Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

scaled by him. The crown, for which he had so long panted, was at last placed upon his brow. The Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church travelled to Paris, to preside at the ceremony of his coronation ; and art lent all its aid to make the spectacle gorgeous.

Even this elevation, however, did not mark the zenith of Napoleon's power. In a series of battles he defeated every army which opposed him. As he grew in power, however, he grew also in pride. His levées and ante-rooms were crowded, not only with courtiers, but with princes and kings, longing for his smiles or a glance of approbation. But, based on unrighteousness, even this mighty empire was to pass away like the mirage.

Blinded by pride, he was tempted to invade Russia Amidst the snows of that vast empire, he saw entombed an army surpassing in magnitude any which had ever been led forth by a conqueror in modern times. His power was sapped by this disaster. The combined monarchs of Europe rose, in the hope of deliverance from the oppression which had so long weighed them down. One by one, he saw the fragments of his authority pass away. Like a desperate gambler, he risked his all upon the die, and found himself at last a captive on the barren rock of St. Helena.

And now was to be exemplified the vanity of worldly NAPOLEON BONAPARTE.

ambition. The mighty monarch's train was reduced to

a few attendants, and his territory to a plot of garden ats extraordinary man was born at Corsica in the ground. He, who had made so many widows and year 1769. Although signs of genius were

orphans, was himself deprived of his wife and son. noticed in him when a boy, yet none could have The schemes to which his active mind turned for anticipated that the quiet and studious youth was after

recreation proved abortive. “Let us live on the past !” wards to play so remarkable a part on the stage of life. he exclaimed. But the retrospect exhibited only & Having chosen the military profession, he remained for

course of selfish aggrandisement. He sickened, and some years in the ranks of the army, noticed only as an

pined for death.

Why," he would ask, “did the attentive and intelligent officer. The great outburst of

cannon balls spare me to die in this manner? I am no the first French Revolution, however, soon took place, longer the Great Napoleon."

longer the Great Napoleon.” “How fallen I am ! and circumstances arose which called into action his

My strength, my faculties forsake me. I do not live; wonderful powers. Toulon witnessed the first marked

I merely exist." display of his great military talents.

At other times his reflections took a religious turn : Stepping from one post to another, he found himself

"Alexander, Cæsar, Charlemagne, and myself founded ere long, from being an obscure officer, appointed to the

empires upon force. Jesus Christ alone founded His command of the army of Italy. Young and enter- empire upon love, and at this hour millions of men prising, he displayed qualities of ardour, energy, and would die for Him. I die before my time, and my perseverance worthy of a better cause. Victory followed victory. The skill of the oldest and most experienced generals failed when brought into contact with him, and he was soon placed at the head of an army

flushed with success. Returning home, he was consumed with a passion for military glory, and, with a bold but unscrupulous genius, he designed his expedition to Egypt. Egypt, long sunk under oppression, was made, under his rule, to bear some resemblance to the bustling and prosperous land which it had been in the days of the Pharaohs. He was made First Consul of France. The fortunes of the country, which had long declined, began, under his hand, to rally. Even the physical barriers imposed by nature did not present obstacles too great for his perseverance to overcome. The Alps themselves were

[graphic]

66

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

body will be given back to the earth to become food

JOSEPH'S HISTORY. for the worms. Such is the fate which so soon awaits

EAVEN's favourite down a darksome pit they him who has been called the Great Napoleon. What

cast, an abyss between my deep misery and the eternal

His rich-lined robe and lofty dreams deriding; kingdom of Christ, which is proclaimed, loved, and Then, from his tears their ruthless faces hiding, adored, and which is extending over the whole earth !" Sell him to merchants who with spicery past.

In his last hours, his thoughts mingled with the The changeful years o'er that fair slave fleet fast: battle strifo : “Steingell, Dessaix, Masséna,” he ex

Behold him now in glorious chariot riding, claimed, in the midst of his wanderings of mind,

Arrayed in shining vesture, and presiding

O'er Egypt's councils-owned by Heaven at last. "victory is declaring itself. Run! hasten! press the

In pit or palace, God's own hand was weaving charge ! they are ours."

The “many-coloured” texture of his days, Soon afterwards he died.

A narrow grave, The brightest tints till last in wisdom leaving. overhung by a weeping willow, long marked the So when in dismal paths our feet are sinking, spot where the remains of the mighty conqueror Let us be looking soon for lightsome rays, reposed

For our wise Father thoughts of peace is thinking.'

Rev. R. Wilton,

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

son.

LOOK UP
OOK up, James ! Look up, I say; up, up!"

How earnestly, and with what intense emotion the father spoke these words to his

James stood on the edge of the scaffold of the capacious barn, catching on his fork the hay which his father tossed up to him from the loaded cart on the floor. Mr. Holton was a strong man, and as he throw up the heavy masses, none but a dexterous hand could catch them and give them a second throw back "under the eaves.”

More than half an hour James had stood there, with

THE GREAT TEACHER. the perspiration dripping from his brow, when suddenly his foot slipped, his head reeled, and his father saw

READ ST. JOHN xiv. 16–31. with alarm that he was about to fall. Then came his sudden exclamation, “Look up, James ; look up, up!”

AT Sunday, or Pentecost, is And James did look up. Almost with the sudden

one of the most important ness of an electric flash, he turned his eyes towards

seasons of the year. It the roof; and as he did so, the giddiness passed away,

was the day on which the he saw just above him a beam, which he grasped, and

promised gift of the Holy he was saved.

Glost was bestowed on the James thought of this often afterwards. He remem

disciples. bered it many years, and it became a life-lesson to him.

No doubt the Holy Spirit was Five years after, he stood on the verge of another

given oftentimes before. Holy men height more dangerous than the first: He had left the

of old felt the Spirit's power in teaching, comfarm, and sought the counter. New tenptations forting, sanctifying their hearts. But on the day of assailed him ; pleasant young men invited him to their Pentecost He came down from heaven with a fuller resorts, and the red wine glistened before him in

power than had ever been felt before : He came to the glass. Such were the reports which reached his

abide in the hearts of Christ's people. And oh, that home, and the father's heart was pained. His prayers the blessing of Pentecost may be given, as it were, ascended, while earnest letters pleaded with the tempted over again! youth. “Look up, James ; look up!” the father wrote.

We speak of the Holy Spirit, of His work in the “When your foot stands on the slippery verge, look

heart, and of His powerful influence in the world ; but up. Your head will become steady, and you will see

the natural man, the unenlightened man, understands Jesus. Grasp Him, and you will be safe.”

it not; it is folly to him. He cannot see the Holy The young man remembered that narrow escape in

Spirit with his bodily eyes, and therefore he does not his father's barn. Was he really now in so dangerous believe in Him. It is very different, however, with the a condition? Was he really sliding, as he felt his feet people of God; “But ye know Him, for He dwelleth going on that scaffold's edge ?

with you, and shall be in you.” They understand Then came a letter from the mother, tender, and full

what the Holy Spirit is ; for they have experienced of Jesus. How it struck upon the heart of the son !

His mighty power within them. And whatever they He knew that all her every-day life had been like that know of God, or of true holiness, they feel that they letter, full of Christ. He remembered her prayers, owe it all to the gracious Spirit who has bestowed His and now she was beseeching him to pray. He had gifts upon them. almost forgotten to do that. His evenings had been Our Lord further speaks of the Holy Ghost as the so full of enticement, and exhausted nature had

great Teacher of His Church. He calls Him “the demanded so much sleep in the morning, that there Spirit of truth," to show the difference between Him seemed no time for prayer. Conscience admonished and all the false spirits that were in the world; and to as he read the letters whose words had been winged show also that He alone is able to keep us from error, by prayer, and whose pages were blotted with the and to bring home God's truth to our hearts. And tears of the writers.

then He declares concerning Him, “ He shall teach you “Look up, James; look up, up, I say !” He could

up, up, I say !” He could all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, hear the ring of the words, even as he heard them on whatsoever I have said unto you.” The fact is, we that morning in the hot barn. There was a new mean- know nothing as we ought to know unless the Spirit ing in them now. He knew there were prayers for teaches us. We cannot feel our sins as we ought to him at home, and the Holy Spirit followed him now in feel them, we cannot find pardon and peace in the his wanderings. He could not doubt it. At length he | Saviour, if the Spirit does not enlighten us. “No looked up, and what a flood of light illumined him !

man,” says the apostle, can say that Jesus is the He prayed timidly, vaguely at first, then with a clearer

Lord but by the Holy Ghost." He must take of the light, then with earnestness. He was saved. His things of Christ, and show them to us. He must bring Sabbath-breaking companions could persuade him no to our recollection, and write upon our hearts, the longer; the evening revel lost its charms; he looked precious truth of God. no more upon the “wine when it is red.”

Above all, without the Spirit's teaching we cannot Life, light, and love were in his heart, and high up love Christ; and certainly if we do not love Him we before him he saw an everlasting crown. Whenever cannot obey Him. Our Lord dwells on this in the he saw any downcast, he bade them “look up;” when

“If ye love Me," He says, "keep any sinned he pointed up; and when temptation My commandments." True love and obedience will assailed, he still looked up. Thus he became a always go together. And then a little further on, in blessing; for wherever he went, he still heard the the twenty-first verse, He says, “He that hath My words, "Look up, James; look up !”

commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth

[graphic]

passage before us.

W

[ocr errors]

the sea.

Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, the Gospel is already prepared by infinite mercy. and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him.” the life-boat must be manned and sent forth without

There are some to whom the Saviour manifests Him- delay to the rescue of perishing souls. self (or reveals Himself) in a peculiar manner.

There Shall not we, who have been recovered from like are some who see in Him a preciousness and a power perils by the great Saviour, put forth new and which others cannot feel. And who are these highly vigorous efforts to save those whom we know to be in favoured ones? Who are these to whom the Saviour imminent peril? Whatever is done must be done thus reveals Himself? It is those who come to Him promptly, for the shadows of the night are about to with true and loving hearts, and who earnestly desire fall, and the victims of sin and Satan are even now to do His will, and to obey Him in all things. He almost lost. vouchsoes to them His light and love.

Yes, if you and I are true to Christ, if we love Him and try to serve Him, this promise will be fulfilled in

CHRIST OR CÆSAR. our case, “I will manifest myself to him.”

TE have no king but Cæsar,” cried the Jews, How truly blessed are those who thus know the

when Pilate asked them, “Shall I crucify Saviour, and not only have the love of God and of

your King?" Christ in their hearts, but have God Himself and Christ

Tiberius Cæsar, whom the Jews preferred to Jesus Himself thus dwelling within them! My Father

of Nazareth, was the Roman emperor who ruled the will love him, and we will come unto him, and make

world in those days ; a cruel tyrant who delighted to our abode with him.”

shed the blood of his people.
Our blest Redeemer, ere He breathed

In one part of his reign ho retired to the beautiful
His tender, last farewell,
A Guide, a Comforter, bequeathed

island of Capreæ, in the Bay of Naples; and now the With us to dwell.

spot is shown where poor unhappy men, who displeased Spirit of purity and grace,

him, were first tortured and then cast headlong into
Our weakness, pitying, see:
Oh make our hearts Thy dwelling-place,
And worthier Thee.

Thirty-seven years after the Jews crucified Jesus of Nazareth, Titus, the son of Vespasian, the Roman emperor, laid siege to Jerusalem. The Jews suffered

terrible privations; famine raged in the city, and one ALMOST LOST.

mother is said to have killed and eaten her own son.

The Temple was reduced to ashes, and to crown the COME few years ago, in the month of whole, six thousand people, who took refuge in one

July, a noble steamer was ploughing gallery, perished by fire at the hands of the soldiers. the blue waters of the broad Atlan- The Jews made á deliberate choice when they retic. The sky was clear and brilliant,

fused Christ, and declared, “We have no king but and the deck was crowded with Cæsar.” passengers, enjoying the invigorating This choice is being repeated now. Men and women breeze, and gazing with delight on are saying every day, “We will not have Christ to

the varying phases of the magni- reign over us; we would rather have our own way, and ficent ocean. Not even a passing cloud appeared to do our own will, than yield to His loving invitations. mar the joyousness and glory of the scene.

We care not for the future, we will enjoy ourselves in In an unexpected moment, an excited cry was heard the present.' And all the time the Master stands and through the ship, “A man overboard ! a man over- knocks at the doors of their hearts, and wants them to board !” All hurried to the side of the vessel, when

invite Him in. one of the younger officers was seen battling for life So Jesus had to turn away at last, and say, "Ye will with the merciless waves. Never can I forget the not come unto Me, that ye might have life !" distress and agony depicted on every countenance. A Let not your choice be self and sin, but Christ and boat was instantly lowered, manned by brave sailors, holiness. Believe in the living, loving Saviour, who who, with strong arm and determined will, pulled waits to be gracious, and choose Him as your King, towards him.

After an agonising suspense, they your Elder Brother, your all and in all. succeeded in dragging him, exhausted and half dead, safely on board, amid the plaudits of rejoicing and loud exclamations, “Saved, saved !”

PRECEPT.-Be at peace among yourselves. Does not this incident suggest to the reflecting mind the appalling fact, that not one only, but vast multi- PROMISE.- Blessed are the peacemakers: for they tudes all around us, are in extreme peril, about to be

shall be called the children of God. engulfed in the vortex of everlasting ruin?

“Can nothing be done to save them ere they sink PRAYER.–Scatter Thou the people that delight in to rise no more ?” Thanks be to God, the life-boat of

1 Thessalonians y. 13.

Vatthew v. 9.

war.

Palm lxviii. 30.

[graphic][ocr errors][merged small]

T is summer in the meadows,

For the hope that points before us,
And the earth is bright with shadows

When winter darkens o'er us,
Of the white clouds floating lightly o'er the sky; And the leaves by tempests scattered round us lie,
The bells are gaily ringing,

To the summer coming after, And the joyous lark is singing,

With flower, and song, and laughter, Ever sweeter, as unseen he soars on high

And the warm sunshine, and the cloudless sky; Praise ! praise ! in sweetest measures,

For the promise to us given, For all the countless treasures

Of the summer rest in heaven, Of summer beauty which we look upon ;

When the pleasure and the toil of earth are o'er; For friend, and sun, and flower,

Where songs are ever flowing, That bless the present hour,

Where joy is ever growing, And for the memory of summers gone.

And the winter's blight can reach us never more

« ZurückWeiter »