« ZurückWeiter »
volved upon me by the providence of are much less terrible than is comGod, even though these duties debarmonly supposed, excepting in a few me from studies which I carnestly extreme cases. I will not, therefore, wish to pursue.
be greatly disquieted with the anticiV. Preparation for death.
pation of these paugs. 1. When I awake to the light of a VI. Public deportment. new day, I will endeavour to ask 1. I will endeavour to remember myself each morning, “ Could I that, as a minister of the gospel, my know this to be my last day on earth, office is more important than that of what duty that I have neglected ought any earthly potentate. to be performed?"
2. In my intercourse with men, I 2. That I may not be surprised by will endeavour not to degrade this death, I will endeavour to carry with office by exhibiting a love of money me the habitual recollection that it one of the vilest and most danmay come at any moment.
gerous passions that can infest the 3. I will often reflect that this life heart of a minister. is only preparatory to eternity; and 3. I will watch against levity in that he who stationed me here knows conversation, a fault to which I am how and when to call me away. in danger of resorting as an antidote
4. As my comfort in death must against the influence of feeble health. depend on my hope of heaven, I Yet will often examine this hope ; be- 4. I will not identify in feeling, or cause if I have good reason to believe in my conduct tempt others to identify, that I shall live with Christ in glory, religion and melancholy; because it I shall have no reason for reluctance I were to paint a Pharisee, I should in leaving this world, any more than give him a sad countenance; but if the sentinel in being called from his an angel or my Saviour, a cheerful post after a stormy night, or a child one. The fact that painters who are who has been long from home in re strangers to vital godliness, so geneturning to his father's house.
rally, in representing Christ, give him 5. Iam satisfied, from much obser- the aspect of sadness, I will endeavation, that the bodily pangs of dying vour to make instructive to myself.
THOUGHTS ON THE BIBLE.
The Bible is the word of God, his revealed will to man--to all men, whether Jew or Gentile, bond or free. In this revelation there is divine light and holy instruction every way suited to gain the end designed by the great Author of this “good and perfect gift”--the instruction and salvation of the human family. Hence we are exhorted to search the divinely inspired word, which is “ profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness," and which is the only rule, and the sufficient rule, both of our faith and practice. The Bible, though thus clear in reference to our duty, like its Author is infinite in perfection and unsearchable in knowledge. “ Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection ?" Much
easier could we measure the depth of the ocean, or the height of the visible heavens. So neither can we comprehend the infinite perfection and unbounded wisdom of the word of God. The strongest intellect, the most gigantic mind, falls infinitely short of accomplishing so great a task. We may read and read again, may read with close attention and fervent prayer, may read with profit and edification, the Holy Scriptures; and yet, every time we read them, see and comprehend something not before perceived or understood. There is a fulness in the light and knowledge of the Scriptures which can never be exhausted; yet the teaching of the Bible relative to obtaining salvation here and securing eternal life in the world to come, we may readily and fully comprehend.
God bas never said to any, “Seek ye me in vain," either in reference to his will or the bestowment of the consolatious of his grace. A man blest with the light and instruction of revelation, not to see, and feel, and understand his duty, must close his eyes, stop his ears, and harden his heart. Such is the brilliancy of the light, the plainness of the teaching, and the forcibleness of the admonitions of the Bible, that if they are ignorant of their duty they must be wilfully so. The Bible is the richest boon that Heaven ever bestowed
upon man, and, next to the gift of God in the redemption of the world, the greatest manifestation of his goodness. What an inestimable treasure! What a source of instruction, and fountain of life! Are we in darkness? Here is light. Are we ignorant? Here is wisdom. Are we unhappy? Here is the road to felicity. Are we dead in trespasses and sins? Here is life through Jesus Christ. In a word, here is all that is necessary to direct to peace and happiness here, and heaven hereafter, Lady's Companion.
HE DESTROYS OUR IDOLS THAT HE MAY SAVE OUR SOULS.-Two painters were employed to fresco the walls of a magnificent cathedral; both stood on a rude scaffolding constructed for the purpose some eighty feet from the floor. One of them was so intent upon his work that he became wholly absorbed, and in admiration stood off from the picture, gazing at it with intense delight. Forgetting where he was, he moved backwards slowly, surveying critically the work of his pencil, until he had neared the very edge of the plank upon which he stood. At this critical moment his companion turned suddenly, and, almost frozen with horror, beheld his inminent peril. Another instant, and the enthusiast would be precipitated upon the pavement beneath. If he spoke to him, it was certain death; if he held his peace, death was equally sure. Suddenly he regained his presence of mind, and, seizing a wet brush, flung it against the wall, spattering the beautiful picture with unsightly blotches of colouring. The painter flew forward, and turned upon his friend with fierce imprecations; but, startled at his ghastly face, he listened to the recital of danger, looked shudderingly over the dread space below, and with tears of gratitude blessed the hand that saved him. So, said a preacher, we some times get absorbed in looking upon the pictures of this world, and in contemplating them, step backward, unconscious of our peril, when the Almighty dashes out the beautiful
images. He destroys our idols that he may save our souls.
PRAYER IS THE MEASURE OF LOVE. -It is a striking remark, ascribed to St. Augustine, that prayer is the measure of love. A remark which implies that those who love much will pray much, and those who pray much will love much. This remark is not more scripturally than philosophically true. It is the nature of love to lead the person who exercises this passion, as it were, out of himself. His heart is continually attracted towards the beloved object. He naturally and necessarily exercises, in connexion with the object of love, the communion of the affections. And this, it will be readily seen-namely, the communion of the affections-is the essential characteristic, and, perhaps, it may be said, the essence and sum of prayer. In acceptable prayer, the soul goes forth to God in various acts of adoration, supplication, and thanksgiving; all of which imply feelings of trust and confidence, and particularly love to him who is the object of prayer. Accordingly, he who loves much cannot help praying much. And, on the other hand, when the streams of holy communion with God fail in any considerable degree, it is a sure sign that there is a shallowness and drought in that fountain of love from which they have their source.
ADMONITIONS FROM FLOWERS.Flowers are short-lived; and this may remind us of our own frailty. They rise, they come to maturity, they
wither, they die, they lie entombed in the earth, till again the genial breath of spring revives their faded beauties, and again they bloom with all the magnificence which they formerly displayed. Thus, for a time we live; we also die : and if we do not basely counteract the design for which we were created, we again shall flourish in renewed and immortal vigour, gazing directly with supreme delight on the perfections which here we can discern only by a reflected light.
A GOOD INSURANCE.-A gentleman some time ago called at the Halifax
station and asked for a ticket to Liverpool. The clerk asked, “ Will you insure, sir?” “Insure! for what?" said the gentleman. “Why, sir, if you pay a very small sum, then you will be entitled to a thousand pounds in case you are killed by an accident on the railway." “Ah, sir," said the traveller, “but I made a better insurance than that before I left my bed-room this morning. I have the assurance of an inheritance on high, a mansion prepared for me, and a crown of glory that fadeth not away! This is my insurance."
TO A FRIEND.
When this feverish being is o’er,
Since these billows can reach me no more.
Will have passed like a midsummer cloud,
As I mix with yon heavenly crowd.
And my faith shall embody the bliss;
And I feel I can trust Him for this.
To repose in that kingdom of light,
“ How I wish she was spared to my sight,"
And rest in the hope you shall join me above.
TRANSLATED FROM THE WELSH OF THE REV. JOHN JONES,
PRECENTOR OF CHRIST CHURCH, OXFORD.
That homewards in the dawn begins the strain,
Does she revisit this sad earth again.
Rise to his daily task of toil and care,
He pours to God the reverential prayer.
And lift to thy God each morning the voice of prayer and praise.
WHAT IS OUR LIFE?
A whisper of the tomb !
Still hastening on its course.
What is our life?
'Midst sorrow, doubt and gloom!
What is our life ?
A tear soon wiped away!
Of darkness and despair.
What is our life?
Through Jesus' death. This, this is life!
MEMOIRS AND RECENT DEATHS.
ELLEN KELSALL, OF WARFORD,
IMMERSED as I am in cares innumerable, and perplexed as I have been for months past with a worse than profitless trade, I cannot allow the last contemporary of John Cash, of Warford, to sink into forgetfulness without a passing notice. An acquaintance of more than thirty years has afforded me a fair opportunity of forming some estimate of the character of Ellen Kelsall; and now that she is gone, I feel that she whom I have long esteemed I can now venerate as an exemplary Cbristian and a mother in Israel. For ninety years this excellent woman has lived in the same district and almost in the same neighbourhood. First the daughter of one farmer and then the wife of another farmer, and finally a widow with a numerous family, she has, from all I can learn, worthily sustained all
these relationships; and now that she is called away, her numerous relatives and friends feel, for the first time, a loss the extent of which none of them had before estimated. This may at first sight seem scarcely credible, inasmuch as for several years past this precious woman has been an object of ceaseless care and close attention, on account of both bodily infirmities and mental imbecility. Yet active, affectionate, pious and benevolent as she had been previously, and much care and patient attention as were requisite to her comfort and protection as the infirmities of age crept upon her, she was never felt to be burdensome, nor was she considered as lost to either relatives at home or friends around. As long as the shadow of those we love remains, we never seem to lose the substance. While our eyes behold them, their former selves so crowd upon our recollection, that we take in the whole character at a glance, and scarcely ever think on the immense dif
ference it makes in a family between a mother who used to be all care and activity in serving all around her, and one who, superannuated and decrepit, requires more nursing than a little child Second infancy is much more nice and difficult to manage, in most cases, than the first. Instances at times occur, where dotage is of all stages of human life the most pitiable and the most troublesome. Christianity improves every stage of human existence; and it is not a little remarkable that when physical and mental capabilities languish into feeble ness and puerility, the moral sense retains a freshness and a vigour when body and mind together are little more than a mournful wreek. A more pleasing exemplification of this peculiarity was perhaps never witnessed than that of sister Kelsall during several of the closing years of a long life.
Careful observation will perceive in every bereavement a special feature and bearing. To me the death of Ellen Kel.
uch as can never occur a caiu. For a number of years I have esteemed her as the only woman living to whom I could look as to a parent, in that endearingly intimate sense which binds together the whole family of God. Of this relationship I have not been fully conscious, until now that I find it has ceased for ever. So accustomed have I been for a long while to meet and to converse with this amiable Christian, whenever appointments for preacbing or social attachment brought us together, that, unconsciously to myself, she had become much more interesting and valuable than I ever conceived while she was yet with us. Poor human nature discovers in this, as in many other things, its grievous defectibility. We never know the worth of our friends till we feel the want of them.
Apologies and complaints when a man has anything to say or do, are now become so trite that, for my own part, I loathe them. So disgustingly hackneyed have they been by platform orators ever since public meetings became commen, that I often wonder when I hear men of reputed discernment doling them out in lengthy preface, and thus consuming that time which, if they have anything to say worth being heard, ought to be better employed. It is really high time a practice so offensive were laid aside. But when prefixed to set speeches, as we often hear them, they become little less than a species of practical lying, and with ninety-nine out of every hundred hearers, defeat their own object.
For a while the public might be generally gulled by this artifice, but practitioners in this common-place cant ought to know that the expedient has now become stale. Writers too, as well as speakers, are exposed to censures on this point ; and, of all others, biographers have laid themselves open to blame on this score, by complaint of want, either of material for the work, or of want of incident in the life and conduct of those whom they esteem as worthy of public notice. Want of materials-if such want I have-must in this instance be attributed to my own neglect. If a more than thirty years' acquaintance, during which three months have seldom passed without one or more occasions of personal intercourse, be not sufficient for the collecting of materials for a brief memoir, few memoirs can be well written. And as regards incidents sufficiently important to deserve record, these, if closely observed, abound in the experience of every Christian upon earth. He who writes rather to edify than to amuse requires but little theatrical machinery to set off his narrative. A reader too, in seareb of truth and emulous of moral excellence, can relish other details tban those which charm and astonish, or feed the imagination with improbabilities, unexpected reverses, hair breadth escapes, valorous exploits and eventful speculations. Things for every-day use are commonly of everyday occurrence; and as I presume most of my readers are of local condition and domestic habit, domestic Christianitythe Christian at home-must be of more concern to them than either the warrior in the camp or the adventurer in the caravan. To men in general the servant of God in his cottage is an object more deserving of notice than the traveller in distant lands, or the circumnavigator of the globe.
As everything in the world has a be. ginning, and there is no beginning so valuable, so important to man, as begin. ning to serve God, I am at fault in the very commencement of this memoir. Strange as it may seem, I never heard how or when it was that Ellen Kelsall became decidedly pious. Whether others excuse me or not on this head, I can never justify myself in not having learned as much as this from her own lips. One single question might have called forth information so desirable, and yet which no man now living, as far as I can learn, can possibly snpply. I have traced the matter up to a period anterior to the date of my own existence, but all to no effect.