Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

Most of the inhabitants of Eichberg, however, had true sym. pathy for the respected Jacob and his amiable daughter; and many fathers and mothers said to each other, “ Even the best of us are liable to fall. Who would have thought this of these good people? Yet-perhaps it is not so, and then God will bring their innocence to light! And even were it so, God will be with them, and teach them to acknowledge their fault, and repent, and will avert the dreadful fate that threatens thein. He will in mercy preserve us from sin, from which we are indeed, in ourselves, not safe.”

The village children stood together in groups weeping. “Ah, if they are imprisoned," said they, “ we shall get no more fruit from honest old Jacob, nor Aowers from the good Mary; they ought not to send them to prison.”

A SCENE IN A SICK CHAMBER.

A sick bed! what thoughts and feelings does it summon up! who remembers not the anxious hours, as they have kept their faithful watch over the loved ones, catching and treasuring up the words that in the intervals of pain have escaped from the sufferer's Jips. They may be common words, but at such a time, they are gifted with a power peculiarly their own. They strike home to the heart, and find a lodgement there, to come up in after years as mementos of the past—as safeguards for the future, acting as a sacred talisman. And how much do we learn from the sick-bed! What patient endurance, and meekness in the midst of suffering do we see, when we are by those who have valued their privileges of Christian communion, and have walked with God. Many a narrative can the parish Priest tell of the soothing effect of true religion, at that moment, when the ties of life are being broken, and earth is passing away from view, as the soul disembodied is about to rest in Abraham's bosom. High and low, rich and poor, all alike have furnished, and do daily furnish, bright illustrations of this truth. The details of the sick-bed are sacred. No unholy hand should uplift the vail, and unfold recklessly the secrets of the soul's communings. Yet now and then matters occur which may be well put upon record for the benefit of those who coine after. An incident has come to our knowledge, which well deserves mention. It is not for us to lay before our readers all the events connected with the apparently last hours of one, who well deserves the title of a saint." No! her sacred words shall still be kept so-for she has not yet been taken to her home.

A holy woman, brought up and nourished in the faith of the Church of England; and one who holds and embraces the full Catholic teaching of that Church, was lying on what seemed the bed of death. Her son, a Priest, was summoned to her side. During some days he had sweet converse with her, and night by night gave her his blessing. At length he was summoned shortly after midnight to her bedside. To all human appearance a few short hours were all that remained to her of life. She gazed affectionately on the mournful group, expressed her last wishes, and then asked for the blessed Communion. A shadow settled on the face of the son. He was away from his own parish, and in his haste had not brought with him the sacred vessels. With the views he entertained of the blessed Eucharist, he could not brook the idea of celebrating as a common meal the departing soul's viaticum. His hesitation was seen. It was observed by one standing by, who read the current of the Priest's thoughts, and observed that in a case of extremity extraordinary means were justifiable, and the necessary appliances might be dispensed with. Not so thought the sick woman. She knew what her son's strong feelings were. She knew what was due to the commemorative sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ. Uplifting herself in bed, and raising her hand with such solemn awe, as will never be forgotten by those who witnessed it, she said, “No! Let all things be done decently and in order."

The morning dawned, and the sufferer lingered, though evidently sinking fast. The Priest had once been curate of that parish. It was there he commenced his sacred ministry. He, therefore, had no difficulty in obtaining the sacred vessels and vestments. He spread the table, placed in its proper position, and vested as best it could be under the circumstances. He placed upon himself a pure, clean surplice, and then commenced the administration of the solemn service. It was a moment long to be remembered. The aged mother receiving the blest memorials at the hand of that son, who had first heard from her lips the deep truths it is now his happy lot to teach. Reverently she received the sacred emblems, and placed her hands across her breast. It was observed that a heavenly calmness settled upon her face as soon as she had received. The pain was lulled. She had been strengthened by the bread of life. It was no common food—but the food of immortality which she had then received. The concluding prayer is said. Again the group stand round, watching the change, and uplifting their hearts in thankfulness to God for having so fully blessed the means employed, and answered the prayers of those who realize the fact that the Eucharist is for the preservation of the body as well as the soul.

When all was hushed again, the Priest looked tenderly on his mother, and asked whether he could do anything more. “No, replied she, “what more can I want, when I have received the Body and Blood of Christ. But let me thank you, my dear son, for the manner in which you have celebrated this Holy Communion. Why do not the Clergy always wear the surplice when they administer ? Should not that high service be celebrated with as much ceremonial in a sick chamber as in the Church? Thank you for doing so. For I lost the son in the Priest of God.”

Thus she spake. What else she added we reserve. The strength given in that banquet has not failed her yet. Still she lingers; and they who know not the wonder-working power of faith, may deem her superstitious, when she still thanks God for answering prayer at that most solemn time. All that we could say upon this subject, would seem cold and dead to those who have not fully pondered the mysteries of the kingdom of God. We have given her words on the propriety of a decent celebration, and we hope they may have effect. They are the words of one who has lived a life of prayer and faith—one who has avoided the strife of tongues, and found peace in the tabernacles of God-one who has a full and wonderful appreciation of the Sacramental system

-one who said on that eventful morning, “ Thank God I die in the faith of the Church of England.”.

Reader ! pause and think over this narrative. It is a plain, unvarnished statement of an actual fact. We speak that we know, and testify that we have seen; for he who pens these words is the Priest, and she who spake them his mother. To God the praise.

THOUGHTS FOR SS. SIMON AND JUDE'S DAY.

The Church of CHRIST,” S. Paul saith, “ is built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner-stone.” They continued the work which He began, and to them was left the completion of the edifice, whose foundations were laid by the Son of God Himself on the holy bill of Calvary. In this work they laboured, toiled, bore the burden and heat of the day, and finally cemented it with their life-blood. But little is preserved to us of the details of their labours. Even of those who played the most conspicuous part, and of whom most is known, it is, after all, but little that has conie down to us. How much more do we long to know of the acts of S. Peter and S. Paul, of loving John,

[ocr errors]

'or obedient Andrew, or repentant Thomas! Yet, natural as such longings are, they must not be indulged. Had it been good for us to have known more, the Holy Ghost would have caused it to have been written for our instruction.

Of the holy Apostles whom the Church commemorates to-day, little beyond their names has been recorded. They were both relations, according to the flesh, of our Blessed LORD, and it has been generally believed, suffered martyrdom together in Persia. Besides this, all that we know of them is, that Simon was called sometimes the Canaanite, sometimes Zelotes; and that S. John has preserved a conversation of our SAVIOUR's, in which S. Jude took part, and that he left behind him an epistle addressed to the Church at large.

So very little, then, remains to us of the history of these eminent servants of God. The world is filled with recitals of the mighty deeds of the princes of this world; historians hasten to chronicle, and poets delight to sing in their choicest strain, the exploits of the kings, warriors, and statesmen, of the transitory and perishing kingdoms of this earth. But with regard to the lofty achievements and stern self-denials of these princes of " that kingdom which shall never be destroyed,” there is “no voice, nor any to answer, por any that regardeth our natural curiosity to know how they fought the good fight of faith. The result of their labours is given us in Holy Scripture, and the Holy Church throughout all lands is a witness and a trophy of their victory ; but of the details of their daily life, the various steps by which they won their way, their respective successes and reverses, progresses and disappointments, we scarcely know anything. God's ways are not our ways, nor His thoughts our thoughts; and He would thus teach us that we are to do our duty, not looking for our reward on earth, but seeking to have it laid up with Him, to be given us at the last great day.

But besides this general lesson, each of the Apostles whom we this day hold in honour has his own precept to deliver. S. Simon bids us “be zealous." He is known as the zealot, probably from the fierceness and ardour of his Judaism before his conversion ; and Holy Scripture, by retaining the name, would seem to mark this quality of zeal with special honour. And this is worth considering; for in these days, if men wish to speak disparagingly of another, they often call him a zealot, and talk of zeal in a kind of condemnatory tone, as if it were a very bad quality, and dangerous both to its possessor and society at large. The idle, unbelieving world cannot bear to see persons earnest, 1.e. zealous in religion; and therefore it hates zeal, and ridicules it. We have lately seen some very sad instances of this, when saintly women, " zealous of good works,” and shaming, by their devotion to their Crucified REDEEMER, the easy indolence of popular preachers and popular religionists, have experienced at the hands of those whose lukewarmness their deeds of love rebuked, treatment the most ungenerous, uncandid, and unchristian. But this we know ever has been, and ever will be. The world could not understand the zeal of the Apostles, neither can it that of those whom the Holy Ghost now prompts to high and generous deeds. Mixed as we are with the world, and thrown of necessity into the midst of it, there is need to be careful lest we catch its tone, and think it is safe to substitute the decent coldness of the nineteenth century, for the earnest, self-denying zeal of the apostolic age. Perhaps there never was a time in which there was so little zeal in the Church, or so much need of it. If the heathen abroad or at home are to be converted to Christ, it can only be done by the raising up amongst us men penetrated with the spirit of Simon the zealot.

And as this holy Apostle bids us be zealous, his brother S. Jude points out that for which we are to be zealous,-the purity of the faith. “Contend earnestly," he saith, “ for the faith once delivered to the saints.” We have need now to lay the warning to heart; for not only do “ungodly men creep in among us,” denying the grace of sacraments, and bringing in "another Gospel which is not a Gospel,” but the whole spirit of the age runs in the direction of indifference to definite truth; and perhaps, before long, the Church will have to battle for her very Creeds. But here, as before, the popular side is not the right side.

The truth of God is “the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.” It is contained in Holy Scripture, summed up in the creeds, enacted in the sacraments, embodied in the sacred seasons, delivered in the teaching of the priesthood. What God hath thus joined together, we dare pot separate. Neither may we alter or tamper with that precious deposit. As we have received it, we must hand it down, uninjured, unimpaired; whether men hear, or whether they forbear ; whether we fall in with, or run counter to, the opinions of the day. And thus, and thus alone, may we hope to have our lot at the last with S. Simon and S. Jude.

J. B.

Democritus, the philosopher, as he was travelling abroad in the world came to the court of Darius, king of Persia, whom he found overwhelmed with grief for the death of one of his most beautiful wives; to whom Democritus promised that he would restore her to life again, if he would provide him things necessary for such a business. Darius, much rejoicing at this promise, bade him ask for

whatsoever he would have. Democ. ritus told him that, amongst other ingredients, he must have the names of three men who had never met with any sorrow in the whole course of their lives. The king told him that was impossible to be done. “Then," said Democritus, “what a fool art thou, which desirest to be freed from that fortune which is thus common to all men."--Pez, Mel. Hist.

« ForrigeFortsett »