Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

fatal morning, and the fact that his withdrawal from his post did not meet with more severe retribution. Perfect justice cannot always be obtained, happily the outpost had been held without him, and the message he had received from an officer of higher rank may have been taken as some excuse for his absence from his post. Such things have been. Yet Stanley was not unpunished, for a life-long remorse and sorrow lay upon him, and bitter was his grief when he knew that now no opportunity could ever be his of telling his cousin, whom, in spite of all their differences, he truly loved, that he had learnt at last from his noble example that hardest of all lessons, that the free surrender of the will to lawful authority is no slavish submission, but the service the most worthy of a man; and may we not hope that in time he will go yet further, and be led on from the earthly shadows of a child's obedience to its parents, a soldier's to his captain, a subject's to his king, to that which all these typify,--the obedience of those who follow the example of CHRIST?

EADGYTH.

THE DIVINE ORIGIN OF WORK.

THERE was a deeper truth than is generally recognised by us in our LORD's command, “He that is greatest among you shall be your servant.” We think, and justly, that it was to inculcate that spirit of humility which is the first of Christian graces; but it has another meaning, which we often overlook. Now, who are those that serve ? Are they not, in truth, the greatest of all ? The wise and patriotic minister, who serves, with unparalleled exertions, his sovereign, the nation, and the people; the eminent judge, whose time is spent in the arduous service of others through his powers of judgment and patient reflection; the celebrated physician, who, by laborious study and unremitting service of humanity in its most loathsome phases, has gained that experience which enables him to serve others the more efficiently; the noble pastor, who, to serve others, uses the most strenuous efforts to convince them of the vanishing nature of those shadows after which they are grasping, whilst he places in their hands the true treasures ; the illustrious author, who toils day and night in thought that he may enlighten the minds of his fellows; the earnest student, poring ceaselessly over his books until his frame is bent and enfeebled by that study, which is enlarging his powers of comprehension, as he compiles works which shall be the glory of his age, for the benefit of those who, through press of other occupations, cannot search out the hidden things of truth for themselves; the man of science, who, by his indefatigable researches, reveals to his fellows the marvels of creation, that they may gain a higher conception of the infinite power and wisdom of the Creator; the renowned philosopher, who, with unceasing toil, seeks to sever truth from error, light from darkness, wisdom from folly, that men may better comprehend the end and object of their existence ; the wise, self-sacrificing mother, whose " children rise up and call her blessed,” for her whole lifetime has been spent in the service of her family and household : all these, and countless others, the great ones of the earth, are those who serve.

See the calm and stately procession of this noble band of workers, who, in never-failing ranks, toil onward, whilst the great pendulum of Time, with measured, even beat, swings through the ages into eternity, its movements echoing along the vaulted aisles of space as the hands move slowly and majestically over the starry dial, marking with remorseless progress the few unswerving beats that make up the little day of the earthly life of each while they pass onward into the unseen : the deep seal of Divine Truth is set on their lofty brows, marking the seat of creative intelligence, that which is the image of God set in the carnal temple of man's body; the ever-burning light from within that shrine, where they have offered up all that was noblest and best in them, shining with a pure and lambent flame, kindled by celestial fire.

Again, if we dare in our littleness compare human things with Divine, think of the infinite, the ceaseless work of the great Creator ! Where is there any sign of the listless hand, the indolent attention, in the exquisite harmony and order which reign throughout the whole universe ? Even in human affairs, wherever there is harmony and order we know that there is a head which organises and a hand that guides ; and if, for any cause, that head or hand be removed, we perceive, in an incredibly short time, the change to anarchy and confusion which succeeds. What, therefore, would it be in this vast universe if the Divine Creator, but for a moment, in weariness withdrew His hand or relaxed His attention ?

Work, then, is of Divine origin, and it is work alone which

strengthens and ennobles : honest, hearty work, done zealously and ungrudgingly; work, as of the free man, not the unwilling, reluctant drudgery of the slave, who feels constantly and repiningly the galling of the chains which bind him to serve a master he does not love. So we see that the wise and prudent alone, the great ones of the earth, are truly the servants of all; and those who will not put their hand to the plough to work manfully in preparation for the Great Harvest, when all shall reap as they have sown, must abide the consequences of their fatal mistake in inevitable failure both here and hereafter.

There is a service which is debasing and degrades man's whole being, the service of sin, and the wages of that service is death ; but they who serve sin do not serve others : theirs is a selfish, slavish service; and we know from experience that these wages are duly paid, for with whatever member a man sins, to it he brings death. Sin being the contrary of that for which man was created, by sinning we understand the abuse of any of man's powers ; for example, to sin with the brain is not to use its powers in striving to comprehend the word and works of GOD, the mysteries of revelation and creation, as far as our finite capacity is capable of so doing, that we may do the work set us in the world intelligently and to the best of our ability. If we sin thus, and our brain is idle, it becomes dull, and gradually loses power ; and after a while we can no longer use it, even if we would: it is practically dead.

If we desire to see the end of the service of sin and self, take the case of the so-called man of pleasure, who, by a long course of selfindulgence and self-gratification, has sought his own gain alone. Of him it may be truly said, “ Duram servit servitutem ;” he cast his net gaily, laughingly, in the bright noonday of life, into the fair-seeming waters of the sea of pleasure, buoyant with the hope of inexhaustible spoil; but alas ! he knows not of the vile filth and putrefying refuse which lie beneath the treacherous surface, destroying all life with their pestilent vapours and festering impurity; until, as the day wanes, toilworn and weary, he drags his heavy load ashore, and lo! there is nothing but death and corruption.

“Why stand ye here all the day idle ?" is a question addressed to each one of us with impassioned earnestness by Him Who knows the priceless worth of the rich fruits to be gained by those who toil in the vineyard of their God, and Who knows, moreover, that not to serve

God and man is to be in the service of Satan and sin, and that the night of death and darkness is drawing on apace, when, with no wavering of pity, the hand of justice will mete out to each of us the wages due for his work.

Satan surely triumphs with fiendish malice over the havoc of indolence, the subtlest of all the many destroyers of mankind, who numbers his victims by myriads, as they writhe in hopeless agony, remembering the talents and opportunities wrecked and wasted beyond recall.

LUCY EALES.

CHRISTMAS OFFERINGS.

Oh, the love transcendent—kindness past expressing,

Shining from the record of the wondrous birth,
Heralding salvation-yea, and every blessing,

God's free love to sinners, peace upon the earth!

Blessing, glory, worship, might and adoration,

Holy Babe, our Master, we would bring to Thee ;
For the tender mercies of Thine Incarnation,

Unto Thee, O JESU, ceaseless praises be.
LORD, behold us gathered in Thy house to greet Thee,

Grant not all unmindful of Thy boundless love,
Take the gifts we offer, now we come to meet Thee,

Joining in the praises round the throne above.
Poor and mean our offerings-yet Thou wilt receive them,

What Thy love has lent us, we may bring to Thee;
Bowed in reverence lowly, on Thine Altar leave them,

Offering of our choicest, gladly, willingly.

Master, let our talents-yea, our lives, be given,

Given for Thy service Who Thyself didst give,
Sin and self would bind us—let their bands be riven,
To Thy glory, Master, teach us how to live.

Y. O. M.

464

HAROLD'S BAPTISM.

“Oh, say not, dream not heavenly notes

To childish ears are vain,
That the young mind at random floats

And cannot catch the strain.
“Dim or unheard the words may fall,

But yet the heaven-taught mind
May learn the sacred air, and all

The harmony unwind.”

It was noon on a hot summer's day, though comparatively little sunshine penetrated the close alleys and narrow streets bordering on a wide thoroughfare in that particularly dingy part of London, the south side of the Thames near Blackfriars Bridge; the children just released from a neighbouring ragged-school seemed to have less energy than usual, and were listlessly hanging about in groups under doorways and arches where shade was always to be found.

On a doorstep in Poplar Walk, one of the closest alleys in all that stifling atmosphere, sat two children eating a piece of bread for their dinner. The eldest, a slight delicate-looking boy of about ten years old, evidently considered himself the protector of the little girl by his side, and kept off the children who from time to time attempted to make her join in their sports.

Poor little Nellie! well was it for her Harold was such a devoted brother, for long ago their father had died, and their mother was in the habit of leaving them for weeks together, and then returning for a few days, and as suddenly disappearing again.

It was a strange lonely life these two little ones led in the heart of London, and it was only on account of their mother having been punctual in paying her rent, often too paying it in advance, and giving the landlady a trifle to look after the children, that they were permitted to remain in the one room which wạs all they could call home. And Harold was a gentle winning child, always ready to run errands, or take care of the landlady's baby, so that in return he obtained many a meal, and gained among his companions the name of the little nursemaid. His tender care of his little sister won for him the admiration of all the women in the court, and there was not one who would not trust her baby to Harold's care, if anxious to step out for half an hour. Poor little fellow! he could remember when his home was a cottage

« AnteriorContinuar »