« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
tance. This sorrow may not be so violent as the former in its manifestations, but it will take fuller possession of the hearts As we lay hold on the crucified One, tears of grief fall on the hand of faith ; and thus it is we eat the passover with bitter herbs.
The bitter herbs were not continued. They were only eaten the first night. So the believer's sorrow is not perpetual. “ Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.' There is joy and peace in believing. The tempest of first awakenings and subsequent anxieties is succeeded by a calm. The darkest hour is followed by the dawn of day: so the penitent believer emerges from the darkness of his distress into the light of life. And though to the end of his career he will have frequent cause for self-humiliation, and sorrow, and deep searchings heart; yet in all after trials he will have the presence of his Master, together with the succour and comfort he affords; and will be constantly sustained and cheered by the prospect of peace in heaven, peace without interruption and without end. V. THE FEAST OF THE PASSOVER WAS OBSERVED WITH All leaven was put away.
Everything which had been touched by leaven was cleansed. Unleavened bread was used. Hence we find the passover sometimes called the feast of unleavened bread, Lev. xxiii. 6. When God made the feast perpetual, he specified the use of unleavened bread to its close, Exod. xii. 15. Its use at first arose from the haste in which the people fled from Egypt; and in the appointment of it as an essential part of the feast in after ages, there was no doubt the intention of reminding the Jews with what haste and fear their fathers escaped ; hence it is called “ the bread of affliction,” Deut. xvi. 3. There is, however, a higher lesson. The putting away of the old leaven was designed to show the necessity of putting away the old corruption of the heart, and the eating of unleavened bread the necessity of living in purity to God. And as the unleavened bread (unlike the bitter herbs) was eaten to the end of the feast, so through life there must be a constant consecration of ourselves to the Lord. Purge out therefore,” says the apostle Paul, “ the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us : therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth," I Cor. v. 7, 8. On this exhortation let the reader act. Diligently search every corner and crevice of your heart, and when you find here and there a crumb of the
FRUITS OF THE FIELD ALSO.
old leaven remaining, delay not to cast it away. The smallest portion allowed to continue very soon assimilates the unleavened to itself. One sin indulged quickly gains growth and power. If you detect a lurking thought or a dear desire which gendereth sin, however much it may plead for shelter, expel it without hesitation and without regret. Let not this be a work of impulse merely-a duty discharged to-day and neglected for a month to come, but of settled conviction and resolve. The gardener finds that weeds soon overgrow the soil unless he is constantly uprooting them. The merchant finds that a little non-attention to his accounts is soon followed by confusion in his affairs. So you will find that to purge out the old leaven must be the business of your whole life. In prayer for the Holy Spirit's teaching and help, let not a single day pass without seeking to cast out some sin.
VI. IN THE OBSERVANCE OF THE PASSOVER, THE FIRSTBORN OF THE ISRAELITES WERE TO BE CONSECRATED TO THE LORD, AND AFTER THEY CAME INTO CANAAN THE FIRST
See Exod. xiii. 1, 2, and Lev. xxiii. 9–11. By these acts were intended the surrender of all that they possessed to the service of Jehovah. In consecrating the first there was a natural consecration of all the rest ;
for if the first-fruits be holy the lump is also holy. The lesson to ourselves is obvious. It is neither more nor less than that the apostle urges upon the Romans. “ I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your
bodies living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service," Rom. xii. í. My son, give me thine heart.” This is God's first demand-the first-fruit. This bestowed, all else will follow. Poor indeed is the costliest gift we can offer. But God looketh at the heart. The motive enhances the value of the tribute. The poor widow's mite was, in the estimation of Him who judgeth righteous judgment, more valuable than the splendid bestowments of the rich and mighty. Can the person who now reads this page say, “ The love of Christ constraineth me?" Have you, my friend, felt the moving power of divine grace ? Appreciating what God has wrought for you, are you ready to give him all he asks? While he speaks, do you answer ?
With every fresh act of consecration do you inquire, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?”. Can you say, with the full choir of your sanctified affections
" Bought with thy service and thy blood,
I doubly, Lord, am thine;
VII. WHERE THE BLOOD WAS NOT SPRINKLED, AND NO LAMB WAS EATEN, INTO THAT HOUSE DEATH ENTERED. There was nothing to keep him out. From the rich he accepted no bribe. For beauty and youth he had no pity. The arm of strength fell, in its efforts to resist, a withered and weak thing. Learning pleaded in vain. There was no respect of persons that night, only so far as they were distinguished by the blood of sprinkling. And now, as the destroyer rides forth on the clouds, he looks to discover the signs of safety, and if they are not there death descends. Everything else may be present ; but all things else together will not secure from destruction. Wealth, honour, station, intellect, sobriety, kindness, benevolence, alms-deeds--all will be of no avail. There must be faith in Jesus-a personal participation in his death-a vital union to himself. My fellow-sinner! have you this individual interest in Christ ? Have you fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before you in the gospel ? Are you secure from the destroyer? Or is your guilt yet unforgiven-your state still insecure-your soul still defenceless and exposed? These are the questions which most concern you. Let not minor ones push them aside. Weigh them well. Their satisfactory settlement is life. Their postponement only for a day may be death. Put not away this tract until you have looked fairly at this matter of your soul's salvation. If, on examination, you have reason to conclude that the blood of Jesus Christ has cleansed your conscience, and that you are a child of God through faith, once more bless the Lord for his unspeakable mercy. If, however, the result of this appeal be a conviction that to this hour you have been an unpardoned sinner--that you are still obnoxious to divine wrath, then look to Calvary. See on its summit the upraised cross and•the dying Saviour. Light beams from that cross, and a voice in accents more tender than mortals can employ, comes floating in the air --" I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. He that believeth on me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. Go in peace; thy sins, which are many, are all forgiven thee.”
J. F. SHAW, BOOKSELLER, SOUTHAMPTON ROW, AND
PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON; AND W. INNES, BOOKSELLER, SOUTH HANOVER STREET, EDINBURGH
J. & W. Rider, Printers, 14, Bartholomew Cluse, London.
AN AUTHENTIC NARRATIVE.
It has been said that “truth is more strange than fiction." The following narrative confirms the saying, while it also illustrates the distinguishing grace of God.
The subject of this memoir was related to a noble family, To give publicity to their name, might gratify a morbid curiosity, but could not yield any advantage to the reader: she will, therefore, be known only by the initial of her husband's name.
Cecilia S--, from early, infancy, was surrounded with every gratification which high station and great wealth could command. She lived in a splendid mansion, around which the park, with its green covering, extended several miles. The deer silently cropped the rich herbage, or playfully sported among the trees. Her dress was elegant, the table was covered with every luxury, and numerous servants were ever ready to do her bidding. Her life was like a beautiful summer's day, in which no invidious cloud obscured the brightness of the sun. Who that saw her then would have hesitated to say, “The lines are fallen unto her in pleasant places, she has a goodly heritage?'
The education of young ladies at that period rarely included more than external accomplishments, which enabled them to shine amidst the gay circle of fashion. Such, at least, was the extent of Cecilia's attainments. She knew very little of the God who made her, or his design in her existence. She was taught the Church catechism, yet even this was never explained to her, and she remembered it only as a burdensome task. The little girl in our Sunday school knows more than Cecilia knew, for almost the first sentence the child is taught to lisp contains the germ of all divine truth :-“Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.” It is lamentable that even now, there are many parents utterly indifferent to the inspired precept, “ Train up a child in the way he should go.” Their neglect is productive of the most fearful consequences; “ They sow the wind, and they reap the whirlwind. Such was the result, as the sequel will show, of Cecilia's defective education.
There were no incidents in her early life sufficiently interesting to require notice. She was without care. The river at the extremity of the park, whose waters flowed so tranquilly that they could scarcely be seen to move, may be regarded as an emblem of her existence. The words of the prophet precisely point out the character of her life. To-morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant."
When she had nearly reached her seventeenth year, an event occurred which gave a new and painful character to her future history. The gardens belonging to the house were
large, and contained almost every variety of plants and flowers, delighting the eye with their beauty, and perfuming the air with their fragrance. Among the persons employed there, one, a young man of showy exterior, attracted Cecilia's attention, and she frequently conversed with him respecting the names and properties of certain flowers. The distance between them was so great, that no suspicion was entertained by her friends of any improper intimacy. It seems, however, that a mutual attachment was formed, and for many months they carried on a clandestine correspondence without discovery. An accident disclosed their secret, and Cecilia's family were exceedingly distressed that she had so far forgotten her station in life, and the duty she owed to her parents and friends. The young man was immediately dismissed from his situation, and Cecilia was threatened with the lasting displeasure of her parents. She seemed to be overwhelmed with shame at her folly, and engaged in the most solemn manner that she would never see him or hold any farther communication with him. After some time her apparent contrition and humility were believed to be sincere, she was again restored to favour, and her life began to move on almost as placidly as it did prior to the discovery of this unhappy circumstance.
How painful it is to witness duplicity, especially in the young, from whom we had expected ingenuousness and sincerity. Cecilia was deceiving her friends. The correspondence was continued, notwithstanding her solemn pledge to the contrary; and in an unhappy hour she left her home, and married the man whom she had engaged to see no more. Her folly and guilt must be apparent to every reader. Perhaps, however, the evil consequences of this false step are so evident in the following pages, that Cecilia's sufferings will form the strongest appeal to young persons, inducing obedience to parental counsels, in reference especially to that connexion, which death only can terminate.
From the uniform kindness of her indulgent parents Cecilia expected to be forgiven, and also that some lucrative situation would be obtained for her husband. _In this, however, she was most painfully disappointed. From the moment her marriage was known they discarded her for ever. She never saw them again, nor received any intimation from them that she was forgiven. Solomon says, “The way of transgressors is hard;” and Cecilia proved the truth of that saying. She mourned in secret her disobedience and deceit, but it was too late then!
Cecilia's husband brought her to London, and engaged an apartment in the neighbourhood of the Seven Dials. The contrast between her former and present abode, must have been exceedingly distressing to her feelings. At a very late period of her life the impression continued, though its bitterness was then gone. The magnificent and airy mansion was exchanged for one confined room, and the extensive prospect for the chimneys of the adjacent houses; the superb furniture