Page images
PDF
EPUB

THE BOOK OF TIME.

In a melancholy mood I turned over in my fancy, some of the dark pages of the book of time. The volume readily opened where the page was inscribed, “CRIME."

It was the record of human deeds ; but demons alone could have prompted them. All that is selfish, designing, dark, and deadly; all that envy, hatred, malice, and uncharitableness could suggest and execute, was registered there. I read, and as I read I trembled; for earth seemed crying aloud to Heaven to avenge the countless iniquities of mortal men. Hot-headed rage, red-handed murder, and cold-hearted villany, unsparingly pursued their wild career. Truly, “out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies,” Matt. xv. 19. I hurried through the shadowy paragraphs before me, and turned over the page.

War" was the heading that I lighted on, and I sickened at the sight. War, relentless, bitter, accursed, and cruel, has flung its plagues upon

THE BOOK OF TIME.

29

all nations. Fear goes before it, and famine and death tread upon its heels. I read with horror of sieges where fire and sword wasted the city ; of battle plains where the war-horse trod fetlock deep in gore ; of bayonets sheathed in human bosoms, and of murderous cannon sweeping down the multitude, as the mower cuts down grass with his scythe.

I pressed the leaves together in haste, and opened them at another part. My eye fell on the word “ OPPRESSION.” Could it be that man, to whom forbearance and loving-kindness are continually extended by the Father of mercies, could practice such remorseless cruelties! I pondered on the darkened page: the strong had oppressed the weak; the rich had ground the faces of the poor ; miserable multitudes, unjustly accused, had stretched their fettered limbs in gloomy dungeons ; and countless throngs of oppressed fellow-men, with agonizing groans, had perished in slavery.

I read no more. I closed the hateful volume, and could almost have howled out an anathema against human depravity. But in opening the book of life, the gospel of peace, I met with the words, “ Thou art inexcusable, 0 man, whosoever thou art that judgest ; for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things,” Rom. ii. 1.

30

THE BOOK OF TIME.

And had my heart within it the germs

of these enormities? Yes, in its very core the seeds of sin were thickly set, and matchless grace and immeasurable mercy alone had prevented the acorn from becoming an oak, and the mustard-seed from springing up as the largest of all trees. My mouth was stopped; my heart was humbled. “ Who can understand his errors ? cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumputous sins ; let them not have dominion over me; then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my Redeemer !" Psalm xix. 12-14.

THE PLEASANT FIELD.

away, the

Old Humphrey loves a ramble, and he has been taking one. It was in a pleasant knolly field, one part of which was so covered with cowslips, that had a myriad of them been taken

very bees that were buzzing, from flower to flower would searcely have missed them.

Into that field came suddenly a party of young : people ; children from three years old to seven,

boys and girls, with ruddy cheeks, sparkling eyes, and hearts running over with happiness. Their attendant could scarcely control them : indeed, she hardly appeared to wish so to do, but rather to leave them to their own wild delight.

Like lambs suddenly let loose from the fold, they burst into the field, wonder and joy beaming in every face. What running, racing, and romping! What laughing, hallooing, and gambolling! It was long before they were sober enough to gather the flowerets quietly. Heartily did I give them my blessing, for my heart yearned towards them, that they might not be happy that hour

32

TIIE PLEASANT FIELD.

only, but that God would satisfy them early with his mercy, that they might rejoice and be glad all their days.

I love to look on a scene like this,

Of wild and careless play,
And persuade myself that I am not old,

And my locks are not yet grey :
For it stirs the blood in an old man's heart,

And it makes his pulses fly,
To catch the thrill of a happy voice,

And the light of a pleasant eye.

« PreviousContinue »