Page images
PDF
EPUB

superstitions and idolatry--and that some of the natives have become Christians and that many of their children are being instructed to read the Scriptures.

A DEATH BED SCENE. In one of our Western towns, a minister of Jesus Christ was one morning told by his wife that a little boy, the son of a near neighbour, was very sick, near to death, and asked if he would not go in and see him. “I hardly know what to do," said the good man; "his parents, you know, do not belong to my congregation, and are, besides, greatly opposed to the doctrines which I preach. I fear my visit would not be well received.” “But,” rejoined the wife, “ when you were sick a short time since, the mother of the little boy sent in kindly every day to inquire how you were, and I think they will expect you to come and see their son.” This was a sufficient inducement, and he was soon

hanging in anguish over her precious and beautiful child, who was tossing from side to side in the delirium of a brain fever. The minister, after watching him a few moments, turned to the lady, and said, “This poor little fellow should be kept perfectly quiet, madam; he should not be excited in any manner.” “Sir,” said she, “will you offer a prayer ?” At first he hesitated, fearing the effect upon the child, but on second thought knelt at the bedside, and uttered a few petitions in his name, who said, “Suffer little children to come unto me.” The moment he commenced speaking, the little sufferer, who till now seemed unconscious of his presence, ceased his moans, lay still upon the bed, and fixing his large dark eyes upon him, listened intently to every word. The minister rose from his knees, said a few words to the mother, and went home, leaving the child in a perfectly tranquil state. The next morning, the first intelligence which greeted him was, that little Frank had died during the night.

He had become extremely interested, and the apparent

effect of the voice of prayer upon the dying boy had surprised him. He went again to visit the family, attended the funeral, and at length learned from the mother the following facts:

She had two children. Frank was the oldest, and the second was a daughter of two years. A few months before, little Alice had gone to spend the night with some companions in the neighbourhood, whose parents were Christians, and who were training their children to follow their steps. As they were about retiring to rest, these little ones said to their visitor, “ Come, Alice, kneel down with us and say, “Our Father' before we go to bed.” The child, bewildered by their words and kneeling attitude, answered, “But I do not know what “Our Father' is.” “Well, don't you want to learn it?” said one. “O) yes,” said Alice: and being a bright little girl, she soon committed to memory the precious form of prayer which has gone up from so many lips since the Saviour first uttered it. The next morning, full of animation, and delighted with her new acquisition, she returned home, and the moment her brother Frank appeared from school, she began to tell him all about her visit, and beg him to learn Our Father,' and say it with her. From that time, the mother said, kneeling together they had daily repeated the Lord's prayer, with great earnestness and delight, and had also learned other prayers in which they seemned much interested. A few days before he was taken sick, Frank had come to her with a book in his hand, and said, “Oh, mother, here is a beautiful prayer will you let me read it to you?” It was the remembrance of this which induced her to make the request that the minister would pray by the side of her suffering boy, and this was the secret of the calming influence which that prayer exerted. He continued thus tranquil a long time, but at length, his distress returned, and the hour of death drew near. About midnight, suffering and agonized, he begged of his mother to send for the good minister to pray again. He must have somebody to pray. The parents disliked to call him at that hour of the night, and knew not what to do. At last the mother went up stairs, and taking the little

sleeping Alice from her bed, brought her to her brother's bedside, and told her what Frank wanted. Immediately she knelt down, and slowly and solemnly repeated the prayer which they so much loved, and then, unasked, said

“Now Franky lays him down to sleep,

I pray the Lord his soul to keep;
If he should die before he wake,

I pray the Lord his soul to take." The first words soothed the sufferer, and with the last his || spirit fled.

Witnessed earth ever a sublimer spectacle? At the dead hour of the night, in the chamber where waits the king of terrors, surrounded by weeping friends, the infant of five summers, roused hastily from the sweet slumbers of childhood, kneels in her simple night-dress, and undisturbed, unterrified, lisps in childish accents the prayer which Heaven accepts, and on whose breath missioned angels bear upward the ransomed soul.

I would learn a lesson. They labour not in vain who sow precious seed in the fresh soil of youthful hearts.

Mrs. Whittlesey's Magazine.

ORIGINALITY OF THE BIBLE. 1. We see it in the morality of the Bible. The first element in the moral code of the Bible is love to God. This must be supreme. Then comes love to one's neighbour. He must love his neighbour as himself. Nor is this all—the Bible enjoins love to one's bitterest foe. “If thine enemy hunger, feed him,” &c. In disclosing their system of morality, the writers of the Bible are most emphatic in enjoining purity of heart, of thought, of motive, and of action. And another unparalleled feature of the morality of this book, is its enforcement of the “ fear of God;"-not the fear of punishment, but the fear of offending God—not slavish fear but filial fear. We search in vain for such teaching as

this in the productions of uninspired moralists; that is, those of them who had not the Bible for their guide.

2. We see the originality of the Bible in the nature of the obedience it demands. It is not outward obedience merely, but the obedience of the heart that it requires.

3. Also in what it teaches about the immortality of the soul, and the resurrection of the body. As to the immortality of the soul, there were some interesting aspirations cherished by some of the ancient philosophers, and some wise conjectures withal; yet they were only conjectures; whereas the Bible speaks with the greatest boldness and confidence. As to the resurrection of the body, however, the Bible is perfectly original. We find this nowhere else enunciated.

4. We see the originality of the Bible in its theology. The heathen represented their gods as polluted and revengeful. The Bible represents God as a being of spotless purity and love. "God is light.” “God is love." And

5. We see the originality of the Bible in its Christology. There are many facts recorded in the Bible about Jesus Christ, which would never enter the mind of man unaided from on high. I might illustrate this from his person, his teaching, his miracles, and the object he came to accomplish; but I shall take notice only of his character as developed in the Bible. Such a character was never drawn by the pen of man. On this point I willingly give way to let the French infidel, Rousseau, speak :-“I confess to you that the majesty of the Scriptures strikes me with admiration, as the purity of the Gospel has its influence on my heart. Peruse the works of our philosophers, with all their pomp of diction ; how mean, how contemptible are they compared with the Scriptures ? Is it possible that a book, at once so simple and sublime, should be merely the work of man ? Is it possible that the sacred Personage, whose history it contains, should be himself a mere man? Do we find that he assumed the tone of an enthusiast or ambitious sectary ? What sweetness, what purity in his manners! What an affecting gracefulness in his delivery! What sublimity in his maxims! What profound wisdom in his discourses ! What presence of mind in his replies ! How great the command over his passions! Where is the man, where the philosopher, who could so live and so die, without weakness, and without ostentation ?"

AMERICAN CHARCOAL SKETCHES. A YOUNG MAN, of highly respectable connexions, was convicted of a theft, and confined in the Cambridge House of Correction (United States of America,) previous to his removal to the state-prison for two years. He had committed the crime for which he was sentenced under the influence of intoxicating drink, and while in jail seemed to feel keenly the disgrace he had brought upon himself and friends. One day, near the close of his confinement there, he requested as a favour that he might be furnished with a piece of charcoal. His request having been complied with, he sketched upon the rough, whitewashed walls, in a few hours, some twenty or thirty heads and figures, nearly covering the walls on two sides of his cell. Some of them are remarkably well executed, and the heads, in particular, are strikingly expressive. One set of three figures conveys à moral lesson which could be advantageously studied for hours. And we could but wish, while looking at them through the grated door of the cell, that the lesson there taught might be read by many who are pursuing a course similar to that which brought this young man to his present deplorable condition.

The first figure of this group is that of a bright boy, with his hoop in one hand, and the driving stick in the other, childishly, innocently, and happily pursuing the sport of youth, without a care or thought of the distant future. The next figure is that of a young man, whose excellent form, neat attire, and intelligent countenance, bespoke one who might command the attention of the wise and good. The last figure is that of a person shabbily dressed, with hair uncombed, standing behind the grated door of a prisoner's cell. Directly over the second figure were the words, 66 What I once was! and over the last figure, “ What I now am.!"

« PreviousContinue »