Page images

· THE HAPPY TENANT. A PIOUS clergyman in the diocese of Bishop Burnet had frequently meditated on these words of our Lord, “ Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” He considered that the Author spake as man never spake, and he prayed earnestly that he might understand their full import. The providence of God answered his prayer by the following occurrence:-One day, as he was meditating in the fields, he heard the voice of joy and praise from a neighbouring cottage: curiosity led him to the window, and he beheld the happy tenant, a poor woman, with the scanty provision of a cup of water and a piece of bread: her hands and eyes were lifted up to heaven, while with joyful gratitude she exclaimed, “ What all this, and Jesus Christ too!” This fact explained the text in its true signification: it taught him that a small thing the righteous hath is better than great riches of the ungodly.


Bigotted Hearer. A PERSON meeting another returning, after having heard a popular preacher, and says to him, “ Well, I hope you have been highly gratified.” “ Indeed, I have," replied the other. “I wish I could have prevailed on you to hear him; I am sure you would never have relished any other preacher afterwards.” “ Then,” returned the wiser Christian, “ I am determined I never will


hear him, for I wish to hear such a preacher as will give me so high a relish and esteem for the word of God, that I shall receive it with greater eagerness and delight whenever it is delivered,"

Humble Hearer.

“ A torch may be lighted by a candle, and a knife be sharpened by an unpolished stone:” so Mr. Hildersham used to say, “ that he never heard any faithful minister in his life that was so mean, but he could discover some gift in him that was wanting in himself, and could receive some profit by him.”.

The Practical Hearer. A poor woman in the country went to hear a sermon, wherein, among other evil practices, the use of dishonest weights and measures was exposed. With this discourse she was much affected. The next day, when the minister, according to his custom, went among his hearers, and called upon the woman, he took occasion to ask her what she remembered of his sermon. The poor woman complained much of her bad memory, and said she had forgotten almost all that he delivered. 6 But one thing," said she, “I remembered; I remembered to burn my bushel.”-A doer of the word cannot be a forgetful hearer.

Constant Hearer. It is said of the late Countess of Burford, that though for the last few years of her life she had to ride almost constantly on horseback, upwards of sixteen miles, to and from the churches where she attended, yet neither frost, snow, rain, nor bad roads, were sufficient to detain her at home. How unlike the conduct of many, who suffer any trivial incident to keep them from the house of God!

Punctual Hearer. A woman who always used to attend public worship with great punctuality, and took care to be always in time, was asked how it was she could always come so early; answered, very wisely, " That it was part of her religion not to disturb the religion of others.”

The late Hearer. A minister, whom I well knew, observing that some of his people made a practice of coming in very late, and after a considerable part of the sermon was gone through, was determined that they should feel the force of a public reproof. One day, therefore, as they entered the place of worship at their usual late period, the minister, ad. dressing his congregation, said, “ But, my hear. ers, it is time for us now to conclude, for here are our friends just come to fetch us home.” We may easily conjecture what the parties felt at this curious but pointed address.

The deaf Waman a constant Attendant.

" I have in my congregation,” said a venerable minister of the gospel, “ a worthy aged woman, who has for many years been so deaf, as not to distinguish the loudest sound, and yet she is always one of the first in the meeting. On asking the reason of her constant attendance (as it was impossi

ble for her to hear my voice), she answered, “Though I cannot hear you, I come to God's house because I love it, and would be found in his ways; and he gives me many a sweet thought upon the text, when it is pointed out to me: another reason is, because there I am in the best company, in the more immediate presence of God, and amongst his saints, the honourable of the earth. I am not satisfied with serving God in private: it is my duty and privilege to honour him regularly and constantly in public.'” What a reproof this to those who have their hearing, and yet always come to a place of worship late, or not at all!

The fearful Christian turned courageous.

There was one Victorinus famous in Rome for teaching rhetoric to the senators: this man in his old age was converted to Christianity, and came to Simplicianus (who was an eminent man), whispering softly in his ears these words, I am a Christian;" but this holy man answered, " I will not believe it, nor count thee so, till I see thee among the Christians in the Church." At which he laugh ed, saying, Do, then, those walls make a Christian? Cannot I be such except I openly profess it, and let the world know the same?A while after, being more confirmed in the faith, and considering that, if he should thus continue ashamed of Christ, Christ would be ashamed of him in the last day, he changed his note, and came to Simplicianus, saying, “ Let us go to the church; I will now in earnest be a Christian." And there, though a private profession of his faith might have been suffi. cient, yet he chose to make it openly, saying, " That he had openly professed rhetoric, which was not a matter of salvation; and why should he be afraid to own the word of God in the congre. gation of the faithful?”

Much has been said as to the inutility of hear.' ing, and of public worship in general. The fol. lowing thoughts relative to this subject are ad. mirable.

" Public worship,” says a fair authoxess, “ is a civic meeting. The temple is the only place where human beings, of every rank, sex, and age, meet together in one common purpose, and join together in one common act. Other meetings are either political, or formed for the purposes of splendor and amusement; from both which, in this country, the bulk of inhabitants are of necessity excluded. This is the only place, to enter which, nothing more is necessary than to be of the same species; the only place where man meets man, not only as an equal, but a brother; and where, by contemplating his duties, he may become sensible of his rights. Such is the increasing pride of the privileged classes, that it is to be feared, if men did not attend at the same place here, it would hardly be believed they were meant to go to the same place hereafter. It is of service to the cause of freedom, therefore, no less than to that of virtue, that there is one place where the invidious distinctions of wealth and titles are not admitted; where all are equal, not by making the low proud, but by making the great humble. How many a man exists who possesses not the smallest property in this earth, of which you call

« EelmineJätka »