« AnteriorContinuar »
And while these dolorous hours that sigh and
weep, Across Calanda ominously creep, And Julia Moreland leaves her lambs at home To go and bid some wandering orphan come ; And passes o'er the oatlands in her search, The Dragon grasps her, in a deadly lurch ; Aud while the friends pause frantic on the hill Who came to warn her of the lurking ill ;
He lifts his head and rushes o'er his track, Scoffing and roaring like an engine back.
The first keen arrow that the champion tried,
Nor could we tell what bitter bleatings rose
And ere one heart called back its exiled joy,
And smarting fiercely from the arrow stings,
raged With ire and hunger hard to be assuaged.
Still some were conscious of their changing state, And leaped with loathing of themselves, and
“She was the pet lamb of my lovely fold !''Said Father Gilroy as the free tears rolled ;“ And like a shepherd to the perilous wild My poor heart follows for my precious child." “And mine will lead !"'-exclaimed the lass-lorn
lover, And rallying rushed his Alma to recover, Thrilled by the last low syllable she screeched ; But scarce the nearest woodland shade he
reached, Than the foul Demon flying came, and yelled And swooped and swallowed him while friends
And gnashed their teeth by turns, and drooped
and moaned ; Some that died smiling neither grieved nor
groaned ; And all exempt from the ill venom viewed The woes impending with a piteous mood. But Father Gilroy held his lofty trust, And lifted many a mourner from the dust, And bathed his anguish with the balm of love, And pointed his dark wavering sight above, Still on his dream a Form effulgent rose, Raised his worn courage and consoled his woes ; Still there fell voices on his ear that told Of One approaching to protect his fold ; And some, believing blest him for the word, While all obeyed him though with hope deferred, And as a flock of trembling doves that fly To one loved shelter when the hawk wheels
nigh, And nestle shivering 'neath each tender breast, So that poor people in one refuge pressed.
Then while new terror froze the sense of grief, Firm Trexlar rose, the valiant village chief, And vowed to slay the monster ere the night ; And leaped and charged himn in chivalric fight. Vol. XX.
They took the temple of their God for home, And prayed Him down in quick deliverance come; Then all clasped hands, and rallied each faint
heart, And vowed, in life or death they would not part, But quell the Dragon with the gaze of men, Or go together to his darkling glen. And thus they hovered there in locked embrace, While sick Despondence shrunk each pallid face, And Terror parched their white lips with his frost, And Hope heard howlings and sighed—"all is
The Dragon grasped him at a single swoop ; Then there was struggling ; then a scoffing
whoop; Then low moans pierce them ; then the Hell
But One there comes with that imagined sound
Now Hope is trampled by a mad despair,
hate, Who cleared but only to eclipse their fate.
A being that such wondrous beauty wore,
Now, melted by the Pastor's weeping smile,
Like clover kindling in the summer sun.
His clear voice thrills the people as it rolls
The grim Fiend rested on the village green,
And with his words there went a
thrilled Their swooning hearts and life and strength in
stilled ; And with sweet tears of joy their sad eyes wet, And loosed gay smiles in many a lambent jet ; And raised a song of gladness that the gales Rolled in long chorus round the choral dales. And rare Calanda, rescued from her fate, Rose and re-bloomed in all her blissful state ; And through all time the Dragon's power grew
less, And he plucked seldom at her happiness.
With that cold, hungry venom-glancing eye,
cry, And darted for them. Then in godly mood, And mailed in graces, forth the mild youth stood;
And in this tale the Christian may behold
And this faint picture can but poorly show
thrall; And see by faith his captives rising free ; And bless the Savior for the victory.
the true uses of life are to cultivate and develop our faculties, our spiritual and religious natures; to strengthen our virtues; to get a knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus ; to be good and to do good; and no truth-seeking spirit ought to be hindered from availing itself of all means, however sacred and solemn, which would aid it in its search. Nay, the more affecting and touching, the more sacred and peculiar, the means, the better are they fitted for the very purpose in view, and the stronger is the argument in their behalf. The error of this frequent excuse lies in this—that the true significance, the inestima. ble value, the solemn import, the perilous trials, and the sacred and spiritual nature of life, are not apprehended ; and the objector cherishes the fallacious belief that he is not a subject of spiritual laws till he voluntarily admits them and has taken the oath of fealty. It would seem that every sound mind would feel a secret sense of shame and self-reproach in offering a plea so unworthy and inconclusive.
But it may be said, “Religion does not consist in external institutions, in ordinances and ceremonies, but in moral action, in positive Christian deeds and uprightness of life, in our social relations; it is practical, not meditative; it consists in doing, not in thinking and feeling; virtue is manifested in open action, in Gdelity to the truth, in deeds of mercy and philanthropy, charity and honesty, not in the observance of forms and rites and ceremonies." But is it not forgotten by him who uses this plea that his actions Bow from principles and motives within him, that the cultivation of the affections and sentiments is a pre-requisite for a Christian life, that faith impels to works; in a word, that the visible life and action of the Christian are only, so to speak, the outward projection of the invisible and hidden spiritual life, and that "out of the heart are the issues of life?" Let it not be forgotten that spiritual attainment is the first need, that religious ordinances are appointed means, and that virtuous action is but the outgrowth of them. It is the motive that gives the action its best stamp and value; and be who neglects the culture of his spiritual nature, will find that he is often abandoned. to hasty and erratic impulses, and quite as liable to wrong as to right action.
But again ; one may urge that the Lord's Supper was not a perpetual institution. “Do this in remembrance of me," was uttered, he says, to a few, and obligatory upon them as their dying Lord's command. Let us consider this
It will not be denied that the intention of this command was to perpetuate the remembrance of the Master in the hearts of his immediate disciples; that his Spirit was thus to be present with them, and that they were at such seasons to consecrate themselves anew and be re-baptised as the apostles of his truth; that they were to be inspired with holier thoughts and better purposes, and strengthened by meditation upon the Master's death and triumph, for the duties and trials of life, and thus become partakers of his faith and blessedness. If, then, we were to admit that the injunction was laid only upon them, still the same reasons press upon us its observance. Have we no need to perpetuate in our hearts the memory of Jesus ? Is he not our Lord and Master, our Savior and Redeemer, also ? Do we not often need the con. templation of his calm and holy faith, his pure and stainless life, his trust in the Father, and his child-like submission and resignation to sustain us also ? Have we outlived the example of Jesus? or rather, do we not refuse to become his immediate disciples, and say within ourselves, we are not specially commanded to observe this institution, and we will assume no new obliga. tions? He whe pleads this excuse, condemns himself; he admits that Jesus enjoined the observance of the Communion upon his first disciples—he admits the wisdom of the injunction, the value of the observance as a Christian and appointed means; and yet, needing its influence as well as the early disciples, he refuses to regard it, because he will assume no new obligations! We cannot assume any new obligations; we cannot escape those which exist. And if we could do both, we ought not to shrink from the duties and responsibilities God has laid upon us. It would be unmanly and unchristian to refuse to assume all a man's and a Christian's responsibleness, and we should be recreant and apos. tate to escape the burthen of a known duty. But the obligations devolving upon us are ordained of God, and are as irrevocable as the laws of life, as unavoidable as death; and nothing which we can do, or neglect to do, can in any wise affect the nature of the binding force of them. We might as well attempt to live and stay the pulsations of the heart, or suspend the office of the lungs, as deny our responsibleness and escape the consequence of that denial. And were we to proclaim to the assembled world our admission of Christian obligations, the obligations would be unchanged, and no more than already devolve upon us; and therefore it is that the
excuse we have considered is utterly groundless i and inadmissible.
“ But, ah !" says one, “lam pot good enough to partake at the table of communion. Gladly would I join in the service, but I am not worthy." True humility will not remain unworthy. But can one plead that he is not good enough to do his duty ? Humility does not prefer vice to virtue. You are not worthy! Are you worthy of the love of your Father in Heaven, of the blessings of Revelation, and the teachings of Inspiration ? Are you worthy that Christ sbould die for you? and shed his precious blood for you ? and are you indeed so unworthy that you cannot even commemorate the dying lore 1 of the Master, and set apart a season to remember him who died that you might live? Are you good enough to live? Are you good enough to die? But no, this is more than is meant. The pleader is not ready. One excuse begets another, and is ever ready to qualify itself and ask that it may be dismissed unquestioned and unsentenced. What is this pleader ready to do? He has not begun to live, he does not think of death, he quails before the calls of duty, he has no valid reason for delay, for delay is perilous and delusive, and he knows too that he must meet and answer the solemn questions of life and duty, and he knows he will be quite as un. prepared when they are clamoring at the gates of death and will no longer be denied. He is not ready! Why is he not ready? Will he tell us he has not taken those initiatory steps, those preparatory measures which will fit him for the service? And why, we ask, has he not taken them? Has he not attained that period of life which requires a clear and unqualified plan for the future ? Has he not come to know his needs, the yearnings of his spiritual nature, the monotony and unsatisfactoriness of life, the perishable and evanescenţ character of worldly joys and possessions ? Has he never known sorrow or bereavement, never languished on the bed of sickness, never listened in fear for the foot-fall of death, never struggled with sin and temptation, never brooded in the silence of his own soul over some hidden deed of shame, known, it may be, only to Him who seeth in secret and to his own self-accusing conscience ? He has not taken the preparatory steps ! And what does he conceive then to be? Has he no sorrow for sin ? Has he no desire for a better life? Has he no love for Jesus, who came to save him from all sin and purify his life? Has he a fear that the world will scrutinize his acts, and require better