Thy blood the flaming blade must slake;

Thy heart its sheath must be.
All for my sake, my peace to make ;

Now sleeps that sword for me.

The holy One did hide His face

O Christ, 'twas hid from Thee !
Dumb darkness wrapt Thy soul a space-

The darkness due to me.
But now that face of radiant grace

Shines forth in light on me.

For me, Lord Jesus, Thou hast died,

And I have died in Thee ;
Thou’rt risen—my bands are all untied,

And now Thou liv'st in me.
When purified, made white, and tried,

Thy glory then for me.'

[graphic][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

“The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.'—PROV. IV. 18.

Lives of great men all remind us,

We can make our lives sublime ;
And, departing, leave behind us

Footprints on the sands of time.
Footprints that perhaps another,

Sailing o'er life's solemn main-
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,

Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us, then, be up

With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,

Learn to labour and to wait.'

and doing,

F the true poet it has been said, poeta nasci

tur, non fit. His genius is not so much an acquirement of after life, as a natural

gift ; it is something that is born with him. Something of the same kind holds true, in a certain sense, in the case of the most distinguished Christians, the men who have held the highest rank among the saints, and who have been the instruments of achieving the greatest amount of good upon the earth.

If you search the records of all history, I believe it will be found that the noble army, which have fought the good fight of faith with the valour of giants, and won the most glorious victories, are not the men who have spent their early days in indolence and vice, serving divers lusts and passions, and only surrendering themselves to Christ when their mental powers were enfeebled, and their earthly course was drawing to a close. Such men, like comets, may have startled the Christian world, either by their erratic movements, or even by the blaze of sudden light which they have put forth ere passing away; and I do not deny that the conversion of a sinner in the decline of life, and the good which he has thereby been enabled to accomplish, are to be reckoned amongst the greatest miracles which it is possible for divine grace to achieve.

But I maintain, notwithstanding, that the men who, of all others, have been most eminently useful, are those who have been born from above in early life, or who by the Holy Spirit have been sanctified from the very womb. These I reckon to be the great magnitudes in the spiritual firmament—the lights that have been shining from the very outset of their Christian course, shining continuously, unobscured by any dark clouds, and shining onwards and onwards with increasing lustre, till they have gone down, and passed within the vail.

That, I believe, was the case with James Nisbet. He died full of years, and full of good works, and he has left behind him a noble name, and a fragrant memory. But his heart was given to the service of Christ when he was very young ; and all the habits by which he was distinguished, were formed, not amid the decrepitude of age, but in early life. Everything in his character that was excellent or praiseworthy, had its origin in habits that were begun amid the brightness and freshness of his youth. His prayerfulness, both in the closet and the family—his rising at an early hour in the morning—his strict observance of the sanctity of the Sabbath-the regularity of his attendance on the services of the sanctuary—his distribution of tracts and of good books—his love for the fellowship of godly men—his tender care for the widow and the fatherless—his warm and passionate love for little children--his close and faithful attention to the business of life-his exemption from the gross vices of a world lying in wickedness—his genuine and largehearted liberality—his temperance and moderation in the use of the bounties of God's providence—and his earnest zeal for the salvation of souls and for the


extension of the church of Christ,-in all these we discover the distinctive features of his character, and the prominent movements of his every-day life. But he did not need to learn them, when his business transactions were crowned with abundant success, and, obtaining a name and a place amongst the saints, he was chosen and set apart as an office-bearer in the church of Christ. The little seeds which yielded so large a harvest were all sown in the days of his youth ; and the first lessons, which have led to results which have made thousands to wonder and admire, were all carefully learned when he was little more than a mere boy.

What a lesson does this teach to the young! May the impression of it abide for ever in your hearts ; and, instead of wasting your earliest days in idleness and frivolity, may you have grace given from above to learn, amid the brightness and freshness of your youth, the lessons I have been seeking to draw from the life of James Nisbet ; that, emulating his holy example, and consecrating your every talent to the service of the great Redeemer, your path through life may be like the light of the morning sun, which shineth more and more unto the perfect day; and that, when your earthly course is finished, and you go hence, the lustre of your holy example, and the memory of your righteous deeds, instead of sinking into endless oblivion, may long remain lingering with their blessed

« ForrigeFortsett »