Sidor som bilder

in an illuminated cloud, which softens, but cannot hide what is before our eyes. And that, too, not in acts of devotion and in hallowed shrines alone, but every where. In our chamber, in our household, by the way-side, in the scene of our public duties, at all seasons, all day long, the whole vision of the hidden world hangs before the eye of the wakeful spirit. Therefore let no man plead, in behalf of his sightless, inactive faith, that he is baffled by his lot in life, his duties, his round of labour, the distractions of society, and the like. If in any thing he is consenting to the neighbourhood and contact of evil, then his plea is true; but if his lot in life is that which God has chosen for him, it is nothing less than charging his hinderances on God. From every lawful state in life there is a direct and open way into the world unseen.

The last remark I will make is, that we must be ever moving one way or the other, either to or from the source of our hidden life. To hold an equipoise between the seen and the unseen is impossible.

Our inward being is ever changeful and fluctuating; and as it gains or loses its sympathy with the realities of faith, so it will either rise or fall in the scale of spiritual life. We are always tending to one of the two extremes: the inward must subdue the outward to itself, or the outward will stifle the inward life. Let us, therefore, make our

choice, and let us choose wisely.

Most pure is

the happiness which may be ours, if only we will ;
a bliss untinged by a shade of sorrow.
There are

no thorns now in the hidden life of Christ; no
chill, no blemish in its gladness. All things, even
the best, below God, have a canker somewhere,
and the taint of a fallen world is on them. Not
so the life which is with Christ in God.
It is as
peaceful as it is pure; high above the reach of all
perturbations. They that live in Him have their
dwelling in God; they look out of Him as out of
an everlasting shelter; and look down on the wide
weltering sea of this world's troubled life. Let us
pray of Him to draw us within the veil; to make
us forgotten among men; to gather up all our life
into Himself; that "when Christ, who is our life,
shall appear," we may "appear with Him in glory."

12 May 1867 Winchester

1 January 1882 Winchester

20 Septender 1868 Ottawa. Canaḍu



[ocr errors]

ST. MATTHEW xxvi. 41.

"Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."

THESE words of our Lord in the garden, when He came from His agony and found the apostles asleep, are very sorrowful and touching. They shew an ineffable depth of tenderness and compassion. He uttered no reproach, no sharp complaint, at their unseasonable slumber; but only, “What, could ye not watch with me one hour?" and He turned away all thought from Himself to them; and, for their own sakes, bade them "watch and pray," for that their trial was at hand. Now in this we have a wonderful example of the love of Christ. How far otherwise we should act in such a case, we all well know. When any seem to us to be less keenly awake to the trial we may happen to be undergoing, we are above measure excited, as if some great wrong were done to us. There is nothing we resent

so much as the collected manner of those who are about us in our afflictions. If they still seem the same when we are so changed-even if they can still be natural, feel common interests, and take their wonted rest, we feel exceedingly aggrieved, and almost forget our other trial, in the kindling of a sort of resentment. We have here, then, a wonderful pattern of gentleness and forgetfulness of self; for if ever there was a season of sorrow to any born of woman, it was the hour of agony in the garden. It seems strange to us how His disciples could have slept at such a time. They had but then left the upper chamber, where they had seen and heard all the sad words and acts of that last passover; they had heard Him saying, "With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer;" and little as they understood the full meaning of that mystery of sorrow, yet from His way of speaking they must have felt overcast by the belief that some trial, greater than any before, was nigh at hand. Moreover, they had seen Him " troubled in spirit," and heard Him say, "one of you shall betray me." And, besides this, His parting words to them when He went away from them a stone's cast in the garden, were enough, we should have thought, to keep us waking: "Then saith He unto

1 St. John xiii. 21.

them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death tarry ye here, and watch with me." And with all these things full upon them, it would have seemed that they, least of all, could have fallen asleep -they, the favoured three-Peter who loved his Master with so earnest and warm a love, and James who was counted worthy to be the companion of Peter, and the disciple who an hour before had lain on His breast at supper. In St. Luke's Gospel, we read that they were "sleeping for sorrow." And this secret cause of their heaviness, it may be, the evangelist learned of some one who well knew what passed on that awful night. Who can doubt but that they sadly told all their infirmities? St. Matthew (and St. Mark also) say that "their eyes were heavy." And they that have entered into the depths of sorrow know well how nearly akin to slumber is the languor and amazement of unutterable grief; how the "sight faileth for looking upward," and the eyes, which gaze fixedly and see nothing, close for very emptiness. But none knew this better than He, the Man of Sorrows, when He spoke these few words of mild upbraiding. It was at that hour they had most need to watch, as being by sorrow least able to stand against temptation. Theirs, then, is an example of an almost blameless infirmity; and yet, though hardly to be

1 St. Matt. xxvi. 38.

3 St. Matt. xxvi. 43.

2 St. Luke xxii. 45.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »