« הקודםהמשך »
CHAP. i. ver. 20.—But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream.
Henry, Duke of Saxony, a most wicked prince, dreamed that an angel appeared to him, with an angry countenance, and uttered these words : The Almighty, unwilling to cut thee off in the fulness of thine iniquity, hath sent me to give thee warning.” Upon this he shewed him a scroll with these words. AFTER Six. The Prince awoke trembling, and much alarmed. He was convinced the vision was from God, and thought it certainly predict. ed his end.. Six days, six weeks, six months, were spent in penitence and preparation for his end; but these having elapsed, he concluded that six years must be the period intended, and, by the grace of God enabling him, he effected a thorough reformation in his life and government, and at the end of six years was elected Emperor of Germany.
Chap. ii. ver. 16.—Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.
In 1641, Sir Phelim O'Neal, and other Papists, commenced an universal massacre of the Protestants in Ire. land. • No age,” says Hume, “no sex, no condition, was spared. The wife, weeping for her butchered husband, and embracing her helpless children, was pierced with them, and perished by the same stroke. In vain did flight save from the first assault. Destruction was every where let loose, and met the hunted victims at every turn. They were stripped of their very clothes, and turned out naked and defenceless in all the rigours of winter. The feeble age of children, the tender sex of women, soon sunk under the multiplied rigours of cold and hunger. Here the husband, bidding a final adieu to his expiring family, envied them that fate which he himself expected so soon to share! There the son, having long supported his aged parent, with reluctance obeyed his last command, and abandoning him in his uttermost distress, reserved himself to the hopes of avenging that death which all his efforts could not prevent or delay.”—40,000 persons, according to the lowest computation, perished in these massacres !
Chap. ii. ver. 18.-In Ramah was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her chil. dren, and would not be comforted, because they are not.
We learn from Le Brune's voyage to Syria, that the women go in companies, on certain days, out of the towns to the tombs of their relations, in order to weep there ; and when they are arrived, they display very deep expres. sions of grief. “ While I was at Ramah,” says he, “ I saw a very great company of these weeping women, who went out of the town. I followed them, and after having observed the place they visited, adjacent to their sepulchres, in order to make their usual lamentations, I seated myself on an elevated spot. They first went and placed themselves on the sepulchres, and wept there ; where, after having remained about half an hour, some of them rose up, and formed a ring, holding each other by the hand. Quickly two of them quitted the others, and placed themselves in the centre of the circle, where they made so much noise in screaming, and in clapping their hands, as, toge ther with their various contortions, might have subjected themselves to the suspicion of madness. After that they returned, and seated themselves to weep again, till they gradually withdrew to their homes. The dresses they wore were such as they generally used, white, or any other colour ; but when they rose up to form a circle together, they put on a black veil over the upper parts of their persons."
Chap. iii. ver. 7. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come ?
An irreligious young mart went to hear Mr Whitefield, who took the above passage for his text: “ Mr White field,” said the young man, “ described the Sadducean character ; this did not touch me, I thought myself as good a Christian as any inan in England. From this he went to that of the Pharisees. He described their exterior decency, but observed that the poison of the viper rankled in their hearts. This rather shook me. At length, in the course of his sermon, he abruptly broke off, paused for a few moments, then burst into a flood of tears ; lifted up his hands and eyes, and exclaimed, “Oh my hearers ! the wrath to come! the wrath to come!' These words sunk deep into my heart, like lead in the waters. I wept, and, when the sermon was ended, retired alone. days and weeks I could think of little else. Those awful words would follow me wherever I went, « The wrath to come ! the wrath to come !!” The result was, that the young man soon after made a public profession of religion, and in a short time became a very eminent preacher.
Chap. iii. ver. 8.--Bring forth, therefore, fruits meet for
repentance. « I pay more attention,” says Mr Booth, “ to people's lives than to their deaths. In all the visits I have paid to the sick during the course of a long ministry, I never met with one (who was not previously serious) that ever reco.
vered from what he supposed the brink of death, who afterwards performed his vows, and became religious, note withstanding the very great appearance there was in their favour when they thought they could not recover."
Chap. iv. ver. 16.-The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which šat-in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up
Two young men being in familiar conversation respecting the natural bias of their minds, the one declared, if his circumstances in life would admit, he would travel over foreign countries, but particularly go to ancient Rome, and see there the ruin and desolations that war and time hare made on that once famed city. The other, with a countenance that proved he felt what he said, exclaimed, “ If the circumstances that Providence has placed me in would admit, I would visit the dark benighted vila lages in my own country, and contemplate the ruin that sin, ignorance, and vice, have made on the manners of the people ; and not only contemplate the horrors of igno: rance, but under a divine blessing, endeavour to chase away the clouds of ignorance, and throw the sun-beams of instruction over the mind of humble poverty, by establishing Sabbath schools. That would be my pleasure and my delight.” The other acknowledged the latter was far the better choice, and afterwards became an active and zealous teacher in a Sabbath school.
Chap. ir. ver. 24.—And they brought unto him—those which were lunatick-and he healed them.
“ In passing through a small town in Sa writer in the Christian Gleaner, " where the coach in which I travelled stopped to change horses, I observed a poor idiot whom I had formerly known by the name of Monkey Girl. More than twenty years had elapsed since I had seen her, but her wild and vacant look was not easily forgotten, and quickly recalled to my mind the mingled sensations of terror and pity with which, in my youthful days, I had often beheld the unfortunate object
then before me. The day was an unusually hot one, and several men and boys were seated on the shady side of the market-place, near the inn at which we stopped. The poor idiot walked round and round the coach in perfect silence, till one of these boys began shouting after her, and asking if she were not going to church. This, as it was of course cruelly intended, roused her anger, and the question was answered by a most dreadful oath, A loud laugh from the boy and his companions ensued, and the same question was repeated first by one, and then by another of them, which called forth from the poor uncon. scious creature such a volley of oaths and imprecations, both upon the church and her tormentors, as made me shudder while I listened to them. This shocking and disgraceful scene, " offence and torture to the christian ear," continued during the whole of the time that the coach remained at the inn, till the poor woman was worked up to such a pitch of fury and distress, that it was quite terrifying to look at her ; yet the perfect unconcern with which the scene was viewed by the persons who were stand. ing about the inn, plainly proved, alas! that it was one of too frequent recurrence to excite any degree of interest or compassion on behalf of this poor, afflicted, and per. secuted creature." As we cannot exert the power of the Saviour in restoring these unhappy persons to their right mind ; let us imitate him in his compassion, and avoid every thing in our conduct towards them, that would add to their affliction.
Chap. v. ver. 23, 24.—Therefore, if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
Some time ago, an illustrious personage, wishing to take the sacrament, sent for the Bishop of Wadminister it. The messenger having loitered on his way, à considerable time elapsed before the bishop arrived, and some irritation had been manifested by the illustrious personage in question. On the arrival of the reverend