صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

expressed great regret at being obliged to give up the village to acquaint Mr. Morton and myself the anticipated pleasure of a visit to her parents, with her new grief, she repeated them with pleaand bade them look forward, as she did, to a happy sure to us both. They were these: "Tell Mr. meeting in the following year. "Next year!" Morton, with my dutiful love, that our little David cried the farmer, as he threw down his child's has been baptized a protestant; and, if I live, he letter with a gesture of impatience—“ next year! | shall be brought up one! After a very long inwhy I shall be dead and buried by that time, it's terval, another letter, bearing the L-post-mark, likely! But she does not care: not a whit does was left at the farm, and was torn open with Kitty care: nobody cares for me now," he added anxious and impatient haste by the fond, and now vehemently, as with rapid strides he left the garden, but too often sorrowful, mother. Alas! it was in which, with his wife, he had been sitting. cold comfort her tried spirit found in that longexpected letter. Its tone was very different to any yet written by Kitty: it was sad, and it was foreboding of evil. She spoke of trial as if it were her portion in this world, whereas she had always hitherto described herself as one of God's most favoured creatures. She said that business was not what it once had been, nor her husband's health vigorous as in better days, when he might have made up by extra diligence and extra work the losses they sustained by the depressed state of the market. Her child, too, Kitty said, appeared to pine in the close rooms and smoky atmosphere of the narrow street in which they lived at L--, and she had almost persuaded Ryan to sell his share of the business in which he had embarked at so unfortunate a time, and with the little savings amassed while manager of the

"My poor, poor husband," said Mrs. Kyle, mournfully; "my poor David," she repeated, in a tone, if possible, of deeper sadness. And truly Kyle was an object of pity; and she, poor woman, was hardly less so. Her husband's temper was not what it once had been; and she was the sufferer by the change. Naturally his temper was good; but mere good temper, unsupported by high and holy principles, will not bear up against contradiction and disappointment. Kyle had met both, from the quarter whence he had expected nothing but unbounded love and constant attention. His good nature was not the real, disinterested, religious amiability of disposition, sustained by Christian principle, and acted on in the spirit of true charity; and consequently it failed him in the hour of his need.

From the time of his "loss," as he insisted on calling Kitty's departure for Ireland, his high animal spirits forsook him: he became habitually silent, and was often morose. His wife was at times sorely tried by him; but her character seemed formed of that valuable metal which the furnace only renders more durable and more bright. Each day when she prayed for her daily bread, did this Christian woman also pray for a meek and lowly spirit, and grace sufficient for her need, to bear with patience the many petty vexations which she knew would assail her during its course. Thus days, and weeks, and months rolled by, bringing changes, great changes to many of our little community, but none of any importance to the farmer and his wife. One source of everincreasing anxiety indeed they had in the length of time which now continually elapsed between the arrivals of letters from Kitty; but this was forgotten, all troubles were forgotten, on the receipt of the joyful tidings that a little grandson was born to the aged couple; and then what rejoicings there were ! Kyle's moodiness vanished: his spirits rose: in the excitement of the moment he blessed the marriage which hitherto he had donounced as his curse and bane; and with his own hand (unused as it was to put pen to paper, except on the leaves of his well-thumbed account-book) he wrote to McHale, congratulating him on the birth of his boy. This was all very well for the time, but the happy change was not of long continuance; for, if Kyle had been anxious to see Kitty before, how much more was he anxious that she should come now, when she had such a treasure to bring with her! and when a second time, and in a second year, his daughter wrote to say that the long-promised visit must again be put off, his indignation knew no bounds! The farmer had no patience to read the words which followed the painful announcement; but his wife read them; and when, on the evening of the same day, she came up to

manufactory, to buy a small farm in a cheap and healthy part of the country. "If Ryan will do this," were Kitty's words, ". we may again be happy." A. E. L.

[blocks in formation]

"For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” THE invitations which are contained in scripture to men, to render themselves up as servants to God, are of a peculiar character. They are authoritative, and most justly so; because God, as a Sovereign, as our Creator, as the Ruler of the world, has a perfect right to demand all our obedience and all our love. But it is not merely with the voice of authority that they speak: they seem to labour to convince us that our welfare, equally with our duty, is involved, and place it before us as affecting most materially our happiness to comply with them. It is in a tone of affection that we are addressed; a tone most likely to work upon our feelings, and secure our acquiescence. It is thus that the gospel shows its characteristic to be, pre-eminently, love.

The invitations delivered by Christ himself are very strikingly of this nature. They exhibit a tenderness of heart which ought, indeed, to endear him to us, and to secure for

him a throne in our souls. Take, for example, that of which my text forms a part. See how anxious he is to convince those he speaks to, that it is no hard service under which he would bring them! He has, indeed, a yoke which must be placed upon their neck; but it is a very easy one: he has a burden they must bear; but it is really light. These words, proceeding from the lips of One that cannot lie, ought at once to convince us that it is our interest to accept his offers: they ought to put an end for ever to the calumnies cast upon religion, that it is a constraint, a slavery. But as, unfortunately, men are more ready to listen to the insinuations of Satan the father of lies, than to the declarations of Christ the faithful and true Witness, it becomes necessary to prove, by careful investigation, the assertion of my text, and to hold up the truth thereof before men's eyes, that they may not unwisely reject the counsel of God against themselves. Such a proof I would now enter upon, and would inquire, I. What the yoke and what the burden of Christ is; and show,

II. The easiness and lightness thereof. May the Spirit of the Lord deeply impress his word on all our hearts, and bring us into the blessed liberty of Christ's service.

I. The yoke, in scripture, is the symbol of servitude. Thus, for example, when Isaac was prophetically blessing his two sons, he said to Esau: "By thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass, when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck." And we find that Jeremiah was commanded to make and wear a wooden yoke upon his shoulders, and to send others to the monarchs of the neighbouring countries, in order to prognosticate the subjection under which both Judah and those lands should fall to the Babylonian king. Hence, then, we may understand the yoke of Christ to mean his service, and the taking of it upon us, to which he invites men, as the yielding up ourselves to be his obedient people.

But the way in which we thus yield our selves, or receive him for our sovereign, requires to be more particularly examined. For it is not the just calling of him "Lord, Lord," which he deems loyal obedience. We must receive him therefore, I would say, in the character in which he presents himself to us. Reciprocal duties are implied and insisted on, in all the revelations which he makes of his kindness. If he be a Father, he must have his honour; if a Master, his reverent fear. So, when Christ is exhibited in his offices as a Prophet, a Priest, and a King, to render to him the responsive gratitude

and respect and obedience-this it is to take his yoke upon us. He is the great Prophet

and Teacher of his church. He it is that exclusively reveals the Father. He, by his Spirit, opens men's hearts to understand his law, to perceive their need of his salvation, to know the way in which they may attain eternal life. He thus gives sight to the blind, and pours light upon those that sit in darkness. And men must receive him for their Teacher: they must take their place as meek scholars in his school; neither offended, as the Jews were, at his word, nor imagining that they can better discover truth of themselves. This it is to listen to his instructions, gladly to receive them, to treasure them in the heart, to act upon them, not stumbling through unbelief, or starting away through pride-this it is to take Christ's yoke upon us. And, though it may seem at first as if it were hard to have to render up our understanding and to unlearn our worldly wisdom, yet this, as we shall afterwards see, is in the experience of it most easy and pleasant.

Christ has also revealed himself as a Priest, the great High Priest of his church. As such, he offered himself upon the altar of the cross, a sufficient sacrifice for sin. As such, with his own blood having entered into the holiest, he appears for ever in his Father's presence, to make intercession for those who come to God by him. And men must avail themselves of his atonement. Just as the Jewish people put their hands upon the head of the victims to be slain as offerings for them, transferring as it were, by that action, their guilt to them, so the hand of faith must be laid upon the Lord Jesus Christ that the benefit of his satisfaction may be actually participated. We must renounce all self-dependence, all imagined righteousness, all personal claims, and must look_to_his merits only for acceptance with the Father. This it is to take his yoke upon us, to be found in Christ, not having our own righteousness, which is of the law, but the righte ousness which is of God by faith. And, though it seem humbling and hard thus to come to his cross, yet for him who has felt himself a condemned transgressor, with righteousnesses, as the scripture declares, no better than the filthiest rags, to find One who will answer for him and present him spotless before the Father's presence, this is joy unspeakable.

Christ reveals himself, further, as a King to his people. And his dominion is of that extensive character that it requires, for a due obedience, the entire heart. Other sovereigns are content with a certain general allegiance, and with the formal manifestation of it at

appointed seasons. There are many actions of their subjects with which they never think of interfering. But Christ requires more: whether they eat or drink, or whatsoever they do, he demands that all be done to the glory of his name. In public business, or in private meditation, amidst the hurry of the multitude, or, if his providence has so willed it, in the lonely desert, he must fill the thoughts and reign supreme in the affections. He has the real possession of all that his people call their own from him it is to be received, for him to be spent. This it is to bear the yoke of Christ. And though it may seem a hard yoke, and worldly men call it so, thus to be subjected to Christ the King, yet there is one ingredient, or rather principle, of their obedience which renders it most sweet and pleasant to those over whom he rules. They love him; and the love of Christ animating their hearts makes them rejoice to do his will and to bend to his most gracious sway.

But there is also a burden to be borne: let us see what is to be understood by this. The word burden, a load or weight of any thing, seems to denote, generally in scripture, toil, or cares, or afflictions which have to be undergone. Thus, for instance, at one time a prophecy delivered against any people, threatening them with God's judgments for their sins, was called a burden-"the burden of Moab," "the burden of Damascus," "the burden of Egypt," "the burden of the valley of vision." The miserable oppression of Israel by Pharaoh is also called their burden: "I removed his shoulder from the burden; his hands were delivered from the pots" (Ps. lxxxi. 6). And again, more generally we read: "Cast thy burden (where it evidently signifies cares or distresses)"cast thy burden upon the Lord; and he shall sustain thee" (Ps. lv. 22). I interpret our Lord's meaning, therefore, in the text to be, that there would be troubles which, from their subjection to him, would be laid upon his servants. And it is, therefore, analogous to what we find that both he and his apostles repeatedly in other places declared, that in the world we must have tribulation; that through much tribulation men must enter the kingdom of heaven. The first disciples had what might be thought a very heavy burden of this kind laid upon them. For they had to undergo violent persecution, and many of them to shed their blood for the testimony of Jesus. And this burden must be borne. The young ruler indeed found it grievous when our Lord showed him that he must sell all that he had, and give to the poor. He could not endure so to deny himself, and to follow Christ. And, though this kind of

self-renunciation and suffering is not now laid upon us, still the maxim of the Lord's dealings will always hold good, that whom he loveth he chastens, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. It is by being cast into the fire that the gold is refined; and it is by passing through the furnace that very generally, the dross is purged away, and the affections weaned from the world, and the image of Christ is formed in us. It is, therefore, as he himself warns us, needful to count the cost, lest, after having put our hand to the plough, we shamefully turn back. It is needful to understand that we must bear the burden and heat of the day, in labours for God, in zealous improvement of talents, in patient endurance of the fatherly correction we may be called to undergo. And, though in prospect this burden may be thought very heavy, and it may seem hard not to be permitted to be idle, and to be called to resign pleasure, and mortify one's carnal lusts, and endure chastisement, yet, animated by gospel principles, and strengthened by the grace of Christ, it will be found so light that St. Paul, who bore perhaps more of it than any other man, could acknowledge that his "light affliction," which was but for a moment, was not worthy to be compared with the glory which would be revealed in him.

This, however, will be better illustrated if I proceed

II. To exhibit, as I proposed, the special easiness of Christ's yoke-the lightness of his burden. We judge very generally of things by comparison. Let us see how these will bear to be compared with other services.

1. Take the legal yoke laid upon the Jews. Read their law, and see what a burdensome array of ceremonies that imposed upon them. By a thousand accidental circumstances, in the pursuit of their daily business, they might be rendered unclean; and then there were tedious rites of purification. Again, their sacrifices were to be perpetually repeated. The blood of bulls and goats could not wash away sin; and therefore these symbols had again and again to be presented, figuring indeed that better sacrifice which would avail for the sins of the world, but yet recalling always their sin to their remembrance, and holding before their eyes the handwriting of condemnation. St. Paul, speaking of this, pronounces it a bondage: "We, when we were children," says he, "were in bondage under the elements of the world” (Gal. iv. 3.) And St. Peter calls it an intolerable yoke: "Why tempt ye God"-these were his words in the council of Jerusalem-"to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?" Com

tion, but also enables men to yield it, by making them love his laws, and rejoice in obeying him. "Thy people," says the psalmist, "shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning."

pared therewith, the service of Christ is perfect freedom. For it takes away the curse of the law it proclaims a full, free, and entire forgiveness of all the sins which the law had condemned. And here is the special easiness of Christ's yoke. Look what blessings it conveys. If we listen to him as a Teacher, 2. But let us contrast also the service of he reveals to us those wondrous things which sin and of the world with that of Christ. eye of man had never seen, nor ear heard, This, the world's service, is indeed a slavery. nor human heart conceived; yea, which the Our Lord tells us that he that commits sin is very angels, who excel in knowledge, desire the servant of sin. And most true indeed it to look into. Is it no delight to have such a is. For look at a man the victim of his communication from above? to hold close passions, eagerly indulging in the hope of converse with the Highest? to be entrusted pleasure, ever disappointed in finding the cup with that secret of his, which is with them he had deemed most sweet dashed with that fear him? to contemplate the blessed ex-bitterness, a prey to remorse, yet unable to altation of his perfections, mercy, and truth, refrain from again running the miserable righteousness, and power? And, if we receive round of lust and disappointment and reChrist as our Priest, then are we reconciled to morse. Is not Satan here a cruel master? God. His blood, far more effectual than that is not the service of sin, the yoke it imposes, of bulls and goats, can purge our conscience the burden it endures most grievous and from dead works to serve the living God. And heavy? Or, if you look only at the results what is more delightful to the sinner than the which this world can give, how unstable a assurance of pardon? Talk of water to the possession riches, how empty a distinction man that is expiring with thirst; why, the honour, how frivolous a joy is pleasure, coolest stream that ever moistened the parched must you not acknowledge that they, who lips of him that had fainted in the desert is rise up early, and late take rest, and eat nothing to the crystal wave, which, flowing the bread of carefulness for these, are spendfrom the throne of God and of the Lamb, ing their money for that which is not makes glad the city of our Zion, refreshing bread. Let me not be misapprehended. the inhabitants thereof. Talk of liberty to The scripture never teaches that we may the captive; why, the most blessed light and be neglectful of our vocation: we are air that ever revived the spirit of him that to be diligent in lawful business; but I for years had pined in the dark dungeons of wish to contrast the yoke which men put a tyrant is nothing to the voice of pardoning readily upon their shoulders for perishing love in Jesus Christ, at which the chains more goods with that which Christ invites us to grievous than of iron fall from the forgiven assume for everlasting glory. And, I say, captive; and he is raised from his horrible take the scholar, with his days of thought pit, and delivered from his miry clay, and and nights of watchfulness, how hard must placed with his feet upon a rock, with a new he labour for that which is but a corruptible song of glorious praise put into his mouth, crown! Take the soldier, with his perils in the his eyes and hopes being lifted from earth to tented field, his painful marches, his desperate heaven. For this, if a great thing were re- conflicts, how hard must he struggle for a quired to be done, would you not, as his ser- corruptible crown! And, I say, if these men vants said to Naaman, have done it? how readily and gladly undergo a burden so much rather when the gospel invitation is, heavy, a yoke so strict, for a fading wreath, "Wash and be clean"; when salvation is how should the servant of Christ complain offered as a free gift, purchased by the blood to contend beneath his banner for an incorof Jesus, graciously bestowed on those who ruptible crown? No, brethren fix your come by faith to him! O easy yoke! O blessed eyes on the "exceeding and eternal great service! And to be under Christ as a King; reward", and you will never call his burden to experience as a defence the saving strength heavy, or his yoke hard. And will you not of his right hand; to have his holy laws then be induced to listen to the voice of his written not merely upon tables of stone, but invitation, and to comply with his call? O upon the fleshy tables of the heart-which rejoice that such an invitation is given to was indeed that which God promised as the you: be glad that now is the accepted time new and most desirable covenant to be made in which you may find ready admission to with Israel his people-is not this an obe- his service. dience delightful to pay? The peculiar easiness of Christ's yoke consists in this, that it not only prescribes terms of subjec

There is an observation or two which I must make in closing the subject:

1. Some persons cannot prevail with them

years ago, many of the heathen, who had been addicted to habits the most licentious, and were under the influence of the most degrading superstitions began to weep for their sins, and to inquire, "What must we do to be saved ?" Among them," says the rev. Mr. Casalis, one of the missionaries, "was a remarkable man, called Lehika: he was formerly the chief of a numerous tribe, known under the name of Baselas: he stood for a while against the Zulah chiefs, Matuane and Pacarita's aggressions, but was compelled to succumb at last, and see his subjects disperse and join the Mantatas, among whom they still live in great numbers. Disgusted with the world, and no more under the illusions of power, he has found rest in Christ, at an age when the habits of vice and heathenism, so long practised, render, in general, the natives insensible to the influence of the gospel."

selves to take on them Christ's yoke at once:
they shall have time, they say; and, after
having enjoyed somewhat more of the world,
they will hereafter more earnestly seek God.
But have you made a covenant with death,"
and assured yourselves of time? and know
you not that every day's delay is winding
still more closely round you the chains of
vanity and sin? Lot's wife wished to see a
little more of the pleasant land she was
leaving, before she resolutely set her face
towards the mountain where she had deter-
mined (as she thought) to find eventual
safety. But what did that lingering look
cost her? O ye, who cannot make your
up at once, remember Lot's wife."
2. But some find a difficulty in taking
on them the yoke of Christ. You must seek
to be endued with faith: all things are pos-
sible to him that believeth. You must ask
strength from Christ: you can do all things
through Jesus Christ strengthening you.
Implore of him his Holy Spirit to make you
see the excellency of his commands, the glory
of his salvation. And with this divine help
your choice shall be guided, and rendered
effectual. The difficulties that alarm you
shall be surmounted; the blessings that are
offered shall be attained. Be not faithless
but believing.



THE friends of missions, and the Christian public
in general, will doubtless be interested in the facts
which it is the design of this article to bring be-
fore them. Seldom has a stronger claim on their
sympathies, their benevolence, their pity for the
heathen, been presented than might now be urged;
and the writer cannot suppose it possible that the
evangelical churches of this country will listen to
the circumstances of the case, and then refuse
their aid.

In the far-distant regions of the interior of South Africa, there are a number of French missionaries who, as agents of the Paris Protestant Missionary Society, have been engaged for several years in proclaiming the gospel among the Basoutos, and other heathen tribes, inhabiting that part of the African continent which is situated immediately beyond the Garief, or Great Orange river. They are men of God, zealous, enterprising, and truly evangelical; and their labours have been attended with incalculable good to thousands of immortal souls. They have nine or ten principal stations, on several of which the population is large; that of Thala-Bossiou, for example, being from 15,000 to 20,000. On the Moriah station the church members amount to 135, and the regular attendants on the public ministry to 450; whilst the day and sabbath schools, on that station, are in efficient and most cheering operation. During a very gracious revival of religion which took place in this locality two or three

The total number of communicants under the care of these missionaries is nearly 600; and the number of scholars receiving Christian instruction is upwards of 1,100. On most of the stations the sabbath congregations average 400 or 500, whilst the number of persons under the indirect influence chief of the Basoutos, Moshesh, is himself an enof the missions cannot be estimated. The great lightened man; and two of his sons, with one of whom the writer was acquainted, are true converts to the faith of Christ. Missionaries of the Wesleyan society are also engaged in the work of evangelization in that part of Africa; but those of the Paris society do not interfere with them; and there is ample room in that extensive territory for the agents of all the societies to labour, in far greater numbers than are now there. But what are the circumstances in which these French protestant missionaries are at this moment placed? In consequence of the melancholy state of trade in Paris, occasioned by the revolution, the society, by which these devoted men have been supported, has been placed in a most embarrassing position: "its receipts are much below its expenditure; and it has been compelled to close the house in which its future missionaries were being educated.” Nay, more; some of the bills of the men already employed have, if the information received be correct, been dishonoured; and it is certain that these zealous and self-denying missionaries are now suffering from great pecuniary need. The people amongst whom they labour are, for the most part, exceedingly poor; and, though they contribute of their substance to the support of their pastors, yet it cannot be supposed that they can raise the contributions necessary. What is to be done? Shall these missionaries be left to contend with destitution in a heathen land? Shall they be obliged to abandon their stations, and give up the flocks they have gathered into Christ's fold, a prey to heathenism and sin? Let Christian Britain reply. Let the lovers of the Redeemer, and of the heathen world, of whatever name, reply. It cannot be it must not be!

These missionaries have made no appeal to us yet; but these are the facts of their case; and the writer, who was himself seven years in South Africa, in connection with a missionary society, cannot but feel anxious that an instant effort should be made by all catholic Christians to raise contributions for their relief.

« السابقةمتابعة »