Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

tellect. She longed to learn, and to impart learning to others. She struggled on for years, however, “always doing the duty nearest to her," and all the while making known her request to God. When she ventured to make it known to man, some laughed at her, and everybody opposed her. She was twenty-eight years of age, had no money but her own savings, and was not in very strong health.

She went on praying to God to help her, and show her what she might do, and taking advantage of every spare moment to teach herself writing, but never neglecting her daily work. At last the conviction that she might go forward became so strong, that the friends most interested in her, though still disapproving, promised a little help, and she went to school. How hard she worked, and how little she ate, I believe none knew; but her progress was marvellous : and still she prayed to Him for intellectual help, as she had done before for guidance. Every vacation she came meekly back to service, so as to earn a little more money; and continued the patient, unwearied worker. At last, when success seemed within her reach, she was laid low in the ward of a hospital by typhus fever. She had kept near her Saviour in her common work, in her study; and now in suffering and delirium and sore disappointment, He was near her still. “Oh I was so happy there!” she said afterwards. But a still sorer disappointment awaited her. When she came out of the hospital, she found that she had forgotten all that she had learned ; so she braced herself up to the sore trial of returning to permanent service. But her nature restored her strength, and she soon regained what she had lost, went back to school, and the other day I had the pleasure of hearing that she had obtained a scholarship of £15 a year, and a prize for mathematics. There is little doubt now that she will attain that which has been the desire of her heart for many years; and I trust she will some day be a firstclass school mistress, training her children for time and for eternity. Those who commit their way to the Lord, and delight themselves in Him, are sure to prosper. (Ps. xxxvii. 5; Prov. xvi. 3.)

MASSACRE OF PROTESTANTS IN FRANCE.

A.D. 1572.

W

[graphic]

ITHIN the space of one month 30,000 protestants are

said to have been slain. When intelligence of the massacre was received at Rome, the greatest rejoicings took place. The pope and his cardinals went in pro

cession to the church of St. Mark, to give thanks to God; and a medal was struck to commemorate the event. A jubilee was also published, and the ordnance fired from the castle of St. Angelo. To the person who brought the

news the cardinal of Lorraine gave a thousand crowns. Similar rejoicings were also made all over France for this imagined overthrow of the faithful.

The enemies of the truth began now to think that they were the sole lords of men's consciences; and truly, it did seem as if God had abandoned the earth to the ravages of His enemy. But He had otherwise decreed, and thousands who had not bowed the knee to Baal were called forth to glory and virtue.

The year following, died Charles IX. of France, the tyrant who had been instrumental in these calamities. He was only in the 28th year of his age, and his death was remarkable and dreadful. When lying on his bed, the blood gushed from various parts of his body. At length, after violent convulsions, and the utterance of the most horrid blasphemies, it issued in such quantities from his mouth that he expired.-Foxe's Book of Martyrs.

WRITING MY OWN EPITAPH.

W

[graphic]

HAT a strange idea!” may be the ready remark of

the reader. - This is no work of mine. Let those who come after me do it. Writing my own epitaph! What an absurdity is the idea of such a work till

after death !” Nay, good reader, not so absurd as you imagine. If an

epitaph on a tombstone has anything to say of moral or religious character, it speaks of what was done before death-not of what was done at death, or after it. The person was doing, while life ran on, that which formed the basis of the epitaph, provided there was no hypocrisy in the inscription. The author of the inscription, when making it, will be only transcribing what has been already virtually written. He will not create, but will take the materials already furnished at his hand. He will copy, in a comprehensive sentence, a volume which has been written before. Who will have written that volume? It will consist of the life of the deceased. It will be the life he lived. He then furnished what is condensed into those few words, by which the chiselled marble speaks to the world of him who sleeps beneath. You are busy, then, reader, about the very

work posed to ridicule. By your daily manner of life, the principles that govern you, the emotions which are awakened in your bosom,

the words you utter, the example you present to the world—by all this you are making daily inscriptions. You tell the world who you are. You speak more forcibly and effectually than the cold stone, that will mark where you lie, can speak to men.

You will speak to the few comparatively by the engraved stone. You speak to the many by what you now display of character.

you were dis

There will be only now and then a loiterer in the churchyard where you shall lie. Here and there, one in the thousands may look upon the epitaph found there. But the many—the multitude about you -are reading what you are now offering by your daily life for their perusal. You thus speak in every circle in which Providence places you, and to every class of persons thus brought into contact with you. And, as life is prolonged, the number becomes immensely great. The living inscription addresses a vastly greater audience than the dead epitaph.

And small is the impression made by the cold stone's best account of you. Your present and daily developed character has a living voice. Your love for the soul speaks by the affectionate warning, or the fervent intercession. Your reverence for God, in the sacredness of your manifest regard for all His institutions. Your spiritual mind, in the reference, in all your actions, to eternity. The tombstone is dead—you are alive; and living and heart-affecting is the appeal you may make before the living witnesses of your living piety. That cold stone is a cold address. Your warmhearted and visible piety has warmth to melt cold hearts around you.

I am writing my epitaph!This might be the truthful utterance of every human being on the theatre of life. How much interest in the question,-and who ought not, in the deepest seriousness, to ask it-"WHAT AM I WRITING ?"

A

HELPLESS, TRUSTFUL, LOVING.

S helpless as a child who clings

Fast to his father's arm,
And casts his weakness on the strength

That keeps him safe from harm;
So I, my Father, cling to Thee,

And every passing hour
Would link my earthly feebleness

To Thine Almighty power.
As trustful as a child who looks

Up in his mother's face,
And all his little griefs and fears

Forgets in her embrace :
So I to Thee, my Saviour, look,

And in Thy face divine
Can read the love that will sustain

As weak a faith as mine.
As loving as a child who sits

Close to his parent's knee,
And knows no want while it can have

That sweet society :
So, sitting at Thy feet, my heart

Would all its love outpour,
And pray that Thou wouldst' teach me Lord
To love Thee more and more.

J D B.

[graphic]

LADIES' MOTHERS' MEETINGS. MONGST the multiplied mothers' meetings which have lately sprung up in our large cities, and especially in London, there are comparatively few held for the benefit of the upper classes. All such

advantages (not excepting pastoral visitation) have, perhaps too exclusively, been directed to the poor.

It is from the assurance that many in the upper

classes of life are deeply anxious, not only about their own souls, but about their children's souls, that the following pages are written. We would persuade such mothers to unite in prayer for those they hold dearer than life, and to join in patient study of the mind of God on the important and much-discussed subject of education. In prayer, if in anything, union is strength. The promise is explicit, that, “ If two of you

shall

agree on earth as touching anything they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.” Nor is it only union in spirit that is meant, for it is immediately added : “And where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them (Matt. xviii. 19. 20).

There is a freshness in personal intercourse which no books can supply. It is in the contact of mind with mind that those living thoughts are kindled which glow and burn on the altar of daily service. Do not let any complain, "There are none in my immediate neighbourhood with whom I can hold such communion of heart. I am not intimate enough to propose such a meeting.” If the essential foundation of the love of Christ be there, personal friendship is not a necessary element of much profitable intercourse on grounds of mutual interest. How many a harp stands silent, or jars under a careless touch, which, if rightly handled, would yield the richest, tenderest harmony! A celebrated musician once took his harp into a concert all out of tune; he had not time to wind up the strings; but, after playing awhile with the other performers, the vibrations of his harp rose to concert pitch, and blended in perfect harmony with the other instruments. Is it not thus that a mind, not naturally wound up to concert pitch, if brought into contact with others, will rise to their standard ? Only try the experiment. We are sure you will be satisfied with the results.

A young and inexperienced mother, in one of the suburbs of London, feeling the difficulty of educating her little ones, was led to ask, first one, and then two or three, Christian friends to unite with her in prayer for their beloved children. The object was primarily to strengthen faith and prayer; secondarily, to obtain counsel from those whose greater experience and riper judgment would enable them to make many valuable suggestions. After a little consider

ation, these friends consented, and the authoress of Short Tracts for Mothers most kindly supplied them with notes of Scripture subjects considered at a similar mothers' meeting, and with the following rules she had drawn out for its practical regulation, which had been found to work well :

RULES FOR LADIES' MOTHERS' MEETING. 1. The members shall meet on the last day of every month at

twelve o'clock. 2. Every meeting shall commence and end with prayer. 3. The time shall be spent in reading the Scriptures, and such

works as relate to education, in conversation, and in prayer for

a blessing on our efforts for the good of our children. 4. That at each meeting a subject be proposed, to be carefully

considered and studied before the next. 5. That every Monday the members should unite in prayer for a

blessing upon the Association, upon each other, and upon their

children. 6. That every Member of the Association shall consider herself

bound, if possible, to read a portion of Scripture daily with

her children. An alphabetical list of the mothers united in this little association, with their children's names and birth-days written under each, was inscribed on a large card, and a copy given to each mother to hang in her bed-room, that she might be able to remember each by name at the throne of grace. The special circumstances of any causing anxiety, or calling for praise, are named at the monthly meeting, and prayer offered, or thanksgiving rendered accordingly. It has been found an advantage for the meeting not always to be held in one house, lest it should become too individual an effort. The members have therefore met alternately at three houses central to those in their immediate neighbourhood.

As part of the hour was frequently lost in separate conversations, carried on by little knots of two or three, all conversing at the same time, it has been found expedient to economise the time of all by appointing one of the members president pro tem., to whom all conversation must be addressed, that all may share in it. It is considered the duty of the president, as far as possible, to limit the conversation to the subject under discussion. The lady at whose house the gathering is, generally acts as president.

The little effort of praying before others, felt by those who have not previously been accustomed to do so, has been amply repaid by the enlarged communion of heart to which it has led. The Church of Christ is affianced to One who is infinite. We can never fathom the fulness of His truth and love; but the variety of grace bestowed on the multitude whom no man can number, which constitutes the Bride, the Lamb's wife, in some feeble measure reflects

« AnteriorContinua »