« НазадПродовжити »
owe him supreme obedience. No duty that he commands is beyond our power to perform, and no obstacles that we have to contend with are beyond his power to remove. Therefore, whatsoever he commands we should instantly observe and do. Yet how frequently is it the case that difficulties altogether deter us from duty, or that we defer the duty until the difficulty shall remove. Only in such cases there is always one question deserving attention, this-whether the difficulties we apprehend may not actually be placed in our path to ascertain the strength of our religious principle, the power of our love to the Lord Jesus
Christ? Our obedience may be tried as was Abraham's--tried by a command requiring large self-sacrifice
and uncompromising fidelity. Let us see to it that we obey after the pattern of Abraham's obedience, and then to us shall the same blessed testimony be rendered—“Now, now I know that thou fearest God.”
We talk about duty. It were, perhaps, better to remember that every duty we render to Christ is in reality a high and distinguished privilege! and did we only consider, as we should do, the infinite obligations under which we are laid to the Redeemer, methinks we should cease to ask, “How much can we with safety withhold from Christ? what duties may we dare to omit ?” but should
“ Yet, if I might make some reserve,
And duty did not call,
That I would give him all!" 2. Observe, that although these women apprehended obstacles, they did not exaggerate them.
On the contrary, most persons will think that they underrated them. We have seen that they made much of their duty ; it now appears that they made light of their difficulty. They did not brood over it, until it assumed far larger proportions than their duty. They did not fill their minds with surmises and wonderings as to the probable result of their mission; but without arranging any measures for the removal of the stone, they take the sweet spices they have prepared, and go forth to the sepulchre ; and, apparently, it is only at last, when they are upon their way to the sepulchre, that they inquire one of another, what most persons would have determined before ever they had set out, “ Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?
“Lack of forethought,” some will say. Yes, but perhaps such a lack should more be admired than censured. So far as most of us are concerned, at least, it would be well to copy rather than shun their conduct in this particular. Too much forethought as to our religious difficulties is our failing and our snare. We are always fearing what evils might possibly befall us in the event of pursuing the course which duty to Christ dictates. It might be wiser for us to assume that of all paths the path of duty must be the most easy and unencumbered, and that God himself will make every path of duty straight and plain; or, at least, let us wait until difficulties come before we grapple with them. An impenetrable veil conceals the future from our gaze. Let us not attempt to lift it, or, if we will attempt, let us rather see the magnitude of our future blessings than discover the number of our future ills. Many streams we shall have to cross, but God can bridge them all, and it savours both of distrust and folly for us to throw across the bridge before ever we have beheld the stream.
And remember, too, that those most defiant of difficulties have invariably done most for God. The fame of immortal deeds belongs far more to those who have bestowed little thought upon their difficulties than to those who have been continually estimating their dimensions and their power. How long had the fearful and the timid been staggered at the difficulties of the missionary enterprise, how long had they asked, “Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the moral sepulchre? " when Carey appeared, and by faith rolled the stone away! Many looked at the obstacles, and because they had little faith they seemed insuperable, but when Carey looked, by faith he saw that the stone was rolled away!
3. Observe, that the obstacles these women apprehended were not to be removed by them.
They were already removed. “When they looked, the stone was rolled away. It was rolled away by another power, and for another purpose than that they contemplated. Their intention was to anoint his dead body, God's intention was for them to hail and adore their risen Redeemer.
And we, too, not unfrequently find our true blessedness in our religious duty. Even in the most unwelcome duty we may expect to find our Lord, and in its faithful discharge we shall be prepared for the honour of beholding the Lord in his exalted majesty: What rapture to hear him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into my joy”!
“Oh that with yonder sacred throng
We at his feet may fall,
LOVE ONE ANOTHER!
A LITTLE girl, with happy look,
Tales and Sketches.
THE UNSPOKEN WARNING. and bolts were things upused; and in deed I AM no believer in the supernatual. I as in word we were neighbours. In their never saw any ghosts, never heard any care had been left a boy of ten years, the strange noises--none, at least, that could only one of the family remaining at home, not be accounted for on naturel principles. who knew that when he returned from I never saw lights round the bed or heard school he was expected to bring in wood knocks on the head-board which proved to and kindlings for the morning fire, take be “forerunners " of sickness or death; I
supper alone or with little Clara Enever had even dreams “come to pass ; he chose, and otherwise pass the time as he and to spirits, in the common acceptation pleased, only that he must not go into the of the term, since the days of the Fox girls, street to play or on the pond to skate. He my very presence has been always a damper. had been left many times in this way, and I am not one of the sort wbo are always had never given occasion for the slightest on the look-out for signs and wonders ; uneasiness ; still, as this nameless fear grew and if want of faith in spiritualism or upon me, it took the form of a conviction supernaturalism is a sin, I ought to have that danger of some sort threatened this been the last one to look out for so marked beloved child. a--you may name it what you please, I I was rising to go and ask Mr. A- to call it-Divine interposition as the one I take me home, when some one said, “You am about to relate, all the witnesses to are very pale; are you ill ? ” which—and they are not a few—are still “No," I answered, and dropping back living.
in the chair, told them how strangely I bad One bitter cold day in winter a merry been exercised for the last few minutes ; party of us, nestled down under furry robes, adding, “I really must go home.” went to meet an appointment with a friend
a perfect chorus of voices living a few miles distant, with whom we against it, and for a little time I was were to spend the afternoon, and in the silenced, though not convinced. Some one evening attend a concert to be held near by. laid the matter before Mr. A- who The air was keen and inspiriting, the host replied, “ Nonsense; Eddie is a good boy and hostess genial as the crackling fires in to mind, will do nothing in our absence the grates, and the invited guests, of whom that he would not do if we were there, and there were many besides ourselves, in that is enjoying himself well at this moment, peculiar visiting trim which only
old-time I'll warrant.” friends, long parted, can enjoy. "Restraint This answer was brought to me in was thrown aside: we cracked jokes, we triumph, and I resolved to do as they said, chattered like magpies ; and not a little of « not think about it.” But at tea my the coming concert, which promised a rare trembling hand almost refused to carry treat to our upsophisticated ears. All went food to my lips, and I found it utterly immerry as a marriage bell, and merrier than possible to swallow a mouthful. A deathsome marriage bells, till just before tea, like chill crept over me, and I knew that when I was seized with a sudden desire to
every eye was on me as I left the room. go home, accompanied by a dread or fear Mr. A
· rose, saying, in a changed voice of something, I knew not what, which made and without ceremony,
“ Make haste; the return appear, not a matter of choice, bring the horse round; we must go right but a thing imperative. I tried to reason away. I never saw her in such a state it away, to revive anticipations of the con
there is something in it.” He folcert; I thought of the disappointment it lowed me to the parlour, but before he would be to those who came with me to could speak I was pleading as for dear life give it up; and, running over in my mind that not a moment should be lost in startthe condition in wbich things were left at ing for home. 'I know," said I," it is not home, I could find no ground for alarm. all imagination, and whether it is or not, I
For many years a part of our house had shall certainly die if this dreadful incubus been rented
to a trusty family; our children is not removed." were often rocked in the same cradle, and All was now confusion; the tea-table half the time ate at the same table ; locks deserted, the meal scarcely tasted ; and my
friends, alarmed as much at my looks as at own room, and turned the knob. The my words, were as anxious to hurry me off door was locked. What could that mean? as they had before been to detain me. To Eddie was either in the inside or had taken me those terrible moments seemed hours, the key away with him. Mr. Ayet I am assured that not more than half round to a window with a broken spring, an hour elapsed from the time my fears which could be opened from the outside. first found expression before we were on the It went up with a clang, but a dense road towards home. A horse somewhat volume of smoke drove him back. After noted for fleetness was before us, and with an instant another attempt was made, and only two in the gig—the rest staid to this time, or
a lounge directly under the the concert, and made Mr. A promise window, he stumbled on the insensible that if nothing had happened we would form of little Eddie, smothered in smoke ! return--we went over the road at a rapid Limp and apparently lifeless, he was borne pace. I knew, from the frequent repetition into the fresh cold air, and after some of a peculiar signal, that the beast was rough handling was restored to conscious. being urged to his best, yet I grew sick with impatience at the restraint. I wanted From that hour I think I have known to fly. All this time my fears had taken how Abraham felt when he lifted Isaac no definite shape. I only knew that the from the altar unharmed, in obedience to child was in danger, and felt impelled to the command of the angel of the Lord. hurry to the rescue. Only once was the True, I had been subjected to no such trial silence broken in that three-mile journey, of strength and faith ; my Father knew I and that was when, on reaching an emi- should have shrunk utterly before it; yet, nence, from which the house was in full if it was not a similar messenger that view, I said, " Thank God, the house isn't whispered to me in the midst of that gay on fire!”
party an hour previously, I have no wish to “That was my own thought,” said Mr. be convinced of it, and were the book A----, but there was no slackening of placed in my hands which I knew had speed. On nearing home a cheerful light power to rob me of this sweet belief, I was glimmering from Mrs. E--_'s win- would never open it. dow. Before the vehicle had fairly stopped Eddie said, on returning from school
, he we were clear of it, and, opening the door, made a good fire, and as the wood was said, in the same breath, “Where's
snowy, thought he would put it into the Eddie?"
oven to dry—something he had never done “Eddie? Why, he was here a little before. Then, on leaving Mrs. E—'s wbile ago," answered Mrs. E- plea- room, he went in for an apple before going gantly, striving to dissipate the alarm she to see Libby Rose's picture-book, and it saw written on our countenances.
seemed so nice and warm he thought he ate supper with the children, and played would lie down awhile. He could give no awhile at marbles ; then spoke of Libby explanation as to what prompted him to Rose having a new picture-book, and that turn the key ; it was the first and last he wanted to see it. You'll find him over time ; but this could have made no differthere."
ence in the result, for no one would have With swift steps Mr. A crossed the discovered the smoke in time to save his street to the place mentioned, but returned life. The wood in the oven was burned to with, “He has not been there.” Eddie ashes, but as the doors were closed there was remarkably fond of skating, and my was no danger of falling embers setting the next thought was that he had been tempted house on fire; and had we to disobedience. I said calmly, “We will concert everything would have been as we go to the pond." I was perfectly collected; left it, except that little Eddie's voice would I could have worked all night without never more have made music for our ears. fatigue with the nerves in that state of Every one said that with a delay of five or tension; but Mr. A
said, “No, you
even three minutes we should have been must go in and lie down. Eddie is safe too late. enough somewhere about the village. I'll Many years have passed since then, yet go and find him.” But there was nothing now, when the lamp of faith burns dim, in the tone as in the words to reassure and God and bis promises
stayed to the
way off, I have only to go back to this As Le joke he crossed the hall to our
the first, the last, and only manifestation
seem a great
of this nature-to feel that as a father careth for his children, so careth he for us. “Deliver us from evil, for thine is the power,” is now no mere formality, but is pregnant with glorious meaning.
THE OLD PASTOR AND THE NEW
MEETING-HOUSE. It was a Sabbath morning in spring, serene and sweet, with bird songs that seemed to talk of heaven to the brown hills and the unleaved trees, and with the more homely but contented voices of country farm-yards, that spoke of human companionship and the painless side of earthly care. A look of reverential Sunday restfulness lay all over the picturesque landscape of Winton, and not a sign of weekday work appeared, far or near, to mar the general aspect of worship, or disturb its suggestiveness of peace.
Alone among the hill-side maples yonder, close by " Bigelow Brook," there curled up a thin, half-invisible skein of smoke from under the sugar-boilers of John Fenwood, as if saying there had been busy hands about there last night, and would be tomorrow morning; but more than this not a glimpse or an echo of worldliness broke in
upon the Sabbath harmony, or ruffled to the sense of the distant observer the sacred serenity of the hour.
Men, women, and children were moving that morning by twos, and fives, and dozens, up the north, south, and west roads, in quaint family waggons and afoot, over the long pastures to Winton Green. The sight was a delightful one, and reminded you of those ancient “Songs of degrees" with which the psalmists of Judah, after the Captivity, gladdened the frequent pilgrimages of the people to the second Temple. You exclaimed, involuntarily, as you saw it, “Surely this is in keeping with the rest of the scene!"
But when you drew near enough to catch the conversation of those groups of churchgoers, the illusion was gone, and you found yourself transported back to the sinful humanity of every day. “They're had their
way down on the flat for the last ten years," pronounced a pretty decided voice, from a great, old-fashioned chaise, as the
swung lazily along to the meeting. "They've had their way in everything for the last ten or twelve years, and I declare it's time the church got into some other lead, or we'll surely all go to ruin. We
were just havin' a revival, and things looked prosperous if the Lord's work had been let alone, but a few must start up about a meeting-house right in the midst of it, and now it's come to all this quarrel. As if the Lord couldn't convert souls in the old place! I've known for two or three years that we'd got to have a meeting-house; but to start up the thing this winter-'twas too bad,--and the worst of it is, the contrariness of the 'Flat' folks to set the house down amongst themselves, against the wish of two-thirds of the members! Take it all together, it's got up a difficulty here that's lasted well into spring, and will last into summer, and the Lord only knows how long,"
“I wonder how they can expect to be blessed and prospered to hold out so stiff about half a mile of road!" rather spitefully remarked the owner and driver of a highbacked green waggon, full of women and children, coming up the other side of the hill. Any one of 'em might see, if they'd give up their narrow prejudice, that it's an infinitely better place for a meeting-house down at the end of the flat than on this windy bleak upland. But some folks arə 80 set they won't own it when they know they're wrong."
" I've been to Miss Stiles and Miss Rider and Miss Deacon Diniper," ran on one of a group of four old ladies advancing towards the stile in a path that ran across to the green; "and they all own that the hill's the place for the meeting-house, by rights, and that they wouldn't say a word about having it down among them if it wasn't for being so cold up here."
“ Pshaw!” said another, contemptuously, “it seems to me they've got more reasons than that for putting the meeting-house down there away from everybody but themselves. Suppose it was cold in the old meeting-house! Do they think it wouldn't be cold in the new one ?"
“I know they're a head-strong set down there," remarked another. cause they've had the church clerk, and church treasurer, and three of the church committee, and half the deacons, for ten or fifteen years, they've got to think they've more rights than the rest of us, and must take the lead and do as they've a mind to."
“I shan't go nigh 'em if they build down there," said another; 6 and I know six families that won't.”
The old parish in Winton was scattered over a circuit of five miler, and the meet