Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]


Page 8. “AND THY HEART, O JESU! BROKE !” The popularly-received idea of our blessed Master's death is that it was occasioned by the act of crucifixion, by which it was certainly preceded, and at least indirectly brought about. A distinguished physiologist, however, has of late years advanced the view, and endeavoured to support it on physiological grounds, that the Lord's death was in reality caused by what is commonly known as a broken heart”-in other words by an intensity of anxiety or grief culminating to such a degree, as to be actually and literally beyond the power of the system to endure, death being the inevitable result. In support of this theory it is explained that human blood consists of two distinct portions--namely, minute crimson globules and a colourless liquid, called serum, in which they float; and that in the event of death arising from an excess of mental suffering, the effect would be that these two portions would separate, the globules becoming coagulated. Further, it has been conjectured that on the occasion of our Lord's death, from the route by which the soldiers approached who were com

mmissioned to break the legs of those who were crucified, the spear with which the side of the Saviour was pierced when they found that He was already dead, entered the heart, and the blood flowing out in the condition described, afforded from natural causes the appearance indicated in the words, “and forthwith came there out blood and water.” (John xix. 34.) Whether or not this theory is correct, it is, of course, impossible to say, but it is a gratifying one to those “ who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity,” as tending to bring more vividly than otherwise before their minds the intensity of the sufferings He endured on their behalf; and it seems also to indicate that though sustained by His Father through all the woes of His earthly career, the critical period of all was when that awful and overwhelming climax was reached, which is the inevitable destiny and portion of the wicked (Prov. i. 2229), namely, the entire withdrawal of the presence of God; and that then it was that even our blessed Master's superhuman power could stand no more, but that bowed down by the stupendous woe occasioned in the shrouding of the Divine Presence, “ Jesus, when He had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.” (Matt. xxvii. 50.) Such is the view of our Redeemer's death that is imperfectly set forth in the opening poem of this book, entitled “The Story of a Broken Heart; and it does not militate against that view, though it is necessary to bear the fact in mind, that the words of the Divine Sufferer immediately preceding His death were, according to Luke (chap. xxii. 46), “Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit,” and according to John (chap. xix. 30), “ It is finished,” because both Matthew and Mark record the cry, “ My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (chaps. xxvii. 46 and xv. 34); and to commend His parting spirit into the hands of His Father in Heaven, notwithstanding that in that hour of anguish His Father was hidden from His sight, was but a supreme act of faith with which He completed His earthly duty, leaving us an example that in so far as the same course may be required of us, we should follow in His steps. As it seems to me to be well that we should miss no opportunity of being informed as thoroughly as possible as to what were the actual sufferings of our Lord, I conclude this note with an extract introduced into Dr. Kitto's Pictorial Bible (John xix. 18), from a treatise devoted to the subject by a learned German physician, George Gottlieb Richter, who makes the following remarks :-“The position of the body is unnatural, the arms being extended back, and almost immovable. In case of the least motion, an extremely painful sensation is experienced in the hands and feet, and in the back, which is lacerated with stripes. The nails, being driven through the parts of the hands and feet which abound in nerves and tendons, create the most exquisite anguish. NOTES.

The exposure of so many wounds to the open air brings on an inflammation which every moment increases the poignancy of the suffering. In those portions of the body which are distended or pressed, more blood flows through the arteries than can be carried back into the veins. The consequence of this is, that a greater quantity of blood finds its way from the aorta into the head and stomach than would be carried there by a natural and undisturbed circulation. The blood-vessels of the head become pressed and swollen, which of course causes pain, and a redness of the face. The circumstance of blood being impelled in more than ordinary quantities into the stomach, is an unfavourable one also; because it is that part of the system which not only admits of the blood being stationary, but is particularly exposed to mortification. The aorta not being at liberty to empty in the usual free and undisturbed way, the blood which it received from the left ventricle of the heart is unable to receive its usual quantity. The blood of th9 lungs therefore is unable to find a free circulation. This general obstruction extends its effects also to the right ventricle; and the consequence is an internal excitement, and exertion, and anxiety, which are more intolerable than the anguish of death itself. All the larger vessels about the heart, and all the veins and arteries in that part of the system, on account of the accumulation and pressure of blood, are the sources of inexpressible misery. The degree of misery is gradual in its increase, and the person crucified is able to live under it commonly until the third, and sometimes till the seventh day. Pilate therefore, being surprised at the speedy termination of our Saviour's life, inquired in respect to the truth of it of the centurion himself, who had command of the soldiers. (Mark xv. 44.)”

Note B. Page 12. “ THE MINSTRELSY OF EARTH.” The soothing influence of music on spirits under suffering is illustrated in the words attributed to the Duchess of Orleans, widow of the Duke of Orleans, Louis Philippe's son who was killed by being thrown from a phaeton in the month of July, 1842 “Give me some music-music calms my thoughts; it cheats me out of my feelings without doing them violence.” It seems, however, in the case of David and Saul to have served a still higher purpose; for when the Spirit of the Lord departed from the latter, and what is described as an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him, the effect of David playing upon the harp was such that Saul was refreshed and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him. The instances, no doubt, when music has its greatest soothing power, are when it is associated with words which are themselves associated with the personal history of those who hear them; and then it is but the means by which the presence and sympathy of the sin and sorrow Bearer are realized; and like some sweet influence from the Better Land are the airs that put into the mind such words as “Jesu, Lover of my soul, Let me to Thy bosom fly," "Sun of my soul, Thou Saviour dear," “ Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom," or “ Tell me the old, old story of Jesus and His love." May such music be cherished and cultivated more and more, and be extended in an ever-widening sphere, to the glory of its Divine Author and the solace of those for whom it is sent.

NOTE C. Page 19. “ RACHEL'S LAMENT FOR HER CHILDREN." The verses under this heading were suggested by the grievous loss of between 300 and 400 lives, for the most part of mere lads, by the overturning of H.M.S. Eurydice, in the English Channel on Sunday afternoon, 24th March, 1878. She was a training-ship, and was about five miles distant from Dunnose on her way to Spithead, having just returned from the West Indies, when she was caught in a sudden and unusual squall, accompanied by a heavy fall of snow, and was immediately capsized. Almost without exception, the whole of her crew were drowned ; and to add to the strangeness of the event, even within so short a space of time that they could scarcely have ceased to struggle in the water for dear life, the sun, as if to mock their sufferings, shone forth in a manner as unexpected as the fatal



wind had arisen just before. It was a solemn sermon on the need of being prepared for the last great change, whenever and wherever it may come, and it is in the highest degree a source of satisfaction and thankfulness to know that Captain M. A. S. Hare, who commanded the ill-fated vessel, was a faithful and consistent servant of Christ,“ ready to go at a moment's notice at his Master's call.” Some years before he had written in a friend's album the following poem, which was published in the “ Christian ” of the 4th April succeeding his death, and which thereby became a legacy not alone to those to whom he was personally dear, but to the whole Christian Church.


There is sorrow on the scait cannot be quiet.—JER. xlix. 23. I stood on the shore of the beautiful sea,

It cannot be quiet, it cannot sleep,
As the billows were roaming wild and free;

That dark, relentless, and stormy deep.
Onward they came with unfailing force,
Then backward turned in their restless course; But a day will come, a blessed day,
Ever and ever sounded their roar,

When earthly sorrow shall pass away,
Foaming and dashing against the shore;

When the hour of anguish shall turn to peace, Ever and ever they rose and fell,

And even the roar of the waves shall cease,
With heaving and sighing and mighty swell; Then out from its deepest and darkest bed
And deep seemed calling aloud to deep,

Old ocean shall render up her dead,
Lest the murmuring waves should drop to sleep. And, freed from the weight of human woes,
In summer and winter, by night and by day, Shall quietly sink in her last repose.
Thro cloud and sunshine holding their way;

No sorrow shall ever be written then
Oh! when shall the ocean's troubled breast

On the depths of the sea or the hearts of men,
Calmly and quietly sink into rest ?

But heaven and earth renewed shall shine,
Oh! when shall the waves' wild murmuring cease, Still clothed in glory and light divine.
And the mighty waters be hushed to peace?

Then where shall the billows of ocean be?
Gone! for in heaven shall be " no more sea!

'Tis a bright and beautiful thing of earth, Then the ocean's voice I seemed to hear,

That cannot share in the soul's “new birth," Mournfully, solemnly-sounding near,

"Tis a life of murmur and tossing and spray, Like a wail sent up from the caves below,

And at resting-time it must pass away.
Fraught with dark memories of human woe,
Telling of loved ones buried there,

But oh! thou glorious and beautiful sea,
Of the dying shriek and the dying prayer;

There is health and joy and blessing in thee: Telling of hearts still watching in vain

Solemnly, sweetly, I hear thy voice, For those who shall never come again;

Bidding me weep and yet rejoiceOf the widow's groan, the orphan's cry,

Weep for the loved ones buried beneath, And the mother's speechless agony.

Rejoice in Him who has conquered death ; Oh, no, the ocean can never rest

Weep for the sorrowing and tempest-tossed; With such secrets hidden within its breast.

Rejoice in Him who has saved the lost; There is sorrow written upon the sea,

Weep for the sin, the sorrow, and strife,
And dark and stormy its waves must be;

And rejoice in the hope of eternal life.
Rev. xxi. 1.

[ocr errors]

Note D. Page 20. ARCHANGELS, HUSH YOUR HARPINGS !” Lest it should be objected that there is no authority for representing archangels as playing upon harps, I may say that, as far as I remember, we have no definite knowledge of how these heavenly beings are occupied; and in the absence of such knowledge it seems not inappropriate to represent them as in the act of worshipping the Creator, Whose they are, and in Whose service, doubtless, in one way or another, they are perpetually occupied.

NOTE E. Page 30. “ HUNT.” The artist here referred to is not Mr. William Holman Hunt, who has devoted much attention and effort to the production of various pictures illustrative of our Lord's earthly career, and whose ideal work, • The Light of the World,” has been associated in my mind with the verses on page 32 of this book, entitled “The Wayfaring Man”; but Mr. William Henry Hunt, who died in the year 1864, having gained a high reputation as a water-colour painter. His subjects were chiefly rustic pieces and


[ocr errors]


wild flowers, which he delineated with great skill. In Cates's “Dictionary of General
Biography,” it is said of him that “ he was a passionate lover of nature, and sought
always faithfully to produce in art her forms, colours, and most subtle effects.
chosen field he stood and stands alone."

NOTE F. Page 40. “Tell IT OUT." A few years since I met in a small collection of hymns for revival services with one under the title “ Tell it out.” It was the first time I had seen it, and it much pleased me; nevertheless, I thought it capable of being sufficiently extended to indicate more fully how the majesty and wisdom of the Creator are manifested in His works, and I determined to endeavour so to extend it myself. Had I been aware at the time, as I became subsequently, that the original was composed by Miss F. R. Havergal, I might perhaps have thought it better to let her work alone; and I am not now without apprehension that that opinion will be entertained by many of those to whom her memory is dear. My own production, however, can scarcely be regarded as a rival of her's, as, apart from the circumstance that I do not claim for it that it is other than a copy, there is the difference, that her's is intended for public worship, and that she herself composed the accompaniment, while all that is desired for my own is that it should be regarded as a “poem " for perusal as distinguished from "a song" for singing. An allusion is made in it to the enormous river that flows through Central Africa to the Atlantic Ocean. The dauntless and intrepid H. M. Stanley, having followed it throughout its wondrous course, had the intense satisfaction of solving one of the great problems which the renowned Dr. Livingstone had left unsettled, though of solving it under such circumstances as plainly showed the magnitude of the task, and that only by Divine aid could it have been accomplished. He becomingly acknowledges this himself, in expressions of deep thankfulness to Him who had enabled him to complete the work, and appropriately concludes his entertaining and instructive narrative with the words “ Laus Deo!” In an equally unassuming manner, he refrained from giving to the great river the name which many would have considered the most befitting, and in preference thereto conferred on it that of his departed friend and predecessor, and speaks of it only as The LIVINGSTONE. I have adopted this name that whatever small influence arises from so doing may be exerted in extending and perpetuating it, serving as it does to bring to mind not more the indefatigable explorations of the great Christian missionary, than those of him who, having valiantly fought the fight and obtained the victory, gracefully handed over the laurels he had won to a competitor successful on many other fields, but precluded by the hand of death from being successful upon this one also.

NOTE G. PAGE 48. “ BENDING THE KNEE TO Jesus.” In these verses I have endeavoured to put forward what I consider to be the true and Scriptural teaching as regards the homage to be paid to our adorable Redeemer, discouraging thereby what to me seems to be but an ignorant superstition that widely prevails on the subject. In the Protestant Establishment not less than in the Roman Catholic Church it is the almost universal custom to incline the head on certain occasions when the name of Jesus is mentioned, though, very often, one such manifestation of what is supposed to be reverence is considered sufficient for each service. If those who act in this manner were questioned as to their reason for so doing, they would probably reply that in the Bible it is said that “ at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow”; though perhaps they would be more correct if instead of this, they were to answer that from childhood up they have seen others do so, that they have been taught to do so themselves, and that they give a blind obedience, and a ready conformity to a recognized conventionality, without ever bestowing more than a passing thought on the supposed Scriptural command. The fact is, that no such command exists. Paul in his epistle to the Philippians (chap. ii. ver. 9),




as in that to the Ephesians (chap. i. ver. 20-22), and to the Romans (chap. xiv. ver. 9-12), makes allusion to the exalted position to which our Lord was raised after His resurrection from the dead, and ascension into Heaven. The remarks are parenthetical, that to the Romans containing the phrase "For it is written,” that to the Ephesians being the outcome of the writer's allusion to the prayers offered for those whom he was addressing (ver. 15-18), and that to the Philippians of his exhortation to the cultivation of that mind " which was also in Christ Jesus (ver. 5). The references may be considered as being to our Lord's own words (Matt. xxviii. 18) “ All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth”, and to the prophecy of Isaiah (chap. xlv. 23), “I

have sworn by Myself, the word is gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear”; which latter is preceded (ver. 22) by the words “ Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else". Hence, it is evident that the bending of the knee is intended to signify the adoration due to the Lord Himself as distinguished from any other claimant to homage. The word “name"—the name of Jesus—is perhaps calculated to mislead, an examination of the way in which it is used in the Bible being sufficient to show that it has a meaning there beyond that which we are accustomed to attach to it in these days and in this land—the explanation probably being that in eastern countries the name of a person was considered to represent himself, and to be entitled in consequence to a corresponding degree of respect. The unreasonableness of literally bending the knee at the mere mention of the name of Jesus, on the supposed authority of the Apostle, is seen by noting that this is to be done not only by things in heaven and things in earth, but also by things under the earth (though in neither case does the word “things ” occur in the original); what things, then, or beings, under the earth, are to bend the knee when the name of Jesus is uttered ? If we endeavour to shake off the habit that has so strong an influence over us of conforming to a conventionality without any serious reflection as to its fitness, we shall observe in the case under consideration : firstly, that a prediction or declaration is treated as if it were a command ; secondly, that a name is practically substituted for a Person; and, thirdly, that a foolish and unmeaning nod, or inclination of the head, is substituted for that attitude of reverence which is implied by the bending of the knee, and which, appropriately adopted, as in the offering of prayer, is a becoming acknowledgment of submission to the Supreme authority. Strange it is that not only the laity, many of whom are habitual students of the Word of God, but the clergy also, whose special province it is to expound that Word to their less learned brethren, should seem so rarely to apprehend the true meaning of the passages alluded to; and that, in consequence, the latter by their example, or by their silence, should be the leaders of their respective congregations in what is, however good the intention, but an unmeaning and superstitious practice.

NOTE H. PAGE 52. “ The Song of NATURE AND THE SONG OF THE SAINTS.” In this song a variety of the works of the Lord are alluded to, which will be found to be classified as follows :: in verse 3 reference is made to those objects which proclaim the Creator's power by their luminous appearance; in verse 4, those that do so by their colour; and in verse 6, by either light or colour; in verses 5 and 7, by sound; and in verse 8, by their form; while in verse 9 are mentioned those beings whose existence we know of, but who are invisible to our fleshly eyes.

NOTE I. PAGE 55. “A DECADE AND A SEPTENNATE.” The Princess Alice of Great Britain, and, ultimately, Grand Duchess of Hesse-Darmstadt, came prominently before the English nation on her betrothal towards the close of the year 1860, being at that time between seventeen and eighteen years of age. She appears to have been alike distinguished

« ZurückWeiter »