« AnteriorContinuar »
When the bright warder blows his trumpet clear,
These wonders strange he sees,
many more, Whose head is pregnant with poetic lore : Should he upon an evening ramble fare With forehead to the soothing breezes bare, Would he nought see but the dark silent blue, With all its diamonds trembling through and through, Or the coy moon, when in the waviness Of whitest clouds she does her beauty dress, And staidly paces higher up, and higher, Like a sweet nun in holiday attire? Ah, yes ! much more would start into his sightThe revelries and mysteries of night : And should I ever see them, I will tell you Such tales as needs must with amazement spell you.
These are the living pleasures of the bard :
Swiftly I mount, upon wide-spreading pinions,
J. B. SUMNER, Bishop of Chester. [The present excellent Bishop of Chester, Dr. John Bird Sumner, is the son of Dr. Sumner, who was a contemporary with Dr. Parr at Harrow, and became Head Master of that celebrated school. He died young His two sons have each had the rare distinction of being promoted to the highest offices of the Church by the force of their own merits. The Bishop of Winchester is the younger brother of the Bishop of Chester. John Bird Sumner in 1815 published his first work, entitled . Apostolical Preaching.' In 1816 appeared his Records of Creation. To this remarkable work was awarded the second prize of £400, under the will of a Scotch gentleman named Burnett. In 1821 Dr. Sumner published the Sermons from which we extract the passage below. All his works are distinguished by their earnest piety, their depth of thought, and elegance of language. When a Fellow of Eton College he addressed a series of Discourses to the scholars, and the effect of bis winning and impressive eloquence was a marked improvement in the moral habits of the whole school. The standard of thought and action was raised by the exhortations of a man of high talent thoroughly in earnest.]
My brethren, we are now, upon earth, masters of our own conduct, and accountable to no one here for the tempers which we cherish, or the dispositions we show. We may hate our enemies, and refuse to forgive an injury; we may pass by on the other side, while our neighbour is in grievous want; we may spend our substance in selfish gratifications, or lay it up for our children, and refuse meanwhile, to bestow any portion of it upon the bodies or the souls of our poorer brethren; and, at the same time, none have a right to call us to account, except by a friendly warning: God leaves us to follow our own bent; no fire comes down from heaven to consume the churlish or the malicious ; the sun shines alike on the merciful and on the uncharitable; and the rain fertilizes alike those fields which spread their bounty upon God's needy creatures, and those which enrich no one but their covetous
We are free to use as we like the gifts of Providence; and this freedom affords the opportunity by which our characters are formed and displayed.
But it will not be always so. There will be a time when we must render an account; when all superiority of strength, or talent, or influence, or place, or fortune, will be levelled; when the strongest, and the cleverest, and the greatest, and the richest, must yield up and return their several gifts to Him who lent them; and with their gifts must return an account of the way in which they have used them. The question will be, have you used your strength to injure, your wit to insult, your power to oppress? Have you, like the rich man in the parable, kept to yourself your good things, and taken no care to lay up for yourself a good foundation against the time to come? Have you never thought of spreading around you, as far as your opportunities allowed, temporal comfort and religious knowledge? Have you suffered the fatherless and widows to lie unfriended in their affliction, when you might have supported or consoled them? Has the ignorant man, as far as concerned you, continued in his ignorance, and the wicked died in his sin? Then you have shown yourself wanting in that quality which most certainly distinguishes the followers of Jesus : you have borne the name, but you have not possessed the spirit of a Christian : you have not been merciful in your generation; and now you have no claim to mercy, when nothing else can snatch you
from the wrath to come.
No doubt the scrutiny of the great day will extend much farther, and relate to other qualities, besides the grace of charity. Those on the right hand, which shall hear the summons, Come ye blessed children of my Father, must be humble, and penitent, and meek, and pure in heart, as well as merciful. But the very prominent place which our Lord has assigned to charity in this awful description of the tribunal, where he will himself appear in his glory as Judge, and, before him shall be gathered all nations, shows thus much, at least, that this virtue is indispensable; is one by which the Christian must often examine himself, and prove his own soul; inasmuch as, without it, his Saviour will not acknowledge him: he shall not obtain mercy. Not that charity, or any other virtue, can redeem us from the punishment of sin, or entitle us to the reward of heaven; eternal life is the gift of God through Jesus Christ. It would be a miserable error for a man to suppose that by giving an alms he could atone for a crime, or by excusing his debtor here, clear his own account with God. Forgiveness and pity are necessary parts of that character which Christ will