Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

by reason of your mutual intimacies, grow in conduct and in manners, in thoughts, in words, in ways, more affectionate and open-hearted, more free from any silly vanity or flippant self-conceit, more wholly purged from all taint of hypocrisy or jealousy, and approve yourselves in all things more patient and manful, more kind and unselfish. These are the highest and purest pleasures that come from using friendship aright; these are its most blessed fruits, these are the things by the continuous happy practice of which you will best now as boys fulfil the law of your being, and so best will you work out into action the prayer of the text, 'Teach me, O Lord, to do the thing that pleaseth Thee.'

167

PATRIOTISM.

SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY, JULY 20, 1879.

For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will wish thee now prosperity.-PSALM CXxii. 8.

THESE words are taken from one of those fifteen Psalms, numbered in our Bibles cxx. to cxxxiv., which have been called the 'Songs of the goings up' or the 'Pilgrim Odes' of the Jews. We may think of them as originally sung by those pilgrim bands that went up to the yearly festivals at Jerusalem, as they marched along in spring or autumn over the valleys and hills of Palestine. A motley crowd on camel and on mule, but most on foot, gathered from all the lands around, Jews from Rome, from Greece, from Asia Minor, from North Africa, from Egypt, from the further East, they meet and troop along together up towards the holy city, that shrine of their most cherished glories in the past, that centre of their fondest hopes in the future. And as they wend their way

across the length and breadth of their fatherland and look forth upon this, that, and the other spot that had witnessed the most stirring episodes in their country's history, they sing, 'I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help: ''my help cometh (now, as it came of old) from the Lord who hath made heaven and earth: the Lord Himself is thy keeper and thy guard; the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand, so that the sun shall not smite thee by day nor the moon by night :' and whether on foreign journeys or on coming home to thy native land again, 'the Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in for evermore.' His watchful care that never 'slumbereth nor sleepeth' had shielded them on pilgrimage through all the perils of the mountain pass, or of the desert, or of the sea, which many of them had passed to come long weary miles whither their heart was now leading them on, 'the waters had overwhelmed us, the streams had gone over our soul: the proud waters had gone even over our soul: but blessed be the Lord, who hath not given us over a prey to their teeth.'

And now, when drawing near the end of their travels, they behold on the horizon the rocky barriers of protecting hills that enfold Jerusalem around, yet once again they lift the hymn, 'They that trust in the

Lord shall be even as the Mount Zion which cannot be removed, but standeth fast for ever: as the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so is the Lord round about His people from henceforth even for ever;' until at last, fired by enthusiasm on a near and still yet nearer approach, they catch the first full sight of that hallowed centre of their national life and hopesthe snow-white marble towers of the Temple glittering in the sunlight with their golden pinnacles, then, the voices of men and of women and of children break forth upon the clear Eastern air, mingled with the sound of horn, and pipe, and harp, as they chant the psalm from whence our text is taken, 'I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. Our feet now come to halt before thy gates, O Jerusalem: who art built up as a city compact together, whither the tribes go up froin of old, even the tribes of Jehovah according to an ordinance for Israel to give thanks to the name of the Lord.' 'O pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee: peace be within thy walls and prosperity within thy palaces: for my brethren and companions' sakes I will wish thee now prosperity.' So fervent glowed the love of country, so passionate was the attachment to that dear hearth and home their fathers had taught them from earliest youth to revere

as something more than human, as sacred and as almost divine.

And are English hearts altogether ignorant of kindred patriotic feelings?

In reading the Old Testament, more especially the poems of the Psalmists and the Prophets, you will find it a very healthful practice often to substitute the name of your own country and your own country's heroes for those of Israel or Judah, or the great men of the Hebrew race. Thus doing, you will realize more vividly than by any other means their spirit, and the neverdying power of their impassioned aspirations; and thus, that which of old ministered to the kindling of their patriotism may avail to nurture yours also. Take for instance this Psalm can we not say of England, 'they shall prosper that love thee; peace be within thy walls and prosperity within thy palaces; for my brethren and companions' sakes I will wish thee now prosperity.' Aye: 'for my brethren and companions' sakes;' that is the root of all true patriotism. For love of country is no selfish virtue; it is no mere pride of descent, no mere glorying in the name of Englishman. Mutual help, union, interdependence, so that labour, tribulation even, is cheerfully endured for a common end, to the sacrificing of all self-seeking and love of individual gain, and to the oblivion of all

« AnkstesnisTęsti »