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pared with the scriptures. Is it possible that a book, at once so simple and sublime, should be merely the work of man? Is it possible that the sacred personage whose history it contains should be himself a mere man ? Do we find that he assumed the tone of an enthusiast, an ambitious sectary ? What sweetness ! what purity of manners ! what an affecting gracefulness in his delivery! what sublimity in his maxims! what profound wisdom in his discourses ! what presence of mind, what subtlety in his replies ! how great the command over his passions ! where is the man, where is the philosopher, who could so live and so die, without weakness, without ostentation ? When Plato described his imaginary good man, loaded with the shame of guilt, yet meriting the highest rewards of virtue, he describes exactly the character of Jesus Christ : The resemblance was so striking that all the fathers perceived it.”
E. Was the person who wrote that a disci. ple of Christ?
F. No, Eliza, he admired the character of Christ, but he was very far from imitating it. You will find many that will admire and praise virtue, and they take credit to them. selves for praising it, but they do nothing
Christ's character is a perfect pattern for our imitation. What I have said is but a very imperfect sketch of a subject that is in. exhaustible. To have a satisfactory view of
his excellencies, you must frequently read and attentively study the life of our blessed Lord, in his thoughts, words, and actions. With this connect frequent prayer for the Spi. rit of grace,
that you may be taught to resemble him; for unless we have the Spirit of Christ, the principle of love by which Christ was influenced, and which operates more or less powerfully in all his people, cannot be in
And without love, all religion is an empty show, which may be applauded by men. but cannot be acceptable to God.
F. There are certain religious subjects that are by no means unpleasing even to those who have no genuine love to religion, but our subject this evening is universally considered as having a very gloomy, if not a most frightful aspect. It is Death.
H. It is, Father, a very dismal subject, and I do think, if you converse much upon it, you will make us more gloomy and cheerless than
we have been in listening to any of your former instructions.
F. I dare say you would rather wish to hear of the happiness of heaven, the beauty of angels, and the glorious appearance of those who are clothed in white robes, having crowns of gold on their heads, walking on the banks of the river of the water of life, and eating of the fruits of the tree of life in the midst of the paradise of God.
C. Oh yes, Father, these are indeed fine things, and I could sit long enough and hear about them. M. But, Catharine, we must all encounter
king of terrors” before we can enter into heaven; and as it is an evil which cannot possibly be avoided, it is certainly wise in us to prepare for its approach.
E. I often am very much afraid of death, and I wish much to hear how we might be above the fears of it. H. I think your fears arise from your
think. ing so much about it. If I were always to think about it, I should be very unhappy.
F. And therefore you banish the thoughts of it from your minds as much as possible. But, Henry, will your ceasing to think about death save you from it, or remove it to a greater distance ?
H. I dare say not. But then, why should we live unhappily, in distressing our minds in thinking of it.
F. Supposing, Henry, we were going a journey in which we would find many things to harass and perplex us, and that at one particular part of the road we had heard that many had been robbed and murdered, because they did not apply for the protection and guidance of one who could protect them, and who had actually preserved every one who sought this protection; what ought we to do?
H. I think we should immediately seek for such a powerful protector.
F. And were he to consent to go with us, would we not feel somewhat easy in our minds respecting the dangers of the road?
E. Oh, I think we would even be cheerful in his company, assured that he would deliver us from every danger.
F. Our life in this world is a journey to another. We are no sooner born than we hasten to an eternal world. The journey of life is shorter to some than to others. He that lives longest is most likely to meet with the most numerous evils; but there is one event that shall happen to all. We must all die. People who, through pride and igno. rance, have rejected the guidance and protection of the almighty Saviour, have had to struggle with their various trials alone. They have often been overwhelmed with the sor. rows of the world. They have had no gracious comforter ; and in the end have perished in their sins. But they who, in the consciousness of their weakness and ignorance, have in humility prayed to the Lord Jesus to guide them by his counsel, and protect them by his power, have been safe, even from “ the fear of evil.” Hear the beautiful language of David, at once expressive of strong confidence and cheerful tranquillity : “ The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul. He leadeth me in the paths of right. eousness, for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”
E. It is very beautiful, Father; but did his trusting in the Lord remove his fear of death ?
M. I think, Eliza, that he was not only above the fear of death, but he had the strongest confidence that, like a tender shepherd, the Lord would carefully provide every thing necessary for his comfort in this world; would recover him if he should wander; and lead him in the paths of righteousness; make goodness and mercy to follow him all the days of his life; and give him a dwelling place in the house of the Lord for ever. You are not to suppose the psalm expressive of the confi. dence and hope of David only. It is language