Imagens da página

accomplished daughter had taken its flight, I trust into the bosom of that blessed Saviour, whom, though she scarcely knew, yet she loved and honoured. The first thing the parent did, after committing to the grave all that had been left him of earthly joy, was to procure a New Testament. This he read diligently and devoutly; and taught by the Holy Spirit from above, is now numbered among the meek and humble followers of the once despised Jesus.

THE FEAST OF DEDICATION. LET us suppose it to be the Jewish month Chisleu, the time of the Feast of Dedication. Jerusalem is illuminated. The city one blaze of light. Every window glares with its numerous tapers. Each palace has a gorgeous aspect; each window is thronged with Hebrew maidens, whose dark, bewitching eyes, glanced through the embroidered veil, whose merry voices proclaim a holiday. The blaze of light pierces the low arched alley. Wretchedness puts on a deceitful smile. Each street is a fair, all excitement. Men hurrying to and fro. Citizen and stranger, Greek and Roman, are talking here and there loudly; all are bent on pleasure. Roman guards, with lordly gait, saunter down the street.

Now music breaks on the ear, with mellifluous strains, as though Jubal touched the lyre. And voices join the anthem, swelling in full chorus with thrilling power. Enthusiasm and harmony sweetly blending. The theme, the glorious struggles of their forefathers—or the spirit stirring Psalms of David. Visitors from the country are hastening to their city friends. It is the day of feasting. The stalled ox is killed. Fish from Genesareth; wine from the neighbouring vineyards ; each larder teems with provisions for the feast. To-day, heart and house are open. Hospitality bids you enter. A joyful countenance rests on all. Let us go to the temple. Multitudes are ascending Mount Moriah. Yonder, the Pharisee has put on his most costly robes. There is a solemn dignity in all his movements; he meets his friend with many salutations. The learned scribe with neglected dress, and a much soiled scroll underneath his arm, saunters in Solomon's porch, eager to take part in any disputation ; solve knotty points ; or display his erudition by quoting the traditions of the elders.

Let us hear what that youth, with beaming eye and intelligent countenance, is asking his parent. They walk together hand in hand. The son enquires, “Why is this called the Feast of Dedication ?" The father enters on the task with delight. He tells him how 170 years ago Jerusalem was stormed and taken by Antiochus, called by some Epiphanes--the illustrious, but properly Epimanes,-the madman. How he slew 40,000 inhabitants in three days, and drove into captivity, like a herd of cattle 40,000 more. Palaces were destroyed-streets were fired—the city walls thrown down. How the temple was profaned, the treasury pillaged, the sacred vessels seized. The golden candlestick, the table of shew-bread, the golden altar of incense, and the exquisitely wrought veil of the holy place; all carried off by bloodstained thievish hands. How Epiphanes insulted the great God of heaven, and defiled his house by sacrificing a sow upon the altar of burnt offering, calling upon their gods. How the Jews were sunk in the depths of degradation and despair; oppressed and trampled upon. The weak apostates—The faithful martyrs-Their religion prohibited--Blood daily flowing the streets--a murdered relative or friend in every house. The city one scene of terror ; wailing mingling with curses, a daily oblation. When all appeared a wreck, Mattathias, aged as he was, stirred the dying embers of freedom : he raised the spirit of revolt, defying the tyrant's power, and despising with supreme disdain his glittering bribes. How Judas, the Maccabee, and his son, lead on the glorious struggle-uniting valour and enthusiasm with prudence and untiring perseverance. He unfurled the banner of liberty, amidst a chosen band. Gorgias and Bacchides, and Nicaner the bravest of Syria's Generals, and their troops were routed.

His bleeding prostrate country raised its head again. The Temple was repaired and purified-An altar was raised, the sacred vessels restored. The priests re-installed, and Jehovah's holy name once more sung by the great congregation. Judas, the Maccabee, the patriot, the general, the deliverer, crowned his conquests with thanksgiving, and by appointing a festival of eight days to celebrate the deliverance of the Jewish people. And the Feast of the Dedication, this is the anniversary of that great event, this the moment of that glorious struggle. W. H. R.

THE MAN BLIND FROM HIS BIRTH. In one of the principal streets of the city of Jerusalem, one of those streets which lead to the temple, there sits a man, blind from his birth. Childhood and manhood have crept slowly on without one ray of solar fire stealing through his eyelids. A solitary man-a poor, blind beggar.

Methinks when he was a child, he would love to bask in the warm sunlight, and while he rolled his sight-less eyeballs in undistinguishing survey, he would ask with intense desire “ What is this sun ? Tell me of the sky, the hills of Bashan, the valley fertilized by the flowing brook.” While his mother described the waving corn; cattle grazing on the mountain range, or in the wide vale of Esdraelon ; the roses blooming in Sharon; the lily of the valley in virgin attire, shaking its bells in the wind. Yea! and of a hundred other wild-born flowers. How the lad would listen to these dream-like tales—these scenes of happy wonderment. Joy would gladden his features, he would smile as he listened to the scenes described by his mother's lips. But he clasps his mother's neck, and knows and feels that he is blind

“The portals of light fast barred,

He heaves a swelling sigh.
They weep, and now he sleeps,

God give thee peace, my boy!" But there he sits, a strong young man, begging his bread. Hear him soliloquize :—“There's such a one, the Pharisee, he gives largely and regularly as he walks to the Sanhedrim. But customers are drawing near, I hear a tramp of feet. Certainly it is the feast, and the city is thronged with visitors. They stop before me, one is addressed as Master.' This must be some great personage! Perhaps the high priest himself.” Some one enquires, “ Master, who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” The Master answers : “ Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents ; but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me while it is day, the night cometh when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.The Rabbi speaks with wisdom, a mysterious power dwells on every word. A greater than the high priest is here. Verily, He must be a prophet. “The Light of the world !” The blind man says, “ Rabbi! I ask not alms from thee. 0! in pity illumine my perpetual night! •Light of the world!' In mercy remember me. 0! let me gaze upon thy brightness !"

The Master, “Jesus of Nazareth "-for that is his name -spat upon the ground, and making clay, anointed the beggar's eyes, and told him, to go wash in the Pool of Siloam.

See the blind man rise from his seat to obey the Lord's command ? He asks imploringly those around him to lead him to the pool. A kind hearted citizen steps forward as his guide. To the city gate they sped. His faith like a taper flickers-wavers—sometimes well-nigh out; but gathering strength again steadily it burns. His friend and guide leads him through the crowded streets. Others having heard of Christ's command, follow the blind man to see the result of his washing his eyes in the pool; some laugh at the foolish pilgrimage. The blind man, however, perseveres. Faith and hope support him, and spur him on. And he meditates on the command, “Go wash.” He believes he shall yet see his beloved city—the temple—"the mountains of his native land,” and “the man that made clay and anointed his eyes.” As they approach the goal of his desires-his heart beat hard with expectation-eagerly he asks the distance, with rapid steps they walk to the Pool of am.

Now in one part of the city there is a great excitement. A Babel-sound rises from the court below-old and young are crowding round the object of attraction. It is the blind young man, who was shouting for joy and embracing friends and enemies. He has just come from the Pool of Siloam—“ seeing.There he washed, and his blindness vanished. His soul now rejoices in beholding the new opened porches of light. The neighbours clamour for an explanation of this mystery. “Is not this he who sat and begged ?” Some confidently afirm, “ It is he!” yet, there are many sceptics among this company. Some far-seeing folks can see a striking likeness. " He is like him ; but he said, I am he."

The beggar simply tells his tale. " The man that is called Jesus, made clay and anointed my eyes, and said, Go to the Pool of Siloam ; and I went and washed, and I received my sight.” What a mingled look of superstition and incredulity. The silence is broken by curiosity, " Where is he? and he said, I know not."

The Jewish Sanhedrim decided controversies among the people, in all cases of religion ; the people had a great regard for their opinion. Him that aforetime was blind?," is brought before the tribunal. Many of the Pharisees know him well. The people have been puzzled, they cannot explain the miracle, so they come to hear the wise give their verdict. The senate asks--How were thine eyes opened? The beggar simply tells the startling facts. Ah! ah! say some, “ This man is not of God because he keepeth not the Sabbath-day. But Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus answer, “ How can a man that is a sinner, do such miracles ?The debate grows warm. How very foolish this solemn assembly looks. They seem puzzled. How to make a dignified retreat seems to be the prevailing thought. The Pharisees have numbers, if not arguments. They evade the query by questioning the beggar. They think his poverty, his helplessness, his ignorance, will make him their prey. How can he bear cross-examina- ! tion, we'll make him contradict himself. They ask, "What sayest thou of him, that (he) hath opened thine eyes." The young man answered, “ He is a prophet."

« AnteriorContinuar »