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one of them; she ignored them altogether. Reading simply the passages she had marked, one would be inclined to think that there was no such thing as sunshine. I took the Bible in my two hands, and shook these bits of paper and pieces of ribbon out of it. I turned up the corners of the leaves, which she had turned down, and then marked for her such passages as these; "The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth from all sin." "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." "God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." "He is able to save unto the uttermost all that come unto God by him." "Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." "Whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely." That Bible of hers was not intended to make her gloomy, and sad, and melancholy; on the other hand, it was intended to be to her the "glad tidings of great joy;" and had she used it aright, it would have been to her an overflowing fountain of comfort and happiness.
Now it seems to me that a great many Christians treat Christianity the same way that the woman treated her Bible: they mark all the gloomy passages they can gather up in the history of the life of faith, and let the bright, cheery ones go. For instance, they find a law in their members warring against the law of their minds and bringing them into captivity to the law of sin which is in their members, and right there they turn down a corner. In another place they find that God is hiding his face from them behind a cloud, and there they turn down another corner. In another place they find that if they are the children of God they must cleanse themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, and must perfect holiness in the fear of God. This requires a great deal of self-denial, and they turn down another corner. In another place they find that
"The troubles that afflict the just
In number many be,"
and down goes another corner; and so it is through their whole lives. Some have a corner turned down for every day they live, noting each day's sorrow, and they are continually reading these gloomy passages, and calling them to mind, and talking about them, and meditating on them.
Now I believe this is all wrong. Such representations of Christian life are not truthful. They are one-sided, very much so, and do an immense amount of injury. They are gloomy, fearing, doubting Christians who dwell so much on these dark spots in their history and ignore the sunshine. They hinder their well-being, and instead of growing all over, instead of growing in every grace, they only grow in a few. They are patient Christians-very patient, it may be: they are submissive Christians, very submissive to the will of God; but what about hope, and what about joy? These are the fruits of the Spirit, and ought to thrive as well as the other fruits, and ought to be as carefully tended, so that when the Master comes into his garden he may find his pleasant fruits.
Besides that, these one-sided representations of Christianity have a bad effect on those whom we are trying to win. It is such representations that give point to the charge that is often made by those upon whom we press claims, that religion is a heart-saddening thing. Imagine a man button-holing his friend, and saying, "Come along with me; move down to our country; the fields are full of thorns and thistles and swampy places. It is a splendid place to get chills and fever. There is any amount of sickness. We have an immense hospital, and it is always full." Do you think the man would be inclined to go? That is bad enough. But it is just as bad for a Christian to say to his neighbour, "Come along with me, we have a very sorrowful time of it; we enter the kingdom through much tribulation," and say nothing at all about the joy and the happiness, the sunshine and the flowers. Christianity was not intended to make a man gloomy, and despondent, and melancholy at all. God gave it to us as a thing of joy, to make us happier and gladder at the heart than we were without it. Its whole tendency, when received into the soul, is to make man joyful. A man does not lose, but gains, when he becomes possessed of true religion, for "Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life which now is, and of that which is to come." We who profess it, ought for our own sakes to turn the corners down at its joyous passages, think about them more than we do, and let our light shine, that others may be led to glorify our Father who is in heaven.-United Presbyterian.
A Noble Deaconess.*
HE life of the Countess Stolberg presents to our view one of those surprising
outgrowths of Christianity, astonish, if they do not convince the world, of the hidden power of true religion. Her family is among the noblest of Germany. Related to a long line of worthies, including patriots, poets, and soldiers, and directly associated with the court of the good king Frederick William the Fourth, the Countess Anna was enabled, by the grace of God, to turn her back on all that courtiers consider most attractive. Strength was given her to unbend, if the expression be justifiable in such a sense, to the work of instructing the ignorant, and of succouring the needy, which in her case constituted the charm and luxury of life. Both her father and grandfather were exemplary Christians; and the former, besides serving as minister of State, was one of the most valued personal friends of the King. The Countess belonged to a Christian family in the truest sense, and thus from childhood was unconsciously educated to accomplish the life-work which still keeps her name in remembrance.
Reared among the aristocracy of the Prussian court, this daughter of Count Stolberg seems to have experienced even in early life strong desires to sacrifice herself in working for the good of others, and in due course her longing eyes were turned towards " Bethany," a large hospital managed by Deaconesses, and which, as a foundation of Frederick William the Fourth, is situated in an eastern suburb of Berlin. This institution partly owes its origin to Fliedner,
Anna Countess Zu Stolberg Wernigerode; Lady Superintendent of "Bethany" Deaconess House, at Berlin. Translated from the German of Arnold Welmer, by D. M. T. (Strahan and Co.).
the pastor of Kaiserswerth, who had already established one of the same kind— the model of many others in Germany-his aim being to bring into the field as large an array as possible of the forces of Christian womanhood. Hence the King sought this pastor's advice when engaged in completing his own design of " Bethany."
When the Countess Anna's deep piety moved her to take the decisive step of life, the hospital of " Bethany" became her chosen sphere of action. When fully commissioned by her parents giving their consent for their daughter to give herself entirely to a work beloved, the candidate's joy was singularly great. Human nature so commonly strives after what is honourable and pleasant, that when one of high rank voluntarily resigns the ease and advantages of birth through love to mankind, we stand still in admiration while noting how Christ still works on earth by means of chosen agents. While a probationer in the hospital wards, this really noble woman unreservedly placed herself on a level with others of low birth, who now became her daily companions. "Scarcely a quarter of a room could the young probationer, the daughter of a distinguished nobleman, henceforth call her own-her restingplace. Not even a tiny chamber, only one of the compartments ranged round the walls of the large probationers' ward. White curtains walled in the little territory, that had hardly space for a pine bedstead with green and white striped hangings, a chair, and a table. The mistress of the probationers slept with them, as she superintended their general duties and their training in sick nursing. And here the high-born Countess slept next the daughter of a poor day labourer, for perfect equality in Christ was the principle carried out,"
Instead of growing disgusted or losing heart by the menial drudgery, the need and the suffering of " Bethany," these associations of the place apparently inspired the noble volunteer with purer devotion, while they urged her on to the goal of complete self-sacrifice. Though not ambitious she was destined to rise to the highest office of her profession; for when the lady superintendent died in 1855, the Countess was unanimously chosen to fill this still more arduous office. Nor could she rest satisfied while confining her efforts to one place. Wherever in the neighbourhood around there was poverty or misery, Anna would be found to afford aid and sympathy to the extent of her power. Her private fortune must have been considerable, but the whole amount was often insufficient to meet the demands of her charitable spirit.
During the wars which desolated the Continent in the opening of this century, an ancient order, the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem, was abolished by the King; but in subsequent years the privileges of the clan were restored, and Eberhard, a brother of the Countess Anna, became a most active member of the society. In olden times the aims and purposes of these Johanniters may have been of a questionable nature; they were trained to excel in deeds of daring, and fought to wrest the Holy City and Sepulchre from the hands of the Infidels; but now they engaged in work more in keeping with the profession of Christianity than were the chivalrous deeds of their fathers. In the late war between Germany and Denmark they did much heroic service in attending to the sick and wounded, as also did the Countess and her deaconesses, who visited the seat of war.
Though the institution at " Bethany" was entirely controlled by the Countess Anna, and grew in power and usefulness under her wise administration, her philanthropic efforts were not confined to any area. Wherever disease or misfortune was making havoc, thither was this good angel prepared to go at any expense of money or fatigue. In 1867 the wet harvest-time of East Prussia was followed by destitution bordering on famine in some districts, and this produced an alarming outbreak of fever. On hearing of the poor people's distress, Anna and a couple of deaconesses hastened to the village of Rhein. "They found forty typhus cases in the temporary hospital of the Johanniters, all crowded into two rooms, one for men, the other for women and children. Two and three patients lay in each bed, most of them only on straw, hardly covered
with rags, stiff with dirt, and infested with vermin; while around the dying mothers crouched alike their sick and their well children. Still more deplorable, however, was the state of the labourers' dwellings in the town, where frequently six families, numbering twenty or thirty men and women, girls and boys, sick and well, all half-naked, were huddled together in a small noisome room, on dirty straw scattered on the unboarded damp mud floor. Perished with cold, devoured by vermin, and almost starved, haunted by the phantasies of typhus, or moaning with the pain of frostbites, cursing God, and the world, and themselves, or lying in obstinate silence, every one of them expected but one deliverer-Death! My heart stood still when first I entered those pestholes; I never saw such human misery!' remarked Anna afterwards."
The local authorities looked on these appalling scenes unconcerned. Though the people died and spread infection through the country, the official magnates scarcely considered the calamity to be any business of theirs. Otherwise thought the Johanniters and the deaconesses. Hospital wards were prepared by the knights, beds and other necessary articles by the ladies. This occurred in the opening of 1868, and after staying on the scene nearly a fortnight, the Countess returned to " Bethany," to send other helpers to join those left behind at Rhein but her life-work was done. She had been enabled to risk her all in the highest service, and now she was to be called upon to lay down her very life. The fever-poison having been imbibed, death set his seal upon this great woman, and she died on the 16th of February. She shrank from human praise, and with some of her last words ascribed to borrowed strength the success achieved. "No, no," she cried, "it was all grace. Here lies a poor sinner who has been made happy by a great ransom.'
Perhaps such a funeral as hers was never before seen in Berlin. "King William with his own hand laid a shining laurel crown next the maiden myrtle wreath which lay upon the black-cloth-covered coffin of her who had been the self-sacrificing nurse of his wounded soldiers in war, and of his sick subjects in peace. The Queens, Augusta and Elizabeth, added to the laurel of bravery and renown the white roses and camellias of love, and when the hundreds of highborn mourners had passed away from the peaceful churchyard, there entered very timidly many, many of the poor to cast secretly on the quiet form a modest wreath of snowdrops, a little spray of rosemary, or the one little bud from the flower-pot in the window at home." Celebrities in the army, the church, and the State erowded around the bier. There, too, were the deaconesses of "Bethany," and their allies, the Johanniters. It was a scene to weep over and to rejoice over. It was the finishing of a life-work which all can emulate by doing what they can. Covering the remains of one thus devoted, the tombstone of the Countess fitly points the stranger to this Scripture: "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth from all sin."
A Courteous Tutor.
N the sixteenth century there lived a certain schoolmaster who customarily raised his hat to his scholars whenever he entered the schoolroom. On being questioned about this studied politeness, the tutor replied, "In future years these lads will be the doctors, the chancellors, the electors, the senators, and the rulers of Germany and of the world; and conscious of their coming greatness, I bow courteously to them now." Luther was a scholar in that school. Politeness, which never risks loss, will always bring us honour.
Exposition of the Psalms.
BY C. H. SPURGEON.
TITLE-A Psalm or Song for the sons of Korah. A sacred hymn and a national lyric. A theocracy blends the religious and the patriotic ideas in one; and in proportion as nations become Christianized, their popular songs will become deeply imbued with pious sentiments. Judged by this standard, our own land is far in arrears. This " psalm or song” was either composed by the sons of Korah, or dedicated to them: as they kept the doors of the house of the Lord, they could use this beautiful composition as a psalm within the doors, and as a song outside.
SUBJECT AND DIVISION.-The song is in honour of Zion, or Jerusalem, and it treats of God's favour to that city among the mountains, the prophecies which made it illustrious, and the honour of being a native of it. Many conceive that it was written at the founding of David's city of Zion, but does not the mention of Babylon imply a later date? It would seem to have been written after Jerusalem and the Temple had been built, and had enjoyed a history, of which glorious things could be spoken. Among other marvels of God's love in its later history, it had been untouched by Sennacherib when other cities of Israel and Judah had fallen victims to his cruelty. It was in Hezekiah's reign that Babylon became prominent, when the ambassadors came to congratulate the king concerning his recovery, at that time also Tyre would be more famous than at any period in David's day. But as we have no information, and the point is not important, we may leave it, and proceed to meditate upon the psalm itself. We have no need to divide so brief a song.
IS foundation is in the holy mountains.
2 The LORD loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.
3 Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. Selah. 4 I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that knew me behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia; this man was born there.
5 And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her and the highest himself shall establish her.
6 The LORD shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there. Selah.
7 As well the singers as the players on instruments shall be there: all my springs are in thee.
1. "His foundation is in the holy mountains." The psalm begins abruptly, the poet's heart was full, and it gained vent on a sudden.
"God's foundation stands for ever
On the holy mountain towers;
Sion's gates Jehovah favours
More than Jacob's thousand bowers."
Sudden passion is evil, but bursts of holy joy are most precious. God has chosen to found his earthly temple upon the mountains; he might have selected other spots, but it was his pleasure to have his chosen abode upon Zion. His election made the mountains holy; they were by his determination ordained and set apart for the Lord's use.
The foundation of the church, which is the mystical Jerusalem, is laid in the eternal, immutable, and invincible decrees of Jehovah. He wills that the church shall be, he settles all arrangements for her calling, salvation, maintenance, and