Page images
PDF
EPUB

M

[ocr errors]

THE SUDDEN COMING.

823 not come; yet still his faith holds out, still le THE PULPIT IN THE FAMILY.

believes the promise. THE SUDDEN COMING.

A little child is brought into the temple, an “ Bebold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before

infant. His parents, humble people, bring him in to me:

and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the do for him according to the law, to present him to messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the

the Lord, and to make the usual offering. No sovner day of his coming? and who shall stand

does the aged Simeon see the child, than he knows when he appeareth?"-- Mal. iii. 1, 2.

that this is He! God has fulfilled his word, Simeon ALACHI was the last of the sees the Lord's anointed! Then he took the child

prophets. After a space of in his arms, and blessed God in the words we know four hundred years, in which so well, beginning “Lord, now lettest thou thy no prophet appeared, then servant depart in peace, according to thy word, for came John the Baptist. mine eyes have seen thy salvation.”

He is the messenger spoken The day had arrived. The Lord, so long sought

of here; the messenger, who for, had come; in this unexpected way He had was to be sent to prepare the suddenly come to His temple; not, as might have way of the Lord. His coming been thought, in some glorious appearance, but as a was the next great event that little child carried in his parent's arms. Thus the

was to happen after the prophecy prophecy of Malachi was fulfilled. Thus the Lord of Malachi.

did suddenly come to His temple. Then after him, with hardly any interval, the Lord If the pious Jew of old rejoiced to see that day by Himself was to come; “ The Lord whom ye seek.” | faith, if Simeon saw in the coming of the Messiah Generation after generation, the Jews were looking all his hopes fulfilled, how should we rejoice! We for, desiring, seeking the promised Messiah. The know all that followed. We know of His life, and Jews in Malachi's time were doing so. When the death, and resurrection, and ascension. We know forerunner should have arrived and done his office, that His blood atoned for sin, that He is our peace, then the Lord Himself, the Messiah, should come. that He won for us a complete salvation, and that

Though looked for continually, He should come He now ever lives for us. How should they who suddenly, unexpectedly, because in an unlooked-for believe rejoice that He came to his temple, and manner. He should suddenly come to His temple; never left this world till He had done all that He He should appear there in person, and thus the glory came for, and finished the great work of our of that latter house should be greater than that of salvation ! the former. The temple of Solomon was far more But we are startled by the words that follow. magnificent; but Christ Himself was to be the Was not His coming, a coming to be glad for, to glory of the rebuilt temple; the Son of God was to rejoice in? Did He not come to save? How is it make it glorious by His presence.

then that we read, “ But who may abide the day But He too is called a messenger, “ the messenger of His coming ? and who shall stand when He of the covenant.” He was to come as a far higher and appeareth ?" This seems to point to something greater messenger than John. The Baptist was but terrible, rather than joyful. Is this the coming the messenger sent to prepare the way of Christ. But that Simeon gave thanks for ? Is it that coming, Christ was Himself" the messenger of the covenant;" and that appearing, that are meant ? He came from the Father, to bring the new covenant No. Between these two verses, the eye of the of grace, to proclaim the gospel. He came as the prophet passes over a great space of time-how great, Messiah, the Saviour, the Redeemer.

The new

none can yet tell—and sees another coming, another covenant was in Him, and He brought it Himself. appearance, very different from the first. How

“Whom ye delight in.” The pious Jew (and there different! A babe was born in a manger at
were such in the days of Malachi, as we find from Bethlehem ; a little child was brought to the temple
v. 16), the pious Jew, by faith, delighted in the by his parents: that was the first coming. What
Messiah before his coming, even as Abraham, so will the second be? “Behold, He cometh with
many hundreds of years before, rejoiced to see the day clouds, and every eye sball see Him, and they also
of Christ. The pious Jew thought of the promised which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth
coming of the Deliverer, longed for it, prayed for it, shall wail because of Him. Even so. Amen.”
looked for it, rejoiced in it.

All must be present, all must see : “But who And now, in the inspired words of the last of the may abide the day of His coming? And who shall prophets, the believing Jews of his day received a stand when He appeareth ?" Not the impenitent, not fresh assurance : “ The Lord whom ye seek, shall the careless, not the half-hearted, the undecided, the suddenly come to His temple . . . . behold, He procrastinating: All such will wail because of shall come, saith the Lord of hosts."

Him. Only those will stand before Him with joy, Let us pass over four hundred years, and turn to who are his by faith, sharers in the covenant of another scene.

We find it described in the second grace, delighting in Him, believing in Him, receivchapter of St. Luke; the scene is in the temple at ing Him, seeking, loving, and serving Him. There Jerusalem. An aged man has come thither to were such in Malachi's day, “ they that feared the worship; he is one of those who are“ waiting for the Lord,” and “spake often one to another;" there were consolation of Israel,” a believing Israelite, looking such when the Lord first came; there are such now; for the Messiah. But he has received a special and some such will He find when He comes again. assurance; he has been told by God that he shall not That also will be a sudden coming. How solemn die till he has seen the Lord's Christ, the Messiah. a question is it: are we ready? We are living Doubtless he daily frequents the temple. But time between the first coming and the second, in that has passed, and he has grown old, and the Lord does | very space which the prophetic view of Malachị

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

a

:

passed over. We are told of the first coming, to save; we are warned of the second coming, to judge. Behold, now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation.”

Pages for the young.

CHAPTER II.

[ocr errors]

The Mystery of Life.

THE WONDERFUL FLOWER-POT.
So many years I've seen the sun,

And called these hands and eyes my own,
A thousand little acts have done,
And childhood have, and manhood known.

LSIE had scarcely finished her last vad O what is life! and this dull round

when a very thoughtful look on her father's To tread, why was a spirit bound ?

face suddenly cleared away, and with the

exclamation, “ The very thing!” the big So many airy draughts and lines,

baron jumped up from his easy-chair in a And warm excursions of the mind, Have filled my soul with great designs,

greater hurry than his little daughter hd

ever seen him do before. He had left the room While practice grovelled far behind.

before she or her mamma had recovered from O what is thought! and where withdraw

their astonishment, or could ask any questions. The glories which my fancy saw ?

A quarter of an hour had scarcely passei when So many tender joys and woes

the door of that bright sitting-room opened again Have on my quivering soul had power,

as quickly as it had shut, and the baron re-entered, followed by Since life with heightening passions rose,

a couple of men-servants, who were vainly trying to persusile The boast or burden of their hour:

their master to let them take from him a small, well-shaped O what is all we feel! why fled

fir-tree he was carrying in his arms. Those pains and pleasures o'er my head ?

“No, no, no,” he said, ch erfully; "this is my latest present So many human souls divine

to Miss Elsie, and I wish to give it to her myself. You may go, So at one interview displayed,

both of you; I do not require your help.” Some oft and freely mixed with mine,

The men withdrew and closed the door, wondering to each In lasting bonds my heart have laid:

other what their master could want with another fir-tree, why O what is friendship! why impressed

he had been in such a hurry to dig it out of his pet home On my weak wretched dying breast ?

plantation in the thick of the snow, and why he chose to carry

it himself. But Elsie soon knew of answers to all tbese So many wondrous gleams of light,

wonderings. And gentle ardours from above,

“ There, missie,” said the baron, standing the little tree, froin Have made me sit, like seraph bright

which the roots had been chopped, on the floor, and proppel Some moments on a throne of love:

up against the table.

There is your tree for the charcoalO what is virtue! why had I

burner's house. Now dress it up as fast as ever you ein, and Who am so low, a taste so high?

then you yourself shall be the one good fairy of whom you Ere long, when sovereign Wisdom wills,

spoke a few minutes since.” My soul an unknown path shall tread,

“Oh, you good, dear, darling papa !” exclaimed the little And strangely leave, who strangely fills

maiden, bounding from the floor, and flinging her arms round This frame, and waft me to the dead:

her father's neck she kissed him even more gratefully than she Oh what is death ! 'tis life's last shore,

had done for any of his former gifts. Where vanities are vain no more;

Two minutes later she and her mamma were holding a very Where all pursuits their goal obtain,

important consultation as to the gift-supporting capabilities of And life is all retouched again;

the new Christmas-tree. It had need have been even twice Where in their bright result shall rise

as big as the first one to hold all that Elsie deemed advisable to Thoughts, virtues, friendships, griefs and joyg.

attempt putting on it. GAMBOLD. The Castle de Beumer bad certainly never been known as the

abode of brigands, or the haunt of midnight robbers, and yet

wayfarers, passing it about balf-past eight o'clock at night on Consider.

a certain starlight twenty-third of December, might well bare TOW therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts,

entertained some suspicions. Consider your ways" (Haggai i. 5).

A party of five, muffled in ever so many thick, dark cloak:

and wraps, issued quietly from the gates, and passed out into In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the

the frost-sparkling highroad. The foremost of the party carried day of adversity consider” (Eccles. vii. 14).

a lantern, whose light was carefully hidden excepting when it "Oh that they were wise, that they understood

was absolutely needed in order to avoid some unusually deep this, that they would consider their latter end !"

snowdrift. The two last of the mysterious party bore between (Deut. xxxii. 29).

them a large burden whose tapering top gave forth a wonderful “Know therefore this day, and consider it in gleam of brilliancy whenever the lantern's light happened to thine heart, that the Lord He is God in heaven fall upon it. above, and

upon the earth beneath : there is none The two centre figures of the group might have puzzled else” (Deut. iv. 39).

strangers more than all the rest, for one was evidently that of “Consider the Apostle and High Priest of our a graceful, elegant woman, while the other was a little creature profession, ( 'hrist Jesus ” (Heb. iii. 1).

clothed from head to foot in a fur-lined cloak and hood, from “ Consider Him that endured such contradiction the latter of which perped forth two rosy scraps of cheek, and of sinners against Hiniself, lest ye be wearied and a pair of brown eyes radiant with the deepest joy. faint in your minds ” (Ileb. xii. 3).

But whaterer s'rangers might have thought of tlicec night

[graphic]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

TIE WONDERFUL FLOWER-POT.

827 wanderers, you, my dear readers, harc cloubtless guessed that I happily safely overcome, and in no very long time the beant:ful tlırce of them, at any rate, were the Baron and Baroness de Christmas gift stood in all its brightness before the charcoalBenmor and the'r child. The others were two of the men- burner's couch. serrants, carrying the ladlen Christmas-tree destined to gladden “See, see,” cried little Leopold, stooping yet lower, as he the children of the charcoal-burner.

knelt beside the fine tree, patting the rim of the pot sostly “Oli, mamma,” rhispered Elsie, “I do hope they will have with his chubby hands to make sure it was real. “See, see left their stick make-believe out in the yard still, and that they mother, here's eyiting oyound the fower-pot.” will all be gone to bed and to sleep."

And so there was. On a band of gold paper was written in “I expect they are sure to be gone to bed, dear,” said the largo letters with bright blue ink: “For the happy and conBaroness gently, ng slo pressed her little daughter's hand tented family of Fritz Halbhand, the charcoal-burner, with more closely. “They are too poor, I fear, to be able to afford Christmas greeting.” much candle-light.”

Tears of grateful gladness came into the eyes of patient Fritz, Ten minutes later tho baron made a halt. They had reached and his loving, brave wife, as they read the kind words, but the the charcoal-burner's house, The cottage was wrapped in children's eyes were too bright with joy to think of tears just silence and darkness. All was as Elsie had hoped. The then, as they wandered hither and thither over the tree, now charcoal-burner and his family were all asleep, and the old arrested by an unusually big bunch of raisins or basket of flower-pot, with the pitiful paper-trimmed stick were discovered sugar-plums, and again pausing, equally delighted at a pretty standing beside the wood-stack. Softly and cautiously the little doll in a gilt cradle, or a box of dominoes, or a gay stick was removed, and the tree planted in its stead, being Punchinello. further steadied in the pot by means of some earth the baron But not till night came, and the many little coloured candles lınd thoughtfully brought with him in a basket on his arm. were all lighted, did Fritz and his wife find the two dark reul Against it on one side the baroness placed a large paper parcel morocco purses, which had been the good buron's own especial containing the many articles which the tree's branches had been contribution to the tree's hangings, and which proved to confound incapable of holding, and on the other side Elsie deposited tain enough money to provide that frugal, humble little housea package containing all the requisites for a Christmas dinner. hold with bread, sausages, and candle-light for many a long An hour later little Elsie had been given something warm to month to come. They had been purposely hidden, the one drink, and was tucked up cosily in her soft, comfortable bed, behind a nice little workcase fitted up with scissors, thimbles, none the worse for her expedition through the winter night needles, and cottons, and the other behind a neatly-bound, giltair. She had a queer dream as to what Reta and Franz thought edged little Bible. Elsie had said that finding the purses when they found the new Christmas-tree; but even her dream, would be such a finish up, and so it proved, you may be very wonderful as it was, did not come up to the truth of what they sure of that. really did think when they ran out in the first grey dawn of Of course long before that time came Reta and Franz found Christmas Eve to look after the welfare of their stick.

the parcels that had been placed on either side the tree, and “ Father, mother!” almost shrieked the children, in their wild which had been quite overlooked in the great excitement it had excitement, as they rushed back into the cottage. “Father, occa:ioned. Although the parcels were nothing like so pretty inother, a fairy, or Santa Claus himself, has been here in the as the tree itselt, either inside or out, thry were quite as good night and changed our tree. And on! such a tree he has in their way, and it must be confessed, gave a great deal more brought us, such a wondertul tree. Better, and bigger, and comfort if not so much merry joy. One parcel, it has been more beautiful than any we have ever seen before.”

already told, contained a nice Christmas dinner, the other conYes, yes,” shouted little Leopold, “ the old fower-pot is a sisted of a number of warm little frocks and petticoats, boots, fairy fower-pot, and has drown a beauful tree, and I love the and shoes, left off by Elsie, together with a warm for hool. old good fower-pot. Come - come and see,” he continued, There were also flannel shirts of the baron's for poor Fritz, and pulling at his mother's gown to draw her out into the yard to a fine woollen travelling shawl of the baroness's for Fritz's wife, look at the wonder for herself.

with cloth clothes to cut up for the little boys. The eyes of the gooil mother grew almost as round and shin- Altogether that proved a bright winter to the family of the ing as those of her chilren when she stood yazing in breathless charcoal-burner, who had still suid with brave, patient facesastonishment and bewillerment at the beautiful, unexpected “ Thy will be done,” even when it had seemed to be the gift. She was too old and too sensible to be able to believe, heavenly Father's pleasure to lay the band of trouble on them with her children, that fairies, or an invisible Santa Claus, had heavily. Very often trouble would be lighter than it is, if the really had anything to do with the matter, and yet she could loving heavenly Father's purpose were more quickly accomnot make even a possible guess as to how the “stick had grown plished of teaching his children to bow meekly to the hand that into the tree," as the children put it, been "changed into a does not willingly afflict, but will try all means to gather his tree,” as she herself more sagely remarked. Meantime, while lambs into his fold. mother and the three little ones stood lost in admiration and It was several years before little Leopold could be made quilo surprise, the poor, lame, helpless father, on the bed inside the to believe that the old red flower-pot was not a fairy flower-pot cottage, felt his curiosity growing to the very highest pitch, that had grown that glorious Christmas-tree in it of its own and at last he called out:

[ocr errors]

good nature. But there was one that, as time passed on, both “Good wife, my children, since I cannot come out and see he and all his family grew to be more and more sure about, and your new prize will you not at least come back and describe it that was that the sweet, thoughtful Elsie de Beumer richly to me?"

deserved all the happiness that seemed ever to fall back in “We will both do that and you shall also see it for yourself, such rich slowers on her own head from the happiness she for we will bring it in,” called back his wife cheerfully; and spread around her. The day came when the marvelling-eyed she immediately began to try her best to fulfil her promise child, Leopold Halbband, was the sculptor still more widely at once.

known than the wealthy baron's daughter, and he was called It was a good thing that the peasant woman was strong, and on to execute one of the emblematical figures for a splendid that Reta and Franz had stout pairs of arms of their own, but monument. From all countries sightseers came to look at the even as it was, it proved very hard work, and a very great tug, group when it was finished, and it was always one figure that to get that big flower-pot and its contents, from its shelter by drew all eyes. Its air was so sweet, so gracious, and so noble, the wood-stack up to the cottage-door, and it as nearly as that all felt instinctively that it was not the white marble only possible tumbled right over when they had to lift it a little bit that made it seem so strongly an embodiment of some true to get it across the doorsill. However, all difficultics vero

pure spirit.

One day two aged travellers stood beforo it wrapt in mute have seen—it is our Elsie, as though she still lived, blessed surprise. At length one spoke in a low, tremulous voice : “See, and blessing all, because she had the spirit of the Saviour, whe then, who it is whom he has taken for his Mercy?"

brought peace on earth and good vill to men.” And the answer came still more tenderly, “Yes, then-I

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic][merged small][merged small]

LONDON: PRINTED BY WILLIAN CLOWES AND SONS, STAMFORD STREET AND CUARING CROSS.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »