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A NEW YEAR'S HOMILY TO YOUNG MEN.
BY RET. T. R. STEVENSON.
ANY a truth is spoken in jest.” him and our age of fervid commer
So says the old proverb. It cial competition. We refer to Jacob. is correct. Proofs of it abound. Ri- When he left home he made a vow. dicule often rebukes. Puns may be Most solemnly did he promise that precepts. Fantastic fictions call at- if God would protect him, he would, tention to formidable facts. For when he returned from his wanderexample: the notorious American ings, build an altar. Did God hear utterance is quite true—“there's a him? We all know. He more than good deal of human nature in man.” heard him. The fugitive became a No doubt of it. Our race is un- . prince. Despite sundry trials, he changeable. Men vary, man remains obtained large possessions. Did he the same.
To-day resembles yes- remember his promise ? That we also terday; one twelvemonth repeats know. It was forgotten. Seven or another. The centuries are all alike. eight years passed, upon
his return, Ancients and moderns have a strong ere the shrine was erected. He had family likeness.
to be reminded of it. As quaint Hence the value of the Bible. It Thomas Fuller puts it—“ Rich Jacob is the word of man as well as the forgot what
forgot what poor Jacob did promise." word of God. A faithful artist, it Does not the present season reportrays saint and sinner with in- call the old story? Yes. And why? imitable accuracy. In the biogra- Because this is the time in which 80 phies which it records we recognize many vows are made-vows too soon ourselves. Each history is an anti- lost sight of. The beginning of the cipation of our own. The narratives twelve months is pre-eminently a peof inspiration are lived over again riod of promising. How large a now. Abraham still emigrates; Ra- number of good resolves are formed ! chel still weeps for her children; That would be a comprehevsive arithRuth still mourns a lost husband ; metic which should compute them. Job still ponders the mysteries of Who can calculate the proportion of Providence; David still longs for the them that are kept ? April the first wings of a dove; Peter still quails is usually associated with the idea of before the taunt of the tempter; folly ; but, virtually, January the Paul still labours more abundantly first is more deserving of that repute. than they all ; Demas still forsakes We heard a remark some time ago Christ and Christ's disciples.
which impressed us. On the thirtyThe new year reminds us of this. first of December a friend said, “ ToThe book of Genesis contains the morrow people will go through the biography of several young men. solemn farce of making good reOne is full of interest to the youth solves.” It was a somewhat bitter of to-day. The secular duties and expression, but its sting lay in its vicissitudes which befel him afford truthfulness. A “ solemn farce," a marked point of contact between indeed, too often it is. We talk of “building castles in the air ;" but at tected in a deed of dishonesty, which no date is there such a large con- he declares to be his very first-for sumption ef etherial masonry as at tbere never was a thief who was not the present. Invisible stones and a liar also—the purloiner calls Heaimpalpable beams are in almost uni- ven to witness that if you
will only versal request.
let him off this once, he will hereafter There is, however, another point rather starve than steal; and six in our experience when such is the months afterwards he is at the bar case. We mean trouble. Circum- of the Old Bailey. Laid on a bed of stances of trial create prayer; prayer sickness, the toper is plainly told ends in pledges-pledges of obe- how urgent is his case, and how many dience. Too frequently, when we are the chances against him. “Oh, get quit of the sorrow we get quit of dear doctor, if you will only set me free the vow also. The adage bears wit- this once, I give you my solemn word ness against us—“The river past, and I will never taste another drop;" and God forgotten.” Similar is the bent the vow is kept till he is pronounced of the Greek tale ;-Mandrabulus, past danger. In imminent alarmthe Samian, having, under the aus- with lying refuges swept awaypices of Juno, discovered a gold mine, you have seen the folly of a godless in his instant gratitude, vowed to life and the terribleness of unprepared her a golden ram, which he pre
death, and have promised and prosently exchanged for a silver one ; tested that as soon as this crisis was and again this for a very small brass over you would make God's friendone; and this for nothing at all. ship your first effort, and His service Tennyson illustrates the same thing your great concern.
But if it be a in his own pure style when he yew-tree staff, as soon as the pressings
sure is taken off it will start up “Yet the great knight, in his mid-sick
straight as ever; and if it be the ness made,
same proud, self-sufficient, self-inFull many a holy vow and pure resolve. dulgent nature as before, it may These, as but born of sickness, could not bend for a moment beneath the
live; For when the blood ran lustier in him
mighty hand of God; but, like a again,
deceitful bow rebounding, is sure to Full often the sweet image of one face, turn back erect and stiff as ever? Making a treacherous quiet in his heart, A Christian gentleman belonging to Dispersed his resolution like a cloud."
the medical profession mentioned the It is the old story of the Egyptian following fact :-In the course of king over again. When each plague his life he had known about three came, Pharaoh declared that he would hundred persons who, expecting to liberate Israel; when it went he die, had apparently given themselves promptly cancelled his word. Volney, to the Saviour. Eventually they the infidel, was once in a storm. The were restored to health. How many, sea raged; loudly roared the wind. does the reader suppose, kept their It seemed as if the vessel must go covenant with God? What was the down. “O Christ, save me! O number of those who remained faithChrist, have mercy on me!” Thus ful under the more prosperous circried the unbeliever. He reached cumstances ? Only ten! Think of the shore safely. Did he abandon it. Ten; not more than ten out bis atheism? Not he! Once secure of three hundred! Well may we on terra firma, he resumed his scep- exclaim, “Lord, what is man?” ticism and blasphemy. To quote from
Earnestly should we pray,
“ Hold an able and experienced author: “De- Thou me up.” Sunshine after rain produces lovely, fragrant blossoms; Instead, therefore, of desponding, be but the beams of worldly success, it ours, rather, to find the secret when they follow the storm of affic- of success. How may we be so tion, are seldom as productive. strengthened as to keep the vows
We may be told that these are which we make? By what means extreme cases. Be it so; they are may we get not only a good start true. They are also representative. each year, but keep on in the right My young brothers, you and I may track to the
end? not so far have committed ourselves There are two answers. Love is as some to whom allusion has been the first. Nothing is like this. It made. We may have been merci- lies at the root of all endurance and fully spared the outrages on God's achievement. Here, again, Jacob is goodness to which we have adverted. a case in point. Among many other With no bated breath, and no stinted touching things connected with his praise, let us adore Heaven, if such course—things that cannot but find be the case. Nevertheless, is one of an instinctive response in each of us us altogether guiltless on this score? -is his attachment to the daughter Not one. Conscience reminds us of of Laban. One phrase is memopromises forgotten. Ruins are often rable: “and Jacob served seven years picturesque. The moss-grown wall for Rachel; and they seemed unto is attractive. Towers, long ago re- him but a few days, for the love be signed to silence and decay, are had to her.” Yes, love is the grand impressively beautiful. We linger stimulus. If a man loves gold, he long within the lovely precincts of a will labour for it; if he is fond of Tintern Abbey, or the venerable re- popularity, he will strive after it; if mains of fiction-famed Kenilworth. his heart is set on physical gratificaBut there is one ruin appalling in- tion, he will obtain it. By the same stead of inviting. It is found within. rule, if he loves Christ, he will beOur souls contain mournful relics. come Christ-like. The love of Jesus, Shattered vows are there, painful to as shown in the pardon of his sins contemplate. None of us are as good and a sacrificial death endured on as we meant to be. We look wist- his behalf, will enable him, in spite fully to heights of Christ-like at- of weaknesses and inconsistencies, to tainment which we hoped would have keep his vow of holiness and debeen ours ere this. Our architecture votedness. Well says Henry Ward is faultless ; our building is erratic Beecher :—“It is wonderful that we and fitful.
do not take a hint inthis matter What is to be done ? Shall we from the fact that, in secular life, give up? No, never! Away with when we seek favours at the hands the thought! albeit we are often of men, we endeavour to bring them tempted to indulge it. We must into a goodnatured state. We know not. Difficulty should not intimi. that when a man is benevolent and date. It ought rather to arouse. sympathetic, he is in the state in He is no true man who sheaths which we can draw more good things the sword because of bygone short- from him than when he is in any comings and defeats. Let us keep other state. If we go to one for heart; repeated failure is not inevit. some kindness, we do not go to him able. History shows and surround- on those days when he is gloomy, ing experience proves that, despite when his nerves are shaken, when past failures, we may live a holier, his health is suffering, and when his nobler life in the future. Others business is going wrong; we go to have done so; why should not we? him when he is full-fed, and comfortable, and genial, as it is at such tions to its efficacy are often raised. times that he is most likely to grant We do not care now to enter into our request. We bring him into a them. Why? Not, certainly, begood condition with himself; and cause they are unanswerable. They when his mind is in a high and sum- have repeatedly been met and overmory mood, we let out our little
thrown. But we shun controversy secret with a reasonable hope of suc- on this point, because there is “ a cess. This is the worldly way of more excellent way." The truth is, dealing with men when we would that experience is the best arguhave them yield to our wishes. When ment. We venture, without fear of men wish to grow in Christian graces contradiction, to say that the exthey must lift their souls up into the perience of any man who tries to atmosphere of Divine benevolence; live a useful and devout life, proves and out of real, pure, genial love all alike the need and power of prayer. Christian graces will flow most easily Let none neglect it, especially the and naturally."
young. It is the Divinely-appointed Some words are often repeated in means of bestowing upon us spiritual the Bible. We constantly meet with influences by which we may be them. Here is one of the commonest quickened in goodness and strength-grace. Much importance is at- ened against temptation. Nay,
the tached to it. This is the final prayer very act itself is a wondrous power of Paul, “Grace be with you all.” for good.
Communion with God This is the farewell advice of Peter, fortifies us in the hour of danger. “Grow in grace."
This is the adieu It calms the soul, it elevates the of John, "The grace of our Lord earth-prone affections, and infuses Jesus Christ be with you all." No into us the temper of heaven. It has wonder. Do not think the word a been likened to a diving-bell, which cant term. It may be abused, but enables us, although surrounded in itself it is beautiful and invalu-' by destructive elements, to breathe able. Well, what does this favourite a pure and invigorating atmosphere. word mean? Dr. Bonar gives one It has been compared to the fabled of the best definitions of it. “Love waters of classic story, which ren. to the unlovable." Ah! the three dered those who were dipped in them eminent Apostles saw so plainly, and invulnerable to malign influences. felt so deeply, that love was the It has been spoken of as a celestial mainspring of all Christian emotion talisman, which, as long as it is reand endeavour, that they made its tained, preserves its possessor from commendation the theme of their countless calamities. last counsels. Let us receive it. If • This is all true. Be it ours, then, we accept it, think often about it, to make good use of it. With Love realize it, we shall find it the God. on one side, and Prayer on the appointed means of overcoming temp- other, as our gracious guardian tation, and doing our duty both to angels, we need not fear. All shall Christ and His disciples.
be well. The future is dark; none There must be something more. may read it. Wisely is it hidden Of this also we are reminded by the from Sometimes
we tremble patriarch to whom we have alluded. before it; we fear the trials which The very name, Israel, tells of prayer. it may bring Begone all such We must supplicate if we would suc. thoughts! Christ is with us. Only ceed. This doctrine needs emphatic let us give Him our affection and and uncompromising statement in ask His help, and despite trouble, our day. Many assail it. Objeo. our path will be bright and beautiful.
Memoir of the late Reb. Andrew Leslie, of Calcutta.
Concluded from Vol. LXIII., page 772. N Mr. Leslie's arrival in Calcutta being assembled there, he had an
he found no suitable vessel opportunity of meeting with several leaving for England, and was conse- of those who had been his fellow. quently obliged to wait five weeks. students at College. He found they During these weeks he preached regu. had not forgotten him, and that their larly in the Circular Road Chapel, love for hir was as strong as ever. Dr. Yates being then absent. Shortly This intercourse with them was very before embarking for England, he pleasant and refreshing. By the received from the Church at Monghyr relatives of the wife of his youth he a piece of plate, as a token of their and his were most warmly welcomed, regard, accompanied by a letter, and amongst them he found an affecwhich
gave him even more pleasure tionate father and mother, and loving than the gift. It was written by his brothers and sisters. And it was friend of many years, his friend until well that it was so, for he had redeath, H. Dear, Esq.
turned to England to find his own On the 12th of March, Mr. Leslie brothers and sister dead, his father and his family embarked in the and inother having died before he Bland, Captain Callan, and after a sailed for India. When he went to pleasant voyage, landed in England, his native city, Edinburgh, he went July 21. His pleasure was sadly as a stranger, and his thoughts were marred by hearing of the death of very painful. He wandered about the Rev. John Dyer, Secretary to the alone, visiting old remembered scenes Baptist Missionary Society, an event and places : but the rocks, and the which took place on the very night trees, and the buildings were his only of his arrival; but, on the other hand, friends. Some persons whom he he received such loving letters from remembered had forgotten him; his friends in Monghyr, that his others whom he once knew were heart was greatly cheered and com. dead; and so he turned away in forted.
bitter disappointment and sorrow. Mr. Leslie was absent from India He soon wearied of the continual only one year and nine months. His travelling; his heart longed after his stay in England was not an idle one. old work; and his health being reHe was fully occupied all the time stored, he asked leave to return to in travelling about in behalf of the India. On the 25th of August, 1842, Baptist Missionary Society. The after a stay of but thirteen months, season was full of interest. It was he bade adieu to his native land, and the Jubilee year of the Baptist Mis- sailed for India in the Vernon, Capsion, and the services at Kettering tain Gimblett, accompanied by his were rich in solemn joy. Mr. Leslie family. The first time there was was privileged to preach one of the service on board, Jeremiah xxii. was jubilee sermons at Kettering. Many read, and the 10th verse made a deep Baptist ministers and missionaries impression on his mind: “Weep ye