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WESLEYAN SUNDAY-SCHOOL MAGAZINE.
“SHE HATH DONE WHAT SHE COULD."
Hear from the throne the Master's voice, “Well done, well done!'" NOT greater the work of Florence Nightingale, than that of the
brave Scotch girl who for fifteen years tended night and day beside the couch of her sick mother. Had that gentle, patient, fearless, self-sacrificing spirit gone out into the world, and extended her loving sympathy to the many, fame would have lit its halo around her name. But with a daughter's love and duteousness, she lived and suffered unknown; none save her mother and her mother's God knowing the entirety of her noble, unwearying service.
God has appointed us our sphere as well as our talents, and does but require us to make the most profitable use of both. The Christgiven estimate, "She hath done what she could," did not signify that she whom our Saviour extolled before His murmuring disciples had performed a deed mightier than they had; but that in the depth of her affection, she had devoted her fullest powers to the Saviour Whom she loved. And the Judge will not measure our offering by that of another, but according to the gifts with which he hath endowed us.
“ Far better, in its place, the lowliest bird
Should sing aright to Him its lowliest song,
And sing His glory wrong." Our Great Exemplar was so full of love for the sin-stricken world, that He spent His life in a service of love to others; and He it is Whom we should seek to imitate. We ought not to be content with putting one or two of our talents into vigorous use, but should endeavour to have the whole force in earnest, steady, persevering exercise. And wherever we be, there is in every hour of our lives ample scope for the extension of our sympathy. Through all our
VOL. IX. NEW SERIES.—August, 1874.
plans, permeating them as light fills the atmosphere, should be our aims to do good to others. And unless we give to each moment its just requirement of true, noble service, shall we win the commendation of having done what we " could ” ? A kind word alone has often struck a resurrection-thrill into souls around which hatred and malice had wrapped their winding-sheets.
As Christ is the pattern, motive and true principle of our love, what we do, though it be but the gift of" a cup of cold water," we should do in His name. Nor must we wait until want cries beseechingly at our door, or the hand of need is thrust imploringly before us; but with Christ-like earnestness we must go into the world, and seek out those whose very silence claims our pity, who from feelings unknown to us shrink from obtruding the story of their sorrow upon our notice. Let us ask ourselves what our Lord and Master would do were He on earth, and we shall soon be found administering comfort and consolation to our brethren and sisters who have wants and longings like our own; and in fulfilling the command, “ Bear ye one another's burdens," we may become as a breeze after a parching noon, dew to a withering flower, to the fainting, suffering souls around us.
To give money is comparatively easy, but to give thought and time, and sacrifice prejudice and pleasant company for indifferent society, is noble, and marks the true Christian. And may not others, seeing our love and zeal, be led to glorify our Father in Heaven ? for though we strenuously avoid all parade of good works, there are eyes that will watch and search out our efforts. Facts, and not dead principles, are wanted by earnest thinkers, and one act of self-denying charity may seal an unrefutable conviction upon some unbelieving heart. While philosophy and heathen creeds inculcate purity and self-denial, God alone can inspire a love for what is fallen and inferior. Religion does not consist in a pew, genuflection, a Sunday-school and yearly subscription to the missions, and sitting satisfied while millions are perishing before its eyes.
We must have our hearts filled with a God-given love, and be willing to lay down our life of self-gratification in order to save our fellow-creatures from sorrow, suffering and death; striving to maintain a systematic and unfaltering diligence, and not contenting ourselves with doing good spasmodically, or when extraordinary Occasion occurs.
Beautiful is that life which is incessant in noble and unselfish service ; which unites itself to the lives of those around, to strengthen, elevate and bless.
A FEW WORDS ON KNOWLEDGE.
Then “let us not be weary in well doing," but lovingly and patiently administer joy and comfort wherever we are, saying or doing such things as may heal a wounded heart, rouse a drooping spirit, work light out of darkness, content in poverty, and life in death. For, as Augustine said, “ Love is a debt we'owe one to another that we may be one ; a debt every man owes to every man ; a debt which though I always pay, I always owe; and even when I pay it I remain still a debtor." Uttoxeter.
1. A. H.
A FEW WORDS ON KNOWLEDGE.
“It is most true,” as a recent writer remarks, "and most fitting to be said to many in our day, that men have no business to cut themselves off from intercourse with so rich and manifold a world as ours; or arbitrarily to harden and narrow their lives on any of the sides on which they are open and sensitive." In Jean Paul Richter we have a beautiful example of a well-cultivated mind. He counted no circumstance too trivial, and no object too insignificant to instruct him. The smallest child, the simplest peasant, taught him something. His communion with nature was most intimate. He delighted to walk into the country accompanied only by his dog, noticing everything that came in his way, from the insect that hummed at his feet to the cloud that floated over his head. “Do you enter this vast temple,” he says,
"" with a soul quite pure. Do you not bring one evil thought into the place where the flowers bloom and the birds sing; not one particle of malice into this holy sanctuary.”
They who pursue knowledge for selfish and unworthy ends will be inevitably deprived of its most valuable advantages; and that which should have been an accession of true insight to their souls, will become the sure means of their degradation. There is a sacred element in knowledge, namely, the quality whence the intellect derives new increase of vigour. This to a reverent mind is always the prime attraction; and this is utterly and scandalously thrown away whenever knowledge is prosecuted solely for secular or mercenary benefits.
Considered as the power whereby we may cultivate and enlarge our being, knowledge is invested with a lofty momentousness which cannot be disregarded without derogation to our highest interests as spiritual intelligences.
We derive our word student through the Latin, from a Greek verb the primary signification of which is to strain every effort. And without this straining, this intentness of purpose, there can be no real advancement on the road to wisdom and culture. Difficulty may rear its head, but this to a healthy, resolute mind will act as a stimulus, rather than as a deterrent; for what is difficulty but a word indicating the degree of strength required for the accomplishment of a particular object? All that is understood by intellectual and moral elevation, is inseparably associated with earnestness of character. Neither true intelligence nor virtue is possible, so long as the mind is tainted with indifference. " Life is earnest.” The immortality of man enters into everything he does; how needful, then, that “whatsoever our hand findeth to do," should be done with our “might!” The neglect of the smallest duty is inconsistent with the highest culture, and the worthiness or worthlessness of an act lies always in the spirit in which it is performed. If we cannot, with a firm reliance on the sufficiency of Divine help, accept the duty which lies before us, and throw some grace
of truthfulness over the meanest occupation in which we may have to engage, we shall never be qualified to perform successfully any more important or more honourable work. True dignity is ever the product of the man, and is in no wise indigenous to his station in life; and he, doubtless, is the greatest who can so overpower and subordinate his circumstances as to make grandeur and beauty of character shine through them all.
This, Dr. Arnold sought continually to impress upon the minds of his pupils. “Have we," he said to them, “tastes not fully reconciled to our calling, faculties which seem not to have found their
proper field ? We must seek our remedy, not from without, humanly speaking, but from within: we must discipline ourselves; we must teach our tastes to cling gracefully around that duty to which else they must be helplessly fastened. If any faculties appear not to have found their proper field, we must think that God has, for certain wise reasons, judged it best for us that they should not be exercised, and we must be content to render Him the service of others.” Also he says, in one of his short, instructive sermons to the youth under his care, “Use your gifts faithfully, and they shall be enlarged; practise what you know, and you shall attain to higher knowledge." To refuse to employ what is garnered, for the good of others, is a meanness and an injustice, a wrong, not only against the world, but against ourselves and God. We may cultivate our powers to a high degree, and yet come under the
condemnation of wasting that which is committed to us.
To confine them to the work of mere acquisition, and to shut up our minds, with all their resources, cannot but be criminal in the sight of Him Who speaks to each the words of solemn command, “ Freely ye have received, freely give.” Uttoxeter.
S. J. H.
GOLDEN TEXTS FOR SEPTEMBER, 1874.
all all all all all all all all all all all
September 6.—“And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.”—EXODUS XXXIV. 6.
September 13.—“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.”-PSALM XLVI. 1, 2.
September 20.—“Because He hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man Whom He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead.”ACTS XVII. 31.
September 27.-"Nevertheless He left not Himself without witness, in that He did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” -ACTS xiv. 17.