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and common happiness. He returned a few months after, and what an altered scene did he behold! How touching an instance of human fragility and earthly change! He who had been the light and stay of that happy home was gone. Four days before, he had departed to take possession of another dwelling; for four days he had been the tenant of the tomb, and over hjs empty place around the household-board, beside the householdhearth, the shadow of death was settled like a cloud. The sad sisters, however, had not been left to muse and weep in solitude. From the neighbouring city a numerous band of visitors had been collected in the house of mourning, attracted thither, probably, as on such occasions is wont to be the case, by various motives, some finding a certain attraction in the stimulus and the excitement of the scene, melancholy as it was in its source and in its character,;—some, with more sincere than rightly-judging affection, endeavouring to pour mto the reluctant ear the commonplaces 01 earthly consolation which, but that they were well and kindly meant, might have provoked from the mourners' feelings Job's embittered exclamation, "Miserable comforters are ye all,"—and some, it may be hoped, who knew better whence to draw availing comfort, seeking to direct the sufferers' mind to the perpetuity of the Eternal's promises, flourishing in immortal strength and loveliness, while, like the flowers of the field, individuals and families, and the race of man itself, withered from before him, endeavouring to kindle or revive within their hearts that hope which alone is deathless amidst a dying world. Amidst the circle of sympathising friends, essaying thus their various powers of consolation, sat Mary with dejected countenance and glistening eye, absorbed in her own melancholy musings; Martha most probably having left her meditative sister to preside amidst the circumstance and stateliness of grief, while she employed herself elsewhere, and found, perhaps, a useful distraction to her mind from the monotony of sorrow, in the direction of those domestic arrangements which were so congenial to her character, and which, however interrupted for a season by the shock of death and funeral within a house, must presently resume their course, making the nothingness of man more pathetically visible, seeing that the chasm which his departure makes in the train and succession of the most ordinary circumstances so speedily closes again, and all things go on even as before, though he has " a part no longer in all that is done under the sun." Certain it is, that Martha was so placed, and so occupied, when Jesus arrived in the neighbourhood of Bethany, that tidings of his approach were conveyed to her without at the same time reaching her sister's ear. It seems obvious from the 28th verse, that the first intelligence of the Saviour's coming which Mary received, '■was that which Martha sent her after having seen the Lord, and that we are not to ascribe the conduct of the former to indifference or sullenness, when we are told that "Martha, as soon as she heard that
Jesus was coming, went and met him, but Mary sat still in the house."
It was in perfect accordance with Martha's alert and ardent character that, the moment she heard that He whom they had expected so long was come at last, she hastened, without pausing to communicate even with the sister of her bosom, to meet and to accost him. Her first salutation strikingly shewed the mixture and tumult of emotion which reigned within her heart, the depth and copiousness of her sisterly affection and sisterly regrets, the deep persuasion which she cherished of the Masters power to have delivered and preserved his friend, and the shade of sinful suspicion with which her faith and reverence toward Jesus was alloyed in regard to the kindness of his recent procedure,—" Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died." In the first excitement of her emotions, produced by the sight of Jesus, all her feelings rushed out without reserve,—without control, even the obscure impression which, in an hour of greater self-command, she would not, perhaps, have ventured to express, the impression which had lain for four days at her heart, infusing double bitterness into the fount of sorrow springing there, as if the Master's dealings had been somewhat less than friendly. No sooner, however, had she pronounced the words, than she seems to have perceived and regretted the insinuation they implied, and, correcting herself, she adds, "But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou shalt ask of God, God will give it thee." She recollected that Jesus had resources enough, at once in his own miraculous power, and in his all-prevailing influence with the Omnipotent, to find relief and consolation for his friends, even in that hour of profound, and, in ordinary cases, hopeless desolation. She did not venture to shape her wishes into words, lest the request should seem presumptuous. She knew that the penetrating eye which rested upon her with the glance of compassionate inquiry, could read the dim imagination which rose within her heart, and obscurely pictured to her fancy the vision of her brother recovered, by a mightier miracle than ever Jesus had yet achieved, from the grasp of the inexorable grave. She was well persuaded that even this was possible to Christ, if it was right; but, feeling more truly than when she began to speak, her own place in reference to Jesus,—aware that she had no right to dictate or prescribe to one so infinitely wise and infinitely kind, she exchanges the tone of querulous complaint, and reflection on the best of friends, for the more seemly one of submissive suggestion to his superior wisdom and superior love.
The reply of Jesus to the complaints and suggestions of the disconsolate Martha, is one among a thousand instances to teach us, that "we have not in him an high priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities," but one whose heart is as tender to sympathise as his word is powerful to console. "Thy brother," he says, "shall rise again." He withdraws the mourner'smrnd from sorrowful reflection on what might have been, to the joyful anticipation of what is to be. It seems very obvious that, in using expressions Fpvery general as those here recorded, our Lord could not expect, and therefore did not intend, that they should be regarded by Martha as conveying a direct promise that he should, that very day, by a special act of his omnipotence, raise her brother from the dead; and that, therefore, the consolation they were intended to convey, is that which all Christians are entitled to draw concerning those who " sleep in Jesus," from the prospect of the blessed resurrection of all such to life eternal. And it is a thought overflowing with most copious and most abundant comfort, in reference to all who have departed in the Lord, that the time is coming, coming certainly, when even their chill and darkened dust, which we committed to the tomb in weakness, and dishonour, and corruption, shall spring again to light, mighty, majestic, incorruptible—bright with the image of their Lord, and clothed with the robes of immortality. It is true that, as Martha intended to SHggest in her reply, " I know that he shall rise again at the last day," the period appointed for that magnificent event lies still at a mighty interval before us. That period is "the last day,"—the closing day of this world's history,—when "the mystery of God shall be finished,"—when the era of change, and convulsion, and preparation, 6hall terminate, and that of fixed, unchanging destinies commence. Before that day of consummation dawn, ages may succeed to ages, and long millenniums roll their mighty years; and considering this, it may sometimes be felt as if the consolation which the prospect of that day supplies were drawn from too remote a source to be so precious and effectual as we could desire. Let it, therefore, serve, O Christian, mourning for a Christian brother, to bring the consolation nigh thee, to reflect that, to his bodiless spirit, all the period intervening between the hour of death and the hour of resurrection is a period of blissful repose and exulting expectation. Yet let it never be forgotten, that even this estate of the holy dead, serene and blessed though it be beyond imagination, is but imperfect and preparatory—that even to the souls in paradise, great part of their felicity consists in the sure and certain hope of a day before them, when "that which is in part shall be done away, and that which is perfect shall have come,"—when, in their whole nature, they shall be wholly pure, and wholly glorious, and wholly happy—when, in body and soul, they shall have their perfect consummation and bliss, and that mode and order of existence shall begin which shall never terminate, and never change, world without end. It is for this reason, we apprehend, that not only our Saviour in the text, but the holy writers in general, when they have occasion to allude to the future glory of believers, as the source either of motive or of consolation, almost uniformly refer forwards, over the state of intermediate being, to what they emphatically term "that day," because then, and not till
then, perfection comes. One example shall suffice. The passage where the apostle so gloriously expands, for the use of other Christians, the concentrated consolation which Jesus addressed to Martha, when he said, "Thy brother shall rise again :"—" But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died, and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord, skill not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." "Wherefore," as the apostle adds, "comfort one another with these words,"— and so live, that ye may leave surviving mourners such blessed cheer and consolation when ye die.
THE FAMILY OF THE DRUNKARD;
By The Rev. Thomas Dimma, A.M.,
Minister of Queensfeny.
The strong and prevailing tendency to indulge in spirituous liquors, is one of the momentous signs of tie times. It militates against every scheme of benevolent devised for the amelioration of mankind, and scatters to the winds the efforts, which zeal, for the interests of vital religion, employs to instil and disseminate the principles of a sound and operative morality. Many a fair plan, in embryo, is prevented from being developed, and even when measures have been taken to carry it out, in the fulness of an attractive superstructure, the workman is compelled to retire and escape from the wreck of his own goodly devices. Nothing reallv beneficial can be accomplished, when the powers, which God hath bestowed upon man, are vitiated and uuliiiuj* 1 by the operations of a cause, whose agency, united wili the innate depravity of the human heart, is too powerful to be successfully met by the single-handed exertwss of one solitary mind. As soon as the taste for intoxicating liquors is acquired and strengthened by habit mi indulgence, the only avenues by which the heart can t»successfully approached is shut. There is no prohv bility that the man, who debghts to riot in vicious acess, should have an ear open to receive the counsels that experience is qualified to give, or yield to the invitations that the benevolent mind is willing to press.... Every apology for indulgence being readily embraced, and companions crowding to deepen attachment to the intoxicating draught, there is little wonder that the tread of the drunkard should be visibly impressed whenever he advance*....He is marked gradually becomi:..: negligent of his person,—his clothes are covered wit 3 shreds and patches,—his countenance betrays the palkd hue of confirmed dissipation—his gait is hurried—and. in the moments most favourable for exertion—he betrai t the languor and inefficiency of an unhinged trac*. Stimulants afresh are pb'ed with unsparing hands, am the strength unnaturally acquired, is again wastei feeble and pointless exertion. His ear is open to tr~invitation, and resists the repeated efforts emplovw TM destroy its power. The eye watches with sopena:^ neutcness, the motions made from a distance by the associate, whom no other link binds but the habit of occupying the same place, and raising, in unholy triumph, the poisoned cup to the greedy lips,—What a grasping of hands and what professions of eternal friendship 1 The very atmosphere in which they breathe, though polluted by corrupting additions, is pronounced healthful and exhilarating,—the narrow chamber with its tawdry or disjointed furniture, is again and again filled, —the tale, more than twice told, is again repeated—and listened to with fresh zest.
But the drunkard has a home—he has a wife—lie has a young family, for whom, under the most solemn obligations, he is bound to provide. This sad dwelling he revisits under the guidance of a clouded intellect—or conducted thither by the help of his miscalled friends. If he walks forth alone—his groping and side way movements—after many melancholy mishaps, conduct him to
his resting-place If his associates bring him to his
dwelling—the hour of consciousness being past—the slow progress of time must await the resuscitation of his dormant faculties. He awakes from his dream—with a fever in his veins,—over his frame the deadening torpor of mental and bodily debasement hath been spread,—with its slow departure, there comes, in equally slow progress, the resumption of power jaded and worn out,—muscular action recovered, after the unnatural struggle of contending energies. Strength hath been wasted on empty air—and before the lingering remains of native energy can be called into action—the time of useful exertion hath passed away.
The appetite loathes food, and the arts of culinary skill—strangers to the dwellings of the drunkard—if they could be employed, cannot revive the languid powers.... The very act of the simplest preparation of the humble meal, nauseates Its odours—deaden the slender awakening desire for food, and the drowsy victim of intemperance—in melancholy inanition—looks forward on a day, for whose duties he is entirely unfit....He keeps
his chair—the mutilated remains of many mishaps It
is unstable like himself—its joints are loosened—its surface is rough—the auxiliary nail, by which it is fastened— rises up to punish the hand or the limb that touches its unsubdued head. The floor, once smooth, is hollowed out by repeated excavations—which sloven hands have
had no leisure to fill The fire-place, once the scene
of comfort, betrays the inroads of many an ill directed blow. But the warm hearth,—genial heat is banished, — coal cannot be procured,—the tall remains of a stray stake,—a floated beam—or a pilfered gate—in decaying grandeur—court the dying embers....Mark the scattered kettles,—the unwashen margins,—the potato with its fragments,—the table with its scattered utensils,— the fish, in remaining skeleton,—the water, in meandering stream,—the untidy vessel,—the broken crystal or the "lonely glass—the open recipient of the pestilential draught!—Are there animals in this sickening abode? Here see the cat—ghastly spectre to which the blow is dealt, when the slender dole is held out,— or the sportive kitten—sobered by the neglect of the unruly dwelling—with shaggy hair and dim eye—looking out for amorsel, aiforded with niggard hand....Perhaps, above the scene of strife—is perched the canary, whose wild notes ill harmonize with the scene below,—or, in corner dark and comfortless—the blackbird—ill fed and ill treated—the spoil of wood invaded—or bush broken. The walls—smoke hath defiled them,—or, in corner undisturbed—the spider has spread his tiny web,—the windows—patched—and puttied with ceaseless industry, or, likelier still—with fractured glass or shattered
frame—giving admittance—to every blast that blows,— the door—a safe passage—to the wind—hinges broken
patch-work complete—and udding the discomforts of
imperfect protection to the scene of confusion within.... Look around—see the tools of the drunkard's art—
worn and mangled by unfair use—or not replaced through the ill directed management of the proceeds of former labour.... Or, piled in corners—mark, what might guide a firm hand—and furnish employment for industrious occupation,—now you may detect the rusty sword—the fatal tube plied against gliding hare or gaudy pheasant—the bag for concealment, or the noose to destroy.... Furniture once—but now its very wreck.... The drawers of happy marriage day—divested of their finery,—the gay crockery—now solitary spectres.... You ask—where rests the wearied limbs of this victim of dissipation? his bed—a dreary resting-place—there filth, undisturbed, hath taken up its abode, and the eye, sickened at the sight, retires from the uninviting spectacle. No hand has been applied to turn the long pressed pillow—and no care employed to remove the stains of many repeated scenes of beastly intoxication 1
In such a dwelling, the Bible might be conceived a stranger,—but it is there—the draught that hath swallowed up all others—hath spared it. Around the name, or very aspect of the book—a feeling of veneration hovers—which keeps, in undisturbed seclusion, the Bible as the family record—or allows it to escape, as the tattered remains—of many a scholastic hour of early discipline.—With dusty cover—or blackened page—it is gradually, and from each side, hurrying on—to meet—in the work of central dilapidation. Or the drunkard may preserve his volume still spared—which a deceased parent valued—he speaks of it—but knows not its contents—it is preserved—to tell of parents honoured and pious, of whom he reports himself sprung. On his tongue—there may linger—the early imparted lesson— but in the sounds emitted—there comes forth the scattered fragments of an ill arranged and disordered mind.
In this doleful dwelling there are children, but on pale cheek and weak limbs—they transmit the germs of their degraded parentage. Familiar with disorder, their birthright portion—they increase it by continual fretful contributions. No sound of tenderness is heard there.
The maddening scowl, instead of the affectionate look
the harsh word, instead of the tender expression, the
curse for the blessing,—the blow for the touch of kindness—and the passionate exclusion from the presence
instead of the tender invitation to enjoy it The drunkard thinks not of the immortal souls over which God hath given him to watch—on this deeply solemn subject—he bestows no thought—and the sight of his children hurrying onwards to perdition—brings no tear
into bis eyes.—Oh—he has never learned to pray or he
has forgotten the first lesson pious parents delighted to give. He hears no Sabbath bells, and with him, also, an untutored family slumbers in the unawakened apathy of a dread indifference 1 Disease comes, and death comes—a temporary season of reflection followed speedily—by the cup more eagerly plied—and the deadening draught more greedily swallowed.
Over the land—intoxication stalks with giant strides— and, with hand uplifted, levels down the obstacles raised
to oppose its progress Under its tutorage—the hand of
skill is exchanged for the groping efforts of blindfold exertion,—wisdom is followed by folly—and the lanpathway exchanged for the crooked road.
And amidst all this—no room is found for the advancement of the Redeemer's cause. The drunkard thinks not that he has a soul to be saved—and he flees not for refuge to the hope that the Gospel unfolds. It is awful to think bow many death-beds are pressed before deluded man is made aware of his dreadful condition. But he is left to his own reflections—no boon companion draws near—no sound of friendly voice is heard—He is left to his own sad musings, and he sinks into an unlamented grave, leaving behind him—the neglected children for whom he ought to have provided
or the aged parents around whom he ought to Lava thrown the hand of friendly protection.
Recently appointed a Missionary to the Zoolus in Eastern Africa, from the Church Missionary Society in England.
Fair smiles the morn, and softly pants the breeze,
Speed, Christian Warrior, speed thy prosp'rous way,
While British sailors, on long voyage, brave
Beneath a frigid or a torrid sky;
While British soldiers on the sandy plain,
Force their long marches, scorning to complain;
And seek in scenes of blood, and fields of fame,
The hard-earn'd glory of a deathless name;
'Tis thine alone, bold Missionary, thine,
To burn no incense at an earthly shrine;
To seek no gain, no honour to pursue.
To keep no sordid, selfish end in view;
But feeling what the call of Christ implied,
And burning with the love of him who died;
And by a Holy Influence upborne,
From home, and friends, and country thou art torn;
With scarce a lingering hope to see them more,
But die unfriended on a foreign shore.
Hark to the trumpet-blast!—it sounds afar.
And calls the nations,—not to deadly war,
To strife and bloodshed,—'tis the Gospel's sound,
It scatters peace and happiness around,
On heathen shores, idolatry's domains,
Where cruel superstition brooding reigns;
The scriptural standard, gloriously unfurl'd,
Proclaims Salvation to a rxtin'd world.
His path as beauteous as the dawn of day,
The Gospel-Angel speeds his noiseless way;
O'er hills of pagan gloom his footstep flies,
To scatter darkness from a thousand eyes;
See up the steep the unwearied herald bends,
The light of love his joyous feet attends:
Where'er they go, a dreary waste they find,
And leave a smiling paradise behind.
Christians—can you refuse your help to land, This blessed Gospel-message forth to send? ... By England's debt of love to other lands, By all the blessings gather'd from their hands j By every gift which God so freely gave; By angels hovering over Martyn's grave; By every soul from sin and Satan won; Complete the work of love so well begun. By His command, who once for sinners died, By all the sorrows of the Crucified.; We press you in this service to engage, With all the warmth of youth, and weight of ago. Think on a Saviour's Love—let that constrain. Think on the high reward those souls shall gain; Who follow Christ, and in His service die, When they shall wear the crown of victory. And circled round by many a ransom'd band, In the Elect Assembly they shall stand, And wave the palm, and raise the choral lugi, "Praise to the Lamb "—to all eternity.
ODE, OR ADDRESS TO THE ISLE OT WIGHT.
By The Rev. D. Davidson,
Minister of Broughty Ferry.
This island has been called the "Garden of England," on screw:c* the varied beautr of its ecenc-rr, and the healthful character « «■ climate. It was in it that the ReT. Leg* Richmond a""*TM** his ministry, and that those interesting circumstances «cei« » hich are recorded in his well-known tracts. And in ay""": yards of Arreton and Brading, two of its parishes, lie the rajTM 1 ■' The Dairyman's Daughter," and •• Jane, the ioungCoUJ|a
Hail lovely islet of the sea!
Well " England's Garden" styled,
HatH thy Creator smiled.
I love thee, for thy green extent,
And scenes that ever change;
Within thy narrow range.
Whereby are,raised the low;
Into health's rosy glow.
But chief I love thee, as the spot
Where Richmond taught and prayed;
And 'neath the sod are laid.
Of mercy shedding light,—
He gave with sole-in rite.
And in thy Brading did inter,
In death's eternal gain,
The young, yet sainted " Jane."
God grant their faith to me 1
Fair islet of the sea.
END OF VOLUME FIRST.
PRINTED BY JOHN JOHNSTONE, KM, HIGH STREET, EDINBURGH.