« PreviousContinue »
to himself, and hold the estate in his own indescribable melancholy brooding over the hand till he saw how Richard would turn out. place, and Justin paused in the darkness with
It was quite dark by the time he came to his face turned towards it. this conclusion, and he could no longer see He knew very well it would look little less the narrow and dangerous track he was fol- desolate and jail-like by daylight. The lowing over the cliffs. The tide had turned, grounds and gardens about Rillage Grange and was now booming like the roar of distant were overgrown with nettles and docks; the artillery against the black rocks strewn with gates were hanging upon rust-eaten hinges; seaweed five hundred feet below him. It there were breaches in all the moss-covered would scarcely be safe even for him to return walls; even the outbuildings of the house by the path he had come. He had left Her- were falling into ruins, and no man's hand ford Bay far behind him, and was nearing had done a stroke of repairs to the dreary the edge of another and narrower valley, spot for years past. Squire Lynn was the stretching inward from its own little cove. reprobate of the neighbourhood ; a hard He could already see the lights scattered drinker, a gambler, and a scoundrel, who had about the front of a large and wandering been the destruction of Justin's younger habitation, almost as familiar to him as Her brother, and the ruin of most of the men who ford Court. With the exception of three or had associated with him. Yet as he stood four servants' cottages, there was no other there in the darkness a smile stole across his house in the little valley. Tenfold more face, though he sighed with a strong feeling lonely and still than Herford, these few home of troubled tenderness rising in his heart. steads must be surpassingly dreary and solitary "Would to God!” he said to himself, “ that in the night. The deep, hoarse baying of Diana was my wife at this moment. It would a ferocious watch-dog echoed through the be good for her as well as for myself; and I silence, and was answered only by the mono- could tell her what I can tell to no one tonous thunder of the waves. There was an else.”
THE FACE OF JESUS.
Hushed and awed, I pondered,
Seeking for the key;
What it was I wondered ;
Love was new to me :
So I saw Thee.
Hearing and not hearing,
I had heard of Thee;
Till I saw Thee.
So it was; I loved Thee,
Loved Thee at first sight;
Thus I saw Thee.
Then my knee I bended,
No more fancy-free;
For I saw Thee.
Thy face alters never,
I may altered be ;
When I saw Thee.
R. H. SMITH.
No dainty slab of marble bears
A name forgotten long ago.
No rare exotics proudly throw
Their crimson cups.
THE WILL OF THE FATHER.
BY THE REV. DR. BUTLER, HEAD-MASTER OF HARROW. " It is not the will of your Father which is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish."-ST. MATT. xviii. 14. HERE are two thoughts brought before did a single speech of man work such
us here. The one is the will of God; extraordinary and lasting results as that the other is one of the objects of that will, of Urban II. at the Council of Clermont. that none of those whom Christ calls “little ... The Pontiff could scarcely conclude his ones” should perish.
speech; he was interrupted by ill-suppressed I would speak to you of the will of God, murmurs of grief and indignation. At its not as a mystery, but as a power. I do not close one loud and simultaneous cry broke ask you to enter on the speculation what the forth : It is the will of God! It is the will will of God is, whether it might also be justly of God !” named the law of the universe ; whether it The thought of the will of God is, as I is absolute, acting independently of all con- said, mighty to stir. It is also mighty to ditions ; whether a thing is right because soothe. Fourteen years ago the aged ArchGod wills it, or whether God wills it because bishop of Dublin lay on what proved to be it is right. All these are profound mysteries his dying bed. He was a man, as many here on which I have no call to speak, and you, must know, unmatched for keenness and perhaps, would be but little disposed to hardness of intellect, for physical energy, and
for sharpness of wit. He was now in his No! I speak of the will of God as a seventy-seventh year, suffering intense physipower, acting upon men's hearts. We all cal pain, and well knowing that this pain need power from on high, and there is no must follow him even to the end. power so mighty, whether to stir or to soothe uselessness," as he calls it, was the especial the heart of man, as the thought of the will trial to his active spirit. “ One day," writes of God.
his chaplain," when I went to see bim, on I say whether to stir or to soothe. Let my entering his study he looked up, and said, me throw light on both these parts of its with tears in his eyes, ‘Have you power by two anecdotes. Many of those preached a sermon on the text, “Thy will be whom I address must at some time of their done?” How do you explain it ?' When lives have made the journey to Paris. Some I replied, 'Just so,' he said, that is the of them, in going or returning, will have spent meaning;' and added, in a voice choked a few quiet hours under the shadow of the with tears, ' But it is hard-very hard somecathedral of Amiens, one of the spots which times—to say it.'” more than most others recalls the past history These two instances, so different in all else, of ancient France in what are called, some are alike in this, that they make us think of times in regret, sometimes in derision, the the will of God. If they teach any lesson at Ages of Faith. Close to the east end of that all, they teach us that we may obey the glorious cathedral, in the centre of a small will of God in action, and that we may obey open space, stands the statue of an orator, the will of God in suffering. There is a bond, holding in his hand a crucifix, and speaking not of mortal framing, which links together with impassioned voice and gesture. Below the enthusiasm of the crusader and the resighis feet, on the massive pedestal, are inscribed nation of the dying. At this point the lwo the words, Dieu le veut. It is the will of extremes meet. Our greatest activity, our God!
greatest feebleness, here come together under Who, do you suppose, is that orator, and the eye of Him who is at once the Almighty, what is the historical event to which those and the Father who doth not afflict willingly. words refer? The orator is Peter the Our energy and our weakness alike seem to Hermit, a native of Amiens, and the event is say: "Follow the counsel of St. Paul; strive the first crusade. In the year 1094 a coun- to learn the ore lesson of life—that, in all cil was held at Clermont by Pope Urban II. your work and in all your trials, you may He spoke to an audience already charged to 'prove what is that good and acceptable and fever heat by the fiery eloquence of Peter. perfect will of God.'" It has been writien by a sober, sometimes And let us not imagine, Christian friends, almost a cold, historian,* “ Never, perhaps, that it is easy to learn that lesson. The best
of us learns it very slowly, and amid countHistory of Latin Christianity,” Book vii., less mistakes. The crusaders had not learned Chap. vi.
it, though they thought they had learned it, and lookings back to see if any, and who, though they gave so magnificent a proof of were following—all such doomed imbeciliits power, though thousands of them even ties have gone down like leaves before the died in the faith that they were fighting for hurricane. The strong men have stormed the will of God.
the kingdom of heaven. Or, in plain EngWe who look back on their splendid devo- lish, the right has been done and the evil tion, we who have learned more of the spirit has been exterminated by the faith of men of our Master, we can see that they mistook who laughed to scorn their puny opponents, the Divine will. To turn Europe loose upon strong in that unfeigned, that uncompromisAsia, to unchain in the name of religion ing, ay at times that pitiless conviction, It is every fierce and vengeful passion, to make the will of God. the streets of Jerusalem run knee-deep in I have said above that it is not always easy blood to avenge the wrongs done to a cruci- to discern the will of God. But there is one fied Saviour-this was an error, this was object of the will of God which is seldom fanaticism, this was not the will of the Father dark to the Christian eye. God wills the in heaven, who willed not that any of His rescue of weakness. “It is not the will of little ones should perish. This assuredly, your Father which is in heaven that one of though an act of passionate faith, was not these little ones should perish.” "the good and acceptable and perfect will of Let us for the moment try to look upon God.” For the curbing of ill-tempered zeal, for the world with the eyes of Christ. He came the “warning of vehement, high, and daring to found a new kingdom. The one ambition natures,” who know what it is to hate sin, was to be righteousness. The one law was but know not yet what it is to love sinners, to be love. Hard at best would be the let us hear the terrible admission of the Chris- struggle of His servants to keep faithful to tian historian, when recording the capture of their troth. Their own inward frailty would Jerusalem by the first crusaders, those too often be taking up rebel arms. But bedevoted champions of the supposed will of sides this inherent frailty, He saw the world God. “No barbarian," he says, “no infidel, full of offences—full of obstacles of man's no Saracen, ever perpetrated such wanton planting, full of things making it hard to and cold-blooded atrocities of cruelty as the walk upright, and only too easy to trip wearers of the Cross of Christ, who, it is said, and fall. And as He thought of the many had fallen on their knees and burst into a weak ones who would be kept from Him pious hymn at the first view of the Holy by these offences-kept from Him while City.”
on their way to Him, stretching out weak Christian brethren, let me tell you what hands to Him, calling to Him with feeble this history says to ourselves. We want the voices—His human heart swelled with pity crusading spirit without the crusaders' mis- and indignation. He denounced His most takes. We want strong characters, strong loves, awful woe on all who should offend one of strong hatreds, strong resolutions. Above all, His little ones, and all this He based on the we want the conviction, It is the will of God! will of His heavenly Father, who willed not Without this conviction nothing great was that one of them should perish. ever done. Look at the lives of great men. Who, then, are the “little ones" of whom You will see that their greatness is always the Saviour speaks ? Let history and human due, when you pierce to the centre, to this nature and our own experience give the conviction, graven on their inmost conscience, answer. It is a solemn and a pathetic proand transfused into their very life-blood, it cession that passes before us. It is the comis the will of God. It is not their tact, or pany of the wronged, the oppressed, the knowledge, or high-breeding, or physical neglected, the forgotten, the ignorant, the courage—no, nor even their moral courage tempted, the corrupted, the fallen. No that has made them remove mountains of nation is unrepresented in that obscure army loathsome abuses, and hurl them into the sea of unrecognised martyrs. Men are there, of contemptuous forgetfulness. It has been and women in cruel numbers, and little chiltheir faith, their certain assurance that they dren. If the question be addressed to the were acting not for themselves, but for history of the Christian Church, Who have Another; in a word, their conviction, It is been your "little ones”? one age would the will of God. Before this conviction all reply, “The victims of the imperial persecusmaller wills have gone down. All mere tions;" and another, “ The Albigenses that gentlemanly hesitations, and sham conven- were massacred by Innocent III. ;” and tionalities, and anxieties not to go too far, another, “ The countless victims, Christian
and Jewish, of the Spanish Inquisition." and must fall. So far the spirit of Christ is These venerable walls,* and the walls of our in agreement with the spirit of the world. great metropolitan cathedral, are sacred with Each uses the same words, but with how difthe memories of men who would all have a ferent a feeling, and with what different voice in defining Christ's “ little ones.” deductions. The commonplace man of the Howard would reply, “The hapless dwellers world says it with a shrug of the shoulder, as in our gaols." Wilberforce would reply, a conclusive reason for leaving matters as “The West Indian slaves.” Dickens would they are, for leaving nations to their fate, men reply, “The poor children in the workhouse.” to their fate, weak women to their fate, even Burke, whose dust lies at his own home, little children to their fate. In Western would say, “ The millions of India.” Many Europe there is no such fatalist as a coldnow would say, “The millions of Bulgaria.” hearted man of the world, entrenched behind Others, who know something of the work that the statistics of degradation. The thing must has been done by the best men and women be. There must be waste in the human of England during the forty years of this world as in the world of nature. “Of fifty eventful reign, will carry back their thoughts seeds,” so the poet reminds us, nature“ brings to the factory, and to the mine, and to the but one to bear.” The general who has to agricultural gang, and to the dark chimney, cross a great river in the face of the enemy, and to the ragged school, and to the training makes up his mind beforehand to sacrifice ship, and to the reformatory, and to the twenty thousand, perhaps thirty thousand, of penitentiary, and to the migration to Canada. his soldiers. That is the tribute which amTo such persons the mere allusion to these bition pays to waste. There are inferior well-known names will summon up troop races, and lower classes, and insignificant after troop of Christ's “ little ones, all of members in each race and class, and it is by whom were ready to perish, some of whom their necessary, if not voluntary, abasement have been plucked from the deeps of ruin, that the power, the leisure, the refinement, not by chance, nor by an enlightened regard nay, even the purity of the upper is preserved for self-interest, nor by abstract pity for suf- and transmitted. Let us not, then, be too fering, nor even by the sacred passion of much shocked by “offences.” Peace to the patriotism, but by the Christian zeal and world because of offences, for it must needs be Christian devotion of minds haunted by the that offences come. declaration of their Master, that it was not So speaks, or thinks, the spirit of the the will of His Father and theirs that one world. But, oh! how different the tone of His little ones should perish.
of the spirit of Christ. There is one occaAnd do not imagine, Christian friends, sion, only one, recorded on which Jesus that what was with these good men and rejoiced in spirit
. It was at the thought that women an instinct, is one of the primary things hidden from the wise and prudent had instincts of human nature. It is not so been revealed by the common Father unto The primary instinct of human nature is to babes. Does not this joy of the Saviourlet weakness be sacrificed. In old days of may I venture to say, without irreverence, civilised Paganism, if a new-born child this chivalrous joy ?-help us to measure the seemed weakly, it was exposed and suffered anguish with which that opposite reference to die. As to slaves, we know what were to weakness fell from His lips? “Woe unto the instincts of civilised Paganism as inter- the world because of offences, for it must preted by some of the most exalted intel-needs be that offences come. It is not lects that the world has ever seen. And the will of your Father which is in heaven even now it is the priest and the Levite who that one of these little ones should perish.” represent but too faithfully the primary in Where the world sees necessary waste, stinct of humanity, which takes suffering and Jesus sees the material for rescue. Where degradation for granted, assumes that there the world sees the law of the average, Jesus must be waste and ruin, casts upon the fallen sees the will of the Father. The world sees an eye of criticism more or less curious, more bodies, instruments, servitude : Jesus sees or less indifferent, and then, with some com- souls, personal responsibility, the glorious monplace on the law of averages or the liberty of the children of God. The world struggle for existence, “passes by on the reposes in torpid acquiescence : Jesus is fired other side."
by a holy impatience. The world says, “ It must needs be that offences come." " Væ victis. No hope for the mass of the The weak and the unsuspecting must trip, miserable ones;” Jesus says, “See that ye * Preached in Westminster Abbey.
despise not one of these little ones.”