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than those which death takes away. Perhaps you have toiled, but have not succeeded ; turn your thoughts to other riches, far better than those of earth, and sure to be obtained by every one that prayerfully seeks them of the Lord Jesus, who says, “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich," Rev. iii. 18.
In his glorious gospel the gracious Saviour offers these true riches to dying men. They consist not of one blessing only, but of many blessings. In them are included, the pardon of all sins, justification and acceptance in the Beloved, peace with God, adoption into his family, the comforting and sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit, an interest in many exceeding great and precious promises, and a title to eternal life. These riches also include the possession of the best and dearest friendship. To the happy soul that possesses these treasures, the great, the everlasting God becomes a loving Father, Jesus a Saviour and a guardian, and the Holy Spirit a constant helper. They who are thus enriched are dear to the eternal God: he dwells with them, loves them, and delights in making them happy, Isa. lvii. 15; John xvi. 27; Luke xii. 32. They are beloved by Christ with an everlasting love, Rom. viii. 35. “The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in" them; for they are “heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ,” Rom. viii. 17, 18; and he has promised that they shall enter into his joy, be like him, and be with him, Matt. xxv. 21; John xiv. 2; John xii. 26.
The world sees not the worth of these “ durable riches;" but the Christian, who is taught of God, knows that all earthly wealth is poverty in comparison with them. An old writer mentions that in the place where he was born, there lived a lover of the world, exceedingly rich, who kept many of his treasures in his house: once a day he took all his bags of silver and gold out of his trunk and laid them in several heaps on a large table; then he would go to the other end of the room, and gaze on his treasures, and after a while would run to the table. with outstretched arms, gather all his bags into one heap, and cry out, as if overcome with joy, “ All is mine-all is mine! But poor indeed were his treasures if compared with those of the poorest believer.
It is related, that a gentleman of large property on one occasion pointed out to a friend the size of his estate. It extended so far in one direction, and so far in another. His friend inquired if he saw a cottage in a neighbouring village ? and then told him there dwelt a poor woman who could say far more than all he had said. “Why, what can she
“She can say, Christ is mine.” Happy they who have
Riches are loved because it is supposed that they minister to the happiness of their owners. But worldly riches inspire no such peace and joy as flow from gospel hope, the love of Christ shed abroad in the heart, his peace, which passeth understanding, and the blessed prospect of heaven. Even in poverty these yield real comfort. A lady of wealth and piety, who had suffered heavy afflictions, related her sorrows to a poor woman whose cottage she had entered. The poor Christian taking her to a closet, said, "Do you see anything?" "No." She took her to another and repeated the question; with some surprise the lady again said, "No." “ Then, madam,” said she, “ in this room you see all I have in this world; but why should I be unhappy ? I have Christ in my heart, and heaven before me. I have the unfailing word of promise that bread shall be given and water shall be sure, while I stay a little longer in this vale of tears; and when I die, glory awaits me through the merits of my Redeemer.” Blessed confidence ! Reader, are these hopes yours?
Worldly wealth is delusive. The expectations it excites'are not realized, its possessors grasp it, expecting happiness, but are still unsatisfied; an aching void remains that it cannot fill. A gentleman of large property, once beholding a little chimneysweeper going singing along the street, declared he would part with all his wealth to be as happy as the little cheerful sweeper
-so far were great riches from making him happy. But in all affliction spiritual treasures are solid wealth. A pious man, who had once been wealthy, but who had become so poor that he had sought refuge in an American almshouse, said to a visitor, “ You see, sir, I am poor; but I have seen better days. I am sixty-five years of age. I once had a large property, but it is gone. I had children too, but they are all dead; a wife, (his tears flowed,) but six months ago she departed to her eternal rest, and on the eve of her departure sang
Jesus can make a dying bed
Feel soft as downy pillows are. Ah, sir, there is no delusion here. Many would persuade me that faith in Christ is a delusion; but it is not so. Property is a delusion; I had it, but it has vanished. My children have vanished; my dear wife is gone ; but faith in Jesus—that remains."
These true riches excel all worldly wealth because they give support and peace even in circumstances that would else be full of misery. Behold a rich man tossing on the bed of pain, tormented with the burnings of fever or some painful disease; how little comfort his riches now yield! Now look upon a poor man in like suffering, but cheered by heavenly hopes, and in reality thus described by one that beheld it :-"On entering the cottage I found him alone. I was startled by the sight of a pale, emaciated man, a living image of death, fastened upright in his chair by a rude contrivance of cords and belts hanging from the ceiling. He was totally unable to move either hand or foot, having more than four years been entirely deprived of the use of his limbs, yet the whole time suffering extreme anguish from swellings at all his joints. I asked, 'Are you left alone, my friend, in this deplorable situation?' 'No, sir, I am not alone, for God is with me.' His Bible lay open before him; I asked him if he ever felt tempted to repine under the pressure of so long-continued and heavy a calamity? Not,' said he, "for the last three years; blessed be God for it!'—his faith giving life to his countenance as he spoke-' for I have learned from this book in whom to believe; and though I am aware of my weakness and unworthiness, I am persuaded that God will not leave me nor forsake me. And so it is that often when my lips are closed with pain, and I cannot speak to the glory of God, he enables me to sing his praises in my heart.""
If human testimony were to be further brought forward as to the superiority of these spiritual riches, we might hear it from the lips of myriads of dying Christians or suffering martyrs. But could you ask a saint with Christ, what is the worth of the Saviour, and of heavenly treasures, human language would be too feeble to give an adequate reply. The crowning glory of these treasures is that they are everlasting. How transient are the riches of this world! What are they to their owners one moment after death ? All gone, and gone for ever! They who in the morning of their dying day possess large estates, have in the evening at most but a coffin and a shroud, if these can be called theirs. Not thus transient are the Christian's riches. Blessings obtained by faith, union with God and the Saviour, last for ever.
When life closes, these still enrich. When the judgment day has passed, these bless for ever: tens of thousands of years after the worldly have lost their wealth, the humble believer will rejoice in his, and while eternal ages roll will continue rich and happy.
Reader, are you a possessor of these treasures ? There is but one way to obtain them: Jesus said, “ I am the way.". They can be found only by coming to him, and experiencing the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost. Seek them while you may.
All may be yours. The blood of Jesus can cleanse you from all sin. "Believe in him. Yield to his invitation—"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
“ Allow me to ask your opinion, sir, as to what would make a death-bed easy,” said the princess Charlotte to a minister of the gospel, who called upon her. The gentleman started at so unexpected a question from a young woman blooming with health and in so high a station, and he expressed surprise that the princess should consult him, when she had access to persons who were so much more capable of answering her inquiries. Her reply was that she had asked the same of many, for she wished to collect various opinions on that all-important subject. Thus pressed, the clergyman felt it to be his duty to be faithful. He therefore recommended her to study the Bible, which he said represented faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the only means of making a death-bed easy. The princess burst into tears, saying, “Oh! that is what my grandfather has often told me; but then he used to add, that I must not only read the Bible, but I must pray for the Holy Spirit to enable me to understand its meaning."
When the visitor rose to depart, the princess begged he would remember her in his prayers. The good man replied, that he did pray for her not only from a sense of duty but from inclination also ; adding, that she might therefore rely on an interest in his poor prayers. “Do not call them poor," said her royal highness, "for you know that the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."" The princess shortly after was unexpectedly called to the trial of an early death; and let us hope that she had taken heed to the pious counsel that was given her.
Reader! do you feel any anxiety about this matter? You too may soon be stretched upon a dying beda bed of pain and sorrow, from which no earthly power can save you; and nothing but faith in the Lord Jesus can make it easy. He is not only able but willing to save to the uttermost all who come unto God by him. If you have not come to him, come now. The subjoined testimonies to his faithfulness are sufficient to prove that if you do so, he will never leave nor forsake you.
Dr. Payson, in his dying charge to the young men of his congregation, assembled round his bed, gave this testimony :-"I wish to tell you what a precious pilot Christ is, that you may be induced to choose him for yours. I feel desirous that you should see that the religion I have preached can support me in death. I have many ties which bind me to earth, but the other world acts like a much stronger magnet, and draws my heart away from this. While my body is tortured, the soul is perfectly happy and peaceful, more happy than I can possibly express to you: my soul is filled with joy unspeakable. I seem to swim in a flood of glory which God pours down upon me; and I know, I know, that my happiness is but begun. I cannot doubt that it will last for ever! And now is all this a delusion? is it a delusion which can fill the soul to overflowing with joy in such circumstances ?- No, it is not a delusion, I feel that it is not; I do not merely know that I shall enjoy all this, I enjoy it now All this happiness I trace back to the religion I have preached, and to the time when that great change took place in my heart which I have often told you is necessary to salvation; and I now tell you again, that without this change you cannot, no you cannot, see the kingdom of God."
Dr. Doddridge thus expressed the state of his mind during his last illness :-"My soul is vigorous and healthy, notwithstanding the hastening decay of this frail and tottering body. It is a blessed thing to live above the fear of death, and I praise God I fear it not. God hath, as it were, let heaven down upon me in my nights of weakness and waking. I am not suffered once to lose my hope. My confidence is, not that I have lived such or such a life, or served God in this or the other manner: I know of no prayer I ever offered, no service I ever performed, but there has been such a mixture of what was wrong in it, that instead of recommending me to the favour of God, I needed his pardon through Christ for the same. I have no hope in