« EelmineJätka »
authority, and its neglect on no ac- that for those who, from force of count tolerated. He who would uncontrollable circumstances, can train his children in the nurture attend His courts but seldom, God and admonition of the Lord, has no will open up other channels wherewarrant to expect success if he lay by His grace shall reach their souls. no stress on this particular matter. But for those who can seek His But proverbially, example is migh- blessing in the ordinary way, and tier than precept. How can parents are neglecting it, there is no enexpect their families to become at
couragement to expect the blessing tached to the services of God's in extraordinary ways. The superhouse, when they themselves are natural is not to supplant the naabsent from these services nearly tural, but to supplement it when it as often as they are present ? Must is not sufficient. The not this growing habit of going to ceased when once the Israelities public worship only once a day, could get the corn of Canaan to have a most baneful influence on eat. the upspringing generation ?
Great delight in the services of It is gladly conceded that many the sanctuary and in the who stay away spend the time in a munion of saints,” has generally manner as holy as if they were been one distinguishing characterin the House of Prayer. But what istic of men eminent for their of those who are encouraged by the piety. The jubilant strains of example of their elders to absent David were
David were written for another themselves also ? Their habits are dispensation, but they serve equally unformed—they have not that spirit well to express the gladness of which makes every day a Sabbath Christian hearts anticipating that and every place a temple
and is it foretaste of heaven which is enlikely that they will spend the joyed in the united worship of the hours taken from public worship Lord's day. “I was glad when with equal piety and profit? they said unto me, Let us go into Upon our fallen nature the evil part the house of the Lord.” This has of an example is usually more been a favourite psalm with the powerful than the good. In many best men of the church in all cases it will be found that the child generations; but it is to be feared dren imitate their parents in keep- that the “once-a-day” custom will ing away from the House of God diminish the fervour with which it on the Sabbath evening, and
is sung. Apart from experience, there the imitation ceases. Let it it might be supposed that those be admitted that the Christian man who come but once, would come can serve his God as acceptably, with keener appetite for “the proand nourish his piety as successfully, visions of God's house." This is in his home as in the assembly of not the case where the fasting is a the saints; still it may be urged matter of free choice, and not of that for the sake of being a good necessity. The generation that pattern to his household he should beyond all others restricts attendnot be abgent oftener than neces
ance to once a day,” is also the sity compels.
generation that above all others is V. Is there not the possibility of most intolerant of long services, detriment to the personal piety of and cries out most loudly for fewer once-a-day worshippers ? --The as- prayers and shorter sermons. It surance has already been expressed is generally found that those who habitually forsake the second
purposes. All our modern tenservice in the day, are most ready dencies and peculiarities make that for the slightest reasons to forsake necessity deeper and deeper; and the first service also. Thus in too does not the compulsory diminumany instances unnecessary ab- tion of public worship during the sence from the house of God tends week, render the voluntary diminuto diminished love for it, and to tion of it on the Sabbath more diminished enjoyment of its ser
blameable, because more detrimental vices. This cannot be, and piety to a high state of piety? sustain no damage. With this We can conceive of the men of state of things, the seed that falls former times being content with into good soil may bring forth one service, not only on account of thirty-fold, but how rarely will its its greater length, but also because fruitfulness reach to sixty and a of the preparedness with which hundred-fold. God's mercy is they came to it.
Some of our great; and so even with this grow. hymns for Saturday evening refer ing neglect of public worship, we to a state of things which it is to may have a race of Christians who be feared has largely passed away. shall be saved so as by fire; but Are there now many such scenes how can we hope for many of those as that described in Burns's“Cotter's who, because of a lofty piety, shall Saturday Night ?” That evening have “an entrance ininistered unto used to be a season of preparation. them abundantly into the ever- It was made a fitting prelude to the lasting kingdom of our Lord and hallowed season that followed. The Saviour Jesus Christ."
altar was made ready and the wood So far as the requirements of was laid in order for the expected personal piety are concerned, there fire of the morrow. Households, probably was never a period when by quiet social worship, drew nigh Christian men of business could less to God. They spent that night as afford to be irregular in the use of it were in the Holy Place, and as Sabbath advantages. In former soon as the Sabbath dawned were times, before railways and tele- ready, with right spirit, to pass graphs had driven all leisure out into the Holy of Holies, and see of the world, quiet hours could be God face to face. Could we have secured during the week for direct on a wide scale such Saturday spiritual culture. Now, the fierce
Now, the fierce- evening preparation as that, one ness of competition makes attend- Sabbath service might be more ance on week evening services profitable to all, than two are now. absolutely impossible to
With ground thus got ready, one Trade and commerce, like the two seed-sowing were enough for an daughters of the horse-leech are ample harvest. But this ever crying, “Give, give," and scarcely be. Business hath seized each day they seem to become the Saturday night with relentless more clamorous, so that Sabbatic grasp, and will have its last hour seasons in the mid-week cannot and its last minute. Even then it now be enjoyed as they were in the reluctantly retires, and numbers in less bustling and hurrying days of our congregations cannot snatch a our fathers. English society is single moment of the evening for very far from growing out of the purposes of preparation.
They need for a rigid reservation of the need the first service of the Sabbath Lord's day for purely devotional to unsecularize their minds, and
bring them into harmony with the change in practice. Our friends spirit and object of the day. These have fallen into this questionable are obviously not the circumstances habit simply from not contemplaunder which men may, without ting its possible and probable damage to their piety, totally issues. We trust none will think neglect the second service.
alarmists, making Many other considerations might much ado about a little evil. be adduced in opposition to this Nothing is insignificant that peronce-a-day custom. We ask only tains to Christian consistency, and that what has been advanced may, the proper care and cultivation of be duly weighed. We are certain Christian character. Charity not that in many cases-yea, in the only avoids evil, but also the appearmajority—a little thought upon the ance thereof. “IT DOTH NOT BEHAVE matter will
the needed ITSELF UNSEEMLY."
LIVE WHILE YOU LIVE.
A NEW YEAR'S ADDRESS TO YOUNG MEN.
We all of us complain of the short- ploy it to any valuable purpose ness of time, and yet have much The Bookworm is of this class who more than we know what to do reads for his own amusement or inwith. Our lives are spent either in struction simply, who greedily dedoing nothing at all, or in doing vours every book he can obtain, nothing to the purpose, or in doing but who never seeks to benefit nothing that we ought to do. We others by the knowledge he acare always complaining that our quires. The Recluse also
and many days are few, and acting as though others might be mentioned. there would be no end of them. How few comparatively may really So wrote Seneca hundreds of years
be said to LIVE! What different ago. It was true in his time; it is views of life” have obtained among true now.
Men are continually men; even as to the meaning or use of talking of the shortness of life, and the word! Our Saviour said, “A at the same time wasting nine- man's life consisteth not in the tenths of the life they have. If any abundance of the things which he one were asked his age, and should possesseth ;” and his words implied before giving an answer, deduct that in the estimation of men genefrom the period of his existence all rally a man's life did consist in the the time he had spent in eat- abundance of things he possessed. ing, drinking, sleeping, the toilet, In accordance with this is the use of and in sheer idleness, what an the word “living." A clergyman's infant of years would he ap- benefice is called “a living.' And
its worth is estimated, not by the There are many persons who may opportunities of usefulness it affords, be said to vegetate rather than live, but by the yearly stipend it yields. to consume time rather than spend “Good living” means good fare, it, to throw it away rather than em- luxurious eating and drinking, and
a gourmand is said to be fond of and loss, studying the markets, good living. What different ideas and scheming enterprizes involving would be associated with the word care and anxiety, and frequently “LIFE” in the mind of the epicure, heavy disappointments. The law. the philosopher, the politician, and yer consumes his energies among the sportsman; and how differently musty volumes reading up precewould they interpret the words dents, or among covenants and “Live while you live!” There is a title-deeds, possessing in themselves further use of the word as employed no interest and leaving no traces by the man of pleasure, or the of pleasure or profit besides the young man who comes to London fees that
be exacted from sufto see a little of “life" before he fering clients. The life of the docsobers down and enters on his set- tor, the warrior, or the statesman, tled profession or occupation. To is very little better.
little better. All is toil, how many a young man has this vanity, and vexation of spirit. "life" proved the gateway to ruin Fashionable life has been aptly deand death, both of body and soul; nominated " butterfly life,” and the path to everlasting burn- as its uselessness is concerned, but ings in hell! Let any young man its gay wings flutter more among pause before he takes even a taste acids and thorns than
among sweets of this life—the very first sip of the and flowers. Envy, jealousy, dispoison may be destruction.
satisfaction and ennui Very few lives considered in
more general accompaniments. “A themselves are really worth living. season in London,” is a season of Apart from the extremely poor, who excitement, vexation and fatigue. can hardly keep body and soul to- The unsatisfactory character of life gether, how small a proportion of in general and leisureable life in human lives deserves the name of life, particular, is indicated by the senor is of any worth. Take, for instance, sation novel, the fashion and the the labourer. His life is one inces- rage, and perhaps the curse, of the sant round of toil, from morn to- present day. None of the classes night, for which his remuneration we have considered, can be said to is hardly sufficient to provide things live while they live. They live to necessary for subsistence. His en
no purpose—they have no true enjoyments are few or none. For him joyment simply in the occupations home and family have few or no com- and pursuits of life. Life to them forts, but many burdens and anxie all, is little better than that of the ties. Surely such a life, consi- animal or brute.
It is consumpdered in relation to this world tion, not life. “The minding of simply, has but few charms. The the flesh," or the pursuit of earthly condition of the mechanic is only things simply, “is death." “Pera little better. Take the shop- didi diem,” I have lost a day, might man or clerk. The former spends be said by most at the close, not of his life in weighing out tea and one day only, as by Titus, but of sugar, or measuring calico or silks, every day. and the latter in forming letters and But it may be asked-Is this to figures representing to his mind be condemned ? How can it be little more than strokes. This otherwise ? Is it not necessary surely is a life in itself of little that the labourer, the merchant, worth. The life of the merchant and the others mentioned, should is consumed in calculating profit thus act ? Is not man boru to
work ? and does not Paul
that Him. “ If thou knewest the gift if a man work not, neither shall he of God, and who it is that saith to eat ? We do not condemn them thee, give me to drink; thou for thus acting. All this is neces- wouldest have asked of him, and he sary for man; but this is not ne- would have given thee living water.” cessarily all. Man is spiritual as “He that heareth my word,” says well as material. True life is spi- Christ, IS PASSED FROM DEATH UNTO ritual life in addition to the mate
Trust then in Jesus ; live rial. The chief end of man, as we life of faith on the Son of God; are correctly taught in the Assem- live in God and for God; and you bly's Catechism, is to glorify God will live while
live. and enjoy Him for ever.
True life Let us look at the subject from is the enjoyment of God, and the another stand-point—THE END OF glorification of God, or LIFE IN GOD LIVING-What will be the end of AND FOR GOD.
This life may be en- life to the vast bulk of Society ? joyed in nearly all the positions To what purpose beyond mere subabove mentioned. The poor la- sistence does the labourer, mebouring man in his poverty, may chanic, tradesman, or professional have life and joy in God, and by man live? When the end comes his contentment and honesty glorify what result of all his toil or pleaGod. The mechanic in the work- sure remains ? Suppose he sucshop may live to purpose as by his ceeds in acquiring wealth, it is only example and deportment, he leads a little finer house, or gayer clothhis fellow workmen to Christ. ing, or more luxurious living that The shopman may be happy in the is secured : and what is that realization of God's love, and exert worth? That, also, little as it is, an influence for good over his com- may not be possessed long-death panions, and even his employers. comes, and then all that has been There is no condition of life in acquired, must be left to the man which life and joy in God may not that shall come after him. be realized; and eating and drink. who knoweth,” says Solomon, ing and every other engagement,
« whether he shall be a wise man even the most menial, be made the or a fool ? And yet shall he have medium of God's glory
rule over all my labour wherein I
have laboured, and wherein I have All may of thee partake, Nothing can be so mean,
showed myself wise under the sun. Which with this tincture (for thy sake),
This is also vanity.” Wise Solomon Will not grow bright and clean. was succeeded by foolish Reho
boam, and all the treasures he had A servant with this clause, Makes drudgery divine;
been years amassing, were carried Who sweeps a room, as for thy laws, away into Egypt. Suppose a young Makes that and the action fine. man successful to the full extent of
his most ardent desires, that he acThis is the famous stone, That turneth all to gold,
quires wealth, wisdom, and reputaFor that which God doth touch and own,
tion-what will the end be? Death Cannot for less be told.
must come; and what then ?
The following quotation from a This life is Christ's gift. He sermon of the late Archdeacon only who believes in Christ can Hare, most forcibly presses this thus live. But Christ is ready to question : give this life to every one that asks “A good and pious man was living