Thomas Carlyle.

The Christian treasury, Volume 2 online

. (page 83 of 145)
Online LibraryThomas CarlyleThe Christian treasury, Volume 2 → online text (page 83 of 145)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


jEsgliah Bible from the maiiHseript editieii by
(Wickliffe, and the first printed edition l^
Tyndale, to the present times — from the clan-
destine introdnetion of tite first copy from the
Continent in 1526, to the millions of copies
annnally pouring from the press in the few
yean ^or to 1846 — ^from solitary indiyidiials
stealthily reading the Sacred Volmne in peril of
being bnmed for so doing in the days of Henry
yilL, to the period when all round the world
tiiere exists in an unbroken series, during eTery
day, and every hour of every day, ihe raading
of the English Bible by countless myriads of
the English race, speaking the English iangoage.
What a progress, and in what a cause !



EARTH'S CONTRASTS.

What strange contrasts this earth of onri presents !
* It seems to be the middle spot between hptven and
< hell, and to partake of the cnaract^ of botn. Beings
I from both are found moving over its surface, and
Isosnes from bo& are constantly occnrriog upon it.
ilht glory fr«B one, and the midnight shades from
Ithe other, meet along its bosom; and the song of
! angels, and the shriek of fiends, go 19 from Hit same



n>ot. Noonday and midnight are not more opposite
than the scenes that are ocmstanthr passing before our
eyes. The tem^ of God stands be^ a brothel^
and the place of pmyer is nparated onhr by a single
dweUing from the ''hell^ of the gambler. Tenth
and falsehood walk nde by side through oar streets,
and vioe and virtue meet siadpass evei^ hour of the
day. The hot of the starving stands m the shadow
of the palace of the wealthy, and the carriage of
Dives every dsnr throws the dost of its glittering
wheels over the tatteved garments eflaBsrus. Heal£
and nckness lie down m the same asartment^ jc^
and agony look out of the same window, smdhope
and despair dwell under the same roof. The cry of
the new-bom infmt, and the groan <^ the dying, rise
together from the same dwellmg; theimieral proces-
sion treads elose on the heelsof the biidal party; and
the tones of the hits and viol have soaroefy died
snray, beiore the requiem for the dead oomes swell-
hw after. O, the beaotifid aood defoimed, the pose
and the eornpt, jovs and socrowa^ eostaoies sand
iMies, fife and death, are strangely blent on this

But ike past and ftitvfe presents as itiai^d eon-
trasts as the present What different events have
trani^ixed on the same spot! Where the In^Gan's
wigwam arose, and the stealthy tread of the wolf and
panther was heard over the autunm leaves at twi
ns^t, the population of New York now surges along
where once Tyre, the queen of the sea. stood, fisher
men are spreading their nets on the desokte rocks
and the bright waves are rolling over its marbk
columns. In the empty apartments of Edom the foa
makes his den, and the anst of the desert is sifteo
over the fbrsaken ruins of Palmyra. The owl hoott
in the andent halls of kings, and the wind of the
summer night makes sad music through the rents of
onoe gorgeous palaces. The Arab spurs his steed
along the street of ancient Jerusalem, or scom^^
stands on Mount Zion, and curls his lip at the pilgrim
wearily joumeyin|ii; to the sqmlchre of the Say&ur.
The Muezzin'^ voice rings over the bones of the pro-
phets, and the desert wind heaps the dust above the
foundations of the Seven Churches of Aria. O how-
good and evil, Ught and d aikate s , chase each otiier
over the wodd !-V. T, Eeadle^,



THE OLD COLLIER.

A Mims T BE , giyingsn aocount of a pious old coffier,
narrates the following circomstsnce : —

In the cause of misrionshe was deeply interested;
the tenor of his actions showed tiiat It lay near
his heart, and that he was anxious in some wa^
to be instrumental in carrying forward the baas
volent operations. When the anniveraaiy meet-
ings of the district were beins held in the several
places of worship in the neighbourhood, he was
generally present at them aH; allowing no trivial
matter to depffre him of tiie luxury of the feast he
was there aooastomed, to emoy. As sn officiating
minister was goin^ to ooe of meie meetings, heow-
took the old collier on the road, who put into Us
hand a hrovn paper parcel, very securely packed^
and tied and sealed, with an injunction not to open
it until after the chairman d e H vere d the l u tr o du c t oiT
speech. The meeting, as usoaL eosBmenoed with
pcajer. Next fbOoniS the ^airman's speech; itu
was a very good qwech, well adapted #> the ocsa-
8ion»but to the minister it appeved very long, lor
he was wishing to open the brown paper pairoeL
Presently the One came, the ohalrmaa fiidshed his
speedi, and introduced another speiAier to the meet*
faig, i2en the mfadstor siltiBg by Us sUb fssdfsd t»



Digitized by VjOOQIC



360



THE CHRISTIAN TREASURY.



satisfy his curiority, by learning the contents of the
brown paper parcMsL Out came the penknife — snap
went the strmg, and lo ! on opening it, the brown
paper parcel become changed into a whita paper
parcel, bATingon it the inscription in bold letters,
" WE ARE ALL INSIDE, SIB." All inside, thought he.
And pray, who are all you inside ? To work again
went the penknife, prepared to make a valiant as-
sault upon these mpterious "all insideS/* The
reader maj ima^e his surpiise on discoyering them
to be eight silTer coins, e<|uiTalent to fire dollars,
offeringxhemselTes for misdonaiy work, accom-
panied with the following letter :—

" Dear Sir,— We hare been in many different

places, and in many Terv different companies and

conditions, not always tne most respectable. At

last, one by one, we haye come into the possession of

^ur present owner, who has put us aside for a while,

I and now offers us to the Lord of missions, if you will

Ukccept of us for his serrice. We are yours faith-

! fully, from ** An Old Collier.

" i^. B, — We haye no objection to go abroad, as
any coun^ or climate will suit us.**

In a comer of the church sat the old collier studi-
ously observant of the coimtenances of the audience, to
ascertain if it were probable that many others would
be disposed to engage inside places on an embarka-
Uon to the Heaven. A day or two afterward, the
last meeting in the district was held, and an appro-
priate sermon was preached from the words ** The
end.** The old collier returning home under a deep
impresnon produced by the subject, sidd to a voung
friend with much emphasis and solemnity, as though
he had a presentiment of his own approaching dis-
solution, ** Who can tell P perhaps the end may be
near to some of us.** And so it proved. The next
morning as he was descending the pit, a large stone
fell upon his head, and the accident terminated
fatally. He was numbered with the dead, and his
happy spirit took its flight to the regions of purity
and bliss, where he that soweth and he that reapeth
rejoice together.



TWO KINDS OF PRAYER.

When Luther first set himself agamst the torrent of
idolatry and corruption, in the year 1517, assuming a
task, to human view, as hopeless as for a man to set
his shoulder to a mountain to remove it, he commu-
nicated his designs to a wise and prudent friend, who
had as deep a sense of Romish corruption as he. But
that friend advised him to abandon his design, and
retire to his cell, and pray, Lord have mercy on us/
He would pray him into a state of despair, imbelief,
and inaction. But Luther more effectually prayed,
lA>rd have mercy onus! when, believing the promises
of God, he put forth efforts corresponding with his
prayers. The one prayed and did nothing, because
he believed that God could or would do nothing.
The other " acted** and prayed, and in faith took hold
of God*s strength, and the work was done. He put
his shoulder to the mountain, yea, to the seven hills
on which Antichrist had laid his throne, and, weak
as he was, yet in (}od*s strength he made the moun-
^ tains tremble, shook the foundations of the throne of
the Beast, and gave him a deadly wound, from which
'he never has, and never will recover. When we pray
t that prayer. Lord have mercy on us, we profess to
LbeUeve, that however desperate our case may be to



the human view, it is not beyond the power of God;
and the prayer engages us to obedience to the com-
mands of God, while we appeal to his power and
grace.— iV. E, PurUan. \



CHANGES OF FORTUNE.

A magnificent column was commenced by Napoleon
upon the heights near Boulogne, to commemorate
his celebrated intended invasion (of England). The
column is now finished, and its history should afford
a salutary lesson to the princes of the eartli. As '
Bonaparte never accomplished his invasion, so he
never finished his monument. But when the
Bourbons came back to the throne of France, they
resumed the prosecution of this magnificent work,
with a design to make it a monument of their re-
storation; but before they could complete it, they,
were driven from the kingdom; and Louis PhiUppe
has finished the column as a memorial of his eleva-
tion to the throne from which both Napoleon and
the Bourbons had been banished.- - Th; FisiU TraveU.



dFragutentft*



** Fwth is a hearty credit of whatever God hath
said, be that what it majr.** A cold assent, so fitir from
being saving faith, is criminal. The assent, so &r aa
it goes, is right ; but the coldness of it is criminal, and
even detestahU, Now what constitutes the Gospel is
'* good 1UWS J ** but whatever faith a wicked man may
have in it as a piece of news^ he has none in the
goodness of it; he is therefore an unbeliever in the
very essence of the Gospel, or in that without whidi
it would not be the Gospel. Men may believe many
things concerning Jesus Christ and his salvation, but.
they only amount to their simple existence, without
takmg in their adhering qualities. But as tne Scrip-!
tures as fully reveal what they are. namely, thdr real
excellency, as that they are at all, I conclude, they
who do not believe the one as well as the other, dis-
believe a great part of the report of the (Gospel, yea,
the very essentials of it.

Many sweeten an error with truth, to make men
swallow it more readily.

If Satan fetter us, tis indifferent to him whether
it be by a cable or a hair; nay, perhaps the smallest

sins are his greatest stratagems.

The work of the ministir is truly honourable; but,
like the post of honour m a battle, it is attended
with peculiar dangers.

A whole discourse may be considered acceptable
by having one jewel set in it; similitudes should be
sought to clothe our ideas.

Sermons should be well studied; nothing but well-
beaten oil for the lamps of the Golden Candlestick.

We are most sure in those points we have most
doubted in.

It is observable, that all the three voices from
heaven, by which the Father bore witness to Christ,
were pronounced while he was praying, or very
quickly after it.



i



Digitized by VjOOQIC



THE CHRISTIAN TREASUBY.



361



FAMILY TTORSHIP.



BY J. H. MERLE D*AUBIGNE, D.D., GENEVA



Iw the firet place, the Word of €hd should
be road^ and sometimes, perhaps, other Chris-
lian books. In how maoj families that admi-
rable book, that Book of the nations, has been
in all ages, and is still, the most precious of
treasares ! In how man j dwellings has the
Bible diffiised righteousness, peace, and ]cff in
the Holy Crhost, and submission to all authori-
ties appointed by GrodI The yarioos books
which compose the Bible are almost all of a
different nature from one another ; it were £ffi-
fsoAi to haTe a greater variety in one Tolume,
though the same Spirit of God is in each.
This circumstance makes it remaricaMy appro-
priate for the nourishment of families; and
hence so many poor and obscure fiumHes in
Protestant countries, possessing that book, do
without any others, and by it are brought to
^e acquisition, not only of eternal life, but of
a remaricable intellectinl devdopment The
child, the old man, the woman, and the full-
grown man, alike find something to interest
them there^ and to lead them to God. There
m somediiag for every situation in life. What
abundant consolation have all troubled and
aiflicted, but faithful souls derived always from
the Psahns of the Royal Prophet ! It is wdl to
read throughout some book of the Serq»tures;
but it is not necessary to fdlow the order in
which the different boeks axe placed in the
Sacred Volume. On the contrary, it is, per-
hi^s, best to turn £rom the New Testament to
the Old, and from the Old to the New; from
OM of the Prophets to one of the Epistles of the
Apostles, aad then to one of the histerical
bo^cs of the Old Testament. It is desirable
tint the person who reads should make some
remarks on the passage read. You know how
to speak about aoy other book that you read;
is it only here that thoughts and words are
wantingt Da yom find nethiBg thore thafe is
applicable ;to th« state of yovr heart, to the
sitaatioa of your family, to the dmraeter of
some one of your chilcbren? Read that book
always, not as a history of past times, but as a
book written for you, addressed to you now ;
you will readily find circumstances and occa-
sions which render it suitable. Nevertheless,
• Fk«B ToL of Iracto tnuuUted by Dv. Baiid of New York.
No. 31.*



if ttotbing has been given to you, be content
with asking the Holy Spirit to impart to every
heart the fruits which he has promised for his
Word. ' As the rain cometh down, and the
snow, from heaven, and retumeth not thither,
but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring
forth and bud, that it may give seed to the
sower, and bread to the eater; so shall my
word be that goeth forth out of my mouth ; it
shall not return unto me void ; but it shall ac-
complish that which I please, and it shall pros-
per in the thing whereunto I sent it."

Another act of worship is, prayer in commony
or together. It is true that there are good
written prayers; but can you not pray to God
aloud yourself? You know very well how to
speak to a friend ; why should you not know
how to speak to God t Is he not your greatest
and most intimate friend ! How easy is it to
approach him when it is in the name of Christ
crucified that we come ! ^ Thou art near, O
Lord," says David. * While they are yet
speaking," God has said, ** I will hear." If you
can pray in secret, can you not pray aloud ? Do
not be so anxious about what you shall say.
** Ptayer requires more of the heart than the
tongue, more faith than reasoning.'* How can
it be otherwise than salutaiy, when, for in-
stance, a fieither or a mother prays aloud for the
childr^ who are present, and enters into detail
respecting their sins before God, asking him to
give his help and his grace f And how oflen a
honily is in a situation in which it is caUed upon
to offer up prayer unto Grod, for deliverance,
for assistance, for consolation ! ** Ye shall seek
me and find me, when ye shall search for me
with all your heart," saith the Lord.

A third act of wor^ip which ought, if pos- {
sible, to form part of domestic devotion, ia
tinging. In these days man has associated
singing with his occupations, and especially with
his pleasures; but to praise God was certainly
its primitive object. It is to this that the
Royal Prophet consecrated it, and shall not we
do likewise! If so many profime things are
sung in some houses, why should we not sing
to the honour of the Crod who has created and
redeemed us! Still more, if sacred hymns are
sometimes sung for the sake of the beauty ox



Digitized by VjOOQIC



362



THE CHKISTIAN TREASURY.



the Bound^ shall they not be sung irith humility
and fervour to celebrate the Lord ? ** Admo-
nish one another in psalms and hymns and spiri-
tual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to
the Lord."

But, my brethren, if you wish to erect an
altar unto God in your house^ you must, first of
all, erect one in your own heart And is there
one there? I ask you, my brethren, is there
one ? Ah ! could I draw back the veil, could I
now penetrate into the hearts of those who
listen to me, what would I see! or, rather, O
Lord ! what must thou see in our hearts — thou,
from whom nothing is veiled, and before whom
all things are naked and visible !

Li your heart, my dear hearer, { see an altar
erected to pleasure and worldliness ; there you
offer up your morning sacrifice; there yon
sacrifice, especially in the evening; and the in-
cense arising from it intoxicates and bewilders
you even at night.

In your heart, my dear hearer, I see an altar
erected to the good gifts of this world, to riches,
to Mammon.

Li yours, my dear hearer, I see an altar con-
secrated to yourself. You are the idol whom
you worship, whom you exalt above everything
else, for whom you wish for all things, and at
the foot of whom you would fain see all the
world kneeL

My brethren, is there an altar in your hearts
erected to the only living and true God! Are
you the temple of God, and does God's Spirit
dwell within you f So long as there is no altar
erected to God in your souls, there can be none
in your houses; ** for what fellowship hath
righteousness with unrighteousness! and what
communion hath light with darkness! and what
concord hath Christ with Belial! and what
agreement hath the temple of God with idoUf*

Be converted, then, in your hearts ! Die to
the world, to sin, to yourselves even, and live to
Grod in Jesus Christ our Lord. Immortal souls,
Christ hath redeemed you at a great price!
He gave his whole life on the cross for you.
Learn, then, ** that he died for all, that they
which live should not henceforth live unto
themselves, but unto him which died for them,
und rose again." <* Wherefore come out from
among idols, and be ye separate, saith the Lord,
zxA touch not the unclean thing; and I will
receive you, and will be a father unto you, and
|re shall be my sons and daughters, saith the
Lord Almighty."

O happy is that family, my brethren, which
has embraced that God who says, •* I will dwell



in them, and walk in them, and I will be their
God, and they shall be my people !** Happy fbr '
time, and happy for eternity! How can you
hope to meet with those whom you love near \
Christ in heaven, imless with Uiem you seek
Christ on earth! How shall you assemble as a !
family there, if you have not as a family attend-
ed to heavenly things here below! But as to
the Christian family which shall have been
united in Jesus, it will, without doubt, meet
around the throne of the glory of Him whom it
will have loved without having seen. It will
only change its wretched and perishable dwell-
ing for the vast and eternal mansions of Gh>d.
Instead of being a humble family of the earth,
united to the whole family of heaven by the
same ties, it will have become an innumerable
and glorious family. It will surround the
throne of God with the hundred and forty-four
thousand, and will say, as it said on earth, but
with joy and glory, ** Thou art worthy, O Lord,
to receive glory, and honour, and power."

O my brethren, if but one father or mother
would now resolve to meet together in the pre-
sence of the Lord; if one single person not yet
bound by domestic ties were to resolve to raise
an altar unto God in his own house when he
shall be so bound, and would, in some future
day so act, that abundant blessings would de-
scend upon him and his, I would give thanks
nnto God for having spoken I

Dear hearer! may the Lord so affect your
heart that you may now exclaim, ** As for me
and my house, we wiU serve the Lord."



THE PREDICTIONS OP MALACHI.

In a previous trticle on the Umes of Malachi, we
showed how closely in this respect the writings of
that prophet, the last of the Old Testament, join
themselves to the Gospels, the first of the New. The
representation given in both alike of the prevailing
religious character of the Jewish people, is that of a
proud and conceited Pharisaism—boast Ail of its title
to GK>d*8 favour, and its attidnments in his service,
while chargeable with the most grievous failures, and
utterly mistaking the whole nature of his true wor-
ship and senrice. If we look also to i^t prtdietUms
of this prophet, we find an eijually dose relation snb-
risting between the last of the Old and the first of
the New Testament books; for few as the predictions
were which he uttered, Uiey are those which more
especially meet us at the commencement of the Gos-
pel history; and it seems as if the earlier events in
the dispensation of the New Testament were ordered
with an immediate reference to what had been fore-
told in Malachi. In none of the prophets are the
circumstances connected with Christ^ appearing, the
character in which he was to manifest hhnself. and



Digitized by VjOOQIC



THE PREDICTIONS OF MALACHI.



the results that were to flow from it, more pointedly
described; so that the Gospels hare somewhat of the
appearance of a continuation of this prophet, or a
filling up of the outline which he presented to the
Church some centuries before. What is also striking,
and gives peculiar force to this branch of fulfilled
prophecy as an eiidence of the truth of Christ^ mis-
sion, is the fact, that the leading features in the
predictions were of such a kind as^ to differ most
materially from the general views and expectations
of the Jews — differed so much, indeed, that to the
last they would not receive them. We shall take a
brief survey of them, chiefly for the purpose of bring-
ing out the striking peculiarities now referred to. *

1. There are predictions bearing on the circum-
stances connected with Christ^s appearing. These
are principally two; and the one first announced is,
that ''he should suddenly come to his temple.^*
(Chap, iii 1.) A very important and instructive
word ! for it implies, that he who was to come, and
to come as a messenger, should still be an essentially
divine person — the very being who could claim that
temple as his own; in other words, the God who was
worshipped there. The Scribes and Pharisees of our
Lord^s time did not understand this; for if they had,
th^ could have had no difSculty in answering the
question, how he could be at once David's son, and
yet be represented by David himself as his Lord; nor
would they have held him guilty of blasphemy, when,
as Messiah, he declared himself to be the Son of God.
(Mait. xxii. 45; JohnV. 18, z. 33.) The Jews both
of that time and of all future periods have been quite
ignorant of the real constitution of Messiah^s person
as at once God and man; and have been almost
onanimons in holding, that while he might be called
in a sense the Son of God, it was not in that sens6
which bespoke his being equal with God.* In this
they, as well as the Socinians and Arians of our day,
stand plainly condemned by the testimony ofMalaohi.
The prophecy declares that he should come sud-
derUt/ to his temple. " And it is remarkable, that
the temple was the place of his very first public ap-
pearance; and in his coming on that occasion there
was an extraordinary suddenness.** This circum-
stance, however, which is noticed by Horsley, was

I rather a kind of sign and token of the approaching
fulfilment of the prophecy, than the fulfihnent itself;
for Christ*s appearing as a babe in the temple was
not exactiy his coming in the sense intended by the

I prophet, as the grand messenger of Heaven personally
to transact with men. But any event may justty be

I called sudden, for which men are not rightiy prepiured,
and consequentiy are apt to be taken by surprise by

I it when it happens. In this sense Christ*^ appearance

; * Thoie who wish to see tbe proof from Jewish autborl-
' ties, will find it in Lightfoot, toI. 11. S88, 628. 702. Schoetu
I gen. Indeed, produces variotis extracts fh>m Jewish writings
I (De Messia, L Hi.), which seem to assert the proper dirinity
\ of the Messiah ; but these writings contain such a mass of

eoqjectures and contradictions, that some confirmation might
i be fbund in them for almost every truth, as well s* every
' heresy. There can be no doubt, howrrer, that Lightfoot

here gives the Ime account of what is now, and has always
I been, the general belief among the Jews at and 'since the
I time of ChrUt.



in the temple throughout was emphatically a sudden i
one, since the mass of those he found there were I
entirely unfitted for standing in his presence; of'
which he gave them a strong and sensible demonstra- 1
tion in the symbolical action which he twice per^
formed, of driving the money-changers and the
traffickers out of the temple. Such an exercise of |
righteous authority also implied that he regarded the :



Online LibraryThomas CarlyleThe Christian treasury, Volume 2 → online text (page 83 of 145)