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we turn from that spectacle to look into oar own hearts and see how undeserving we are? Our first look must be drawn up to Him in wonder, and we must be hard indeed if we do not feel some warm gush of gratitude. Why! we feel thankful for the commonest kindness, and we agree to award everlasting praise to the man who once offered to die that his friend might be saved. This is never forgotten. What have wo then for the Man who died for us? Nothing but indifference and ingratitude? Is the story of His life and sufferings so old that it has lost its power? Have we heard it so often that we have lost all freshness of feeling for it? Let us turn to it once more. We shall not meet with t more touching story than this which the Apostles told and Jesus Christ illustrated. I was once in a lending library, when a ragged dirty child came in and said, "Mother wants a book: a story as 'U make her cry." This, I thought, is a genuine want of the human heart. It would often dry up and be choked with desert sands were it not for these stories that make us " cry."
But of all stories written or told I know of nothing so pathetic in its appeal as this of the Man Christ Jesus. And the appeal is always to those feelings which are possessed alike by educated and uneducated; the simple domestic feelings which bind us up into families, and give strength to nations. How mother and child will yearn over that stable for a birth place—that manger for a cradle! He should not have been born among beasts, could they have had their will. He should have had their own best bed and richest "Tappings, and daintiest food, if He had only come to them! Ah, you fcnd hearts, you can take the babe hi yet, and tend it with kindest service; let it dwell in your best room, did grow up to manhood by your side. That is not a mere story of something that once occurred, to be embalmed in a book. It is an ever possible, ever present reality for the human heart. Christ does not care by w hch door he can enter the soul, Mr in which of His mortal shapes
you first own Him and let Him in! Then again, how we could have fought against that cruel Herod, and tried to save the persecuted Babe! Alas, my friends, we persecute the Child after ice have seen what the Man Christ Jesus has done for us, and all He bore for our sake; Herod only did it beforehand, without seeing. We are worse than He! Again, "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head." The pathos of that appeal is sharp as ever, and real to-day as it was ages ago, for all who have ears to hear and hearts to feel. He still asks, " Will you take Me in f Can you find Me room for a resting-place i I am very weary and worn; I have waited very long for you to open the door; I am hungry for your gratitude; I am thirsty for your love. I wot hardly treated by the men who dwelt on earth 1,800 years ago. They knew Me not, would not recognise or receive Me, but turned their eyes from Me, and shut their hearts against Me. Are you blind and deaf as they were? Will you do as they did?" Moreover, the appeal is yet more pathetic and powerful to us because of those prints on the extended palms, and those big drops running ruddily from the killing crown of thorns! We are a thousand times worse than the Jews were if we turn away from this appeal of Christ knowing what we know, and seeing what we see. "All ye that pass by behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow." And all that was suffered for us; we are still the living cause. It would be an awful thing to have to stand at the judgment bar responsible for the murder of one of our fellow beings! Yet we have all of us to stand before the bar of God to answer for the death of His own beloved Son. Think of that! In how many winning ways does that story of the Man Christ Jesus plead for entrance into our hearts! What images of melting tenderness, of high heroic sacrifice, of solemn cheer come crowding and trying to get into the secret chambers of our life, and dwell there in abiding loveliness and blessed beauty. He is the great Shepherd of souls, who came on earth to gather the lost sheep into His Father's fold, and carry the lambs in His bosom. What more noble or affecting image of a Saviour than this? The sheep are all astray on the wide world's mountains, and torn in the briars and thorns of its valley-thickets, and He comes to call them with His heavenly voice, and gather them together, while the lambs have the wind tempered to them in the nestling-jd/iee of Hit bosom. Then, He is the Lily; that plant and flower of light, all sweetness and purity; a fitting emblem to typify for us here on earth, the semblance of happy spirits hereafter. And again, He is the Vine drooping above the head of those that look up to Him, with ripe clusters full of the wine of life. Now He broods down over us as the Dove, that express image of all gentleness, and again He rises on us as a Sun, the Sun of Righteousness, with healing in His wings, and whoso receives the light of this sun shall find the mists of sin and error melt and vanish; and the creeping things of the dark, and the unclean birds of night shall hurry away from its presence. For it is the same with this sunrise of Christ as is represented in the Mythology of the blithe old Norsemen. There was one thing always fatal to the most evil of their trolls and powers of darkness that dwelt underground and "wrought mischief to mortals in the gloom. This was the rising sun. They could not face that. If by any chance they turned to look at the sun they burst instantly. Just so is this rising Sun of Righteousness fatal to many creatures of sin and reptile thoughts that make their home in the darkness, and cannot bear the light. Then He is the home of the homeless, the rest of the weary, the way for all who are wandering in the wilderness. "Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest." Rest for the troubled soul, and aching heart that may have throbbed so
long and so vainly against the prison bars. Rest for the storm-beaten spirit that feels it has scarcely another flap of the wings left to bear it up. Rest for the swimmer when at the last gasp he feels he must go down. Rest for those who have had a life of hard toil and found but little joy in their journey. Rest for the throbbing heart, and pained brow. What a promise is this for all these! And what a touching picture is that of the Saviour yearning over lost souls with those pathetic eyes, and the channels down His cheeks where the tears had run and made Him look many years older than He iras by reason of the sorrows He bore for others; so that the Jews said, "Thou art not yet fifty years old," when He was not above thirty. *'I would have gathered ye even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and ye would not." Can we look on that heart-breaking sight, and hear those lip-quivering words, and still refuse to be gathered beneath the overshadowing wings of His almighty love? Sooner or later -we most of us come to feel the need of all these promises, of home and rest, and Salvation, which the Son has made on earth for the Father to fulfil in heaven. Pray God we do not feel the need too late!
I once watched by the bedside of a poor dying woman, whose life ebbed very slowly, and clung to the shore, as the tide was dragged and drawn down, with the most fearful tenacity and appalling agony.- She felt herself pulled by unseen powers into the vast awful dark, and held up her poor appealing hands in vain. She was losing ground every moment, and felt herself receding from us faster and faster, and we could give her no help. Death had her in his grip, and we could bring no release. At every window of the senses we saw the bewildered spirit asking, praying, imploring, for the aid that we could not give. It would not look farewell to us. It had no power to turn round and face that dread blackness which was now taking shape behind it. There was no guide nor path nor friendly clue into that wilderness which it had to walk alone. And so it was being forced into the other world, looking to the last for help from this! It was a terrible sight. No friend stood waiting on the other side of the dark waters to put forth the helping hand of welcome. There came no breath of incense that told of the better luud awaiting the worn and weary, trouble-triod and tempesttossed soul. No sound of the leaves of healing; no murmur of the River of Life. No Saviour walked the matters with that assuring " It is I, poor soul, be not afraid!' The watchers grew drowsy with their long watch, but not the dying. They felt chill with the cold breeze of dawn as it blew in at the window, bat the poor soul's furnace of affliction only grew hotter and hotter. Down, down it went for all its helpless clutchings, feeling that it could nod no footing, but must sink through the grave into a. bottomless abyss. Never did I so clearly see the need of Christ before. I tried, in my foolish stammering way, to call up a picture of Him in the jdooui of that dark and still darkening mind. I saw all the meaning of His agony and bloody sweat now. All that He suffered that He might smile from under the cruel thorns, and say to suffering souls, this niijht glutlt thou sup with me in paradise. I prayed and prayed that the saving, pitying Eye might be turned on the poor dying woman— that she might lift her look up to that Cross, wid feel one rich drop fall warm and vital on the cold heart, like a seal set by the hand of God's, own love. It seemed all in vain. There was no sign that eyes had met, or hearts had touched, and the Saviour's smile was lighting up her dismal night. Nothing but a reproachful moan that help would Ml eouie; a gradual relaxing of the last hold on life; the eyes grew like a dark swift winter stream in which there floats a silt of snow; tire drops, as it were, of pure spirit stood under the eyes, and the soul was gone! Lost 1 lost! I often think, and sometimes I fancy that a better and
more earnest man might have prayed the right prayer, and spoken the right word in time. However, by that death-bed I got a clearer image of the Man Christ Jesus dying to save souls, even to the uttermost, than ever I had before—an image that would not pass away.
It also showed me how peri: lously late it is to wait for a deathbed before we begin looking to Jesus. Too late.' when, as an old writer says, all one's sins are " running before to fetch fire from hell to light the soul thither." Too late! when the cry is only one of cowardly fear and despicable selfishness. Too late! when we have been feeding fat the worms of torment all through life, until at length they rise up with uncontrollable power in the last hour of failing mortal strength to seize their helpless prey that is now their own for ever and ever. Then, indeed, "Iniquity hath played her part, and Vengeance leaps upon the stage. The Comedy was short, but the tragedy will be long. 'The black guard shall attend upon you, you shall eat at the table of sorrow, and the crown of eternal death shall be upon your head, many glistering faces looking upon you." .
It appears to me that few can possibly read and ponder over the story of Christ Jesus without feeling the instinct of gratitude stir within them. And with still deeper.pondering and further looking, we must come to love Him: and out of love will spring the desire to be near Him and like to Him. We shall feel our need of Him: and love, it seems, must draw close to us the object we love! We know that love has wrought wonderful things with human beings in this world. It has overleaped the highest barriers, conquered the sternest difficulties. We know how sometimes in married life persons actually grow like each other. Two spirits being one in love will have the power, to some extent, of shaping the features anew in that love's likeness. Something like this will grow out of a genuine love to Christ. With earthly love, however, many have offered up their passion, and wasted their life in vain. But tins is never so with Christ. He will love all who love Him. Never was love like that which sent Him on earth to help us. Never was love like that with which He hath loved us. He knows too well the preciousness of Divine love ever to reject the least human love. No fear of loving Him in vain!
I know of no other way of getting at the Man Christ Jesus than tliis of loving Him who first loved us, of falling at His feet and clasping Him with hands and heart, while every tendril of affection twines about Him to hold Him close and safe, and cling to Him for ever. There is too much attempt made to embrace and realize Christianity intellectually—and poor work it is.' Let us rather look to Christ him self as He has been set before us, till He becomes a reality to us, and then clasp Him in spirit personally, just as we would clasp wife or child in our arms. Christ in His preaching went straight to the human heart, and relied on a few primal feelings. We must follow His example. But to Christ we must look, and on Him we must call. It's of no use for us to complain of the difficulty if we do not look and cry in prayer incessantly. If the prayer of a righteous man avails much, I sometimes think the sincere prayer of a sinner availcth more. Miracles are wrought by prayer. But these are not wrought if we do not pray. It is the same here as in tilling tli e ground : we may dig the ground, but we do not dig the spring aud sum mer out of it—they come from heaven. We sow the seed but it is no t from the ground that it gets its ripeness for the harvest. This must come from above. The sun warms the clod, makes the seed germinate, and the rain and the dew fall with their blessing on it. But thene are from heaven, not from the earth. Yet, of course, we must try. We must dig and sow and plant, or we shall never reap. The sun and the rain will
never quicken and bring forth the harvest if there be no seed put into the soil.
We must have faith in the Saviour. We must love Him for what He has done and for what He teas. We must grasp at the garment's hem to try and see His face. And this we must do from morn to night. Prayer in the morning, says an old Father, is golden, at night it is silver. We must look and look continually if we would grow like Him, and reproduce in our own lives the faintest semblance of that highest type of beauty this world ever saw. Look how a portrait painter copies his subject; see how many hundred times he refers to the original. With what infinite pains and patience he sets down all he sees with the most earnest care and minutest touch. Shall we be less anxious or spare less time in trying to take our copy of that Divine countenance? And then when it is all over here, and we have done with the crosses and the cares that press so heavily now, if we only find ourselves on the right side among the ransomed, we shall look upon Him face to face, and see Him as He is. Not the sad and sorrowful face that was His earthly wear, when He wept over doomed Jerusalem. No history of the past will be written there to reproach us then, as it reproaches us vow, but it will wear the smile of welcome, and the light of joy everlasting. The crown of thorns will no longer pierce His brow, but instead there will be a crown whose brightness can light up heaven. No more cruel prints of the cross-nails in the hand that is held out to welcome the redeemed. We shall see Him as He is, the King in His beauty, the Saviour sitting on His throne, in the kingdom of His Father, all smilingly surrounded by the hosts of glorified spirits that bow before the great white throne. And the saints will be there who suffered martyrdom for His sake, with their sad sweet faces smiling up to Him in the midst of their fiery pain.
"Ofttimes when earth last saw them they were bleeding,
The Christian Church and Slavery
and the apostles, will be there, and the sweet singers of Israel, and all who praised God in every tongue shall be there. And the poor, who so often walked in rags here below, shall there walk in white with princes and kings. And they who parted in pain shall meet in peace. All who have yearned after the highest beauty shall see it and be satisfied. It shall be a beauty ineffable; a joy unspeakable. Many whom we have loved and lost shall be there, and we shall know them when we meet, and know also that'they have not been so far away from us all the while as we had thought, but were often near us as guarding and guiding spirits in many an hour of trial and temptation, and there shall be no more parting and no more pain, for He shall wipe away all tears from all eyes for evermore. And it trill be heaven, for heaven will
be love made visible : Hit love, wh died that we might live for ever. I will be heaven, and we shall be shut in safe in this heaven of His love. Safe while the firmament melts with fervent heat, the sun turns to blood and the stars sicken and whitely waste away; safe as in a golden calm, to dwell with Him for ever and ever and ever. And possibly from amongst the happy throng around His knee, there will peep the face of some babe-angel that has been dwelling half in our hearts and half in heaven; the face we last saw when the coffinlid was being shut down ere we lowered it darkly into the mould, and now it looks forth in immortal brightness and asks," is mother come?" "is father hero'.'" "are my brothers and sisters saved?" And the answer to these questions rests with us now on this side eternity!
THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH AND SLAVERY.
As the lost few years have witnessed the " opening of the prison doors to them that are bound" in the old and the new world, and have wrought out the final triumph of Christian charity over the injustice of men in the enfranchisement of the Russian serfs and the emancipation of American slaves, it cannot but be interesting to observe how Christianity first addressed itself to that work which the two grandest events of our epoch have crowned. I have read no description of the relations of primitive Christianity to Slavery which is so carefully accurate, and which reflects so faithfully the spirit of the early Church as the chapter from Professor Schmidt's admirable work, which I have translated for these pages. J. B. Paton.
No civil society which has reinvestedvilabour with honour, and which is founded upon a sense of the individual worth of men, and on charity, can tolerate the existence of slavery. Nevertheless. Christianity could not erase at one stroke an institution so closely wound round the laws and customs of the ancient world. By proclaiming the immediate emancipation of slaves, the leaders of the Church would have encroached upon the rights of property, which were founded indeed upon injustice, but were conformed to the general spirit of antiquity: further, they would have cast upon society thousands of men who were little prepared for liberty. Emancipation has never been effected and could not be effected by a sudden startling act,—by the violent asser
tion of the rights of man: conformably to the spiritual nature of the religion of Jesus Christ, it has been effected without disastrous confusion, purely by the gentle and happy influence of charity. The chief and urgent matter was to emancipate souls. Men must be raised to enjoy inner freedom, and it must be shown that their distinctions in the-eart hly city made no ground for division in the city of God, where all must be united by mutual esteem and love.
It is on this ground that the Christian doctrine of the natural equality of all men has been specially applied to slavery. On all occasions and at all times in the early Church, the fathers of the Church denounced the ancient theory of the natural inferiority of the slave. Barnabas first.