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EXPERIENCE OF EUSEBIA.
Eusebia's mind is now wholly turned away from itself to the Lord. His personal glory and official fulness engross her whole attention. His peerless eminence as Lord of All-as Head and Sovereign of Heaven and Earih-his mighty power as Upholder of the Universe, and his infinite condescension to human frailty and error, greatly corroborate her faith and embolden her confidence in him. In the boundless ocean of his fulness of grace and truth, she is filled with an allsufficiency of aids and comforts, and her very imperfections only heighten his excellencies and allure her soul more and more to him. Her weakness is forgotten and unfelt in his strength; her follies are unseen and impotent in his wisdom; her sins and errors, though so numerous and aggravated in her eyes, are washed away in the cleansing efficacy of his atoning blood. Christ is to her all things in all her straits and embarrassments. While musing one day on the unsearchable riches of Christ, she fell into the following soliloquy:
Jesus my Lord, how full of truth and grace thou art! Thy name is Truth, thy nature is Love. Light of my soul, and Spirit of my life! I was full of doubts and fears; but thy truth and faithfulness have put them all to silence. Thy covenant-keeping fidelity and truthfulness have banished all my fears. None can perish in thy arms. I am poor, but thou art rich; weak, but thou art strong; guilty, but thou art righteous, and thy blood cleanseth from all sin. My soul confides in thee. Oh! my soul, trust thou in tim! When tempest-tost flee to him as the dove to her resting-place. He will be to thee a very present shelter from the storm-a shade from the heat, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary and parched land. When hungry and faint he will feed thee with the mystic manna, and refresh thy soul with the living waters that gush from the Rock of Salvation.
When tempted 33
VOL VI.- N. 5
and tried, he will succor thee by his Spirit, and strengthen thee with the cordials of his love. He will make thy countenance to shine with the beauty of his loveliness; he will clothe thee with the gar. menis of praise, and give thee beauty for ashes, and joy for mourning. Still trust thou in him, and thou wilt yet praise him in holier and loftier strains; for he is the strength of thy countenance and thy allsufficient aid.'
Her Bible and the Throne of Grace were now the springs of her consolation. The only point on which she was always intent and inquisitive, was to know what she could do for the Lord. She felt no longer her own. Her pleasure was her Lord's pleasure-his will hers-his law her delight. She read, communed with her heart, and conversed with the Christian family only on such themes as could further her spirituality, honor her Lord, and sanctify and comfort the brotherhood.
Instead of mourning over her own delinquencies, she was girding up the loins of her mind, and doing what she could to perfect her character, after the model of those active and enterprizing spirits of the order of Miriam, and Hannah, and Huldah, and Dorcas, and Eunice. The active charities of life, the Christian sympathies, the holy affeetions were the objects of her constant attention and cultivation. The luxury of doing good, was the daily banquet of her soul; and, from blessing others, she always returned, both sanctified and blessed, to the study and contemplation of the holy models of moral excellence and Christian virtue with which the sacred writings abound,
She no longer pined away because of her barrenness in the experi. enceś of the graces of the Holy Spirit. She learned the meaning of that promise, “Draw nigh to me, and I will draw nigh to you; cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you men of two minds.” She drew near to God in meditation, prayer, and holy liv. ing. The Lord revived, and cheered, and consoled her heart with the pledges of his love.
Nothing more fully indicated the change within, and nothing more directly contributed to accomplish it, than her exact and constant atten ion to all the means and ordinances of the Christian institution. The Christian fasts and feasts, the prayer-meetings, the Bible class, the Lord's day, and all its observances, as well as the private devotions of the closet and the family circle, always found her faithful, zealous, and persevering. Spiritual health and vigor were the natural consequences of her manner of lise; and as the healthy are always cheerful, she soon learned to rejoice with a joy unspeakable and full of glory.
She had a family, and the change in her deportment to her household, and in the administration of its affairs, became as characteristic of the great revolu'ion in her views and feelings, as any other trait in her story, and as full of instruction to those who are desirous to be as happy as she is, in the smiles and approvals of the Lord. But the peculiarities of her domestic economy will furnish materials for another essay.
A. C. VersailLES, July 29, 1842.
ESSAY ON PARABLES,
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 355 ) We have now before us the following inquiry:How does it happen that parables, which, as we have seen, are eminently filled for illustration and explanation, sometimes not only fail of this, but become a means of involving the mind in uncertainty and confusion?
In seeking to explain this difficulty, we have to observe, that various causes may be assigned for such an effect, and we might reasonably expect it to occur in any one of the following cases:- Ist. Where there is no definition or statement of the subject of comparison. 2d. Where there is in the mind an erroneous definition of that which is the subject of comparison. 3d. Where the comparison is applied to a part of the subject to which it was not intended to be applied Or, 41h. Where the object chosen for comparison is mistaken for the subject itself.
These cases we will now proceed to consider more fully; and as it regards the first, to wit, IVhere there is no stalement or definition of the subject of comparison, it is obvious that here there is nothing whatever presented to the mind, to which the comparison can be applied, and consequently there is nothing which it can explain: nay, in this case a comparison has plainly the effect of confusing the mind by leaving it a prey to vain and uncertain conjecture; and, in faci, constitutes a puzzle, a riddle, or enigma. We have an example of this in Sampson's riddle-"Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness." This, it seems, puzzled the Philistines seven days; and had they not oploughed" with Sampson's "heifer," as he styles his "better," though certainly his weaker half, they might have wearied themselves seven years before they could have discovered that strengih was made the emblem of a lion and sweetness the symbol of honey.
Symbols, indeed, are always enigmatical, unless we distinctly understand what they are intended to represent; and being made to stand in the room of the subject of comparison, which therefore is not necessari. ly mentioned, they afford us ready examples of comparison without definition. A symbol, as we have already defined it, is the object of comparison substituted for the subject; in other words, it is an object used for the purpose of comparison, yet spoken of and eren addressed as though it were the thing or person which it resembles; or to express it perhaps more clearly, it is a species of comparison in which the object selected for comparison is made to personify that which is compared. For example, the Saviour is compared to a lamb, and this Jamb is used as a symbol, or is made to personify the Saviour; so that John, in Revelation, does not say, that win the midst of the throne and of the elders there stood” the Lord Jesus, but there stood a Lamb;": and again he represents the Lamb as opening the seals, as standing on Mount Zion, &c. The Redeemer used the same figure, when taking bread and wine he said, “This is my body," and "this is my blood.” Here he constituted the bread and wine symbols of his body and blcod. On another occasion, he made his own body the symbol of bread, when he observed "I am the bread which came down from heaven."
This, then, is what we mean by a symbol; and if we understand those which we have just mentioned, it is only because we certainly know what they are intended to represent. A lamb is a familiar symbol of Christ, and in the other instances the subject is distincıly stated; and this is no sooner understood than we can see the greatest force, beauty, and propriety in the comparisons, and are enabled by them to appreciate more fully the character of that which they are employed to illus rate. But without this information they would forever remain enigmas. Thus in the first chapter of John's Revelation, we read that the Lord appeared to John in the midst of "seven golden lamps," and that he had "seven stars” in his right hand. When we are informed, immediately after, that the seven lamps represent the seven churches, and the stars their messengers, we can see great propriety and beauty in these comparisons; but is it not evident that if the subjects of com. parison were no where stated, the comparisons themselves would merely involve the mind in doubt and uncertainty? And this we find really to be the case with regard to those symbols which are made to personify something which is concealed or not defined. Of this we have an example in the 17th chapter of Revelations, where something is presented to us in the symbols of "wo witnesses," "wo olive trees,” “two lamps, which stand before the God of the earth.” Now there is perhaps no passage in the book upon which commentators have dwelt more earnestly or exercised more ingenuity, and yet to this day no one has been able certainly to discover the meaning of these symo bols. No doubt we would see the greatest relevancy in them as objects of comparison, if we were made acquainted with the things to which they apply; but until we obtain this information, we may indulge imagination as we please, and they will still continue to be inscrutable and incomprehensible, a means of producing in the mind uneertainty and con!usion. The same may be sail of other symbols in the book of Revelation, and indeed they seem to be employed for the very purpose of concealing the things which were about to happer, until these should actually occur, and thus rereal the meaning of the comparisons, by presenting the subjects to which they related.
We have then discovered a case in which comparison, however relevant and striking, will not only fail to elucidate a subject, but actually become a means of veiling or concealing it. And here we would remark how important it is that those who attempt to communicate instruction to others, should pay regard to the laws that govern the human mind. There are certain avenues through which alone the human mind can be approached, and it becomes every teacher to be well acquainted with these, that he may readily gain access to it. 'As a walled lown can be entered only through its gates so knowledge can be communicated to the mind only through what may be termed iis portals; and although in respect to these, various minds may differ somewhat from each other, on account of a discrepancy in age, educ: tion, prejudices, &c., yet there are certain general rules applicable to all; and among these there is no one of greater importance than this, that an unknown subject (unless we wish it lo remain unknown) must be distinctly stated and laid down, before the comparisons employed to illustrate it can be understood-in a word, that definition must always accompany illustration.
It may be well to observe further, that although a statement of the subject must always accompany, it is not necessary that it should always precede illustration. In some cases, on the contrary, it is with much elegance made to follow, as where it is wished to make a sudden and forcible impression upon the mind, or to obtain its previous consent to certain truths or principles, which, from pride, selfishness, or some other cause, might not be readily admitted, if the subject to which they were to be applied were already slated. When the Prophet, di. vinely guided, appealed to the king for justice against “a rich man who had exceeding many locks and herds," and yet to feast the traveller, took away from the “poor man” his "only lamb,” which "had grown up together with his children,” had weaten of his own meat, drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, David's anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, As the Lord liveth, the man VOL. VI N. 8.