« ForrigeFortsett »
A saying of old Dr. Fuller's was quoted in Dr. Marsh's presence: that falls into sin is a man; he that grieves at sin is a saint; he that boasts of sin is a devil.” Dr. Marsh replied, “Only one thing more; he that forgires it is God.”
Intelligence. RENUNCIATION OF HEATHENISM IN of a small tree hollowed and fitted MADAGASCAR. - A remarkable re- with a cover; and last of all, the ligious revolution has taken place idol itself. Hardly any of the prein Madagascar. We learn from a sent generation had seen the god, and letter from the Rev. W. Pool, dated great was the surprise when he was from the capital on the 23rd Septem- produced. Two pieces of scarlet silk, ber, that the Queen has had the about three feet long and three inches royal idols publicly burned; that she wide, with a small piece of wood and her aristocracy have embraced about as big as a man's thumb inChristianity; and that the whole pro- serted in the middle between them, vince of Imerina, in which the capital so that the silk formed, as it were, is situated, has followed the example two wings, was the great god of of the Government. The Queen em- Madagascar, whose touch was sanctibraced Christianity early in the year, fying, and whose nearness was preand has all the summer been building servative. “You cannot burn him, a Chapel Royal. Meanwhile, the he is a god,” said the people. “If wooden fence around the temple of he be a god he will not burn," said the great national idol had been the officers; "we are going to try;" pulled down, and the priests assumed and held it on a stick in the fire, that a threatening aspect, even hinting that the people might see it as it was contheir god had medicine which would sumed. The victory was complete. avenge him on the heretic sovereign. Next day four other idols shared the On the 8th of September they came same fate, and the rest followed. in force to the capital to claim their One was a little bag of sand; another rights as nobles.
A council was sisted of three round pieces of called, and it was decided to send wood, united by a silver chain. The the chief Secretary of State and other people looked on in wonder; and high officials to the sacred village, when the process was over, seeing seven miles from the capital, and that they had now no gods to worburn the idol before its keepers re- ship, they sent to the Queen to ask turned. They set off the same after- what they were to worship for the noon, and, by an authority from the future. The Government, says the prime minister, seized the idol's English Independent, adding to the house. The wood of the fallen fence information contained in Mr. Pool's was collected, and a fire was made, letter, thereupon appealed to the and the contents of the temple were native Christians to send Christian brought out to be burned. First, teachers, and they at once responded. the long cane carried before the idol It was found that of 280 towns and in procession was thrown in; then villages in Imerina, 120 already had twelve bullocks' horns, from which Christian churches, and teachers were incense or holy water had been at once found for all the rest. The sprinkled; then three scarlet um. Rev. W. Ellis, the well-known misbrellas, aud the silk robe worn over sionary, supplies the following adthe idol by the keeper who carried it. ditional particulars: “The influThen came the idol's case—the trunk lence of the royal idols is not national;
it extends only to the royal family from other classes; which exemption and the Government, and to the per- will be given to such teachers as may sonal and public action of the Govern- be approved and appointed by the ment. The heads of villages, as well native churches and the missionas the heads of families, have their aries.” own idols, which they respectively MISSIONARY PROGRESS worship. The idols of the Hova EAST.—Madagascar is not the only Government are not acknowledged quarter of the missionary field from by the conquered rulers and people which unexpected news of encourof other provinces. None of the agement comes. The two kings of idols of the people were destroyed by Siam, who were crowned at the end order of the Queen, for in a letter of 1868, have recently given an audifrom the prime minister, written on ence to the American missionaries, the day on which the royal idols were to whom they promised both counburnt, he informs me, that when the tenance and help; and public proofficers and people assembled in the clamation has been made, that all court of the palace, asked the Queen their subjects, of whatever grade, are if she wished all the idols to be de- free to embrace Christianity if they stroyed, she said: “That would please choose to do so, “without any manme, for I have no desire that there ner of molestation in person or proshould be idols any more in my king- perty." From the sacred city of dom; nevertheless, I do not wish to Benares, the stronghold of idolatry force you, my people. The destruc- in Bengal, upon which the preaching tion of the idols is rather the effect of European missionaries for many than the cause of the conversion of years seems to have produced literally the people.
It is less than four no impression, the Rev. M. A. Shermonths since the order for the de- ring reports that a pundit has sudstruction of the Government idols denly begun publicly to attack the was given, and it is nearly forty teaching of the Brahmins. Great years since the first converts to crowds gather to listen as he explains Christianity were baptized. After that the Vedas give no countenance thirty years of severe persecution, to idolatry, and that the Puranas during which at least 200 died, and which do are worthless. The excitethousands suffered for their faith, ment and fright of the Brahmins are the numbers of the Christians during great, for they cannot answer their that period had increased from less assailant; and one rich Hindoo is than 100 to 7,000. At the close of said to have been so impressed by the last year, seven years later, the the addresses of the Reformer, that adherents to Christianity exceeded he has destroyed the temples upon 40,000, while in some parts of the his lands. At the same time comes province their number has doubled news of several native Christians who during the present year.
The addi- have been engaged in evangelizing tional teachers now being sent forth itineraries with remarkable results. to places destitute of instructors, are The Rev. Daud Singh has manifested not sent by the order or on the a special desire to itinerate in a authority of the Government, but by purely native way as a Christian the existing churches in the capital, fakir. Moulvie Imaduddeen has and they will be supported by the shewn a great talent and desire for voluntary offerings of the Christians, pulpit ministrations, and for the comincluding the congregation in the pilation of books, which have been court of the palace. The only favour most favourably received, and have which these Evangelists will receive proved eminentiy useful." At Umritfrom the Government will be exemp- sur, Sadih has shewn a special fitness tion from the public service required for itinerations; John, and one or two others, talents for bazzar preach- development. The general tenor of ing. The native Apostolate that will the news from China also is satisevangelize India is thus in rapid factory.
Notices of Books. BIBLE CLASSES IN THE NAVY. Two of pious domestic servants in Edin.
Prize Essays, published by the burgh. Of the first we are told, Royal Naval Scripture Readers' amongst other touching things she Society. 16mo, pp. 22.
uttered on her death-bed, that she This publication bears testimony to said to her master's son, “Farewell, the care evinced in many quarters T., I am going home. But ye'll for the religious instruction of sea- follow me, won't you? and you won't men, both in the royal and mercan- take it amiss that I say this to you, tile marine. The two essays are one though I am only a servant.”—“Only in purpose and spirit, but different a servant !” said a friend, to whom in structure. The first is anonymous, the author related this; "she might “by a Commander, R.N.;" and very be the envied of crowned heads !” gratifying it is to know that our navy So will the reader think, after perusembraces many officers like-minded. ing the book. Mary H. was more He treats the subject of Bible classes than a servant, even in the house on shipboard from the officers' point where she was a domestic; she was, of view, as to their organization, time like Onesimus, a Christian sister beof meeting, place of meeting, mode loved. These pages consist, in addiof conducting, &c. We greatly relish tion to extracts from her diary and the seaman-like frankness and Chris- letters, of her master's tribute and tian simplicity of the essay, which her minister's testimony to the intelcontains, in a brief space, many prac. ligence, decision, strength, and contical suggestions, the results of ex- sistency of her character as a Chrisperience. The second essay is by tian. Nothing could be more pathetic Mr. John Hunter, Glasgow, and than the account of her last illness sketches a judiciously chosen and and death. It is a remarkable book, comprehensive series of Scripture les- and is in its third thousand. sons, besides furnishing such hints as Jeanie Russell was long tried in the experience of a Bible-class teacher the school of affliction, in which she suggests for conducting them. The witnessed a good confession. A life little book may be purchased at Mr. of chastening ended in a joyous death. M‘Callum's. From a statement on Mary H. wrote good English, and the cover, we learn that upwards of even tried French, though only a 200 naval officers have agreed to pray, servant." Jeanie Russell's most exin private, every Sunday morning, for pressive utterances were in pure lowall orders of men in the naval service. Iand Scotch. Herein, indeed, is the strength of the
SHADOWS LOST IN SUNSHINE. Notes ONLY A SERVANT: a brief Memorial on the death of Jessie H. Stewart.
of Mary H. By an Elder of the By Rev.WILLIAM FRASER. Paisley: Church. With introductory notice J. & R. Parlane. by REV. DR. GOOLD.
A BRIEF but tender and impressive JEANIE RUSSELL : an Anxious In- memorial of a youthful Christian, by
quirer. Edinburgh: Andrew El- her pastor. It pourtrays some peculiot.
liarly interesting features of life and Both of these books are memorials character.
TRUE NOBLES AND HEROES. By | THE DAILY TEXT THROUGHOUT THE DAVID HARRIS. Edinburgh: A. YEAR. Edinburgh: Andrew Ste
Stevenson. The Christian life and warfare illus- PEARLS of great price set in a small trated by anecdotes of bravery and frame. The tiny volume may be heroism. A lively little book for carried about in the pocket without boys.
NOTES ON THE UNION'S LESSON SCHEME FOR 1870.
LESSON VI.-FEBRUARY 6. CHRIST'S FORERUNNER, JOHN THE BAPTIST.—Matt. iii. 1-17. Picture the scene by the banks of the Jordan " in those days;" the days immediately preceding the commencement of the public ministry of our Lord. A strange and wondrous voice had issued from the desert retreat, from a singular man, who appeared in the dress of one of their old prophets-Elijah, (2 Kings i. 8.) The inhabitants of the surrounding country crowded to Jordan's banks to hear this stirring preacher of a new doctrine. Stanley thus sketches the audience and the scene : "On the banks of the rushing stream the multitudes gathered, -the priests and scribes from Jerusalem, down the pass of Adummim; the publicans from Jericho on the south, and the Lake of Gennesareth on the north; the soldiers on their way from Damascus to Petra, through the Ghor, in the war with the Arab chief Hareth; the peasants from Galilee, with One from Nazareth, through the opening of the plain of Esdraelon. The tall reeds or canes in the jungle waved, shaken by the wind; the pebbles of the bare clay hills lay around, to which the Baptist pointed as capable of being transformed into the children of Abraham; at their feet rushed the refreshing stream of the never-failing river.”
Who was he?—John the Baptist; so called from the rite of baptism which he administered. Some could remember the wondrous circumstances attending his birth, about 30 years before. Born of very pious parents-his father a priest-his birth and mission foretold by the Angel Gabriel, (Luke i. 5-15;) by Isaiah, (Isa. xl. 3;) by Malachi, (Mal. iv. 5)—had lived for years a solitary life in the desert, (Luke i. 80)--doubtless years of precious communings with God, and so of preparation for his future work.
What was his character ?- The chief features were foretold to Zacharias by the angel Gabriel. His name had been dictated by God-in him was the prophecy of Malachi fulfilled, and with which prophecy the Old Testament Scriptures were closed : “Behold I will send,” &c. John the Baptist fulfilled this prophecy by coming in the spirit and power of Elijah, manifesting the same great moral courage, and the same unswerving fidelity to the work which God gave him to do. He was a preacher of self-denial, and a pattern of the self-denial he inculcated. The herald of the Messiah was also “great in the sight of the Lord”--filled with the Holy Ghost. Kitto says: “We judge of the greatness of a king by the rank and magnificence of his ambassador; and it ought to assist us to some adequate conception of our Lord's essential greatness, to note that among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than the man who heralded His approach." Great, too, in his humility. How easy it had been for him to have led the people captlve to himself! • Nought for self--all for Jesus,” however, was his banner, (v. 17; John iii. 30.)
What was his mission ?–To prepare the way of the Lord; to be the forerunner of Christ. This he did by preaching repentance; by baptizing all who confessed their sins, and desired a purer life; and by boldly proclaiming Jesus of Nazareth to be the promised, the true, and only Saviour. In verses 7-12 we have the outline of one of his sermons, addressed specially to members of the sects of the Pharisees and Sadducees, who had come to his desert gatherings. Boldly he tells them their well-known character-pleads with them to drop their hypocrisy and their sins
together, and to lead new lives--declares that to be descendants of Abraham is of no value—that now the life was to be tested by its deeds, as a tree by its fruits ; professions would not suffice-and then he puts before them Him whose advent hé came to proclaim--whose Spirit would sanctify and save all sincere hearts-Him who would thoroughly separate the chaff from the wheat, as the husbandman did with his grain on the threshing-floor.
To those true inquirers who sought instruction as to the path of duty, John spoke plainly—“inculcated mutual charity on the people; on the tax-gatherers he enjoined justice; to the soldiers of Herod Antipas he prescribed humanity, and abstinence from all unnecessary violence and pillage,” (Kitto; Luke iii. 10-14.)
Included in the work of John was the baptism of Jesus, (v. 13-17.). Jesus came not for baptism by John as others had come. “I baptize you with water unto repentance,” said John to others; but Jesus had no need for this. Why, then, baptize? So John thought, and 'declined. But Jesus explained the wherefore. It was proper that He should be set apart by His forerunner; it publicly marked the commencement of His ministry; it afforded occasion for the sign being given by which John was to know the Messiah, (John i. 33;) it marked Christ's acknowledgment of the work of John.
Immediately thereafter John proceeded to point out Jesus as the Lamb of God, directing all men to Him. John' came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through Him might believe,” (John i. 7.) “Jesus, the true and only Saviour," was John's message to the Jews, is John's message to you and me.
LESSON VII.-FEBRUARY 13.
THE DEATH OF ABEL.-Genesis iv. 1-16. I. The children and their occupation, (1, 2.) Cain was the first child born into this world. See what his mother called him-Cain, which means gotten or acquired. She evidently connected him with the promise in Gen. iii. 15, and imagined him to be the promised deliverer. How she was doomed to disappointment! Abel's name means feeder, and so we find him giving himself to the keeping of sheep, while Cain becomes a tiller of the ground.
II. The two offerings, (3-7.)--In process of time, or, as it means, at the end of days, would seem to indicate some fixed time for presenting the offering. It is altogether likely that God fixed some definite time, and appointed the kind of sacrifice. Cain brought of the fruits of the ground, but Abel of the firstlings of his flock. Note the difference between these two offerings. Both were expressive of thanksgiving, and an acknowledgment of dependence on God for the necessaries of life. But Cain forgot that he was a sinner; he came before God in his own name and in his own strength; he did not recognise the fact that his own life was really forfeited because of sin, and that God could be approached only on the footing of a sacrifice made and accepted by God. Now Abel did recognise this. He offered a sacrifice, thereby shewing that he believed that God could only be approached by blood; that life must go for life; that if God accepted him, it must be in virtue of the substitution of another's life for his. In one word, he recognised the need of an atonement. Bring this clearly out as the grand distinction between the two offerings, and then the acceptance of the one and the rejection of the other are easily understood. And so we read that God accepted Abel's offering, and Abel's person too; but he did not and could not accept Cain or his offering. So it is still. God is á just but yet the Saviour of the ungodly who believe on Jesus. No man can come to God save through Jesus. In Him, te is our reconciled God and Father; out of Him, He is a consuming fire. Notice next the effect on Cain. He was angry; and his anger shewed itself in his face--his countenance grew dark and scowling. See what a fearful thing anger is; it changes a man's very appearance, and, when unchecked, may lead to dreadful crimes. No wonder we read : " Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer,” (1 John iii. 15.) Notice further how long-suffering our God is; He reasons with Cain. He shews him that the way of acceptance was easy, and in his own power, that sin lying at the door would always keep him