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But some have a peculiar claim on the care and protection of the disciples of the blessed Saviour. While all are embraced as objects of sympathy and love, yet, “the widow and the fatherless most powerfully call for Christian aid.” The grand criterion of the possession and enjoyment of “pure religion” is that of “visiting the fatherless and widows in their affliction.” To neglect them would betray the want of vital godliness. To sustain and comfort them is to manifest the life of that divine principle which God will deign to regard with approbation. Besides, there is in the manifestation of this benevolence an inexpressible pleasure, which attests its heavenly origin. God requires this manifestation at our hands,
-a primary principle of duty—to “judge the fatherless, and to plead for the widow.”
On us, as Christians, is this serious, solemn, and weighty charge; and let it be estimated as an exalted privileye, and under the feeling of devout gratitude to the blessed Saviour who“ suffered for us men and for our salvation,” let the heart spontaneously act in prompting benevolent donations to relieve and sustain those who have lost their earthly protectors. Cases frequently occur which irresistibly open all the springs of benevolent emotions. A ready response to such cases, and proportioned to urgent claims, betokens the grateful feelings of all those to whom God has exhibited his sovereign love.
Let then every disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ shew an example of benevolence worthy of imitation. Though the husband and parent may have departed, yet let not the widow and the fatherless children mourn the loss of sympathy and care. As the hearts of the widow and the fatherless bleed when earthly ties are severed, then embrace the opportunity of pouring balm into the troubled breasts, and of causing “ the widow's heart to sing for joy.”
Let there be a thoughtful anticipation of the widow's claims, particularly those who are united to the Lord and to us in the bond of Christian union. Numerous are the claims on Christian charity and love of those whose partners in life have devoted their energies to the service of the Lord. Without the means of providing for their wives and children, many have laboured with unparalleled success in establishing societies of Christian benevolence in order that all grades of society might enjoy the unsearchable riches of Christ. That the families of such men should be provided for, is unquestionable. It would be a reflection on the character of a religious community to say to such, “Be ye warmed, and be ye clothed, and contribute not the things which are needful.” When the head of a household is taken from active labour in the cause of his Lord and Master to enjoy eternal rest; then the church in her paternal care should take the offspring, and nurse them for God. This requires but little effort ; and the nobleness of the object would invite universal support. What the church has hitherto omitted, private benevolence has partially accomplished ; yet the work is incomplete, and special appeals are addressed to raise the means of providing for cases as they occur. In most instances the appeals are responded to, but these would be superfluous, if the church would awaken her slumbering energies, and legislate for herself in so momentous a matter.
FACTS AND HINTS FOR MOTHERS' MEETINGS.
No. 1. The Rev. Robert Hall was spending an evening at the house of a friend, when a lady who was there on a visit retired, that her little girl, of four years old, might go to bed. She returned in about half-anhour, and said to a lady near her, “ She is gone to sleep. I put on my nightcap, and lay down by her, and she soon dropped off.” Mr. Hall, who overheard this, said, “ Excuse me, madam; do you wish your child to grow up a liar ?” “Oh dear, no sir ; I should be shocked at such a thing." " Then bear with me while I say, you must never act a lie before her. Children are very great observers, and soon learn that whatever assumes to be something which it is not, must be a lie, whether spoken or acted.” This was said with a kindness that precluded offence, yet with a seriousness which could not be forgotten.
THE VISIT. It was a very lovely morning, and the sun had risen on the earth with his usual benignity, making all things fresh and gay. It brought to my recollection ubat one of our poets has elegantly observed,
"Sweet is the breath of morn, Her rising sweet, with charms of earliest birds.”
The morning was lovely to view ; but it did not immediately strike me, that to many a sick and sorrowful eye, the gladdening rays of the sun had 1.,” their brightness.
The mind of one at ease is unconscious of the numberless head-aches and heart-aches with which the world is teeming, morning by morning! How little do we reflect on the misery of others, when our own situation is prosperous ! Would it not be profitable at all seasons, and especially in the happiest, to call to mind the numberless sorrows which are at that moment endured throughout the earth? Would it not tend to heighten our mercies and to induce a proper apprehension of their distinguishing nature, in the recollection of the wants of others? And, above all, might not our ungrateful hearts, in the consciousness of such distinguishing blessings, be sometimes compelled to look beyond second causes, and find a double relish in every enjoyment, from tracing a first, gracious, and kind hand, as the sovereign disposer of all.
I was ruminating on subjects of this nature, induced by the loveliness of the morning, when a poor woman, in deep distress (as if in confirmation of my morning thoughts), knocked at my door, with great impatience and importunity. Her business was urgent indeed; for she came on an errand of mercy. There needed no apology for the abruptness of her visit : though, upon her entrance (for she waited not the ceremony of introduction) I was at a loss to conceive, for a while, the occasion of it.
As soon as she found utterance (for grief had choked the powers of speech some little space), her
tale of woe not only explained the cause of her visit, but compelled my feelings to take interest in her story.
She was a poor defenceless widow, the mother of an only daughter. Her child had been seduced from her, even before she had the apprehension of any danger; and, for fifteen months, she had not only lost her, but, notwithstanding all the vigilance of the most anxious inquiry, she had never been able to trace her steps, so as to discover her abode among any of the haunts of sin and wretchedness. This morning, it seems, in which she knocked at my door, a letter sent from the poor deluded creature herself, gave the first information where she was ; and the remainder of the sorrowful epistle consisted not much unlike the prophet's roll, of lamentation, and mourn. ing, and woe!
The distracted mother put the letter into my hand; and, as if I had at once been perfectly apprized of the whole contents, cried out, as she gave it me, “ And will you not take my poor ruined child from her horrible situation ?".
There is a certain persuasive eloquence in the mien of misery which infinitely outruns all the powers of language, and seems as if it needed not the aid of words to plead its cause. He who gave this natural eloquence well knew the frame of the human heart, which he had formed to feel its power; he well knew also how it should operate; and made effectual provision that it should not operate in vain. I know not how to describe it; neither, indeed, is it necessary. No heart of sensibility will require any other glossary than what passeth within. This alone will fully explain.
I am more and more convinced, every day I live,