« PrécédentContinuer »
when in motion--for the stationary crowds of Saturday were ofte from good-tempered, excessively quarrelsome and unaccommc ing,- it is not possible to form a very favourable judgment of W numbers of the countenances that are upturned towards burning splendours. Intermingled with the crowd you see doubt, an immense array of countenances, fixed, sedate, and mo numbers of quiet, earnest, business-like faces, which may belong to persons who are doing the work of God in the va stations of English life, devoid of enthusiasm, but devoted to ciple; plodding and fagging their way through the world, people who understand the object of life and the method of ac plishing it. But certainly the result of several hours st observation of this moving multitude was not to produce belief that such were the majority of the passengers. On contrary, at every moment the surprise and the pain creased with the persuasion that the large majority of 1 s upturned visages expressed the nature of spirits who were aliere from the lovely, and holy, and pure. Of these there were three descending types of the earthly, the sensual, and the devi and it was the immense numbers of all the three that filled the with sadness as you looked upon them. It was rare to find a unshadowed and unworn by care, or an eye bright with a na gladness. The very festivity of the crowd seemed like a mo tary convulsive reaction from habitual gloom : numbers mai along, “taking their pleasures sorrowfully," as Froissart says English did 400 years ago. But the chief thing to remember wa expression of the “workers of iniquity.” It was awful to o how many of these bore their sin, like Sodom, on their bati visages, in marks of dirt, discontent, angry passion, coarse desperate lewdness, and stolid insensibility to anything divine seemed as if drink, hard work, and sensuality, had set their ! mark upon tens of thousands as they passed along, so many the countenances, young and old, without the faintest impressi the seal of God upon their foreheads, so many from whose I ments the last remainders of beauty and grace seemed to vanished utterly away. As night advanced, the more respec portion of the sightseers withdrew to their homes. The roads not less crowded, but the language began to correspond to countenances. Blasphemy, obscenity, and boisterous rollic outbreaks of demoniac merriment, shook the streets, and the d lights shone grimly upon a multitude that would have cause ancient Prophet to “ sigh with the breaking of his loins," an “weep day and night," till his eyes were “a fountain of tears." I seemed as if the wedding had been furnished with guests “bad” than “good,”—as if the overwhelming majority had no the wedding-garment. It brought before you all you have res
place !stian ve it to
the statistics of the worshippers of England, of the mighty multitude -compared with which church-goers are but as a flock of kids— who never darken the doors of the sanctuary, or rise for an instant into the realms of spiritual life. Here were all those crowds, from town and country, whom neither ministers nor missionaries can reach, Thom neither Bibles nor tracts ever persuade to think of their latter end—the whole horde of riotous livers, who are born in darkness, Ite in darkness, and die in darkness; who, if they have any Religion, as may be some of them have, have it to themselves before God, and never reveal it in the Christian forms.
let, perhaps, there is a soft place in every one of their hearts, if e but knew where to find it. It is said that all the thieves 1 London agreed together that on the day of the Princess Alexandra's entry and on the night of the Prince's wedding, they would not pursue their rocation amidst the assembled crowds, but, in honour of the Queen and her Children, and in deference to the national enthusiasm, would refrain from molesting the public enjoymeat by their vexatious depredations. It is certain that the police-courts have had before them scarcely any business arising out of these vast assemblages. If this be the cause, it is one of the most urious, and one of the most touching, compliments ever paid to Sovereign or a nation. The whole thievish throng-men, women, and children-would offer this contribution to the general joy and pod-will. They would not be outcasts wbile all beside were glad. tey also felt the glow of the English heart, and offered their strange put of two days innocence on the public altar. Well, God knowsthe Omniscient alone is the judge and He who knows all is the most merciful observer. “I have compassion on the multitudes," as the voice of the Good Shepherd to the abandoned crowds,—and
only looks on them aright who looks with the eye of love. bese people are not so bad in God's sight as the Pharisees who re thanking God that they are very good men, and turning a grim je on the immoral publicans. Yes, the great lesson is to look with Christ's eye on the crowds, and that is always an eye of com8310n, of kindness, and of hope. But let not their shepherdless ondition be laid at our door ; let us “ go forth into the highways td hedges and compel them to come in."
There was gathered together an innumerable company, so that key trode one upon another. Would that like the multitudes of Jalilee they had been assembled to look upon the Light of the World, and not merely upon the vanishing splendours of a wedding staral! The death of the victims might then have been regarded
the character of a martyrdom, instead of leaving a funereal shade. upon the memory of this Night of Glory,
THE WONDERFUL HISTORY OF FRANCIS ALARD, THE REFORMER OF OLDENBURG.
At the time of the Reformation, there lived a wealthy and in- | fluential family in Belgium. The children were numerous; all with the exception of the youngest embraced secular callings. As the parents were pious after their manner, they wished to devote one of their sons to the service of the Church—they desired that Francis should enter into a convent, to which, the Lord having drawn him to Himself in early life, he willingly consented, and embraced the ecclesiastical profession. At the convent, he de voted himself to study with so much application, and manifested such sincere piety, that he was held in greatesteem by his superiors :
At this time, the rich commercial city of Antwerp drew to itself during Lent the most able preachers from all parts, and Francis Alard was invited thither. Just then, a Hamburg merchant came to Antwerp on business. He had, by the grace of God, been converted, and had embraced the doctrines of the Gospel, which were then beginning to spread; nevertheless, he still frequented Catholic
churches, particularly those in which he knew that the Gospel of
Christ crucified was announced with warmth and affection. By the good providence of God, he was led to hear a sermon by Alard, and his whole soul was edified. But he felt deep grief, when he thought that this pious young man, who so early and so joyfully confessed the Lord Jesus Christ, should remain in the errors of Popery. He longed to point the young monk to the true Gospel and sought an opportunity of speaking to him; but this was very difficult, for the rules of the convent were exceedingly severe However, he at length succeeded. He spoke to him with affection, and invited him to his room at the hotel. There he opened his trunk, and showed him the writings of Luther. Francis readily consented to enter into conversation, for the new doctrine made an impression on him, since he saw that it conformed to the word of God. When he took leave, the merchant begged him to call often The young man did not require to be urged; he went frequently to talk with him, but principally to read the writings of the Reformers, which he dared not carry to the convent. At length, the merchant having finished his business in the city, was obliged to return home, and commended his friend to the grace of God. The year following, he returned again to Antwerp, when he sought Alard as soon as possible, and who shall describe his joy, when he found that the seed scattered at his last visit had by #. grace of God taken such firm root. Francis was perfectly convinced that
Fangelical doctrines were alone worthy of reception, because were solely founded on the word of God, and that the Romish ch, with its worship of Mary and of the saints, its indulgences, is clerical domination, contained many pernicious errors. The lant then proceeded further, and pointed out to the monk, that he was inwardly persuaded of the truth of the Gospel, it was cred duty to take the final step and declare himself openly in of it. But grave reflections ensued. What will my family How shall I leave the convent? What will become of me ards ? How shall I support myself? The merchant knew
set aside all these difficulties, by assuring him that from me he would undertake to supply all his wants. At length, is could not do otherwise than follow the counsels of his
Then the merchant arranged a plan by which he could without anyone knowing it. The evening of the next E repaired to the merchant's hotel, where he was furnished
change of clothes, and soon after they both went together port, and on board a vessel which sailed the same night for urg. The heart of the young man beat violently; he it hard to tear himself from Antwerp, but he saw that it was ll of God, and he followed his guide. he convent, they waited hour after hour the return of Francis ras still absent. As he had always been the most punctual of oks, they could less conjecture what had detained him. The who loved and esteemed him much, said at last that they o to bed, leaving the door open, so that Francis could enter he returned. The next morning they went to his cell, and that he was not yet there. All the convent was astir; they all sorts of suppositions—one thinking this, another, that. nade a public investigation, and at last some one brought the bat he had seen a young man and a Hamburg merchant go rd a vessel during the night, and set sail immediately. A a chartered instantly, and put off to pursue the fugitive and lim back to the convent. But the Hamburg craft aided by arable wind had gained such a distance, that the ship sent uit was obliged to return to Antwerp without success. further research was unsuccessful, although all the city were og after the fugitive monk. He arrived safely with his at Hamburg, and found himself thus out of the reach of secutors. The merchant took him to his house and furnished ith everything be required; he instructed him more fully in ndamental principles of the Gospel ; and after he had passed me in this town, he sent him to the superior school at Jena; the new truths were then taught most purely. His Hamnend generously provided him with money, and at the end months he again sent to Jena the sum necessary for his
support. Francis applied himself closely to study, and became more and more attached to the Gospel, so that he was happy in his God. But those whom the Lord loves He chastises, and Francis must pass through trial. When he had been two years at Jena, and had made great progress in knowledge and in faith, he expected a remittance from Hamburg; day after day he called at the post, the money did not arrive; then Alard found himself in the greatest distress. He wrote letter after letter, but obtained neither money nor reply. After many enquiries, he learnt that his friend the merchant had || been carried off by the plague. Though he knew that he had joined the company of the redeemed, and was near his Lord and Saviour, this news plunged him in deep grief. What would be. come of him, deprived of the friend who had been his sole support Besides, he found himself in a foreign land, where he had neither relations nor friends, and he thus ran the risk of perishing of hunger and destitution. What must he do? At last he saw nothing better than to return to his rich parents. He thought that they would aid and support him when he told them of his distress, but he would not deny his Lord and Saviour, and he promised himself | that nothing should make him abjure the Gospel, though it should cost him his life. It was a long distance from Jena to his own | country, and as he had to traverse it without money, he was ex . posed to the most severe hardships on the way. He hoped to see || an end to his troubles when he should reach his father's house; but || how was he deceived When at last he arrived there, the first person he met was his sister. She asked who he was, for she did not recognize him. He made himself known. What I the heretic?" cried she, and ran away. He went to his mother (his father was . no doubt dead at this time), and made known to her his distres, but she refused him his share of maternal love, and thought that she rendered a great service to God by delivering up her own son | to the Inquisition. He begged, he supplicated, but she would hear nothing, unless he would abjure the new doctrine, and return to the convent full of humility and repentance. Nevertheless, he remained firm. He was then denounced to the Inquisition; soldiers came and bound him and dragged him away from the paternal mansion. They conducted him to Antwerp and shut him up in a high tower of the fortress. Then the report that the young monk was returned rapidly spread through the city. If the people had been there when they put him in the tower, they would have snatched him from the hands of the soldiers, and have torn him to pieces in an excess of fanatic fury. Crowds besieged the tower and uttered the most frightful imprecations against him. In the prison the familiars of the Inquisition laboured, but in vain, to make the pious Alard re