Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

AND OTHER SKETCHES.

[graphic]

to read. The first use of the vernacular Scriptures, therefore, was only to aid the clerical orders to teach the laity. To meet this ignorance the good teachers practised the duty of preaching or singing the stories and lessons of the Best of Books.

Cædmon, the earliest English poet, was a grazier, living in Yorkshire. By a dream he was convinced of his ability to make poetry. He went to the alderman

of Whitby and related his dream. The alderman took T the time of the introduction of the Gospel Cædmon to the abbess, who recommended him to

into England, the better educated classes enter the monastery, which he did, and there the understood only a language derived from the Low priests taught him the histories of the Bible, which he German, but the common people were wholly unable turned into verse.

A"

He could neither write nor read. Bede tells us : trial, and putting his lips to the ear of his suf"And he, all that he could learn by hearing, meditated fering friend, asked him if he knew him ; he feebly with himself, and, ruminating, turned into the sweetest shook his head. He then asked him, “Do you

know verse ; and his song and his verse were so winsome to Christ ?" hear, that his teachers themselves wrote and learned The dying man opened his eyes, and rallying his from his mouth.”

strength, whispered, “My bonnie Christ.” And with The leaders of the Anglo-Saxon clergy exhorted the last word his eyes closed and his spirit returned to their brethren to study the Scriptures, in order that God who gave it, to be for ever with that Saviour from them they might teach their flocks. To pro- whom he loved most on earth. mote this object they provided numerous part translations, and this, in the state of universal ignorance of letters by the common people, was all that could be done.

ROCK OF AGES. Aldhelm, the first Bishop of Sherborne, translated the Psalms. He commends the nuns, to whom he

ow we love the beautiful hymn which wrote, for their industry in daily reading and studying

begins the Holy Scriptures. It is pleasant, too, to read of

“ Rock of ages, cleft for me, this same Aldhelm, disguised as a minstrel, stationing

Let me bide myself in Thee." himself on the bridge over the river Ivel, attracting a

It has been murmured by dying crowd by sweet music and song, and then, having gained their attention, turning from secular strains to

men, women, and children, and said spread the glad tidings of the Gospel.

and sung for more than a hundred William of Malmesbury says of Wulfstan, Bishop

years. of Worcester, that it was his custom to recite whole

The writer of it, Augustus Toppsalms on his journeys to his attendants, to keep them

lady, did not learn to love Jesus from vain talk, and adds of him, that “ lying, standing,

until he reached the age of sixteen. walking, sitting, he had always a psalm on his lips, He was staying at a place called Codymain in Ireland, always Christ in his heart."

and strolled into & barn one day to listen to the As showing the value the Saxon clergy put upon

preaching of a man who earnestly served the Lord

Jesus Christ. His text was taken from the 2nd the Word of God, the words of Alcuin, the teacher of Charlemagne, may be quoted. He thus writes to his chapter of Ephesians and the 13th verse : “Ye who friend : “Study Christ as foretold in the works of the

sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Prophets, and as exhibited in the Gospels; and when

Christ," and the simple address which followed was you find Him, do not lose Him, but introduce Him

not lost on the young man. into the home of thy heart, and make Him the Ruler

The good seed thus sown ripened as years went on, of thy life. Love Him as thy Redeemer, and thy and Toplady became a minister of the Gospel. He did Governor, and as the Dispenser of all thy comforts.

not live to be an old man; he wore himself out at the Keep His commandments, because in them is eternal

age of thirty-eight. He has been compared to a “racelife.”

horse, all nerve and fire." Surely, no better advice could be given now-a-days,

Toplady tells a curious story about himself which is to peasants as well as princes, for the words of truth

worth recording. He says, “I was buying books in are ever fresh and full of power.

the spring of 1762, a month or two before I was ordained, from a respectable London bookseller. After the business was over, he took me to the furthest end

of his long shop, and said in a low voice : 'Sir, you MY BONNIE CHRIST."

will soon be ordained, and I suppose you have not laid in a very good stock of sermons.

I can supply you n a darkened room an old Scotchman lay dying.

with as many sets as you please, all original, very exFriends and relatives stood beside him, waiting

cellent ones, and they will come for a trifle.' tearfully to hear the last word or sigh of their “My answer was—'I shall certainly never be a cusfather and head. For many years they had looked to

tomer to you in that way, for I am of opinion that the him for advice and comfort ; their joys had been shared

man who cannot, or will not, make his own sermons, is and heightened by him, and their sorrows were always quite unfit to wear the gown. How could you think of lightened by the ready sympathy which sprang from a

my buying ready-made sermons! I would much sooner kindly heart. But now his labours of love were ended, buy second-hand clothes.'” and the angel of death stood on the threshold bidding Toplady wrote “Rock of Ages” a year or two before him “Come home." His children spoke to him, but

his death. His last days were very peaceful, and his he did not hear them, and at last they relinquished one desire was that Christ might be all and in all to their efforts, to wait sadly for the end.

him. An hour before he died he called the members The minister present resolved to make one more of his household round his bed, and asked if they were

[graphic]

1

content to part from him. “Yes,” was the answer he with God, for the sweet preparation of the heart to received ; “God's will be done!"

seek Him. “Oh, what a blessing it is that you are made willing Every Christian admits the duty of frequent reading to give me up into the hands of my dear Redeemer," of the Bible. To how many is it more than a duty, murmured Toplady. “It will not be long before God even a dear and thrice precious privilege, so that they takes me, for no mortal man can live after the glories are ready to cry, “How sweet are Thy words unto my which God has manifested to my soul.”

taste, yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth ?" This Soon after uttering these words he fell asleep in experience comes only to those who make it part of Jesus, and realised the truth of the last lines of his own their life's work to study the Scriptures. You wonder beautiful hymn

at the familiarity of this or that friend with the 6 When I soar to worlds unknown,

Psalms, the Epistles, the Gospels. It has been gained See Thee on Thy judgment throne !

a little at a time, by patient daily reading, thoughtful Rock of ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee."

and prayerful reading, too, which was hived by the soul as something worth treasuring. We shall all gain

vastly in our influence, as well as in our own comfort, MORNING STUDY OF THE BIBLE.

by giving more of our unwearied thought to the holy

book. A few tired, sleepy, worn-out moments at night, he best time for Bible reading is in the morning. and those only, are almost an insult to the Master

Then mind and body are fresh, after the repose whom we profess to serve.

of the night, and the highest powers of thought may be brought to bear upon the chapter selected. But, with most people, each recurring morning brings its own pressing tasks. Business cares, the daily toil,

SATURDAY NIGHT. and the duties of the household, are the first and most engrossing concerns. Some hours must pass, with

nd is the thought a mournful one,

That now another week is gone very many, before they can find time to sit down to

Of this life's fleeting span ? any quiet reading

When the dark sojourn here is o'er, I would plead, however, with every one that the

Is there no fairer lot in store plan be honestly tried, of taking some words from

For never-dying man? God's book for the first meditation of the morning.

have fire to light, or breakfast to prepare ; if. Is there no country of the blest, you must hurry forth in the early grey of dawn to take Where toil will be exchanged for rest,

Where mourners never weep? down shutters and sweep out a shop; if you must hasten to dress little children, or start off for a long

Where this poor weary, sinking frame

No care will need, no respite claim, journey to your work, or the school in which you

Nor ever ask for sleep? teach, still you will be wiser, richer, and happier, if you are resolute about this.

Oh, as I tread my heavenly path, A good plan is to take one of the “silent com- 'Tis sweet to realise by faith forters," or other delightful arrangements of texts for

The thought of such a home! every day in the month, and have it hanging where And when the spirits droop and fail, your eye will fall on it as soon as you awake. The

To cast a glimpse beyond the veil,

And thus dispel the gloom. large, clear type in which they are printed, and the care with which the verses have been selected, make

My days and weeks and months succeed all these collections of Scripture appropriate and help- With noiseless, yet unceasing speed, ful. They are almost indispensable to all who love

But this is joy to me: the Bible so much as to want it for their daily food.

That they are bearing me with them, If you cannot sit down to read a whole chapter, you

O'er silent Time's fast-rolling stream,

On to eternity. can seize one of these texts in passing, and ponder it in your heart.

These days and weeks, like favouring gales, But to the many whose mornings are more within

Smile on my bark, and fill my sails, their own control, I would say, Make for the next

And waft me towards my home ; month à fair, steadfast trial of the plan of studying the Nor is there one but lends a ray Bible when your thoughts are clearest. Very often To guide my course, and bless my way, there is pressing work on hand ; the little dress must

Pointing to joys to come. be finished, the cake must be made, the dinner must

This week has closed; its toils are o'er; be ordered, the sweeping must be attended to, or the

Let earthly thoughts intrude no more; letters must be written By-and-by will do for the

The Sabbath morn is near: Bible reading. Thus wo argue, and before we are

Then to my soul, oh, be it given aware of it noon comes, unexpected affairs crowd upon To rise from earth and visit heaven,

If you

a

his rage.

[ocr errors]

handsome boy, and in his sober moments would declare that something great must be made of him ; he must not remain unknown and obscure in a little village.

There came a day when Max was dangerously ill, and then Hans Kellner uttered oaths and curses in

The child must not, should not die, he said ! The poor mother prayed fervently, but resigned herself to God's will, as the doctor told her there was but little hope for Max, who lay tossing in his bed crimson with fever, and his breath hurried and pain. ful. The village pastor came to the house, and, after speaking a few words of comfort to the child's mother, went to Hans, who

sat smoking outside. But vain was his attempt to utter a word. With terrible threats did the man order him off, shouting execrations after his retreating figure, in so angry a tone, that even Anna Kellner crept away from the side of her boy, and stood trembling in the doorway. She shuddered at the curses Hans was calling down on the

head of one who wished to be to him a friend. This HANS KELLNER'S CHANGE;

over, the wretched man betook himself to the “ Golden

Stag," there to drown his misery in drink.
OR, “GOD IS GOOD."

But God was full of goodness and compassion, and n a small German village there lived a man, one He was about to spare Max that he might save his

Hans Kellner, who was known among his neigh- father from ruin of soul and body. It was a terrible

bours as the most passionate and quarrelsome man night; it was the crisis of the illness, and Anna for many a mile round. But if he was the terror of prayed and watched with throbbing heart and anxious little children, and the tyrant over all who were in any eyes. Towards morning she saw a change for the way under his control, I could not tell you the misery better, the peaceful sleep taking the place of restless he made in his own house, nor the sorrow he brought tossing, and with all her heart she gave thanks. She to his thrifty pious wife.

could not leave the child, but she bade a neighbour Perhaps I may say, before I go further, that Hans carry the news to her husband. would have been a better man, a better husband and

“Hans Kellner,” said this messenger, « God has father, had he not been so frequent a visitor at the inn been good to you; for Max lives, and will recover.” of the village, “The Golden Stag," as it was called ; The simple words struck upon his ear with an poor Anna Kellner often wished that no such place accustomed sound, “God has been good to you." existed.

And then he thought of what he had been to God. But she had a great trust in God, so great that she From that time a purpose seemed born within him felt He would surely hear her prayers that Hans might to begin a different life, because the boy who was be converted from his evil habits; and never did day his heart's pride had not been snatched away by dawn nor night come but she made little Anna, and death. With quiet tread he sought the chamber Max, and Lotta pray too, that the Father in heaven where he had not dared to enter, and witness the would bless and take care of their father on earth. sufferings of little Max. As his wife raised her weary Max, though often suffering from the passion of his but happy face, it seemed as if at a glance she knew father when he was excited by drink, was very dear that Hans was different-again like the Hans who to the man's heart. The man was proud of the big had stood beside her in the good pastor's presence

[graphic]

un

nine years before, and promised to be faithful to her Very often the pastor, who once was driven from till death.

the place, may be found in the Kellners' home. And “He will live," she whispered, pointing to the sleep-when he or they refer to the time when Max was ing boy; and then the great rough man, who had been thought to be dying, Hans will sigh and smile as he the plague or terror of the village, fell down on his murmurs, “God is good !” Perhaps he loves the boy knees and said (as had been said to him), “God is all the more, since the little life was spared to become good !"

his own deliverance from his great snare. I wish I could find space to tell you of the happi- “God is good !” Do we not all see it in His patience ness which shone like the sun over this once unhappy as He bears with our neglect, our forgetfulness, our home. I may only add that the “Golden Stag” has | wandering? Then let us give to Him all He asks— lost one of its best customers. If Hans Kellner is our lives, our hearts; and happiness will take up its wanted, the place to find him is at his cottage door dwelling within us, as it did in the heart and home of with his good wife and happy children round him. Hans Kellner.

[graphic]

DOING AND TRUSTING.

Doing and trusting rescued her. Had there been

nothing done by the crew, had they not hoisted the SCHOONER was being towed out of Chippewa sails, they could not have been rescued; they would Harbour, on the Niagara River, not very far have drifted over the Falls, and been lost. The wind

above the Falls. On a sudden the hawser was blowing, but had they done nothing, had they not parted, and there went the vessel drifting off towards sought to avail themselves of it, had they not had the fatal Falls. Intense excitement seized upon the faith in it, they would have been lost just as surely spectators as they witnessed the accident, and saw the as if the wind had been blowing towards the Falls, or perilous situation of the vessel and its crew. What

not blowing at all. could they do?

On the other hand, had there been no wind, it Providentially there was a strong breeze blowing up would have done them no good to hoist the sails. It the river; and as the spectators on the shore gazed was not their action that saved them; it was the wind; upon the vessel, they saw the crew hastily hoisting the but their action was necessary, indispensable. The sails. They filled with the wind. The downward course one must be united with the other. of the vessel was arrested. She stopped, wind battling How striking is the analogy in this to the case of against the current for the mastery. Slowly she began the penitent sinner. He sees his danger; he sees that to make headway, till at last, gathering way, she made he is fast drifting to destruction. How shall he be off on her course, and was out of danger.

saved ? God provides the means. The breath of His

« ZurückWeiter »