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the lamb nature is to be born and This is no proof that the Germans perfected, till we be all "re-born, are right, only that the French have
no special right to complain of the and truth.”
wrong. The French army is now Many beginnings are, as any one hanging on Haman's gallows. It one might know they must be, pre- was erected high and with much ludes and failures; they are "lightboast, for the enemy-itself is a hearted” beginnings, there is too victim thereon. But were not a magmuch unthoughtfulness and heedless nanimity possible, that the French boast in them. And some that are cannot claim ? That is the question to be hailed gladly lead to grief. indeed. Yet German difficulties are Who is not born to some pain and greater than thought ; and because labour? Yet it is good to be born, the Germans have been drawn on good for all, as we hope.
and compelled to be so successful, Let Christ's birth hallow all births we ought not to turn against them and make them hopeful, and make so utterly as some are doing, and us wise in our hope for them, and forget the untruthfulness, and insomake us to see the hope within hope, lence, and unreasoning vain-glory of the life within life.
the French. It is in the very midst of the And yet how much honour and Christmas festival that our New truth, yes, and courage and love, Year begins ; and we must, then, there are on both sides. And if the begin the year in a Christmas spirit, medical neutrals are on both sides, and let the last half of this Christ- whatever may be their personal symmas be fit match for the first half of pathies, and care for the wounded in the next.
common, shall there not be pulpit There are beginnings we may neutrals too, if we are active in desire make at any time, and others for for the ultimate welfare of both sides, which times come, and we may
lose and recognize the present sufferings them altogether or must wait for of both, and desire to do honour to their recurrence. But we may begin what worth there manifestly is in again the Christianization of our- both ? selves and of the world, and must Would that our working classes not despair. Christ foresaw wars, were more thinking classes and more and declared that the first effects of godly classes ! I believe we must his religion would not be peaceful. reach a deeper faith in God if we are Certainly the results of Providence to have peace on earth and in Engmust be very great when we consider land. Festivities of Christmas avail the sorrow and sin that introduce little without sacrifices of Easter; no them. They will be great. I think will sweet pensive sentiment avail if our special mission as Christians is we do not our part to live the good to lessen and suppress the causes of life for which we honour and love war, and to maintain the subordinacy the departed. Whatever war-tools a of all material arms, and implements, nation may need to use, it is by the and successes, to moral ones. contentedness, the instructedness,
Even now it seems to me we are, the domestic truth and comfort, the in talking of the present war, con- kind-mindedness of its people, that fusing things. Is it patriotism that it alone can develop greatness. makes the French maintain the What if we had a palace thus struggle? As against German wish inscribed, temple-like, "To all the for territory, alleged to be for de- glories of England," and there were fence, the French have no just word only pictures of war therein, and to say, their own avowed purpose trophies of war's victories? “What," and former history being considered. it might be said, “these your only
glories ? all your glories ? have you All, however, is of the oldest of no others ?” Our engines and ma- the old cruel fashions of the world ; chines of so many kinds, these are not and we will hope and pray our glories, except in part! Homes spiritual coming of Christ in His round factories, not factories without peaceful and peace-giving power ; homes ; people that are honest and and will believe in a world of spirits faithful, as well as clever and strong as well as of men, that is a present —these are glories ! The translated world, not a future one merely, Bible is a glory; Newton the dis- though it be by us unseen; and will coverer, Milton the singer, Shaks- hope for the Christianizing of many historian -these are
who have lived in an evil, but not glories ! Docks and shops have their wholly evil, way here, and for the glory; big bales and crowded shop reconciliation and mutual comforting windows mean much; but people to of those who here even died bitter whom the outside of the head is more foes. than the inside, and the outside of God will not, that is clear, let life civilization more than its brain and go on in an easy way, as a mere wilheart, will not continue glorious, if ful play of “I like this, therefore I indeed they or their fathers have will do it.” He can judge two naever been glorious.
tions as well as one-nations out of I think a too general prosperity the war as well as in it. And there is injurious ; and to call a prosperity is no escape from dishonour and that is in some sense ours general, is folly except through trouble; and but illusive. The good of all in their we must be earnest about good, and proportion, the proportion of their in a strenuous intelligent way, else need, and worth, and ability, is to be we cannot remain secure, or remain the general aim—the aim and wish so, caring much for our own life. of statesman and preacher. But if Think of this for a Christmas-day we get rich, or are said to be all -instead of the lion and the lamb getting so, and care less for ques- lying down together, men sit down tions of international justice, and together to eat of dog and wolf, of questions of spiritual truth and intel- rat and camel, all manner of foods lectual forms of happiness, it will go clean and unclean, specially the ill with us. But is this the case ? latter, because that chiefly is accessiWe may believe not, and yet feel it ble. A Paris banquet truly! figuring wise to take heed that it be not. what has been many a day, spiri
This recent Christmas of ours, and tually, the fare of many a Parisian. again throughout Europe too, has O for a good Christmas in 1871 ! been an especially winterly one. We and for many new beginnings, in a have had our winter beauty, and wise hope and with a heavenly song, winter vigour, and winter amuse- of great Christian effort. ment. Our winterly climate is not But big things begin in small as it formerly was; and it is, con- ways often. Acorns yield oaks; the sidered apart from the calamities of sub-structure enlarging as the superthe time, rather exhilirating to see structure requires that it should, the earth “vested all in white," and and the former nourishing as well as to feel the (to us) playful bite of the supporting the latter. So should it wintry wind. But a snowy battle- be with Christian growths. Christ's field, and a wounded man with only "little flock" of real, healthful sheep frost to close his wounds, and the may begin now- at any time-to bite of the wind after the thrust of feed and to move over the fields in the sword, or when the man is the hope of the promise, “It is my famishing, these are sad things to Father's good pleasure to give you think of.
PARABLE FOR A PRAYER MEETING.
BY THE REV. S. COX.
I WALKED ten miles this morning ask, perfection for the imperfect ? along a hard frosty road, to see if I You are only asking what He means could at all recover from the nervous and longs to give. exhaustion caused by past labour This was my first thought with a and anxiety; and, as I walked, two friendly face: and the second was thoughts came to me of a consolatory like unto it, and grew out of it. I and friendly aspect. They may have had glowed with admiration at the a message for you as well as for me, generous munificence of God in and therefore I will tell you what lavishing the delicate wonders of they were.
His skill on the hard barren road, As I walked I could not but ob- and a little marvelled, perhaps, that serve that the beautiful crystals of ice He should waste them there.. But and snow had fallen as abundantly now the question came, Are they on the hard road, where they were wasted after all ? What becomes of trampled under foot of man and them? When the sun shines upon beast, as on the neighbouring fields, them with a too fervent heat, they where every blade of grass was cloth- melt. What the road needs, that it ed by them in an armour of dazzling keeps. What it does not need drains lustre. And I remembered how, off into the neighbouring fields, often, in my prayers for myself and making them more fertile. Is there you, when I was asking for blessings any waste in God's lavish gift of that imply perfection of character rain, frozen or unfrozen? Does not and aim and motive, I had checked every flake, every drop, subserve myself, as though such blessings were some useful purpose ? Yes, even beyond the scope and need of crea- those which remain on the road and tures so weak and sinful as we are. are trodden into mud !
Is not even And I asked myself, Why should you the mud scraped from the road by do that? Why should any man do human labour, and then, with fresh it? Consider these delicate crystals labour, strewn upon the fields, to which you are crushing beneath your give them an added fruitfulness? feet. Each is most exquisite, each And why should any spiritual influperfect, in its fragile loveliness, each ence, any spiritual gift, be wasted finished and brilliant as
because it falls on hard and barren though they have fallen and were to hearts? How know you what good fall on the hard bare road. Must it may do even to them ? And why, not He who made them, and spread if they are past bearing, may it not them here, love perfection for its own flow off from them, in more ways sake? Are not all His works, save than you can trace, to neighbouring only man, already perfect? And is hearts, in which it will nourish not man also His handiwork ? Must peaceable fruits of righteousness ? He not, then, desire and intend that These were the thoughts my mornman too should be made perfect ? ing walk brought me; surely very But if that be His wish, why should friendly consolatory thoughts. May it not be your wish ? if that His they prove as comforting to you as intention, why not your prayer ? they did to me! Why fear to crave, why hesitate to
GENERAL BAPTISTS SINCE 1824.
BY OLD MORTALITY.
THIS white-headed old man, the free from either blame or regret, or quaver in whose voice suggests weak- from congratulation and gratitude, ness rather than dignity, very well as it pursues the history either of remembers during this period. For persons or communities for any conthe importance of what he remem- siderable period of time. bers he does not vouch; that must In 1777 the General Baptist New rest with the reader. The quality Connexion was formed; in 1870 a of things remembered will depend century has written its changes on very much upon the observer. A the men, the manners, and the foolish man will remember trifles and opinions which now represent it. follies ; a reflective man will find At the time first named the flames more in what he sees than other of martyrdom had been extinguished people ; an exact man will relate in in England about a century. The due order and perfection of detail all last victims of polemical zeal were he names; a mere curiosity-monger the witches.* Loyalty (by which will retail, not so much what is in- was meant passive obedience to the teresting or valuable, as what is odd; reigning monarch) and religion were and a sensible man will have pre- considered one and the same thing. served the kernel, as it were, of what Physical force, generally in its rudest he has seen, and throwing the husk form, was the agent by which the away, invite you to share in his religious and civil institutions of the retrospective dessert, not pressing country were maintained. The senyou overmuch to partake of all, but timent of devotion to this cause was bidding you welcome to anything to frequently expressed in Parliament, your taste, and begging you to leave and on the magistrates' bench, by a without hesitation what is disagree-popular couplet : able. This is the course the writer “While I can handle stick or stone begs you, gentle reader, to take on I will support the church and throne.” this occasion.
Parliamentary elections were manThere was a Latin motto current aged by the combined power of mobs, in the days of Roman decadence, as bribery, and oppression, openly exerfollows: "Tempora mutantur, et nos cised, without an apology and without mutamur cum illis ”. “ The times
a blush. The landlord oppressor, or are changed, and we are changed the proprietor of the rotten borough, with them.” An historical truism justified himself by what he conceived this, as applied to nations, often in- å self-evident maxim of right: “May volving neither praise nor reproach;
I not do what I like with my own ?”+ an ignoble excuse when adopted in A contest for a county seriously enexplanation of inconstancy or dege- dangered the pecuniary fortunes of a neracy in individuals.
Religious candidate, and a succession of them communities are neither nations nor was the certain ruin of the richest individuals; but, in proportion to
family. The time of the clergy was their extent and age on the one hand
spent between the duties of companyand their freedom on the other, may keeper to the squire or lord who was claim the immunity of neutral phe- patron of the living, and the gamingnomena, or lie exposed to the just
* The last were executed about 1664. Baxter inflictions of criticism. The action joined in the persecution of them, and Sir of retrospect in a mind fully sensi- Matthew Hale pronounced their sentence.
+ Duke of Newcastle. First Reform debate in tive to moral principles is seldom the House of Lords.
table and the hunting-field. The a Pagan field of recreation. Serireaders of the novels of Smollett and ous persons read “Young's Night Fielding will form an idea of their Thoughts” and “Hervey's Meditamorality, and will see that drunken
The ideas of Voltaire and ness, profane swearing, and debauch- Rousseau were beginning to seethe ery were habitual amongst them. in the French mind, and prepare the Industry, especially in the rural por- ferment of the great Revolution. tions of the country, was not the The name of Buonaparte had never systematic thing we
been heard in Europe ; the men Whitsun-ales, cock-fighting, bull and who bragged of battles, whether in badger-baiting, occupied much of the alehouse or Parliament, talked of Sundays and week-days of the people. Prince Eugene and the great Duke Of holidays there were between thirty of Marlborough. Steam-ships and and forty in the calendar, sustainable mitrailleuses were equally undreamt by statute. The journey from Edin- of, and every English boy implicitly. burgh to London was six days by believed one Englishman to be equal royal mail. To read was a rare at- to six Frenchmen. Yet the element tainment. Burke reckoned that there of utility was beginning to make its were only eighty thousand readers in throbs felt through society; and this England in his day. Writing was not so much through the lucubrations an art practised only by professed of Adam Smith and Bentham as by scholars. Robinson Crusoe was the the practical application of the disyouth's great book of travels; but coveries of Black, Leslie, and Davy, whether it was fact or fiction was in reference to heat, the gases, and doubtful to the majority of its read- oxidation. At length mechanical
Pilgrim's Progress was read ability linked discovery with producin hundreds of pious and humble tion. Arkwright, Peel, and Strutt homes with a reverence almost equal made the cotton manufacture one of to that paid to inspiration. Alma- the great staple trades of England. nacks were invariably emblazoned In 1792 the great burst of the Revoby illustrations of the direst portent, lution came. Europe shook with and their predictions most anxiously the explosion. Monarchy was swept studied, and the verifications after- away, tradition was laughed at, and wards industriously sought for. The philosophers and tailors made conbelief in lucky and unlucky days was stitutions and moral systems afresh universal. No sailor would embark every morning. Then came reaction, on a voyage, no servant would go to and Trafalgar, and Waterloo. In the a fresh place, on a Friday. Dr. meantime Sunday schools had been Johnson always on crossing the instituted, started by one Robert threshold of a house for the first Raikes, a Nonconformist of Gloucestime put a certain foot first, and ter. The millions became readers. wetting the tips of his fingers “ The rights of man," which the touched the door-posts on either French Revolution had dragged in side. " Paradise Lost
their infancy through the gutter, great classical poem of England; stood upon their feet a promising and Dryden and Pope, with Milton, and stalwart youth, and demanded were the three great English poets. reform. The “ Times”
newspaper Shakespeare, chiefly by the agency
became the wonder of the world; of Garrick, was just beginning to James Watt produced the steambe appreciated and to be popular. engine and George Stephenson the Johnson was finishing his great dic- locomotive. Civilization and Libetionary. Robert Burns was at the ralism, for a time, meant the same plougħ. Literature at large was thing; and Lord John Russell stood looked upon by religious people as on a pinnacle whose pedestal was the