larkness and difficulty ; rocked on the hard but kind bosom of rigorous
necessity; and their heroism is often displayed, not on the world's
public stage, but in their patient battle with life's daily littlenesses, in
their steadfast fidelity at the postof humble duty, and in the ever-growing
ipeness of their spiritual faculties and feelings. “No chastening for
he present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless, in the
and it yieldeth the peaceable fruits of righteousness, to those exercised
thereby; and our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh
for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” When God,
therefore, sets His troop of archers to grieve us sorely with their fiery
darts ; when all His waves and billows pass over us, and we are made
to possess wearisome nights and troublesome days : lze v oboch
Let us be patient: these severe afflictions

Not from the ground arise : l

But oftentimes celestial benedictions ERTE

Assume this dark disguise.

u t
We see but dimly through the mists and vapours:

Amid these earthly damps,
What seem to us but sad funereal tapers,
May be heaven's distant lamps.

And though at times, impetuous with emotion,
And anguish long suppressed,

B OSTO The swelling heart heaves, moaning like the ocean, ali
OSB That cannot be at rest; how LED mot Brian

We will be patient, and assuage the feeling o bungste

O We may not wholly stay; they use carrera
ANW By silence sanctifying, not concealing,

The grief that must have way."

T aloaib den We learn from this text,

IV.—THE CORDIAL OF HUMAN LIFE. “I will not leave you comfortless: I bequeath unto you My peace; be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world." The pith and germ of this gracious promise is contained also in the words of the text. Amid the countless ills that flesh is heir to, there remains for us ever this blessed solace, that God “will make darkness light before us, and crooked things straight:" so that, like Samson's riddle, “out of the eater shall come forth meat, and out of the strong shall come forth sweetness." The dark cloud shall be brushed aside by radiant sunbeams, and the unsightly trunk shall grow tall and fragrant as the coroneted palm-tree. The shadows shall flee away, the rain be over and gone, the flowers appear again on the earth, the time of the singing birds come, and the voice of the turtle be heard again in the land. It is thus God mingles our cup of life with bitters and with sweets; never smiting us with both hands, but causing the hemlock and the balm, the bane and the antidote, to be given us in proper season. All the facts of history and experience go to teach us that God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb; strengthens the back, by His all-sufficient grace, for the cross it has to bear; and that so soon as the trial has served its purpose, the rod of correction is laid aside, and the apple of comfort is.

BB servoVIOL

of comftmoo I BB &

put into our hands. When Jacob cries, “ All these things are againg me," the answer to his mistaken murmur is—the granaries of Egyp and an old age full of years and honours. When the tale of bricks i doubled, and the groans of the oppressed reach the ears of the Lord of sabaoth, the sequel is—deliverance at the Red Sea, and a land flowing with milk and honey. When Elijah lies down in the cave to die, and wrapping his head in his mantle, protests with passionate grief that is weary of his life, since he only is left faithful amongst the faithles throng; what follows is—the still small voice, and seven thousand tha never bent the knee to Baal, and translation to heaven, with celestial pomp and glory. When the widow's barrel of meal is empty and her bottle of oil exhausted, and hungry death looms imminent to her and hers; the messenger of God appears, and blesses her with undiminished plenty. And when Job-bereft, impoverished, scourged-curses the day in which his mother bare him, and longs to rest his weary bones within the grave's sweet solitude; he lived long enough to rue his hasty speech, and to acknowledge in the end that the Lord is very pitiful and of ten. der mercy. Now all these things were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope." Let God be thanked that the sorrowing night is still succeeded by the jogous morning; that the bright lights still gleam and dance in our clouded life; and that what of darkness must needs for the present still remain, eternity will for ever disperse, and give us to see face to face, and to know, even as we are known. “What webs of wonder will upravel then! what full day pour on all the paths of heaven, and light the Almighty's footsteps in the deep! How will the day of our complete discharge unveil at once the labyrinths of our fate, and straighten life's inextricable maze !" We learn from this text,

V.-THE STAFF OF HUMAN LIFE. Mark the concluding sentence, and you will see that the staff of life to which I refer is a constantly-present God; “never forsaking us," standing near unto us, and proving Himself our unerring Guide and our Almighty Helper through all the tortuous windings of our earthly sojourn. We cannot linger over this thought here and now; but it is worth much,—nay, it is worth everything else,—to know that God does not leave us to wander about the world like sheep having no shepherd, but that He goes ever before us as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. The conscious recognition of His encircling presence, as revealed to us in the person and work of Christ, will make all the difference between building our house upon the rock, and building it upon the sand ; between making our life a ruinous abortion, and making it a thing of beauty and a joy for ever. To live without God in the world ; to reject the loving Hand that would lead us in our blindness and shield us in our helplessness; to trudge along the dusty highway under the weary burden of self-supported cares ;-why the labour of Sisyphus was child's play to a life like this, and was far more certain of a successful result. But the man who has God by his side; who

leans his weight upon Him to whom belongs the strength of the hills ; who seeks Him in perplexity, and prays to Him in trouble, and trusts Him ever as his best Friend; who has learnt to pillow his aching head und sob away his heavy griefs on the warm and faithful breast of infinite love, feeling that the eternal God is His refuge, and that underneath Him are the everlasting arms,--such a man has robbed all mystery of its terror, all sorrow of its sting; and though He walk through the valley of the shadow of death he shall fear no evil, for God is with him, and His rod and staff do comfort him.

“We cannot fail with such a prop,

As bears the world and all things up." "I will bring the blind by a way they know not: I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and will not forsake them, saith the Lord of hosts.”

It is hoped that the reader will not deem these lessons inopportune. nor unwelcome, towards the close of another year. Let them hush in us the voice of murmur, and soothe us in our impatient fretfulness : teaching, that whatever God wills is best, and that present trials are all working together for our future good. The way along which God is leading us, may lie through pains and toils, temptations and disappointments, sandy wastes and rocky deserts, with here and there a well-spring and a palm grove for the refreshment of jaded pilgrims : but the prize is worth the peril and the sacrifice. Thank God and take courage. Stage by stage the journey nears its end. Time flies swift as a weaver's shuttle: eternity approaches with silent, muffled tread. Once more, “gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Leaning on Him, for pardon and strength and guidance, earth's manifold vicissitudes shall be safely passed the wayfarer's garb shall be soon put off for the victor's robe-and the Lord of life shall bid us welcome to the Land of Rest, where the dark mystery of sin and suffering shall be solved, and the glory of God and of the Lamb shall gild every scene with immortal beauty and pleasure. Meanwhile,-.

" Let our unceasing, earnest prayer,

Be for more light; for strength to bear
Our portion of the weight of care,
That crushes into damb despair

One half the human race.
O suffering, sad humanity!
Oye afflicted ones that lie
Steeped to the lips in misery,
Longing and yet afraid to die,

Patient, but sorely tried :
I pledge you in the cup of grief,
Where floats the fennel's bitter leaf;
The battle of our life is brief;

The alarm: the struggle: the relief :
Then sleep wo side by side."

[ocr errors]

BENJAMIN, THE LITTLE JEWISH CONVERT. ONE bright Sabbath morning in " but yesterday was the Sabbath, the early spring, as happy groups and it ended at sundown. I'm tired of people were wending their way of play, though, and, as the others to the Sabbath-school, a gentleman are going, I'll go too.” observed a number of boys noisily The bells were just ceasing to ring playing at “leap frog.” He spoke as they reached the door of the to them in a cheerful voice, and they | mission-house. Entering, the eyes stopped their game and came cluster of the little Jew beheld a sight unlike ing around him.

anything he had ever witnessed. “I can find better work for you, There were nearly five hundred girls my young friends," he said, "and and boys, of all sizes and ages, sitting better play too. How many of you in half circles around their teachers. will come with me to the mission Some of these were venerable men school!"

and women, with silver hair; others They were bright-looking boys, were in the prime of life; many were though their faces were not over young; but, as Benjamin noticed, clean, and their clothes were in not one looked stern or cross. There different degrees of raggedness. One was not a frowning face in the room. or two shuffled off sullenly, saying The superintendent touched a bell. that they did not want to go to Instantly the hum of voices ceased, school, and others made objections the clatter of feet was stilled, the on the score of their appearance ; rustle of papers and books stopped but finally the majority agreed to as if by magic, and the spell of pergo “just once, to see what it was fect silence came over that restless

little band. Presently a hymn was There was an eager-looking boy read, a lady took her seat at the standing near-a boy with dark organ, and in a moment a burst of olive-coloured skin, and lustrous melody thrilled through the room. black eyes, and thick tangled curls The refrain was—“The best day of peeping from under the brim of his all the week;” and before the last hat. He was well and comfortably verse was finished, the little stranger dressed, and seemed altogether of a caught and joined in it with as much different class from his playmates. spirit as any child in the room. After It needed no second look to convince the singing, a few verses were read the missionary that this child was a , and explained, the scholars recited waif which is seldom found adrift on the ten commandments in concert, our Sabbath-school sea,—even one and one of the teachers offered a of the “lost sheep of the house of

| short prayer. Israel.” And, remembering that The hymn, with its harmonious our Saviour came to save such, he measure, had charmed Benjamin, the offered up a silent prayer, and turned, lucid interpretation of the Scriptures with special kindness, to the little had interested his intelligent mind, Jewish boy.

and the commandments had dispelled “What is your name, my son ?” any doubts as to the propriety of his

“ Benjamin Rosenblatt," was the being there; but the prayer puzzled reply.

him. In it mention was made, loving, *Have you ever been to Sabbath heart-felt mention, too, of Jesus, school?”

that Jesus of Nazareth of whom, “My mother has taught me the | hitherto, he had only heard as an commandments, and from the rabbi | impostor,-a name to be spoken with we have learned the law and the loathing and contempt. But this prophets," said the boy promptly; I man who was praying loved Jesus,

believed on Him, prayed in His | Truth, and the Life; no man cometh name, and for His sake. The for- to the Father but by Me;” “Greater mula, so often on the lips of the love hath no man than this, that Christian, was heard for the first a man lay down his life for his time by this child of Israel, and he friends; ” were verses that he loved thought of it earnestly and deeply. | to say. His teacher, finding him The little words sank into his heart eager to learn, took great pains to like seeds, and remained there. show him that this was truly the

He was placed in a class, and, Messiah that was to come, and conthough the superintendent thought it stantly in his prayers he remembered unlikely that he would be allowed to his little Hebrew pupil. come often or long, he selected for One morning, on his return from his teacher one who had pre-emi- | school, he saw, on entering his home, nently the teacher's gift, -the gift that his secret had been discovered. of winning and keeping the attention A neighbour's son had noticed his of the circle around him. The les. constantly leaving home at the same son for the day was a part of the hour, had followed him, and had “ Sermon on the Mount," and Ben made his report. Mr. Rosenblatt jamin, in his turn, read from the New was a merchant, in comfortable cirTestament the sweet words of the cumstances, and Benjamin's home Master. When school was over, he was supplied with every luxury that accepted with pleasure the Testa boy could desire. His father was ment and hymn-book offered, and considerate, though sometimes stern; went home rejoicing over his “hid his mother was gentle and loving, treasures."

and had lavished tenderness upon her “Hidden" they must remain. He only son. His sisters were merry, knew too well how his parents felt , lively girls, older than himself, and with regard to Christians to venture never weary of ministering to his to show, even to his dear mother, wishes. Now, as he entered the the addition to his library. He was room where the household were a thoughtful boy, and, as he slipped gathered, his mother turned coldly the books under his jacket, he feared away from his proffered kiss, his that he was not honouring his parents younger sister scornfully looked at truly; but the pleasure had been so his flushing face, and his father, with great and so noble, that he longed an ominous frown, and in a low, to enjoy it again and again. And, stern voice, said besides, he had seen nothing evil “Where have you been, sir?" taught in the school, he said to him. Benjamin had been taught to self, and it could not be worse than speak the truth. He said, boldly, playing in the roads.

but with an inward sinking of the He went for several weeks unsus heart, pected, becoming more and more

"I have been to the Sunday. interested each time, and gradually school." learning to love the name that was “ Did you not know that you were ever on his teacher's lips,—the name disobeying me by going there ?of Jesus. He listened with rapt said his father. interest to the story of our Lord's “You had never bade me not to life on earth, from the manger to go, father," was the faltering reply. the cross. He learned the words of “Because I never thought that a Jesus, and never seemed tired of son of mine would need a command repeating some of his favourite pas to stay away from dogs. I thought sages :-“I am the good Shepherd; you had been too carefully trained the good Shepherd giveth his life to be in danger. You knew you for the sheep !" "I am the Way, the were breaking the spirit of the com

« 上一页继续 »