Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

AN EVENING HYMN.

"NUN SICH DER TAG GEENDET HAT."

FROM THE GERMAN BY THE EDITOB.

This evening Hymn, by John Frederick Herzog, born 1670, composed whilst he was a student at the University, bas long been a favorite with thousands of Christians. It has not only been an evening Hymn, but also an evening Prayer. It has been, and is still, to German Christians, what "Now I lay me down to sleep,” has been to children--the prayer with which they close their eyes for the rest of the night.

And now the light of day is gone,

The evening shadows fall
Sleep comes to bring its sweet relief

From toil and care to all.

But Thou, my God, dost never sleep,

Thou watchest day and night;
There is no darkness, Lord, with Thee,

For Thou Thyself art light.

Then in the darkness of this night,

Think graciously on me;
And let Thy holy angel hosts.

My kind protectors be.

I feel my sins that daily cry,

O holy Lord, to Thee;
Yet the rich merits of Thy Son,

Have satisfied for me.

With cheerful trust I close my eyes,

And seek my nightly rest ;
My God will guard me while I sleep,

Why should I be distressed.
Lord if this night should be my last

In this dark world of sin,
To Heaven, with all Thy ransomed hosts,

May I be gathered in.

Thus would I live and die, dear Lord,

With childlike trust in Thee;
In life and death, in fear and care,

Thou carest, Lord, for me.

GOOD BREEDING.-I think that none can do so much good in the world, who are not well bred, as those who are. In truth, it is only a modern phase for that “charity" which St. Paul emphati. cally says, “doth not behave itself unseemly, and is not easily provoked; which vaunteth not itself, and is not puffed up, which suffereth long, and is kind.

THE FATHERLAND,

BY THE EDITOR.

Jesus Christ is the fountain of History. There was no history before IIim except that which wrought the necessary preparation for His coming. The promise given immediately after the Fall, that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head is the beginning of the true history. The holy people who looked for the coming of Christ, the seed, became the central nation in history. God governed all other nations with a favoring reference to them.

In like manner Christianity is the central stream of history. The central thought of God in the government of the world is to favor and advance Christianity. The mediatorial kingdom of Jesus Christ in history holds the same position as the sun in the natural heavens ; to it all other nations are subordinate and subservient, as planets to their ruling orb. For it He sets up nations, and for it He casts them down when ever they fail to favor this great central purpose.

Jesus Christ is king of all the earth. “The kingdom is the Lord's; and He is the governor among the nations.“For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.”

It is a great mistake to suppose that governments are designed to serve a mere earthly end. They are not creatures of men, but powers higher than men, and ordained of God. The ruler may be of the nation's own selection ; but when selected and invested with the power of office, “he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid ; for he beareth not the sword in vain; for be is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.”

But as a “higher power,” government is not independent of God. It is subject to Him. Rulers reign by the grace of God; and governments must subserve the interests of the mediatorial kingdom of Christ as the ultimate and highest end of their existence. God hath set His own son, Jesus, "at His own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the Church, which is His body, the fulness of Hinn that filleth all in all.”

From all this it is evident, that no nation can long exist near the central stream of history except as a distinctively Christian nation. We say distinctively Christian; for it is not enough that a supreme being should be acknowledged and confessed. This may be done, and is done by Jews, Turks, and others, where Christianity is not at all recognized. It is not a God—not any God—that is to be confessed, but the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. To Him have all things been subjected. He is King of nations. To be distinctively Christian, He must be confessed in His character as Mediator and Saviour of men-as the only true God, and eternal life.

We ought to be a Christian nation. No nation has ever been go fully committed to Christianity, by all its antecedents—by all the favorable dealings of Providence in its early beginnings. All the European nations began as heathen-Russia, all the German States, France, Britian. Christianity found these peoples as heathen. It had to enter as a leaven into them, and gradually, through victories and defeats, mould them into its life and spirit. This nation was originated by Christians. All its earliest colonies were not in general merely nominally Christian people, but in many cases came to these western sbores under Christian motives-came as refugees from un-christian oppression-came for conscience' sake-came to secure Christian freedom. This country owes its settlement not Bo much to emigration for worldly advantage—which is the impolse under which new colonies have generally been settled-as to emigration induced by considerations of religion in one form or another. Hence the earliest history of all the colonies is a religious history. Historically Christianity forms the roots of our national growth; it breathes and speaks in all the colonial annals of Puritan New England, of Dutch New York, of Quaker and German Penn. sylvania, of Catholic Maryland, of Episcopal Virginia, and the Hugenot Carolinas.

In the light of these facts, it seems strange that our nation should from the beginning have avoided all direct public recognition of Christianity. It is not recognized in the Declaration of Indepen. dence, nor in the Constitution of the nation. The Constitutions of the States nearly all, if not all, avoid it. In the messages of our Chief Magistrates, both State and National, all allusion to Christianity bas been studiously avoided.

The motive in all this has no doubt been a desire not to offend Jews, and unbelievers in Christianity in general. Though the great body of the nation have always been nominally Christian, yet they have had to endure the ignoring of Christianity, and thus the dishonor of Christ, for the sake of the few who disbelieve. We have made our national testimony, or rather want of testimony, as in the presence of a few men, instead of doing it as in the pres. ence of the sovereign God.

We have gone on the presumption, that, while Christianity is to be tolerated and protected, it is to have no honor above any other system. We have gone on the supposition, false though it be, that the government can stand independent of Christianity—that, though important to individuals, it has nothing to do with the national life—that civil science, or political interests are something by the side of religion, and that these may, therefore, be dissociated from each other; in this way we have been willing that our government might be a Godless, Christless fabric, not only formally, but in spirit also, out-side of, and separate from the Christian life of the nation. We have regarded our magistrates only as heads of civil affairs, not ministers of God—the mere organs of men in civil matters, and not the divinely constituted organs of the higher powers ordained of God. We have vainly supposed, that, as we exalt them by our votes, we can also invest them with or divest them at will of the office-investing the power of rulers as the choice of rulers in ourselves. We have supposed it possible for us to be Christians as members of the Church, and at the same time capable of disowning Christianity as members of the State. This is not possible. As little as a man can be two men, so little can the government and Christianity be to him two separate interests. Christian men must, in a nation that claims to be a Christian na. tion, find place for the utterance of their Christian testimony through the organs of the nation. A government that makes no provision for such national avowal, but either disowns or ignores it, flatly denies Christ; and hinders the free and full confession of Christianity on the part of its citizens.

That this is a serious evil in the sight of high heaven who can doubt. Though a nominally Christian nation in fact, we have stood before God and the world, denying, in our national capacity, all allegiance to Jesus Christ. As a nation we have in no way confessed Him before men, or acknowledged Him as the true sovereign of the nation under whom God has placed all things for the honor of His kingdom.

May it not be, yes, must we not believe, that our Heavenly Father has been graciously willing, instead of casting us off, to teach us in our national tribulation what we failed to learn in prosperity and peace. In this view it must be grateful to every Chris. tian heart to know, that since our national troubles wo have been led somewhat in the right direction. For the first time in the his. tory of the nation has Christianity been recognized, distinctively, in our national councils since the outbreak of this dreadful rebellion. The Act of Congress of July 22nd 1861, allowing a chaplain to each Regiment, and providing for his appointment, declares that “the chaplain so appointed must be a regular ordained minister of a CHRISTIAN denomination."

In the closing hours of the last Session of Congress, a resolution was unanimously adopted by the Senate of the United States, requesting the President, to designate and set apart a day for national prayer and humiliation. This resolution is peculiar, and of a character distinct and different from any thing of the kind that has proceeded from our national councils since our existence as a nation. Its peculiarity consists in its clear and solemn recognition of Jesus Christ as the Mediator through whom all help and grace must come. This remarkable act of the Senate reads as follows:

Resolved, That, devoutly recognizing the supreme authority, and

just government of Almighty God in all the affairs of men and of nations, and sincerely believing that no people, however great in numbers and resources, or however strong in the justice of their cause, can prosper without His favor, and at the same time deploring the national offences which have provoked His righteous judg. ment, yet encouraged in this day of trouble by the assurances of His word to seek Him for succor according to His appointed way, through Jesus Christ, the Senate of the United States do hereby request the President of the United States, by his proclamation, to designate and set apart a day for national prayer and humiliation, requesting all the people of the land to suspend their secular pursuits and unite in keeping the day in solemn communion with the Lord of Hosts, supplicating Him to enlighten the counsels and direct the policy of the rulers of the nation, and support all our soldiers, sailors, and marines, and the whole people, in the firm discharge of duty, until the existing rebellion shall be overthrown, and the blessings of peace restored to our bleeding country.

Here is not only an acknowledgment, that national sins should be confessed to Almighty God, but also that prayer should be offered and succor sought, under the encouragment and assurances of His word, and " ACCORDING TO HIS APPOINTED WAY, THROUGH JESUS CHRIST." The worth of this bigh and solemn act does not depend upon the spirit of the men who proclaimed this public recognition of Jesus Christ, though it is to be hoped it was sincere. Its value lies in the fact, that it was done by them as the ministers of God” and the organs of the people—the official representatives of the nation. It is & publie, official, national confession, that Jesus Christ is at the head of all dominion, above every name and power in heaven and on earth, and that God has put all things under His feet, and made Him to be head over all things, that to Him every knee should bow and every tongue confess.

To this truly Christian testimony of the Senate, we may add the following from the President's Proclamation, truly evangelical in its tone, and in wbich the need of “redeeming and preserving grace" is acknowledged and confessed. “We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us: and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wis. dom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, to proud to pray to the God that made us.”

May we not hope and believe, that these examples, and this official acknowledgment of the honor, and glory, and grace of Jesus Christ as Head and true Ruler of nations, will somewhat encourage all good citizens to a like confession in their private and public life. There is far too little sense of the great and solemn truth, that

« ZurückWeiter »