Page images

Trust ye in the Lord for ever,
He will fail you never, never.
He thy Sword of proof in danger,
He thy Home when care-worn stranger,
He thy Calm no storm disturbeth,
He the Charm thy lusts that curbeth,
He thy Rock the floods that stayeth,
He the Bond thy debts that payeth,
His the Name thy foul foe dreadeth,
He the Way thy due foot treadeth,
He thy Truth no foe reproveth,
He thy Life no death removeth,
He thy Bliss all thought suspending,
He thy Robe all light transcending,
He thy Crown of life unending.
Trust ye in the Lord for ever,
He will fail you never, never.
Ere the subtle venom harmeth,
He the lurking sting disarmeth.
He the wrong long-suffered righteth,
And who patient wait requiteth.
Hope, then, though thy night be dark-

Help is nigh ere yet thou markest.
Though at eventide is sadness,
With the morrow shall be gladness.
Trust, then, though thy mind dis-

puteth, Trust, then, though thy eye refuteth; He from out his hidden treasures, Shall bring forth his unknown plea

sures, Thought of man not ever measures.

The little brook, and sadder sung, -
And all my heart with anguish wept.

Far off the clocks are striking,

'Tis midnight's deepest shade,
The lamp but feebly glimmers,

Thy little bed is made.
Around the house go mourning

The winds so drearily,
Within we sit in silence,

And listen, as for thee.
Dreaming that we shall hear thee

Knock softly at the door,
Aweary with thy wandering,

Glad to return once more.
Poor fools! thus to dissemble !

The fond hope will not stay.
We wake and feel too surely
Thy home is far away.

The shadows deepen yonder,

Around thy place of rest,
Hiding the tender grasses

That shroud thy quiet breast.
The willow trees bend lightly

Down to thy little bed,
Where all day in the branches

The birds sing o'er thy head.
And while, like dreams of heaven,

The spring winds pure and mild Breathe softly through the forest,

Sweet be thy sleep, my child.




When first the garden paths along,

In grief and loneliness I went, Up rose the brooklet's merry song, With sounds of murmuring leafage

blent. And, nestling in the dewy green,

Inquiringly the flowers peeped out, And, all impatient to be seen,

The bright-hued insects flew about. The cuckoo, also, playfully Called to thee from th' o'erhanging

spray, And all the forest questioned me,

Why comest thou alone to-day ?" And when I answered not, a sigh Through all the rustling leaves I

heard, And whispers rose, afar and nigh, From every bush, and flower, and

bird. Soon on the grass the bright tears hung, And slower through the stillness


LIFE, DEATH, AND ETERNITY. A SHADOW moving by one's side,

That would a substance seem, That is, yet is not, -though descried

Like skies beneath the stream;
A tree that's ever in the bloom,

Whose fruit is never ripe;
A wish for joys that never come-

Such are the hopes of Life.
A dark, inevitable night;

A blank that will remain;
A waiting for the morning light,

When waiting is in vain;
A gulf where pathway never led,

To show the depth beneath ;
A thing we know not, yet we dread-

That dreaded thing is Death. The vaulted void of purple sky,

That everywhere extends,
That stretches from the dazzled eye,

In space that never ends;
A morning, whose uprisen sun

No setting e'er shall see;
A day that comes without a noon-

Such is Eternity.

[ocr errors]

Personal Religion.

[ocr errors]

THE VOICE OF THE YEAR. All things unite to admonish mankind of their progress on the journey to eternity. Day and night, summer and winter, seedtime and harvest, with one voice, without cessation, proclaim advancement. The universe self is hastening to its doom! But the parts are more impressive than the whole. The end of a year, in particular, speaks with a force and a point which find their way to the heart of every man not blinded by “the god of this world.” A year comprises a considerable portion of time, with a corresponding amount and variety of events, all affecting conscience, and bearing on the final judgment. The number of years, moreover, which falls to the lot of an individual is at most but few, and only a small number reach the utmost boundary. The last sands are soon run! The oldest man among us has lived only a very

little while. His days, he feels, are but a hand-breadth, and his age is as nothing before the Lord! But short as is the span, it is long enough for the believer. As he grows in grace and years, he gets weary of the world, and says, “I would not live always.” He who has most of heaven in his soul sits most loosely to earth. This is one of the best evidences of spiritual advancement. He knows, and he rejoices to know, that this is not his rest! He feels it utterly unsuited to his new nature. The thought of spending an eternity on this earth would be terrible to him! If he does not always “long to depart,” yet he always contemplates the idea with satisfaction. The expiring year does not fill him with sadness. Why should it? It only suggests the happy reflection, “I am so much nearer home.” He feels that he is travelling on to his Father's house, where he will bid a long farewell to sin and sorrow! He feels that life is loss, and that death is gain! From the time that he was awakened by the Spirit of the Lord to a true sense of his condition, his thoughts have been often darting upwards : he has viewed earth as only a temporary residence, and heaven as his everlasting abode. From that time death began to lose its terrors, till at length he is looked upon, to some extent, as a friend, who will open the prison-house at the appointed time, that the ransomed spirit may go free, and ascend

[blocks in formation]

its native skies. The vanity of the world, and the unsatisfying nature of all earthly good, are made more and more apparent by observation and experience, through each successive year, till at last its hold is almost gone. The truth of the promises and the reality of the heavenly glory become more and more evidenced to the enlightened soul. As faith grows, so do its blessed fruitspeace, and hope, and joy. Happiness ceases to be looked for from aught beneath the skies. The soul rests in its God, and seeks felicity only in him. Worldly things, losing their value, lose their hold, and thus the liberty of the saint is gradually increased. In that liberty he walks before the Lord in the land of the living. The merits and the love of his Lord prove a fountain of neverending confidence and sweet satisfaction. He knows in whom he has believed, and that the promise will never fail. His life becomes increasingly one of prayer and of hope, and amid painful imperfections which constantly attend his supplications, he is comforted to think of the all-prevailing intercession of his Saviour. Walking in the Spirit, the habit of holy love by degrees becomes confirmed; and thus the love of the world, and the things of the world, is gradually overcome, and with that the love of sin is diminished, and at length destroyed. The reign of grace is progressively established, and obedience grows up into a fixed habit of the soul.

The believer thus advanced will, at times be favoured with foretastes of heavenly glory, comprising a strong sense of the love of God, which will make thoughts of heaven sweeter than anything on earth, and occasionally, when faith is in lively exercise, lead him to desire to “depart, and to be with Christ.” To the soul in this state, the lapse of time and the end of years will be no cause of fear or sadness. The last day of each year will be viewed as a mile-stone on the march to eternity, which, while it indicates progress, will but awaken a desire that time may speed its flight, and bring the journey to a termination. It is only carnality that makes holy men cleave to this earth, and recoil from the thought of the day when they shall leave it for glory. It is no wonder if men do so who have no hope beyond the grave. They may well cleave to that which is their all; but God's children's have learned a better lesson. They know that they can only be perfectly happy when they see that Face which

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

was so “ marred” as never was the countenance of man. Their business, therefore, from day to day, is to live on the Lord, in the happy confidence that, when all is over, they shall “die to the Lord.” The thoughts that are the most precious to them, are the thoughts of Him on the throne of his power, the glorified society of angels, and the perfected spirits of the just. Saints feel that they must go where they are to be like them, and to share their blessedness. The lesson is obvious: that which they failed to find here, we must not look for. Like them, we must daily draw from heaven the ground of our hopes and duties, and all our incentives to love and joy.

To many a reader of these pages, this is the last year of which they will see the end. Let them rejoice, and be exceeding glad ; their warfare is well nigh accomplished. The reasons for this are innumerable, and they are most weighty. They may well exult at the thought that they are so soon to have done with earth and its toils, its sins and its sorrows, and to be wafted on the wings of angels to Paradise. The world of spirits; what the term implies ! “Absent from the body, present with the Lord !” The thought of entering that great world may, indeed, solemnize the mind, as well as fill it with joy. How new, how awful, how glorious ! Yes, but the awe must not be suffered to excite “ the fear which hath torment. Every spirit of the countless host, and all the angels who excel in strength, are friends! The soul of the newborn babe is safe to enter. The wicked have there no place. The mighty region is full of holy love. Let the believer, then, go forward in confidence that all is well. Let him trust implicitly in his loving Father, and in his glorified Jesus. Let him commit soul and body to Him who redeemed both by his most precious blood, and so a blessed entrance shall be ministered to him into the Celestial City.

Believers must never rest satisfied till death cease to be to them a dreaded event. It is their privilege to rise above its fear. We dishonour our Lord when we tremble at the thought. Death is a conquered enemy. The Lord Jesus has taught us that death is "ours." He is now made minister to our best interests. Let every child of God, then, strive and pray for complete superiority to the “ king of terrors. " Let him not rest till, living and dying, he can, with true Christian courage, cry out, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory ?” It is the privilege of all the faithful

“ To join
The innumerable caravan, that moves
To the pale realms of shade, where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death.
We go not like the quarry slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon; but sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach our grave,
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch

About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams." It is enough for the saint to know that his Lord was dead, and is aliye again, and lives for evermore. Child of God! be of good courage! At the summons, start, and march on to the heavenly Jerusalem! Angels will guard, and the Lord of angels will receive you with, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, enter ye into the joy of your Lord.”


pense him.”

Therefore turn thou to thy God.”-HOSEA xii. 6. The ten tribes of Israel were carried the creature to the Creator, and into captivity by the Assyrians, and placed more confidence in an arm of in their trouble they sought help flesh than in the arm of the living from the Egyptians, and not from God. "The Lord hath also a conGod. “Ephraim feedeth on wind, troversy with Judah, and will punish and followeth after the east wind : Jacob according to his ways; ache daily increaseth lies and desola- cording to his doings will he recomtion; and they do make a covenant with the Assyrians, and oil is carried God was displeased with the whole into Egypt.” Israel acted as fool- of the Jewish people for their love of ishly, observes Mr. Scott, in seeking idolatry and criminal indifference to help from idols and idolaters, as a his just claims, Isa. xxx. 1--7; xxxi. man would do who should seek to 1--3. When their pious ancestor, satisfy his hunger by greedily pur- Jacob, was in danger from his brosuing the noxious east wind, which ther Esau, he took a wiser course could only disappoint him. After than many of his descendants did. having made a solemn treaty with He reposed confidence in the ability the Assyrians, they violated it, send- and willingness of his God to help ing quantities of oil into Egypt, to him, and committed his case, by purchase the assistance of that people earnest prayer, to him; and he soon in shaking off the Assyrian yoke. found that it was to his advantage Thus their conduct was very dis- to look to God in the day of his afpleasing to God, for they preferred fliction. “He took his brother by

« PreviousContinue »