« ElőzőTovább »
pocket, and when he wanted to hear it, I might pull it out again. Ay, neighbour,' replied I, you may want to hear it, when it is not to be had,' and with that I went away.”
16 And did his son come home?
“ He did, and when he first came, he was as steady as could be, though he was then but a stripling. Not long after, however, he went astray, following the bad example of his father. First came idleness, then bad companions, then sabbath-breaking, then drinking, and then every
other evil. He married and that made things worse than they were before, and wrangling and jangling, and bitterness and bad language seemed going on, when he was at home, from morning to night.”
Why he was quite as bad as his father.” “ I could not help being sorry for him, and, time after time, I called him in to talk to him. Thomas,' said I, “your father has set you a bad example, and more is the pity you have followed it. Listen to me.'
• And did he listen to you? “Yes, he listened at the time, but neglected to attend to what I said afterwards. I pointed out to him his sinful course, and besought him by the misery he would bring on himself here, and by the terrors of eternity, to leave off his wicked ways. I directed him to the Saviour who died for sinners, and dwelt on the goodness of God who had ósent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him, 1 John iv. 8. But all I said was in vain.”
“ There was no stopping him, then.”
“ He grew worse instead of better. If there happened to be a fair or a wake, he was the first among the thoughtless throng. No one drank so much, or talked so loudly, or got into so many brawls as he did. One might have thought that the death of his father would have had some effect upon him, but he only drank the deeper."
66 He was sure then to be a poor man.”
“ Poor enough in pocket, and still poorer in principle. His bad ways brought him to distress, distress made him dishonest; dishonesty deprived him of the few friends and little credit that he had. His legs grew thin, his face became pimpled with red, and blotched with blue.''
“ What misery he brought on himself !”
“ Before his wife died he was a vagabond, and when he was left alone, he was fain to beg his bread.”
Ay! I thought it would come to that. If his father had been alive, he would have remembered the verses that you read to him in the Bible.”
“ At last Thomas was taken into the workhouse, and a good thing it would be for himself if he were there now, but his uncle died, a little while ago, and left him a trifle of money, and till that is spent, I suppose he will be seen at the pot-house, or slinking about, from place to place, like a bat that can hardly bear the daylight. If young people could only see, in their proper light, those three evils—idleness, bad companions, and sabbath-breaking, they would be more afraid of them than of three wild beasts.
“ They have been Tom's ruin.”
“ Three of the best things in this world are a healthy body, a sound mind, and a bright hope of heaven through Jesus Christ, and of these three Tom has neither the one nor the other. Long has he been a stranger to health ; even when he is sober, he totters along, more like a child that can hardly walk, than like a man. His mind, though it never was very strong, is now weaker than ever; and as to a hope of heaven he has none. What a fearful thing it is to neglect God's commandments and to despise his mercy and grace !
" See! Here comes Tom again ! What a weak tottering creature he is. I wonder where he is going to now?”
“ No doubt he is off to the Fighting Cocks. Though I have tried fifty times over to persuade him to keep away, I shall hasten after him and try once more.
Whenever you feel the least temptation in the world towards idleness, and breaking the sabbath ; or whenever a bad companion tempts you to go astray, it may, perhaps, do you some service, if
you will call to mind what I have now told you of Tom the Tippler.”
SPRING.-P8A. LXV. 10. How verdant are the meadows ! how flourishing the corn! what fair blossoms on the trees ! promising through God's blessing a fruitful year! Are we only to look on this delightful scene, and is it all to end in admiration? Oh, no! Nature in this, as in all other things, preaches and confirms the doctrines of grace. The earth itself is inert matter ; acts only when acted upon. An unerring philosopher gives this account, 2 Sam. xxiii. 4. Here has been a fine shower; after it the sun rises without a cloud, and this makes the grass spring: the clear shining thins, rarifies the rain, impels it
into the tubes of the plant or tree, drives it along as sap and nourishment. Look at Deut. xxxiii. 14-16, how the light pushes forth the sap, and makes all the precious things of the earth to ripen. Christ is the Light; his Spirit is the water of life; all men by nature are like winter till Christ enlighten, and-by his Spirit revive them. He breaks up the fallow ground, and fits it for the seed, which is the word of God : then it has life, it grows, it bears fruit unto life everlasting. This answers a grand inquiry in the spiritual life: “ How shall I know that I have had a spring time, and that any
of the good seed is sown in my
heart? I feel I want it: my heart is fallow ground, and I wait on the sower, that he would put in the good seed, and give it the early and the latter rain, Deut. xxxii. 2.
But how shall I know that mine is a true spring? By depending more on spiritual influences: nothing grows in nature without rain and sunshine ; so in grace, nothing without Christ and his Spirit: a conviction of this will lead to the experience of Isa. lviii. 11.
But I do not grow as I could wish! I want more showers. Oh! what am I, when the influence of Heaven is withdrawn? Then I feel my dependence. Then I see it good to wait for the showers of heaven. Then I expect gentle rain, dropping, like dew, unfelt, unseen, only in its blessed effects.
But how shall I be certain, that if I have a spring, I have the blessing of God upon it? I bless him for fulfilling Hos. xiv. 548. And I also rejoice in my God, the Giver of my life, and of my liveliness. Psa. iv. 7, is my present state; and that most beautiful spring mentioned, Cant. ii. 10–13, is what I am seeking and praying for. The seed sown, growing, thriving, will ripen into a glorious harvest. Great joy and peace in believing are the first fruits. Oh, how should they adore and worship him, who have the foretaste of that eternal spring! It will be the same there as here, only more perfect, more lasting. May we all feel his life, his liveliness, and our growth by him into life eternal.
Rev. W. Romaine.
BUTTERCUPS AND DAISIES. The youngest child that can walk without leading strings, and the oldest man that can hobble along with two sticks, are fond of buttercups and daisies. These flowers are the
favourites of all, and oh! how freely are they flung upon the earth!
If I put the question to youth, do you like buttercups and daisies ? Boyhood will be ready to throw up his cap in the air, in the gaiety of his heart, by way of answering the question; and if I say to the aged
“ Tell me, ye men of wisdom rare,
* Like madcaps,' as the phrase is—
Of buttercups and daisies ?” Their reply will be to the same effect. Those flowers live in our affections. We cannot think of them without, at the same time, thinking of green fields, running brooks, and waving trees.
Buttercups and daisies! Why there seems a sort of magic in the words that in a moment changes town to country, and crowderl streets into lovely meadows. We hear the sound of murmuring streams, and the lark warbling in the air, we see the coppice and the blue smoke curling up from the cottage chimney, and we feel the fresh breeze as we gaze around fanning our faces.
Buttercups and daisies ! Why even now I can fancy myself in a field where the lambs are at play-where the grey colt with the long main and tail is gallopping in sport under the hawthorn hedge, and where Sally is busy with her milking pail, blithely singing while Cherry and Boosy, and a dozen other cattle, are cropping the fresh herbage around her.
Buttercups and daisies outdo all the flowers of the garden in bringing before us sunny scenes and seasons.
We never think of tulips and carnations, of dahlias and sunflowers, without being reminded of hard, narrow, gravel walks, and heavy shrieking garden-rollers; but buttercups and daisies give us a feeling of liberty, fresh air, harmony, and unbounded prospects. Take then the sunflowers and dahlias, the tulips and carnations if ye will, but give me the buttercups and daisies.
Oh what a text to one long immured in prison, or for months pent up in a sick chamber, or rocking to and fro on the billowy ocean, during a long voyage, or closely confined in the narrow street of a crowded city. Oh what a text to such a one would the words be, buttercups and daisies ! What peaceful, glowing, happy scenes would spring up before him; and how ardently would he sigh to be among them ! If we thought of these things more than we do, when we get into the country, we should be ready, like Daniel of old, to go down on our bended knees three times a day in praise and prayer. In praise for our enjoyments, and in prayer, that others might be made equally happy. I could talk for an hour about a woodbine, and for two hours about a rose, but I feel as if I could talk all day long about buttercups and daisies.
NIGHT IN SWITZERLAND. The stillness of evening in Switzerland is accompanied with a soft music from the thousand mountain torrents, which roar with such a shouting voice at noon-day, loosened by the sun from the glaciers, and then subside into a more quiet, and tender melody. It is like the wind, blowing strongly on the Æolian harp with loud strains, and then sinking down into faint aërial murmurs. So at evening the streams being partially pent up again in ice, the sound grows less in body, but more distinct in tone, and more in unison with the sacred stillness of the hour. It is like changing the stops in an organ. The effect has been noted both by plain prose travellers and imaginative poets, and nothing can be more beautiful. The lulled evening hum of the busy world, and the dim twilight of the air, and the gradual stealing forth of the modest stars after the heat and glare of day, are in harmony. As in Milton
“At last a soft and solemn-breathing sound
And stole upon the air." For at such an hour the music of nature, passing into solemn voices of the night, seems rather like the hushing strains from invisible harps of celestial intelligence floating in the atmosphere, than like any music from material things. Some of the finest lines ever composed by the poet Rogers, were called forth by the perception of these stilly notes and almost imperceptible harmonies of evening.