Immagini della pagina


Not limited to our own personal woes, we are dooin. ed to suffer for sorrows not our own. We are not unconcerned spectators of human life. We are ina terested in every event that befalls our fellow men. Sympathy makes us feel the distresses of others; and the best affections of the heart become the sources of

How many deaths do we suffer in mourning over the friends that we have lost! While we lament their unhappy or untimely fate, we cut short the thread of our own days. The chords of love are broken, one after another ; string after string is severed from the heart, till all our early attachments are dissolved, till our sad eyes have wept over every friend laid in the dust, and till we become lonely and wretched as we at first began.

Under these afflictions, and from these sorrows, devotion opens a retreat; the altar of God presents a place of refuge; the ear of the Eternal is open to thy cry; the arm of the Almighty is stretched out to relieve thee. There is a sanctuary where no evil can approach, there is an asylum where no enemy can

In the pavilion of his presence, God will hide thee in the time of trouble; in the secret of his tabernacle, he will cover thee in the day of danger. There the prisoners rest in peace, and hear not the voice of the oppressor. There are the small and the great, and the servant is free from his master. There the wic: ked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest.

It is some consolation, it is some relief, to open our hearts to men, and tell our sorrows to a friend, who can give us no relief, but by mingling his tears with

What consolation, what relief will it then give to open our hearts, and tell our sorrows to that Friend above, who is ever gracious to hear, and ever mighty to save! To that Friend who never fails, who is afflicted in all our aMictions, and who keeps us as the apple of his eye! Art thou therefore oppressed with the calamities of life ; is thy head bqwed down with affliction, or thy heart broken with sorrow? Approach to the altar, go to God, present to him the prayer of



thy heart, and he will send thee help from his holy hill.

Lastly, In approaching to God, there is preparation for heaven. The objects among which we are conversant, have a wonderful power over the mind. External things make such an impression within, that the character is often formed from the situation. The soul is assimilated to surrounding objects, and proportions itself to the sphere in which it moves. When employed in little and in low things, it is contracted; when occupied in earthly matters, it is debased; but acquires enlargement and elevation, in the presence of what is grand and sublime. By daily converse with the world, and familiarity with material things, the soul is alienated from the life of God; and man, setting his affections on things below, becomes of the earth, earthy. But when we engage in the exercises of devotion, we counterwork the charm of material objects, we retire from the world and its temptations, and shut the door of the leart against every intruding guest, that would disturb us in approaching to God. Standing upon holy ground, we put off unhallowed affections, and inpure desires. From the presence of the Lord every sinful thought flies away. Our attention is turned from those things that would raise guilty passions in the mind. Pure and spiritual ideas are presented to view, and the perfections of Almighty God are set before our eyes. When these are before us, our admiration of them will increase, our love to them will be kindled, and we will endeavour to resemble them in our own life. Thus, by approaching to God, we become like God. By devotion on earth, we anticipate the work of heaven. We join ourselves, beforehand, to the society of angels and blessed spirits above; we already enter on the clelightful employment of eternity, and begin the song which is heard for ever around the throne of God.

Such, Christians ! are the advantages of approaching to God, and encompassing the altar. And it,


with pious affections, and a pure heart, we draw nigh unto God, God will draw nigh unto us. To the wide extent of his creation, to the great temple of heaven and earth, JEHOVAH prefers the heart of the pure and the pious. There he takes up his abode; there he delighteth to dwell. In the divine discourse which our Lord delivered to his disciples, the same night in which he was betrayed, there is a promise rich in consolation. « If a man love me, he will keep my

words: and my Father will love him, and we will

come and make our abode with him. While this promise sounds in your ears, I hope that your hearts correspond to the strain, and that you recal those preçious hours, when God'manifested himself to you, so as he does not unto the world. When, on former occasions, he sent his light and his truth ; when the fountain of living waters has been opened, and the yoice came to your ears, “ Drink and live for ever;" did you not feel emotions which came from no created source, and taste a joy which confessed its origin from heaven? Who can describe the blessedness of that time, when å present Deity is felt ? It is the joy of heaven upon earth; the happiness of eternity in the moments of time.



[The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper is celebrated in Scotand always upon a Sunday, in the parish church ; and, in most places, once only in the year. There is no particular Sunday fixed for this solemnity. On the Thursday and Saturday before it, and on the Monday after it, there is public worship; and Sermons are preached upon subjects suitable to the occasion. The Thursday is particularly set apart fór solemn fasting ; and no labour is that day per: mitted in the parish. The greater part of persons of all ranks in the parish, who have arrived at the years of discretion, join in celebrating this Ordinance, which, partly from this cause, and partly from its taking place but once or twice a-year, is performed in a manner that is


solemn and devout. The Service begins with the singing of a Psalm ; which the Mihister reads out immediately upon ascending the pulpit. The choice of the Psalms is, in all cases, at the Minister's discretion ; and, to give the Sacramental Service more completely, some portions, which are often sung on such occasions, are inserted here, in their places. The music is entirely vocal. In a few Congregations there is music in parts; but, in general, the whole Congregation sing in unison. The Psalm tunes are set to slow time: the melody is simple, grave, and often very affecting.)


, ,

MORNING Service.

Í RAISÈ waits for thee in Zion, Lord,

To thée vows paid shall be.
2 O thou tliat hearer art of pray'r,

All flesh shall come to thee.
3 Iniquities, I must confess,

Prevail against me do ;
But as for our transgressions,

Them purge away shalt thou.
4 Blest is the man whom thou dost choosc,

And mak'st approach to thee,
That he within thy courts, O Lord,

May still a dweller be:

We surely shall be satisfy'd

With thy abundant grace,
And with the goodness of thy house,

Ev'n of thy holy place.


[In the Worship of the Scottish Church, the whole Congregation rise from their seats at the beginning of the prayer, and stand in a devout posture till it be concluded.]

“ LORD GoD ALMIGHTY! Which was, which is, and which art to come! Thou art the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God. All perfections adorn thy nature ; every attribute of Majesty supports thy Throne.

The heavens are thine thou hast made them bright with thy glory : The earth also is thine; thou art the Lord of universal nature. Thou dwellest in that uncreated light, which mortal eye hath not seen, nor can see. Thousands of angels and of blessed spirits stand before thee: Ten thousand times ten thousand minister in thy presence, and perform thy pleasure. The whole host of heaven worshippeth thee.

" Thou hast formed the mountains, and created the wind. With thee are the treasures of the snow, and the chambers of the hail. Thou makest thy pavilion in the dark cloud : Thou sittest on the multitude of waters ; Thou walkest on the wings of the wind ; and tly voice in the storm makes the nations adore. The sons of men, generation after generation, return to the dust from whence they were taken. The heavens which we behold shall vanish like the cloud which covers them; the earth which we inhabit, shall dissolve like the snows upon its surface; but independent of change, of the revolutions of time, and of the fate of worlds, thou continueşt the same, immortal, unalterable, the Ancient of days, froin everlasting to everlasting God.

“ Thou hast given commission unto all thy works, to declare their Maker. The light of heaven reveals

« IndietroContinua »