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THE RESURRECTION OF THE WIDOW'S SON.
FROM THE GERMAN OF CLAUDIUS.
• And it came to pass that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people. Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And he came and touched the bier : and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, arise. And he that was dead sat up and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.'
When we read this narrative, we cannot help thinking how happy was the mother, and he that was raised from the dead, and the bearers, and all the people that were present—but especially the mother! You know how one who has a child dangerously ill longs to save him, and walks about wringing his hands, and hopes on, even when there is no hope. We never cease to hope for the recovery of our friends, so long as they are alive. But when, at last, the spirit has departed, and the lifeless form is clothed for the grave; when the coffin comes, and the bearers, and the dead is carried out; then, indeed, we hope no longer —then, there is nothing left for us but to follow the dead body to the grave, weeping as we go.
So was it, doubtless, with the widow of Nain; she had ceased to hope, when she followed the remains of her son out of the gate of the city. And it would have been with her as with other mourners; her child would have been laid in the grave, and covered with earth—and she must have returned alone to her desolate home--if she had not, at that moment, met with Jesus, our beloved Master.
Wonderful and joyous is it, to think that he was once upon earth, and that men could meet him!
• And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.'
There was always something beyond measure tender and generous in the conduct of Christ. Those who cannot help the unfortunate, gen. erally have compassion; and those who have compassion, cannot gen. erally help. Some are compassionate, because they remember that they, in their turn, may soon need assistance ; some, because they al. ready need assistance from others; some, because they are under obli. gations to the unfortunate. But, no such circumstances exist in this
At the first glance, indeed, we might think that the widow of Nain could reasonably expect compassion from Christ : but let us look at the relation in which they stood to each other. Before him she was, what we all are, an unthankful, degenerate child, who had forsaken her father's house, and made herself unhappy by sin ; and Christ was, the father who had come to seek out the lost child, and had found her in a miserable condition, reaping the bitter fruits of transgression. Deserved she, then, any thing but reproaches from her Master ?
But, when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.'
And that was not all. He was not willing merely to forgive and for. get : he would also provide a way for her relief.
• And he came up to the bier, and touched the coffin, and the bearers stood still.'
Probably the widow knew not the Lord Jesus-absorbed in her grief, she scarcely noticed him--and but indistinctly heard him, when he said to her, 'weep not.' Her eyes wandered not from the bier : she expected nothing from the unknown Rabbi—not even when he came up, and touched the coffin, and bade the young man arise.
But when she saw again the countenance of her son, her only son ; when he sat up, and began to speak, and was restored to her arms; then she must have gazed earnestly at the wonderful Rabbi, and cast herself on the ground before him, and kissed his hands and his feet.
And how were the bystanders affected by all this ? Luke says, there came a fear on all; and they glorified God, saying, A great prophet is risen up among us, and God hath visited his people.' And this seems to me very natural ; for, however moving the scene might be, the won. derful power displayed by Jesus, must have made a deeper impression than any thing else. They even lost sight of the widow; they trembled at the power of God, and glorified his name : they believed and felt that in death it is only the earthly tabernacle, the spirit's covering, that lies in ruins—that the spirit survives after death, and that man may, with certainty, expect to meet again the departed. The hour is com. ing, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth.'
But, the dead who are not in the graves, shall also hear the voice of the Son of God, and shall live.
His kingdom was not of this world. Although he was Lord and Master of the visible world, and his instructions were wonderfully profitable for the life that now is, and he always loved to provide for the tem. poral wants of his followers; yet his chosen field, his peculiar sphere, were not earthly. He was set over the invisible, a steward of holy treasures. And all his visible works and miracles, were only his lesser and subordinate works, which he performed in order to instruct men concerning greater things : he sought, by means of the wonders they could see, to open their eyes to things invisible.
The restoration of life to a dead body is truly a great work, but not the greatest: As spirit and will are greater and nobler than body and mechanism; so the restoration of our spirits to their original brightness, is a more glorious work than the restoration of animal life. This high and peculiar work of Christ is invisible. But, for this, we know that he was long looked for by the world, and desired by good men. An all-sufficient Saviour is he, and has power both to raise the dead and to give spiritual life. And they whose hearts longed for truth felt, when they heard of his wonderful works, that no man could do such things, and that he must be indeed a teacher sent from God; and so they went to him, to obtain spiritual counsel and consolation.
What can men do, with all their boastings? They can talk about
the lifeless form, compose its limbs, clothe it for the grave, and bring flowers to adorn it; but, beyond that, they are powerless, and the pale corpse lies still and silent before them. But the Saviour draws nearhe touches the coffin, and the dead is alive again, at the summons of Him who has • life in himself.'
I see in this world two heaps of human happiness and misery ; now if I can take but the smallest bit from one heap, and add to the other, I carry a point. If, as I go home, a child has dropped a half-penny, and if, by giving it another, I can wipe away its tears, I feel I have done something. I should be glad indeed to do greater things, but I will not neglect this.—John Newton.
The Ladies' Wreath; a selection from the Female Poetic Writers of
England and America; with original notices and notes : prepared especially
for Young Ladies. A Gift-Book for all seasons; by Mrs. Hale, author of • Northwood," · Flora's Interpreter,' • Traits of American Life,' ;c. Boston: Marsh, Capen, & Lyon. New York : D. Appleton & Co. 1837. The first part of this volume contains selections from the poetical writings of Mrs. Hemans, Joanna Baillie, Hannah More, Mrs. Barbauld, Jane Taylor, Miss Landon, Mrs. Norton, Mary Howitt, Miss Jewsbury, Mary Ann Browne, Caroline Bowles, and Miss Mitford. The second part contains selections from the poems of Mrs. Sigourney, Miss Gonld, Mrs. Embury, Mrs. Wells, Louisa P. Smith, Lucretia Maria Davidson, Mrs. Osgood, Mrs. Dinnies, Mrs. Whitman, Mrs. Gilman, Mrs. Ellet, and Mrs. Hale. The selections are generally made with taste and judgment. The biographical and critical notices are well written; some of them are bighly interesting. As a favorable specimen of them, we extract the greater part of the notice of Mary Howitt:
'Gentle, pure-hearted poetess—we cannot call thee Mistress Howitt!—albeit thou art the wedded wife of a poet, worthy to bestow his name and the matronly title upon thee. But thy address should agree with the sweet, unpretending character of thy verse, which, like the violet, is sought the more for its modest simplicity; and so we shall continue to speak of thee by that name, so dear to all lovers of true, heart-touching poetry, Mary Howitt.
"We think Mary Howitt must always have been poetical. There is an ease in all her productions, and a playfulness of fancy in many of them, which could never have been gained by study. She has a warm love of nature, and of children-feelings that imbue the soul of a woman with the spirit of poesy—and then she is pious, tenderly, sincerely pious; and the subjecis she chooses seem to harmonize with the tenor of her thoughts, like household words in a loving family. She has, also, a taste for the mystical, just sufficient to throw an air
of romance over the every-day scenes of life, and give to the old traditions of fairy lore, that reality wbich makes its teachings
“A lesson not to be unlearned.” "The poems of Mary Howitt have chiefly appeared in the periodicals, or in works in which she has been associated with her husband, William Howitt, Her last production, " The Seven Temptations," has not been republished in America; it well deserves to be, as it is imbued with those pious teachings which, invested in the garb of moving poetry, have a deep and abiding effect on the young.'
"Mary Howitt has many advantages which will facilitate her literary progress. She is united to a man of fine genius and pure taste, and is encouraged by his approbation and example to cultivate her own powers. This is a felicity which few literary ladies have enjoyed, and the gentle and womanly manner in which she employs her talents, shows that she appreciates her own happy lot. The religion of the Quakers, in which faith this gifted and amiable pair were educated, is very favorable to female genius. The influences of the spirit are equally encouraged and regarded in both sexes; hence a soul-companionship is established between husband and wife, which, if they are endowed with fine talents and warm sensibilities, like the Howitts, must make their home a scene of improvement and delight.'
We have room for one more extract, and it shall be from the poetry of Mary Howitt :
"There is a land where beauty cannot fade,
Nor sorrow dim the eye;
And none shall ever die.
Tell me- I fain would go,
Oh, guide me with thy hand,
If thou dost know that land,
Where is it?tell me where-
The desolate paths of life;
Sorrow, and pain, and strife!
Think low he longed to go,
Think of the blood-like sweat
With which his brow was wet;
Friend! do not thou despair,
Christ, from his heaven of heavens, will hear thy prayer !! We intend to notice the 'Ladies' Wreath' more fully, in some future number of the Microcosm--probably in our next.
Spoken not in the church, but in a chamber, by the open coffin, with no one present
but my friend Andrew.
FROM THE GERMAN OF CLAUDIUS.
ANDREW, here he lies! But he hears and sees us no more. Anselmo is dead, our dear Anselmo! Doth not thy heart fail thee, Andrew ?
He was wont, as thou knowest, to call the world a hospital, wherein men are nursed until their recovery. He has now recovered, and has thrown aside his hospital-clothing. And we stand by the cast-off garment, but our Anselmo is not here.
He was so good, and patient, and devout, that surely the angels have carried him to Abraham's bosom.
See here! He looks as if he were alive, only death has made him strangely pale-oh, how pale, Andrew! Hast thou ever looked on death before?
So long as his form is here, our friend seems not wholly lost to us. But he must go away from us entirely; so has God ordained, An. selmo must return to earth—he must be buried from our sight. Andrew! I would gladly comfort thee—but I cannot.
Lcan against the wall, and weep freely : I will sit down here, and rest my head upon the coffin. How vain and transitory is every thing earthly! What is our portion here? Hope-fear-care-and at last comes death! The time is coming, Andrew, when they will wrap us in a shroud, and lay us in a coffin. Let us do, dear friend, what will then gladden us to remember; let us trust in God.
And now, we must go, Andrew. We can do nothing more for Anselmo.
I have here a bunch of flowers that I will lay in the coffin; and thoutake thy little silver cross, and place it on his breast, a farewell gift to thy friend : and now we must look on him for the last time.
Anselmo ! dear Anselmo ! with thy pale countenance, and folded hands, sleep on! God be with thee! Oh, dearly beloved Anselmo ! God be with thee!
-We shall see him again
Take courage, Andrew! To-day we ought surely to be of good cheer-it is the birth-day of Jesus, OUR SAVIOUR.