« AnteriorContinuar »
ALAN QUINTIN'S INQUIRIES.
He had never counted the cost. No. VIII.
He ascended without accident, but he DO YOU COUNT THE cost?
did not descend without one. No! He Srop a moment. Pause for an instant.
was too heavy for the parachute; down You shall not be kept long. Time is too they came together
, over and over. Peoprecious to be wasted. I ought to value ple said he was dead before he reached it; you ought to value it; we all ought
the ground; but certainly he was dead to value it; but do we?' What project enough soon after he did reach it—dashed have you in hand? Are you working,
to pieces. or remaining idle? going on, or standing
A miner went down a coal-pit, but be still ? doing good, or doing evil? What
never came up again alive. How was
that? ever it may be,-ploughing or sowing, Did he tumble out of the skip? or did
say you. Did the rope break ? putting up or pulling down, lending or borrowing, buying or building, the ques. No!
anything fall on his head from the top ? tion I wish to ask is this, Do you count There was fire-damp in the pit, and he
none of these things occurred. the cost ?
knew it; but he was thoughtless, wilful, Whate'er our object be, in every plan
and obstinate, for he would not be perTo count the cost becomes a prudent man. suaded to count the cost. The light of Hardly could I ask a more serious his lantern set the fire-damp in a blaze. question, a more important question, or The miner was working at one end of a more necessary question. *Answer it the pit, but bis scorched body was found openly and honestly. Attend to this in- almost at the other. Whether you travel quiry, and all may be right; neglect it, by coach, or by any other conveyance; and all may be wrong. Some people
you go up high in the air, or count differently to others; David counted down deep into the ground, use the pruGod's thoughts towards him to exceed dence that God has given you, and in
Make no exthe sands, and his own iniquities to out- every case count the cost, number the hairs of his head. Many ception to this general rule, but ask the reckon their afflictions to be overwhelm- question in every project you undertake, ing, but Paul reckoned his not worthy to hoping or fearing, suffering or enjoying, be compared with the glory to be revealed. Most of us
While shines the sun, or blows the wintry blast,
count the good What is the price that I must pay at last ? things of the world as everything, but he counted all things but loss for the ex Some feast themselves with venison, cellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus. and drink the ruby wine. Some fast There is a right way and a wrong way; through poverty, and sigh for table whichever you are taking, count the cost. crumbs! How is it with you? Are you God's favour is cheap at any price, but sitting down to a well-spread board, banthe cheapest sin will be found in the end queting on dainty morsels, and dressing to be far too dear.
yourself in gay attire ? Have a care! Again I say, Do you count the cost ? | The rich man, in the parable, did this Do you reckon the price you have to before you ; but he counted not the cost. pay ? A man took a journey by coach in He never dreamed that it would harden great haste; rode outside; went slow his heart. He never suspected it would enough up the hill; rather too fast down. make him selfish. What a price did he He urged the coachman to hurry on, but pay for his feastings ! Be on your guard ; did not count the cost. The coachman venison and turtle must be paid forshould have known better. Smack went sparkling wine that moveth itself aright the whip, on sprung the horses, round has a price. Count, then, the cost of went the wheels, and over went the them! 'Let them not lure you from God, coach at the bottom of a hill, flinging and pay not for them more than they are passengers and driver into a gravel-pit, worth. one with a broken arm, and the other Are you building a house, digging a with a broken leg. Foolish men! They well, and fencing in fields ? If so, proought to have counted the cost.
ceed with discretion. Sit down first An aeronaut went up in a balloon- and count the cost; or haply, when dangerous enough to do that—but he you have laid the foundation of your would come down in a parachute ; this dwelling, you may be mocked with the was still more dangerous. Thoughtless words, “This man began to build, and
was not able to finish,” Luke xiv. 30. putting the burden of to-day's duties on Did you never hear of a man being so the back of to-morrow. foolish as to build his house
But, perhaps, your course is decided, sands? He never counted the cost. No and you are a pilgrim to the promised wonder that, when the storm raved, his land; but have you counted the cost of habitation came tumbling down about being a candidate for heaven? Can his ears. Are you a wise master-builder ? you deny yourself-endure afflictionAre you building for the sunshine or the fear God-love the Redeemer—and be shower? for the summer or the winter ? faithful even to death? If, through Difor time or eternity? for earth or for vine grace, you can do these things, or heaven?
are looking above to One who is mighty, Have you set your heart on riches ? yea, almighty, for help, to enable you to Count the cost, for riches may be bought do them, all is well. The thunder shall too dear. On power? Count the cost, not scare you, nor the lightning scathe for you may become weak before you are you ! Your darkness shall be turned
On fame? Count the cost, for into day, your mourning to rejoicing; the bubble may burst suddenly. Why, a though you sow in tears, you shall reap fit of the tooth-ache, the head-ache, or in joy, and the terrors of death shall be. the heart-ache, renders the rich poor, the taken away.
“O death, where is thy strong weak, and the celebrated unmind- sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” ful of his popularity. Think of this, and Onward, through joy and grief! Spare think of the fading nature of earthly neither cost nor pains in striving for things.
heaven. The tale of life is short and quickly told,
No cost too great, no price can be too high, Then count the cost, and buy not dross with gold.
To gain a dwelling-place above the sky. A certain sage was called the weeping philosopher. He saw nothing in the
MY RAILWAY COMPANIONS. world to laugh at, but much to make him mourn. Sad habit, the habit of re
No. III. pining! Oh for a cheerful spirit, a thank How various and how different are the ful spirit, a rejoicing spirit! for this is pursuits of man! There are scarcely two, the sunshine of the heart. Another, indeed, whom we may meet with in the whom many esteemed wise, was called compass of a day, who are pursuing prethe laughing philosopher. He saw no- cisely the same object. In travelling by thing in the world worth a tear, but the railway, I often speculate as to the everything to provoke his mirth. Sad objects which those in the same carriage affliction, the affliction of a light and with me are in search of: that is, as to trifling spirit! Will laughing at water what they are travelling to that modern prevent it drowning you ? or jesting at Babylon, London, to do, or to obtain. I fire hinder it from burning you? You was one day thus pleasing my fancy, when know it will not. Are you melancholy, my old friend Mr. Msat by my side. unthankful, and repining? Count the “I can hardly imagine,” I thought to mycost. Are you light, trifling, and foolish? | self, “what my friend is travelling in Count the cost. Let philosophers laugh search of; especially as the day is so cold, or weep;
you thankful for God's gifts, and he is an acknowledged invalid. I do and desirous of God's glory.
not like the idea of prying into other Are you leading or following ? teaching men's affairs, but I am half inclined to or learning? In either case you have satisfy my curiosity in this instance, by enough to do. You cannot afford to cast asking him the object of his journey. aside your Bible, to negleet prayer, to I was, in fact, upon the point of_thus mis-spend the sabbath, or to absent your committing myself, when, happily, I was self from the house of God. There is a spared the trouble, by his giving me sponsunbeam over your head, if you are hea- taneously the desired information. With venly-minded, and charitable, and com a smile passing over his countenance, he passionate, and kind; and there is a observed, “I dare say you could scarcely dark cloud above you, if you are worldly, guess what I am going to town for. The and selfish, and hard-hearted, and cruel. object of my journey does, in fact, seem See to these things, see to them quickly, to be a ridiculous one. You must know, see to them now, and count the cost of I am going for the express purpose of
buying a turkey. You may well stare, viands of the table. This fish has been but such is the fact. And, let me tell you praised for its fineness, and that fowl for that though turkeys are bred in the its flavour, and their merits contrasted country farm-yard, there are none brought with those long ago eaten, not forgotten; to table equal to those bought in London. and the conversation on fish, flesh, and And you must know, also, that I not fowl has become so animated, that one only can get finer turkeys in London than could almost have imagined that those in the country, but I can get them engaged in it thought with the Roman cheaper.”
gourmand, “ Life's but a feast," and that “ And whence does this arise ?” I their motto was that of the heathen epiinquired. “ I have heard that you can curean, " Let us eat and drink, for toat all times get fruit cheaper and better morrow we die.” When I find myself in London than you can in the very gar- mixed up with such companions, I feel dens where it is grown, but I never ima- inclined to administer to them this grave gined that this curious circumstance reproof from the pages of holy writ: extended to turkeys."
“ The kingdom of God is not meat and " I will tell you,” replied my friend. drink; but righteousness, and peace, and “I question, if I were to send to all the joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in poultry yards in my neighbourhood at these things serveth Christ is acceptable this season, whether I could find a dozen te God, and approved of men.
Let us turkeys among them fit for the table. therefore follow after the things which They have sent them all to London in the make for peace, and things wherewith one hope of getting a first-rate price for them, may edify another. For meat destroy but the market from this cause gets not the work of God. All things indeed glutted with them, and I have no doubt are pure; but it is evil for that man who but I shall return with one of the finest eateth with offence. It is good neither turkeys in all England at about half to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor anyprice. I shall save my fare in the pur- thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or chase, and have the satisfaction of par- is offended, or is made weak," Rom. xiv. taking of a turkey worth eating.'
17--21. My friend pursued this topic no fur In connexion with my old friend Mr. ther, and I relapsed into thoughtfulness. M-, I would notice my neighbour, Mr. “I would not,” I thought to myself, G-, with whom I often find myself, “ class Mr. M— with those shameless pro- without any previous arrangement, “boxed fessors, of whom the apostle said with tears, for town.' whose god is their belly, whose glory is " Who is that?” said my loquacious in their shame, who mind earthly things.' and good tempered fellow-traveller, Mr. I know him to be a sincere Christian, but H-, one morning, as we were proceedit is evident that he studies his meat and ing onwards at the rate of some fifty his drink more than is necessary. His miles per hour.
« Who is that person at character is certainly not that of the the farther end of the box, wrapped up Romans, of whom Horace said:
in an old cloak ? It strikes me I have seen his face somewhere under
dif. There are a number of us creep
ferent circumstances; and I suspect
he spoke to you, he spoke with a con-
scious air of superior wealth.”
“Hush!” I replied, “I fear he will But I almost fear his thoughts dwell too hear us; I will tell you when we get into much on the sustenance of his earthly the omnibus." tabernacle,' and that he loves too well “ Ha! ha! ha!” ejaculated Mr. H—, the delights of the table.”
“ He hear us, indeed! he must have Reader, Mr. M- is not a solitary in- quick ears if with this eternal snorting of stance of a professing Christian gloating the engine and pattering of the carriageover the flesh of a turkey. Memory recals wheels, sitting as he does at the other side to mind several, who, while they profess of the box, he could make out one word of to live for another world, live too much our conversation, though we talked at the for this. Often when, in company, I have very top of our voices.” expected to hear godly discourse, the con • Well, then," I replied, “I will venversation has turned wholly upon the ture to tell you. I dare say you have
heard of the great wealth of Mr. E- ;
The sensual in pursuit of something worse;
The grave of gold; the politic of power; you must know that is the man. You
And all, of other butterflies, as vain. bave doubtless seen him under different cir As eddies draw things frivolous and light,
How is man's heart by vanity drawn in, cumstances; you have seen him lolling in a
On the swift circle of returning toys, carriage that would vie in splendour with Whirld, straw-like, round and round, and then those of our titled nobility. It suits his ingulph'd,
Where gay delusion darkens to despair."-Young. purpose, however, sometimes to sink his
E. F. greatness. You must know that he is now going among the tradesmen of London, to make purchases for his household; and
THE CHARACTER OF JESUS. he fancies that by going thus humbly dressed, he can get his wares cheaper Could we lose sight for a moment of than he could if he rolled up to their the infinitely merciful object for which doors in his carriage, or if he sent his the Messiah appeared among men, and orders by post, or his livery servants to fix our thoughts exclusively on his chaorder what he required.”
racter, we should still find enough to Had my readers seen the smile of con
excite the profoundest admiration and tempt which passed over the face of my wonder. Everything that we can imafriend Mr. H—, as I gave him this piece gine necessary to form the perfection of of intelligence, they would not have for humanity, the standard of our judgment gotten it for at least some months. being the revealed requirements of God,
“Pshaw!” he exclaimed, “how con- finds its abode and centre in this charactemptible! I could hardly have sup- ter. Neither before nor since has there posed that a man could be guilty of such appeared among men such a combination a meanness. And let me tell you, if ever of varied excellencies, such a cluster of he should chance to stray into my estab- mental and moral beauties, as dwelt in lishment, I will remember him; he shall " the nian Christ Jesus." And these excertainly pay the tip-top price of all the cellencies being such as God himself repurchases he may make. I should like quires, were inherent and positive ; absoto catch him there; he should not profit lutely up to the Divine standard, not by his threadbare cloak.”
comparative, or such as distinguish one I can easily understand the feeling of mere man from another. contempt which Mr. H-, as a trades The patience that bears misrepresentaman, had for such a man as my wealthy tion and injury; the magnanimity that neiglıbour, and have no doubt but he forgives enemies; the sympathy that would remember him, if ever he should weeps with sorrow; the compassion that present himself at his establishment. My relieves distress; the love to God and feelings, however, as regards the character men that fulfils the law; the unwearied of Mr. E—, are widely different; with me, zeal that leads to labour, for the glory of he is rather an object of pity than of con- the foriner and the good of the latter; tempt. And for this reason : that while the engrossing solicitude that keeps its he is seeking the perishable things of eye constantly on the great object of excarth at the cheapest possible rate, he istence; the comprehensive benevolence neglects those which are enduring, though tha disdains all selfish interests; the they are offered to him, in common with wisdom that selects the best means for all mankind," without money and with accomplishing the best ends; the faith ollt price.” It is pitiable, indeed, to see that wavers not in the dark and cloudy a creature born for eternity live only for day; the piety that shines with steady time-to see a being capable of enjoying light in sorrow and in joy; the perfect the high and holy pleasures of beaven, holiness that receives no stain from surdelighting only in the things of this rounding impurity; the resignation that world—to see a man striving to heap up gathers motives to praise from every Diwealth which he knows, from daily obser- vine dispensation; the spirituality that vation, he must soon leave behind him ; finds the spring of conduct in the heart; and yet neglecting to lay up “ treasures the resolution that founds itself on what in heaven, where neither moth nor rust is immediately right, irrespective of temdoth corrupt, and where thieves do not porary consequences; the obedience to break through nor steal.”
Jehovah's law which recognises in the “ On life's gay stage, one inch above the grave,
will of God the safeguard of the universe; The proud run up and down in quest of eyes:
the enunciation of truth for its own sake,
THE THREE CROSSES.
however it may clash with patronised maxims; the sincerity which never di
« On either side one, and Jesus in the midst." verges from its straight course to parley with expediency; the intellectual power The most celebrated country in our that awes learning into reverence; the con- world is Judea, and the most celebrated descension that attracts the timid child ; spot in Judea is Calvary. Nor is the and the divine philosophy which mea- fame of Calvary confined to our earth : sures human conduct by an infallible it has been heard of in other worlds; nor standard, and places all the transactions will time be able to limit its marvellous of time in the light of eternity, was all history: it will form the subject of intense found in, and exhibited by, “the man study in eternity. The redeemed and the Christ Jesus,” in absolute perfection. lost, the good and the bad, will think of
Nor was this unequalled character oc- it, the former with inexpressible gratitude, casional, transitory, variable. It was the latter with irresistible anguish ; for uniform, constant, unchangeable. His the transaction from which Calvary deheart was always pure; his affections rives its pre-eminence is not a mere hiswere always in harmony, always set on torical episode, the removal of which God; he loved him with all his strength, would leave no blank in the annals of and soul, and mind; and on God's work, time, but the central truth of a circle of he delighted to do it; and on God's doctrines embracing all time, all men, fallen creatures, he failed not until he and all eternity. The history of man, had redeemed them. His understanding with that of Calvary omitted, would be was always comprehensive, bis intellect not only lamentably incomplete, but it clear, his judgment infallible. When he would form the most appalling record in taught, there was no ostentation. When the universe. In such a case, dark and he suffered, there was no murmuring. sad, sunless and joyless, were the life When he rejoiced, there was no levity. of man! And the history of Calvary, When he rebuked, there was no asperity. with that of man omitted, would cover When he silenced gainsayers, there was with impenetrable mystery that part of no boast of triumph. When he took up the Divine government which is now children in his arms, there was no show luminous with the continued rays of of condescension. When he walked with
mercy and truth.” In such a case, the poor, there was no affected superi- we should not know even "part of his ority. When he dined with the rich, ways!" True, the government of God there was no concealment of his opinions. stands alone. It has neither precedent He asked no favour, he sought no pa- nor parallel. It comprehends issues far tronage, he courted no applause. Whe- too vast to be embraced by the human ther sitting among the fishermen of understanding. But thus far we can go Galilee, or in one of the cottages of regarding it. It is not a thing of shortNazareth, or in the house of the Pha- lived expedience, but of immutable prin-. risees ; whether standing before the ciple; not to meet a contingency, but to Jewish priests, or in the presence of embrace all events; not for a time, but Herod, or at the bar of Pilate; whether for all time; and not for all time merely, teaching the multitude, or instituting the but for eternity; and not for one world, Eucharist, or bearing his cross, he was but for the universe which he has created, the same—“Jesus Christ, the same yes- and over which he reigns. In different terday, to-day, and for ever." Supremely worlds, there may be different manifestabeautiful character ! Who that has looked tions of this government; but there will upon it, as delineated with inimitable be no contradiction, however great the fidelity and simplicity in the evangelic diversity: the fundamental principles from history, can fail uttering a burst of sur
which these manifestations spring will be prised delight? It has no drawback, no found—if discoverable at all-uniformly shade but of keeping, no stain; there is the same. Hence, at the throne of God, nothing to be deducted, nothing to be the centre of authority, there is constant added, nothing to be desired more: it is
calm, “eternal sunshine,” undisturbed altogether lovely.”—The Footsteps of repose. The death of a sinless being, for Messiah.
instance, which took place in our world, and by which perhaps it is distinguished from all other worlds, whilst it does not interfere with the principles on which