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At the beginning of the Record Book there was a brief account of the organization of the Church many, many years ago! There was the purpose and the pledge, of those who were willing to enter into its first organization. There were the rules by which they engaged to be governed; and under these was subscribed the names of fifteen members, who solemnly began this church, in their own hand-writing. Among them were the names of-my Father and Mother! Ah! what feelings that record produced, no one but myself can fully know. They are dead, and, as their life on earth prove, in Heaven. How much had that record to do with this happy result !
But what affects me equally, is the connection between that record, and the present position and hopes of all their children. Where might they all be, had that record not been made in the church-book !-or if the disposition to make it had not been in their hearts. It requires no strong imagination, but only such experience and observation as we see daily around us to divine the result. As the trunk is, so are the branches.
God be praised, here in the church that waiteth for him, and forever yonder in his presence, for that touching record! Not in a ball-room list, but in the church-book, did an humbled and grateful child, find the names of its parents, long after they were dead. This is something to think of, and to be grateful for. I will here lay down my pen, and as I go silently on in the
way that leads to where they are, will sing that “The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children, to such as keep his coVenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them."
BEN ADHEM'S DREAM.
ABOU BEN ADHEM (may his tribe increase,)
THE FIRST MARRIAGE.
BT THE EDITOR.
“I will make an help-meet for him."} We saw, in a previous article on this subject, that marriage is of divine origin, and hence that it is a duty; and that, in the case of such as are not for good reasons exempt, if it be neglected, evil consequences must follow. “It is not good for man to be alone."
We find, in the first marriage, that God did not only enjoin marriage upon our first parents, as the completion of his own being, but he also aided him in carrying out his will. “I will make him an help-meet for him."
The first thought that meets us here is this: God actively concerned himself in the consummation of the first marriage. “I will," &c. He will have his "will" in the matter. His will shall be the forming, directing, and the controling power. Why should not his will be in so important an arrangement? Behold what hangs upon it—the happiness or misery of two souls for time, and often for eternity. The well or ill-being of a family! No change of position or state in life can well be more solemn. Why then should not the will of God be in it? Why should it not be desired and prayed for? Why should we not rejoice that in so momentous a movement there is a divine, unerring, and gracious will upon which one may safely lean.
This recognition of the divine will in the formation of marriage ties is now regarded as antiquated doctrine. Wealth, beauty, and external polish, are far more powerfully and earnestly sought after, than the divine "I will." The quick, impulsive, sentimental freaks and flares of novel-matches are imitated, as though what pleases the heated imagination of thoughtless youth, had a kind of divine authority to give precedent. It is no exaggeration to say that, in the present state of society, the sentiments which prevail in relation to marriage, are formed far more under the influence of romance writers than in the light of divine revelation. They take in by far too much of fictitious ideals, morbid dreamings, intoxicated hopes; and by far too little of the earnest realities, the stern trials, and the grave duties of life. They are formed too much under the influence of emotions, and the changeable in us, and disown, or leave out of view, too much the judgment, the will, the higher religious affections. In a word, the “I will ” of him, without whose favor every state is sorrow, and with whose smiles every state has the seeds of bliss, is not permitted to be life and soul. Blessed are those who, at every step they take, turn with child-like confidence to God, and wait till he says, “I will !”
We must not overlook the promise in this passage: “I will make
him an help-meet for him.”' The one he
to Adam he made out of his own side. He fulfilled his promise.
What! may we still expect that God will provide us a partner in the same way? No, certainly not. But it is still as true as ever, that a “good wife is from the Lord.” If she is not prepared and provided by him she is no blessing. He must still create her, not from man's side, but by his spirit anew in Christ Jesus by the Holy Ghost. In a word, the wife which God gives those who ask and seek of him, is first formed a new creature by grace. She is a pious wife. He gives his own children no other, except it be as a punishment for their presumption in taking one as thy list, and 20t from his hand.
If a wife is pious God has exerted a formative power upon her greater than that which brought forth Eve from Adam's side. This fits her to be a wife, more than any thing else could do; neither can any thing else fill the place of this. Other sources may make her intelligent, polish her manners, and give her wealth; but a pious wife God alone can prepare for us.
Blessed is he who claims the divine promise, “I will make him a help-meet for him.” Then there will be treasure in his house which nothing can corrupt-purity which nothing can soil-beauty of holiness, the best of all. "A thing of beauty, and a joy forever,” is a bride of earth, that has been before espoused to Christ as a Bride of Heaven!
She shall be “an help.” An help for what? Help to get rich -help to work-help to carry on his wordly concerns by preparing meals for the hands !-a kind of partner in business! Alas! is not this nearly the whole conception which many have of a wife? If this be the object in view she needs no piety; animal force and earnest worldliness are sufficient; and this she already has; the first by nature, the second the devil and the world are always ready to furnish.
“An help” that God provides contemplates something far different, and includes far more. It includes the spirit as well as the body, eternity as well as time, heaven as well as earth. She is to be “an help in a religious sense. Her holy influence, shining around her in the sacred circle of home, is to curb the restlessness, worldliness, and ambition into which he is tempted to be drawn by his more direct contact with the world in its wilder and rougher current. Her gentleness of spirit, which her circumstances of quiet and modest retirement enable her to retain and cultivate, is to appear in the home circle like the mystic cloud covered with wings of cherubim in the holiest place, subduing his spirit, and inspiring him with the feeling that earth is not all earth. Her piety is to be a holy fire of devotion upon the altar of home that goeth not out, at which he may warm his own heart when he returns, chilled by exposure in his business and cares among selfish men.
We do not mean that she is to be more pious than he-though this is generally the case—but she is to be the priestess that guards and supplies the altar-fire at home. By her care the flame is to be kept even and constant. She is herself always to be found the embodiment of a pious spirit, and must constitute the religious centre and identity of home. Suppose the opposite; suppose she have no piety, but be the embodiment of cold, chilling worldliness; and now think of the difference! No; a pious wife alone is, and alone can be, the centre and substance of a Christian home. Thus a husband who is so blest alone can fully feel and know. He has “an help" in the highest, truest, and most precious sense.
The promise goes still farther. The one whom God gives is to be an help meet for him.” She is to suit him—be adapted to his wants. Not every good wife is a suitable one. A wife that suits a man in one calling will not suit another in a different calling. She must also suit his circumstances, his disposition, his relations in life. How important is this. Yet how little can one know of this beforehand, and from one's own wisdom. How many have grievously erred in this respect, even when they sought to exercise the greatest amount of wisdom and caution.
A wife that God provides for those who look to him, will be one “meet,” fit, suitable for him. He alone knows all the peculiar wants and the dispositions on both sides, and he alone has control over the hearts and the circumstances of both, so as to bring about what accords with his will and wisdom, and will prove a blessing to those whom he unites. If any one doubts this, doubts his promise, doubts his faithfulness to redeem his word, let him trust to himself instead of God, take the responsibility upon himself, and bear the consequences. But let not such an one, if life be embittered by ties which heaven has neither made nor sanctioned, afterwards complainingly cast upon God, fate or chance, what is the legitimate fruit of his own unbelief or folly.
A SOLEMN THOUGHT.
There is a time, we know not when,
A point, we know not where,
To glory or despair.
There is a line by us unseen,
That crosses every path;
God's patience and his wrath!
THE BIRDS OF THE BIBLE.
NO. XXIV.-THE OSSIFRAGE AND OSPREY.
BY THE EDITOR.
“Next the ossifrage and osprey-both one kinde
Of luxurie and rapine, emblems mete,
And brast the bones, and scoope the marrowe sweete.” We place these two birds together, because, as the poet tells us, they are “both one kinde.” They are mentioned only in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, where they stand in the list of unclean birds.
They are evidently a kind of eagle. Moses places them between the eagle and the vulture; and as there is a great variety of eagles, it is most natural to regard them as a species of this bird.
The word AZANIAH, which is translated osprey, means, in Hebrew, “strong," and points to the black eagle or the sea-eagle. Mr. Bruce describes the black eagle, and gives it as his opinion that it is the osprey. This species, though among the smallest of the tribe, is also among the strongest. Homer speaks of the Grecian general, Achilles, as “having the rapidity of a black eagle, that bird of prey which is at the same time the strongest and the swiftest of birds." Audubon calls the fish-hawk also the osprey, which is in place, the hawk being a species of eagle.
Pliny pronounces the osprey a mongrel generation of birds. “Moreour, these osfraies, or ospreis, are not thought to be a severall kind of ægles by themselves, but to be mungrels, and engendered of divers sorts. And their young ospraies been counted & kind of ossifragi.' This conception, however, is now left behind by the advancement of natural science.
The word PEREs, which is translated ossifrage, denotes to break, or to crush." The word used in the English translation, which means the “bone-breaker, “bone-breaker,” gives therefore
gives therefore the true sense of the original. Harris says: "This name is given to a kind of eagle, from the circumstance of its habit of breaking the bones of its prey, after it has eaten the flesh; some say also, that be even swallows the bones thus broken.” This agrees with the representation of tho poet, who speaks of them as birds
That haunte the shores, the choicest preye to finde,
And brast the bones, and scoope the marrowe sweete.” As suggested in these lines, however, we think they do not break the bones with a view of eating them, but rather to enable them "to scoope the marrowe sweete.
Though we may not be able satisfactorily to designate the exact kind of eagles which correspond with these birds, yet knowing as we do that they are of the eagle family, we see that there is a pro