Page images
PDF
EPUB

cry for help from above, which arose from multitudes at home and abroad.

Their supplications were not unheard. The Armada had not long set sail till it met a most terrific storm. The hurricane did incalculable damage to the Spanish fleet, driving it back towards its own shores, and scattering wide its ships. As it made towards England again, the little fleet of Elizabeth, taking courage from the disasters wrought by the storm, attacked and conquered many of the strongest Spanish ships of war. Others of them were destroyed by British vessels purposely set on fire, and allowed to drift down among the enemy's craft while struggling against adverse wind and tide. Discomfited and dispirited by these losses, and still meeting dreadfulstorms, the Armada returned home after sacrificing 35 ships, and no fewer than 13,000 men. Never again did Spain attempt to invade the kingdom of England.

One of the Spanish nobility commanded a ship, which was at that period taken in battle by Sir Francis Drake, the English Admiral. The nobleman, being brought as a prisoner before the Privy Council for examination, was asked, “What was your object in invading England ?” He replied, “ To subdue the nation, and root it out.” The next question was, “What did you mean to do with the Roman Catholics of England ?” “To send them, good men, directly to heaven," answered the Spanish Lord; "and you heretics to hell." In his ship there had been found many whips made of intertwisted cord and wire, and these he declared were intended to scourge the heretics (the Protestants) to death. And when he was further asked, “What would you have done with the young children ?” he boldly responded, “ Those above seven years of age should have gone the way their fathers went; the rest should have lived in perpetual slavery, branded in the forehead with the letter 'L' for Lutheran."

Happy day was it for Britain when such cruel monsters were driven back, when God arose and scattered His enemies !

The passions which raged in Haman's soul made him peculiarly unhappy. His pride could not brook the slightest opposition. Every thing that he wished on earth he had already attained, or seemed about to secure ; but the sight of one mortal that refused to bend before him completely upset him.

“ All this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the King's gate.” And so it is ever with unconverted human nature. The daughters of the horse-leech are within every unchanged heart. “Give, give," is their unccasing cry. Get what they may, there is still an uneasy emptiness in the soul. The sight of something possessed by a neighbour, but wbich they have been denied, rouses bitter envy, and overmaster

ing covetousness. Apparent slights are magnified to the excitement of feelings the most malicious; and the poor, proud, discontented, peevish spirit can find no rest.

Very different is it with those who have known and believed the love that God hath to us, and who allow it to fill their hearts to the brim.

“God is the treasure of their souls, the source of lasting joy,

A joy which want cannot impair, nor death itself destroy." An interesting description of such a character is supplied by an American writer, in the words of the contented man himself. He was a tiller of the soil, and had already reached his eightieth year. To a relative who visited him, the old man is stated to have said, “I have lived on this farm for more than half a century. I have no desire to change my residence as long as remain on earth. I have no wish to be any richer than I now am. I have worshipped the God of my fathers with the same people for more than forty years. During that time I have rarely been absent from the Sanctuary on the Sabbath, and have never missed one communion season.

I have never been confined to my bed by sickness a single day. The blessings of God have been richly spread around me, and I made up my mind long ago, that if I wished to be happier I must have more religion.”

The old farmer knew the secret of happiness. He enjoyed “God in all things, and all things in God."

O soul ! longing for heart repose, yearning for the blessing that maketh rich and addeth no sorrow, thou mayest possess it to the full if thou wilt draw near unto God in Christ. Thy God is stretching out the golden sceptre of His grace, and entreating thee to touch it and be at peace. His golden sceptre is the invitation to come to Himself. “Come ye to the waters," saith God the Father; “ come, buy wine and milk, without money and without price.” “ Come unto Me, and I will give you rest,” saith the Son, once crucified for sinners, and now and for ever exalted a Prince and a Saviour : “him that cometh unto Me, I will in no wise cast out." “Come,” saith God the Holy Ghost ;.“ come, and take the water of life freely : whosoever will, let him come."

And dost thou ask how thou mayest come in answer to those loving calls? Simply by thy heart's desire going out to thy Father in heaven, who is seeking to reconcile thee to Himself through the blood of His Son. Take to thy inmost soul His offered grace and love, and thus thou wilt come to Him, and be at peace in believing.

It was not till she had put on the royal apparel provided by Ahasuerus, that Queen Esther ventured into the monarch's presence, and found acceptance there. And let believers remember, in all ap

proaches to their Great Husband-King, to come only in the resplendent robe of His obedience unto death. All their own righteousnesses are indeed but filthy rags; but enwrapped in the royal wedding garment of Christ's doing and dying for sinners, they may draw near with boldness, even to the great white throne of judgment.

“ Christ's blood and righteousness
Shall be the marriage dress,

In wbich they'll stand,
At God's right hand,

Forgiven;
And enter rest
Among the blest

In heaven.”

Literature.

A Course of Addresses on the Word and Works of God: delivered to an

Evangelical Association of Young Men, by Maurice Lothian. Crown 8vo.,

Pp. 282. Johnston & Hunter, Edinburgh. 1876. The venerable author of these Addresses has for more than half a century been engaged actively and successfully in the work of Sabbath-school instruction. Following up this good work, more than twenty years ago, he formed an association of his more advanced pupils, for whom he sought to provide suitable addresses " in the hope of attaching them to a religious life.” A number of these Addresses have already appeared in the Christian Treasury, and the whole of them are now published in this handsome volume. They range over a multitude and variety of topics connected with the sacred Scriptures --their contents-inspiration--prophecies-fundamental doctrinesscientific and sceptical objections from geology, evolution, theory of devolopment, and other errors. They treat of design in the works of nature, of faith, the close of life, and conclude with anecdotes illustrative of overruling providences. It will be thus seen that the subjects are of great practical importance, on which it deeply concerns the youth of the Church in the present day to receive wise and faithful instruction. This has been supplied to a large extent by the author in these Addresses. They are brief, plain, lucidly expressed, scriptural and evangelical in sentiment, and well fitted to arrest the attention of the young, direct their minds to profitable study, and enable them to combat successfully prevailing errors, and to lead useful and honourable lives. In a number of these Addresses the writer presents, in a condensed and graphic manner, the results of extensive reading and research, and shows himself to be well acquainted with the progress of modern scientific investigations. He candidly states rationalist and sceptical objections against the Divine origin of the Scriptures and their fundamental doctrines, and shows clearly how they are to be met and refuted.

The subject of the Sacred Canon is briefly but suitably handled; while we think it desirable that there had been more fulness in treating of the Inspiration of the Bible, and that especially the doctrine of plenary verbal inspiration had been more pointedly and decisively inculcated. In the Address on the Psalms (the eleventh), while the inspiration of these sacred songs and their suitableness for the Church's praise are taught, we regret that their claim to be the Church's exclusive perpetual canon of praise is, in a great measure, overlooked. Nor can we consider the view which is given by the author of what are termed the Imprecatory Psalms, (p. 81), as satisfactory. What he there says does not go quite the length of Dr. Watts --in affirming that these psalms breathe a revengeful spirit, and are altogether unsuitable for Christian psalmody—but it betrays some want of reverential regard to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and ignorance of the import and design of this portion of inspired Scripture. The author should have known that the use of these psalms in New Testament worship has been triumphantly shown to be authorised by Christ and his apostles, and to be fully consistent with the spirit of the Gospel, and of lasting benefit to the Church. The views given of God, of the persons of the Trinity, especially of the Saviour and the Atonement, and of the office and work of the Spirit are at once scriptural, elevating, and eminently practical, giving evidence that the author's own mind and heart were deeply impressed, and that he was earnestly desirous that the youth whom he instructed should be well acquainted with what has not unsuitably been styled “the chief of all sciences,” the knowledge of God in Christ. This work, by an aged and deservedly esteemed Christian worker, is calculated to animate and encourage the youth of the Church to all holy living and practical beneficence, and should therefore have an extensive circulation.

Memorial Discourses: By Rev. George Macaulay. Crown 8vo., pp. 152.

Lyon & Gemmell, Edinburgh. 1876. THESE Discourses, preached at different times, with reference to the death of eminent individuals, contain affectionate tributes to their memory and brief sketches of their character. Some of them contain short descriptions of natural scenery in the Bible, and just delineations of scriptural characters, while they are evangelical in sentiment, clear and at times forcible in diction, and distinguished by suitable practical application.

The first Discourse, entitled “The Pillar in Shechem,” was preached on the occasion of inaugurating two memorial structures in Edinburgh—the one to the memory of the Prince Consort and the other to Dr. Livingstone, the celebrated African traveller and missionary.

While we think there is ground for calling in question the propriety of applying the two passages (Judges ix. 6 and Joshua xxiv. 26) to the occasion which led to preaching the discourse, the sketch given of the eminent men commemorated seems to be just and impartial, and fraught with important lessons. There is, however, observable, both in the discussion and application, a diffuseness of statement, which is better adapted to an article for the public press than to a discourse connected with public worship on the Sabbath. The second Discourse on Ezekiel xix. 12, preached on the occasion of the death of Prince Albert, holds out just views of the scriptural character and qualifications of civil rulers, of the true ground of the prosperity of Church and State, and presents solemn lessons respecting the evanescent condition of worldly greatness, and in relation to death and the world to come. Allusion is made in the discourse to the death of Principal Cunningham, of Edinburgh, which occurred nearly at the same time, and a just tribute is offered to his memory, as a prince among theologians and a man of high influence in the Church. In a few cases the minute references to incidents might be withheld to advantage ; and several outbursts of loyalty—as the exclamation “God save the Queen ”—and representing the Queen and her children as “marked among those who are the peculiar objects of Divine guardianship and care," are, to say the least, somewhat out of place.

The Discourse on the death of Samuel furnishes a vivid sketch of the mental and moral features of the late Rev. Dr. Robert Buchanan, of the Free Church College, Glasgow, and his labours in various departments and public services are vividly exhibited in felicitous language-the sketch appears just as it is affectionate. When however, the attempt is made, towards the close, to vindicate Dr. Buchanan's consistency with his former strong profession in the matter of the Union negotiations, we cannot but regard the attempt as failure. Dr. Buchanan's principles are represented as “remaining unchanged,” but as "taking a subordinate place to a higher end ” — and this course is spoken of as having the approval of his Lord and Master.” The plain meaning of this is that Dr. Buchanan, as one of the leading Unionists, had the Divine approval in making of minor importance principles on the Headship of Christ, the establishment of the Church, and national subjection to the Mediator for the sake of effecting union with a body that are strongly opposed to many of the scriptural attainments of the Reformed Church of Scotland, and that in this he had the Divine approval ! Surely the preceding eulogistic sketch might have sufficed without this. Those who have attentively read the “ TEN YEARS' CONFLICT ” will, we are persuaded, come to the conclusion that the less that is said about the author's ** consistency" in the matter of the Union negotiations will serve the more to embalm his memory to posterity.

The discourse on Zechariah viii. 19, we regard as being in many respects the best in the volume, because of the important fundamental principles which are clearly enunciated in it; the close connection shewn in it between blessings promised and duties required, and the illustrations given of truth centering in Christ, and peace flowing from Him; and the deep interest which the Church has to seek internal peace in the way of firmly maintaining the truth, and to

a

« PreviousContinue »