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Observer, June 1, '71.
1. Some say that God has now no kingdom on earth. Others say that the kingdom of God commenced not far from the time of the return of Christ to heaven. Will some intelligent reader of the E. O. say how, if the kingdom has not yet come, it could have been " at hand" in the days of John the Baptist and during the sojourn of the Saviour on earth ? Also, how, if it really came about the time intimated above, it could be said to be" at hand” when those events were transpiring which are foretold in Luke xxi., where we read, "So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand ?"
A BROTHER. 2. What are we to understand by 1 Peter iv. 6—"For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead ? " Who are the dead referred to? When and how was the gospel preached to them ?
My little charge, Florence, with a high standard, of life, and he seems her simple and child-like remarks, to act up to it." causes me much more deep and “I suppose we all have some earnest thought : for she asks me standard-something to aim at,
and questions on spiritual subjects which hope to attain to before we die," I cannot answer as I know I ought; replied Frank, rather lightly. “I and she utters great truths, great in have set up a great many already, their simplicity, which she has learnt and have fallen short of every one, from her parents, and which strike or else I have found they were not me very forcibly, for sometimes worth striving after. Just now I they are almost new to me. Her have made up my mind that nothing father looks to me to guide and short of Nelson himself shall be my instruct her, and I feel that in spirit- standard. If I could hope to reach ual things she is much better able his level I should be satisfied.” to teach me. In these things she is “ You are ambitious enough at all as far beyond me as Frank is in the events, my young sailor,” said knowledge of the world and all its Ernest. • I wish you the opporconcerns, and Ernest in all that tunity to earn laurels equal to those relates to science and intellectual of England's hero.” culture. How ignorant I am! And I thought within myself that I how can I hope to fulfil the duties wished my brave cousin a betthat seem to devolve upon me? I ter fame than that of Nelson; and will ask help of God.
I felt that he ought to seek a higher We had a very interesting conver- standard. But I did not say so; sation this afternoon, as we sat on and Frank turned to Ernēst and the deck and watched the sun sinking saidbehind the western horizon where “ And what is your standard ? so lately was our home, and where Whose character and career do you those we have loved best on earth intend to emulate? The world is lie buried. Ernest was telling all before you, where to choose ; and Frank of our dear father's death, and you have abilities enough and fortune of the kindness which Mr. Damer enough to enable you to decide on had shewn to him and to us. After your own future course. What shall speaking highly of our friend on it be?” various points, he said, in fact, Ernest looked grave and thoughtMr. Damer is a man who has formed ful for a moment, and then replied
Observer, June 1, 71.
" That is more than I can tell you, (peace until a far higher object had Frank. An idle man I can never be. been pointed out to him; and I felt Some object—some aim in life, I sure that the motives which guided feel that I must make to myself. all Mr. Damer's actions were much You know that by my father's will I more exalted then any which had ever am not to be of age until I am been taught to us, either by precept twenty-five, which will not be for or example, since our beloved mother nearly two years to come. In the died, and left us young and ignorant mean time I am a ward in Chancery, children. I longed to say all that with a liberal allowance ; and I was in my heart. I longed to speak intend to spend the rest of my a word that might lead Ernest to minority in improving my mind, and reflect on these things. But I had fitting myself to take upon me the not the courage. duties of a country gentleman. I Just then, Florence, who had been think, with the consent of my vener- playing with some children at the able guardian, the Chancellor, I other side of the deck, came near and shall go to one of the Universities. Frank caught her hand, and drew I should like to see how life is carried her toward the bench where we were on in those far-famed schools of sitting. learning, where all must be striving “Florence," he said laughing, for the highest attainments of know- tell me what is your standard of ledge, and where I imagine medioc- life.' rity must be disgrace. I hope to What is a standard ?" inquired find that in enlightened England the child ?" men live for things that are worth " Go and fetch Johnson's Dic. living for: that they know their high tionary,” said Frank, “and we will destiny as a nation and value it; look." and that whatever may be their Away ran Florence, and soon recallings or positions in life, that to turned with the weighty volume, rise is their object, and · Excelsior' which she often consulted when readis their motto. In the wretched ing in my cabin. country which has so long been my “ There it is ;” she exclaimed. home, I have seen little or nothing - Standard—that which is of unof this noble emulation. Indolence doubted authority—that which is the and degeneracy, not to say vice, best of all other things of the same mark the population in general ; and kind." this is not to be confined to the “ Well,” continued Frank, natives. Even Europeans, seem to be what do you consider to be of such affected by the climate and example undoubtable authority that it cannot of those around them, and to forget be questioned. And what is the
. the habits and principles of their best of all other things, and theremore enlightened and high-minded fore always to be imitated, or made countrymen at home. My father your example: That would be your was an exception to this rule. He standard, Florence." never lost his high feelings of honour, The child looked a little puzzled or his activity of mind and thirst for for a few moments, and then, with a knowledge. And Mr. Damer appears flushed face and down-cast eyes, she to be another exception; but I do answered very softly. not know enough of him to judge of “ Mamma told me that the Bible his character very accurately." must always be my authority, because
I could not help acknowledging to it is God's Word; and that the conmyself that our poor dear father's life, duct of the Lord Jesus Christ must however honourable and estimable it | always be my example, because it had been, had failed to give him was the only perfect one. Did not
Observer, June 1, '71
she mean that they were to be my had been my own case also. But standard ?”
by the help of God it shall be so My brother looked earnestly at the no longer. I begin to see what ought little girl and said “Your mother to be the objects and the motives of gave you a high standard, Florence.” life—what, in short, should be the
Then he rose up and walked away, standard which every immortal being and leaned over the side of the vessel should set up for himself. May I as if to watch the spray dashing up have grace to understand this more from the paddle wheels. I hope he fully, and to act upon it. Surely in was musing on Florence's simple, yet Christian Protestant England, I shall very deep reply. Frank only said — see this principle set forth and ex
“I dare say you are right; but I emplified in the lives of those who never thought of that sort of stan- profess to know the truth.-" The dard.”
Standard of Life," by Mrs. Webb. I was ashamed to own that such
SPARE MOMENTS. Time is the stuff of which life is “All my commentaries made. Many become wise and good, Scriptures," says the late Mr. not because they have much leisure, Barnes, “ have been written before but because they make a good use nine o'clock in the morning. At the of spare moments. In regard to very beginning, more than thirty time, as well as other things, they years ago, I adopted a resolution to remember the Saviour's words, stop writing on these Notes when “Gather up the fragments, that the clock struck nine.” This emi. nothing be lost.” I read some time nently distinguished man traces his ago of a young man, who perused a publications on the Scriptures to the history of England while waiting fact of rising at four in the morning. for his meals in a boarding house. I refer to these morning hours, to Southey calculated, that a quarter of the stillness and quietness of my an hour each day would enable any room in this house of God, when I man to gain the command of all the have been permitted to prevent the languages of Europe in a very short dawning of the morning, in the study time. Who cannot spare that of the Bible, while the inhabitants quarter of an hour? Doddridge, in of this great city were slumbering reference to his Paraphrase on the round about me, and before the cares New Testament, said, that its being of the day, and its direct responsiwritten at all was owing to the bilities, came on me; to the hours difference between rising at five and which I have thus spent in a close at seven o'clock in the morning. contemplation of Divine truth, enWith Doddridge and other great deavouring to understand its import, men, I believe that sunrise, for to remove the difficulties which many reasons, far surpasses sunset. might pertain to it, and to ascertain The former casts the latter into the its practical bearing on the Christian shade.
life-I refer, I say, to these scenes “Early to bed, and early to rise,
as among the happiest portions of Makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise."
life.” Depend upon it, a wise Every student knows that the mind employment of time had much to do is more vigorous in the morning with the elevation of our self-made than at any subsequent part of the men. If you are to be numbered day, and consequently works more among them, you must seize spare efficient.
moments, and turn fragments of
Observer, June 1, 71.
time to golden account; you must | Then they begin to think of books fix on a noble end, and labour, and and study. Alas, they often do no toil, and struggle till it be attained. more than think of them. These
Alas, how many squander this persons form a large class. I refer precious gift, and, when too late, to persons who know, feel, and utter the piercing cry, “Call time regret their want of culture, and back again." When the gifted would, if they could easily, rise into Elizabeth was dying, she cried out, a higher life. Resolve earnestly to "An inch of time, millions of money make the most and the best of all for an inch of time.” Poor queen! your powers and capacities. Seek she was lying on a splendid bed, she not gold only, but contend for had been accustomed to a new dress freedom, humanity, religion. Seize every day, she had ten thousand and improve the shortest intervals dresses in her wardrobe, and at her of possible action, and none will feet a kingdom ; but all was of no dare to limit your success. value. She had lived for seventy Some years ago a young man years, but that which should have employed at the Blantyre Print occupied a lifetime was crowded into Works, in Scotland, despite all his a few moments, and when it was too privations, determined to obtain a late, the wealth of her kingdom good education. He employed his would have been given for an inch leisure hours in the cultivation of of time. A life of seventy years is his mind. He rose step by step, made up of thirty-seven million until he became a minister of the minutes, these drop away at the rate Gospel. He is now Dr. Livingstone, of sixty in an hour, and go on the celebrated African traveller. To steadily-day and night, summer check their arrogance who demand and winter—without let or bin- our deference in consideration of derance. The simple truth is, that their noble ancestry; to vindicate most persons waste at least one the dignity of humble industry; and fourth of their existence. Six hours to stir emulation in the breasts of in every twenty-four you waste; you the lowly labourer, we shall unroll sleep seven, you work ten, you the pages of story. Unfallen Adam employ one in meals and locomotion. cultivated the Garden of Paradise ; Eighteen hours you can give a good Abel was a keeper of sheep; Noah account of, but what becomes of the wrought during many years in remaining six ? And have you ever building the ark; Abraham, Isaac, reflected that six hours lost every and Jacob, personally watched their day is one-fourth of our existence flocks; Joseph, Prime Minister of squandered? Three score years and Egypt, was a slave; Moses, the ten is the allotted time of our life. prophet of Horeb, was a foundling; One-fourth of that time is seventeen Gideon was threshing when sumyears and a half. Could one deter- moned to deliver Israel from the mine the time when first a person Midianites; Elisha's plough was in should apply himself to study, boy- mid-furrow, when Elijah called him hood and girlhood would be selected. to the prophetic office. Jesus him. Unhappily, in this England of ours, self was born in a stable, cradled in thousands and tens of thousands are à manger, and passed the greater from the defectiveness of our social portion of His life in yon carpenter's arrangements, denied this advantage. shed at Nazareth ; Peter and Andrew Not until they have reached the were fishing on the sea; James and period of youth, or even maturity, John were mending their nets on do they become sensible of their the shore, when called by the King want, and of the personal and social of Glory; and Paul, who hath redisadvantages that want involves. deemed our nature from the reproach
Observer, June 1, '71
of selfishness, could hold up his | trade he was a tent-maker. hands and say,
" These hands have ministered to my necessities," for by
SMOKING TOBACCO. Am I a smoker of Tobacco ? How | Have you no regard to the law of long is it since I commenced the prac- expediency ? tice? Was I then a boy, a young man, Is smoking a luxury? Is it a piece or advanced to a more sage period of innocent indulgence? If so all of life? What were the reasons necessary articles for personal and which led me to adopt the habit of domestic comfort should be obtained smoking? Was I advised to it by a before a pipe is placed in the mouth father, a brother, a friend, or a foe? and Tobacco in the dwelling; and Was it the force of example which all debts and claims for the neces. bowed me to the use of the pipe and sary and useful should be promptly the reign of smoke? Was the ex- paid, especially by Christians, before ample good or injurious ? Was I ad- such indulgences are practised and, monished by a medical gentleman to even then, the question would arise, take it? Was it to cure some disease is this the best way that I can spend or to prevent some encroaching mal- the Lord's money ? ady? Has it accomplished the cure, Are you sure that your example or arrested the disease? If you are is not injurious ? Have you ever mended of that stomach complaint thought of that? How does it look or head-ache, then why not cease, in the
children? What like other patients, to take your does your boy think about it? Is it medicine ? It would look rather a recommendation of your Christi. ridiculous and be rather expensive anity? Will your smoking lead if a sick man were to continue his people to conclude that you are a pills and doctor's bottles after he is follower of the holy Jesus? Would restored to health. Suppose Tobacco you like to see an Evangelist walkto be administered as a medicine; ing through the streets with a pipe why should it be continued many in his mouth? What do Sunday. years while the smoker is in good school scholars think about their health? It may be that that which teachers smoking? And what do was designed to cure has been for a young members in the Church think long period a feeder of disease. But about the more elderly members and the perpetual disease requires a con- deacons smoking? How many take tinuance of a medicine which will shelter in an example that may oper. never cure you, simply because your ate two ways—or perhaps only one taste is conformed to it. Do you way, the wrong way? And we see it smoke for company's sake? Do you thus daily operating. The children smoke because you like it? Will smoke; the scholars smoke; the company justify a bad practice, or is young members smoke. The defects a thing right because we like it? and faults of even good men are This would be poor logic if applied copied and referred to with an air of to many of the forbidden practices reason and triumph, while the safe of life. "If this logic were carried out and more excellent way is neglected. it would land the world in ruin. There is a generation of smokers
Is it lawful to smoke? Is it expe- rising around us. dient? An act may be lawful, but There are but few smokers who far from expedient. Do you do do not acknowledge the habit to be everything that is merely lawful ? evil. Are we not commanded to