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thing but see. They have not even thought it worth while to modify the forms of language in use amongst those who are blessed with sight. “Eh ! mon 'tis lang sin I've seen ye,” was the customary salutation of Tom Wilson the blind bell-ringer of Dumfries, on meeting an old friend. So in ordinary conversation it is in most cases impossible from the phraseology employed to detect any trace of their loss. They will describe objects, to us only known through the medium of our eyesight, as graphically as if they were visibly before them. Metcalf the blind road-surveyor would enumerate as accurately as any geologist could do, the courses and the nature of the various soils through which his roads passed. The 'perusal' of the works of Reaumur and Bonnet was the chief instrumentality which called forth the wonderful powers of Huber. But that a blind man should read, is less remarkable than that he should observe so accurately as to distance all competitors. “He had a servant in his family, equally remarkable for his sagacity, and for his attachment to his master. Huber drilled him in the art of observing, directed him in his enquiries by questions dexterously proposed, and by means of his own youthful recollections, and the confirmatory testimony of his wife and friends, he corrected the reports of his assistant, and in this way succeeded in acquiring a clear and accurate idea of the most minute facts. 'I am much more certain,' he said to a friend one day, laughing,
of what I relate, than you are yourself, for you publish only what you have seen with your own eyes, whereas I take a medium among the testimony of many.""
This is the lesson we are particularly anxious our young readers should carry away with them. Let them in all their knowledge “take a medium among the testimony of many;" and they will be less positive and much nearer the truth. God has not given them five senses that they should trust implicitly to one. Each will admit of much higher education than it has yet been subject to, and all must be often called together when an unerring verdict is required. “In the multitude of counsellors there is wisdom.” A Committee of the Senses only can decide aright.
A FEW WORDS ON PRAYER. I HAVE sometimes caught myself cherishing backwardness to prayer, by the following plausible, though fallacious, argument:—God is omniscient, and therefore knows all that I want. If, therefore, I fall upon my knees, and beg him, for Christ's sake, to give me all good things, and avert from me evil things, it is all that is necessary.
This is wrong, and arises from spiritual indolence—from a disinclination to the exertion of pouring out one's heart in prayer. Prayer is an exertion, and should be an exertion, and the more we realize what an infinitely Holy Being we are addressing, the more we shall feel it an exertion.--"Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter anything before God; for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth; therefore let thy words be few.” This is the caution of the wise man--and from it we learn that our petitions should be carefully weighed, before they are given utterance to at the throne of grace, either mentally or verbally.
Now this necessary reflection is the exertion which the mind shrinks from, and which it tries to escape by the abovementioned argument. But as almost all temporal satisfactions come not without our own labour, so also it has pleased God to require of us that we should ask him for what we would have. Though he, indeed, knows all we want long before we ourselves feel our need, yet he delights in the outpourings of the hearts of his people, because it generates in them a feeling of dependence. Being accustomed to ask him for all that they want, when they receive these things they recognize him as the giver. Moreover, if we do not implore God for particular blessings, how are we to know whether he is a prayer-answering God? It is in waiting for and expecting answers to particular prayers, that our patience is exercised, and our faith tried; and by receiving them evidently in answer to prayer, that our faith is strengthened, and our love increased: which happy effects would be altogether lost, if we contented ourselves with the general system of prayer alluded to above.
Again, if we do not make our special “ requests known to God,” we cannot observe his tender mercy towards us; and there is a very vast difference between the feeling of one who regards God as a God of mercy, and one who looks upon him
as a God of tender mercy. We might almost go so far as to say that there is as much difference between the two, as between a Heathen Philosopher and a Christian Socrates said, "He prayed to the gods simply to give him all good things, and to keep from him evil things.” When we first read this sentiment we admire the apparent confidence in God, displayed in it; but the above reflections, apart from the consideration that such is not the most acceptable way of addressing God, convince us how much any one would lose by such a course. It was beyond Heathenism, however refined, to trace the indulgent hand of a kind Father, in the dealings of Providence, to delight in blessings obtained, because asked for: this is the Christian's peculiar pleasure. It was Christ alone who taught the all-comforting doctrine, “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, He will give it you." The pleasures of philosophy were great and consisted in abstract reasonings about God, and a future state; but the pleasures of religion are greater, and consist primarily, in the confidence from experience, that God answers prayer. The more we reflect, the more convinced, I am sure we shall be, that this is the foundation of real enjoyment in religion.
I will just, before I close, remind my readers of two or three proofs that God requires us to be urgent in our prayers, and therefore to enter into the details of our wants; because there could be no great urgency if we contented ourselves with simply asking for good, and preservation from evil. Jacob, when wrestling with God, said, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me; and He blessed him there.” Our blessed Saviour himself derives the lesson from two of his parables ; in one of which he supposes a man to be urgently pressed at night by a friend, to rise and give him some bread. Our Lord says, the man would not do it because he was his friend, but because of his importunity, and from this, encourages his disciples to pray for what they want; “I say unto you, ask and it shall be given you.” And from the parable of the unjust judge, who relieved the poor widow because she, by her continual coming, wearied him, our Lord argues that, “much more shall God avenge his own elect, who cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them."
A “ PECULIAR” HORSE. In the diary of the late Dr. Chalmers, the following entry so characteristic of his deliberation and forbearance occurs under date of April 14, 1812. “Left Kilmany on horseback for Kircaldy. Was annoyed with the peculiarities of my horse on the road, and gave way to an old habit of vehemence on the subject. This must be carefully guarded against.”
The “ peculiarities” alluded to were certainly of somewhat annoying character. “What most provoked him with his horse,” says a note upon the passage, “ was the frequency with which he threw him! At first he was much interested by noticing the relative length of the intervals between each fall. Taking the average length, and calculating how far a dozen falls would carry him, he resolved to keep the horse till the twelfth fall was accomplished. Extremely fond of such numerical adjustments, he was most faithful in observing them. In this instance, however, the tenth fall was so bad an one, that his resolution gave way, and he told his servant to take the horse to the next market and sell him forthwith. As might have been expected, no purchaser appeared, the conscientious owner having insisted that his faults should be all told. The horse was finally exchanged for one of Baxter's works! It served its new master quietly and faithfully for many a year, and no vicious disposition ever shewing itself, it was plausibly conjectured that the “ peculiarities” already noticed were not so much in the horse as in the singularly restless and energetic horsemanship of its rider.”
THE TEST OF PREACHING. A popular preacher, one who had trimmed his sermons so as to suit the taste rather than to awaken the consciences of his congregation, being complimented on his death-bed on the crowds that had always gathered round his ministry, turned away in an agony when he reflected how little he had sent the arrows of conviction home to the hearts of his hearers, and exclaimed in a tone of deep self-reproval, “ I was fiddling when Rome was burning."
It is a singular fact, and one that we do not remember to have seen noticed, that many of our “ London Sights"-our Public Exhibitions, for which folks travel so far, and of which they talk with so much relish and admiration-are only meagre gleanings from the Great Free Exhibition of Nature. So morbid indeed are the tastes of many, that they will actually pay dearly to see an imperfect copy, whilst the beautiful original itself is within their reach for nothing. Toil and money expended, too, seem in many cases to give value to an object which has perhaps been carelessly overlooked when it might be seen for nothing.
We hear a great deal of Free Exhibitions in the metropolis and other cities, and prize them as boons very kindly and considerately granted to the poorer classes, whilst we are too ready to overlook the wonders spread before us in nature with so liberal a hand.
What Free Exhibition, for example, can equal a summer's sunrise—the best golden ointment in existence for the eyes, and the finest tonic for the whole system—the mere sight of it bringing a glow of health into the cheek, and a youthful warmth into the heart, superior to anything produced by the most wonder-working nostrum ever invented. And what new beauties are every moment opening before us, as we go forth at “incense-breathing morn" amongst woods and wilds, hills and streams, startling the wary rabbit in his gambols, or scaring the blackbird from his early resting-place.
In the whole landscape we have a magnificent Exhibitionin its details, a Museum richer and more interesting than any ever shrined within walls, and possessing this inestimable advantage, that we see everything in its place, and in the full and unrestrained use of its natural habits and instincts.
We go to see a Collection of Insects, it may be, but we have only before us the literal facts of their existence-form, colour, beauty, exquisite contrivance-without any of the poetry of their little lives. We do not know where, or even how, each lives, and moves, and has its being—who are its associates how it spends its time, or any one of the thousand associations that make its