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"THE LOVE OF CHRIST CONSTRAINETII US." our race which alone can beget the spirit which

is essential to acceptable obedience; and how “For the love of Christ constraineth us," said can we have this but by a reverent apprehension Paul, writing to the Christians at Corinth. There of his mediatorial relation to humanity, as the is a bold image in the Apostle's language which “ Mediator between God and Man,”-neither is thus rendered. His idea is, that the love of God, nor Man, but holding a relative position to Christ, seen in his death and associated with the both for a specific and a glorious end. Only to sublime results which are contemplated in his those who apprehend this, can the full force of mcdiation, bears the soul away as the rush of the Apostle's language come, when he speaks of the resistless torrent sweeps onward whatever the love of Christ bearing the soul away in eclies in its course. This is a grand figure to show stacy, as by irresistible might. his enthusiasm, to tell the reader how he viewed Many claiming the name of Christians, have the Redeemer,--not with a cold speculating in- no sympathy with this. Their whole Gospel is, tellect, but with a heart alive to the present in- | “Obey the Christian precepts and live.” They terest which Christ has in the subjects of his will reason on the good policy of observing these kingdom and the completeness of their redemp-requisitions, but they overlook an earnest refertion.

ence to the grand motive to do what it is politic We need to contemplate this fervency and to do, what our nature demands of us to do, what catch the spirit of this lofty feeling; for there is the history of the world recommends, and what a disposition increasing around us to look upon is absolutely essential in order to satisfy the Christ only in the light of a great teacher and a promptings of the moral sense or conscience. devoted philanthropist, who once lived on the There is something more than all this when love earth, and is worthy, for his teachings and life, appeals to love,-when a personal interest in us to be remembered and honored, -as otherwise on the part of Jesus is recognized. We need to and self-sacrificing men. But this does by no

see the love of Christ bold, distinct, appealing to means answer the requisitions of the New Tes- every grateful affection, and laying us under obtament. It overlooks the peculiar and purely ligations of the most important character. Only spiritual relations which Christ sustains to our think of that love,-its peculiarities. Consider race, through that exaltation which has given who they were by whom he was surroundhim “the pre-eminence in all things.” There is

ed when on earth, --how he poured out sympain the language of the New Testament respect- thy on them, but received little or nothing in reing Jesus Christ, something of the tone of rev- turn. Consider how immeasurably listed above erence and the profoundest homage of the heart their narrow minds was his mind,--they musing which the true soul employs in treating of God. on the restoration of the outward glory of the We cannot but see that when the Apostles speak kingdom of Israel, while his thought was comof the ascended and exalted Lord, they do it with passing the entire world in its appointed relaa deep feeling of awe, and we cannot shake off tions. Consider how he never yielded, never the conviction that they felt he was apart from faltered, though mountain high were the difficommon humanity, holding offices and dignities culties, enough to crush out all faith in man. to which no other human being ever yet attain- Consider that love speaking from the throne beed. It is not only of the Teacher, the Philan- side the Father, unchanged by the exaltation thropist, that they speak; but they dwell with which was given him, so that we can use the the highest satisfaction on his Mediatorial char- Apostle's words and speak of Jesus as “the acter. It is this lofty view of his relations to same yesterday, to-day, and forever.” VOL. XX.

I am not satisfied with that portraiture of 1

Christ which gives us only what of love was ex- than he ever held on earth ? And was not the hibited on earth,—that never mounts the height mighty love that constrained them, that bare of faith and owns his operations now, his ever- them away by its force, a love that received its lasting mediation. I want the Christ who as. grandest charm from the thought of its then cended from Olivet to show forth his love through present activity ? the love of one enthroned in the ages,—to operate on human souls through glory, yet mindful of the poor wanderers of earth. those avenues which the God of our being pre- Let us consider this thought farther by the pared in the mysterious make of the human aid of an illustration drawn from the common mind. I want a divine meaning given to those conversations respecting the beloved who have words, those titles,- Mediator, Intercessor, Ad departed to the world of the immortals. I revocate, Shepherd and Bishop of souls. I want member a time when the mourning group had to feel that however much God has made other returned to the desolated home whence the chief beings to me, whatever may be the depth of light and joy had been taken, and the soltheir love, their willingness and ability to pro- emn stillness was broken by the sister of the mote my highest good,- I want to feel that buried one asking me, If I believed that the Christ is more than they all,- yes, that it is departed saw us and were conscious of our cirnot too much for him to demand that I for- cumstances of sorrow and joy? The full, round sake all, if that be necessary in order to fol. eyes of the widow, in which tears were swim. low him. As in vision I see him standing on ming, were fixed upon me, and I saw that othOlivet,--his shadow for the last time resting ers desired the conviction which my own soul in on the earth,-his words of parting dropping grief had labored to obtain. I could not answer from his lips, -as I hear him say,—“All power the question directly, and long did we converse is given upto me in heaven and in earth,” I on the subject, dwelling on the blessedness which want to feel the force of those words, and to true love must feel if convinced that the departseparate Jesus in my thoughts from all human ed still had an interest in this world, still cared beings, and see him clothed with a majesty none

for us and loved us. I said that there was noother can wear.

thing in the Bible against the idea, and much The love of Christ constraineth us, because we that seemed to sustain it; that there could be see in his death a relation to the ultimate bles. no harin in entertaining the happy thought; sedness of our race, and behold the affecting un- and that it was bliss unutterable sometimes to ion of his power with every agency now in op

think that the words of love we speak are heard eration for the redemption of man. He holds and responded to in thought and feeling by them. the power that was given him,—the delegated Now, let us suppose the speculation true, -and sovereignty of the universe; and as he once it may be true,-suppose that the dear ones who went over the land of Judea, healing and bles. once made our homes happy are able to witness sing the sick, the blind, the crippled, and the our condition here,—that they can hover over us, dumb, by the divinity of all pitying grace,-so

and are mindful of our tears and lamentations ; now, in the spiritual relations which he holds to would it not increase our love and add to our man, he is abroad wherever the battle between motives to cherish their memories, could we truth and error, sin and evil, is to be fought; | know that they regard us with an ever growing and the soul richly illumined can apply to itself sympathy,—that their thoughts fly earth-ward, the encouragement of the Apostle's words,- and compass our lying down and our rising up 2 ? “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin Such a result could not fail of being produced. which doth so easily beset us, and let us run This idea would be a constraining force to bind with patience the race that is set before us,

us to them more strongly than ever, and we looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our should delight to muse on the thoughts that faith.” Here, his spiritual presence is recog

might perhaps be theirs towards us; and if we nized. He is deemed as much present as the could not look upon the clear stars of heaven judge who presided at the ancient races was in

and think an unholy thought, much more imview of the competitors, and stimulated them to possible would it be to entertain an impure dethe utmost exertion by the laurel wreath which sire while we mused upon the dear departed he held out to their sight. And is not this the waiking in the light of immortality, too glorious idea constantly expressed by the Apostles,-did for our weak eyes to bear. But the certainty of they not continually speak of Jesus as holding

this matter God has wisely hidden, that one sublimer relations to them in the invisible world' great thought might possess our minds and pre

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pare us to profit by all others designed for our death; but we must say, “ Jesus died for me !" comfort. That great thought is, The present and in the very depths of our being feel how love of Christ, the sympathetic interest which much there is in that holy truth. he has in our moral condition, the knowledge he possesses of what we are and need. It was this

“For me, for me, my Savior died,

For me the Lord was crucified." great thought that lifted up the soul of the martyr Stephen, as he expired amid the shower of

In the light of this subject, we see the pertistones, expressing the forgiving spirit of his

nency of the question, “ Have you a personal Master, and crying, “Lord Jesus, receive my

interest in Christ ?" No matter how much that spirit." It was felt by Paul when under the

question has been abused, --now matter how it oame of Saul he was arrested on his way to Da- has been made a mere form, it is a question that mascus, and he sent up his voice in the bewil

should be pondered most seriously, in the light derment of the surprise which possessed him, of God's presence, and with a longing for more * Who art thou, Lord ?" And lo! the answer of the constraining love of Christ. came, "I am Jesus whom thou persecutest." He had heard Stephen's prayer,-he had seen Providence:R. I. the glory of his face when he expired with the beauty of an angel on his countenance,--and he had wrestled with the thoughts that then were kindled in his soul, and now the interest which

SING TO ME, MAY ! that Being had in him against whom he so violently fought, melted his soul at once, and from With noiseless tread the twilight comes, that hour the love of Christ had borne him on Its floating shadows round us weep, with a resistless might. And so with Peter, And dreaming sweet dreams every bud who so felt that love that when martyrdom

Lies in its folded leaves asleep. came to him, he had only one request, - he ask- This is the hour which best befits ed to die with his head to the earth, deeming it The echo of bewitching song, too great an honor to expire as his Master had While o'er the green, with glancing feet, died. And so has it been with thousands, true

The dim night spirits glide along. and faithful to the despised religion. The glory

Sing to me, May ! of their fidelity sprung not from looking back

The night is holy ! beaming stars into history for the Redeemer, but in uniting

Are coming silently and still, history with the present and the hopes of the

The brightness that the sunset leaves future, applying the beautiful thought of the

Is fading now behind the hill. Psalmist where he treats of the Divine Omnis

There is the star we've watched so oft, cience, to the active, sympathetic, present love

Half superstitious, half in jest, of Jesus, -"Thou hast beset me behind, and be

As in its path of deep, dark blue, fore, and hast laid thine hand upon me.”

It moved, uncloud', to the West. This is what we want to lead us to God, to

Sing to me,

May ! purity, to happiness. We want a prevailing conviction of the besetting love of Jesus,-1 Another eve, 'neath summer skies, conviction that shall make us burst the cold I watched the shadows glide along, bands of mere rationalism, and rise above the

And listened to an earnest voice region of intellectualism, till we find the atmos

Which thrilled my heart, but not with song, phere of spiritual and undying love. It is not

The star we watched- I see it not ! the great thoughts, the indomitable will, the

The voice I heard—where breathes it now? moral grandeur of the Savior, that is to do the

Those midnight eyes—where rests the glance ? work for the soul in imparting the spirit of an

Who may that heart's revealings know? erer improving life. No; we must respond to

Sing to me, May ! his personal love; we must see that he is not a If I, while listening to thy song, mere king to preside over the interests of his

One memory of the past regain, subjects for the general good, but a Savior for

one high thought is waked to-night, individual souls, for each,—for you, for me. We

Then, love, thou’lt not have sung in vain. must not be content with saying, “Jesus died

Aye, sing! thus sitting at my feet ! for all,” and expatiate on the grandeur of such a

The glorious stars above shall hear,



And, with their white wings glancing round, things in the universe besides "news"; and one Angels with blessings shall be near.

of these is the coming of Spring just now. For, Sing to me, May ! in the very teeth of this easterly storm, I repeat

it, Spring is here. The blades of grass are Centreville, R. I.

sprouting along the road-sides, the water courses make a green path through the brown pastures,

the horse-chestnut buds are milk-white, the arLETTERS FROM THE COUNTRY. NO. VIII.

butus cautiously unfolds its leaves in the warm

nooks of the wood, and yesterday I saw a hardy GLOUCESTER, May 1, 1851.

young maple that had "set up for itself” in a

dress of crimson blossoms,-poor tree, like a boy You have desired me once more to write you of sixteen trying to be a man before his time, it a letter from my sea-side home, and to-day I sit

is now shivering under this ague-breeding storm. down, while an easterly storm is making out

But though the land is not easy to be coaxed out door life intolerable, to comply. I should hard- of the reserve of Winter, the sea and sky are ly dare assure yourself or your good readers, of

more prodigal of their favors, and smile upon us entertainment from these scribblings of mine; already with looks prophetic of June. The harfor the wear and tear” of this ministerial ex

bor of our "old sea-port town” is white with the istence, is not the most favorable for the cultiva

sails of fishermen, and on every bright day the tion of the magazine graces. What with coax- blue waves are sure to get up a jubilee on their ing and dragging reluctant sermons out of an own account. All about the wharves and storeover-worked brain, with visits, ceremonies com- houses, and out into the country, is heard the plimentary and consolatory, with weddings and spring bustle of reviving labor. People walk funerals, and parish parties and death-beds jost- with their coats unbuttoned, and laugh in your ling each other through the busy week, I really face at the slightest provocation. Young ladies feel the same stiffness of the mental joints when and young men become uneasy, and saucy to I come into the "walks” of polite literature

their grand-fathers and maiden aunts. The lovwhich an old soldier, whose face carries the pri- ers parade the streets, as if Spring were only vate marks of a dozen battle-fields, and whose created to afford an opportunity for the dislimbs have taken an obstinate "stand” in con

play of their insolence, in daring to sentimentempt of sprains, fractures, and rheumatisms,

talize in the very face of a law and order loving may feel when asked to spend an evening upon community. And ministers-ah, they have the floor of the ball-room. But, as that same their uneasinesses, their longings to break out old veteran, out of pure kindliness of heart,

of the parish harness, their dreams of riding may consent to stamp and canter among bright

in express trains, and visiting world's fairs, and eyes and satin shoes,-even may swing about

strolling among the woods of their old native his stiff knee occasionally to give a belle of town, - which longings and uneasinesses they eighteen a chance for what she does not get ev- are fortunate indeed to be able to gratify,—and ery day-a hearty laugh, so will I, my friend, at

wanting in such indulgence, fortunate, can they, your request, come out of my parish and talk an like myself at this moment, live over old spring hour of those dear youthful delights of literature joys in reproducing them on paper for the eyes and life, which even a "parson” never wholly of a friend. outgrows. Only if I pace somewhat forinally I wonder what it is that connects the changes through your flower-garden, remember "'tis not of the seasons with our literary tastes so myste

riously? Why is it that now I can read only the What shall I write to you? Of course, the books I do, while a hundred tempting volumes readers of the “Repository” are not supposed to on my bookshelves have lost their hold upon me? be plagued by the great necessity of the nine- Every Spring I have a new desire to talk with teenth century-the want of "news"; if they Shakspeare. I cannot enjoy him in Summer, are, we may recommend to them, as a useful and the slow decay of Autumn, when Nature mental discipline, a voyage of discovery in

like a hero who has trod the stage with more search of a penny paper that reports it truly-a than mortal energy, calmly gathers in her troperilous sort of journeying upon which neither phies and prepares for the fifth act of the year, you or I are disposed to set out to-day. But needs no additional reminder of the eternal happily for some of us, there are a great many struggle between will and destiny. Then the

my trade."

Winter has its books-the philosophers, the the- ed at the right spot. A bad man has always ologians, and the long-breathed historians must one vulnerable point, and he that discovers this, hare their due. But when, as now the year can overthrow him with only a word. But ancomes in like a great living creature, I find no other bad man cannot discover this. His own book which responds to her power like that of sin clouds his vision; only a pure soul gives that the sovereign poet, and the throng of gorgeous, clearness of the eye which looks through and solemn, wild, and jocund life that sweeps across through his wicked heart, and knows at a glance his page, fitly answers to the bounding wave, where to aim its blow of defence. This being the April shower, the changing forest, and the once known, the corrupt spirit is entirely at the irresistible might of nature's will re-asserting its mercy of that which is pure. Conscious of its power.

innate superiority, and strong in its entire goodIt was frorn some instinct of this kind that a ness, it can foil and ward off every blow, and few days ago I opened my Shakspeare upon the when the time comes for retribution, concenplan of “measure for measure,” and read, only trate its celestial force and drive it upon the caring to group its minor characters, that I weakest point of its adversary with a certainty might gain a new view of its Isabella. And she of victory. told me things about herself of which I am sure But only a pure soul can do this, as I have I shall not gossip here, for I seemed to know by said. A spirit half fallen with evil thoughts what paths she had come up to that mount indulged within, is at the mercy of one wholly where she now stands the transfigured image of given over to the service of Satan. It does not a chaste womanhood. I am not about to write understand the nature of its enemy's purpose an analysis of her nature, but one or two till too late for resistance. Under cover of its things I will say, which the world forgets beclouded vision, the evil one has crept even inas often as they are told. One of the noblest to the sacred enclosures of its individuality and lessons of her life is the power that resides established himself. Then confusion and fear in perfect purity. Milton, in his Lady in Co- complete the work, and between them the poor mus, has given a very lofty illustration of soul goes over to sin. So it is that evil prevails this, and in those oft quoted lines “so dear to in the world, much of the true virtue among heaven is saintly chastity,” has told us of the men, is only half virtue, an external covering of strengih of virtue. But only Shakspeare has propriety, education, or conformity to arbitrary pictured before the world the fullness of energy rules of conduct. It is moral and not spiritual, that like a guard of “thousand liveried angels” | presenting the appearance of reality while away waits upon the soul that is free from sin. So in some corner of the heart a sweet thought of great is purity in man or woman, that it is not transgression is petted and nursed from its puny only able to repel all assaults upon itself, but infancy up to insolent manhood. Few of us can in turn become the assailant, and pluck know what an enemy we may carry about in down its proud insulter from the highest place our own bosoms, ready at any unguarded moof earthly dominion. When once fairly arrayed ment to upset our boasted holiness. When the against sin, however entrenched in walls of devil comes and outside our castle-walls summan's building, it must triumph. It matters not mons us to surrender, he too often hears a res. whether its representative be a martyr Apostle, ponse from a devil within, and then he may an exiled patriot, a despised poet, or an outraged calculate with impunity upon the strength of girl;—it is all the same, and sooner or later the our defences, and the chances of treason inside Almighty must vindicate himself through the humblest instrument he may choose to live or All this was present to the eye of the great die for his truth.

dramatist. He has given us in his play, a repThere is always united with real purity of resentative of almost every form of individual character a clearness of spiritual vision which inpurity. Yet Isabella moves pure, and awkdetects the approach of sin afar off, and gives ward among this rabble, because she has no. warning to all the powers to be in readiness to thing answering to their sin in her own breast. repel the invasion. It not only measures the And being thus, she is stronger than all of them strength but also the weakness of the adversary. --stronger than the highest power of the govIt sees that although sustained by a thousand ernment.

She foils the blows aimed at her, as artificial and material allies, impurity is in it- if she played with bulrushes instead of sharp self impotence, and will fall at one blow direct- swords, and when her hour appears, by one word

the camp.

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