« 上一頁繼續 »
" The Christian mourner! Is not this a misnomer ?" No, by no means. “ But it is the privilege and the duty of the child of God to be happy.” So it is. But when the Holy Spirit transforms a human soul into his own image, and gives that soul an earnest of the joys of heaven while here on earth, he does not petrify the sensibilities of that soul. The capacity of suffering remains. The adaptation of many of the circumstances in which God has placed him to produce suffering, is the same as before the spiritual transformation. Though he has new hopes, new sources of joy, he has old fears and old sources of sorrow. Holiness, in this life, does not ensüre unmixed enjoyment, else would our divine Redeemer not have been a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” More than this: The same causes that in the breast of the unrenewed man produce the keenest anguish, may, when that man is renewed, produce a degree of anguish equally keen.
It is in the light of this truth-so generally misunderstood, as I apprehend, by the Christian philosopher, that we see the benefit of affliction. If the Christian could not feel the rod—if he were not sensible of the pain inflicted by it, or even of a considerable degree of pain—the efficiency of that chastening would be lost. The child of God does feel-he must feel—when the hand of his Father is laid heavily upon him.
He feels, when his worldly possessions are removed from him, and he is reduced, perhaps, from a condition of affluence to one of poverty, and of comparative want. He feels, when he is slandered and abused by his fellow men, and especially when he is slandered and abused by those whom he had learned to regard as his warm friends. He feels, when a victim of severe physical pain. Religion has not made him a boulder of granite, or a block of wood. He feels, when his heavenly Father comes into his domestic sanctuary, and removes from his embrace one whom he loved most tenderly. Aye, his very heart bleeds, when one of his lambs is taken from the fold. The father and mother feel, when the flower they were endeavoring to rear for usefulness and for the garden of God, is cut down by an untimely frost. The husband feels, when the wife of his bosom is removed from his embrace. The wife feels, when the loved one, on whom she had leaned, falls a prey to the shafts of death. Tá
In one sense, religion does not diminish the keeness of their suffering. The child, as he first essays to walk, falls, and is hurt. He cries from the pain of the wound he has received. The nurse gives him some toy, with which he is amused. His tears anon cease to flow. The toy has solaced him, in part. It has not removed the pain. The pain may be as severe as ever. But the toy has opened a new fountain of pleasure.
So with the Christian. With his hearth all desolate with his heart bleeding to the core--with his fairest hopes prostrate and crushed around him-religion meets him, and bids him look upward for comfort. It does not bid him dry his tears at once. It does not administer to him spiritual morphine. He is not supposed to be capable of breaking asunder, in a moment, all the fibres of love which bound him to his lost one. He is not required to cast away the affection which he has been garnering for years, and to bury it in that new made gráve. No. The religion of Jesus Christ-the blessed gospel of the Son of God, has another mission to the suffering disciple. It allows him to suffer, but, at the same time, opens to him other rills of enjoyment. It speaks words of comfort to the soul, while it aims to make that soul" perfect through suffering.”
It does not rebuke the stricken wife, when in the anguish of premature widowhood, she leads her child to the cherished spot where rests the form of the husband and father. It does not frown, because she “goes to the grave, to weep there.” It does not attempt to conceal from her mind the story that Jesus wept over the grave of his friend Lazarus; that he did not hide his tears; that his grief was so marked and affecting, that his disciples exclaimed, “Behold, how he loved him!”
Ah !” said a dear friend, whom I met the other day, for the first time after the sudden removal from his hearth to heaven of a devoted young wife, “I have learned something of the power of the gospel in the heart made desolate by the angel of death, which I never knew, never dreamed of before, until the dear partner of my bosom was taken from me. I have learned that that gospel does not at once withdraw the arrow from the Christian's soul, but that it yields him a new supply of heaven's gifts, while his wound remains open, and he feels the keenest pain."
Of the same tenor is the language of a venerable servant of God, in a recent letter to a friend, which has just come under my observation. He had been thrown into the furnace of affliction. The wife of his youth had been taken from him; and, like the old oak of the forest, upon which had beaten the storms of many winters, and from which, at last, had been riven the only bough that
remained, this venerable man felt that God had left him lonely and desolate in the world. And thus he writes :—“My worldly loss is perfect. Of the many good wives with whom God blesses men, not one, I am sure, is better than she was, which the Lord gave me fifty-three years—affectionate, faithful, confidential, conscientious, guileless, discreet-making my home to me always the pleasantest spot in the world—just such a wife as the minister of the Gospel needs and should have. For the loss of such an associate, things secular and perishing have no compensation to offer. Consolation, therefore, is of course out of the question. But the precious promises of Christ may be realized and enjoyed in their blessed fulfillment.” Aye, that is the way the Gospel goes to work in the soul of the Christian mourner. Christ comes into that soul, and lights it up with the smiles of his face. “I am consoled by the promises of the Gospel," adds this suffering saint. “How sweet are these words, ‘I will never leave you. Lo, I am with you always.”
Christian parent! Has God recently made his waves and his billows to pass over you? Does the world seem more a wilderness than ever? Then do not endeavor, by withdrawing your mind from the cause of your sorrow, and diverting it into the channels where the worldly find pleasure, do not endeavor to wrest yourself from the influence of that sorrow. God designs that you
should weep. He designs that you should be crushed in the dust. He will raise you up again, peradventure, in due time. But it were & protest, methinks, against his wise system of discipline, by illegitimate and forced means to render yourself insensible to this chastisement. God would “make you perfect through suffering.”, Then, shun not that suffering. Attempt not to flee from it. But while you suffer, and are willing to suffer, pray for the benign and holy influences of the wound that has been inflicted, rather than that the wound itself may speedily cease to give you pain.
The chiefest properties of wisdom are, to be mindful of things past, careful of things present, and provident for things to come.
THE FRATERNAL DUTIES.
BY REV. ANSEL D. EDDY, D. D.
HOME is never seen in its perfection till its excellence is reflected in the filial circle, and the interchange of kind offices and charity is secured among brothers and sisters. And next to the cultivation of the fraternal affections and efforts to promote each other's happiness, mutual respect should always be cherished and manifested. This is the second great duty we would seek to inculcate.
1. There should not be the formality of ceremonious intercourse, and yet there should be no approximation to vulgar and degrading address. While there should be freedom from the cautious timidity of suspicion,” the coarseness of indelicacy and rudeness, there should be the “politeness of good manners, blended with the tenderness of love."
2. Mutual obligation should be felt for each other's improvement, not in the follies of fashionable life, but in those engaging manners of modest and refined deportment--that intellectual richness, and resources of useful, knowledge, which raise and expand far above the gay throng of fashionable pleasures, and which give the pledge of substantial value and useful action, when the season of youthful gayety and dissipation shall pass away.
3. Kind attentions—those nameless offices and tokens of regard and affection, which, at the same time, manifest and solicit the best feelings of the soul-should never be forgotten.
Mark that young man with just suspicion, who is happier anywhere than at home, and who seems more joyous with others than his own sisters, and prefers any other to lean upon his arm than her whom, as an orphan daughter, he is bound to protect. The kind feelings of a brother are a stranger to his bosom ; the nobler feelings of a man he never knew. And he who will cast, forgotten,