Thomas Carlyle.

The Christian treasury, Volume 2 online

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rior to his own.

i This last declaration, however, appears some-
what more strange and startling than the others.
For what works, we are naturally disposed to
ask, could properly be said to surpass, or even
to rival, his ? Did they not bear upon them the
clear and manifest impress of Godhead? It
must surely have been impossible for any one,
in a spirit of humble faith, to follow Jesus along
the path of miraculous working which he pur-
sued on earth, to see him, as often as occasion
required, with a word healing the sick, giving
eyes to the blind, relieving those who were
oppressed of the devil, hushing to rest the
boisterous winds of heaven, and even restoring
to life the victims of death and the grave — ^it
must have been impossible for such an one to
follow Jesus in the prosecution of this wonder-
ful career, without feeling himself to be in the
presence of Grod manifest in the flesh, and al-



most instinctively exclaiming, ''What works
are like unto thy works!"

And unquestionably they were the works of ,
Godhead, and bore witness to the truth an-,
nounced at his birth, that he was, in the strictest ;
sense, " the Son of the Highest." For they were ',
not only performed through his instrumentality^!
but by his own inherent might, as equal ut!
power and glory with the Father; so that h^
could put them on a footing with the essential
operations of Gt>dhead, and say, " My Father i
worketh hitherto, and I work." But this is not!
the point of view in which our Lord is contem- 1
plating his works in the passage before us, and
drawing a comparison between them and such i
works as his disciples should be enabled to per- \
form. For when he speaks of similar, or even '
greater works being done by them, it is not aa
of themselves, but through their believing upon j
him, that such works were to be done; it was i :
still Christ's divine power and Godhead that , j
these were to display, only discovering itself
through the agency of his believing disciples. '
And the peculiar honour conferred upon them ] ;
in the matter was, that as instruments of divine i
working, they were to be the doers of works
such as did not proceed even from Christ's ;
own hand, during the period of his personal \
ministry. : !

But what proof can be produced that the
believer on Jesus has been thus honoured I We ',
learn that his immediate disciples did p^omi ' j
works in considerable numbers, that mie^ht fitly ; :
be called the same with his — manifestmg not I
only the same self-denying and ben^cent lar | '
hours for the good of men, but also the same ! '
exercise of supernatural power to remedy dis- ! j
ease and suffering, and occasionally even to I ,
restore the dead to life. But if in these we j j
find the tame works, where are we to look for I
the greater ones? What traces have earlier'^
or later believers been enabled to leave ofli
such? j

The greatness of a work must depend, either '
upon the powerful command it wields over 1 1
elements naturally stiff and intractable, or npon |
the magnitude of the results that spring from \ ,
it. If the person who works has been enabled !
to master an opposing force of gigantic strength, ' |
and bend it into conformity to his own purposes, j i
or if what he does is replete with extensive and !
lasting benefits, then, in either case alike, the ' '
work fitly deserves to be characterized as a , j
great one. But, in both respects, works have ,
often proceeded from the hands of believers !
greater than those which were done during our { {
Lord's personal ministry on earth. For, of all ;
things in nattire, what is so mighty in energy, 1 1
and so hard to be controlled, as the will of man?
Who can turn it from its determined purpose f
When it chooses (and ahl when does it fail to
choose, if left to itself, to turn away from the
path of salvation?) it can hold to its course
against the clearest light, the most convincing



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569



roason, the tenderesi entreatioi^ the most ap-
{Mlliof teiron^ unmoved evea by demonstcft-
tions of power, whiok are movii^ all aroond it
So was it in the days of Christ's flesh with the
vast maltitiide of the Jewish people. All
iMiJture showed its readiness to obey him, but
the hard and stnbbom heart of man. Diseases
of every form gave way when he spake the
woid commanding them to do so; the vexy de-
mons quitted their usurped possessions at bis
bidding. But the b«n^ for whose q^inalin-
fltruotion and everlastmg welfare all this was
done, remained still in t£sir natural alienation;
though he qiake to them as new man spake^
yet uiey would not hear; though he stretched
out his hands, tlie^ would not regard. So that
while he proi^ lumself by many mighty works
to be tlie Son of God witk power, there still
was a region, the h^her region of mind, which
no demonstration of pow^, then given, seemed
able to reach; when he went about doing good,
yet immoisely the highest kind of gooid, the
regeneration of souls to God, had scuroely be-
gun to show itself. The whole result of his
minktrations, in thk point of view, was a small
and feeble band of followers, themselves but
half enlightened in tbe truth, and utterly in-
d^ble of enlig^itening and converting others.
Such being undoimtedly the pootion ot
Christ's cause <m earth, at tiie time of his de-
parture, had it not been truly of divine origin,
and connected with other powers than those of
this world, it most inevitably have gone Iwck-
wards and soon vanished into notUng. But
how different an appearance does everytiiing
ooncenung it immediately present ! The little
'flock, whmn he left behind^ so ignorant, faint-
i»arted, and forlorn, become presently enlight-
ened in the whole mysteries of redemption, and
enabled to speak the word of tiruth, not only
without fear, but with such astonishing suooess
also, that the hearts of multitudes bowed under
their teadiing, and thousands of converted sin-
ners flowed into the kingdom. As far as the
end is above the means^ and the reoovety of
lost souls to the £Bvour and image of God is
both a more difficult and a more blessed work
Uian any change effwted to the better upon the
members of a diseased body or the disordered
elements of nature^ so far did the works per-
fomed by Christ's believing disciples surpass
those performed by himself in the kingdom.
Nor was it then only that such greater works
were to be done. The promise is for all times
and places. He who believes on Christ, and
1ms the gifts neceasary for using aright the
means placed at his command (which must, of
course, be understood), may count upon a land
and measure of success to his spiritual labours,
which his Master sought for in vain. And there
is not, perhaps, an individual who, since the
commencement of the Grospel, has brought to
the work of the ministry anything like Christ's
fBoih and love, zeal and devotedness, without



leaving behind him a harvest of miritual good
from among his fellow-men, sucli as Christ
himself was not permitted to reap during the
days of his flesh.

The very circumstance, that Christ should
have pointed the expectations of his disciples
to these ^iritual results as the (freatest things
to be done in the kingdom, is a sublime proof
of the heavenly bent and devation of his mind.
It showed how little he himself looked, and how
fax he was from wishing them to look, to mere
outward doings or appearances — to what might
fill the minds of men with an idle wonder or a
glarinfi^ astomshment. Things of that sort be
had aoready done ahnost to superfluity; but
with what result ? He had put to silence, in-
deed, the ignorance of fooUsh men, and provided
ample materials for an humble fsutb to rest
upon; but that feuth itself where was it to be
found ! The conquest of souls, for whidi alone
he had come into the world, was yet to be
made; he had yet to show that the higher
region of mind was as much under his control
as the lower region of matter. And this, he
gave his disciples to understand, he would do
through their instrumentality, and speciidly bv
endowing them with those ffifts of erace wkich
should enable them to work directly upon the
soul, and lead sinners to the knowledge of sal-
vation. The more, therefore, they possessed of
this direct sway over the minds and consciences
of men, the less should they plainly need of a
supernatural power to perform wonders on the
outward elements and operations of nature.
For, when the kim^om began to wield those
purely spiritual influences, it no longer needed
the help of what may be <»lled the grosser, the
more outward and carnal, means of working.
It rose then to a higher sphere of action! It
made itself known as emphatically a kingdom
within men — not, therefore, coining wit£ ob-
servation, but silently establishing itself in the
region of the inner man, and bringing all these
under the powers of the world to come. And
though the first disciples of Christ, having to
give the world a substantial proof of their divine
commission, and of the reality of Christ's exal-
tation, did require to do some works the tame
in kind with those he himself had done ; yet
it was chiefly by their capacity for doing the
greater works referred to, that the kingdom was
to grow and prosper in the world. That Popeiy
should be so incessantly caUing to its aid exter-
nal wonders, and holding these np as her greater
works for accomplishing the world's conversion,
only proves how thoroughly i^omnt she is of
the true genius of the GroepcJ, and how much
more she delights to work with the lower
than with the higher elements of power. The
proper season for such wonders was the day of
small things^ when as yet Christianity was
struggling tor an outstanding existence m the
worl(L But when resorted to after this had
been attained, and its greater works have had



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THE CHRISTIAN TREASURY.



time to develop themselves, as they are then
' manifestly out of place, so they cannot he of
j God— they most he lying wonders. Hence it
, is that the Man of Sin finds his only coadjators
in this field the wildest fanatic^ who have
sometimes, in the fever of spiritual intoxication^
•tried to produce such wonders, while all en-
lightened and sober-minded Christians are at
! one in the conviction, that it is through other
and higher weapons, that the Gospel is to win
I its triumphs over the ignorance and wickedness
of men.

I But are we quite sure that our Lord, when
I speaking of the greater works which his dis-
'ciples hsid to do, had respect to the divine
power which was henceforth to accompany the
, preaching of the Gospel, and the blessed effects
that were to grow out of it I We may cer-
tainly conclude this from the reason he assigns
for what was to take place : '* Because I go to
my Father." In what respect was his going
thither to bear on the afiairs of his kingdom ?
In this respect especially, that he was to get
**the promise of the Father" — the gift of the
I Spirit, whose power and presence were to he of
; such mighty and blessed efficacy in the Church,
; that he could even say to his sorrowing dis-
I ciples, ** It is expedient for you that I go away;
I for if I go not away, the Comforter will not
i come imto you; but if I depart I will send him
unto you." And as the sending of this Com-
! forter — sending him in another manner than
he had ever been sent before, with a fidness of
blessing and a lai*geness of power hitherto un-
, known in the Church — as this was the imme-
I diate purpose in the dispensation of the king^
: dom for which Christ went to the Father ; so
> the advantages he gave them reason to expect
' from this descent of the Spirit were entirely of
I the kind already described. The Spirit was to
j come that he might lead them, and enable
them to lead others, into all truth — that he
mi^ht glorify Christ by taking of his things
'and showing these to them — ^that he might
convince the world of sin, righteousness, and
judgment. In short, the proper sphere, as all
Scripture testifies, of this Spirit's influence and
operations is the soul ; to enlighten its under-
standing, to renew its will, to establish it in
the life and blessedness of God, and endow it
with a fitness for all spiritual services in his
kingdom : tliis is the purpose for which the
Spirit was to come and work there ; and the
materials with which he was to work were the
things furnished to his hand by the perfected
redemption of Christ; so that he should have no
separate interest to drive, no independent work
of his own to prosecute, but only to take up and
' carry forward the work of Christ by bringing
it home in living power to the experience of
each individual. Hence, the Spirit could not
J be fully given, the dispensation of the Spirit
could not properly commence, till Christ was
glorified ; for then only were all things ready



for his efficient working. And hence, too,
from the very nature of the case, it is the in-
ward field of mind, not the outward field of
matter, which is the proper scene of the Spirit^s
operations ; he is the noblest instmmeat of the
Spirit and the doer of the greatest works,'
whose success is largest in removing the monn- 1
tains, not of sense, but of ignorance, unbeliei^
and corruption ; and if replenished with power
for the performance of such works, he would,
comparatively, be going back to weak and beg-
garly elements, were he to have recourse to
natiu^ wonders, instead of wielding that ethe-
real armoury of the Spirit, which alone is
mighty to the pulling down of strongholds, and
the buUding up of souls in righteousness.

Let the Church, then, know where her real
strength lies, and by what kind of woridng it
is that she is to advance the interests of ih»
kingdom. Everything in a manner depends^
as to the great objects she should aim at, on
the presence or absence of the Spirit. The
first care of all her members should be to act
so as to secure that his grace shall not be re-
strained, but flow freely forth in connection
with the ordinances of divine appointment.
And the kind of weapons they are to employ^
as the fittest in his hands for carrying forward
the work of the kingdom, are not such as may'
strike the outward senses, but those which
tend to bring light and conviction to the inner
man of the heart. But with such lai^ en-^^
couragement as this promise affords for success,,'
as well as diligence, in these peculiar works of
the kingdom, why, it may be asked, is so little,,
comparatively achieved ? Why, for the most
part, do we see so few of ** the greater works,"
which Christ pledged to his people the power ^
of performing I At many periods, and in many |
different fields of labour, the promise has since
then been gloriously fulfilled; but why not
always and everywhere! Is not Christ still '
with the Father, ready to send the Spirit as he ,
may be required; and the Spirit himself ever
disposed to glorify the Son by showing his |
things to the souls of men ! Such, nnquestion- '
ably, is the case ; and, therefore, the fulure, in i
so far as it manifests itself, must be traced ta
the Church herself— to her carnality in cherish-
ing within her bosom the works which grieve *
the Spirit or, her lack of faith in laying hold ,
of the word of promise concerning his gifts of ■
grace, or her languor of desire and remissness
of prayer in seeking their hestowaL " O thou i
that art named the house of .Jacob, is the
Spirit of the Lord straitened!" or is the Lord |
"slack concerning his promise!" — ^'* Be not'
faithless, but believing!" Arise, call upon the '
name of the Lord; plead with him that he may j
verify his own word ; and " give him no rest f I
till he establish, and make Jerusalem a praiae
in the earth."

P. F.

SaUon.



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"MUCKLE KATE."



571



THE LOST.
{From the New England Puritan,)

DcEiNG the administration of the Lord^s supper,
and while the pastor was in the midst of a powerful
appeal to the unawakened, the bellman was heard in
the street. The minister paused, as the description
of a youthful fugitiye was given in clear tones by the
crier; and then, seising the thought, he exclaimed:
*'A child iilotiJ A child i* loHI What if some at-
tending angel, witnessing this communion season,
and wondering at the rejection of the Sayiour by the
proud heart, should now give audible testimony of
his grief, and, beholding some sinner here making
his election for a hopeless eternity, should startle us
with the cry, A totU is lost ! A soiU is lost !**

Why on our holy service steals

Alarum of the bell ?
A child is lost/— ih&t cry reveals

The agony too well.
A child is lost ! and with the blow

A father^ heart is stirred ;
The mother — who may scan her woe ?

Felt, but unknown to word !

A child is lost ! and ready feet

To seek and save are out.
And lane, and court, and crowded street,

Are searched with call and shout.
The generous toil is not in vain ;

Success succeeds alarms —
The little fugitive again

Has blees'd its mother^ arms.

And, for this wanderer, speechless fears

Were felt, that mocked control;
And for its loss fell heavy tears —

What if it were a soul I
A soul, for whom no larum rings.

Kind rescuing to call—
For whose redemption never springs

Hope, that yet comes to all !

Oh, smote but now the startled ear

As smites that warning bell.
One note of the despairing fear

That fills the vault of hell-
To seek, who would not quickly fly ?

What realms would not be crossed—
Urged by the lamentable cry,

** A soul, a soul is lost /"



"MUCKLE KATE."

A TRADITION OF LOCHCARRON.
BT THB REV. T. M. FRASER, YESTER.

Thb name of Mr. Lauchlan MTvenzie, the emi-
jnent minister of Lochcarron, though little
I known in the south, is pregnant with spiritual

interest among the Highlanders of Ross.
' Thronghont the fonr northern counties, indeed,

there are very few of the Gaelic-speaking



population to whom * the great Mr. Lauchlan'^
is not more or less Vnown as a godly though
eccentric divine; but it is within the district of
Wester Boss— among the hills where he was
bom and lived, and laboured and died— that
the savour of his name is sweetest^ and that
the recollection of his .weighty words and deeds
is most vividly preservea. I have no doubt
that were a properly qualified person to devote
himself for a few weeks to the task, during a
personal residence in Ross-shire, he might easily
expiscate from the Gaelic-people anecdoteesuffi-
cient for the compilation of a most interesting
volume. From the numerous traditions which
I have heard respecting ** Mr. Lauchlan," I give
the following, on the authority of a late emi-
nently godly minister in Ross, who was an eye-
witness of the principal scenes, but has since-
been taken to loin his brother, to rejoice in his
glory, and to share his reward.

Not far from the manse of Lochcarron, there
lived a wicked old sinner, who was supposed to
have been guilty of every crime forbidden in
the decalogue, except murder. Owing to her
masculine dimensions, this woman was com-
monly known by the name of ** Muckle Kate.'*
^ She was an ill-looking woman," Mr. Lauchlan
used to say, " without any beauty in the sight
of Grod or man." It is not surprising to hear
that such a character never entered a church,
and that every effort on the part of the
minister failed in inducing her to give even
on occasional attendance at the house of God.
Plan after plan was tried, but in vain; entrea-
ties, tears, mnumerable visits, and appeals to
her conscience almost withont end, all failed to
move the heart of one who seemed to have
reached that fearful point spoken of by the
apostle, when he declares respecting those
who have been wholly given over by the Spirit,
that they ** cannot cease from sin." At length,
** Mr. Lauchlan " adopted a plan which could
have occurred only to an original and eccen-
tric miud, but which sets before us in the
strongest light the intense desire of the de-
voted minister to save an immortal soul.

It was customary among the Highlanders,
during the last century, to assemble at night-
fall in each other's houses, and spend the long
winter evenings in singing the wild old Gaelic
melodies, and relating to each other the l^nd-
ary stories of the district. This practice is not
yet extinct in some parts of the country, though, J
like most of the other old Highland customs, it
is gradually wearing away. The women brouc^ht ,
along with them each her distafiT and spinoUo,
while the men were sometimes employed in j
mending their brogues, or wea\'ing baskets and |
creels. This is called ** going on kailie,^* * and
Kate used to devote herself to the practice with I
all the eagerness of an old gossip.
Well acquainted with Kate's evening habits

* I give the word as an English reader would pronounce it.
The true ipelling, however, 1 understand. Is ckeiUe. .



ti



il



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THE CHRISTIAN TREASURY.



I*' Kr. I^uichlan," who had a great turn for
poetry (or rather rhyming), composed a G^aelic
song, in whidi all Kite's Known ons were enu-
jmeiated and lashed with all the seyerity of
whaoh the composer was capable. Tliis song
'Mr. Lanchlan set to mosic, and priyately sending
■for some of the young persons who were known
,to ^ po ofi kaili^ with Kate, he took great pains
to teach them the son^, instmcting them to
sing it in her hearing on the first opportunity.
|It was a strange, and, as some may perhaps
think, an unwarrantable way of attonpting to
win a soul; neyertheless, it was sucoesnuL
The appeal went home to the old woman's con-
|science, backed with all the force of astonish-
jment; the suddenness of the stroke, coming as
it did from so perfectly unexpected a quarter,
gave both point and poignancy to the blow; the
shaft had found the jomt in the harness, an^
! driven hard home by the Spirit's own hand, it
sank deep, de^ down into that old and withered
soul which had hitherto resisted erery impres-
sion.

Kate's oonviction was now as extreme as her
careless hardihood had once been. H» f^&^J
of mind was perfectly fearfiiL The Ueak
scenery of Lochcanron was in strange unison
with her feelings. Among the dreuy moun-
cains of that lonesome western wilderness runs
up the small estuaiy from which the paridi
derives its name; and as the long Atlantic bil-
low breaks upon its shores, and the brown hills
'stretch on behind in one interminable sea of
heath/ the traveller scarce knows whither to
turn that he may relieve his painful sense of
'solitude — to the waste of waters that stretdi
before him, till shut in by the frowning heights
of Skye, or to the lonely moors that undmate
behind him, dark, and desolate* and bare. It
was among these dreary wilds that Kate now
Jspent the greiy^r portion of her time. And why
did she seek tnese wilderness retreats ? ** She
sought," like Jos^h, •* where to weep." The
solitudes of Lochcarron were heard to resound
for hours toother with the voice of wailinfi;^ and
well did the inmates of the lone bothies amid the
hills know from whose lips those cries of agony
were wrung. They were uttered by the sohtaiy
mourner of the moors — the once hardened
** Muckle Kate." She had looked on Him whom
she had pierced, and now she mourned for him
as one moumeth for his only son, and was in
bitterness for him as one that is in bitterness
for his first-born.

A long and fiery ordeal was appointed to the
reclaimed profligate. Deep as her conviction
was, it never seemed to subside; weeks, months,
and even years passed away, and still the dis-
tress of the convicted sinner was as poignant
and fresh as ever. " Never breathed a wretch
like her; there might be hope for others, but O
there was none for Muckle Kate I" This was
wonderful, indeed, in one whose age was between
Hghty and nin«jty at the time of her conviction;



for those who know anything of human nature,
are aware, that of all spiritoal cases, the moat.
utterly hopelew is that of one who haa grown
old in sin, whose consdence has become imper-!
vioQs to the truth, and whose wlude soul is e&-
impressible by either the Gospel or Hbe Law. To
awBken feelings that have be«n dried mp by age'
and sin reqmres a miracle in the world of gneeu' !
Kate's was, indeed, a special oaae; she was * a'
wonder to many"— a wonder to lier ndghbom^l '
a wonder to unbelieverB,a wonder to the Gfaui^
a wonder to her astonished minister, and, most af
all, a wonder to herself. But aU has not yet



Online LibraryThomas CarlyleThe Christian treasury, Volume 2 → online text (page 134 of 145)