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A SOFT ANSWER."
JUDGES viii. 1-3. MONG the incidents recorded in Old Testament story " for our learning” is the example of a true-hearted Hebrew gentleman, which stands not surpassed, perhaps, by anything attained in more favoured gospel days.
Gideon the Abiezrite was chosen of God to work out his country's deliverance from Midianitish oppression; but personal aggrandizement was no part of his mission.
When, flushed with conquest, he was returning from an exploit which would have made any general of later times the idol of an admiring country, -he was met by one of those envious, spiteful displays which jealousy sometimes raises against the great and good. Instead of receiving him with respect and honour, one of the tribes of Israel took him to task for not inviting them to share the victory he had gained : “ The men of Ephraim did chide sharply with him.' How galling to the hero's pride!
Was Gideon's temper roused ? Did he denounce the paltry ingratitude, and vow to give up the public service ? Did he take his stand upon his Divine mission, and call on God to avenge his cause ? Oh, no! his conduct was an illustration of the precept afterwards embodied in those oft-quoted yet little heeded words, "A soft answer turneth away wrath.”
Picture the man, grandest in his meekness, noblest in his humility; more truly great in this conquest over his own spirit than when at the head of his renowned three hundred he led the battle cry : “ The sword of the Lord and of Gideon (Jud. vii. 18). Why,” said the mean-spirited Ephraimites, “why hast thou served us thus, that thou calledst not us when thou wentest to fight with the Midianites?"
Listen for the reply—no proud defiance, no lofty contempt, but a gentle remonstrance, a polite compliment: “What have I done now in comparison of you? As the very gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim is better than the whole vintage of Abiezer, so your conquest of the princes far exceeds my defeat of their followers : what was I able to do in comparison of you?”
Mark the effect of this beautiful well-timed forbearance: “ Then was their anger abated when he had said that."
Gideon was a self-sacrificing peacemaker among his countrymen, and was terrible only to the enemies of Israel and Israel's God. While fame crowned the warrior, better and sweeter in Gideon's heart must have been the approving voice of the Prince
“Be ye angry and sin not” is an apostolic warning which has been aptly paraphrased,“ Be ye angry and speak not;” so difficult
is it to restrain that little member that, once unloosed, runs riot over feeling, forbearance, and charity : so, if a soft answer may not appease strife, let silence end it at once. “ Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God.” And though we cannot still the passions and mend the tempers of our neighbours, let us seek for ourselves that forbearing lowly spirit which withholds fuel from the flame; which, like Gideon's answer, turns away wrath; and, like Christ's example, “when reviled, reviles not again.”
place in a savings-bank funds available for the child's
of promoting the interest of the child. But all such prospective arrangements may fail. There is no mode of investment absolutely secure against all possible contingencies.
You may lay persons under weighty obligations to promote the welfare of your child after you are gone; but they may die before you, or may forget the obligation. There is only one way in which measures taken for the benefit of the child cannot be lost. Every true prayer for your child will be registered in the book of God's remembrance.
An old disciple, writing his friend, said, “How much of the peace and joy of our old age may be owing to the prayers of the dear ones who have gone before us?” Both had been blessed with companions of rare piety, and both had been left to preform the last years of their pilgrimage alone.
It is our duty to help one another. It is the especial duty of parents to provide for the welfare of their children. This is best done by doing as much as is possible for their education, and com. mending them to God in constant prayer. Houses and lands and stocks designed for children, may fail; but true prayers never. Registered prayers are infinitely more safe than registered bonds.
À wayward son left his loving and praying widowed mother, to enter upon a life of wickedness in a large city. His limited means were soon exhausted, and he shipped as a common sailor for a voyage to China. He continued to follow the seas, his deprivation preventing him from rising above the rank of a common sailor. At length his health gave way, and he was taken to the hospital. A Christian labourer passed through the wards of the hospital, and said a few words to the sufferer. In reply to a question, the sufferer answered, “I am about as great a sinner as I can be.”
“Have you any one to pray for you?”
“I had a mother who did a good deal in that line. I don't know whether she is living or not.”
“ Do not speak so lightly of your mother's prayers. They may be your only hope."
He passed on, leaving the sailor to the reflections which had been awakened. He subsequently saw him often, being encouraged to labour for his conversion by the fact that he had a praying mother. In the end, before he left the hospital, partially restored to health, he was brought to Christ and returned, like the prodigal, to bless the few remaining days of his praying mother.
DWELLING IN UNITY.
PSALM cxxxiii. ENTLE words and actions, Linked on earth in sweetest union, telling,
They, through grace Divine, shall Day by day, of holy love,
rise, Make the humblest earthly dwelling Soon to share the high communion Image the pure heaven above.
Known by seraphs in the skies. Happy they, such home possessing ; There, amid the bright hosts telling
Rich, whate'er their worldly store ! Of their God and Father's love, For the Lord there grants His blessing, Memory still shall bless the dwelling Even life for evermore.
Which once imaged heaven above.
THE FATAL CORSET.
“Nonsense! You ought to have pride to wear them. You will grow up as round shouldered as a camel without them. Do you want people to think
you are deformed ?"
« But it hurts me to breathe. I feel as if I was stilling.”
“Say no more about it. Other girls breathe in them, and you are not made differently from them. Look at Martha Aberly. There's an ugly figure for you. Her mother does not believe in corsets. When your figure is properly formed, it will be time enough to talk about it.
It is four years ago, but the frail, lovely girl has for three years been wearing the shroud which requires no lacing to make it fit. A white marble cross in the burial-place shows the grave where she rests. It is called a sad providence that thus removed an only daughter, so sweet in temper, so promising in talent. But in reality it was the cruel stays. Many mothers will be terribly dismayed when the day of final reckoning shall come, to discover how the fresh, happy life that God meant to blossom out in excellence and beauty upon the earth, was untimely crushed and blighted by their own worship of fashion.
Thee, a child of life and light ?
“Dying is but going home!”
“ Dying is but going home !"
“ Dying is but going home!”
“Dying is but going home !"
“Dying is but going home!”
RULES FOR HOLY LIVING.–Let us be on our guard against old self in every form, whether it be indolence, or temper, or coldness, or rudeness, or disobligingness, or slovenliness, or shabbiness, or covetousness, or flippancy, or self-conceit, or pride, or cunning, or obstinacy, or sourness, or levity, or foolishness, or love of preeminence. Let us cultivate a tender conscience, avoiding crotchets and conceits, yet watching against the commission of little sins and the omission of little duties, redeeming the time, yet never in a hurry; calm, cheerful, frank, happy, genial, generous, disinterested, thoughtful of others; and seeing we must protest against the world on so many important points, let us try to differ from it as little as possible on things indifferent, always showing love to those we meet with, however irreligious and unlovable, especially avoiding a contemptuous spirit or an air of superiority.-Dr. H. Bonar.
The age of infancy is that of the undeveloped flower,—the season when the whole spiritual man still lies inclosed in the bud of strong feeling. Beware of wiping off from it with too rash a hand the morning dew.
MOTHER, mother, guard thy child !
Oh, be careful when you chide !