« 前へ次へ »
in his memory's book, and stores them to be produced hereafter, when he makes up the jewels of the Redeemer's crown, and speaks to claim his own. Will words of ours be found among the number?-Mrs. Wilson.
MAN'S MISTAKES. “ Yea, the stork in the heavens knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle, and the crane, aud the swallow, observe the time of their coming ; but my people know not the judgments of their Lord.”—JEREMIAH viii. 7.
Strange, that through all the earth there should be no mistakes but those that are made by man, the created lord of all. The worm to the dust, and the eagle to the skies—the furred bear to the frigid north, and the camel to the regions of his native sun-all know their place, and only man mistakes his destiny. The stork, and the turtle, and the swallow let not go by the season in which alone they can accomplish their passage to a fairer clime, and escape the rigours of the changing season. Man, the wise, the proud, the reasonable, loiters on his journey or mistakes the way. He sees the times advance-every year he numbers gives him fresh warning of the coming change earth is gliding from beneath his feet-the heaven for which he was created lies before him. But no; he will not set out. He has built his nest upon the earth, and he persists in keeping it till there is no more time to make ready for his flight. Designed for immortality, formed to the enjoyment of celestial bliss, he takes the world to be his portion, and contents himself. What stronger proof could there be, that something must have happened since man was first created, to cause a confusion that has fallen on nothing else.—Mrs. Wilson.
SOUTHEY'S MOTHER AND HER TIMES. My mother was born in 1752. She was a remarkably beautiful infant, till, when she was between one and two years old, the nursemaid carried her to Newgate, and there she took the small-pox in its most maglignant form. It seemed almost miraculous that she escaped with life and eyesight, so dreadfully severe was the disease; but her eyebrows were almost destroyed and the whole face seamed with scars. While she
was a mere child, she had a paralytic affection, which deadened one side from the hip downward, and crippled her for about twelve months. Some persons advised that she should be placed out of doors in the sunshine as much as possible; and one day, when she had been carried out as usual into the forecourt, in her little arm chair, and left there to see her brothers at play, she arose from her seat to the astonishment of the family, and walked into the house. The recovery from that time was complete. The fact is worthy of notice, because some persons may derive hope from it in similar cases, and it is by no means improbable that the sunshine really effected the cure.
Never was any human being blest with a sweeter temper, or a happier disposition. She had an excellent understanding, and a readiness of apprehension, which I have rarely known surpassed. In quickness of capacity, in the kindness of her nature, and in that kind of moral magnetism which wins the affections of all within its sphere, I never knew her equal. To strangers she must probably have appeared much disfigured by the small-pox. I, of course, could not be sensible of this. Her complexion was very good, and nothing could be more expressive than her fine clear hazel eyes.
Female education was not much regarded in her childhood. The ladies who kept boarding-schools in those days did not consider it necessary to possess any other knowledge themselves than that of ornamental needlework. Two sisters, who had been mistresses of the most fashionable school in Herefordshire, fifty years ago, used to say when they spoke of a former pupil, “Her went to school to we:" and the mistress of which, some ten years later, was thought the best school near Bristol (where Mrs. Siddons sent her daughter,) spoke, to my perfect recollection, much such English as this.-Life of Southey, by his Son.
“I MUST WORK.”—JOHN ix. 4. In this expression, our Lord acknowledges a great principle, and brings himself under the important law of activity.
Activity appears to be one of the essential conditions of existence. In all parts of the universe we find symptoms of its
presence and power. All creatures are actively engaged, doing their work, and hurrying forward to their final destination. The elements of nature around us are ever active, producing the changes of the seasons and of the times. Thc different orders and families of animated nature no sooner begin to live, than they begin to work. The sun, and moon, and planets, with all the starry host, incessantly move on in obedience to the laws of their being-" They never tire nor stop to rest." In a word, all nature, clouds, winds, sea, sun, moon, stars, and earth : all are active.
In the unseen world the same law prevails. The condemned find no quiet, but an ever active torment stings an ever active mind. The spirits whom God has confirmed in their blessedness are still “his servants," and "serve him," in song and in active effort, as well as in contemplation; and in love they find their rest. The angelic choir, too, is active; all the ranks of their hosts are ministering spirits, sent forth to minister ; we see them not, but
“ Millions of spiritual beings walk this earth,
As well when men awake as when they sleep." Good and evil angels, doubtless, are active as well in this world, as in the one which is peculiarly their own.
All creatures, then, in earth, or heaven, or hell, from the lowest to the highest, and from the holiest to the most wicked, conform to this great law. Nay, Jehovah the Supreme Creator joins with the works of his hands to confirm it; “ My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” “I must work."
That Christians are not exempt from this obligation, many considerations go to prove; and that each has his own particular sphere of action may be speedily made manifest. The general hints, as laid down in the Holy Scriptures, seem to comprehend time and eternity, the soul and the body, myself and my neighbour, the creature and God. All the duties which are done are to be performed willingly, cheerfully, and diligently; we must display activity in every department of labor, and we must omit none; we must do all we can for our own best interests, and for others, but we must do both for God, with an eye to him, from love to him, and for his glory.
When we look round we see many objects claiming our
activity; when we look upon ourselves, we find temporal interests to be advanced, a heart and an intellect to be cultivated, and a soul to be saved.
Nor can any one say it is possible to omit these, and be innocent or prosperous. Every one who calmly reflects must adopt the words of the Lord Jesus—“I must work.”
Consider moreover the express declarations of Scripture in many parts of the saered volume. I will mention a few(Eccles. ix. 10,) “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might, for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave whither thou goest." See also Rom. xü. 11, xii. 12.-1 Cor. xv. 58.-Phil. č. 12, and 2 Peter i. 10, all of which urge you to say, “I must work the works of him that sent me while it is day: the night cometh when no man can work."
Consider the examples of the best and most eminent. To pass by the prophets, let us look at the Lord—“He went about doing good," and could say it was his meat and his drink to do the will of his Father. The energy of Peter and the apostles is conspicuous; Paul was "in labours more abundant.” In more modern times Luther, Calvin, and the Reformers, both English and continental, distinguished themselves not only by their writings, but by their lectures, sermons, and general efforts day by day. Baxter, though weak in body, made wonderful efforts in preaching, catechising, and with his pen. He wrote onehundred and forty-three distinct treatises.
Those eminent scholars of the seventeenth century, Lightfoot, Pococke, Poole, Castell, and Walton, seem to have lived only to labor. Still nearer our own times the amiable and diligent Dr. Doddridge furnishes us with another example in one walk, while Wesley and Whitefield are eminent in others in preaching, organizing, and conducting societies, in labors and in travels, they wore away their lives.
What eminence, too, were attained by Scott, Newton, and Romaine, by faithful diligence in their work; to name no more, Howard, Clarkson, Wilberforce, and Mrs. Fry, furnish additional examples, and every example in goodness should be a motive to its imitation.
The character of real religion is such, that its possessor cannot be idle; hence we read of the “work of faith," the “labour of love;" and that “faith without works is dead." Activity in religion is good for the soul's health, happiness, and honor. Our relations to time, to our fellow-men, and to God, all present motives to activity. The value of the soul, and the momentous fact that every man shall in eternity receive a reward proportioned to his works in time, urge us to activity. In a word, no voice but slothful self-indulgence will invite us to repose. Earth and time are for work, heaven and eternity for rest. Let us endeavour to devote ourselves to the practice of good during this year more than we have done in the past, and let this be our motto," I must work."
B. H. C. Moreton in Marsh.
INDULGENCES AND PARDONS. ERASMUS has justly been styled the pioneer of the Reformation. He it was who, by his learning, his keen perception of truth, and his pointed satire, principally contributed to demolish the fabric of the Roman superstition, upon the ruins of which LUTHER laid that basis of scriptural truth, which has formed the foundation for fairer and purer forms of faith.
The following piece of satire is from his “Colloquy of Rash Vows."
Arnold, one of the characters introduced, speaks of a pilgrim returning from Rome who had been left at Florence, apparently dying, of whom he expresses a hope that he is already in heaven; when Cornelius asks
Corn.- Was he then so pious?
Arn.—Because he had his satchel stuffed full of the most ample indulgences.
Corn.—I understand; but it is a long road to heaven, nor a very safe one as I hear, on account of the highwaymen which infest the middle region of the firmament.
Arn.—That is true, but he was sufficiently provided with passports.