Thomas Carlyle.

The Christian treasury, Volume 2 online

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apprehension, in so far as we have endeavoured to
unfold it, suggests two important practical reflections,
which we shall do little more than indicate. It first
teaches the necessity of sober thought and careful
inquiry in regard to the deep things of GKxL If we
give that, we shall not £ul to perceive their perfect
harmony and agreement one with another. On the
other hand, a superficial and hasty look at them will
find many stumbling-blocks connected with them,
and will perhaps altogether r^ect some portions of
them as absolutely incredible. Here especially it is
the part of wisdom to " drink deeply** at the foun-
tain of instruction— reaching after the higher mea-
sures of spiritual discernment, and comparing spiritual
things with spiritual; for they who are most distin-
guished for this will ever be found the soundest in
the faith. A doubting or an unbelieving age is always
one of loose and shallow thinking upon the truths of 1
God*s Word. Then, again, we are here furnished *
with a more special lesson regarding the times and 1
seasons of God*s kijogdom — not to be unduly con- |

* Heng*tenberg*t ChritU logy, vol. U., Uit page.

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oemed about knowhigf them, and more pcurticularly
the grand time and season of our Lord^ second
coming. Christ^ desire is, that there should be
among his disciples a daily looking and waiting for
it; and the nearer it comes he may possibly increase
, the expectation and confidence of its speedy arriral
i among those who really lore his appearing; but any
. certun knowledge of the day and hour would be a
j most dangerous and fatal snare, and should not eren
be wished for. If the Master, in his state of humi-
liation, did not seek to possess it, how much less the
frail and erring children of his household ! Let it be
,ours mainly to seek and labour that we may be
always ready for the event itself— to be so deeply
impressed with a conviction of its absolute certainty
and possible nearness, and so much alive to its true
character and purposes, that it shall not take us un-
awares, but find us in the concfition of wise and fiedth-
ful stewards, waiting for their Lord.


P. F.


In ancient times a father fell at the feet of a tyrant
to pray for the life of two sons that had been con-
demned to die. The tyrant was deaf to the prayers
of parental love, and the suppliant tried the power
of gold. He converted all that he had into money,
and offered it as a ransom for the boys; The avari-
cious king determined to accept it, and thought he
would extort more by taking what was now brought
as the price of one son, and therefore told the father
that he would give him one of his children, and he
Imi^t take his choice between the two. The father
!now tried to make up his mind which of them he
would redeem, as he could not have them both. He
went to the cell in which the^ were confined, and
each fell into his arms beseechmg him to save the
other. Now the eldest, his first-bom, was the dearest,
and he must deliver him; then the love of the
younger would prevail, and he must save the precious
child. He went home undecided; and there ne tried
to think which he would bring back to cheer him in
his old a^e. The more he thought of it the more
difficult (ud he find it to make a choice. It was im-
possible for him to come to a decision, and while he
was in this state of agonizing suspense, both of them
were put to death I

Parents have been placed in similar drcumstanoes
when their children have been exposed to death by
fire or bj drowning, and it becomes necessary to de-
cide which of them they will leave to perish. At
such times it seems easier to lose all, than to save
one, at the expense of the rest.

In a time of dreadful famine in Germany, a poor
family, consisting of a father, mother, and four cnild-
ren, were reduced to such deep distress for want of
food, that it was at last proposed, as the only means
of saving the lives of the rest, that one of the child-
ren should be sold. The father made the proposal,
and when they were on the point of being starved to
death, the mother gave her reluctant consent. Then
came the great question which of them should be
parted with. They be^ with the oldest, their first-
bom, and there were ties around their hearts and his
that made it altogether useless to think of selling him.
It was not to be done. The second was next consider-
ed, but he was so much like his father that the mother
Would not think for a moment of parting with

him. A blooming rirl was the third, the very picture
of her mother, and! the father could not sell her, not
he— he would starve first. And then came the last,
and they folded little Beiyamin to their bosoms, ana
said, they would die together rather than part with ;
him, or any one of their precious children.

Such is the feelmg of the parental heart when
such a dreadful alternative is presented. Yet there
are many families in which it is easy to see that some
children are treated with more leniency and apparent
kmdness than others. The parents may not be will- 1
ing to own the fact when mentioned to them — per-
haps they are not conscious of any partialityz but
their conduct betrays it, and the quick sensibility of
the petted one, and the quicker sensibilities of the
neglected ones, soon detect it. .

In most cases that have come under my observa-i
tion, parents are specially fond of their youngest
children- especially if these children are given to
them when they are somewhat advanced in Hfe.
Perhaps mothers are inclined to pet their daughters,
and fathers to humour the boys; but there is so much
diversity of practice on this point, that if we should
make an assertion, it might be contradicted by the
observation of those who read it. It is the fact of
partiality in families that I am spealdng of, and the
examples I have cited ought to be imitated by those
who are not called to part with any of their children, i
Parents ought to treat all their children in such a
planner, that no one of them will ever be able to
imagine that one of them is loved more than another, i
Some of the evils of parental partiality it would be
easy to mention, were they not so obvious as to make
it needless.

1. It excites envy m the breasts of the other child-
ren. They are singularly alive to the voice and
manner of their parents. If you speak to one ot
them harshlv. and rebuke another gently for the
same fault ; it you call one of them " dear,'' and the
other by his name with no epithet of affection, and
this becomes with you habitual, they will perceive it,
and it will produce its natural effect upon their
natural hearts. The envy of Joseph's brethren will
be remembered not only as a warning to children
against the indulgence of such a temper, but as a
warning to parents against nving occasion for the
exercise of such feelings. The neglected ones will
look with an evil eye upon the favoured. This will
show itself in a thousand little things, and it will give
rise to the expression of jealousy and displeasure
upon slight occasions. These feelings will grow with
the growth of the children, and strengthen with their
strength, and in riper years, perhaps in manhood and
old age, the power of it may be felt; especially if the
petted child should not be as successful in business
as the others. And who can estimate the mischief
that may flow from this awakening or implanting in
the breasts of children a passion so bitter, impla^le,
and lasdi^ as that of envy ?

2. It injures the favoured one even more than those
that are neglected. Perhaps the object of this par-
tial indulgence is a little daughter. Suffered to have
her own way in little things, she soon learns to com-
mand in everythins^. Her fimlts being unpunished,
she comes to regard her faults as virtues, or to think
that she may do with impunity what is to be blamed
in others. Pride, vanity, disdain, and a host of evil
passions that lurk in the heart are nourished, and we
soon have a specimen of what is not very rare in our
days—** a spoiled child.'* As the other children are
governed with more strictness, though with less affec- 1
tion, it is very likely that their manners are more
lovely, and their morals more worthy of approbation,
than those of the child who was permitted to walk in
the way she pleased to go. In this view, it may be

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difficult to decide which of the children suffer moet,
the petted or neglected.

3. It leads the children to despise their parents.
There is no doubt of it They know the common
principles of propriety, and when they see these prin-
ciples inTaded, and the same thing permitted in one
child which is condemned in another; when they see
that smiles are awarded to one, when the other gets
only frowns, they will leam to r^ard their parents
as unjust, and then they will despise them.

It is a mistaken notion of many parents that child-
ren do not take notice of such things. Children
have sharp eyes, and they not only notice, ihej feel
these things; and though their timidity may restrain
them from making remarks about them in the pre-
sence of their parents, they will lay them up in their
hearts, and hnn^ forth fruit in after days. Parents
should treat their children, so that no one of them
will ever suspect that he is not as dear as any other
of the number ; and to preserre this equality of treat-
ment, it will be necessary to be watchful of words,
and looks, and actions. When we are making pre-
sents to our children we are careful to please them
all alike, but we are forgetful of this duty when we
suddenly speak to them, or look at them.

I should not be surprised if some parents read this
who are ready to declare that they know no differ-
ence among their children, while the neighbours or
friends muce it a matter of oonyersation that they
are notoriously portiaL So blind are we to our own
faults, so keen to see the errors of others. — MoOurt*



In Mr Bartletfs interesting work, '* Walks about
Jerusalem,*^ there is a description furnished by Mr
Catherwood, of ancient yaults under the site of the
temple, with an indication of other yaults now walled
up. That these yaults belonged to the temple built
by Herod, which was the temple in which our Lord
and his apostles taught, there is no reason to doubt;
but that they belonged to the earlier temples of
Zerubbabel or of Solomon, cannot with any certainty
be aflirmed. In reading this account, we were re-
minded of the distinct notice of such yaults giyen by
the early Rabbinical authors, and of the remarkable
purpose which they ascribe to them — being, curiously
enough, to preyent the yery thing for which yaults
are made under our own churches. These authorities
state, that the temple and its courts were arched under
ground with " arches upon arches,** which is ex-
plained as meaning that " one arch was set upon two
arches, so that the feet of one arch stood upon two
arches that were under it** Now, the object of this
was, that they might be sure that there should be no
grayes secretly made in any of the courts of the
temple, by which they would haye been defiled.
This may or may not be true; but the feeling with
respect to sepulture in holy phices which it indicates
is undoubtedly in accordance with the law of Moees,
which exposed to the inconyenienoes of ceremonial
pollution any one who came in contact with not only
a dead body, but a bone, or eyen a graye. —Numb,
xix. 16, 18. It is not difficult to discoyer the objects
of this regulation. In the first place, it was calculated
to shut out that form of superstition merging into

idoUtry, which consisted in the homage paid to the
enshrined relics or mortal remains of ancient saints
and patriarchs; in the next place, it insured the{
speedy sepulture of the dead, and precluded those
offensiye displays of the bodies of criminals and others,
which haye been common in different countries. It
also necessitated the burial of the dead outside of
towns; for when the accidental touch eyen of a graye
was a pollution, people would of necessity ** bury
their d^ out of their sight,** in situations where the
least danger of this inconyenience would accrue. It
is on this last point that we now dwelL That the
regulation had this effect, we know from the subse-
quent history of the Jews, which sufficiently indi-i
cates that their grayes were outside their towns.,
Thus, our Lord had not yet entered Bethany when
he was at or near the grave of La»ru8.-John xi.
30, 32. It was when the corpse of the widow's son
was carried out at the gate of Nain for burial that
Jesus met the mournful procession, and gave back
life to the dead.— Luke yiL 12. It was in the tombs
outside the town that the man possessed of deyils^
took up his abode.— Matt yiii. 28, 29. Lastly, our|
Lord himself not only suffered (Heb. xiil 12), but
was buried without the gate; for in the phioe where
he was crucified there was a garden, and in the gar- 1
den a new sepulchre (John xix. 41, 42), belong-
ing to Joseph of Arimathea, and there was the,
body of our Lord entombed. In fact, there is eyen
at this day at Jerusalem abundant eyidence that the
sepulchres of the ancient Jews were outside the
town, mostly on the east side, in the Valley o^
Jehoshaphat, but also in the other sides. It is true \
that we read of kings being buried in the " city of
Dayid,** and ** in the garden of the king> house ;** but
that was a peculiar priyilege of royalty, just as with
the Romans, who, although they buried without the
walls, yet, as a special honour, allowed their most dis- 1
tinguished patriots and commanders to be buried in
the Forum, or in any other place specially designated
within the walls. And so with the present Turks— I
the tombs of whose princes are in the heart of their
metropolitan city, although their cemeteries are in-|
yariably outside their towns. |

As among the people of God, so neither among
the principal nations of Heathen antiquity were
sepulchres permitted within their towns, much less
within their temples. Plutarch, in his Life of Aratus, '
says, there was among the Sicyonians an ancient law.
agunst the practice; andPetitius, in his work on the
Athenian Laws, shows that the dead were always
interred beyond the limits of the cities. As for the
Romans, one of the laws of the twelve tables forbade i
that the dead should be either buried or burned
within the city; for which the commentator Rit-
tershushius renders these very sensible reasons : 1.
That a public place should not be appropriated to
acts of private religion; for the Rosians exercised a
kind of religious piety toward the places of their
dead. 2. That the saored places of the city should
not be polluted; which holds in a great degree with
the Jewish idea, and is equally with that the precise
reverse of our own notions, or at least of our own
practice, in this matter. 3. Because the air is vitiated

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bj the exhalatkniB of dead bodies, which is the Tery
reaeon usiudly urged against the practice at the
present day, and which is not, as some suppose, the
.result of modem discoveries about gases, &c.; but
was, as we see in this instance, felt and understood
more than two centuries ago. In fact, many strong
objections to the prevailing practice might be pro-
duced from various old writers, who dte the opinions
of physicians against it; and who, according to the
fashion of old writers, make much parade of the
decrees of Roman emperors, as Hadrian, Antoninus
Pius, Gratian, Yalentinian, and Theodoeius, who
all, and especially the last, strictly forbade inter-
ment in templet and churches.

Whether from the Roman law, or usage, or from the
operation of a natural sentiment, the usage which every
thoughtful man wishes to re-establish, prevailed in this
country for many ages. The dead were buried outside
the towns, and interment in churches was not thought
of. The contrary practice was begun in the eighth
century by Cuthbert XI., archbishop of Canterbury,
at whose request the pope authorized interment in
church-yards. When the commonalty got into the
the church-yards, the clergy and nobility would not be
long kept out of the churches; and in point of
fuci this very Cuthbert, who died in 758, was buried
in his own church.

As modem authority and argument against this
practice is to be met with in almost every newspaper,
and as it is not so generaUy known that the evil was
felt and protested against long ago, we add one ex-
tract from old Samuel Lees' **Orbis Miraculum,''
published in 1659 : " Strange it is that a thing to the
Jews of old so abhorrent and detested, unknown to
the primitive Christians, and so strictly forbidden by
the civil [civilized] nations in their laws, should ob-
tain among Christians; in itself so unseemly, to the
living offensive, to the dead unprofitable— unless we
grant prayers for the dead to be available, a piece of
worship fit for such, and decent as the act of buriaL
It is somewhat inconsistent with them that place such
holiness in churches, to pollute them with graves;
for they are counted great pollutions in the Book of
Qod. But I crave pardon for insisting so long upon
this Popish absurdity, that it is so rooted into men's
minds by inveterate custom, that it {s almost out of
view of cure. For my part, I think it a great mercy
for persons deceased to have comely and decent in-
terment ; and, according to their quality, both lawful
and commendable it is to have monuments of their
virtues erected over them; but why may it not be
done in a place walled in for that purpose without
the bounds of cities, as of old was customary, and is
at this day at Newport and Yarmouth in the Isle of
Wight?*' Whether this is stm the case at the phMxs
named, we have not at this moment the means of
learning; but it is pleasant to know that many places
of much greater importance have now extensive
cemeteries, and although we cannot expect to find
the practice of interment in towns and diurchea—
the growth of many centuries — ^relinquished other-
wise than slowly, we may now venture to regard
this great evil as not altogether ''out of view of


Rise early. Your eiyoyment of the Sabbath, and
your attendance upon the worship of God in the
morning of it, greatly depend upon this. If you have ''
much to do before you can umte with €K>d'B people I
in his house, the time of your rising must be arranged
accordingly. A lazy, slug^h professor, who can
satisfy himself with consummg the best part of the
mominff in bed, is but ill prepared for the service of
his Maker in the course of it. And scandalous it
certainly is to any one who names the name of Christ,
that a man who would rise for a sixpence at almost
any hour on any other day in the week, should shut
his ears on the morning of a Sabbath, when God is
callmg to him from heaven, and be lulled by the
devil to sleep.

The conduct of the wicked, who can rise at any
time to unite in a part^ of pleasure; the conduct of
Heathens, who are waiting the rising of the sun, in
order to pav the earliest adorations to him as soon as
he makes his appearance; in a word, the conduct
even of Satan himself, who is always on the alert, to
destroy, if possible, the comfort and souls of men, is
a sufiident reproot to such individuals.


How little do we think of the dead ! Their bodies
lie entombed in all our towns, villages, and neigh-
bourhoods. The lands thtj cultivated, the houses
they built, the works of their hands, are alwavs be-
fore our eyes. We travel the same roads, walk the
same paths, sit at the same fire-sides, sleep in the
same rooms, ride in the same carriages, and dine at
the same tables, and yet seldom remember that those
that once occupied these places are now gone— alas !
for ever !

Strange that the livinp; should so forget the dead,
when the world is frdl of the mementos of their lives!
Strange that the fleeting cares of life should so soon
rush m and fill the breast to the exclusion of those
so near I To-day man stands and weeps over the
grave of his departed friend; to-morrow he passes
that grave with cold indifference. To-dav his neart
is wrung with all the bitterness of anguish for the
loss of one he so much loved; to-morrow the image
of that friend is efiaced from his heart, and almost
forgotten. What a commentary upon man \-^A rum.

As the day dies into the night, so doth the summer
into the winter. The sap is said to descend into the
root, and there it lies buried in the ground. The
earth is covered with snow, or crusted with frost, and
beoomes a general sepulchre; when the spking ap-
peareth, all begin to rise; the plants and flowers
peep out of their graves, revive, and grow, and
flourish. This is the annual resurrection. The com,
by which we live, and for want of which we perish
irith famine, is, notwithstanding, cast upon the earth,
and buried in the ground, with a design that it may
conrupt, and being corrupted, may revive and mul-
tiply. Our bodies are fed with this constant experi-
ment, and we continue this present life by a succes-
sion of resurrections. Thus all things are repaired
by corrapting, are preserved by perishing, and revive
by dying. And can we think that man, the lord of

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all these things, which thus die and revive for him,
should be detained in death, as never to live again?
Is it imaginable that Gk>d shoold thus restore all
things to man, and not restore man to himself? If
there were no other considerations, but of the prin-
ciples of hitman nature, of the liberty and r$iBBnera-
bility of homaa actions, and of natura^^iwohitions
and resurrections of other crealiires,/(t were abon-
dantly soiBcient to render the resurrection of our
bodies highly probable.— JBii^ Ptarw%,


While Luther vras at Cobuig during the sessions of
the Diet of Augsburg, 1590, v eit Dietrich, a pastor
who was with him, wrote to Melancthon : ** I cannot
cease to wonder to see how stedfast, joyfol, full of
faith and hope he is in thc«e dangerous and miserable
times. But oe becomes more and more so by daily
and diligently strengthening himself at the fountain
of Qod's Word. No day passes in which he does not
devote at least three hours to prayer and meditation.
I once succeeded in hearing hrai pray— what energy,
what faith in his words ! He pra3r8 eamesBy as a
man oommuning with (}od; and with such trust and
faith as a man oonversiog with his father.*^

Two merchants of the same city, being neighbours
and jealous of each other, lived in a scandalous emmty.
One of them, entering into himself^ submitted to the
voice of religion, which condemned bis resentments;
he consulted a pious person, in whom he had great
confidence, and inquired of him how he should manage
to bring about a reconciliation. "• The best means,**
answered he, " is what I shall now indicate to you :
Whenever any person shall enter your store in order
to purchase, and you have not what suits them, re-
commend to them to go over to yotir neighbour.**
He did so. The other merchant being informed of
the person by whom these purchasers came to him,
was so struck with the good offices of a man whom he
considered his enemy, that he repaired immediately
to his house to thank him for it, begged his pardon
with tears in his eyes for the hatred he had enter-
tained against him, and besought him to admit him
amongst the number of his best friends. His prayer
was heard, and religion closely united those whom
self-interest and jeakxisy had divided.



1. Never negloct your accustomed private duties
of reading, meditation, self-examination, and prayer.

2. Never fiul to attend some place of worship on
the Lord's-day, unless prevented by such circum-
stances as you are sure will excuse you in the eye of

3 Never entertain uninvited company on the
Lord's-day, and pay no vints, unless to the sick and
needy, as acts of benevolence.

4. Never engage in anything; either on the Lord's

or on any secular day, which will compromise your
Christian ccmsistency. |

5. Seek to do good to the souls of your iamOy and '
all others within your reach.

6. Always remember that yon are to **standbefore

Online LibraryThomas CarlyleThe Christian treasury, Volume 2 → online text (page 59 of 145)