ページの画像
PDF
ePub

unbecoming to make a boast of our calamities, as to glory in our worldly possessions : for what is it, in fact, but a covert vaunt of our patience and faith? I have seen some dear sufferers, withering under the most excruciating torments of acute disease, or pining in lengthened confinement to a sick-room, or weeping, in the bitterness of their souls, a sudden bereavement, which has left them comparatively alone upon earth. I have seen them compelled to listen, while others, in the full enjoyment of health and prosperity, lectured them upon the enviableness of their lot; and required of them songs of mirth in their heaviness. God can, and does give songs in the night of sorrow, heard by himself alone ; and undoubtedly, he also enables his people to rejoice, even outwardly, at the abundant consolations with which he out-numbers their light and momentary afflictions ; but I do not love to see a wounded spirit, lodged in a weak body, crammed, as it were, with the crude notions of others, who know but theoretically, what their friend is sensibly experiencing.

I am very sure that Mrs. C. was one of the most heavenly-minded persons I ever met with. Her rank in life did not bring her into what is called polite society, except among those who recognized the tie of membership under one glorious Head. Her education had not been of a superior order ; but alike in mind, manners and conversation, the indwelling Spirit shed a lustre around her, which commanded respect from every one.

There was an humble dignity in her deportment, that could awe the most reckless into submission to her calm and mild rebuke: and her sympathizing pastors came to her, less to impart than to receive consolation, encouragement, and spiritual profit; while she, in the spirit of a little child, desired but to sit at their feet and learn. Now, I would sooner take the feelings of such a person for a rule whereby to judge, than the laboured conclusions of profound thinkers, on a point which, after all, they could but think upon: and I am sure that Mrs. C. regarded pain as a positive evil, the bitter and humiliating fruit of sin, judicially inflicted, to rebuke and chasten, and by no means to be gloried in as an especial privilege, even by God's children. I have seen the tears stand in her eyes, while her look expressed somewhat of Job's mournful reproof to the injudicious friends who undertook to prove that her bodily torments were so many calls for exultation and delight: but, when left to draw her own deductions from the Lord's dealings with her, as explained by his word, and applied by the Spirit, she would sweetly acknowledge, as in the instance of that sleepless night, how much of mercy her severest trials were made the means of conveying to her soul. Had recovery been possible, I make no doubt that she would gladly have used every means to throw off her dreadful malady; and most touching was the fervency of her thankfulness to the Father of mercies, when a few hours of sleep had been permitted to refresh her wearied body. Yet she desired to depart, and to be with Christ, knowing it to be far better than a lengthened sojourn upon earth; and since the Lord had appointed that lingering and agonizing disease, as her path to the grave, she was content. To say that, if left to her own choice, she would not have preferred a less torturing disease, would be more than I should feel justified in asserting : but I am sure that she believed that to be best for her which the Lord had chosen ; and that she never desired it to be otherwise than as He willed it.

The Jessamine, at all times and in all places, is lovely: but that on the antique wall, breathing fragrance on my evening promenade, was certainly the richest and the sweetest that I ever met with. No flower can be more simply elegant in form, more untainted in the purity of its perfect whiteness, or more refreshingly odoriferous in its delicate scent. There is, besides, something in its utter inability to sustain itself, that farther illustrates the Christian character. The Jessamine will aspire and grow to a considerable height, but it must be upheld throughout, or it sinks downwards, and defiles in the dust of earth those beauties which were formed to expand towards heaven. Let but a single shoot break loose from its support, and you see it straggling far away, with an earthward tendency, the sport of every wind. Is not the type obvious? I once remarked a straying branch of the Jessamine, crossed in its way by the shoot of a neighbouring ivy, and firmly fixed to the wall by the steady progress of its more adbesive companion. Here, the strong bore the infirmities of the weak, by love serving another, and becoming a fellow-helper in the faith to a less stable believer. It was beautiful to see how, from this point, the Jessamine shot upwards, bearing to a great height the fragrant blossoms that would otherwise have been trampled under foot: and the inference was cheering too. I have often thought that I must write a chapter on the ivy, which is really the

most patronizing of plants; though, like the patrons of this world, it sometimes destroys its protegé. But to return to the Jessamine. It is long since I gazed upon the old wall of dear Mr. C.'s humble garden, and many an experimental lesson have I since been made to learn, of the necessity both for prop and pruning-knife, among the Lord's weak straggling plants. But there is something so sweet in the recollection of my lonely walks, where indeed there was scarcely room for two to pace the garden, that I rank the Jessamine, with its pointed leaves and starry flowers, among the most precious of my store; and if ever I possess a cottage of my own, it shall clothe the walls, and peep into the casements, with its well-remembered story of patience, piety, and peace.

C. E.

WALKS.

WALK THE NINTH.-Luke v. 1-11.

We leave Capernaum, just as the golden rays of early morn are beginning to tinge the dark summits of the neighbouring mountains, and we are reminded by the dawning light of Him, after whom we follow

-the Sun of Righteousness—who is beginning to penetrate the moral darkness in which the world has long been shrouded : who is now introducing a dispensation of light, by which peace, order, and harmony will be finally established, and that violence which hitherto hath filled the earth will be rooted up.

We now follow the course of the beautiful streams from which Capernaum takes its name; the purity of the water is remarkable, as sparkling over its rocky and polished bed, it swiftly reaches the point where the parting mountains allow it to join the widely expanding lake. · In the lake, the surrounding uplands are reflected, as in a vast clear mirror. There is not a cloud in the sky; nor is there a ripple on thy waters, O Gennesaret! The solitariness of nature is undisturbed, save by a concourse of people, at no great distance,

« 前へ次へ »