Imágenes de páginas

and returned home, inwardly rejoicing, with fresh love to Him and His blessed Gospel. Oh, that such moods could last longer, nay, for ever!" On his return he visited the King and Queen, and told them the results of his journey, and, finally, returning to the loved sphere of his labours at Kaiserwerth, he praised the Lord in the appropriate words, "The Lord is pur defence, and the Holy One of Israel is our King."

In addition to all these multiplied labours Fliedner wrote his work on the " Book of Martyrs " and other Confessors of the Evangelical Church, and edited the periodical called 'The Friend of the Sick and Poor.' He established a home for servants who were out of place, and founded an Institution for Lunatics. Nor did he forget to care for his faithful co-workers, but purchased a cottage among the hills where the sisters could go sometimes in the summer, and get refreshment and rest. Being threatened with consumption, and advised to try a warmer climate, he once more visited the East, that he might see how the work prospered there. But the active life was drawing to a close. On reaching Berlin, he for the last time saw his beloved king, thanked him for all his help, and fervently commended him to God in prayer. From that time he gradually declined, though to the last all his strength was dedicated to the service of his Lord. He had been permitted to see thirty " Motherhouses" spring from the summer-house beginning, and i,600 deaconesses, labouring in more than 400 different places for the poor and needy. In the year 1864, more than 30,000 persons in all were confided to their care. Truly it might be said, "What hath God wrought!"

And now the labourer was to be gathered home, with his hand full of sheaves, to lay down at the feet of the Master. As he laid himself on his bed he said, "To be a pardoned child of God is all that is needed." "My only motto is,'Here cometh a poor sinner, Lord, whose ransom Thou hast paid, and who longs to be admitted on high,'" adding with a bright smile, "Thank God, that is my only motto." When his family were assembled around him, he said, "How can I praise Him enough? How blessed it is to serve such a Master, one who will forgive all faults, who will bounteously pardon my many sins !' The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin;' that is what I cling to. One thing is needful, that you should be saved, that you should strive to enter in at the strait gate; then we shall meet again above, and rejoice for ever and ever. Pray too for me, that God may be gracious and merciful to me, and that I may lay my aged head in the dust, in perfect trust in Him who is mercy itself." Sending a farewell message to his fellow-labourers, he said, "Give my hearty thanks to all friends of the work, down to the youngest child who collects pence for us. The Lord will reward them. . . . May He bless our Royal house, and especially our king, and fill him with His Spirit. Amen! May God bless and further His kingdom, and cast down the strongholds of Satan. The great Jehovah is with us. Oh, how sweet it is to serve the Lord, who is the Redeemer from all evil! What were we without Him?" His mind was full of praise. "How kind is the Lord," he said, "to have given me such a precious wife, and such dear children; how well off I am, even now!" He retained his consciousness to the end, once faintly whispering "Sweet Jesus!" His last fleeting breath was spent in an attempt to repeat the words, "' He hath overcome death—conqueror !'"

"Is heaven here?" asked his youngest grandchild, when looking on the countenance still radiant with the glow of heavenly peace; surrounded with flowers and palmbranches.

"Is that a deathbed where a Christian lies?
Yes, but not his—'tis death itself there dies!"

"I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them."

MARY E. BECK. r 4 139


foNSiDER the lilies, and leam, i. to enjoy the beauties of nature. Christ did so, and we may share His joy in this. Why has God made flowers so beautiful, but that they may minister to us pleasures as pure as they are sweet? And has He not filled the world to overflowing with objects of loveliness? There are flowers in richest variety for gardens and fields, already mantled in green, woods and streams for landscapes, clouds lined with silver and flushed with gold for the beautiful blue sky. What artist would not be disappointed if, after lavishing care and genius in producing a beautiful painting, no one cared to look at it? And will God be pleased if after filling the world with beauty, we despise it? God has also given us for our enjoyment delightful sounds, delicious perfumes, and food pleasant to the taste.

2. Learn to enjoy them with the mind. Many are satisfied with the enjoyment they afford to the senses only. They are like him to whom

"A primrose by the river's brim
A yellow primrose was to him,
And it was nothing more."

But the lily was far more to Christ. He considered it. He looked earnestly at it and thought about it. And as He looked He thought of its beauty as a robe. And as a robe it was matchless. It was unapproachable in beauty of colour and fineness of texture. Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Human loom never produced anything so perfect. Thus by thought and comparison were His admiration and enjoyment heightened. Thus, following our Lord, may we transform and heighten all natural pleasures into mental.

3. Learn to see the Divine hand in them. Jesus saw it. He

saw God clothing the grass of the field. He saw His hand

weaving the robes of the lilies. This is the highest glory

of man. He can not only see and enjoy the beauties of nature, he can not only heighten his admiration and enjoyment by thought, he can see in them the glory of the hand that made them. An old tradition tells how Abraham was engaged one day in the worship of the sun: suddenly a hand covered and eclipsed it, plunging him in total darkness. After a little the hand itself shone with a brilliancy far above that of the sun, and a voice came to him saying, "Worship not the sun, but the haad that created it." Those who have enlightened eyes can see in the sun a light a thousand times brighter and more beautiful than its own—can see the same light in the moon and stars, on the earth, on hill and sea and shore, in every drop of dew, every blade of grass —can see every common bush afire with God. That wondrous light is all around us in beams and floods. We are bathed in it . We are steeped in it . It is the light of a mind of exquisite perfection and inexhaustible fertility in devising forms of creation, of a hand of infinite power in bringing them into being, of a Divine kindness in making them pleasant to man. The beauties of nature speak especially of the kindness of the Lord, of His desire for the happiness of His creatures. Every flower is a cup of pleasure for us to drink. Every flower as it shines in the brightness of its colours looks up to us as a bright smile from God. It is a kind word from Him, not only wishing us happiness but imparting it . And if we consider not only the flowers of the field, but the sweetness and grandeur of music, the delightfulness of odours, the pleasantness of food—if we consider the world filled to overflowing with creations of delight, we shall see the loving-kindness of the Lord shining with heavenly glory.

4. Learn a lesson of Divine care. The lilies toil not, neither do they spin. They are to-day, and to-morrow are cast into the oven. They have only a lowly and temporary form of life. Yet God does not despise nor neglect them. He is not content to weave for them any kind of raiment. He is not satisfied with expending on them the least possible care. He expends on them the greatest possible care. He weaves for them the most charming robes. And to His people He has given a life of eternal excellency. Shall He not, then, much more clothe you? Be assured also that the whole form and colouring of God's dealings with you are more perfect and beautiful than those of the lilies. There is in them far more of the light of the Divine mind— far more of the light of Divine love.

"With mercy and with judgment

My web of time He wove,
And aye the dews of sorrow

Were lustred with His love.
I'll bless the hand that guided,

I'll bless the heart that planned,
When throned where glory dwelleth,

In Immanuel's land."

5. Learn wherein our pre-eminence consists. It is not in dress. We cannot in it equal the flowers of the field. Solomon in all his glory could not. The flowers have but a lowly form of life, and that life naturally spends itself in beauty of form and colour. They fulfil their mission when they bloom in loveliness. But man has a higher life; he has a spiritual nature. He must have a higher than any merely outward beauty. He must be clothed with garments of righteousness, with the beauties of holiness.

6. See in the lily an image of Christ. He is the rose of Sharon and the lily of the valley. He lived the life of man in its highest perfection, in its loveliest beauty. The Son of God entered into all the conditions of human life and in them became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. He clothed Himself in Creation with power and wisdom, righteousness and goodness. They shine in the sun with a light far above the brightness of His own. But in Redemption He put on new and more wondrous robes; He clothed Himself with infinite spiritual power, with a wisdom that contended with deepest darkness and dispelled it with the light as of a thousand suns, with a love that introduced a new era into the very heaven of heavens. Out of His

« AnteriorContinuar »