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This prophecy was uttered in 1844, and five years have set their seal on its absurdity. Poor France—the beacon, rather than the example of the nations! Within a few weeks she has been almost shaken out of Republicanism, into some other form of government because a few dirty little boys hung one or two of her blighted 'trees of Liberty' with colored rags. Let us as Englishmen, bless God, in the fulness of our hearts, that he has given us a free and glorious constitution.
THE STRANGER FROM AFAR. In one of the busiest of earth's busy cities, a stranger from a far country took up his abode. His weary countenance and travel-stained apparel betokened poverty and hardship; yet there was something in his aspect which riveted the notice of all who saw him. Establishing himself in the market-place, he offered gifts for acceptance,-raiment of marvellous texture, white and glistening; but the fastidious turned aside with scornful glance, they could not brook garments of such unfashionable make: a peerless pearl, but the required exchange was too costly; crowns of gold, but the feudal homage attached was disdained ; rich estates, but the title deeds bore conditions alike distasteful to the refined and self-complacent residents in this oriental city. Small chance for the stranger, if his livelihood depended upon the success of these efforts !
He tried another scheme, and quitting his post in the exchange, he donned the physician's garb, and proclaimed his mission to heal the sick; but no patients came. None confessed a malady,--and “if they were ill, they had physicians and medicines of their own, suited to their constitutions, and adapted to their climate." A precious balm was offered-none had wounds to cure.—A valuable eye salve,—could he not see their bright eyes ? they were not blind! An elixir which would secure happiness; they thanked him with civil contempt, but replied, “they were not miserable,”—they had “need of nothing." Enviable people! the benevolent physician's trouble seemed lost!
Nothing daunted, and anxious to fulfil the purpose of his long and perilous journey, the indefatigable traveller went abroad into the fields and lanes round about the city; penetrated its dismal alleys and crowded courts, surveying the wretchedness which lurks in corners and bye-ways: and his compassion was stirred, as he saw the thousands, who were starving for bread, perishing "for lack of knowledge.” “Ho! every one that thirsteth !” he cried in dreary districts, and multitudes thronged around him. With wondrous words of mild authority, he taught them such things as angels desire to look into; he spread before them a feast of the simplest food, and men, women,
and children all ate with eager relish, not only till their craving was appeased, but till they were, for once, fully fed; so that they left fragments of their hearty meal, scattered over the green sward, when they retired, blessing the charity of their stranger benefactor.
The lame, the blind, the deaf, the dumb, crossed his path, and with untiring energy, he sought to mitigate their woes; and he was so successful, that soon his fame spread far and wide, till the ruler and the priest began to fear the unassuming stranger might become too popular. But when they sought to interfere, they could lay nothing to his charge-his taxes were duly paid, his religious rites punctually fulfilled, there was nothing to blame !
For two years did the stranger dwell in the land, reproving, exhorting, and comforting all to whom he had access; mingling occasionally in the festive scene, but oftener cheering the abode of wretchedness and bereavement. During this time he had gained many hearts, won the affection of numbers who knew neither physical ease nor mental happiness, till he had ministered to them. One little band of faithful friends, affectionately attended his steps, and treasured up the wisdom which continually dropped from his lips.
But now the period drew near for an unparalleled act of love and devotion to the welfare of others.
This whole community had rebelled against their rightful sovereign; but it was so long ago, and they had since been so successful in following out the devices of their own will, that the fact had been well nigh forgotten. Indeed, they wished to forget it, and could not endure being reminded of their natural dependence upon their original head. Because punishment was deferred, they concluded that, by and bye, their sovereign would overlook their conduct. He had left off wearying them with messengers; perhaps he had forgotten their rebellion, or was too merciful to be very severe. Moreover, in an unwonted fit of humility, they declared that in comparison to his vast domains, their territory was so extremly insignificant, they could not conceive that they should be of sufficient consequence to provoke his indignation. Their great lawyers too, insisted that the terms of the original treaty might be construed to signify that the worst they had to apprehend, was the extinction of all sensibility or consciousness of suffering. Alas! they laid the flattering unction to their souls, and whispered “Peace, peace, when there was no peace.”
This long interval of ease and calm was owing, not more to the long-suffering forbearance of offended majesty, than to the faithful promise of an adequate ransom to be secured by the costliest sacrifice that mortal or immortal beings could render.
And who was to make the sacrifice ? None other than the lowly and despised stranger, who had mingled unheeded among the thoughtless rebels. And what was it to be ? His own life-blood; his soul's agony; the endurance of his Father's anger; his own utter desolation. "And it was so." His disciples forsook him, and fled. His Father's sustaining smile was withdrawn. Bodily anguish forced a loud and bitter cry, as he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
Well might thick darkness overspread the skies when the sun of righteousness quitted the guilty earth! The giddy multitude pointed with mocking laugh and gibe. “Himself he cannot save;" his weeping friends stood "afar off," or retired into secret nooks and left him, their noblest benefactor, to die alone!
Yet not alone, for in the journey from earth to heaven, one human spirit gratefully accompanied him;~a sinner whose guilt was of deepest dye-who, till the last moment had persisted in his evil courses-who, at the last moment had proved the power and willingness of his Redeemer to deliver him from everlasting death. “One sinner was pardoned as he hung on the cross,” says an old divine, “that none may despair, and but one, that none may presume.”
Imagine yourself, my young reader, a resident in Jerusalem during the eventful years of our Lord's ministry. What part
“ If I
you have taken? “I would ask him to put his hands on me and bless me,” remarked a little girl of tender age. “And I would ask him to cure my lameness,” added the faint voice of an afflicted boy. “I would beg to sit at his feet,” is the wish of a contemplative young lady. “I would follow him whithersoever he went,” responds the ardent activity of a devoted missionary.
but touch the hem of his garment,” is the timid hope of some penitent “Mr. Fearing,” or “Daughter Much-afraid.” “Sir, we would see Jesus!" is the filial aspiration of the matured Christian.
Come then, you can all have your desires gratified. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.” “According to your faith be it unto you.” As the centurion truly said, “Speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.” So the Lord's arm is not shortened that it cannot save, nor his ear heavy that it cannot hear. The very same conviction of our Saviour's willingness and capacity, which led the sick and infirm to his healing hand, should prompt the morally diseased to seek his aid in the present day; and it will be as promptly, as surely rendered.
Though withdrawn from our bodily vision, He stands but "at the door," ready to respond to the first intimation of “Behold, he prayeth!” and as if to convince us that all future suppliants might assure themselves of similar compassion, He, himself, asserts that “other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also must I bring that there may be one fold and one shepherd.” Blessed words for us Gentiles! “Neither
I for these alone,” pleads our Divine Intercessor, in his parting prayer with his disciples, “ but for them also which shall believe on me through their words.” How closely should Christians of all ages,
feel they are knit together by their Master's prayer! There is something peculiarly consoling in contemplating the Redeemer though each stage of his humanity, with the amazing variety of misery he relieved! He who needed not that any should testify what was in man, because he knew full wellknows still, and from his mercy-seat within the veil of the heavenly temple, waits to be gracious ; ever presenting before His Father's throne, that precious blood which is at once the cause and the seal of the sinner's acceptance with God.
E. W. P.
THE BIBLE, A POPULAR BOOK. In order to interpret aright the Bible narrative of the Creation, we must bear in mind that every visible object is spoken of, not according to its scientific character—that would have been not merely improper but impossible except at the price of consistency--but optically, or according to its appearance, just as with all our knowledge of the solar system, we . speak, even in scientific works, of the sun as rising and setting. “Should a stickler for Copernicus and the true system of the world,” says J. D. Michaelis, “ carry his zeal so far as to say • The city of Berlin sets at such an hour,' instead of making use of the common expression, • The sun sets at Berlin at such an hour,' he speaks the truth to be sure, but his manner of speaking it is pedantry."
For example: Had there been an unscientific human spectator of the creative process, the atmosphere would have appeared to his eye as it does still to every untutored eye, a firm and solid expanse sustaining the waters above. The sun and the moon would have appeared to be “two great lights” of nearly equal magnitude, compared with which all the astral systems deserved only that which is allotted to them-a passing word. The describer is supposed to occupy an earthly position, himself the centre of the universe. The earth is said to have brought forth grass, and the waters to have produced living creatures: though we are to believe that no creative power was delegated to the elements to produce them, but that they were made in full perfection by the simple volition of Omnipotence; but then, to a human looker-on they would so appear to have been produced. And the Fiat is said to have issued, “Let the dry land appear,” when there was no human eye to see it; but had there been a spectator, it would have risen to his view as if such a command had been literally given. And if to this optical mode of description it be objected that as there was no human spectator, the account can only be received and interpreted as an allegorical representation, we reply that it is the very method for answering its great design, that of being popularly intelligible; and that the way in which it becomes both intelligible and vividly graphic is by placing the reader, in imagination, in the position of a spectator. But