« 上一页继续 »
the sunny south, and that the stranger of the wood, had become to her—
"The lair fulfilment of her poesy,
* * * *
In "a dim religious" twilight of October, lay the almost sainted Quakeress, on a bed whose pillows and covering of stainless white, not only spoke the purity of her character and sect, but reminded the beholder of the "linen clean and white, which was the righteousness of the saints" in the beatific vision. Her moments were ebbing away as rapidly, as silently, as fall the sands of the hour-glass; yet her spiritual sight was growing "brighter and brighter unto the perfect day."
"Hear'st thou wheels approaching, faithful nurse?" said the voice that had been silent for hours, with a tone of intense interest.
"Yea," was the reply, "and now they have stopped at thy door!"
"ItisaAu.' It is they! Bid them hasten!" was spoken, with the assurance of answered prayer, by the dying saint. Softly moved the door, yet the light step on its threshold had now the weight of sorrow in its tread—felt, rather than heard—as it advanced to the bedside.
"Aunt Rachel!" and "It is thou!" were the simultaneous words, followed by tears that warm and fast mingled with the cold drops that circled the brow of the dying.
"I have come for thy last embrace—for thy departing blessing on us, who will stand as one by thy sacred grave!"
"My daughter, I have seen ye together in my visions—it is well—the spirit says amen to the bride!"
They knelt, hand in hand, at her sign—the already cold palm was laid on that "united head"—silence brooded over the scene, and with that unuttered but deep-felt blessing, passed imperceptibly a spotless spirit to the realms of Peace.
BY MISS ALICE CAREY.
Sunset's pale airows shivering near and far!—
A little gray bird on an oaken tree
Resting its silver rim upon the sea!
In dismallest abandonment she lies—
Looking the sweet time from her mournful eyes,
Like violets white in hollow meadow-ground,
So 'neath her soft arms, clasped, interwound,
O'er her sweet cheek the sprouting grasses lean,
Creep-s thro' the darkness, all unfelt, unseen,
Beside her on the hill the Twilight lies,
That trembles in the light of her clear eyes,
And the dim mate of silence, newly born,
Stoops o'er expiring day, like maiden lorn
Pressing your cold hands over rushy springs,
About her, Nereides, draw your magic rings,
For by the tumult of thick-coming sighs,
I know the wilful god of the blind eyes
THE MOUNT OF ASCENSION.
BY THE REV. J. P. DOBBIN, D.D.
For thirty-six hours, from three o'clock on ] Friday afternoon until the following Sunday morning, the most painful suspense and the intensest anxiety pervaded the city of Jerusalem; for, during these thirty-six hours the Lord of Life and Glory was in the grave. Hope and fear agitated the hearts of his enemies, for they had witnessed his miraculous powers when alive, and remembered his declaration, that in three days he would rise again from the dead, if they should slay him. Confidence and doubt alternately swayed the minds of his few faithful disciples as they communed concerning the Lord Jesus, and his promises to them that he would rise from the dead. If one might ask for what the Divine Providence has been pleased to withhold, I feel strongly inclined to wish that a full and faithful record of these conversations of the disciples had been given to the world. It seems to me that they would have been the most beautiful and convincing evidence of the truth of the sacred story. This is evident from the naturalness of so much of these conversations as has been preserved to us. Who can read the following between two of the disciples, and their risen, but unapprehended Master, without feeling that the record is true 1 It is so natural, so touching, so beautiful, that we are satisfied that it must have sprung from the midst of the scene and circumstances alleged. The conversation took place on the first day of the week, i. c., on our Sunday; the day on which our Saviour rose from the dead.
"And behold two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem threescore furlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass that while they communed and reasoned together, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. And he said unto them, What mannor of communications are these that ye have one with another, as ye walk and are sad? And one of them whose name was Cleophas, answering, said mnto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days 1 And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: and how the chief
priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted it had been he who should have redeemed Israel: and besides all this, to-day is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; and when they found not his body they came saying, that they had seen a vision of angels which said that he was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even as the women had said; but him they saw not. Then He said unto them, 0 fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. And they drew nigh unto the village whither they went, and he made as if he would have gone further. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us; for it is toward evening and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. And it came to pass as he sat at meat with them that he took bread and blessed it, and brake and gave to them. And their eyes were opened and they knew him, and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the Scriptures? And they rose up and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread." (Luke, xxiv.)
Granting the previous promises of our Lord concerning his resurrection, and their accomplishment on the third day, and the excursion of the disciples to Emmaus, could anything be more natural, more truthful than the preceding conversation; and the immediate return of the disciples to Jerusalem, upon discovering their Lord alive? This is a specimen of one kind of internal evidence of Christianity which commends itself directly to the conscience and the heart.
It was yet forty days to the time of his ascension, during which period he appeared
occasionally and very suddenly, and for a brief space of time, to his disciples, in order to satisfy them of the certainty of his resurrection that they might be witnesses of it; and for the purpose of instructing them concerning the mission he was about to commit to them for publishing his gospel to the world. His appearances to his disciples, and his intercourse with them after his resurrection differed very strikingly from those before his crucifixion. Before his crucifixion ho always appeared as one of them, and subject to the same conditions and accidents, except sin, and entered fully into their feelings, and freely into conversation with them. After his resurrection his body seemed to have new and wonderful properties, which belong not to matter. He appeared among them in closed rooms, suddenly, without opening the door, and as suddenly vanished out of their sight, as a spirit is supposed to vanish into thin air.* His conversation was brief, solemn, and accompanied with a peculiar awe and power. His body was no longer the natural body that was crucified on the cross and laid in the scpulchre, but it was now a spiritual body; for, as St. Paul says, "there is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body." The change in him from a natural to a spiritual body by the resurrection, is the illustration of the change which will take place in Ms children. His soul also participated in the wonderful advance which the resurrection made in the condition of his being, and hence gave forth the heavenly manifestations witnessed in his occasional intercourse with hU disciples.
And yet even these wondrous appearances of the Lord failed to keep the disciples free from doubt. So slow were they to admit the miraculous story, instead of eagerly following cunningly devised fables, that they seem to have resolved on resuming their former occupation,
• The Evangelists convoy the same idea of the appearances and disappearances of our Lord, after his resurrection, as is found in the ancient classics, and still entertained, concerning the appearances and disappearances of departed persons, or supernatural beings. Our Lord had the power to become visible or invisible at pleasure. Luke says, u And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of theirsight." Not that ho removed from their vicinity, but that he became invisible to them. 80 £neas, in the sack of Troy, was separated from his wife Creusa, who perished unexpectedly. While he was searching for her, Virgil makes iEnoas say, the mournful ghost and shade of Creusa appeared before his eyes, her ajrure larger than the life, and spoke to him. As he was abont to reply to her, and throw his arms around her neck, fenuesoue recessU in auras, she vanished into thin air.
In the same manner, Shakespeare makes the witches vanish.
Boqco. The earth has bubbles as the water has, And these are of them:—whither are they vanished:
M v :, ii. Into the air: and what seamed corporal melted, As breath into the wind.
which suggests the probability that they had relinquished all hope of the speedy establishment of the kingdom of God, as promised by their lately crucified Master. As they had been called by the Lord from the shores of the Sea of Galilee, so now, in their disappointment, they return thither; and, after consultation, Peter said to them, "I go a-fishing," that is, I will resume my former occupation, since I see no signs of the kingdom of God; and it is now more than a month since the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth. The other disciples said, "We also go with thee." We too will resume our former occupation. The Lord saw their despondency, and heard their consultations. The sun went down, and thus screened from the intense heat of an eastern sun (for it was in the month of May), "they went forth, and entered into a ship immediately, and that night they caught nothing." As the day dawned, and they neared the shore to rest, they saw a stranger standing on the beach. The mildness and majesty of his mien, and the gentleness and tenderness of his address threw a spell over the wearied and desponding fishermen. He said, " Children, have ye any meat?" They answered, "No." "Cast," said he, "your net on the right side, and ye shall find." The sudden and miraculous success opened their eyes, and one said, "It is the Lord." Peter, with his characteristic impetuosity, threw himself into the sea, and hastened to the feet of his Master. So profound and convincing was the effect of this sudden appearance of the Lord, that the disciples durst not converse with him, only as he drew them on by questions.
His followers and friends seem after this to have assembled at Jerusalem in expectation of some decisive event connected with the promised kingdom of God. Doubtless the mysterious influences of the Divine Master had drawn them to the city. The time of his ascension was at hand. Preparatory to this, he joined them and gave them more particular instruction concerning the mission he was about to commit to them. As Jerusalem was to be the centre of this divine mission, he commanded them that they should not depart from the city upon their mission until they should receive power from on high to qualify them for it. But this divine power, the Holy Spirit, which was to be given them, and which was wonderfully shed upon them on the day of Pentecost, was not sufficient to qualify them for their heavenly work. It is particularly recorded, "Then opened he their understanding that they might understand the Scripture." How long the Lord "assembled together with them at Jerusalem" is not certain. The impression made by the Sacred History is, that he was with them for several days, ex