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failed far more signally than he, but have made a total wreck of themselves, through neglecting to obey the dictates and impulses of their better nature.
At this time of national distress, when numbers of our countrymen are suffering the most terrible privations in the most heroic manner, evincing, under trials which the heart sickens to contemplate, a spirit of uncomplaining, patient endurance, generosity is constantly appealed to, emotions of pity are powerfully excited, and conscience combines with compassion in urging us, by voluntarily sharing in the privations, to do what we can for the mitigation of the distress. It is of the utmost importance, not so much to the sufferers as to ourselves and the nation, that these promptings should be freely yielded to; that the voice of conscience and the voice of compassion, speaking harmoniously, should be not only heard but obeyed. Let the appeals which are made to us, not only excite sympathetic feeling, but be readily responded to by self-sacrificing and generous deeds. Give to the suffering not only the passing tribute of a tear, or the easy goodwill which says, “ Depart in peace, be warmed and fed, while it gives them not those things which are needful for the body ;” but the practical sympathy, the efficient and grateful help, which you can minister by self-denying and benevolent action: pinch yourself that you may have wherewith to give to others, sacrifice luxuries, infringe on your comforts, that you may have wherewith to supply others with the necessaries of life ; and in the strengthening of your moral nature which will ensue from such a course, in the prosperity with which God blesses the liberal soul, in the superior blessedness of giving, you will have an ample reward for all that you have done. This distress will prove, to all who thus avail themselves of it, one of the most precious opportunities which God has given for the cultivation of their better nature. And should the nation as a whole, or generally, respond to it thus-should the feeling which is everywhere excited find expression in benevolent effort-should men generally deny themselves that they may be able more efficiently to minister to the wants of their brethren---the national calamity will be converted into a national blessing, the moral benefits will far more than compensate for the physical distress. In her higher conscientiousness, in her larger generosity, in the sympathy of class with class, she will have blessings which are cheaply purehased, though at the expense of a crippled industry and diminished material resources. And the result of our sacrifices and sufferings will prove how much better is such a season of distress than that constant “ fulness of bread” which makes men proud and self-sufficient, unmindful of God and of each other, while it fosters those luxurious and self-indulgent habits to which human nature is so prone.
Our belief is that God has raised up England for the fulfilment of a lofty mission among the nations of the earth. Her widely-extended commerce--her colonies or dependencies in every quarter of the globe--her vast Indian Empire -her position as mistress of the seas-and, in connection with all these and above all, the free Bible which she possesses--all these show that her mission is to diffuse among the nations the Gospel of Christ. Never did nation occupy a more elevated position ; never did nation bear a heavier responsibility ; never was nation more loudly called to cultivate a pure and noble character. She is already doing her work in part. But before she can rise to the level of her opportunities and responsibilities, she must rid herself of the evils by which she is now disgraced. Her worldly-mindedness, her grasping selfishness, her exclus bive pride, her self-indulgence, her licentiousness, which eats into her vitals like a canker, sapping the foundations of her character, and threatening to render her corrupt at the very core,-all these must be got rid of, before she can rightly act her part as the evangelizer and regenerator of the world. We see in her now noble traits of character; we see the germg, and would fain hope the pledges, of her future greatness, in the patient endurance evinced by the humblest of her sons on such occasions as that of which we speak, in the generosity with which
she responds when a loud appeal is made to her sympathy, and, above all, in the deep and earnest religious feeling which characterizes so many of her people. But still she needs discipline. These nobler feelings must be strengthened and developed, and the baser purged away, before she can rise to the grandeur of her mission. Oh, what a work such a nation might accomplish, were her character equal to her calling! Were Christian faith and devotedness grafted on, purifying and etherealizing British pluck and energy ; were British enterprise consecrated at a higher shrine than even that of country; did British generosity deepen and expand under the power of a mightier benevolence; did Britain's sons go forth as men who knew no call but duty, and feared nothing but to do wrong; who recognised in men of every colour, and class, and country, the claims of a common brotherhood ; who use this world as a preparation for the next, and are not afraid to leave this because they have a portion in that: such men, proclaiming Christ's Gospel among the nations, and enforcing it by the splendour of their lives, would very soon transform the character of the world!
Now, God is disciplining Britain for this work. Such events as your Crimean War, your Indian Mutiny, the loss the nation has sustained in the death of the Prince Consort, by making her conscious of her dependence on Himself for what she is, by teaching her to attach less value to the material and more to the spiritual, by binding together different classes through their participation in common griefs and joys, by bringing into view instances of heroism which flash up like pillars of flame, attracting all eyes, and exciting to emulation, are all improving the nation's character. Seeing men patiently endure or calmly die from a simple sense of duty, our admiration is kindled, our sympathies are excited, we become in some measure partakers of the qualities by which we are 80 deeply moved, we imitate the illustrious examples. The heart of the nation is touched, its pulse beats more powerfully, something is added to its moral stature, she is better qualified for her lofty mission. And the present distress exerts a similar influence, and tends to a similar result. The intelligence spread through the length and breadth of the land, of how nobly the sufferers bear themselves, will foster a spirit of self-restraint and self-sacrifice; the sympathy excited and practically expressed will draw closer the various classes. Our widowed Queen, sorrowing over and sympathising with the distressed operatives, all intermediate classes sharing in the sympathy, is a spectacle which binds the nation together in an indissoluble bond. Those mingling feelings tend to dissolve the obstacles which keep the different classes separate, causing heart to touch and blend with heart. And proof is afforded that, notwithstanding all class distinctions, and all diversity of circumstances, and condition, and tastes, and manners, “in nature's greatest griefs and mightiest sorrows," the hearts of Britons are one.
And distressing as the disaster has been, it may be questioned if such a result be not cheaply purchased at the price. A nation raised to a more heroic pitch, a nation united in a bond of sympathy, a nation better qualified for its mission, and that mission the most glorious which nation ever had to fulfil, -it is difficult to say what price it might not be desirable to give for such a purpose as that. Oh, may God grant that the feelings awakened may not soon be dispelled, that the impression may prove as lasting as it is salutary, and that all such events may in our nation's experience and character be sanctified to noblest ends! “God be merciful unto us, and bless us, and cause his face to shine upon us ; that thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations !”.
But a different result is possible. Should the generous emotion which has been excited be allowed to evaporate, should the people be content with a merely sentimental pity, which heaves a sigh and drops a tear over the distress, but does little or nothing for its relief, should they while conscience tells them that they ought to help their brethren, allow their selfish instincts to prevail against the promptings both of conscience and generosity, the result will be a curse to the nation, and to every individual by whom such feelings have been cherished. Conscience, being benumbed, will become less loud in its commands. The affections being shrivelled, will have less power to secure benevolent action. The selfish instincts, being strengthened, will exercise a greater mastery over the man. A glorious opportunity of doing good and of improving our own and the nation's character, will have passed without being used. And England will stand like a fruitless tree which has been visited by a temporary spring time, and whose promising blossoms have been blighted by untimely frost, ere they had matured into fruit. Generous feeling will have been excited only to be nipped in the bud by reviving selfishness. And the only trace of all through which we have passed will be withered blossoms of puling sentimentalism, never maturing into, always hindering, the fruit of generous deeds.
“ I WILL GUIDE THEE WITH MINE EYE.”
BY TIE REV. S. cox.
Psalm xxxii. 8. It would not be easy to overrate the being and history move, and must move so worth of this Psalm. Its value has been long as we “bear the image of the earthly," recognised by spiritual men of all ages, so long as we “bear about this body of and by inspired men. St. Paul quotes sin and death.” The coming in of the it more than once with an emphasis which Gospel has not removed us beyond their shows at what high rate he valued it, limits, or emancipated us from their conusing its verses to express his thoughts trol. In respect of these, we are much and sanction them. Its value lies very where David was, having to “acknowledge much in the fact, that, while it records sin," and to “confess transgression;" asDavid's personal experiences, and because piring after tbe blessedness of the man it records them with the utmost sim " whose transgression is forgiven, and plicity and frankness, it expresses some whose sin,” though, and because, he would of the cardinal and most common ex not hide it, “is covered ;" rejoicing that periences of all godly men. It reflects his the Divine “ hiding-place " is still open, and spiritual moods, reflects them so clearly, running into it to find ourselves, like the that we see his inmost heart, and seeing grateful Psalmist, “compassed about with his, recognise our own. For “as face songs of deliverance." answereth to face in the glass, so heart of Occupying his position we need his hope; man to heart of man.”
and we have it. To us, as to him, the The stages of spiritual experience which voice of the Heavenly Majesty comes, it sets forth are not peculiar to one person, saying, “I will instruct and teach thee but belong to all who have entered on the in the way thou shalt go : I will guide life of the Spirit. Nor are they peculiar to thee with mine eye :” a most welcome, an any period of spiritual development; they altogether invaluable promise. We who belong to every period. The consciousness have not been able to walk with even and of sin, and the penitent confession of sin, steady foot, who have tripped and stumbled the sense of forgiveness, and a growing even when walking in the right way, trust in the forgiving love of the loving and who have so often wandered into Father ;-these are not stages of spiritual crooked and deflected paths, are to have experience through which we pass, passing not only the teaching and guidance of the through them and leaving them behind. All-wise Father, but the guidance and They perpetually repeat themselves. They
| teaching of his eye. What that means, are tabernacles which shift, we shifting what of vigilance, protection, solicitous and with them, but never removing far from directing love, our own experience will the sacred precincts. They are lines of help us to understand. our lot, within which our whole spiritual 1. We have many organs, but none so expressive as the eye; many languages, but | preting them by the witchery of love, none so eloquent as that of looks. Who | discerning which is the more imperative among us has not read in some well-loved command, shall disobey your word to obey eye imperious command, imploring solici- your look,-the voluble expressive tongue tation, melting reproach, benign approval ? proving no match for the dumb yet more And who has not felt the language of expressive eye. at least that eye to possess a power beyond When, therefore, our Heavenly Father that of words, more significant, more promises to guide us, his erring children, winning, more irresistible? A look says with his eye, we are to understand that we more, and goes farther, than a word ; and are children, no longer servants, no longer
that, not simply because the eye is more merely friends, but children whom he El frank and truthful than the tongue, but dearly loves despite our errors; children mainly because the delicate mystic utter
whose love to him, underlying all errors ances of the eye can only be interpreted by of thought and action, he recognises, and affection. We gui le strangers by the will enlarge; children who by virtue of directing finger, or the spoken word. We our love are to be admitted to his more utter commands to those who are servants, familiar and household thoughts ; who are but not friends. Even to these, we may I to discern and share the play of Divine employ the language of the eye. They emotions of which others see not even the may see it dilato in astonishment, fix into outward signs, or seeing, do not apprehend. command, melt into pity, kindle into We are to understand that his eye, the eye anger. But its more subtle speech,—the that never slumbers nor sleeps, will watch glances which find no comment in word over us with more than parental solicitude, or gesture, the minute .contractions and and kindle in our defence with fires of dilations, the delicate play of light and more than parental love and courage. We shade, the rising and falling of an inward are to understand that his heart will be in fire, which reveal the passing inward moods his eye, so that if from amid the sorrowful of the mind : it takes love to interpret environments and perplexities of our these. Those of you who are parents will earthly lot we bend an upward look to find no difficulty in apprehending what him, we shall find him looking down on us is meant by the guidance of the eye. You with a strengthening compassion, a guiding sit with your children round the hearth. wisdom, a redeeming love. We are to Friends and strangers enter your circle. understand that in proportion as we love Even they can read some of your looks, him, we shall grow wise to interpret the more of them in proportion to their inti guiding instructions of his eye, until at macy with the real man who sits inside the | last he will not need to speak to us in courteous host. But there will be many words, much less coerce us with penalties which they will not see ; many which, | of law, but only have to look the enlightBeeing, they will not be at the pains to ening thought into our minds, the directstudy; and many more which, with all ing sanctifying influence into our hearts. their pains, they will interpret in some Of old time he spake to the people mistaken sense. Looks will pass from you by Urim and Thummim-the stones on to wife or child, in which they will read the high priest's breastplate blazing with restraining admonition, covert criticism, light, or veiling their lustre, to indicate his appeals for aid to sustain or change the will. Our Urim and Thummim is his eve. currents of conversation, passing disgust It still rests on the heart—the priestly at the vulgarity, or conceit, or prosing heart—the heart sanctified by love and of the speaker of the moment, or the service, and it still gives the oracular resquick effusion of warm approval at the ponse. We have only to look upward in utterance of some generous, high-toned simple, single-eyed and single-hearted faith, sentiment,-looks in short of subtle and and the loving glance meets us, shining infinite variety, which only the love that in approval, or clouding to warn us; in quickens sympathy, and the sympathy either case “instructing and teaching us which brings knowledge, can read aright. in the way which we should go." The Nay, so significant and expressive is this difficulty, if difficulty there be, lies not language of the eye, that if you care to in obtaining the response : God's eye is try the experiment, you may even say | always on us, and always beaming with the one thing to your child and look another; light of love ; but in preparing our will and he, reading the familiar symbols, inter. I and heart, in making thein sensitive to
receive the photograph of that scene of which may be refined till it yield to the future duty which he would have us pursue, gentlest impact, and tremble beneath the and seeing it, to pursue it. The eye of most exquisite and delicate touch, should love is full of meanings; it is only that our bend and turn at the mere glance of God, imperfect love fails to: look for them, or requiring none other restraint but a look. fails to interpret them. The heavenly It is shameful and a disgrace to him if, oracle is always open, open to all : it is with his high and capable nature, he only the seeking, worshipping heart that is should need the rude handling and coarse wanting. No man ever yet, whatever his control appropriate to the nature of beasts. perplexities, freed himself from the bias They must have bit and bridle—the bridle of personal desire and the trammelling | to guide and the bit to hold them in ; obliquities of social judgments, and then | but for rational, sensitive man, the restraint looked up in simple, childlike appeal, with and guidance of the eye should sufliceout seeing the eye of God raying out the pure eye shaming him from sin, the guidance, and reading in the Divine loving eye winning him to a holy obe glance, " This, this is the way, walk in it, dience. and all sball be well with thee.” It is our 3. Then, too, not only as rational, but as happiness, brethren, it is among the redeemed men, the guiding invitation supreme privileges of our Christian lot, of the eye should suffice to rule us. This that God thus teaches us ; that his eye guidance is promised to David, and through shines over us, a guiding star, a beneficent him, to all who are in the like benediction and healing sun, observant of which, we, with himself. It is promised to him and who have to traverse the dusty and con to them, not simply as men, but as penifused roads of this mortal life, may always tents ; as forgiven penitents; as penitents learn whither he would have us go, and by who have found refuge from their fears, and what way.
aid against their natural infirmities, in 2. The difficulty of obtaining and bene God; as penitents who have broken through fiting by this gentle Divine guidance lies, the perilous and distressful silence of con: as I have said, with us, not with God : scious guilt, and are now in the Hiding it springs from our wayward will, and place, compassed about with the songs of weak, capricious affections. Now, the deliverance. These are men in whom there Psalmist suggests two reasons why we is a true spiritual life; in whom, therefore, should seek to have the difficulty removed ; are the organs of spiritual perception and two reasons wby the guidance here pro sensation. They have not only reason's mised us should suffice.
far-seeing eye, but the farther-seeing eye of And first, it should be sufficient for us faith. They have, besides the natural sus as rational men. No creature, save only | ceptibilities of conscience, the wider, more man, is capable of this Divine eye-service. I subtle, more quickly and delicately appreHis capacity indicates his duty, his pri- hensive sympathies of love. Their sins vilege. Because he can be guided by God's have been forgiven; their fears hushed into eye, he should be guided by it. All other composure ; their dangers are lessening in creatures need coercion and restraint. the distance; they are in the Eternal They must be coerced into the service of Refuge; they are clothed with the armour man, and restrained after they are in his of righteousness, and over it the singing service. They cannot be led with a look, robes of joy: and by all the darknesses or held back by a glance. This obviously and perils they have escaped, by all the is the Psalmist's thought, when to the immunities and liberties for wbich they promise, “I will guide thee with mine eye," have exchanged them, they are bound to he adds, “Be ye not as the horse, or obey the lightest glance of the redeeming as the mule, which have no understanding : God. whose mouth must be held in by bit and 4. But why speak of obligation ? If the bridle, lest they come near unto thee." Lord and Governor of men, in his infinite The mule and the horse, destitute of tenderness, lay aside bit and bridle; if rational faculty and moral sensibility, in place of the coercions and restraints of “having no understanding," cannot be law, he seek to guide us by the admonitory guided by purely spiritual influences, still and appealing glances of his love--shall not less by the most soft and subtle of these. we be tractable and content? Shall we not But man, with a reason which may pene joy and rejoice in his grace ? True, he her trate all mysteries, and a moral sense claims upon us. Our reason is his breath,