Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

touched me; but I was too much taken up with little hands a harp is placed ; on her sorrowless play at the time to care.

head a crown of gold is set. She went away to another sister, and got a ! They could not comfort me. I believed every brick from her. So the baby was happy, and word which they told me of her happiness, but soon both she and I had forgotten all about it. that did not comfort me.

But I was to remember my unkindness again ; They laid her under the green grass, and soon for, when the trees were getting green, and the the daisies grew over her head. Not so soon did flowers springing up, and the earth looking her | my sorrow pass away. loveliest, God took our baby-sister to that land God saw that this sad and sore lesson was where the trees are ever green, and the flowers needed to make me less selfish; and not until never fade.

it was fully learned, in all its bitterness, did He • The baby is dead !' they told me. They took send me comfort. me to see her lying on her little bed. As I looked And though it is a long, long time ago now on her face, now so cold and passionless; on since then, and many a winter's snows have her eyelids, shut fast by the hand of death; the lain on her grave, and many a summer's flowers memory came back to me of an earnest pleading bloomed there, I cannot yet think without pain face, and blue eyes filled with tears by my un of the day when I grieved the baby-sister whom kindness. I lay down on the floor beside her God lent us for a season; and have written this bed, and wept long and sore.

for you, dear little ones now reading it, in the Then they told me that she was happy-quite, hope that, by God's help and blessing, your little perfectly happy; that nothing could ever grieve hands may be made gentler, and your little hearts her any more; that even now, as we looked at kinder, towards those little ones whom your the empty body of our baby, her spirit was in loving Father has given you to love. heaven,-one of those infant angels whom Jesus Little children, love one another.' keeps so close and near to himself; that in her

0. D.

TIIE CHASTENED SOUL'S CHOICE.

Let us fall now into the hand of the Lord, for his mercies aro great.'—2 SAM. xxiv. 14.

DAVID had sinned ; the pride of his heart, | The Lord does not present us with three evils, excited by Satan, had led him astray; and the out of which to choose what we think is the prophet meets him with a message from God, as | best; but He presents us with good in its inone who had entered into temptation. But his finitely varied forms. He spreads out before us heart had already smitten him, and he had gone | his word, the riches of his everlasting covenant, to the throne with his inward sorrow, saying, and says, “Ask what I shall give thee.' Let • Take away the iniquity of thy servant, for I us 'open our mouths wide, and He will fill have done very foolishly. In this frame the them." divine proposal—to choose one of three troubles Still, it may be that, in consequence of various

-was laid before him. It is seldom that God trials and sorrows, we may be in a great strait allows his people to choose their own troubles; of perplexity. If so, let us adopt David's resoand David wisely casts himself back on God. / lution; and whatever may have brought us He had learned what man is, and he had also into our trouble, let us fall into the hands of learned by experience how gracious God is. The the Lord.' If we fall penitently and resignedly event proved that, though God would not pass into the hands of Omnipotence, saying, "Let over the sin of David, and of his people, yet that | Him do as seemeth Him good,' we shall prove He could overrule all for good. This was a kind that we are under the shadow of his tender of clearing-up storm in David's eventful life. mercies. Then came the tranquil evening, to be followed

• Use the rod, apd not the sword; by the bright day of Solomon's prosperous reign.

Correct with kind simplicity; New discoveries, new blessings, sprang out of

Bring me not to nothing, Lord, this last trial of David's.

But bring me home to Thco!'

Words in Seaso it.

BIBLE THOUGHTS.

| Satan; to convert Israel and the Gentiles; to exe

cute vengeance; to raise his saints; to judge and BY THE EDITOR.

to reign. For these things He comes. He is only 1 Cor. 1. 7.

waiting for the time appointed of the Father. Then At Corinth there was a large and noble church. He shall appear in his glory, no longer the man of It was not perfect; there were errors and divisions sorrows, but the Conqueror, the Bridegroom, the in it; there was gross sin in it. Yet it was not crowned King. only a true church, but one of high attainment. III. The Posture : "Waiting' (see Rom. viii. The Corinthian saints were enriched in all utter- | | 19, 23).—As the servant for the master; the traance and all knowledge. They had gifts as well veller or mariner for the morning; the bride for as graces; manifold gifts; all gifts; they came the bridegroom. In all these there is eager and behind or were deficient in no gift; they abounded earnest expectation. The event is infinitely dein them. They were an advancing church ; a sirable; the person is the object of love. We have church of true progress, in knowledge, gifts, and heard of Him; we long to see Him, and to hear holiness.

his voice. His absence is sadness and gloom. As Thus there may, in a church, be much evil in | Rutherford says, 'It is like a mountain of iron on the midst of much good. Even when there are our heavy hearts.' All seems to go wrong in that divisions and inconsistencies, there may be life and time of absence. In such a case waiting' is a fruit. The remedy for all the evil, and the source necessity; we cannot but wait. (1) We wait in of all good, was to be their holding fast Christ and faith ; (2) In hope ; (3) In patience; (4) In his truth,-Christ, the power of God and the wis- desire; (5) In love; (6) In watchfulness. Such dom of God.

was the church's position before Messiah's first It is progress at which we are to aim,-eachcoming; such is it before his second. It is the church, each Christian. We must first start-| posture of the church-and of each saint. They start in the right direction for the walk or the are waiters and watchers. There must be no forrace. We must begin with believing; we must be getfulness, no indifference, no sloth, no sleep; all rooted and grounded in love. And then progress, | wakefulness, eagerness, and longing. Many things true progress begins; not till then. Having begun, tend to hinder this, and to throw us off our guard. we go on unto perfection; we increasc and abound | Let us beware, and hold fast. Let us not sleep as in wisdom, truth, holiness, hatred of sin, love to do others, but watch. the brethren, pity for the world. Onward, upward, IV. The connection between this posture and the is our motto. Our earnestness after true progress, gifts: it is close, vital, and mutual.—The gifts and our dread of progress falsely so called, should cherish the waiting, and the waiting the gifts : the go together.

one helps the other. The more we wait, the more But, along with these gifts, there was one thing the gifts will grow; and the more they grow, the specially noticeable in these Corinthians : they more will we wait. (1.) The gifts are all from waited for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ, out of his fulness; and the more we possess Let us mark here

of the gifts, the more shall we desire to know the 1. The Person.-He is not here designated Son giver; the more copious and pleasant our draughts of man, or Son of God, King, or Master, or Bride of the stream, the inore shall we long for the foune groom, but ‘Lord Jesus Christ,'—his fullest, largest tainhead. (2.) The gifts are the gifts of the Spirit, title, and one which the apostle delights to repeat and He is the Witness of Christ : the more that at full length, as if never weary of it. He is-(1.) we are filled with Him, the more shall we wait, Lord; nay, He is Lord of lords : He is Lord in and look, and long for Him to whom He testifies, the sense of God; He is Jehovah; for this is his and whom his oflice is to glorify. Thus the two Old Testament name. (2.) Jesus; Jah, the Sa things are inseparably linked together. We cannot viour; He who saves us from our sins; a divine be growing Christians without waiting for Christ; Saviour. (3.) Christ; Messiah, the anointed One; and we cannot wait for Christ without growing. filled with the Spirit without measure; the vessel (1.) Press on.--Stationary saintship is as poor as of infinite and divine fulness. These three names it is perilous. Advance, advance! Make this your declare his glory, and also reveal his grace. In motto. Be progressive Christians; belong to the them we read : God is love ;' God so loved the advanced school of theology and holiness, in the world;' Herein is love.'

true sense. II. The Event : “the coming of the Lord Jesus (2.) Beware of stumbling and backsliding. - The Christ.'—The word is properly the Apocalypse,' tendencies, both within and without, are all against or revelation,' or 'manifestation. He is now us. Snares and stumblingblocks are in our path. hidden-unseen-within the veil. But this con Be on your guard. Look to your feet. Dread one cealment is not always to last. God hath appointed retrogressive step. Watch against coldness and a day for revelation. Then He shall be visible; prayerlessness. every eye shall see Him. His first coming is the (3.) Wait for the revelation of Christ.—Be this greatest event in earth's past history; his second your posture constantly ; not theoretical, but praccoming is the greatest in its future. He shall tical. Let nothing come between you and a crucicome! Behold, the Lord cometh. He comes in fied Christ; a risen Christ; a glorified Christ ; it glory; in majesty ; with clouds; with all his saints; coming Christ. Look for, and hasten to, the comto destroy antichrist ; to deliver creation; to binding of the day of God.

[ocr errors]

THE TEN VIRGIN S.*

-

JMONG the Jews the marriage cere- | gone as it was at first arranged, -had the brideCAD mony was always celebrated at groom come at the usual, the set time, the

nightfall, and the marriage supper marriage lamp, with the ordinary supply of oil was given in the house of the bride- that it contained, would have been sufficient.

groom, and not in that of the bride. But to the five wise virgins the idea had occurred The bridegroom, accompanied by a select number that it was at least within the bounds of possidi companions, his friends, goes to the house bility that a delay in the bridegroom's coming of the bride, to conduct her thence to her new might take place. Some unforeseen accident home. The bride, with a corresponding attend- | might occur, some unthought-of hindrance be ance of companions, awaits his arrival; and thrown before him on his way. To be prepared then, the two bands united, the bridal procession for such delay, in case it should occur, they took moves on to the dwelling where the bridal feast with them other separate vessels beside their s prepared. The ten virgins spoken of in the lamps, containing a supply of oil in reserve, parable are friends of the bride, and are waiting, upon which they might draw in the event of ether at her house, or some suitable place by what was in the lamp itself being all consumed. the way, for the announcement of the bride- | The foolish virgins showed their folly in this, kroon's coming, that they may join the marriage that they were quite satisfied with the provision procession, go forward with it, and sit down at of oil made for them by their inviters, and never the provided feast. All the ten have lamps. thought of supplementing it by any additional This in every event was necessary, as it was only provision of their own. Perhaps the idea of a by lamp-light or torch-light that the procession delay in the bridegroom's coming never occurred could move on. But these lamps of the ten to them. It was a thing that but rarely hapvirgins were not, in all likelihood, their own, pened. The idea of it would not naturally or por carried by them only for the light they | spontaneously arise. It would do so only to were to yield. As it was customary to provide those who gave themselves purposely and deWedding garments, so was to provide wedding | liberately to think over beforehand all that might lamps,-such lamps of themselves marking out | happen, in order to be provided for it. Even if those that bore them as invited guests. Each of the possibility of some delay had occurred or been the ten virgins of the parable has got such an suggested to these foolish virgins, they would invitation to appear on this occasion as an at- have satisfied themselves with thinking that it tendant on the bride, and has accepted it; and never could be so long as to burn out all the oil each holds in her hand the symbol of her cha- which their lamps contained. They were quite racter and office. Very likely the lamps were sure that all would go right; that the brideall of one material and pattern. Very likely the groom would come at the right time. They were ten bearers of these were all dressed alike; and all too eager about the meeting, and the march, that, looking at them as they took up together and the spread-out banquet, to allow their minds their appointed post, you might have seen but to be troubled with calculating all the possible little if any difference in their outward appear- | evils that might occur, and how they could be ance or equipment. Yet there was a great, and, most effectually guarded against. But they were as it proved, a radical-a vital difference between mistaken in their anticipations. them. Five of them were wise, and five were “The bridegroom tarried.' Taking the parable foolish. The wise showed their wisdom in this, I as a prophetical allegory, this is one of the many that they provided beforehand for a contingency | hints given by our Lord, even to the first diswhich, however unlikely, they foresaw might ciples, that his second coming might possibly be possibly occur. The lamp furnished to them bad | deferred longer than they thought. He would quite enough of oil in it to last all the time that not tell them how long; He would say nothing It was thought it would be needed. There was that should absolutely and wholly preclude the more than enough oil in it to carry the bearers | idea of his speedy advent, his coming at any from the one house to the other; and had all time, to any generation of the living; but yet

He would not have them so count upon his "From "The Passion Week.' By Rev. Dr. HANXA. | coming being at hand, as to make no preparation 23.–2.

for his absence being prolonged, as to commit | burning as brilliantly as at the first. Not so that species of folly chargeable upon the five with the foolish virgins. They look despairingly foolish virgins.

at their fading lights. They have no fresh oil And while the bridegroom tarried, they all to feed their flame. The only resource, in their slumbered and slept,'—the wise and the foolish | extremity, is to apply, in all the eagerness and alike. Perhaps there may be a prophetic glance impatience of despair, to their companions : towards that which shall be the condition of the 'Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out.' world at the time of Christ's second coming,—to | But the wise had been economic, as they had the general surprise with which that event shall been foreseeing. They had enough for themburst upon a slumbering, unexpectant earth. selves, but no such superabundance that they Whatever secondary allusion of this kind it may could safely and prudently supply their neighcarry with it, you will notice that this slumber- | bours : ‘Not so; lest there be not enough for ing and sleeping of all is not only what might us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, naturally have been expected under the circum- and buy for yourselves.' It was the only alterstances, but what is necessary to lead the story | native left. But, alas! it failed; for while they on to the contemplated issue. The delay had were away beating up the oil-sellers, and trying been longer than any one could have imagined. to make a speedy purchase, the bridegroom came. The bridegroom should have been there soon | The five that were ready passed on with him in after the darkness had fallen. At midnight, had the procession, went in with him to the marriage, the set and common time been kept, rot only and the door was shut. would the procession have been all over, but the The ten virgins of the parable represent so feast nearly finished. It had been with all the many of the professed disciples of our Lord. virgins a busy day, getting all things ready for Their common equipment, and their common so great an occasion. Was it wonderful that, attitude,-all of them with marriage lamps in when, hour after hour, there was no signal of their hands, standing waiting the bridegroom's the approach, tired nature should claim her due, coming,—tell us of that prepared and waiting their excited spirits should fail and flag, their posture in which all who call themselves by the eyes get heavy, and that they should all slumber name of Christ are or ought to be found, as those and sleep? Had there been no such sleeping, who are looking for the coming and glorious had all kept awake throughout, the foolish vir- appearing of the great God, and our Saviour gins, by the gradual consumption of the oil | Jesus Christ. within their lamps,-perhaps by noticing also It would, however, be unjust to this parable, and reflecting on the provision in the separate and it would involve us speedily in inextricable vessels that their companions had made, -would difficulties of interpretation, if we either took have become timeously aware of the danger that the ten virgins as representing the whole colwas at hand, and might have provided against lective body of the visible church, or took the it. On the other hand, had it been the foolish difference of conduct here displayed, and the only who slept, and, while they slept, had the difference of destiny to which it led,--the final wise been watching at their side, we could not separation of the five wise and five foolish, -as well have excused them if, when the foolish typical of those two companies which are to awakened, they had charged their companions stand, the one on the right hand, and the other with great unkindness, in having suffered them on the left, of their great Judge. Christ's obto sleep on, when they must have seen the lject here is much more limited. He is urging catastrophe that was impending. We are dis- | throughout this part of his discourse the duty posed, therefore, to regard this incident as thrown of watchfulness with regard to his approaching in, rather in order to conduct the story to its advent; and in this parable it is one form or proper close, than as having any distinct and kind of that watchfulness which He desires to peculiar symbolic signification of its own. inculcate. He does this by showing, in an illus

At midnight the cry came: Behold, the bride- trative instance, what special benefit it may be groom cometh; go ye out to meet him.' This to him who practises it, and what painful concry rouses all the sleepers. All is haste and sequences the absence of it may entail. The bustle now, as if there were an eagerness to kind of watchfulness here so strikingly pressed make up for the previous delay. As they start upon our regards, and emblematically exhibited up from their sleep, the ten virgins all see that in the conduct of five of the ten virgins, is their lamps, which they eagerly grasp, are just prudence, - that reflective forethought, which dying out. With the wise it is a quick and easy busies itself in providing beforehand for emerthing to clear and cleanse the wick, and to pour gencies that may possibly arise; the same virtue, in a fresh supply out of their auxiliary vessels. transferred to spiritual things, which distinA minute or two so spent, and their lamps are guishes the wise and the prudent of this world,

who profitably spend many an hour in conjectur They that were ready went in: and the door ing what possible contingencies as to their earthly was shut.' What a surprise, what a disappointaffairs may arise, and in contriving and arranging ment, the five foolish virgins must bave met how each, if it do happen, should be met. | with when they came and found that already

Among the children of the kingdom, the wise the bridal party had entered, the bridal supper and the prudent are they who, having been had commenced, and that the door was closed called to that marriage supper of the Lamb, and against their entrance! They had been invited having received the gracious invitation to sit to this marriage feast, and they had accepted down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in this invitation, as special friends of the bride. the kingdom of heaven, prize the invitation so The idea of their being excluded from the banhighly, and are so anxious that nothing should quet had never entered into their minds--no, defraud them of the eternal blessedness to which not even after their lamps had gone out. True, it points, that they give themselves with all they had not taken the same precaution with diligence to the consideration of all the possible their wiser companions ; but who could have risks that might come in the way of its finally predicted so tedious a delay ? True, they had being made good to them, and to the best methods not been able to join the procession at the first ; of guarding against them should they occur. but now they have got fresh oil, and their lamps They look beyond the present; they anticipate are burning as brightly as at first. The door is evil before it comes; they strive to secure them- | closed against them—surely by inadvertence; selves against surprise; to stand forearmed to it had not been perceived that they still were meet each enemy. Opposed to them, and an- wanting to complete the company. They knock swering to the foolish virgins of this parable, the door opens not; they hear the bridegroom's are those thoughtless disciples who, satisfied with own voice within—the very voice of their inhaving got the invitation, and with being ranked viter. With an eagerness in which fear begins among the number of the invited, foresee no to mingle, they cry out, Lord, Lord, open to danger, take no precaution, and make no pro- | us.' The only answer they get is, Verily, I vision against it. ...

know you not,'--an answer which too plainly • The bridegroom came; and they that were tells them that within that joyous dwelling they ready went in with him to the marriage. The never shall set foot. future, the everlasting blessedness in store for the warning here strikes home upon us all. all true followers of Christ, is spoken of here, We too have heard the invitation of our Saviour, as so frequently elsewhere, as a royal banquet and outwardly have accepted it. Our Chrisor feast: “Blessed are they which are called unto tianity may be such as shall stand well enough the marriage supper of the Lamb.' Scene of the scrutiny of our neighbours, and as may open unrivalled glory, of exhaustless joy ; rich and to us, without any right of challenge, admission rare the food provided for the guests in the great to the table of communion. But how many are banqueting-hall of immortality! Other viands there, among such professors of Christianity, for at other feasts soon pall on the sated sense; but whom a surprise as unexpected and as terrible for those viands upon which the spirits of the is in reserve as met those foolish virgins! The blessed shall for evermore be nourished up into man who never fears that it may be so with him a growing likeness unto God, the appetite shall at the last, —who can hear about the door of ever grow quicker the more that is partaken, heaven being shut against those who, up to the and the relish be ever the more intense. The last, expected to get in, and no trembling apcompanionship at other festivals finally wearies; prehension come upon his spirit that he himself sooner or later we begin to desire that it should may be among that number,-is the very man close; but in the hallowed unions and fellow- | in whose person that terrible catastrophe is most ships that shall be there, new sources of interest, | likely to be realized. When we know that there new springs of delight, shall be ever opening, is so great a possibility, nay, we may say, so each coming to know the other better, and each great a probability of self-deception ; when we fresh access of knowledge bringing fresh access | believe that so many have practised that selfof love, and confidence, and joy. Other feasts deception on themselves throughout life, and are broken up; and sad and dreary is the hall never have awakened from its illusions till they where hundreds met in buoyant joy, when, the stood before that door of heaven, and found it guests all gone, the lights grow dim, and dark closed against them for ever,-how diligent in ness and loneliness take the place of the bright self-scrutiny should each of us now be ; how smile and ringing laugh. But that marriage anxious that he possess not the name only, but supper of the Lamb shall know no breaking up; the disposition, the character, the habits, the its tables shall never be withdrawn; its com conduct of a true follower of Jesus Christ! Let panionship shall never end.

us apply, then, to ourselves those most impressive

« VorigeDoorgaan »