Thomas Carlyle.

The Christian treasury, Volume 2 online

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displeasure — ^in a severe reprimand — or, when
the misdemeanour is great, in smart castiga-
tion. To cast away the lash may be fashion-
able, but it was not the approved system in the
days of Solomon; and there is not much good
to be expected of those modes of education
which are at variance with the Bible. '^He
that spareth the rod, hateth his son ; but he
that loveth him chasteneth him betimes** —
" Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child,
but the rod of correction wiU drive it from
lam" — ^"The rod and reproof give wisdom;
but a child left to himself bringeth his mo-
ther to shame" — ^"Correct thy son, and he
will give thee rest, yea, he will give delight to
thy soul" — ^"Withhold not correction from the
child: for if thou beat him with the rod he will
not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod,
and shalt deliver his soul from helL"

Yet how apt is the rod of correction to be
abused I How many parents beat their children,
unmercifully ; and instead of driving away fool-
ishness frt)m them, by their savage conduct,
render them only more stubborn and perverse.
Parental punish not in wrath. It is no doubt
easier to chastise under the influence of anger,
but it is neither safe nor salutary. Under the
influence of passion you may go too far, and
may be guilty of brutally injuring your own
ehildren; and though no serious injury should
be done to the body, you will in all likelihood
either inspire them with slavish fear, or stir up
in their little bosoms the angry and malignant
passions. ** Fathers, provoke not your children
to anger, lest they be discouraged," and become
careless, thinking it impossible to please those
whom they count harsh and unfriendly; and

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become, perhaps, in consequence of your un-
christian temper, prejudiced against that very
religion whose precepts you thus seek to enforce
in a manner so different from what is implied
in ** bringing your children up in the nurture
and admonition of the Lord." Let them be
*^ besought by the meekness and gentleness of
Christ;" and if punishment should be necessary,
they are more apt to be melted and humbled, if
they see that, in punishing them,you suffer more
pain than you inflict. At no time, perhaps, is
prayer more necessary for and with your child,
I than when the parent is about to lift the rod of

When children become capable of receiv-
ing religions instruction, it will be found there
is nothing so easily understood by them, or
which they are so fond of reading or of hear-
ing read, as many parts of the Holy Bible,
I particularly the Gospels and the historical
I parts of the Old Testament. If parents would
I wish their children to be truly religious, they
must not confine thoir roligioue iuBtruotions,
'as too many do, to the Sabbath, but must
, let it form pai-t of the business of every day of
their lives. Few parents are so very closely
I occupied, that they could not, if they were much
I set on it, spend some small part of every day in
I religious exercise with their children. It is
' even proverbially acknowledged that the time
, that is spent in this way is far from being a
hindrance to worldly business. It is in general
|l>etter that the time thus spent should be short,
lest through weariness the young should get a
dislike to religion. The time or times set apart
for these exercises, should be fixed so as to suit
the convenience of the family. If circumstances
will permit, what time can be better than the
hour of prime, when all are fresh and com-
posed, and before the childi*en enter upon their
tasks, and the parents engage in the business of
the dayf How delightful is it to hear their
matin song, when, assembled round their dear
earthly parents, they raise the voice of thanks-
giving and praise to their Father in the heavens!
; Should not the morning song of the b.irds of
I the air teach us how much it is our duty to sing
I the praises of the Almighty? After praise, a
small portion of Scripture should be read, re-
[ specting the meaning of which, and the lesson
: of wisdom to be derived from it, it is of the
very greatest importance that they should be
questioned by their parents, and every encou-
I ragement given them to ask questions for fur-
ther information. This will greatly increase
their interest in it, and render the exercise in-

finitely more beneficial. If parents are afraid
that they are not sufficiently qualified for this
important part of their duty, many of them may
be able to procure the help of some approved
commentator. The short notes and reflections
in Brown's Bible are most judicious and pious;
and if something fuller is wished, where can a
better be found than the excellent Matthew !
Henry f — the most useful, and, as Jay says, tlie
^sweetest of conmientators!" Let tlie whole!
be closed with a short fervent prayer, bearing on '
the passage of Scripture that has been read, and !
applying to the circumstances of the assembled
family. Many throughout Scotland in the lower
ranks of life are fully adequate for all this.
Let such as are less able, daily exercise, accord-
ing to their ability, the gifts and graces, how-
ever small, that God has bestowed on them; and
he whom they serve will gradually strengthen
more and more, and enable them with increas-
ing light, and zeal, and grace, to go on in his

Children should early be made acquainted
with the pure precepts of the Gospel, and kept
in remembrance tliat they are ever in the pre-
sence of that God who hears, and sees,and knows
all things, and has declared, that '^ though hand
join in hand, the wicked shall not pass unpun-
ished.'* . The doctrines which parents should be
most anxious to impress on the minds of child-'
ren are, their own natural sinfulness; the ne-
cessity of receiving Christ as their Redeemer;
and the necessity of being renewed and sancti-
fied by the Holy Ghost, that they may delight
in the service of G^, and be prepared for re-
lishing the enjoyments of the ransomed in that
world which is beyond the grave. Convince
them that they offend daily — ^that in everything
they come short; and that as it is written,
•* Cursed is every one who continueth not in all
things written in the book of the law to do
them,** they and all mankind are involved in
the curse. Show them that their own way-j
wardness is a proof of the corruption of their |
hearts. Remind them it is not what the world *
call great and flagrant sins only that expose to
punishment; but every sin committed by crea-
tures against a holy Creator, deserves exclusion
from his blessed presence, and those awful
punishments that await the rebellious. Butj
tell them that ** Grod so loved the world as to
send his only begotten Son, that whosoever be-|
lieveth in him should not perish, but should
have everlasting lifef* that they have the most'
gracious invitations to come to God, in the name'
of the Saviour, to obtain the pardon of their

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sins, and the life-giving influence of bis Spirit
] I of grace^ to work iu them both to will and to
I do of his good pleasare. But that they inay be
incited to diligence in the service of God, let
them not forget that the eye of God is ever on
thenoi — ^that he has appointed a day when he will
jndge the world in righteousness by Jesus Christ
his Son; when every work will be brought into
judgment, and every secret thing, whether it
has been good or whether it has been evil;
when he will say to the wicked, ** Depart from
me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for
the devil and his angels;" and when he will say
to the righteous, ''Come, ye blessed of my
Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you
from the foundation of the world."

Kind parents may injure their children by
injudicious prabe. When children make rapid
progress in learning, how apt are parents to
be vain of them! and, either by giving them
great praise themselves, or by eliciting, after n
display of their attainments, the praises of
I others, how apt are they to foster the seeds of
j vanity, plentifully sown in the hearts of their
children! Their desire should be, while they stir
them up to farther progress, to impress them
with gratitude for what the Lord has already
done for them; and to remind them that ** to
whom much is given, of them much will be re-
quired." On the other hand, if children are
not possessed of good talenta, how apt are many
parents to be fretful and impatient, and to load
them with reproaches for their stupidity; for-
getful that they are thus not only guilty of
cruelty to their children, but of casting re-
proach on God himself, who made them what
they are; and forgetting, also, that by such
cruel and sinful reproaches, they are apt to dis-
hearten and distress the minds of their children,
and to increase that very dulness by which they
are provoked. How much better would it be
were they to encourage and stimulate them, by
urging them to more strenuous exertions, tell-
ing them, under the blessing of God, dmost
every thing will yield to persevering industry
— that many who, when children, seemed dull,
have proved the most judicious, and sometimes
the cleverest men; and that, at all events, at
the great day, the question will not be. Have
they been men of genius! but, Have they been
found fai^fidl and that to such only the Judge
will say: " Well done, good and faithful servant;
thou hast been faithAil over a few things, I will
make thee ruler over many tlungs; enter thou
into the joy of thy Lord."

Let not parents be so discouraged as to relax

in their endeavours to impress the minds of
their children with the supreme importance of
religion, and to bring them imdcr the influence
of the truth as it is in Christ, even though they •
should see no good fruit resulting from their ,
pious labours. Let them remember that they
are discharging their duty, and if this is done
under a deep sense of their dependence on God ;
for his blessing on the means; and if it is fol-
lowed up by their good example, and by their ;
earnest prayers, what reason have they to hope^
that their labours will not, in the end, be in vaiu ! ,
** In the morning sow thy seed, and in the even- 1
ing withhold not thy hand; for thou knowest !
not whether shall prosper either this or that, '
or whether both shall be alike good." The in-
structions of parents and ^mstors may seem long
to be fruitless, yielding nothing but unprofitable
tares. The good seed may be long ddrmant;
but when the dew from heaven descends on it,
what an advantage is found to have the me-
mory stored with scriptural knowledge, which
may at once, when the understanding is en-
lightened, be turned to gi-eat account ! Though
parents should sow in tears, they may, in the
end, reap in joy. ** He that goeth forth and
weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless
come again rejoicing, bringing his 'sheaves with
him." Their labour cannot be in vain to them-
selves, for it is well-pleasing in the sight of '
God; and though he should not immediately
gladden their hearts, by plucking their children \
as ** brands from tlie burning," and even though
their grey hairs should go down to the dust in
sorrow, the prayers that rise may receive a
blessed answer, when they who raised them are
sleeping in the grave.



There are many people in our country who think it
too soon to begin with religion until they approach '
their end. As Christ was sent for to heal the ruler's '
daughter when she was at the point to die; so there i
are many who desire not the prayers nor the company
of ministers until they receive the summons of death. ;
They then wish to die in the Lord, though they Uved
to the deviL They now cry, " Oh 1 on ! for repentance ;**
though they despised and rejected the offers of it
before. They seek not the ark until they see the
deluge coming: they care not for repentance until the
deim are around their beds waiting for their souls. ;

Bodily sores and diseases have been the means oi
constraming many to seek after the Lord Jesus, while
those in health have made no effort to know him. The
earth that is not broken and mouldered by the plough,,
win bring forth nothing but the fruits of the curse —
thorns and briers; but when cultivated and manured^
it brings forth '* herbs meet for them by whom it ii

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dressed.^ The Tines mXL grow 'vnldin time, if thej
are not trimmed and pruned; bo out hearts mnild
grow wild, and produoe;hatefiil and pcrisonoiiB ftnit,
ff ere it not that OTir dear Saviour, the true vine-dresser,
is frequently pruning them by crosses and sanctifiea
afliictions. **Itisgoodforamanthathebeartheyoke
inhisvouth/*— Lam. iii. 27. Our Lord says : *^Evefj
branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may
bring forth more fruit.''-^ohn xv. 2. No use can be
made of gold or silver without fire ; nor can fine houses
be built except the stones be trimmed and smoothed
by hammers. So it is by no means probable that we
can be vessels of honour in our Father's house until
we be first in the furnace of afiliction, and refined as
silver is refined; nor can we be living stones in the
walls of Jerusalem^ except the Lord's hand breaks
off our lumps of pride and lust by his own hammers.
But the ungodly are for the most part rotting in their
prosperity; and like sta^gnant waters, theybxised many
ugly and loathsome animals. " Because th^ have no
changes,*^ sajrs the Psalmist, '' therefore they fear not
God."— Ps. It. 19. It is said by Jeremiah (xlviii. 1 1) :
" Moab hath been at ease fix>m his youth, and he
hath settled on his lees, and hath not been emptied
from vessel to vessel, neither hath he gone into cap-
tivity : therefore his taste remained in him, and ms
scent is not changed.'' O Lord our €k>d ! rauier than
that we should have on us the scent of the body of
death, and live without the fear of thy blessed name,
and be knit to our sins; nay. nay, heavenly Father!
rather than this, empty us trom vessel to vesseL let
thy blessed hand be upon us to awaken us; puri^ us
by fire, beat us with rods, remembering at the same
time, gracious Lord, the promise thou hast given to
the Son of David : ** I will chasten him with the rod
of men, but my mercy shall not depart away fitun
him."— 2 Sam. vii 14, 15.

How mean, vile, and insignificant is man, thoofi^
clothed in scarlet, purple, and gold, yea, though his
head should wear a crown, if he be 'not the servant
of Jesus Christ ! What is he but an evil spirit in a
fine dress — a devil in Samuel's mantle, ot the devU
himself dressed in gold ! Oh ! unq>eakably better are
the servants of Christ in ra^. And what are they?
GK)od ^irits in a mean atture, or angels undothed.
Jude 9.

When one sins against us, we vrish instant judg-
ment to fall on him : but let us fear the Lord. Which
of the two sinners ought to be smitten— he who sinned
a while ago, or he who sins now, by wishingjtidgment
on his enemy, contrary to God's word ? Who hath
injured thee ? If a brother, forgive him; if an enemy,
pray for him, for he knew not what he was doing.

Men are too inclined to depend on everything
short of the true rest; yea, even on hearing, partaking
of the Lord's supper, and praying. But our Saviour
puts, as it were, bitters on eve^hing, as the nurse
who wishes to wean her child from tl^ breast. He
exhausts and dries every cistern. And why does he
employ means so insignificant? Is it not thai he
might bring his chil4ren throu^ and from tiiem to
himself? He raised up^a serpent, and not man-made
of brass, and not of gold, lest the people of Israel shoold
depend on man and on gold; for who would rely on a
serpent of brass? So he sends, not angels, but men,
to preach the Gospel; not the rich, but the poor; not
the'^wise, but "the foolish things of the world," in
order that he might lead us through and from evenr
thing else to himself. So in the sacrament, what is
there to be had ? Not the feast of Elijah, bread and
meat — ^not much — no more than a morseL It is no-
thing but a morsel, in order to lead thee on to seek

TTtm who Is the bread of life. And why art thou left
oold, heavy, and dead, often in thj prayers? Is it
not to show that prayer is not salvation, but the Lord?
It is he alone that auickens, awakens, and warms the
soul in prayer.-^ohn v. 6.

There are a few sayings of Rowlands appended to
his sermons in Welsh.

It is stated that he frequently mentioned them
during his latter days, and that he used to say, that
" he had four lessons which he had laboured to leam
daring the whole course of his religioos life, and j9i
that he vras but a dull scholar even in his old agi "
And these lessons are the following : —

To repent, without despairing.

To bcJisffe, without being presumptaoos.

To r^oioe, without fUHng into levity.

To be angry, without sinning.

It is better to go to heaven by ourselves, ttianto go
in'company with the multitude into helL

Bad examples are like a flood, wYikh hmries akmg
with it everything that hMBnorooif or that is not too

Some men have tears enough for losses among their
kinft, were they as lean as those of Pharaoh; but for
their own souls they have none.

Life was lost in a state of virtue, and found in that
of transgression ; paradise was lost m Adam, but found
on the cross.

Small is his Ion who loses his garment, and keeps
his body whole; so it is with the Cbristian when he ia
wounded even unto death : he still retains what he
most values, his soul, and knows that his body is but
a corruptible garment.

Had not Paul had the devil to buffet him, he would
have buffeted God by exalting himself too much.

Were prosperity always to shine on us, what a wan-
dering ster would man become ! — how would the mon-
ster B|nread his wings !

Worthy of being kissed is that rod which beats <m.i
our sins.

Happy the man that takes warning when he sees
another under chastisement.

Shinder is like black soap, which seems to soO at
first, and then makes dean and white.
~ The most angelic Christian is he whom Satan hates
most. They who are troubled by Satan the least, are
those who give the least trouble to Satan.

The nearest enemv is the worst. Behold^ oar sins
are the nearest; let them be counted the wont.

The fear of man will make us hide sin; but the fsar
of the Lord will cause us to hate it.

The iron must be made hot before it can be worked;
so the mind must be heated by the fire of divine
meditation before it can be fit to be wrought upon
by the Word of the Lord.

GK>d wiU pull down in thee what is strong, before he
builds up what is Ireak.

Say not, My unworthiness prevents my prayin|^;
no, on the contrary, it is an inducement to pray..
Thou canst bring thy gift to the altar, though not thy
worthiness. Thou canst beg heaven, though thou
canst not buy it

No beggar has ever been too poor to be an object of
charity. Hold thy hand to receive, though it may be
a trembling hand.

The fire of discord is more ruinous to the Church
of Christ than the fire of persecution.

The spirit of our spirit, and the soul of our soul, it
the Holy Ghost.

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Every writer, poesibly, has his own peculiar stjle;
I but there are only a few men, in any age, whose
genius is of such an original and extraor^naty de-
Yclopment as to stamp their works with a peculiarity
which challenges public admiration. "We never for-
get the delightful impreanon made upon our youth-
ful minds by first acquaintance with authors of this
description. Who, for example, can forget the sen-
sation of pleasure he felt, when, having dealt with
meaner poets, his attention vras first directed to the
pages of John Milton, and he was made conversant
with that majesty of conception and expression which
divides him, as a Tf riter, from all mankind ? Or can
the same reader forget the surprise he felt when,
having next taken up the pages of the bard of Avon,
he was met with a development of genius altogether
distinct in species, and in no degree less wonderful?
In the eloquence of vmting and of oratory, what a
j vivid impression is made when we come across the
I meteoric path of Burke? And not less is the as-
tonishment which is felt by the young divine, when,
passing from the perusal of ordinary sermons he, for
the first time, gknces at those of Thomas Chalmers,
and finds sound divinity set forth in all the eloquence
of a most wondrous imagination, and powerful under-

An impression such as this -was produced upon our
mind when we first glanced at the works of Luther.
His style — the very form and phraseology which his
sentiments assumed— marked him out to be a man by
himself. There was an intrinsic heroism and sub-
limity in them, which, indeed, were constitutionally
characteristic of Luther, and suited well with the
position in which God placed him, at the most critical
en of the world^s history.

The public are now well acquainted with the char

racter of the German Reformer, drawn by the pen of

one who could appreciate and adequately represent

it; nor would we at this time re-exhibit him to the

view of our readers, except very imperfectly, in his

chaimcteristict as a preacher. These have, indeed,

been both noticed and illustrated by D*Aubign4;

but the specnnens which he has adduced are gene-

, rally short, detached, and rather designed to elud-

I date the history, than quoted for the express purpose

, of conveying an idea of Luther'^s pulpit ministrations.

, Besides, through the very elegance of his mind, and

' j his refined taste, the rude energy of Martin Luther

seems to lose something in his hands as a translator.

: I Occasionally some expression is left out, which was

, doubtless considered too vehement for the proprieties

of language, or ev^n of ChrisUan temper; whereas

. I our readers will agree with us, that it is hifinitely

, I better that his sentiments should be given in manner

j as well as substance, just as they issued, like burning

I lava, out of the cmstation of an entirely unparalleled


I The passages which we propose giving, in this and
j, a tuoceeding paper, are extracted from a folio vo-
I lume, containing such sermons as he preached in the
I coune of his ordinary ministry to the common people

of Wittemberg. They were originally circulated in
the German language, but afterwards translated into ,
Latin. This volume contains a pre&ce by Luther
himself, in which he launches a hearty anathema
against those who, according to a pernicious custom
of the time, should dare to publish the work with
interpobtions or corrections— men in whose hands
** a good book vras like a pearl amongst swine ^ —
*' scrupulous weighers of words, religious, and even
superstitious in the choice of their expressions, while
they taught without scruple the very grossest heresies !
— straining at a gnat, and swallowing a camel — catch- 1
ing at the mote of a misplaced vocable in others, ,
while they adored the beam of downright blasphemies i
in themselves.** I

We shall not detain the reader by any general ob- !
servations of our own, drawn from a perusal of this
volume, upon the characteristics of Luther's preach-
ing, but proceed at onoe to give him specimens, from
which he may form a judgment for himself. The
first, which represents the Reformer in one of his
more vehement moods, is a passage in which he de-
nounces the Popish idea of good works : —

" O for a voice louder than thunder, that I might
make myself heard through the whole world, and
at once banish this word good vorks from the
hearts, the lips, the ears, and the writings of all men;^
or succeed at last in conviucing them what it means ! i
The universal world thinks, speaks, sings, writes of
good works. Not a sermon is delivered, but the I
theme of commendation must be good works. Ail '
our halls and all our universities boast of nothing
else than good works. In every man*s mouth
we shall find this word, good works. And yet no- 1
where are good works done; nor is there a man who
knows what good works really are. Would to God '
that all the pulpits throughout the world wore
burned vrith fin and reduced to ashes, that a wretched
population mi^ht no more be deceived and ruined, in
a manner which one shudders to contemplate, by
these good works! Thej give the name to works,

Online LibraryThomas CarlyleThe Christian treasury, Volume 2 → online text (page 69 of 145)