Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

relatives, and he assisted on both occasions. He was possessed of very fine feelings, and wept bitterly whilst reading. To him that part of the Psalm" Hear my prayer, O Lord, and with thine ears consider my calling : hold not thy peace at my tears"--was very appropriate. I would willingly have excused him the mournful task, but he modestly refused. A funeral, from its rarity, caused much attention in the village. The service was always attended with the greatest decorum. The frequency of the occurrence in many large towns has, undoubtedly, a strong tendency to blunt its influence, and to suppress those thoughts of our mortality, which it is so caleulated to draw forth.

Robert by his industry, assisted by his wife, acquired sufficient money to buy a comfortable cottage, some few years after their marriage. Order and cleanliness reigned within it. On a shelf lay some well-selected books. Some of these were highly valued, being the gift of preceding ministers, as marks of their remembrance. There were two rooms in front, one of which is the school. Around the door a thick and spread. ing shrub throws its luxuriant branches. A garden attached to the house supplied them with vegetables through the year. A pretty little spot was decorated with flowers almost of every description, the lily, the tulip, the carnation, with many others whose names I forget. Robert was passionately fond of these frail but beautiful productions of nature, and many came to beg seeds and roots of him. The cheerful appearance without was sweetly of a piece with the piety and peace within. As the family knelt, morning and evening, their praises ascended as holy incense to heaven in gratitude for the mercies they enjoyed. They were indeed blest, every thing prospered with them. How many complain of the hardness of the times, and of the difficulty of procuring a livelihood for themselves and families. Happy would it be for such murmurers, if they were to imitate Robert in industry and perseverance !

The clerk’s aunt, whom I have before mentioned, I frequently talked with, and every conversation increased my good opinion of her. She was one of the excellent of the earth." Her countenance would beam with pleasure when I spoke of her nephew, for she loved him as her own son. This woman was a real comfort to the village. Often in my visits to the sick have I seen her ministering to their wants. She was a nurse without fee or reward ; and, from her benevolent disposition, was peculiarly qualified for the office. Her manner of

[ocr errors]

ing, sir.

speaking was very fervent and kind. When I bid her good morning, she would reply,—"I wish you a very good morn

Books and sermons were always gladly received. On the day of my departure from the curacy, she came to bid me farewell, and said, with a burst of tears, “Thank you, sir, for that book.” I am unconscious at this time to what tract she alluded, but to one, doubtless, from which she had derived comfort. When I had be reading to the sick in her presence, she would generally give an exhortation to the poor invalid, and tell him, “ How thankful he ought to be for hearing that good book.” She was a regular attendant at church ; for an important event it must have been indeed which would have kept her from the house of God. Long before prayers might you see her coming in her neat and clean attire.

A little before service, Robert would look with evident anxiety for my little flock, and if few came he would prolong the ringing for some time. When the congregation was good, he would always mention it with great satisfaction. As clerk, he read with a solemnity most congenial to the place and the occasion. He felt deeply what was said. In those parts where the name of our Saviour is noticed, he was very emphatic. Happy man! what to many in his situation is a task, to him was the greatest pleasure. To the sermon he paid marked and profound attention, taking down, as I went on, those sentences which struck him most forcibly to meditate upon at home.

Sunday was to him the happiest of all days, for it afforded him abundant time to read the Bible. The design of this holy day, which is to worship God and to edify our souls, was duly acted upon. Thus he enjoyed a foretaste of that everlasting sabbath which remaineth for the children of God.

My predecessor in the ministry of S. had established a Sunday-school, which has been of great advantage to the poor. The fruits of Sunday instruction were very apparent; the scholars were often the means of teaching their parents, and bringing them to church. Most of the respectable farmers, and others, gave their gratuitous assistance. Amongst the number was the clerk; but in consequence of his easy temper the lads were generally turbulent under his care. They presumed upon his good-nature.

Sometime after I left the parish, Robert was delivered from this world after a few week's illness, and received into glory. He died in peace and hope. May we die the death of the righteous, and may our last end be like his ! (Num. xxjü. 10.)

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

How truly and how affectingly do we behold set forth in this verse, in the most pathetic manner, the warm feelings of a tender-hearted friend, kindled by the prevailing love of Christ, abundantly shed abroad in his heart.

These are feelings which at all times are welcomed among friendly disposed persons, and a great means of influencing those who are not so disposed; feelings which are more particularly welcomed in seasons of affliction and poverty, and which give greater and stronger desires to influence persons by experience to know the value and comfort of that friend, mentioned in Proverbs xviii. 24,"that sticketh closer than a brother.” The character of a friend is beautifully described in Prov. xvii. 17, where it says, “a friend loveth at all times.” “ That friend that sticketh closer than a brother," I take to mean no other than Christ himself; who in the verse displays one of the affectionate feelings of a tender-hearted friend, common to the human nature.which he took upon himself when he became man : “Jesus weeps.”

The more we ponder over and consider these words, so much the more are we led to see how one part of Scripture bears up and confirms another. Thus we find recorded, in Romans xii. 15, the beautiful exhortation, "Rejoice with them that do rejoice; and weep with them that weep;” and have, in 1 Cor. xii. 26, an excellent reason why, namely this, “If one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; and if one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.” And what is the reason of this? We have it recorded in the 12th verse: it says, “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.” This is beautifully confirmed in the 14th verse: "For the body is not one member, but many."

The circumstance that called forth the sympathies of our Lord, in the verse quoted, was the death of Lazarus, or rather as it is stated in the 33rd verse, "that seeing Mary weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in spirit, and was troubled,” or, as it is expressed in the margin, he troubled himself." The reason why he sympathises is beautifully worded in St. Paul's Epistle to the Hebrews (iv. 15.) “For we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with

[ocr errors]

a feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like
as we are, yet without sin.” In the 34th verse he still sym-
pathises with them, and asked them a trying question, “Where
have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.”
35th verse, "Jesus wept.” Next verse, “Then said the Jews,
Behold bow he loved him." Consider what the Jews said,
“Behold how he loved him." He is no less loving to us now.
He loves us more than any other friend besides, because he
laid down his life for us, and "greater love hath no man than
this.” (John xv. 13.) “In that while we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us.” (Rom. v. 8.) Such was his love for us;
and shall we, through our sins, cause those eyes to weep again,
and on the same principle, though not literally, join with the
multitude, and cry, Crucify bim! Crucify him? To Christians
whose hearts are fired with love to Jesus, and zeal for his
cause, such conduct, it is to be hoped, is far from them. But
there are some amongst the professors of Christianity who, by
their conduct, do plainly prove that such is their sad state.
To those who are thus acting, let a few words be addressed.
Suppose a kind friend, a friend that had done all that was in
his power to assist another, was unjustly brought to be burnt-
tied to a stake-do you think that the person he had done so
much for could look at him for an hour in that situation?
No. Prolong that hour into a day, could he still behold him?
No, he could

not. Yet this man only did what he could, and lived himself, but Jesus gave his life, “the just for the unjust;" and, as I quoted a little way back, “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” If this has been the way in which our Saviour has been treated, let it be so no more; but pray earnestly to Almighty God that he would

create in you a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within you." "Jesus weeps” because of the people that kept not his law. Hear how he sobs out, and says, in Psalm cxix. 136, Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law.” And again, in Jeremiah ix. 1, he exclaims, "Oh! that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people.” Hear what Isaiah says, (liii. 3.) “That he was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief." Truly he was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; for how often do we read of him "weeping with those that weep,” in the instance now before us, and many others. Behold Jesus weeping over Jerusalem, (Lake xix. 41.) It is written,

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

"And

[ocr errors]

when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it." Oh! what must have been his feelings when he wept over the city, and gave utterance to such language as this, which we find in the next verse, "saying, if thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace, but now they are hid from thine eyes”—but how often has much the same thing been said over us? Lastly, this Jesus, that thus weeps, “ took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham," as we find written in Hebrews ii. 16, and became that friend “ that sticketh closer than a brother." We know that when an earthly friend desires us to do anything which would conduce to our welfare, how exceedingly ready and anxious we are to do it without delay, for fear of disobliging our friend, and losing, it may be, his interest, which might be of great importance to us. Yet, O, how widely different is the case with us when our greatest friend, namely Christ, speaks to us, and exhorts us as he does in Romans xii. 2, where he says, “be not conformed to this world;" for which exhortation we have an excellent reason in 1 John ii. 15, namely this, "that if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.' We have an excellent reason for this, that if you love the world, you cannot love Christ, as we find recorded in Matthew vi. 24, “No man can serve two masters : for either

he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold * to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and

mammon." “ Ye cannot serve God and mammon." Listen to what St. Paul says in his Epistle to the Galatians, (i. 10.) “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men,” he says, “ I should not be the servant of Christ.” St. James strongly confirms this statement, and says, (iv. 4.) “ Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world, is the enemy of Christ.” Thus plainly and distinctly are we told, that if we are the friends of the world, we are the enemies of Christ. Let us take care and guard against this, by attending to and putting in practice, by the power and with the assistance of the Almighty, that exhortation which he has given us in Romans xii. 2. The case of those who are friends of the world is a lamentable one, but not hopeless; for the Lord is still waiting to be gracious; there is still room; angels and glorified spirits are waiting to have the joyful opportunity of commencing the heavenly song of Moses and the Lamb; for it is written in the Scriptures

« FöregåendeFortsätt »