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privation, Lazarus was a child of God; and them white in the blood of the Lamb.”—Rev. because the rich man, in the enjoyment of his vii. 14–17. In this way, then, not in the way abundance, lived without God, a child of the of compensation for mere suffering, independevil. Had the characters of the two been dently of faith and character—nor in the way reversed-had the poor man been the repro- of merited compensation even for faith and bate, and the rich man the saint, there would character themselves — but according to the have been a corresponding reversal of condi- gracious engagements of the Lord to his faith. tions in the other world : Lazarus. would have ful servants - the afflictions “ were working “ lifted up his eyes in hell, being in torment;” out the glory.” As surely as they were faithand the rich man would have been carried by fully endured, they would be faithfully rethe angels into Abraham's bosom”—from his warded. But, sumptuous table on earth to the better and 2. The “ afflictions” may be considered as more permanent feast of heaven.
working” the glory by the power of contrast. There is, however, one description of suffer. This is a natural principle. It is founded in ings which, when they are endured from evan- our constitution. Every day, amidst the changes gelical principles, in humble-minded faith, and of our earthly lot, we are sensible of the truth love, and self-renouncing reliance on mercy of it. The poet has said : “Sweet is pleasure through the great propitiation, our divine Mas- after pain." He might have expressed the ter himself has engaged, in a certain sense, sentiment even more strongly. After the longgraciously to compensate. He says (Luke xviii. continued endurance of severe pain, ease itself
28-30), in answer to the implied question of the mere cessation of the pain—becomes posiPeter : “ Verily I say unto you, There is no tive pleasure. In proportion as the toils of the man that hath left house, or parents, or breth day have been heavy and exhausting, the laren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of bourer feels the sweetness of his evening rest. God's sake, who shall not receive manifold more In proportion as his campaigns have been long, in this present time, and in the world to come and harassing, and perilous, the soldier feels life everlasting.” Here is compensation-gra- the sweetness of returning peace. In proporcious compensation; not the reward of merit, tion as the voyage of the mariner has been one but the expression of approving love. The of storm, and danger, and dread, of sunless assurance of it is held out as an encourage- days and starless and sleepless nights, and ment not to shrink in the hour of trial, but to toilsome and tedious conflict with contending
hold on and hold out to the end-to be “ faith- elements, does he enjoy the haven of security ful unto death.” If the reader will compare and repose. In proportion as his disease has with our Lord's words, the manner in which been protracted and severe, does the patient Paul writes to the Ilebrews (Heb. x. 32-37), appreciate the blessing of recovered health. to the Romans (Rom. viii. 17), and to Timothy Thus will it be with the believer when he (2 Tim. ii. 8–13), he will find good reason for reaches heaven. Jesus himself, “ for the joy thinking that, in looking at his “ light and that was set before him, endured the cross and momentary afflictions,” and contrasting them despised the shame;" and when, on the termi-, with the “eternal weight of glory,” and con- nation of his sufferings, he entered into that sidering the connection between them, the apostle joy, and was “made exceeding glad with God's i might have such assurances of his Master in countenance," can there be a doubt that the mind, and such feelings of confidence in their remembrance of the agonies of Gethsemane fulfilment as, in the passages referred to, he and Calvary contributed to the “fulness of the himself expresses. It was that Master who was joy,” and gave zest and exquisiteness to the allotting to him his “afflictions;" •and he had * pleasures at God's right hand?” And thus, pledged himself that no one of his servants too, it is said of believers : “ Blessed are the should endure them cheerfully and persever- dead who die in the Lord, from henceforth; ingly on his account without a gracious recom- yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest froin their pense. All the promises in the epistles to the labours ; and their works do follow them.” Seven Asiatic Churches “to him that over- Rev. xiv. 13. They “ hunger no more, neither cometh,” are in the same spirit, and proceed on thirst
God," with a Father's hand, the same principle; and so, too, does the ra
all tears from their eyes." And thenvishing description of the final rest and blessedness of those who " come out of great tribu
" The more we toil and suffer here, lation, and have washed their robes and made
The sweeter rest will be."
THE BELIEVER'S AFFLICTIONS, &c.
147 The contrast between the bitters of earth and to it, purifying us for his service here, and for the sweets of heaven will make the sweets the his holier and higher service there. Who is yweeter. The darkness of earth will add bright there, among the children of God, that has not ness to heaven's cloudless sky. The warfare | had experience of the benefit of affliction, and the perils of earth will enhance the enjoy- who has not had reason to adopt the Psalmist's 'ment of the peace and security of the paradise language: “It has been very good for me that above.
I was afflicted”_" Before I was afflicted, I went 3. That which, from the connection, the astray; but now I have kept thy law ?" apostle had principally in his eye, appears to And when the afflictions of life have these have been something still more direct and posi- effects, they may truly be said to “ work for tive, namely, the present influence of aflictions, us the far more exceeding and eternal weight as a part of the means of promoting the believers of glory.” They are at once the means of meetness for the coming glory.
keeping us from that apostasy by which we I have said that this is the sense of the should forfeit and lose it-preventing us from words most immediately indicated by the con- allowing the world to supplant it in the affectext. I refer to the connection with the pre- tions and desires of our hearts; and, at the ceding verse: "For which cause, we faint not: same time, of fitting us for the final possession
but though our outward man perish, the inward and enjoyment of it. Yes, Christian reader,
for us," &c. This connection leads us, naturally of the wilderness through which we pass on the
the Father.” Sinners, by the quickening energy to bear, the most mysterious and perplexing,
Of those means the chief are — the and ways and degrees, have been made to Word, the ordinances, and the providential answer the one end of “ working for us the far dealings of God; and, among his providential more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." dealings, his discipline especially.' Many a time And when we are thus put in possession of is this design and this effect of discipline re- the glory, and find it indeed such as “ eye had ferred to in the Scriptures. See Isa. xxvii. 9; not seen, nor ear heard, nor had entered into Heb. xii. 9–11; Zech. xiii. 9; Lam. iii. 37-41, the heart of man to conceive,” we shall duly &.
estinate the value of whatever has been made Salutary discipline is thus a part of our God's to contribute to the safe and full attainment of wise and gracious system of paternal treatment, it. It will be little pleasure for us to reflect which it would not be safe for us to be without. on the world's prosperity, associated as the reIt is by means of this discipline that he weans flection will be with the remembrance of its us from the world, and from the excesses of having been our chief temptation to forget and attachment to the things of time and sense; depart from God—the occasion of defectiveness that he draws our affections and desires more and deadness in the functions of the divine to himself, and to the “ things that are unseen life—the heaviest weight and hindrance to our and eternal”- thus fixing our hearts more where souls in their progress heavenward. While, our treasure is; that he increases our spiritual- on the contrary, we shall strike our loudest and mindedness, introduces more of the 'spirit of liveliest notes of praise for those trials which, heaven into our souls, while we are on our way sent in the loving-kindness and faithfulness of
our heavenly Father, were the means of a But we have one custom which belongs essentially timely counteraction of the world's fascinations, of. It is this? Our church bell tolls when any per
to the country, and which I think you know nothing and of "turning our hearts back again” when son in the village dies. Not long ago we were walk. they were in danger of " forsaking the foun- ing in the woods, about a mile from home, when we tain of living waters, and hewing out for them. be the announcement of a death. Two persons in
heard the bell. It was mid-day, and we knew it to selves cisterns, broken cisterns, which could the village were sick-one a young lady, the other hold no water.” How widely different will be
an old man. We all know who is sick among us, and our estimate of afflictions then, from what it is
who likely to be called from our little number. We
were a merry party that day in the woods, gathering ever so apt to be now! The retrospect will fill the bright berries of the Wintergreen, and a long us with“ wonder, love, and praise;" and as me laugh of gladness was interrupted by that solemn mory retraces the steps of our journey, we shall the village, sat down on a rock, or the moss at the
sound-each one ceased suddenly, and turning towaru see reason for the erection of many an Ebenezer foot of a tree, and in silence awaited the conclusion. where, at the time, we least thought of rearing It ceased at length, and we sat motionless. Again
the bell tolled. Ten quick strokes, and a pause. any such memorials. The most notable of Avain; we counted seventeen, eighteen-we breathed those“ stones of help,” and those on which slowly, for the next stroke was the age of our lovely the inscriptions of commemorative gratitude friend, who had lain many days with her eyes closed
and her heart beating heavily with fearful distinctshould have been the most deeply and legibly Nineteen. We bowed our heads-twenty! graven, we may then see, ought to liave been Shall I say it?-yes, we rejoiced. The stroke that reared at the very spots where the severest of brought joy to our ears fell heavily on the souls of
others, and its sound sank deeper into those souls our trials overtook us, where we were made than I'would dare to speak of. We joyed in their to drink most deeply of the waters of Marah. grief. Six times the bell tolled ten, and paused;
Let the afflicted among God's children be then, with a slower stroke, as if those latter years comforted novo, when they think of the gracious Good old man! while we were listening to the re
had gone on wearily, it numbered seven. Sixty-seven. design of their trials. Let them connect the cord of your life, added up by the village accountant trials with the prospect of the “ weight of in yonder belfry, whose it has been to chronicle the glory.” Let them, with all earnestness, seek years of our fathers and our brothers for nearly hali
a century, you were kneeling before the throne of that they may be efficient means of their pro- | God! gressive “ renewal in the inward man," and
The next Sabbath evening, at sunset, the bell tolled
nineteen. I will tell you at some future time of thus of their growing “ meetness for the in- the sunset glories of our island home. That evening heritance of the saints in light." In all the the stillness of the day of rest had entered into our disciplinary strokes of his rod, their heavenly beauty of the west with eyes that looked beyond their
Father, who, when he "toucheth them, toucheth fitful gleamings-spiritual eyes that were fixed on the apple of his own eye,” is training them the glories of heaven. At such hours, I think, we are for himself and for heaven.
best able to realize our proximity to the world of spirits. With the solemn consciousness of immor
tality-with a firm hope, fixed and sure--with eager THE DEATH KNELL IN THE COUNTRY.
heart, clinging to the assurance of salvation through
a crucified Saviour-with joyful expectation of the Island, January, 1846. things, now known in part, to be revealed hereafter, MY DEAR FRIEND,—We die in the country as well we may at such an hour feel the force of the startas in the city. The foot of Time crushes our flowers ling idea which, you remember, Tennyson placed in and breaks the dry branches. We have fears for the the mouth of the dying May-queen: lost; and what is different from your city customs, we all follow the dead of the village to the grave-yard,
“Oh, sweet and strange it seems to me that, ere the day is and all weep over that last place of rest wherein we The voice that now is speaking may be beyond the sun; lay our friends. None die unknown-no funeral ever For ever and for ever with those just souls and true! passes along the street unhecded. I have stood often Then what is life that we should moan-why cake we such on one of your corners, and watched the long train of hired carriages following the hearse, and have felt It was with this very thought that I was occupied that indescribable shudder which accompanies the when that bell's voice reached my ear. It was more thought that that hearse-pall may hide a form I musical than usual, the old time-keeper of the vil. knew and loved—that under the cofiin-lid a hand lies lage; and, as I listened, it seemed to echo that thought. nerveless that has grasped mine in manly affection. It told me that she who was with us but an hour ago, But here we are so bound to, and so dependent upon was with the Redeemer on high; that her voice 80 one another, that we cannot spare one from the pleasant here was melodious there; that it was but circle without looking long and sadly on the vacant a step, and that a short one, from the cottage near place. For years afterward we never pass the house the corner to the mansion 'which her Saviour had
from which a friend has been carried to “ the house prepared above. It added up her years with a steady, appointed for all the living," without thinking that solemn voice. First, it told of her childhood -freeit looks cold and deserted. The very door has an un- hearted childhood! Then, as it paused at ten, it used look, and the windows are not cheerful as they seemed to be hesitating ere it entered the history of were once. The dog on the step seems sad, and those cloudless years of girlish gladness. Sixteenwhen we try the gate it swings heavily and with such and I bethrughi ine of her self-consecration to Christ. a sound as it never used to have.
Eighteen was a wedding peal, echoed sadly; and 0
FRAGMENTS FROM A MINISTER'S DAY-BOOK.
how mournfully, in the close of the story, the last five years. I was beginning to add up how many deep sound of that knell !
times the bammer had fallen on that rim, when I There are always incidents connected with the thought that the bell had been the faithful recorder death of a villager that are interesting and affecting. of Death's doings in our quiet hamlet for at least one We differ greatly from citizens in external appear- generation. I stooped and looked up into the bell, ances, and I have sometimes thought in nature. and there saw the record of those strokes. I couldn't Never having studied to conceal a feeling or to hide count them. A few I remembered. More were my a tear, the gush of grief, which is so frequently seen mother's playmate's in childhood. The bell had a among us, you know little of, albeit there dwells, solemn sermon for me. A church bell has always a doubtless, as deep agony under the constraint of your solemn sound, whether in the call to prayer or the conventional laws as elsewhere.
march to the grave-yard.--Yours, &c. I might go on to tell you now how the neighbours came to look at her, and wept; and how mothers brought their children, and lifted them up to the HEAVEN OPENING ON THE SIGHT coffin side, and
there to see her unchanged on the shadows of earth arc fast fading away, face, and turned away to explain to the little ones wbat death is, and why she they loved so must be
And my soul from her slumber is waking; put in the ground and covered up with sand and sod; I see from afar, all beauteous and bright, and how there was one who never left his place by O'er the tops of the mountains, a gleaming of lightthe coffin-head, day or night, till it was carried to the
The dawn of the morning is breaking. church and to our quiet grave-yard. Or I might tell you of the gathering in the church; how all the peo- | Oh! waste not a sigh on earth's perishing joys, ple were there, the young and the old, so that in the Fillage it looked like a Sabbath, and in the church, For holier and purer the light that I see
Regret not the scenes that are fading; too, only the crowd was so great; and there, under the pulpit stood the coffin, and every little while a
A new world is opening its beauties to me, loud sob or a long-drawn sigh broke the silence; and As this from my sight is receding. how the choir sang with broken voices, old “ Scotland;" and how the minister prayed and wept by Yet there are ties on earth-0 so tender and true ! turns, and then read that sublime psalm, the 90th, And must not tears fall as they sever ?
Lord, thou hast been our dwelling-place in all ge- Oh no! though the knot may be loosened awhile, nerations," and tried to tell us something about the
Yet the tears that are falling may flow with a smile, dead lamb of his flock, but failed by reason of his
For Heaven will renew them for ever. many tears; and then left the pulpit, and led the way down the aisles, and the congregation stood still till Then waste not a sigh on this perishing world, the bier was carried out, and then followed and formed
It is heaven which is opening before me; a long procession to the new grave-yard (for the old one is full to overflowing), and to a grave in a grove And now, that fair light grows more beauteous and of oaks; and how, last of all, they crowded to the side clear, of the grave, and gazed into it, and one by one turned And nor, the celestial city is near, away. Then the sexton dropped the first earth on
And now, all around me is glory. the straw over the coffin-box, and that most inournful of all sounds we ever hear on earth went to
MRS WEST. the hearts of the mourners standing near, and a smothered wail broke out, and one low moan of a crushed heart.
FRAGMENTS FROM A MINISTER'S DAY. There are other incidents of the days following a
BOOK. funeral which I might tell you. How the neighbours send in the meals of the afficted family, think
THE FELLOW-PASSENGER, ing they may well be excused from the labours of every-day life for a while; and one kind friend
goes STRICTLY speaking, the following narrative does not and takes charge of the house and family, and the belong to my own day-book. It has nothing to do children who have been staying with the neighbours come back, and a host of little matters like this, with any events which befell myself, or any connected which you know nothing of in great New York. with me. The individual of whom it speaks is one
But I wrote to tell you of the custom of tolling whom I never saw in the flesh, and whose very name the bell for death. I like it. Do not you? No one I know not. within the reach of that sound escapes the warning.
What I relate I heard from the lips of a brother It used to wake the village from sleep sometimes, and that bell-toll at midnight was fearfully solemn. in the Lord. It is somo years ago since he gave me But men who did not like to think of death at any
the narrative, and therefore in some places it may time shrank from ít especially in the darkness of be imperfect; but I believe that in substance it is night. They said it woke them too mournfully: correct. They couldn't sleep again, or if they did they dreamed
He was travelling in a stage-coach, and his jourhorrid dreams, and so they voted night-tolling a nuisance; and now if any one dies in the night, the ney was of some considerable length. Not long after bell tells us of it in the morning.
he started, he drew from his pocket a New TestaI sat down in the belfry, by the bell, the other ment, and began to read. There was a young man day, and looked at it. It was an apt illustration of seated opposite to him, whose eye was attracted by that well-known individual “ the oldest inhabitant."
the appearance of the book, and by the minister's It had called the folks to church twice on Sabbath employment. Shortly after, they entered into con. and once in the week, for I don't know how many years. It had rung regularly every 4th of July, versation; and on learning what the book was which I and I think the clock hammer had struck every hour my friend was reading, he took occasion to express his of the day and night on its rim for more than twenty. scepticism, and his dislike at Scripture. To have
“ which are
entered into a regular argumeni with him would No ground seemed to have been gained-no wound have been just to gratify his self-confidence. To inflicted-no impression made; but the man of God i have entered on the wide field of the evidences of felt that he had been using the weapons
Christianity, would have been perhaps unsatisfactory; mighty, through God, in casting down imaginations," or at least a discussion of this kind would not go deep and ceased not to hope, but continued in silent enough. It might influence his mind; but his heart prayer. and conscience would have remained untouched ! After the silence of an hour or two, during which
Many may be here disposed to say, Surely in such the minister continued in the reading of the Word a case the minister must have had recourse to the and secret prayer, the young man suddenly started, evidences. It was the only ground on which he could and asked rather abruptly where one of these books meet one who denied the authority of the Word. could be got. They would say, It is vain to appeal to the Word, for Ah! thought the man of faith, the Word has not he disbelieves it; it is vain to quote its declarations, been in vain; the sword of the Spirit has reached his for he disregards them all. You must ply him hard soul. He immediately replied that Bibles could be with the external evidences; you must convince him had in the town to which they were going, and gave that the Bible is the Word of God, and then you him directions how and where they could be obmay take him up upon more solemn ground. Then tained. He added also, that he himself was to you may get at his conscience; but at present it is preach that evening at such a place, and at such an inaccessible.
hour. So would many reason; and such would have been The end of their common journey was soon aftertheir procedure. Not so that man of God. He had wards reached. They parted, and kindly bade fareno contempt for the historical proofs in behalf of well to each other. the authority of the Scripture; he had no want of In the evening the minister went to the place of confidence in the external evidences as matters of meeting, where he was to preach, according to apmanifest fact; but he felt that these were not his pointment. As he was about to commence the serweapons. He had confidence in the Word itself. vice, he saw, to his delight and amazement, the young He believed it to be quick and powerful, sharper Infidel enter the house with a Bible under his arın, than any two-edged sword—a hammer breaking the and take his place among the eager listeners! What rock in pieces. He knew that the heart even of an a change--from the scoffing sceptic to the attentive Infidel was not proof against the sword of the Spirit. hearer and worshipper! All in a few hours !-all However seared his conscience might be, still the through the simple instrumentality of the Word of Word of the living God was able to pierce it. God, unaided by any human power, but wielded by
Accordingly, he resolved to lay aside all human the Spirit! Truly the Word is quick and powerful, reasonings, however excellent and powerful, and sharper than any two-cdged sword ! assail his companion directly with the Word itself. Two things we learn from this narrative. Looking up to God for his blessing, and asking the 1. To trust more to the simple Word of God for Holy Spirit to send the message home, he told the the conversion of souls, even of the open scoffer. young man that he was not surprised at his dislike of Let us go even against the mightiest Philistine with the Bible, for that book expressly tells us that “the God's sling and stone. It is enough. Unbelief carnal mind is enmity against God.”
would snatch up human armour, and human weapons, To this the sceptic answered contemptuously, that as more likely to be successful. But Faith says, There he did not believe a word that was in it, and gave
is no sword like that of the Spirit—no arrow like still further vent to his abuse.
one from God's own quirer. Let us try this method The minister was resolved to keep by his weapon, more. O for the simplicity of Faith! It is this that and not allow himself, on any account, to be pro- honours God, and this that God will honour. A voked into an argumentative discussion. He replied, single verse of Scripture in the hand of Faith would accordingly, with all gentleness, that he did not be more efficacious than a thousand arguments. at all wonder at what his companion had said; for the
2. To turn the scoffs of the Infidel into an arguBible declares that "there shall be scoffers in the last ment for the Bible. “ There shall come in the last days.” This second quotation from Scripture seemed days scoffers," says the Scripture. And our own day as unsuccessful as the first. The second stroke of is manifesting most strikingly the truth of this prethe divine sword seemed to fall equally powerless diction. Scoffers are rising up on every side, utterand ineffectual as the first. But he was not discou- | ing defiance against God and his Word. Yet in this raged. Again he replied to the young man, that all very defiance they are only fulfilling the predictions that he had said did not at all surprise him; for the of that Volume whose divinity they deny. They are, Scripture had said, that “the natural man discerneth in truth, the unconscious witnesses to the world that not the things of God, neither can he know them, the Bible is true. Each word of mockery which for they are spiritually discerned."
proceeds from their lips is an additional testimony to Still the sceptic remained hardened, returning only that "sure word of prophecy," which, eighteen hunreplies of similar contempt. After a few further dred years ago, foretold what “perilous times" the interchanges of this kind, in which the Bible was last days of this sinful world were to witness. It may
always appealed to, the young man got rather irri- seem strange, indeed, that the Infidel should be adtated, dropped the conversation, and lay back in his duced in proof of the inspiration of Scripture; yet seat.
so it is. And as we hear of Infidelity extending