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of extreme difficulty, and demanded the exercise of all the energies which had so long slept, that it was an effort of no ordinary magnitude to arouse them.
But at length the six brothers, fortified by the coun. sels of Divine Love, stood by the door, with their lamps in their hands, as those who watch ; and the seventh lay back upon his couch, bis dim eyes fixed earnestly upon the King's daughter, the divine messenger, Love Celestial, who drew near and talked with them all of the questions they had wished to ask her.
Clement,” she said, " is, I know, anxious to learn if there is no hope of recovering the lost inheritance; to this end he has spent his time hitherto in searching among musty papers and ancient title-deeds, to see if in them he could read his claim to his father's possessions. Let him go forth then into the world, and strive to win it back by all means that are fair and lawful, for this may be the work which the Master bath given him to do against His coming, since to retrieve a position of influence would be to obtain the power of doing a vast extent of good.
“Joscelyn, I know, would ask me of the heavenly signs and of the planetary wonders. These are indeed, and while earth lasts they must remain great mysteries, yet, Joscelyn, you may learn much if you seek knowledge in a humble spirit, and only as a means of approaching nearer, and with a more comprehensive and a worthier adoration of the divine FATHER of all; go forth into the world then and learn of the old sages, nor keep your
discoveries to yourself, but share them with others, so sball you open your heart for the due reception of the highest truths, and keep your understanding clear.
“Julian, for you there is no safety except in active work. Labour, therefore, and pray always that you may be found worthy when your LORD shall knock, ‘lest coming suddenly He find you sleeping.'
Theodoret, scheme less and work more. Put your own shoulder to the burden before you ask another to feel how light it is ! “ Wilfred," she said softly, "yours has been
hard life, and you have striven, but not aright. Open your
heart to the call of a larger charity, a more universal sympathy. Above all, learn to love.
“For you, Martin, know that everything is worth doing, if you work in faith ; that everything is worth remembering, when you feel that each past action of your life has a separate existence, as a link to bind you to the eternal chain, for which you have so long been moulding. For the end—the end, Martin, into which you have so many times inquired, is that immortality to which you are all hastening. You meant to watch, and had a good will thereto, but you know not how.”
Then they turned, saying eagerly, “Gentle and gracious spirit, we abandon all our former pursuits and plans; we care for nothing now, but to stand at the door with our lamps in our hands, waiting breathless for that midnight, when our dear LORD, Who sent you to us, shall come Himself and call us to the marriage.
At these words Emilius raised himself with a last effort, saying sadly, “How shall I, who am dying, go forth to meet Him ?”
Divine Love then received him into her arms, and pressed him to her scarce healed bosom, saying, “ You shall
go forth to meet Him earliest of all. Lo, now He calls you ;" and turning to the six brothers, she showed them that the features of Emilius were composed in death.
Then there was strong weeping, for the Divine Love, whose flame was now kindled in their hearts, had knit them together in a fresh bond of affection, and the brothers grieved at the loss of one of their number, just as they were all beginning to learn the true value of the tie of brotherhood. And they said, “ We will bury Emilius under the pine trees, and watch beside him for the coming of his LORD and ours, 80 shall we be found ready. And thou, gracious spirit, being ever at hand to guide and direct us"
Even as they spoke however, they perceived that as the faint light of morning slowly came into the hall
, the form of their gentle instructress waxed dim, and seemed to fade while she addressed them. “Not so," she said softly, " to stand at the grave of Emilius listening for the Bridegroom's footsteps, leaving every talent He gave to rust for want of use, is not the way to keep your lamps alight and prepare you to hear His gracious voice with joy. This might indeed be the consecration of the remainder of a long life, whose earlier years had been devoted to His service. But now you have so short a time left, that He calls upon you to work while it is called to-day. Wherefore take your talents and trade with them, and gain you other talents beside them. And if for a season you fail to perceive my presence, still continue your work in hope; nor think that I Who left the kingdom of heaven to save you, can ever forsake you while you continue in well-doing."
The crimson streaks of dawn were painting the tops of the tall pine trees, as the brothers stood around the grave of Emilius, and questioned of each other as to their future lives. They were prepared to abide by the dictates of Divine Love, and to set out even then on their diverse paths. Their countenances were hardly sorrowful, for their holy guest had left with them a strange peace, ere she departed from their sight, and even Wilfred's impatient nature had been satisfied, while Julian, all his sloth cast off like a worn-out garment, did nothing but speak to Martin of the necessity for watching in these times which are waxing old;" repeating, as he did so, some words which Divine Love had put into his mouth.
6. Think not of rest; though dreams be sweet,
Start up and ply your heavenward feet.
Christian Year. Second Sunday in Advent.
The seven brethren must only be taken to represent a limited portion of the world. Their earthly fortunes are ruined, and they have forgotten the heavenly inheritance to which they are called, they exbibit the faults of persons who are under no religious influence, and are selfpleasing and unloving. The Love, however, which is the hope of the whole world, and wbich in the Person of our blessed and adorable Redeemer, has bled and suffered for us, will not leave them to perish, although not until the hearts of the brothers have been softened by the danger to Emilius, is her call heard. She comes at the earliest invitation, and makes her most urgent appeals to Julian, because sloth is the most deadly and insidious of all diseases, and may be said to be the very foundation and groundwork of sin. There is but one chamber in their heart in which she can at present take up her abode, that which has been kept comparatively pure by the recollection of their dead mother. The book she reads is the Bible, illuminated by the Finger of God, and written in the blood of saints and martyrs, and it is clasped and held together by the pure gold of the Love of Jesus, as shown forth in the Gospels. She gives hope to the latest hour to those who call upon her; she helps the seven brethren to look back upon the wasted years of their lives with horror, and kindles their energies afresh, with a beam from her celestial lamp ; she soothes the repentant Emilius to sleep upon her wounded heart, and sends forth the six who are still to tarry for a short time upon earth, to labour manfully in their several callings, promising never to desert them. Surely this is the perfect Love which we are told that we must imitate, and whose full fruition we can only hope to enjoy in heaven,
E. E. G. B.
Reviews and Notices.
A Commentary on the Song of Songs, from Ancient and Mediæval Sources. By Richard Frederick Littledale, LL.D. (Masters, London.)
Dr. Littledale has done good service to the Church in many ways, but we cannot hesitate in pronouncing the admirable work before us as the most valuable result his labours have yet produced. No portion of Scripture has been so much misunderstood as the Song of Songs, and as a general rule even devout persons have seemed to consider that their best course was to neglect it entirely, and make no attempt to derive any practical benefit from its perusal. To all such this most attractive volume will prove an inestimable boon, for they will learn from it that the Canticles are really a perfect treasury of the deepest spiritual teaching, well deserving that beautiful title, “ The Book of Divine Love." The Author of the Commentary while he modestly disclaims for it the amount of success to which it is fairly entitled, admits that his intention in writing it was to summarize “the results of seventeen centuries of loving meditation" on this wonderful portion of the Word of God. How carefully he has carried out this plan may be proved by the mere list of authors whom he has consulted; they are fiftythree in number, and extend from the year 253 to 1669. The opinions of most of these are given on difficult passages, and the work is further enriched by quotations from poets of all ages.
We commend very earnestly to the notice of our readers a reprint from the “Spirit of the Church," entitled, The Priest in his Inner Life. (Masters.) It treats chiefly of two points in the Priest's duty, " The Recitation of the Daily Office” and “Meditation," and is of course primarily intended for the use of the Clergy, but all persons may derive the greatest benefit from the counsels it contains, and especially from the portion referring to the difficult task of “ Meditation.” The author's name is not given, but many will recognize a master hand in its wise and earnest teaching.
The Morning of the Church, or Lays of Early Christianity, and other Poems, (Richards and Co.,) is a little volume of pleasing and musical verses, most of them cast in the ballad form, and treating chiefly of the saints of old. They are the production of a thoroughly devotional mind, but of one which may perhaps not have received the highest dogmatic teaching. There is at least an indication in one of the verses on page 53 that the great mystery of the Holy Eucharist has not been fully apprehended. The work is published for a charity of which we should like to know a little more before supporting it. Through what channel does the Deaconesses Institution at Florence belong to the Church ?