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footstool of that Almighty Being whom all have grievously offended, and from whom all real blessings are received? How shall we, with this petition just escaped from our lips, "forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us," rush from the familyaltar to enter into quarrels, or to gratify the spirit of revenge? "Where envying and strife is" and these grow luxuriantly enough in the natural heart-" there is confusion and every evil work;" but religion inculcates order, and introduces peace. The God whom we worship" is not the author of confusion, but of peace." But the aspect which familyworship bears on the everlasting interests of the members of our households, this-this, beyond every other consideration, should weigh with us for the due observance of it.
Heads of families should often consider the responsibility that attaches to them for, as far as practicable, the religious education of their households. If any one, whether child or servant, perish through our neglect or indifference, shall not God in righteous judgment require his blood at our hands? The Lord has said, All souls are mine; and he has committed them (of our servants and children) for a time to our keeping; and does he not say in effect to us, Keep this child or servant; and if by any means he be missing or lost, then shall thy life be for his life? O let us begin, O let us begin, or continue in, the important duty of familyworship let us no longer consider it as a duty only, but also as an inestimable privilege. Let us remember that it is a silent proclamation to our households of the truth of the religion we profess-a" still small voice," which the most wayward and careless cannot always be deaf to, calling them off from a world that lieth in wickedness, to the contemplation of those things which make for their everlasting peace. How many a first impression has it pleased God to make whilst around the family-altar, which all life's devious wanderings failed to obliterate, and which at last, through the infinite mercy and grace of Him who began the good work, was brought to perfection!
As to any difficulties which may appear to lie in the way of our practising the great duty of family-worship, let us ever bear in mind that God's grace is sufficient for us. Imbued with the spirit of true religion, every obstacle which the world, the flesh, and the devil, can throw in the way will speedily be overcome, and we shall be made "more than conquerors through Him that loved us." Then, of a truth, God will bless us, for "he blesseth the habitation of the just." The dew of his grace, we may hope, will descend upon every member of our family; and whilst he guides us by his counsel here, we may rest in the delightful
assurance that afterwards he will receive us to glory, for Jesus Christ's sake.
MASSACRE OF ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S DAY AT PARIS.-A.D. 1572.
THE king, it is stated, speedily felt the most violent remorse for permitting the massacre. From the evening of the 24th Aug. he was observed to groan much when informed of the cruelties that had been perpetrated; and at length, after some conversation
with Ambrose Pare, his surgeon and a Huguenot, he forbade the continuance of the deed of blood. He hoped to exculpate himself; for in letters sent by him into the provinces, he threw the blame of the whole proceeding on the members of the house of Guise. But in eight days he changed his tone, declaring that the whole affair took place by his express command. It is certain that he was himself seen with a carabine in his hand during the massacre, which he is said to have fired on the Huguenots. It is not less so, that he went with his court to view the body of Coligny while suspended at Montfaucon; and that when one of his courtiers observed that it smelt ill,
he replied, "The body of a dead enemy always smells well." The number of Protestants massacred in eight days, over the kingdom, amounted to 70,000.
"The last ferocious act of Charles, which grew immediately out of the St. Bartholomew," says Mr. Smedley," was a mock trial, instituted against the deceased admiral and his adherents in the pretended conspiracy. The sentence passed against Coligny, as a traitor, involved confiscation of all his property, perpetual infamy, and the suppression of his name. His body, if it could be found (and if that were not possible, his effigy), was to be drawn on a hurdle through the streets, and gibbeted, first in the Place de Grêve for six hours, afterwards on a loftier spot at Montfaucon. His armorial bearings were to be dragged at a horse's tail through every town in which they might have been set up, and to be defaced and broken in pieces by the common executioner; his statues, busts, and portraits, were to be demolished in like manner. His chief seat at Châtillon was to be razed to the ground; no building was ever again to be founded on its site; the trees in the park were to be cut down to half their natural height; the glebe was to be sown with salt; and in some central spot a column was to be erected, bearing on it this decree engraved in brass. His children had escaped the fury of the king during the massacre; but they were now proscribed, degraded from their nobility, declared incapable of bearing witness in courts of law, stripped of all civil privileges, and the power of holding any public office, or of enjoying any property within the limits of France for ever. An annual public religious service and procession was at the same time instituted, to commemorate the mercy of Heaven, which had so signally averted calamity from the kingdom on the festival of St. Bartholomew.
"It was not, however, on the dead only that the vengeance of the court was content to wreak itself in these moments of subsidence. Two living victims also were provided for sacrifice. Cavagne, a counsellor of the parliament of Toulouse, and Briquemaut, profession of arms, in which he had long served with who at seventy years of age had retired from the honour, were arrested as Huguenots a short time after the massacre. The escape of Briquemaut during the Parisian carnage was attended with remarkable circumstances. Perceiving that every outlet was blockaded, and that the murderers were in close pursuit, he stripped off his clothes, and throwing himself among a heap of bleeding corpses, lay upon
his face and counterfeited death. His nakedness prevented examination and discovery by the wretches who followed in the train of the assassins to rifle their fallen victims; and at night, wrapping round hin such rags as were near at hand, he stole away unobserved, and took refuge at the house of the English ambassador. There he found employment in the stables; and he was dressing a horse at the moment in which he was recognised and arrested.
"The charge brought against him and Cavagne, was participation in the admiral's conspiracy; with the exception, therefore, of the merely personal clauses, their sentence was similar to that which we have just recited; and De Thou, who heard it read to them, notices the fortitude with which Briquemaut listened notwithstanding the usual ignominy with which one nobly born was adjudged to the gallowstill he found that in some of the penalties his children also were included. What have they done to merit this severity?' was the inquiry of the heart-broken veteran. Between five and six in the evening of the 27th of October, the sad procession quitted the Conciergerie for the Place de Grêve. In the mouth of the straw effigy, by which the admiral was represented, some heartless mocker had placed a toothpick, to increase the resemblance by imitating one of his common habits. At the windows of the Hôtel de Ville, which commanded a near view of the scaffold, were assembled Charles (to whom his consort on that morning had presented her first-born child), the queen mother, and the King of Navarre, who had been compelled to attend. A considerable delay took place; and some proposal appears to have been made, by which, even at the last moment, the condemned might have purchased their lives, if they would have debased themselves by treachery and falsehood. When at length the hangman had thrown them from the ladder, Charles ordered flambeaux to be held close to their faces, in order that he might distinctly view the variety of expression which each exhibited in his parting agony. Suetonius does not record a more fiend-like anecdote of the worst of the Cæsars. The populace imitated the brutality of their sovereign. During the long and fearful pause which had occurred on the scaffold, and the many hours through which the bound and defenceless prisoners endured that lingering expectation far more bitter than death itself, their suffering was heightened by cruel outrages inflicted by the rabble; who, when life was extinct, dragged the bodies from the gallows, and savagely tore them in pieces."
at Lyons? What did the sucking-children and their mothers at Rouen deserve? at Caen? at Rochelle? What is done yet, we have not heard; but I think shortly we shall hear. Will God, think you, still sleep? Will not their blood ask vengeance? Shall not the earth be accursed that hath sucked up the innocent blood poured out like water upon it?"
In the general dispersion which succeeded these massacres, the Huguenots took refuge in England, in the Palatinate, and a part of them in Switzerland. A remnant, however, still remained behind.
Sir Francis Walsingham was at this time the resident ambassador from England. His interview with Catherine after the massacre was truly interesting. He concealed not the disgust which would be felt by his royal mistress, Elizabeth, at such outrages; and his despatches notice the brutal sportiveness with which the Parisians spoke of them as "a Bartholomew breakfast, and a Florence banquet." The detestation in which the name of the French court was held in England, is thus described in a strain of rude, yet powerful eloquence, by his friend and correspondent, Sir Thomas Smith, the queen's secretary:
"What warrant can the French make now, seals and words of princes being traps to catch innocents and bring them to butchery? If the admiral and all those murdered on that bloody Bartholomew - day were guilty, why were they not apprehended, imprisoned, interrogated, and judged? But so much made of as might be, within two hours of the assassination! Is that the manner to handle men, either culpable or suspected? So is the journeyer slain by the robber; so is the hen of the fox; so the hind of the lion; so Abel of Cain; so the innocent of the wicked; so Abner of Joab. But grant they were guilty, they dreamed treason that night in their sleep; what did the innocent men, women, and children do
"When intelligence of the massacre," adds Mr. Smedley, "was first announced at Rome, the Vatican gave loose to unbounded joy. The pope and cardinals proceeded at once from the conclave in which the king's despatches had been read, to offer thanks before the altar, for the great blessing which Heaven had vouchsafed to the Romish see and to all Christendom. Salvoes of artillery thundered at nightfall from the ramparts of St. Angelo; the streets were illuminated; and no victory ever achieved by the arms of the pontificate elicited more tokens of festivity. The pope also, as if resolved that an indestructible evidence of the perversion of moral feeling which fanaticism necessarily generates should be transmitted to posterity, gave orders for the execution of a commemorative medal. He had already been anticipated in Paris; and the effigies of Gregory XIII. and of Charles IX. may still be seen in numismatic cabinets, connected with triumphant legends and symbolical devices, illustrative of the massacre.
"The Cardinal of Lorraine presented the messenger with a thousand pieces of gold; and unable to restrain the extravagance of his delight, exclaimed that he believed the king's heart to have been filled by a sudden inspiration from God when he gave orders for the slaughter of the heretics. Two days afterwards he celebrated a solemn service in the church of St. Louis, with extraordinary magnificence; on which occasion, the pope, the whole ecclesiastical body, and many resident ambassadors, assisted. An elaborate inscription was then affixed to the portals of the church, congratulating God, the pope, the college of cardinals, and the senate and people of Rome, on the stupendous results and the almost incredible effects of the advice, the aid, and the prayers which had been offered during a period of twelve years."
THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER:
BY THE REV. W. HARRISON, M.A.
MARK, iv. 3. "Behold, there went out a sower to sow." THERE are few parables which are more familiar to us, and few which have been more frequently discoursed upon, than that of which these words form the commencement-the parable of the sower. It is particularly valuable, because it is one of those which our Saviour himself condescended to explain; and it contains much of warning and much of instruction, to pay serious regard to which it behoves us all.
The parable itself is simply this: A sower goes out to sow, and his seed is received by four different kinds of soil. The seed means the word of God, and the soils represent the different dispositions of those who hear it.
Whenever the word of God is read, whenever I consider-you who feel that this description
O, that God would more deeply impress upon my mind whose word I am delivering, and upon this people whose word they are hearing! It is not man's word, it is God's word, which you are rejecting, against which you are stopping your ears; that word which cannot be heard without either advancing us in holiness, or plunging us more deeply in guilt; that word which, if duly received, would spring up unto life eternal. We may come to God's house-we may listen one moment, and forget the next what we have heard-we may return to our homes, and enjoy without thankfulness, without gratitude, the blessings he has bestowed upon us; and thus we may hear, and thus we may forget, Sabbath after Sabbath, month after month, year after year, and think that all is well, that we need not be afraid, nay, think that we have done even an acceptable service by coming to God's house at all. But consider, I beseech you, whether all can be well with such persons:
to them their real character. And there is
much taken up with other things, that your good resolutions and serious impressions have been completely-I do not say neglected, but forgotten; so much so, that the very circumstance of having formed them would never have been recollected, unless it had been recalled to your minds by some coincidence or association of ideas? And under such circumstances, can we be surprised that the word should become unfruitful? How, then, is this to be remedied? By setting apart each day some portion of our time for reading the word of God, and for meditating with prayer upon what we read and hear. Riches, indeed, are deceitful; but if we thus allow the good seed to grow up, they will be a blessing; a blessing to ourselves, and a blessing to all around us. The cares of this world are, indeed, too apt to engross men's minds, and to take up all their thoughts; but this world's necessary and useful employments will not be neglected, but, on the contrary, will be well and conscientiously performed, by those who still keep them in their proper place, and make religion their first and principal concern.
It remains for us now to consider the cheerful part of the picture. The seed which fell on good ground, and yielded fruit that sprang up and increased, and brought forth some thirty, some sixty, and some an hundred fold. "These," our Saviour tells us, are they which are sown on good ground: such as hear the word of God, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirty fold, some sixty, and some an hundred.” Observe, that these not only hear the word, but receive it, and so receive it, that it brings forth fruit. of the excellence of the seed, there can be no doubt the word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword; it maketh wise the simple, it converteth the soul, it maketh wise unto salvation. The seed then is good; and if the soil be but properly prepared for its reception, it cannot fail to bring forth fruit. Do we desire to know whether our hearts are prepared and fit for its reception? How are we to discover this? Is it enough that we hear the word? No; for those persons represented by the way-side heard the word, but with such slight attention, that the evil spirit had no difficult task in taking it away, in destroying the impression made by the word on their hearts. Is it enough to hear the word with gladness, and to shew a momentary zeal for it? No; for thus much did those persons represented by the stony ground. Is it enough to hear the word, and yet take no pains so to arrange our worldly business and our amusements that the word of God may have free course, may have its due place in our thoughts, and
them to understand that heart which is deceitful above all things, but which God can, and will, make known to those who seek that knowledge in prayer, with faith in his Son. It may aid our self-examination to mention some symptoms which should lead us to distrust our character in this respect. Such are these-perceiving ourselves unduly elated by human applause; an anxiety to make the most of what we say or do; a fondness of taking the lead; and, what is the worst symptom of all, less anxiety for the discharge of those duties which are more private, and which come not before the public eye. The spiritual horizon is yet, thank God, clear; there is no open persecution for righteousness' sake: but there are passing storms, there are slight clouds, in our families and domestic concerns, which, by the effect they have upon us, may discover to us, unless we wilfully close our eyes, the instability of our religious characShould any of us discover such to be our case, may we be humbled at the discovery, and may we seek strength, whence alone it can be obtained, from the fountain of God's grace. By means of that grace, which is withheld from none who ask for it with faith, out of weakness we shall be made strong, "strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might" (Eph. vi. 10).
"And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprung up and choked it, and it yielded no fruit." This our Lord thus explains: "These are they which are sown among thorns: such as hear the word; and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things, entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful." This, too, is a picture which comes home, I am sure, to some among us. The word of God, which we read and hear, was intended to have an effect upon our conduct and behaviour. Our Sabbath exercises should give a tone to our daily conduct; whereas, in too many instances, the good effect produced in the Church is gradually worn away by the cares, the employments, the pleasures, not to say the sins of the week; so that by the next Sabbath the impression is entirely effaced; and the next Sabbath a similar impression is again made, to be, during the following week, in a similar manner stifled and choked. Has it never happened to any of you, that you have in God's house been powerfully struck and affected by something that you have heard; that God's good Spirit has softened the ground of your heart; that the seed has entered it; that it has already given symptoms of springing up, as it were, in the good resolutions which you have formed; but that in the course of the succeeding week your minds have been so
its proper share of our time? No; for this was the case of those imaged by the ground in which, when the seed sprung up, it was choked by the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things, and rendered unfruitful. Then it is that we may feel assured that our hearts are prepared for the seed of God's word, when that word, being heard and being received, bringeth forth fruit; when it is our study to do what it commands, to abstain from what it forbids; when it makes us abhor that which is evil, and cleave to that which is good. But this is no easy task. For this, we must not only hear, and read, and meditate upon God's word, but we must pray for his grace to soften our hearts to receive it; for the preparation of the heart of man is with the Lord. With that grace, and with an earnest and persevering contest against the temptations which assault us from within and from without, we shall be able to bring forth fruit, even fruit unto holiness. But we must not be impatient. If we have hitherto been unfruitful; if hitherto we have framed neither Our thoughts, nor words, nor works, according to God's will and God's word,-the transition will be difficult, and may be slow. The fruit does not grow up all at first: there is first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. Nor when the word of God does bring forth fruit, does it bring forth to the same extent in all in some it produces thirty, in some sixty, in some an hundred fold. "In Father's house," says our Lord, "there are many mansions." There is a place appointed for the lowest of the servants of God, for those whose progress in Christian holiness has been least. But, my brethren, this we have reason to think, that some of those Christians who rank the lowest in their own opinions, and perhaps in the estimation of others, shall be ranked among the greatest and most eminent by Him who seeth not as man seeth; by Him who looketh on the heart; by Him who hath said, "he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."
but rarely, pray over it but coldly? Hence it is that the seed produces no fruit; nor will it, nor can it, as long as we feel satisfied and easy in our minds, when, coming from God's house, we return with eager minds-perhaps the more eager for our involuntary restraint -to the world and the things of the world. Blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it; blessed in this life, for it will be a lamp unto their feet and a light unto their paths; it will make them pure, and holy, and lovely, and happy here; and it will secure to them in the world to come those inestimable blessings and that eternal kingdom which Jesus Christ has purchased, and promised to those who love him and keep his commandments.
On this occasion we may adopt our Saviour's emphatic words: "Who hath ears to hear, let him hear." This day, brethren, we have heard God's word: is this day to be added to those many days upon which God's word has been heard only to be forgotten; or, if retained in the head, to be inoperative on the heart? Whence is it that ungodliness, and carelessness, and profligacy, and mere outward decency, are so prevalent among us, but from hence, that we seek not God's grace to prepare the soil of our heart for the reception of God's word; that we take no pains to retain the impression which that word occasionally makes; that we meditate upon it
IRWINE WHITTY was a man, perhaps more calculated than any human being you have known, to make religion loved. He was tried with much bodily weakness which would induce you to think a bold effort or a and pain; he was gentle and indulgent to a degree severe expression impossible to him; but whatever it was his duty to do and his duty prescribed some arduous exertions-he was empowered to attempt and to accomplish. I can remember well how, when one among the proudest and most exalted in station of his countrymen had acted in a manner to deserve rebuke, this humble minister of the Gospel faithfully and eloquently discharged his severe duty; and I can almost fancy that I see him as, when two of the most distinguished of his parishioners, who were known to be at variance, appeared at his communion-service, he overcame the shrinkings of his modest nature, and descended on the mission, and with a face which was as the face of an angel, that in the sight of his little congregation the partics might be reconciled. And they were reconciled; for, were it not for the manner of his departing hence, I would say it was not in man's nature to withstand his gentle solicitation. I am the more sensible now of his worth, because I have to confess that during his Christian life I did him one injustice. His house was ever open to me, and his wise counsel and his engaging and instructive conversation. I never entered his doors without a feeling as if I passed where no profane thought should come, nor returned from a visit to him without bearing with me an influence for good. For all this I am deeply responsible. But I was about to speak of the injustice. I saw that his habits of life were frugal, as far as consisted with propriety; I saw that his broken health needed relief and recruiting; and I believed his income large enough to allow of the necessary relaxation, and sometimes doubted whether it would not be well if he allowed himself the benefit he might derive by procuring the assistance of a curate. I was undeceived as to the means at the disposal of my revered friend, when I learned that his dear family were left without any provision; but I had previously learned enough to instruct me, that thus, in all human probability, it must have been.
In a year of scarcity almost amounting to famine (one of those visitations by which Ireland has been not unfrequently scourged), my revered friend was left almost alone to succour the distressed within the bounds of his parish, and incurred in this charitable agency, what for himself and his family he almost superstitiously avoided, a debt, which he was discharg
• From Rev. M. O'Sullivan.