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allow. When the reader has ceased, the President delivers a discourse to edify the people, and animate them to practise such things as are excellent. When the sermon is ended we all rise up, and pour out our supplications. The bread and wine, mixed with water, are then carried round; the President, as before, offering up prayers, and thanksgivings to the best of his power, and the people replying with an audible Amen.' Then the consecrated elements are partaken of by all who are present, and sent to the absent by the hands of the Deacons. Contributions are at the same time deposited with the President, who relieves with this fund of voluntary charity, orphans, and widows, the sick, the needy, captives, and strangers, together with all who are in want." This passage is of intense importance, inasmuch as it establishes the fact, that in those days of trial, and yet of unflinching faith, and burning zeal, the Christians were wont on every Sunday to receive the communion of the Body and Blood of Christ, and to contribute weekly their free-will offerings, to supply the necessities of Christ's poor and afflicted members. This Apology appears to have produced a salutary effect upon the mind of Antoninus Pius, who, though himself heedless, and indifferent to religion, issued an edict to the effect, that if persons were merely accused of being Christians, they should be acquitted, and their accusers condemned.
Not long after he had written his first Apology, St. Justin travelled into the East, exercising the office of an Evangelist, and burning with an ardent desire to make converts to the faith. Whilst at Ephesus he met in the Xistus with a Jew, named Trypho, who, mistaking Justin for a Gentile, [for he still wore the Pallium,] was anxious to enter into conversation with him. Justin proceeded at once to explain the mistake he had made, and, telling him the steps by which he had been led to embrace Christianity, expressed his surprise that one who had Moses and the Prophets should not have been brought to the truth. The companions of Trypho made sport of the sentiments the saint had uttered. Justin, however, was nothing daunted, but at once challenged him to a calm consideration of the points at issue, with an understanding that his companions should take no part in the dispute. Some of them went away, and those who remained listened with attention. St. Justin afterwards committed to writing the conversation which passed between them. It is fortunately preserved, and has been translated into English. In this treatise he enters into an examination of and combats the erroneous opinions of the Jews, and shows that Christ is very God, the Son of the uncreated God, Lord and Christ, very God of very God. Though not instrumental in Trypho's conversion, his remarks were not without effect upon his mind, inasmuch as he ever afterwards looked upon St. Justin with feelings of deepest reverence.
Upon the death of Antoninus, and the accession of Aurelius, the calm which had prevailed was again succeeded by days of storm, and the peace of the Christians broken in upon. He did not, it is true, repeal the edict which had been issued by his predecessor; but he gave the utmost facilities to unprincipled persons for hunting them down by
violent persecutions, and venting upon them their deadly hate, by promising to hand over to the informers the property of Christians found guilty of heinous crimes. Hence the most abominable charges were made against them; charges invented by the worst and most abandoned characters, -the very dregs of the people. The persecution waxed stronger day after day, and the poor Christians, unable to defend themselves, were delivered up to death. It is most sickening and distressing to contemplate the severe sufferings which they then must have borne. At this crisis St. Justin's conduct was marked by that firmness and constancy which it is the blessed privilege of the faithful to show, and which is the result of divine grace in the heart. In days of weakness and distress, God gives more than human power to those who put their trust in Him. St. Justin now came forth with a second Apology for the Christians. This was presented to Aurelius, but it produced no good impression upon his hardened heart. The gist of the work is to show, that the proceedings instituted against the Christians were unwarrantable and unjustifiable: and he argues for the superiority of Christianity over Gentile philosophy, from the fact that its professors could meet death with such calmness, and composure, and even joy. He also states, in this work, that he expects death will be his recompense; and among parties who would labour for this end, he mentions one Crescens, a philosopher, with whom St. Justin had had some conversation. As he expected, so it fell out; for, not long after, he and others were summoned before Rusticus, the prefect of Rome. Rusticus endeavoured, but in vain, to persuade them to comply with the edict of the Emperor, and obey the gods. Rusticus then enquired as to his former life, and the studies he had pursued; whereupon Justin informed him that he had devoted himself to all, and embraced the Christian faith. "Wretch!" said Rusticus; art thou too taken with that discipline?" "Undoubtedly I am," replied Justin; "and it affords me the comfort of being in the right path." He then states the doctrines of Christianity, and the blessedness that results from knowing that, to the faithful, death is the way to eternal life. All the arguments of the prefect failed, and when Justin had refused to sacrifice to the gods, he and his companions were led forth, and having been severely scourged, were beheaded. Thus, passing through the red sea of blood, they won for themselves the martyrs' purple crown.
THE POOR MATCH-GIRL.
IT was New Year's Eve, and a cold snowy night. On this evening, a poor little girl walked along the street with naked feet, benumbed with cold, and carrying in her hand a bundle of matches, which she had been trying all day to sell, but in vain: no one had given her a single
penny. The snow fell fast upon her pretty yellow hair, and her bare neck, but she did not mind it. She looked wistfully at the bright lights which shone from every window as she passed along; and she could smell the nice roast goose, and she longed to taste it: it was New
Year's Eve! Wearied and faint, she laid herself down in a corner between two houses, and drew her little legs under her, to keep herself warm. She could not go home, for her father would scold her for not having sold any matches; and even if she were there she would still be cold, for the house was but poorly protected, and the wind whistled through many a chink in the roof and walls. She thought she would try and warm her cold fingers by lighting one of the matches; she drew one out, struck it against the wall, and immediately a bright clear flame streamed from it, like a little candle.
The little girl looked at the flame, and fancied she saw before her a beautiful brass stove, with a nice warm fire in it! She stretched out her feet to warm them-when, lo, the match went out; and in a moment the stove and fire vanished, and she sat again in the cold night, with the burnt match in her hand.
She struck another: the flame blazed on the opposite wall, and she saw through it into a room where a table was laid out with handsome dishes,-roast goose, and other nice things were there,-and what was still more extraordinary, she saw the goose jump from the dish, knife, and fork, and all, and come running towards her. But again the match went out; and nothing but the dark wall and the cold street was to be seen.
The little girl drew another match, and as soon as it struck a light she thought she saw a most beautiful Christmas tree, larger and more splendid than any she had ever seen before. A vast number of lighted
candles hung among the branches; and a multitude of pretty variegated pictures, like those in the shops, met her eyes. The girl lifted up her little hands in rapture at the sight of all this; but again the match fell, and in the same moment one of the blazing candles shot through the sky, like a falling star, and fell at her feet. "Now one dies," cried she; for she had been told by her good old grandmother, that when a star falls a soul returns to God.
Again she struck; and, behold, a bright light shone round about her, and in the midst of it stood her kind grandmother, and looked calmly and smilingly upon her. "Dear grandmother," said she, "take me, O take me. You will be gone from me when the match goes out, like the bright stove, the nice supper, and the Christmas tree;" and saying this, she struck all the rest of the matches at once, which made a light around her almost like day. And now the good grandmother smiled still more sweetly upon her; she lifted her up in her arms, and they soared together far, far away, where there was no longer any cold, or hunger, or pain-they were in Paradise!
But the poor little match-girl was still in the corner of the street, in the cold New Year's morning. She was frozen to death, and a bundle of burnt matches lay beside her. People said, "She has been trying to warm herself, poor thing!" But, ah! they knew not what glorious things she had seen; they knew not into what joys she had entered-nor how happy she was on this festival of the New Year. Andersen.
THE MIRACLE OF NAIN.
"And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise! And he that was dead sate up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother."-St. Luke vii. 15, 16.
Ir was a dull, stern, gloomy day, at the time when the leaves fall in the land of Judah. The first fruits had been laid upon the altar,
with the clusters of the ripe vine, and the poor, the fatherless, and the stranger had gleaned the corners of the autumn field. The harvest of the Hebrews was over, and the vintage feast was done. Sad and solemn is the season of the year when all things fade with the leaf -when the flowers of the forest are weeded away, and life and growth and loveliness go down into the ground and die. But, beside these natural solemnities, there was a human sorrow in that land at the time of the text. In the city called Nain, there was a mourner's house. The sun had gone down upon the eyes of a man while it was yet day. A woman wept away her soul. There was a voice heard in Rama. A mother mourned for her child, and would not be comforted, because he was not. It was the burial-day. They carried out their dead, as the custom of the Jews was to bury, laid upon an open bier, the face unveiled to view, silent with the last sleep, calm, and without dreams. The Levite walked before the dead. Behind, the mourners came. It was the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; what sorrows entered into her soul! She had thought that this her son would live to bury her. She looked that his face would stand by her last bed; his fingers close her eyes; and she trusted that his voice would have been the last sound she should hear in her death. All this rushed with her tears, and quivered in her sigh, as she came on after her dead. But all at once the funeral stands still. Silence surrounds the dead. The widow looks up through her tears, and what or whom doth she see? A fair and stately form of a man. Light supernatural pours from his sacred eye. Pity and compassion shine round about his brow. He pauses, and with lifted hand his fingers touch the bier. He speaks, and the voice sayeth, "Young man, I say unto thee, Arise!" But can the dead hear? Will that cold flesh feel? Shall that command call back from Paradise the distant and separate soul? Hearken! Lo, he that was dead sate up and began to speak; he poured forth sudden words of life, and breath, and joy. He lives. But there is more to tell. He who upraised the dead was not yet content. He lifts the fingers of the young man. He leads him from his couch of wood. He guides him to that woman in her tears. He delivers him to his mother. And He which did these things is Jesus, the Redeemer of the earth. What a sight it must have been to see! What a scenery of wonder and sign! A roll of great events! A record of mighty_doctrine made known among men. It proclaimed a resurrection. Before that time there was only a dim and shadowy hope of any world to come, a vague promise, a vision of dreams. Enoch, that righteous man, had passed away with flesh; but where? none knew. Elijah, too, was caught up in the air, and that without death; but the place of his body angels never told. If the Jews had fully known a resurrection of the body, the Sadducees could not have taught in the lands; for they denied angel, and spirit, and a world to come. Until Jesus came life and immortality were hid. He it was that lifted the latch, and unclosed the door, and bade men look in, to behold the place that shall be hereafter. Thrice he spake unto the souls in the land of the departed, and they obeyed
his voice. Three several degrees of cold and silent death Lord Jesu made warm. At his command Lazarus came forth. By his word the Ruler's daughter lived. And now at Nain, in the presence of much people, the Redeemer performed the resurrection. He revealed, in the sight of many witnesses, that which he will accomplish at the last day, on that which will then be in the graves. It was as though He had said that day, “Marvel not at this; an hour cometh when all the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live! Thus, then, said the miracle of Nain. But again. Unto what manner of life was this man so restored? To youth, and beauty, and the perfect man. The arisen dead that day had neither spot, nor blemish, nor any such thing, but holy, and without blame. So they say it ever was with miracles of love. Whatsoever Jesus supernaturally made, was in its kind supreme. The wine of Cana far surpassed all produce of the grapes. The bread beneath His touch, when thousands fed, was like angels' food. The form of Lazarus, when he came forth from the tomb, shone with superior brightness, and lived again in youth. The Ruler's daughter woke to lovelier life; and death had been to her like a furnace of refiner's fire. And this young man of Nain arose complete, and glorious, and strong. All whom the Lord Jesu chose to be examples of His resurrection, were raised up to youth, and were to look on as the angels of God. This was a solemn mystery; so will it be at the last day. We shall not arise with the defect of childhood or decay of age. In the time between, and by the mighty power of God, the youthful and imperfect will expand, the aged and debased will be restored, and all will be raised up to look on in their middle strength, amid the flower of their days; as it is written, in the perfect stature of the fulness of Christ, distinct, and separate, and known. As the father and the son who toil in the same field, alike strong and of a ruddy countenance, or the mother and her daughter, who both are fair and young. For in that day there will be no imperfections such as childhood is, neither any failure, as there is in age, but like the three whom Jesus raised, all will be in youth, and strength, and glory. But there is yet another comfortable thing revealed at Nain. The Lord was not satisfied_merely to recall the dead, and then to pass by on the other side. He did not rest contented with the miracle of might. He came and touched the bier, and when they that bare him stood still, he said, "Young man, I say unto thee, Arise!" It was so. He that was dead sate up and began to speak. But this was not all. The Lord approached once more the scene. He took him by the hand. He led him where she stood-that widow in her tears, that woman in her deathless love; and the Lord delivered him to his mother, introduced the arisen dead, joined the divided, brought back the lost, made the severed one. This will be His principal gladness in the last resurrection. Jesus will rejoice to blend again into a single house the scattered families of earth. It will be to Him a chief delight when He shall have called up the silent into life and voice, to perform once more the miracle of Nain, and to deliver the son to his mother, the husband to wife, the friend to friend. He will