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and Lazarus, the rich man is accused of no crime at all, but the omission of charity towards his suffering brother brought upon him that state of torment. Bishop Andrewes, in his sermon on this subject, says, " There be many sermons of remembrance here on earth;
this of "Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things,' is one from heaven from the mouth of Abraham. Our Saviour Christ unlocketh hell gates to let us see what passeth there; in discovering to us what sights and what sufferings are in the other world. He showeth us one lying in them, and as He telleth us his fault, so what came to him for it in that great and fearful consequent• Now therefore thou art tormented. This example is told by our Saviour to other rich men who, when He put them in mind to make to themselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, that they might receive them to everlasting habitations, forgat themselves so far as to deride His counsel, which maketh Him fall from parables to a plain story, (for so this of the rich man and Lazarus is holden to be by the best interpreters,) and from everlasting habitations’ to everlasting torments;' that howsoever they regarded not His remember' upon earth, they had best give better ear to Abraham's from heaven.'
Bishop Andrewes further remarks that Abraham who spoke to the rich man, had been on earth a rich man also himself, showing that great possessions do not necessarily bring condemnation, but according to the use or abuse of them will be the reward or punishment. It is curious to observe the different minds of two rich men in the Old Testament, Abraham and Lot: the latter by love of wealth was led into associations with evil-doers, and without a miracle would have been destroyed with them. To him, therefore, they proved a very great snare, while Abraham's singleness of mind and
purpose to the service and glory of God, made him use his possessions aright, and follow with submission the leading of his Heavenly Father. We see him exposed to and victorious over a most fearful trial, and called “ the friend of God.” How different even on earth must have been the happiness of these two men ; one faithful to his God, the other involved in all sorts of difficulties and dangers from his pursuit and desire of increasing wealth ; and only saved from a frightful death for the sake of his kinsman Abraham. Our Lord's words to the rich young ruler, “Sell that thou hast and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven,” together with His command, “Be ye perfect,” show us plainly, that, short as we must ever fall in the performance, we must aim at the highest standard of duty, and follow Him with our whole heart; when we are aware that even could we do all, we are “ unprofitable servants,” what are we when we do not endeavour to do all ? Are not all the words of Him Who said “ Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away,” of the
deepest importance for us to study, and to endeavour in all things to obey ? “ Remembering always the words of the LORD JESUS, how He said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” These words of encouragement, together with all other His gracious directions, prove to us also the fact that in all almsgiving the giver is the person benefited; he does an act, practises a self-denial, to which the LORD annexes a reward. He gives to Christ Himself in the person of His poor members, for He has told us, “ Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me," and that even “a cup of cold water shall in no wise lose its reward.” When we consider too the great value of prayer, we must feel, that in thus obtaining the prayers of those whose wants we relieve, we are gainers beyond anything earthly, by which we can help them : that the prayers of the poor and destitute are precious in the sight of the LORD, and cannot fail to bring numberless blessings upon those for whom they are offered.
In the fourth chapter of S. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians, from the twenty-fourth verse to the end of the chapter, the Apostle may be considered as dwelling on those commandments which teach us our duty to our neighbour. In his paraphrase of the eighth, he says, “ Let him that stole steal no more, but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing that is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.” The omission here of all mention of first providing for his own necessities, shows in how strong a light S. Paul places the duty of Almsgiving, inasmuch as that he is positively to labour for the purpose of being able to bestow on the poor. How do these admonitions, and many such with which Holy Scripture abounds, shame us, who fancy sparing somewhat from our superfluities to be the performance of the duty of almsgiving In this age we are most of us nurtured from infancy in luxuries, which from habit come to be considered necessaries; but when, by God's blessing, our minds are opened to receive the awful truths of Holy Scripture, ought we not to endeavour in what small measure we can, by degrees to obtain the spirit of self-denial, that we may have the more to devote to the service of God? How many idle and foolish expenses might be first lessened and then left off entirely.
The practice in small things would lead us on to greater acts of self-denial, and great would be the gain in the babit of self-control we should thus acquire, and in the feeling that we were in any measure, however small it might be, striving daily to take up the cross of our Divine LORD and Master, knowing from His own gracious promises that no effort shall be in vain, and that • Blessed are those servants whom their LORD when He cometh shall find so doing.”
A CHRISTMAS CAROL.*
Last night I lay a sleeping,
When all my prayers were said,
His watch above my head;
Full softly in my ear,
And Christian men to hear.
Thy body be at rest, dear boy!
Thy soul be free from sin ;
within. The holy Christmas tide is nigh,
The season of Christ's birth ; Glory be to God on high !
And peace to men on earth.
And thou shalt now the self-same
sight In holy dreams behold; I'll sing the self-same song to
And mingle in thy mirth;
And peace to men on earth.
school, Example is the best ; One boy of truth and spotless
And look on JESUS' birth.
And peace to men on earth.
And meek He was, and lowly,
But ever from His birth,
And peace to men on earth.
Like Him be full of love;
Thine own that is above.
And peace to men on earth.
Myself, and all the heavenly host,
Were keeping watch of old,
The tidings of Christ's birth : Glory be to God on high,
And peace to men on earth.
The shepherds heard at Bethlehem
Glad tidings of great joy,
So lowly was His birth : Glory be to God on high, And peace to men on earth.
THE CAPTIVE LADIES.
A SEQUEL TO "A TALE OF THE TIME OF KING JOHN."
(Concluded from page 287.) MEANTIME the Lady Rhoda had the anxieties with respect to what had become of her sister, added to her other trials : disease was making rapid progress in her frame, she longed to know something of her loved sister who had adventured her life for her ; drooping day by day, she needed all those comforts and attentions, those soothings and alleviations which the affection of her sister would have given her. She longed for death, that would relieve her from the weary load which a life of sickness and loneliness was now become to her ; but she dared not dwell too much on the thought of that great and blessed release, lest she should too impatiently desire that which she knew would be sent when she was properly prepared and trained for that state into which she would then enter, and when she had fulfilled the task appointed to her on earth. She did not pray for it, for she felt how lonely her sister's life would be with none to care for, and she desired to leave it in His hands Who ordereth all things right, to take which He willed first to her rest, only praying that in all things His will might be done, and that they might be united where they should part no more. She could not now join as she once had done, in spirit, in the daily prayers of the Church at the hours at which they were used by those who had the privilege of assembling to worship. Weakness often overpowered her, and memory failed her, but she trusted that if she could not pray for herself, He Who is a compassionate FATHER would hear the prayers of the Church, in which she had so often joined, and knowing her wants, would give her all that was needful for her soul's health, and for working out her salvation.
* This song has been set to most beautiful music by Dr. Gauntlett, and we hope our readers will have their children taught to sing it.
Thus was she fulfilling her task, doing what she could," and giving all she had to God; and, doubtless, that all, like the widow's mite, was accepted and was more pleasing in His sight, than the large offerings of time, health, and strength, bestowed by those who have abundance to spend on themselves, besides what they give to Him.
Nearly a week had passed since her loved sister Mary had left her, and she had been unable to gain any intelligence of what bad become of her. She feared that she should never see her more, and should die, unnoticed and alone, without one near to care for, or to pray with her, or to see that her body was decently attended to when it should no longer be the tenement of her soul, which, she felt, would soon pass to fairer and brighter worlds. One day to her joy and surprise she heard a footstep, which made her start, and in an instant she perceived that the Lady Mary was beside her, not alone, but accompanied by one whose garb and appearance evidently showed the holy office to which he was called. That one week had wrought a great change, and the altered looks of Rhoda soon convinced Mary that a few hours' delay might have prevented the joy of that meeting again on earth, and have deprived them of those moments so precious to both, and the dying saint of those consolations which only the minister of God's holy Church can bestow in that awful hour. The sunk eye and pale cheek of Rhoda seemed to revive as she felt her sister's warm kiss, and saw that she had procured for her the great desire of her soul, but there was no time to be lost, for
though the presence of Mary and the holy father seemed to have given her new life, they knew that it would not last. The sudden death of Manleon, when intoxicated at a banquet in which he had been drinking to excess with his men-at-arms, had delivered the castle from one of the most cruel and bloodthirsty men who ever disgraced the order of knighthood, and had delivered the Lady Mary from the persecution and imminent danger to which she was exposed. His successor, though scarcely less cruel, was not yet firmly seated in his office; and in the confusion which followed the sudden decease of the commander of the forces, the Lady Mary had prevailed on one of the menials to release her from the chamber in which she had been confined, and also to summon a priest to her, under whose protection she threaded her way to the turret in which her sister was kept, and reached it in time to see her loved Rhoda once more.
With low and faltering tones, scarce heard even by the priest who bent his ear to receive her dying words, did the Lady Rhoda accuse and condemn herself for all the sins and follies of her past life; she did not tell him what she had suffered ; for the time was short, and those sufferings were soon to end, but the deep thoughts which had occupied her lonely hours, had made her see distinctly all that she had done amiss, and her earnest prayer was granted that her repentance might be deep and sincere, for though, if any one had watched her holy course from the cradle to the grave, he might have thought that in a life so holy and
pure, so full of deep and pious resignation as hers had been, there could be little need for deep repentance, she judged otherwise. She had not there the temptation of comparing herself with others. Against vanity and a love of display, a desire to be thought holy, which had perhaps tinctured her early life, she had earnestly prayed and striven ; she felt how great had been the advantages and blessings she had received from her holy mother's instructions, how plainly her duties had been pointed out to her; and she estimated her sinfulness in the sight of God, not according to the measure of holiness which she had attained in the eyes of man, but according to the use which she had made of those manifold graces, gifts, and opportunities with which she had blessed her.
She felt that her instructions, trials, opportunities, were all talents that had been allotted to her, and each sorrowful complaining thought, though it had never found utterance in words, seemed to her ungrateful, when she felt that this trial had been only sent her in mercy, to aid and help her in the narrow road, and was itself a talent for which she should have to give account.
She had, when alone, sought by a severe judgment of herself to prevent the judgment of her God, the thought of which must be indeed appalling, even to those who have tried to love and