« AnteriorContinuar »
Christian love is narrowed by the limits of a selfish or a sectarian spirit, and it needs the melting and
expanding power of a sanctified sorrow,” to free us from our miserably contracted ideas and feelings, and to send us forth into the sphere of a wide-hearted and catholic Christianity.
And in connexion with the liberating tendency of rightly improved trials, we may learn this lesson, that our
sorrows ought not to render us inactive. “Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire.” We are too apt, in our moments of sadness, to sit down and do nothing. Submission we own is a grace, then, required from us; but we hardly imagine that activity is another. And yet those have attained far higher in God's service, who regard His messages of sorrow as additional calls to labour for Him, than those, who, like Mary, only sit still in the house, or go unto the grave to weep there. “Now for a swifter race !" was the resolve of one over whose path sorrow was beginning to darken heavily. “Now for a busier and more useful life!” was the utterance of another, as he rose from his knees, after pouring out the bitterness of his grief into the ear of God. In these cases tribulation was taking its true course, and working its right end. Child of sorrow! live not for yourself only. Your afflictions were sent to purify your character, and expand your affections, for the express purpose that you might be better fitted to sympathize with, and to aid those around you. Waste not, then, all your energies and opportunities in self-concentrated emotion. Since the time is so short, it remaineth that they that weep be as though they wept not. Too dispirited to share the pleasures of the joyous, you can strive to mitigate the woes of the unhappy. There are many weary and heavyladen ones within the circle of your influence, into whose wounded hearts you might pour the precious balm of consolation. Follow in the footsteps of your
Saviour, who, although “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief," yet " went about doing good." ”.
And solace yourself, while passing through the furnace of affliction, with the precious remembrance, that Christ is always present with His suffering people. “Lo, I see four men loose ;'' " and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God." Whatever the amazed monarch intended by this expression, his words plainly testify, that the appearance of the fourth person wore something of supernatural brightness and glory. And certain are we that in the midst of our burning trials, He who has promised, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world,” is ever at our side, to protect and to deliver
How many a persecuted believer has had a parallel experience with St. Paul, of whom it is recorded, that “the night following, the Lord Jesus stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul!”
I have never seen the face of the Saviour so plainly,” said a deeply-tried Christian, “as when He has put me into the furnace, and watched over me there. In the light of the fire His beauty and loveliness have been most wonderfully disclosed to me." And who can estimate the sustaining, strengthening, and comforting grace which is the blessed accompaniment of Christ's presence ? “I fear no foe, with Him at hand to bless ; Ills have no weight and tears no bitterness ; Where is Death's sting :—where, Grave, thy victory? I triumph still if Christ abides with me. Yes, this is the confidence which those enjoy, who are realizing His assurance, that He will never leave them nor forsake them. Without Christ the lightest trial is often almost insupportable; with Him, there is an elastic tread even in the burning, fiery furnace.
And thus guarded and upheld, the believer is safe in the midst of pain and peril. “ Not a hair of their head was singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.” The fiercest trouble may distress, but cannot harm the Christian, for his life is hid with Christ in God; and, therefore, though he walks through the fire he shall not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle upon him. When he is tried, he shall come forth as gold, purified but not destroyed, brightened but uninjured.
It was a desolate, lonely cot,
On a sea-cliff gaunt and bare,
Who dwelt forlornly there ;
Herself by their grief and care.
On the craggy beach below,
And the winds blew soft and low,
Over its rippling flow.
Through the stormy winter's night,
And shriekings of wild affright,
Flash'd with a dismal light.
Lurk'd in the treach'rous tide,
Afar from the coast to ride ;
And many a brave man died.
And the widow then, in her quaking hut,
Trembled and heard the sound
The din and tumult round ;
In a swell of the storm was drown'd.
And evermore, when the sun went down,
And night came over the deep,
Or ever she sought to sleep,
God's pitiful care would keep.
As a starbeam pierces night“ They never had suffer'd and perish'd thus,
Had there been a signal-light!” And up she rose, and her dying lamp
She trimm'd, till the flame shone bright.
In her narrow window-pane,
And far o'er the darken'd main ;
She placed it there again.
The worth of her charity,
That echoed with thankful glee,
From a grave in the dreary sea.
To baffle the cruel wave,
Her love so freely gave ;
And of those that it help'd to save.
And thou that watchest the wilder storms
That darken on life's deep tide,
To a haven of rest would guide,
Unmoved in thy work abide.
Thou may'st not reckon the spirits held
By thy love from the grasp of sin,
Or a bright example win ;
The records of heaven within.
So when thou hearest the angel choir
Make melody clear and strong,
That blend in the thrilling song,
In thy vigil so lone and long.
THE SCHOOLS OF CONNEMARA. [We shall be very glad if the following touching appeal produces its desired and deserved effect.-Ed.]
“ AND how are you getting on with the clothing for the Irish schools ?” asked a relative, with whom I was discussing all such subjects of mutual interest as occurred to us on a first meeting after a separation of some months.
“Oh, H--!” she answered, “ you must all work as hard as you can, and interest as many people as possible in the schools, for they are likely to want aid even more than during last winter.”
Now, I had a painful recollection that a certain box of clothing, which we had dispatched to Achill