Page images


What Luther and his friends composed, others circulated. Monks, convinced of the unlawfulness of monastic obligations, desirous of exchanging a long life of slothfulness for one of active exertion, but too ignorant to proclaim-the Word of God, travelled through the provinces, visiting hamlets and cottages, where they sold the books of Luther and his friends. Germany soon swarmed with these bold colporteurs. Printers and booksellers eagerly welcomed every writing in defence of the Reformation; but they rejected the books of the opposite party, as generally full of ignorance and barbarism. If any one of them ventured to sell a book in favour of the papacy, and offered it for sale in the fairs at Frankfort or elsewhere, merchants, purchasers, and men of letters overwhelmed him with ridicule and sarcasm. It was in vain that the emperor and princes had published severe edicts against the writings of the reformers. As soon as an inquisitorial visit was to be paid, the dealers, who had received secret intimation, concealed the books that it was intended to proscribe; and the multitude, ever eager for what is prohibited, immediately bought them up, and read them with the greater avidity. It was not only in Germany that such scenes were passing; Luther's writings were translated into French, Spanish, English, and Italian, and circulated among these nations.

The foregoing extracts are from Merle D'Aubigne. The Reformation in England commenced rather later, but the feeling of the English when once roused was very strong against popery, especially when the King of Spain, under the patronage of the Pope, attempted the invasion and subjugation of England by his Great Armada in the reign of Elizabeth, as will be seen by the following verses, which were composed at that time and sung by the people. The last is rather coarse, but it is expressive of the resolution of our forefathers.

FROM our base invaders;
From wicked men's device;
O God arise and help us,
And crush our enemies.

Sink deep their potent navies ;
Their strength and spirit break;
O God arise and help us,

For Jesus Christ his sake!

Though cruel Spain and Rome
With heathen legions arm,
O God arise and help us!

We will perish for our home.
We will not change our credo

For Pope, nor Book, nor Bell;
And if the devil comes himself

We'll drive him back to bell.





IT rose amidst the spacious plain,

In solitary pride;

Beneath it, like a billowy main,
The city's roofs lay wide:

It was a wonder in the earth,
From which the fabric took its birth.

The gazer's upward glancing eye
O'er ridged galleries went;
Still up and up, till with the sky

Its roofless height seem'd blent,
And the thick column'd balustrade
Seem'd dwindled to a tiny blade.

How swell'd the builders' hearts with pride To see that tower of might"We will not ask for wings," they cried, "Towards heaven to take our flight: Some stories more, a little time, By our own tower its walls we'll climb."

Vain hope! vain boast! the lightning came,
And wrapt the building round-
God sent his messenger of flame

To smite it to the ground:
And a great nation's impious trust
At once was level'd with the dust.

Are not there builders even now
Like those on Shinar's plain;
Do they not heavenward strive to go
By paths as false and vain?
How many in their wayward will
Are building other Babels still!

And bitter must the anguish be

When that dread hour shall come-
When each with sudden thrill shall see
How high, how pure the dome
Of heaven is o'er them! whilst the clay
Of their poor works all melts away.


Anecdotes and Selections.

GENEROSITY IN HUMBLE LIFE.-An Executor, of humble appearance and manners, called to ask me to receive a legacy of £5 for our Branch Bible Society, and £6 5s. for the Church Missionary Society; adding that they were devised by his brother, who had lived the greater part of his life as servant with a respectable farmer in the neighbourhood. Does not this afford an important lesson to a class of persons who seem, in these days of dress and show, often to forget how much lies within their power, not only to provide for the day when "the grasshopper becomes a burden," but to aid the cause of religion and of benevolence too; for this friend informed me that four poor brothers and sisters had legacies of about £100 each, under this will, realized by his, the deceased's, own industry and frugality. Very shortly after, a note was put into my hands, which described the pleasure of the writer at the gratifying report of the Society's labours and successes given at our anniversary meeting, and, in a few words of postscript, "I send you my mite to add to the collection." That mite was a half-sovereign: the writer was a chimney-sweeper.

How JESUS CHRIST SAVES.-Jesus is the Saviour, or the reconciler of men to God, in the body of his flesh, through death. This is he whose business in coming from heaven to earth was to save his people from their sins. Now, as was said, to know how he doth this, is that which is needful to be inquired into: for some say he doth it one way, some he doth it another. 1. Some say he doth it by giving us precepts and laws to keep, that we might be justified thereby. 2. Some say that he doth it by setting himself as a pattern for us to follow him. 3. Some again hold, that he doth it by our following the light within us. But thou must take heed of all these, for he justifies us by none of these means; I say, he justifieth us not, either by giving laws unto us, or by becoming our example, or by our following the light within us; but by his blood shed for us. His blood is not laws, nor patterns, nor fancies, but a price, a redeeming price. He justifies us, by bestowing upon us, not by expecting from us. He justifies us freely by his grace, not by our works. In a word, thou must be well grounded in the knowledge of what Christ is, and how men are justified by him, or thou wilt not come unto God by him. Bunyan.

CHRIST'S WILLINGNESS TO SAVE.-As thou must know him, and how men are justified by him, so thou must know the readiness that is in him to receive them that come unto God by him. Suppose his merits were ever so efficacious, yet if it could be proved, that there is a loathness in him that these merits should be be


stowed upon the coming ones, there would but few adventure to wait upon him. But now, as he is full, so he is free. Nothing pleases him better, than to give what he has away, than to bestow it upon the poor and needy. And it will be convenient that thou, who art a coming soul, should know this for thy comfort to encourage thee to come to God by him. Take two or three sayings of his for the confirming of what is now said: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." "All that the Father giveth me, shall come unto me; and him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out." "I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief." Bunyan.

THE FESTIVAL OF THE ASS.-This was celebrated for some time in the Gallican church at Beauvais, in Burgundy, France. A handsome girl, richly attired, represented Mary. The girl, bedizened with finery, was placed on an ass covered with a cloth of gold and superbly caparisoned. The ass, accompanied by a vast concourse of clergy and laity, was led from the cathedral to the parish church of St. Stephen. The girl, seated on the ass, was conducted in solemn procession into the sanctuary itself, and placed, with the gospels, near the altar. High mass began with great pomp; and the ass, who was a worshipper on the occasion, was taught to kneel, at certain intervals, while a hymn was sung in his praise. The hymn recorded by Du Cange is a model. The following is a translation of four stanzas, though no version can equal the inimitable original:

"The ass he came from eastern climes;
Heigh-ho, my assy!

He's fair and fit for the pack at all times.
Sing, Father Ass, and you shall get grass,
And straw and hay too in plenty.

The ass is slow and lazy too;
Heigh-ho, my assy!

But the whip and the spur will make him go.
Sing, Father Ass, and you shall have grass,
And straw and hay too in plenty.

The ass was born and bred with long ears;
Heigh-ho, my assy!

And yet he the lord of asses appears.
Grin, Father Ass, and you shall have grass,
And straw and hay too in plenty.
The ass excels the hind at a leap;
Heigh-ho, my assy!

And faster than hound and hare can trot.
Bray, Father Ass, and you shall have grass,
And straw and hay too in plenty.

The worship concluded with a braying match between the clergy and laity in honour of the ass. The officiating priest turned to the people, and, in a fine treble voice, and with great devotion, brayed .three times like an ass, whose fair representative he was; while the people, imitating his example, brayed three times in concert. This, as Sydney Smith would say, is the most extraordinary instance of spiritual ass-ass-ination to be found perhaps on record. Abridged from Scottish Prot.


THE BIBLE. How refreshing to turn from such specimens of human folly as the above, done in the name of religion, to the book of real religion itself. Nothing of this kind can be found in it! as one has said, "It contains history the most authentic and ancient,


tracing it back to the first creation of our world; and prophecy the most important and interesting, traced forward to its final consumation; journeys surpassing all others in the marvellousness of their adventures, and the dignity of their guide, for they were marked by miracles at every step, and in every movement directed by God; the travels of the most distinguished missionaries, the first preachers of the gospel, and the lives of the most illustrious personages, including the biography of the Son of God; events more wonderful than romance ever imagined, and stories more fascinating than fancy ever sketched; the finest specimens of poetry and eloquence, of sound philosophy and solid argument; models of virtue the most attractive, and maxims of wisdom the most profound; prayers the most appropriate in every variety of spiritual experience, and songs of praise that would not be unworthy an angel's tongue; precepts of unparalleled importance, and parables of unrivalled beauty; examples of consistent piety suited to every situation; and lessons of Divine instruction adapted to every age." Let all protestants stick to their bibles, and never exchange them for the fooleries of popery. Part with gold for dross sooner. But take care: there are Jesuits skulking about the country, some in the Church of England and some out of it, who would rob you of your bible and your Saviour, and give you a doll!

The Fireside.


Do not jest with your wife upon a subject in which there is danger of wounding her feelings. Remember that she treasures every word you utter, though you may never think of it again. Do not reproach your wife with a personal defect, for if she has sensibility, you inflict a wound difficult to heal. Do not treat your wife with inattention in company; it touches her feelings-and she will not respect you more or love you better for it. Do not upbraid your wife in the presence of a third person. The sense of your disregard for her feelings will prevent ber from acknowledging her fault. Do not often invite your friends to jaunt, and leave your wife at homeshe might suspect that you esteemed others more companionable than herself. If you would have a pleasant home and cheerful wife, pass your evenings under your own roof. Do not be stern and silent in your own house, and remarkable for your sociability elsewhere. Remember that your wife has as much need of recreation as yourself, and devote a porticn at least of your leisure hours to such society and amusements as she may join. By doing so, you will secure her smiles and increase her affection.

« PreviousContinue »