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me know if anything particular occurs, and marry! How much more reason there had continue to use your influence with Vera in been in the girl's mistrust than in her confimy favour. I rely upon you. And look dence!
I here! silence about that packet. If you tell The fetching of Vera by Madame Senarclens any body that you have given it me—that it and her daughter made the bonne, if possible, ever existed even-par dieu, I will cut your still more uneasy. Such a thing had never throat!”
happened before; and the cause assignedThen he went away, leaving the bonne in a to meet a gentleman who had known her state of mortal terror, for there was murder father-did not tend to allay her fears. Who in his look, and she really believed he would was this gentleman ? and how did he know be as good as his word. And this was the that Vera was at La Boissière ? Was he man she had undertaken to persuade Vera to another Corfe ?
“MARY, THE MOTHER OF JESUS.”
SHORT SUNDAY READINGS FOR AUGUST.
BY THE REV. W. PAGE ROBERTS, M.A.
Dionysus, are our ideals; and that we are
practically bearing the symbols and insignia Read Proverbs xxxi. 10 to 31.
of heathenism: that our culture is human. To every serious unprejudiced mind the istic and our worship that of the flesh. We
mother of our Lord must be an object need a new Mariolatry, and voices again to of reverent regard. But the only time she cry to a sensual age, Hail
, Mary! for it will is referred to in the Epistles which were mean, when reason uses it, Hail
, Modesty ! circulated for the edification of the churches, Hail, Purity! Hail, watchful Motherhood ! supplies no satisfaction to pious curiosity. Hail
, patient, heroic endurance ! Of this wor. “God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, ship we are sadly deficient, who interest ourmade under the law.” There is very little selves in the annals of other courts than told of her in the Gospels, and in the Acts of those of the temple, and who almost think the Apostles her name is once mentioned, that lewdness is not lewd when “swathed" “ Mary, the mother of Jesus," and that is all. in sentimental French. Most prominent in the history and worship Nothing is told us in the Bible of the of the Church, the centre of a brilliant, rap- parentage of the Virgin Mary. We hear of turous, almost sentimental worship, a being a sister and of a cousin. That cousin, Elizato whom painter and poet pour forth the beth, belonged to the tribe of Levi. best treasures of their genius, whose nature Church has always maintained that the and mysterious office engage the profoundest Virgin was of the tribe of Judah, and a thought of the theologian, in the New Testa- descendant of David. The New Testament ment her life seems to be one of studied gives two pedigrees, which are traced through retirement, of shy reserve, according with David, one in St. Matthew and one in St. Luke; those early works of Christian art in which but both these pedigrees are the pedigrees the Virgin is always veiled. But there are of Joseph, and Mary has no place in them. occasions when the Mother of our Lord comes Although she was connected with a priestly for a passing moment from the reserve and family, the social position to which the Virseclusion in which Scripture enshrines her; gin belonged appears to have been humble. and there are words spoken by her which Her espousal to an artificer whose children good men and women must hold precious. had no birthright to high education : "How
If, to-day, we look into the lives of men knoweth this man letters, having never and women; if we look at their dress learned ?” .. “Is not this the carpenter ?” or want of it, their looks and gestures seems to show that she belonged to the and employments, to find out what god or “masses," and not to the “ classes."
It is a goddess they worship, we should certainly common belief that great men have always not say that the Madonna of the Bible had had uncommon mothers. It may be a true chief place and power. We might be dis- belief. But how little we know of the posed to think Paganism and not Mariolatry mothers of many of the greatest men! What is the culte of the present. We might find do we know of the mothers of Moses and that the ideals of Paganism, Aphrodite and Isaiah, St. Paul and St. John ? What do we
know of the mothers of Homer, of the great The spirit of this noble expression of piety Greek poets, orators, philosophers, and artists; is not too powerful at the present day. By of Dante, Shakespeare, and Milton? Woman many it is thought that reverence is departwas had in honour, and place was made for ing from our midst, and that in the general women of great character in the early periods spirit of irreverence towards parents and age of Jewish history. In this respect Juda- and venerable institutions and manners, we ism is honourably distinguished from ordi- may see the promise of general irreligiousnary Orientalism. Woman commanded deep ness. Strong-minded men and strong-minded respect, especially woman as mother, in the women also, are what every community great, simple days of republican Rome. But needs.
But strong manners and strong in the country which reached in a short time voices and strong words are not proof that an intellectual eminence which has never there is a strong mind behind them. Hyshad a rival summit-in Hellas—woman dis- teria is often more noisy than health, and appears from sight, as if hidden by the closed quacks more audacious than sages. We do lattices of the harem, or, if she appears be- not advocate feminine fusibility, nor that fore men, it is with the effrontery of the quality of character which, like the modelhetaera. The great difference between the ler's clay, can be shaped and altered by artist Greek women of Homer and the tragedians or menial, by intention or accident. Surely and the women of a later historical period not such characterless character as that which has often been pointed out. But the philo- may be moulded to-day into a Grace, and tosopher Lotze says, Greece “never produced morrow into a Fury or a cruel Fate, is what a conception which, in seriousness and the world needs. Nor yet the woman with. human worth, is comparable to the noble out heart, as every woman is who is without ideal of the Roman matron.'
religion. A new species of woman appears When we begin to study Christian history, to be arising, but not a product of natural we find the memories of the mothers of her selection, a species of which we have as yet, great saints and doctors studiously and lov- thank God, but a few specimens. It is the ingly preserved. We recall to mind Lois, the woman who tries to be a man and succeeds grandmother of Timothy, and Eunice his in being neither, like the mixed races which mother; Macrina, the grandmother of Basil so often possess the faults of both, without the Great, and his great brother, Gregory of possessing the virtues of either. What is Nyssa ; Nonna the mother of Gregory Nazi- needed is the spirit which is capable of reveanzen, Anthusa the mother of Chrysostom, rence and tenderness and intelligent recogniMonica the mother of Augustine; above tion of law, and of brave submission to the all, “Mary, the mother of Jesus."' Of all inevitable, the will of heaven. mothers her honour was greatest in the Son But when women are frivolous, when they she bore. Even unbelievers will admit this. turn away with repulsion from the care of They must say she was the mother of the home and children to toy in the meaningman who has been the most powerful the less badinage of fashion, or the dangerous world has yet seen, of the man whose influ- familiarities of wanton coquetry, "too lavish ence (even if it be as they say, waning), has of themselves "—then, indeed, Paganism is been the most enduring, the most elevating, once more set up, and the decay which it and the most inspiring known to history. It starts begins to operate. Shakespeare tells once it was asked, "What manner of child us that the man who has no music in his shall this be?” surely we may with deepest soulinterest ask, “What manner of woman shall "Nor is not moved by concord of sweet sounds, this be ?"
Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils.
Let no such man be trusted."
But the woman who has no motherhood in Read 1 Sam. ü. 1 to 11, and St. Luke i. 46 to 56. her soul, who will say what she is fit for? Almost the very first word which Scripture It happens at times that those who are childrecords of the Mother of our Lord is a word less are often more motherly than some who of piety, a word of sweet maiden piety. It have sons and daughters. But the woman whose is a reverent assent to a divine revelation, soul is untouched with motherhood is like a ind complete submission to a conviction bit of dry-rot in a community. If only the which has entered her soul as a message from great spirit of religion which takes hold of heaven, setting her apart to a consecrated the mightiest realities inspires the souls of life. “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be women; if only, whether married or unit unto me according to Thy word.”
married, childless or circled about with
offspring, they keep in mind that they tellect, who have not learned the introspechave a father in heaven whose daughters tive habit of to-day, with its self-engaged, they are, then will dignity and sweet reve- and self-tormenting melancholy-a hymn is rence, and readiness for duty, and brave something for everybody, and nothing is fit resignation be ever seen in them. Let theirs for public worship which is not fit for everybe the practical worship of the Virgin as body. Dilettantism has no rights in the they take her words as a sacred guide, Church. The raptures or regrets of æsthetic “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it piety, the songs of esoteric illumination must unto me according to Thy word.”
seek a private chauntry. Too often, howThe recorded words of the Virgin are few. ever, our hymns are merely prayers. People That she was thoughtful, serious, and given sometimes say that it is unnatural to sing to deep reflection we know. She was not prayers; they say that no one would go to one to tell in every captured ear, of course à monarch, a master, a parent, or a friend, in strictest confidence, the wonderful secret of and, singing, ask for a favour; but the
She had one, the holy cousin, people who say this seem to forget that they Elizabeth, in whom she could confide, and are always doing it themselves. They sing to her, with the burden of her solemn expec- psalms and they sing hymns; but these tations, she fled for sacred sympathy. “Mary psalms, these hymns, nearly always contain kept all these things and pondered them in prayers, and sometimes are nothing but her heart.” She did not claim considera- prayers. Take any version of the Psalms tion for herself on account of the great things which is sung in churches or chapels, and which were spoken, of her by venerable has it been possible to eliminate from it the piety; she was no easy chatterer on solemn prayers of the original ? Can the 51st Psalm be religious subjects. There is a garrulity in sung without the choir or congregation singreligion which seldom springs from the deeps ing a prayer? Can Toplady's hymn, “Rock of of piety. We are not ashamed of our re- Ages,” and the line, “Wash me, Saviour, or I ligion, because we keep it, like our deepest die," or Watts's words, “Pardon my sins before human love, from common sight. “Enter into I die, and blot them from Thy book," can thy closet,” is the command of the heart these words be sung, and yet the singer not filled with solemn emotions of religion. The sing prayers? We may freely admit into day may come when we must stand forth our service of song whatever will help to from our shy, brooding devotion, as it comes create or strengthen religious feelings and sometimes when bashful tenderness rushes intentions, be they penitential or prayerful ; forth to confession and fears not proudly to but if we do not find a place for hymns in tell its shielded secret, even if tears fill the the proper sense of the word—that is, songs eyes because it has been compelled to do in honour of God and delight in His gracious violence to its reserve. But the brook- majesty—there is a positive and damaging babblers of religion, whose piety is no deeper imperfection in our service. The "Magnithan the skin of their tongue, and whose ficat” is a type and model of what our heartless, worldly conversation is embroi- hymns in church should be; its form is the dered with the passementerie of pious ex- old Hebrew form, then passing away; its pression; who think themselves so good, spirit is that of youth, of freshness of vision, and who also think that you think them so of abounding bright-eyed energy. There is good—these are the degraders and destroyers no pessimism in this morning hymn of Chrisof true religion.
tianity: it is like that hymn of the world's The mother of our Lord was a poet. The young day, when the morning stars sang beautiful hymn which still has a frequent together, and all the sons of God shouted place in Christian worship is by her, and is for joy. If it be asked, another illustration of the meditative, reverential, mystical spirit whose steady fire
“What this strong music in the soul may be; burned within her. The "Magnificat " is This light, this glory, this fair luminous mist,
The beautiful and beauty-making power ?" the first Christian hymn-it is a hymn in the exact sense of the word ; for a hymn the answer isoriginally means a poem sung in praise of the gods or of heroes. St. Augustine's defi
"Joy, joy, that ne'er was given,
Save to the pure, and in their purest hour." nition of a hymn is “praise to God with a song.”. A hymn is something which may And such was she, who sang the “Magnifibe used by all sorts of people-by ignorant cat," and in it taught the Church for everpeople, and people with no subtlety of in- more the way to sing.
What and wherein it doth exist;
hast thou thus dealt with us! Behold, thy
father and I have sought thee sorrowing." Read Luke ii. 42-52, and 1 Tim. iv. 1-3.
Let every mother whose joy in childhood Such natures as that of the blessed Virgin has long gone by, who sees the ruin of all are not exempt from sorrow. Indeed, the the bright hopes of the past, whose son or capability of great spiritual exaltation is daughter is a deep regret, learn this lesson, often mated with one of equal spiritual de never to give up pursuit of the lost one until pression.
it be saved. And if it have passed away “But as it sometimes chanceth, from the might
from this human scene, still let them follow Of joy in minds that can no farther go, As high as we have mounted in delight,
on with loving hope, knowing that the great In our dejection do we sink as low.”
Shepherd can accomplish the work which was The noblest spirits, to whom have been too much for them
-can save the lost. committed the gravest responsibilities, must
For thirty years it seems that the Lord often be weighed down with a sense of their abode in the home of His mother. Joseph is own insufficiency for their work. It may never named again after Christ was twelve carry them away with delight when first the years old, and we can scarcely help believing place and office are given them. But all its that Mary had been long a widow when He burthen and all its terrible responsibilities began His ministry. More than once brothers begin to press heavily, like a weight of lead. of our Lord are spoken of. The fellow townsIt has often been so with parents. What people speak of well-known brothers and of keen, pure joy it was when a child was given sisters also. But the Church has been inthem! How near to heaven its infancy was! capable of believing that our Lord had real Love never tired in fond admiration of that brothers and sisters, as though the holy helpless innocence. But the days have come Mother would have been less holy if there when unforeseeing gladness has given place to had been given to her more sons than one. solicitude. Fear and suspicion and alarm He who cherishes a living mother's love, or have taken up their dwelling in the heart the memory-love of one departed, image to which once held for worship an infant's form, him of stainless sweetness, like the lily of and all joy has gone, and life has become the valley, will not understand what is meant like one who listens and ever listens for some by such a thought. It cannot be denied dread alarm. That most beautiful of Words that a low view of marriage has seldom worth's poems, "The Affliction of Margaret,” been absent from the Church. Marriage comes home to many a soul :
has been regarded as a concession to human “My apprehensions come in crowds ;
weakness, and not as a realisation of Divine Í dread the rustling of the grass, The very shadows of the clouds
purpose; not as the perfect but as the allowHave power to shake me as they pass. able condition. Next to the prerogatives of I question things, and do not find
bodily suffering or martyrdom came, in the And all the world appears unkind."
estimation of the early Church, the prerogaThe time has come to some, so far off tives of the single life. “ The first reward," from the day they brooded over dimpled in says St. Cyprian, to the virgins, “is for the nocence, when they have envied what has martyrs an hundredfold; the second sixtylooked like the happy calm of those from fold is for yourselves.” The tendency of whom Providence has withheld a child. the Church has ever been to put marriage as Widely different from this as was the lot of second at least to singleness. But we must the Virgin mother, we dare not doubt that a not follow the Church in this. Marriage or burden of heavy responsibility must have singleness have no more of themselves to do filled her mind. Even if she but partially with saintliness than height or complexion. and imperfectly knew all that was contained Even Keble, a married presbyter, seems to in that life which Heaven had committed to regard marriage as only second to singleness, her charge, she yet knew that He was to be for he teaches that if the married are true great, the Son of the Highest ; and humble and good, God will take them to Himself as as was the home in which He was bred, He if they had never been wedded. was to gain at length the throne of His father David. It was said that a sword was
" And there are souls that seem to dwell
Above this earth--so rich a spell to pierce through her soul. And it is signi
Floats round their steps where'er they move
From hopes fulfilled and mutual love. ficant that the first saying of the Virgin
Such if on high their thoughts are set, which is given to us after the mysterious ex
Nor in the stream the source forget :
If prompt to quit the bliss they know, altation and inspiration of the "Magnificat"
Following the Lamb where'er they go; has in it the word 'sorrow:' “Son, why
By purest pleasures un beguiled,
One that will answer to my mind,
Such wedded souls our God shall own,
Peter and John received them. The VirFor faultless virgins round His throne.” God will own the faultless for His whether His Divine ministry. She was present at its
gin was not an attendant upon her Son in wedded or virgin. But it would be just as true to turn Keble's verse the other way intimates that she does not understand Him,
commencement, but at the marriage the Lord round, and say,
that there is nothing in common between “Such faultless virgins God will own,
them as to the modes of His procedure, For wedded saints around His throne." Different lots are apportioned to men, and Woman, what have I to do with thee
“? one chooses the uncompanioned path and an
Mine hour is not yet come.”
Romanists other clasps a kindred hand. But it is not and Protestants have wrangled over these true that of itself singleness is purer or holier words, one trying to prove that there was a than marriage. Each may carry out a noble want of respect and reverence in the manner ministry of good, and each is bad when it is of address, and the other advocating its perselfish.
fect propriety. We may say at once there
was no disrespect in the title “Woman.' FOURTH SUNDAY.
We cannot conceive that He who was so Read St. John ii. 145, and St. Matthew xii. 46-50. tender to women, and soothed their sorrows, The last word of the Virgin we ever hear and was gentle to their faults, and was gratewas spoken at a wedding in Cana. The story ful for their loving ministry, could be harsh we need not recount. It is simply domestic, to His own mother. and shows the mother of our Lord in her Of all the great masters of the world there care for the comfort of those about her. is not one who can compare with Christ in It shows that she had suspicions, it may His attitude to women. Socrates is the be convictions, that her Son, now leaving name which men often place as though it His home for the first time, and taking were an equal by the side of Christ, an independent attitude, was possessed but the story which Xenophon tells of Theof mysterious powers. “Whatsoever He odota we read with repulsion. Mohamsaith unto you, do it.” We cannot help med is the founder of a great religion and wondering what real perception she had of of enduring influence; but after the death of the calling and true greatness of her mys- Kadiyah, his marriages are blots. And as for terious Son. We can fairly tell what the the prophet of the new dispensation with women of Israel thought the great deliverer its “Service of man and its “Worship of of their nation should be. We have no woman,” his example does not command our reason to conclude that the revelations made reverence, and the blindest Catholic may well to the Virgin were understood in any other prefer the worship of the Virgin to the culte way than the great revelations of the Old of Madame Clotilde de Vaux. If ever the Testament were generally understood. We rights of women were practically acknowknow from her hymn, the “Magnificat,” ledged, it was by Him who never seemed to that her mind was filled with the old reli- condescend as to an inferior being in dealing gious poetry of her race, which ever sang with them. To Him they were equals. of a great Deliverer and Ruler one day to Some have treated them as the tool and appear. But that she expected that the Son others as the slave of man; He treated them of the Highest, who was to sit on the throne as faithful friends. There is nothing like it of His Father David, would remain a poor in history. There are no sentimentalities, man without office of State or sword of nothing at all like the intercourse which State; that He should go wandering about some religious leaders and guides have followed by a crowd of poor people, talk- held with women. There are none of the ing in parables and words which at times erotics of maudlin mysticism ; none of that baffled comprehension; that He should irritate pious, caressing effusion which is so often and alarm the heads of Church and State ; offensive in ecclesiastics. It is something that He should be executed as a heretic and unique in the history of the world. Christ blasphemer; and that after a time He should surrounded by faithful women is something be regarded as One with God and an object alone, it has no parallel. Too lofty for artist of worship, is inconceivable. God gives His to depict, it is not too austere to be reverrevelations, even to His most highly favoured enced. But when Christ said to His mother, servants, gradually. We have no
“What have I to do with thee? mine hour to believe that the Virgin received Divine is not yet come,” He did intimate that the revelations in any other way or order than principles which were to rule Him were unthe way and order in which apostles like known to her. We must not be surprised