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revealed by each fresh investigation. The highly gifted and cultivated Dr. Chalmers, in the last year of his life, commenced expository notes on the Bible, expressing his surprise that so much had previously escaped his observation; and yet numbers of intelligent and experienced readers had felt as you do now. Oh, how delightful to have read with this great man's understanding !"
“ Then, on this point, I need not fear coming to an end of new ideas, mamma ?”
“New ideas are sometimes very pleasing, my love; but we have still greater cause for gratitude for those old ideas which are simple and easy to be understood by the youngest and most illiterate.”
“ You mean that Jesus came into the world to save sinners, mamma?”
“ Assuredly, the touching narrative of 'His dying love has saved many an immortal soul, whose intellectual capacity was too feeble to comprehend the wondrous perfections of Jehovah, and too simple and guileless to doubt a message so appropriate to guilty man.”
" True, mamma, some of my poor little Sunday scholars would have but small hope if it needed a great mind, or much education, to understand the gospel; and yet their conduct seems more ruled by the precepts of the Bible than that of others who are much more clever in seeing the beauties of its language.”
“A wise Scripture steward, my dear Edith, will learn to bring forth from its rich storehouse, things both new and old, as are best adapted to the need of those around; rejoicing, that while “angels desire to look into these things,—they are also able to make, even a child, wise unto salvation."
“ Thank you, mamma, I see indeed now, that delightful as new ideas may be, the old are almost as important."
"Ah! my child, what would have become of the millions who have passed into eternity since the Fall, had not the assurance of an atoning sacrifice for sin, been an idea as old as the human race ?”
“Dear mamma, I never thought of the great privilege this old knowledge was!"
“It never came so forcibly before my own mind, dear, till on
one occasion, when a girl, I was in attendance on an aged relative whose life was rapidly declining. I was about to read to him as usual in the evening, when he begged me to use a very old Bible, which with its discolored leaves, and time-worn cover, I had rather despised, not then knowing much about its spiritual value. I complied in silence, secretly disappointed that this ancient servant should be preferred to the elegant Polyglot, which had been lately presented to me! My beloved relative, however, soon banished such childish regret, by remarking, as I opened the dingy volume, 'I love that Bible. It comforted my father through a long pilgrimage, it sustained my departed wife's dying faith; it has been my cheering companion for many years, and as I turn over its pages and think how many saints it has helped to glory, no book seems so precious in my eyes! Remember, my dear, its message is “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin;' and He is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever!"
“Oh! no wonder you love old ideas, mamma, and prize so highly the first message of love to a lost world.”
“I do indeed, my love, delight to trace the gospel from its earliest intimation to our first parents, till the full clear blaze of light revealed by our Great Teacher, and present advocate before the throne, rejoicing that the knowledge of this all-important fact is so simple, so true, and so old ?”
This conversation was eminently useful to Edith for she was young in years, and yet younger in the school of Christ. Having been but lately awakened to perceive the value and meaning of that salvation of which the older types spake in their mysterious shadowy pomp, but which is so clearly revealed under the gospel dispensation ; all scripture appeared in a new aspect, and the very simplicity of faith which disposed her to bow submissively to the dictates of the written word, placed her in danger of bewilderment from the various interpretations put upon it by different Christian communities.
Ere long, circumstances led her into a household, where great diversity prevailed. As she was in turn compelled to hear the sentiments of Romanist and “Friend,”-churchmen and dissenters of every name, her mind became somewhat perplexed, lest in withstanding their arguments, she might be “ quenching
the Spirit!" Again and again she searched her Bible, to ascertain how far novel opinions agreed with old truth; or wherein new ceremonial suited the ancient rites preserved in the Christian church as simple memorials of the great change effected by faith in the one sacrifice.
“ The peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds,”—repeated Mrs. M. as Edith detailed her perplexities, “is a promise adapted to mental, as well as moral difficulties.”
"Indeed, mamma, I found it so; for when Miss C talked so much of laying aside all teaching, (human learning she called it,) except that of the inward light:" and when Miss T. said as much upon the duty of the youthful and ignorant to depend upon the appointed ministrations of the church, I felt completely puzzled, till I recollected the direction, 'If any lack wisdom, let him ask of God; and the promise you mention, recurred to my mind, as a sweet calming assurance.”
“I am glad, my love, you were guided to a throne of grace. You will not greatly err while abiding under the shadow of the mercy seat."
“I wish I could hear Jesus' voice to tell me what to believe, mamma, just as he used to do to his disciples.”
“He said, “the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth, my dear, and it is worthy of observation, that as Christians advance in experience, they attain greater similarity of faith, however, they may continue to differ upon minor points of practice; so that many devout disciples, who enter upon their pilgrimage in very different external array, as they proceed and lay aside the rags of self-righteousness, in the end appear clad alike in white garments, and with palms in their hands, singing in sweet chorus, the new song of Moses and the Lamb."
Novelty fascinates the young. New toys, new fashions, new friends, new books, new discoveries, new creeds; all wear indescribable charms on first acquaintance; are esteemed for a season, and then quickly discarded for becoming old. Under proper restraint, this inherent propensity of the human mind, leads to improvements in civilization, advancement in science and knowledge, increased experience in spiritual life. What an inestimable privilege amidst the whirl of conflicting opinions
the endless diversity of conduct—the uncertain speculations of intellect, to have a safe resting-place for the mind-solid peace for the heart—a sure guide to the feet. “Thy Word is a lamp to my path.”
He who possesses a new heart, will ever find new mercies to recount, and new praises to sing !
NILUS AND THEODULUS. The peninsula of Sinai has an aspect of singular grandeur. Few spots in any mountain region can be thought to surpass it in desolate wildness, or in rugged sublimity. The traveller sees on every side bare surfaces of granite, presenting scarcely a ledge or crevice that might sustain a root or shrub. Blocks, some of them thirty feet in length, and loosely piled one upon another, wall in the ravines. From the summit of the peak, nothing is seen but “ utter, awful desolation."
On the north-western slope of the mountain, and not far distant from its base, would be found a level spot, closely compassed round by the same tremendous barrier of rock, though a few palm trees, standing in a little patch of green, with perchance, the dwelling of some wandering Bedouin, would present a grateful contrast to the sterility around. This is the entrance to what is now called the Wadi Feiran.
It was not far from this spot that, some sixty years after Constantine had removed the seat of empire to the East, and not long before Britain was finally abandoned by the Romans to the marauders from the north, there might be found a little colony of hermits. These settlements—for this was not the only one in the neighbourhood-had been founded for the most part, either by those who had fled from the heathen persecutions of the preceding age, or by those who hoped to attain in the solitude of the desert, that tranquillity and holiness which were denied them amid the bustle and turmoil of the world.
These hermits lived either in huts which they had constructed of the slight materials at hand; or in caves, natural or which they had hollowed in the rock. They built these cells at intervals of about a mile from one another, a distance which they thought would be a sufficient safeguard against mutual interruption during their devotions. Each cell had usually but a single habitant, though occasionally the more aged and infirm had the services of a younger brother allotted to him.
The whole week was often passed in solitude, “ The Book," as one of them expresses it, being generally their sole companion. On the evening of Saturday it was their custom to assemble in a common cell, larger than the rest, a kind of chapel; where, after passing the night in joint devotion, on the morning of Sunday they celebrated together the Christian rite of breaking bread, and then shared their frugal meal. Many of them we are assured, nor is there ground to doubt the statement, partook of food but this once in the course of the week, others twice, some thrice. Their luxuries consisted of a few roots of which they had a common store-dates, berries, and such-like mountain fruits; and a draught of water from the well completed the repast. Bread was rarely, if ever seen. The meal concluded, they discoursed awhile on some portion of the Scriptures, the whole of which many of them retained in their memories; and in the evening with brotherly advice and love they separated to their respective cells. Thus was spent the Sunday, Their dress was scanty, the warmth of the climate not requiring much. It consisted generally of a haircloth, the skin of some wild animal, or a slight linen garment. And thus their days sped by.
Although, when comparing the monastic and ascetic system with Scriptural principles, we must think that its originators greatly misunderstood the Christianity they professed, yet we need not on that account call in question the sincerity of many of them, or the genuineness of their piety.
Among the more eminent of the ascetics of Mount Sinai at this period, was Nilus, a man of noble birth, who had received the best education which the polished East could then afford, having been a disciple of St. Chrysostom, and other eminent teachers. He had afterwards risen to power, affluence, and fame, having been made by his royal master, governor of the recently founded city of Constantinople--a post of honour and of trust. Wearied, however, of the pomps and tinsel of a court, he resolved to retire to the desert. Of his two children,