« VorigeDoorgaan »
SORROW and strife and pain
Have crushed my spirit with relentless hand; Long have I toiled, O Lord, and wrought in vain, But still at Thy command.
Into the wide blue sea,
Clinging to Thine own word, I cast the net;
Lord, it is hard to stand
Waiting and watching in this silent toil,
While other fishers draw their nets to land
And shout to see their spoil.
My strength fails unawares,
My hands are weak; my sight grows dim with tears; My soul is burdened with unanswered prayers,
And sick of doubts and fears.
I see, across the deep,
The moon cast down her fetters, silver-bright, As if to bind the ocean in His deep
With links of living light,
I hear the roll and rush
Of waves that kiss the bosom of the beach, That soft sea voice that ever seems to hush The tones of human speech.
A breeze comes sweet and chill
Over the waters, and the night wanes fast;
His promise fails; the net is empty still,
Slow fades the moon and stars,
And in the east the new dawn faintly shines
Through the dim gray shadows, flecked with pearly bars,
But lo! what form is this
Standing beside me on the desolate shore?
I bow my knees His garment's hem to kiss!
Master, I doubt no more.
"Draw in thy net, draw in,"
He cries: "Behold the straining meshes break!"
Ah, Lord, the spoil I toiled so long to win
Is granted for Thy sake!
The rosy day blooms out
Like a full-blossomed flower; the joyous sea
Lifts up its voice; the winds of morning shout
ANECDOTES AND SELECTIONS.
Anecdotes and Selections.
THE BOYHOOD OF JESUS.-His outward life was the life of all those of His age and station and place of birth. He lived as lived the other children of peasant parents in that quiet town, and in a great measure as they live now. He who has seen the children of Nazareth in their red caftans and bright tunics of silk or cloth, girded with a manycoloured sash, and sometimes covered with a loose outer jacket of white or blue-he who has watched their games, and heard their ringing laughter as they wander about the hills of their little native vale, or play in bands on the hill-side beside their sweet and abundant fountain -may perhaps form some conception of how Jesus looked when He too was a child. And the traveller who has followed any of those children -as I have done to their simple homes, and seen the scanty furniture, the plain but sweet and wholesome food, the uneventful, happy, patriarchal life, may form a vivid conception of the manner in which Jesus lived. Nothing can be plainer than those houses, with the doves sunning themselves on the white roofs, and the vines wreathing about them. The mats, or carpets, are loose along the walls; shoes and sandals are taken off at the threshold; from the centre hangs a lamp, which forms the only ornament of the room; in some recess in the wall is placed the wooden chest, painted with bright colours, which contains the books or other possessions of the family; on the ledge that runs around the wall, within easy reach, are neatly rolled up the gay-coloured quilts which serve as beds, and on the same ledge are ranged the earthen vessels for daily use; near the door stand the large common water jars, of red clay, with a few twigs of green leaves-often of aromatic shrubs-thrust into their orifices to keep the water cool. At meal time a painted wooden stool is placed in the centre of the apartment, a large tray is put upon it, and in the middle of the tray stands the dish of rice, or meat, or libban, or stewed fruits, from which all help themselves in common. Both before and after the meal the servant, or the youngest member of the family, pours water over the hands from a brazen bowl. So quiet, so simple, so humble, so uneventful, was the outward life of the family of Nazareth.-Farrar's Life of Christ.
A SCRIPTURE COINCIDENCE.-Dr. Burt, in his book, The Far East, thus notes a remarkable scripture coincidence :-" The tourist in Egypt, looking for Bible illustrations, is likely to be disappointed when he finds no 'bulrushes' or 'reeds' answering to those spoken of in the history of the infant Moses. No sign of flag, reed, or other aquatic plant appears either along the Nile or elsewhere. Yet there must have been such plants in former times. The monuments depict them in great variety, the lotus being a favourite. And the rolls of papyrus found in the tombs testify to the existence of such plants, the papyrus having been made from the bark of the paper reed. How interesting to the scripture student to find that the disappearance of these plants was specifically predicted by the scripture writers! See Isaiah xix. 6-10.
ANECDOTES AND SELECTIONS.
But the question comes, Why do not aquatic plants now grow in Egypt? Are not the physical conditions now existing in this country the same which have always prevailed? And does the divine fiat now resist natural laws for the fulfilment of prophecy? I answer that aquatic plants-which, as Herodotus testifies, were extremely valuable -were reared, in the time of Egypt's prosperity, by artificial means, involving the preparation of reservoirs and brooks.' Thus, too, by means of 'ponds' and 'sluices,' the fish were multiplied. And the prediction of Isaiah relates to the destruction of the nice arrangements of artificial life, on which depended the country's high prosperity. And how entirely natural that the bathing place of Pharaoh's daughter should be a cultivated garden, bordering the Nile, where seclusion could be had."
ANECDOTE OF AN ELEPHANT.-In the Garden of Plants, in London, the keepers were engaged in destroying a great number of rats, when one of them escaped and ran to the spot allotted to the elephant. Seeing no other refuge, in the twinkling of an eye the rat snugly ensconced himself in the trunk of the elephant, very much to the dissatisfaction of the elephant. He stamped his foot, twisted his trunk around like the sail of a windmill, and then stood suddenly still, apparently reflecting on what it was best to do. Presently he ran to the water trough where he was accustomed to drink, plunged in his trunk and filled it, and then raising it, dashed out the rat in a torrent like that which issues from the hose of a fire-engine. When the rat struck the ground, the elephant seized him and made him undergo the immersion and projection three or four times. The fourth time the rat fell dead. The elephant, with a quiet but majestic air, crushed it under his foot, and then went round to the spectators to make his usual col· lection of dainties.
STRIVE TO BELIEVE.-It is the one, almost only, struggle of religious life to believe. In spite of all the seeming cruelties of this life-in spite of the clouded mystery in which God has shrouded Himself-in spite of pain, and the stern aspect of human life, and the gathering of thicker darkness and more solemn silence round the soul as life goes on, simply to believe that God is love, and to hold fast to that as a man holds on to a rock with a desperate grip when the salt surf and the driving waves sweep over him and take the breath away -I say that is the one fight of Christian life, compared with which all else is easy. When we believe that, human affections are easy. It is easy to be generous and tolerant and benevolent when we are sure of the heart of God, and when the little love of this life, and its coldnesses, and its unreturned affections, are more than made up to us by the certainty that our Father's love is ours. But when we lose sight of that, though but for a moment, the heart sours, and men seem no longer worth the loving; and wrongs are magnified, and injuries cannot be forgiven, and life itself drags on, a mere death in life. A man may doubt anything and everything, and still be blessed, provided only he holds fast to that conviction. Let all drift from Him like seaweed on life's ocean, so long as he reposes on the assurance of the eternal faith
fulness, of the eternal charity, his spirit at least cannot drift. There are moments, I humbly think, when we understand those triumphant words of St. Paul-"Let God be true, and every man a liar."-F. W. Robertson.
THE POWER OF LOVE.-There is no power that can melt and win the heart like love. Argument may fail, authority may lose its influence. The stern command, although backed by right, may be ineffectual. But charity never faileth. Love is the great invincible power in the moral universe. It is the sunshine that thaws the ice of opposition. It is the spring breath that quickens the cold soil of humanity into fruitfulness. In persuasion, it is the key that unlocks the gates of success. We are persuaded that the significance of truth is not sufficiently understood by Christian workers in the different fields of labour. The want of this Christian love in the heart has made many lives comparatively fruitless.
NO BURDENS.-There is a gateway at the entrance of a narrow passage in London over which is written, "No burdens allowed to pass through." "And yet we do pass constantly with ours," said one friend to another, as they turned up this passage out of a more frequented and broader thoroughfare. They carried no visible burdens, but they were like many who, although they have no outward pack upon their shoulders, often stoop inwardly beneath the pressure of a heavy load upon the heart. The worst burdens are those which never meet the eye. There is another gate-one which we are invited to enter, must enter, if we would ever attain to rest and peace, and over which is also inscribed, "No burdens allowed to pass through." This is the straight gate which leads to life; and by it stands One who opened the narrow way to which it leads, saying to each one of us, "Come unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
PETER THE GREAT ON SPEAKING ILL OF OTHERS.-When any one spoke ill of another in the presence of Peter the Great, he at first listened to him attentively, and then interrupted him: "Is there not," said he, " a fair side also to the character of the person of whom you are speaking? Come, tell me what good qualities you have remarked about him."
DOMESTICITY OF GERMAN LADIES.
A RECENT visitor to the rural retreat of Prince Bismarck made a morning call and expressed himself much surprised at being introduced to the wife of the great statesman with a bunch of keys hanging from her girdle. But she was quite as proud of these while attending to her domestic duties as of her diamonds when receiving the diplomatists of the world in her evening receptions while at the capital. And he who is privileged to see the empress herself during the morning hours
THE FIRESIDE. THE PENNY POST BOX.
would most likely find her engaged in arranging or dusting her private apartments, for this duty she is said to attend to regularly. It is no wonder, therefore, that any system of bringing up young girls which would render these good customs obsolete is received with disfavour. The general feeling of the Germans of the better class is decidedly adverse to the wife and mother having any duties outside of the house, except those of general benevolence and of charity, in which woman's hands and presence are most effective. But while demanding this, they are by no means in favour of confining their mental or moral activity to narrow limits. The instructress and example for the children, and the guide of youth, has a task that is by no means compatible with any internal narrowness.
ON WASHING HOUSE PLANTS.
HAVE a large pail or tub filled with warm soap-suds; then, spreading the fingers and palm of the left hand over the soil in the pot, turn the branches topsy-turvy into the warm soap-suds, swing the plant briskly in the water, and rub each leaf with the thumb and finger; give it a good shake, and when dry return it to its place in the window. The leaves of a plant are its lungs, each leaf being furnished with hundreds of minute pores, whence the plants breathe in carbon and exhale oxygen. The perspiration of plants is said to be seventeen times that of the human body. Many plants never bloom on account of the accumulation of dust upon their leaves. A plant too large to be laid down in a tub as above described may be syringed, and each leaf rubbed clean with the finger and thumb, which are better for this purpose than a brush or cloth.-Land and Water.
The Penny Post Box.
THE WORD PROTESTANT.
CONCERNING the origin of the word Protestant the following scrap of history is related :-The Emperor Charles V. called a diet at Spires, in 1529, to request aid from the German princes against the Turks, and to devise means for allaying the disputes growing out of Luther's rebellion against Catholicism. The diet condemned the reformers, and issued a decree in support of the doctrines of the ancient church. Against this decree, the Lutheran princes and the deputies of thirteen towns of the empire formally protested on April 17, 1530. From this act the designation of Protestant, which then was given to the followers of Luther, is derived. The Calvinists were subsequently included, and the title became general for all the sects outside the original Christian church. The six protesting princes were John and George, the electors of Saxony and Brandenburg; Ernest and Francis, the two dukes of Lunenburg; the landgrave of Hesse; and the prince of Anhalt.