Imágenes de páginas

tion of the limits of human thought; and, by reason of frequent attempts to transcend these limits, we often find in this volume words high-sounding and obscure, instead of plain conceptions. Humanity has, of course, to deal much with the metaphysical and the metalogical,--and the Bible deals much with them ; but this business, in genuine Christian divinity, is to be conducted after a method ever conditioned by the incomprehensible character of the subject, a method purely practical. As in the world, so in religion, our life ever transcends our knowledge; and while practical logic is of service, speculation is obstructive and even deadly. We would once more, with sincere respect, and with affection and earnestness, dehort this gifted writer from the attempt to soar higher or dive deeper than where safely guided by revelation : which, in all its heights and depths, has a moral aim ; to wit, distrust of self and reverence for God.

HARRY HARTLEY. H. LEA, Warwick Lane, London.
ROMANTIC philanthropists! why go abroad in search of heathenism ?
Why import from distant shores to British platforms such tales of
course depravity as make one's heart turn sick ?

In London at your very door, you shall find a heathenism every whit as bad, and for many reasons worse, than has been detailed by the pen of a Williams, or the tongue of a Moffat. Were a true report of the moral condition of your metropolis to be published and laid before the converts of some of the Islands of the Southern seas, one can imagine, that inspired with compassion for lost souls, they would call a meeting, organize a Missionary Society, and dispatch their emissaries, to convert your London heathen. It is time for the British Church, after it has been circumnavigating the globe in search of heathen, to explore its own moral regions. Books from the pen of men who have “penetrated the interior" of London paganism from time to time, appear amongst us, and give revelations at which we may well turn pale. Harry Hartley is a volume of this class. Harry, who is an English workman, here gives a report of those nether and densely populated districts of London life which he explored and where the majority of his class revel in nameless immoralities. We want this Pagan London brought into day-light ; and we should like to see a column of the coming “Dial" devoted to such a purpose. Had we space we would endeavor to give the plan of this deeply interesting and ably written volume. The author is evidently a man of sinewy intellect, lively imagination, powerful heart impulses, and undoubtedly capable of distinguishing himself in the literature of his age.

[blocks in formation]

“Now there dwelt an old prophet in Bethel; and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel : the words which he had spoken unto the king, them they told also to their father. And their father said unto them, What way went he ?” &c.—1 Kings xiii. 11-32.


OMEWHERE about one thousand


before Christ, the old Hebrew kingdom was riven into two great divisions. The ten tribes revolted, and organized themselves into an independent

Jeroboam became their first monarch. He was a man of great native ability, and had risen to considerable influence in the kingdom, prior to the disruption, under the illustrious reign of Solomon. Not having his ambitious views realized, he became inspired with the most malignant hatred towards the kingdom of Judah. From this feeling of opposition, it would seem, he gave himself to the promotion of idolatry in its most hideous forms. He established shrines at Dan and Bethel,—the extremities of the kingdom; where he set up golden calves for the people to worship. To the kingly office he united that of an idolatrous priest, and acted as the great pontiff of the nation.

Whilst thus officiating at the altar of Bethel-at the very outset of his idolatrous career,--the great God in mercy sent to him a "prophet from Judah,” to warn him of his impiety and to predict his doom. The prophet walks up to the altar, confronts the king as he is officiating, flashes his burning

Vol. IX.


looks of inspiration upon him, and exclaims, “O altar, altar, thus saith the Lord; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men's bones shall be burnt upon thee.” After these mysterious utterances, he stated the sign that should indicate the event. Whereupon the king enraged at the conduct of the stranger, put forth his hand from the altar, saying, “Lay hold of him.” The monarch's hand at once became so withered and paralyzed, that he could not use it. The altar, according to the prediction, is shivered to pieces. The King relents, and entreats the prophet to pray to the God of Heaven that his hand may be healed. The prophet generously accedes to the request, the prayer is answered, and the royal hand is healed. Touched with gratitude, Jeroboam invites the prophet to his house to partake of his hospitality; but the invitation is declined with emphatic energy and decision.

“If thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place : for so was it charged me by the word of the Lord.”

The prophet departs for his home; tidings of the strange events that had just occurred at the altar quickly spread through the neighbourhood, all minds are astir with curiosity, and one theme rules the talk of the district for the time.

Two sons of an “old prophet" living in Bethel, having personally witnessed, perhaps, the strange occurrence, hastened to their home and told their aged sire. The old man's curiosity is excited, he enquires the way the " prophet of Judah" went, he is told, he pursues him, his ass is saddled, and he departs. At length he overtakes him, perhaps, wellnigh exhausted, sitting down under the cool shadow of an old tree. He addresses him, “Art thou the man of God that camest from Judah ?." The answer is, “I am.” Then said the old man from Bethel, “Come home with me, and eat bread." The invitation is declined. Again he is urged, and urged by a falsehood in the name of God. This gives it the effect upon the pious heart of Judah's prophet. He returns, partakes of the proffered hospitality, and thus disobeys his God. The very man who tempted him to this act of disobedience now, at his own table, is made the instrument to denounce his conduct and to predict his doom. “He cried unto the man of God that came from Judah, saying, Thus saith the Lord," &c. The prophet, after refreshment, leaves the house of his tempter and his guest, and proceeds homewards on his ass. He soon meets with the fate predicted. A lion attacks him, kills him, but instead of devouring him, stands by his carcass as if to protect it. The tempter, hearing of the catastrophe, hastens to the scene, brings back the body to Bethel, buries it in his own grave, and mourns over him, saying, “Alas my brother!” And then he commanded his sons saying, “When I am dead, then bury me in the sepulchre wherein the man of God is buried ; lay my bones beside his bones.”

Now this little piece of strange Hebrew history, thus briefly sketched, I shall employ in order to illustrate some important facts in connexion with that mighty system of TEMPTATION, to which we are every moment subject, while in this world. I infer from the history :

I. THAT THE TEMPTER OF OUR RACE ASSAILS THE BEST OF MEN. The man who now became the victim of temptation was no other than a prophet of the Lord. He was Heaven's appointed delegate. From the multitudes of the good men in Judah he was singled out as God's messenger to Jeroboam, to denounce that monarch's impiety and to predict his fate. In the prosecution of this high mission, too, he displays many noble attributes of character. Mark his courage. See him walk along with a firm step up to the altar, where the monarch of a great people was, in stately pomp, officiating as pontiff on behalf of the nation. He approaches the spot, he meets the eye of the King and feels no trepidation; he speaks, but not in the language of a flattering courtier; no

Noble courage


It was

compliment escapes his lips, he does not even address a single word to his majesty ; on the contrary as if to show his utter contempt for the man who was thus outraging the reason of humanity, and insulting the God of Heaven, he cries to the altar, as if the dead stone was more worthy his notice and more likely to be impressed by his appeals. this. There is more true heroism in a man, thus singlehanded and in the face of royalty, conscientiously fulfilling his individual mission, than you could find, perhaps, in all the Rifle Brigades of the three kingdoms. Mark his magnanimity. The monarch had stretched forth his hand over the altar, probably in order to deal a fatal stroke upon head of this prophet; but just Heaven struck it with paralysis.

dried up, so that he could not pull it in again to him.” When in this terrible condition, he entreated the prophet to supplicate Heaven for his restoration. What was the result ?

Did the seer with the spirit of revenge rejoice in the King's affliction and refuse? No, but with solemn earnestness he “besought the Lord," and thus removed the affliction. I see more greatness of soul in an act like this,-an act of mercy to an enemy,—than I see in all the vaunted victories of revenge. He is the truly great mannot who strikes a nation dead with a retaliating blow, but who overcometh evil by good, and like this old prophet prays for those who despitefully use him. Mark his fidelity to God. When the king, struck with a momentary gratitude, invited him to his house and said, “ Come home with me, and refresh thyself, and I will give thee a reward ; he accept the request ? Who would refuse the invitation of a monarch? Why the mere bow of recognition from a king some would feel to be a sufficient honor for the talk of their life; but to go home to eat with a king, who would refuse ? Yet our prophet did so. And why? Not from bashfulness, nor from a bravado of independence; but from respect to the command of God. Hear his noble words. “If thou . wilt give me half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this

» did

« AnteriorContinuar »