Page images

together with him.” He bids us commune with our own hearts on our beds and be still.” Restless impatient longing for recovery too often drowns the voice of our Maker. Oh, for calmness in the weary hour of affliction, to ask, “Lord, what wouldst thou have me to do?" (See Job xxxiii. 19–30.)

“Every one for himself," is the language preeminently appropriate to Death. None can take our place in that surely and silently approaching hour. Friends will stand around our dying-bed, will smooth our dying pillow, will watch our dying looks and words, will sympathize in our dying pains and struggles, yea, will almost catch our dying breath, but they will not die with us. We shall be passed through the solemn portal alone. The door will be shut in that instant between them and us. WE ALONE shall know what death is of all that were with us in the room. Not one of them knows one of the new, and strange, and untried scenes which the death we shall have died in their presence has opened upon us; no, we shall have died alone. “Every one for himself,” is indeed true of the Hour of Death. May we so “number our days as to apply our hearts unto wisdom.” 1

And death is but the entrance to judgment. It is appointed unto all men once to die, and “AFTER DEATH THE JUDGMENT.” At the bar of God emphatically “every one must answer for himself." What the laws of the land did not prohibit, what custom allowed, what the usages of our trade or social circle allowed, what seemed right in the eyes of man,” what every body did or said, as well as what appetite or passion loudly called for, will all be pleas or excuses quite useless then. We shall stand before God's bar. We shall be judged by God's laws. We shall hear our judgment from the mouth of God. "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” 2

Hence “every one for himself,” is the grand rule of preparation for Death and for Judgment. “Dost thou believe on the Son of God?” No one can believe on him for you. No one can obey him for you. No one's prayer to the Friend of sinners can supersede your own. No priest has authority to absolve you, or declare you absolved from your sins. God has given no such power to man. Least of all to such as impiously and blasphemously pretend to be “Successors of his Apostles.” You must act for yourself. A true christian friend or minister may be a blessed help and guide to the ignorant, but you must explore your heart for yourself, must confess your sins for yourself, must ask forgiveness through Jesus' blood for yourself, must surrender your soul to him for yourself, must implore a renewed heart for yourself. God may hear the prayers for you of those who love him, and if he answer these prayers the answer will be in enlightening and arousing your mind to repent and believe for yourself. Lose not thyself then in the crowd in things pertaining to God. Trust to no human pretender to divine powers for thy acceptance with God. The word of Christ is open to you, open to all. Examine it, pray over it, trust it, obey it. It is the only infallible guide to “each man for himself.

* Psalm xc. 12.

& 2 Cor. v. 10. 1


“And he died.”_2 Chron. xiii. 20. The words which we have placed at the head of this paper, and which are used respecting so many characters in Scripture, as well as so many heroes in history, are now to be applied to England's great statesman—Sir Robert Peel. Sudden, painful, distressing was his death,—followed by the deep lamentation and sorrow of every class of society,-producing a feeling of awe in every bosom,—and marked, every where throughout the land in the palace, the senate, and the place of merchandise, by the emblems and habiliments of mourning. Surely some important lesson is intended to be taught by so severe a dispensation. The death of such a man, under such circumstances, cannot but speak to every heart.

There are some lessons to be learnt from the event, viewed only as if it had occurred to an ordinary individual. How short, how uncertain is life! Upon what a fragile tenure is it held by all of us! It is not only on the field of battle, not only by the hurricane and the pestilence, that men are removed suddenly from the world : amidst all the activi. ties of life, moving along in the great journey of existence, one after another drops down and is seen no more. l_even I though the blood now rushes through my veins, though the breath passes freely through my nostrils, though strength nerves my arm, and health beams in my countenance-I, before another day, may be numbered with the dead. The merest accident may snap the tie which unites the principle of life with this corporeal frame. A moments-and my soul, now in the realization and enjoyment of all the circumstances of my earthly existence, may be in the awful presence of Him who “tries the reins and the heart.”

But Sir Robert Peel was no ordinary man. Without entering into the details of his noble character, it will be confessed that the death of such an individual is an event which does not often occur; and the lessons, therefore, which it teaches are such as are not often so forcibly presented. Let us go back but a few weeks in the history of our country. Sir Robert Peel stands in the crowded senate-house; a great question is being discussed; every eye is fixed upon him as he addresses himself manfully to the question at issue; he is the man whom from his youth

[ocr errors]

up the people of this great country have delighted to honour; twenty
years ago he advanced the cause of religious freedom by emancipating
the Catholics; four years since he fought and won for the starving
thousands of England the battle of free-trade against monopoly; and
now, as he stands forth in the present emergency, the thought arises,
He is not an old man; what may he not yet do? what great thoughts
may he not yet utter? what great conquests in the cause of freedom
and of progress may he not yet achieve? A few hours pa vay,
and he falls from his horse; but three days, and he is no longer
amongst the living ! “How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the
battle; how are the great men slain in the high places !”1
What a lesson does this teach of the vanity of human greatness.

"But yesterday the word of Cæsar might have stood
Against the world; now lies he there,

And none so poor to do him reverence." “We see that wise men die.” “Man being in honour abideth not."'s How soon do the freshest laurels fade; how quickly are the brightest diadems tarnished and dim. What value does Sir Robert Peel now put upon all the honours which have been so profusely lavished upon him? What to him are the smiles of kings, and the plaudits of em. pires ? He is gone where the lord and the peasant, the eager demander of a right to "a vote" and the ambitious aspirant to supremacy in the councils of the greatest nation upon earth, are at once and for ever equal.

But the death of Sir Robert Peel is a serious national calamity. He has left a gap not easily supplied; his removal has caused a blank which will not soon be occupied. To whom now shall we look for the wise councils, the great thoughts, the earnest eloquence, which we have been so long accustomed to hear from him ? Again are we reminded of the great fact of our dependence, not upon man, but upon God. Once more are the words uttered in our hearing, “Cease ye from man whose breath is in his nostrils.” A great statesman and councillor is gone; but the King of kings and the Lord of lords still holds his high supremacy; and the cause of human progress will still proceed,- the divine purposes for the race will still go on toward their accomplish. ment.

The death of Sir Robert Peel will not be of small account in the history of the world, viewed in relation to its spiritual and eternal interests, if it lead us as a nation to look less to man and more to God, -and if it be the means of inducing any who have hitherto been careless and thoughtless about the most important things, to realize the great facts of their immortal being, and earnestly to devote them. selves henceforth to the true purposes of their existence.

W. H.

1 2 Sam. i. 25.

2 Psalm xlix. 10.

3 Psalm xlix. 12.


Many of our readers will have heard of Egyptian mummies. It is the name given to the embalmed dead bodies which are found in great numbers in the ancient Egyptian tombs. In the last chapter of Genesis we read of the bodies of Jacob and his son Joseph being embalmed previously to their burial, and the practice lasted about two thousand years longer. After embalming they wrapped the body closely in bandages and placed it in a coffin or rather case somewhat similar in shape to the body; at the same time they frequently inclosed a variety of other small things, and amongst the rest grains of their wheat. Grains thus found have been sown, and have actually vegetated and produced wheat again! Some such plants are now before the eye of the writer; only three years ago a friend saw them taken from the mummy itself, sowed them, and these plants are the second growth from seed which had been buried two or three thousand years ago; it is the wheat with “seven ears in one stalk,” such as Pharaoh saw in his dream (Gen. xli. 22), one principal ear and six smaller ones growing around it. It is impossible to gaze upon it without many thoughts crowding on the mind :--the reasons, superstitious or imaginary, for which this wheat was inclosed with the body; all the funereal lamentation and ceremony of survivors, who all followed, ages ago, and but a little while after as it now seems to us, him whom they bewailed ; the strong belief of the ancient Egyptians in a life to come, and their solemn judgment of the character and action of the departed before they admitted the body to the honour of sepul. ture; but chiefly the marvellous fact before us, LIFE dormant, say two thousand years, manifesting itself again with as much vigour as ever,-mere vegetable life, yet awaking in all its energy after so long an inactivity,- awaking, indeed, while the higher life of him with whom it was buried yet slumbers !

But, especially, what an impressive lesson on the possibility of that nobler life which once animated the embalmed body itself, again reappearing with such a body as its Maker sees good! Who can look on this wheat living again after three thousand years' burial, and not see a most vivid emblem of our own resurrection, to occur perhaps also after the lapse of many thousand years ? Points of difference cavilling ingenuity may indeed easily find, but the mind disposed to learn anything from the works of God around it, must see in this resurrection from the tomb, a monitor of our own resurrection. HE who hath endued the nature of a plant with such ever-during vitality, -how unlikely that he hath not given to me a life yet more indestructible and vigorous. Favourable circumstances of warmth, soil, and moisture, bring this buried seed to life;—and the voice of the Son of God,—the trump of the archangel,—the last trump,-yes, under these circumstances, “all in the graves will hear his voice and come forth.” This whole world, thick-sown as it is with the bodies of the numberless sons of Adam, will then over all its surface teem with restored human life.

At this time of the year, when we see the whole earth, all mere ground a few months ago, now covered with life from the dead, myriads of beautiful plants in full ear, all sprung from single grains, grains which “fell into the ground and died," and by this mysterious process are “now bringing forth much fruit,” we ought to be struck with the power which can raise the dead, and not only raise it, but develop, from a simple grain, a body so beautiful, 80 different from the grain itself, yet so connected with it, as 'a plant of wheat or of any other grain; but all these thoughts are made manifold more im. pressive, when we know that all this life and beauty follows a death of three thousand years. Reader, do you delight to ponder the Resurrection ? Have you placed yourself yet in His hands who is "the Resurrection and the Life ?" Can you say with Paul, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him until that day ?”



“The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God."-Psalm xiv. 1.

“ No God, no God!" the simple flower

That on the wild is found,
Shrinks as it drinks its cup of dew,

And trembles at the sound;
No God!" astonished echo cries

From out her cavern hoar,
And every wandering bird that flies

Reproves the Atheist's lore.
The solemn forest lifts its head,

The Almighty to proclaim;
The brooklet on her crystal bed,

Doth leap to praise his name;
High sweeps the deep and vengeful sea,

Along its billowy track,
And red Vesuvius opes its mouth

To hurl the falsehood back.
The palm-tree, with its princely crest

The cocoa's leafy shade-
The bread-fruit bending to its load,

In yon far island glade-
The winged seeds, borne by the winds,

The roving sparrow's feed-
The melon of the desert sands

Confute the scorner's creed.
“No God!" with indignation high

The fervent son is stirred,
And the pale moon turns paler still,

At such an impious word;
And from their burning thrones, the stars

Look down with angry eye,
That this a worm of dust should mock

Eternal Majesty!

« PreviousContinue »