صور الصفحة

of painful sympathy, while contrasting the narrow limits of their dungeons with the wide expanse through which they were formed to roam. I once visited the Zoological Gardens at feeding time; and, when observing the restless agitation in which a hungry lion traversed the space, where he could scarcely measure half-a-dozen steps, impatient for his miserable pittance of food, the grandeur of scriptural imagery burst upon my mind: “The lions, roaring after their prey, do seek their meat from God.” I sancied the same animal coming forth from his native den, beneath the shadows of evening, deepened as they were by the masses of his leafy canopy, and striding onward in unshackled majesty, bidding the rude forest echo to his roar. The contrast spoiled my evening's enjoyment. But there is among the brute creation one race, advancing such especial claims of exemption from the general lot of oppressed inferiors, that my indignation scarcely outruns my astonishment when I see them ill-used. Hateful as are the cruelties exercised on the noble horse, on the patient ox, and harmless, timid sheep, nothing seems so base, so aggravated, as harsh treatment inflicted on the dog. From a child, I have studied the character of that faithful follower of man; and truly it is a marvellous one. The zeal, devotion, and consistency of his attachment; the palpable degree in which his faculties are sharpened by it; his patient endurance, undaunted courage, and more than “halfreasoning” sagacity, in all that concerns the interests of perhaps, a neglectful or cruel master-these qualities stamp with such exceeding turpitude the outrages committed through the very confidence inspired by them, that it is extraordinary a general cry of loud reprobation does not break forth to intimidate, where it might not shame, the perpetrators. Of course, I now allude to the scandalous practices of using the lesser and more delicate individuals of the species for draught; while even the sturdy mastiff and powerful Newfoundland dog are urged to painful and unnatural efforts, which their very willingness in attempting them renders it more unmanly to extort. Let any one examine the skin of this ill-requited servant, how liable it is to inflame and break on a slight injury; let him mark the perpetual thirst, WOL. ii. 27

excited by any accession of heat or exercise; and then imagine a small part of what must be the suffering induced by the galling harness, the cutting lash, and the dreadful craving for drink, which the shackled condition of the poor creature prevents his satisfying, and which is rarely thought of by his selfish employer. It is, really becoming a national sin among us; and no sin will more surely find its perpetrators out, or visit them more fearfully in this world. Canine madness will undoubtedly increase to such an extent, under the barbarous system, as to make the extirpation of the race a matter of public safety. And, partial as I am to the dog, I would rather see his name and nature blotted out from the page of creation, than witness what is now a common spectacle wherever we turn the eye. Declaiming is useless; a determined effort ought to be made by every one who does not desire to lose the honest guardian of his property, the playful companion of his walk, and the most attached of his adherents, to put down this disgusting and dangerous nuisance. That “the righteous man regardeth the life of his beast,” we know. Gentleness, a fruit of the Spirit, is utterly opposed to every harsh and cruel action; and I should feel no happy assurance of that man's Christian walk, who could look on with indifferent eye, or content himself with a passing expression of disapproval, when such barbarity is inflicted on an animal more friendly to man than man is to his fellow, more humbly confiding towards man than man is towards his God. I have seen the dog freely used for draught under circumstances perfectly justifiable. A peculiar breed, broadchested, thick-set, and every way fitted for the task of drawing the light sleigh over the glassy surface of fixed ice, or where the deep snow-bed would not bear the rugged tread and bulky weight of a horse, are thus employed in Canada. Trained for the work, abundantly supplied, and considerately apportioned, those northern dogs furnish not a precedent for, but a striking contrast to, the abuse of their dissimilar kindred in our stony streets and dusty roads, beneath the oppressive heat of summer. If discouragement in every form were given to those who are guilty of it, by refusing to purchase their wares, or in any way to employ them, a salutary check might be applied, the harmless sufferer delivered, and one foul blot wiped out from the checquered page of our national iniquity.


It is a fearful thing to contemplate the power of Satan, and his skill in making our bodily senses the means of leading our souls away from God. Of all traitors, he is rightly considered the worst, who lifts against his lawful king the arms that king has given him to employ in his service. And surely, of all criminals he is the most guilty, who makes the good gifts of God the actual instruments of rebellion against the Giver. I was led to these reflections a short time since, when, in passing a Romish chapel, on my return from worshipping in a parish church, I saw at the gate a string of carriages belonging to Protestant families; and learnt that, in consequence of some fine professional singers having been engaged to perform there, these people were induced to sanction, by their presence, the idolatrous service of the mass.

Does any reader question the justice of the charge of idolatry thus brought against the Romish church 7 Surely the act of falling prostrate in adoration before the little cake which the priest elevates, and which that church avers to be changed, by the utterance of certain words, into the body, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ, is at least as flagrant an act of idolatry as that of the Israelites of old, who made a molten calf, and professed to worship Jehovah under the symbol. Their sin was visited by an immediate and extensive judgment, marking the Lord's abhorrence of what he has so strictly forbidden. Nor is the consecrated wafer the only object of such prohibited adoration: the virgin Mary, the saints and angels, are addressed in language of prayer and praise, such as it is clearly idolatrous to use to any created being. No one can turn over the leaves of a popish prayer-book without seeing that it

was for no imaginary or trivial cause our' blessed reformers laid down their lives. They contended for the faith once deliv ered to the saints; and were content to die, rather than to dishonour their God by doing the abominable thing which he hates. The very name of Protestant originated in a solemn protest made by the first reformers against these deadly errors of an apostate church: and it would be difficult to show its applicability to any who, by their conduct, renounce such protest. But the church of Rome, deeply versed in unholy arts, has ever adorned herself with such things as fall in with the course of man's corrupt affections. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, there find abundant gratification. In the present instance, the charm of a little fine music was tried as a snare; and it was, alas ! found effectual in drawing several away from that solemn and scriptural service, in which the open doors of their own church invited them to join on the Lord's day. It induced them to look on, and thereby seemingly to approve, while the Holy Spirit was grieved, and Christ dishonoured, by the delusive mockeries of a worship openly addressed far more to the creature than the Creator. Was this to let their light shine before men, as the Lord has commanded ? Was this “having compassion” on the deluded souls of their fellow-creatures? Was this exposure of their own souls to the influence of the same delusion, a fit sequel to their morning prayer—“Lead us not into temptation?” Or, supposing them sufficiently guarded by their better knowledge from the danger of being led astray, was the example thus set to their servants and ignorant neighbours consistent with the prohibition against putting a stumblingblock in another's way? These questions passed in solemn thought through my mind as I walked on, reflecting how many have recently been called away, even in the prime of life, from this uncertain world; and how very few Sabbaths might remain to some of those who were thus defrauding God of the honour due unto his name, and wantonly mis-spending the sacred hours; gratifying their senses by hearing hymns melodiously sung to the praise of those who would indignantly

rebuke such worshippers with—“See thou do it not.”

The Holy Ghost, speaking by St. Paul, has given a short, simple, perfect rule to guide us. “Whether ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” This appears a hard saying to some ; but it is a sweet saying to those who have tasted and seen how gracious the Lord is. Such will desire to wear it as a frontlet between their eyes—yea, to have it so written on their hearts, that not all the cravings of unhallowed curiosity, stimulated by the crafty devices of the god of this world, shall prevail to turn their steps aside from the path of consistent obedience to their Father's loving commands.


WALKING along a hilly road the other day. I observed a young girl, apparently about sixteen, carrying a large bucket of grains, as 1 supposed, from a brewery not far behind us, to replenish the trough of her pig, or to fatten her fowls. There was something painful in the continued effort with which the poor girl ascended the path. The right arm was evidently on the full stretch downwards, while the left was no less forcibly extended horizontally, to assist, with body and neck inclined in the same direction, in affording a counterpoise to the heavy weight that dragged her earthward. After a while, she rested for breath, placing her bucket on the ground, and her hands to her hips, as if to relieve the overstrained muscles so severely taxed; then, at the foot of a higher ascent, she resumed the load, and proceeded more painfully than before.

At this juncture a girl, considerably less than herself, who was loitering near a gate on the road, accosted her, and after a short parley, going round to the other side of the bucket, she also took the handle; and thus sharing the burden between them, they trotted along, with countenances and manner so changed that I could not but mark them: the expression of fatigue and vexation on the aspect of the burdened traveller gave place to one of sprightly satisfaction, while that of the helper, before vacant and lifeless, bright

ened with animation as they chatted away. The weary step of one, and the lazy lounge of the other, were alike succeeded by a light and lively pace; and I hardly know which was most pleasant to witness, the relaxed outline of the overworked arm, or the vigorous movement of that which had just been folded in useless inactivity. My pace being slow, they soon outstripped me, and, turning off into a lane, were presently out of sight. Not so the lesson conveyed: it was one that we all require to learn anew very frequently, for it illustrated a text of daily and almost hourly applicability in every station of life: “Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” Revolving in my mind this little incident, I traced in the unoccupied girl a resemblance to many well-meaning Christians, who, relieved at the moment from any heavy pressure on their own strength or fortitude, stand by, as it were, to remark how their fellows proceed under some present weight; but it must be confessed that the contemplation is not always followed up by an extension of prompt assistance. The duty of burden-bearing is admitted by all who acknowledge the authority of the Gospel, but it is too much confined to what the Lord sees good to lay upon us—too little considered with a reference to the precious text above quoted. Few will refuse to lend the aid that is asked of them; but they are not very many who will step out of their own path to proffer help when it is not demanded of them, although that proffer is, in a multitude of cases, the principal part of the benefit conferred. I saw plainly that a very small portion of the actual weight of the bucket was transferred to the smaller girl; but she put her hand to it with hearty good will; and the companionship, the practical sympathy thus afforded, administered such a cordial to the other, that I doubt not it lightened the load in a far greater degree than if twothirds of the contents of the bucket had been subtracted, and the remainder left for her to bear alone. Nothing would so sweeten the intercourse of God's people on earth as a diligent cultivation of this principle and habit. A thousand occasions for bearing a bro

ther's burden pass by unimproved, because unmarked, by us; while he, perhaps, marks them, and is pained by the omission. To comfort the feeble-minded, to lift up the hands that hang down, to bear the infirmities of the weak, is an office that the meanest, the most inexperienced, may easily perform, and in so doing confer a lasting benefit on themselves. There are some professors who appear as a sort of gladiators on the scene, ambitious to exhibit their own powers of endurance, and still more, of infliction, and rather to take advantage of a brother's comparative feebleness for that purpose, than to impart to him of the gift that they have received. Such, while wounding their weaker brethren, break the law of Christ, and inflict a blow on his cause. The superiority, whether openly vaunted of or silently displayed, becomes a reproach, and often produces in the mind of the harassed individual a secret murmuring against the will of Hinn, who, in severally dividing his gifts according to that mysterious will, leaves one in poverty, that another may minister to him out of his abundance. Our proud hearts generally contrive to discover something in ourselves whereos to glory; and in that one thing we should ever be most watchful that we offend not. A man of strong reasoning powers will be tempted to seek victory in an argument with one not so well exercised in that line—nay, to court an argument, in the anticipation of triumph, perhaps at the sacrifice of that unity of spirit which he statedly prays for. One whose views of doctrinal truth are deep and clear, will frequently be beguiled into increasing the perplexity of a hesitating mind, and quenching the light that does but glimmer in comparison with the clear beam of his own, in order to display the latter in all their brightness; forgetting, perhaps, that there may be much light with little heat, or none; and that the clearesthead may be joined to a heart in the Laodicean state, which the Lord accepts not. A fluent talker on spiritual matters will exceedingly dishearten one who may secretly, though needlessly, fear that his own lack of words proceeds from lack of love; and a disposition naturally phlegmatic, assuming the appearance of being fixed on the sure foundation, beyond the power of passing events to affect his settled

repose of mind, will break the bruised reed that quivers in every breeze. In any of these cases, or in the numerous varieties that belong to the same class, is the burden borne, or the law of Christ fulfilled 2

Apart from these, there is the selfishness that, without aspiring to shine at any one's expense, is too much wrapped in its own concerns or enjoyments, to take thought, practically, for those of another. They would help if called on—at least, so they say, or think; but as to going out of their way, they see no occasion for that. And as those who most need sympathy are generally the slowest at asking it, this class rarely find occasion to exert themselves. The Christian's duty is to tread in the steps of his Master, who was found of them that sought him not; and to give unasked that which, alike unasked and undeserved by him, he has received of God. How far the outstretched hand of offered assistance, the tone of sympathy, and the step of kind companionship, will go in lightening the heaviest burdens, and cheering the most care-worn mind, they alone know who have both needed and found such fellow-helpers on a toilsome road; and, in like manner, the richness of the recompense internally enjoyed by the conscious succourer, is only to be ascertained by experiment. There is not in the whole Bible a precept, the fulfilment of which does not bring gladness to the heart that obeys it; and perhaps among them all, as there is none more imitative of the Lord Jesus in its object, so there is none that in its application more directly insures the twofold blessing than that which says, “Bear ye one another's burdens.”


AN affecting incident, lately told in a company where I was present, has dwelt on my thoughts ever since. It is highly characteristic of the place, the people, and the times that belong to it.

Private intelligence having been received that in a certain wild district, inhabited by the poorer class of peasants, in Ireland, arms were collected and concealed, for unlawful purposes, a party of military were despatched, to make a sudden search in the suspected houses. Among others, they visited a poor cabin, inhabited, seemingly, by very quiet, inosfensive people, where, after a most careful searching, they could find no trace of what they sought. When on the point of departing, one man remarked that the unequal, rough stone which served as a sort of hearth, wore the appearance of having recently been moved; the earth about it was loose, and the stone seemed to have been hastily laid down. This revived their suspicion, and they promptly lifted the rude flag from its place, and saw under it a parcel, carefully wrapped up in some poor ragged covering. Here was a prize How many pike-heads, how many pistiols, or what quantity of ammunition, they had seized, was matter of conjecture, as they carefully unfolded the envelope. This was done; and the captors held in their hands—an Irish Bible. The fact needs no elucidation: every body knows, that for a poor lishman to possess the word of God is high treason against the church of Rome; and that any offence given to the priesthood of that church, in a popish district, is speedily punished with the loss of the little all of the helpless victim. The Bible, if discovered would be burned, drowned, buried, or thrust into some inaccessible corner, while a terrible penance would await the possessor of such a contraband article; and any resistance thereto would incur the curse of excommunication, with all its subsequent terrors of ceaseless persecution, and temporal ruin. This must be avoided if possible, by the poor creature who has no earthly refuge to flee to, and, as yet, too feeble an apprehension of divine realities to endure as seeing Him who is invisible. Still the Bible—“the story o' pace” as the simple Irish rightly call it— which has told him, in his own loved tongue, such things as never before entered his thoughts, to cheer him in his sad, laborious pilgrimage on earth, the Irish Bible once received, is hard, very hard, to give up. And so the trembling possessors looked around their povertystricken abode, and finding no place where it might be secure from the prying gaze of bigoted enmity, they took up the single

stone, that varied the damp surface of

their cabin-floor—generally the earth on which it stands—and there deposited the treasure. When night arrived, the door was secured, the aperture called a window blocked up, and the precious Bible, taken from its resting place, was read by such imperfect light as they could manage to afford. And this within the actual circuit of the British isles—this in the heart of Protestant Britain, the very throne of freedom! But I leave that subject; and turn from the cruel necessity of hiding it, to the treasures so hidden. “Man,” since he became a transgressor in Adam, “is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward;” and the richest gift to man is fitted, in all its bearings, to bring consolation; so proving that it was intended for a suffering race. “Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people,” is the tenor of all that is addressed to those who shall receive the word; and few of full age are brought to do so, except under the pressure of some severe distress, whether of body, mind, or circumstances. “The whole need not a physician, but they which are sick,” has a meaning deeply felt by such as know the plague of their own hearts; and I cannot tell whether the simple incident of the Bible under the stone affected me most on the point of my own comparative indifference for the rich possession, or of my lukewarmness in the work of distributing it to others. True, if there was danger of its being wrested from me, I should not be slack in seeking means to secure the treasure; but I do not avail myself of the undisturbed blessing as I might. An excellent clergyman, the Dean of Ardagh on his examination before the House of Lords on the Irish anti-scriptural education scheme, made the remark, “I never met with a Roman Catholic who came to have any knowledge of the Scriptures, but that knowledge increased beyond any thing we see among Protestants.” This may be partly accounted for by the increased effect of light when shining where deep darkness has long prevailed; the avidity with which he who has been obliged to feed on husks, will devour wholesome, nutritious bread ; and also by the fact of the treasure being better appreciated when its loss is daily apprehended. But am I not also blind and famished, and poor in the midst of my abundance, from

« السابقةمتابعة »