Sayfadaki görseller
[ocr errors]

“ Yet once more, before I finally deliver this cup into your hands, never again myself to partake of the like refreshment upon earth; since what I now say to you are almost the last words that I shall utter, the declaration of my mind at such a time, my orders, injunctions now, ought to have a peculiar weight; they are my dying will and testament! This cup is the new testament' sealed ' in my blood;' take it, to shew that you lay claim to the benefit of my bequests, and appertain to the household and family of the testator.

“ You must continue this rite among yourselves hereafter, when I am gone from you, and deliver it down to be observed to the end of the world. It is so small a request, that I cannot think

any of those who become my disciples will refuse to comply with it.

“If I had required you to come together from all parts to the very place of my death, and there shew

your remembrance of me by painful fastings or costly sacrifices, I had but copied after the example of former institutions. The whole nation almost of the Jews is even now, you see, assembled here at Jerusalem to keep the passover. And this is but one of the three festivals to be kept all at this place. The easier I make my commands to you the more punctual you will be in the observance of them.

To you I give my peace. Not as the world giveth,' in compliment only, and without either meaning or consequence; I speak with authority. I am still that Word by which the worlds were made. My peace is the pardon of your sins, courage and consolation under all troubles, and everlasting salvation.

“ Farewell: I cannot talk more with you. All things are now ready. I am expected by him that betrayeth me; and I go to meet him, and to deliver myself into his hands. The testament which I have declared, the new covenant which I establish, the atonement which I have undertaken, are now to

[blocks in formation]

be completed and ratified, according to the appointment of Almighty God, by me in my own blood. Father, I come; to do thy will; to fulfil thy word; to bear thy wrath; to be the sacrifice for the world—a willing sacrifice for a world of sinners.

“Not that I am insensible of what is approaching; I see it in all its terrors. And if the bitter cup might pass from me! Alas! for this very cause came I into the world. Heavenly Father, let thy will be done. Hitherto I have in all things done thy will. I prepare now to suffer in obedience to it. And, oh! if anything that I have ever done, if all that I now suffer, avail in thy sight; if thou hast ever loved me, or wilt grant anything at my request, Father, have mercy on the poor race of men. Pity their blindness, pardon their folly, lay all their iniquities upon my head.

“ Thus redeemed, they shall give thanks unto thee for endless ages; they shall be translated from earth to heaven; and join with those holy angels which never sinned, in celebrating thy praises, and performing thy pleasure to all eternity."


One of our most amusing biographies is Burdy's “Life of the Rev. Philip Skelton.” A native of Derriaghy, near Lisburn, where he was born February 1707, he passed through a ministry of sixty years, and a life of more than eighty, devout, pugilistic, tender-hearted, plying his parishioners with fisticuffs or the gospel, as the case required—a model of the old-fashioned Irish minister. His sermons are, like himself, coarse and colossal, and through the lava-crust of a style eccentric and caustic, they let out fine bursts of human tenderness and evangelical fervour. He died May 4, 1787. Our extract is from a sermon entitled, “How to be happy, though married.” He himself was a bachelor.



Matrimonial Counsel. Since you are not one, but two, give me leave to remind you of a few things separately, and you first who are the husband.

You should never forget, that your wife hath put her person, together with her fortune, into your hands, as into those of the man she loved best, and confided most in; and that she did this, in a pleasing expectation of finding in you a generous and strenuous protector against all ill treatment from others, and all the distresses and troubles, which a man is better able to repel than a woman. To your stronger arms and more courageous bosom her feebler nature hath fled for refuge in the bustle of a crowded and boisterous world, through which she knew not how otherwise to make her way. How base, how unmanly a breach of trust would it be in you, to treat her with coldness, contempt, or cruelty? to become her chief oppressor ? and to force from her broken heart the melancholy wish, to be again where you found her, exposed alone to a world, hard indeed and deceitful, but less insensible and treacherous than you ? It is true, she is not without faults; and who is ? Are you? But is she to be broke off those by methods fit only to be taken with a beast? Have you no pity for her weakness; you who must be lost for ever, if infinite pity is not afforded to your own ? It is the property of a coward only to use any woman ill ; of a treacherous and cruel coward to use that woman ill, who hath no protector under heaven but you; and to whom you made the warmest protestations before, and the most solemn vows at, your marriage, of love as lasting as your life. What man in the world would hurt a dove or sparrow, though but a brute, to which he had neither offered nor promised protection, if it should fly to his breast from the talons of a hawk ? But if you will not hear me, hear the word of God, to you and to all married men; “Ye husbands, dwell with your wives according to knowledge,



giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the Church ;" for which He thought it not too much to give His life.

“ So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself ; for nọ man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the Church.” Take notice that you are here (without any condition of proper behaviour on the part of your wife), forbidden to treat her with bitterness, and commanded to shew her that love which Christ hath for His Church, and you have for yourself, and to do her honour. Nay, you are “ to see that you love your wife even as yourself,” though she should be not a hair less infirm and faulty than yourself.

On the other hand, you who are a woman, and married, should never forget you are either. You should, at all times, and in every instance, bear in mind that, as a woman, gentleness and pliancy to everything but vice is your distinguishing character. The person and face of an angel, without these peculiar ornaments of your sex, will not make you beautiful, nor even tolerable. There is nothing conceivable so unnatural, or so shocking, as you are, when you put on a masculine, not to say a boisterous, spirit, and set up for an object of fear. As you were made to be loved, not dreaded, you are furnished with every preparative for the former, by the kind indulgence of nature; and not with one for the latter, unless you will ascribe to nature that which she most abhors of all monstersan affectation of rudeness and imperious violence, accompanied with so much fearfulness of mind and weakness of body. And as a married woman, you are still further from your natural element if you aim at a superiority over your husband, whom you are obliged by nature, by Scripture, and by your vows, to obey. As one weak, you sought at first for a protector; have your vows of submission given you so much strength, that nothing but that protector will now serve you for a slave ? You want to carry all your points, and do what you please ; and we, in a violent stretch of courtesy, will grant you have none but good ends in view, but must, at the same time, take leave to demur to your manner, both in point of agreeableness and prudence. If the agreeable way in everything is the best, it must be more so in you, who was peculiarly calculated to please. How do you shock us with the reverse !

Your manner is likewise altogether foolish, and shews you know not where your power is placed. It is not placed, as you imagine, in a knack of disputing, nor in the brandish of a high hand, nor, when these fail, in fits, either brought on by struggles too violent for your wretched frame of body, or opportunely pretended, as the last shift. No, your power lies in managing the softer and gentler passions. Here you might be irresistible, and do everything, did not the insolence of your spirit set you above this amiable method. In the other way you can do nothing that will not cost you a thousand times more than it is worth. But I foresee you will be more apt to be angry at the most useful advice from a man, than at your own folly and pride; I therefore earnestly beseech you, as you regard your vows, and fear God, to hear Him at least, who saith unto you and all other married women, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your husbands, as unto the Lord ; for the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the Church. Therefore, as the Church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Let the wife see that she reverence her husband. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands.” This last precept is followed by another, enjoining meekness and quietness of spirit, and forbidding an expensive vanity in dress. Compare your conduct, and the spirit it proceeds from, with these words of God, and judge for yourself, whether you know better than He does what you should do. Consider also, that these precepts

« ÖncekiDevam »