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A Magazine for the People.
“I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say."
PAGE. The Great Public Questions of the NARRATIVBS, ANECDOTES, &c.
... 61 Hope in Death .. May and Must; or, Present and
The Glasgow Weaver ........ Future...
.. 63 Hail! Mariner ! ..
| VARIETIES. Poetry.
The Yoke of Christ best ...... 72 The Enquiry .................. 66
Do it Well!- Cover, p. 2.
WHERE ARE YOU GOING ?- Cover, p. 4.
PRICE ONE HALFPENNY.
BENJAMIN L. GREEN;
May be had by order of any Bookseller.
What? Everything honest that you attempt to do at all!
A noble saying is recorded of a member of the British House of Commons, who by his own industry and perseverance had won his way to that high position. A proud scion of the aristocracy one day taunted him with his humble origin, saying," I re* member when you blacked my father's boots." "Well, Sir,'' was the noble response, "did I not do it well?"
We indignantly repel the intimation that the labouring man occupies a lower position in the scale of society than the wealthy idler. He who produces is a nobler man, because a more useful member in the community, than he who merely consumes, as the little bee who works is a nobler animal than the fatter drone that idly cumbers the hive and wastes the stores. The man who is ashamed of honest labour deserves not the rewards it secures.
"Honour and shame from no condition rise:
There is no honest calling that can degrade a man. He is only degraded by an unmanly sensitiveness in regard to it, or by dissatisfied yearnings after a higher position, or by indolence in his own sphere. He who fails to perform faithfully, in an earnest spirit and careful mind, what are called the humbler duties of life, is unfitted to be intrusted with more responsible offices. He who pushes a plane lazily, or handles a trowel in a slovenly manner, will never be likely to succeed in any vocation. He may whine like an unmanly coward about his destiny and poverty, and rail against the distinctions of fortune; but while he cherishes an indolent, heartless disposition as a workman, the fault of his degradation is in his own spirit. No man is likely to rise from a comparatively humble position, until he has learned to perform the labour of that position well. He may prate of what he would do, if he could only gain some other place, but it would be better to let the world see what he can do where he is. He may fancy that he has great capabilities for success in some other sphere, but let it be seen how these great capabilities can secure him respect and success in his present vocation.
William Carey was an^industrious and good shoemaker, and it was the continuance of the energy and assiduity of the bench that made him the most profound scholar of his day. John Bunyan was a good tinker, and the elements of character exhibited in that calling made him a profound and successful preacher and writer. Elibu Burritt was a laborious blacksmith, he attended to his business faithfully, and that same industry made him the ready master of thirty languages. Joseph and David were faithful shepherd boys, they doubtless guarded their flocks well, folded them promptly and fed them carefully, and the qualities there exhibited prepared them to become efficient leaders of men.
"Because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things," is a law of Divine Providence, and no man has a right to look for an enlargement of the sphere of his duties and responsibilities, for a higher elevation in the confidence and regard of men, for the more liberal rewards of society, while he creeps heartlessly, or toils sluggishly or murmuringly over his present duties. "Whatever, then, your hands find to do," in your ordinary occupations, or in the useful employment of your time, "do it with your might," and do it well.
In the language of the American poet, Longfellow,—
'' Lives of great men all remind «i,
Oh, to live a sublime life! to fulfil well and nobly our present duty 1 And let us ever remember, that the poor man in his workshop may be as noble, as heroic, as the legislator in the senate, or the monarch on the throne.
THE GREAT PUBLIC QUESTIONS OF THE DAY.
The common observation, that ours is not an age of great men, is assuredly true enough, but it is equally true that it is an age of great Public Questions, and we pity the man who can be uninterested in them. Whether Religion shall be self-supported, and, therefore, really free, or some of the sects be supported, honoured, and controlled by the State; whether all men shall be Politically equal, or comparatively a very small number retain the exclusive right of legislating for the unrepresented millions; whether Law shall place obstacles in the way of the subdivision of property, or facilitate, as much as possible, its more equal distribution;—these questions, and others which might be mentioned, ought to interest every man, ought to be understood by him, and to command some portion of his energies; and we need not add that, if he be a christian citizen, they ought, on that account, to be canvassed with a heart ardent in the cause of Liberty, of Truth, and of Human Brotherhood. Under no circumstances could we feel absolutely indifferent to subjects like these. Amidst the most oppressive personal trials, or in situations absorbing our attention necessarily in the weightiest personal concerns, at seasons when activity or thought respecting them were out of the question, it would still gladden or depress our minds, accordingly as we were informed that any of the great objects we have mentioned were enjoying a triumph, or sustaining a defeat.
Yet the public must at times give way to the private and the personal. Nay, it is for the interest of the public that each man attend firstly and diligently to his personal duties. No bad man can be a good citizen. No idler or busybody can be an increaser of that general stock from which all must draw. Those who do not earn their own living, must be pensioners upon the industry of the living or the dead. It is, therefore, a great public concern that every man do something worth doing, and that every man be, in point of character, what would annihilate the necessity for penal laws. Hence the man who is as deeply interested, as a good citizen ought to be, in all public questions, will find his personal duties and concerns demanding far more of his time and attention than his public ones.
And there is one personal question which all must acknowledge to be of infinitely greater moment to each of us than any public question can be. Some, perhaps all of these, we shall leave unsettled when we quit this world. When living, it is but little that each individual man can contribute toward their solution, though that little it is important he should contribute; but when dead, he will be j interested in them no longer! They are questions for Time, and he 1 will be in Eternity! And in what kind of an Eternity shall it be? This is the Question of Questions. It belongs to each of us. No one can settle it for us. No Statesmen, by their public measures. No Priests, by their pretended powers of regeneration and absolution. As each man must give account for himself to God, so each man must seek for himself of his God, to be prepared for that solemn account. It is a question, the settlement of which ought not surely to be delayed an hour, for though cholera or fatal diseases may not be raging, still no man ever professes to know whether he shall live the next hour. We feel living, well, and likely to live, and it is wisely ordered we should feel so, otherwise the business of life would be at a stand-still; but we know that any hour may be our last, and this too is wisely ordered, since reason thereby admonishes us that life and health are to be spent as on the borders of Eternity.
How, then, have we settled this question—this question so immediately pressing on us, so important to us beyond all calculation? Of what kind shall my Eternity be—a happy one or a wretched one? Is death, come when it may, to be my entrance on the ever-increasing enjoyment of God's favour? or will it reveal to me that sin and salvation, with which I have trifled, are solemn realities indeed? At the approach of death, or at least after it has passed upon us, how disproportionate will our zeal for public questions appear, if we have not been far more earnest in seeking our own eternal welfare. Each man's share in the benefits of the best laws is but a very small item of his comforts; but each man's share in the benefits of seeking the salvation of his soul, is the difference between a blessed or a miserable Eternity! We all remember the dying remark of Cardinal Wolsey, after he had fallen from his monarch's favour: "If," said the ambitious prelate, "I had served my God with half the zeal that I have served my king, He would not have forsaken me in my old age." And so may many a zealous and many a really patriotic politician say: "If I had felt the same interest in the great personal question of my soul's salvation as I have felt in the public questions of the day, He who came from Heaven to Earth to settle that question for me would not have forsaken me at the gates of Eternity." Yes, friends, let us remember that the great object for which the Son of God came hither in human flesh and blood, and for which He lived his life of goodness, and died the malefactor's death, was to answer that question which must be the first with any being rational and mortal,—"What shall I do to inherit Eternal Life?" "What shall I do to be saved?" Our Saviour answers it in himself. He takes away "sin, the sting of death," by his own blood. He enlightens and purifies our minds for the enjoyment of Heaven's happiness by his Spirit. He will raise us from the ruins of the grave by his almighty power. Believe, therefore, in the Lord God and thou shalt be saved. Surrender thy soul to Him, and he will deliver it from the bondage of sin and the fear of death. He demands no condition but the natural and indispensable one of your confidence, your faith. He knows himself to be infinitely trustworthy, and hence he says, "trust me, and I will do all for you." Christ is the answer to the greatest Question of all.
MAY AND MUST; OR, PRESENT AND FUTURE.
The present differs very materially from the future,—there are many things which we may do now, and there are many which we must do by and bye. We may refuse to come to the Lord Jesus Christ now, that we may have life; but if we do, we must suffer the bitter pangs of eternal death, and for ever reap the due desert of such wickedness and folly. We may refuse to come to God's mercy-seat, as invited by his mercy now; but we must stand before Christ's judgment-seat, when summoned by his justice by and bye. We may refuse to confess our sins, that they may be pardoned; but we must give an account and suffer the just punishment of them, if we do. We may refuse to humble ourselves before God's feet; but we must be humbled under his power, if we do. We may refuse to receive what free grace presents to us in the gospel; but we must endure what his justice awards in another world, if we do. He that will not be saved by free grace, must be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the I.iord, and from the glory of his power.
We may be saved now; but if we are not, we must be lost for ever. We may become the friends of God now; but if we do not, we must be treated as his enemies for ever. We may be united to the person of Jesus here; but if we are not, we must be banished from his presence in another world. The future depends on the present. As we sow we reap. As we treat God now, he will treat us another day. He bears with us at present, he is loath to punish us; but mercy has its bounds, and forbearance has its limits. When these are reached then all is over, for then nothing remains but "a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation." When once God gives us up, all is over. When he says, "Let him alone," our destiny is fixed. But this is never done until justice requires it. If a man will not be saved, ought he not to be left to the consequences of his own choice and determination? If he will refuse to hear God's voice, to listen to his solemn warnings, or to accept his' loving invitations, what can be done? God himself asks, "What can I do more than I have done?"
Reader, what can God do more for thee, except he force thee to be saved? And would this be right? When Israel would not hearken to his voice, he gave them up (Ps. Ixxxi. 11, 12). And shall God act differently toward thee, to what he did toward his own favoured people? You stand on solemn ground. Your situation requires the most serious thought. Death, judgment, and eternity are just before