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retain more of the child and of childhood to modify and mould the coarser features of adult life. If
“The boy is father to the man," the man must continue to honor that father, and cherish his nur. ture and monitions, according to the spirit of the commandment that bath the promise.
It is not strange then, but altogether natural, that this little prayer of childhood should have been found to many so dear and precious even when the almond blossoms began to cover their heads with their crown of soft white glory. It is said that John Quincy Adams, and also Bishop Hedding of the Methodist Church, were in the habit of repeating this little prayere very pight from the time it was taught to them by their mothers to the end of their lives. The same is true of thousands, who find the words and spirit of this prayer altogether adapted to their devout use in commending themselves into the hands of God just before closing their eyes in nightly sleep.
There have been also many amusing cases of notoriously wicked men, who, when sudden danger threatened them on sea or land, anxious to pray but unable to utter anything, began with the words imbedded in their memory by a mother's pious care, saying: "Now I lay me down to sleep." An instance is well authenticated of a man who had been piously trained by his mother, but who afterwards boldly affected to be an atheist. Overtaken by a fierce thun. derstorm, when on a journey on horseback, he rode hastily for shelter under a tree wbich was soon after struck by ligbtning; fearfully alarmed, and scarcely knowing whether he was dead or alive, he commenced crying out : “Now I lay me down to sleep."
Such incidents reveal how shallow a thing infidelity is. It may coil itself like a deceitful serpent around the mind, and be a presence there cold to the sense of the victim and repulsive to the one who beholds it, but it fails in most cases to reach the heart, which always gives a truer signal; and especially if a mother's care and love bag once filled that heart with fragrant religious memories, it will carry its latent riches of reverence for sacred things even when the outward life has been deformed and disfigured by sin. No doubt this little prayer instilled into the heart in innocent rosy childhood, has been in thousands of cases a "seed tbat remained” when mind and life had been corrupted and spoiled by the rude, unbelieving, and sinfal ways of the world. The same feeling which caused the dying Lieutenant in a Hospital to exclaim, "God of my Mother, hear te!" will cause many a prodigal, who may otherwise cast off all re. straints and habits of piety, to call to mind, as he lies down for the night, this beautiful prayer so often repeated after his mother's voice in earlier, purer and better days,
A mother's influence is proverbial. Out of the quiet inner circle of home life she moulds, and afterwards by her own spirit in them, still rules kings and princes, the great, the wise, the representative men of the world. Even king Lemuel will not forget, amid the splendors of the throne, the words "that bis mother taught him.” Let philosophers go on with their teaching, the mother's influence shall not be far bebind them. If her lessons do not even 'outreach their wisdom, they will surely mingle with them and sanctify tbem to their true end, and use. Let not the day of small things be dis. pised :
“For little things,
THE CONTENDING POWERS.
BY D. GANS.
Virtue is a plant of difficult growth. In this world it is surroun. ded by an unfavorable atmosphere and bas to contend with many violent storms. Yet if it die, there is no circumstance that will palliate the misfortune, and if it live it will be a hardy plant, beautifying with its flowers a dreary and desolate world, and sus. taining by its fruits many noble aspirations which would otherwise perish.
Virtue and vice contend for the mastery upon the same stage, but the circumstances are very different. The plaudits of the million greet and nerve the latter, while but a few voices, low and faint, reach the former. Vice is the spontaneous out-gusbing of the human heart, natural and easy in all its acts, while virtue is a labored effort at every step, requiring for its continuance under an active form a clear mind and determined will. Vice, in its progress, bas a clear field. The distinction between right and wrong has been obliterated; the principle of honor bas been removed out of the way; the voice of conscience has been bushed, and the idea of accountability has been shoved so far into the future, that it is seldom found to obtrude as a real present obstacle. Virtue is affected and modified in its activity by all these forces. It is bound by law, while vice, like the rushing stream, sweeps before it every providential barrier and glories in the freedom of its own reckless nature. Vice is crowned in the very efforts it makes, while virtue, though it labor hard and incessantly, must yet wait long for its reward. Vice is attended by a present prosperity, which fans its un. hallowed fires and quickens its unholy instincts. It is robed in purple. Large domains lie conquered at its feet. Princely retinues wait its bidding. Halls of revelry lie open to it. Merriment and song are heard in its palace. Even those, upon whose brows 'shame itself is ashamed to sit,' nevertheless themselves sit upon the highest thrones and share in the largest fortunes.
With virtue it is very different. It cannot do what vice can. Honorable poverty it prefers to ill.gotten gain. It has no jubilant songs to ring out upon the multitude over the degradation of truth and the destruction of right. In the competition with vice, it has no present success whereby to prove its legitimacy and gain friends to its standard. Generally, its position is humble—its countenance is subdued, and not unfrequently may be seen upon it evident marks of inward grief and pain.
Why is it that virtue must thus fight its way, while the progress of vice is so easy? Why is it that virtue must wait so long for its reward, while vice is crowned immediately? Is it because there is no God upon the throne of the universe? Or is it because God favors vice, and is indifferent to the cause of virtue ? No, neither of these is true, but the opposite of both is the fact. The reason We seek elsewhere. Virtue, like gold, to become fully purified, requires the fire; and like the victorious wrestler in the Olympic games, to have its powers fully matured, must be painfully exer. ciscd. Its nature is compacted by every defeat which it sustains. It is a trial to behold the present victories of vice, but it is a trial wbich adds new strength to virtue. It teaches patience and submission. To be compelled to be active without the stimulus of a present reward, is to cast it upon the principle of faith and make its activity pure and disinterested. Truth, and right, and honor are, in themselves, irrespective of reward, worthy of our sacrifices and most earnest efforts. God is not willing that we should bold this only in the way of theory, but requires that we actualize it also in the way of practice, by voluntarily choosing virtue, though it lead to trial and present pain, ratber than vice though it be now ready to place its glittering crown upon our heads. This practical struggle of virtue matures its life; and when it shall have success. fully endured the conflict and risen up out of the dark world of strife to the throne of light to receive its crown, it will fully justify the apparent contradictions which God bas permitted to exist in the world. Virtue saved and matured in a comparatively few minds, will be worth more through the endless ages of eternity, than all the gain of vice which terminates forever with time.
Bat virtue is not loft wholly to the withering power of discouragement. Though it may be able to point to no outward gladsome signs, it yet realizes much inward joy and satisfaction. In its defeat it bears in it the sense of victory. Because it is in the right, its effort to accomplish the right is pleasant. Its groans are sweeter music than the jubilant songs of vice, and the libations of its tears more cheering than the wine poured from a thousand cups. Virtue, though it can claim few victories over the world in the form of wealth, position and pleasure, carries in it nevertheless a real present reward. The rays that concentrate in it from the future create a present ligbt which clearly reveals the darkness of vice by which it is surrounded. Its sense of purity and righteous. ness makes it strong in the midst of weakness, courageous in dan. ger, contented in suffering and even hopeful wben vice is revelling amid its grandest trophies. Virtue gives to the hut of poverty the grandeur of a palace, and to rags more than the beauty of the royal robe. It gives a real pleasure to every sacrifice which is made in its cause and prepares even to meet death itself with a strength of purpose that excludes all fear and regret, whilst upon the pallid brow, cold and still, it weaves a crown more glorious and unfading than ever adorned the bead of a king. In every agony it hears the voice, which it knows to be potent for all the world : "Be still, and know tbat I am God.”
Here virtue receives its chief encouragement. In the dark vicissitudes—amid the confusion of conflicting elements—when clouds overbang the sky, and vico seems to sweep everything before it, virtue, however sad at heart, raises her head and distinctly sees God—the mighty king—the Supreme Ruler of the world.
Vain indeed are the mere resolves of the human mind against insidious and powerful temptations of vice. The boldest and the strongest have already been swept away like cobwebs by the storm king, or brush-wood by the raging torrent. True virtue is com. posed of better stuff than human policy, prudence or resolution. Love of the beautiful, love of the pure, and love of the good, for their own sakes, is the highest point to which, in its natural form, it has been enabled to rise; but even from this point, in the case of some of the noblest minds, it bas been dragged to the deepest depths of vice and crime. Never did the flowers of the Grecian literature give such attractive grace to the principles of right and honor, as that they, by their own force, would constrain the homage of the heart. It is not the Beautiful, the Pure and the Good, as Ideals, that can nerve the will and charm the affections into obedience to the law of right for its own sake. Before these ideals can have sufficient power they must become incarnate in our being, and spread through us their beauty. purity and goodness And the law of right must be scen, not in its abstract form, because thus, at best it is cold and unattractive, but as taking to it flesh and blood-as rising up among us in human form-as uttering warm words-as breathing living counsels—as meekly contending with vice and as infallibly illustrating virtuemas seen, in a word, exbi. bited in the glorious Saviour, "God with us." Here is the right under a living form, which alone can charm into being and mature into power the inward love which springs from the Beautiful, the Pure and the Good which have entered us. With this love in us, and the law of right beaming from human features in Christ, and speaking from His every act, we will realize the enthusiasm of virtue, placing it beyond all price, and capable of withstanding all assaults.
This is the inward pature of virtue under its Christian form. la the enumeration of the seven graces, made by the Apostle, we learn that virtue is the second : "Add to your faith virtue." It implies faith, and faith implies a change of nature -the absence of vice, impurity and deformity, and the presence of the Beautiful, Pure and Good. Virtue implies this faith as its basis-the foundation on which it stands, and from which it beholds the absolute
right incarnate in the living Redeemer. Here is the spirit-here is the basis, and here is the model of all truo virtue.
Will right ultimately succeed over wrong? From the bosom of true virtue, Faith answers, Yes. It faulters not, it doubts not. It knows that the Lord is God; it knows that He who made the world still governs it; and it knows that in the Redeemer abso. lute sovereignty was inaugurated in the life of the world, which will torn, and overturn until vice shall be sifted out and virtue triumphantly established.
Confusion may reign for a time. The contest between truth and error may be allowed to go forward for many ages; but in every effort moral nerve is being created, human wills are being more firmly organized, and society as a whole is being elevated to higher stages of perfection. God is working by means, maturing strength by means of the contention which He permits, and even by tbe victories, here and there, which He allows vice to achieve. The progress of virtue is none the less real for being silent, and the power effecting this progress is none the less divine for the use which it makes of human instrumentalities. God is sovereign of of the world; and God favors virtue; and virtue must ultimately triumph.
The virtue in which faith is ensbrined yields not to fear. It allows no fluttering of the beart when dangers threaten. “Therefore will we not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, and though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.” Anid the most violent rage of men, when those, whose virtue is not permeated by faith and thus fastened upon God, are trembling and crying out with fear, he in whose breast true virtue reigns, bears the voice of God, and is still.
He is not inactive, but calm in action. It is the very nature of virtue to be vigorous and energetic, but its vigor and energy are calm and noiseless. It is like the motion of the planets-the sweep of comets—the change of seasons-action, mighty, but silent. it is the silent lightning that kills, not the roaring thunder. Affec. tive energy lies not in the tempest, the earthquake, or the fire, but in the still small voice. It lies in the calm spirit that sees every where, amid the war of elements, the majesty of God, and which in a meek and quiet way strives to carry out His will, with the unquestioning conviction that this will must ultimately triumph over all opposition.
This is the model of effective power for man. He who from His throne said, "Be still, and know that I am God," was the same as He who, amid the waves of Galilee, said, “ Peace, be still.” Follow Him where you may-to the retirement of the mountain, to the grave of His friend, to the ball of His foes; see Him amid the garden, behold Him on the cross, and everywhere, He is calm and serene, because His human nature reposes in the divine, wbich is omnipotent and cannot be moved. He doubts not, He fears not, He knows that, though He die, the powers of darkness must ulti