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upon the offers of the Gospel-a, to them, enigmatical indecision and powerlessness in committing and surrendering themselves to full and final obedience to the faith and call of the Gospel. That which they seek and would fain have and lay hold of, floats before them, near them, like an unsubstantial, intangible ghost-mocks and eludes forever their embrace, like the shadows of good that come and go in dreams, but which there is no power to appropriate and possess. A mysterious semi-transparent veil seems to be between them and the objects of faith, behind which they observe as obscure mist-images, what, like St. John, they would fain hear, and see, and with
open face look upon, and with hands handle of the Word of Life. And still, after their best and most sincere endeavors “ remaineth the same veil untaken away.” Not until “they shall turn to the Lord,” by obedience to the covenant of Baptism, “shall the veil be taken away.
The manna of the Lord's house is a “hidden manna” to the uninitiated. “Then shall we know if we follow on to know the Lord.” (Hos. 6. 3.) “What man is he that feareth the Lord ? him shall He teach in the way that he shall choose. His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the earth. The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will show them his covenant.” (Ps. 25.) “All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant."
The world has a blinding, bewitching power over those who halt on its soil. “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you,
should not obey the truth!” The same apostle speaks of those from whom the Gospel is hid, “in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”
Obey the Gospel, is the word which rings unceasingly and without compromise into the ears of those who stand in the world. Obey the Gospel! What is the Gospel? and what is obedience to it? The Gospel is the news of salvation by Jesus Christ. What it is to obey the Gospel, the commission which Christ gave to His apostles clearly tells us : " And He said unto them; Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not, shall be damned.”
Obey the Gospel; accept His covenant; these are the words that sound, as the earnest voice of God, to halting, waiting souls through all ages of the Church. “Now, therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then
ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people.” (Ex. xiv. 5.) “Hath the Lord as great a delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord ? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken, than the fat of rams.” xv. 25.)
With such assurances, as to the value of the baptismal covenant, we have thev ery best warrant for awaiting a rich harvest from the planting of so many into covenant with God, and into the grace of His glorious kingdom. What a treasure has the Church in her baptized children! But what solemn responsibilities, at the same time, are thus laid upon her families, to which these children belong, and in the bosom of which they are to receive their earliest, and, in many respects, most important nurture.
What a holy mission is that of the family! What a solemn charge are these house plants. Here, to many, to the greatest number, are the issues
of life, for good or evil, for salvation or ruin. Most of those who become reprobate have received all the bias which determines them irreversibly to ruin before they have emerged from the circle and care of the family. No doubt the blame, which is often unjustly laid on the Church, when any of her baptized children wander and perish, properly belongs to the family.
When the child has been baptized at the altar, it is handed back again to the family, to be nursed for the Lord. True, the care of the Church continues. She sustains the parents; instructs, exhorts, warns, and directs the parents in their solemn duty; yet to a great extent the children are placed under the eye and in the care of the parents. To whom else should she confide this sacred trust? Where could there be a better warrant for their Christian nurture than that found in the mysteries of parental love? To those who have given them being, and who love them most, she confides them to be moulded during their tenderest years; and when they have arrived at a proper age she calls for them again, that those who bore them from the font of baptism on their arms may now lead them back by the hand to the catechetical class and the altar of confirmation.
What if they are not brought? What if they come not? Where then shall we begin our blame? Shall the Church bear it? or the pastor? or shall it not rather be visited upon the parents and the family? If wild vines are grown in the nurseries, how shall we expect them to bear sweet fruit when transplanted into the larger vineyard of the Church?
Fathers! Mothers! What a charge have we in these hundreds, yea thousands, of baptized children, whom the Church has given back for nurture into our hands! May they lie day and night on our hearts. Let us rejoice that they are included in its covenant and all its promises; that such as these were once included in His arms, and are still included in His tenderest love; and that He has said “of such is the kingdom of heaven.”. Be this our encouragement to include them in our faith and prayers; to instruct them by precept and example; and in all ways, and by the faithful use of all divinely ordained means, to lead them in the ways of the Church and true piety, that, through her blessed help and means, they may attain to the joys of the heavenly kingdom.
During these years death has not been idle in our congregations. What a mercy that we are still here ourselves! The pestilence has walked about us in darkness, and war has claimed its thousands. Besides, Death has made his regular annual drafts. From what dangers, seen and unseen, has the Lord delivered us! For our good, and for His glory, He has spared us. In each of our hearts be the sentiment and holy purpose:
That life which Thou hast made Thy care
Lord, I devote to Thee! Many hundreds of times during these years have our pastors stood with bereaved and mourning groups around open graves, and said, “ Earth to earth; ashes to ashes; dust to dust." Among these departed are representatives from all states and stages of life. Babes, many, taken in mercy, and not in wrath. The young, whose days passed early into the "yellow leaf." The middle-aged, removed in their strength, and from the midst of loved and dependent families. Aged pilgrims, on whose heads the almond blossoms flourished as a glory ripe for the grave and immortal life. These have all made their experiences of life. Their harvest is past. Their summer is ended. Their eternity is fixed.
But their memory and the solemn lesson of their death remain to us. Being dead, they still speak to us by their solemn silence, their absence; by the vacant places they have left in our families; by their remembered kindness and love; by our thoughts of them in their glorified state; by our hope of meeting and seeing them again; and by every earnest thought of our own departure to that world which has received them, which mingles with every lonely hour consecrated to their memory. They speak to us, though not in such words as mortals use, yet in a language which the heart can understand. Let us not be deaf to the solemn language of the dead; nor fail to heed the voice of warning which comes to us through the sealed lips of the silent, from that solemn world which has received them, and which awaits us.
Fifteen years past! Past beyond recall! Past forever! Their good and their evil, their duties and privileges, their joys and sorrows, their hopes and fears, all gone
forever. Their record stands for etérnity. For what has been well done we await the reward, not of merit, but of grace. What has failed and fallen short is atoned
for by the same precious blood which has taken all our other sins away. True, with penitent hearts, and sorrowing, we remember our faults and follies; but believing and trusting in Christ alone, we hear Him say, “Be of good cheer: I have overcome the world.”
Fifteen years to come! Well, why should we attempt to guess any thing in regard to them? Perhaps they will not come at all to us. Come they, let them come! “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." Let them come.
Their sorrows shall make us better. Their joys shall make us thankful. Their changes shall be as the changes from death to life, a progress upward. By changes the worm-like creeping chrysalis becomes a winged, soaring beauty. By changes the seed becomes a stalk, gets a flower, and bears fruit. By change the saints on earth are made the saints in heaven; and grace becomes glory.
Let them come. With darkness ? Ay! In the darkest cloud stands the brightest bow. Above the darkest night rolls and shines the brightest heaven. And evermore does the light shine the darkness away. They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. This will be true for fifteen years to come, and forever.
The seed must die before the corn appears
HONOR is to many minds a mere empty sound. There are also many who, in professing to have it largely, feel it really least. Profession is well enough when it is right profession; but, unless it is right profession, it is folly to call it a whit better than no profession.
SONG IN HONOR OF FREDERICK III.
FROM THE GERMAN.
BY THE EDITOR.
This beautiful song was sung at Simmern, at the Ter-Centenary Jubilee of the introduction of the Evangelical Confession, in Sponheim, held July 15th, 1857. The name of the author is not given. Of course the translation must fall short of the grand original.
Grew a child, from princes sprung;
Round him glittering armor hung.
All o’er-blazed with gospel light,
Of the dark, grim fiend of night.
Hangs the Spirit's mighty sword;
Wins the victory for the Lord.
Showing that, through darkest strife,
On to holy peace and life.
Prince, Elector on the Rhine;
Shall his name forever shine.
Half so true to duty's line,
This Elector on the Rhine.
LIFE PICTURES FROM CHURCH HISTORY.
FROM THE GERMAN OF P. HENRY.
BY L. H. S.
The ancient Church in Italy reveres the memory of Saint Catherine of Siena, Germany that of Elizabeth of Thuringia; France looks with admiration on the maiden of eighteen years—Joan of Arc—who, aroused by God's Holy Spirit, fought and battled in the name of Christ Jesus for her fatherland; but there have also lived, on Protestant soil, Christian women, whose lives show the power of the Spirit of God. Such a one was Philippina von Lüns, born on the Gase, in Perigueux (Gascony). We are now glancing at the year 1557, when the Reformation in France had its commencement, and the Gospel was there persecuted with fire and sword. We only know of the youth of this noble Christian woman, that she was married when young to a Monsieur de Graveron, and went to Paris with him, so that they could unite with the Church of the Lord which had been secretly established there. She was a pattern to all of holiness in living. Her husband bore the office of Church Elder in the congregation. The Huguenots assembled in their house, and their neighbors often heard the music of the Psalms during these meetings. This happy marriage was soon disturbed by death. When the spring of 1557 had come, an inflammatory fever carried the husband off during the month of May, and the widow, only twenty-three years of age, laid aside the garments of joy for those of grief. In accordance with the custom of the country, the latter were white in color, to indicate the joy of seeing the departed again in the bright mansions of peace. A love for another Bridegroom soon manifested itself in her bereaved heart. Often she may have prayed with the Shulamite in the hymn, “O take me hence! Let me die the death of the righteous, at Thy feet, in blessed penitence, that I may obtain the glorious reward."
One autumnal evening (it was September 4th of the same year) the Reformed had assembled, four hundred in number, and of all social positions, in a hall on the Rue de Jaques, back of the University. They had celebrated the Supper of the Lord, and the minister had preached to them on 1st Cor. xi. About twelve o'clock, as they were preparing to leave, a hideous cry was heard without, and an effort was made to break in the doors. Excited by the last battle at St. Quentin, they cried “the wickedness of the Huguenots is the cause of all our misfortunes.” They had collected piles of stone together to attack those going away. “They are