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There is only one standing place from which we can get an absolutely true view of the world, of men, of God—it is from Calvary. Christ is the key whereby to unlock all the mysteries in Art and Nature, in Science and Religion. "He that followeth after me shall not walk in darknes-s, but shall have the light of life." From Pispah Moses got a distant view of the land of Promise. From Calvary the dying saint not only gets the distant view of heaven, but sees the way through which he can enter it. On this mountain of the Lord the horses and chariots of God fight for His people, as they did for Elisha and his servant against the king of Samaria. 2 Kings 6: 13-19.
Mountains are the symbols of permanence and power. The sweep of the mightiest tempest shakes them no more than the gentlest breezes of a summer evening. No lightning bolt can rend their rocks, nor storm nor time shake their foundations. Here and there mountain torrents, drifts of ice and grinding boulders in nature may have slightly changed their surface but not their basal structure. Their ribs and roots run deep into the earth and bind them to its pillars with unshaken firmness. How small and helpless one feels, seated on the Flegere opposite Mont Blanc, from where you have a distinct view of this monarch of mountains; its top is clothed with the snows of centuries, whilst at its base reapers are reaping their scanty harvests. There none save an idiot can help but- think of God in His awful greatness and power. Who but He that made them can move these everlasting mountains, with "their walls upheaved by monster forces, their breasts swelling with inner fire, their braces fixed by earthquakes!" And yet, stronger far than these and more abiding is God's covenant love to His children. "For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee."
Mountains are to the earth what muscles are to the human body. Both teach that exertion strengthens, that inactivity weakens. Tacitus says of the Roman armies: "They convert the
country into a desert and call it peace." Not so the armies of the Lord. The peace which the Gospel brings is the result of robust action. Christianity is no labor-saving system of religion. A stag-nant state of heart is often mistaken for peace, incapable of either fear or hope. The Author of our religion was the Hero of heroes ; the Church was planted by a race of heroes. The blood of martyrs is alike its seed and waters its roots. Its great starts forward into new continents and epochs; into heathenism and Judaism; into Asia, Africa, Europe and America; into the middle ages and out of them, have been made through martyrdoms and upheavals. Ease-loving and leisure-seeking men who deprecate action, energy and manly effort, cavil at this so-called " blood religion;" but he who from unselfish love like his divine Master offers himself a willing sacrifice for truth and for the salvation of others, is crowned with the highest glory attainable by mortals. Only the soul riveted and rooted in Jesus Christ through battles bravely fought gains this abiding peace and power.
Men of this kind stand out prominently like mountains along the path of history. Paul, Polycarp and Iraeneus, Luther, Calvin and Zwingli; the rugged Constantino wrestling with and subduing an incoherent mass of pagan nations; Charlemagne battling with the wild barbarian hordes deluging Europe; Washington, Wellington and the Prince of Orange—how heroically all these battled for the right to achieve peace. Thus to the child of God joy is evermore evolved out of sorrow; "Nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruits of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby." Many of these historic men of mountain prominence have had their faults along with their virtues. Seen from a distance all mountains look smooth. Their barren, rough places, their precipices and rugged cliffs are concealed from the naked eye. A nearer view discloses defects.
scars of many a conflict with Bin, do not always bear close inspection. Men like David and Solomon, Constantine, Charlemagne aud Hildebrand, rise up majestically like mountains in the field of history; turning rivers in their course and tempests in their mighty sweep, yet along with their great merits, they were men with prodigious faults.
Mountains are the cradles and nurseries of brave and strong men. For some purposes valleys are more attractive. Their farms cost less labor and yield more than those of the hills, but their atmosphere is more likely to enervate and lower the standard of moral aspiration. All the Jewish heroes came j from the highlands, not one from the plains of the Jordan or Gennesaret. On their rugged hills Judah and Benjamin became as a lion. Tbey were the cradles of men like Saul, David and Solomon. Out of Gad, living on Mount Gilead beyond Jordan, came the eleven valiant chiefs who crossed the Jordan in its flood-tide to join the out-Iawed David; "whose faces were like the faces of lions, and who were as swift as the gazelles upon the mountains." Gideon, the greatest of heroes, whose "brothers were as the children of kings," came from the hills of Manasseh; the wild mountains of Moab were the home of Jepthah the brave; and Elijah who withstood cruel Ahab and his more cruel wife to the face, was born among the forests of Gilead. • The village of Eisleben, where Luther was born, lies among rugged mountains. Here this man of might, by the grace of God, imbibed and nursed those qualities which enabled him to defend the truth before Charles V. and his enraged cardinals. Near the village of Wildhaus, 2000*feet above lake Zurich, you can still see the old peasant's cottage where Zwingli was born; a lowly hut it is, with thin walls and windows of small round panes of glass, and the slats or shingles of the roof held in their place with large stones instead of nails; and a small Alpine stream still plays and purls past the door. Up here, in this bleak mountain region Ulrich Zwingli first saw the light of day, learned to breathe the keen air, say his first prayers and climb the great mountains. Geneva, the field of Calvin's labors, lies at the
foot of the Alps, with the snow-clad top of Mont Blanc in view. John Knox was born and nursed among the highlands of Scotland. Much of his rugged, heroic character, by the grace of God he derived from the training received among these hills and heather. Aud, I say it with the deepest reverence, the greatest of woman born, first saw the light of day on Bethlehem's hills, and spent His boyhood and youth among the circling mountains of Nazareth, where the view on every side is turned heavenward by their lofty crests. On Jordan's banks, near the base of two overlooking mountains He received the baptism; among the bleak mountains of Judea's wilderness He was tempted; on a mount He preached the greatest of all sermons; to the mountains He often went to pray; on a mountain He was transfigured; Bethany and Gethsemane, Olivet and Calvary, are on and among high places. Why must all these great mediatorial works be done and endured on hills and mountain heights?
Mountains are the nurseries of freedom. What countries have furnished proportionally so many martyrs for liberty as Scotland and Switzerland.
Auf den Bergen ist Freiheit
Der Hauch der Grufte
In die reine Lufte.
On the mountains is freedom:
The breath of the vales
To the pure mountain gales.
Not that the row-lands have not had their heroes of freedom, as the History of the Netherlands shows. What country has proportionally given more martyrs to freedom's holy cause than Holland? And yet from the days of Sparta down to this present, as a rule the deeds for conscience and one's country's sake like those at Thermopylte and Marathon, and those by Tell and his few co-patriots at the foot of the Rhigi are oftenest met with among mountain-bred men. And that freedom of which all other kinds are but dim foreshadowings, " the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free," catches its inspiration and life in the elevated, pure atmosphere of the mountains of the Lord. Faciles descensus Averni—the descent to the lower regions is easy—was a Baying among the scholarly Romans. Sin depraves and | drags us downward ever; grace sancti- J fies and raises our desires, aspirations and hopes evermore higher and more heavenward.
Mountains have their disadvantages, too. They often expose one to peculiar privations and trials. How the hardy mountaineer on the Alps and Rhine must scratch and toil for a meager living. Withal, he is happy with his "vegetable meal."
"Cheerful at morn he wakes from short repose,
In spiritual as in geographical affairs, great elevations bring great perils. From lofty places a misstep is more disastrous than from low ones. Satan often selects the best people as subjects of temptation, such as Job, David, Solomon and Peter. People, like places, highly favored of God, if they fall sink lower than those less favored ; just as it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah, and for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for some of the cities in which Christ healed and spoke. But with our feet planted on the rock of age?, no power can wrest us from our Saviour's hands. The enticements of sin, the pains and perils of adversity; whatever ills may befall us in this vale of tears, all will only draw or drive us closer to our loving, ever-living Saviour.
"And as a child, whom scaring sounds molest, Clings close and closer to the mother's breast, So the loud torrent and the whirlwind's roar, But bind him to his native mountain more."
When will our religious papers stop using the editorial " we " to indicate the editor, instead of the paper? We constantly see such phrases as "When we were sailing up the Hudson." "When we preached in Boston," "We were confined to our bed last week," all which make the editor of quite too much importance. The last notable example we meet is in Hie Baltimore Presbyterian, which says editorially of a child's magazine:
"We never had such a visitor when we were a child. Had we, we would have been a better and smarter little girl."
I Lord Beaconsfield.
BY BARTON GREY
''london, April 19th.—Lord Beaconsfield's renewed debility began on Sunday night, when an east wind commenced to blow. He continued to lose ground throughout Monday, the unfavorable wind continuing and constantly increasing. He died at half-past 4 o'clock this morning, as calmly as if he were asleep."— Press Dispatch. ,
Over the sick man's pillow
The grave physicians bent,
The nurses came and went;
The long night-watches through,
The baleful East Wind blew.
"He will die," they murmured sadly,
"Unless the wind will change." And anxious eyes more anxious grew
In that vigil long and strange.
The steady vane held true,
Bnt still the East Wind blew.
He had climbed Fame's proudest" summit
With those cold and nerveless feet,
In a human bosom beat;
Which few men fight and win.
And he must enter in.
There were loving hearts around him,
There was sorrow deep and keen, And kindly words from life-long foes,
And grief from England's Queen;
Stern Death his cordon drew,
And still the East Wind blew.
It blew o'er sea and desert,
That wind from his well-loved Eist; From the mystic strand of the Holy Land,
The home of seer and priest; From the far off chine where 111 olden time
His fathers first drew breath; From the land where M *ses talked with God,
But it brought him only—death. t
The long night waned, and sudden
Through the curtains closely drawn Flashed in upon that kneeling group
The pale shafts of the dawn; But on the face they loved so well
A strange new glory shone, And forth on the wings of the ceaseless wind
The dauntless soul had flown.
The synagogue was the Jewish meeting-house, or place of worship. Strictly speaking, it was used for meetings of the people, either for civil or religious purposes- The temple was regarded as the prototype of the synagogue, and, therefore, so far as it was possible, there was conformity between the two. As'it wag supposed that the sanctuary was built on a summit, the Jewish law was, that synagogues were to be built on the highest elevations, so that no house should be situated higher. It seems that river banks, outside of the cities, were also regarded as appropriate building sites for synagogues, as in such places worship could be conducted without being marred by the confusion outside. In addition to which the worshipers could have the use of plenty of water, required by their immersion and other religious rites.
The building was somewhat constructed after the plan of the theater, this form being ever regarded as subordinate to the temple. The door was always on the west, so that when the worshipper entered, he would front Jerusalem, for the law required: "All the worshippers in Israel are to have their faces turned to that part of the world, where Jerusalem, the temple and the Holy of Holies are." Like the temple, the synagogue was often built without a roof. An ancient writer confirms this, who in speaking of the houses of worship built by the Samaritans, says: "They were built in the form of a theater, open to the air, and without covering, which in all things imitated the Jews." In some places there were erected winter and summer synagogues, which were pulled down and put up at the beginning of each season. In this building, opposite the entrance, stood the ark, containing the scrolls of the law; over this ark was spread a canopy, under which were kept the vestments needed for the different services. In front of the ark was the desk of the leader of the worship, and near was the platform, large enough for several persons to sit upon it, and from this (which in a later age was placed in the centre of the building) the law and the prophets were read. For the doctors of the law, and the elders of the
congregation or synagogue, there were placed arm-chairs in front of the recess containing the ark. Christ refers to such an arrangement when He speaks of loving the uppermost seats in the synagogue. A light was always kept burning in imitation of the temple light. This light was regarded as the symbol of the human soul, of the divine law, and of the manifestation of God.
The rulers or officers of the synagogue were the elders and two associates, three almoners, the leader of the congregation in worship, the interpreter, the attendant and ten men who were called "men of leisure," because their circumstances permitted them to be in the synagogue whenever their presence was needed. They were to be men of piety. The worship of the synagogue, so far as was possible, corresponded to that of the temple.
The authority of the synagogue extended to all civil and religious questions. The rabbis were not only preachers, but judges. The highest punishment was that of excommunication, which, because of its severity, was seldom inflicted. Though Christ and His apostles frequently preached contrary to the Jewish expounders of the law, yet they were never put out of the synagogue.
It is highly probable that such buildings for worship owe their origin to the captivity, as prior to this we never read of the existence of synagogues. During the captivity religious meetings were doubtless held in certain places selected for the purpose, which places were called houses of assembly, which afterwards were developed into synagogues. These became popular, and were built very soon wherever the Jews were scattered. Besides the great number of such places of worship in Jerusalem, and by the river-side*1, they were numerous in the cities of Syria, Asia Minor, Greece and Egypt. We read of the apostles going into the synagogues of Damascus, Iconium, Antioch, Thessalonica, Berea, Corinth, Athens and Ephesus. We need not be surprised at the large number, if we will remember that at this time there were living in these different places more than a million of J<-ws.—J. W. 1. B. in "Herald and Presbyter."
Our Book Table.
The Apostles; Their Lives and Labors. By Rev. D. F. Brendel, A. M. Reading, Pa., Daniel Miller, 113 North Sixth street. Bethlehem, Pa. Rev. D. F. Bftndel, pp. 328. Price $1.25.
The Lives of the Apostles furnish a vast and fruitful field for investigation. On this subject many works have been written by learned authors, in various tongues. The most of them treat it from a more scientific and dogmatic point of view, better adapted for the educated classes than for the masses of the common people. Mr. Brendel aims to benefit the latter rather than the former. Around the lives of the Apostles is grouped a large part of the doctrinal material of the New Testament. A correct knowledge of what is embraced in the history of these men, implies a mind well and widely informed in the teachings of Holy Scripture. No person can carefully read a book of this kind without thereafter being able to read the Bible far more intelligently than before. How much better it would be to accustom our young people, through Sunday-school libraries and otherwise, to read works like the "Fathers of the Reformed Church," and like " The Lives and Labors of the Apostles," than the chaffy, flatulent, fanciful literature which many persons now thirst for as does the toper for his grog. Whilst the former kind of works may seem less brilliant and fascinating than more exhilarating and lighter reading, they afford substantial intellectual nourishment, from which the reader can draw strength, support and hope for all coming time.
Confirmation, A Tract for Catechumens, by Rev. A. C. Whitmer. Third thousand.
We are not surprised that a new edition of this excellent tract has been called for. Although confirmation as practiced by the Reformed Church is a Scriptural rite, much ignorance still prevails respecting its authority, meaning and design. This work, sums up in a clear, concise form the material belonging to the subject. It has a word to Catechumens; What is Confirmation; Your Confirmation vows; Preparation
for Confirmation; and advice to those confirmed.
The Wren's Nest.
The wrens, like various other small birds, cannot bear that their nests or eggs should be touched; they are always disturbed and distressed by it, and sometimes even will desert their nest and eggs in consequence. On one occasion, therefore, a good, kind-hearted friend of every bird that builds, carefully put his finger into a wren's nest, during the mother's absence, to ascertain whether the young were hatched. On her return, perceiving that the entrance had been touched, she set up a doleful lamentation, carefully rounded it again with her breast and wings, so as to bring everything into proper order, after which she and her mate attended to their young. These particular young ones, only six in number, were fed by their parents two hundred and seventyeight times in the course of a day. This was a small wren-family; and if there had been twelve, or even sixteen, as is often the case, what an amount of labor and care the birds must have had 1 But they would have been equal to it, and merry all the time.
"For all these little creatures, which so lightly we regard,
They love to do their duty, and they never think it hard."
If the night is dreary,
It leads to the day; If the heart is weary,
It learns to pray. If, standing lonely,
The tears fall fast, We know it is only
Till life is past.
'Tis all in the measure
Of each day's share— The pain and the pleasure,
The joy and despair. We lose on the morrow
The ache of to-day: The sweet and the bitter
Must both pass away.