« AnteriorContinuar »
land they sought; how can that affect you? But ask, I entreat you, ask yourselves, how shall we, all ignorant as we are, cross a stormy sea to the haven of rest ? ”
“But you err," replied another, 6 in supposing that we are without any guide for navigation. There are the stars above us, shining brightly, as it were, for this very purpose by them we have often directed our course heretofore."
“ Deceive not yourselves thus,” said he.“ Along your own shores, in your short excursions, you may venture by the aid of the stars--and yet how many have been led astray, and have perished on the rocks--and, how many have been swallowed up, in the dark nights when the stars refused their light! But the longest voyage ever made by your boldest mariners, is nothing in length, compared to this you are about to undertake, and all the dangers you ever met, multiplied manifold, are insignificant compared with those you must now encounter. Finally, take it I beseech you, if but to make a trial of it. You do not profess to have anything by which to direct your course, and I. here offer you, and entreat you to accept, what by my own experience, and by the testimony of others far wiser and better than I am, I know to be an infallible guide. Can I have any motive to deceive you? See, weary, and travel-stained, I stand before you, having ' with all my power hastened hither, that I might give, not sell you, this precious boon. Will you not at least make trial of it? Will you not?” And they would not, for they were an infatuated people--and they would not, but mocked the man, and his message and his proffered gift, and embarked on that deep and wide and stormy sea, not knowing whither or how they were to sail, and they perished-how could it be otherwise ? Some foundered at the harbour's mouth--some struck upon hidden rocks-some wandered far into dark regions -- some in their sufferings, madly destroyed one another, and many perished for, want of food and water.
They perished, but not all who heard. Before the stranger had left the shore, there came to him one young man who said, “Stranger, before you came, I was troubled because I had | nothing to guide me in my course. I am sure your words are true-they sink into my heart. Give me the compass, I will trust it-why should I not? I have nothing else to trust to. Before I heard of it, I felt that I must perish-I can but perish with it; but something in my heart assures me thus I shall not perish, but that by it I shall be saved. I own a ship—I will try and persuade some others to join me,
but if I cannot get many, I will sail with a few, and this will I ever follow, wherever it may lead.”
With tears of joy the stranger put the compass into his hands, and said, “I too must soon sail for that distant land; we shall meet there, beloved youth.”
The young man found a few like-minded with himself, and with his eye always upon his compass, he steered his vessel by it. Hardly had he cleared the port when he perceived, that his course lay diverse from that of the others. They besought him not to part company they called upon him to throw the compass into the sea, and sail with them at all hazards, rather than go alone. His heart swelled, and a mist came over his eyes, but he drew his hand over them, and looking at his compass, while the words of the stranger rang in his ears, it always points in the same direction, he waved his hand in farewell to his companions, and never saw them again, but he saw what they never did, the wished for land, and oh, how glorious it was ! and ere long the stranger joined him there.
My readers, if you have not cordially received and obeyed the Bible, you are these voyagers. You are sailing on life's sea, and stormy indeed it is. Heaven is the haven of rest; you hope to enter, but how? Can you steer thither by the star-light of reason? Never. The Bible, only the Bible, can guide you. Do not say you doubt. Newton was satisfied after the profoundest investigation. Do not complain that there are difficulties in it. You are not to be guided by the difficulties, but by what is so plain, that none need err therein. Do not be afraid of being singular. If you were the only one who would tread the streets of heaven, you would never repent that you had gone there alone. But there is a great and glorious company there, of apostles, prophets, martyrs, and spirits of just men made perfect. Let us press on thither. He who writes, says to him who reads
- Brother, let us meet there, praying the while, “ Sanctify us through thy truth, thy word is truth."
THE POWER OF KINDNESS. YEARS ago we were in habits of familiar intercourse with a family, consisting of the parents and their two sons. These parents were both professing Christians, and enjoyed in a
high degree the confidence and esteem of all who knew them. Their piety was much above the common standard. There was a sincerity, a solidity, and a circumspection about it, which everywhere commanded respect. On this account, we remember often to have felt surprised that their two sons, who had been brought up almost to manhood under their immediate care, and had never been for any length of time absent from home, should yet be, not only destitute of religion, but active leaders in all wickedness, bold ringleaders in all iniquity in their neighbourhood, and fearless scoffers at religious things. The father died soon after, but no visible effect was produced by this event upon their minds. Not long since we met the widowed mother, and from her learned, for the first time, and with unspeakable pleasure and surprise, that both of her sons had for many months given evidence of a change of heart, and from being ringleaders in all wickedness had become meek, gentle and gracious disciples of the Saviour.
We could not refrain from expressing surprise, and some curiosity to know what means had been owned of God to effect their conversion. The mother frankly replied, that by some means she had been led to think, that her anxiety for her sons in their unregenerate state had frequently imparted a warmth to her manner in reproving them, which she now believed savoured more of soured fretfulness than of love, and she clearly saw that the effect upon them was wholly injurious and repulsive. She pondered this thought in her heart, and retiring to her closet, bowed in prayer for the assistance of Divine grace to enable her wholly to change her spirit and manner towards her children. She rose, imbued with the spirit of tenderness and love. She approached her sons with a heart overflowing with pitying tenderness, and in due time observed a corresponding change in them, and ultimately their hearts yielded to the new spirit of the mother.
Such, very briefly, was the mother's account of the means that proved successful with her almost hopeless sons; and we believe many a parent and many a minister may derive from this fact a useful lesson. We risk nothing in saying that harshness and bitterness of speech and manner have caused many a heart to recoil in disgust from the subject of religion, which might, by wiser means, have been drawn to reflection and repentance.
We are reminded here of a circumstance related by the
naturalist Audubon, as occurring within his knowledge a few years ago, of a certain individual who for many years had led the life of a pirate. On one occasion, while cruising along the coast of Florida, he landed, and was lying in the shade on the bank of a creek, when his attention was arrested by the soft and mournful note of a Zenaida dove. As he listened, each repetition of the melancholy sound seemed to him a voice of pity. It seemed to him like a voice from the past, a message from childhood's innocent and sunny hours-then it appeared like a voice of deep, sad sorrow for him, the far-off wanderer, the self-ruined, guilty prodigal; and so thoroughly did it rouse him from his long sleep of sin, that there, on that lonely spot, where no minister of mercy had ever stood, he resolved within himself to renounce his guilty life, return to virtuous society, and seek the mercy of God; a resolution which he subsequently fulfilled, as we are assured by the narrator.
There is that in the human heart which responds to the | voice of gentle, pitying love, when all other agencies have lost their power: when all the thunder and lightning of Sinai itself might roll and flash in vain. Would that there were more, among those disposed to do good, who would make full proof of the mighty prevailing power of kindness, pity, and love. The spirit of Jesus must be the model of our benevolence.
TOM THE TIPPLER. 6 Who is the man yonder with his coat all in rags, and his hat crown dented in ? . See! he is slinking away under the hedge, as if he did not like to meet people : who is he?”.
" Who is he? If you had been living in the village, you would never have asked such a question. Everybody in this neighbourhood knows him. That is Tom the Tippler.”
6 Tom the Tippler! The name you give him is a bad name to bear, but I am afraid he deserves it. He seems to me to look half silly, and then he totters as he walks along."
" Ay his drinking has brought him to that. I have known the time when Tom was strong on his legs, and could walk as upright as any body. He did not look silly then, but a sad change came over him. You are a young, and I am an old man, perhaps if I were to give you Tom's history it might do you soine good.."
" I should like to hear it very much; do please to tell it to me."
“ I have known Tom from his cradle, and I knew his father before him. It must be as many as thirty summers ago, since I went to Tom's father, to talk with him in a friendly way about Tom. “Neighbour Andrews,' said I,
your son is coming home again, I hear. He has lived with his uncle now for the last five or six years, and a better lad is not to be found. I hope he will keep so, when he is, once more, under your roof. I hope so, too,' said he, and if he does not, all that I can say is, that the stick on the cratch yonder, and his back shall be better acquainted. “Better not be hard with him,' said I, leading is better than driving, any day of the year, or any hour of the day.'” .
"And what did he say to that?”
“ I will tell you. • Leading may be better than driving, said he, in some things, but I am not going to let a young chap, because he happens to be my son, get the better of me. So sure as his name is Tom, so sure will I break the stick upon him, if he does not do as I tell him.'”
“ He must have been a very strict father.”
“ He was, and what was worse, he was never a God-fearing man, but I tried to soothe him, and not to ruffle his temper. • Neighbour Andrews,' said I, - your son is not at all likely to give himself airs, but the thing that I have on my mind is this. Your habit of going to the pot-house, and never going to God's house on the sabbath, is a bad one, and I am sadly afraid that it will do Thomas a mischief. Do let me persuade you, for his sake as well as for your own, to turn over a new leaf. It will be for your good, neighbour, indeed it will, and for the good of your son too."
“ Did he break out into a passion ?"
“ No, he bore it very patiently. If you can prove that,' said he, I should like to hear you.' So I pulled out my pocket Bible and read to him the following words :-" The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord : and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall he shall not be utterly cast down : for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand. I have been young and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.' Psa. xxxvii. 23-25. Now,' said I, there is a blessing for him and his children who fears the Lord.'”
“ He could not deny that." “ No; but he told me to put my Bible, once more, in my