Page images
PDF
EPUB

From England to Italy.

A CHAPTER FROM THE BOOK OF NATURE.

WRITTEN AT LUGANO, BY C. H. SPURGEON. N a few days we have left our white-cliffed island, crossed the

[ocr errors]

passed the Alps, and entered sunny Italy; we have seen a thousand things and mused upon ten thousand more, and our thoughts, like the fishes in the blue lake which sparkles at our feet, are very many

and very restless, and we have no net at hand in which to bring them to shore. A bird of prey was hovering just now over the shelving bank where the rippling flood bathes the foot of the verdant mountains; poising himself in mid-air upon quivering wing; for a moment he looked eagerly for his prey, saw it, darted upon it, and doubtless held it with iron grasp; we must in the same fashion seize some flitting thought, or we shall starve in the land of plenty. Swift and sudden, without waiting to plume our wings by long consideration, we descend upon our theme.

The Great Master Author has sent forth several volumes; among the rest is one called the “Book of Revelation, and another styled the Volume of Creation.” We have been reading the Word-volume and expounding it for years, we are now perusing the Work-volume, and are engrossed in some of its most glowing pages. Our love for the sacred book of letters and words has not diminished but increased our admiration for the hieroglyphics of the flood and field. That man perversely mistakes folly for wisdom who persists in undervaluing ne glorious poem by a famous author, in order to show his zeal for a second epic from the same fertile pen. It is the mark of a feeble mind to despise the wonders of nature because we prize the treasures of salvation. He who built the lofty skies is as much our Father as he who hath spoken to us by his own Son, and we should reverently adore HIM who in creation decketh himself with majesty and excellency, even as in revelation HE arrayeth himself in glory and beauty. Modern fanatics who profess to be so absorbed in heavenly things that they are blind to the most marvellous of Jehovah's handiwork, should go to school, with David as the schoolmaster, and learn to consider the heavens," and should sit with Job upon the dunghill of their pride, while the Lord rehearses the thundering stanzas of creation's greatness, until they cry with the patriarch," I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth thee; wherefore, I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes.” For our part, we feel that what was worth the Lord's making, richly deserves the attention of the most cultivated and purified intellect; and we think it blasphemy against God himself to speak slightingly of his universe, as if, forsooth, we poor puny mortals were too spiritual to be interested in that matchless architecture which made the morning stars sing together and caused the sons of God to shout for joy.

Our hasty perusal of one short chapter of the book of nature has sufficed to assure us that its author most certainly wrote the Holy Scriptures. Writers have their own idiomatic expressions and modes of thought; kings of literature set their image and superscription upon the coinage of their minds; and therefore you can detect a literary

sided, and addresses were given by Mr. gregations in the morning and evening. J. B. Burt, Mr. D. Jennings, Mr. W. A public dinner was provided by the Densham, Mr. Taylor, Mr. Field, Mr. liberality of Mr. John Neal, of Edgeware Ness, and Mr. Kerr. The prospect of a Road, London; after which a statement revival of the Church and congregation of the building fund was read, from which in this place was cheering to all parties. it appeared that the cost of the chapel

On the following Wednesday, the re- had been £638 19s. 4d., of which cognition of Mr. Grant as the pastor of £275 4s. 2d. remained to be procured. the Church at Spaldwick, in Hunting. The proceeds of the day amounted to donshire, was held. An afternoon ser- £86 6s. 3d. Towards this sum £50 was vice was commenced by Mr. King, of raised at the dinner-table by Mr. SpurThrapston, who read the Scriptures and geon promising to give £5 if ten others prayed. Mr. Manning, of Gamlingay, would do the same. This being accomasked the usual questions, to which full plished ; Mr. Spurgeon promised another and appropriate replies were given by Mr. £5, if four other such donations could be Grant. Mr. Rogers, of the Metropolitan obtained. There is every probability Tabernacle College, gave the charge to of this too being speedily accomplished; the minister, and Mr. Gange, of Ports- which will reduce the whole debt to about mouth, addressed the Church. After a £160. This well deserves the notice of public tea-meeting in a tent, a second those who are inclined to help those who meeting was held in the chapel, at which do their utmost to help themselves. addresses were given by Mr. King, Mr. On the 10th of last month a meeting Ewing, Mr. Stote, Mr. Gange, Mr. was held in the lecture-hall of the MetroRogers, Mr. Ashton, one of the deacons, politan Tabernacle to inaugurate the and Mr. Grant. The services were well Band of Hope in union with the Sundayattended, and were of a very interesting school, and many friends connected with and hopeful character.

the Church and congregation. Mr. SelThe first anniversary of the founda- way presided. Prayer was offered by Mr. tion stone of a new Baptist Chapel being Ness, and addresses were given by Mr. laid at Winslow, in Buckinghamshire, Ness, Mr. M'Cree, Mr. Hawkins, and was held on the third of last month. Judge Payne. The hall was filled, and Mr. Spurgeon preached to crowded con- | many could not gain admission.

Pastor's College, Metropolitan Tabernacle.

PRESIDENT-C. H. SPURGEON.-NUMBER OF STUDENTS, 91. Amount required for Students during the year, about £5000; the rest will be devoted to

building Places of Worship.
Statement of Receipts from April 19th, to May 18th, 1865.
£ s. d.

£ s. d. Mr. Vickery

1 0 0 United Kingdom Band of Hope Union 10 10 0 Mr. Whittaker 5 5 0 Mr. R. Offord

5 0 0 Mrs. Sims

2 0 0 Part proceeds of Lecture at Canterbury 17 18 ở Mr. T. Russell

0 10 0 Mrs.
Vaughan

1 1 0 Mr. W. Brown 0 10 0 Mr. T. D. Marshall..

2 2 0 Collected by Miss Windmill

1 5 0 Mr. Wm. Scott, Dundee, per Mr. Ness 5 00 A. D. B., Westbourne Grove 0 5 0 A Shropshire Friend

1 0 0 Friends at Mundesley, per Mr. Trapp.. 2 17 0 J. L.

1 0 0 Per Editor Christian World 4 10 0 A Friend, Bristol ::

0 2 6 A Friend at Frome 2 0 0 Mr. Dransfield

3 3 0 Miss Eliza Marsh 0 5 6 Mrs. Elizabeth Stacey

0 5 0 Mr. Wm. Beckett 5 00 Mrs. Elizabeth Tiffin

0 2 6 Mrs. Gordon 0 5 0 Mr. A. Angus Croll

10 00 Mrs. Hasker

0 5 0 Weekly Offerings at Tabernacle, Apl. 24 16 14 2 Dr. Andrews 5 00

May 1 25 5 10 A few Friends at Zion Chapel, Whittle

8 29 13 il sea, per Mr. Ashby 3 15 0

15 16 14 2 0 10 0 Mr. R. A. Bellman 1 1 0

£181 7 7 Subscriptions will be thankfully received by C. H. Spurgeon, Metropolitan

Tabernacle, Newington,

[ocr errors]

A.M...

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors]

BY C. H. SPURGEON. “Thou art all fair, my love ; there is no spot in thee.”-Solomon's Song iv. 7.

E return to the delightful topic with which we opened last month's number of our Magazine.

Our Lord's admiration is sweetened by love. He addresses the spouse as “ My love." The virgins called her “the

fairest among women;" they saw and admired, but it was reserved for her Lord to love her. Who can fully tell the excellence of his love? O how his heart goeth forth after his redeemed! As for the love of David and Jonathan, it is far exceeded in Christ. No tender husband was ever so fond as he. No figures can completely set his heart's affection forth, for it surpasses all the love that man or woman hath heard or thought of. Our blessed Lord, himself, when he would declare the greatness of it, was compelled to compare one inconceivable thing with another, in order to express his own thoughts. “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you.” (John xv. 9.) All the eternity, fervency, immutability, and infinity which are to be found in the love of Jehovah the Father, towards Jehovah-Jesus the Son, are copied to the letter in the love of the Lord Jesus towards his chosen ones. Before the foundation of the world he loved his people, in all their wanderings he loved them, and “unto the end he will abide in his love.” (John xiii. 1.) He has given them the best proof of his affection, in that he gave himself to die for their sins, and hath revealed to them complete pardon as the result of his death. The willing manner of his death is further confirmation of his boundless love. How did Christ delight in the work of our redemption! “Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God.” (Psalm xl. 7, 8.) When he came into the world to sacrifice his life for us, it was a freewill offering. “I have a baptism to be baptized with.” (Luke xii. 50.) Christ was to be, as it were, baptized in his own blood, and how did he thirst for that time! "How

U

am I straitened till it be accomplished.” There was no hesitation, no desire to be quit of his engagement. He went to his crucifixion without once halting by the way to deliberate whether he should complete his sacrifice. The stupendous mass of our fearful debt he paid at once, asking neither delay nor diminution. From the moment when he said, “ Not my will, but thine, be done,” (Luke xxii. 42,) his course was swift and unswerving; as if he had been hastening to a crown rather than to a cross. The fulness of time was his only remembrancer; he was not driven by bailiffs to discharge the obligations of his Church, but joyously even when full of sorrow, he met the law, answered its demands, and cried, " It is finished.”

How hard it is to talk of love so as to convey our meaning with it! How often have our eyes been full of tears when we have realized the thought that Jesus loves us ! How has our spirit been melted within us at the assurance that he thinks of us and bears us on his heart! But we cannot kindle the like emotion in others, nor can we give, by word of mouth, so much as a faint idea of the bliss which coucheth in that exclamation, “O how he loves!” Come, reader, canst thou say of thyself, “He loved me?” (Gal. ii. 20.) Then look down into this sea of love, and endeavour to guess its depth. Doth it not stagger thy faith, that he should love thee? Or, if thou hast strong confidence, say, does it not enfold thy spirit in a flame of admiring and adoring gratitude ? 0 ye angels! such love as this ye never knew. Jesus doth not bear your names upon his hands, or call you his bride. No! this highest fellowship he reserves for worms whose only return is tearful, hearty thanksgiving and love.

Let us note that Christ delights to think upon his Church, and to look upon her beauty. As the bird returneth often to its nest, and as the wayfarer hastens to his home, so doth the mind continually pursue the object of its choice. We cannot look too often upon that face which we love; we desire always to have our precious things in our sight. It is even so with our Lord Jesus. From all eternity“ his delights were with the sons of men;" his thoughts rolled onward to the time when his elect should be born into the world; he viewed them in the mirror of his fore-knowledge. “In thy book he says all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.” (Ps. cxxxix. 16.) When the world was set upon its pillars, he was there, and he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. Many a time before his incarnation, he descended to this lower earth in the similitude of a man; on the plains of Mamre, (Gen. xviii,) by the brook of Jabbok, (Gen. xxxii. 24—30,) beneath the walls of Jericho, (Josh. v. 13,) and in the fiery furnace of Babylon, (Dan. iii. 19—25,) the Son of man did visit his people. Because his soul delighted in them, he could not rest away from them, for his heart longed after them. Never were they absent from his heart, for he had written their names upon his hands, and graven them upon his side. As the breast-plate containing the names of the tribes of Israel was the most brilliant ornament worn by the high priest, so the names of Christ's elect were his most precious jewels, which he ever hung nearest his heart. We may often forget to meditate upon the perfections of our Lord, but He never ceases to remember us. He cares not one half so much for any of his most glorious works, as he does for his children. Although his eye seeth everything that hath beauty and excellency in it, he never fixes his gaze anywhere with that admiration and delight, which he spends upon his purchased ones. He charges his angels concerning them, and calls upon those holy beings to rejoice with him over his lost sheep. (Luke xv. 4-7.) He talked of them to himself, and even on the tree of doom he did not cease to soliloquize concerning them.

" That day acute of ignominious woe,
Was, notwithstanding, in a perfect sense,
* The day of his heart's gladness,' for the joy
That his redeem'd should be brought home at last,
(Made ready as in robes of bridal white,)
Was set before him vividly,—he look'd ;-
And for that happiness anticipate,
Endurance of all torture, all disgrace,
Seem'd light infliction to his heart of love." (Meditations.)

Like a fond mother, Christ Jesus, our thrice-blessed Lord, sees every dawning of excellence, and every bud of goodness in us, making much of our littles, and rejoicing over the beginnings of our graces. As he is to be our endless song, so we are his perpetual prayer. When he is absent he thinks of us, and in the black darkness he has a window through which he looks upon us. When the sun sets in one part of the earth, he rises in another place beyond our visible horizon; and even so Jesus, our Sun of Righteousness, is only pouring light upon his people in a different way, when to our apprehension he seems to have set in darkness. His eye is ever upon the congregation of the righteous. “I the Lord do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day.” (Isa. xxvii. 3.) He will not trust to his angels to do it, for it is his delight to do all with his own hands. Zion is in the centre of his heart, and he cannot forget, for every day his thoughts are set upon her. When the bride by her neglect of him hath hidden herself from his sight, he cannot be quiet until again he looks

He calls her forth with the most wooing words, “() my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.” (Sol. Song ii. 14.) She thinks herself unmeet to have company with such a prince, but he entices her from her lurking place, and inasmuch as she comes forth trembling, and bashfully hides her face with her veil, he bids her uncover her face and let her husband gaze npon her. She is ashamed to do so, for she is black in her own esteem, and therefore he urges that she is comely to him. Nor is he content with looking, he must feed his ears as well as his eyes, and therefore he commends her speech and intreats her to let him hear her voice. See how truly our Lord rejoiceth in us. Is not this unparalleled love! We have heard of princes who have been smitten by the beauty of a peasant's daughter, but what of that? Here is the Son of God doting upon a worm, looking with eyes of admiration upon a poor child of Adam, and listening with joy to the lispings of poor flesh and blood. Ought we not to be exceedingly charmed by such matchless condescension ? And should not our hearts as much delight in him,

upon her.

« PreviousContinue »