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in outward distresses, how much more in their soul afflictions ! -the rather because these are most heavy in themselves, and least understood, and therefore least regarded ; yea, sometimes rendered yet heavier by natural friends, possibly by their bitter scoffs and taunts, or by their slighting, or, at best, by their misapplying of proper helps and remedies, which, as unfit medicines, do rather exasperate the disease; therefore they that do understand, and can be sensible of that kind of wound, ought so much the more to be tender and pitiful towards it, and to deal mercifully and gently with it. It may be, very
weak things sometimes trouble a weak Christian ; but there is in the spirit of the godly, a humble condescension learned from Christ, who “ broke not the bruised reed, nor quenched the smoking flax."
The least difficulties and scruples in a tender conscience, should not be roughly encountered; they are as a knot in a silken thread, and require a gentle and wary hand to loose them.
Now, this tenderness of bowels and inclination to pity all, especially Christians, and them especially in their peculiar pressures, is not a weakness, as some kind of spirits take it to be; this, even naturally, is a generous pity in the greatest spirits. Christian pity is not womanish, yea, it is more than manly, it is divine. There is of natural pity most in the best and most ingenuous natures, but where it is spiritual, it is a prime lineament of the image of God; and the more absolute and disengaged it is, in regard of those towards whom it acts, the more it is like unto God; looking upon misery as a sufficient incentive of pity and mercy, without the ingredient of any other consideration. It is merely a vulgar piece of goodness, to be helpful and bountiful to friends, or to such as are within appearance of requital; it is a trading kind of commerce, that: but pity and bounty, which need no inducements but the meeting of a fit object to work on, where it can expect nothing, save only the privilege of doing good, which in itself is so sweet, is God-like indeed. He is rich in bounty without any necessity, yea, or possibility of return from us; for we have neither anything to confer upon him, nor hath he need of receiving anything, who is the spring of goodness and of being.
And that we may the better understand him in this, he is pleased to express this his merciful nature in our notion and language, by bowels of mercy and pity, Isa. liv. 7, 8, and the stirring and sounding of them, Hos. xi. 8, by the pity of a father, Psa. ciii. 13, and by that of a mother, Isa. xlix. 15, as if nothing could be tender and significant enough to express his compassions. Hence, our redemption, Isa. Ixiii. 9; hence, all our hopes of happiness. The gracious Lord saw his poor creatures undone by sin, and no power in heaven or on earth able to rescue them, but his own alone; therefore his pity was moved, and his hand answers his heart. 66 His own arm brought salvation,” Isa. lix. 16; he sent “ the Deliverer out of Zion, to turn away iniquity from Jacob,” Rom. xi. 26. And in all exigencies of his children, he is overcome with their complaints, and cannot hold out against their moanings. He may, as Joseph, seem strange for a while, but cannot act that strangeness long. His heart moves and sounds to theirs, gives the echo to their griefs and groans; as they say of two strings that are perfect unisons, touch the one, the other also sounds. “ Surely I have heard Ephraim bemoaning himself.
Is Ephraim my dear son?” Jer. xxxi. 18, 20. Oh! the unspeakable privilege to have him for our Father, who is “the Father of mercies and compassions, and those not barren, fruitless pityings, for he is withal“ the God of all consolations.", Do not think that he can shut out a bleeding soul that comes to him, or refuse to take, and to bind up, and heal a broken heart that offers itself to him, puts itself into his hand, and intreats his help. Doth he require pity of us, and doth he give it to us, and is it not infinitely more in himself? All that is in angels and men, is but an insensible drop to that ocean!
Let us then consider, that we are obliged both to pity, especially towards our Christian brethren, and to use all means for their help within our reach: to have bowels stirred with the report of such bloodsheds and cruelties as come to our ears, and to bestir ourselves according to our places and power for them. But surely all are to move this one way for their help to run to the throne of grace. If your bowels sound for your brethren, let them sound that way for them, to represent their estate to Him who is highest, both in pity and in power, for he expects to be remembranced by us : he put that office upon his people, to be his recorders for Zion, and they are traitors to it who neglect the discharge of that trust.
GENEROUS COURAGE. “In the middle of the great river St. Lawrence there is, nearly opposite Montreal, an island called St. Helens, between which and the shore, the stream, about three-quarters of a mile broad, runs with very great rapidity ; and yet, notwithstanding this current, the intense cold of winter invariably freezes its surface. The winter I am speaking of was unusually severe, and the ice on the St. Lawrence particularly thick; however, while the river beneath was rushing towards the sea, the ice was waiting in abeyance in the middle of the stream until the narrow fastness between Montreal and St. Helens should burst, and allow the whole mass to break into pieces, and then in stupendous confusion to hurry down towards Quebec. On St. Helens there was quartered a small detachment of troops, and while the breaking up of the ice was momentarily expected, many of the soldiers, muffled up in their great coats, with thick storm-gloves on their hands, and with a piece of fur attached to their caps to protect their ears from being frozen, were on the ice, employed in attending to the road across it to Montreal. After a short suspense, which increased rather than allayed their excitement, a deep thundering noise announced to them that the process I have described had commenced. The ice before them writhed, heaved up, burst, broke into fragments; and the whole mass, excepting a small portion, which remaining riveted to the shore of St. Helens, formed an artificial pier with deep water beneath it, gradually moved downwards. Just at this moment of intense interest, a little girl, the daughter of an artilleryman on the island, was seen on the ice in the middle of the river, in an attitude of agony and alarm.
Imprudently and unobserved she had attempted to cross over to Montreal, and was hardly half-way, when the ice both above, below her, and in all directions gave way. The child's fate seemed inevitable, and it was exciting various sensations in our minds, and various exclamations from the mouths of the soldiers, when something within the breast of Thomas Neill, a young sergeant in the 24th regiment, who happened to be much nearer than the rest, distinctly uttered to him the monosyllables Quick march !' and in obedience thereto, fixing his eyes on the child as on a parade bandrol, he steadily proceeded towards her. Sometimes before him, sometimes just behind him, and sometimes on either side, an immense piece of ice would pause, rear up on end, and roll over, so as occasionally to hide him altogether from view. Sometimes he was seen jumping from a piece that was beginning to rise, and then like a white bear carefully clambering down a piece that was beginning to sink; however, onwards he proceeded, until reaching the little island of ice on which the poor child stood, with the feelings of calm triumph with which he would have surmounted a breach, he firmly grasped her by the hand. By this time he had been floated down the river nearly out of sight.of his comrades. However, some of them having run to their barracks for spyglasses, distinctly beheld him about two miles below them, sometimes leading the child in his hand, sometimes carrying her in his arms, sometimes halting, sometimes running
double quick;' and in this dangerous predicament he continued for six miles, until, after passing Longeuil, he was given up by his comrades as lost. He remained with the little girl floating down the middle of the river for a considerable time; at last, towards evening, they were discovered by some French Canadians, who, at no small risk, humanely pushed off in a canoe to their assistance, and thus rescued them both from their perilous situation. The Canadians took them to their home; at last, in due time they returned to St. Helens. The child was happily restored to its parents, and sergeant Neill quietly returned to his barracks." The Emigrant.
The minister of a town near Berlin was desirous to have a public catechising of his congregation on the Sunday afternoons, but he observed to one of his hearers, (who was an officer holding a high station under his prince,) that he was afraid false shame would restrain many from giving the answers, especially parents and heads of families.
6 I will come myself,” said his noble hearer, “- and you can put questions to me; ask me several, and then ask others, and afterwards ask me again. I hope after this no one will be ashamed to speak.” The minister acted accordingly, and no one could be offended at being thus called upon. So opportunity was given for the necessary instruction to be applied to all, and all parties were profited. Christians should not be ashamed to confess the great truths of the gospel of Christ before men ; for “ it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth."
From the German.
VALUE OF MISSIONS.
A dying man once addressed a clergyman, and told him that at one time he thought the missionary cause a delusion, and its supporters visionary and enthusiastic, but was led to think otherwise by the following occurrences :
One night, during an illness, as he awoke from a sleep, and recalled where he was, he opened the curtains to see if any were watching with him; his two dear sons were sitting one on each side of his bed, and they immediately bent forward to know what he wished. Recollection of what had been said at the missionary meeting a few nights before instantly flashed across his mind. He had heard of the drowning or forsaking of parents on account of illness, and he asked himself to what he owed the difference? Why was not he taken to the banks of some river, and allowed to perish? How was it that he had his dear children and friends leaning over him, and watching every desire and want, and esteeming it a privilege to assist and take care of him? “Ah !” he exclaimed, “ it is to the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ I owe this. I used to think it worse than useless to send men and money abroad, when there was so much need of them at home, and that we ought to wait to see much more of the fruits of the gospel among ourselves before we sent it to others; but,” added he, “ I was wrong; if the first Christians had waited until the Jews had all been converted, I should not have had my two sons bending over me, and an affectionate family to cheer me, but I should have perished without a hope of heaven.”
THREE or four hundred Lutheran hymns have been translated into the Tamil language for the benefit of the Tranquebar churches. Ziegenbalg began the work, and Fabricius finished it. One day a Hindoo recited to an English missionary, in the course of their conversation, the first verse of a beautiful hymn; when the latter, astonished, inquired of the stranger where he had found this verse. “ Oh,” replied he, “I have a book, “ the Heart-melter,' which contains a great many
such As the missionary had never heard of a book having this title, he wished to see it. The Hindoo produced it, wrapped up with great care, kissed it reverentially, and put it into the hands of the missionary. And what was it? An old