'How homely and spiritless a way is this town, had found herself courted by a circle of passing an evening?'-ah, no, far from of gay girls. Her year's visit at the house it.

of a rich uncle in the city, had imparted This was a young missionary band; they some distinction to her. It was delicious had heard a voice from the distant colo- and dangerous, and she eagerly desired to nies, saying, ' In our hamlets and villages, preserve and increase it. In order to do and new-born towns, will you not help us this, she must mingle where they met, in our feebleness, to lay deep the foun.la- and join in their plans of amusement. tions of Bible truth? Give us ministers On this evening, she was not sorry for an of God, books for our Sabbath schools ; opportunity to display certain fashionable give us the good seed of the gospel to artillery, manufactured by city dress, plant all around our homes, before the makers and French milliners. Hope's enemy shall sow tares. Help-help, be- decided departure in an opposite direction fore it is too late!' And even a louder wounded her conscience, and made her ill voice is heard from the regions of heathen- at ease when she went away. . The Parkism. Where is the ready love that yearns ers' brilliant drawing-room and a flattering over and sympathizes with these destitute reception somewhat restored her. Then ones? It is in the Christian bosom, no came gay music and gayer dancing, in matter how lowly or obscure, a response which Esther's Christian profession forbeats. "Yes, we will do what we can for bade her engaging. Ah, ah, how the you?--and so we behold the mission-boxes merry foot went round! What a tiptoeing coming up from a thousand little circles, and balancing, and running up and down, freighted with the means of grace, and and crossing and ręcrossing; and what a borne by the prayers of love. Ever from brightness to the eye and rosiness to the warm, young hearts in Christian homes cheek did all this excitement impart ! are there flowing streams of holy Christian And what a chattering and twittering charity, that will make gład far distant when the music ceased! There was Eslands, and cause them to abound with the ther, quite aside and neglected; surely not bread of life, and the wells of salvation. the centre of attraction; a looker on of a And do you suppose the contemplation of dance ! in a whirl and not of it! The folly another's need, and the sacrifice and self- is so gratuitous, is it not? There in a denial you may practise to help that other's corner stood Esther, disappointed and chaneed, will work no good to your own indi- grined; but a little question found time vidual self? Yes, believe me, it will bring and opportunity to force itself up, dişmanifold blessings to thee. You cannot tinctly and with a broad front, 'Professing pass a single hour in a hearty, active sym- Christian, is this thy place? pathy for thy fellow, but thine own soul As Esther sat there by the dying midshall be elevated, strengthened, and filled night fire, reflection after reflection forced with a more abounding peace. So true is themselves in something of a confused the gospel saying, ' He that watereth, shall order upon her mind. Hope's distinct himself be watered !'

and prompt preference for her Master's Hope returned home with a serene cause, and her own, as distinct and prompt, heart. There was a joyful elasticity in for the world, startled her. For a moher step as she bounded over the frostyment she was appalled by the coldness ground. Her thoughts went back to the and laxity of her spiritual affections. 'Oh, lonely forest cabin, of which they read, I do not exactly know where I am,' she then to her own home, full of blessed pri- sighed, taking off her necklace. Am I vileges. 'Oh, let me be thankful, and im- not forgetting, forfeiting the pearl of great prove them wisely,' she said. And must price? I do not indeed know if I ever obnot even that simple thought, honestly tained it;' and she leaned her head against uttered, give a holier shape to the duties her hand, seeking to recall the memory of of the morrow! Then she looked upward her first love for Jesus. Alas! it was and heheld the bright autumnal night. shadowy and afar off. Fearful misgivShe stopped in wonder, and could even ings came across her. Was she not exseem to hear within her a voice saying, periencing the emptiness of the world !

Thy Father made them all!' Her soul Of what beggarly elements are its most arose in adoring love as if it chimed in flattering scenes! How the soul hungers with the harmonies of the heavens. in the very midst of them! It eats and is

Thus does the true-hearted Christian never satisfied. The infinite void, the reap a sheaf of joy, when he looks not for gnawing desire, are still there. Poor it.

Esther! how many stand where she stood ? At a late hour, Esther returned home. She took the lamp and went up stairs. The family had retired, and she was glad Passing by Hope's room-for Hope and to be a while alone by the decaying fire. Lizzie still slept together—she ventured How weary, disappointed, and restless was in on tiptoe. "Glancing her eye on her she! Esther, on her return to her native sister's open Bible, it fell thus: The


branch that beareth not fruit, shall be cut off and cast into the fire;' then she THE MASSACRE AT BETHLEHEM. hastened rapidly away, leaving peaceful and happy slumberers behind.

WHEN Herod desired the Eastern sages Esther had no heart for prayer. Snatches to return to Jerusalem to bring him word of silly songs and senseless chatterings ran where they had found the new-born' King through her mind, while gaudy and faunt- of the Jews,' there can be no doubt that it ing images flitted before her eye. How was his secret purpose to destroy the child unfitted and unfurnished for prayer! How whom they might indicate. But when this pitiable the nightly retirement of the half-secret purpose was prevented by their deway Christian!

parture 'another way,' there was good Can any one doubt which of these sisters

cause for him to understand that an allwas best prepared to enjoy the beauties, seeing and almighty Providence resisted and enter upon the duties, of the next day? his design. The strangers could not by

Esther and her father were left together any natural means—and all the less as at the breakfast table; Mr Hunter read they were strangers-have arrived at any the morning paper; the daughter was suspicion of his intentions; and apart balancing her teaspoon upon the cup, in from such, they must have had every wish no enviable mood.

to meet the desire of the king of the land, Do not you think, father,' began whose declared purpose was to render Esther, 'there is such a thing as being honour to the Messianic infant. Kings too strict-religious people ought not to are not used to ask for civilities in vain; try to look singular, do you think they and that these polite foreigners had paid should, father?' Ah, the great struggle no heed to his desire, afforded strong was yet going on in her bosom, between ground for concluding that they had been the world and her Saviour, and humbled divinely warned against compromising the she could never be, while it raged so child's safety, or that they had by some fiercely, excusing herself, faultfinding with means been permitted to gain possession others.

of the secret hid in Herod's heart. This 'I do not exactly understand you, my should have deterred him from his vain dear,' said the father.

purpose of dissolving the golden chain of Do you think, sir, we ought to visit predestination,' by frustrating what he be. with nobody but religious people ?' asked lieved to be the purpose of God. Herod Esther.

believed the Divine oracles, foretelling 'I think, my dear, that if we truly love that the king should be born in Bethlethe Lord, we must love those who love hem; and yet his ambition made him so Him, and prefer the interests of His stupid that he attempted to cancel the cause above every thing else. Our pre- decree of Heaven. For if he did not beferences are always on the side of our prin- lieve the prophecies, why was he troubled? ciples,' replied the father, in his own quiet If he did believe them, how could he pos. way.

sibly hinder the event which God had * People will call us exclusive, then, foretold himself should certainly come to exclaimed Esther, with a degree of illo pass ?? humour that surprised even herself.

But since now his arrow could not be “What then, my child ?'

aimed definitely at the one infant in BethTruly, what then?' thought Esther. lehem whose life he sought, the reckless Then aloud, ‘Preferences are not worth tyrant, who was not accustomed to allow much. She was thinking how poor had any considerations of human pity to stand been her own.

for one moment in the way of his objects, ' Esther,' said the father, turning around determined to destroy all the infants there, and taking the hand of his daughter, while at one fell swoop, that the one life he he looked into her face with affectionate sought might perish in the massacre. This solicitude, 'shall I give you the test to try atrocious design was executed by the peryour Christian sincerity ? When the sons—soldiers probably—whom he sent duties and sacrifices of a holy life, and the with orders to kill all the children under pleasures and pursuits of the world are two years old to be found in Bethlehem placed side by side, which do you involun- and its vicinity. This execution was sad, arily prefer? Depend upon it, my cruel, and universal. No abatements were daughter, our preferences discover our prin- made for the dire shrieking of the mociples. Happy, if we wisely discern them, thers; no tender-hearted soldier was emand deceive not ourselves. Oh, my child, ployed; no hard-hearted person was softbe not deceived; God will not be mocked.' ened by the weeping eyes and pity-begging There was emotion in his voice, and he looks of those mothers, that wondered how left the room.

it was possible that any person should Esther went away and wept bitterly.- hurt their pretty sucklings; no connivances Jane Morris.

there, no protections, or friendships, or considerations, or indulgences. Painters furies of an evil conscience, racked by a and poets have laboured to depict the hor- painful and incurable disease, waiting for rors of the scene; but nothing brings the death, but desiring life, raging against results more vividly before the mind than God and man, and maddened by the the simple quotation from Jeremiah which thought that the Jews, instead of bewailing the evangelist applies to the event: 'In his death, would rejoice over it as the Rama was there a voice heard, lamenta- greatest of blessings, commanded the tion, and weeping, and great mourning, worthies of the nation to be assembled in Rachel weeping for her children, and the circus, and issued a secret order, that would not be comforted, because they are after his death, they should be slain to


gether, so that their kindred at least might Exceptions have been taken to the ac- have cause to weep at his death. Can we count given of this transaction. Some of deem the sacrificing a few children to his them are founded on misconceptions as to rage and blind suspicion too atrocious for its nature-as if it amounted to the mas- such a monster?' sacre of hundreds or even thousands of These considerations meet all that can children. Indeed, the murder of the be urged as to the improbability of the innocents' affords one remarkable example transaction. But it has still been reof the reaction of legendary extravagance marked as a strange circumstance, that upon the plain truth of the evangelical this signal atrocity is not mentioned by narrative. The Greek Church canonized any contemporary writer. This does not them as 14,000 innocents; and another amount to much; for the only writer who notion, founded upon a misconception of might be expected to mention it is JoseRev. xiv. 4, swelled the uumber to 144,000. phus, and very satisfactory reasons can be This gross error has not escaped the given for his silence. This historian, innotice of the various acute adversaries of deed, reports many great public atrocities Christianity, who, by impeaching this ex- of Herod; but he does not catalogue his travagant tale, sought to bring the gospel crimes, he merely records them as innarrative into discredit. In truth, how-volved in the course of his narrative, and ever, Bethlehem was at that time, as it has the sequence of events. The massacre at indeed always been, merely a village, in Bethlehem was much of an isolated act, which the number of infants must have not involved in the chain of historical been very small; and it would be extrava- events, and which, as it could not be men. gant to suppose that more than 25 chil- tioned without explanatory particulars he dren perished on this occasion, and it is would wish to avoid, would be easily passed quite possible that they may have been over; and there were reasons for passing somewhat fewer.

it over-just as some of the evangelists It has also been urged, that not even themselves sometimes pass over matters Herod was likely to commit such an atro- that others record. It might, besides, not city as this. But it is easy to show, that seem to Josephus a matter of much' imit was not only likely that he should do so, portance in comparison with the great but that this act of blind and senseless public atrocities of Herod's career which fury, worthy of an insane tyrant, is a trait he records; and as happening at an obperfectly and signally in unison with what scure place, and as unattended with appawe know of his character. Neander has rent consequences, he would consider it stated this with great force and effect. needless to introduce it into his history. * It was that Herod whose crimes, com- Perhaps he did not know it. He was mitted in violation of every uatural feeling, not a contemporary, and could not know ever urged him on to new deeds of cruelty; every thing; and the event was probably whose path to the throne, and whose throne one of which no public record existed. itself, were stained with human blood; The orders of Herod were probably sewhose vengeance against conspirators, not cretly given ; and were executed as quietly satisfied with their own destruction, de- as the nature of the case allowed. It was manded that of their whole families; important in Christian history, and is whose rage was hot, up to the very hour ef therefore recorded by Matthew; but was his death, against his nearest kindred; not seemingly important in Jewish history, whose wife, Mariamne, and three sons, and is therefore not recorded by Josephus. Alexander, Aristobulus, and Antipater, Besides, who is Josephus, that so much fell victims to his suspicions—the last stress should be laid upon his silence ? just before his death; who, in a word, Inspiration apart, is not Matthew as fully certainly deserved that the emperor Au- entitled to credit, as a historian, as he ? gustus should have said of him, -Herodis We should believe Matthew, even if he mallem porcus esse quam filius—it is better contradicted Josephus, and much more to be Herod's hog than his son. It was when he only states what Josephus does that Herod who, at the close of a blood- not deny, and what he has rendered prostained life of seventy years, goaded by the bable by what he does state concerning

peruse them.

that character of the tyrant, to whom this OUR SCOTTISH PSALMODY: with Hints for its
black and bloody deed is ascribed in the Improvement. Edinburgh: Johnstone and
evangelical narrative.—Daily Bible Illus- Hunter.

This tract, which is issued by the Free
St George's Sacred Music Association,

Edinburgh, meets with our heartiest ap-

proval. It is written with much ability, and is thoroughly suited to the times.

We have, in our present number, enriched THE HIDING PLACE; or, The Sinner Found in

our pages with a few extracts from it. Christ. By the Rev. JOHN MACFARLANE,

LL.D. London: Nisbet & Co. 1853. Dr MacFARLANE's previous publications PLAIN DISCOURSES ON IMPORTANT SUBJECTS. By have earned for him a good name. The

JOHN BROWN, D.D. Edinburgh : Alexander Mountains of the Bible, and · The Night

Padon. Lamp,' have had a large circulation, and THESE discourses are what they profess are deservedly popular. There is some- to be-plain, yet calculated to please and thing racy and fresh in everything that edify alike the uncultivated and the learned. comes from the Doctor's pen, which, along They are clear, pithy, full of unction, with other and higher qualities that cha- and worthy of the high reputation of the racterize his writings, cannot fail to please venerable author. as well as to impress and instruct all who * The Hiding Place' is a

The DEAD IN CHRIST : Their State, Present and most creditable performance-not a mere Future. By JOAN BROWN, D.D. Edinburgh: ornate, yet frigid, composition, but lively, Alexander Padon. vigorous, and thoroughly saturated with richest gospel truth.

We have perused this little work with

unmixed satisfaction. The object and plan of the work are

The subject is very distinctly brought out in the

preface. looked at in its many aspects. The varied The author's aim is to put before the information of Scripture is both fully reader such a simple and comprehensive

collected and felicitously stated and exview of the way to the Father by Jesus plained, while a delightful vein of elevated Christ, that if he be at all in earnest about piety pervades the whole. It is one of the his soul's salvation, he must rise from the few books that one lays down with the perusal, if not convinced and converted, conviction, that it would be a good thing at least in no doubt of the place where to read it periodically, and after not very and the manner in which, lost sinners are

long intervals. to be delivered from the wrath to come.

The plan of the work is determined by JANE MORRIS. Edinburgh: Johnstone & Hunter. the order of those new covenant titles given The New SCHOLAR. to our Lord in the Old Testament, which

EDWARD AND MARY. have the prefix Jehovah. By the proper

ROBERT DAWSON. arrangement of these titles, we have the VALLEY OF DECISION. entire scheme of the gospel in a system, so TAE above are intended for youth, and that the serious student can obtain, from are beautifully got up. Their very aptheir study, clear and connected ideas of pearance must beget, in the mind of the the will of God in Christ, concerning his boy or girl who receives them, a strong conversion, pardon, purity, peace, and prepossession in their favour. The stories prospects.

are simply and sweetly written, and fitted

to do much good. EARTALY GREATNESS NO SECURITY A Sermon on occasion of the Death

SPEECH OP Hon. CHARLES SUMNER, of Massa. of the Duke of Wellington. By the Rev. J.

ehusetts, on his Motion to Repeal the Fugitive RANKINE, Cupar-Fife.

Slave Bill, &c. Edinburgh: Johnstone and On the text, 'I have said, Ye are gods ; but ye shall die like men' (Psalm lxxxii. 6, 7), the preacher grounds the following We are greatly indebted to the enterprisobservation, that those who are most ex

ing Edinburgh publishers for this reprint alted on earth, whether from birth, or

of a most noble speech on the accursed genius, or high station and influence,

Fugitive Slave Bill. The object of it is resemble their fellow-mortals in this re

well expressed in the title prefixed to it. spect, that they die. The discourse is

Freedom National, Slavery Sectional. devoted to an illustration of this sentiment,

The following is the peroration :and the lessons suggested by it. It is 'Mr President, I have occupied much judicious, tasteful, and impressive. time; but the great subject still stretches







before us. One other point yet remains, . And now, cir, the rule is commended which I should not leave untouched, and to us. The good citizen, as he thinks of which justly belongs to the close. The the shivering fugitive, guilty of no crime, Slave Act violates the Constitution, and pursued, hunted down like a beast, while shocks the public conscience. With praying for Christian help and deliverance, modesty, and yet with firmness, let me and as he reads the requirements of this add, sir, it offends against the Divine Act, is filled with horror. Here is a Law. No such enactment can be entitled despotic mandate, "to aid and assist in to support.

As the throne of God is the prompt and efficient execution of this above every earthly throne, so are his law.” Again let me speak frankly. Not laws and statutes above all the laws and rashly would I set myself against any prostatutes of man. To question these, is to vision of law. This grave responsibility I question God himself.

But to assume would not lightly assume. But here the that human laws are beyond question, is path of duty is clear. By the Supreme to claim for their fallible authors infalli- Law, which commands me to do no inbility. To assume that they are always in justice; by the comprehensive Christian conformity with those of God, is pre- Law of Brotherhood; by the Constitution, sumptuously and impiously to exalt man which I have sworn to support“I am to an equality with God. Clearly, human bound to disobey this Act. Never, in any laws are not always in such conformity, capacity, can I render voluntary and in it's nor can they ever be beyond question execution. Pains and penalties I will enfrom each individual. Where the conflict dure; but this great wrong I will not do. is open, as if Congress should command "I cannot obey, but I can suffer," was the perpetration of murder, the office of the exclamation of the author of “ PilConscience as final arbiter is undisputed. grim's Progress," when imprisoned for But in every conflict the same Queenly disobedience to an earthly statute. Better office is hers. By no earthly power can suffer injustice than do it. Better be the she be dethroned. Each person, after victim than the instrument of wrong. anxious examination, without haste, with Better be even the poor slave returned to out passion, solemnly for himself must bondage than the unhappy commissioner. decide this great controversy. Any other “There is, sir, an incident of history, rule attributes infallibility to human laws, which suggests a parallel, and affords a places them beyond question, and de- lesson of fidelity. Under the triumphant grades all men to an unthinking passive exertions of that Apostolic Jesuit, St obedience.

Francis Xavier, large numbers of the ' According to St Agustine, an unjust Japanese, ainounting to as many as two law does not appear to be a law-lex esse hundred thousand-among them princes, non videtur quæe justa non fuerit ; and the generals, and the flower of the nobilitygreat fathers of the Church, while adopt- were converted to Christianity. Aftering these words, declare openly that wards, amidst the frenzy of civil war, reunjust laws are not binding. Sometimes ligious persecution arose, and the penalty they are called "abuses," and not laws; of death was denounced against all who sometimes “violences,” and not laws. refused to trample upon the effigy of the And here again the conscience of each Redeemer. This was the Pagan law of a person is the final arbiter. But this lofty Pagan land. But the delighted historian principle is not confined to the Church. records, that scarcely one from the multiA master of philosophy in early Europe, tude of converts was guilty of this apostasy. a name of intellectual renown, the elo- The law of man was set at nought. Imquent Abelard, in Latin verses addressed prisonment, torture, death, were preferred. to his son, has clearly expressed the uni- Thus did this people refuse to trample on versal injunction:

the painted image. Sir, multitudes among

us will not be less stedfast in refusing to “ Jussa potestatis terrenæ discutienda

trample on the living image of their ReCelestis tibi mox perficienda scias.

deemer. Siquis divinis jubeat contraria jussis

Finally, sir, for the sake of peace and Te contra Dominum pactio nulla trahat."

tranquillity, cease to shock the public conThe mandates of an earthly power are science; for the sake of the Constitution, to be discussed; those of Heaven must cease to exercise a power which is nowhere at once be performed; nor can any agree- granted, and which violates inviolable ment constrain us against God. Such is rights expressly secured. Leave this the rule of morals. Such, also, by the question where it was left by our fathers, lips of judges and sages, has been the at the formation of our National Governprond declaration of the English law, ment, in the absolute control of the States, whence our own is derived. In this con- the appointed guardians of personal liberty. viction, patriots have fearlessly braved Repeal this enactment. Let its terrors unjust commanda, and martyrs have died. no longer rage through the land. Mind

« 上一页继续 »