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the Elder Son in some significant capacity " wretched, and miserable, and poor, and ere it close; and here, accordingly, he comes blind, and naked," to cast himself on the up to sustain his part.
mercy of God. The greatest gift is bestowed At the moment of the Prodigal's return, on the most worthless; for “God comhis elder brother was in the field, whether mendeth His love toward us, in that, while for his father's profit or his own pleasure we we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" are not informed. When he came home in (Rom. v. 8.) the evening, and before he had entered the At this point the line of our Parable house, he heard the sound of the festival touches that of the lost sheep, and thencewithin. Surprised and displeased that a forth runs coincident with it to the close: it feast on so large a scale should have been points to the same features of human chainstituted without his privity and participa- racter, and teaches the same principles of tion, he assumed and maintained an attitude Divine truth. In the first place, it repeats of haughty reserve. Instead of going in at the answer already given in the two preonce, and seeing all with his own eyes as a ceding parables to the question embodied son, he went to a servant, and in the spirit in the complaint of the Pharisees, “ This man of an alien inquired the reason of the mirth. receiveth sinners, and eateth with them." Having learned the leading facts, instead of The father announces with great clearness imitating his father's generosity, he aban- and fulness the grounds on which he rejoiced doned himself to selfish jealousy, and went more that day over the Prodigal restored away in a pet. The father, on every side than over the Elder Son, who had never left true to his character, came out and pleaded home. It is a rule in human experience, with him to enter and sharo the common universally understood and appreciated, that joy. Hereupon the true character of the though a son never lost is as precious as 80i-disant model son is revealed; he peevishly one who has been lost and found, parents casts it in his father's face, as a reproach, experience a more vivid joy in the act of that he had never provided such a feast receiving the exile back than in the confor his immaculate and superlatively dutiful tinuous possession of a son who has been child.
always in their sight. The Elder Son, in his statement of the In the meantime, it is very sweet to learn case, introduces an elaborately constructed from the lips of Jesus that this law, which double contrast between his brother's ex- may be clearly traced on earth, penetrates to perience and his own, which is peculiarly heaven, and there prepares for repenting interesting in relation to the mercy of God sinners, not a bare escape from wrath, but and the methods of the Gospel. To the an abundant entrance into the joy of their jaundiced eye of this sour-tempered phari- Lord. saic youth, it seemed that his father gave But while the Parable thus demonstrates much to him that deserved least, and little that even though the claim of the Pharisees to him that deserved most: to the profligate were granted their objection falls to the son the fatted calf; to the eminently dutiful ground, it most certainly does not grant child, not even a kid. Here the hard, self- that claim. So far from conceding that they satisfied formalist, like Pilate and Caiaphas, needed no repentance, the Lord makes it preaches the Christ whom he did not know. evident that they kept company with the The envious contrast portrayed by the Elder publicans in sin, and only differed in this, Son is a dark shadow which takes its shape that they did not repent and forsake it. The from the Light of life. It is a law of the Elder Brother, towards the close of the Gospel that nothing is given to the man in Parable, presents a life-likeness of the reward for the righteousness which he brings Pharisees : in him they might have seen forward as his boast; but all is given to the their own shadow on the wall. man who has flung away his own righteous- The self-righteousness, the pride, the ness with loathing as filthy rags, and come, peevishness, the jealousy of the Elder Brother, in the close of the Parable, repro- | hierarchs violently resented every suggestion sent in its most distinctive features the that pointed to the reception of strangers. character of the Jewish people, and their It was to them that this series of Parables leaders, in the beginning of the Gospel. was addressed; and to them, in immediate One of their leading reasons for refusing to relation to their stupid and impudent cry, own Jesus as the Messiah was His manifested “He receiveth sinners !" willingness to extend the blessings of re- But we have not exhausted this portion demption to the needy of every condition of the lesson when we have pointed out that and every name. When the Lord reminded those whom the Elder Brother represents them that Elijah was sent past many suffering fret proudly and peevishly against the adwidows in Israel to relieve a stranger at mission of their neighbours into the kingSarepta, and that Elisha left many lepers dom; by that very fact they unconsciously uncured among his own countrymen when but surely demonstrate that themselves have he healed the Syrian soldier, they were so not entered yet. The spirit that in regard exasperated by the suggestion that God's to self is satisfied-before God unhumbled, favour had already flowed out to the Gentiles, and towards men unloving — has no part and might flow in the same direction again, with Christ; this is the proud whom God that they “rose up and thrust Him out of knoweth afar off, not the meek whom Ho the city, and led Him unto the brow of the delights to honour. hill whereon their city was built, that they Ah! woe to the man who serves God as might cast Him down headlong” (Luke iv. that son served his father, with
a mercenary 29). The same spirit burst forth when they mind and an unbroken heart: who thinks his were touched on the same tender point in obedience praiseworthy, and would be surthe ministry of the Apostles. Paul was prised if it should go without a reward. permitted, from the stairs of the fortress The Elder Son was lost as well as the attached to the temple at Jerusalem, to ad- Younger; but as far as the Parable reveals dress an excited multitude on the faith as it his history, he was not, like him, found is in Jesus. Loving the Hebrew tongue, in again. He, like his brother, went astray; which he spoke better than the Greek, which but, unlike him, refused to come back. The they had expected him to employ, they lis- Father was grieved as much by the sullen, tened with interest and in silence to the dry, hard, cold, dead formality of his Elder story of his conversion through the appear- Son, as by the prodigal wastefulness of ing of the risen Jesus; but when in the the Younger, without getting the sorrow progress of the narrative he found it neces- balanced by a subsequent joy. Whited sary to inform them that the Lord his Saviour sepulchre! what will thy residence in the gave him a commission to preach the Gospel house, and thy constant and punctilious beyond the boundaries of Israel, saying, profession, avail thee, while thou art planting “Depart, for I will send thee far hence unto daggers in thy Father's heart, and nursing the Gentiles,” they gave him audience unto vile hypocrisy in thy own? It is the empty this word, and then lifted up their voices open vessel that gets itself filled when it is and said, “Away with such a fellow from plunged into a well of living water; the the earth, for it is not fit that he should vessel that is full and shut, although it is live" (Acts xxii. 21, 22). In this inveterate overflowed by rivers of privileges, does not prejudice of the Pharisaic Jews against the receive or retain a drop. Before God and admission of persons or communities other under the Gospel, the turning-point of each than themselves into the privileges of man's destiny is not the number or the Messiah's kingdom, we see the reason why aggravation of his sins, but the discovery of the Lord gave His Parable the turn which his own guilt, and the consequent cry out of it takes in the extraordinary conduct of the the depths for mercy. That which really in Elder Brother. Counting that the kingdom the last resort hinders a man's salvation, belonged exclusively to themselves, the Jewish and secures his doom, is not his sin, but his refusal to know and own that he is a sinner. , theirs for the asking. What although this All the excesses of the Prodigal will not shut son was prodigal;—there is a place for him in him out of Heaven, for he came repenting to God's favour-a place for him in the manhis Father; but all the virtues of the Elder sions of the Father's house for ever, when Brother will not let him into Heaven, for he he comes back repenting, confiding. But cherished pride in his heart, and taunted what although he never strayed — never his Father for overlooking his worth. The missed a diet of worship or a deed of almsground on which the Laodiceans were con- the Elder Brother, by holding to his own demned was not the sinfulness of their state, righteousness, rejects the righteousness but their stolid satisfaction with the state which is of God by faith, and shuts himself they were in. “Because thou sayest, I am out of the kingdom. Him who thought he rich and increased with goods, and have was poor, and miserable, and wretched, and need of nothing; and knowest not that thou blind, and naked, the Father runs to meet art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and with kisses of love and tears of joy; but blind, and naked” (Rev. iii. 17). What him who thought himself rich, and increased although they were not rich ;-if they had with goods, and in need of nothing, the known their poverty, all the treasures of Father puts away with the most piercing the Godhead were at their disposal: what expression of loathing which the whole although they were wretched;-all the bless. Scriptures contain: "I will spue thee out ings that were at God's right hand were of my mouth."
HEROISM IN THE MINE.
LD England has her beroes,
Of every rank and grade,
To those that work a spade.
Her wealth the sons of toil,
Nor ask to share the spoil.
God bless ye, noble colliers !
Ye wrought not thus in vain,
Shall beat not here again.
Exceeding great reward;
Your well-earned fame will guard.
And widows, by their prayers,
From Danger's hidden snares.
Not vainly—with His love
Old England renders honour
To those to whom 'tis due
They love the Good and True.
Such as they showed who gave Free labour, weary days and nights,
In hope to help and save.
THE WIDOW AND THE FATHERLESS.
HE appeal to the country at large on
assigned, has also failed to enlist general interest. behalf of the sufferers from the recent It has not been altogether fruitless. It will be terrible Colliery calamities has not seen that a few of our readers have forwarded
met with so general and liberal a about £20, and we daresay other amounts are response as the emergencies of the case de. being collected. But we venture, under the mand.
circumstances detailed above, to urge our appeal That this is not to be attributed to lack of a second time, if possible with greater earnestsympathy, we are well assured. But there ness. Let each reader do a little, and a sub. appears to have been in the first instance, when stantial sum will be raised. The Collecting the heart is most disposed to prompt to liberal
Form will be found in our January number, deeds, a prevailing impression that a large and we trust a very large proportion of the fund was available for purposes of relief from
forms will be returned before the 15th of the surplus of the subscriptions collected for February. the Hartley Colliery calamity; and this im- We feel that it cannot be necessary to excite pression bas materially affected the national or stimulate charity by dwelling upon the response to the appeal.
desolation of so many hearths and homes. The Our readers are doubtless now aware that sympathizing heart of England's Queen is the the impression was an erroneous one. The heart of England too. “ One touch of nature Hartley Fund amounted to £83,234. After
makes us all akin." As “members one of properly providing for the sufferers, there re- another,” we cannot but long to pour the heal. mained a balance of £20,440. This was wisely ing balm of consolation into the bosoms of the divided among the coal mining districts of the
bereaved, and extend to them the ready, full, whole country, twelve in number, in each case and open hand of temporal relief. to form the nucleus of a relief fund. £2,034
“A giant shadow, was thus set apart for the Yorkshire district,
And black as the tomb! and £1,106 for that of North Stafford, Shrop.
The news of the fire shire, and Cheshire. These sums have been
In earth's dark womb ! added to the amount which has been raised;
The army toiling but the total receipts at present, we believe,
In gloom and night, will scarcely exceed £30,000.
In shaft and level, It has been justly observed that if £55,000
Has lost a fight! was required for the suitable provision of the
At morn they descended dependent relatives of the 204 men and boys
In health glowing red ; who perished at Hartley, double the sum is
By night they are vanquished
now wanted to meet the necessities of those
They all lie dead! who have been bereaved by the sudden re
Hundreds and hundreds moval of more than 400 miners.*
Dead, dead, dead!
Throughout the Black Land We regret to be obliged to state that the
One cry of dread! appeal which we inserted in this magazine
And the widow weeps, last month, doubtless for the reason already
And the orphans cry, * " There are 628 souls dependent upon the Relief Fund for
And the mother wails support from the Barnsley calamity, a far greater number
For her only boy. than was at first anticipated. To this number must be added tho posthumous children who will become chargeable upon the fund for the next three-quarters of a year. These will
For the Black Land, alas ! require relief during the ensuing twelve years.”—Extract
No yule has been lit; from Mr. Peacock's Report.
Its Christmas fire "There are 40 widows, 8 orphans, 120 fatherless children, and 13 aged parents rendered destitute from the Hanley
Was the blazing pit! calamity."-Staffordshire paper.
At Our Own Fireside' "It is greatly feared that unless great efforts are made by
Let love open the hand, every humane person, no adequate fund will be realized for
To comfort-to cheer the relief of the overwhelming distress occasioned by these terrible accidents ; one of them is the greatest colliery accident
The Desolate Land !" ever known." - Liverpool Mail.
INEFFICIENT PEOPLE ;
OR, A NIGHT AT MUDDLETON HALL.
EADER, did you ever pay a visit to to do; or indeed could do. This man advised
a whole family of inefficient people ? me to leave my trunks in the office, and walk Did you ever stay in the house with on until I met with some conveyance. I had
them-partake of their hospitality, no alternative but to follow this advice, although and find yourself thrown entirely upon their I was not clad for such a walk. The roads plans, habits, and resources, for your daily were wet with recent rains, and heavy clouds comfort and nightly repose ? If not, I will were threatening to burst upon my head. I endeavour to explain to you how the thing had a parasol, but no umbrella. And then works where a whole household partakes of another difficulty soon presented itself in the the same tendency to incompleteness in what- choice of paths-one a tolerably clean-looking ever they attempt to do. And let this fact be walk along the fields, the other the highroad. borne in mind-wherever the mistress of a If I took the former, I should lose all chance family is inefficient, children, servants, and of meeting the carriage which I still supposed dependants in general take the same tone, and was on its way for me; if I took the latter, I think and act with the same misapplication of was told by a labourer in the fields that I means to ends.
should have four miles to walk instead of three. The family in question live in the country. My hopes still clinging to the carriage, I took Their circumstances are what is generally the highroad, and there through mud and understood by the word easy, and there are no mire plunged on, with my thin shoes and light kinder people in the world. Anything and garments soon bespattered, for, I should think, everything within the range of practicability the distance of at least two miles; when a carthey will undertake for you. The only dis- riage, which I knew to be that of the Muddleton advantage--and it must be granted it is a family, appeared rapidly turning the brow of considerable one-is this, that the thing never a hill, and then rattling towards me with a is really done.
speed which seemed likely every moment to For instance, in paying them my first-and pitch the driver out of his seat. I am disposed to consider it my last visit-it The case was one which often happened in was necessary that I should be met at the this family—there had been a mistake about station, which is four miles distant from their the trains. The man looked extremely sorry, house, or that I should have a conveyance en- and assured me again and again that the fault gaged for me beforehand. I greatly preferred was not his. But the great thing next to be the latter plan; but no, they would not hear of it. considered was my luggage. I was wet and On arriving at the station, therefore, I looked dirty, and longing to be relieved from the about for some face with a welcome in it, fatigue and uncomfortableness of walking on anxious to recognize me. I looked for some such a road; besides which, a heavy shower respectable servant even, but no such agreeable was just coming on. The man told me that object could I find. I inquired if any one was early on the following morning a cart would there from Muddleton—"No." And my lug. be going that way, which could easily bring gage was on the point of being carried away my trunks for me. This assurance, and imby the train, which stopped at that station patience under the inconvenience I had already scarcely two minutes, when I screamed out for endured, added to a few large drops of rain, it, and had then the satisfaction of seeing it induced me to spring into the carriage, and torn out by an angry guard, and tossed upon desire the man to drive me back to the Hall as the platform, where I stood waiting, and quickly as he could. And at a fine clattering watching the train glide on. But still there
pace we went, to be sure; for they are all most was nobody from Muddleton, and the porters willing and energetic people, and would drive and different people connected with the station, their horses to death, if that could do you any whose business was over with that momentary good. The man had an additional reason for bustle, were all returning to their different driving as he did, for the rain soon fell in tor. quarters, when I managed to overtake one of rents. Of course neither cloak nor wrapper of them, and asked him what he thought I ought | any kind had been sent in the carriage, which