« EdellinenJatka »
soul could only hearken and look up with intense earnestness and emotion. His lips were sealed, but not, we verily believe, his heart. Oh, how did one's whole soul go forth in ardent pleading that the Lord would still sustain, and, in His own good time, comfort him! We thought, “Oh, how great and how glorious will be his release from a body of sin and death. What a blessed discharge from all the conflict and the warfare when it shall please his Lord to say, “Friend, thou hast compassed this mountain long enough; come up higher." It was under these circumstances, and in the contemplation of this sorely-afflicted brother, that the words came with such power to the heart, “And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been a long time in that case, He said unto him, Wilt thou be made whole ?"
Reader, in our next, if the Lord will, we shall consider three things in connexion with these words ; namely, the place, the person, and the power. Meanwhile, we would affectionately commend to your prayerful attention the case we have named, and see how in it is exemplified the truth of that precious Scripture; “The eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary” (1 Cor. xii. 21, 22). If Jesus makes use of the trials, temptations, and afflictions of His people for the drawing forth of the sympathy and affections of the various members of His mystic body, assuredly He must have need of those self-same afflicted ones, in order that He may through and by them display the tenderness of His heart, the boundlessness of His love, the depth of the riches of His grace, and the omnipotency of His arm.
Oh, that the poor deeply-tried and afflicted member of the mystic body of Christ at Portsmouth may not only draw forth the sympathies and the cries on his behalf of many a quickened soul, but likewise render by contrast many a murmuring and dissatisfied one more contented with the portion that has been allotted him by infinite wisdom and boundless love. St. Luke's, Bedminster, Oct. 14, 1868.
“DO PRAY FOR ME, DO YE! DON'T FORGET !" Such were the words with which a poor old and deeply-tried one parted with me, after accosting her in the street, and saying, "How is it I have not seen you at the prayer-meeting lately?” She was just leaving the doctor's house, where she had been for medicine, with the hope that it might do something for her nervousness; and truly her countenance was the picture of grief. “They tell me," she said, “ to do this and to do that, but I can't. I try to pray, but I can't ; I can only weep.” “Oh, but," was the answer, " the Lord knows what is the mind of the Spirit; He looks at the heart, and not at the mere lips ; He understands the sigh and the groan and the tear. * The Spirit itself maketh intercession for us, with groanings which cannot be uttered.' He will not lay upon you more than He will enable you to bear." "No," she said, “but do pray for me, won't you? I did take my basket and come to the prayer-meeting, but I stood outside and heard your voice; and, when I went home, and he (speaking of her cruel husband) asked me where I had been, I couldn't tell a lie. He called me a hypocrite, but I don't get angry as I used to do. I put my arms round his neck, and ask him to be patient. I can't look within,” she added, “I can't pray. Your sermons !” said she ; "I can only sit and weep. Do pray for me, do ye! don't forget!” Such were her simple utterances during the minute or two I halted to speak to her. “Poor thing,” thought I, “how wonderful are the Lord's dealings with His people! To what extremes they are brought; yet how marvellous is His sustaining hand.” This case stood so in contrast with one I had just before read of in the morning paper, where, a poor creature, left to herself, in her deep depression and nervousness, from want of sleep, had been permitted to take her own life. Oh, the preserving power and sustaining hand of a covenant God !
Speaking afterwards to a dear aged friend of the case of this poor tried one, as he knew her well, he said, “ Poor thing! she is afraid to come to the prayer-meetings, for her cruel husband has threatened to cleave her skull or to burn her. I am afraid," he said, “ to go to the house, lest he should do me some bodily harm. A short time ago," he added, “ they had nothing, and her husband, taunting her, said, “Will your God find you food now ? She replied, “Yes, I'm confident He will ! But he poured contempt upon her by a sneering laugh, and at the same time calling her a hypocrite. The next morning she received a letter from a former master, containing a five-pound note! Exhibiting the note to her husband, she said, “There! Did not I tell you that my God would supply my wants, and that He would never let me want bread, of which I have many times told you the same ?' He lifted up his hands and then drooped, bursting into tears. Throughout the day he was silent, but he has since become as bad, or worse than ever, and is more on the alert, in order to prevent his poor wife attending the prayer-meetings.”
Oh that the Lord may be pleased to pour out upon our readers a spirit of prayer for this poor afflicted one, and that He would in mercy touch the heart of her husband, bringing him to His feet with a “ God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” “Is there any thing too hard for the Lord ?”
" THINE EYES SHALL SEE THE KING IN HIS BEAUTY.”
Isa. xxxiii. 17. "Is it not too much to say?" some trembling, faint-hearted child of God will ask. " These eyes, which are so often fixing their gaze upon the things of time and sense ? These eyes, which are so prone to keep bent upon the earth, and which at times see not the crown held above them? These eyes, so often dim with tears, so blinded by sins, doubts, and fears? These eyes, which are so apt to wander from the pure light of heaven, and borrow a fading lustre from gazing at fleeting joys, at fancied happiness ? Oh, say, shall these tear-dimmed eyes ever
see the King in His beauty ?' Shall they gaze with unclouded vision upon that land which no mortal may know ?!"
Yes, dear child of God, thou blood-bought one, thou who hast "fled for refuge,” thou shalt “ see the King in His beauty,” in that land where no sin can enter, no trouble that can mar the happiness, and where all thy bitter tears shall be wiped away. Yes, though thy faith be but an
a grain of mustard-seed-s0 tiny, so very weak and small, that at times it seems almost a thing of nought-yet remember it is not the amount of faith that saves, but the precious blood of Christ! As the least drop of water is as really that invaluable liquid as the largest ocean in the world, so faith, being the “gift of God," and boasting of a heavenly birth, is still faith, although it be ever so small. But let me softly urge upon those who possess but little faith to seek to have their portion made larger and stronger ! May we, who are God's children, endeavour to keep the eye fixed upon “ Jesus only,” away from ourselves, our cares, and anxieties! Let us live prayerful lives, trusting lives, casting our cares, our greater and lesser ones, upon Him who careth for us, ever looking forward to the time when “there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain;" for the former things shall have passed away, and we shall see Jesus as He is, and enjoy full satisfaction, complete happiness, in His presence throughout all eternity
We have much pleasure in again commending the precious leaflets of our old friend and correspondent, E. B. M., to the attention of our readers. We shall be exceedingly glad to hear that they continue to be widely adopted for enclosure.-Ed.)
STRENGTHEN THE WEAK. SPRINGS OF COMFORT. ARISE! thou feeble trembling saint, When these faint hearts seem cold From weakness and dismay,
and dead, Thy fears are great, thy strength is
And all our hopes and joys are fled,
Dear Comforter, return! small,
Our sinking spirits still sustain, And thorny is the way;
And let us feel Thy love again,
Within our bosoms burn.
Oh, where for comfort can we go,
But to the Saviour's breast? And pour out thy complaint.
When waves rise high on every side, Unbosom all thy sorrows there,
We're toss'd by each tempestuous tide,
Until we gain that rest. Each anxious care confess,
But there no danger need we fear, For God, thy God, delights to hear, For Jesus wipes away each tear, And will thy griefs redress;
And gives us sweet relief; Oh, bless Him for that constant care, His outstretch'd arm is ever near, That watchful eye of love,
Our fearful trembling hearts to cheer,
For He hath borne our grief. Which overrules each trial here,
O favour'd people of the Lord, To lead thy heart above.
His wondrous faithfulness record, To raise thee from the dust of earth,
In songs of joy and praise;
Tell of His sympathy and love, And from this passing scene, Till all below and all above, And point thee onward to thy rest, One
song of rapture raise. Without a veil between.
Glory to God, our cov'nant God, Ob, trust thy Father's love and power, For all the love He sheds abroad, To lead thee safely home,
While desert paths we tread:
We're journeying on to endless rest, Where all is life and light and joy, And there shall be for ever blest,
And thou no more shalt roam. With our dear cov'nant Head.
E. B. M. To be had post-free of Mrs. Moens, 47, Bath Row, Birmingham, 6d. per doz., or 3s. Rd,
MORE REMINISCENCES OF PREACHING AND TEACHING. "Thou hast given a banner to them that fear Thee, that it may be displayed
because of the truth.”—Psalm 1x. 4. It has often been said that those who hold the discriminating doctrines of grace care nothing for the welfare of their fellow-creatures that Arminians are the workers, Calvinists the drones. Now, as far as our experience goes, it is otherwise. The real workers are those who love Jesus, and have become constrained, by mighty grace, to testify of Him. True, they are ashamed of all they do, and therefore often work silently and secretly, feeling that, having done all, they are unprofitable servants; but it will be found that the child of God lives in CHRIST, mystically, vitally, unitedly, and eternally; he lives on CHRIST, for supplies, support, and strength; he lives WITH CHRIST, in fellowship and communion; and he lives FOR CHRIST, in demonstration and testimony. Jesus will be his or her touchstone, and must beget love for precious souls, and a yearning for the salvation of those by whom they are surrounded. I think it was the beloved Whitfield who said, “The saints of God were never so hapry as when they beheld sinners saved."
Now, with such feelings, we propose pursuing our remembrances of preaching and teaching, especially as it has pleased the Lord to have accompanied our former gleanings with a special blessing.
In a subject like this we shall be compelled to use a personal pronoun more than we like, but we shall study to put self in the shade, and uphold a precious Christ; for we do want more and more that in all Ho should have the glory. And we will bring to mind
1. WORK AMONG THE LITTLE ONES. We cannot be too simple in giving instruction to the young. We have witnessed ministers who preach the doctrines of grace, dispensing freely the good old wine of the kingdom to the aged pilgrims, and strong meat for the young men, but who, forgetting the milk for the babes, have left them to fall asleep, finding nothing suitable for their capacities. We have upon this point derived no little profit from recollecting the remark of an honest farmer. He had been listening to the discourse of a flowery preacher, who took for his text the last command of our Lord, “ Feed my lambs.” Coming out of the church porch together, the farmer said to the preacher, “A very good text that, sir ; but you put the hay so high up in the rack that the lambs could not reach it." We should not forget the lambs and little ones.
The young particularly appreciate pictorial illustrations. We were privileged at one time to obtain the use of a very valuable set of dissolving views; the whole apparatus cost upwards of one hundred pounds, and some of the slides, which were paintings on glass, beautifully executed, cost two and three guineas each. Never shall we forget the delight of the young people at one village where it was advertised that we should give an evening lecture upon Bible scenes, illustrated by dissolving views. The young ones, in their Sunday-best, hailed us as we entered the village ; some had climbed up the trees, and looked like crows amidst the branches,
and, as the carriage wound up the hill, with the mysterious apparatus on the roof, we were vociferously cheered by our young friends. The room in which we were to lecture was crowded ; indeed, we had no slight difficulty to get space enough for the lantern. We had chosen scriptural subjects, and endeavoured from each to bring the Gospel before them in the most simple and plain language. Preaching the Gospel to ploughboys and carters is not congenial to human nature, but in this way it seems highly appreciated by the young. But we do not know of any work more trying to flesh and blood than teaching in " a ragged school;" it needs great patience and wisdom. Never shall we forget going one Sabbath afternoon to a class of this kind. Thinking to rivet their attention, we had taken with us a book of scriptural illustrations beautifully painted. We had no sooner held it up and pointed to one of them, than a great rough boy made a snatch at the book, with the exclamation, “Oh, let's look at that, governor.” And soon enough there was a general scramble for it, and ere we could get our book again it was defaced and torn. We learnt a lesson ourselves in the matter, namely, always to make the boys sit at a distance from the teacher, and never allow them to crowd around you. Men clothed in soft raiment and living delicately will not do to deal with such materials. And now we will bring to remembrance
II. WORK AMONG SOLDIERS. The gathering of a thousand militiamen for their annual drill gave a rare opportunity for usefulness. But few could, in coming up, sign their own names, and they seemed to be gathered from the lowest of the low. A room was opened, and classes formed for reading and writing; and it was amusing to see a red coat, six feet high, poring over a copy-book and forming therein pothooks. One young man we noticed wrote a good hand; we spoke to him of it, and drew from him that he had been in an upper station of life, but drink and dissipation had ruined his family, and he had sunk in the mire of degradation with them.
Having an eye to their spiritual welfare as being the most important matter, we invited them to a Bible Class; but few availed themselves of the privilege, preferring to stroll about the town in listless indolence. Still those that did come we believe were profited. One young man told us he looked forward to the annual drill, chiefly to attend our meetings. I have no doubt, from his prayers and conversation, that he was a child of God.
In connexion with such work, we have not anything sensational to offer. Some seem to have met with multitudes of conversions and weep. ings and noise; we never did. We prefer simply sowing the seed and scattering the truth, and letting the Holy Spirit do His own work, which, as far as we have observed, is secret and silent.
We recollect attending the meeting of a stranger who called himself "a revivalist;" and pleased enough he was to go round afterwards and talk to the “weepers.” If he had known as much of many of them as we did, we fear he would have doubted the genuineness of their tears. “By their fruits ye shall know them.”
Another circumstance, in connexion with labours among soldiers, we shall not easily forget. It being proposed, at the close of the drill, to present each man with a copy of the New Testament, arrangements were made to carry this into effect. The men being ordered to form into a