« PredošláPokračovať »
largely to attract the attention and stimulate the thoughts of devout and inquiring men everywhere. Then, moreover, the Hebrew Bible had been translated into the Greek language, and that Greek version of the Scriptures—in a tongue almost universal among the educated classes-brought the truth of God within reach of all thoughtful and intelligent men. An earlier convert than Cornelius —the Ethiopian eunuch-was reading his copy of the Septuagint -the Greek version of the Scriptures-on his way home from Jerusalem to Africa. Great numbers, we know, had been so influenced by contact with Jewish people and by reading the Jewish Scriptures that they had become, like the minister of Queen Candace, proselytes to the Jewish religion; and in all probability there were even larger numbers who, though they had not taken the decisive step of formally embracing the Jewish religion by submitting to its rites and ceremonies, had become so far enlightened that they had abandoned gross idolatry, and, with more or less sincerity and earnestness, were worshiping the one true God who made the heavens and the earth.
Of this class of people Cornelius stands out as a fine type. That he had read the Old Testament Scriptures and become familiar with their teaching there cannot be the least doubt. And it is very interesting to notice how clearly and fully he had grasped their essential and fundamental truths. When on one occasion a lawyer came to our Lord Jesus Christ with the question, “ Master, which is the great commandment of the law ? " our Lord gave this answer, “ Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. And the second is like unto it: thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Is there not, to say the very least, a remarkable coincidence between this profound teaching of Christ and the character of Cornelius as pourtrayed by the historian ? The two great commandments on which our Lord declared " hang all the law and the prophets,” were precisely those which had guided the life of the Roman officer. It is true he had not risen to the height of the Saviour's words. We are not told that he “loved” God-he did not yet know enough about Him for that—but he “ feared” God, and was in constant in fellowship with Him, and gave at least one clear expression of the fact that he loved his neighbour," he gave much alms." He had grasped, if not in all their fulness, yet in very large measure, the two great principles of practical religion : his duty towards God, and his duty towards his neighbour; he was a man of prayer and of benevolence. And it should be remembered that this pourtraiture is given not only by the historian, it was ratified in heaven; for the angel who appeared to him said, " Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God." This clear perception of the real nature of religion is all the more noteworthy from the fact that large numbers of the Jews themselves who read the Scriptures constantly failed to see it. They were supremely zealous for the lesser things of the lawmthe rites and ceremonies, the fasts and observances—but the weightier matters, love to God and to men, were too often forgotten. This centurion reminds us of that other of whom we read in the Gospels, of whom the people said, “He loveth our nation and hath built us a synagogue,” and upon whom our Lord pronounced the high eulogium, “I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel."
To this man, then, evidently seeking after truth, and as evidently living up to the truth he already possessed, there came a Divine intimation of higher blessing and clearer light yet in store. The Lord had heard his prayers, and for him a way was prepared by which he might enter into the fulness of Divine light and love in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Like Saul of Tarsus, he had been serving God up to the measure of light he had received, and that sincere service had kept his mind and heart open to receive the further and clearer truth that God might send him; and, in a manner which he could never have anticipated, the means were pointed out by which he could obtain the larger knowledge for which his soul was thirsting. “Send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter : he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.” The intimation of the angel became at once a blessed assurance that he had not prayed in vain, or served God for nought, and that henceforth a clearer and more certain light would shine upon his heart. He stands at this stage of the story as a great example of the truth uttered by Jesus Christ : “Every one that asketh receiveth ; and he that seeketh findeth ; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”
BOSS AND HIS SECRET.
FOR THE YOUNG. Now Boss was a little ragged, the same business as himself had homeless urchin, who picked up long since dubbed this little fellow his living in odd ways in one of our Boss, because he was so dignified great cities, and lived poorly enough and important in spite of his rags. too.
The child had but one earthly He was apparently about nine friend, and that was a little girl, years old, and wore a rimless hat, Bet by name, who had swept the the remains of a jacket, and per- crossings, but who for weeks had haps as much as half of a pair of been sick from want of food and pants. His face had a pinched, from exposure. Bet had a drunken starved expression, and his dark mother, and Boss said “he was eyes were always full of wistfulness, glad he never had none, for a feller as if saying, “I'm so hungry, so was better off without such a hungry, for their owner seldom relative." had a full meal.
| Boss was kind, and every spare The other urchins who followed penny went to Bet, either in the shape of a cake or fruit; and she the doorway to meditate. Some one daily listened for her friend's step ought to prevent the robbery, and on the old creaking stairs that led Boss felt fully competent to do it. to their miserable room, for he He resolved to tell of it, but who brought a ray of sunshine with him should he tell? The policemen that often brightened the poor old were not his friends, and he place vastly. The sick child, full of chuckled at his own importance, gratitude, said she would mend and concluded to walk to B-Street, her boy friend's clothes if they and if possible tell the master of were not too ragged to hold patches. No. 43 of his danger. This was a
“Oh, never mind,” cried Boss, long walk, two miles in length; and “ I'm used to rags. I'd feel queer though the street cars rumbled by, without 'em.”
even at that early hour, he didn't But all the while his boyish give them a thought, for he never heart was longing for comfortable had pennies to pay for a ride. food and clothes, and above all for the poor child' knew but little friends to love and care for him. about right and wrong, but it
What I am about to relate oc- seemed to him a grand thing to curred in early summer, when Bet be able to prevent the robbery, and was ill and Boss despondent. The strutted off whistling just for
One night our young hero lay company's sake. down in the shadow of a doorway, It was early still when he reached and there went to sleep for the the dwelling in question, but he sat night, for he was used to sleeping down upon the broad stone step here or there or anywhere; he nearest the pavement, and with his slept soundly till just before the little hard brown hand he waited dawning, and then suddenly woke until the front door opened, and up to find that two men were then he sprang up eager to do his holding a conversation so close to errand. him that he could easily have Within the door he saw a fair, touched them; and what they said sweet-looking lady, holding in her caused him to strain his ears to arms an infant child, while before listen, that he might not lose a her stood a tall man, valise in hand, word, and he soon discovered that taking leave of the pair. Tenderly they were planning a robbery. kissing both, he said, “ Nell, don't
As they were about to part, one be lonely; you'll have Harry for said to the other, “Now, Bob, be company, and I will be at home toquick, for the perlice will be on us. morrow;” and he ran down the Which house is it?”
steps, and the door softly closed 6 Once more must I tell you? It's again. 43, B— Street; brown stone front; " Whew! how purty them 'ere master away to-night; jewellery, is !” murmured Boss, for the moplate, and money."
ment forgetting his errand; but “Easy to get in? You know I'm quickly recollecting himself, he ran new at the business."
after the gentleman, and catching “ Trust me for that." And the him by the coat, cried, “Do stop man walked away, while his a moment, sir!" companion went in the opposite This gentleman, Mr. Carr, was a direction.
kind man enough, but had no time “ Whew!" whistled our street to lose with beggars; so he turned Arab; "here's a secret let out; and sharply, and grasping his would-be they didn't see me at all.” And he friend by the shoulder, exclaimed, rose up, and then seated himself in “ What do you mean by detaining
me? If you are hungry, they will after began to relent. “What made feed you at the house." And he the loikes of me shake the poor hurried on, vexed at the urchin's little skinny bunch ? and I'll away impudence.
to the strate and see if I shaked Boss, not daring to fellow him, him to paices!” And she threw went back to the step rather aside her broom and went to look crestfallen. “I'll try once more,” after Boss, and found him sitting thought he, "just 'cause that lovely on the stones and sobbing as if lady and her sweet baby live there.” heartbroken. So he went round to the kitchen, “What's the matter wid ye?" but ere he could knock at the door she exclaimed, as kindly as her it was opened and a piece of bread rough voice would permit. was thrust into his hand, and “I want to see her what held Bridget, for it was she, disappeared the baby in the door." again so quickly that he could not “Want to see me blissed lady? speak to her at all.
Hooly Moses! Ye's might as well He went to the back step, and ax to see the Pope himsilf! Why, sat sorrowfully down to eat the me lady couldn't look at ye wid food which he so much needed, your rags!”. And the girl was and to think over the matter more hastening away, when the lady in fully; and came to the conclusion question looked from a window, at length that the front entrance and said, “Bring the child to me, was the right place to gain a Bridget. I want to see him." hearing. So he carefully wiped “Come on, then, Bunch!” And away the crumbs from his mouth the girl led the way into the hall, when the bread was finished, and and from thence into the room then mounted the steps and rang where the lady, Mrs. Carr, was the bell, which brought the same sitting. red-faced girl to the door to answer “What's your name, little boy ? " the summons that had given him she asked, as the poor child entered the food.
her presence. “ Whew! wasn't she mad, “ Boss," was the simple reply. though!” said poor little Boss, “But what is your real name, when he found himself safe upon child ?" the pavement after the vigorous "I haven't any real name. I'm shaking Bridget had given him ; only Boss, that's all." and not daring to sit upon the steps “I heard you say you wanted to again, he seated himself upon the see me. What can I do for you, stones at their foot, and cried with poor boy?”. grief and disappointment. “Oh “Let me tell you the secret, dear, dear! poor me, I can't tell | lady, for I have waited so long to the secret, and I never had one tell it that I'm well-nigh bu'stin' I before !” he sobbed out. “Oh, oh! am.” And the tears rolled down the I'm only a bunch of rags, that's thin cheeks again. what she said ; there hain't rags “The secret! what secret can nor nothing else inside of me, for you have that concerns me?" I'm so hungry most times I wish asked Mrs. Carr, with a smile. there was ;” and he cried on, and "Well, it's for you and for that wiped his poor little face with his chap too,” and Boss pointed to the remnant of a sleeve.
crowing baby, who lay on the sofa, The maid of the kitchen had playing with his rattle. gone back to her work vexed "I am afraid he won't appreciate enough at the first, but she shortly your secrets unless they are pretty
closely connected with something/ Mrs. Carr persisted in keeping to eat," said the mother, as she him until her husband's return, and smiled at her treasure ; “neverthe- the child was willing only for Bet; less, tell us what it is, my boy,” and when that objection was stated she added, kindly.
Bridget was bribed into going with The secret was soon disclosed now, a basket of good things to the sick and triumphant Boss stood with girl, and Boss stayed with his new red cheeks and bright eyes when friends. We say friends, for the all was said, watching the effect. baby fancied him greatly, and when
“Why, my poor child, perhaps the little crowing creature was you have saved our lives !” ex- placed in the poor boy's arms both claimed Mrs. Carr; and she sum- children were delighted. moned Bridget, and bade her take A few words more and the story the boy to the kitchen and give is done. The robbery was prevented, him a hearty meal; and when and when on Mr. Carr's return his that order had been obeyed, she wife told him all, and proposed to sent Boss to the station with a keep the boy for the present, he letter to the captain of the police, readily consented, and the child and told him to return as soon as almost few into raptures of joy, possible, and he should be better and would have quite done so but clad. The child hardly believed for poor Bet. “ What will be the promise, but when he came done with her now?” he asked of back with the errand all done, he Mrs. Carr. And that kind lady found the lady with hat on and satisfied him wholly, for she had ready to go out. And then he was Bet removed to a hospital, and taken to two or three different promised to provide further for her shops, and at length came forth all when she was well. neatly dressed, and looking like Boss was a good boy, and when another boy, a cared-for one; and at the end of six months he was Mrs. Carr, proud of her work, led legally adopted by Mr. Carr, and him back to the house and asked named Gilbert Carr, his fosterBridget's opinion regarding his looks. parents thanked God who had led
“Indade, and he's han’some, little Boss to their door through his barrin' the want of flesh,"answered / great secret. Bridget, earnestly.
A NEW YEAR'S WORD TO SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHERS.
BY THE REV. C. M. BIRRELL. You are starting afresh on your difficult but delightful work. It is the work of Christ, and when done for His sake you may safely look to Him for a blessing both on yourselves and on your youthful charge. Let us reflect that in a group of young persons we have before us, a number of minds of the most delicate structure, demanding wise and careful treatment. Each one has a heart, an understanding, and a conscience.
The heart is the readiest door into a child's nature. It is opened