« VorigeDoorgaan »
day long watching for the answer, and were salvation?' (Hab. iii. 18.) There is no sorrow given grace to do that, and only that, which so great, or so deep, in which God cannot mingle God would have us do, we should accomplish an cause for rejoicing. We are not wont, it is true, amount of service, and bring forth an amount to sing in the night; but God can, and, if we of fruit, that we could neither accomplish nor ask Him, He will, put a new song into our bear in any other possible way.
| mouth, even praise unto our God' (Ps. xl. 3). Do not for a moment suppose that, if you were And He himself says, “Whoso offereth praise, strong and well, you could glorify God far more glorifieth me' (Ps. 1. 23). But besides joy, think than you can now that his hand has laid this | what opportunities of bearing fruit God has sickness upon you. Think how precious his own placed within your reach, in the exercise of love, glory must be to Him ; how continually it is peace, gentleness, etc. etc. Oh! seek to bear given as a reason for his mighty acts! (See Isa. much of such fruit, that, when you hear the xlii. 8, xliii. 7, xlviii. 11.) How often is his | Beloved praying that the north wind and the name or his glory used as the very strongest and south may blow upon his garden, that the spices most unanswerable plea in urging a request! thereof may flow out, you may be able to answer As we hear Daniel pleading: 0 Lord, hear; 0 in the words of the Bride, “Let my Beloved come Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits' not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city (Song iv. 16). and thy people are called by thy name' (Dan. But perhaps the greatest comfort a child of ix. 19; see also Josh. vii. 8, 9). You may well, God can have, when set apart from active work then, trust God to take care of his own glory, by sickness, or by other circumstances, is the and believe that, having infinite wisdom and contemplation of our blessed Saviour's own life infinite power, as well as infinite love, He has on earth. He was only thirty-three years old placed you in the very position, and surrounded when He died on the cross; and for thirty years you with the very circumstances, where you can out of the thirty-three, He was what many, in best promote his glory.
these busy days, would probably call idle. Though There is most perfect rest in the full realizing his power was as great, and his love as tender of this blessed truth. And a change of work is as afterwards, yet, during those thirty years, He not idleness. True, you cannot go out and work; | did not perform one single miracle. He must but cannot God bring work to you even in your surely have met many a widow as sorrowful as sick-room? If from your heart you are enabled her of Nain; yet He never laid his hand on the to give up your own will,—to cease saying, “I bier, and bade the dead arise. He must have want to do this or that,' and simply to say, 'Lord, known many a home left desolate, like that at wbat wilt Thou have me to do?'--you will marvel | Bethany; but He never put forth his power, at the answers that will conie; and is not work and restored the loved one to his home again. doubly precious that comes so direct from God, Nay, more, souls were perishing around Him, and as all such work must do?
He did not proclaim himself to be the Saviour But supposing you are too ill, or too suffering, of sinners. He could not have loved Jerusalem to be able to do anything for others, except pray less dearly then than when He wept over its for them,-or, it may be, not even to do that, - coming ruin; and yet, for thirty years, He gave you are not necessarily idle. The tiny child is no invitation to its inhabitants to repent. How not idle as she sits on her mother's knee, learning are we to account for this? How, but by the her little verse or hymn, or listening eagerly to fact that He came from heaven, not to do his
the sweet story of old. And you are not idle own will, but the will of Him that sent Him as you sink down, wearily it may be, but trust- (John vi. 38); and to do that will, whatever it fully, on the everlasting arms, and, yielding up might be, was his ‘mcat and drink' (John iv. your own will for active service, just look up at 34). your Saviour. Ah! is it not thus that you are Think for a moment what those long years of to grow like Him-thus that you are to be trans- | waiting must have been to Jesus,-conscious of formed into his image? (2 Cor. iii. 18.) Can his power, yet so patiently waiting till his hour any other work so rejoice the heart of God, as was come to manifest it! And ther, when the that of one of his people growing more and more hour came, how unremittingly He did work ! like Jesus? Does any other work bring Him The very interruptions, as we would call them, such glory as this? Can we believe that any which occurred in his day's work, were not fruit is so precious to Him as that which is so counted as interruptions by Him, but as indicaemphatically called the fruit of the Spirit, and tions of the Father's will, and therefore as the which is ‘love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentle very best thing He could do at that particular ness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance?' | moment. (Gal. v. 22, 23.) And there is not one ingredient, Dear sufferer, will not the remembrance of if we may use the expression, in this fruit that those thirty years of our blessed Saviour's life, may not be borne in sickness and in sorrow. in which He waited to begin his work, cheer and
Do you say, There is no joy for me? Not encourage you, while you too are kept waiting ? earthly joy, it may be ; but, as the stars shine | Think of Him, and follow in his steps. Look brightest when the light of day has faded, so, in at that wonderful promise in Isa. xl. 31: They the hour of deepest sorrow, may not the Chris- that wait upon the Lord shall renew their tian say, “Yet?- notwithstanding all that has strength ; they shall mount up with wings as happened, all that may happen— yet I will re-eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and joice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my they shall walk, and not faint.' Turn back to
the 20th verse, and you will find that the very kept you waiting a whole month, and desired same words are applied to God himself (not, of you to remind me of my promise at the end of course, as a promise, but as a fact): "The Creator it?'. of the ends of the earth fainteth not, neither is 'No, mother,' said Philip, I do not know; weary.' Oh, if you do but wait patiently upon | but I am quite sure you had a good reason for God, with what renewed strength will you re- | it, and that you were not afraid you would forturn to active work when your hour has come,
get.' and you hear the joyful summons, 'Go work in His mother smiled as she said, “No, I was not my vineyard to-day!' (Matt. xxi. 28.)
| afraid I should forget; and I am very glad you But perhaps it may never be the Father's will trusted my love enough to be sure I had a good to call you to active service here. If so, do not reason for making you wait. A month is a long fold your hands in despair. Say with Jesus in time for a little boy like you to wait for anythe garden : O my Father, if it be possible, let thing; and I wanted to find out if you were this cup pass from me;' but when you do, fail really anxious for the Bible, or that it was only not to add, as He did, that wonderful ‘ neverthe- a passing fancy. I knew that, if you really less :' Nevertheless, not my will, but thine be wished for it, you would think of it so often done' (Luke xxii. 42). And whatever the answer that you would not fail to remember it when the to that prayer may be, remember that you can day came round.' never be placed in any position, or in any cir- | 'I am sure I thought of it nearly a hundred cumstances, where you may not serve God by times a day,' said Philip energetically. “I used
doing his pleasure. Oh! see to it that you are even to dream about it sometimes; and when I bearing in abundance the fruit of the Spirit, - | used to get tired of waiting, and wonder why the fruit that God loves best, -the fruit that you did not give it to me at once, I used just to thrives and flourishes as well in the night of think how wise you were, and how much you adversity as in the day of prosperity.
loved me, and then it did not seem hard. And Remember also that this life is only, as it were, now I am very glad I had such a long wait, for our school-time,-the time in which the Great | I am sure I shall enjoy my Bible twice as much Teacher is training us for the life to come. He as I would have done if you had given it to me trains each child differently; but with all, every- at once.' thing He does has reference to eternity. By this 'I am sure you will,' replied his mother; and prolonged suffering He may be training you in besides, if I had given it to you the very first the only way He could train you for your work moment that you asked for it, you would have in heaven. There is no idleness there : 'They missed the lessons of trust and patience that I rest not day and night' (Rev. iv. 8). And again, | hope you have learned ; and, my boy, you do * His servants shall serve Him,'— serve Him not know how I rejoice with my whole heart to without let or hindrance from sickness or from see you learn such lessons. God grant you may sorrow,-serve Him by doing his pleasure, and never forget them! Now,' she continued, taking his pleasure only, without flaw or imperfection. half-a-crown out of her purse, 'here is the halfYes; there they shall serve Him day and night crown that I promised. I will shut it up in my in his temple' (Rev. vii. 15).
| hand, and try if you can get it out.'
A shade of disappointment passed over Philip's PHILIP AND HIS BIBLE.
face, but it faded away in a moment; for no
matter what Mrs. Somerville did, Philip was You wonder why it is that, when you ask God always sure that it was right; so, kneeling down for a strictly spiritual blessing,-for something beside her, he made a violent effort to open her that you are quite sure He would wish you to liand. have,—for something, in fact, that He has pro- | “Gently, gently, darling,' said his mother; mised to give to those that ask for it, -that He 'you will never open it that way. Go quietly so often delays a long time before Ho actually about it, and you will have a much better chance gives it.
of success.' May it not be, that though the blessing you Again he tried, and again he failed. Someask for is in itself good, yet that for you, and in what disheartened, he glanced up at bis mother's your particular circumstances, something better face. She was looking so lovingly and encoustill may be gained by the delay ? God may ragingly at him, that he felt she wished him to wait to give you what is good, till, by something succeed. This gave him fresh courage. Though being added to it, it becomes better, or the best. so much stronger than he was, he knew she Perhaps the following parable will explain my would not use that strength against him, but meaning more clearly.
would only use it to teach him a lesson of perMother,' said little Philip one morning, 'this severance, as she had already taught him one of day month you promised to give me half-a-crown trust and patience. to buy a Bible. I know you never forget any- Once more he looked up at the loving face, thing,' he added, as if half ashamed of what he and then tried again to open her hand. Very had said ; but you told me that I might remind gently he went to work, trying to squeeze one you of it in a month, and it is a month this very of his little fingers between hers. She saw that day.'
the lesson had been learned. One by one her I thought of it this morning as I was dress- fingers relaxed, her hand opened, and in joyful ing, dear,' replied Mrs. Somerville ; I hoped | triumph Philip held up the half-crown. you would remember it. Do you know why I Was the mother less happy than the child ?
THE BALL-RO O M.
ET us inquire now if it is consistent that of a Christian parent. Training your house
for Christians to teach their children | hold in the fear of God, should be one of the that which is so inconsistent for brightest rays of that light which is to shine themselves. The precepts of the before men.' In nothing does the grace of God
gospel are here also to be our guide. more distinctly appear. In nothing can it be They are binding, not only in some relations, but more easily obscured. Through you it is to shine in every relation you sustain. And not in a part for the guidance of other parents and households. Derely, but in all these relations you are con- But is dancing any part of the nurture and Dected with the church of Christ. As a Chris- | admonition' the grace of God teacheth? Does tian parent you are bound to Christ. In this not the most thoughtless trifler with things divine very relation you are in covenant with Christian | know the ball-room to be a place pre-eminently treibren. And not only is the church deeply without God'? Do not its scenes glare out interested in the spiritual welfare of your children, | upon the world as destitute of anything Chrisbut the dearest interests of other Christian tian as the most godless could wish ? families will be vitally affected by the manner! But, when all this is admitted, one plea rein which you train your own. It is clear, then, | mains. It is said that, when more privately
1. That what has the appearance of evil' in done, the evils of dancing are avoided. Were yourself, will have the same appearance when this true, can it be so done? However privately allowed to your children. Although the indul- begun, can it be kept so ? Are not its outward genee be not your own, the approval of it is. If tendencies sure? The flame may be concealed there is evil in the one case, there is in the other. when first kindled, but it will burst forth unless For approval of sin, is sin. So it appears to speedily extinguished. Set up a theatre in your Christian brethren. So it appears to their chil own dwelling, and will not your children, true dren. So it appears to other parents, who profess to the vitiated taste you have nourished, seek to be bound by no such holy precepts as you more public gratification ? Indulge them in the acknowledge. Some of them fear to follow with social glass at home, and will they not se their children where you lead yours. They can elsewhere? So the social dancing-party is the not believe that dancing is any part of the private entrance to all the dissipation of the ballnurture and admonition of the Lord.' Oh think, room. How often, by this deceptive process, do Christian parent. Pause, and pray long and parents draw forth a passion they cannot control, Earnestly, and you will never consent that a / and which, when it is finished, bringeth forth child of yours shall be seen in a ball-room. Their death.' When will they learn, that the end over children dance,' is a characteristic, not of Chris. which they mourn is but the natural consequence tian families, but of those asking, What is the of the beginning they approved. It is like giving Almighty, that we should serve Him?'
your children poison, and then weeping in bitter2. Brethren are grieved when you teach your ness over them as they are seen sick and dying. children that which grieves them when done by How many are pained that their children are yourself. It may affect them even more deeply. so thoughtless of God! But why should they not Their families may be influenced more by the be thoughtless? What are the influences thrown example of your children than by your own. around the youthful heart, just when there is What can inflict a deeper wound upon a Chris- most hope of its being drawn to Christ, and yet tian father's heart, than your allowance of sinful most danger of its being hopelessly hardened ? amusements to your family? His children point | How are all the thoughts engrossed in preparato it in their importunity. They tell him that tion for the gay assembly! What feverish exciteyou are a church-member. He must yield, or, ment while in it! When it is passed, how is the by refusing, be compelled to seem severe and | heart sealed against serious reflection! By a bigoted. He must be silent, or reply that your succession of these scenes, though separated by example is unworthy a Christian parent. This long intervals, the choicest years of youth are is the torturing dilemma into which you bring wasted. The soul is ruined; for how often their other parents. Some have yielded, and fallen | probation and dances end together! By parental into sin. Others have stood firm, while their but cruel indulgence, the process was commenced. children have broken away from parental control | The entrance was flowery, the end shrouded in to follow yours, and been ruined.
eternal darkness. A parent who does this, seems Oh, could all the sorrows of a single mother's like the heathen mother-pleasing her infant with heart be whispered in your ear, or could you flowers, that she may drop it a smiling, and follow a single youth, led thus into temptation, therefore a more acceptable sacrifice, into the entering this outer edge of the whirlpool, to be arms of the monster opening a fiery furnace borne in narrower and swifter circles, until he within to consume it. plunges down the boiling centre, and disappears | Christian parent, you know not what you do for ever,-you would understand why a parent's | when you draw out the latent passion of your heart so pleads with you now.
child for this amusement. It may soon spurn all 3. That which prevents the light of a Christian control or persuasion. That of the gambler is life from so shining in you as to glorify God, will not more insatiate. do the same when taught to your children. Your ! 'I was once called,' says an aged pastor, 'to example is to be not only that of a Christian, but visit a young lady who was said to be in despair. She had at some time previous been serious, and the time in progress, he sought to multiply had, it was hoped, resolutely set her face Zion- dancing-assemblies, and to draw others into them. ward. In an evil hour some of her former asso- | But he could not escape God's judgments, if he ciates called on her to accompany them to a ball. could his mercies. He was suddenly laid upon a She refused to go. The occasion, the company, bed of sickness. Death seemed near. In awful the parade and gaiety, were all utterly dissonant distress, he begged for the mercy he had before from her present feelings. With characteristic despised. When thus borne down, hopeless of levity and thoughtlessness, they employed per- recovery, he seemed penitent, became exceeding suasion and ridicule; and finally so far prevailed, I joyful, and earnestly and solemnly warned his that, with a desperate effort to shake off her con- associates; and it was thought by pious friends victions and regain her former security, she ex- a most remarkable case of death-bed conversion. claimed, “Well, I will go, if I am damned for But unexpectedly he recovered. With returnit!" God took her at her word. The blessed ing health, his religion so rapidly disappeared, Spirit immediately withdrew his influences; and that the first thing he did was to persuade his instead of the anxious sigh, and longing desire associates to make arrangements for another ball. to be freed from the body of sin and death, suc- Godless as they were, they were shocked at the ceeded, by turns, the calmness and the horrors proposal. But his persuasion overcame their of despair.
scruples. The evening came, and in the midst • The wretched victim knew that the Spirit had of the glare and revelry of its scenes he fell to the taken his final leave: no compunctions for sin, | floor, as if touched by the finger of an offended no tears of penitence, no inquiries after God, no God; was borne a raving maniac to his home, cager seeking of the “ place where Christians which he had scarcely reached, when death sealed love to meet," now occupied the tedious hours. up his history for the final judgment. The pasInstead of the bloom and freshness of health, sion for dancing held firm yet concealed possesthere came the paleness and haggardness of decay. sion of his soul, even when death stood by, and The wan and sunken cheek, the ghastly, glaring | friends supposed he had forsaken all. It had eye, the emaciated limb—the sure precursors of ap- been cherished in early youth, had grown with proaching dissolution—were there. The caresses his growth, and strengthened with his strength. of friends, the suggestions of affection, were all Oh with what agony would parental hearts have unheeded. The consolations of piety-the last answered our inquiry, bleeding at that hour over resource of the miserable-were to her but the a ruined child! Reader, may God in infinite bitterness of death. In this state of mind, I was mercy spare you from such experience; but will called to visit her. When I entered the room, | He, if you allow your children in that which and beheld her pale and emaciated, and reflected produced it? that the ravages of her form without but faintly Had that youth died when joyful in a false shadowed forth the wreck and desolation within, hope, his passion would have been developed in I was almost overpowered. Never had I con | eternity, beyond our sight. But God spared him, ceived so vivid an idea of the woe and misery of that it might be done here—a solemn warning to those who have “ quenched the Spirit.”
parents who cruelly allow a passion to be cherished I proposed prayer. The word threw her into in their children, which first deceives, and then an agony. She utterly refused. No entreaties throws its chains of darkness around the soul for of friends, no arguments drawn from the love of ever. God, or from the fulness and freeness of atoning Now, professed disciples of Jesus, our appeal blood, could prevail to shake her resolution. I | is to you. The religion you profess has, for its left her without being able to find a single avenue distinctive feature, a tender regard for the good to her heart, or to dart one ray of comfort into of others. As such, you are to exhibit it to the the dark bosom, which, to all human view, was | world by abstaining from the appearance of soon to be enveloped in the blackness of darkness evil,' by giving no offence'to Christian brethren, for ever. Never shall I forget the dreadful ex- / and by the light of a holy example, so shining pression of that ghastly countenance—the tones that God may be glorified. This you can never of that despairing voice. The impression is as do by mingling with the world in an amusement vivid as though it had been but yesterday. Oh which you must confess has the appearance of that all the young, gay, thoughtless ones, who evil,' which your brethren assure you, with tears, stifle the convictions of conscience, and repress most deeply grieves them, and which so certainly the rising sigh, and dance along the brink of is not done to the glory of God.' It cannot be utter reprobation and despair, would read, and among things indifferent. If not a positive duty, lay to heart the warning!' Oh that every parent the neglect of which would be sin, then the would ponder the awful results of cherishing a | indulgence must be guilty, deeply and dreadpassion in the youthful bosom, which may be fully so. used by Satan and wicked associates so fearfully Beloved brethren, 'be not deceived.' Review to ruin the soul !
the considerations which have been suggested in An eminent divine, of great experience in the your closet. Pray that God will direct you. If work of God's grace, was accustomed to regard dancing be a duty, implore his grace to aid you the use of ardent spirits, and dancing, as two of in its faithful performance. Do you hesitate ? the influences most hostile to the soul. With Why? Is conscience in conflict with your degreat solemnity he used to allude to the case of sires ? Are there misgivings in your heart? Oh a young man, a leader in the ball-room. To pause, reflect! Will you deliberately do that in shield himself from the influence of a revival, at which you cannot ask God to bless you? Wait not until the temptation comes. But now, alone with God, before you turn your eye from this
A SONG FOR TIIE SABBAT II.“ appeal, decide. Let it be now fixed, changeless They will we sing, Almighty God ;
-a decision which will give present peace, and This hallowed day a soug doth claim. which shall come up in joyful remembrance at a Our souls aspire to thine abode,– dying hour.
To Thee, whence life and being came. Coristian parent, let the heart of a parent
Accept our praise, and bid it rise, plead with you. All the reasons for abandoning Is mounts the evening sacrifice. the sinful indulgence yourself, are equally clear in showing that you cannot allow it to your Thou art Jehovah-Thou alone; children and be blameless. There is a higher and Thy glory shines beyond compare. bolier than natural affection. What more dear Bright seraphim around thy throne, to us than the souls of our children ? What Thy kingdom and thy power declare, responsibility like this? The soul of your beloved And · Holy, holy, holy,' cry, child seems laid upon your own. With what • Is God's eternal majesty!'. sacred, guardian care, should it be protected from every poisonous influence! The young know Ah! who can in thy presence stand ? not the danger of slight beginnings. We do. What mortal man, by sin defiled ? And shall we cruelly leave them to wind around Yet here we come at thy command, themselves the soft and silken web, which may For Thou art merciful and mild. harden into bonds of iron upon the soul ?
Our sins efface, our souls refine, But you hope it will not end thus with your That we may laud thy name divine. children. So have others hoped, who are now bowed down beneath parental sorrows. Will
Tbine are the heavens, with all their hosts; you, then, lead your children into temptation, in Sun, moon, and stars thy name repeat: the presumptuous hope that God will save them
The earth is thine, with all its coasts; from it? Oh plant not thus your dying pillow
The mountains quake beneath thy fect. with thorns! Will you, as you are dying, regret
The thunder is thine awful voice; that your children have been no more faithfully Thou smilest, and our fields rejoice. trained to the dance or ball-room? Or, as you close the eyes of a beloved child in death, will
To Thee the nations are but dust, you have bitter reflection in the remembrance
Like drops that from the bucket fall; that he has been guarded from all these ruinous
The might of kings is empty trust, influences ? Oh say, will not all your sorrows
Thy frown lays low those cedars tall. bare a different source, and your sweetest con
Greatness and might belong to Thee; solation come from this? Oh then be wise-wise
Let every creature bend the knee. for yourself, and wise for your children. Let your
Eternity's thy dwelling-place. anthority and affection as a parent encircle them.
What mortal eye such depths can scan? Herein is a saving influence God has entrusted to your hands. Be faithful to your children pow.
Thy presence fills the realms of space;
The same ere heaven and earth began. They will hereafter rise up and call you blessed
Our daily walk, our inmost thought, for it, and your decision to-day may be among
Is marked by Thee, and ne'er forgot. your most precious remembrances, when Christ shall present them, with you, ‘faultless before
Great God, confounded we adore the presence of his glory, with exceeding joy.'
Thy fathomless eternity,
When sounding thine immensity.
Thine eye so pure, what soul can flee?
Te tremble, trust, and bow the knee. The mother of a family was married to an infidel, who made jest of religion in the presence of his
Holy and just are all thy ways! own children; yet she succeeded in bringing
Thy works unbounded wisdom show; them all up in the fear of the Lord. I asked her
Thy goodness shines, surpassing praise ; one day how she preserved them from the influ
Thy mercy paints the radiant bow; ence of a father whose sentiments were so opposed
And truth eternal dwells with Thee. to her own. This was her answer: Because
Let every creature bend the knee. to the authority of a father I do not oppose the authority of a mother, but that of God. From
Thou glorious King of Israel's seed, their earliest years, my children have always
Whose promises for ever stand, seen the Bible upon my table. This holy book
From Egypt's iron bondage freed, bas constituted the whole of their religious in
And planted in this goodly land ;' struction. I was silent, that I might allow it to Thy ransomed people, saved and blessed, speak. Did they propose a question, did they Thy love and faithfulness attest. commit a fault, did they perform a good action, I opened the Bible; and the Bible answered,
- From Ruth, an Historical Poem, by W. MACreproved, or encouraged them. The constant
| KENZIE' etc. A volume replete with Scripture truth, reading of the Scriptures has wrought the prodigy | and lighted up with not a few passages indicating the which surprises you.'- Rev. Adolph Monod. descriptive power of the writer.