« 上一页继续 »
66 my friend has been taking much pains to instruct you, and now I will ask you a few questions. Do you know who Jesus Christ was?" "Well, no," said he, after a pause; "I should say that's werry hard to tell." "Do you know whether he was St. John's brother?"-"No, that I don't." "Can you tell me who the Trinity are?" "No, Sir." "Are you a sinner?" "Oh, certainly, Sir; we are all sinners." A pause. "Have you ever done wrong?" "Why no, I don't consider as ever I have."
never commit sin ?" Why no, don't know as ever I did." "But do you think you're a sinner?" "Oh, certainly, Sir; we are all sinners." "What is a sinner?" "Well, I'm blest if I know rightly; I never had no head-piece."
BEARING THE CROSS.
MR. SIMEON, of Cambridge, was at one time an object of much contempt for Christ's sake and the Gospel's. Though usually he bore up bravely, it was very trying to know that no one liked to be seen in his company; and one day, as he walked along with his little Testament in his hand, he prayed that God would send him some cordial in His word. Opening the book, his eye alighted on the text:
"They found a man of Cyrene, Simon (or Simeon) by name; him they compelled to bear Jesus' cross.'
"And when I read that," he tells us, "I exclaimed, 'Lord, lay it on me; lay it on me; I will gladly bear the cross for thy sake.' And I henceforth bound persecution as a wreath of glory round my brow."
Lessons for the Young.
DO WE SEEK THE SALVATION OF OUR NEAREST RELATIVES?
A LITTLE while ago, a minister said to a young man who never thought of his soul, "My dear young friend, I think you are going to lose your soul! You are putting off the day of salvation-neglecting all these solemn matters; going on heedlessly,
fear, to the day of your death!" The young man looked up with surprise, then said
"I don't think so. And you must really pardon me, but I have my doubts whether you think so, or your church thinks so."
The minister was astonished.
"Why, my mother belongs to your church. Don't they all think just as you do?"
"Yes, they do."
"Well, then, don't my mother love me? and do you think she never would have told me if she thought I was going straight to perdition? And there's my sister; don't she believe as you do ?"
"Now, then, I know my sister loves me. I know she would come and throw her arms around my neck and tell me, 'Don't! don't! don't!' if she thought I was going to perdition."
Young people, if all on earth be silent, God speaks! Hear Him.
THE LITTLE BOY THAT DIED.
DR. CHALMERS is said to be the author of the following beautiful poem, written on the occasion of the death of a young son whom he greatly loved.
I am all alone in my chamber now, And the midnight hour is near; And the faggot's crack and the clock's dull tick
Are the only sounds I hear. And over my soul in its solitude Sweet feelings of sadness glide, For my heart and my eyes are full when I think
Of the little boy that died.
I went one night to my father's house-
For the little boy that died.
I shall miss him when the flowers come,
In the garden where he played; I shall miss him more by the fire-side, When the flowers are all decayed. I shall see his toys and his empty chair, And the horse he used to ride, And they will speak with a silent speech
Of the little boy that died.
We shall go home to our Father's house
To our Father's house in the skies, Where the hope of our souls shall have no blight,
Our love no broken ties.
We shall roam on the bank of the river
KNOCKING AWAY PROPS. "SEE, father," said a lad who was walking with his father, "they are knocking away the props from under the bridge: what are they doing that for? Won't the bridge fall?"
"They are knocking them away," said the father, "that the timbers may rest more firmly upon the stone piers which are now finished."
God often takes away our earthly props that we may rest more firmly upon Him. God sometimes takes away a man's health, that he may rest upon Him for his daily bread. Before his health failed, though he perhaps repeated daily the words, "Give us this day our daily bread," he looked to his own industry for that which he asked of God. That prop being taken away, he rests wholly upon God's bounty. When he receives his bread, he receives it as the gift of God.
God takes away our friends that we may look to Him for sympathy. When our affections were exercised upon objects around us, when we
rejoiced in their abundant sympathy, we did not feel the need of a divine sympathy. But when they were taken away, we felt our need of God's sympathy and support. We were brought to realise that He alone can give support, and form an adequate portion for the soul. Thus are our earthly props removed that we may rest firmly and wholly upon God.
SIR MATTHEW HALE says, verse not with a liar, or a swearer, or a man of obscene or wanton language; for either it will corrupt you, or at least it will hazard your reputation to be of the like making; and if it doth neither, yet it will fill your memory with such discourses that it will be troublesome to you in after time; and the returns of the remembrance of the passages which you have long since heard of this nature, will haunt you when your thoughts should be better employed."
YOUNG people should have a particular care of evil thoughts. O, the mischief they have done in the world! Bad thoughts come first, bad words follow after, and bad deeds bring up the rear. Strive against them; watch against them; pray against them. They prepare the way for the Enemy.
"Bad thought is a thief! he acts his part,
Creeps through the window of the heart;
And if he once his way can win,
ANECDOTE OF AN OYSTER. SOME years ago the family of a fishmonger were alarmed by a great noise in the shop, and, suspecting that some persons had broken in, one of them went to the place, when, to his surprise, he found the disturber of his repose, not a twofooted, but a four-footed thief,
namely a rat, who, on trying to help himself to an oyster lying on the shop-board, had his intruding paw so firmly grasped in the shell of the oyster as to render his escape impossible.
Young man, beware of the formation of bad habits, and bad companions. Once in their grasp you are a slave.
FORM OF PRAYER FOR MEM
BERS OF A CHOIR.
THE following form of prayer is said to be used by the choir of a parish church. If the spirit it expresses could possess all persons who take part in songs of praise to Almighty God in churches, Sunday schools and other religious assemblies, the change in the character of these services would be marvellous and delightful.
"Give us grace, O Lord, to behave ourselves in Thy courts with great reverence and humility, both of body and mind; that coming to Thy sanctuary with clean hands and pure hearts, we may offer unto Thee the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to Thy Name, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
COMMITTING THE BIBLE TO MEMORY.
A GENTLEMAN in Massachusetts offered several prizes of Bibles to those, old or young, who should commit to memory and repeat the largest portion of the Bible. The following reports of passages have been received, certified by the superintendent or pastor. Mrs. Betsy Conant, who has been residing in Melrose, a lady sixty-eight years of age, has committed to memory the entire Bible, Old and New Testament, reciting each day in the week. This is certified by her daughter, and also by the superintendent of the Sabbath school; and the lady is entitled to the first Bible. An irish servant-girl repeated nearly 10,000 verses; three other females repeated above that number; and a list is appended of some twenty more who were able to repeat from 3,000 to 9,000 verses.
OUR OWN FAULTS. LET us not be over-curious about the failings of others, but take account of our own; let us bear in mind the excellences of other men, while we reckon up our own faults, for then shall we be well-pleasing to God. For he who looks at the faults of others, and at his own excellences, is injured in two ways; by the latter he carried up to arrogance, through the former he falls into listlessness. For when he perceives that such an one hath sinned, very easily he will sin himself; when he perceives he hath in aught excelled, very easily he becometh arrogant. He who consigns to oblivion his own excellences, and looks at his failings only, whilst he is a curious engineer of the excellences, not the sins of others, is profitable in many ways. And how? I will tell you. When he sees that such an one hath done excellently, he is raised to emulate the same; when he sees that he himself hath sinned, he is rendered humble and modest. If we act thus, if we thus regulate ourselves, we shall be able to obtain the good things which we are promised through the grace and loving-kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ.-St. Chrysostom.
"I SHALL BE A KING." THE late Duke of Hamilton had two sons. The youngest fell into a consumption, when yet a boy, which ended in his death. Two ministers went to see him at the family seat, near Glasgow, where he lay. After prayer, the youth took his Bible from under his pillow, and turned to 2 Tim. iv. 7: "I have fought a good fight, have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness;" and added, "this, Sirs, is my comfort!" When his death approached, he called his younger brother to his bed, and spoke to him with great affection. He ended with these remarkable words: "And now, Douglass, in a little time you will be a Duke, but I shall be a Řing!”
"Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you."-JOHN xv. 14. THE word "friend" is one of the most endearing and attractive words in human language. It stands next in value and suggestiveness to those dearest of all words, "Father," mother," "brethren," and thus forms one of the three great pillars on which the social fabric is built: namely, parents, kindred, friends. It meets us when we leave the sacred precincts of home to mingle with the world of strangers who stand outside, and presents us with affection, sympathy, and devotedness, as real, although not so intense, as that which springs up in the parental fold, eneouraging us in laborious undertakings, cheering us when despondent, and calming the tumult of an agitated, troubled breast, by the still small voice of its sympathy and its love. Oh, how much does the world, as well as the church, owe to its friends! We have a scene depicted in this chapter of John's Gospel, which presents an aspect of friendship of the most elevated and sacred character. In it we behold Jesus surrounded by His friends. He had many false ones, but they in the hour of His trial have disappeared. In the sifting process which is taking place the chaff is scattered by the winds, but the precious corn remains; and all this Jesus feels and knows, as, looking upon His disciples, He exclaims, “Ye are my friends."
And honest friends, indeed, they are these eleven men-as they gather around Him, wondering at His myterions words, awed by His wonderful works, and drawn closely towards Him by the constraining force of His amazing love. They are infinitely beneath Him in knowledge, but friendship does not depend on the possession of knowledge. They are immeasurably inferior to Him in power, but friendship does not depend on mere power. They are incalculably below Him in station, but friendship does not always depend on station. The bonds which unite them are stronger than all these-they are the bonds of suffering and love; and painful as that suffering must have been, how was its sharpmitigated by the loving assurance, Ye are my friends."
We divide the entire sentence-" Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you,"-into two portions.
1st. The recognition of the disciples' relation to Christ :-" Ye are my friends;" and
2nd. The test or pledge of the sincerity of that relation :—“ If ye do," &c.
1st. The recognition of the disciples' relation to Christ. This relation suggests many powerful contrasts.
First. It suggests a contrast between the actual position of men in relation to Christ now, and that which they are destined ultimately to sustain.
How strange that the number of Christ's friends, at the time of His suffering, should have been so small. It is amazing that to neither the multitude, nor their rulers, nor any proportionate fraction of the multitude, could Christ address these words, but only to the few whom he had gathered around himself from the villages and towns of Galilee. He stands in His own world, surrounded by the people of His own race, to whom He had proved himself a friend in every form of calamity which had oppressed them; yet He looks among them in vain for any tokens of goodwill or love-it is found only among the few disciples.
It might have been otherwise. We can imagine the possibility of the disparity being on the other side, and that man, from the moment of his expulsion from Eden, having been so vigilant against evil, and so energetic and successful in the work of circumscribing its growth, that the greater number of his descendants should have been the friends of the Redeemer, and the few only His foes. But, alas! it is not so. "We see not yet all things put under Him." We see not yet all things brought into harmony with Him; but we see the many estranged, indifferent, or openly hostile to Him, while hitherto it has been to the few only of human generations that Christ can say, “ Ye are my friends."
But the time is coming when all this will be changed. The friends of Jesus are increasing in number as the years roll on; and in these few words of gracious recognition we have an earnest of the fulfilment of the prophecy, "There shall be an handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains; the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon, and they of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth."-Rev. iii. 20.