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There is only one standing place from country into a desert and call it peace." which we can get an absolutely true Not so the armies of the Lord. The view of the world, of men, of God-it peace which the Gospel brings is the reis from Calvary. Christ is the key sult of robust action. Christianity is no whereby to unlock all the mysteries in labor-saving system of religion. A stagArt and Nature, in Science and Reli- nant state of heart is often mistaken for gion. "He that followeth after me peace, incapable of either fear or hope. shall not walk in darkness, but shall The Author of our religion was the have the light of life." From Pisgah Hero of heroes; the Church was planted Moses got a distant view of the land of by a race of heroes. The blood of marPromise. From Calvary the dying tyrs is alike its seed and waters its roots. saint not only gets the distant view of Its great starts forward into new conheaven, but sees the way through which tinents and epochs; into heathenism and he can enter it. On this mountain of Judaism; into Asia, Africa, Europe the Lord the horses and chariots of God and America; into the middle ages fight for His people, as they did for and out of them, have been made Elisha and his servant against the king through martyrdoms and upheavals. of Samaria. 2 Kings 6: 13-19. Ease-loving and leisure-seeking men Mountains are the symbols of per- who deprecate action, energy and manly manence and power. The sweep of the effort, cavil at this so-called "blood remightiest tempest shakes them no more ligion;" but he who from unselfish love than the gentlest breezes of a summer like his divine Master offers himself a evening. No lightning bolt can rend willing sacrifice for truth and for the their rocks, nor storm nor time shake salvation of others, is crowned with the their foundations. Here and there highest glory attainable by mortals. mountain torrents, drifts of ice and Only the soul riveted and rooted in grinding boulders in nature may have Jesus Christ through battles bravely slightly changed their surface but not fought gains this abiding peace and their basal structure. Their ribs and roots power. run deep into the earth and bind them to its pillars with unshaken firmness. How small and helpless one feels, seated on the Flegère opposite Mont Blanc, from where you have a distinct view of this monarch of mountains; its top is clothed with the snows of centuries, whilst at its base reapers are reaping their scanty harvests. There none save an idiot can help but think of God in His awful greatness and power. Who but He that made them can move these everlasting mountains, with "their walls upheaved by monster forces, their breasts swelling with inner fire, their braces fixed by earthquakes!" And yet, strenger far than these and more abiding is God's covenant love to His children. For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee."
Mountains are to the earth what muscles are to the human body. Both teach that exertion strengthens, that inactivity weakens. Tacitus says of the Roman armies: " They convert the
Men of this kind stand out prominently like mountains along the path of history. Paul, Polycarp and Iræneus, Luther, Calvin and Zwingli; the rugged Constantine wrestling with and subduing an incoherent mass of pagan nations; Charlemagne battling with the wild barbarian hordes deluging Europe; Washington, Wellington and the Prince of Orange-how heroically all these battled for the right to achieve peace. Thus to the child of God joy is evermore evolved out of sorrow; Nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruits of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby." Many of these historic men of mountain prominence have had their faults along with their virtues. Seen from a distance all mountains look smooth. Their barren, rough places, their precipices and rugged cliffs are concealed from the naked eye. A nearer view discloses defects.
"Tis distance lends enchantment to the view, And robes the mountain with its azure hue."
The men who have given direction to the world's history have had their rough corners. Their lives, marred by the
scars of many a conflict with sin, do not always bear close inspection. Men like David and Solomon, Constantine, Charlemagne and Hildebrand, rise up majestically like mountains in the field of history; turning rivers in their course and tempests in their mighty sweep, yet along with their great merits, they were men with prodigious faults.
foot of the Alps, with the snow-clad top of Mont Blanc in view. John Knox was born and nursed among the highlands of Scotland. Much of his rugged, heroic character, by the grace of God he derived from the training received among these hills and heather. And, I say it with the deepest reverence, the greatest of woman born, first saw the light of day on Bethlehem's hills, and spent His boyhood and youth among the circling mountains of Nazareth, where the view on every side is turned heavenward by their lofty crests. On Jordan's banks, near the base of two overlooking mountains He received the baptism; among the bleak mountains of Judea's wilderness He was tempted; on a mount He preached the greatest of all sermons;
Mountains are the cradles and nurseries of brave and strong men. For some purposes valleys are more attractive. Their farms cost less labor and yield more than those of the hills, but their atmosphere is more likely to enervate and lower the standard of moral aspiration. All the Jewish heroes came from the highlands, not one from the plains of the Jordan or Gennesaret. On their rugged hills Judah and Benjamin to the mountains He often went to became as a lion. They were the pray; on a mountain He was transcradles of men like Saul, David and figured; Bethany and Gethsemane, Solomon. Out of Gad, living on Mount Olivet and Calvary, are on and among Gilead beyond Jordan, came the eleven high places. Why must all these great valiant chiefs who crossed the Jordan mediatorial works be done and endured in its flood-tide to join the out-lawed on hills and mountain heights? David; whose faces were like the faces of lions, and who were as swift as the gazelles upon the mountains." Gideon, the greatest of heroes, whose "brothers were as the children of kings," came from the hills of Manasseh; the wild mountains of Moab were the home of Jepthah the brave; and Elijah who withstood cruel Ahab and his more cruel wife to the face, was born among the forests of Gilead.
Mountains are the nurseries of freedom. What countries have furnished proportionally so many martyrs for liberty as Scotland and Switzerland.
. The village of Eisleben, where Luther was born, lies among rugged mountains. Here this man of might, by the grace of God, imbibed and nursed those qualities which enabled him to defend the truth before Charles V. and his enraged cardinals. Near the village of Wildhaus, 2000 feet above lake Zurich, you can still see the old peasant's cottage where Zwingli was born; a lowly hut it is, with thin walls and windows of small round panes of glass, and the slats or shingles of the roof held in their place with large stones instead of nails; and a small Alpine stream still plays and purls past the door. Up here, in this bleak mountain region Ulrich Zwingli first saw the light of day, learned to breathe the keen air, say his first prayers and climb the great mountains. Geneva, the field of Calvin's labors, lies at the
Auf den Bergen ist Freiheit
In die reine Lufte.
On the mountains is freedom:
Rises not up
To the pure mountain gales.
Not that the low-lands have not had their heroes of freedom, as the History of the Netherlands shows. What country has proportionally given more martyrs to freedom's holy cause than Holland? And yet from the days of Sparta down to this present, as a rule the deeds for conscience and one's country's sake like those at Thermopyla and Marathon, and those by Tell and his few co-patriots at the foot of the Rhigi are oftenest met with among mountain-bred men. And that freedom of which all other kinds are but dim foreshadowings, "the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free," catches its inspiration and life in the elevated, pure atmosphere of the mountains of the Lord. Faciles descensus Averni-the descent to the lower regions is easy—was a saying among the
scholarly Romans. Sin depraves and drags us downward ever; grace sanctifies and raises our desires, aspirations and hopes evermore higher and more heavenward.
Mountains have their disadvantages, too. They often expose one to peculiar privations and trials. How the hardy mountaineer on the Alps and Rhine must scratch and toil for a meager living. Withal, he is happy with his "vegetable meal."
"Cheerful at morn he wakes from short repose,
In spiritual as in geographical affairs, great elevations bring great perils. From lofty places a misstep is more disastrous than from low ones. Satan often selects the best people as subjects of temptation, such as Job, David, Solomon and Peter. People, like places, highly favored of God, if they fall sink lower than those less favored; just as it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah, and for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for some of the cities in which Christ healed and spoke. But with our feet planted on the rock of ages, no power can wrest us from our Saviour's hands. The enticements of sin, the pains and perils of adversity; whatever ills may befall us in this vale of tears, all will only draw or drive us closer to our loving, ever-living Saviour.
"And as a child, whom scaring sounds molest, Clings close and closer to the mother's breast, So the loud torrent and the whirlwind's roar, But bind him to his native mountain more."
WHEN will our religious papers stop using the editorial we to indicate the editor, instead of the paper? We constantly see such phrases as When we were sailing up the Hudson," "When we preached in Boston," "We were confined to our bed last week," all which make the editor of quite too much importance. The last notable example we meet is in The Baltimore Presbyterian, which says editorially of a child's magazine:
"We never had such a visitor when we were a child. Had we, we would have been a better and smarter little girl."
congregation or synagogue, there were placed arin-chairs in front of the recess The synagogue was the Jewish meet-containing the ark. Christ refers to ing-house, or place of worship. Strictly such an arrangement when He speaks of speaking, it was used for meetings of loving the uppermost seats in the synthe people, either for civil or religious agogue. A light was always kept burnpurposes. The temple was regarded as ing in imitation of the temple light. the prototype of the synagogue, and, This light was regarded as the symbol therefore, so far as it was possible, there of the human soul, of the divine law, was conformity between the two. As it and of the manifestation of God. was supposed that the sanctuary was built on a summit, the Jewish law was, that synagogues were to be built on the highest elevations, so that no house should be situated higher. It seems that river banks, outside of the cities, were also regarded as appropriate building sites for synagogues, as in such places worship could be conducted without being marred by the confusion outside. In addition to which the worshipers could have the use of plenty of water, required by their immersion and other religious rites.
The rulers or officers of the synagogue were the elders and two associates, three almoners, the leader of the congregation in worship, the interpreter, the attendant and ten men who were called "men of leisure," because their circumstances permitted them to be in the synagogue whenever their presence was needed. They were to be men of piety. The worship of the synagogue, so far as was possible, corresponded to that of the temple.
The building was somewhat constructed after the plan of the theater, this form being ever regarded as subordinate to the temple. The door was always on the west, so that when the worshipper entered, he would front Jerusalem, for the law required: "All the worshippers in Israel are to have their faces turned to that part of the world, where Jerusalem, the temple and the Holy of Holies are. Like the temple, the synagogue was often built without a roof. An ancient writer confirms this, who in speaking of the houses of worship built by the Samaritans, says: "They were built in the form of a theater, open to the air, and without covering, which in all things imitated the Jews." In some places there were erected winter and summer synagogues, which were pulled down and put up at the beginning of each season. In this building, opposite the entrance, stood the ark, containing the scrolls of the law; over this ark was spread a canopy, under which were kept the vestments needed for the different services. In front of the ark was the desk of the leader of the worship, and near was the platform, large enough for several persons to sit upon it, and from this (which in a later age was placed in the centre of the building) the law and the prophets were read. For the doctors of the law, and the elders of the
The authority of the synagogue extended to all civil and religious questions. The rabbis were not only preachers, but judges. The highest punishment was that of excommunication, which, because of its severity, was seldom inflicted. Though Christ and His apostles frequently preached contrary to the Jewish expounders of the law, yet they were never put out of the synagogue.
It is highly probable that such buildings for worship owe their origin to the captivity, as prior to this we never read of the existence of synagogues. During the captivity religious meetings were doubtless held in certain places selected for the purpose, which places were called houses of assembly, which afterwards were developed into synagogues. These became popular, and were built very soon wherever the Jews were scattered. Besides the great number of such places of worship in Jerusalem, and by the river-sides, they were numerous in the cities of Syria, Asia Minor, Greece and Egypt. We read of the apostles going into the synagogues of Damascus, Iconium, Antioch, Thessalonica, Berea, Corinth, Athens and Ephesus. We need not be surprised at the large number, if we will remember that at this time there were living in these different places more than a million of Jews.—J. W. 1. B. in “Herald and Presbyter."
Our Book Table.
THE APOSTLES; Their Lives and Labors. By Rev. D. F. Brendel, A. M. Reading, Pa., Daniel Miller, 113 North Sixth street. Bethlehem, Pa. Rev. D. F. Brendel, pp. 328. Price $1.25.
The Lives of the Apostles furnish a vast and fruitful field for investigation. On this subject many works have been written by learned authors, in various tongues. The most of them treat it from a more scientific and dogmatic point of view, better adapted for the educated classes than for the masses of
the common people. Mr. Brendel aims to benefit the latter rather than the former. Around the lives of the Apostles is grouped a large part of the doctrinal material of the New Testament. A correct knowledge of what is embraced in the history of these men, implies a mind well and widely informed in the teachings of Holy Scripture. No person can carefully read a book of this kind without thereafter being able to read the Bible far more intelligently than before. How much better it would be to accustom our young people, through Sunday-school libraries and otherwise, to read works like the "Fathers of the Reformed Church," and like "The Lives and Labors of the Apostles," than the chaffy, flatulent, fanciful literature which many persons now thirst for as does the toper for his grog. Whilst the former kind of works may seem less brilliant and fascinating than more exhilarating and lighter reading, they afford substantial intellectual nourishment, from which the reader can draw strength, support and hope for all coming time.
CONFIRMATION, A Tract for Catechumens, by Rev. A. C. Whitmer. Third thousand.
We are not surprised that a new edition of this excellent tract has been called for. Although confirmation as practiced by the Reformed Church is a Scriptural rite, much ignorance still prevails respecting its authority, meaning and design. This work, sums up in a clear, concise form the material belonging to the subject. It has a word to Catechumens; What is Confirmation; Your Confirmation vows; Preparation
for Confirmation; and advice to those confirmed.
The Wren's Nest.
The wrens, like various other small birds, cannot bear that their nests or eggs should be touched; they are always disturbed and distressed by it, and sometimes even will desert their nest eggs in consequence. On one occasion, therefore, a good, kind-hearted friend of every bird that builds, carefully put his finger into a wren's nest, during the mother's absence, to ascerOn her return, perceiving that the entain whether the young were hatched. trance had been touched, she set up a doleful lamentation, carefully rounded it again with her breast and wings, so as to bring everything into proper order, after which she and her mate attended to their young. These particular young ones, only six in number, were fed by parents two hundred and seventyeight times in the course of a day. This was a small wren-family; and if there had been twelve, or even sixteen, as is often the case, what an amount of labor and care the birds must have
had! But they would have been equal to it, and merry all the time.