« AnteriorContinuar »
new world beyond the Atlantic. The waters of the Danube, the Dneister, and the Volga, can bring to her the corn, the furs, and the minerals of Russia,—the crops and all exports of Germany and Hungary; whilst the caravans of the Desert, converging at Scutari, may contribute the shawls of Persia, the jewels, the gums, and the spices of India and Central Asia.
The Turk moves proudly and quietly among the people who outnumber him in his own dominions. The Greek residents undertake his commerce,—the Jews and Armenians concern themselves with his finance; and, amid his glorious land, with its mines of copper and silver, lead, iron, coal, and salt unworked-its soil luxuriant as that of the tropics, yet not supplying, for want of culture, the present thinly scattered population, he sits silently down in the composure of his fatalist faith, to contemplate the decaying away of his empire, saying, “ Allah Kerim, God is merciful. We shall see.”
But there is now a new element in the history of Turkeywell-nigh swallowed up by the encroachments of Russia, it has laid aside its haughty exclusiveness, and has appealed for help to the Western Powers. The energy of the West has taken possession of the dreamy capital of the universe,' and, having defended its rights, will impart new life to its heart. The West has been but a growth from the East, and received from the East, and from this very Turkey in Asia, the divine book, to which we owe our superior civilization and freedom. "Whatever England's superiority may be to the most enslaved and debased of nations, she owes to a free Bible, set free by the Protestant Reformation.
YOUR LIFE'S LAST HOUR. It will come: yes, it will come. Do you ever think of this ? The sacred penman says, “And the time drew nigh when Jacob must die.” Mind, he must die. He had lived many years, but he could not live always—he must die; and so must I, and so must you ; for this is “the way of all the earth." Your life's last hour must come.
Dr. Chalmers, who died a few years ago, was one of the most eminent and eloquent preachers in Scotland. He was very popular, and he deserved to be so; for he was a good man, and tried to do all the good he could. When he visited London, as he did now and then, princes and nobles, statesmen and judges, swelled the crowds which thronged to hear him. In the city of Glasgow, on a week-day morning, merchants and tradesmen would leave their business to hear the weekly lecture he delivered. I want you to hear him too. I have a sermon of his to the young before me, from that text (Zechariah vii. 13). Turn to it and read it. He says :
“Now most of you who are here present are young in life, and perhaps scarcely have known what it is to be afflicted. At all events, there is nothing more likely than that many of you have thought little of the time when the last sickness shall come upon you, and you shall have at last taken yourselves to the bed from which you are never more to rise. Full of life and vigour, and rejoicing, perhaps, in the prospect of many days, your imagination may never have seriously dwelt on that awful event which is certainly coming upon you, even as it has come upon all who have gone before you. Your hearts may have been altogether with lessons, and play, and companionship, and such work as parents or masters have put into your hand—and little may you have reflected that, after all, the end of the whole matter on earth is, that you shall die—and that every minute which you breathe brings you that ininute nearer to the time at which
shall die—and that this terrible day is coming upon you with a speed and a certainty from which there is no escaping. These are simple truths, my young friends; but it is just from the want of being impressed by plain and simple truths that there is so much of sin and suffering in the world. It is just because men will not take heed to the near and the obvious matters that lie before them, that they have gone so far astray in wickedness, and that so many are on the road to ruin everlasting. The great error of man does not lie in his being ignorant of what is difficult to understand, but in his being heedless of that which is familiar to all understanding. It is not so much because people will not learn, but because people will not consider, that they are found on the path which leadeth to the chambers of hell. And so it is with many of you. You do not need to learn that
you have to die ; for this is what you all know as well as I tell
much in need of more thoughtfulness, so as that you may consider, and hold it often in serious and solemn remembrance, that you are to die. This is what I want to impress upon you now.
The dying bed will come; a weary season of pain and breathlessness and depressing languor is before you. The path that leads from the present world to the next world has to be traversed
by all who are here present. How soon I know not; but that it will come sooner or later you are as well assured as I can possibly be. It is not a new truth that I offer to your notice, but an old one that I would earnestly set forth to your thoughtful, and tender, and feeling recollection.
For think, my young friends, what, in all likelihood, will take place on that affecting occasion. You will then be standing on the brink of eternity-and it will look a dark and awful transition to cross over from the land of sense to the vast and unknown land that is before you—and a certain dread will lay hold of you as you contemplate the fathomless abyss into which you are sinking; and then, under the urgency of the fearfulness that may have overtaken you, will you cry to the Lord that he may guide you in safety through the mysterious passage, and land you on a peaceful and happy shore.
Listen to God now, and he will not refuse to listen to you then. Turn to him a willing ear in the morning of your days, and in the evening of your days you will experience him to be a God of good-will and of graciousness. Remember your Creator in youth, and he will not forget you in old age. Be found of him now when he is seeking after you, so that when you come to the bed of your last agonies you will not have a Saviour to seek, but a Saviour to enjoy."
The pious preacher then makes this final and forcible appeal to his young hearers :
“But, lastly, God calleth unto all to forsake the evil of their ways and the evil of their thoughts. He hath uttered this solemn denunciation, that unless we repent we perish.
He makes us to understand that in turning to Christ we turn from our iniquities. Break off your sins by righteous
Come out from among evil ways and evil acquaintances. Burst asunder the entanglements and the enticements of vicious pleasure by which you are surrounded. Be ye separate from sinners, and follow not a multitude to do evil. And to encourage you he says, 'Turn unto me, and behold I will pour out my Spirit upon you.' This is the cry that he now lifts in your hearing; and will you dare after this to continue in the bonds of companionship with the ungodly? Will you choose the despisers of God and of goodness for your intimates, and that merely because they live with you in the same street, or work with you under the same master? Will you
thus expose your eternity at random to the evil influences of such acquaintances as you may happen to meet with in the world? You are young, and you may perhaps be laying your account with many days on this side of death, and may think that it is time enough to be good—that it is time enough to think of heaven, and of preparation for that awful and terrifying death which still lies at so remote a distance away from you. Your being young does not prevent God from crying unto you; but if you will not listen, this, when you come to be old, may prevent him from hearing when you cry unto him. Oh! persist not, then, in this unconcern any longer. Open your hearts to the voice of him that speaketh from heaven, and who, while grieved because of your sins, is yet waiting to be gracious. Harden your hearts no longer against him, or they may at length become harder than the adamant. Think with yourselves, that if