Page images



SILENCE without, and calm within the dwelling;

The lazy flow'rets slumber in the sun;
The half.mown hay stands in the meadow, telling

The busy labour of the week is done.
Faintly, yet clear, the village bells are ringing,

From distant cots the peasant band to warn; Their anthems in the grove the birds are singing,

And all proclaims it is the Sabbath morn. Through the green lanes the village groups are bending; By primrose banks the children take their

way Where the tall spire, above the trees ascending,

Proclaims to all it is the hallow'd day.
Sweet to the senses breathe the leaves and flowers;

The heart leaps up to see the growing corn;
We thank thee, Father, for these peaceful hours

Of prayer and rest—Thy holy Sabbath morn.



I WANDER'D forth one Sabbath eve,

When twilight shrouded hill and stream,
And holy angels seem'd to weave

hearts some blissful dream. The sun had set behind the hill,

No sound disturb’d the tranquil air; The voice of bee and bird was still, The very flowers seem'd bow'd in

prayer. Sweet Sabbath eve!

It may be that I slept awhile,

For when again I mark'd the skies,
The moon beam'd with a placid smile,

The stars had oped their golden eyes.
And when, once more, I turn'd to roam,

My weary heart again grew light;
With chasten'd soul I sought my home,
And bless'd

God that


the night. Sweet Sabbath eve!



Our Lord Jesus Christ had been long expected to appear in the Jewish church, as a prophet like unto Moses, and his ministry had been characterized as the most beneficial that could be imagined. The people, therefore, formed the highest expectations of his economy, and he framed it so as to exceed all description. He taught .... not as the scribes.

First, instead of deriving his doctrine from popular notions, human passions, the interests of princes, or the traditions of priests, he took it immediately from the Holy Scriptures, to which he constantly appealed. The truths of natural religion he explained and established; the doctrines of revelation he expounded, elucidated, and enforced, and thus brought life and immortality to light by the Gospel.

Next, the doctrines which he taught were all plain facts :—God is a Spirit—God sent his Son into the world, that the world by him might be saved-Moses wrote of me- He that believeth on Him that sent me, is passed from death unto life—The dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God-The righteous shall go into life eternal—My kingdom is not of this worldThe merciful are happy-Happy are the pure in heart


-few find the narrow way that leadeth to life-many go in at the wide gate that leadeth to destruction. All these, and many more of the same kind, are facts plain and true, and they were the simple truths which Jesus Christ chose to teach.

Thirdly, the motives which he employed to give his doctrine energy, were not taken from sinful secular things; but it was urged home in its truth and importance. This fact is true, and therefore you ought to believe it, whether the world admit it or not. That duty is important to your health, to your property, to your comfort, to your salvation, to your pleasing God, and therefore you ought to perform it, whether the world perform it or not.

The tempers, in which he executed his ministry, were the noblest that can be conceived. He was humble, compassionate, firm, disinterested, and gene

He displayed in all the course of his ministry such an assortment of properties as obliged some of his auditors to burst into exclamatory admiration, Blessed are the paps which thou hast sucked! others to hang upon his lips, wondering at the gracious words that proceeded out of his mouth, and all to acknowledge, Never man spake like this man! This was not a temporary tide of popularity, it was admiration founded on reason, and all ages since have admired and exclaimed in like manner.

Add to these the simplicity and majesty of his style, the beauty of his images, the alternate softness and severity of his address, the choice of his subjects, the gracefulness of his deportment, the indefatigableness of his zeal .... where shall I put the period ? his perfections are inexhaustible, and our admiration is everlasting. The character of Christ is the best book a preacher can study.

In order to mortify human vanity, to convince the world that religion was a plain simple thing, and that a little common sense accompanied with an honest good heart was sufficient to propagate it, without any aid

[ocr errors]

derived from the cabinets of princes, or the schools of human science, he took twelve poor illiterate men into his company, admitted them to an intimacy with himself, and, after he had kept them awhile in tuition, sent them to preach the good tidings of salvation to their countrymen. A while after he sent seventy more, and the discourses, which he delivered to each class at their ordination, are made up of the most wise and benevolent sentiments that ever fell from the mouth of man. All the topics are pure theology, and all unpolluted with puerile conceits, human politics, literary dreams, ecclesiastical traditions, party disputes, and all other disgraces of preaching, which those sanctimonious hypocrites, scribes and pharisees, and pretended doctors and rabbies, had introduced into it.

Jesus Christ had never paid any regard to the place where he delivered his sermons; he had taught in the temple, the synagogues, public walks, private houses; he had preached on mountains, and in barges and ships. His missionaries imitated him, and convenience for the time was consecration of the place. He had been equally indifferent to the posture; he stood, or sat, as his own ease and the popular edification required. The time also had been accommodated to the same end. He had preached early in the morning, late in the evening, on Sabbath days and festivals, and whenever else the people had leisure and inclination to hear. It had been foretold, the Messiah should not lift up, nor cry, nor cause his voice to be heard in the streets—that is, should not use the artifices of those who sought for popularity. It should seem, Jesus Christ used very little action : but that little was just, natural, grave, and expressive. He sometimes wept, and always felt; but he never expressed his emotions in a theatrical manner; much less did he preach as a drowsy pedant declaims, who has no emotions to express.

The success that accompanied the ministry of our Immanuel was truly astonishing. My soul overflows

with joy, my eyes with tears of pleasure, while I transcribe it. When this Sun of righteousness arose with healing in his wings, the disinterested populace, who lay all neglected and forlorn, benighted with ignorance and benumbed with vice, saw the light, and hailed the brightness of his rising. Up they sprang, and after him in multitudes, men, women, and children went. Was he to pass a road, they climbed the trees to see him, yea, the blind sat by the wayside to hear him go by. Was he in a house, they unroofed the building to come at him. As if they could never get near enough to hear the soft accents of his voice, they pressed, they crowded, they trod upon one another to surround him. When he retired into the wilderness they thought him another Moses, and would have made him a king. It was the finest thing they could think of. He, greater than the greatest monarch, despised worldly grandeur; but to fulfil prophecy, sitting upon a borrowed ass's colt, rode into Jerusalem as the Son of the Highest, and allowed the transported multitude to strew the way with garments and branches, and to arouse the metropolis by acclamations, the very children shouting, Hosannah, Hosannah in the highest ! Hosannah to the Son of David ! Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord !



Cheeks as soft as July peaches,
Lips whose dewy scarlet teaches
Poppies paleness—round large eyes
Ever great with new surprise,

« EelmineJätka »