Page images


wounded, and without a covering; and yet it does not give over its search for Christ. A mere natural heart would fall away under this-not so the believer in darkness. 3. He applies to Christian friends and companions-bids them help him, and pray for him: "I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find him whom my soul loveth, tell him that I am sick of love."

Is there any of you, then, a believer in darkness, thus anxiously seeking Christ? You thought that you had really been a believer in Jesus; but you have fallen into sin and darkness, and all your evidences are overclouded. You are now anxiously seeking Christ. Your soul fails for his word. You seek-you call, even though you get no answer. You do search the Bible, even though it is without comfort to you. You do pray, though you have no comfort in prayer-no confidence that you are heard. You ask counsel of his ministers-and when they deal plainly with you, you are not offended. They wound you, and take away the veil from you. They tell you not to rely on any past experiences-that they may have been delusive-they only increase your anxiety; still you follow hard after Christ. You seek the daughters of Jerusalem-them that are the people of Christ-and you tell them to pray for


Is this your case? As face answers to face, so do you see your own image here? Do you feel that you cannot rest out of Christ? Then do not be too much cast down. This is no mark that you are not a believer, but the very reverse. Say:

"Why art thou cast down, O my soul? Why art thou disquieted in me?

Still trust in God; for I shall yet praise him,


present Saviour with a healthy, placid affection. The soul is contented with him-at rest in him: "Return unto thy rest, O my soul." There is no feeling of sickness. It is health to the bones; it is the very health of the soul to look upon him, and to love him. But when the object of affection is away, the heart turns sick. When the heart searches here and there, and cannot find the beloved object, it turns faint with longing: "Hope deferred maketh the heart sick." When the ring-dove has lost its mate, it sits lone and cheerless, and will not be comforted. When the bird that hath been robbed of its young, comes back again and again, and hovers with reluctant wing over the spot where her nest was built, she fills the grove with her plaintive melodies—she is “sick of love." These are the yearnings of nature. Such also are the yearnings of grace. When Jesus is away from the believing soul it will not be comforted. When the soul reads, and prays, and seeks, yet Jesus is not found, the heart yearns and sickens-he is "sick of love." "Hope deferred maketh the heart sick."

Did you ever feel this sickness? Did you ever feel that Christ was precious, but not present that you could not lay hold on Christ as you used to do, and yet your soul yearned after him, and would not be comforted without him? If you have-1. Remember it is a happy sickness-it is a sickness not of nature at all, but of grace. All the struggles of nature would never make you "sick of love." Never may you be cured of it, except it be in the revealing of Jesus! 2. Remember it is not best to be "sick of love"-it is better to be in healthto have Christ revealed to the soul, and to love him with a free, healthy love. In heaven, the inhabitants never say they are sick. Do not rest in this sickness; press near to Jesus, to be healed. 3. Most, I fear, never felt this sickness

Who is the health of my countenance, and my God." III. Believers in darkness are sick of love, and full of the commendation of Christ—more than ever. In the parable, the bride told the daughters of Jerusalem that she was sick of love. This was the message she bade them carry; and when they asked her about her beloved, she gave them a rich and glowing description of his perfect beauty, ending by saying: "He is alto-easiness of any kind all his days, you would gether lovely."

So is it with the believer in time of darkness he is "sick of love." When Christ is present to the soul, there is no feeling of sickness. Christ is the health of the countenance. When I have him full in my faith as a complete surety, a calm tranquillity is spread over the whole inner man-the pulse of the soul has a calm and easy flow-the heart rests in a

know nothing of what it means. Oh dear souls, remember this one thing: If you never felt this sickness of grace, it is too likely you never felt the life of grace. If you were told of a man, that he never felt any pain or un

conclude that he must have been dead-that he never had had any life; so you, if you know nothing of the sick yearnings of the believer's heart, it is too plain that you are dead-that you never have had any life.

Last of all, the believer in darkness commends the Saviour. There is no more distinguishing mark To the unaof a true believer than this. wakened there is no form nor comeliness in

Christ-no beauty that they should desire him. Even awakened souls have no true sense of Christ's perfect comeliness. If they saw how Christ answers their need, they could not be anxious. But to believers in darkness there is all comeliness in Christ-he is fairer than ever he was before. And when the sneering world, or cold-hearted brethren, ask: "What is thy beloved more than another beloved?" he delights to enumerate his perfections, his person, his offices, his everything-he delights to tell that "he is the chiefest among ten thousand"-"his mouth is most sweet”—yea," he is altogether lovely."

A word to believers in darkness. There may be some who are walking in darkness, not having any light. Be persuaded to do as the bride did -not only to seek your beloved, but to commend him, by going over his perfections.

1. Because this is the best of all ways to find him. One of the chief reasons of your darkness is your want of considering Christ. Satan urges you to think of a hundred things before he will let you think about Christ. If the eye of your faith be fully turned upon a full Christ, your darkness will be gone in an instant. "Look unto me, and be ye saved." Now, nothing so much engages your eye to look at Christ as going over his perfections to others.

2. Because you will lead others to seek him with you. Oh! dear brethren, the great reason of our having so many dark Christians now-adays is, that we have so many selfish Christians. Men live for themselves. If you would live for others, then your darkness would soon flee away. Commend Christ to others, and they will go with you. Parents, commend him to your children; children, commend him to your parents; and who knows but God may bless the word, even of a believer walking in darkness, that they shall cry out :

"Whither is thy beloved gone, O thou fairest among women? Whither is thy beloved turned aside, that we may seek him with thee?"

THE MISSIONARY LEGACY.* IN one of those lovely and fertile vales with which England abounds, and in a retired town, some years ago resided a happy and industrious pair, who, in the midst of their toils for daily bread, and their anxiety for the welfare of their family, had not forgotten "the one thing needful." The house of God was their delight, and in his ways they had long found a solace amid all their cares, which made their daily bread sweet and their daily toils light.

* We are not aware where this remarkable narrative first appeared. We met with it recently in a foreign journal.

In the all-wise dispensation of Providence, the excellent mother, after seeing her children grown up in life, was laid upon the bed of affliction. There she exemplified, as might have been exmission of herself and hers into the hands of pected, the power of the Gospel, in a meek subGod. But her departure was connected with the remarkable events I am about to detail. She was ripening for glory about the time the missionary cause was first coming into notice. She had heard of the benevolent project of those pious men who broached the then ridiHeathen; and, just before her death, she called culed scheme of sending salvation to the her daughter to her bed-side, and said, with all the solemn but elevated feeling of a dying Christian: "Here are twenty pounds; I wish to give them to the missionary cause. It is my particular desire that, after my death, you give them to that cause; and, depend upon it, you will never have any reason to be sorry for having done so."

"After my mother's death I took the money," said the daughter, " and gave it according to the dying directions of my dear parent, not thinking that ever that cause would bring compossibility of the benevolent act returning in any fort to myself." There appeared, indeed, no shape to bless the family of the liberal donor. But the daughter who had, with becoming diligence and care, fulfilled her mother's dying request, and who inherited no small portion of her mother's spirit, at length had a son, who, mind and heart as opposite to that of his as he grew up, gave symptoms of a state of mother and grandmother as can be imagined.

became very profligate, and brought heartAs this youth approached man's estate he rending trouble upon his mother. It is useless to describe the pangs a godly mother feels her hope for her hoary hairs or her widowwhen her first-born, perhaps her favourite son, hood, turns out ill. This youth proved utterly unmanageable either by tenderness or autho rity. He threw off all regard for his friends

forsook them-entered into the army, and vanished altogether from their knowledge. The providence of God, however, at length led him to India. Here, after some time, he fell into the company of a missionary. The man of God dealt faithfully with the youth, who was much impressed, and could neither gainsay his convictions mastered his conscience, and nor get rid of the good man's words. At length subdued his heart. He became an altered man, and gave such evidences as satisfied the missionary that a work of grace was indeed begun.

missionaries, influenced by a truly liberal and After a prudent trial of his stedfastness, the Christian-like affection for the young man, procured his discharge from the army, and took him under their own immediate care. At length, so satisfied were they of the devoted piety, the zeal, and the talents of this young convert, that they encouraged him in the design of


dedicating his talents to the missionary work. How delightful are the fruits of that grace which subdues the heart to the obedience of faith! Even irreligious and worldly men must admire so illustrious a work-so lovely a change as that we are now describing, when, from being a vicious, abandoned profligate, a young man becomes orderly, virtuous, and religious. But how will the Christian reader triumph when he finds that the grace of God has changed this youthful warrior into a soldier of the cross, and turned him from the kingdom of darkness into that of God's dear Son!

But to return to the narrative: As soon as an opportunity occurred, he wrote to his afflicted and bereaved mother, stating the great change that had taken place, and detailing as well the merciful dealings of the Lord with his soul as the singular alteration which had taken place in his employment. All this was accompanied with the most humiliating expressions respecting himself, and with entreaties for the forgiveness of that kind and pious mother, whose affection he had neither appreciated nor improved. Let a parent conceive the mingled emotions of joy and surprise, of rapture and astonishment, which filled the mother's heart when she received this letter-when she read her profligate son's repentance, and his prayer for her forgiveness. "Forgive you, my son!" she cried out: "O how easy it is for me to forgive you!" What a moment was that!--what a gush of feeling overcame the good woman when she thought of her dying mother and the twenty pounds! It was like Joseph's being sent into Egypt to prepare corn for the famished house of his father and brethren. Here was an answer to many prayers-here was a return indeed, more than a hundredfold, poured immediately into her own bosom. It was the Lord's doing, and it was marvellous in her


But we have not yet done. This good woman had a young son, who in his early life had been | a child of great promise. He seemed likely to be the stay of his father's house, and the prop of his mother's age. His talents were superior; and all who knew him, and witnessed his boyish years, augured well for the future, and blessed the woman that had such a son. But the fairest flowers are often nipped in the bud, or blighted as they begin to open and show their beauty and their fragrance. Henry, for that was his name, fell by that snare which ruins so many promising youths-evil company. He became ensnared, fell into profligate habits, and resolved to go to India.

All this transpired before any information reached the family of the fate of the first son. Of course, the loss of a second, and he the youth of fairest promise and fairest gifts, was enough to break the heart of such a mother. The announcement of his resolution to go to India was like tearing away the tenderest strings that were entwined around her heart. One al


ready lost to her, and a second treading in his steps! O it was almost too much for nature to bear, even though it was supported and secured by grace! All that a mother could do, she did. She wept-she prayed-she entreated but all in vain. The youth was resolved, and it was hopeless to attempt to bring him to a better mind. When things were arrived at this point, she gave him up indeed as lost to herself and his family, but as still in the hands of a merciful and gracious God.

Like a mother, however, whose bowels yearned over the son of her womb, dear, though fallen, she sent him a small sum of money, with as many needful articles as she could procure, to render him comfortable, and left him to wander far from his native home, and from the peace and simplicity of his native vale. He sailedhe arrived in India, without any knowledge of what had befallen his brother, or even of what part of the world he might be in.

The youth had not been long in India before he, too, was brought in contact with some of the missionaries. After a short time, the sight and conversation of these good men reminded him of scenes at home. He recollected his father's house-the Gospel-the good instruction of his mother-her prayers, and tears, and love. The seeds sprung up, though in a foreign clime, and though a long and threatening winter had passed over them. The result was a decided change of heart and conduct, upon which I need not expatiate. Soon after this change it became evident that the climate disagreed with his constitution. His health and strength rapidly declined, and it became manifest that he would never return to tell his afflicted mother what the Lord had wrought for his soul. In this situation he was affectionately attended by the missionaries, who did all in their power to carry forward that work of grace which was so auspiciously begun. They earnestly sought the peace of his mind and the good of his soul; and they had the unspeakable happiness of reaping a rich reward of their labour.

While this younger brother lay ill, the elder, who knew nothing of what had transpired, and who resided several hundred miles in the interior of the country, had occasion to come to the very place where his younger brother was. He did not even know that he was in India, much less that he was ill, and least of all that he had become a converted character. But a mysterious and most gracious Providence directed his steps to the very place where his brother was now dying. Having himself become a missionary, and being, of course, on terms of the strictest intimacy with the brethren at this station, it will be easily imagined that he would soon become acquainted with the case of the youth who was the daily object of attention and solicitude, and whose growing piety was to them a source of so much exalted gratification.

I need not detail his surprise at the discovery

that this person, to whom their intercourse and instruction had been made so great a blessing, was his own brother.

Describing her feelings at this juncture, she says: "I could not weep-I could not pray-I seemed to be stupified with horror and agony. It will be readily conceived that these two At last I opened the letters, and when I saw brothers, now united by the strong ties of the hand-writing of my eldest son, whose letter Christian affection, as well as by those of nature, the day before had given me so much comfort, would feel an indescribable satisfaction, the one I was confounded. As I read on, and found in administering, and the other in receiving, that the brothers had met; that the eldest had the attention and services which such circum- witnessed the last moments of the younger; and stances dictated. The eldest continued to the that this, my second son, had been met with by last, administering to his younger brother all the missionaries, and by them turned from the the comfort, both for body and soul, which was error of his ways; that there was no doubt of in his power; and the younger continued to re- the safety of his state; and that he had died in ceive, with unutterable delight, the brotherly his brother's arms-O," said she, “it was indeed attentions and the spiritual assistance which a cordial to my soul. How marvellous are the had been so mercifully provided for him in a ways of Heaven, that both my sons, after turnstrange and Heathen land. At length he died, ing aside from the ways of God, and from every and the surviving brother who had written means of instruction at home, should be consome time before to his mother the detailed verted to God in a Heathen land! O the twenty account formerly mentioned concerning him- pounds," she thought; and the last declaraself, and who had also written, during his tion of my dear dying mother! O what blessbrother's illness, an account of the circum-ings to me were hidden in the twenty pounds! stances in which he had found him-of their What do I owe to her for that saying, "You meeting, and of his brother's change of heart-will never have cause to repent of giving it to now despatched a third letter, to announce to the bereaved mother the peaceful end of her son, and to console her for the loss, by the description of the happy days they had been per-firming the faith and hope of this good woman, mitted so unexpectedly, and almost miraculously, to spend together.

[ocr errors]

This last letter was committed to the care of a person about to sail for England, and who undertook to deliver it himself. The former communication, which the elder son had written many weeks before, respecting himself, had met with delay on its passage. The last written letter, announcing the death of Henry, arrived the very day after that first mentioned. The person who had undertaken the delivery of the packet, took it to the good woman, and said, "I have brought letters from your son in India." She replied with astonishment, "I received one but yesterday." "Then," said the stranger, 'you have heard of the death of Henry?" She had not even heard of the meeting of the brothers. She had only just heard of the conversion of the son that first went abroad. The sudden announcement, therefore, of the death of Henry, quite overcame her. Though the day before, the delightful intelligence had arrived that her eldest son had become a Christian, and a Christian missionary, yet now this beclouded all. She thought, "My child is dead-dead in sin against God-dead in a foreign land, among strangers, Heathens-not one to speak a word of divine truth, to tell him of mercy, of a Saviour's dying love, of hope for the chief of sinners no kind Christian friend to pour out a prayer for his forgiveness, or to direct his departing spirit to that throne of grace where none ever plead in vain."

A torrent of such thoughts rushed into her mind, and filled her heart with an anguish not to be described. She retired to her room overwhelmed with sorrow, and sat for many hours.

the Missionary Society?' Could I have foreseen all this, what would I not have given !" The influence of these occurrences in con

may be easily imagined. She could not look back without astonishment at the dealings of God with herself and her children; and she could not recount these remarkable particulars, without connecting them with the last solemn request of her pious mother. The privilege of having two sons rescued in so remarkable a manner from the profligate and destructive courses into which they had entered; the distinguished honour of having one of them employed in the missionary work among the Heathen; and the fact of having them both rescued from vice and destruction, by the friendly and pious labours of English missionaries, as well as the happiness of knowing that the one who was torn from her had experienced, in his last hours, every attention and solace that the affectionate hand of a brother could supply;-all these were so intimately connected with the legacy of her mother, and the almost prophetic words with which it was delivered, that she could not refrain from considering the whole a singular fulfilment of prayers long since recorded on high, and as a singular illustration of the special providence of God toward his people.


(From "Home of the Heart," and other Poems, by Miss Aird).

"Cease fond nature, cease thy strife,

And let me languish into life."

O! SING once more before I go
That old familiar hymn,
With Sabbath tone so sweet and low,
Ere morning songs begin.


Sing of the love that never dies,
The friends who never part,
Ere earthly love in silence lies,
While leaning on thy heart-
..O! sing that holy hymn.

I learned it at my mother's knee,
And sung it to my sire;
And I have sung it oft with thee,
Beside our ev'ning fire;
Like odour from a faded rose,

Twill breathe of beauty gone-
Sing, ere earth's twilight shadows close,
For hearts must die alone-

Sing low that parting song,

Of faith's adoring mastery,
A victor crowned in dust;
That love's triumphant agony

Which seals our meeting trust,
When broken is the golden bowl,
The silver cord is riven;

Of One who binds the widowed soul-
One, only One in heaven-

To Him our song be given.

The ocean shell, though distant, sings
The music of the wave,
And sanctified affection springs
In song beyond the grave;
The Star that led us all our way,
Whose light I praised with thee,
Which lit our path with pillar-ray-
Thou'lt sing where is "no sea,"

Of all that light with me.

Then touch my heart no more with gloom, Of passionate farewells,

For through the love-illumin'd tomb

A flood of glory swells;

I hear ONE calling me by name :

"Thou'rt mine-I've ransom'd thee; Fear not, I'm with thee in the flame; I Seba gave for thee."

Hush! hush! my loved One, see!
I come, like the o'er-wearied dove,
My Ark, my Covenant-home;
O! clasp me in the arms of love,

O'er floods no more to roam.
But, hark! the angel-chorals swell,
Sing, glory! glory, sing!

O Grave! where is thy victory? tell,
And where, O! Death, thy sting?
Earth! earth! dim earth, farewell!





Ir is the privilege of one who knows the Bible well to render all his other studies subservient to it, and to make all his readings in the great book of nature, and in the books of men, yield their tribute of illus


tration to the Word of God. This is one of the enjoyments peculiar to those who are familiar with the Scriptures; and the satisfaction is varied and extensive in proportion to the degree of our acquaintance with the Sacred Volume. The more we know of Scripture, the more ready and frequent will be our recognition of similar or illustrative facts, customs, and sentiments, in other writings; and this recognition, by the frequent recollections of Scripture which it calls up, refreshes the mind, even in its comparatively secular studies and readings, which, in a certain degree, are sanctified by it.

To show how this habit acts, and, at the same time, to impart to the reader some of the benefits we have ourselves derived from it, we will, in this and some ensuing papers, conduct the reader with us through a few books which might not, at the first view, seem likely to furnish satisfactory materials for this exercise. Let us begin with "Malcolm's Travels in the Burman Empire," and with that part of the work which treats of Burmese Leprosy and Lepers.

Mr Malcolm states that in Burmah the population is divided into eight classes-"the royal family, great officers, priests, rich men, labourers, slaves, lepers, executioners." Excluding the last, this division is not, in its general features, unlike that which prevailed among the Jews under the monarchy. Indeed, with the exclusion intimated, we should be disposed to make little other alteration in it, for the purpose of illustration, than to introduce another class, consisting of the family chiefs, or heads of families and tribes. These, however, held public employments very generally under the kings, and might, therefore, be merged in the class of "great officers." We have selected this fact, however, chiefly for the sake of coming through it to the further statement, that "none of the classes constitute an hereditary caste, except lepers and the slaves of pagodas." The Hebrews had other hereditary castes, or rather orders, namely, priests and family chiefs; but they seem to have also had these two of the Burmese, and no more. The Nethinim, or servants of the Jewish temple, answered very nearly to the slaves of the pagodas; and that their condition was hereditary is very well known. We feel most interested, however, respecting this hereditary caste of lepers. Was there such a caste among the Hebrews? We know that the Hebrew lepers were excluded from towns, and lived apart; but we know, also, that when any one became clean of this disease, he was, after due examination and probation, re-admitted to the general society of his fellowcitizens. Such a provision does not exist among the Burmese; and it seems incompatible with the idea of an hereditary caste. Still the idea of establishing such a caste, among a people who do not habitually separate themselves into castes, must, we apprehend, have been founded upon the impression that the children of lepers were themselves leprous. It may not have been always so; but it must have been generally so before such a caste could have been established. Now a careful consideration of the particulars concerning leprosy and lepers, which the Scriptures contain, may lead to the conclusion that there was something of this kind among the

« PreviousContinue »