Abbildungen der Seite
[blocks in formation]

“There was another will found," she said simply; "and Aunt Lydia's money is left to other relations as want it more than we do."

“ Then blessings on her, and on them, and every one; and you're my own old Lizzie, and not a haress; and I'm to be raised from Michael. mas, and the West Cottage to be give me rent free; and I am-we are —and don't give another ill thought to it, Mrs. Bright, but take my hand, as 'll be a true son to you, and never thought to be so right down happy again, whatever."

Thus went on William-rather incoherent as to words; but' meanwhile, he had drawn Lizzie close to him, with a proud exultation and joyful tenderness that was perfectly unmistakable and independent of verbal expression. So was the honest brown hand held out to the widow, who as she took it, actually appeared somewhat overwhelmed by this termination of affairs. If it could be supposed of such a very shrewd and indurated person as Mrs. Bright, one might almost say she was touched by the young man's warmth of feeling, and this manifest proof of his disinterested love for her daughter.

As she repeatedly said afterwards, it was handsome in him, and she'd always say so. And in course it came partickler handy as Squire Thorpe should raise his wages, and give him the nice little cottage in the Park just then ; and the fifty pounds which Aunt Lydia had left to her niece Elizabeth, beyond any dispute, and which they did at last get out of the lawyers, safe and sure, would come in well for furnishing, that was certain.

And, to render justice to “ Widder Bright," let it be recorded that, to this day, she always shows herself especially well-disposed towards her son-in-law; and indeed, is altogether much softened and sweetened of late years—that is to say, ever since Lizzie has been the happy wife and mother that she is.


“ This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants, .... but I have called you friends."-ST. JOHN xv. 12. (Gospel for St. Barnabas' Day.)

Yes ;

Walls of ice around the soul

None its presence with them heed, Hold it 'neath their stern controul; Know or guess its secret need. Feelings all with love aglow From the heart's deep fountain flow; Must it thus for erer dwell? Rise in warm words, which-ah, pain! Can no power e'er break the spell ? Frozen on the lips remain.

Can no summer melt the snow,

Bid the long-sealed fountain flow? Oft within its lonely cage

Summon forth the buried heart, Doth the spirit chafe and rage ;

Rend its cerements apart,
Soft breast bruise 'gainst prison bar, Give it second life, and so
Striving for the freedom far;

Loosen it, and let it go?
Yearning for that happier fate,
Could it once but meet its mate.

the love of Christ constrains

soul to break its chains. Who can measure out the gloom What, and though the lonely heart Resting on a warm heart's tomb? Long hath lived a life apart; Others, smiling, round it press, Never might communion hold Living, loving souls caress;

With a friend of mortal mouldLittle recking of the cry

Let the Saviour's pitying word Breathed to each glad passer-by : By the prisoned soul be heard, “I would live and love like you, Henceforth it, indeed, is free, Could I burst these grave-clothes In a glorious liberty! through."

With the Master's friendship blest,

No more lonely, bound, oppressed; 'Tis as though some glamour cast Lo, that sacred tie shall bind O'er the spirit held it fast;

Heart to heart, and mind to mind! And the potent magic spell

Fellowship must all men claim, Rendered it invisible:

Who are called by His dear name; Though it walk the world of men, Love in every heart shall wake It is shrouded from their ken;

Brethren all for His dear sake.






The first lesson for the morning service of Trinity Sunday is the history of creation. It sets before us the orderly progression of the divine work from its first beginnings in things merely material, to its conclusion in the creation of man, whom it expressly declares to be the image of God, as St. Paul afterwards repeats when he describes man as “the image and glory of God.” Elsewhere we are told that " the heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm xix. 1); and indeed Holy Scripture is singularly full of repeated assertions of the two truths—first, that all things visible and invisible are the creation of the one Almighty Father; and secondly, that the “glory" of the Creator is the object of the creation. We cannot here stop to collect examples of the way in which these truths are ceaselessly repeated alike in the Old and New Testaments. Our space is not sufficient to justify our thus exhibiting in detail what our readers will be ready to grant at once, but we may be permitted to ask, if these truths, so often repeated, have received at their hands the attention due to their magnitude and interest ?

Is it not the case that when truths have become so familiar as to be taken for granted they are often left neglected, so that they become inoperative and practically useless ? Now, it may be taken as a principle that every truth in Holy Scripture is meant to act upon us as a motive, There is no waste in Scripture, and therefore if any

fact or truth is stated or repeated with any peculiar emphasis we may be sure that it is intended to be regarded with peculiar attention, and acted upon with peculiar care.

What is meant, then, by the saying that God for His own glory created all ? We will try to offer some suggestions which may assist our readers in making some approach to its meaning.

And here, first, let us strike out of our minds that notion of selfseeking which too naturally comes to the surface, when we hear of a man doing anything for his own glory-man, a fallen being, a being of mixed motive at the very best, and full of selfish aims. If a man seeks his own glory it is sure to be tainted with a selfish element, and is what we rightly term vain-glory. Man, subject to vanity, at his best estate but vanity, his glory also is too often but vain-glory.

Not so God, infinite in wisdom, goodness, lovingness.
Yet there is a certain parallel, if we only know how to apply it

rightly, between God and man; for after all man was created in the image of God. And so we observe that the better a man is, the nobler that he is, the higher that he rises towards being what God intended him to have been, the more does he seek to go out of himself, to act, to give out that which is in him. The true artist seeks not to copy but to embody, and that not for selfish ends, his own conceptions; the true poel to realize his own ideals; the Christian teacher to propagate the truths he holds, not for his own advantage, but for the sake of the truths themselves. In short the higher and the better that a man is, the more self-consuming is the burning energy with which he cannot help manifesting himself in his efforts.

For, next, such men's action is spontaneous. It is no purposed seeking of a selfish glory. "Inaction to them is misery. They must work. It is a law of their nature. There is in such men an everflowing spring, which must flow forth to fertilize a barren world. It is no calculated service which they render to God and their fellow-men. And if they fail to benefit those around them it is usually because the rest will have none of them, because men close their hearts and minds to their influences; and the discouraged and broken heart of Christian zeal and Christian genius echoes ever the bitter cry, "O, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not !"

Now in this eager, spontaneous, unselfish going out of themselves, in this seeking to find or make a scope wherein to manifest and act upon that which is in others, which marks the higher souls among men, we recognize the earthly image and counterpart of what is meant by God's manifesting His own glory in creation. Can we think that if even man craves scope not for selfish ends, that if the better a man is the more he seeks to make or find a sphere within which he may communicate and act upon the good that is in him, yet that the infinite perfections of Him who is the Giver of all good things could rest self-centred in the bosom of an inoperative omnipotence? Surely No! Love without an object, wisdom without action, light without illumination, fire without warmth ;—there is scarcely a contradiction which would seem more amazing or impossible than the conception of God without a universe, a God of infinite power and goodness creating nothing on which the beams of His love and happiness might rest!

Thus creation exists for the glory and manifestation of God. Thus creation is the scope for action which God has made for Himself. Thus His way is in the sea and His paths in the great waters, and His footsteps are not known. Thus, "if I climb up into heaven Thou art




there : if I go down to hell Thou art there also. If I take the wings of the morning, and remain in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there also shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand hold me. If I

say, Peradventure the darkness shall cover me, then shall my night be turned to day. Yea, the darkness is no darkness with Thee, but the night is as clear as the day; the darkness and light to Thee are both alike."

But is this all ?

Does the creation of the Almighty stop short at mere material things? Does the “méchanique celeste” of the astronomer, do the revelations of the geologist, the mysteries of the physiologist, or the numberless combinations of the chemist, exhaust the scope for mani. festation which the divine nature has evolved ?

Here again let us look into ourselves.

What is the one great hunger of the generous soul ? What is its inextinguishable desire and never-ending search but for an answering love and appreciation from those on whom it spends, oh how freely! its life and love.

It has been said that the last infirmity of noble minds is the love of fame. What is this but the earthly outcoming of the fact that the last desire of the generous heart is an answering appreciation, not repayment, but appreciation, acknowledgement ? Man seeks some one to love, and to appreciate his freely flowing charities. Yes, even the poor captive in his solitary dungeon will strive to create some objects for his starved affections, will perforce invest the very reptiles which creep and crawl on wall and floor with fancied powers of sympathy and intelligence, with fancied capability of returning his desire to lavish his good will on them,

As children in their boyish games will mimic by a natural impulse, the real labours of their parents' callings, so man, for all his weakness and his imperfection, yet reveals in his irrepressible impulses the nature of the Great Father of the human creation.

The parallel goes further still, and offers yet one more suggestion touching the divine nature, when we note that the greater the elevation of the human character, the less the amount of the return demanded, but the more jealousy we find as to the quality, the purity of the responsive affection. It may seem a paradox, but it is simply true that the heart which is largest and noblest is soonest satisfied, is least exacting, is the most willing to be satisfied with a bare acknowledgement, or even the mere permission to manifest its large liberality, so only there be a return, and that the freewill of the object love us freely with something of the same quality of love with which we desire its good. The distinction is a real one. It is the quality of the response as an unconstrained affection, a love, however tiny in proportion, but from

[merged small][ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »