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nor insensibility of the world, nor the very silence of God, betray us into false judgments, or foster a spirit of pride and selfdeception. We may learn from the very stedfastness of Jesus, that here the most awful crimes may be perpetrated without rebuke, and great heroism pass on quietly and without appreciation to suffering and death, while littleness and cruelty reign and live upon the applause of thousands.
3. The awful nature and reality of his sufferings and death. Some minds are constitutionally timid and desponding; they can never face any work assigned them without great suffering: others are so indolent that they faint before the smallest difficulty; while many, through mental imbecility, are in perpetual conflict with many things which give to others no trouble whatever. In the mind of Christ, however, these things could have no place; no taint of sin, no false perception, no mental decrepitude, ever weakened his purpose or paralyzed his powers: and yet it is said, that he "stedfastly set his face," &c. That must, therefore, have been a stern and terrible conflict which led the Great Captain himself thus to gird up his strength, and buckle on his armour afresh. It must have been an awful storm indeed towards which he had stedfastly set His face; yes, a storm which would require all his perfections, both as a man and God, to hush and subdue. He was going to be persecuted of men, assaulted by Satan, stricken, smitten, and afflicted of God exhausted by physical tortures and mental anguish, to be cut off from God in the midst of penal darkness;-can we wonder it is written that he set his face stedfastly? It was a work that would tax all his human powers to the uttermost, all the grace with which he was endowed as the Anointed Saviour, and engage those perfections which were Divine. Held up, however, by his own inherent strength, and that Spirit which never failed him, he stood firm beneath the vials of Divine wrath, and, from the midst of a fire which would otherwise have burned for ever, came forth with powers fresh and unimpaired, to be the messenger of mercy to myriads, to bear a crown and to sway a sceptre the influence of which even eternity itself shall acknowledge. We learn, then, that such was the intense heat of that fire which was to consume Christ, that although his feet could not slide to fall, he had to look well that they failed not as he approached it; that
such was the character of those weapons that were to pierce him, that reproach which was to break his heart, that darkness which was to cover his soul, that even he, the Great Captain of salvation, had "stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem."
4. The reality of his human nature, and how completely he was made one with his brethren, sin excepted. It is possible so to dwell upon the Godhead of Christ that the human nature is lost in the Divine, and a Saviour is often worshipped who knows nothing of infirmity, and who is all but destitute of human sympathy. Much is made known of the working of that Divine power whereby he is to subdue all things to himself; but little is said of how he believed and prayed, and wept and hoped, and feared and shrank; and yet what a beautiful comment we have in these words from the lips of Christ upon the Divine declaration, "For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens." And yet "he set his face stedfastly to go to Jerusalem." It needed the stern determination of his holy nature, helped, too, by the Spirit of God, to bring his holy flesh towards the slaughtering knife, his ears to the rude blasphemies of men, his holy brow to the thorns, his hands and feet to the rugged nails, his holy soul to the darkness of penal wrath, to be cut off for a time from the light of his Father's face and that joy which was his strength. Can any one show how Christ could be a holy man and not shrink from this? he, the holy one of God, to be accursed, blasphemed, despised, pierced, forsaken, and not shrink? Why surely the guilt of men, even his own people, might well have produced this. But blessed be God, that although his holy Lamb did shrink from the lions' den, and it could be written even of him, "Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save him from death,' yet, nevertheless, did stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, "and was heard out of his fears."
5. Unfaltering trust and confidence in God. It is true that these words, " And he set his face stedfastly to go to Jerusalem," reveal to us a stern, invincible determination in the heart of Christ; but did he go forth resting upon it? Oh no ; God was his refuge and stay; he could say not only, I have set my face as a flint, and I
know that I shall not be put to shame, but also, "Our fathers trusted in thee; they trusted, and thou didst deliver them. They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted on thee, and were not confounded. Be not far from me, O Lord: O my strength, haste to help me." The heroism, therefore, of Christ was the heroism of prayer and faith. He had believed, and hoped, and prayed; and hence he could say, even while going to Jerusalem, "Ye that fear the Lord, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye seed of Israel. For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard."
blaspheming Jerusalem. He had no new purposes, no new thoughts, no new love in his heart towards his people; all these things were in his mind long, long before he came here. It had been written,
6. His entire devotion and consecration to the will of God. The life of Jesus was one continued scene of self-sacrifice. He came not to do his own will, but the will of God; not to be ministered unto, but to minister; not to please himself, but to benefit others. How great and persistent was his zeal in doing the will of his Father! We have often admired the love and zeal of the great apostle, as embodied in that wonderful declaration of his, "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand." Oh, how few of us would dare to give utterance to such language as this: how few of us can practically understand its spirit, or the intelligent and burning love from whence it sprang. Willing to be sacrificed! Why there are many professing Christians unwilling to give up their smallest comfort for Christ. But here is one willing to give himself, his life, his all. And yet, after all, the apostle's zeal was but a little stream from the great fountain of love which ever lived in the heart of Christ. The apostle was willing to die, but he could not be accursed; there could be no wrath in his death, no penal darkness, no bruising from the hand of God,no: Jesus could bear all this, and Jesus only could bear it. And, blessed be God, such was the consecration of his will to God, that he not only could do and bear all that was involved in our salvation, but he did all that was needed to this great result, transforming even death into a friend, and making the grave itself to be to his redeemed as the vestibule of heaven.
7. His everlasting, invincible, and unquenchable love. It was under the influence of an old affection that Christ moved on stedfastly to the cross, and went up to
Many waters cannot quench love."
And in his experience and life they were to receive such an illustration as had never been given to them before; and hence, although Christ clearly saw spreading be fore him, even in Jerusalem, that deep and unfathomable sea of Divine wrath, suffer ing, and death, through which he must pass, and in which, too, he must exclaim, "I sink in deep waters where there is no standing," it is nevertheless written of him, "And it came to pass, that when he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem."
8. His faithfulness to the Divine pur pose. What was that purpose? To glorify his Father, to spoil the principalities and powers of hell, and to save his people with a complete and everlasting salvation. Yes, believer, the glory of that God whom thou lovest, the ruin of hell, thy own personal and everlasting salvation, hung upon these words: "He stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem." Oh, had not Christ have been stedfast, could he but have failed, what defeat for us, what triumph for hell! But he did not, he could not. To his Father he could say, "I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do"-of Satan, "I saw him fall as lightning from heaven"-of his people, "I will that they be with me when I am to behold my glory." And all this as the result of a love which neither sin nor wrath, neither men nor devils, neither pain nor sorrow, neither suffering nor death could quench. He who stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem did go, was received up, and hence God was glorified, Satan was dethroned, the church was saved; and grace - eternal grace, abounding grace, free grace—shall reign through righteousness, unto eternal life in the experience of myriads here and before the throne of God and the Lamb, for ever and ever!
"Let men unite themselves to praise
In conclusion, how this conflict of our Saviour, and his stern and invincible decision, rebukes our cowardice, indolence, and indecision. We have really no foes to meet but those which he has met and van
quished; we have but to pass over the field, and gather up the trophies of his victory; and yet often we have scarcely courage to do this. We fear where no fear is, and fly when no man pursueth. We have but to put forth our hand and gather the rich fruits of his victory and death; and yet we are often too indolent to do this. And even in connection with our most successful efforts, how feebly do we purpose, and how much is left to the chapter of accidents. Oh, that He who set his face stedfastly to go to Jerusalem
may pardon us, and help us to be more sincere, more sternly to purpose in dependence upon his grace, and more invincibly to work. When tempted to cowardice, may we look to our Great Captain in the field;-to indolence, may we behold him bracing himself for his journey ;- to indecision, may we mark him as he turns bis blessed face to the storm, and seek earnestly for that grace that shall enable us to tread in his steps, and to overcome even as he
LIGHT IN DARKNESS.
"All things work together for good to them that love God."--Rom. viii. 28.
How weary and how worthless this life at times appears!
And yet these days of dreariness are sent us from above;
They come to draw us nearer to our Father and our Lord,
They come to lay us lowly, and humbled in the dust;
They come to break the fetters which here detain us fast,
Then turn not in despondency, poor weary heart, away,
Thy God hath not forgot thee, and when he sees it best,
Tales and Sketches.
THE CAPTAIN'S STORY.
WHEN I was about forty years of age I took command of the ship Petersham. She was an old craft, and had seen full as much service as she was capable of seeing with safety. But her owners were willing to trust a valuable cargo in her, so I would not refuse to trust myself. We were bound to New York, and nothing unusual happened until about the eighth day out, when we ran foul of a small iceberg. It was early in the morning, before sunrise, and not above six or eight feet of ice was above the water, it having nearly all been melted in the warm waters of the gulf stream. I did not think we had sustained much injury, for the shock was light; but I was very angry, and gave the look-out a severe punishment, without stopping to inquire whether he could have seen the berg in time to escape it.
My cabin-boy was named Jack Withers. He was fourteen years of age, and this was his first voyage. I had taken him from his widowed mother, and had promised her that I would see him well treated, that was, if he behaved himself. He was a bright, quick, intelligent lad. I soon made myself believe he had an awful disposition. I fancied that he was the most stubborn piece of humanity I had ever come across. I had made up my mind that he had never been properly governed, and had resolved to break him in. I told him I'd curb his temper before I'd done with him. In reply, he told me that I might kill him if I liked; and I flogged him with the end of the mizen top-gallant halliards till he could hardly stand. I asked him if he'd got enough, and he told me I might flog him more if I wished to. I felt a strong inclination to throw the boy overboard, but at that moment he staggered back against the mizzen-mast from absolute weakness, and I left him to himself. When I reasoned calmly about the boy's disposition, I was forced to acknowledge that he was one of the smartest, and most intelligent, and faithful lads I had ever seen. When I asked him to do anything, he would be off like a rocket; but when I roughly ordered him to do it, then came the disposition with which I found fault.
One day, when it was very near noon, I
"How's that?" said I.
"There's a little more life in me, you'd better flog it out," was the reply.
And I beat him again. I beat him till he sank from my hand against the rail; and I sent one of my other men for my quadrant. When it came, and I had adjusted it for observation, I found that the was already past the meridian, and that I was too late. This added fuel to the fire of my madness, and quickly seizing the lad by the collar, I led him to the main hatchway, and had the hatch taken off. I then thrust him down, and swore I would keep him there till his stubbornness was broken. The hatch was then put on, and I went into the cabin. I suffered a good deal that afternoon, not with any compunctions of conscience for what I had done, but with my own temper and bitterness. It made me mad to think that I could not conquer that boy,-that I could not break down his cool, stern opposition. "But I will do it," I said to myself; "I'll starve him into it, or he shall die under the operation."
After supper I went to the hatchway and called out to him, but he returned me no answer. At ten o'clock I called again, and again got no answer. I might have thought that the flogging had taken away his senses, had not some of the men assured me that they had heard him, not an hour before, talking to himself. I did not trou
ble him again until morning. After breakfast I went to the hatchway and called to him once more. I heard nothing from him, nor could I see him,-I had not seen him since I put him down there. I called out several times, but he would make no reply, and yet the same men told me they had heard him talking that very morning. He seemed to be calling on them for help, but he would not ask for me. I meant to break him into it. He'll beg before he'll starve, I thought; and so determined to let him stay there. I supposed that he had crawled forward to the forecastle bulkhead, in order to make the sailors hear him. Some of the men asked leave to go down and look for him, but I refused, and threatened to punish the first man that dared to go down.
At noon I went again, and as he did not answer me this time, I resolved that he should come to the hatchway and ask for me, ere I went any more. The day passed away, and when evening came again, I began to be startled. I thought of the many good qualities the boy had, and of his widowed mother. He had been in the hold thirty-six hours, and all of forty hours without food or drink. He must be too weak to cry out now. It was hard for me to give up, but if he died there from actual starvation it might go harder with me still. So at length I made up my mind to go and see him. It was not quite sunset when I had the hatch taken off, and I jumped down upon the boxes alone.
A little way forward I saw a space where Jack might easily have gone down, and to this point I crawled upon my hands and knees. I called out there, but could get no answer. A short distance further was a wide space, which I had entirely forgotten, but which I now remembered had been left open, on account of a break in the flooring of the hold, which would let anything that might have been stored there rest directly upon the thin planking of the ship.
To this place I made my way, and looked down. I heard the splashing of water, and thought I could detect a sound like the incoming of a tiny jet or stream. At first I could see nothing; but as soon as I became used to the dim light, I could distinguish the faint outlines of the boy at Some distance below me. He seemed to be sitting on the broken floor, with his feet stretched out against a cask. I called out to him, and thought he looked up.
"Jack, are you there ?"
And he answered me in a faint, weary tone, "Yes, help me! Do help me! Bring men and bring a lantern,-the ship has sprung a leak!"
I hesitated, and he added, in a more eager tone, "Make haste,-I will try and hold it till you come back."
I waited to hear no more, but hurried on deck as soon as possible, and returned with a lantern and three men. I leaped down beside the boy, and could scarcely believe the evidence of my own senses. Three of the timbers were completely worm-eaten to the very heart, and one of the outer planks had been broken, and would burst in any moment the boy might leave it, whose feet were braced against the plank before him. Half-a-dozen little jets of water were streaming in about him, and he was wet to the skin. I saw the plank must burst the moment the strain was removed from it, so I made my men brace themselves against it, before I lifted him up. Other men were called down with planks, and spikes, and adzes, and with much care and trouble we finally succeeded in stopping the leak and averting the danger.
The plank which had been stove in was six feet long by eight inches wide, and would let in a stream of water of that capacity. It would have been beyond our reach long before we could have discovered it, and would have sunk us in a very short time. I knew it must be where the iceberg struck us.
Jack Withers was taken to the cabin, and there he managed to tell his story. Shortly after I put him in the hold, he crawled forward, and when he became used to the dim glimmer that came through the dead-lights he looked about for a snug place in which to lie, for his limbs were very sore. He went to sleep, and when he woke he heard a faint sound like water streaming through a small hole. He went to the open place in the cargo and looked down, and was sure that he saw a small jet of water springing up through the ship's bottom. He leaped down, and in a few moments found that the timbers had given wholly away, and that the stream was increasing in size. He placed his hand upon the plank and found it broken, and discovered that the pressure of the water without was forcing it inward. He had sense to see that if it gained an inch more it must all go, and the ship be lost, and perhaps all hands perish. And he saw, too,