« ZurückWeiter »
teach them letters night and day ; but as if he had no consolation in all these things, and suffered no other annoyance either from within or without, yet he was harassed by daily and nightly affliction, that he complained to God, and to all who were admitted to his familiar love, that Almighty God had made him ignorant of Divine wisdom, and of the liberal arts ; in this emulating the pious, the wise, and wealthy Solomon, king of the Hebrews, who at first, despising all present glory and riches, asked wisdom of God, and found both, namely, wisdom and worldly glory: as it is written, Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.' But God, Who is always the inspector of the thoughts of the mind within, and the instigator of all good intentions, and a most plentiful aider, that good desires may be formed,-for He would not instigate a man to good intentions, unless He also amply supplied that which the man justly and properly wishes to have,instigated the king's mind within ; as it is written, I will hearken what the LORD God will say concerning me.' He would avail himself of every opportunity to procure coadjutors in his good designs, to aid him in his strivings after wisdom, that he might attain to what he aimed at; and, like a prudent bird, which rising in summer with the early morning from her beloved nest, steers her rapid flight through the uncertain tracks of ether, and descends on the raanifold and varied flowers of grasses, herbs, and shrubs, essaying that which pleases most, that she may bear it to her home, so did he direct his eyes afar, and seek without that which he had not within, namely, in his own kingdom.”
Who can peruse without interest the following delightful account of his
“On a certain day we were both of us sitting in the king's chamber, talking on all kinds of subjects, as usual, and it happened that I read to him a quotation out of a certain book. He heard it attentively with both his ears, and addressed me with a thoughtful mind, showing me at the same moment a book which he carried in his bosom, wherein the daily courses and psalms, and prayers which he had read in his youth, were written, and he commanded me to write the same quotation in that book. Hearing this, and perceiving his ingenuous benevolence, and devout desire of studying the words of Divine wisdom, I gave, though in secret, boundless thanks to Almighty God, who had implanted such a love of wisdom in the king's heart. But I could not find any empty space in that book wherein to write the quotation, for it was already full of various matters; wherefore I made a little delay, principally that I might stir up the bright intellect of the king to a higher acquaintance with the Divine testimonies. Upon his urging me to make haste and write it quickly, I said to him, “ Are you willing that I should write that quotation on some leaf apart ? For it is not certain whether we shall not find one or more other such extracts which will please you ; and if that should so happen, we shall be glad that we have kept them apart.' 'Your plan is good,' said he, and I gladly made haste to get ready a sheet, in the beginning of which I wrote what he bade me; and on that same day, I wrote therein, as I had anticipated, no less than three other quotations which pleased him; and from that time we daily talked together, and found out other quotations which pleased him, so that the sheet became full, and deservedly so; according as it is written, “The just man builds upon a moderate foundation, and by degrees passes to greater things.' Thus, like a most productive bee, he flew here and there, asking questions as he went, until he had eagerly and unceasingly collected many various flowers of Divine Scriptures, with which he thickly stored the cells of his mind.
“Now when that first quotation was copied, he was eager at once to read, and to interpret in Saxon, and then to teach others; even as we read of that happy robber, who recognised his LORD, ay, the LORD of all men,
as He was hanging on the blessed cross, and, saluting Him with his bodily eyes only, because elsewhere he was all pierced with nails, cried, “LORD, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom !' for it was only at the end of his life that he began to learn the rudiments of the Christian faith. But the king, inspired by God, began to study the rudiments of Divine Scripture on the sacred solemnity of S. Martin, [Nov. 11,] and he continued to learn the flowers collected by certain masters, and to reduce them into the form of one book, as he was then able, although mixed one with another, until it became almost as large as a psalter. This book he called his ENCHIRIDION, or MANUAL, because he carefully kept it at hand day and night, and found, as he told me, no small consolation therein."
It is needless to add, that we cordially recommend this work to a place in all libraries, and we feel assured that, if the promised volumes prove at all like the present, a more valuable series has not been commenced even in these enterprising days.
THE CHARACTER OF THE LITANY. The Litany, to use the words of Bishop Jebb, as it is in its substance probably the most ancient, so in its range it is the most comprehensive of our public prayers. And yet, comprehensive as it is, nothing can be more simple than its method; nothing more solemn, nothing more calculated to fill us with reverence and godly fear. Ít begins with calling upon the Name of the awful Trinity; and who can call upon that Holy Name without fear? And yet, when there is set before him what great things God as his Creator, and his Redeemer, and his Sanctifier, hath done for his soul, whó can call upon that Holy Name without love? and how shall man show his love? How, but by penitence, and by Aleeing from sin,
and by obedience to His Word, by calling to mind more earnestly his Lord's incarnation, nativity, passion, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and by fervent intercession for his fellow men ? Hence, there follows, addressed to the second Person of the TRINITY, an earnest deprecation of sin, its causes and consequences, its several kinds and degrees, inward and outward, spiritual and carnal. We deprecate the judgments which it provokes, and the dangers which it causes, both in Church and State. Above all, we pray to be delivered from all hardness of heart, and that contempt of God's word and commandment which alone can seal us up in final impenitence and everlasting ruin. And what hope have we, my brethren, of escaping everlasting death? What hope have we but in the merits of our Lord and SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST, His Death and Passion ? This, alone, even all that our LORD hath done and suffered for us, can afford us strength and consolation as we pass through this world, whether we be in prosperity or adversity; this alone can support us, in all time of our tribulation, in all time of our wealth, in the hour of death, and in the day of judgment; therefore we close this part of the Litany with representing to our Lord, to our Elder Brother, all that He hath done and suffered in our behalf. But, observe. Sin is first prayed against, and most fully enlarged upon, as far more grievous and intolerable than lightning and tempest, than plague, pestilence, or famine, than battle and murder, or sudden death. These we may suffer, and yet be saved ; yea, they may add to our glory and felicity hereafter. But we cannot go on wilfully in sin, and yet hope for salvation. Sin unrepented can only be followed by everlasting damnation, by our being sent out for ever from God's presence, by hearing the fearful sentence,“ Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." Therefore, whatever we pray to be delivered from, above all, we pray earnestly that the good LORD would deliver us from all sin.
Then follows the intercessory part of this office. As CHRIST now liveth to make intercession for us at His FATHER's right hand; so the Church, which is His Body, carries on the same work on earth, and fearfully would the Church be wanting were she to neglect this work of love. If this were omitted, in her likeness to Christ, she would be wanting in one main feature. Almost the last prayer of Jesus, before His arrest, was an intercession for His Church, for His Church in all ages. He prayed that those who called themselves by His Name might be one, even as He and the Father are one, that the world might believe. He prayed for His most devoted followers, for those who should be sifted by Satan, that their faith might not fail. Almost His last prayer upon the cross was for His enemies, that their great sin might be forgiven them : “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do." How then could the Church neglect the office of intercession, and have any likeness to her glorious Head? But here, when weighed in the balance, the Church is not found wanting. The office of intercession in the Litany is distinguished by a rare union of comprehensiveness and detail. Having prayed first for the government of the Holy Church universal, we then seek the temporal and spiritual welfare of that branch of the Catholic Church to which we belong, praying for the happiness of its earthly bead, for wisdom and holiness in her spiritual pastors, asking the peculiar blessing and keeping of God's faithful people, that unity, peace, and concord may prevail among all nations, as preparatory to the enlargement and final establishment of our Saviour's promised dominion. Our own personal concern in the kingdom of Christ is next alluded to. We ask from God, as the foundation of all things, the spirit of religion, hearts filled with His fear and love, lives devoted to His service. We pray that we may not be slothful, but that we may go from strength to strength ; and therefore we seek that increase of grace which hears the Word of God with meekness, receives it with pure affection, and brings forth the fruits of the SPIRIT. After this provision is made for every casualty; prayer is offered up against every temptation. We pray for those who cannot or will not pray for themselves; whilst by our intercession we help those who continue instant in prayer. We pray that wanderers may be brought back, that the weakhearted may be comforted, that the fallen may be raised, that those who stand may be strengthened, that the enemy of our souls may be beaten down.
Like Him Who took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses, we are touched with the feeling of the infirmities of
and therefore we pray for comfort and support for those who are in any trouble, sickness, or affliction ; we pray to Him Who neither slumbereth nor sleepeth, to keep the going out and coming in of those who travel by land or by water. Like our Saviour on the cross, we pray for the forgiveness of our enemies, persecutors, and slanderers; and we close our intercessions by a confession that we are not worthy to pray at all; that even in prayer we sin, by negligences and ignorances, and so that even our prayers need to be repented of; our prayers with our lives need to he amended. Who then can take away our sins ? Who but the Lamb of God? To Him therefore we pray for mercy and for peace. Yes, even to the Holy Trinity do we cry. We then approach our father in Heaven with greater confidence, with increased earnestness, summing up our prayers in longer and more continued supplications, giving glory to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
Thus does the Church fulfil the Apostolic injunction, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men." -- From the Golden Censers.
The Children's Corner.
STORIES OF VILLAGE MAIDENS.
THE FALSEHOOD. About six o'clock on Thursday evening, in the month of May-you may guess how many years ago ; twenty if you like, or ten if you like that better; or if five will please you better still, say five; a little girl of ten years old was standing near my garden gate, waiting till the other singing children should arrive, for their usual lesson. Her name was Mary Stone. She was a child you could not help loving. I loved her very much, she was so bright and merry, so affectionate, so dutiful and diligent, yet sometimes so pensive, so sad and thoughtful. Poor child, she had causes for sorrow at home which only those who knew her at home could know of. Her mother knew, and her sister,
three years older, knew; and I knew something of the home trials which, young as she was, she shared with her mother and her sisters. I often fancied it was grief, not sin, which brought those shades of sadder thought over her, which would sometimes quench the brightness of her dark brown eyes. She was a very good child at school, punctual, diligent, attentive, and quick; and I do not remember that she ever required to be told twice of the same fault : her faults, too, until the day I am telling you of, were very slight ones. But I can tell you better of her than that she was good at school : she was good at home. Her mother has told me more than once, that she had never disobeyed her, nor told her a lie, nor in any way seriously displeased her.
This child, as I said, was standing near my garden gate, with her Prayer Book in her hand, when Ann Marsh, a girl about her own age, came up to her, and said,
Polly, I wish you'd come up into town with me. I'm going up to fetch a jug of barm for James Atkins.”
“Oh, no! but I can't, Ann," replied Mary, “we're just going in to sing.” “Oh, never mind that: you'll be back in plenty of time, I
No, I shan't. Mr. Herbert himself told me to be quick and gather all the singing maidens together; and I can't find anybody but Susan Ashton and Kate Anstey, and they have gone to try and find some more. I expect them back every minute." Well, Mary,” answered Ann, I must say you're very tire
You might just as well come. Now do'e. Don't you