« 上一页继续 »
no painter's skill, no poet's eulogy; its beauty, like the sun's glory, is its own evidence.
Beautiful too is the hypocrite's trust, and the religion that trust im- 1 plies. Trust! a principle that by Divine power starts phænix-like from the smouldering ashes into which false hopes, false faith, and purely human righteousness has been reduced; a principle that assumes the sighted ark by the wing-wearied dove; that speeds the trembling fugitive to the gates that will close only between him and the avenger; that supposes an escape from black tormenting thoughts; a joyful issue to the soul's most anxious search ; a sense of rest at the Saviour's feet, with feelings of unutterable love; a principle that puts the helm of life into the pilot hand of Christ; that subjects at once a rebellious but now submissive will to the Spirit’s plastic power; that gives the whole man to be fashioned into a Christian, of truth, sincerity, and love, all compact. Such trust, though false, is beautiful from its likeness unto truth. The lifeless statue pleases when it seems the sculptured poetry of the human form. The picture pleases when the head has thought, when the lips and eyes have language. Semblance satisfies the eye, sweet sounds the ear. Only when discovery disappoints, do the wrath and revulsion come; but we cannot taste and try all the fruit we see; we cannot scrape every yellow ornament to prove it gilt or solid gold. The hypocrite's religion satisfies the eye 'tis the bright cloud which for the moment passes for the sun itself 'tis the sacrifice without spot or blemish in the skin; an argument con straining charity to hope it is pure and right in heart. To men's sigh the hypocrite's religion is like the spider's web, beautiful in its struc ture, but when tried is found to be
II. Very fragile in its texture. This is no disparagement to the web For such a tiny weaver, it is strong and wonderful. To human view i seems a fragile thing. Were man as insignificant as the spider, hi paltry trust would be no indignity ; being but little lower than th angels, a hypocritical trust merits the comparison. One gold thread vain glory, one silver thread of respectability, and one brass thread pious imposition, form the web in which he hides himself and his di signs; and on the permanence of which he risks, if not his soul befo God, his character amongst men. God hangs great weights on sms wires ; the hypocrite hangs them all upon the semblance of the His trust is a mathematical line, length without breadth ; his religi a cipher without a numeral, which has bulk but not worth; his glory rainbow that dies on the cloud, a sun in the water, the perishing ima of the enduring orb in heaven. St. John's picture of the locusts scribes him. They were not horses, but their shapes were like ur horses prepared for the battle; their faces were not men's, but were the faces of men; their hair was not women's, but as the hair women. So the hypocrite's trust is, as it were, a cable attached to an i chor within the veil, but it is as fragile as a spider's thread. His devoti is as it were the heaven-soaring rapture of the saint. His profess is as a robe of light bearing from collar to border the name of Chr
But truth and sincerity are absent from all he does. His soarings, like the eagle's, relate to prey to be seized upon the earth. His voice, like the drum’s noise, is the louder because there is no heart. There is nothing real but his wickedness, nothing true but his deception. The locusts had real stings with which they hurt men; the hypocrite herein agrees: hurt he may cause to many, but the fatal thrust be gives to himself. Rehoboam's shields looked like his father's golden ones, but were brass ; the hypocrite's trust seems true but is false, not strong enough to hold amidst the storms of life, and will miserably fail in the strain of death; yet,
III. It is adequate to the owner's purposes, and successful in securing them. These are of the earth not of heaven, as the spider's prey is not the soaring bird but the paltry fly. The hypocrite, wanting to fly with the doves to their windows, decks himself with their feathers. Wanting to crop the pasture with the flock, he dresses in sheep's clothing. All of the true prophet is his hairy garment. His success often equals the completeness of his disguise. He wins a religious name; he wields the golden key that winds through the wards of human hearts; for who suspects a thief in a Levite? Who can suspect it is Jacob when both hands and yoice are Esau's ? Not the men who will not and cannot see the spots for the brightness of the sun ; nor the blanks in the midnight sky in their admiration of the stars that adorn it. Charity hopes that under the leaves there is fruit; that behind the smile there is the loving heart; that the fragrance of profession steals from the true flower of grace within.
It is adequate to his purposes and too often successful in securing them. The spider ensnares his prey; the hypocrite does make a gain of godliness and a ladder of religion. He does stamp the base metal of his actions with the image of the King, and circulate it as the genuine coin. The “gowned Rabbis" did win the praise of men and get their coveted salutations in the market. The modern hypocrites set up the jasper wall and gates of pearl, concluding that men must believe the foundations are the precious stones of truth.
IV. But, their trust being false, shall, with all that rests upon it or is gained by it, be swept, like the spider's web, utterly away. The truth, holiness, and honour of God require it. Hypocrisy! 'tis a tomb with the lettered porch and golden dome of a temple. 'Í'is a play where religion is the tarce, spectators the dupes, and the hypocrite the knave. 'Tis deception sublimed to a science, wickedness reduced to a system, wherein the cheating actor steals the eye of pity from one, the brow of innocence from another, the tones of pity from a third, but inherits all else from the father of lies. The spider derives the materials of his web from his own bowels ; the hypocrite derives his materials from the truth and mercy of the gospel. He takes the precious name of Christ as an angler does a worm, and, thrusting it on the hook of his crooked purposes, angles for suffrages or lucre. He spreads his Christian profession as dung over the field his hypocrisy ploughs, that he might reap solid gains from his cheap and simular sowings. But, alas, the pious dissembler will exhaust his last resource, and wear out his last disguise. This human spider may take hold with his hands and pursue his closecouched schemes in the Great King's palaces, but coming judgment shall sweep him and them away. The anger of the Lord will smoke against the hypocrite. Ordinary indignation shall not be his lot: “I, the Lord, will answer him by myself, and I will set my face against that man, and will make him a sign and a proverb.” He will rain woes upon his head, and bruise him with His rod of iron, and respite for this life will but heap up more wrath for the next.
Would we have a trust strong as the pillared firmament, sustaining through all storms, the heaven of our hopes, bright with all the starry promises of the gospel? Then Christ crucified must be our trust, His grace our.desire, His demands our solicitude.
Not dead, not formal, but a living faith in Christ must we have; the belief that we are drawn for death, but that He is our substitute; that we are lost, but that He is our Saviour; the belief that His merits are the ground of our hopes, His blood the cleansing element for our souls, His spirit our life, His righteousness our glory.
No sacrifice could be presented without salt; no service can be accepted without sincerity. Thrice happy he, who, notwithstanding conscious sin, can say, “Lord, Thou knowest all things, Thou knowest that I love Thee.”
“OVER THE WAY.”
A CHILD'S STORY. “Won't it ever be dinner-time, Poor little Lucy! she sat curled mother ?”
up in the window-seat, to see the “ Truly, child, I don't know.” sunshine if she could not feel it; it
Lucy was very hungry; not hun. shone on the other side of the way. gry like you, little people, who have “Over the way” seemed to have had warm bread and milk already fulness of riches; for, besides the this morning, but hungry so that sunshine, it had a baker's shop, her little body was all one shiver where, an hour before, Lucy had under her little thin frock. You see watched the dinners go in to be there had been no dinner-time baked. They had looked tempting yesterday, and only supper the day then, but now, oh dear! Luci before. Now her mother was watched them — soft, pale-brown stitching so busily that she had only batter puddings; crisp bursting a sentence-like a knot in her thread potatoes, brown with gravy; and here and there—to give Lucy in once, after a leg of pork, there cam reply to her questions and remarks. through the draughty window suc] If she finished that pile of shirts a fragrance of onions as made th neatly enough,-and if the fore little watcher clasp her hands wit! woman was neither busy nor cross, a long "oh!” of pleasure and long nor, as often happened, talking to the clerk,—then she would be paid. You may not agree with her a
And all these “ifs" lay between to the perfume of onions; but then Lucy and her dinner.
you see, Lucy's nose was not edu
cated, only hungry, which is quite after her mother's weak one; and, another thing.
yes, that must be a giant's hand By-and-by, it seemed that all the laid on her shoulder; but of course dinners had been fetched except one it wasn't a giant, you know; it was —that stood on the counter, cooling good Mrs. Bacon, the bakeress, who rapidly.
had more children than you could " What could the people be about count when they were all running that belonged to it?"- not that it about, and who, if she had known belonged to-Lucy's thoughts were how hungry Lucy was, would have
given her, not somebody else's po"Perhaps they've forgotten it; tato, perhaps, but a bit of her own perhaps they're dead; then nobody dinner; but, you see, she did not 'll have it. On, what a pity!” know, and that was the mischief.
Lucy's last thought was so ener “Speak, child,” and Mrs. Bacon getic, that it jumped to her lips, but gave another shake; she thought nobody answered. It was such a Lucy was sulky, the one unpardonbeautiful dinner! in spite of the able sin among her own children ; shade of the shop, Lucy's far-sighted but between the food and the fright, eyes could see that; a large round Lucy felt sick and dizzy, and hot piece of beef, baked to a brownish and cold, until she could not underred, and all round about it, and over stand herself, much less Mrs and under it, just like things of no consequence, were those potatoes, “You evil little thing!” Another and nobody came for all this!
shake, and Lucy, feeling the world “Mother, I don't believe it's go round for the first time in her wicked to steal !”
life, fell flat on the floor. "Truly, child, I don't know.”
"Oh, goodness gracious! Bacon, Lucy's mother had been a Qua I've been and killed a child !” It keress till she married, and was a was quite consistent with the scene good woman still, but it seemed to that "Bacon" should appear through take all there was of her to keep a trap-door in the floor, as he did, Lucy alive at all — any sort of a all flour and astonishment, to find child; and now, between work, and his wife with a little ragged girl in hunger, and cold, she was almost in her lap. & snow-sleep; so she never noticed “What on earth shall I do?" Lucy get down off her perch and “ Put her in some warm water.” run into the street.
Mrs. Bacon, who ruled the house“I must smell it-I must smell hold generally, always obeyed her it" said Lucy to herself; and she husband in troublous times; so, went and stood at the baker's door. before long, Lucy woke up in water;
"I must just touch that warm it was queer, certainly, but on the dish!” and Lucy went in. No one whole satisfactory; and she was was in the shop, and there was one about to close her eyes again, just potato just on the edge of the dish. feeling the soft warm water lapping
“I'm sure it will fall over and be her limbs, when Mrs. Bacon said: broke, and then somebody 'll tread “Oh, do wake up, there's a lamb, on it; such a pity!” This time my pretty !” You see she had forLucy's thoughts did not reach her gotten all about the “little thief” lips, but something else did; that by now, and saw only a child like tempting potato-first one bite, then one of her own; but so thin. I another : then it was all gone.
rather think some of the warm “Why, you little thief !” Lucy water on Lucy's neck had salt in was sure it was a giant's voice, it
it. ded so high up, and so loud, “Do wake up!” Really it seemed
worth while ; the state of things | seemed wonderful how it could con. was puzzling, but then it was scarcely trive to have so many contradictory needful to unpuzzle one's self, when qualities without one pleasant one. the conundrum consisted of eyes, In all the course of two comfortable nose, ears, being greeted by a danc lives, the gazers had never seen ing fire, à smell of warm bread and such a room. Mrs. Bacon felt a things delicious, and a whispered strong desire to relieve herself by order of "porridge directly.” The scolding somebody, but a lump in porridge came just as Lucy was her throat cut short the speech, and dressed-first in her own things made it the shortest, most grotesquely which were clean enough, and then eloquent one she had ever madein a frock belonging to Polly Bacon, just " O Bacon!” and she laid her who came to gaze with admiring hand on her husband's shoulder. awe at a little girl hungry enough “It's pitiful, isn't it, old woman? to eat porridge.
I'll run over for some firing,” and “Where do you live, little girl ?” | he went, coming back so speedily said Polly, thinking, perhaps, that that the fire was lit before Lucy porridge-liking might come under knew what was going to happen the manners and customs of some The chimney had been idle so long distant region.
that it gave all the trouble it could “ Over the way,” said Lucy. Mrs. but when it was conquered, thi Bacon rather drew back; she re bright warm flames began to dancemembered the potato for the first and so did Lucy. time. It is not exactly pleasant to “Oh, what will mother say have people, with indistinct notions There's a fire, there's a fire!" an of the rights of property, living she bent down her little body i " over the way."
front of it, spreading out her arm "Well, I'll take you over.” Just as if she could hug it, and repeal as they were crossing the road, a ing: wild-looking woman with a big Oh, there's a fire! what wil bundle ran out of the house oppo mother say ? It's 80-0 nice!" an site, and Lucy, calling out, “Mother, what should Lucy do but fall aslee mother!" ran over and caught hold with her hands clasped like a chil of her, just escaping a butcher's in a picture with angels watchin horse with no eyes to spare for little her. girls.
By-and-by Lucy's mother can “That child will be dead before back, to find, not only the fire, but she's done with," said Mrs. Bacon. pot of Irish stew.
“Let's speak to the mother,” said "Lucy, Lucy, wake up, chil Mr. Bacon. So they went up to what's happened ? " Lucy's mother, who was trembling “Oh, I don't know, mother; i and crying.
all beautiful; but I don't know ar “O, Lucy, naughty girl, where thing," which was true; her litt have you been ?"
life had run on so fast that she h " It's all right, ma'am," said Mrs. got behind it, somehow. But th Bacon; "we'll see to her, if you were both too hungry to do an like, while you take home your thing but eat, with food at band; work.”
the question was “laid on the tabl Certainly, it was time the work as they say in parliament. Just went, so Lucy's mother had to go dinner was done, Mrs. Bacon cai too, and her visitors followed Lucy in, and had such a long talk w up-stairs to her apartment. Such Lucy's mother, that the little o a room, high up and low, dark and forgot to listen, until she heard: unshaded, bare and crowded it "Well, never go without a dini