Imágenes de páginas
PDF

MOSES IN THE BULRUSHES.

25

dice so strong as that of caste, and no stain so damning as the trace of servile labor. No; she had a mind above the common thought; nor would she sink herself to a moral meanness beneath slavery itself. She had compassion on the babe, because he was a Hebrew; she took him under her care, because all else would have spurned him as the offspring of a bondman. Admirable woman I There were none like her then; there are few like her now.

How strangely wise is the providence of God! When Moses was laid, by his anguished mother, among the sedges by the river's brink, who would not have said, "Unhappy child, thus cast forth from a pious house, to die with hunger, or be devoured by the monstrous crocodile!" Yet see—God hud for that child avast and difficult work. Had he been allowed to grow up as a Hebrew, he would have had the disgrace, the habits, and the temper of a slave. He becomes the beloved son of a king's daughter. Had he lived only in the palace, he would have lost the faith of Israel for the idolatries of Egypt. He is returned to his prayerful mother's arms, and the name of Jehovah, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, written deep upon his heart. Had he been unused to rank, and his mind unenlarged by learning, he would have been unfit to rule the turbulent tribes, and been made giddy by the elevation. He is trained at Pharaoh's court, in all the science of Egypt . Had he never been forced to toil and service, he could not have felt such dependence upon God, or such sympathy for his people. The quick spirit that slew the taskmaster is trained to prudence by forty years of a shepherd's life on the plains of Midian. Never would he have been the first man to rise from the people and achieve freedom, the legislator from whom all good laws have been learned, and the most striking type of our Deliverer from sin and Guide to heaven, if lie had not lain among the sedge, an abandoned child. To whom was given the honor of saving him for that career of wisdom and usefulness, but to the meek-eyed woman who had compassion on a weeping babe, and said, "This is one of the Hebrew children?''

Here is a lesson for us, that we take heed how we despise a little one. There is joy and hope when a goodly child is born into the world; yet it is a fearful thing to look upon its tiny form, and think of the intellect and affection, the passion and the will, hidden within such narrow compass; the life ot vice or of

virtue, just begun; the mischief or the good that little tongue may speak, and that little hand may do; and, above all, the immortality of woe or of happiness that must follow. The children of good men, who had every advantage of education at command, have not always been kept from infamy; and careful tenderness has often nursed for futurity the serpent libertine, the tyrant savage of his kind, and the infidel sophist, whose lying wit has damned to death uncounted souls. But when a child has no such early watching, and is left to ripen in sin, the downward force of our nature unchecked, herding with the vile and ignorant, seeing no example other than evil, how can we expect him to be an honest, peaceful, and good man? There is much of declamation about the wickedness of the lower classes; but, for my part, I marvel that when temptation is so strong, and encouragement from others so small, the animal so fully developed, and the mind so stunted, there are not a hundred instances for one of crime—sensual, rapacious, or brutal. Our duty in this thing is clear; our responsibility vast. They who have the means and the intelligence to do it, . yet neglect to take care that the children of the poor be educated, are verily partakers of all the crimes those children may commit; and God will hold them to the account. If the judgment of society were like that of Ilirn who will judge us all, how changed the world would be I How many, before whom we now uncnp, as to our most respectable and distinguished citizens, would be driven to the pillory of public contempt! How many an inmate of the penitentiary would put to shame the polished sinner of the upper classes! Let me sketch an illustration:

Here is a man on whom God has bestowed a powerful mind. Every door of knowledge has been opened to him, from his most early years. His fellow-citizens have Eought the aid of his talents, and made him rich. They have raised him to office, and he has become great. His courteous manners are attractive, and fashion flatters him. He adds to all this the graceful decency of a well-bred religion, and the Church solicits his championship. But all the while his heart is cold; he has no fellow-feelins with man, as man. He grows in wealth, influence, and reputation, only to congratulate himself upon his success. The God he worships, and the world he serves, are himself. On a Sunday morning he drives from church, and leaves his carriage at the door of his broad mansion; then

26

THE TRUE ARITHMETIC OP LIFE.

he is looked up to by a shivering child, begging for a crumb from his table, and hoping for a kind word from his lips. It is an orphan boy, who has no friend to tell him there is a God, or a path of virtue; and no shelter but among drunkards, harlots, and outlaws. There may be within that squalid raggednees a mild, loving heart, a resolute courage, and a generous wish to uplift himself. But the mau who might, by the blessing of God, make a useful citizen and a conscience-guided Christian, spurns away the little trembler, without a farther thought. Years roll on, and the neglected boy grows up—how could it be otherwise J—a thief and a felon. Now, tell me, which will stand fairest in that great day of account, when the guilt of mind is to be graduated by the strength of the temptation, and the omissions of those who knew to do good reckoned as most aggravated iniquities? Oh, rather would I be that orphan boy, with all the consequences of his untutored life, than the rich, powerful, world-honored man, to whom God will say, "I gave thee wealth, and talent, and influence, that thou mightest be the stay of the helpless, and the light of the ignorant; yet hast thou, wicked servant, wrapped it all up in thy miserable self. Away with thee, to a hotter flame than the outcast thou wouldst not save!"

God, who at the first made man after his own image, now shows the exceeding riches of his grace, by inviting and assisting us to become again like himself in goodness and mercy. The greatest work of Him who made all worlds, the highest glory of Him whom all holy beings adore, is the salvation of the lost; and for the reward of bringing many sinners to eternal life from the brink of eternal death, our divine Master humbled himself to the form of a servant, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Every opportunity we have of saving by his grace a fellow-sinner, is an invitation from Christ to share in his ministry, and the glory which follows it. Never is the Christian so much a child of God, never does he drink so deeply of the rivers of His pleasures, as when, in imitation of Christ, he endeavors to bring a wanderer again within his heavenly Father's love.

But when did Christ begin his example of mercy? And where has he taught us to look for the best success in his work? He came, a little child. He took little children in his arms, and said, "Suffer them to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of heaven." This is our rule, and our encourage

ment. We should to try to save all, and follow the impenitent while his breath lasts; but we must watch, most earnestly, the first outgoings of human life, and save, if we can, little children, before the world, the flesh, and the Devil have bound them with chains of inveterate sin. What achievement is there for man so vast— what honor so high—as to give the immortal spirit, first gushing from its fountain, a course in which it will become a river, making glad the city of our God, and flowing on, wider, deeper, clearer, for ever and ever; when, but for that early influence, it would have followed the deep channels of human corruption, down to the eternal, bottomless gulf of depravity and

THE TRUE ARITHMETIC OP LIFE.

How ignorant is man! how needful of Divina illumination and instruction! Surrounded on every hand by countless creations of earth, and air, and sea, but how little do we know of their relations and properties I We see being in almost endless variety, but how utterly unacquainted with the essence of that being, on what it depends, or what the secret springs of its action! The soul—how utterly incapable to sound its depth, to comprehend its high destiny, or to solve the mystery of its union with the body! We may and must admire that vast chain of being, commencing with Prity and reaching to the minutest infinitesimal of matter; but it is, after all, but the wonder of the brute, startled momentarily at some passing event. Man is weak and dependent, with a vision exceedingly narrow and circumscribed, and cannot by any means penetrate beyond the confines of the present. Oh, bliudness to the future I "So foolish was I, and ignorant," says the Psalmist. "I was as a beast before thee." The problem of human destiny, aside from that teaching which is from above, could not, by any possibility, be solved. Life were a mystery that no finite power could fathom. As to the immortality of the soul, the most that pagan philosophy could do, was to arrive at a high degree of probability on the subject Clouds and darkness, thick and almost impenetrable, surrounded ail their investigations. Socrates hoped that the fatal draught would not end his spiritual being, but that the soul was immortal, aud would survive the wreck of this mortal and perishing body. But it was only a hope. It was a hope based upon the dim light of nature; it was far from

THE TRUE ARITHMETIC OF LIFE.

27

being either safe or satisfactory. There has ever been a sighing after and struggling for Divine illumination; for light from on high, to guide the weary pilgrim in his passage-way to worlds unknown. It was in view of this necessity that God condescended to meet the demands of our moral and spiritual nature, to answer the exigency of our being in the revelation of his will, as contained in his Word. Nor is this all, but he has kindly proffered us the divine illumination and teachings of his Spirit, that we may understand and appreciate that Word, and that we may solve that intricate and perplexing problem of human Mistence.

Our mbject is the t rue arithmetic of life. What is it?

And, first, it is to live with eternity in view. It is not the whole of life to live, nor that of death to die. There is a life beyond the grave, unmeasured by the flight of years. Eternity— vast eternity—looms up to our view as some vast mountain of inconceivable dimensions, or as the boundless ocean, as we near its illimitable shores. And, although there is an impenetrable veil that intervenes and intercepts the vision from beholding this mighty expanse in our present state,—a veil which we cannot, by any possibility, uplift or remove,—yet, nevertheless, we are all candidates, sooner or later, for its abode and occupancy. The stream and current of time are carrying ns thither, with a power and velocity both irresistible and inconceivable.

And not only is it not the whole of life to live, but it is the least—the smallest fractional part of it—scarcely worthy of notice or consideration. Nor, indeed, would it be, were it not the momentous bearing this life has on the next, in fixing the type of character unalterably and for ever sure. Life has no value as an end, but means; an end deplorable—a means divine! When 'tis our all, ;tis nothing more than naught—a nest of pains. What the vestibule is to a splendid mansion, or what birth is to life, that time is to eternity. While the former is a necessary appendage, Bo to speak, a condition of the latter, it is only an appendage; and, were it not for its results and consequences that flow on through eternity, it would sink absolutely into insignificance. What should we think of the individual who, on approaching a most magnificent and costly edifice, should have his entire interest and attention absorbed with the beauty and symmetrical proportions of the vtstibule, and entirely overlook and neglect the building itself, with its spacious halls and richly ornamented ceilings, and cosily fur

nished rooms, and the splendor and luxury of its every apartment—unwilling, I say, to proceed any farther, or even to inquire if there was any thing further to be seen or known—would it not manifest the most profound and inexcusable ignorance and stupidity f Or, of the man that should neglect to putaway childish things, settle down and be content with infantile sports and plays and amusements, and with no higher aims and motives! Thus it is with the individual who lives only for time, regardless of eternity; whose plans and aims extend no farther than the narrow precincts of time; the extent of whose ambition is what we shall eat, what we shall drink, and wherewithal we shall be clothed ; or, it may be, to acquire a name illustrious, that following ages might discover he once had been on earth, and acted something there. What am I, and whither am I tending? What is my destiny beyond the confines of the tomb? This is the grand inquiry; the subject of all others the most momentous; and not whether I shall be great, and respected, and happy in this life. For, what is life? It is even a vapor that appeareth for a little time and then vnnisheth away. So that we will most certainly fail in coming to a true estimate of life, in understanding the true arithmetic of our years, unless eternity enters mainly and principally into the calculation; unless we view this life but as introductory and preparatory to that which is to come, and of whose years there is no end.

The policy that proceeds on the knowledge and acquaintance of home wants and consumption, without any regard to foreign supply and demand, to the resources and wants of the world, is a policy short-sighted and selfish, and, sooner

: or later, involves in bankruptcy and ruin. It is the broad, comprehensive vision, the large and liberal policy that is crowned with success. It is so in the temporal, it is so in the spiritual.

Secondly, tlie true arithmetic of life involves the good of our fellow-men.

The human family is so linked and blended together—the interest and happiness of one Bo dependent and consequent upon that of another— that man is, in an important sense, his brothers keeper. We cannot, such is the constitution and

I course of nature, we cannot neglect the common^ brotherhood of mankind without doing a violence to our own interest, both present aud prospective. "Love thy neighbor as thyself," with a love, though differing somewhat in degree and intensity, yet similar in kind; a love that seeks the

I prosperity and happiness of others, as well as our

[ocr errors][merged small]

own, and will under no circumstances sacrifice it, though by so doing, temporary good might accrue to self in consequence. This law of universal love and benevolence is a fundamental law of our being, and one on which hinges the most momentous consequences. Actuated by this principle, governed by this divine law of our being— what good has been effected in behalf of the race of mankind I Look at our foreign and domestic missions—what streams of gladness and joy they have sent to the famishing millions, both in this and foreign lauds! What moral darkness they have dissipated! what cruel rites they have abolished I what fires of eternal death they have quenched! Behold the waste and desolate wilderness changed into a fruitful field, decorated with the fruiU and flowers of intelligence, and morals, and religion, and all the result of the law of benevolence and good-will to our fellow-men. In other words, "loving our neighbor as ourselves," "No pent-up Utica contracts our powers; but the whole boundless continent is ours." This the motto, this the principle, sanctified by grace, that has made such inroads upon the Man ofSin, and upon the various systems of abominations so prevalent in the Eastern world. Already this old giant, Popery, is becoming sick and enfeebled—his power to terrify and alarm gone. Mohammedanism is fast waning before this mighty spiritual force, and the day and the hour are not far distant when unity and cooperation will pervade every heart and mind, and when there shall be nothing to hurt nor destroy in all God's holy mountain.

The priuciple of inordinate self-lore, or selfishness, is the principle-the ruling principle—of the world of woe; the contrary principle, or the principle of universal love and benevolence, is the law and rule of Heaven and of holy beings. It is expansive, universal. Such was the love of Christ, and such is the love of aU his true followers. "Behold,"'says the Apostle, "let us love one another; for love is of God, and every one that loveth is born of God aud knoweth God. By their fruits ye shall know them."

Thirdly, it is to live for the glory of God.

The chief end of man, says our excellent Catechism, is to glorify God and enjoy him for ever. For this end he was created, for this) end he was redeemed. Aud what end more worthy his high destiny? What object more grand, and lofty, and sublime, than the King eternal, immortal, iuvisible—the glory of the great Jehovah?

What can appeal more powerfully to our supreme interest and happiness? It is the one

thing needful, the pearl of great price; the only thing which, of all others, concerns most the immortal mind. Better never have been born, better never have breathed the breath of life, than to fail, to come short of this end. For, if a Being infinitely wise and good has devised and arranged a plan involving the highest perfection and happiness of the intelligent orders of which that plan is composed, it is evident that to come short of that design—in other words, to fail in answering the end of our creation—must involve in ruin and misery, remediless and sure. Now sin involves this very condition. It unhinges and unsettles all that original order and harmony that constitutes the perfection and glory of this grand universal system. It is an element of discord and disunion—an element of fearful tendency and result; and, without the divine interposition—without that grand, and sublime, and awful fact of the atonement and the overruling providence of God, the universe were one entire wreck, and man were without hope, both for this world and the next.

Availing ourselves of this great remedial scheme, we may still attain those lofty and sublime ends of our creation, may become heirs with God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ; may live throughout eternity in the presence and enjoyment of infinite perfection aud holiness.

CHRISTIAN HOPE.

Tbembling child of God, who ait, perhaps, at this moment, suffering under the chastising rod of your heavenly Father, think what a strong foundation thou hast upon which to rest thy hope, in the character of your God as a God of mercy, as full of compassion, long-suffering, not willing that any should perish; who so loved you as to give his only-begotten Son to die for you. Can there be love greater than this? Take comfort, then, from the blessed assurance that your God is a God of mercy; that he knows your weakness, he pities your infirmities; he sees your hard-fought battles with sin and Satan. Every tear of godly sorrow ehed over the corruptions of your own heart, over your wanderings, your backslidings, is treasured up iu his bottle, is noted in his book. Every Sjl:u that escapes your burdened heart reaches the ear of your heavenly Fathi r. He listens to the prayer of anguish which bursts from your lips; with his own loving hand he wipes away the tears, and in his own still small voice he whispers, "Peace, be still!" "It is I, be not afraid."—Mrs. Drummond.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Root's Dagiierrean Gallery.—Reader, if you will walk into this gallery, 363 Broadway, you can see a number of very interesting views of the most renowned places of the c.irth. They are large and well-executed Daguerreotypes of Jerusalem from Mount Olivet, of Bethlehem of Judea, the Convent at Bethlehem, Nazareth, Mount Zion, and Mount Calvary. These are the first actual tun-pictures from the real scenery ever brought to this country. These views possess a remarkable interest from the fact that they are perfectly accurate. A stereoscope of the Holy City has been made, and by it one cau see every prominent feature as vividly as if he stood upon Olivet. We learn that these beautiful pictures were sent to this city, with others, for the World's Exhibition, by the American Consul at Jerusalem. There is no spot on the earth that possesses so many associations as the ancient city of

JERUSALEM.

Queen of Judea's stricken land,

Thy garland, fallen from thy brow,
Lies withered on tlie desert sand,

And trampled by the Moslem now.
The laurel Ijouphs of I.ebanon

Htill brush lite blue, unspotted sky—
Their plume< still quiver in the sun

Thai gilds thy ruin from on high.

Piloa's brook still flows along

Beneath the palm tree's towering shade,
Unmindful of tin- pilgrim throng

In grief along its bank arrayed;
And Kcdron's amaranthine bowers

Trail their crushed vines upon the ground.
Oh! blasted are the holy towers

That once their glories reared around.

Judea's mountains still are seen

To sentinel thy grave-like gloom;
Her hills and valleys glisten green,

An though Ihou didst not fill a tomb:
Tne wave still curls by Calvary's steep—

The grape, the fig, the olive shine;
Cnwrinklcd rolls the dark-blue deep;

And still she bears the fruitful vine;
And fame slill gilds her withered brow—
Proud city '. oh 1 how dark art thou 1

Mr. Root's gallery is the largest and finest collection in America, containing hundreds of the most beautiful specimens of the art. There is one rare picture which particularly attracted our attention. It is a fine crystalotype of five persons on one plate, all of one family, the younger , nine years of age, and the oldest ninety-nine! It may be doubted whether such a picture was ever

seen before; such a remarkable group—child, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and great-great grandmother. It is a rare thing to see five living generations in one family; but it is still more rare to see such a chain x<f mothers.

Octagon House.—We have the pleasure of presenting our readers this month with a view of a neat dwelling on a new plan, the residence of 0. S. Fowler, at Fishkill. It combines comfort and convenience in the interior, with neatness and beauty ill the exterior. It shows conclusively that in order to secure those excellences in a country residence, it is not necpssary to erect a vast and expensive mansion. It is rich in appearance, yet it is a style not beyond the reach of moderate means. Simplicity is becoming the order of the day in building, as well as other things. On referring to the ground plans on the second page, some idea may be obtained of the interior structure. The rooms are*, all so constructed as to be well lighted and ventilated, easy of access, and convenient in all respects. For a full and minute description of the house, and the mode of building it, we must refer our readers to the book from which these views are taken, published by Fowlers it Wells, 131 Nassau street. It is entitled, A Home for AH; or, the Gravel-Wall and Octagon Mode of Building: new, cheap, convenient, superior, and adapted to rich and poor. By 0. S. Fowler. It is a practical, common-sense production, and well worthy of the study of all house-builders.

Loss Of Life By War.—The battle-field will by no means tell us the whole number of its victims. Cruel treatment, had provisions, unhealthy encampments, forced marches, frequent exposures to extremes of heat and cold, without shelter, and fatal diseases generated by such causes, destroy vastly more than the sword. Often has a single march cut off half an army. The hardships of war shorten, from ten to twenty years, the life of those who escape the sword, and thus occasion an immense loss that is never reckoned in the usual estimates of its havoc .

But how vast the multitude of its hnmediat* victims 1 At Borodino there perished, in one day, 80,000; and in the siege of Mergia more than 100,000 in battle, and more than 50,000 from the infection of putrefying carcases. The

« AnteriorContinuar »