« PredošláPokračovať »
PRIMA VIVIS IN GLORIA DEI ET
IN PACE XO.
LEVITE CONIVX PETRONIA FORMA PVDORIS
natural desire for the beatitude of the beloved PRESBYTER HIC SITVS EST CELERINVS NOMINE DICTVS the sanctified.
CORPOREOS RVMPENS NEXVS QVI GAVDET IN ASTRIS. one among There is nothing further in this century of
Here has been laid a presbyter, called by the name doctrinal import, nor is there anything that can
Celerinus, who, breaking the bonds of the body, rejoices
in the stars-i.e., in heaven. in the least degree favour the assumptions of
The Christian mourners sorrowed not as those Roman controversialists till the latter part of the
without hope. Their loved ones were not lost, fourth century; but much that is directly opposed
but gone before." In the following, faith exultto Romish doctrine. In the epitaph of a youth twenty-two years of ingly beheld the dear departed with the white
robed multitude before the throne : age, of date A.D. 310, we find the beautiful enphemism for death, ACCERSITUS AB ANGELIS“called away” (literally, sent for)" by angels.” There is no doctrine of purgatory here. The of our Lord Christ.
Prima, thou livest in the glory of God, and in the peace Christian soul, like Lazarus, is borne of angels
LVCIVS DORMIT ET VIVIT to Abraham's bosom, and not, like Dives, to tormenting flames, albeit called of purgatorial efficacy Lucius sleeps and lives in the peace of Christ. to cleanse the pollutions of the flesh. In an epi
In the following the deceased is represented as taph of date A.D. 329 occurs the still nobler comforting the mourners by the thought of the expression,
felicity of the blessed :NATVS EST LAVRENTIVS IN ETERNUM
DORMIT IN PACE. Laurentius was born eternally in the twentieth year of his age. He sleeps in peace.
The primitive Christians had no doubt of the I, Petronia, the wife of a deacon, the type of modesty, immediate happiness of those who died in the lay down my bones in this resting-place. Refrain from
tears, my sweet daughters and husband, and believe that faith. They were incapable of the blasphemous it is forbidden to weep for one who lives in God. thought that the atoning blood of Christ was insufficient to wash away their guilt
, and that, doctrine is the following barbarous example, of
The first inscription at all favourable to Romish therefore, they were doomed to penal fires
date A.D. 380:-
HIC QVIESCIT ANCILLA DEI OVEDE
PRO HVNC VNVM ORA SVBOLEM QVEY SVPERIS peace and rest and happiness. Thus, in addition
TITEM REQVESTI ETERNA REQVIEM FELICITAS CAVSA MANEBIS. to the examples already given, we have, A.D. 338, Here rests a handmaid of God, who out of all her riches BENE QUIESCENTI IN PACE, "resting well in peace;" possesses but this one house; whom her friends bewail and A.D. 348, REQUIEVIT, “entered into rest;" A.D. 353, whom thou hast left behind. Thou wilt remain in the
O pray for this thine only child PAUSABIT, “ will repose;" A.D. 355, QUIESCIT, “he
eternal repose of happiness. rests”-not REQUIESCAT, “may he rest," as the Romanists write, but the joyous assurance of
This yearning cry of an orphaned heart for the present repose in the peace of God; A.D. 359, prayers of a departed mother is, however, but a IVIT AD DEUM,“ he went to God;” A.D. 363, slight support for the stupendous system of the
invocation of the saints; and this example is near SEMPER QUIESCIS SECURA, “thou dost repose for ever free from care;" A.D. 369, vocITUS (sic) IIT
the close of the fourth century, when the primiIN PACE, “ when called (away) he went in peace." tive purity of the faith had already begun to be
Sometimes these pious sentiments are expressed corrupted. But even in the fifth and sixth cenmore fully, as in the following example, in which turies the vast proportion of the inscriptions were the body is represented as
of a highly evangelical character, and were entirely
antagonistic to the most cherished doctrines of the “A worn-out fetter that the soul Had broken and thrown away."
Church of Rome.
SVA OMNIA PEPENDIT DOMVM ISTA
The Christian view of death is always, in strik- freed from the fetters of the body, rejoices among the ing contrast to the sullen resignation or blank stars, nor feels the evil contagion of earthly sense. despair of paganism, full of cheerfulness and Of somewhat similar import is the following:hope. Its rugged front is veiled under softest
HIC REQVIESCIT......QVÆ A DEO INTER EXORDIA VIVENDI synonyms. The grave was considered merely
DE HAC LVCE SVBLATA EST VT IN MELIORE LVMINE VIVERE the temporary resting-place of the body; while the freed spirit was regarded as already rejoicing Here rests......who was snatched away by God in the in the presence of God, in a broader day and very beginning of life from the light (of earth), that she
might be worthy to live in the more glorious light (of brighter light and fairer fields than those of earth.
heaven). The following examples will illustrate the pious
We find also such expressions as the following: orthodoxy of those early Christian epitaphs. In the year A.D. 383 we find the following senti
A.D. 500, SEMPER FIDES MAISIBET (mansebit) APUD ment:
DEUM, ever faithful he shall remain with God;"
LOTICUS HIC AD DORMIENDUM, “Loticus laid here ABIIT ETHERIAH CVPIENS CÆLI CONSCENDERE LVCEM.
to sleep;" QUIESCIT IN DOMINO JESU, "he reposes She departed, desiring to ascend to the ethereal light of
in the Lord Jesus;" IVIT AD DEUM," he went to heaven.
God;" CORPUS HABET TELLUS ANIMAM CÆLESTIA In A.D. 393 we read:
REGNA, “the earth possesses the body, but celestial
realms the soul;" MENS NESCIA MORTIS VIVIT ET EVTVCHIVS, SAPIENS, PIVS, BENIGNVS
ASPECTU FRUITUR BENE CONSCIA CHRISTI, “the IN CHRISTUM CREDENS PREMIA LVCIS ABET (sic).
soul lives unknowing of death, and consciously Eutuchius, wise, pious, and kind, believing in Christ
rejoices in the vision of Christ;" SALONICE ISPIRIentered the portals of death, and has the rewards of the light (of heaven).
TUS TUIS IN BONIS, “Salonica, thy spirit is in
bliss." A martyr's triumph over death is exOf the same year is the following:
pressed in the lines: “Paulus was put to death DVLCIS ET INNOCES (sic) HIC DORMIT SEVERIANVS IN in tortures in order that he might live in eternal SOMNO PACIS
peace.” In the following we read the language of CVIVS SPIRITVS IN LICE DOMINI SVSCEPTVS EST.
a mother's affection struggling with her tears : Here sleeps in the sleep of peace the sweet and innocent Severianus, whose spirit is received into the light of God. In an epitaph of date A.D. 399 occurs the senti
QVAM STAVILIS EST TVI HÆC VITA EST... ment
LIZINIA MORTIS ADIET
MAOVS PVER INNOCENS
COMPREMATVR PECTORVI GEMITVS
STRVATVR FLETVS OOVLORVM.
NEC REOR HVNC LACRILIS FAS SIT DEFLERE
Macus, innocent boy, thou hast already begun to be CORPORIS EXVTVS VINCLIS QVI GAVDET IN ASTRIS
among the innocent. Unto thee how sure is thy present NEC MALA TERRENI SENSIT CONTAGIA SEXSVS.
life......Hushed be this bosom's groaning! Dried be theseNor do I think it right to lament with tears him who, weeping eyes !
(To be concluded next month.)
WHAT TO ADMIRE; AND HOW TO DO IT.
OTHING serves to reveal a man's character but, like everything else which goes to make up the
more clearly than his admiration does. complex unity called man, this universal tendency to Whenever we discover what it is that a admire may be abused as well as wisely yielded to; and,
admires, and what are his reasons according to our use or abuse of it, will it help to elevate for admiring it, we have got most of the information or to degrade our characters. needed to complete a diagnosis of his moral and mental Admiration must not be regarded as being merely characteristics.
the gratification of a taste. The most important moral: Every one of us admires; and in doing so we yield to principles are involved in every exercise of it. Whena natural and powerful impulse. This impulse has, ever we admire a quality in another, our admiration donbtless, been implanted in us for the wisest purpose ; I goes to intensify, in its possessor, the quality admired.. Besides this, our admiration of any quality helps, in one, as to go even to John the Baptist ? However, these some degree, to form a sort of public feeling in its scrupulous tithers of the mint and anise generally relax favour; and in this way each of us exercises his own in- their favourite rule, when it threatens to hinder any fluence in educating, happily or unhappily, the popular one from offering to themselves a few grains of the idolajudgment. But however much, or little, our admiration trous incense. may influence others, it never fails to affect our own Pride cannot stoop to admire others; it prefers to characters most seriously. Our moral natures appro- criticise. How can it admire, when to do so implies priate and assimilate the quality which we admire in generally some inferiority in the admirer ? In its right others; and, though we may be unconscious of it, the place, the admiration of a good thing is the dutiful admiration serves to make us like the person whom we homage which a good nian pays to a goodness confessadmire. In this way, there are few means of moral edly superior to his own. But how can pride prefer education which are so potent as admiration ; and the this lowly place ? Not a few, though they lack the judicious Christian parent will take care to keep the candour, seem to be of the opinion of old Kiskanah, a minds of his youthful charge well supplied with proper North American Indian, who said, "It is very strange objects.
that I never meet with any man so sensible as myself.” We need never be in want of objects to admire. God This remark is paralleled by a similar one from the is the One Great Object of our highest worship; and his opposite pole of social life. The late Margaret Fuller works are to be sought out that we may delightedly Ossoli once said: “I know all the people worth knowing admire them, and worship him through our devout in America, and I find no intellect comparable to my admiration of them. And God's Word is quite as full own." Whatever might be the profundity of Kiskanal's of marvels as God's world is. If the geologist has not judgment, or the grandeur of Signora Ossoli's intellect, yet exhausted the wonders of the earth, nor the astrono- many would decline the possession of them if it entailed mer" the wonders of the sky, as little has Christian the compensating drawback of the accompanying selfresearch discovered all the priceless secrets of the Bible. conceit. And God is also to be traced and admired in his ador- Admiration, to be truly useful, needs to be both conable providence. The life of each of us is full of its trolled and educated. To receive the full benefit of it, wonders; and, next to the blessed Bible, the book which and to exercise all its influence judiciously, we need to may be most profitably conned by the thoughtful Chris- be taught both what to admire, and how to do it. Our tian is the record of the Lord's dealings with his indi- admiration, at first, is always immature and injudicious. vidual self, as he will find it written on the tablets of Those of us who have advanced any length through life, his own memory. And, besides all these, there are the can, on looking back over past progress, see that we have wonders of grace, the workings of the divine Spirit in passed through stages of admiration, corresponding to the lives of Christian men. Every holy thought, every our own stages of mental and nioral development. When loving act, every consecrated life is the fruit of his we were children we could do no other than admire as gracious operation. To the anointed eye, the world children; but happy are they who, in regard to the everywhere and Christian life in all its phases are full highest objects, have reached a stage where as men they of God; and if he be a God that seems to hide himself, have put away childish things. it is to excite our search that we may discover and Pascal, in his “Thoughts," speaks of three different admire his works; and if our search be honest, however kinds of glory, each of which has its own circle of devout in perfect, it cannot fail to be rewarded.
admirers. There is, first, the outward and visible splenThere are a few who formally, and in so many words, dour of this world's glory, the pomp of courts, “the refuse to admire anyone. They profess to think that buckram and prunello" which play so prominent a part such admiration is a sort of idolatry of the creature. on the stage of life. There are many who admire glitter But for all their grand professions, these apparent excep- of this sort; but their admiration shows them to be in tions to the rule turn out, when looked at, to be no moral and intellectual childhood. Infinitely above this, exceptions at all. They du quite as much in the way of as Pascal states it, lies the realm of intellectual grandeur, admiration as their neighbours ; only, in their case, ad- the glories of which are utterly invisible to the thoughtmiration, like charity in the proverb, always begins at less crowd who admire the tinsel of the other. Inhome; while, unlike genuine charity, it always ends at finitely above this second region, again, lies a third home as well. It is from mere pride and envy that they world, the realm of divine love; which is as completely are so morbidly afraid of the sin of a moderate admira- hidden from the keen eye of intellect as it is from the. tion. Humble love is never afflicted by any of these
Only the pure in heart can behold green-eyed fancies. Of course, it is quite possible that its glories, for they alone can see God. This is the kinga man, admiring the human instrument, may, like the dom of holiness, in which Christ is King; the splendours Jews in the days of our Lord, make an idol of it, while of which are as much superior to the highest triumphs He to whom all the glory is due may be overlooked, of intellect, as these are superior to the glitter and This is bad; but is it any better when self-conceit, crav- parade which are the delight of the foolish. Let the ing for an idol, cannot travel so far from home to find Christian seek to educate himself into an increasing capacity for enjoying the beauties of this loftiest region; | in India which for long enjoyed the reputation of being and when he is able to find his sweetest pleasures here, interminable. Tradition told of an adventurous Rajah, he shall have little admiration to raste on things that who had set out to explore its unknown depths, and who cannot be admired, without lowering in some degree the took with him one hundred thousand torch-bearers and character of the admirer.
idle gaze of sense.
one hundred thousand measures of oil; but he and his An incident in the life of Telford sets before us an company were lost for ever in the immense chasm. Now illustration of two kinds of admiration, the childish and the cavern has been lately explored, and has been found the more judicious; though neither of the two has to be smaller than one of our ordinary city churches ! respect to the highest objects. When Telford under-Perhaps it is to the working of this principle in rude and took to hang his suspension bridge across the Menai ignorant ages that we owe in part the origin of polyStrait, he made one of the most daring attempts which theism. The popular hero, first immensely admired, the bloodless heroism of peace had ever proposed. So and then as a consequence, having his admirable qualisoon as the first chain had been extended from land to ties greatly exaggerated, passed through succeeding land, a foolhardy cobbler in the neighbourhood crawled stages of admiration and exaggeration, till he who at along the links to the centre. Perching himself uncom- first was the people's hero ended by being made the fortably there, at a considerable height over the ocean, people's god. By all means let us admire; but let our he sat on his dangerous seat until he had sewed a pair judgments be enlightened, and in strictest accordance of shoes; which done, he crawled back along the chain with truth. to terra firma. Here was courage too, though of the We read in the earlier chapters of Genesis that the crudest kind-courage rather in the unsmelted ore than strong rude men before the Flood admired the gigantic. in the metal; and, of course, many of those who wit- The men of renown in that age were all mighty men, nessed the rash and useless feat applauded it in- men of violence, giants. And neither the giants nor mensely, for they could appreciate heroism like this, their admirers have yet become quite extinct. The infinitely better than they could appreciate that of world has still a weakness for giants; and if a man will Telford. The judicious, however, preferred to admire only be gigantic, though it should be in folly or in wickedthe engineer, and to condemn the cobbler.
ness, the world, or at least a large section of it, will In the exercise of admiration, we must not allow put him in her calendar of saints. She despises the ourselves to be carried away by the multitude. There small, or the common-place; but she will permit a nan is a danger of this. A somewhat severe censor of human to be as bad as he pleases, or even to be as good as he weaknesses says: "Such a goose is man, and cackles over pleases, if he will only be either on a scale which is vast plush-velvet grand monarques, and woollen galley- enough to overpower her imagination. The life of the slaves; over everything and over nothing;--and will blessed Saviour, the meekest and lowliest of men, is a cackle with his whole soul merely if others cackle." constant rebuke to the world for its idolatry of the Neither should we be carried away by our own feelings, striking; and so too should the lives of his disciples be. for they will equally mislead us. As little may we In according approbation, the judgment of God and alloy ourselves to be made the dupes of our own imagi- that of fallen sinful man never happen to coincide. nation-a very common case, indeed, in the choice of How could such harmony be expected, when the one objects to admire. It is because they follow imagina- dwelleth in the light, and the other loves the darkness tion that not a few think so enthusiastically of the dis- rather than the light? That which is highly esteemed tant, while they despise the near. They see the blemishes among men is abomination in the sight of God. On the of the object at hand, but fancy has room for free play same brow on which man sets the seal of his highest when it decorates the distant unknown with every con- approval, God never sets his; nay, he not unfrequently ceivable excellence. Omne ignotum pro magnifico places on it the brandmark of his extreme displeasure. sumitur. All that would be needed to disenchant the In his inmost heart, man always prefers some Barabbas idolater, in this case, would be an introduction to his to Jesus; for, to the fleshly eye, the latter has no beauty idol. “'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view" of any kind wherefore he should be desired. Set before might serve for a motto to a good many things.
him a Jacob and an Esau, and he will be almost sure to It is because of this undue activity of imagination in think the latter the lovelier character of the two. It is the ignorant, and because this activity of imagination is remarkable that the Phænician of Greek literature, so necessarily left without control, from their lack of a greatly admired, and, in several respects, apparently so well-cultivated judgment, that, in this class, the faculty admirable, is the very same people of whom the Bible of wonder invariably exaggerates the wonderful quality speaks under the name of Canaanites,—that loathed possessed by any object of their admiration. Forning, and loathsome race whose enormities were such that in this way, an increased estimate of the object admired, their polluted land spued out her filthy inhabitants. they go on to offer it a still more admiring homage- From this extreme divergency of judgment between to wonder more, to exaggerate more, and to admire the holy God and sinful men, as to what is worthy of more, till the furthest limits in this direction are reached, approval, there continually arises a source of much diffiand the poor heart becomes bankrupt. There is a cavel culty, and an occasion of much temptation, to the earnest Christian; while, at the same time, it is of the Of course there are many things even in this evil utmost importance that, in this as well as in other spheres world which, as Christians, we may approvingly recogof duty, the servant of Christ be faithful to his Lord. nise ; nay, which we may not refuse to honour. Not to Since admiration tends to intensify those characteristics speak of moral virtues of every kind--the “whatsoever which are admired, in the person who possesses them, things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsomaking him either the better or the worse for the ad- ever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatmiration bestowed on him ; since it always influences soever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good the popular judgment and feeling in favour of the quali- report”—all of which the Christian will instinctively ties admired; since it invariably affects the moral and approve of, there are also those social distinctions which spiritual character of the person who admires—it is of God has been pleased to institute. All these we ought unspeakable importance that, in according this admira- cheerfully to recognise and honour; but those distinction, the Christian never cease to feel that he is Christ's tions which are merely worldly and conventional, we witness, Christ's servant, and in some respects Christ's may recognise only in so far as we can serve our Lord representative. If he be placed in the circumstances of by our recognition of them. The relationship between an ordinary Christian, it is probable that in no sphere parent and child, between the master and his servant, of life which lies open to him, is his influence for good the ruler and his subject, the wise and the ignorant, the or evil likely to be so powerful, as in this of giving or aged and the young—these are all divinely appointed; withholding his admiration. If silence sanctions, much and the inferior honours God when, in a proper spirit, more does express approval. To most of us, this may he honours the superior whom God has set over his be the chief talent with which we have been intrusted, head. But where, for instance, are we ever charged to in order that we might trade with it; but which we may give any honour, of any kind or degree, to mere wealth, also bury in the earth, or, worse still, may so grievously whether of gold or lands, and this quite independently misuse as actually, by means of it, to comfort the sinner of the use to which the riches may be put? Where has and help the wicked. Admiration, properly looked at, it been appointed to us to reverence the man who, is a lower exercise of precisely the same faculty which, trusted with gifts of intellect, profanes them to the in its highest exercise, becomes worship; and just as a most mournful uses? If the rich man be a father, by consistent Protestant, in a Romanist country, would not all means let his children honour him; if he be a masuncover his head before the Host in the streets, even ter, let his servants honour him ; if he be a magistrate, though all around him be kneeling in worship, so let his office be honoured in the honour paid to its occuneither may the devout Christian admire, though the pant; if he be learned, let him be honoured for his world around him be worshipping its idol, and be clam-learning; if good, for his goodness; but on no account ouring angrily on him to join it in the homage; unless, let him receive admiration or reverence because of his indeed, he can offer his admiration in his capacity of a mere possession of wealth. The rule is, “Honour all hearty Christian.
men;" and the rich man is always entitled to his share Alas ! how much forgetfulness of duty and unfaith of the respect which is to be given to every human being; fulness to trust prevail on this subject. How can two but let no additional reverence be shown to him simply walk together in their appreciation of common objects because he happens to be the unfaithful steward over so of admiration, enjoying heartily each other's fellowship, many bags of money. John Baptist did not so accord unless they be agreed in their estimate of the thing his admiration, nor did Paul, nor did Christ. It is not admired ? and how can there be such enjoyable unani- meant to insinuate by these remarks that a lively Chrismity between earnest Christians and the Christless tian will be in any danger whatever of giving honour to world? What is it that they have in common to ad- mere wealth by itself, say, in the hands of a wealthy mire ? On niost leading subjects of interest, they have scoundrel ; but it is more than insinuated that many scarcely a whit more in common than an earnest Pro-worthy Christians are in danger of unconsciously accordtestant and a zealous Romanist have, when they meet ing to wealth a certain amount of consideration, when the Host in the streets.
they measure out the various degrees of respect which fall If the early saints, in the fervour of their first love, to be bestowed on honoured brethren. The same good were a little too vehement in the eagerness with which man will not always receive the same regard because of they turned aside from an evil world—a world between his moral and spiritual worth alone, which he would have which and themselves they felt that God's own hand received, if, in addition to the moral and spiritual worth, had planted the impassable barrier of that primeval he had also possessed half a million of money. enmity which for centuries had lain between the two In so speaking, we do not mean to affirm that the seeds of Genesis iii.-we, on our part, are little tempted consideration of a man's earthly riches can have no place to make the same mistake. Our peculiar danger lies in whatever in helping us to form a proper estimate of the the opposite direction. We fail to declare with suffi- honour which we ought to accord to him. For several cient clearness that our sympathies, our expectations, reasons it certainly ought to be considered ; and perour interests, our admirations, are all necessarily differ- haps chiefly for this, that the employment to which a ent from those of a world lying hitherto in wickedness. man puts his wealth will affect most materially our view