Imágenes de páginas

over it; a graceful curve or arch is made over the whole breadth of the road, and then arrives a waggon from which men cast carefully-prepared blocks of wood, scooped and planed, and fitted to rest one against the other.

You will then observe another part in progress where these blocks are placed in orderly rows, and a man with square and measure sees that the required curve or arch is maintained. Take another view, and you will see a portion where the next process goes on, and where the lime and sand being placed within all the interstices, and on the top of the pieces of wood, a roadway of a simple and beautiful description is then formed.

Again you will observe, further on, where the final steps are being taken, and the ramming and settling of the whole, viz., lime, sand, wood, concrete, and the foundation earth is in process of completion. . Along this splendid road some royal progress takes place, and the daily traffic of business proceeds without inconvenience, accident, or noise. And now, will not this description, in some measure, illustrate the glorious works previously spoken of, whereby the Lord, the great Builder, the great Road Constructor, makes a way for Himself to walk, and where before there was nought but confusion, sorrow, danger, and noise ?

“ The kingdom of God cometh not with observation.” “He shall not strive nor cry, neither shall His voice be heard in the streets.” Also in the construction of Solomon's temple there was no noise of hammer-all was prepared beforehand-the noble edifice grew up to perfection under a calm and blessed silence. Thus God works in the sinners heart: the bruised reed He breaks not, the smoking flax He will not quench. How often in the silent chamber, or unobserved under the fig-tree, does some Nathanael gradually see his way to forgiveness, light, and peace !

Again, look at these blocks so carefully cut and prepared to bear all the weight of some tremendous cargo of merchandise brought from the ships arrived in port. Are not these the Christian principles and graces which the Holy Spirit brings to the heart, and which, like the precious stones of the high-priest's breastplate, or the foundation of the New Jerusalem, are each beautiful, each having special qualities? The road on which the heavenly King makes His progress is paved with these; but they are founded upon a good foundation, and that has been broken up and prepared by affliction, by sorrow for sin, and by the faith that looks to the cross, and to the blood that flowed therefrom. Surely then we may well compare the breakingup of the old road and the substratum of concrete to the penitence and faith in Jesus, on which alone the graces and good works of the new man can be built and established.

These are all cemented and fastened down in their places, like the final process of the construction of the road, and we are told, “ After ye have suffered awhile, be ye stablished, strengthened, settled.” Oh, then, dear friends, seek at once that this blessed road may be prepared and made in your hearts. Jesus will do it all; but do not you sit still ! Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation. The old road calls out for renewal ; you cannot patch it up and repair it: the Great Master will put on the workmen ; He will bear the expense; He will do it effectually, and saints and angels shall then cry,“ Grace, grace unto it.”

I Grieved Question.

“Simon, sleepest thou ?” Mark xiv. 37. E do well to imagine this question prefaced by our

own name. Might not the Master often address it to us? After all the vehement professions made by

the dauntless apostle, that he would rather die with his Lord than be offended because of Him, here on the first trial he failed. Wearied with running with the footmen, how would he do when contending with horses—how bear himself in the swellings of Jordan? Ah! how ready we are to

judge one another harshly, and how tenderly Jesus judges ! “He knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust." He seems to make allowance and excuse for those whose love and sympathy had apparently ebbed away, though doubtless they would make none for themselves; and there is no reproof but that conveyed in the loving tones and the direction, “Rise and pray.” “Sleeping for sorrow," but He might well ask them, “Why sleep ye?" Here we are taught the need of watchfulness and humility. So often do we get on enchanted ground, and even when we would be most active and watchful we are overpowered by lethargy. If even these disciples, who had been in such close companionship for so long with their Lord, could fail, what shall we do? “How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle !" “ It is God that teacheth my hands to war and my fingers to fight.” “Hold Thou me up, and I shall be safe.”

“ Couldest thou not watch one hour ?" At longest it is but “life's little day.” And though sometimes the one hour during which we are called to special watchfulness seems to lengthen out immeasurably, and the spirit shrinks and is found even “sleeping for sorrow," should not the thought of this hour of the Saviour's woe then support and cheer? Then, too, we should strive to appreciate the difference between our thought of this one hour now, and then, when time shall be no more, and “there shall be no more curse.” “I reckon”-it is, as has been said, a matter of calculation

-“that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed.” “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."1

Again, there is a thought for us. In this hour of the Redeemer's agony “ an angel appeared unto Him, strengthening Him;" and for us One greater than an angel appears, saying, “ Fear not; I will help. Lo, I am with you alway." So that we may humbly apply His own words, and rest satisfied, “ Alone, yet not alone, for the Father is with me.”

1 Rom. viii. 18; 2 Cor. iv, 17.


The Miser's Gift.
ALPH EVSHAM had never thought of making any one

happy but himself. He began life with this great
purpose and aim. As a boy, he craved his play-

fellows' toys and pence, never giving any in return, and as he grew older and began to earn money he

took no pains to learn its true use and value, as a means of promoting general prosperity, but looked on it as a private possession, to which no one had any right but himself. So he saved, and scraped together, and hoarded, until he became a rich man, people said ; and yet every one called him “poor Mr. Evsham.” 'No wonder! Who could help calling him poor when they saw his thin, pinched, anxious face, şq pale and miserable, as though God's sunshine had never rested on it since he was born ? Poor foolish man! he would learn no lesson in the great school of nature, from the sun that gives light, and the birds that give song, and the flowers that give beauty and fragrance, and the air that gives freşiness and health ; nor from the higher school of heavenly things, when the angels give ministry and protection, and the Lord of the angels gave His own life fox şinners, and the Eternal Father gives every good and perfect gift.

Oh it is a grand iniştake that any one makes who wraps his heart up so tight in the mantle of selfishness, that it cannot grow out in kindness to its fellews, and so shrivels and hardens until it loses all the bright, happy sensations of a healthy human heart! Of such the Divine Word has spoken, " There is that withholdeth more than iş meet, þut it tendeth to poverty.!!

Ralph Evşham lived in an old house on the outskirts of a pretty country village, and dotted all over the neighbourhood were little dwellings that belonged to him, and which were rented principally by farm labourers. Very poor many of them were, but they knew their landlord, and never thought of looking for any help or pity from him.

His own manner of life was miserable enough. An old woman came each morning to light his fire and put the rooms he occupied in tlie great rambling house in some kind of order; then she left him alone, and he often passed the day without hearing a human yoice-his only employment being to prepare his scanty meals, and, as a special treat, count over the contents of some of the hoards of money which he had cunningly secreted about the house, and over

« AnteriorContinuar »