« ElőzőTovább »
THINKING OF CHRIST. How often in the day ought Christians to think of Christ? " I have known those, (replies Owen,) who were accustomed to reproach themselves, at the close of the day, if Christ were many hours or moments absent from their thoughts.”
Many Christians have misgivings on this point. Great love to Christ is so reasonable, so suitable! and if I had great love for Christ, surely it would be natural to think of himto think much of him, and to delight in the remembrance. But my thoughts of Christ are comparatively few, unconnected, vague, and lifeless; Oh, how unlike those gushings of the soul upon the remembrance of my wife or child! Will it always be thus ? Can it be that I shall leave this world, and enter his Father's house, the very presence of God and the Lamb, thus inapt and backward to think of Jesus ?-or will “dying grace" be given me to supply this deficiency?
Dying grace may efface the latest records of the dying penitent's transgressions, but can any one permit himself to believe that dying grace can confer a habit of action ? It will sever the last cord that binds man to his purely earthly objects; but will it create new bonds on the instant ? Will some new manifestation of the Lord surprise the hitherto unfeeling soul into a mighty rapturous affection? There is no good reason to suppose it. Ours is the day of open
vision. Jesus'has made his goodness each day and hour to pass before
He that thinks to exculpate himself by saying, “ I did not know that the daily succession of events was the going forth of the goodness of God; I looked for something more like the manifestation made to Moses and to Paul ;” he will be condemned out of his own mouth, in the day when God shall judge the secrets of his heart; for it will then be shown, that a criminal pre-occupation of the mind with sensible objects, precluded the possibility of recognising God in every event of life.
Jesus may occupy the thoughts of his disciple; he may fill his soul with an all-engrossing and supreme love. But the disciple must give the Master leave to enter in: he will not force his entrance. There are conditions too, which Christ will never set aside—conditions which it is morally and philosophically impossible that he should dispense with. The disciple must be like his Master ; 'he cannot otherwise see him as he is. The thoughtless, frivolous man cannot see Jesus; there is nothing in such a mind to suggest or to
sustain the remembrance of the Son of God, except as the criminal is reminded of his judge. The loveliness of Christ cannot be visible to pleasure-loving, ambitious, selfish, or passionate professors. The eyes of each are holden by the sin which they allow, so that they cannot know Him who is spiritually discerned.
ONLY A TRIFLE. " That's right,” said I to my friend Simpson, the baker, as the sickly looking widow of Harry Watkins went out of the shop door with a loaf of bread which he had given her—" that's right, Simpson ; I am glad you are helping the poor creature, for she has had a hard time of it since Harry died, and her own health failed her.”
“ Hard enough, sir, hard enough, and I am glad to help her, though what I give her does not cost much, only a trifle, sir."
6 How often does she come?"
“ Only three times a-week-I told her to come oftener if she needed to, but she says three loaves are a plenty for her and her little one, with what she gets by sewing." “ And have you any other such customers, Simpson ? ”
Only two or three, sir." “ Only two or three ; why it must be quite a tax upon your profits.”
“ Oh no, not so much as you suppose, altogether it amounts to only a trifle."
I could not but smile as my friend repeated these words, but after I left him I fell to thinking how much good he is doing with “ only a trifle." He supplies three or four families with the bread they eat from day to day ; and though the actual cost for a year shows but a small sum in pounds and shillings, the benefit conferred is by no means a small one. A sixpence to a man who has plenty to “ eat and drink, and wherewithal to be clothed,” is nothing, but it is something to one on the verge of starvation. And we know not how much good we are doing when we give“ only a trifle," to a good object. A few shillings given to the Missionary Society will print a copy of the Sacred Scriptures in a foreign land and in a foreign tongue, the reading of which may be blessed to more than one benighted soul. And the little child, who drops a penny each week into the missionary box of a missionary society connected with the sabbath school, places at its disposal during the year a sum that will put in circulation in some destitute region four or five goodly sized religious books, that will be read and re-read, and may exert a most salutary influence on as many immortal minds. God sees fit to employ humble, and apparently trivial means to extend his kingdom, and if the little sums of money which we are too apt to expend on useless wants were given to objects of benevolence, how much more good might we do, and how much happier render ourselves !
TO YOUNG MEN.
DILIGENCE IN BUSINESS. One means of securing an honourable standing in society is diligence in business. Common sense and the general voice of mankind conspire with the Scriptures in the demand, that we be “diligent in business.” If a man be a very Creesus in wealth, the conditions of society require that he have some regular employment and attend to it. By a stronger reason is it expected that a poor man, especially if a young man, shall be industriously devoted to some regular vocation. This being an instinctive demand of society, the man who fails to comply with it, will hardly expect at the hands of the community either promotion or regard. Honest, worthy, and industrious men look upon the idler with a feeling amounting to almost utter abhorrence. When we see in the streets, the tavern, or the shop one of those habitual idlers, doing nothing and learning to do nothing, or at best, attending to every body's business rather than his own, it is difficult to repress a feeling of indignation. We have pity for the unfortunate, sympathy for other sufferers of almost every character, but contempt, only contempt and that continually, for the inveterate idler. A great majority of our fellow citizens and countrymen have to labour, and they feel no sympathy for the man who seeks to go through the world by an easier process. On the other hand, he who sets out upon his career with habits of faithfulness and industry, has a strong hold upon the sympathies of his fellow citizens. A Greek proverb says, “ The gods love to assist those who labour for themselves.” Thus must men act. Let a poor apprentice or student show his readiness to do all in his power to forward himself in business or study, and he will assuredly find helpers.
And besides the want of sympathy, which forbids to the
idle man either respect or promotion at the hands of his fellows, he is positively disqualified to be entrusted with business, either of profit or of honour. The habit of inactivity, the want of readiness in thought and action, which the idler necessarily acquires, absolutely unfit him to perform any business successfully. In these days of competition, in all the trades and professions, diligence, and the habits of readiness and activity which accompany and grow out of diligence, are among the first requisites to success. Let a man be placed at once in the most favourable circumstances for business, mechanical, mercantile, or professional, and that business will slip from him as certainly as he slackens his attention to it. Much less will a young man of known carelessness, who is commencing his business, expect to acquire a share of the public patronage, when the public know that business so entrusted will not be diligently pursued. Do not suppose then, young men, that you can indulge in habits of idleness this month, without detriment to your prospects for future months. These habits will become a part of your
known character, forbidding you the public confidence and support.
But there is another view of the subject. The conditions your being demand the exercise of your powers to secure their highest perfection. He who would stave off the curse of his race, and strive to live without labouring in the sweat of his face, gets doubly cursed. To say nothing of poverty that shall come upon him like an armed man, his mental and bodily powers lose their elasticity and power of endurance. You must sweat, young men, bodily and literally as well as mentally, if you would make yourselves vigorous, commanding, respected men. The victim of slothful indulgence stands before
you with no claim to your regard. He has voluntarily broken the laws of his being, and brought upon himself physical and mental imbecility. You cannot respect him ;-while he who observes the laws of his being, and keeps the powers of body and mind in vigorous play, commands your regard. We respect old age, from the very promptings of our inner nature; but regard rises to veneration, when by means of temperance and industry, that age is only an embodiment of youthful vigour and manly thought crowned with grey hairs.
Beware then, young men, of the rust of inactivity. Your patrimony may save you the necessity of labouring for a livelihood, but it cannot give you the delightful consciousness of living to good purpose ; nor that elasticity of body and mind which can flow only from the vigorous exercise of all
your powers, and which alone can save you from an indifferent manhood and an imbecile old age.
W. E. P.
BREAD FOUND AFTER MANY DAYS.
A HINDOO met a missionary in India one day, fifteen years ago, and had ten minutes' conversation with him.
It was a rule with the missionary not to leave any one without giving him a copy of the Scriptures or a tract. He gave the man some tracts and a copy of the New Testament, and heard no more of him. He almost forgot him. But the man did not forget the missionary. He read the books, and, as he read them, he began to feel that he was a sinner, and needed some better Saviour than a dumb idol. Gradually he left off worshipping idols, and no longer paid anything towards the support of the temple. Soon he said, “ I want to go and see the missionary again." He had several grown up children, and they exclaimed, “ No, you shall not go, for you will only receive more tracts, and you will disgrace us among our people.” At the same time they brought fetters, and bound him hand and foot, so that the poor man could not stir. No Christian was near to encourage him or to instruct him; but Christ was near, and he prayed for the man that his faith might not fail. It did not fail. He still resolved that as soon as his fetters were unloosed, he would find his way to the Christian teacher. For thirteen years he was kept in chains! It must, indeed, have been God who helped him to keep his resolution through that long weary time. Many would have said, before the first year was finished, “Oh, loosen my fetters, and I will think no more about the missionary! But the Hindoo man had read his New Testament too well to forget it; and had learned too much of his Saviour's love to give it up.
How do you think he gained his release at last? A wedding was about to take place in the family, and his children were anxious that he should go to it; so they unchained him. He took good care to put the tracts and the Testament in his cloth under his arm, without the knowledge of his friends. He went to the place where the marriage ceremony was to be performed ; and when they were all busy and excited in the festival, he gave them the slip, and made the best of his
way to the missionary's house, which was twenty-five miles off. When he arrived there, the missionary did not remember