Page images
PDF
EPUB

of Lystra on that occasion was in substance and form the grandmother. From these circumstances we are ensame with Paul's more elaborate argument afterwards abled, in a good measure, to complete the history of the delivered on the Areopagus at Athens. It will be more young man's spiritual experience. With the Scriptures, convenient to notice the sentiments as expressed at a in their evangelical meaning, impressed on his mind and greater crisis and on a more prominent sphere.

memory, he heard Paul preach. While the word which Before they left Lystra, another event occurred which presented the Christ as the fulfilling of the law was still exhibits heathenism on its other and opposite side. sounding in his ears, he beheld the great preacher Jewish emissaries from Antioch and Iconium, following stoned, as he thought, to death for his testimony. The tie track of the missionaries like blood-hounds, so suc- word preached and the sufferings endured, conspired to cessfully incited the mob that “they stoned Paul, and complete the victory, and the youthful Timothy was drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead.” won. It was not till a subsequent visit that the apostle It is enough for the servant that he be as his Lord : was cheered by the knowledge of this event; but the “Hosanna !" to-day; and “ Crucify him !" to-morrow. event sprang direct from the seed that has continued As the Jews treated Jesus, the Gentiles at Lystra prolific down to our own day—the blood of the martyrs. treated Paul: they worshipped him in the morning as From Lystra the missionaries retired still eastward a god, and at night stoned him as unfit to take his place through the interior of Asia Minor. At Derbe, the examong men.

treme limit of their progress in that direction, they “Once was I stoned,” wrote the apostle of the preached the gospel with great success, for they made Gentiles, referring to this event. Yes, Paul; and once many disciples there. The term literally means a suffianother thing happened, equally memorable. Once he cient number—that is, a group of believers was gathered stoned another, and once he was stoned himself. Strange there in numbers sufficient to constitute a Church, revolution of the wheel! Now it is his turn to enact whose members might hold together and hold their own the martyr, praying for his murderers, and looking for- in the place after the departure of the apostles. These ward to rest. What a crowd of memories must have planters were afraid to plant one or two trees on the rushed up when he felt his spirit swooning away under sea-shore, exposed to the blast; they greatly preferred, the stone shower! This would seem the echo of his wherever it was possible, to plant a wood on the spot own dread act. Stephen's heroic death must have left ere they left it, and then they expected that the wood its mark deep on the heart of the converted Paul. would shelter the trees ;-the community of disciples Perhaps, when he felt what he believed to be the sleep would support and cheer each other through evil days. of death creeping over his sepses, he expected that at At Derbe they were close to a pass in the mountains, his next awakening he would find himself in Stephen's called “the Gates of Cilicia,” which led, by a short and company.

direct route eastward, to Tarsus, the home of Paul. In all probability a young man, of whom we shall “ If he had been mindful of that country from whence afterwards hear, stood among the mourners who as- he came out, he might have had opportunity to have resembled round Paul's lifeless body at Lystra. The turned” (Heb. xi. 15). But his native place had no young man Saul looked on approving at Jerusalem charm that could draw him aside from his mission. He v:hen the Christian hero Stephen died : a young man, had severely condemned Mark for going home before the Timothy, I believe, looked on weeping when Paul was work was done ; and he will not himself fall into the stoned at Lystra; and afterwards, with unspeakable same snare. He obtained grace to turn his back upon joy, saw the apostle awaking from his swoon. When home when the work of the Lord veckoned him abroad. Paul, after an interval of two years, visited Lystra again, He turned his face westward again, and retraced his he found Timothy residing there, a disciple of Christ, steps to that Lystra which was to him the place of blood. already well known and highly esteemed by all the Luther, when his friends advised him to consult his own brotherhood (Acts xvi. 1). At a later date he writes to safety, declared he would enter Wormis although every him as his “ own son in the faith” (1 Tim. i. 2). From tile of its roofs were a devil! Paul will go straight back these two facts, it results that Timothy was converted to Lystra, where he had been stoned for preaching by the word of Paul on the occasion of his first visit to Christ, that he may preach Christ there again. By such Lystra. Here then, as in many other cases, the work men God has done great things at varions periods of the prospered while the workman was discouraged and per- past; and when he has similar work in hand, he will, I secuted. The missionary, when he left that place, suppose, raise up similar instruments. thought that he had visited it in vain ; yet the seed that fell from his hand there found soft soil in one young ingenuous heart, and brought forth fruit an hundredfold.

VIII. We know (2. Tim. iii. 10, 11) that Timothy was inti

THROUGH MUCH TRIBULATION. mately acquainted with the peculiar sufferings through which Paul passed on this occasion at Lystra ; and we know also that from his childhood he had been trained This noble pair of brothers turned on their own steps in the Scriptures by the pious care of his mother and and travelled westward, revisiting in reverse order all

a

a

ACTS xiv. 22.

the places where they had preached and founded societies | portals of the liaven, and there is a great calm. lle of disciples. Their specific task this time was different. has passed through the tribulation. They set themselves on this occasion to confirm the souls Those who have watched the death-bed of Christians of the converts, and exhort them as to their subsequent have seen such a storm suddenly settling into a calm. course. The Christians in those places were already It is a great relief to weeping witnesses when the tossborn, but they needed to be nourished into strength. ing ceases, and the peace begins. These are the two main points in a missionary's work. It is not only that in point of fact tribulation happens On their former visit, they occupied themselves mainly to lie between Christians and their rest : it has been with the first; and on the latter, mainly with the second. placed there of deliberate design by a wise and loving The first necessity is, to see that they are in Christ ; Father, in order that, by passing through it, they may and the next, to see that they grow strong in the Lord. be prepared for a rest beyond.

They valued the right and orderly constitution of the In some of the most delicate manufactures of this Churches, and this matter accordingly was not neglected; country, the web, in a rude and unsightly state, enters but they gave their first attention to the work of confirm- a vessel filled with a certain liquid, passes slowly through, ing souls. What boots a well-organized Church, if it and energes continuously at the opposite side. As it consists of dead members ? The living may live with- enters, the cloth seenis all of one colour, and that one out organization, but organization is nothing without dim and unattractive; as it emerges, it glitters in a life. Let us remember the apostolic order of these two variety of brilliant hues arranged in cunning figures, like things : it is first, get souls confirmed; and then, get the a robe of needle-work for the adornment of a queen. community constituted under a sound and scriptural The liquid through which the fabric passes is composed government.

of certain fiery, biting acids; and the reason why it is Corresponding with their specific object, the burden strained through such a bath is, that in the passage all the of the missionaries' preaching this time is not, “ Repent, deforming and defiling things that have adhered to its surand believe the gospel,” but, “Continue in the faith.” face in preceding processes may be discharged, and the And for the rest, the warning word rings clearly out, figures, already secretly imprinted, may shine out in “We must through much tribulation enter into the their beauty. kingdom of God.” Nothing strange will happen to Thus the disciples of Christ are in this life drawn these Asiatic believers : the preachers include them through great tribulation, although the Lord who loves selves in this description of the Christian life. It is a them has all power in heaven and in earth : nay, prelaw of the kingdom that they announce here. The fore- cisely because the Lord who loves them has all power in warned are forearmed. Remembering this word, they heaven and in earth, they are bathed in this sca of sorwill not faint when persecution for Christ's sake rows. It is not that this sea lies in their way, and that

by a kind of geographical necessity they must go through Much tribulation! Yes ; but they will pass through it ; rather, the Lord that bought them has provided it. What a word is this! Thanks be to God for this that sea, and placed it across their path, that in its blessed transitive preposition ! No part of speech so bitter waters the manifold incrustations that defile their siteet as this in all the lessons of the grammarian ! beauty may be discharged ere they appear before the There is trouble, but the disciples of Christ get through great white throne. Already, and by the ministry of the it . Trouble changes its nature when you are assured Spirit, the various features of their Redeemer's likeness that it cannot last long. Can you measure the difference have been secretly imprinted on their hearts ; but these between abiding in tribulation and going through it? | features have been so overlaid by manifold corruptions No; it passeth all understanding. You never read of in actual life, that the new nature can scarcely be recogthe unsaved passing through their suffering, or of the nized. Hence the necessity of providing a searching saved in Christ passing through their joy. In the one medinm, and making even those who are “ his workmancase, it is a passing through joy (the pleasures of sin) | ship” pass through it for their own good. into tribulation ; in the other, a passing through tribu- Much tribulation : He is wise and loving who delation into the joy of the Lord.

termines in each case its amount and its duration. He The life of a disciple on earth is like a voyage on the does not spare the patient so as to spoil the work by sea. The sea is rough ; the heart is sick ; the land is leaving it half-done. A child is ailing; and some slight not in sight. Helpless and miserable, the voyager lays but rather painful operation is required. The mother himself down at night. He looks and feels as if he will herself perform it. But after she has begun, the cared for nothing, and hoped for nothing. But under- child cries pitifully: the mother's courage fails. She Death all this sadness a living hope is burning which desists, lays down the instrument, takes the child in her these stormy waters cannot quench. He has confidence arins, and wipes away the falling tears. The child's in the ship and the crew ; he expects soon to reach the crying ceases under this process, but the child's ailment shore. And when he reaches it his sorrow is over, and is not cured. The case must be put into the surgeon's even the memory of it almost blotted ont. Suddenly, hands. He has both skill to know what is needed and from the open sea, the ship has passed through the courage to carry it through. He will not spare for the

comes.

:

patient's crying. This treatment is better in the long- Thus, there is a “need be” for the great tribulation; run for the child.

but we shall miss more than half the meaning of the word I have been informed, as I looked curiously on the here if we think of this necessity as applicable only to web in perpetual motion passing through, that if it were the suffering. Another thing is necessary-a better and allowed to remain one minute too long in the bath, the a brighter. True, it is said of all Christ's people, that fabric itself would be destroyed. The manufacturer, they must pass through much tribulation ; but it is also skilful and careful, has so tempered the ingredients on said of them, that they must enter the kingdom. As the one hand, and timed the passage on the other, that certainly as he came out to seek, those whom he finds while the impurities are thoroughly discharged, the fabric shall go in. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and comes out uninjured. In wisdom and love, both infinite, shall be satisfied. The Captain of cur salvation will the Lord has mingled the ingredients, and determined bring many sons into glory. The "must" is spoken of the duration of the baptism; so that, on the one hand, the abundant entrance as well as of the narrow road. none of his should be lost, and, on the other, every grace Fear not, little flock; it is your Father's good pleasure of the Spirit should be brought out in its beauty upon to give you the kingdom. all his own.

The Children's Treasury.

THE CROWN OF GLORY.

A Tale of Missions in Olden Times.

BY TIIE AUTHOR OF “LITTLE SNOWDROP.”

[ocr errors]

66

[ocr errors]

CHAPTER III.

danger, he had said —“The symptoms are very serious,

my lord, but not hopelessly so; with the blessing of “ PEACE, BE STILL !"

God, he may recover. He has yonth on his side ; we “The help of man and angel joined,

can but try the means, and leave him in the Lord's Could never reach my case; Nor can I hope relief to find

hands.” The words sounded strange; but that might But in thy boundless grace.

be accounted for by his speaking in broken language, No voice but thine can give me rest, And bid my fears depart;

and his strange foreign accents. No love like thine can make me blessed,

Day was beginning to break — the gray morning light And satisfy my heart."

was already visible through the narrow windows of the LOWLY the hours dragged on. Was it to castle - when the boy opened his eyes and looked up.

be life or death ? “ Mother of God, let His father, who had watched the whole night, had him only live,” said the father, "and golden just left the room to rest awhile -going first to awake

offerings shall be given thee !" Holy Sir Thomas, and send him to share the vigil with the Virgin," prayed the Lady Louise, “spare the boy, and physician, who since his arrival never ceased his close my next daughter shall be thine -- vowed to thee!” watch by the sick-bed. The others had shared it with

Virgin Mary, hear our cries,” echoed the priest, “and but now he was alone. The boy looked round by thy love to thine own Son, spare the lad!” The aid alarmed. of the saints was earnestly invoked: Saint Andrew was “Where am I ?he said. 6 Mother! father!” His specially implored. And all the while the foreign eyes caught sight, as it were simultaneously, of the large physician spake not: the remedies were tried, and he crucifix and the stranger. “ What is it all ?” he said, sat silently waiting the result. Once or twice he bent in a tone of terror. “Am I ill - dying? Oh, who is his head; and a close observer might have seen his lips with me?" move. A large crucifix was placed at the foot of the In a moment Paul Crawer was stooping over him, bed, so that if consciousness returned the boy's eye soothing him in gentle tones. might first rest on it. A grave, sad look passed over Yes, you've been ill,” he said. “Your father has the physician's face as he saw it. Was he, then, an just left the room ; he will be here immediately. Lie irreligious man, not even making an outward profession very still, poor boy, and fear nothing. The loving Lord of respecting divine things- no uncommon event in Jesus has his arms around you, and will not leave you ; those days ? He could scarcely be that, thought Lady fear not. I am a physician ; you will know all about Louise ; for in reply to the laird's eager question, put me soon. Be still for one minute, and I'll get your in a trembling voice, as to whether his son's life was in 1 father.”

[ocr errors]

him ;

66

6

[ocr errors]

a

He moved to the door; but the boy called him back. and they stayed the angry words that were once more

" Don't leave me! don't leave me!” he implored; rising to his lips, and he said—“ Doctor, I did not know " I'm afraid !” Then, exhausted with the effort of you had a cripple sister when I spoke. Tell me of her. speaking, he said in a whisper, “Oh, don't go and leave Do you love her ? Does she suffer? How can she be me alone with that dreadful crucifix !” – for the gray content and happy ?” light had fallen on the face of the Christ, and imparted “She was not always so. Like you, she thought life, to it a ghastly hue.

without being able to run about, was not worth having; Quietly the physician removed it from the boy's sight; like you, she said angry, bitter words about it. But a then imposing strict silence, he once more bent over the change came. A voice said in her heart, “ Peace, be bel, promising not to leave him alone for a moment, as still !' and the great big waves of trial calmed at that he knew Sir Thomas would be coming soon. Lightly voice, even as the waves of the Sea of Galilee calmed he laid his hand on the broad forehead, and whispered when the same voice said, ' Peace, be still !' to them.” : the words, “ Lord Jesus, restore him, if it be thy will, “Whose voice was it? Who spoke to her ?” said the and make him one of the redeemed ones ;" – then re- boy eagerly. peated the words, “ Come unto me, and I will give thee Our loving Saviour, the Lord Jesus. Oh! that you rest.” Twice over he repeated them. The boy's eyes would ask him to say the words to you !" were closed, but the words so gently spoken were heard. “Do you mean the Virgin's Son?" Just then Sir Thomas entered. The physician rose. “ The same.”

" Thank God,” he said, “he is conscious ; let his “Oh, he would not care! Besides, we can only pray father know."

to him through the saints and the Virgin.” The boy had fallen asleep ; and when he woke, father, “ Liese did not find it so. She cried to him, and mother, and preceptor were watching him. But the he heard and answered her. Shall I read you about stranger was away. Had it all been a dream ?

the storm on the lake?Days of anxiety and watching followed. But at last “Yes, do." the young laird rallied, slowly struggling back to life. Then the doctor drew forth a manuscript volume, and The physician spoke hopefully, though he did not con- read slowly the words -“When the even was conie ceal that the boy's health was in a precarious state; Jesus said unto his disciples, Let us pass over to the perfect quiet and great care would be needed for a long other side. And when they had sent away the multitime to come. The fact must be impressed on the boy tude they took him even as he was into the ship. And himself.

there were also with him other little ships. And there “ Tell him yourself,” said the Lady Louise; "he will arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the bear it better from you.” And so saying, she slipped ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder ont of the room, leaving doctor and patient alone part of the ship, asleep on a pillow; and they awake

"Shall I be able to ride soon, Doctor Crawer ?” said him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we the boy. “Black Bob must be wearying to feel me on perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said his back again ; and I do so hate lying here!"

unto the sea, Peace, be still! And the wind ceased, Very gently was it broken to him that perfect rest and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Foall be necessary for long, and riding not to be thought Why are ye so fearful ? how is it that ye have no of The Bohemian doctor was little prepared for the faith?'" outburst of passion that followed.

David had listened in breathless attention. "Lie here indeed! That I shan't. I must get up could he?" said he, as the doctor stopped reading. “I DOF — this moment. Get Sir Thomas; desire him to like him. Did he say, 'Peace, be still !' to Liese like come instantly. Not ride! Why, what do you mean? that?" How am I to live? As well be a wretched, useless “ Yes; at his voice the angry feelings fled away, and Cripple as that! I'd sooner die than live like that.” in loving him she found rest and peace. Will you try

The doctor laid his hand kindly but firmly on the to love him also ?" boy, saying very seriously : Young master, if you

“ How can I ?" really wish to kill yourself, you are taking the best way

“ Ask him to teach you." to do so by giving way to such passionate feelings. I “I'd like to hear more about him." grieve for you, poor boy. It is a sad trial for you; but “Some day I will tell you how he died for yon; but it is the will of God. You spoke of a wretched, useless now I must go-other sick ones are waiting for me. Be cripple, Master David ; but cripples are not always patient, and keep quiet, and I doubt not you will be so Fretched nor useless. I have a little sister just about far better soon." your own age-the sweetest, happiest girl possible ; and As he put back the book into his breast an illumishe has been a cripple since she was seven years old. nated drawing on the cover struck the boy's eye. Sweet little Liese! How I wish you could see her!” “May I see it?” he asked. The young man's eyes filled with tears as he spoke of For a moment the doctor hesitated—was he counting the loved sister in the far-off land. David saw them, the cost ?-then showed it to him.

" How

[ocr errors]

a

C:n you

a

then as

“ Liese did it,” he said. “Is it not beautiful ?" where the young laird of Dunmore lies watching the sun

Very,” said the boy. “ How clever she must be! set. When the doctor left, the boy lay quite still, trying to I wish I could draw like that."

take in the thought of living without the active sports the The picture represented a beautiful cnp and a small | youth of that tine so delighted in, and in his weak state open manuscript-book.

the very idea made bim break into a passion of tears ; but “ What does it mean?” asked the boy.

gradually he stilled. The beauty of the sun setting on the “Some day I may tell you, but not now.

waters soothed him, and reminded him of the words the draw ?"

doctor had read, the “Peace, be still.” Calmly he recalled “A little," said the boy ; “mostly horses and dogs.” them, and wondered if he too, like little Liese of Prague,

“I have some of Liese's drawings; shall I bring them would ever hear a voice saying in his heart, “ Peace, be to show you some day ?

still.” How could he obtain the boon, and get his sins “Yes, do, I'd like it; and tell me more about her, will pardoned, so that if he died he night not remain long you not? I, too, have a sister, Mistress Vaude, and I in purgatory, but get to heaven at last ? Would penances love her dearly."

secure it ? Poor boy, high-spirited as he was, he felt In the court Dr. Crawer met the lady. “How did he

he could have borne anything to feel sure of bear it?" she said.

pardon and peace. He would make an offering to the He shook his head. “Badly enough at first; but we Virgin, he would repeat so many prayers; and more than must not wonder ; 'tis hard to bear. He is quieter all, he would implore the aid of his patron - saint, now; if only he is brought to see it is the will of God, Saint Andrew. So he lay and thought, striving, as so it will be easier for him."

many have done, to work out salvation by good deeds, The saints grant he may !” said Lady Louise. “We knowing nothing of tire “ blood of Jesus, which must pray the Virgin to help him.”

cleanseth from all sin.” Yet, through all his fears, he She turned off, and the doctor mounted his horse seemed to hear the words uttered by Paul Crawer on and rode homewards. The sun was setting in beauty the night he lay so ill, “ Come unto me, and I will give over the ocean, purpling the white-crested waves, and you rest." Oh, that was what he wanted-rest. He glittering on the many-coloured tints of the trees as wondered who said that, and thought it must be the they stood in their autumn foliage ; but Paul Crawer's same who said, “ Peace, be still.” All the evening he thoughts had wandered far over the seas to the home at was quiet, playing a little with his baby-sister, speaking Prague and the little sister there, cripple but not use- almost cheerfully to la petite mère and his father, less : : even in this far-off land was not her patient faith only alluding to the doctor's visit by saying he had proand love speaking to souls? Would her Master and his mised to bring some drawings to show him, done by his speak words of peace to the heart of the young laird of cripple sister. But when night came, he fell asleep, and Dunmore in the gray castle ? Why should he doubt it? dreamed of the Sea of Galilee and the stormy waves, Did he not also need the gentle rebuke, "O ye of little mingled with flitting visions of little Liese and her faith, wherefore do ye doubt” ? As he mused thus, a drawings. black friar passed hiin, and answered his salutation by a scowl; for he owed the foreign doctor a heavy grudge for having hindered him from unlawfully extorting some

CHAPTER IV. money from a poor widow on false pretences. Yes, even already the medical missionary was making enemies by

“Sow ye beside all waters, his open generous character amongst men to whom

Where the dew of heaven may fall; generosity was unknown and truth hated. But the

Ye shall reap if ye be not weary, friar's scowl troubled not the doctor-if, indeed, he

For the Spirit breathes o'er all. noticed it; for just then a poor man accosted him,

“ Will Jesus chide thy weakness, begging him to look in and see his wife, who lay, he

Or call thy labour vain ? feared, dying. Already the good physician was becom

The Word that for him thou bearest

Shall return to him again." ing well-known in the houses of the poor, many of whom were beginning to hang on his words of holy counsel, Giving his horse into the charge of the man who had which formed so great a contrast to that of the priests accosted him, the doctor entered the hut, the door of and friars, who came near them only to oppress and which was so low that the tall Bohemian had to stoop impoverish them. In that little cottage, simply and as he passed in. On a low tressel-bed the poor woman rudely constructed, the physician's Master had need of lay, evidently dying. She looked up eagerly. him. A heart true and loving was there, in which the “Thank God, you have come,” she said, in broad Scotgood seed of the Word of God had been dropped years tish accent. “I was sair afеard 'tiras Friar John. before, and lain latent, but was now beginning to spring Listen, for my time short. I have heard you're kind пр The darkness was seen, the light desired ; would it to we puir folk ; and Jenny Craw, the widow, telled me be found, and prevail ? We shall see.

how

you wudna let the friars tak her last bawbee frae In the meantime, we will take a peep into the room her. I want nae priest to confess til'; but gif you'd

THE DYING MOTHER.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »