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DIALOGUES, ORATIONS, NARRATIVE PIECES, ETC.
THE WIDOW OF NAIN.
The Roman sentinel stood helm'd and tall
Beside the gate of Nain. The busy tread
Of comers to the city mart was done,
For it was almost noon, and a dead heat
Quivered upon the fine and sleeping dust.
A silent train came on,
Bearing a body heavily on its bier ;-
And—by the crowd that in the burning sun
Walk'd with forgetful sadness—’twas of one
Mourn’d with uncommon sorrow. The broad gate
Swung on its hinges, and the Roman bent
His spear-point downwards as the bearers pass'd,
Bending beneath their burden. There was one-
Only one mourner. Close behind the bier,
Crumpling the pall up in her withered hands,
Follow'd an aged woman. Her short steps
Faltered with weakness, and a broken moan
Fell from her lips, thicken'd convulsively
As her heart bled afresh. The pitying crowd
Followed apart, but no one spoke to her.
She had no kinsman. He was her all-
The only tie she had in the wide world-
He who was dead. They could not comfort her.
Jesus drew near to Nain, as from the gate
The funeral came forth. He had travelled
Since sunrise from Capernaum; staying not
To wet his lips by green Bethsaida's pool,
Nor wash his feet in Kishon's silver springs.
Forth from the city gate the pitying crowd
Follow'd the stricken mourner. They came near
The place of burial, and—with straining hands
Closer upon her breast clasping the pall,—
She came where Jesus stood beside the way.
He look'd upon her, and his heart was moved.
“ Weep not!” he said ; then as they stay'd the bier
And at his bidding laiú it at his feet,
He gently drew the pall from out her grasp,
And turn’d it o’er, in silence, from the dead.
With troubled wonder the mute throng drew near,
And gazed on his calm looks. A minute's space
He stood and pray’d. Then taking the cold hand,
He said, “ Arise ! Instantly the boy's breast
Heav'd in its cerements, and a sudden flush
Ran through the lines of his divided lips;
Then with a murmur of his mother's name
He trembled and sat upright in his shroud;
And—while the mourner hung upon his neck,-
Jesus went calmly on his way to Nain.
N. P. WILLIS.-Adap.
RELIGION, PRACTICAL MORALITY, AND
ANALOGY OF NATURE AND THE BIBLE. In the miscellaneousness of the Bible we may trace the Hand of God,-his wonted method of teaching, -the publication of the word that reaches to the ends of the world. Not with square and compasses of man's device has God built the earth and meted out the heavens. His creation is broken at every point,-here a sheltered valley, there a profound abyss on one side of a mountain, whose summit is in the clouds, whilst on the other there is a leaping cataract;-off in the distance the waves lift up their voice, while in the depths above, the stars move in separate paths, and shine with different degrees of glory. And when I look into the Bible, I behold there the same sublime diversity ;-on one leaf there are as it were, pastures clothed with flocks, and valleys covered over with luxuriant corn ;-on the next leaf, heights and depths, in which are such hidings of God's purposes, that the loftiest faculties of successive generations are baffled. I follow the Saviour into quiet home scenes where kind and familiar words flow from his holy lips ;-go up with him to the mountain where the brightness of heaven glows from his face, and then look at the dread mystery of Gethsemane – the fearful agony and angelic succour. For this blending in the record the genially human with the ineffably divine -the unapproachably awful-I am the more ready to trace the image of the God whom in part we know as we do a brother, and yet who dwells in light inaccessible, and full of glory too dazzling for mortal eyes.
ISAIAH, CHAPTER XL.* Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God: Speak ye animating words to Jerusalem, and declare unto her That her warfare is fulfilled; that the expiation of her iniquity is
accepted; That she shall receive at the hand of Jehovah (Blessings) double to the punishment of all her sins. A voice crieth: In the wilderness prepare ye the way of Jehovah ! Make straight in the desert a highway for our God ! Every valley shall be exalted, every mountain and hill be brought low; The crooked shall become straight, and the rough places a smooth
* Bishop Lowth's translation.
The glory of Jehovah shall be revealed;
And all Xesh shall see together the salvation of our God :
For the mouth of Jehovah hath spoken it.
A voice sayeth : Proclaim ! And I said, What shall I proclaim ?
All flesh is grass, and all its glory like the flower of the field :
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth;
But the word of our God shall stand for ever.
Get thee up upon a high mountain, O daughter that bringest glad
tidings to Zion: Exalt thy voice with strength, O daughter that bringest glad
tidings to Jerusalem. Exalt it; be not afraid : Say to the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Behold the Lord Jehovah shall come against the strong one, And his arm shall prevail over him: Behold, his reward is with him, and the recompense of his work
before him. Like a shepherd shall he feed his flock; In his arm shall he gather up the lambs. Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand; And hath meted out the heavens by his span; And hath weighed in scales the mountains, and the hills in a balance ? Who hath directed the spirit of Jehovah; And, as one of his council, hath informed him? Behold, the nations are as a drop from the bucket, As the small dust of the balance shall they be accounted : Behold, the islands he taketh up as an atom ; And Lebanon is not sufficient for the fire; Nor his beasts sufficient for the burnt-offering. All the nations are as nothing before him.
To whom therefore will ye liken God?
And what is the model of resemblance that ye will prepare for him?
It is He that rideth on the circle of the earth;
And the inhabitants are to him as grasshoppers :
That extendeth the heavens as a thin veil;
And spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in :
To whom then will ye liken me?
And to whom shall Î be equalled ? saith the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes on high;
And see who hath created these.
He draweth forth their armies by number;
He calleth them all by name:
Through the greatness of his strength, and the mightiness of his
Not one of them faileth to appear.
He giveth strength to the faint,
And to the infirm he multiplieth force.
The young men shall faint and be wearied
But they that trust in Jehovah shall gather new strength;
They shall march onward, and not faint.
JOB, CHAPTER XXXVIII. Canst thou bind the chain of Pleiades, Or loose the bands of Orion ? Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? Or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons ? Knowest thou the ordinances of the heavens? Canst thou establish a dominion even over the earth ? Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, That abundance of waters may cover thee? Canst thou send lightnings, and will they go, And say unto thee, Here we are ? Who hath put wisdom in the tempest? Or who hath given intelligence to the thunder storm? Who can number the clouds in wisdom? Or who can cause the bottles of the heavens to empty themselves, When the dust groweth into hardness, And the clods cleave fast together ? Hast thou given the horse strength ? Hast thou clothed his neck with thunder ? Canst thou make him leap as a grasshopper? He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength : He goeth on to meet the armed man, Neither turneth he back from the sword. The quiver rattleth against him, The glittering spear and the shield; At the blast of the trumpets he saith, Aha! And he smelleth the battle afar off, The thunder of the captains, and the shouting.
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
O Lord my God, thou art very great,
Thou art clothed with honour and majesty.
Who coverest thyself with light as a garment:
Who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain :
Who layest the beams of thy chambers in the waters :
Who makest the clouds thy chariot:
Who walkest upon the wings of the wind :
Who makest thine angels spirits :
And thy ministers a flaming fire.
Who laidest the foundations of the earth,
That it should not be removed for ever.
Thou coverest it with the deep as with a garment:
The waters stood above the mountains :
At thy rebuke they fled;
At the voice of thy thunder they hastened away.
They go up by the mountains, they go down by the valleys,
Unto the places which thou hast founded for them;
Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over :
That they turn not again to cover the earth.
Thou sendest the springs into the valleys,
Which run among the hills.
They give drink to every beast of the field :
By them shall the birds of the heavens have their habitation;
Thou waterest the hills from thy chambers :
The earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works.
Thou causest the grass to grow for the cattle,
And herb for the service man :
Thou bringest forth food out of the earth,
And bread which strengtheneth the heart of man.
The trees of the Lord are full of sap;
The cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted,
Where the birds make their nests.
The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats,
And the rocks for the conies.
Thou appointest the moon for seasons :
The sun knoweth its going down.
Thou makest darkness, and it is night:
Wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep forth,
The young lions roar after their prey,
And seek their food from God.
The sun ariseth, they gather themselves together,
And lay them down in their dens.
Man goeth forth unto his work
And to his labour until the evening.
O Lord how manifold are thy works !
In wisdom hast thou made them all :
The earth is full of thy riches :
So is this great and wide sea,
Wherein are things creeping innumerable,
Both small and great beasts.
There go the ships:
There is that leviathan, which thou hast made to play therein.
These wait all upon thee;
That thou mayest give them their food in due season.
What thou givest them they gather:
Thou openest thy hand, they are filled with good.
Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled :
Thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.
Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created :
And thou renewest the face of the earth.
The glory of the Lord shall endure for ever :
The Lord shall rejoice in his works.
He looketh on the earth, and it trembleth:
He toucheth the hills, and they smoke.
I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live:
My meditations of him shall be sweet.