« ZurückWeiter »
is engaged at the web and woof, these having been the most ordi. nary branches of female industry, of wifely employment when the language was forming." But may we not lawfully give the word a deeper meaning? Is she not the web and woof of the family? Does not her quiet influence run, like hidden threads, through the family life, holding all together by unseen cords of gentle love? So that, as in a piece of woven cloth, though the threads are invisible, the figures and the finish are clearly seen.
The household duties of the wife, made up as they are of a thousand little things, are not always appreciated in the full ex. tent of their importance. The order of the house, as we see it day by day, is easily taken by us as a matter of course; and we forget to ask ourselves what almost endless details of attention are required to keep it in order. These details of duty, moreover, aro ever recurring. Day by day the same weary round is necessary. Yet we see no great things done; but no less are the many little things truly great. Let the wife be absent a week or two, merely to escape for the time the monotony of house-hold affairs, and we soon learn, from the general confusion that ensues, tbat an impor. tant personage is gone. The tangling of the threads will show, that the one, who “ weaves,” is not at the loom of family affairs ! The moral of this may be stated in a few words. Jei us learn to value a good wife ; and be ashamed of ourselvos, if we bave ever failed to appreciate the unwearied labor which she performs in the house and family.
THE NEW VOLUME.
We have the pleasure of greeting our readers with the first Number of Vol. XIV. By mistake it was announced in some of the business circulars of the late Publisher, that the publication of the Guardian had been suspended for a time at least. The mistake occurred without design; and was corrected in the December No. We appreciate the kind words expressed to us in a number of letters called forth by that mistake. With such friends the Guardian must continue to live.
Being now again fully inaugurated with the new Publishers, the Guardian asks the continued support of its friends. It needs the names of all that are now on its list, and the addition of others, to steer it safely through the year on which it has entered. We will be very thankful to all who shall be able to aid us in increasing its list of subscribers.
New subscribers must be sent to the Publishers, M. KIEFFER & Co., Chambersburg. Payment of back-standing subscriptions must be sent to the old Publishers, “Pearsol & Geist,” Lancaster, Pa. Only such matter as pertains to the Editorial Depart. ment must be sent to the Editor, Lebanon, Pa. We respectfully ask, that these requests be not overlooked ; as much confusion and trouble ensues from sending business letters to the Editor.
VOL. XIV.---FEBRUARY, 1863.---No. 2.
THE GOSPEL AND THE POOR.*
“The poor have the Gospel preached to them.—Matthew xi. 5. The disciples of John having been sent to Christ to enquire if He were the expected Messiah or whether they should look for another, Jesus said unto them-"Go and show John again those things which ye do hear and see ;" enumerating these and closing with the words, "the poor have the Gospel preached to them,” as if this were the most conclusive demonstration of the fulfilment in Him of the prophecies of the Old Testament. Tbis demonstration of His Messiahship reaches its culmination in the fact that His Gospel was preached to the poor,
It is proposed to consider the force of the argument in its relation to the Saviour and the Gospel.
I. The preaching of the Gospel to the poor goes to prove the truth of Christianity, inasmuch as it fulfils the prophecies of tho Old Testament on this subject. From the beginning, the Gospel was foreshadowed in types and always with the idea that it should be brought to the poor-the meek of the earth. Jesus bimsolf summed up the whole idea, when he read the passage from Isaiah in the synagogue: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he bath anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor."
II. The preaching of the Gospel to the poor is an evidence of Christ's Messianic character, inasmuch as it exhibits a striking contrast with the practical results of all other systems of religion that have been offered the world. Thus a negative evidence is afforded of this truth, from the failure of worldly systems of religion, educa. tion, philosophy, &c. In all these, their speculations foll palpably
*Brief sketch of a sermon delivered by Rev. Dr. Nevin, in St. John's church, LebaBon, Pa., December 28th 1862. Reported for the Guardian.-By L, H. S.
short of the evil intended to be remedied. They keep on the surface, and do not go to the ground of the evil. All such efforts rest on the constitution of the present world, and, in such a way, as to lead to an exaggeration of the accidental circumstances of the world. Undue respect is paid to those whose outward circum- . stances are of the first character. The great body of society is thrown out of view. This is a defect in all the thinking and work. ing of the world under the guidance of mere philanthropy. The mere fact that the greater part of Humanity is unnoticed in such systems is an argument against them. Thus, in the Philosophy of the Greeks, a spirit of contempt towards the lower classes was encouraged. It was its custom and fashion to regard the educated classes as radically different from the common people, who were on account of their inferiority beneath attention. So in Political systems they also had regard to the upper class. In Sparta and Rome, the lower classes were considered as but little above the animal world, and only existing to serve the aristocracy. The wants of the latter were held as of paramount importance. The Religions of the world before the introduction of the Gospel were never of a kind to regard seriously and earnestly the great mass of human life especially in its lowest condition. The Gospel differed from all these. It was not a Gospel for the rich but for the poor. It was as broad as Humanity and took in the whole. It specially proposed a redemption, world-wide in character, and was no agragrian scheme,-no Humanitarian scheme acting through knowledge and educational discipline. It laid hold of the problem in its very central life--man must be born again. Thus it proposed to meet the wants of the poor-all forms of suffering, want and misery. In this view, indeed it was Guad Tidings.
III. The Gospel in its constitution is especially adapted to the circumstances of the poor. It proposes no ends which are naturally circumscribed. It came not with mero ideas of human improvement, such as a schemo of internal improvements would have been; although even such would have been grand, still the results would have not been especially for the benefit of the poor, but rather for the rich. It came not with a mere system of politics to remedy defective government, nor as a system of philosophy or education to reform the world. This would not have given an argument for divine origin, because all these systems and ideas rest in the constitution of time and have no reference to a future life. Politics and education rest on the basis of the world; hence they are unequal to the problem before us. A remedy is required that sball descend un. derneath, as it were, the circumstances of this life, to establish an entire revolution of these and adapt them all to a future life.
There is a scheme in the Gospol which will reach all the wants of the race, especially those of the poor and helpless. It declares itself independent of the outward contingencies of life. If it dopended on these it would fail. It treats them all as empty, vain.
The Gospel is the introduction of a new life, hence preeminently suited to the general helplesuess of Humanity. Whenever the
Gospel is so changed that this characteristic is lost, serious injury is done it. If you make it a mere system of morals, if you do away with the Incarnation,-if you impose a doctrine for a life,-you injure, nay, you destroy the argument for the divine origin of the Gospel.
IÙ. The argument becomes complete in that the Gospel is preached effectually to the poor; and, moreover, the circumstances of the poor adapt them to the Gospel. It is a proclamation which comes to the heart. The Gospel is preached with effect to the poor and thus it becomes Glad Tidings. The poor find in the Gospel what they can not find in the schools of the world ; there is a corres. pondence with themselves and the Gospel, not a relation arising from logical necessity. It becomes dear to them through its recog. nition and understanding of their wants. Indeed the Gospel, other things being equal, is more readily embraced and fully enjoyed by the poor, by those in want, than by any others. They that be whole need not a physician, but they tbat are sick.
The condition of poverty may be considered a special prepara. tion for the Gospel. The opening of the eyes of the blind, &c., mentioned in the verse from wbich the text is taken, were outward miracles, but the full force of the Gospel is comprehended in the statement that it is preached to the poor. All wants are implied, whether spiritual or temporal. The Gospel was so understood in the Saviour's time. Not many mighty or rich were brought under its influence. Those in prosperous circumstances were not in a condition to receive it. But its triumphs during the first centuries were among the poor, the lowly, the slaves, the lowest strata of society. Eventually the whole Roman Empire was brought under its influence, and the Cæsars were brought to the feet of the Cross.
We must renounce our wealth, pomp, position, learning-everything, before we can receive the Gospel. Ipasmuch as we lean on these, they establish the tendency to unfit men for the reception of the Gospel. The poor deprived of such worldy advantages, like an empty vessel, are ready to receive the graces offered them, are in the way to bave a felt living correspondence. To whom shall we go but unto Thee, this is the feeling of poverty. Thou hast the words of Eternal Life. The inward sense of want is the preparation, and this we have in entire poverty. When our outward worldly possessions, our props are knocked away, then there is a fitness for the Gospel.
PRACTICAL REFLECTIONS. 1. We are now able to understand why a blessing is pronounced on poverty in the New Testament. This is sometimes made to refer to poverty in spirit and not in wordly goods. But it is plain enough that it is not limited and confined, but really refers to the outward condition, as well as to that of the spirit. Poverty really opens the way for the Gospel. It is a means of grace, al. though thousands neglect it on account of general depravity and hence they become more and more hardened. This is so likewise, over and over again, in cases of public calamity, pestilence and war, men are not led to God but are led in another direction. Still there is a natural connection between these afflictions as means of grace. The Bible is a means of grace, so the sanctuary. All these may be neglected, spurned, thrown aside. If we use not the discipline the fault is in us. Thus we can say, blessed are the poor (not only in spirit but in the worldly quality of their con. dition) because they are in the condition of receptivity of the Gospel. There is an advantage in this outward condition. All worldly trials, afflictions, poverty, public calamities, &c., are means of grace, but all depends on us, whether they sball be a savor of lifo unto life, or death unio death. Though the discipline fails, the design is merciful. Let God be true and every man a liar.
2. This flows from the first. We should derive this practical good from the subject that we should be reconciled to the sufferings, trials, &c., of our present state. They all seem to tend to darkness and despair. As soon as light is saffered to shine upon them from above they grow brighter and brighter. Let us learn to look on ourselves as under the discipline of our Heavenly Father, and that the Gospel is for those that are afflicted. Let us cherish this sentiment to prepare us for the difficulties of life. This is tbe proper armor in losses and afflictions, when the foundations of society give way beneath us. All we need is trust in God; under the influence of this everytbing will bloom and blossom in the pathway of life. Our help must be in Him, wbo though He was rich yet for our sakes became poor.
A LESSON WORTH ENSHRINING.
A lesson in itself sublime,
A lesson worth enshrining
Save when the sun is shining,"
And wisdom never preaches
And sometimes dark and lonely,
And note its bright hours only.
There is no grove on earth's broad chart,
But bas some birds to cheer it;
Although we may not hear it.
Of sorrow is oppressing,