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face? Hast thou no other way of venting thy passion but to fly in God's face and to revenge thyself on him when men have injured thee? Certainly thy passion can be no more temptation to do this, than it would be to stab thy father because thine enemy hath struck thee.”
“They swore without knowing it." This only shows how long the practice must have been continued, and how thoughtlessly it is done. Both the conscience and the throat must be well worn if they eject oaths without being conscious of it! When the practice was just commenced, and the heart was not yet hardened to it, it felt a check of guilt when an oath was uttered; but now it has become common language, and it rolls from the tongue without the heart feeling it. How sad is the case of such a heart! How nigh anto cursing! Now, all decency is gone—no reverence for God, no respect for man is now left.
The worst swearers are those who swear “without thinking.” Those who are not so far gone do, sometimes, keep in for shame, when they are in the presence of pious persons, or of children; but such as "swear without thinking” have lost all respect for themselves and all sense of shame. Thus their profanity is so much more injurious to others—it wounds the feelings of the good, and corrupts the hearts and habits of children.
How common is this swearing without knowing it. An old swearer, when charged with profanity, will immediately declare, with an oath, that he did not swear! A good old pastor, passing along the street, heard the children swear in their play before the house. He stopped to remonstrate with the parents for allowing such a practice among their children. The mother—what an object is a profane mother !—the mother told him, with an earnest oath, that she could not think where the children had learned it! The pastor was not at a loss to know where the children had learned to be profane, when he heard that the mother was one of those wbo swear without knowing it. Yet this is to be a kind of palliation of its guilt! Alas! their vindication, more than any thing else, fully reveals their guilt in its full extent, even as the smoothly flowing stream shows how well-worn is its channel by long use.
There is no excuse for it, as there is also no motive to it. The sweet luxury of sinning is all that the profane wretch can plead for the practice. He loves to toss about upon his tongue, like a base by-word, the great and fearful name of his Maker, Judge, and Saviour! "He tears the name of God to pieces,” says an old divine, "to patch and fill up the rents of his idle talk!"
The Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain! Before that name the highest intelligences of heaven bow in deepest reverence. At the mention of it devils tremble and draw back into deeper gloom. That name is the good man's stay and comfort in life, and the song of his heart in death. It is the name before which "every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth.' Phil. ii, 10. Will God look calmly on and be ever insulted to His face! No! no! Though he tarry long-though His mercy cause His wrath to delay, yet the time of retribution will come.
“ Their judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not!”
A LOCK OF HAIR.
ALL else of bim in death hath faded,
Except this little lock of hair,
And clustered in bright ringlets there.
Cold, cold within the silent grave,
'Twas all that we could save.
From off his noble brow we shaved it,
When death had placed his signet there;
This little lock of William's hair-
It bids a thousand memories start;
And I will bind it to my heart.
'Tis a memento of the past,
That brings to miud his lovely form
Too fair to buffet wind and storm;
Amid our lonely circle move,
Of one who shares our ardent love.
This little glossy, shining tress,
That graceful waved upon his brow,
To cheer our sadened spirits now.
I keep it with a jealous care,
As this dear lock of shining train.
I HAVE LOST A DAY!
"T18 a mournful story, Thus in the ear of peosive eve to tell Of morning's firm resolves the vapished glory,
Hope's honey left within the withering bell, And plants of mercy dead, that might have bloom'd so well.
LAST WORDS OF DYING CHRISTIANS.
“With lifted eyes,
The boundary is now reached; the soul is ready to cross. We stand, and gaze eagerly, to watch the very last of those signs which the faithful leave behind; the utmost link between their pilgrimage here and the world of angels. Their last, last words, though perhaps less significant than many earlier sayings, are yet treasured with a peculiar sense of sacredness. But when they have been uttered with the consciousness that they were the last, they must indeed have a mighty attraction for those who know that they are to pass by the same spot, and who long to pass in the same hope or triumph.
No other words, probably, have been so often heard from that spot, as those, or nearly those, with which our Lord commended His spirit to His Father, and with which the first martyr called on the Lord Jesus to receive his spirit. These were the last words, substantially, of Basil, of Luther, of Tasso, of Edward the Sixth and Lady Jane Grey, of Latimer and Ridley, of Cranmer and Hooper, of Herbert, of Martin Boos; and it might almost be said that they had become an established form, where the approach of the moment of departure could be perfectly recognized. An established form, indeed, of commending the spirit into the hands of "a faithful Creator and most merciful Saviour,” is said at many bedsides; and, like Beza, many have died during such a prayer, or, like Bishop Bull, have only survived to breathe a single or a repeated Amen.
Another closing cry of devout hearts has been, as with Bishop Abbot, in the words of St. John, “ Come, Lord Jesus; come quickly.” “Depart, my soul, depart," said the ascetic Hilarion, “why this delay? Dost thou fear death, after almost seventy years spent in the service of Jesus Christ?" Two Prstestant martyrs, Esch and Voes, sang Te Deum in the midst of the flames; it is told of Huss and of Jerome of Prague, that they died singing hymns in the fire; and more than one pious minister of Germany has expired on a death-bed in the act of singing. The last words of many are simple expressions of readiness, or testimonies of peace, or affectionate farewells, or ejaculations of prayer. “Peace! peace! victory! victory! faith and patience hold out!” were amongst those of Payson. With the single exclamation, “My God! my
God !" the spirit of Gustavus Adolphus passed from the storm of battle into the world of rest. The last words of Doctor Sharp, Archbishop of York, were from one of the divine poems of Herbert. Those of Sir Edward Coke were, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done!" Doctor Hammond exclaimed, “0, joyful day!" and never spoke again. So said Cardinal Baronius, "Now is the hour of triumph and of joy,” and drew his feet together, and placed his hands upon his bosom, and expired. The poet, Earl of Roscommon, in the moment of expiring, cried out fervently, in the words of his own version of the Dies Iræ,
* My God, my Father, and my Friend,
Do not forsake me in my end." James Andreæ breathed his last in answering to the question whether he believed a crown of life to be reserved for him, “Yes;' and Brentius, in the same word, in answer to the question whether he held the faith of the Gospel. Myconius died invoking the Son of God; Cruciger, in the act of supplication. The expiring breath of Lady Falkland was spent in two words of exhortation, embracing the whole duty of man, “Fear God, fear God!” Mrs. Shepard, whose prayer for Lord Byron, communicated after her death, so much moved him, whispered, last of all, “God's happiness! God's happiness!
It is very often seen, however, that consciousness survives the power of utterance, and we watch to observe what feelings may possibly be signified, when the saint is thus actually in the very depth of the valley. Sir Matthew Hale, when he could no longer speak, was constantly lifting his eyes and his hands. When Knox was asked for a sign that he remembered the precious promises of God, he raised his hand, and died immediately after. Bishop Ferrar, before his martyrdom, declared to a friend that, if he saw him move or heard him utter any cry of pain in the flames, he might reject his doctrine; and he was enabled to fulfil the sign.
There are many who can tell with what strange joy and awe they have felt the pressure of a hand, or seen the ecstatic glance or illuminated countenance, when death had so far prevailed, that no other token of what passed within was possible. Halyburton said to his friends, “When I fall so low that I am not able to speak, I will show you a sign of triumph, if I am able;" and, accordingly, when he could no longer speak, he lifted and clapped his hands. Doctor Nelson relates an example which, though but one amongst many, had in it circumstances singularly striking and convincing. An aged and exemplary Christian man remained, in faith, but without exhilarating readiness for his change, even till his sight and his hearing had ceased, while his anxious daughter sat by, painfully longing for that issue of the sun from behind the cloud, through which als might glorify the Redeemer in whom he had trusted. While he could get hear, it was agreed between them, that if, at any stage of the passage, a fortaste of heavenly delight should be granted, he should give her with his hand a certain token. After his senses were all closed, and his breath had become obstructed, and he was plainly at the gate of eternity, he gave the token, and a smile of exultation lighted up his countenance.
Often, we seem to see the trace of such joy in the look of him who is already in his coffin, as if the last beam that played on the house of clay was the first from a brighter sphere. The face of Stephen, when his hour approached, was “as it had been the face of an angel," and so, no doubt, it appeared to the devout men who bore him to his burial. For the human eye there is no more; we should linger around the bed or watch the bier in vain.
THE BROKEN HOUSEHOLD.
VAINLY, vainly, memory seeks.
'Round our father's knee, Laughing eyes and rosy cheeks,
Where they used to be ;
Prattling all the day,
Oh! 'twas hard to lay
Ne'er by sorrow thralled,
Was the next one called;
Only heaven can tell,
Was he when he fell;
Only left to pray ;
Farther still than they,
Wheresoe'er I roam,
Guide them safely home;