of the ground up rose

As from his lair, the wild beast where he wons
In forest wild, in thicket, brake, or den:-

now half-appear'd The tawny lion, pawing to get free

His hinder parts, then springs as broke from bonds,
And rampant shakes his brinded mane.”.

But man was distinguished by a more honourable birth. There seemed to intervene a pause in the Creator's work. The face of earth was animated with beasts and fowls and creeping things innumerable; all indeed was beauty to the eye and music to the ear. But while all could taste' the bounties of the creation which they themselves contributed to variegate and animate, there was none to recognize their oblgiations to the Maker; none to mingle in that "communion sweet," which is the dearest exercise of the God of love. The production of one such being in whom thought might elicit thought and acts of kindness kindle kindliest feeling-a being whose intelligence, whose moral sense, whose capacities of enjoyment, might furnish an adumbration of the great supreme-the production of

« ForrigeFortsett »