« ZurückWeiter »
their doors in little knots; their looks betokening evident concern, and, as I fancied, in some cases despair.
In the market-place a large crowd had gathered around a handsome, old - fashioned house, the lower windows of which were closely and strongly shuttered. That house was the bank; and it appeared as. though the people had gathered round to gaze their fill at the certain proof of the evil which had fallen on them. Not many words were spoken; but barely suppressed passion could be seen on many pale countenances. in the throng. One man indeed, a brawny, bare-armed blacksmith, in begrimed skin and leather apron, hinted at a violent assault on the premises ; and for a moment I fancied the suggestion would have been carried into effect; but, happily, the temptation passed away, and the slight murmur of approbation it elicited was succeeded by the previous gloomy, dogged silence.
One evening, some time after, my father had the Bible in his hand for family prayer. He had just before been speaking of the bank failure, and telling his children for the first
time what his loss would be; whereat JL
we were filled with dismay.
“It is a dark cloud, but it has a My father looked up inquiringly.
silver lining to it," said he. “Is that bad news to you, father?” I asked.
“Every dark cloud has a bright lining, I suppose." “I am afraid it will prove so, Arnold. I am not a said my mother, “ if we did but know it.” rich man, you know; but the little money I have ever “To be sure it has," rejoined my father; "that is. saved was all in the bank, and perhaps it will all be when the Sun of righteousness shines on the back part lost.”
of it—not else." A chill struck my heart. I was only a boy ; but I “The Sun of righteousness never ceases to shine," was old enough to know that loss of money generally said she. involves loss of much besides.
“Never,” said my father; "never, towards those "I am not philosopher enough to pretend to be who trust in Him." indifferent to the loss, Arnold," my father continued ; “ And when a cloud comes between Him and them," “it will be a trial to us all ; but we must help one continued my mother, “the dark becomes light.” another to bear it. Will you do your part ?”
“There may be a dark side towards earth," my “I will try, father," I whispered, and I know that father resumed, “but it is always bright towards I spoke sincerely; though what I would do did not heaven." present itself very clearly to my mind.
My mother smiled. My father pressed my hand warmly; and after that “Amictions are clouds,” said my father, by way of we walked on in silence.
explanation, and addressing himself to his children, As we entered the busier streets of the town, it was “but God's mercy reaches to the clouds, and brightens: easy to be seen that some occurrence of more than them. That is what I mean by a dark cloud having ordinary interest was agitating the population generally. a silver lining. Now let us hear what David says in Groups of men, mostly mechanics, were standing at the the forty-sixth Psalm;” and he opened the Bible. corners of the streets, with grave countenances, talking “The words of the wise are as goads." I rememin earnest, though subdued tones, and with much bered this fragment of a conversation many years gesticulation; while shopkeepers were congregated at afterwards, when it was of great use to me.
Laban, gave to the same heap the further name of THE HEAP OF WITNESS.
“Mizpah," and fully agreed in the words which Laban. IZPAH is a Hebrew word, meaning a beacon spoke over the heap, as showing its meaning: “The
or watch-tower. The occasion of its use Lord watch between me and thee, when we are absent:
was this : Jacob was parting from Laban, one from another. If thou shalt afflict my daughters, taking with him the two daughters of Laban as or if thou shalt take other wives besides my daughters, his wives. He was going with them into a far no man is with us; sec, God is witness betwixt me country, where they would be completely in his and thee.” power, and removed from their father's protection, In this, its original application, the word is a Laban him
wholesome self was of
and useful a crafty and
word to bear grasping
in mind. character,
When two and proba
men part, as bly, as is
Laban and often the
ed, and their such people,
circumstanof a suspici
ces are such ous turn
that, while also. But,
absent from beside this,
one another, he well
one of them, knew that
or perhaps Jacob loved
each of them, the younger
will have it of his daugh
in his power ters more
to injure the than the
other in any elder, and it
way, in such may be that
case let it was chiefly
this word Leah's
act as account that
wholesome he felt an
warning: xious. He
“Mizpah," a thought, too,
beacon, that Jacob
watch-tower. had taken
The Lord an unfair
Himself is advantage of
such. He him in steal
overlooks ing away
all. Far bewith
yond the daughters
range and their
the loftiest. children and
watch-tower, the cattle;
eye and, feeling "God is witness betwixt me and thee !"
reaches. He that all con
is all-seeing, trol over them was slipping from his hands, he wished all-knowing. He judges between man and man. А to bind Jacob by a solemn covenant before God to do man may deceive another man, and act against him what was right.
and speak against him in his absence, and the other Jacob agreed to this. The whole thing was indeed may know nothing ; . but God knows. He stands, as much Jacob's doing as Laban's. It was Jacob who as it were, as a “ beacon ” or “watch-tower” between took a stone, and set it up for a pillar; it was Jacob the two, and observes both. who, with his brethren's help, made a heap of stones, A servant must often be free from the ken of and joined with Laban in giving it a name signifying master or mistress. Much of a servant's work must “ The heap of witness ;” and doubtless he, as well as necessarily be done according to the servant's will ; and
upon us all
thus it may be done well or ill; faithfully or carelessly, comfort from looking up at the moon by night, and according as the servant is a trusty servant or not. thinking, “The same moon which looks down on me But there is an eye on that servant always ; not the is at this moment shining also on those I love at home.” master or mistress, but the all-seeing eye of God. He But how much more comforting is it to the believer, who so ordered it in this life that some should be above when far away from home and from those he loves, to others in station, and so ordered it by His providence look up by faith to God in heaven, and realise that in this particular case that that servant should have erery moment the Lord watches between him and them, that master or mistress-He stands as a watch-tower and watches for good! “Mizpah !”' may the absent between the two, marking and judging how each fulfils husband say, when he thinks of wife and children at his part. Is the master or mistress kind, just, consider- | home; “Mizpah !" may anxious parents cry, when their ate? Is the servant faithful and true, honest, upright, thoughts go forth to children far away; “Mizpah !" diligent; no eye-servant; the same behind the back as the Lord watch between me and thee, the Lord be as a before the face? “ Mizpah ;" the Lord watches between watch-tower between us; may
the He takes note of all.
light of His countenance be lifted up on us, through Men have many dealings with one another in Jesus Christ! business. The merchant sells to the tradesman, the The closest and dearest of all bonds is that of having tradesman to his customers; one man sells another a one Father, one Saviour, one Spirit, one hope now, one horse, another warrants a cow; live stock, and dead eternal home hereafter. Those who are thus united are stock, and goods of every kind are continually changing hardly absent, even when parted in the body. In mind hands; not a day passes but thousands of bargains are and heart, in affection, in prayer, in God, they are still made, and countless sales and purchases take place. together. “Mizpah!" the Lord is a Beacon or WatchNow, in almost all such cases there is room for deceit. tower between them. They see the same light, and it The one person knows more of the true value of the seems to make them one ; and at one glance the Lord thing sold than the other. The merchant knows beholds them, and beholds them as joined together by exactly the quality of the goods he supplies to the one faith in one Saviour, and partakers of one Spirit. shopkeeper, whatever their appearance may be; the
Tokens and memorials are not without use. The tradesman, as he recommends his wares over the Mizpah” on seal or ring, on locket or in book, may counter, knows perfectly well whether they really are well bring to mind those absent, and even serve to draw what lie describes them to be, or not; if the horse, the thoughts to God. The daughter, whose home is which the seller praises so much, be unsound, the seller among strangers, will think of the fond mother who probably is quite aware of it; and the owner of the made that parting gift, and whose wish and prayer cow knows perfectly well whether the beast does indeed seems to be contained in that little word. The son, give that quantity of milk which he declares she does. far off in a foreign land, carries with him a memorial of In all these cases there is, so to speak, an absence,
the same kind; and when he reads that word his a distance between the two persons; they are not
thoughts go back to the home of his childhood, a father together in knowledge, not on the same footing; the
and mother's loving words and earnest prayers come one has an advantage over the other, and he may
back to his mind, his heart is softened, and he rememavail himself of it, if he please, to the other's loss, and
bers Him who is above all, whose eye is in every place, without the other knowing it at the time. But the and now watches over both him and those at home. Lord knows. “ Mizpah ;" the Lord is a watch-tower The time will come when no “Mizpah” will be between them ; He stands and overlooks those bargains needed, for none will be absent one from another. But and sales ; He sees both sides. Let both seller and the Lord, though no longer “ Mizpah," a watch-tower buyer bear this in mind, and do all as in God's sight, between the partod, will be still their God, their Father, remembering that He is watching between them.
their Portion. No estrangement or suspicion there, no But though the original application of the word hard bargains, no over-reaching or deceiving ; no need was such, yet it may very well be applied also in there even of loving memorials, of tokens, and keep
sakes, and mottoes. For those who love the Lord and When those who love one another are called to part
each other, and are one in Christ Jesus, will be together - when friends, for instance, go from each other, when then, never more to part ! Brothers and sisters separate, when children leave home, when even a husband is called to a distance, perhaps to a foreign land, and that for a long time—it is a great
PRECEPT_PROMISE-PRAYER. comfort to remember that the Lord is as a watch-tower between those thus parted. Hundreds of miles may
PRECEPT.-Be ye followers of God, as dear children. lie between them, the wide sea may separate them, yet,
Ephesians v. 1. as a watch-tower stands high above all the country
PROMISE.-1 will direct all his ways. round and commands the whole, so does the Lord, high above all the earth, survey at a glance every spot and
PRAYER.-Lead me to the rock that is higher than 1. every person. Sometimes one far from home has taken
Isaiah xly. 13.
Isalm lxi, 2.
the bank to receive and pay money, and to keep books OUR BUSINESS.
with conscientious carefulness?
May a Christian woman feel that the Lord hath sent T is affecting and instructive to observe
her into the kitchen to cook, and to wash and iron, how our Lord's mind was occupied and
into the chamber to sweep and to make beds; into the impressed with thoughts of His mission.
nursery to protect, to amuse, to watch little children, “I must preach the kingdom of God
and help them to be happy! to other cities also; for therefore am I
Nay a Christian child be assured that the Lord hath sent.” “My meat is to do the will of
sent him to school, to learn lessons, and do appointed Him that sent Me." “I must work
tasks, to bear patiently the vexations of school; that the works of Him that sent Me, while
the Lord hath sent him upon the errand on which his it is day."
father or mother has sent him ; that the Lord hath Not only was the Lord Jesus sent
sent him out upon the street to sweep its crossings, or from the Father, but He sent His
to shine gentlemen's boots, or to hold horses, or carry apostles. The very word apostle means just this, packages, to earn money for his own food and clothes, bringing this meaning from the Greek, just as the
or to help his poor mother feed younger children? word missionary brings it from the Latin language.
Certainly, every man and woman, and boy and girl, Are all Christ's disciples apostles ? Are we all
who is doing any such lowly or common work faithmissionaries ? If not all so in the same sense and in fully, having no better work to do, and needing to do the highest sense, yet certainly we all are so in
this for an honest living, or to help others, may and proper and serious sense. Every one of us has a
should feel that just this is what the Lord sent them to mission, a mission from the Lord. In that beautiful do ; and doing it cheerfully for Him, they shall have intercessory prayer, which John has reported to us,
the reward of His approval. For this, as surely as for Jesus said to the Father, "As Thou hast sent Me into
ruling a state, or writing great books, or preaching the ihe world, even so have I also sent them into the
gospel, He will say, "Well done, good and faithful world."
servant.” Do you think that He, Christ, referred only to the
Do the work that God gives you to do, diligently, apostles, or to those disciples who then stood about
faithfully, cheerfully, and you fulfil your mission. . Him, and heard His voice while He prayed? In the second sentence after that He said, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word.” As we would not for all the
ANCHORED FAST. world count ourselves out of that prayer, let us not
NOSSING on the billow, rashly dare, nor meanly wish, to count ourselves out
Rocking in the blast, of that mission. The Lord has sent us into the world.
Sickening on the pillow, We ought ever to remember this.
Verging towards the lastHave we thoughtfully and prayerfully asked for
While the tempest rages, what the Lord has sent us hither-sent us into the
To the Rock of Ages world at this time in which we are living, and in this
I am anchored fast. place in which we find ourselves? Have we found out
Skies all clad in sable, what it is about which we should say, "This I must be
Storm-clouds scudding past, doing, because for this I have been sent?” Indeed, we
Clinging to the cable, ought not to be busy with anything of which we cannot
I am anchored fast. say this. We may say it of many plain and common
While the tempest, etc. things. “Go thou and cast a hook," said the Lord once to Simon; and Simon, in obeying, was just as
Gone each earthly treasure, truly and just as honourably fulfilling his mission, as
Cut away each mast, when, long afterwards, he came down from the house
Vanished earthly pleasure,
Still I'm anchored fast. top in Joppa, and went with the men who had come
While the tempest, etc. to him from Cæsarea, and of whom the Lord had said to him, “Go with them nothing doubting, for I have
Sorrows multiplying, sent them." Their mission was to bring Peter to
Prospects overcast, Cornelius. Peter's mission was to preach Christ to
Weeping, groaning, sighing, Cornelius and all who had come together at his house.
Still I'm anchored fast.
While the tempest, etc. May a Christian man, then, think that the Lord hath sent him to-day into the field to plough ; into the
Swiftly to my grave-bed woods to chop; into the barn to feed cattle ; into the
I am making haste; shop to drive pegs into leather, or pull waxed thread
Trembling 'neath the death-dread, through and through it; into the shop to sell goods
Still I'm anchored fast. with patient politeness and scrupulous honesty ; into
While the tempest, etc.
THE STREAM. Ir flows through flowery meads,
And o'er the pebbles leaps, Gladdening the herds which on its margin browse; Like happy hearts by holiday made light. Its quiet beauty feeds
May not its course express, The alders that o'ershade it with their boughs.
In characters which they who run may read,
The charms of gentleness,
What are the trophies gained
By power alone, with all its noise and strife,
To that meek wreath, unstained,