Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

A WREATH AROUND THE TOMB.

BY JUNIOR.

COME, young friends, follow me to the place where lie the mortal remains of those we once held dear, and whose leave from us called forth such bitter sighs and tears. We loved them while staying in our midst; their smiles awoke deep feelings of joy in our hearts, and in their lives and happiness ours were largely wrapped up. Sainted dead! Such we call you with the Christian's hope. We miss your kind looks and sweet society; but a place in our hearts and affections you shall ever enjoy. We believe in a communion with the inhabitants of the world whither you have gone, and know that even now, from those bright seats of glory, you kindly beckon us onward and upward to that better home.

Come, then, we say, let us retire awhile from the busy throngthe heedless tide that bears so many along, and dedicate few moments sacred to the memory of departed friends.

May be, however, such invitation needs not be extended. The morning dawn or the evening twilight, perhaps, often finds you lingering beside yonder mound, which conceals from view the earthly part of some you dearly loved. If so, well. You are doing that which the truest feelings our of nature prompt, and religion approves. The Indian even, wild as he is, when about bidding a last farewell to the place where his fathers lived and himself was born, casts back once more a sympathetic look on their graves, and mourns because his bones may not be laid with theirs. It would be unnatural did this feeling not exist in man. It helps to complete our humanity.

The Bible abounds with illustrations of the respect we should show the departed. Abraham, the father of the faithful, “came to mourn for Sarah, and weep for her.” With great care we are told (Gen. xxiii.) how he bought a “field, and the cave which was therein, and all the trees that were in the field," as a burial place for his family. “There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah," the patriarch Jacob affectionately exclaimed, when informing his children that he, too, would soon be gathered unto his people. With what touching simplicity is it said of many ancient saints, They sleep with their fathers ! A happy lot is theirs !

The new covenant established between God and man through the mediation of Him who united the natures of both in His own person, has not done away with the desire, so deeply lodged in our being, of paying them a debt of gratitude, whom we can no more recall. Nay, we may rather say it has strengthened that desire.

The light of a higher world has been shed on the relations of this. The connection between the dead and the living is felt to be much closer. Those bodies, now silently reposing in the tomb, we know shall soon be raised up and stand forth, shining with the glory of heaven. They are not mere dust; but in them, faith assures us, we shall see the loved ones again.

Christianity has stripped the grave of its gloom, and planted thereon white flowers of innocence-fair type of celestial bliss. The Saviour has lain there--why should we fear it? Christians they were who first esteemed, with clear insight, the remains of friends fallen asleep as precious. The term sacred, so frequently applied, is no exaggeration; for are we not created in the image of God? The disposition which shows here indifference, cold as the Alpine glacier, may take pride in its forbidding apathy, but can lay little claim to that feeling which led Mary and her companions, bearing spices they had prepared, early in the morning to the Redeemer's tomb.

Persons who have traveled in the East, give often very interesting descriptions of the appearance of those tropical countries at nightfall. The air is so pure, and the sky so serene, that elevated objects, at an unknown distance, are seen reflecting most beautifully the few remaining rays of sun already below the horizon. Soon afterwards, the firmament above, bestudded with myriads of stars, breaks forth to view with inconceivable brilliancy. Creation, dressed in her royal robes, stands spread out in full glory before the astonished eye; and the earth, beyond which the soul betimes can scarcely lift itself, is feit to be but the footstool of the Almighty.

Akin to this is the sight presented when we, with rightly disposed hearts, recline over the green sod, which marks the resting place of friends who, we are assured, departed in the hope of a glorious resurrection. The lovely smiles playing upon their countenance, the words of joy falling from their lips, the solemn farewell, the whole scene of mystery attending their departure; these all are present afresh, and like the red of evening foretell the happy morn. Of a sudden those well-known forms are by our side. We see them clothed with new white garments, their faces radiant with inexpressible glory, bearing palm branches in their hands, and singing a new song. The morning stars accompany them. Saints of all ages form their society. The Sun of Righteousness sheds over them His light. We bow down and adore. We have had a glimpse of the new creation in Christ Jesus, so infinitely glorious. To the new heavens and the new earth faith introduced us. The Jerusalem which is above, opened its pearly gates and unfolded scenes which none can tell. The heart feels homesick. We are surer of our own heavenly inheritance, and long to enjoy it with those who have gone before.

Ah, a sacred spot art thou! calm resting place of the dead! Though at times we studiously avoid thee, yet, when truest to ourselves, we are often found within thine enclosure. Here humanity may weep over its woes, and contemplate the curse under which it rests. Here religion imparts comfort, assuring us that our Redeemer lives, and that in our flesh we shall see God. Thy voice, O grave, speaks to every heart; to thy language all nature listens. Christianity has, with much beauty and significance, made the church-yard the great repository of its sons and daughters as they pass from the scenes of strife. Beside that temple whose lofty spire directs the soul heaven-ward, or whose massive dome typifies the condescension of heaven earth-ward, they lie in peace. We Christians worship surrounded by the dead. While the assembled congregation of the living offer up their devotions, past generations are by their side. The gladly solemn sound from the belfry above, telling us the hour of worship, whilom performed for them the same service, and even now discourses sweet music over their

graves. Close by each other lie friends and strangers, rich and poor—the realization of an idea purely Christian. Such a brotherhood in death has only become possible through the influence of our holy religion. Do you see a proud world slight the poverty-stricken? Go to the church-yard and behold all distinction removed. A little green hillock, cross-like in its form, is the common, significant monument.

We tread softly as we wind our way through paths scarcely trodden but by those who come to shed tears of affection. Marks of tender interest are apparent all around. Love and friendship have not been slack in their decorations. If it be spring or summer, gentle flowers, selected with proper regard to such a place, meet us at every step. Leaning over those arched roofs, their lustrous colors blend in harmonious beauty, reminding one of the bow of promise in the heavens. They are full of meaning; and could they give report of the outpourings of honest hearts by their side, we should learn tales that would touch every generous feeling of our nature. We love them the more for being often bedewed with drops that fall from human eyes !

To our mind the grave-yard is not so doleful and dreary as many consider it. We delight betimes to think of it, to visit it and to meditate in it-not for its own sake, but through the love we bear those who rest there. They who see there inscribed the sacred name of a mother, once dearer than all on earth, can appreciate our thoughts and feelings. We owe her an occasional visit, and do most cheerfully pay it. “There the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest.” Yea, the place even is most frequented by those in whom the flame of hope burns bright. All its associations are to the wicked a terror which they shun with care. It has only attractions for the heavenly-minded, and the young in

their comparative innocence. Well do we remember of having
seen, not long ago, two lovely children, downcast and sorrowful in
their looks, lingering around the grave of a father, the joy of
whose heart they had been but a short time before. But for the
garb of mourning they wore, we might have imagined them to be
the spirits of their sisters and brothers, whose bodies repose at the
other end of the church-yard. Determined to go there they had
not, as no occasion for such reasoning existed in their case. The
silent whisperings of wounded hearts gently led them to the spot,
and doubtless the orphan's God, who is the true Father of the
fatherless, looked graciously upon them, while angels, His minis-
ters of mercy, attended them.

MALT:

A TEMPERANCE SERMON.

The Rev. Mr. Dodd, a worthy minister who lived near Cambridge, had rendered himself obnoxious to many of the rum-sellers by frequently preaching against drunkenness, and several of whom, meeting him on a journey, determined to make him preach in a hollow tree which stood near the road-side. Addressing him with much apparent politeness, they asked him if he had not lately preached much against drunkenness. On his replying in the affirmative they insisted that he should now preach from a text of their own chosing. In vain did he remonstrate on the unreasonableness of expecting him to give them a discourse without study. They determined to take no denial, and the word Malt was given him by way of text, on which he immediately delivered himself as follows: Beloved: Let me crave your attention. I am a little man, come at a short warning to preach a short sermon from a small subject, in an unworthy pulpit to a small congregation. Beloved, my text is malt. I cannot divide it into words, it being but one; nor into syllables, it being but one. I must, therefore, of necessity divide it into letters, which I find to be these four: M, A, L, T. M, my beloved, is moral; A is allegorical; L is literal; Tis theological.” The moral set forth is to teach you drunkards

good manners. Therefore M master, A all of you, I listen, T to text my tasten The allegorical is, when one thing is spoken of and

another thing meant. The thing spoken of is malt; the thing meant is the juice of the malt, which you make. M your master, A your apparel, L your liberty, and I your trust. The literal is according to the letters: M much, A all, L little, T trust. allegorical is according to the effects that it works-first, in this world; and, secondly, in the world to come. The effects it works

The ai

in this world are, in some, M murder, in others, A adultery, in all, L looseness of life, and in some, T treason. The effects that it works in the world to come, are-M misery, A anguish, L lamentation, and T torment. And so much for this time and text. I shall improve this first by way of exhortation : M masters, A all of you, I leave off T tippling; and, lastly, by way of caution, take this: A drunkard is the annoyance of modesty, the destruction of reason, the brewers agent, the ale-house benefactor, his wife's sorrow, his childrens shame, his neighbors scoff, a walking swill-bowl, the picture of a beast and the monster of a man. Amen."

The drunkards never asked him for another sermon, we'll warrant.

A. B. C. D.

LUTHER'S TWO MIRACLES.

On the 5th of August, 1530, an awful crisis for the Reformation, when the firmest seemed to swerve and the boldest to tremble, Luther wrote thus to Chancellor Bruch: “I have recently witnessed two miracles. This is the first: As I was at my window, I saw the stars and the sky, and that vast and magnificent firmament in which the Lord has placed them. I could nowhere discover the columns on which the Master has supported this immense vault, and yet the heavens did not fall.

“And here is the second: I beheld thick clouds hanging above us like a vast sea. I could neither perceive ground on which they reposed, nor cords by which they were suspended; and yet they did not fall upon us, but saluted us rapidly and fled away."

These miracles, as Luther called them, filled him with unconquerable trust and joy in God. Well they might. So may they

We see them wrought before us every night and every day.

us.

EDITORIAL NOTE.

HEIDELBERG COLLEGE. WE learn with pleasure, from the third catalogue, that this Institution is in a very flourishing condition. The summary shows an attendance during the year of 206 students. The course of instruction is full and thorough. Being personally acquainted with most of the professors, we can sincerely recommend this college to our young friends in the west. Go, young man, and secure a thorough education for yourself, which is, next to piety, the greatest of all treasures.

« AnteriorContinuar »