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martyred ; that on the particular occasion alluded to in the last line of Dryden's ode, Valerian, allured by the sounds of entrancing harmony in his wife's apartment, entered, and discovered a beautiful youth playing on the organ ; that Cecilia represented hint to be an angel visitant; and that, from this time, she was gifted to receive and hold communion with such celestial guests.
Concerts used to be fashionable in England on St. Cecilia's day, and odes in her honour have been written by Pope, Addison, and other British poets.
The St. Cecilian Society, instituted at London in 1785, still continues to hold its weekly meetings, and has semi-monthly public performances, principally of sacred music.
SCENES IN THE LIFE OP THE SAVIOUR.
BY THE REV. JOHN TODD, D. B.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1850, by Jons Sartain A Co., in the Clerh's Office of the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
THE UNMERCIFUL SERVANT.
No paintings make so deep and so universal impression as those whose subjects are drawn from the Scriptures; and the more minutely true is the pencil to copy the original, the more is the picture admired. Paintings of battles, of heroes, and of kings, will have but a temporary interest; but pictures of the returning Prodigal, of Paul in chains, of Stephen in the hour of martyrdom, of the miracles of Christ, or of the beautiful imagery of his teaching, will never lose their interest. The heart ever responds to the appeal. The reason is, that these are so true to nature. They are not pictures of kings or of men on the heights of earth's greatness, but of human nature in the ordinary walks of life. They touch the chords of the best feelings of the heart, and the impression is deep, the sympathy pleasant.
The hand that could skilfully paint the parable of the Unforgiving Servant, representing on canvass what Christ hath so wonderfully described, would be immortalized. No time or change
among men would diminish the value of that painting, so long as its material parts remained unaltered. In that one picture would be embodied, not merely the forms and the countenances of men, but great lessons, such as the goodness of God, lending us ten thousand talents; the helplessness of men having nothing to pay; the mercy of God, freely offered to forgive all the debt; the ingratitude and hardness of the human heart, which cannot forgive men, taking them by the throat and demanding full satisfaction; and the justice of God, who will cause the unmerciful and unforgiving to reap what they sow. What a system of practical theology in a single parable!
Those who heard this teaching were probably more astonished than benefited. It seemed tame to those who waited and longed for a warriorsaviour, who would cut his way to dominion and glory, to have meekness thus exalted. But the teaching, though disregarded by them, is not lost upon the world. The barren mountain may let the showers run off, and be unrefreshed by the rain, but the humble valley will receive and retain the blessing. In every generation will there be many who will here learn a great lesson.
The heroism of the Bible consists in subduing our own passions, and schooling our own spirits to be humble. Let this one parable be impressed on the human heart, and what a change! The lion would indeed eat straw like tile ox, and families, neighbourhoods, and nations would not need to resort to lawsuits, to the sword, and to vengeance. All the teachings of Christ tend to promote peace, love, forgiveness, and mercy among men, and the spirit of the eternal Father is that which breathes through all his words.
GIVING ALMS IN SECRBT.
In every dwelling on this stricken earth
Abides a suffering soul;
The cry of human dole; "Ye have the poor always," the Lord hath said,
And those to whom was given Much, that there might be much required, He bade
His almoners be—the stewards of high Heaven!
But let Heaven's work in secrecy be done, And with a willing hand,
As drops the silent dew, as shines the sun, As lovely flowers expand!
Unseen, unmarked, the influences combine
That brighten Nature's face; Oh build thou like the Architect Divine, And let not pride the deep foundation place!
If thou art rich, give of thy plenteous store;
If poor, thy mite bestow;
That none the good may know,
And hears the mourner's sigh, And with the sunshine of His smile doth crown The flower of heavenly root—sweet Charity!
The canopy of earthly pomp shuts, out
Soundeth the multitude's applauding shout
Doth the world hail with praise thy honoured
Tremble! thy work is marred; Thou that hast, seeking, won the meed of fame, And in that glory gained thy sole reward!
But thou, whom men heed not, or heed to scorn, Friend of the poor and lone,
Thy humble task still wrought, thy burden borne
Thy Father sees in secret; plaint nor prayer
And all the self-denials thou didst bear,
Are in a jewelled crown laid up for thee on high.
O Sun! without thy life-bestowing beam
O Fount! if checked from Thee, the living stream,
Let but thy presence on our spirits shine,
As in the faithful glass an image clear,
And answer to that look of charity divine!
CHRIST TEACHING THE TEMPTING. PHARISEES.
The flash of lightning which threatens to crush the building, often reveals the strong foundations on which it stands; or if it strike a rock, it leaves but a feeble scar. The Pharisees hoped either to obtain the mastery over the Redeemer, or, if that was not possible, to hurl a deadly javelin at the marriage institution. It was overruled, not only to show us the infinite superiority of Christ over all other men, but to carry all future ages back to first principles in the government of God, and in the institutions of his appointment Probably no teacher ever had so good an opportunity to broach new theories, to be original, to remodel society, to commence sudden revolution, as did Jesus Christ And yet he constantly carries us back to the great principles which Infinite Wisdom laid down before the creation of the world; and instead of casting them aside, seeks only to remove the rubbish which generations have thrown upon them.
The family relation is necessary to the well being of earth. The institution is as old as the world, wise—for it is God's wisdom—simple in its plan, beautiful in its operation and results. Men, with the pen, with new theories, and with legis
lation, have tried to mend it. They have declared marriage a mere civil contract, and divorce a thing to be regulated by human legislation. But the experience of the world, as well as the precepts of the Bible, shows tliat just so far as there is any departure from God's appointment, there is misery and woe.
Character, peace and happiness, everything earthly, hangs on the marriage relation. In the quiet happy home, the boy is guided, restrained, and prepared for life,—his character grows out of this institution. And when he leaves this home, its influence is still felt, and he begins to look forward to the time when he may have a home of his own; and this proves a strong incentive to determined and resolute striving to earn a good character. The golden chains have cast their power over him, and he is restrained even by their shadows, long before they bind him. And how clearly does Christ define and guard this institution, by leading us back to its first appointment It is a temple of mercy which the Divine hand hath reared, and human hands cannot remove or displace a stone in the beautiful pile. It is placed above alteration by human decrees and laws. Its obligations cannot be impaired by man's wishes, nor can its original design be destroyed by the hardness of our hearts. God hath made it to stand out in a light clear and constant. The fire on the altar burns not with a purer or more abiding flame.
How wisely and beautifully hath the Creator decreed, that the heart which tries to tempt the Redeemer is baffled in its wicked schemes, and that He makes it the occasion of imparting instruction, and unfolding principles which, lying at the foundation of human happiness, must influence men more and more as his kingdom advances, even to the end of time.
The institutions of God, as he framed them, commend themselves to the instincts of our nature, to the experience of the world, and to the decisions of reason. And the world will ever return to them, to enjoy their pure light, though occasionally they may be forgotten and disregarded. The sailor may endeavour to steer his vessel by watching the stars that change and constantly move, but he will be bewildered and lost, till he turn to the north star, fixed in the heavens, ever guiding and directing by its constant, steady light.
CHRIST COMFORTETH HIS DiSCIPLES WiTH THE
A MOTnER, who her first-born babe is soothing,
A faithful friend, when uttering fond farewells, Speak, words most tender, sweet,—but who e'er spoke
Words that were sweet as those when Qirist the silence broke?
Oh! to have been among the blest eleven;
Oh; to have heard the tones of that dear voice, Comforting them with promises of heaven,
Bidding their restless, tempted hearts rejoice! Oh; to have seen his looks, divinely grave, When counsels, prayers, reproofs, for the last time he gave!
"Let not your heart be troubled," said the Saviour;
"Sad though ye be at my approaching doom, Yet be not ruffled; with a calm behaviour
Possess your souls in patience, not in gloom; Ye are my own, my chosen friends, and true, And when ye see me not, I shall be still with you.
"Believe in me,—in God ye are believers,— Say not among yourselves when I am gone,
'He tarrieth late! we ne'er shall be receivers Of joys long promised, hopes now grown forlorn.'
'Tis to prepare a place for you I go;
Think you 1 would have told you, if it were not so?
"Within my Father's house is many a mansion, And in my right shall all my followers be
Welcomed with love's divine and full expansion, To share the bright inheritance with me.
'Tis to prepare a place for you therein,
I leave you for a while in this sad world of sin.
"No sin shall reach you there, nor any sadness;
Thy doubts, O Thomas, shall be all at rest; Peter shall spend his ardent strength with gladness,
Nor find presumption swell within his breast; And thou, my steadfast and beloved John, Shall lean upon me still, and still with joy love on.
'• What now ye know not,ye shall know in heaven;
All vexing mysteries shall be made clear, And that shall seem a blessing kindly given,
Which brought the bitter sigh and blinding tear; Trials for which you rashly blamed weak man, Ye'll recognise at once as part of God's great plan.
"Let not your hearts be troubled, then, but rather Look forward with triumphant love and faith,
To that sweet time when I shall surely gather My friends and servants by the hand of death;
That where I am, there ye may be at last,
When all your work is done, and all your perils past.
"Until that time is come, my peace I give you;
(Not as the false and formal world bestows;) 'Tis better far than joy; it will relieve you
In all your journeys' weariness and woes: Its mild, sustaining power will never cease; Therefore; my last best gift, my parting word, is—Peace!''
THE UNCLEAN SPIRIT CAST OCT.
That there is a race of beings high in natural endowments, subtle, malicious, and wicked, who have more or less power over men, the Scriptures abundantly affirm, and the varied forms of wickedness tend to corroborate. Just what that influence is, how it is exerted, we do not know. Of the fact we are informed, and we are directed to be guarded against them by armour that is divine. At the time when Christ was on earth, for reasons most wise, undoubtedly, these spirits were permitted to afflict the bodies of men, as well as their minds and hearts; and thus, in a way that it could not otherwise have been, the power of the Redeemer was made manifest to the eye.
He was master of all that could touch humanity. What is comprehended under the peculiar phrase " unclean spirit," we cannot tell. But the very thought of having a man so under the power of demons that his ravings would all take the form and expression of impurity is terrible. To call that man father or child, husband or brother, would be horrible indeed. There is no epithet ever applied even to a devil so full of horrid meaning as the term "unclean." We cannot, probably, even by the imagination, form a conception of the fearful calamity to which humanity was thus subjugated. What a contrast in the man before and after the hand of Christ hath been laid upon him! His soul is a temple wherein is pollution, and blood, and every abomination ;—its music is too awful for the ear, and all its walls are hung with images of uncleanness. In a moment Christ speaks, and it is all purified. Gold and precious stones adorn it, and cherubim and even the Shekinah now fill the temple, and its music seems an echo of the heavenly song! No wonder the multitude were amazed at this power, and felt that He who could command such spirits, must indeed be great.
To what extent these same unclean spirits now
walk up and down the earth, or how far they are unchained, and permitted to tempt men now, we cannot say; but of all the curses ever sent upon a human being, in this life, few can be heavier than to have the imagination polluted, and the heart ever filled with impure and sinful thoughts. Religion must exert her utmost power ere this enemy is dislodged, and the habitation he occupied is purified. But we rejoice to know that there is no cavern so deep that the beams of the Sun of Righteousness cannot enter it, so dark that they cannot enlighten it, so polluted that they cannot purify it. Men have hung up skulls in their chambers, that, by constantly looking at them, they might be restrained from wickedness, and that the fear of death might make them afraid to sin; but the unclean spirit is not thus cast out Nothing but the full reception of the gospel of Christ can do it. And that can! Oh how should we bless God for this unspeakable mercy! And if the pure in heart only shall see God, how earnestly should we apply to this physician for help!" The devil came out of him and hurt him not," at Christ's word. Master ot the eternal world, he openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth. Men disarm and conquer by the rushing of the warhorse, the rustling of the spear, and the piercing notes of the trumpet; but Christ conquers by a word. He speaks, and it is done. His voice hushes the storm and ragings of even fallen spirits.
THE CROWN OF THORNS.
Lo! in yon gloomy hall
Envy and hate appal.