An immortality of pain and tears; an infinity of wretchedness and despair; the blackness of darkness across which conscience will forever shoot her clear and ghastly flasheslike lightning streaming over a desert when midnight and tempest are there; weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth; long, long eternity, and things that will make eternity seem longermaking each moment seem eternityoh, miserable condition of the damned!
Gods truth and faithfulness are a great deep. They resemble the ocean itself; always therevast, fathomless, sublime, the same in its majesty, its inexhaustible fullness, yesterday, to-day, and forever; the same in calm and storm, by day and by night; changeless while generations come and pass; everlasting while ages are rolling away.
Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them to the end. Often had they been faithless; and now, while addressing them, He knows that they will all in a few hours forsake Him. Yet He trusts them; He commits His cause to their keeping. And we must love as He loved.
He was alone; alone, enduring the curse for us; alone, bearing our sins in His own body on the tree, and exhausting the fierceness of eternal justice; alone, without succor from man; alone, without one strengthening whisper from angel; above all, alone, without one ray from His Fathers countenance. And that expiring cry, My God! My God! why hast Thou forsaken me? was the bitter, dreary, dismal, piercing wail of a soul utterly desertedwrapped, shrouded in essential unmitigated desolation.
It is impossible to conceive any contrast more entire and absolute than that which exists between a heart glowing with love to God, and a heart in which the love of money has cashiered all sense of GodHis love, His presence, His glory; and which is no sooner relieved from the mockery of a tedious round of religious formalism than it reverts to the sanctuaries where its wealth is invested, with an intenseness of homage surpassing that of the most devout Israelite who ever, from a foreign land, turned his longing eyes toward Jerusalem.
The narrow way, the way of holiness, not only leads to life, but it is life. Walking there, serene are our days, peaceful our nights, happyhigh above the disorders and miseries of a wretched worldshall be our hourly communion with God; happyfull of assurance, of calm and sacred triumph, shall be our dying hour.
True religion is not what men see and admire; it is what God sees and loves; the faith which clings to Jesus in the darkest hour; the sanctity which shrinks from the approach of evil; the humility which lies low at the feet of the Redeemer, and washes them with tears; the love which welcomes every sacrifice; the cheerful consecration of all the powers of the soul; the worship which, rising above all outward forms, ascends to God in the sweetest, dearest communiona worship often too deep for utterance, and than which the highest heaven knows nothing more sublime.
We are all approaching that dread tribunal. However diversified our paths, they all converge toward that common centre. The young, with their elastic tread, are striding to the judgment; the old, with their tottering limbs are creeping to the judgment; the rich in their splendid equipages are driving to the judgment; the poor in rags and barefooted are walking to the judgment. The Christian making Gods statutes his song, is a pilgrim to the judgment; the sinner treading upon the mercy of Jesus, and trampling upon His blood, is hastening to the judgment. We must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ.
Yes, we have throned Him in our minds and heartsthe cynosure of our wandering thoughtsthe monarch of our warmest affections, hopes, desires. This we have done. And the more we meditate upon His astonishing love, His amazing sacrifice, the more we feel that if we had a thousand minds, hearts, souls, we would crown Him Lord of all. Living we will live in Him, for Him, to Him. Dying, we will clasp Him in our arms, and, with Simeon, welcome death as the consummation of bliss.