« PreviousContinue »
Bright promise! but answer me, children of earth,
Picking up gold and silver ?”
A FEW QUESTIONS FOR SELF EXAMINATION.
Are my affections placed above,
Dear Saviour! all my heart renew,-
SMYRNA. “THESE things saith the First and the Last, which was dead and is alive; I know thy works and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews and are not, but the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer; behold the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried, and ye shall have tribulation ten days. Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life!”
Such was the message addressed“ unto the angel of the church at Smyrna," usually believed to have been the martyred Polycarp; and if the fate of the city itself were involved in that of the church assembling within its walls, we have perhaps, in the unmingled commendation and encouragement, given in this text, a reason for the pleasing contrast offered by the present condition of Smyrna to that of the other apocalyptic churches.
VOL. v. 4th SERIES.
Our cut represents its present aspect as one of the most flourishing cities of the Turkish empire; and its prosperity is said by recent travellers to be rather on the increase than otherwise, its population being certainly not less than 100,000, and probably much more. We are not, however, disposed to refer its present prosperity to the purity so long maintained in the church there, as the prophecy seems to regard spiritual blessings only, and particularly as the ancient city occupied another site, somewhat distant from its present position, and had been considerably affected, if not actually ruinated, by successive earthquakes; but still it is an interesting enquiry how far the holiness of its early christian residents may, as “ the salt of the earth,” have consecrated that locality, and frustrated the doom that has befallen the other Asiatic churches. Amongst its most interesting remains, is the stadium, where, according to tradition, Polycarp was exposed to wild beasts, but heing miraculously delivered from their fury, was subjected to other violent forms of death, and obtained the promise awarded to the faithful, of a crown of life.
GLEANINGS FROM MEMORY. BLESSED, thrice blessed, are those parents who have been enabled to fill the minds of their children with such ideas, as they may return to with pleasure, when experience of life shall have taught them that there are seldom any friends to be found so sincere, so forbearing, so little selfish, so devoted, as their parents were! The hardest and most callous human being must sometimes look back with tenderness to the scenes of his early days, and the home of his father, when he was himself comparatively clean from actual guilt--when mere existence was a delight, and ambition yet asleep.
But if to these recollections, common to most men, he can add the memory of holy lessons proceeding from the Divine Spirit; through the lips of a parent—when he can recover the particulars of such lessons, the hours, the circumstances, the tones of a gentle mother's, or a kind father's voice, connected with those expressions of tenderness which often beamed on those occasions from the parent's eye, he must indeed be hardened if such memories are not able to produce an influence on his heart.