Imágenes de páginas

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,
And it was a widow, infirm and poor,

Who dwelt forlornly there ;
Her home was worn by the storms of years,

Herself by their grief and care.
Pleasantly chimed the restless sea

On the craggy beach below,
When the sunbeam sparkled along its waves,

And the winds blew soft and low,
And merrily went the fisher's boats

Over its rippling flow.
But drearily moaned the rolling surge,

Through the stormy winter's night,
When the blast from the sea brought cries for aid,

And shriekings of wild affright,
And signal guns, through the heavy gloom,

Flash'd with a dismal light.
For dangerous eddies and sunken rocks

Lurk'd in the treach'rous tide,
And there was not a beacon to warn the ships

Afar from the coast to ride ;
So many a vessel there was wreck’d,

And many a brave man died.

And the widow then, in her quaking hut,

Trembled and heard the sound
Of the fearful cry, whose anguish pierced

The din and tumult round ;
And bitterly wept, as the vain appeal

In a swell of the storm was drown'd.

And evermore, when the sun went down,

And night came over the deep,
She knelt, and pray'd with an anxious heart,

Or ever she sought to sleep,
That all who travel the pathless sea,

God's pitiful care would keep.
Then a bright hope gleam'd on her soul in prayer,

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.
She trimm'd her beacon, and placed it high

In her narrow window-pane,
Till it beam'd afar o'er the rocky coast,

And far o'er the darken'd main ;
And ever and aye as the darkness fell,

She placed it there again.
'T was a loving work, yet she never knew

The worth of her charity,
Nor heard the joy of a hundred homes

That echoed with thankful glee,
For the coming of those her care had saved

From a grave in the dreary sea.
She wrought with a lengthen'd, patient toil

To baffle the cruel wave,
She ask'd no thanks for the simple aid

Her love so freely gave ;
But Heaven kept note of the pitying deed,

And of those that it help'd to save.

And thou that watchest the wilder storms

That darken on life's deep tide,
And fain the voyagers perill'd there

To a haven of rest would guide,
In firm endurance and patient trust,

Unmoved in thy work abide.

Thou may'st not reckon the spirits held

By thy love from the grasp of sin,
Nor tell the wand'rers a word could guide,

Or a bright example win ;
But they all are counted, and surely mark'd,

The records of heaven within.

So when thou hearest the angel choir

Make melody clear and strong,
To thee the sweetest of all the tones

That blend in the thrilling song,
Will be breathed by the souls that thy light preserved,

In thy vigil so lone and long.

H. F.

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

« AnteriorContinuar »