페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

beautiful, and rapturous of nature ? What is it? It is rest and peace in Jesus. Yes !—it is better ; for it is perfect and imperishable. All the poetry of nature will fail and pass away. The “sanguine sunrise" and his golden setting—the myriad splendours of his lightning beams will grow dim and fade; for in that world to come, of which we read, there will be no need of the sun, for the Lord God will be the glory, and the Lamb the light thereof.

The “deep blue noon of night,” and all the “poetry of heaven"—the orbèd maiden looking from her throne of pearl, or, like "a spirit or a spirits world,” sailing onward still through silence and immensity, will be seen no more, for there will be no night there. The lashing of the breakers and the music of the wild waves will subside in the Alleluias of the multitude, and the song of the redeemed around the throne, for there will be no more sea. And all that charms us now in the heaven above, or in the earth below-all that holds us with instinctive power—that gathers beauty from the natural world, will change into that which is perfect, and more beautiful still ; for there will be a new heaven and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. What the joys of that world to come will be, we know not, for eye hath not seen, neither hath ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. Bt we do know that change and decay and separation are written on all things earthlythat there is no hope which may not be blighted—no “dream of joy” which may not be invaded—no happiness which may not be broken up. Set your affections, therefore, on things above: rise from the earthly to the heavenly-from the joys of nature to the joys of the Spirit : make Jesus the Redeemer your Friend, and seek for rest and peace in God.

The Lecturer seemed to enter fully into his subject, reciting from memory most of the passages referred to. A vote of thanks was given to him, and the meeting concluded with the Doxology and Benediction.

235

FABLES AND PROVERBS,

AND THE LESSONS THEY TEACH,

BY

MR. WILLIAM BRIDGES.

[Concluded from p. 188.] SHALL now introduce you to No. 3—THE SOW AND THE

WOLF: A sow had just farrowed, and lay in the sty with her whole litter of pigs about her. A. wolf, who longed for one of them, but knew not how to come at it, endeavoured to insinuate himself into the sow's good graces; and accordingly, coming up to her, said—“ How does the good woman in the straw do to-day? Can I be of any service to your little family here? If you have a mind to go abroad and air yourself a little or so, you may depend upon it I will take as much care of your pigs as you could do yourself.” “Your humble servant,” says the sow; “I thoroughly understand your meaning; and to let you know I do, I must be so free as to tell you I would rather have your room than your company; and, therefore, if you would act like a wolf of honour, and oblige me, Í beg I may never see your face again.”

What a host of thoughts come crowding themselves upon

the mind at the recital of such a fable as this ! and foremost amongst them are the following weighty proverbs:-“Better known than trusted ;” “Unbidden guests are often welcomest when they are gone;” “Never carry two faces under one hood;" « Old birds are not to be caught with chaff.” The three following ideas present themselves to our notice:-1. Sympathy; 2. In search of a dinner; and 3. Politeness. What a beautiful quality of the mind is true and genuine sympathy! and what noble instances are recorded of John Howard, and Elizabeth Fry, and others, who went about like their Divine Master, doing good. And what a striking contrast do they present to that false and maudlin sympathy we too often meet with in the selfish world around us. When people are officiously good natured, and very, very civil, we fancy some

thing is wrong—a screw loose somewhere-because it is so uncommon in the world. Again : when a person who is comparatively a stranger, or of whom we know but little, comes to us and makes offers of service and assistance, it becomes us, like the sow in the fable, to look to ourselves, to be on our guard, and take all such sympathy just for what it is worth; and remember the words of David, who says-“The words of his mouth were as butter, but war was in his heart.” (Psalm lv. 21.)

A young man was once very anxious for his father to retire from business, and enjoy the eve of life in some quiet retreat. He was sure the old gentleman would live very much longer if he got away from trade altogether: there was no necessity for him to work at all now, as he had realised a competency; therefore he might quietly take his name from the firm, and let the son carry on business alone. This was all very kind of the son, and was also for the father's benefit, you might suppose. Not so: the son very much wanted to step into the old gent's shoes, so to speak—to branch out in a grander style-to cut a dash ; and this he thought he could do if he had all the business! This puts us in mind of the tailor of Campillo, who worked for nothing and found the thread! It is all for your benefit! It is nothing to me, my dear sir ! “Neither deal falsely nor lie one to another.” (LEV: xix. 11.)

We will now consider the second part suggested by this fable, viz. :—How to procure a dinner! In some people's creed “the end sanctifies the means.” Some live by their wits—and why? Pride, Vanity, Idleness, and Gaiety enter too much into their composition; so they become the parasites of society. A criminal statist has declared that in Paris there are 20,000 individuals who begin the day without knowing how to procure a dinner by honest meane! Now, if when evening arrives these 20,000 persons have dined, we think it clearly follows that a very large number of thefts must have been committed during the day. The following will show, by way of illustration, how some men act to procure a dinner. There is what is called the “Friendly Hug." A Frenchman one day came up to a stranger in the court of the Louvre, and said—“My dear friend, what a happy meeting ! How delighted I am to see you once more?" The stranger had no knowledge of

the fellow, and told him so ; whereupon he said—“I beg a thousand pardons—I perhaps have inade a mistake; but you resemble a friend of mine most wonderfully." He then walked away, and it was soon found that a valuable watch and appendages were gone; but I am happy to add that the thief was caught in attempting to sell the things to a broker.

The second instance which I will give you is called “ The Good-day Theft.” The houses in Paris which are let off in furnished lodgings, are very accessible. Early one morning a thief ascended the stairs of one of these houses, trying each of the chamber doors as he passed, until he found one which opened. He entered the room, and noiselessly collected all the clothes, trinkets, and other moveables he could find, while the possessor was snugly asleep in bed. An accident occurred to awaken the sleeper, and he naturally exclaimed “Who's there ?" Upon which the thief answered, with the utmost politeness, Bonjour, Monsieur. Excuse me for interrupting your rest; it is I, the tailor whom you ordered to be here at this hour.“Pshaw!” cried the other, “you have made a mistake;" and quietly turned to finish his nap. The thief bowed, and made off with his booty; and also in this case, I am told, was captured while trying to sell the things.

We will now briefly consider the third idea that presents itself by this fable-Politeness. Now there is such a thing as being over polite--overdoing the thing--a ludicrous politeness, such as the country carpenter exhibited when a great man went to him about a gallows he had ordered to be made. It was not done to time, so the Don went to see about it himself; when the carpenter made a solemn bow, and begged his Highness's pardon, but he was not aware that it was for his Honour, or it should have been ready to time-indeed it should. Again: insincerity and extravagant adulation often betray people into uttering the most ridiculous absurdities, when they don't mean it. A nobleman, at the death of George III., said, in the House of Lords, that he was sorry to inform their Lordships that it had pleased the Almighty to relieve the king of his sufferings. What an idea !!! A man can be polite without being a sycophant. In what does true politeness consist? I will tell you. Attention to the wants and wishes of others. Never give a blunt Yes or No

if a question be asked you. “Honour to whom honour is due” is a Scripture phrase, and everyone can give it without cringing

[ocr errors]

I now introduce you to No. 4 of the Diagrams before you, viz.—THE Fox AND THE COUNTRYMAN:-A fox being hard hunted, and having run a long chase, was quite tired: at last he espied a countryman in a wood, to whom he applied for refuge, entreating that he would give him leave to hide himself in his cottage till the hounds were gone by The man assented, and the fox went and covered himself up in a corner of the hovel. Presently the hunters came up, and inquired of the man if he had seen the fox ?

No," says he, “I have not seen him indeed;" but all the while pointed with his finger to the place where the fox was hid. However, the hunters did not understand him, but called off the dogs, and went another way. Soon after, the fox, creeping out of his hole, was going to sneak off, when the man called after him, and asked him if that was his manners, to go away without thanking him, who had saved his life ? Reynard, who had peeped all the while, and seen what passed, answered—“I know what obligations I have to you, well enough; and I assure you, if your actions had been but agreeable to your words, I should have endeavoured, however incapable of it, to have returned you suitable thanks." Proverbs :—“Actions speak louder than words;" “ There is as much malice in a wink as in a word;”. “Knavery may serve a turn, but honesty is best in the end;" “ An open enemy is not so detestable as a false friend;" “Falsehood makes ne'er a fair hinder end;" “Of all the crafts, to be an honest man is the master craft.” Here we have half-a-dozen choice pearls to look at and admire. Now this man was a pretended wit, and showed it off by the language of the hand: consider how well the foregoing proverbs fit the subject of this fable. Never practice duplicity or double dealing ; neither speak nor act ambiguously; let your language be so plain that it cannot be misunderstood. Some men have pretended to keep another's counsel, and appeared in his interest, while, underhand, intelligence has been given to enemies: such conduct is treacherous, knavish, and base. Read the account of the Cato-street Conspiracy.

I will now show you what I mean by ambiguous words,

« 이전계속 »