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POETICAL PARAPHRASES OF SCRIPTURE TEXTS. NO. IX.
Jeremiah ii. 13.
Thro' the lone waste a silver stream there glides
The softest verdure well adorns its sides;
The pilgrim there may sit the live-long day
And with its varied sweets, wile the dull hours away.
Can slake his thirst on that pure fountain's brink,
And when he tastes the stream, new vigour drink ,
This silver stream seems for the pilgrim made,
Its waters give him strength, its tree3 afford him shade.
But lo! perverse of heart and proud of soul
He leaves the fount from which such pleasures roll,
Goes madly on thro' the hot, sandy wild,
Where never streamlet ran, and never flowret. smiled.
Then with his palm, scoops the parched sand away
That he may force some hidden spring to day;
This having found he hastes the bliss to share,
But bitter is the well which his own skill discovered there.
Then, late, he mourns that e'er his heart should spurn
That lovely spot;—and now would wisdom learn:
The boon which God bestows he now does prize;
He soon regains the stream, and lifts to heaven hi9 eyes.—
"Thou living fount! from which pure pleasures roll,
Thyself alone can satisfy my soul!
The cisterns which these hands did madly .rear
Did bitter waters hold,—no living spring was there '-"
How often do we suffer events and occurences to distress us, which in the sequel, prove to have been highly to our advantage! When the aged patriarch, lamenting the loss of his favorite children, exclaimed, "All these things are against me," how little did he imagine that the one was being conveyed to the embraces of his long absent brother, and that the distress which he had experienced at the supposed death of the other, was but a necessary preliminary to the final preservation of the whole family from the horrors of protracted famine!
When the disciples "had sorrow," because their Lord was taken from them, they considered not that his exaltation though suffering was indispensable, both to purchase their redemption, and that he might become, in a more efficient manner, their everlasting intercessor.
There are times in the experience of every one, when an accumulation of adverse circumstances, the unkindness of those we esteem, or the unrelenting persecution of enemies, are suffered to wound us bitterly, and make life itself appear burdensome. In such cases, it will certainly be found, that there is some peculiar defect, either in our principles or practice, which the present uneasiness is intended' to counteract.
That man is perhaps the best fitted to reprove the mistakes of his brother, who feels the most unwilling to undertake the office. Unless a reproof be administered with kindness, it had far better be withheld. "Let the righteous smite me, it shall be a kindness, an excellent oil, that shall not break my head." Psalm cxli. 5.
Secret sorrow for offences, whether in or out of the church, is, of the two extremes, a safer course to be pursued than rigid and officious interference. Such was the feeling of the inspired Psalmist, when with feelings of tender sympathy, he penned that affecting lamentation, "Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because men keep not thy law." Psalm cxix. 136,
Suspicious christians are, possibly, of much service to the church at large, as watchers and guardians of its general welfare: but, it is to be feared, that the service, which they occasionally render to others, will hardly be commensurate with the sacrifice of their own happiness.
Amongst the many methods which have been adopted, particularly in the present day, for the more general cultivation of religious principle, in the poorer classes of society, private intercourse has perhaps not been sufficiently valued. The minister of religion, as well as the private christian, will ever find this a most fruitful channel of improvement, both to themselves and others.
There is probably no exercise which puts our own faith more to the test, than that of visting the afflicted*. Here, if ever, we feel the need of a divine unction, to fit us for the path of duty. Without it all is gloom and vexation of spirit.
Speaking generally, every duty will be more or less difficult or delightful, as it is undertaken in reference to God. Martha, who was busied with external ceremonies, soon grew tired of her charge, and called upon her sister to help her.
In like manner, it will generally be found, that in proportion as we undertake any thing in our own strength, we shall be induced, like Martha, to think the more of it, the more it in reality becomes insignificant, and, like her, proudly to call that "a service," which weariness has already pronounced to be worthless.
The Scriptures have given us a beautiful illustration of the folly of self-dependence, in the case of the disciples, who having put te sea without the Lord, and finding, as might be expected, the wind to be contrary, attempted to accomplish their journey by rowing. What was the result? After an exertion of several hours, even till the fourth watch of the night, they had reached, in the whole, not thirty furlongs! When the Lord came to them, "immediately they were at the land whither they went." It is better trusting to the sails than the oars.
Self-deception is far more common than real hypocrisy. In nothing perhaps is this deception more prevalent than in the underrating our weakness when freed from the more immediate and fiery heat of the furnace of temptation. Many a Peter is heard to say, " though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. " who, when called to endure for the sake of his Master, will be as ready to exclaim "I know not the man." All would reign with Christ; few are prepared to suffer with Him. Peter was no hypocrite, but self-deceived.
That man inflicts the deepest injury on true Religion, who deliberately " wounds her in the house of her friends." "Better that a millstone &c." It is worse than Brutus' dagger in Caesar's heart.
He who has taken up the cross of his Saviour, may be strengthened for the endurance of it by the recollection that it is crested with "a crown of glory that fadeth not away." Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."
The vista of a Christian's life is often one of" much tribulation." He must keep his eye therefore steadily fixed on the distant perspective, remembering it terminates in Heaven. "Look to the end and thou shalt not do amiss." One Pisgah view is compensation for a world of sorrow. Before thou puttest thine hand to the plough, stand and count the cost; after thou hast done it " look not back."
Never expect God's blessing out of God's way. The path of duty is the post of expectation; and he is a proud and little-to-be-respected suppliant, who thinks it too much to wait at his benefactor's door. "Though he tarry, wait for him; " " wait, I say on the Lord."
Hipgins, Printer, Dunstable.
"In medio tutissimus ibis."
No. 19.] NOVEMBER, 1837. [vol. II.
This word is used to designate the doctrine better known as the transmigration of souls; the passage of the thinking principle of man into new bodies after death; an opinion which was extensively entertained by many ancient nations, and is not even now obsolete. Some sects of religionists supposed that this removal from one body to another was indefinitely continued; others maintained that it was limited to a longer or shorter period according to the character of the soul thus subjected to purgation. Under various forms and with many modifications this strange sentiment has received the belief of a large portion of mankind.