« PoprzedniaDalej »
Bible in family and individual sight, will be most economical. worship, such easy and frequent The money which religious people introduction of religion into our spend in the maintenance of ordinary conversation, such mani- religion, even where they do their fest regulation of our lives by duty far better than common, is as religious principle as will cause all nothing when compared with the the household, and all who visit money which irreligious people the house, to think of God as real spend on things needless or hurtful. and present, and live as being In' the management, also, of constantly in His sight—this course business, or of domestic affairs, will, for us, correspond to having they are apt to be most judicious the ark in the house. And if we whose minds are cleared of perdo thus feel and live, we too shall turbation, and sustained in steady be blessed; and men will see it, and firmness by living trust in God's will tell it to the praise of God, providence. that blessed is the family wherein The ark in the house will promote the Lord makes His abode.
family affection. The instinctive 1. The ark in the house will affections of the family, existing promote temporal prosperity. Other | rudimentally even in the lower things being equal, the most truly animals, are often very strong in and intelligently pious family will persons destitute of piety. But be most industrious. Whatever they are apt to be, in many other motives to industry may respects, capricious, irregular influence them, in common with often failing to hold their own their fellow-men, they will have against the impulses of selfish this further motive, that they labour passion. Even where domestic “as ever in the Great Taskmaster's
piety is cherished, these sweet and eye.” Not merely slothful servants, blessed affections sometimes fail to but the most active and faithful, exercise their rightful sway. But, will work better if the master is other things being equal, they will standing by. The best soldiers be strongest, steadiest, healthiest in will be better than ever if their the most pious homes. The colgreat leader looks on asthey charge, lisions which sometimes mark yea, leads them into the fight. conjugal life, through differences The familiar and cherished thought of judgment, or taste, or preferof God as near, as completely per- ence, will be most easily managed ceiving our course, and thoroughly where husband and wife fear God. understanding our character and When they kneel together with motives, will help us to work. their children around them, and
And not only industry, but seek the great Father's blessing, economy will be thereby promoted. and then, rising, they give one John Wesley's three heads in a tender look into each other's eyes
on “Giving,” are worth before turning away to their remembering: First, make all you separate toils and cares, how is can; secondly, save all you can; their mutual love heightened and thirdly, give all you can.
strengthened; how much better man wrote the other day, that the prepared they are to be considerate young men around him in business and unselfish helpers of each other seemed all surpassingly eager to
--to divide the sorrows and double make money; but few of them the joys of life. Religion can shed were anxious to save money. Be
the brightest sure, they are seldom spending it homes, can lend an added joy to on good objects. Other things the most loving hearts. The being equal, he who most truly brothers and sisters of a large fears God, and lives as in His family, with those wide differences of
mind, temperament, and taste are in God's presence; it must which often strike us as so very surely be more practicable to mainstrange in children of the same tain our efforts at self-improveparents, are very apt to make their ment, and carry them on towards home-life inharmonious, painful, and unhealthy. But just in pro- 4. The ark in the house will make portion as they are truly pious, the family a greater power for good. they will be sure, other things be- The light of piety need not be ing equal, to have most of the true flaunted at the door in a spirit of fraternal affection which can render display, but only set on the lampthem forgiving, forbearing, and stand within, just where it belongs self-controlled. Sweet to those -and it will make the window who are
growing old is the shine, to cheer and guide those who memory of the domestic scenes of journey in the darkness without. their youth, of the sweet affections Next to the power of a Church, in that bound them to brothers and promoting all that is highest and sisters now scattered far, and to best, is the power of a truly devout parents now “passed into the family. Often has one family skies. Let the toiling, burdened gradually transformed a whole fathers and mothers, and the eager, neighbourhood. And where there impetuous elder brothers and are many combined, how mighty sisters of a family, make every
and blessed must be their influence! needed sacrifice to maintain We live in an age of great plans, genuine domestic piety, for each and grand organizations for comother's sake, and for the sake of the bined effort. Let us be thankful little ones that are springing up that we do, and embrace joyfully around them. Will any child of the larger opportunities thus afObed-edom's householdever forget,
forded for usefulness. But let us through all eternity, that the ark remember that Christianity rewas in their house.
generates by units, and not in the 3. The ark in the house will tend mass; and that there will never be to the improvement of individual
a Christian nation, save in proporcharacter. All things besides the tion as there are Christian families, things we have, and know, and gain, “As for me and my house, we will and lose, derive their chief impor- serve the Lord,” tance from their effect on character.
JOHN A. BROADUS, D.D. Similar actions, often repeated, grow into habits for good or ill; Christ's Practical Sympathy and habits harden into character.
with Suffering Humanity. The task of self discipline, difficult
MARK vii. 34. enough for all, is for many persons so hard as to leave them often well
" And looking up to heaven, He nigh hopeless. A lone child, run- sighed.” ning in the dark night over
EVERY incident or word that unknown places, and falling again brings Christ near to us as and again amid rocks that bruise, with human affections and experiand mud that defiles, will some- ence, is inestimably precious, and times be tempted to despair of all deserves our thoughtful study. farther progress. But where we We want, not only to believe as an dwell amid the influence of God's article of our creed, but to realize recognized presence; where we are in the very depth of our heart, often reminded, by worship and that His sympathies and ours are conversation, by the things read,
As His nature was a wonand the silent impressions of drous union of the glory of God countenance and action, that we with the frailty of man, so the
story of His actions and words is also a combination of the two. We cannot omit the consideration of either side of that complex nature, yet we are glad that so much is told us concerning Him which touches us,
which bids us remember that “ He was bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh.” It is noteworthy that many of the most touching revelations of His humanity are given in what seem like incidental phrases, sentences on which the historian lays no particular stress, since they are but details needed for the completeness of the narrative. But it is just in those details, and by those vivifying strokes, that the Christ Himself is most perfectly made known to us as a man among men, and the brother of us all. So we read that He was wearied, that He sighed, that He looked round in anger, that He wept. We catch in all this the likeness of a true man. What
the meaning of Christ's sigh?
But this surely was not the only time when Christ sighed. The emotion of which it
the touching utterance was common enough to Him. This was an outburst of that feeling with which He often regarded the world into which He had come. Sorrow for suffering, for the miseries of humanity, constantly oppressed His soul. And in this sense He bore our griefs and carried our sorrows. They were always on His heart.
Let us try to understand this more thoroughly by one or two considerations. Think, for instance, of the mass of suffering which was perpetually presented to His view. His very mission to the world, His power as the Healer and Comforter of men, opened this side of life to Him. He came not to spend His days amid scenes of comfort and pleasantness, but to search out want, to alleviate wretchedness, to cure disease of the mind and body. And people understood this, so that wherever He went, all who were afflicted with disease in the locality were brought to Him for healing.
But remember, also, how sensitive His nature was ! There was no hardness or indifference to what He constantly beheld. Familiarity with misery did not blunt His finer feelings. Such experience only made Him more susceptible to sorrow. But we may go deeper still. Jesus Christ traced back the causes of pain and privation beyond those natural laws with which the physician has chiefly to do. He saw that sin was at the root of suffering; that in some form or other all pain and sorrow among men had sprung out of disobedience to God; that they were the consequences of a violation of Divine law at some time or another. And it was this aspect of it which filled Him with unutterable sadness.
Further, Christ saw in every form of bodily disease a type of moral
The occasion for the expression of this sorrow was His seeing a poor man, waiting for the power which should restore his lost faculties of hearing and speech. It was evidently the man's need and helplessness that touched His heart and awakened His tenderest sympathies. And we are not surprised at this. What is more pitiful than to see an intelligent soul in a human body imprisoned as in a dungeon, unable to communicate with other souls by speech, unable to hear an accent of love or a word of truth. The deaf and the dumb are prisoners, longing for the liberty which others enjoy; spirits to whom is denied the most blessed privileges of life. Such a spectacle fills us with profound sadness, and therefore we do not wonder that Christ sighed as He looked at the man.
disease. The leprosy of the body, sorrow, there would be some comthe deafness of the ear, the silence fort. But it is impossible, and so of the tongue, the paralysis of the we weep over our helplessn limbs, the disorder of the mind, But Christ had power: He knew the decay of death, were all indi- that He could cure this deaf and cations to Him of the far more dumb man, He knew that it was terrible diseases which destroy the His intention to do so, yet He souls of men. He saw men cut off sighed. It is very strange. Still, from communication with God, as I would lay special emphasis upon this man was cut off from commu- the fact that His sympathy with nication with his fellows; and that
was of the most pracinade Him sigh.
tical character. He did not brood Remember who He was, remem- over it simply: He brought the ber the power He possessed of remedy for it. He had the right knowing all things and the condi- to sigh, because it was His purpose tion of all men, and then think to bless. Now, in this He stands that to His vision the mass, the forth an example to those whole mass, of human misery in who profess themselves profoundly the earth was revealed ; that He grieved by the ills they witness could look into the fearful abyss around them. There are plenty of of human wretchedness which is people who talk and write about hidden from merely mortal eyes. human misery who never attempt We see, even the most experienced to lessen it. There are schools of of us, only the merest fragment philosophers who treat it as a subject of the sorrow of the world, but for speculation, and theologians all, all was clear to Him. There- who elaborate most logical theories fore, I ask again, can you wonder to account for it. There are many that He was a Man of sorrows and
persons who brood and sigh over that He should sigh? The marvel it; some write books, others read is that He was not utterly crushed papers at social science congresses by such terrible knowledge. And about human misery, and they are He would have been, but that He often clever at discovering at whose was the Son of God.
door the blame lies. Some of them, “But that in such communion high
indeed, impugn the conduct of He hath a fount of strength within,
Christians and the callousness of Sure His meek heart would break and die,
the Church, and tell us that the O'erburthened by His brethren's sin.”
fault rests with these. They boldly II. THE SIGH PRECEDED THE HEAL
assert that religious people have
ignored their duty, that they do This fact makes this emotion of not obey the example or commands Christ's impressive and instructive. of their Master; otherwise much of It is not the expression of one who the physical and moral wretchedregrets that he is called to help;
which abounds in society it was not in Him to do that. Nor would have been removed long ago. is it the sigh of one who knows It is possible that there may be that it is out of his power to assist. more than a little truth in this. How often we men and women Evils have been tolerated and come into the presence of poverty, fostered, nay, are tolerated and and pain, and disease, to stand be- fostered, that should arouse indigfore it, longing to do something, nant protests from the Church, yet conscious that we do and inspire its mightiest energies nothing! It is this, in part, which to sweep them away. There are causes our bitterest grief. If we miseries wrought at this hour, in could be useful, if we could only this city, on every hand, that alleviate the distress, remove the could be met and healed, had
Christian men but exerted their before Him. And I believe that powers to meet and heal them. the sigh was natural and inevitable;
If these miseries of human na- and every worker in this world of tare do not
many sorrows knows a similar exdisciples, whom do they concern ? perience. The thought that you
As Christians we ought to be can do but little towards healing the concerned about such matters, miseries of your brethren, and, and not leave them to the hap- after all is done, how much remains hazard chances of legislation, or undone, will sometimes almost the exigencies of political parties. paralyse your efforts, and make
I do not forget that though much you sink back in despair. has been left undone, what has been What shall we do when this sigh done has been effected chiefly breaks from us?
Simply that through Christian instrumentality,
are compelled at all and because of the influence of times to do--turn and look at Christian truth. From no other Christ. He sighed-yes, and we hands have such help and healing sympathise with His emotion; but come as have come from the Chris- He cured the man. He could not tian Church. You will find no then reach the whole world—that society established, no philanthropic wasnot His mission at that moment; effort put in motion, but the in- but the single object that then spiring cause of it all has been sought His help received it. He Christian sentiment. But I turn did the work He could do--the upon our writers and theorists who work close to Him. Christ's are so busily attacking us, and ask sympathy was practical, and yours them what they are doing to cure
must be the same. the disorders of the world. Where Remember there is something is their practical work ? It is all you can do; there is some one you very well to grow melancholy, and can touch with healing mercy. It to sigh over the evils around us, may be a little child, or a poor but that will not remove them.
woman, or your neighbour who is I urge such to get beyond senti- sick. Do your duty of kindly mentalism; not to waste their feel- service to that one, and do not sigh ings over the wrongs that exist, because you cannot save the world. but to stretch out willing and
III. THE SIGH WAS ACCOMPANIED earnest hands to help. For, “the end of man is an action, and not a thought, though it
the “He looked up to heaven, and noblest."
sighed.” Is not this significant ? Yet, the attempt to do good, and Was not thatglance an intercession? the knowledge that you can relieve
Did it not say,
Strengthen Me, some of the necessity around you, O Father, in this great work of will not stay the sigh. Does it love ”? We hear no words; but seem strange ? Perhaps it does at who shall say what was in His the first glance. Why should Christ heart? Now, it is worth remembersigh when healing was to be the ing that, even when about to cure result ?
bodily disease, He sought help of Well, probably He sighed because God. This fact applies to all who such a healing was necessary. It are engaged in similar work, though was the need that made Him mourn, not using miraculous means. It is and perhaps mingled with this was a lesson to those whose profession it the consciousness that while He is to attempt to heal. No man cured this
man there were loses power by asking God to help multitudes beyond His touch as
him. I take it with a wider sweep, stricken and distressed as the man and include all who are trying to