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By the case of Cain, parents are impressively taught to beware of expecting unmingled happiness from their children, who, in many instances, plunge then into overwhelming sorrow by their evil courses as they rise up into life. Of human depravity, even in youth and from our birth, our Saviour has admonished us, in his affecting observation to Nicodemus, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh." John iii, 6.
Abel is believed to have been born in the following year; and as his parents had discovered the mistake into which their fond hopes had led them, in calling their first-born a possession, they gave the name of Abel to the second, a word which signifies vanity, or a vapour. Considering the untimely death of Abel, this name was singularly appropriate. Some suppose that the name was given under the Divine direction, by a spirit of prophecy; and it ought not to pass unnoticed, that among "the divers manners in which God spake in time past to the fathers by the prophets," names, significantly prophetical, were none of the least remarkable.
Abel, as the first on whom was executed the humiliating sentence, "Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return," was an affecting instance of the correctness of the Psalmist's declaration, "Surely every man walketh in a vain show,-every man in his best estate is altogether vanity." Psal. xxxix. The name and history of Abel forcibly impress on us the humiliating reflection of the patriarch Job, "Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not." Job xiv, 1, 2.
Occupation of Cain and Abel.
Cain and Abel were heirs apparent to the whole world: for Adam, their father, was rightful lord of all the earth.
Yet notwithstanding their nobility, and their large possessions, they were not brought up in idleness. God gave their father a calling even in Paradise, and Adam appointed one to each of his children. They were taught to labour, and were employed in necessary and suitable occupations. It is evidently the holy will of God, that we shall all have some useful employment while he continues us in the present world.
In the days of primeval simplicity, while men were unpractised in those schemes of self-interest, and selfgratification, which distinguish the following ages, agriculture and pasturage presented themselves as employments the most adapted for supplying the necessary demands of our nature. In these were the sons of Adam engaged. The tempers of the two brothers were different. Cain chose the cultivation of the earth, the business of his father, as most congenial with his active, energetic spirit, and his hardy, robust constitution. No occupation could be more innocent and rational, or more agreeable to the Divine command to Adam.
The mildness of Abel's disposition led him to prefer the pastoral life; and the care of the sheepfold was a course equally innocent and rational, and no less favourable to the pious exercises of a devout and contemplative mind. The business of keeping sheep, we perceive, is nearly as ancient as the world itself: nor was it esteemed beneath those who were the early favourites of Heaven, and who are now exalted to the highest stations in the Saviour's kingdom of glory. And, indeed, where shall we find usefulness, innocence, and pleasure, so combined in any other employment as they are in
No one subject has so frequently engaged the ingenious and elegant pens of the best poets, as the felicities of the pastoral life. Nay, when they would describe "the golden age of the world," and picture to our
imagination a kind of heaven upon earth, they have found no method of doing it to greater advantage, than by representing shepherds, in times of peace, enjoying plenty and prosperity, feeding their flocks in verdant pastures, and leading them to living fountains of water, or reposing in shady groves.
But chiefly we should observe, the use which the wisdom of God in the Holy Scriptures has made of this employment, by transferring the pleasing images which it affords to the highest and most important truths of religion whilst it teaches us how to make them the means of turning our eyes to the mercies and lovingkindnesses of our Lord Jesus Christ, the great "Shepherd and Bishop of souls." He nourishes the spirits of the righteous in pastures of eternal truth, and leads them to living fountains of divine consolation. Let no man then despise another for the supposed meanness of his occupation. The humble shepherd, who discharges his duties conscientiously, may comfort himself with this reflection, that he has " righteous Abel" for his example.
To the shepherds of Bethlehem, "keeping watch over their flocks by night," came the first glad tidings of the birth of our Saviour. Moses, the deliverer of Israel, was forty years a shepherd in the land of Midian; and King David, in his youth, kept his father's sheep in the wilderness, and both David and Moses, in mountain solitude, held the most delightful converse with their God. With what beautiful simplicity does David improve this sentiment of pastoral care in the twentythird Psalin, and many suppose that he wrote that edifying piece in his youth. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul."
Many a young believer, and many a youthful shepherd, it cannot be doubted, has been delighted with the language of that pious keeper of his father's sheep; and has sung his heavenly doctrines in the beautiful verses of Dr. Watts.
My shepherd is the living Lord:
Now shall my wants be well supplied;
In pastures where salvation grows
In the fair paths of righteousness."
Being instructed by the Holy Scriptures how to raise his thoughts from things visible to things invisible, the humble Christian may make his business a perpetual lesson of heavenly wisdom and spiritual comfort; and so, after having, like Abel, lived a life of faith on earth, he may pass to dwell with him in everlasting mansions. Constantine the Great, the first Christian emperor of Rome, was accustomed to say, My life, when at the suminit of human felicity, is something more honourable than that of a shepherd, but much more troublesome."
(To be continued.)
THE EFFICACY OF RELIGIOUS EXAMPLE. LORD PETERBOROUGH, when on a visit to Fenelon, at Cambray, was so charmed with the virtues and talents of the archbishop, that he exclaimed at parting, “If I stay here any longer, I shall become a Christian in spite of myself."
METEORIC STONES. METEORIC stones are among the most extraordinary phenomena of nature. They are peculiar solid compounds of earthy and metallic matter, of singular aspect and composition, which occasionally descend from the atmosphere, usually from the bosom of a luminous meteor. Professor Jameson, in his " Manual of Mineralogy," observes, that meteoric irou falls from the air in all parts of the world, and appears to be formed in the atmosphere by some process hitherto unknown
"While all Europe," says the celebrated Vauquelin, "resounded with the rumour of stones fallen from the heavens; and while philosophers, distracted in opinion, were framing hypotheses to explain their origin, each according to their own fancy, the honourable Mr. Howard, an able English chemist, was pursuing in silence the only route which could lead to a solution of the problem. He collected specimens of stones which had fallen at different times, procured as much information as possible respecting them, compared the physical or exterior characters of these bodies; and even did more, in subjecting them to chemical analysis, by means as ingenious as exact.
It results from his researches, that the stones which fell in England, in Italy, in Germany, in the East Indies, and in other places, have all such a perfect resemblance, that it is almost impossible to distinguish them from each other; and what renders the similitude more perfect and more striking is, that they are composed of the same principles, and nearly in the same proportion. The solitary masses of native iron that have been found in Siberia, Bohemia, Senegal, and South America, likewise agree in the circumstance of being an alloy of iron and nickel, and are either of a cellular texture, or have earthy matter disseminated among the metal. Hence a similar origin has been ascribed to them.
Langier, and afterwards Kenard, found chrome likewise in the proportion of about one per cent. in different meteoric stones they examined.
In all the instances in which these stones have been supposed to fall from the clouds, and of which any perfect account has been given, the appearance of a luminous meteor exploding with loud noise has been looked to as the cause. The stones likewise have been more or less hot when found after their immediately supposed fall. Different opinions however have been entertained on this subject, which is certainly involved in much difficulty. Some have supposed them to be merely projected from volcanoes; while others have suggested, that they might be thrown from the moon; or be bodies wandering through space, and at length brought within the sphere of the attraction of our planet.
Luminous bodies called fire-bulls, meteors, &c., have in all ages been observed in the atmosphere, and many of them have been described by eye-witnesses. One of the most remarkable of these was the meteor which appeared in 1783. It was very luminous, and its diameter could not be less than one thousand yards. It traversed Britain and a considerable part of the continent of Europe with very great velocity, and at the height of nearly sixty miles from the surface of the earth. Most of the stones which have fallen from the atmosphere have been preceded by the appearance of luminous bodies, or meteors. These meteors burst with an explosion, and then the shower of stones falls to the earth. Sometimes the stones continue luminous till they sink into the earth; but most commonly their luminousness disappears at the time of explosion. "Upon the whole," says Dr. Thomson, in his System of Chemistry," "we may consider these stony and metallic masses as fragments of fire-balls which have
burst in the atmosphere; but the origin and cause of these fire-balls will perhaps for ages baffle all the attempts of philosophers to explain them."
Amid the uncertain speculations of learned and wise philosophers, how consolatory is it to the humble Christian, that it is not necessary for him "to find out the Almighty to perfection," in any of his glorious works! "This is life eternal, to know Him the only true God, as revealed in his blessed word, and Jesus Christ whom he has sent," as "the great apostle and high priest of our profession."
SELECT LIST OF METEORIC STONES;
Collected from Dr. Thomson's "System of Chemistry," and Dr. Ure's" Dictionary of Chemistry."
1. IN 1492, a stone of 260lbs. fell at Ensisheim in Alsace. It is now in the library of Colmar, and has been reduced to 150lbs.
2. 1581, July 26, a stone weighing 39 lbs. fell in Thuringia. It was so hot that no person could touch it. 3. 1637, Nov. 29, Gassendi says, a stone of a black metallic colour fell at Mount Vaision, in Provence, weighing 54 lbs. and it had the size and shape of a human head.
4. 1642, Aug. 4, a stone weighing 4lbs. fell between Woodbridge and Aldborough in Suffolk.
5. 1762, two stones weighing, one 200lbs. the other 300 lbs. fell near Verona.
6. 1790, July 14, a great shower of stones fell at Barbotan, near Roquefort, in the vicinity of Bordeaux. A mass 15 inches in diameter penetrated a hut and killed a herdsman and a bullock. Some of the stones weighed 25 lbs. and others 30 lbs.
7. 1807, June 17, a stone weighing 160lbs. fell at Tmiochin, in the province of Smolensko, in Russia.
8. 1818, July 29, a stone of 7 lbs. fell at the village of Slobodka, in Smolensko. It penetrated nearly 16 inches into the ground.
9. 1824, towards the end of January, many stones fell near Arenazzo, in the territory of Bologna; one of them weighing 12lbs. is preserved in the Observatory of Bologna.
METEORIC STONES IN THE SANDWICH
CAPTAIN KOTZEBUE, the Russian navigator, relates the following as having occurred at the Sandwich Islands in September 1825.
"On the morning after our arrival, a remarkable phenomenon occurred, of which we were witnesses throughout its duration. While the heavens were quite clear, a thick black cloud formed itself over the island, resting its lower verge on the summits of the mountains, the densest portion of the cloud hanging over the little town of Hanaruro. The wind was perfectly calm, till on a sudden a violent gust blew from the north-east, and at the same time a crashing noise proceeded from the cloud, as if many ships were firing their guns; the resemblance was so perfect, that we might have supposed we heard alternately the individual shots of the opposing broadsides. This concussion lasted some minutes, and when it ceased, two stones shot from the cloud into the street of Hanaruro, and from the violence of the fall, broke into several pieces. The inhabitants collected the still warm fragments, and judging by these, the stones must have weighed full fifteen pounds each.
"They were grey inside, and externally surrounded with a black burnt crust. On a chemical analysis, they appeared to resemble the meteoric stones which have fallen in many countries."
CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE! what is it?is it a reality? -is it desirable?-The proud infidel, and the worldly formalist, unite in denouncing it as fanatic delirium, or enthusiastic extravagance. Others, well-meaning persons, ignorant Christians, speak of it as consisting principally of a state of depression, fear, and doubting, groaning under the consciousness of guilt and corruption.
Against all this we utter our decided protest, as a libel against our most holy religion.
Doubtless a Christian may he delirious, fanatical, enthusiastic, or extravagant; but what has any of this to do with Christianity? Are there not persons so distinguished, who make no pretensions to Christianity? Are these things taught and enjoined in the New Testament, as essential to Christianity? They are all for. bidden, as inimical to our most holy religion!
Christians may indeed be depressed-fearfuldoubting and groaning under guilt and corruption : and instances may be found in the Scriptures, of holy men of God sometimes distinguished by such experience but where, in the word of God, are we informed that such is Christian experience ? Not in a single passage. That is experience inseparable from guilty, corrupted human nature; and it is found and felt, more or less, in every child of man: nor can it be otherwise, until the only antidote is realized, which is-Christian experience:-that which the New Testament describes as Christian experience!
The sacred writers define Christian experience as "the kingdom of God”—or "the life of God" in the soul-as "the fruit of the Spirit," the only sovereign remedy against fear and guilt, despondency and fanaticism. Christian experience, or "the kingdom of God," says the inspired apostle, "is righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." Rom. xiv, 17. "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." Gal. v, 22, 23.
What connection can there exist between such a state of mind, and those fancies or evils with which weak or foolish men libel Christianity?
"Experience," Dr. Johnson defines as "knowledge gained by trial.” Christian experience, therefore, must be Christian knowledge gained by trial; and to this a thousand passages in the word of God invite the guilty and the wretched children of man."Ho! every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money: come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money, and without price. Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness." Isai. lv, 1, 2. "O taste," says one that had large experience, "and see that the LORD is good: blessed are all they that trust in him." Psal. xxxiv, 9.
"O sinners! come and taste his love,
Come learn his pleasant ways,
And let your own EXPERIENCE prove
Dr. Owen, "the prince of divines," defines Christian experience as "a spiritual sense, taste, or relish of the goodness, sweetness, useful excellency of gospel truths, endearing our hearts to God, and causing us to adhere to him with delight and constancy. All this experience, which is of so great use and advantage, consists of three things:-I. A thorough mixture of the promises with faith. It is that lively acting of faith, which gives a real incorporation of the things we are
made the partakers of. When faith assiduously acts upon the promises, so that the mind is filled with their contents, then the foundation of this experience is laid. 2. It consists in a spiritual sense of the excellency of the things believed, wherewith the affections are touched and filled. No tongue can express that satisfaction which the soul receives in the gracious communications of a sense of the Divine goodness in Christ, whence it rejoiceth with joy unspeakable and full of glory. 3. It consists in experiments of the power of the word on all occasions, especially as it is the word of righteousness. This gives peace with God. This believing in, and feeling of the authority of the word satisfies the heart in its preferring spiritual, invisible, and eternal things, before those that are pre
Well meaning, but injudicious Christians, have denominated such a state of mind " Joyful Christian Experience," and the gloomy, sorrowful, dejected frame of heart, "Distressing Christian Experience." Distressing it may be, but it is not Christian: it dishonours Christ; and it caricatures his holy, happy, heavenly religion. That commands " Rejoice in the Lord always"-" Rejoice evermore." "Be careful (anxious) for nothing but in every thing by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Phil. iv, 6, 7.
Such is Christian Experience; and whosoever does not possess it,—so far fails of the possession and enjoyment of true religion.
THE CRUCIFIXION OF CHRIST.
AFTER long watchfulness, extreme fatigue, mental agonies indescribable, and producing a perspiration tinged with extruded blood, indicating such a shock to the constitution as would of itself have probably become a cause of death; being dragged by unfeeling soldiers, in chains or galling cords; his temples pierced to the quick, whence a mortal fainting was not unlikely to have ensued; the blows of hands inured to violence, and perhaps armed with heavy gauntlets; being tied to a column, and his naked body torn with a scourge of dreadful torture, having iron points and bits of bone chained among the lashes; and then being compelled to bear the cross of death upon his lacerated and bleeding flesh;-after this train of previous suffering, the bare mention of which harrows up every feeling of humanity, and which could not but bring down the sufferer into the very grasp of death, Jesus was crucified: a mode of capital punishment, which was a horrible refinement of cruelty, and in which the whole weight of the body was suspended on nails driven through the hands; to the production of excruciating pain, but not of death, till long and lingering agony had subdued the powers of life. This agony, with the many aggravating circumstances peculiar to his case, the blessed Jesus endured for six hours. He then expired. -Probably about three hours after, the soldiers, men accustomed to the signs of death, inspected and were satisfied that dissolution had taken place: but one of them, whether in barbarous insult, or from a feeling of compassion, to extinguish any possibly remaining spark of life, or to put the question of death out of all doubt, drove his spear into the side of the corpse; and out of it blood and water immediately flowed, a physical demonstration that death had for some time taken place. From Dr. Smith's Sermon on "The Resurrec tion of Christ,"
EVANGELISTS AND APOSTOLICAL FATHERS.
15. MARK, the evangelist, besides the service which he has rendered to the church of Christ by his inspired Gospel, is believed to have been a useful assistant to the apostles Peter and Paul. He is called in the Acts, John Mark.
His ministry, in the latter part of his life, was successful in Lybia, Marmorica, and Pentapolis. He suffered various brutalities at Alexandria, at the celebration of one of the festivals of Serapis, an Egyptian deity, and died of his wounds. It is reported that the Egyptians, enraged at his opposition to their idolatry, broke into an apartment, in which Mark was engaged in prayer; and, having tied cords to his feet, dragged him through the streets to the prison; from which they again dragged him through the city, when he died, as they reached a place called Bacelus.
16. LUKE, the evangelist, the amiable and faithful companion of Paul, was a physician of Antioch. But being converted to the faith of Christ, by the ministry of the apostle Paul in his native city, he consecrated all his powers to the glory of his Lord and Redeemer. This evangelist was inspired to write the Gospel history which bears his name, and also the Acts of the Apostles. Luke is said by some to have suffered martyrdom at Rome: but others affirm, that after Paul's imprisonment he went eastward, and preached in Egypt and Lybia; and that he itinerated in Dalmatia and France, Italy and Macedonia; and that while he was preaching the Gospel in Greece, a party of Pagans seized him, and for want of a cross hanged him on an olive tree.
17. BARNABAS, the evangelist, is believed to have been a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, and one of the seventy disciples whom Christ sent to preach through the villages of Judea. His proper name was Joses, to which the apostles added Barnabas, signifying The Son of Consolation, Acts iv, 36, 37. This name is believed to have been given to him on account of his singular talents as a minister in comforting and establishing weak believers. Barnabas was a person of great note among the apostles, to whom he gave up the price of an estate, which he sold to forward the cause of Christ, when he fully entered the evangelical ministry. In the missionary labours of Barnabas, some of which he prosecuted in company with the apostle Paul, he appears to have been eminently successful. Uncertain tradition says, that Barnabas gathered churches at Milan in Italy, and at Salamis in Cyprus, where he was stoned to death by the unbelieving Jews.
18. TIMOTHY, the evangelist, was blessed with the early instructions of a mother and grandmother, who were both distinguished for their pious regard to the Scriptures. Their diligence and prayers were answered in the singular eminence of the religious character of Timothy; and being instructed in the Gospel by the apostle Paul as a son, he became the devoted assistant to that extraordinary ambassador of Christ. For many years he co-operated with the great apostle, in establishing and regulating the newly-formed churches. Timothy is called Bishop of Ephesus, by the Roman Catholics; but it is evident from the Scriptures, that his office was extraordinary-that of an evangelist, an assistant to the apostles in their special missionary labours. Timothy is reported to have been killed by the idolatrous crowds at Ephesus, at one of their abominable festivals which the evangelist was censuring :
his martyrdom is said to have taken place about A. D. 97.
19. TITUS, the evangelist, is believed to have been an idolatrous Gentile, but converted to the faith of Christ by the ministry of Paul. From several notices in the apostolical epistles, besides the Epistle to that evangelist, we learn that he became a faithful assistant to Paul in his various labours, accompanying him to Jerusalem, and to other places. Titus fulfilled several missions to Corinth, Crete, and Dalmatia, with much success. Concerning the death of this evangelist, we have no certain information. The last notice which we have of Titus mentions his going to Dalmatia, 2 Tim. iv, 10. Some suppose he returned to Crete, and died on that island at an advanced age.
20. HERMAS, mentioned Rom. xvi, 14, is believed to have been a minister of considerable eminence among the primitive Christians. Though but little is known concerning him, his name is of some note with many, on account of a small book which he wrote, entitled "The Pastor."
21. DIONYSIUS, the Areopagite, mentioned Acts xvii, 34, was born and educated at Athens. At twenty-five years of age he went to Egypt, to study at Heliopolis, under the priests of that country; and while there, it is said, he observed that eclipse of the sun which happened at our Saviour's crucifixion, by which he was led to exclaim, "Either the God of nature is suffering, or condoling with one that does! At his return to Athens, he was elected a member of the court of Areopagus, whence his title the Areopagite. He was converted to Christianity by the ministry of Paul; and it is believed he became bishop of the Christian church at Athens, ordained by the apostle himself. Dionysius is supposed to have suffered martyrdom for Christ under the emperor Domitian, about A. D. 90, though others say under Trajan, about A. D. 107.
22. CLEMENT, highly commended by the apostle Paul, Phil. iv, 3, is said to have been ordained bishop or pastor of the Jewish Christians at Rome, while Linus, and after him Anacletus, held the same office over the Gentile believers. After the decease of Anacletus, it is stated, that the Roman Christians were united under Clement, as their chosen pastor; he is therefore called "The third bishop of Rome." He is said to have presided over this church nine years, and to have died in the reign of Trajan, A. D. 100. There is extant a "Letter to the Corinthians," written by Clement in the name of the Roman church, and which in its style somewhat resembles the Epistle to the Hebrews. It breathes the pure spirit of Christian benevolence and though it is manifestly inferior to the inspired writings, it has been pronounced, and it is deservedly esteemed, "the most precious and valuable treasure the church can boast, after the Holy Scriptures."
(To be continued.)
LINES, FOUND IN THE BOX OF A STUDENT
HYMN OF PRAISE.
"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits."Psal. ciii, 2.
Lord of my life! to whom its powers belong,
When o'er the past I turn my thoughtful view,
Touch'd by such love, may praise employ my breath,
Its Father! Saviour! God! reveal'd in thee.
S. F. W.
The harvest! the harvest! how fair on each plain
And the oat-locks are drooping, all graceful to see,
The harvest! the harvest! how brightly the sun
In the glee of their hearts, as they gather their share.
The harvest! the harvest! once more we behold
And establish'd the land in abundance and peace. AGNES STRICKLAND.
BOOKS OF STERLING MERIT. THE CHRISTIAN PHILOSOPHER, designed to exhibit in the Outline of Natural History, and the Elements of Physics, the Wisdom, Beneficence, and Superintending Providence of the Deity in the Works of Creation. By William Martin. With Original Poetical Illustrations. 12mo. boards, pp. 504. Hamilton, London.
Mr. Martin has rendered a valuable service to the community by this publication. We could wish it to be in every family and school library, on account of the information it affords, and which is given in the spirit of a Christian. Science is a field so vast, so wonderful, and so entertaining, that every rational being, not sunk in sensuality, finds delight in exploring its riches. Comparatively few, however, of those who have written most learnedly on the various branches of Philosophy, have appeared to be Christians. They have seemed Atheists-morally incapable of directing their readers
"To look through Nature, up to Nature's God."
Mr. Martin is one of those few; and it affords us much satisfaction in recommending his interesting volume, as worthy of its title-"The Christian Philosopher." We shall have occasion to refer to this work in future.
THE MESSIAH; a Poem in Six Books, by Robert Montgomery, Author of "The Omnipresence of the Deity" &c. &c. 8vo. pp. 300. Turrill, London.
Milton, almost alone, has done himself the immortal honour of devoting his poetical powers to celebrate worthily the honours of Messiah. Klopstock and Swain have made commendable attempts to show forth the praises of Messiah and the glories of Redemption in flowing numbers; and their works have gained many admirers among the pious. But the wonders of redeeming grace by the incarnation of Deity, in the recovery of mankind from condemnation, and their preparation for everlasting glory in immortality, is a subject of infinite magnitude, to engage the powers of the loftiest Muse.
Mr. Montgomery has done well in selecting this subject for his talents; and we congratulate him on his success. His Poem will do him honour, both as a poet and as a Christian; and we give it our cordial recommendation. We shall be able to give but one extract relating to the Last Judgment.
"We shall not sleep, but we shall all arise For Judgment, with an instantaneous frame Of being, dust shall look on God, and live! An hour is coming, when the grave will hear And answer to a tomb-awaking trump That thunders o'er the icy trance of death! The waning universe, the earth and heaven, Shall vanish in th' immeasurable deep! But Thine own promise shall not pass away. And though that hour, for resurrection doom'd, Be hidden, shrouded from angelic mind,
A secret buried in eternal thought!
As certain as the blood of Christ hath flow'd, Messiah risen, and the Heaven received
And throned His presence,-HE SHALL COME AGAIN!