Images de page
PDF
ePub

tion of all temporal things; but hearts, feelings, motives, conscience, love, hatred, joy, and suffering, are eternal essences, and will always be the object of a law which can fasten on them with as much facility as our municipal laws can regulate deeds and leases. If a malignant motive inflicts a lasting injury on the meanest of God's creatures, it is just as much an object of condemnation, as a forgery or a theft is an object of human condemnation, solely because it is an injury. It is the power of inflicting injury, that makes property so much the object of law; and the only reason why it so often stops at property, is because the law has little power of discerning injuries beyond the withholding or purloining of property. But only suppose this difficulty overcome, and the influence of law is universal. Imperfect in man, it must rise to perfection, to the highest spirituality, when it becomes a quality in God.

Thus as a dot on paper leads us to conceive of a true mathematical point; as a circle or triangle in diagrams, leads us to something more purely the object of reason than aught we have ever seen; so human laws lead us to allow the necessity and concern of the existence of a law spiritual and divine. If human governments are necessary for a welfare transient and imperfect, a divine government is necessary for a happiness unmingled and eternal. If bodies must be regulated on earth, hearts must be regulated in heaven; if actions must be judged in

our courts, motives must be weighed at the day of judgment. The tree implies the sap; the shadow, the substance. Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. Ye have heard it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill, and, Whosoever shall kill, shall be in danger of the judgment. But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause, shall be in danger of the judgment; and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. So in the case of lust, as well as anger, our Saviour traces the outward and visible streams to its most recondite fountain in the heart.

We are apt to conceive that we are talking of something far more refined and spiritual, when we speak of love, conscience, motive, will, desire, intention, these inmost operations of mind, than when we speak of law, which is associated with all the materialisms of courts, juries, statutes, pleadings, where we see its operations in the most degraded form in which so refined a power can act. But let us not be unjust to the word or the subject. Law, is word coined in heaven, however degraded by man; it retains some of its ethereal nature even in its coarsest forms. Its objects are not fields and houses, but motives, emotions, purposes, conscience, and the will. It is a mirror, reflecting the glory of God and the duty of man. It is the sublimest object which a purified

mind can contemplate; and I wish to restore this word to its highest meaning, without which religion must be degraded, and the epistles of St. Paul cannot be understood. Remember that all religious knowledge revolves around this one pivot, LAW; the privilege and protection of created beings, and the image and glory of an uncreated God.

THE PURITAN.

No. 7.

See where the smiling day

In darkness melts away,

Behind the western hills withdrawn;

Its fires are quenched, its beauties fled,

With blushes all its face o'erspread;

As conscious it had ill fulfilled the promise of the dawn.

Another morning soon shall rise,
Another day salute our eyes,

And make as many promises;
But do not thou, the tale believe;
They're sisters all, and all deceive.

Anonymous.

CAN life present a more grateful spectacle than a good man doing good? In the town of Bundleborough, our minister, Dr. Snivelwell, was one of those characters, whose excessive benevolence sometimes prevented him from doing his duty. Wrapt up in his books and neglecting exercise, he was poorly qualified on certain occasions to visit his people. The east wind was too cold, or there was too dark a cloud in

some remote quarter of the sky, for the sensibility of his nerves to encounter the slightest prospects of a storm. He was one of those men who are always dying of a rose in aromatic pain; and, though he had real feeling for the sufferings of his people, yet it was a feeling which disqualified him for his pastoral office. In a sick chamber he was a very dunce. I have seen him sit beside the patient's bed, picking a straw in the utmost agitation; shifting one leg over the other; biting his thumb nail; sometimes weeping in dumb astonishment, incapable of leading in devotion or administering advice. Hence a great part of the duty of visiting the sick, devolved upon my grandfather, eldest deacon of the church; and all the serious and dying, thought it a happy accident when they were visited by the substitute rather than the principal.

One morning, when my grandfather had just finished his third cup of souchong tea, there came a message for him to visit a young man apprehended to be dying in a distant part of the town. There was something startling in the very terms; youth and death, are ideas so contrary in all our common trains of thinking, that it is only by a painful example that we can be compelled to yoke them together. I was immediately despatched, with the help of David, to put the old bay horse with a star in his forehead, into a chaise, which rattled as it went, and was so old as to be denominated by the boys, the ark of the

[ocr errors]
« PrécédentContinuer »