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put the bottle to his mouth is responsible. He also shares the responsibility who might have done anything to save him and did it not. I am made my brother's keeper, so far as I can do anything even in the most indirect way to benefit and save him.
He who made us saw fit to make us social beings, and to link us to one another by a thousand ties. He has thus placed it in the power of every one to exert an influence in saving or destroying others. He might have made things differently. Instead of placing men in society, he might have completely isolated them from each other by interposing partition walls between them. Or instead of placing eight hundred millions of beings on one globe, he might have made as many globes as men, and thus put it out of their power either to benefit or injure others. But, in that case, Christian benevolence would have had no object on which to exercise itself. So intent was the Creator on developing the benevolent feelings of his creatures by exercise, that he saw fit to ordain a constitution of things, giving them great power over each other, although he foresaw, as an incidental evil, that this power would be extensively abused by men to each other's ruin. Wealth, by a different constitution of things, might have been equally distributed in society; and, thus, all that class of sufferings which result from poverty might have been prevented. But, in that case, Christian liberality would have been left to stagnate for want of an object on which to bestow its gifts. The poor we have always with us, that we may invigorate our benevolent feelings by acts of charity towards them. A Bible might have been placed by the Creator in the hands of every descendant of Adam, and all other blessings distributed in equal abundance. But if it had been so, we never should have known experimentally the blessedness of giving, which our Saviour declares to be greater than that of receiving. We are made mutually dependent, and mutually influential, in order that we might bless ourselves in blessing others. I am made my brother's keeper, for my own benefit, no less than his. It is beneficial to me; it develops and expands the nobler part of my nature, to have a benevolent regard for his welfare.
In dismissing the subject, let the thought abide on our minds that we all belong to one social body; that we are individual wheels in the complicated mechanism of society. It is a critical situation to live in a world like ours, and become constituent parts of a moral machinery so delicate and so transmissive of influence. We cannot avoid having our own moral image in some degree reflected, daguerreotyped in the souls of others. Every man's destiny is linked to that of others. In such a world as ours, it is hardly possible for one to perish alone. If he goes to perdition he will be almost sure to drag others after him. So the soul that is saved can scarcely go to heaven alone. That disposition, which is itself an indispensable qualification for admission there, will impel him to seek the recovery and salvation of others.
BY THE REV. H. B. ELDRED,
THE POSTHUMOUS INFLUENCE OF THE PIOUS.
"By it he being dead yet speaketh."-HEB. xi. 4.
INFLUENCE is one of the laws of our being. It may be difficult for us so to analyze it as to be able to say exactly in what it consists; and yet all must be ready to acknowledge its reality. Sometimes we are distinctly conscious of the influence which others have over us. Again, it is so secret and silent in its operation, that we take no notice of it. No doubt, the Christian and the missionary are often aware of the power of another's example in shaping their course. The child and the pupil, however, are mostly without any thought of the gentle and genial influences of parents and teachers, that have been effective in forming their characters. Nor can any one pretend to have attained that position in society, or so to have changed his own and others' nature, that his life can have no influence over those around him, nor theirs, in turn, exert any upon himself. Influence is either sound and wholesome, or it is corrupt. The one is productive of good, the other of evil.
Few will be disposed to deny the good influence of the pious. Christ affirms its existence, when he says of his disciples, "Ye are the light of the world ;" for the same is substantially true of all Christians. As the sun is a luminous body, ever imparting light to the earth, so the Christian is light. And his light ever shines. Not simply when the themes of the gospel are on his tongue, or when he is devising liberal things for Zion; but in all the walks of his busy life-in trade and traffic-in his daily labors and common intercourse with friends and neighbors, in the house, by the way, at home and abroad, his light shines as truly, often more effectually than when he is in the house of worship, or engaged in the duties of prayer and pious exhortation. Nor is this light of the Christian altogether dependent on his will. The sun cannot withdraw his beams. No more can the living Christian shut off the light of a holy life, so that others shall not see it and be attracted by its beauty. Christ, in the influence of his example, was hardly less a preacher of the gospel, than when he stood up and propounded its doctrines in the presence of the great congregation. Thus every Christian, in his sphere and measure, holds forth the word of life through his pious example. Abel lived
a life of faith, and thus impressed something of his spirit on the men of his day and generation. But when his tongue
"Lies silent in the grave,"
does he cease to address his fellow-men? Let Paul answer, "By it he being dead, yet speaketh."
But the Christian influence of no good man descends with him to the grave. It lives on the earth when "Dust returns to dust, and ashes to ashes." The good influence of the pious long survives the memory of their names and pious acts. "The righteous shall be had in everlasting remembrance."
"With us their names shall live
Through long succeeding years."
And yet the time will come when those names and acts of piety, with some few exceptions, will be forgotten. There are some few in every age, whose faith and pious deeds are of such distinguished merit, that their names will never fade from the mememory of succeeding generations. Such are the missionaries, martyrs, reformers, and holy men, whose energy of faith has left those distinct and deep impressions on the interests and institutions of society, which no changes, nor any lapse of time can ever efface. Said a youthful missionary, as he stood gazing with admiration on the splendid architecture of Girard College, "In that gorgeous pile of granite, Stephen Girard sought to perpetuate his name and memory. I go to inscribe mine on a monument reared of the imperishable materials of souls recovered from the ruin of heathenism, and wrought as lively stones into the Temple of God."
But though the great mass of the good will pass away, and be forgotten among men, their influence will continue in the earth. The faith of Abel had not been utterly lost, though the pen of inspiration had never recorded it for our instruction and encouragement. It would still have lived in the lives and hearts of some of his cotemporaries, and, through them, have gone down to future generations. So it is with the good influence of any individual. When he passes away it still lives in the lives of others. It is true we cannot separate the posthumous influence of a person any considerable time after his death, from the great mass of influences exerted by others, so as to be able to say exactly what and how much belongs to him; any more than we can separate the waters of a river so as to give to each particular fountain its own. And yet, the smallest Christian influence of past ages, is no more lost because combined with others, than are the waters of that obscure fountain in the recesses of the hills lost, when they mingle with the waters of other and larger fountains. The one contributes
its little to swell that mighty volume of waters which presses its way to the ocean; the other increases in its measure, the great mass of good there is in the world. Thus, in the formation of every good character, innumerable christian influences have combined and contributed to secure the result. Were we able now to analyze and trace back any one of them, as we would trace a river to its sources, we should find what appeared to us one, and simple, separating itself into numerous branches, and these again dividing and extending their ramifications still farther and farther back into the depths of the past, till, ultimately, they would reach a great mass of the pious dead; whose faith flowing on, meeting and combining, has blessed a multitude of souls, and wrought righteousness in the earth.
Death does not destroy the influence of good. It turns the body back to dust, dissolves one's personal connections with earth; but it cannot lay its icy hand on the faith, pious charities, and holy examples, that have gone forth to bless the world.
Nor does this influence necessarily grow weaker as it blends with other influences, and extend farther from its author. The pebble thrown upon the surface of the still waters, raises a wave, whose widening circle does not cease to flow on till it has moved the sand on the most distant shore. So pious influence passes on in an ever-enlarging circle; and thus more than compensates any loss in the first intensity and visibility of its action.
Nor does opposition destroy this influence. To vary a little the illustration just used; instead of the still waters, let the pebble be cast into the troubled ocean. We now, almost immediately, lose sight of its waves, as they are met and opposed by many others, which the wind has raised upon its agitated surface. But the tiny waves of that pebble exist just as truly as before; and exert their measure of influence to modify the form and action of the surrounding waters over a broad extent of surface. So is with any single holy influence. However it may seem to fall upon the troubled surface of society and become invisible, and inappreciable, it still exists-an unseen influence-that modifies, in some degree, the opinions and actions of men. It makes our world, in some respects, a different world, and a better one, than it would have been without it. A word fitly spoken, a look even, sometimes penetrates the heart, and, by Divine grace, changes the character and the whole future life of the individual.
But some farther proofs in support of the position here assumed will be expected:
I. Notice, then, the argument from analogy. It is a law in the material world, that nothing is absolutely lost. The place, the form, the material of objects change. Our bodies die, and turn to dust. The whole animal and vegetable creations have their periods of growth and decay. The waters wear the stones. Thou washest
away the things that grow out of the dust of the earth. But in all this change, there is no loss, or destruction of elementary particles. Dissolving elements appear again in new combinations, and new forms of utility and beauty. The waters, absorbed by the atmosphere, go up by the mountains, gather into clouds, and descend in showers to water the earth, and enter into the struc ture of all living things. And may not a law something like this exist in God's spiritual kingdom? Will He, who watches over the changing elements of senseless matter, so that not one particle is ever lost, or comes short of its destination, permit those good influences which, by grace, have originated in the faith of his people, ever to be lost, or to come short of their end. Will they not certainly enter into his glorious building, and contribute something to the completeness of its form, and the perfection of its beauty. No doubt the good influences exerted by the pious, often seem to men to be utterly and for ever dissipated. When the blood of the Christian martyrs was poured out on the sands of Rome, their persecutors imagined that they had made an end of them and their doctrine. But that blood washed into the Tiber, was carried by its waters into the sea, and by the sea into the ocean, and by its waves to every kingdom of the earth; and thus became a type, not more of the spreading doctrines of Christianity, than of the augmented and widely diffused influence of those holy men.
II. Consider also, that good influences must enter as permanent elements into society, and thus be perpetuated. What is society? Not a mere mass of flesh and blood, and uneducated mind. It is the community, contemplated in its institutions, enterprises, morals, progress, principles, hopes, fears, and tendencies. Now, it must be evident that the past influences of men, both good and evil, have operated to make society what it now is. Especially, is it true that the good influences of the pious, have aided to secure whatever of goodness there is anywhere among men. They have contributed to mould society into Christian forms and Christian institutions. And these will continue a part of that kingdom of God in the earth, against which the gates of hell shall never prevail. Those vast systems of error and evil which, like the Boodhism of India, have for ages been inwrought into society through the efforts and influences of wicked men, will, ere long, pass away, and perish with their authors. But the stone cut out of the mountain without hands, will continue to enlarge, till it shall break in pieces all the kingdoms of the earth. And the truth, and those good influences which promote and enter into the everlasting kingdom of God, will have part in its triumphs and immortality.
"Truth crushed to earth shall rise again,