Imágenes de páginas

derable stop in every verse of the psalms when they are read in the Church, There is a colon in every verse, and a person, seeing this, would naturally make a considerable pause there. We should, however, remember that those colons were not put there to mark a pause in reading, but made as directions for the singers, in those Churches where the service is chaunted, as it is now in Cathedrals, and which was, indeed, much more common than it is .now in our Churches, at the time the Prayer Book was arranged. The stop, it is true, was placed in the right place for reading, if it could be so contrived, but, in many verses, there wants nọ stop at all in reading, and the sense is then terribly broken by making one. We may observe that, in the Bible version of the Psalıns, these colons are not made in every verse.

Another fault I often observe we are apt to make, in reading the Nicene Creed ;-I mean the reading the following words together, as if they made one sentence, Being of one substance with the Father, By whom all things were made.” As if we meant to say that all things were made by the Father;--which is, indeed, true ; but, in this Creed, we are declaring our faith in the holy Trinity, and asserting that we believe that the Son existed before the creation of the world, and that by him, according to the doctrine. of Scripture, the Father made the worlds. We had already declared, in the first division of this Creed, our belief in the FATHER, and that he was the Maker of all things. Then we declare our faith in the Son; and the whole of the second division of the Creed belongs to the Son. We may observe that the separate clauses, all begin with a capital letter, although divided only by commas ;---they are all distinct declarations. We should perhaps understand them better, if they were printed as separate sentences, thus; Begotten, not made,

The Ways of Providence.

171 Being of one substance with the Father,

By whom all things were made, Thus shewing that all these declarations belong to the same person,—the Son. We should so divide them in our minds, and should so read them.



Public Worship.

WHERE two or threc, with sweet accord,
Obedient to their sov’reign Lord,
Meet to recount his acts of grace
And offer solemn prayer and praise :

• There, says the Saviour, will I be,
• Amidst this little company,
• To them unveil my smiling face,
• And glories round the place.'

We meet at Thy command, dear Lord,
Relying on Thy faithful word:
Now send Thy Spirit from above,
Now fill our hearts with beavenly love!


How mysterious the ways of Providence often appear! This is not because they are confused or without a plan, but because, from our imperfect knowledge, we are not able to see to what they lead. When things indeed turn out according to our wishes, we are then perhaps inclined to feel a thankfulness to God for this his goodness to us: and in this we


do right; but, if we could see through the designs of Providence, we should find that those very things which are most opposite to our wishes, and most contrary to our expectations, are indeed proofs equally strong of the goodness and mercy and wisdom of God. We sometimes see a kind and

generous man cut off in the midst of his usefulness; sometimes, on the contrary, a churlish miser rewarded with all the outward goods of this life; sometimes a pious father, by the death of a beloved son, appears to have lost an opportunity of training up a child for the service of God. ' A

man, whilst ployed in the service of his neighbours, is suddenly cut off; and numbers seem to be brought into danger for want of his protection.

All this seems strange! but, if we could behold the hand that did these things, and could know why they were done, we should

then be assured that they were done by a Being of perfect mercy, and that they all tended to bring about the wisest purposes. The poem of “ THE HERMIT," by Parnell, sets this truth in a beautiful and striking point of view, and I shall therefore direct the attention of my readers to it. The Hermit, we shall see, was filled with doubts on account of some of the mysterious acts of Providence, which, as he had heard, abounded in the world, and he determined to leave his solitary abode, and to see whether these things were so.

The Hermit.

Far in a wild, unknown to public view,
From youth to age, a reverend hermit grew,
The moss his bed, the cave his humble cell,
His food the fruits, bis drink the crystal well..
Remote from man, with God be pass'd his days,
Prayer all his business; all his pleasure-praise.

• Parnell, Thomas, a learned divine and ingenious poet, born in Dublin 1679, died at Chester 1717. He wrote several papers in the Spectator and Guardian, and was the intimate friend of Pope and Swift.-Biographical Dictionary.


The Ways of Providence. 173
A life so sacred, such serene repose,
Seem'd heav'n itself, 'till one suggestion rose,
That vice should triumph, virtue vice obey :
This sprung some doubt of Providence's sway.

To clear this doubt, to know the world by sight,
To find if books or swains report it right,
He quits his cell, the pilgrim's staff he bore,
And fixed the scallop in his hat before!
Tben with the sun a rising journey went,
Sedate to think, and watching each event.
The morn was wasted in the pathless grass,
And long and lonesome was the wild to pass :
But, when the southern sun had warmed the day,
A youth came posting o’or a crossing way;
His raiment decent, his complexion fair,
And soft in graceful ringlets wav'd his hair :
Then near approaching, “ Father, hail!” he cried :
And “ Hail, my sop !" the reverend sire replied.
Words followed words, from question answer flow'd
And talk of various kind deceived the road.-

When night came on, and they were anxious for rest and shelter, they saw a noble mansion near them; and, on entering it, they found every thing rich and splendid, and the master full of generous hospitality. They had a grand feast; after which they were lodged in a rich chamber, on beds of down ; and, when morning came, the master, before they left him, brought a golden cup filled with rich wine, and almost_forced them to partake of a morning draught. Before they had got far from this hospitable house, the young traveller pulled from under his garment the golden cup, which it appears he had stolen from the liberal master of the mansion. It was a dreadful shock to the hermit to see such wickedness in return for such kindness, and he longed to escape from so base a companion.

“ He stopp'd with silence, walked with trembling heart, And much he wish'd, but dared not ask to part : Murmuring be lists his eyes, and thinks it hard,

That generous actions meet a base reward." Soon a violent storm appeared to be coming on; “ Warn'd by the signs, the wandering pair retreat

To seck for shelter at a neighbouring seat."

It belonged to a griping miser, and “ driven by the wind and battered by the rain,” they knocked for a long time, before the door was opened to them;

"'At length some pity touched the master's breast,

('Twas then his threshold first received a guest;)
Slow creaking turns the door with jealous care,

And half he welcomes in the shivering pair." Here they had 'a scanty miserable meal, a poor fire, and a " ready warning” to depart, as soon as the storm appeared to cease. The hermit wondered that so niggard a soul should be permitted to enjoy such vast riches, which he had not the heart to use; and he was still more surprised when he saw that his young companion gave this wretched man the cup which he had stolen from their former generous landlord: Night came on again, and they found shelter in the house of a kind

and generous master, who had neither the pride and state of their first host, nor the churlish selfishness of the second.

“ The soil improved arouvd, the mansion neat,
And neither poorly low, nor idly great,
It seem'd to speak its master's turn of mind,

Content, and not for praise, but virtue kind.” Here they were kindly received and hospitably treated; the conversation was pious and good; at night they all joined together in family prayer, and then retired to rest. But, strange to say, before they left the house, the young traveller crept near a cradle, where an infant was asleep, and strangled it, 56 writhed its neck."

The hermit was struck with horror at such a deed. He tries to escape from the house, and to get away from the company of this youth, whose actions are so base and so unaccountable. The youth however follows him. The kind master had sent a servant to shew them their way, for it was hard to find. They came to a river. They could only pass it by a branch of a tree which lay across it. The servant was passing; the young man went behind him and

« AnteriorContinuar »