« 前へ次へ »
welcome. Indeed each individual should regard it as his incumbent duty to contribute, if only the feeblest lay, to the general happiness. It is as wise to chasten the exuberance of mirth by the remembrance of misery, as it is soothing to personal distress to sympathize in another's prosperity. Often the sunshine or the cloud upon our path is from within, and the same scene presents enjoyments at one time, which afforded only melancholy at another. It is an useful exercise to trace the mental history of any one particular day throughout all its past anniversaries. One's birthday, for instance, or Christmas Day, or New Year's Day, and recall the frames and feelings which have characterized its return—to detect and analyse both the cause and the effect of those influences which have rendered it either glad or sorrowful. An honest memorialist would feel astonished at the majority of trivial circumstances which have constituted the weal or woe of those days, and not of those days only. But the whole period of life is but a succession of days, days which come only one at a time, and when gone, are gone for ever.
My young friends, you anticipate a promised holiday, "& happy day," as my little sister used to call it, with joyous anxiety. Why should not every day be happy! Adopt the angels' song, "On earth, peace, good will to men;" and you will find rough places smooth, and crooked places straight. The observant eye will perceive sweet flowers even in the valley of humiliation, and as the contrite sinner lifts his eyes to Calvary and beholds the approving smile of a dying Redeemer, he takes up his own cross wondering at its lightness, and rejoicing to run the race set before him, whether it conduct him through a long life of active usefulness, or through the fires or waters of a martyr's early death.
E. W. P.
UP! THROUGH! FIRST CLASS! Two things the railroads have certainly taught us-Punctuality and dispatch. We love to rescue our friends from unmerited disgrace, and we like railroads as indicative of progress. It is therefore with no little pleasure that we repeat the statement-railroads have made men more business-like in
their habits, by inculcating the important lessons of punctuality and expedition.
They have almost brought in with them a new dialect-short weighty, and powerful, superseding that of the last generation, which in many instances was wordy, windy, and prolix. We were never more struck with this fact than on our recent return from one of the southern counties, which we had visited under a professional engagement. Waiting for the up-train, a pleasant, gentlemanly, out-speaking personage came quietly into the booking-office to get his ticket. Without any unseemly haste or bustle, such as fidgetty old ladies and consequential young men often assume, he walked leisurely to the pay-table, taking out his purse as he pronounced distinctly and emphatically the three significant words which we have chosen to head this chapter—"Up! Through! First Class!"
The train was not due for ten minutes, and the time hung heavily, for we were unprovided with a book. Nothing therefore could be more welcome than a profitable subject for reflection at the moment; and we seemed to discover in these three short words ample materials for a long sermon.
“Up! Through! First Class!" What a "motto for the New Year that was near at hand! How full of high purpose, of determination, of intrepidity, of “ destructiveness" in its best sense, of perseverance, of hope, of wise and holy ambition ! Let us see what we can make of it to do good to our own souls and benefit the souls of others.
Not only is every word a text, but the curt, pithy conciseness of the whole sentence-if sentence we may call it-breathes a moral of great worth. Time is short, and words, lightly as we esteem them, are to be in keeping with it. If we say all we have to say, the fewer our words, the better. But conversation is too often like a lady's letter of compliment, full of nothing till we reach the postscript. Had our friend spoken for ten minutes, he had thrown away the last nine and a half. “The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright; but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.” “Bubbleth foolishness," says the more graphic Hebrew-dealing in nothing but empty, frothy declamation.
“Up!” shall be our motto for the year Eighteen Hundred and Fifty. Let us all purpose by God's grace to move upward. We cannot stand still. Even if we attempt this, the world is moving, and will leave us behind. Mechanically, morally, mentally, all things go forward. Let us look back five and forty years, and take up the first volume of this very Magazine. It was a reflex of the youthful mind at that period; but does it represent the youth of our own day, in his tastes, his feelings, his pursuits, his knowledge, and attainments? No: the times have changed, and we have changed with them. We have realized the first fruits of that glorious promise, “ Many shall run to and fro', and knowledge shall be increased.” Our youth now are more liberally instructed—more carefully educated. It must be so, for the wisdom of one generation becomes folly to the next.
But worldly wisdom alone is, after all, of secondary importance. It must be based on righteousness and true holiness to be of real value. Till these are attained, all pursuits and studies are marrowless and unprofitable. In spiritual arithmetic, as in natural, Numeration is the first rule, and Addition the second. Our days must be first numbered—so numbered that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom—and this wisdom once attained, Addition will soon bring “ all other things to augment our stores and raise our standing.
Have we secured this wisdom ? Have we diligently sought 6 the kingdom of God and His righteousness?" If not, let this be our first resolve, our first earnest effort for the New Year. “ Ask and it shall be given you, seek and ye shall find.” Our Saviour's attitude is one of expectation—"expecting till his enemies be made His footstool”—the Spirit intercedes “ with groanings which cannot be uttered;" and God himself has a whisper for this very season—“Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, “My father, thou art the guide of my youth ?”
But supposing, as we love to suppose, that God's grace has already touched your heart, still your motto must be “Up." There is a growth in “grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.” To all who love him, there is a door in heaven opened, and a voice, trumpet-tongued but sweet, calling thence, “ Come up hither!" Heaven is his home, and the nearer he lives to it on earth, the wiser, the happier, the more peaceful he becomes. Every unworthy thought, every unadvised word, every unholy act, tells him that he has' not attained
-tells him that his mission is onward and upward. The age is a busy age: let the “mind that is in us” be busy too. Infidelity is growing bolder and louder and more restless in its search for the weapons of its warfare; let us be more persevering, and more intrepid in the use of ours. Philosophy and science are advancing ; let us learn how to sift the false from the true—to refuse the evil and choose the good, and to weed out and cast from us the “ falsely-so-called,” whilst we hold fast the true, the noble, and the elevating. Lax principles—if principles they can be called—are broached in the world of politics. Avoid all participation in them. God asks a whole heart, a heart whose creed is “ Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly, and leave politics to take care of themselves. A wiser man than the wisest of our demagogues once said, “He that passeth by and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears.” Oh! as you would go “Up” then; leave the dog alone.
Many are the religious differences of the day, but be of no party here. “Keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace," if you would go forward. Cast off that holy bond and the whole soul is weakened, disjointed, distracted. The heart must not only be united with other hearts if it would serve God acceptably-it must be whole and undivided in itself. “Teach me thy way, O Lord, I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.” Whether men will hear, or whether they will forbear, let it be yours to shew them by word and act that you have a higher aim than sectional or denominational or class distinction, and are followers of Him whose last prayers were for the Oneness of God's great family in earth and heaven.
Let another of your New Year's mottoes be “Through!” No half-measures will do in the instruction, the education, or the discipline of the soul. It was said some years since of secular teaching, and the saying has become a household word, “Nothing less than thorough will do it.” How emphatically may we say this of our highest scholarship—the training for glory, honor, and immortality! “I would to God," said one of the most earnest, holy minds of apostolic times, to king Agrippa—“I would to God that not only thou, but that all who hear me this day, were both almost and altogether such as I am, except these bonds." Altogether Christian! Think on these words—the whole man, body, soul, and spirit, delivered into the gospel mould, to be made like its glorious Master-holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners. If the good work be begun in us, we have his own promise that it will be carried on unto perfection. “Through,” is the passport for every station on our course.
A holy circumspection must determine our companions on the road. If the trite saying be as true as it is old, that we may know a man by the company he keeps, let it be our care to travel by the First Class. It is not good to be alone. Fellowtravellers we must have; let us have the best. Good friends; good books, good pursuits; good thoughts, good purposes; let each and all be “ first-class.” God; the Bible; our own hearts -with these we may spend much of our time profitably. The best work requires the best workmanship. The salvation of the soul is precious : let it have our most precious care; and should our lives be spared to see the close of this year, we shall find that we have done something towards realizing the motto of the present paper.
PREACHING AND PRACTISING. Two learned doctors of the same names lived in the same village—the one being eminent as a physician, the other as a divine.
A stranger wishing for an interview with the clergyman, called by mistake upon his medical namesake. “Pray, sir," said he, by way of introduction—“are you not Doctor A.?” The answer was of course in the affirmative. “Doctor A., of B., I presume ?” “ Just so,” was the reply. “ The celebrated Dr. A., of B., I suppose?” A pleasant smile, and slight inclination of the head, indicated that the compliment was well received. “But are you the celebrated Dr. A., of B., who preaches ?" resumed the visitor. “Why no, sir-no:” replied the host deliberately, “ I am the Dr. A. who practises."
The distinction was a very proper one, and deserving of the serious study of all.
So let our lips and lives express