Page images
PDF
EPUB

a

having, in black letters, a "title" unlike the accustomed fulsome eulogies of the dead. After the name and age of the departed one, came only the seventh verse of the thirty-ninth Psalm, “And nowe, Lorde, what waite y for? Mine hope is even in Thee.” Springtide and its blossoms, Summer and its flowers, Autumn and its fruits, Winter and its snows, three hundred times over, had come and gone; but the slumberer's "waiting” was not accomplished. Generations by scores had arisen and fallen. Dynasties had supplanted others in the isle. There had been wars and tumults, pestilences and famines, and mighty changes above ground. But all was yet unchanged for him who "waited” beneath. In that epitaph, he being

“ dead, was yet speaking; and so long as the brass may endure he testified that he was “looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”

He both died, and rose, and revived, that He might be Lord both of the dead and living. It matters little, if only we love Him, whether His Advent find us among the departed, or belonging to the Church militant here in earth. Unto them that look for Him, shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation. His farewell to His people contained the promise of His return, “Surely I come quickly; Amen.” Be it our response, ever ready, ever willing, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” Then, all will be well; and “waiting” will, for ever, be done.

CHAPTER XVIII.

CONSIDERING CHRIST JESUS.

"Lord Jesus ! let Thy holy eyes reflect

Their influence vpon my earthen state ;
Thy heauenlie presence is a faire aspect ;

There doth my soul delight to speculate ;

For by those starres I best can calculate
My lot of grace, which neuer is deni’d
To him that viewes his Christ the Crucifi’d."

CHRISTOPHER LEVER. 1585.

[ocr errors]

HERE are many words of our English verna

cular, that to me are almost pictorial. In

them the sound and the sense are so connected, that it would require but the momentary use of a crayon, to place their meaning before the eye in vivid representation. Autographic they are, as depicturing themselves; and I should simply transfer to the drawing-board, imagery already presented by them to me in mental vision.

Not the least conspicuous among them is the word “consider.” If the object of thought be something abstract, I behold the contemplative One, with eyes somewhat closed, lips slightly parted, features fixed and tranquil, the left hand encircling the halfbowed head, and the magnificent mind standing almost at the threshold of its earthly habitation. If, on the other hand, it be something palpable that is contemplated, I mark the change. Light has come up from unknown depths into those orbs of vision, and the pupils are enlarged, and those deep fringes are uplifted, and the whole face is illumined and gladdened. The gaze of fixedness is there still, but it is now less sombre. Less dim and visionary likewise it seems; for it possesses something material and visible, upon which its powers may be concentrated. Perhaps, the beholder's mind will wander from star to star of the midnight heavens, or lose itself in speculation by the margin of the grand old Sea, or feel tranquillity stealing upon it from the sight of the far-stretching country. Or—lower infinitely, yet wonderful in their way—the works of man may prove to it attractive; and, as it admiringly scans them, it may become riveted to the animated statue, or the speaking painting, or the lovely edifice. Wistful is its examination of each; and marvellous its skill in the analysis of their separate claims.

Nobler subjects are found, if man contemplate his fellow-man; and higher thoughts are correspondingly awakened within him. I picture a mother “considering" her baby; but it were impossible for me to describe the emotions that thrill her whole being. She looks with rapture on the child of her womb, her own flesh and blood, borne in weakness, brought forth in sorrow, but precious to her beyond the world's diadems and sceptres. I behold an affectionate father, when his glad eyes “consider” his

“ ” little daughter. Young she is in years, and altogether unfitted for life's buffetings; yet, if she live, she shall encounter these by-and-by. The winds of

2

heaven may not now visit her face too roughly; but how shall it be, when she is alone on earth, and he is slumbering quietly beneath it? She is his child; but shall she be his in eternity? Will God's grace be given, to keep her in all her ways? Will Jesus be hereafter, as He seems to be now, her "all and in all”? They must part on this side Jordan ; but shall they meet on the further brink, and be for ever with the Lord ? I see the faithful Pastor, as he considers” the flock that is given him, his beautiful flock; and I mark his wakeful solicitude for their well-being. He strengthens the diseased; he healeth what is sick; he binds up what is broken; he brings again what is driven away; he seeks what is lost. And the little lambs, how dear they are unto him; and the poor and the needy how he “considersthem, that he may minister to them of his substance, , scanty at times though it be!

But the highest emotions are found, when man is brought into contemplation of the Deity; for thoughts, corresponding in somewise with their majestic subject, will now enter into his bosom. It is blessedness for him to “stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God;” (Job, xxxvii. 14;) not, however, the heavens, the work of His fingers, the moon and the stars which He has ordained; nor the earth, full though it be of the goodness of the Lord; nor the sea, which is His, for He made it; but a mightier work than these—His own soul. It is blessedness for him, when he comes to consider himself as in God's sight—not a waif and stray, cast on the sands of time, from some unknown country-but the child of God, environed by care, and guarded by love. It is blessedness for him to "consider his ways," (Haggai, i. 5, 7) how he has been walking in the time past of his life; and to “consider his latter end,” (Deut. xxxii. 29,) what shall be his portion, when the pilgrimage is done.

If he has heard the story of peace, so that the glad tidings of great joy have awakened their echoes in his heart, “One there is above all others” to fill his musings with joy. The believer's eyes are ever toward the Lord. Whom has he in heaven but Jesus? and there is none upon earth that he desires beside Jesus. He “considers" Him. He makes Him the object of devout contemplation. He investigates all that pertains to Him with a hallowed scrutiny. His ears hearken to Him, his eyes look upon Him, and his hands handle * the Word of life. And, as a consequence, Jesus is to him not an abstraction, but a person. He is no longer ideal and

* I subjoin an illustrative extract from the Rev. John Baillie's interesting “Memoir of Adelaide Leaper Newton.” This excellent specimen of Christian Biography has received a wide circulation, for I quote from the fifteenth edition ; and nothing is more apparent throughout than that personal communion with the Redeemer was the one joy of this young disciple's life. She loved much. Writing to her sister, on the truths contained in 1 John, i. 1, she observed :

"And our hands have handled.' Is not this very precious experience? as if the beloved' disciples of Jesus could never be content with anything short of direct personal contact with Him. He might have been heard and seen, and even looked upon, at a little distance, just as when Zaccheus was in the sycamore-tree he could hear Him, see Him, and even look down upon Him, with ardent delight; but it was as nothing to the joy of receiving Him into his own house! This is something nearer and dearer, involving the intimacy of personal intercourse. Mary might have tasted it, when

« PreviousContinue »