« FöregåendeFortsätt »
needed by the Reformation, and he commended his wife and children to God, believing that He would provide for their true good, and supply their real need.
Therefore it may be understood how often Catherine was perplexed to provide for sudden visitors, whom she nevertheless, with the same large-heartedness that animated her husband, welcomed freely, while she desired to do honou to his hospitality.
Perhaps one of the best tributes that can be passed on Catherine Luther is this, that her life, during her husband's, was so retired that only in home duties, which have little to attract in a description, she can be said to shine. She had few chroniclers. Those, indeed, whom she cheered and succoured in conjunction with her husband would doubtless give her their meed of praise; but her value, so unknown to fame, was precious to the heart of her husband. He says in his Table Talk, “ This is abundant reason that I should love and honour my Kate, that she nobly cleaves to the faith, and behaves as it behoves a godly and tender wife, the consideration of which enables a man to bear easily what is laid on him, and to overcome the temptations to strife and disunion which Satan casts in the way of wedded life.”
"I look on her as precious beyond the kingdom of France and the states of Venice; for the gift of a faithful wife is from God above. * * The highest grace and gift of God is a godly, loving, faithful and domestic wife, with whom a man can live peacefully, to whom he can commit all his affairs and possessions—even his life.”
“ My Kate is a blessed refreshing companion in life. God has given her many excellent gifts, which much more than cover little faults and shortcomings. There is no dearer, closer, nor more strengthening relationship, union, or fellowsbip than a godly, happy marriage."
These are but few of his heartfelt and eloquent testimonies to her worth and his favoured lot in possessing her. When writing to his friends, he continually styles her “his most precious wife,” his “dear and gracious wife,” his “ empress, etc., etc.
Those “ little faults” to which he gently alludes arose probably from a naturally proud and impatient spirit, and à qnick and somewhat dictatorial temper; with these he dealt wisely, mingling tender consideration with needful firmness.
She was aware that the eyes of all Germany were fixed on her husband and his household, and any flaw would be watched for and exposed with triumph by the enemies of the good cause; this gave her double diligence in her rule as a mistress. She was well skilled in housewifery, and brought all her capability to bear in the exercise of her authority; her maidens were trained and governed as she thought it beseemed those who were members of a godly family; "she looked well to the ways of her household." Sometimes the infirmities of her temper interfered with her intentions, and she made the yoke too heavy, when resistance was sure to follow. On such occasions Luther interfered, and, in his earnest, pointed way, reproved the rebels and restored order.
Sometimes she forgot that subjection which it became her to feel as a wife, and attempted to bring her good doctor under her control in the little matters where she ruled : this he invariably checked, very good-humouredly, but as decidedly. He would jestingly call her his "Mr. Kate,” “my Lord Kate,” “Dr. Kate," "Dr. Catherine Luther,” « Preacher.” One day, after she had been more tart and loquacious in her lecture than usual, he thus rebuked her: “I must have patience with the papists, I must have patience with heretics, I must have patience with my household, I must have patience with Catherine Bora. I want so much patience that my life had need to be nothing but patience. Women don't pray before they begin to preach, otherwise they would leave off preaching; God hears their prayers equally with those of men, but he does not allow them to preach."
Such a reproof entered at once : she never resisted, for he never censured, she well knew, but on sufficient provocation.*
CHRIST IN THE OLD TESTAMENT.
Jews, “ for in them ye think ye have eternal
Continually did he make his appeal to those old Scriptures to support his claims, and continually did his apostles reason from those Scriptures to prove that he is Christ.
* To be concluded in the next Number.
Nor is it only in their direct prophecies, descriptive of his humiliation and death and his subsequent glorious elevation, nor in those which fix so nearly the time of his coming, nor in those Messianic psalms wherein inspired poets so sublimely sung of his personal excellence and his glorious reign: not in these only do the Old Testament Scriptures testify of Christ; their significant rites foreshadowed him, their sacrificial victims symbolized him, their ceremonial observances pointed to him; especially their incessant shedding and sprinkling of blood through so many generations spoke, and still speak, from the Scripture record, of that nobler “ blood of sprinkling" whereunto we are come for the expiation of our guilt, the cleansing of our souls. There
may indeed be a liability to carry too far the idea of finding Christ in every Old Testament passage. We may overstrain their import, and depart from their interpretation; but we certainly are safe to let Scripture interpret Scripture, and where New Testament inspiration throws back its light upon Old Testament passages, to read them in that light. It is an inspired apostle who calls Christ " our Passover," and thus authorizes us, in our Old Testament reading, to behold in the paschal lamb the vivid type of Him who was slain for us, and in virtue of whose trusted blood the Divine vengeance harmlessly passes
Nor do we suppose that this privilege is limited to the paschal solemnities. We take this as a sample of the evangelical significance that is in all the Old Testament sacrifices. We are abundantly taught, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, that “ those sacrifices which they offered year continually” significantly pointed to Him who in the end of the world”—that is, in the latter period of its history—“ appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”
Do not then despise the Old Testament Scriptures. Do not speak of them, nor think of them, nor treat them as out of date, and superseded by the New Testament. They are simply supplemented, simply fulfilled by it. They are they which testify of Christ. They are the documents by which he is authenticated to us in all the grace of his mission, in all the efficacy of his death, in all the triumph of his resurrection, in all the glory of his eternal reign.
The old ritual, as a matter of observance, has indeed
been superseded, has “waxed old and vanished away;" but not as a matter of valuable instruction and of pleasing and grateful remembrance. The old schoolmaster that has brought us to Christ should not be ungratefully banished from our society. We may still converse with him of Christ to our incalculable profit. We do well to let the Old Testament take us back into the ancient temple, into the more ancient tabernacle; farther yet, to the altars of the patriarchs, to the places of worship and of sacrifice of “ the church before the flood;" to that altar whereon Abel's accepted victim lay: to that earliest altar of all, by which we cannot doubt that our penitent first parents stood, hand in hand, with downcast faces, on which the sorrow of their banishment from Eden had given place to the more sacred sorrow for the guilt by which they had deserved that banishment, blending with which we can also detect the glimmering of pensive, humble, grateful, trembling gladness-of wondering, tearful, child-like trust in Him whose gracious promise has made its way to their hearts through all the darkness and horror of their apostasy.
We do well to let the Old Testament take us back to those early scenes, those primal scenes of worship. We do well thus to stand with the ancient believers, and look forward in time to the coming Saviour; to hope, and to long, and to believe with them. Then returning to our real historic position, we shall look back to the Christ already come, already revealed, already sacrificed, already risen and ascended up on high; and our faith, and our grateful remembrance, and our adoration, and our expectation will be quickened, and we shall feel ourselves in sympathy and communion with the believers of all ages—“the whole family in heaven and earth.”
THE LIGHT IN A DARK PLACE. RECENT American traveller says: “I once was on Long Island Sound, coming towards New York, in one of the numerous steamboats constantly
passing over those waters. Rising early in the morning, I went on deck, and looked around me. Just behind us, still shining brightly, although the day bad broken, was the light from the Sands'-point lighthouse, at
the head of the Sound. Hours before, the pilot, keeping watch while the passengers slept, had seen that familiar light far ahead. By it he had directed our course till the day dawned. As I watched the light, receding constantly as we kept on our way, the sun came up from the eastern hills. Then the light from the lighthouse suddenly vanished. It was of use no longer. It shone through the darkness of the night, guiding the mariner till the morning came. Then the sun made its feeble light of no further
It is so with the word of God. “We have a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts."* Prophecy then is put into the world for the same reason that men put lighthouses along the coast; not to take the place of the sun, but to shine in the darkness till the sun rise. In the darkness of this world, the Bible is the gleam from the friendly lighthouse tower by which we are to guide our course till the Sun of Righteousness rise upon us.
How foolish it would be for the sailor to say: "I can light a candle and put it on the bow of my vessel ; it will give me all the light I need. I am not going to trust to the lighthouse.' And yet men are more foolish than that in regard to the Divine word. They want to go by their own wisdom. At any rate, they will not trust to the Bible.
How foolish, pay, how wicked that sailor would be who should say: "I am not going to trust to that lighthouse ; and what is more, I am going to put out its light;" and so should break the lantern, with its lenses and lamps, and demolish the tower. But more foolish, more wicked than that are many who not only will not trust the Bible, but do everything they can to destroy its influence among
The world is dark, but God has kindled this light to guide us through the darkness into the eternal day.
No other light shines. All about you is pitchy_gloom. But steadily glows that Divinely-given beam. Following its guidance, you will at last make harbour in the port of everlasting peace. Jesus Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, will beam upon your soul, will be formed within you the hope of glory. You will be at rest.
* 2 Pet, i, 19,