Thomas Carlyle.

The Christian treasury, Volume 2 online

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and sisters were dead, and in his life the life of his
parents were bound up. Hitherto they had consi-
dered this son as a special gift of Providence, granted
to solace their sorrows in old age, to minister to their
wants in death, and afterwards to preserve their
name and become their memorial among the living.
He was, indeed, a lovely child; and what rendered
him the more so in the eyes of his godlv parents was,
that he also feared Gk>d. Often as he hung upon his
mother^s arm. or clambered upon his father's knee,
and stroking oack his grev hairs, he would inquire of
them so earnestly about death, and talk to them so
sweetly about heaven and Jesus, that their hearts
were overcome, and their lips haa not the power of

Thus did this child increase in wisdom as he in-
creased in stature; till one day, like the child of the
', I Shunammite, he cried out, My hmd! Myheadf-^hike
' that child, too, he was carried from the field unto his
mother. But, alas ! no prophet of Israel was nigh.
No swift Gehazi ran from Carmel to lay the staff of
the holy seer upon the face of the child. It was in-
deed a sickness unto death. His soul, however, was
resigned— his faith in the promises immovable. " Do
I not grieve thus,*' said he to his aged parents, as they
. watched the changes of his countenance, ana in pon-
1 siye silence bedewed his pillow with tears : " God
will take care of you, and he will take care of me too.
I My body will be laid in the grave, where the body of
my Saviour was laid. My soul will fly up to heaven,
I where I ^hall see my brothers and sisters, and Jesus

Christ, and the angels who attend him. Have you.
not often told me that he is the friend of children ?
I have read, too, how he took them in his arms on j
earth, and I am sure he will bid them welcome to hia-
arms in heaven." Thus cariy ripe for glory, this dear j
child, without a murmur and without a groan, drew :
his last breath, and fell asleep in Jesus. I saw, in- !
deed, that his parents wept ; but their tears were tears-!
ofpoy. Happy, thrice happy parents, called to com- '
mit such precious dust into the sepulchre, and to re- '
sign a spirit thus ripe for glory, unto God who gave-

Philip James Spener had a son of eminent talents,
but perverse and extremely vicious. All means of
love and persuasion were without success; The
father could only pray, which he continued to do-, that
the Lord might yet Se pleased to save his son at any
time and in any way. The son fell sick; and while
Iring on his bed in great distress of mind, nearly past
the power of speech or motion, he suddenly started
up, clasped his hands, and exclaimed: " My father"*
m-ayerSf like fiwuntaina, surround »i« /" Soon after
nis anxiety ceased — a sweet peace spread over bis.
face— -kds malady came to a crisis, and the son wca
saved in body and soul. He became another man.
Spener lived to see his son a respectable man, in pub-
lic office, and happily married. Such was the change
of his life after his conver8ion.~i\r. E. Pw-Uan,


The world is seldom what it 8eem8> ; [

To man, who dimly sees;
Realities appear as dreams.

And dreams realities.

The Christian's years, though slow their flight.

When he is called away.
Are but the watches of a night.

And death the dawn of day.


The celebrated Wilberforce ascribes his continuance
for 80 long a time under such a pressure of cares^
and labours, in no small degree to the conscientious
and habitual observance of the Sabbath. " O what
a blessed day," he says, "is the Sabbath, which
allows us a precious interval wherein to pause — to>
come out from the thickets of worldly concerns, and
give ourselves up to heavenly and spiritual objects *
Observation and my own experience have convinced
me that there is a special blessing on the right enk-
ployment of these intervals.

♦* One of their prime objects, hi my judgment, is to-
strengthen our impression of invisible things, and to
induce a habit of living much under their influences^
O what a blessed thing is Sabbath, interposed be-
tween the waves of worldly business, like the divine
path of the Israelites through Jordan ! Blessed be
God, who has appointed the Sabbath, and interposed
the seasons of recollection. It is a blessed thing to
have the Sabbath devoted to Grod. There is nothing
in which I would commend you to be more strictly
conscientious, than in keeping the Sabbath-day."

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{Trandaiedfrovi the German for Thb Christian Trsasurt.)

** And If any man hear my words, and believe not, I Judge him
not : for I came not to Judge the world, but to save the
workL He that rcjecteth me, and receiveth not my
words, hath one that Judgeth him : the word that I have
spoken, the same shall Judge him in the last day. For
I have not spoken of myself t but the Father which sent
me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and
what I should speak. And I know that his command-
ment ts Ulfe everlasting : whatsoever 1 speak therefore,
even as the Father said unto me, so I speak. "—John xil.

J* Incline your ear, and hearken." These are
words which have stood the test of the judg-
ment of eighteen hundred years — words uttered
hy Him in whose mouth was found no guile;
although, in our time, it has been insinuated
; that the Saviour has not yet ascended to the
j Majesty on high. In these words, with holy,
I earnest, and solemn greeting, he invites us to a
feast, a Bible feast, that we may solemnize it.
j Well, but do you know what is contained in
'your Bible? Hear what it contains. It is, first,
a. sublime sanctuary: therefore **put off thy
shoes from off thy feet** It is also an incom-
parable treasure. But, at the same time, it is
a dangerous guest, because of the relationship
in which you may stand to it. Nevertheless,
whatever you do, seek to be acquainted with it.
' I. Thou hast a Bible in thy house. A poor
house, indeed, it would be in which no Bible
could be found. What though thy gold, or
silver, or worldly authors, perish by reason of
rust, or by the moth, if thou hast a Bible! O
let all other books bow down to the dust before
this Joseph's coat of many colours. Art thou
unconscious of what thou hast in thy Bible!
** Give me," sdd a New Zealander to a mission-
, ary, « a flint with which I may shoot the wicked
Spirit.-" he meant the Bible. « Present me
with a compass," said another, « that I may
steer aright.-" he also meant the Bible. how
these Heathens put to shame, and judge and
condemn, the blindness of thousands of Chris-

Knowest thou what is contained in this book,
the Bible ; that is, the entire Holy Scriptures
— the Old and New Testaments! Obed>edom
esteemed himself most fortunate, when the ark
of the covenant abode under his roof. Thou
hast a greater treasure than he. Thou art
richer and more favoured than he. Obed-edom
Ko. 19. *

believed that, by the presence of the holy ark,
his poor house was being converted into the
temple of the Lord. And such is thine. But
remember that the sons of Eli, who perished by
the sword, dwelt in the temple. 3ring out that
ancient book from the dust. Open it; read
here — read there— read where thou wilt. But
dost thou know who it is that speaketh with
thee ! It is presented to thee by the great
God. It is the voice of the living and al- 1
mighty God that addresses thee. Yes, every
word is the word of Jehovah. Dost thou start !
Listen, however; for « all Scripture is given by
inspiration of Gtod." Hearken : « We have a
sure word of prophecy "— « The Word of God
is not bound "— « The Word of God is quick and
powerful "— ** Receive not our word as the word
of men, but, as it is in truth, the Word of God "
— *• Let the Word of Grod dwell in you richly "
—** We are as fools, who make the Word of God
of none effect." Yes, I hear, I hear; but who
are they who thus speak! They are men
whose testimony deserves consideration. They
have never, indeed, had the approbation of the
world; but they have never sought it. They
have not been honoured with torchlit proces-
sions and silver goblets; for they danced not to
the melodies piped by the spirit of the times;
yet, I tell you, the noblest, the most intellec-
tual, the most enlightened, of their times have
pressed the hands of these men with streaming
tears of gratitude. If they had to encounter
opposition from the enemy, it was because, with
actual life and in earnest they maintained their
high calling and the cause of godliness. Ought
not this to weigh somewhat in their favour!
And is it not worthy of your attention how
these witnesses stood firm, the one as well as
the other, ready at a monienfs warning to lose
their lives and to shed their blood for the great
truth that the Bible is the Word of the living
God! But if thou consentest not to the testi-
mony of the apostles, I may well ask thee, with
a smile, whence cometh thy authority, that thy
demands are so vast! Yet, pitying thy weak-
ness, I tell thee that I will lead thee to an
authority, higher than the apostles. What
thinkest thou, then, of Christ I

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«* Yes," thou sayest, " the " Are,

then, his words untrue ! Have they no more
weight with thee than the words of a man who
writes merely for gain^ or who sails only with
the wind! " Yes, he is over all." Well, come,
and follow him for a little. On what is' the
doctrine which he teaches grounded! With
what does he seal his words ! On what does he
support himself amidst the storm and tempest I
By what does he prove truth or falsehood f
With what does he overcome temptations !
And what does he commend to those who de-
sire to have a sure footing on the true founda-
tion ! Is it not always, is it not ahove all, the
Bihlef the holy reverence, the heartfelt
devotion, with which he regards the Holy
Scriptures ! — the deep suhmission with which
he always cites Moses, the Psalms, and the
Prophets ! — the commanding impressiveness
with which, in the name of the eternal God,
he demands belief in the sacred testimony!
— the vehement earnestness with which he
upbraids those who will not believe in it, and
with which he writes down their unbelief
in the book of reckoning, as a crime against the
Majesty on high! Behold him, the child of
twelve years, how, in the temple of Jerusalem,
he astonishes the masters in Israel, by his in-
comparable, holy, devotional insight into the
Word of Life ! Follow him to the lonely desert.
The tempter approaches. With what does he
meet the temptation ? " It is written," he says;
and again, ** It b written." His only defence,
his only weapon, is the Bible. Three sentences
from Moses are the stone with which he dis-
comfits the adversary. Follow him to the syna-
gogue of Nazareth, where he began his pro-
phetical office. He spreads out an old holy
roll — it is the Bible. It is as if he opened the
window of heaven, that the voice of Jehovah
might be heard. He opens the Prophet Isaiah.
He reads, and expounds it word for word; and
then closes with the solemn declaration, " This
day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears."
Follow him still farther; and, behold, it is still
the ** It is written," with which he confirms the
truth of his claims, and puts to shame the op-
position of his enemies. See how he reverences
the Holy Scriptures, not merely as a whole ;
no, he regards each individual syllable as the
unquestionable Word of God. Wherewith
does he prove to the Sadducees the resurrec-
tion of the body ! He holds up to them a short
sentence from Moses: ^ I am the God of Abra-
ham, of Isaac, and of Jacob ,*" and therefore
there is no doubt that although the fathers are

dead, they shall live again, because ** God is not
the God of the dead, but of the living." How
does he prove to the Pharisees that the Saviour
is divine as well as human! His argument is
still from the Bible. He puts them in mind of
the 1 1 0th Psalm, where David, by the inspiration
of the Holy Ghost, calls the Messiah his Lord:
** The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my ^
right hand." Read the story of the rich man
and Lazarus. What answer does he put into
the mouth of Abraham, when the condemned
sinner pleads for the appearance of a spirit, that
his brethren might be roused from their carnal
delusion — that they might be persuaded to flee
from the wrath to come! Abraham answers,
* They have Moses and the Prophets " — that is,
the Bible — ^^ let them hear them." If you have
still the least doubt of the Saviour's reverence
for the Holy Scriptures, turn to the 16th
chapter of Luke, where the Lord testifies be-
fore all the people " The Law and the Prophets
were until John;" and then, '^ It is easier for
heaven and earth to pass away, than one tittle
of the Law to fail." What does he mean by the
Law ! The entire Holy Scriptures. What does
he teach by these ! T^at they are given by the
Spirit's inspiration. Read from the 5th chap-
ter of Matthew, and see how he repeats it, even
with greater earnestness : " Think not that I
am come to destroy the Law or the Prophets ;
for verily I say unto you, till heaven and
earth pass, one jott or one tittle shall in no wise
pass from the Law, till all be fulfilled." Open
the 24th chapter of Luke, and read the intima- j
tion that the Lord ** is risen." When he then [
converses with his disciples, does not he ex-
pound unto them the Scriptures ! ** All things
must be fulfilled which were written in the
Law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and the
Psalms, concerning me." And what does he I
say in the 1 0th of John! receive this
word, in which, in the most incontrovertible'
maimer, he testifies his reverence for the Holy '
Scriptures: ** The Scripture cannot be broken." j
What does that mean ! It means that, from •
beginning to end, it is an indissoluble chain, in I
which there is no counterfeit ring, but every
link of which has been joined by the Holy;
Spirit. The Scriptures are, step by step, the {
reflection of eternal light — the Word of Grod —
perfect truth.

Behold, how the Holy One of Israel stood by
the Scriptures. From Moses to Malachi, in no
one book, chapter, or verse, did he find a single
iota that came not from God, and which he did
not receive as such. And when he desired to

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commend his own doctrine, behold our text.
Bear it, hear it: '^ I have not spoken of myself;
but the Father which sent me, he gave me a
commandment what I should say, and what I
should speak.*' God's Word is thus here, as
God's Word is yonder; the Old Testament is
God's Word, and so also is the New. This the
Lord of glory testifies by word and by deed;
yea, this he most solemnly afi&rms. What, then,
have those persons in our days attempted, who
would put themselves above the Bible — who
would venture to pronounce their poor judg-
ment on it ? Will they not, while they admit
that God's words are in the Scriptures, yet deny
that the Scriptures are the Word of God i will
not they proceed from one error to another, till
at last they call the Scriptures a mere mystical
book of delusion f Oil trouble when I think
of the course on which these men have entered.
What is it that they say of Jesus, the Lord from
heaven ! My lips, refuse to utter it. How do
they characterize his submission to the Holy
Scriptures? Wilt thou believe the words of
these blasphemers, rather than the ^ Verily,
verily," of Him of whom heaven, earth, and
hell bore witness that guile was never found in
his mouth ! 0! by the living Grod, and the sal-
ivation of thy soul, I entreat thee, believe them
not. Remember these old, earnest words:
''Why do the Heathen rage, and the people
imagine a vain thing! The Idngs of the earth
set themselves, and the rulers take counsel
together against the Lord, and against his
Anointed, saying. Let us break their bands
asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh:
the Lord shall have them in derision. Then
shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex
them in his sore displeasure." Hearken to this
as to the sound of distant thunder; and go home
— take thy Bible — lay thy right hand upon it —
and say to wife and child, friend and relative :
** Certainly the Lord is here, and we knew it
not;" for, in every word and letter of this book,
God speaks with us.

II. Behold what a sanctuary, in the Bible,
thou concealest under thy roof ! A holier one
may not be found under heaven. Yet King
Joram also had in his possession these holy
writings, from which the seer, who came to
visit him, pronounced only words of condenmar
tion. He might boast, and say, Behold in my
hand the words of Jehovah I But what were
these words to him ! Even a raging fire, which,
hanging over him, threatened him with ever-
lasting destruction. Hear what the Lord says

in our text : " The Father which sent me, he
gave me a commandment, what I should say,
and what I should speak; and I know that his
commandment is life everlasting ; " that is, his
aim and object is the salvation of sinners. Thus
do many deceive themselves. if thou but
knewest the gift of God!

You have heard the story of the poor cot-
tager, whom a traveller accosted, to ask of him
a draught of fresh water. Entering, he found
the parents cursing and quarrelling — the half-
naked children trembling, crouched together in
a comer; and, wherever he looked around, were
seen marks only of the deepest degradation both
of min d and body. The stranger, greeting them, I
admonished them to live together in peace and [
unity. * Dear friends," said he, * why do you
make your house like hell ! " The man replied :
''Ah! sir, you do not know the life and trials of a
poor man. When, do what we can, everything
goes wrong — when all the recompense of our hard
and toilsome labour, day by day, is but a crust
of dry bread—quarrels, and disputes,and despair,
spring up thick as mushrooms." The stranger'
drank the water, which they gave him from a!
broken cup, and then said softly (for in a dark
and dusty comer of the cottage he had noticed |
a Bible), "Dear friends, I know well what would ,
help you on. There is a treasure concealed in I
your house; search for it. If you find it, and
use it aright, in a short time you will be so rich
and happy as never to envy any one in the:
world again." So saying, he left them. At|
first the cottagers thought this a jest, and treated ;
it as such. But they soon began to reflect on;
it. When the woman at any time went out to
gather sticks in the wood, the man searched,
and even dug, that he might find the treasure. |
When the man was away at his daily work,*
the woman did the same. Still they found no- 1
thing; increasing poverty brought only more,
quarrels, discontent, and strife. One day, as
the woman again was left alone in the house,'
she bagan to reflect on what the stranger had i
said, with greater wonder than ever. She
looked, now here, now there, till she cast her
eyes, " by chance," as some would say, on the
Bible, which lay unheeded in a dark, dusty cor-
ner. It had been a gift from her mother; but
since her death, it had been altogether unread
and unused. A strange foreboding took pos-
session of her mind. What if it were this
book that the stranger meant ! She took it out
from amongst the rubbish where it lay, opened
it, and found this sentiment of the Psalmist
inscribed on the title-page, in her mother's

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handwriting: ** The word of thy month is better
unto me than thousands of gold and silver." It
cut her to the heart. Ah I thought she, this
may be the treasure the stranger had in view.
She reapd from that old Bible, aud every word
went to her heart as she had never felt before.
Ah! how her tears fell upon the leaves! Hence-
forth she read the Bible every day, and prayed,
and taught her children to pray; but all without
her husband's knowledge. One day he came
home as usual, quarrelling, and in a rage. In-
stead of meeting his angry words with angry
replies, she spoke to him meekly and with
gentleness. He was astonished and ashamed.
"Husbaud,** said she, **we have sinned grie-
vously; we have ourselves to blame for all our
misery, and must now lead a different life."
He looked amazed. "What dost thou say!"
was his exclamation. She brought the old
Bible, and, sobbing, cried out: "There is the
treasure; see, I have found it!" Her husband
sat down in silence. She read to him the his-
tory of the Lord Jesus, how he so loved sinners
as to die for them. The man's heart was
moved; he bit his lips, and trembled. Next day
she read to him again, and again, and again; and
he sat with the little ones around him, so
thoughtftil and attentive ! Thus we leave them.
A year had passed by, and the stranger returned
that way. ** Behold," said he to himself, " yon-
der is that poor cotta^; I will speak to the poor
people once more, and see how they are now."
As be said, so he did. But he would scarcely
have known it again; it was so clean, so neat, so
well ordered. He opened the door, but at first
thought that he was mistaken; for the inmates
came to meet him so kindly, so cheerfully, with
the peace of God beaming from their faces.
"How are you now, good people!" said he.
Then they knew the stranger, and with joyful
countenances took him by the hand. For some
time they could not speak : tears choked their
utterance. " Thanks, thanks, dear sir; we have
found your treasure; now dwells the blessing
of God in our house — his peace in our hearts."
So said they; and their entire condition, and the
happy faces of their children, not indeed rich,
but neatly clothed, said the same still more

O ye who would fain renovate the world, if
you would but turn your eyes to that fountain
of salvation, whence human happiness alone can
flow! — ye despairing ones, who lament so bit-
terly because of the sorrows and trials you en-
dure in this world ! it is not true that there is
no happiness under the sun, and that God has

taken back to heaven, far away from this earth,
the lovely child of peace; it is not true that,
with his eyes ox)en, man must sit down in de-
spair. No, no; this is not true. These bitter
complaints might be true, if the dominion of
this earth were all that the world had to offer
of light, and peace, and joy. But O, these mists [
are scattered, when once the channel of faith is '
opened up, and the rich streams of salvation
and blessing flow, with a fulness that is inex-
haustible, into the heart and life. O thou Bible !
holy book of wonders ! what more can we need,
when He who bears "the key of David," opens
up to us thy treasures! Where is the darkness |
which thy light will not dispel! where the
emptiness which thy tree of life will not satisfy !
Where is the thirst which thy living streams |
will not quench ! where the mountains which
cannot be ascended, when we have wjth us thy'
rod and staff! O Word of God! sent from
heaven, who can estimate the fullness of that |
service of love which thou hast wrought for us 1 1
We seek after Grod — thou unveilest tens his'
face. We desire to know his will — thou dis-j
coverest to us his law, with its thunders and
lightnings. Terrified by the voice from Sinai, {
we inquire into tlie state of our hearts — ^thou '.
disclosest to us their most secret depths. We |
sink under the heavy load of our sins — thou
showest to ns the sentence of condemnation
torn asunder, and nailed to the Saviour's cross.
We tremble to find that we are naked in the 1
presence of a holy God — thou tellest us of the
spotless righteousness of Emmanuel, and sayest '
gently, " Go in peace." We fear lest we should !
not walk worthy of our calling — thou sayest to i
us, "Take courage; for Christ is made of God '
unto you wisdom, and righteousness, and sano- 1
tification, and redemption." We tremble before |
the enemy who would fain swallow us up — again t
thou raisest our heads : " The Lion of the tribe |
of Judah hath conquered; take courage, take
courage." Trouble surrounds us — thou liftest
ns out of the abyss: See, it was the chastisement
of love. We are left alone — thou direotest us
to a friendly bosom, where all tears are wiped
away. The path of our pilgrimage is dark and
gloomy — thou givest us the wings of hope, so

Online LibraryThomas CarlyleThe Christian treasury, Volume 2 → online text (page 54 of 145)