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min a most cutting reproof. These birds of passage know by instinct when to move away from danger and want, to where safety and plenty are found ; but my people, to whom I have given reason, my prophets, and my word, to direct them, will not be instructed. The crane, which knoweth her time, puts them to shame. The crane can teach them wisdom !
THE BRIGHT LAND_THE GATE, AND THE WAY.
BY REV. H. HARBAUGH.
“We went into the graveyard. I had Wilsie on my arm when I stood at the graves of our dear Babes, and when he saw me weeping, he put his arms round my neck, and his face close to mine, as if he would comfort me.”
From a private Letter.
Hid now from our sight.
And knows of no night!
Which leads to that Land;
With affectionate hand.
They say, is the Tomb;
To take pilgrims home!
So early-so blest,
Of holiest rest!
They are gone !-And I wept—but the tear-drops that fell
For tbose gone to rest!
As he leaned on my breast.
A CHAPTER ON FACT AND FICTION.
BY J. M. WILLIS GEIST. “We spend our years as a tale that is told.”--Psalm 90: 9. If
young women took half the pains to adorn their minds that they do to decorate their persons, our task on this occasion would be a work of supererogation. If fathers and mothers were what they ought to be, so many sons and daughters would not be what they are. All rules have exceptions, but we find as a general thing that the mind, or at least the character, of the child is the reflex image of the parent. If the latter is fond of reading good books, the former will be early inspired with a taste for profitable reading.
We are imitative beings, and do a great many things not because we think they are right, but because we see others whom we love and respect doing so.
We are responsible beings. Every one of us, no matter how humble our position in the social scale, becomes in some degree the guardian of another. There is no human being who does not exert more or less influence. Herein lies our responsibility, If we do that which is just and right, those over whom our example may exert an influence will be benefitted. If we do evil, they will be injured by our
influence. This is a plain principle which calls for no logical effort in its elucidation.
The responsibility of persons differ in nature as well as in degree. Thus the statesman is, in one sense, responsible for the character of his constituents. Bad rulers make a bad people, as a corrupt people create corrupt rulers. The minister of the gospel is responsible for the souls of his flock. [Ezekiel 3: 17. 33: 7, &c.] If he leads a soul astray by the influence of a loose example, God will hold him responsible for that soul as well as for his own. Thus, if a minister takes a social glass of wine, and a young man is induced by the high example to drink of the same cup, and through that first cup he is led on to drunkenness and ruin, the offence will be laid at the door of him who is obligated by the example of the great Apostle to abstain from everything which may cause his weaker brother to offend. [Romans 14: 15. 1 Cor. 8: 9-13.] In this case ignorance cannot be pleaded in excuse, for God, has not only declared that “wine is a mocker, and strong drink is raging, and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise;" but he has also pronounced an unqualified “Wo unto him that giveth his neighbor strong drink, who putteth the bottle to him and makes him drunken als o.'
[Hab. 2: 15.] That preacher sees the dreadful evil of intemperance all around, mælstrooming the souls and bodies of men daily, destroying them for time and eternity, and he knows that all this train of unsightly misery entered and took possession of the soul through the subtlety of “the first glass,” which was taken under the influence of his example, or the example of others perhaps equally respectable.
And the same rule of responsibility applies to men of every occupation and position in society. Society, like corporations, is destitute of a soul. As a whole, it cannot be held accountable for its offences. The responsibility lies with each individual member of the social compact. God calculates man's accountability by personal units, not by communial sums total; and we, as reformers or christians, must hold individuals responsible for evils of their own creation. Moral accountability, like charity, begins at home in our own hearts—but it must not end there.
There are few classes of men who incur a greater amount of moral responsibility than EDITORS. Although the great JUDGE declares that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment,” we find that many who profess to be heirs of the Arisen Hope, live and talk as if such an eternal declaration had never been revealed to the world. Yet, when a man speaks an “idle word,” its influence is comparatively limited. Its effects are rarely felt outside the social circle in which he moves and speaks. Not so, however, with the Editor. When he writes and prints an “idle word” its influence is thrown over hundreds and thous. ands. In this way man places the rule in God's hand by which his individual responsibility and moral accountability are to be measured in the day of Judgment !
“IDLE WORDS !" As Jacobus aptly remarks,"men might think their words of small account. But here (Mathew 12: 36, 37] these are shown to be of serious importance, as speaking out the heart. Hence they shall all be subjected to strict judg. ment at the final day.” But what is meant by the phrase "idle?" In 2 Peter 1: 8, it is rendered barren. The literal meaning of the original is, first, vain, then false. “Every heedless word, even though esteemed most trivial, shall be brought into account—"for (v. 37) by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”
“We spend our life as a tale that is told !" When a tale—a fictitious story—is told, that is the end of it. Its importar.ce then ceases.
It leaves no good and lasting impression upon
the mind, the heart, or the soul. If we read a scientific dissertation, a historical narrative, a philosophical essay, or anything else substantial and true, we are benefitted. An impression is made upon the mind. We know more than we did before. Then we “number our days so as to apply our hearts unto wisdom,” and “Wisdom is known (or justified) of her children.”
It is a remarkable fact that when David sought a figure of speech by which to illustrate the fragility of human life in the most forcible manner, he should use the similie of "a tale that is told.” Had newspapers and parlor magazines been as plenty in his day, as they now are freighted with “idle” tales of fiction, we should express no surprise at the choice of the Psalmist. Their, non-existence in that age of the world, considered in connection with the singular appropriety of David's illustration, may therefore be set down as an evidence of his inspiration and prophetic wisdom. A modern writer might search the entire range of all the languages, dead and living, and he could not find a more fitting illustration of anything that is transitory, uncertain, and ephemeral, than the “tales that are told" in the parlor magazines and newspapers of this country. Like the ghost-stories our old grandmothers used to tell us, when assembled around the Winter evening fireside, they are excitingly interesting while the recital continues, but they possess no more solid food for the intellect to feast upon than their imaginary heroes and heroines possess fact and personality, or than the subject of a ghost-story is endowed with substance. The history of "some Fool's adventures in Lunatic Vale," interlarded with graphic dashes of milliner loves, a la Willis, may make a sensitive young lady feel very full about the heart, and moisten her eyes; but is she benefitted by her reading ? Not in the least. You might put nine-tenths of the parlor magazine and newspaper “tales” into a huge intellectual screw-press, put a weight on them equal to the pressure of all the common sense in christendom, and after forcing the screw down to its lowest capacity what would you get? "All pomace and no cider !" Oh, says an objector, some tales teach very good morals. Granted. And can you point out a single moral in the entire legion of idle tales which is not in your bible, and a thousand other good books of fact, and that too without being poisoned with the unnatural coloring which excites the imagination, but does not expand the judgment or strengthen the reasoning powers ?
"Talk they of Morals? O, thou bleeding Love !
The prime morality is love to thee !"
with the self-made yard-stick of expediency, may argue that there are thousands who will not search the Gospel, or read sound practical books and newspapers, who seek and will have “light literature," and who may be benefitted by “the moral of a love tale.” The very fact that the majority of readers prefer sentimental trash, is the strongest argument that can be urged against its publication. The cheap press has created the disease, and if a cure is to be effected those who preside over it must become the physicians. Every Editor can mold the tastes of his own readers; and we hold it to be the duty of every man who assumes to write or print for the public-presuming that he is morally and intellectually qualified to discharge so important and responsible a trust—to endeavor to bring his readers up to his own standard instead of descending to theirs. The newspaper-going as it does among the masses—should be an instructor. When it panders to a vitiated taste it degrades itself and its readers, and he whose mission should be a public blessing becomes, if measured by the divine rule, little better than a public scourge and the artificer of his own condemnation. He does not number his days so as to apply himself unto wisdom, nor attempt to avoid those idle words of which his God will require an account in the day of judgment. And when the clods of the valley mingle with his moldering dust, few of his readers will rise up to call him blessed.
Thou comest Autumn, heralded by the rain,