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the humble yet confident assurance of spiritual access to him, through the intercession of the one Mediator between God and man? Will any one venture to assert that any gorgeousness of vestments, any elaborate forms of apparent veneration, any depth or multiplicity of bodily prostrations, can add any dignity, or sacredness, or efficiency to the holy communion, beyond what it possessed when first instituted in the plain upper chamber in Jerusalem, or when partaken by apostles and saints and martyrs, in all simplicity, breaking bread from house to house, or eating of it in the obscurity of their own dwellings, or in the mountain caverns of Pella, or in the catacombs of Rome?
WINTER'S TESTIMONY TO GOD.
BY THE REV. JOHN HARDING, M.A.,
Curate of Ayot St. Laurence, Hertfordshire.
"Thou hast made winter."-PSAL. lxxiv. 17.
THE God of the bible is the God of nature: both testify of him, and both are always teaching us. As from Genesis to Revelation the one is stored with instruction, so is the other from the creation to the consummation of all things-from infancy to old age, from day to day, from year man: each has its special lessons, and, though seasons are God's voice addressing perhaps less obvious, yet not less interesting and instructive, are those afforded by winter. "The day is thine," says David: "the night also is thine. Thou hast prepared the light and the sun; thou hast set all the borders of the earth: thou hast made summer and winter." God, and see also what instruction and illustraLet us, then, consider winter's testimony to tion it may afford as to the deeper realities of the soul and of the life to come.
First, we are told that God has made it. It is the result of his creative skill, and the appointment of his providence. He arranged and ordained that it should be; and what his unerring wisdom planned his omniscient power effected. He saw that it was good, best, necessary, that there should be winter as well as
summer. Out of all conceivable forms and ar
No, my brethren: if our hearts are cold and our devotions languid, it is not outward ceremonies that will really enliven them. What we want, and what we should seek for, is more and more of that sense of God's presence, specially in the place of prayer, and of our own relations to him, which will make his church to us the house of God and the very audience-chamber of the Most High. And then, thankfully recognizing the only symbols he has himself appointed, using those gestures of reverence and humi lity which he has sanctioned, joining in the devotions of his people with voices prompted rangements for our world and its inhabitants to earnestness of tone by the inward senti- the present system of seasons was that which ments of our souls, we shall feel it is no vain | he who cannot err, and who can do whatever he thing to wait upon God in the unadorned pleases, saw fittest and best; and, more or less, beauty of holiness. Our hearts will burn the same changes exist in the other planetary within us, not from an adventitious excite-worlds with which our earth is connected-the ment of our senses, but by a blessed expe-quence of its axis being almost perpendicular to chief exception being Jupiter, which, in conserience of his holding communion with us by its orbit or the ecliptic, can have neither any the way. Thus we may "worship him in variety of seasons nor any difference in the spirit and in truth." And, having tasted of length of its days and nights. With us these the glorious liberty of the children of God, changes are produced, as with the other planets we shall not be disposed nor be beguiled to and from their similar relation to the same lureturn to the bondage of a superseded cere- minary, by the position of the earth with regard monialism. Having partaken of the sub- to the sun, the axis of the former being inclined at stance, we shall have no desire to go back Had it been otherwise, and the sun's position an angle of 23 degrees to the plane of its orbit. to the shadow. "Dost thou desire," says been directly over the earth's equator, we too St. Augustine, "to pray to God in a temple? should have experienced no change of seasons, Pray within thyself. But first become a nor any difference in the length of our days or temple of God." For he dwells in his temple, nights. As it is, the sun moves first to one and hears prayer in his temple-" which side and then to the other of the equator for 23 temple ye are." degrees, and produces by so doing the different seasons which, varying according to the latitude, characterize our world. In summer, having come to his utmost limit northwards, he is nearly over our heads, while it is then winter to those south of the equator, and his beams descend upon us almost perpendicularly, causing the intense heat we feel at that season. In winter he has receded to his southern limit, to afford summer to the inhabitants of that part of the world, and rises but little above our horizon. His beams then reach us obliquely or sideways. Though then 3,000,000 miles nearer to us than in summer, and appearing larger in conse
quence, yet, being on one side, his rays glance off into space instead of falling on our part of the world, and short and cold rays are the result; just as one person may be nearer a fire than another, but, because he is on one side while the other is infront, he derives less benefit from it.
No doubt winter has its disadvantages. We miss the genial warmth of the sun, regret the shortened days, and almost wish that autumn's gorgeous foliage might continue. Excessive cold is to many hard to bear; and great distress results from the protracted rigours of winter. Yet what is, in this respect, as God's work assuredly is best. It is better that there should be winter, or God would not have made it, and the advantages are greater than the disadvantages. Let us notice a few of these.
1. Change and variety are produced by the recurrence of winter, and, though it may seem to be a change for the worse, it is not really so, but the reverse. One unvaried season might not have proved so agreeable. Common mercies are very apt to be overlooked; and one continued monotonous season, unchanged from year to year, the same from one's birth to one's death, from the world's beginning to its close, might have become wearisome. We cannot be always feasting or enjoying beautiful sights or listening to sweet music; if we could, they would probably lose their power to interest and attract; the very perpetuity and ordinariness of the blessings would cause us to appreciate them less; and God would be less honoured and his hand less recognized than under the present arrangement of his providence. Now we always welcome the return of spring, we revel in summer's beauties, we rejoice in autumn's harvest; and though the lovely flowers fade, and the choristers of the air no longer chant, and the summer's genial warmth is gone, we would not that even winter's turn should not come; for that season also brings with it many blessings; and, its very severity serves to heighten our enjoyment of the brighter and more animating seasons which follow.
2. A second advantage of winter is the rest which it affords to wearied nature. The earth could not be always bearing: like ourselves, it needs its night of rest after its long hot day of summer work. The productive powers of the soil would be exhausted had we summer always, and the absence of winter would soon be felt in barren fields and failing harvests. It is well, therefore, that nature should rest; and we sce in this God's wisdom and goodness, as we do in that nightly repose which we all require, and which is so welcome and refreshing after the toils and labours of the day.
3. But, thirdly, winter is also a season of growth. This may seem to contradict the former statement of the earth resting during this season; but both are true. We grow while we sleep. Nature is not dead, but recruiting its wasted energies. The process of life is going on. The sap has only retired down to the roots of the trees and fountains of being, and it is not idle there in winter any more than it is in summer, when the sun's heat causes it again to ascend and form new branches, and
adorn the trees and shrubs and flowers of our woods and gardens with fresh liveries of gold and green and purple. Fresh plants are starting into being, and additional root-branches and fibres are spreading themselves in every direc tion, and gathering new supplies of nourishment from the earth. The roots of the vegetable world are then enlarging and multiplying themselves; and busy scenes of life would be witnessed could we penetrate into nature's depths and secrets. Like ourselves, she is growing while apparently lifeless, and in the morning of spring we see the results of winter's unseen progress of being beneath: there is then evident increase of size and strength, and the life below which has been advancing during the dark cold winter shows itself now in the more vigorous and beautiful life above.
4. A fourth advantage of winter is the benefit which the soil derives from the effects of frost and snow. The rigours of winter improve the materials out of which our harvests are produced. Frost pulverizes the hard clods of earth; and the nitrous property of snow contributes to the nourishment of the vegetable world; while, by covering the ground, it protects the various plants from the killing effects of frost, and at the same time prevents the internal heat of the earth from escaping.
5. Fifthly, winter destroys innumerable noxious insects. But for the severity of winter we little know how greatly we should suffer from these. They are the plague of eastern and tropical countries, in which there is but little change of seasons. In those lands all kinds of annoying and offensive insects, reptiles, and other creatures abound at all seasons, or, rather, throughout the year, and for want of those seasons which in our more northern part of the world we enjoy. There is no winter in those lands to destroy these disturbers of man's repose and comfort; and this is one of not the least of winter's advantages to ourselves.
6. Then may we not notice, in the next place, the many home-comforts and enjoyments which winter always brings with it? It is a season of great family and social happiness, of in-door quiet peaceful pleasures. It is the time when men generally read more, and when they should also reflect more. The long evening and the glowing cheerful fire, the groups of little ones and the assembled friends, the piles of books read and the domestic work accomplished-all these are among the peculiar charms of winter, and are no mean compensation for the absence of summer fruits and flowers and scents and sounds, bright skies and genial sun, shady walks through woods, or pleasant seats by purling streams and foaming cataracts.
7. A further benefit of winter is the bracing and healthy and restoring effect which it exercises on the majority of constitutions. Many suffer from the debilitating effects of heat, and gradually recover the tone and vigour of their system during the colder weather of winter; and there are but few healthy persons who are not physically benefited by the recurrence of this season. Winter is one of God's grand remedial measures; and the greater vigour and longer lives of those who inhabit the northern
regions of the earth are a striking proof of its | beneficial results.
8. Again, we must not omit to notice the beauty of many of winter's scenes. There are few sights finer than a winter landscape-the earth's surface veiled in purest white, and contrasted so strongly by the dark and varied outline of human habitations, trees and hedges, green holly and ruby berries, hoary towers and mantling ivy. How exquisite is the sight of a frosted tree! how infinitely more so of whole woods and forests, of all nature, valley and mountain, sparkling with countless millions of heaven's own diamonds! Well does David remind us that God has made summer and win ter, and in another psalm (cxlviii.) call upon fire and hail, snow and vapour, to praise the Lord. In Psal. cxlvii. also he refers to this subject. "He giveth snow like wool," he says: "he scattereth the hoar frost like ashes: he casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold? He sendeth out his word and melteth them. He causeth his wind to blow; and the waters flow."
9. Ninthly, nothing in nature more illustrates God's omnipotence than the intense frosts of winter. When continued for many days or weeks, how powerless is man to withstand them! The otherwise soft and yielding earth is impenetrable, impervious to his sharpest and most powerful implements. All nature is in the grasp and vice of the Almighty, all bound as if with a girdle of iron-rivers frozen, ships immovable, commerce paralyzed, many trades entirely suspended, the land like granite, and numerous families in town and country famishing. Thank God, such protracted winter rigours are but seldom experienced; but let us learn, from the very possibility of them and from their occasional occurrence, to fear and adore that irresistible Power which can so easily seal up all the sources of our wealth and comfort.
10. Lastly, another of winter's advantages is the revelation which it affords us of the glorious orbs of heaven. This is one of winter's night benefits. We then see, when the light of day has been withdrawn, unnumbered other worlds, of various sizes and degrees of brightness, studding the heavens everywhere above us and around us; and when we apply the telescope their number still increases, stars in deep defile beyond stars, far, far exceeding the possibility of all human computation either as to their number or their distance. The very nearest (a Centauri) is said to be 206,000 times farther from us than the sun-many of them are double and treble-of various colours, red and green and yellow and blue and purple; and it is rationally concluded that they are all central luminaries around which other worlds re
volve, just as the planets of our system travel round the sun. We see but few of these heavenly glories in summer: they are winter's grand revelation to us,
"For ever singing as they shine,
The hand that made us is divine."
how gigantic and godlike the constellation Orion, now visible in the south! and how interesting and exquisite the surface of the moon, her golden fringe and countless craters, ridges of mountains and extensive plains, all as distinctly visible through a telescope as if just across the road-the belts and satellites of Jupiter, the moon-like phases of Venus, the rings and belts of Saturn, the double and coloured stars, and nebula! These are all God's handiwork, and they are particularly the study of winter, and they well repay it: they lift the mind up higher, and were intended by God to minister to our faith. "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech: night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard." They are always preaching to us. They are ever testifying for God, telling us of his might and majesty and glory and wisdom and love, and leave even the heathen without excuse, if they do not see and recognize in them, "by the things which are made, his eternal power and Godhead." O let us not fail to behold in winter's revelations of the glories of the firmament the manifold wisdom of God, or to render unto him the praise due to his holy name. All nature speaks of him; the heavens and the earth, creation and providence, day and night, summer and winter, spring and autumn, dry land and sea, the fertile valleys and the rocky mountains, fire and hail, snow and vapour, wind and storm, fulfilling his word. In winter's advantages let us recognize his hand, his wisdom, love, and power; and let us learn from them lessons illustrative of the deeper things of his word, of the soul's welfare, and of the unutterable realities of eternity.
The soul, too, needs its winter; or it might be tempted soon to forget its God. God often sces that it is best for her to witness desolations, the falling leaf, the solemn silence, the departed beauty, strength, and glory of life's summer; and in her winter she finds life and strength and comfort and restoration. He brings her into the wilderness, to the dearth of earthly comforts; and alone with him she learns the true source of her joy and health and power.
Again, the rest and refreshment of the body in the grave are represented by winter. As all nature then ceases from her labours, and awakes invigorated and improved in spring, so will the body rise more glorious from the bed of death, immortalized and spiritual. It has only been undergoing a refining process in the grave: the winter of death will have destroyed all its hurtful sinful qualities, and it will awake in Christ's likeness, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing. In the meantime the soul, the undying spirit, will have been gathered to its eternal home in heaven, where, with angels and the spirits of just men made perfect, death's long winter will have been passed in joyful com
nunion with its God and Saviour. And O what untold and inconceivable revelations of glory will it have witnessed-how many new worlds and new wonders discovered, and with how How glorious is the belt of stars called the Milky many of their inhabitants have entered into reWay, stretching almost across the heavens!lationships of everlasting brotherhood! It
doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we
tant Reformation. They never would trifle and tamper and dabble with popery if they only knew what popery was.
Before the Reformation one leading feature of English religion was dense ignorance. There was among all classes a conspicuous absence of all knowledge of true Christianity. A gross darkness overspread the land, a darkness that might he felt. Not one in a hundred could have told you as much about the gospel of Christ as we could now learn from any intelligent Sunday-school child.
We need not wonder at this ignorance. The people had neither schools nor bibles. Wicklike-liffe's New Testament, the only translation extant till Henry VIII.'s bible was printed, cost £2 16s. 3d. of our money. The prayers of the church were in Latin; and, of course, the people could not understand them. Preaching there was scarcely any. Quarterly sermons were indeed prescribed to the clergy, but not insisted Latimer says that, while mass was never to be left unsaid for a single Sunday, sermons might be omitted for twenty Sundays, and nobody was blamed. After all, when there were sermons, they were utterly unprofitable; and latterly to be a preacher was to be suspected of being a heretic.
BISHOPS AND CLERGY OF OTHER DAYS*.
THE Romish church is making very great efforts to regain her lost power in England; and thousands of English people are helping her. None are doing the work of Rome so thoroughly as the English churchmen who are called ritualists. Consciously or unconsciously, they are paving the way for her advance, by laying down the rails for her trains. They are familiarizing the minds of thousands with Romish ceremonial-its mummery, its processions, its gesticulations, its postures, its theatrical meretricious style of worship, and they are boldly preaching and laying down her erring doctrines -the real presence, the priestly character of the ministry, the necessity of auricular confession and sacerdotal absolution. They are loudly proclaiming their desire for re-union with the
church of Rome. In short the battle of the Re
formation must be fought over again. Ritualism is nothing but Romanism in the bud; and Romanism is ritualism in flower. The triumph of ritualism will be the triumph of Romanism and the restoration of popery.
the diocese of Gloucester, when he was first apTo cap all, the return that Hooper got from pointed bishop in 1551, will give a pretty clear idea of the ignorance of pre-reformation times. Out of 311 clergy of the diocese, 168 were unable to repeat the ten commandments; thirty-one of the 168 could not state in what part of scripture they were to be found; forty could not tell where the Lord's-prayer was written; and thirty-one of the forty were ignorant who was the author of the Lord's-prayer.
If this is not ignorance, I know not what is. If such were the pastors, what must the people have been! ledge among the parsons, what must it have If this was the degree of knowthe people! among But this is not all. Before the Reformation, another leading feature of English religion was superstition of the lowest and most degrading description. Of the extent to which this was carried, few, I suspect have the smallest idea.
Now, before we go back to Rome, let us thoroughly understand what English Romanism was let us bring in the light: let us not take a "leap in the dark." What were the leading characteristics of English religion Men and women in those days had uneasy before the Reformation? In what state did the consciences sometimes, and wanted relief. They mighty change which Hooper witnessed and had sorrow and sickness and death to pass helped forward find our forefathers? In one through, just like ourselves. What could they word, what does England owe to that subver- do? Whither could they turn? There was sion of popery and that introduction of pro- none to tell them of the love of God and mediatestantism in which Hooper was a leading in- tion of Christ, of the glad tidings of free, full, strument? Let me try to supply a short and complete salvation, of justification by faith, answer to these questions. They are subjects, of grace, and faith, and hope, and repentance. I am sorry to say, on which most people seem They could only turn to the priests, who knew to know nothing at all. The minds of the vast nothing themselves and could tell nothing to majority of my countrymen appear to be a total others. "The blind led the blind; and both fell blank about the history of three hundred years into the ditch." In a word, the religion of our ago. With all the stir made about education, the ancestors, before Hooper's time, was little better ignorance of our own country's history is some- than an organized system of Virgin-Mary wor thing lamentable and appalling and depressing. ship, saint worship, image worship, relic worI never can believe that ritualism would have ship, pilgrimages, almsgivings, formalism, cere obtained so many adherents, if English people monialism, processions, prostrations, bowings, only knew the extent of our debt to the protes-crossings, fastings, confessions, absolutions, *From "Bishops and Clergy of other Days," by the rev. masses, penances, and blind obedience to the J. C. Ryle. priests. It was a grand higgledy-piggledy of
ignorance and idolatry, and serving an unknown God by deputy. The only practical result was that the priests took the people's money, and undertook to ensure their salvation; and the people flattered themselves that, the more they gave to the priests, the more sure they were of going to heaven.
My task is done. I have brought together as concisely as possible the times, life, death, and opinions of one of our greatest English reformers. But I cannot leave off without offering a few practical suggestions to all into whose hands this paper may fall. I address them to each reader personally and directly, and I entreat him to ponder well what I say.
For one thing,. I charge you to resist manfully the efforts now being made to unprotestantize England, and to bring her once more into subjection to popery. Let us not go back to ignorance, superstition, priestcraft, and immorality. Our forefathers tried popery long ago, and threw it off with disgust and indignation. Let us not put the clock back and return to Egypt. Let us have no peace with Rome till Rome abjures her errors, and is at peace with Christ.
Read your bible, and be armed with scriptural arguments. A bible-reading laity is a nation's surest defence against error. I have no fear for English protestantism, if the laity will only do their duty.
Read history, and see what Rome did in days gone by. Read how she trampled on your country's liberties, plundered your forefathers' pockets, and kept the whole nation ignorant and immoral. Read Fox, and Strype, and Burnet, and Soames, and Blunt. And do not forget that Rome never changes: it is her boast and glory that she is always the same. Only give her power in England; and she will soon put out the eyes of our country, and make her like Samson, a degraded slave.
Read facts standing out on the face of the globe. What has made Italy what she is? Popery. What has made Mexico and the South American states what they are? Popery. What has made Spain and Portugal what they are? Popery. What has made Ireland what she is? Popery. What makes Scotland, the United States, and our own beloved England, the powerful, prosperous countries that they are at present, and I pray God they may long continue? I answer in one word, protestantism -a free bible and a protestant ministry, and the principles of the Reformation. Think twice before you give ear to the specious arguments of liberalism falsely so called. Think twice before you help to bring back the reign of popery.
CUVIER, THE GREAT NATURALIST.
WHAT LED HIM TO RXPLORE THE WORKS OF THE
CUVIER was born at Montheliard, in the duchy of Wurtemburg, in 1769. While still quite a young man he became tutor to the children of count d'Hérieg, and lived with them in an old château in Normandy. The window of his room looked towards the garden; and one morning his attention was attracted to two swallows, who were busily engaged in building their nest, in the acute angle of the small casement. He determined to watch them whenever he had the time and opportunity, and became each day more interested in their work. In due course the nest was completed, and the interior well lined with feathers, wool, and dried leaves. The swallows then flew off to a neighbouring wood, and did not return for some days. But, whilst they had been working so hard, Cuvier had noticed two sparrows perched on a chimney close at hand. They seemed to take much interest in the progress the swallows made in the construction of their nest; the rcason for which was soon apparent, for scarcely had these disappeared, when the sparrows established themselves in the nest, as if it had been their own property. They, however, took great care never to leave it unguarded; for, while one went out to procure food, the other remained at home, with its sturdy bill protruding from the entrance, with the evident intention of excluding all visitors. You can well imagine the surprise and indignation of the swallows, when, on their return, they found the nest, which they had built with such care and trouble, occupied by others. The cock flew angrily towards it, hoping to be able to get rid of the intruders, but he was met by the sparrow's bill, and returned to his mate, wounded and bleeding. They remained some time on a neighbouring tree, engaged in apparently earnest conversation, and then both disappeared. In the meantime the other sparrow had returned from its foraging expedition; and a good deal of chattering went on between these two, which resulted in immediate preparations for a siege. They went out in turns to procure food, and, having laid in a good supply, they stationed themselves to guard the entrance to their abode. Ere long upwards of a hundred swallows had assembled in the neighbourhood. They soon advanced, and each in turn discharged a beak full of mud against the nest, at the same time taking great care to keep well out of reach of the sparrows' beaks. These were nearly blinded by the sudden shower, and had great difficulty in keeping the entrance to their nest clear. This they for a time effected, by shaking off some of the mud. But the swallows had not taken all this trouble to be so easily turned aside from their purpose. Some of them established themselves on the nest, and with their beaks and claws succeeded in pressing down and smoothing the clay over the entrance, until it was quite blocked up. This done, they devoted a few minutes to a song of triumph, and then set to work to complete their revenge. Numbers of them hastened to