Page images
PDF
EPUB

It is not denied that the Ridicu- stuff now generally used for) coffee lous Speaker succeeds in securing the without sugar, it is very disagreeable. attention of the children. Children If, on the other hand, you put too will give heed to whatever is amusing much sugar in it, you find a quantity Let a man come along with a barrel of good-for-nothing sweetening at the organ, and the most entertaining bottom of the cup, which the coffee speaker cannot hold their attention. would not dissolve, and which is not Let some lively boy report that there useful, either as coffee, sugar, or anyis a monkey in attendance on that thing else. So must we season our instrument of music, and it takes speech with exactly the right quantity more than ordinary discipline to res- of an excellent article of mirthfulness. train them from crowding the doors If a good joke comes in place to point and windows to witness the grotesque an illustration with, use it by all performances of the merrymaking means, but take care that neither joke little beast.

nor illustration are used only for the How far, then, is it right to be funny sake of saying something sharp or in speaking to children? Very little, funny. If the speech is all joke, it indeed, if we want to do them good. is coffee with too much sugar. If too Some cheerful brother is disturbed at dry and solemn, it is coffee with the this, and fears we are taking the side sugar left out; and however pure of Dr. Plod. Don't be alarmed, my Mocha it may be, nobody wants it, cheerful friend. It is right to flavour or can enjoy it. your speech with amusing remarks, While sweetening our speech with just as you put sugar in your coffee. the sugar of pleasant mirthfulness, A little sugar, if it is a good article of let us also be careful that it be well sugar, without too much sand in it, seasoned with the salt of Divine will sweeten a good sized cup of grace. Otherwise it cannot be written coffee. If you diink the (decoction of it, “And the speech pleased the of rye, chestnuts, roots, and other Lord.”

SONNET.

“Works are the breath of Faith!” Broad-chested Faith,

First but a babe just strong enough to weep

That it can do no more—then fall to sleep,
And wake, again in sighs to spend its breath.
Next it doth learn to utter childish sounds,

With imitative tongue and lisping voice,

Speaking the accents of another's choice,
Nor venturing speech beyond tuition's bounds.
Then, youth, more ardent and much bolder grown,

Elects its when and where, nor will be taught,

But that it finds loud words oft go for naught.
Yet, healthy lungs gain strength with every tone,
Till in its stalwart manhood, bold and wise,
Faith breathes forth love, and prayers responsive rise.

PHEJOS.

467

ELIJAH'S DEFECTION-1 KINGS XIX.

Few of the Bible histories are was the true God-Baal, or the God either so instructive or interesting as of Israel. The priests of the former that of the prophet Elijah--for these prayed and vociferated all day; but reasons among others : it is so largely as an idol is nothing in the world, detailed; it abounds with remark- " there was no voice nor any tha', able occurrences and with astonish- answered.” But when Elijah began ing miracles ; it delineates two cha- although he poured water enough racters as different as light and upon and about his altar to extindarkness, the wicked king and his guish any fire, except that which was stern and faithful reprover; and supernatural and divine, yet

the there is yet a third character, the answer surpassed even his expectainfamous idolator and persecutor, tion, and proved that the effectual Jezebel. The prophet himself is a fervent prayer of a righteous man study, if not a model, a man of availeth much. But Elijah is one of strong faith, severe, resolute, and for those remarkable instances in which the most part unfearing. He marches good men have sometimes failed in through the land almost like a god, the very qualities for which they wrapped in a whirlwind, siniting sin were in general conspicuous. Abrawithout reluctance or remorse. He ham, though at ordinary times strong comes and goes like a dreadful appa- in faith, giving glory to God, fell rition, which discharges its mission, into unbelief, that led to falsehood, and can nowhere be found. The land as Job into impatience, and Moses is searched and scoured in all direc- into passionate excess. So we see tions, but in vain; yet he suddenly “this prophet, immediately after his appears again, no one knows whence memorable instance of zeal and boldor bow, upon the scene of some new ness, fly from the path of duty, iniquity. He is the Gorgon or the fury honour and safety, before the threats who tortures Ahab's reign, and the of Jezebel. Who shall believe that scourge of his bloody-minded Queen; he stands securely when such men -a mighty man of God, who has no fall? There is an awful severity in equal except Moses, but differs from that question, again and again reMoses in this, that Elijah is not the peated :

peated: “What doest thou here, meekest man upon the face of the Elijah?” When even a prophet forearth. Yet he was a glorious char- sakes his work, he shall be sure to acter, one of the three that communed find that God will meet with him. together on the Mount of the Trans- What words are these from the lips figuration—the lawgiver, the law- of such a man: "O Lord, it is enough, avenger, the law-fulfiller-the most take away my life, for I am not august assembly that ever met in this better than my fathers.” But besides lower world.

the faint-heartedness which heevinced The Apostle James said of him upon this occasion, there is by no that he was a man of like passions means a perfect sincerity in the acwith ourselves. This plainly appears count which he gives of himself. from that portion of his history which He does not confess his own weakwe are now about to consider. ness and infirmity before God, he Every one remembers of course the prefers grievous accusations against sacrifice

upon Mount Carmel, in the people, and laments that he is which the priests of Baal were

left alone. He that should rather challenged to the trial, as to who have interceded for the sinners, brings forward the extent of their guilt, and demned which is directed against unwittingly makes the worst of it. the persons of sinners rather than How different from that pitiful and against their faults; whereas, true compassionate Moses, who pleads for zeal is a holy fire that should burn them to avert God's wrath by his against the sin, and not against the prayers; and from that greater than sinner. It pities the one, but has no Moses, who cried outinthe midst of his pity for the other. Here in particular own agonies, "Father, forgive them, the prophet appears to be at fault

. for they know not what they do.” He makes the guilty people promi

First, let us in justice to the nent. We discern no gleam of tenprophet look at his accusation, as it derness and mercy. Whereas He, is an evidence of his zeal for God's who is our best example, whose zeal worship and glory. It would indeed ultimately consumed Himself, until have been a shameful thing to see body and soul were both made an God's altars thrown down, &c., and offering for sin, has ever in its very yet have remained unmoved. “We exercise, given the strongest evidence cannot be too meek and gentle in our how much He loved sinners, since it own causes; yet in the cause of God, was for their sake that He consented the utmost zeal and earnestness be- to pour out His soul unto death, and come us.

;** It is no sign of a gracious to be the sufferer in that fiery bapspirit to be able to see iniquity abound, tism in which His ministry on earth the word and will of God trampled was closed. under foot, His institutions despised, It is a lamentable argument of the withoutgrief andindignation. Thiswas degree to which Israel had gone in the fault of Eli, who, though the sacri. declension from God that such a fices of God were daily defiled and prophet as Elias is reduced to comscandalized by his ownsons,sat quietly plain in this manner. If we should and apathetically by, reproving it, see a father plunged into bitter deindeed, yet in terms too gentle by far spair, wringing his hands in agony for the occasion. If religion is worth over the stubbornness of his son, we anything it is worth our whole hearts, must needs conclude the case to be cur utmost earnestness. We must very deplorable. There is little hope be cold or hot, not lukewarm. Our when such a ministry proves unDivine Master teaches us, by His successful. But after all it is not example, that holy zeal is not un- the ministry that is to blame, but lovely, for He went into the temple the impenitence of the sinner. Even with a scourge of small cords, and Christ himself had to turn away at drove out all the buyers and sellers. last from stretching forth His hand This is represented as a fulfilment of to a disobedient and gainsaying prophecy : “ The zeal of thy house people, and all He could do when hath eaten me up." “ It is good," says He stood and looked over Jerusalem the Apostle, “to be zealously affected was to weep. When it comes to always in a good thing." Still, we this--when à prophet gives up must remember, that righteous indig- work in despair, and while so far nation has its bounds; and although clear from the blood of all men, feels but few persons are guilty of an with anguish that he can do no excessive zeal, yet it is possible to

more, surely there must be some who offend even in this particular. For are not far from a state of final imexample, that zeal must be con- penitence. Like the Jews who could

neither be softened by the tears or * Parr on Romans.

the blood of Jesus Christ.

his

But although the prophet Elijah living self, the spirit flies to the cannot be acquitted of some consider- bosom of her Creator, Father, Reable degree of sinfulness on this oc- deemer and God. casion, we cannot but notice that But what saith the answer of God this, his prayer, with all its faults unto him? “I have reserved to and imperfections, was signally myself seven

myself seven thousand in Israel answered. It could not be right to which have not bowed the knee to pray thus passionately for death, and the image of Baal ; " and God never yet he obtains not death, indeed, but has and never will, suffer His Church what was far better, a translation. to become extinct in the world, how With a view to this issue, he is di- near soever she may have sometimes rected to go and anoint Elisha as pro- seemed to that catastrophe. In the phet in his room. Which shall we worst of times, He has always had adınire most here, the pardoning at least a remnant; and in the greatmercy of God, or His fidelity in re- est dangers He has always found out warding faithful service? He does a means of deliverance. Christ Himnot bear hard upon His servant's self assures His disciples that His infirmities. “He knoweth our frame, Church should be founded upon a Heremembereth that we are butdust.” rock, and the gates of hell should Our service may not be perfect and not prevail against it. We are to unblemished, yet He will not con- account for it by His love for the demn it for a flaw. You may observe Church, and by His love for the in reading the Scriptures how again world,—we say by His love for the and again He accepts the excellencies Church, which He may for wise and passes by the defects. This reasons suffer to be afflicted, but will would have been conspicuous in the not suffer it to be destroyed. What! case before us, if Elijah had even does not God say, that “although a died like other men. How much woman may forget her sucking child, more when we see him so honoured yet will I not forget thee.” Did He as that a chariot of fire, and horses of not declare to her, though afflicted fire are sent from heaven to fetch and tossed with tempest : "Behold, him?-the second and last man who, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, since the beginning of the world, and thy foundations with sapphires.” escaped the pains of dying. We Was it not He who inspired in the cannot therefore say that such honour breasts of His ancient servants the have all the saints, but at least we most tender love for Zion and its may say this, that under the Gospel interests. "If I forget thee let my we have less reason to desire it. Our right hand forget her cunning, and knowledge of the world to come, is my tongue cleave to the roof of my so much greater, and death so much

mouth."

Did not Christ love the less to be dreaded, that we need not Church, and give Himself for itask to be carried to heaven in a fiery and does He not regard it as His chariot. Why should we fear to put bride-the Lamb's wife? But there off our mean garments of mortality is not only love to the Church, there and lie down to sleep, when we know is involved in it also love to the that we shall rise up kings and priests world, for the Church exists in the unto God? 'Tis but laying down world to do for Him His work of our load, putting off our harness; love, of mercy-to gather unto itself saying “farewell toil, sin, sorrow." the outcasts not yet collected to be Like Elijah's mantle, our mortal part His witness-to instruct the ignodrops upon the earth ; like Elijah's rant, and seek and save the lost. As

long as He has a work of this nature the straight gate.". The Lord knows to perform, His Church must be them that are His, though even an preserved. Tempted, afflicted, and Elijah does not. Many who seem weakened it may be, but never ex- to be so in the eyes of men, are retirpated. Let the Church learn her jected by Him who searches the responsibilities. She exists for the heart. . The reverse may also be world, and is the exposition and true. evidence of Christ's love for the The number is not great in comworld.

parison with the thousands of Israel, The wisest and best of men may but it was enough to answer and make the most egregrious mistakes reprove the prophet's accusation. He when they venture to speculate upon was not, as he thought, alone. "I the number of the elect-as Elijah have reserved unto myself," says did here. One would have thought God, “Seven thousand in Israel who that the prophet of all Israel must have not bowed the knee to the have known, or at least have had image of Baal,”—a sufficient sign of good grounds for such a statement ; their fidelity and true piety. But

It is probable that in all how preserved ? It may mean either times there have been far more of that they had been kept safe from God's servants in the world than the fury of persecution by the provimen could reckon up. He may have, dence and power of God, or that they perchance, many a hidden gem scat- had been retained in their allegiance tered up and down in the very bosom by His efficacious grace. The latter of false creeds,-serving him in is the more useful interpretation. If sincerity and truth, in spite of all we stand firm, it is not in our own their errors, for at any rate theirs is purposes and resolutions- it is by the not the sin of wilful ignorance, that strength of God and our dependence is, the sin of enlightened people, and upon Him. We must be kept by of persons who might learn but will

the power of God through faith unto not. But after all it is but presump- salvation. Then only are we secure, tion to enquire-What is that to when He will deliver our souls from thee? Our Lord rebukes it in His death and our feet from falling. clisciplés---"Strive ye to enter in at

but no.

THE EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN AS HOME MISSIONARIES. *

BY THE REV. HUGH STOWELL BROWN, LIVERPOOL. It is not absolutely necessary that we cation of the steps which we take should have for every kind of re

with the view of advancing the ligious organization and effort, the Christian cause. Neither for our distinct or direct authority of Scrip- Sunday-schools, nor for our systems ture. It is enough if we can appeal of Tract distribution, nor even for to the spirit of God's word in justifi- our Missionary Societies of any de

scription, as actually constituted, can * The Circular Letter of the Lancashire

we quote direct Scriptural authority. and Cheshire Association of Baptist

To the Church of Christ has been Churches. 1864.

committed the great work of preach

« PreviousContinue »