« PreviousContinue »
wish to be buried at Harold's Cross thing else--and not to lose time." -is it not a bright place? Choose Soon after she said, as if inwardly some sunny spot for me; and will meditating upon the unfathomable you (her husband) come and visit my depth of the words, “To be saved ; grave. I formerly had a great horror oh, what it is to be saved !" of the grave-now I do not care for We shortly afterwards had the it.” She said to him, “ Be much th happiness of uniting with ner in parMr. E. no one, I think, com- taking of the Lord's Supper; and forts you so much--remember me to the energy with which she followed him, and ask him, from me, to read the the words of the service—the emphaburial service." She sent her remem- sis with which she dwelt on brances to Mr. B.-, another dear nestly repent “ heartily sorry,' clerical friend; and to Mrs. M.- sometimes even anticipating the who had been a fond companion of reader, as when we came to that her earlier days; and when asked for beautiful doxology, “Glory be to a message to her, she said, “ to be God in the highest,” &c., was, insteady, and not to be fond of admira- deed, remarkable. tion;" she also said, “talk much to Upon being advised to try and B, will you—and to M
sleep, she said, she “would rather (her maids then absent in the coun- meet God awake;" but though much try.) For her children she said her fatigued, she submitted to the desire only desire was, that they should be of her friends, and promised to rechildren of God; and that before each main quiet, if they continued repeatwas born, her prayer had been, that ing hymns, and verses from Scripif they were not to be children of ture. God, they might not be born alive. Dr. C-, of whose kindness she About this time she sent a message had spoken repeatedly with great to one of her aunts, and begged of gratitude, afterwards coming in, she her to watch over the youngest girl, looked up at him with a serene and her god-child. She made a similar even smiling countenance, and said, request of her sister-in-law, as re- Doctor, I did not think we should spects her third little girl; hoping, have parted this way”—meaning that too, that her children would be she had not expected to die. He brought up for God.
found to his surprise, that her pulse · When it was said to her, “ you are had become stronger; and the other going where there will be no famine" physicians subsequently pronounced
-“nor thirst,” she added, from her to be in a somewhat improved which she had previously suffered so state, with no present symptoms of much-indeed she was still calling approaching dissolution. On hearing from time to time, for something to one of them
say she was better, she redrink. Towards the close of the plied, “Isthat a good thing?" Ontheir day, when expecting her dissolution, leaving her, she said, “Is it not unshe said," with an almost angelic pleasant to have one's mind unsettled expression of countenance, Oh! in this way, after I was ready to go?" mamma, what a night I shall have !" But being reminded that she was in She meant in heaven.'
the hands of Jesus, whether for life At one time when much exhausted, or death, she remained for a minute and hearing one repeat “thanks be to silent, and then said, “to me to live God, who giveth us the victory," she is Christ, and to die is gain.” Indeed clasped her hands, and looking up at a subsequent time, when permitted to heaven, ejaculated—“The victory, to exchange a very few words with oh, the victory!". When all had been one of her
friends, she referred again removed from her except her hus- to that feeling of disappointment, and band, she said very impressively-, blamed herself for having given way “ One thing, and one only, I regret, to it. And now bidding adieu to her ini leaving the world, that I did not cousin, who was with her after the live more entirely to God-tell them others had left the room, she said, this-tell them this and tell them to "pray for me during the night-do live to Jesus-not to live for any not forget to pray for me, that I may
be supported, and that my faith fail the bosom of her Redeemer, in the not.”
regions of endless bliss. Two of the physicians remarked, that “What a privilege," writes a relathe amendment seemed (under Pro- tive on this occasion, “to have witvidence) attributable to the tranquil nessed such a triumph over death! happy state of the patient's mind. And I trust your grief is partly swallowed the third said he had been astonished up in this victory. How I wish to at her calmness, after having taken her keep the impression before my mind, last leave of her children and all her
means of grace. While ascendfriends, (our interview having lasted ing a hill to-day, I thought of all our for about two hours,) and agreed family, as going up this journey of with one who remarked, that her feel- life, and that she was at the top, enings were evidently not to be ac- joying the lovely prospect. The counted for by physical causes. weary traveller had entered her real
It pleased God to continue her ex- home, and she was calling to us who istence on earth for nearly four days were ascending the hill Comeafterwards, during which time, how- and the Spirit and the Bride join in ever, no person was permitted to con- that invitation." verse with her. Indeed, during the greater part of it, she was in a state
ELEGY. of delirium, succeeded by a protracted stupor, but was mercifully
“This is my happiest day," she cried,
“My dearest wish is satisfied, spared the death struggle, of which
My husband smiles with grateful pride—" she had often expressed a dread.
Kyrie Eleison !* While the delirium lasted, hope was entertained of her ultimate recovery;
“0, take the son and heir' away, but we stayed our minds upon the
For, tho' it be my happiest day, recollection of that sun-bright spot
He may with me no longer stay;"
Kyrie Eleison! the testimony of her unclouded faith and love, the antepast of a glorious “Come hither, Mother, O, come here; immortality, which, through the ten
Brothers and sisters all draw near, der of Him who “stayeth his
And thou, 0, dearest of the dear!” mercy rough wind in the day of the east
Kyrie Eleison ! wind,” and “will not suffer us to be “Come hither, friends, so leal and true; tempted above that we are able,” it O, come, and I will show to you had been our consolation and privi- The vision brightening to my view.” lege to witness. We can now, bles
Kyrie Eleison ! sed be God, follow her with the eye
And, 0, bring back my Babe,” she said; of faith up that track of light, which Ere she could bless him life had fled ; so distinctly marks the upward transit Her happiest day was with the dead of her emancipated spirit from a vale
Kyrie Eleison ! of tears—a body of sin and death, to
THE, SYMBOLS OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH.
(For the Christian Guardian.) The use of symbols in the Christian and profession of one Christian to Church has long been prevalent, and another, in a manner wbich might be that which might arise from an al- unobserved by heathen witnesses, most absolute necessity, has dege- but in process of time this simple nerated into gross corruption and token was desecrated to the most idolatry. In the first ages of Chris- profane and superstitious uses.
To tianity, when persecution was rife, the the form of the cross was ascribed sign of the Cross was an innocent peculiar powers of averting evil, and mode of silently expressing the belief hence it was frequently resorted to as
* Kyrie Eleison means, “ Lord have mercy upon us."
a talisman to disarm the frowning signs, such as the ass on the tomb of magistrate, or a charm to counteract Onager, and the lion on that of Leo: the efficacy of a pagan sacrifice. an idea so strange, and, to our taste,
When heathenism was overturned, so bordering upon caricature, that it the symbol still continued with even can only be explained by the necesadditional vain imaginings attached sity for some characteristic mark of to it, and the various superstitions the deceased, intelligible to his unare upheld in theunreformed churches lettered friends. When those who to an incredible extent; the sign re- sought the grave of their departed mains, but where is the reality of friend saw the lion, the ass, the pig, Scriptural truth in the Romish and the lark, they at once discovered the Greek communions ?
tomb they sought.” A work published last year, called “ The symbols employed in the “The Church in the Catacombs,”*
Catacombs, exclusive of those supthrows much light upon the reasons posed to belong to martyrdom, are for the adoption of symbols, and of three kinds; the larger number distinctly shows that the primitive refer to the profession of Christianity, Church at Rome neither reverenced its doctrines, and its graces—a second images nor pictures, much less class of a purely sec description, “ bowed down to them, and that only indicating the trade of the dethe introduction of such appendages ceased; and the remainder represent to Christian worship was of a much proper names. Of the first class of later date than Romanists are willing symbols, the crossis the most generally to allow; and that, upon examining met with, and claims the earliest attenthe most ancient places of sepulture,
tion. How soon the cross began to and where also the first Christians be used as a symbol of Christianity met for divine service, and to ad
it is difficult to say:
A bas-relief minister the Sacraments, neither now in the Vatican, shows that in the altars, pictures, nor images, are ever
fourth or fifth centuries such an emfound.
blem was sculptured by the artists of We shall make some extracts from that time. This fragment is a cross this interesting volume, as corrobor- surmounted by a garland of flowers, ative in some degree of the opinions enclosing the monogram of the Saexpressed in a paper entitled “ Mari- viour's name, and upon it sits the olatry,” which appeared in the pages dove, symbolical of the peace purof the Christian Guardian, and which chased by the Redeemer's death." confirms the remark that the images The Fathers, whose love of mystery of Christ as dying or dead, and the perpetually involved them in the most constant representations of the Virgin childish and absurd fancies, discoand Child, did not appear until the vered the cross in every part of the Church had become deeply corrupted universe; thus they made out that by error.
it was intended by a bird flying, a man “ Perhaps the cause which most swimming, a ship sailing, &c., &c. powerfully contributed to the adop- “ The gradual change from the plain tion of Christian symbols, was the cross to the crucifix can be traced ignorance of reading and writing then step by step in the downward road of prevalent. Books and even inscrip- superstition, and, in undergoing this tions were for the learned ; unlettered alteration, the original intention of survivors were in no way enlightened the symbol was entirely lost; from by the epitaph of the deceased, or by being a token of joy, and an object the figures expressing his age, &c. worthy of being crowned with flowers, For such persons another mode of a sign in which to conquer, it beinterpretation was required, and the came a thing of tears and agony, symbols, though they imperfectly a stock subject with artists anxious supplied the deficiency, were the only to display
the power of representing substitutes known; this view is forced anguish. The alteration of the simple upon us by the existence of phonetic symbol can be distinctly traced : first,
as the plain cross; afterwards appears * By C. Maitland, M.D. Longmans. a lamb at the foot of it; by and bye,
there is Christ clothed, on the cross, ings of divine majesty were totally with hands uplifted in prayer, but eclipsed in the display of agonized not nailed to the wood; again, Christ humanity.” fastened to the cross with four nails, Although the Church of Rome is still living, and with open eyes; it always anxious to trace back the worwas not till the 10th or 11th century ship of the Virgin to the earliest times, that he was represented as de in
any one really acquainted with ecclewhich state he is always depicted on siastical history, knows that “ Mary the crucifix."
the mother of Jesus” was scarcely Thus the tendency of the Romish noticed in writings, paintings, or Church, whether by word or deed, sculptures, till late in the 4th century. prayer or painting, all tend to the “ The entire silence of the heathen same end-the transformation of regarding her worship, is a strong Christianity from the Gospel of argument against its existence; they Christ, which is that of love, to the mere readily adopted any calumnies against fear of the Lord, and changing the her, yet with all their abuse of the peace and good will, which the first Christians for worshipping a man, advent proclaimed, into hatred of all there is never found any accusation who worship the Father in spirit and made that they worshipped his motruth.
ther. The impossibility of such an In the middle ages these opinions omission on the part of the pagans, had gained their height, and the if such worship had been practised, darkness which might be felt, was will be more evident when their connot only seen in the utter ignorance stant descriptions of monasticism, and impiety of these times, but was and the adoration paid to martyrs, also manifested in the paintings and relics, &c., is constantly brought up rude sculpture, each as bad as the against them.
In the earliest picother, which portrayed religion in tures of the Virgin, she appears holdevery mode that was humiliating and ing the infant Jesus in her arms, or painful to both God and man. watching him in his cradle-she is
“The Byzantine paintings con- almost always veiled. Few paintings tained in the Vatican Library forcibly or sculptures of her were before 431, display the mistaken opinions of the and probably but one before 300. dark ages. In that small museum, From the later period her effigies have deserving of much more attention been common," and her worship at than it receives, may be perceived length became so general, as to be in the harsh tone of feeling that would itself a religion which has been most ever connect religion with terror and aptly denominated “Mariolatry.” disgust. The subjects of these paint- The Church, whose favourite ornaings are nearly always distressing; ment, the rosary, tells off upon its the divine infant is represented with string of beads ten ave-Marys for a heavy contracted countenance, des- one paternoster, can furnish no extitute of youthful expression, and the cuse from Scripture or primitive “Man of sorrows" is usually covered usage for such heathenism, nor can with triangular splashes of blood, she pretend that her chief devotions with a face indicative of hopeless are paid to the Almighty, when one anguish, intense in expression, and of his dead creatures receives ten not deficient in execution, illustrating times the amount of reverence and less the Redeemer's life, than the dark prayer than what is offered to himpage in the history of Christendom. self. In this school of art, which comes From the simplest sources may down to the 11th century, the western arise the greatest mischief, and that world added sculpture, forbidden by which was originally innocent may the iconoclastic zeal of the East; but become injurious and sinful, when both divisions of Christendom under- there is priestcraft on the one side, went the same fate ; the sky of sacred and ignorance on the other. Such art darkened like the Saviour's coun- is Romanism : her people are untenance its proper sun, and shed a taught, and “do err, not knowing qisastrous lighttill the last glimmers the Scriptures;" and it ever has been, and still is, the policy and interest of or reading the volume of inspiration, the Papal Church to prevent the dif- which is the only leaven to leaven fusion of Scriptural truth. Be it the the whole lump of impiety and imduty of Protestants to see that the morality which prevails in all counlower orders of society no longer re- tries. main without the means of learning,
THE HANDFUL OF CORN. “There shall be an handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains."
PSALM lxxii. 16.
(For the Christian Guardian.) That which is of inherent value, phecy is not yet fulfilled in all its though small in quantity, is capable extent. The carrying on of the work of effecting great ends. It
be is now left to the successors of this placed in disadvantageous positions, handful of men.
But it is the same or be exposed to great danger and work. They are ambassadors of the hazard; or it may, for a time, be so same Prince-bear the same message engulphed in strata of uncongenial are charged with the same comand withering influences, that it may mands and must work by the same appear to be lost-irrecoverably lost. Spirit. Then, their success is not But that cannot be. It may, for a less certain. long time, be unproductive, and pre- A few years ago there lived a sent only a dimmed and cheerless minister of Christ, who was observed aspect; but it is possessed of quali- to be remarkably successful in preachties which are indestructible, and ing the Gospel. The Word came though it may not appear in plumes, with power to the hearts of the and gay inviting colours, it must pro- people, so that they were affected to pagate its own qualities--its very na- contrition and conversion. He was ture is to spread. And what can be a man to whom literary fame and the said to be of inherent value-to be plaudits of eloquence were the last possessed of an incorruptible prin- point of consideration, but a man of ciple of vitality--but' TRUTH, respectable advance in every attainDIVINE TRUTH?
ment which his oifice required. That This truth was prophetically spoken the Lord worked with him could not of by David as a
handful of corn,” be doubted, and therein consisted his or the message of Divine love and glory and his success. Another, mercy in Christ Jesus, entrusted to whose work lay in the same vinehis few chosen followers in the pro- yard, but whose labour bore not equal mulgation and in the completion of fruit, came to him, hoping to remedy the new covenant. It was to shake his own inefficiency, by becoming like Lebanon like those natural acquainted with the other's fort of forests which, springing from the strength. self-sown seed, continue to propagate My dear brother," said the first and to extend themselves. Thus was named, “ God has been very grathis “ handful of corn” on the top of ciously pleased to impress my mind the mountains, to spread itself, till with a deep sense of my responsibility the Church of Christ every where to him in the charge of immortal had an existence, and its members souls. He has shown me the rock abounded as the “grass of the earth.” on which his Church is built-his It was by the labours and fidelity of immaculate Son; and the price of its these few humble men, in whom the purchase--his blood; further, He Spirit of God dwelt, and which gave has shewn me that it is only by the them their value, that these great things Holy Spirit that the truth can be so were to be accomplished. The pro- engrafted in the heart as to lead to