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قراءة كتاب Old Wine and New: Occasional Discourses

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‏اللغة: English
Old Wine and New: Occasional Discourses

Old Wine and New: Occasional Discourses

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 6

pleasant to the warrior, when, having won the last battle of his last campaign, he returns with an honorable discharge to his mother's cottage among the hills! Rest is what we all want, and what Jesus offers to the weary and heavy laden soul. I saw a young lady bowed down with grief at the memory of her sins; and when I spoke to her, she looked up with a smile that made rainbows on her tears, and said: "O sir! I have had more happiness weeping over my sins for the last half hour than I ever had in sinning through all my life!" And if

"The seeing eye, the feeling sense,
The mystic joys of penitence,"

have in them so much sweetness for the soul, what shall we say of

"The speechless awe that dares not move,
And all the silent heaven of love!"

It is the rest of conscious pardon and satisfied desire; the rest of faith, seeing the invisible and grasping the infinite; of hope, reposing in the infallible promise and anticipating a blissful immortality; of resignation, losing its own will in the will of God, and leaving all things to the disposal of the divine wisdom and goodness; of perfect confidence and trust, saying with St. Paul: "I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that, he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day." Christ is the love of God incarnate in our nature; and where shall the loving John find rest, but in the bosom of the Eternal Love? And, tossed by many a tempest, or racked with keenest pain, why should not the weary and heavy-laden disciple of the divine Man of sorrows sing like one of his faithful servants whose flesh and spirit were being torn asunder by anguish:—

"Yet, gracious God, amid these storms of nature,
Thine eyes behold a sweet and sacred calm
Reign through the realm of conscience. All within
Lies peaceful, all composed. 'Tis wondrous grace
Keeps off thy terrors from this humble bosom,
Though stained with sins and follies, yet serene
In penitential peace and cheerful hope,
Sprinkled and guarded with atoning blood.
Thy vital smiles amid this desolation,
Like heavenly sunbeams hid behind the clouds,
Break out in happy moments. With bright radiance
Cleaving the gloom, the fair celestial light
Softens and gilds the horrors of the storm,
And richest cordial to the heart conveys.
Oh! glorious solace of immense distress!
A conscience and a God! This is my rock
Of firm support, my shield of sure defence
Against infernal arrows. Rise, my soul!
Put on thy courage! Here's the living spring
Of joys divinely sweet and ever new—
A peaceful conscience and a smiling Heaven!
My God! permit a sinful worm to say,
Thy Spirit knows I love thee. Worthless wretch!
To dare to love a God! Yet grace requires,
And grace accepts. Thou seest my laboring mind.
Weak as my zeal is, yet my zeal is true;
It bears the trying furnace. I am thine,
By covenant secure. Incarnate Love
Hath seized, and holds me in almighty arms.
What can avail to shake me from my trust?
Amidst the wreck of worlds and dying nature,
I am the Lord's, and he forever mine!"[3]

Hear ye, then, the loving words of Jesus. The invitation is unlimited; the grace is free for all. No sin is too great to be forgiven, no burden too heavy to be removed, no power in earth or hell able to keep you back from Christ. However dark your minds, however hard your hearts, however dead your spirits, hear and answer: "I will arise and go!"

"Just as I am, without one plea,
But that thy blood was shed for me,
And that thou bidst me come to thee,
     O Lamb of God, I come!"

Lo! with outstretched arms he hastes to meet you, with tokens of welcome and the kiss of peace.

"Ready for you the angels wait,
To triumph in your blest estate;
Tuning their harps, they long to praise
The wonders of redeeming grace."

All heaven, with expectant joy, awaits your coming. Come, and satisfy the soul that travailed for you in Olivet! Come, and gladden the heart that broke for you upon the cross! Come, and at the nail-pierced feet find your eternal rest!

[1] Preached in Syracuse, N.Y., 1830; at Weston-super-Mare, Somersetshire, Eng., 1857.]

[2] Pollok.

[3] Isaac Watts in his last illness.



This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem!—Song of Sol. v. 16.

By the ablest interpreters and critics of Holy Scripture, the Song of Solomon has generally been regarded as an epithalamium, or nuptial canticle. But, like many other parts of the sacred volume, doubtless, it has a mystical and secondary application, which is more important than the literal and primary. The true Solomon is Christ, and the Church is his beautiful Shulamite. In this chapter, the Bride sings the glory of her divine Spouse, and our text concludes the description. But what is thus true of the Church in her corporate capacity, is true also of her individual members; and without its verification in their personal experience, it could not be thoroughly verified in the organic whole. Every regenerate and faithful soul may say of the heavenly Bridegroom: "This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem!"

Christ for a beloved—the Son of God for a friend! What nobler theme could occupy our thoughts? what sublimer privilege invest the saints in light?

So constituted is man, that love and friendship are necessary to his happiness, almost essential to his existence. Accumulate in your coffers the wealth of all kingdoms, and gather into your diadems the glories of the greatest empires. Bid every continent, island and ocean bring forth their hidden treasures, and pour the sparkling tribute at your feet. Subsidize and appropriate whatever is precious in the solar planets or magnificent in the stellar jewellery of heaven, and hold it all by an immortal tenure. Yet, without at least one kindred spirit to whom you might communicate your joy, one congenial soul from whom you might claim sympathy in your sorrow, the loveless heart were still unsatisfied—

"The friendless master of the worlds were poor!"

Among the children of men, however, love and friendship, in one respect or another, will always be found defective, liable to many irregularities and interruptions, painful suspicions and sad infirmities, which mar their beauty, tarnish their purity, and imbitter their consolations, turning the ambrosia into wormwood and the nectar into gall. Sometimes they are manifest only in words, and smiles, and hollow courtesies, and other external tokens; while the heart is as void of all true affection and confidence as the whitewashed sepulchre is of life and beauty. Beginning with flattery, they often