Imágenes de páginas


prove old times to be better than new place both in learning and manners; but times. One would think by what you do not know that old times, in this say that the older times are, the better respect, have any great advantage. If they are. Perhaps you would like to we have not so many Jacks, Dicks, go back again to the days of Adam at Bobs, and Harrys, Bets, Salls, Nances, once ?

and Polls,—we have Johns, Richards, Robert. No! no! Not quite so far Roberts, and Henrys, Betsies, Sarahs, back as that neither.

Annes, and Marys to make up for them. · Henry. Well, then, what say you to In old times, a man who could read and the times of the ancient Britons ? The write was looked upon almost as a conDruids might then burn you alive in jurer, and I have heard say that before a wicker cage for despising their bar- now, barous rites and their sacred misletoe.

· Mighty monarchs wanted skill to prove Or the days of popery might suit you;

The letters that composed their mighty name.” what think you of Lollard's tower. Those days are over, and hundreds of Should you like to be crammed into mere boys now can read and write like the dungeon of little ease, where you schoolmasters. could neither stand up nor lie down, Robert. Learned men in old times and all for reading over a chapter in were very learned indeed ! Look at the New Testament? To be sure you some of their books! Why, they would might burn your Testament, and instead make a score of those that are now of reading it, go on a pilgrimage to the written. You know very well that learned shrine of Thomas à Becket at the ca- men in old times wrote great big folios. thedral of Canterbury.

Henry. They did write great big folios, Robert. I neither want to be burned, but who now would read them if they nor to go on a pilgrimage ; but almost written ? Books, indeed! you all old people say that the times are not must not say a word about books. Forwhat they used to be.

merly, they were hardly to be had for Henry. People once wore clogs in- love or money ; but now they are plenstead of shoes, and wooden skewers for tiful as blackberries. Young people pins. Our great great grandfathers used to have put into their hands the wore cocked hats and pigtails, with their histories of Goody Two Shoes, Mother waistcoat flaps half down their thighs, Hubbard, and Cinderella, and the faand our great great grandmothers, on mous adventures of Jack the Giant company occasions, wore hoops that Killer, Bluebeard, and Greensleeves. took up as much room as from here to What were such books as these to do yonder, with head dresses half a yard for them either by making them wiser high, plastered with pomatum and pow- or better? Time has been when a Tesder. You do not want these things to tament would have cost twenty pounds; come into fashion, do you ?

but you may buy a capital good one now Robert. No, I do not, but say what for a shilling or eighteen pence. Talk you will, there is a great difference be- of books! Why only last year the Bible tween new times and old times.

Society sent out more than seven hunHenry. There is a great difference, dred thousand Bibles and Testaments, certainly, as you say: for instance, there and the Religious Tract Society upwards are not so many prize fights, bull bait- of nineteen millions of publications. ings, badger baitings, and cock fights These two societies alone, since they now; nor half so many highwaymen on were established, have spread about in Hounslow and Bagshot heaths as there the world more than twelve millions of used to be. Stocks by the wayside, and Bibles and Testaments, and three hunwhipping posts and pillories in market dred millions of useful and pious publiplaces, are much scarcer than they were. cations ! It would be a hard matter now, to find Robert. You are right there as to a gibbet, though years ago the country number. We have more books cerwas studded with them. În these things, tainly than we used to have; but for I grant you that old times beat new times all that, there is enough superstition and all to pieces.

ignorance among us yet. Robert. Yes, but changes have taken Henry. There is superstition enough, place in learning, and manners, and and too much, among us, but not so many things.

much as there used to be formerly. Henry. True ! Changes have taken / We cannot see the man in the moon



quite so plainly as people formerly did. | boats, life rafts, life boats, and fire esWe do not believe that witches ride capes, are excellent things. They are through the air on broomsticks. Peo- among the improvements of the new ple seldom, now, nail horse shoes over times ; old times knew nothing about their doors to defend themselves from them. evil spirits, nor do they throw harmless Robert. What else have you got to old women into the river with their say? I should like to know all that hands tied, to find out whether they could be said in favour of new times now have bewitched their neighbours. These, your hand is in. You get on most faand a hundred other silly things, were mously. believed or done in old times; but new Henry. Well then, Robert, you shall times have very little to do with them. have a little more in favour of new times.

Robert. But do you think mankind If a servant girl wrote a letter in old are any better in new times than they times to her poor mother, or an apprenwere in old times?

tice boy to his sick father, living a long Henry. I hardly know what to think way off, (and such a letter you know is of that, Robert; but new times have often more welcome than money or memany things in their favour. Old times dicine,) why, the postage used to be carried on the slave trade with all its a shilling or thirteen pence, and if a bit injustice, oppression, and cruelty; but of paper, only an inch long, was slipped in new times, England gladly paid into it, that made it double ; but now twenty millions of money to liberate the children and parents, and brothers and slaves in its colonies. Then, besides the sisters, may write one another letters, slave trade, cruel wars were engaged in, if they have got the time, almost a where human blood was shed as freely yard long, and the postage will be but as water; but now we have had a twenty- a penny, and they may put a little book five years' peace, a thing to which old or tract into a letter into the bargain. times were almost strangers.

Robert. Ay! all of us are in favour Robert. Ah! Peace is a good thing, of the penny postage. and we have got it; and the slave trade Henry. In old times, if an aged father was a bad thing, and we all ought to had a son settled at a distance, and his rejoice that it is done away with.

heart yearned to see him once more Henry. Time was when we had neither before he died, he made his will, and microscopes, nor telescopes, nor printing took leave of his family before he set presses, nor watches. The mariner's com- off on his journey. It was almost as pass was once unknown, and ships could great an affair as when old father not sail the wide ocean as they do now. Jacob went down into Egypt, with In old times, those who had no pump the wagons that Pharoah had sent for were badly off for water ; but now water him. A journey of a hundred miles took is abundant in our cities and towns. up the better part of five days then, Formerly, our streets were lighted with whereas now, you may go it by railroad dim and dingy oil lamps; but now the in five hours. clear flame of the gas light is seen, at Robert. If you had been a counsellor, night, in all directions. Old watchmen, I hardly think you could have pleaded too stiff in the joints to run after a your cause better ; but I do not like rogue, and too feeble to hold him if these railroads. In my opinion, we are they caught him, are, of late years, ex- running on too fast. There will hardly changed for young, active, and strong be any time, after a while, I suppose, to policemen. You will admit that these eat our meals. We must have breakfast, are improvements ?

dinner, tea, and supper altogether. Robert. You seem determined to make

Henry. In old times there were no the best of new times, however. Nothing Sunday schools, now there are thouseems to escape you. I wonder you have sands! Once there were no Sunday not said something about ballooning, scholars, now there are millions ! Places there has been so much of it going on of worship were scarce, but now they for the last few years.

are multiplied. Almshouses, asylums, Henry. I will not say any thing in hospitals, and benevolent institutions favour of ballooning, because, though have increased. The deaf and dumb, I can see the danger of it, I cannot the halt and the blind have asylums. see the advantage ; but safety coaches, There are Sailors' Homes, Orphan Insafety lamps, steam carriages, steam stitutions, and refuges for the distressed,


that were never known in old times. I Henry. A great deal, Robert, though Say what you will about old times, I am I have not time to mention it. There sure we have a great deal in these new had not used to be so much infidelity and times to make us thankful..

socialism as there is now; more is the Robert. In that I agree with you, pity that such a change for the worse has Henry.

taken place. And then, again, it is cerHenry. In old times, men of whom tain that children do not honour their the world was not worthy, were com- parents as they did in old times. This pelled, by the bitterness of persecution, is a black mark on the forehead of new to dress themselves in sheep skins, and times. Oh that young people were more goat skins, wandering in deserts, and in humble than they are, and more thankdens and caves of the earth. Smithfield ful for their many advantages. Oh that used in old times to be often of a light- they feared God, and reverenced old age shine with the blaze of fagots piled more, having the commandment in their around good men, for believing what we hearts as well as in their lips, “Honour believe, and for reading that Bible, which thy father and thy mother, that thy days now we can read in peace and comfort may be long in the land that the Lord every day of our lives.

thy God giveth thee !” Robert. I should think that


had Robert. You seem coming over to my almost got to the bottom of your budget, side of the question at last. now, Henry.

Henry. A great deal might be said for Henry. Perhaps you think that I old times; but I am rather disposed, just have said too much already. Whatever now, to think favourably of new times, may be the advantages or disadvantages on account of the improvements that of the times, it will be well for us to have taken place; and it might be a prokeep in mind that the human heart has fitable inquiry, if we were to ask ourbeen evil at all times. The first man selves this question, While so many imthat was created sinned against God, and provements have taken place around us, the second shed the blood of his brother. what improvements have taken place Wickedness increased among mankind, within us? in our character and contill God drowned the earth; and when , duct, our thoughts, our words, and our our Saviour came into the world he was

deeds? The best thing you and I can betrayed by one of his own disciples, and do, let the times be what they will, is to crucified by the Jews, the peculiar peo- be thankful for them ; our wisest course ple of God. These things should make will be to gain experience from the past, us watch and pray, lest we also enter to improve the present, and to seek God's into temptation. Then, again, God has grace to prepare us for the future. Old been good at all times. When he turned times, and new times, yea, all times are our first parents out of paradise, he did in God's hands, and he can make smooth not destroy them. When Cain was what is rough, and make straight what is cursed for the murder of his brother, crooked. God set a mark upon him, that no man

His power can make our joys abound, should kill him. When God drowned While changing seasons roll around ;

And bid unnumber'd mercies fly, the world for its iniquity, he left a rain

Through time, into eternity. bow token in the sky, that it should be drowned no more. When the Lord of Life and Glory was crucified, he prayed for his murderers, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do!" (Reflections for the 31st of December.) And even to this hour eternal life is The Holy Scriptures declare, that offered to us all, sinners as we are, “ To every thing there is a season, and through faith in the Son of God. The a time to every purpose under the sun," important question with us should be, Eccl. iii. l. With the many, the closthen, not, What are the “times ?" but ing hours of the year are made

a time rather, What shall we be, when time to laugh, and a time to dance;" but shall be no more?

those who seriously regard the rapid Robert. It would please me much to flight of their years, will rather make hear what you could say on my side the it a season of reflection, of self-examinquestion ; for you have said a great deal ation, and of prayer. on your own. Is there nothing wrong

How many thoughts are awakened in in new times, think you !

the mind on the last day of the year!


Another year has flown, and in its flight have I listened to; what have been their has borne me onwards towards eternity influence on my character ? Here is my and my final home. What is the report Bible ; have I read, marked, learned, it has carried to heaven ?

and inwardly digested its sacred truths ? It has been a year of mercies. How Do I understand it better than I did on regular and abundant have been the the first of January last? How have supplies which a kind Providence has I spent my seasons of prayer ? Have bestowed ! Shall I recount them in I done as much good as I have had order ? But where shall I begin ? opportunity of doing? If I have done “When all thy mercies, O my God,

little or nothing in the cause of Christ, My rising soul surveys,

is it because I have lacked opportunity ? Transported with the view, I'm lost If I have been active, what have been In wonder, love, and praise.”

my motives, my rule, my end ? Am Morning and evening, noon and mid- I as spiritually minded as I should be ? night, have borne witness to the good- Have I kept a tender conscience within, ness and faithfulness of God. Oh, what and maintained a consistency of chashall I render to him for all his bene- racter without ? I am hastening on to fits ?

eternity; am I better prepared to enter Has it been a year marked by be- on this awful, final state, than I was reaving providences ? If it has not on the last day of last year ? What been so to me, it has been to thousands. are my hopes, my prospects ? Are Many a widow now sits in solitude, they scriptural? Will they bear the weeping over the loss of him who was test of a dying hour ? Or are they like her earthly comfort and protector. Many the hopes of the hypocrite which go a child turns to the fireside corner, where out at death? Do I love Christ more? a father or a mother was wont to sit, Am I resting on him with a more and close the day in cheerful converse; simple faith, deriving from him all my and many a parent now looks in vain spiritual health and life? Am I lookfor a child that he had hoped would ing forward and longing for his appearhave been his comfort in declining age. ing? Oh, these are questions which Death has divided many hearts, and should be fairly, fully met.

When can marred many bright prospects this year. I better think over them than on this The mourners have gone about the last day of the passing year ? The streets, and thousands have been carried season calls for reflection. Another

stage of my journey is past; let me, “ Heaven gives us friends, to bless the present then, enter into my secret chamber, and

shut my door about me; and while Resumes them, to prepare us for the next." humbled in the dust, under the painful Yet I have been spared, and why, Lord ? conviction of guilt and unworthiness, Is it because I am stronger, or more seek afresh to that blood which cleanseth healthy, or more useful, or more de- from all sin, and again renew the surrenserving, than others who have gone ? der of my soul to Him who is able to keep Ah, no! It is of thy mercies that I am that which I commit to him. Surely, not consumed, and because thy com- if there be one day more than another passions fail not, Lam. iii. 22.

that I feel my need of the blood of Has it been a year of trials ? Who Christ, it is that which closes the dehave been without them ? Trials in parting year. trade, in the family, in the church, in But, perhaps, I began the year with body, in mind. Perhaps one has fol- a heart at enmity with God; am I now lowed another in quick succession. converted ? I commenced it as an unCould I, at the commencement of the regenerate sinner; am I now an humble year, have foreseen the losses and dis- penitent, seeking mercy through a Diappointments which I had to meet, it vine Saviour ? If conscience tells me would have pressed me down in sorrow. I am yet unchanged, still afar off from Yet strength has been according to the God and righteousness, what have I day; and through the good hand of done? I have shut my eyes to the God, I continue to the present hour. light, closed my ears to the voice of

It has been a year of privileges. mercy, resisted the Spirit of God, Fifty-two sabbaths have blessed the denied the Saviour's claims, increased year; what have I done with them ? my guilt, and "heaped up wrath against Many solemn addresses from the pulpit the day of wrath." I am nearer eter

to the grave.


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

nity than I ever was, and less prepared | and at once rise to light and holiness, to enter on it. I have made progress and bliss, and join the ransomed throng to judgment, but have increased my ac- in singing the “new song" before the count. When the year commenced, throne of God, ascribing all the praise mercy cried,

Lord, let him alone this of salvation to the Lamb that was slain ? year also :—if he bear fruit, well : and if What answer does my heart give to this not, then after that thou shalt cut him inquiry ? “ Search me, O God, and try down." The year is gone, and I am me; and see if there be any wicked way found the same fruitless tree, yea, with in me;' save me from deceiving my own less prospect of ever bearing fruit. Pro- most precious soul. mises were made, and good intentions The last day of the year seems proformed; but I have lived only to give phetic of the last day of the world. another proof, that “the heart is de- Every day, as it is added to the thouceitful above all things, and desperately sands that are past, is bringing on that wicked."

day, of which “Enoch, the seventh from But the last day of the year reminds Adam, prophesied, saying, Behold, the me of two solemn periods—the last day Lord cometh with ten thousands of his of my life, and the last day of the world. saints, to execute judgment upon all,” The last day of my life will surely Jude 14, 15, when “ the heavens shall

How fast is it hastening on! pass away with a great noise, and the Who can tell me how near I am to the elements shall melt with fervent heat, grave ? I look back on the years already the earth also and the works that are gone; they appear but a handbreadth": therein shall be burned up,” 2 Pet. how few to me remain ! it may be, not iii. 10; and though scoffers, who walk one. There may literally now be but a after their own lusts, ask, “Where is the step between me and death. Could some promise of his coming ?" yet it will come celestial messenger speak to me on the as a thief in the night." Oh, that morrow, he might say, “ This year thou day! who shall abide its coming ? I shalt die.” On my coffin lid may be in- shall be a party to its solemn transacscribed, “Who departed this life, tions, though thousands of years should 1841, aged

Oh, how many intervene, and this body pass into the solemn thoughts are associated with the finest dust, until not a vestige is left last day of my earthly probation ! to denote that it once formed a part

Think of the last day of the sinner. of a human being; yet I shall be there, What anguish rends his heart! So un- not as a spectator, but as one deeply expectedly called to die ! He had hoped interested in the sentences that shall that many years were yet in reserve; then be passed. Then the year that is but now he is told he must die. He now departing, will be brought into relooks back in anguish of spirit; he looks view, with all its mercies and privileges, forward, and all is dark and hopeless. its misimproved hours and accumulated " “Farewell all my gains and projects, guilt. Oh, where shall I stand ? on the my merriments and thoughtless com- right hand, or on the left hand of the panions, my abused sabbaths and sea- Judge? Is He that shall be the Judge, sons of grace, my murdered hours,' now my Saviour and Friend ? my promises of amendment! Before Thus, from this point of time, I look me is nothing but misery, and the black- forward to the last day of my life, and ness of darkness for ever!"

the end of the world; and with the How different the last day of the be- solemn realities connected with those liever! Hear the dying saint exclaim, days crowding on my mind, I seriously “ Welcome death, welcome glory! The resolve, God's grace assisting me, to set time of my departure is at hand. I have out anew, or at once for heaven. fought a good fight, I have finished my

J. H. C. course, I have kept the faith : henceforth there is laid up_forme a crown of righteousness,' 2 Tim. iv. 6, 7. Though after my skin worms destroy this body, THE PRAISE OF THE ENVIOUS. yet in my flesh I shall see God,'” Job The praise of the envious is far less xix. 26. When the hour comes that creditable than their censures; they praise shall end my pilgrimage below, will it be only that which they surpass ; but that my happiness to take my farewell, for which surpasses them, they censure. .ever, of sin and sorrow, pain and death, Austin.


W: Tyler, Printer, 5, Bolt Court, London.

« AnteriorContinuar »