Heavenly Dew Drops!
By William Thoseby, 1865
"His heavens shall drop down dew." Deuteronomy 33:28
"I will be as the dew unto Israel." Hosea 14:5
The purpose of this little volume is to recommend virtue. To show that religion is a lovely flower wherever it is seen. And the Editor of the following pages earnestly prays that through the Divine Blessing, and deep inner searchings of God's Holy Spirit, sentiments may he found in the long roll of extracts, which being presented in an interesting and popular style, by some of the world's master-minds — will have a telling effect — an influence for good upon the minds of many readers — differing as they may in various shades of character.
To the young he turns with affectionate regard, because they more especially will give to the future its stamp and impression; and he therefore trusts, that those gleanings among his books may win and warn not a few of them to be wise betimes — and listen to the Words of Wisdom, "I love those who love me, and those who seek me early, shall find me." Should the "Heavenly Dew Drops" be the humble medium of "converting a sinner from the error of his ways" — or . . .
strengthening the frail,
encouraging the earnest doubter,
kindling into a flame of love, the slumbering embers of spiritual desires,
administering comfort to the downcast,
giving hope to the despairing,
increasing courage to those who have set their faces against every species of evil,
and allure both the young and the aged "to brighter worlds above," — it will have answered the design for which it has been published.
As the various periodicals, and respective authors from whose productions and eloquent outpourings the selections have been made — are of course gratefully acknowledged in the usual form; it will thereby be seen that the galaxy is one of no small order. And perhaps a taste may be created in the minds of many of England's noble youth — for reading some of the works of the best poets, philosophers, and divines — instead of the wide spread noxious literature of the times. With regard to many of the cheap serials which leave London weekly by the ton, the Rev. Samuel Coley remarks that "the chosen themes are seduction, murder, and abominable mysteries of iniquity. This is a matter to be looked to; the churches teach the people to read — and the devil is finding the books!"
As the principles and views of truth which the work contains are decidedly of a Christian character, and such that every parent would desire his children to embrace and develop in every day life — it will be found, it is hoped, worthy of the patronage of the Christian public — and find a place on the shelf of many a young man's library, and make its way among the numerous books for the youth in the Sabbath Schools, and not be altogether overlooked when the time comes round for making the Christmas presents and New Year's gifts — and likewise be an agreeable companion for those who occasionally travel by rail, road, or river.
"A thousand talents," says Martin Tupper, "for a true friend;" and then he adds, "a good book is the best of friends — the same today and forever." Such a book may the "Heavenly Dew Drops" evince itself to be to all who shall peruse its pages.
William Thoseby, 1865
The Church Thermometer
"The hour of prayer" Acts 3:1
The true thermometer of a Church, to indicate its spiritual temperature, is the weekly gathering around the mercy-seat. A cold prayer-meeting makes a cold Church. It is at once the cause and the effect of spiritual declension.
If the place of prayer is well-near deserted; if the few who are present bodily seem absent in spirit; if the prayers offered are languid, formal, meaningless, without point, and without unction — then the pastor has abundant cause for heart-heaviness and tears. Sermons preached to such a people are like discourses delivered in one of the ruined temples of Luxor, with the shriveled dead embalmed around him, and grim heads of stone looking down from every capital. His hands hang down, and his spirit faints.
And as a Church has no surer symptoms of decay, than a decaying prayer-meeting, so nothing feels the approach of a revival so palpably as the place of prayer. A revival commonly begins there. The deserted seats are filled. Those who "could not leave their business," now find but little difficulty in closing the doors of their shops or their counting-rooms. The absent Thomases are once more with the deserted flock of disciples, and wonder to find the risen Savior there too, with his blessings.
Those who seldom prayed are now ready to pour out their souls in supplication. The slow of speech have become eloquent. The timid have grown bold. The sluggish are mounting up with wings as eagles. A latent power is developed in the Church, which astounds both preacher and people. The prayer-meeting, too, becomes a place for communion with each other, as well as communion with God. Old differences are forgotten. Old wounds are healed. Church members will grasp each other's hands, and inquire about a neighbor's spiritual health, with more solicitude than they manifest in asking about a sick friend. They will linger together about the hallowed spot, talking of the mercies of God to their souls, and they will be reluctant to go away. They are one in heart; the Church is living in unity.
Brethren! if we are wise we too will keep a look-out upon the thermometer of the Church. A prayer-meeting "below freezing point" is a fatal indication.
The Velocity of Evil
W. Morley Punshon
"Stop, poor sinner, stop and think,
Before you further go!
Will you sport upon the brink
Of everlasting woe?
On the verge of ruin stop,
Now the friendly warning take.
Stay your footsteps, or you'll drop
Into the burning lake!" John Newton
"Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death." James 1:15
A denier of the original taint of sin once stood before two pictures which hung side by side upon a wall.
The first was the portrait of a boy with open brow, and curls that look golden in the sunshine, and cheeks whose damask beauty shame the ripened fruit, wearing that happy smile which can be worn but once in life — a smile whose rippling waves are poisoned by no weeds of suspicion, and break upon no strand of doubt, looking gaily up from the flowered earth into the azure Heaven without the slightest misgivings that there were serpents lurking in the one, or tempests brewing in the other.
From the canvas of the second picture, there glared out a wolfish eye — the home of all subtlety and malice: and in the gloom of the dim-lighted cell, you might perceive the matted hair, and garments stained with blood — chains clank, or seem to clank, upon his fettered limbs. All tell of the desperate character of the man.
On these two pictures hanging side by side, the denier of original sin fixed his gaze, until the exclamation burst out at length in a tone of half-concealed triumph, "What! do you mean to say that these two beings were originally and radically the same? Do you mean to tell me that any amount of evil teaching could ever develop that guiltless child into that debased and godless man?" The artist volunteered the information that the portraits were taken from the life of the self-same individual at different stages of his history.
You know the moral of the tale. There is an accelerating progress in an ungodly course, increasing with the momentum of an avalanche when the first stages of its course have run. The descent into perdition is easy when the strivings of the passions are seconded by the dictates of the will. Sinner! whoever you are, I charge you, beware lest your sin become habit, and your habit become obdurate, and your obduracy become hardened into despair.
What! do you say you have already resolved at some future time to repent, to reform? Such resolves are powerless. Each moment that you continue in bondage, you are blind to your danger. In yon grim prisons, there are multitudes of men today who have hearts like yours within them, although they have cased them from the truth as in a coat of triple steel. If you could get them to lay bare the sad secrets of their history, you would be frightened to find them so much like your own. Good resolutions, early home teachings, deathless memories of a mother's prayers. But a strong temptation, weak restraints, godless associates, a first fall, from which, alas! the young man never, never rose; and then a casting off the mask of shame.
Oh, take the truth to your hearts now, you who are unconverted. No man became a criminal, a ungodly man, a villain — all at once; but from a state of innocence he has slidden down, until tonight we see him on the lowest step of the ladder, and tomorrow a dishonored suicide! Beware of the deceitfulness of sin. Shrink from it. Flee into the Savior's arms!
The Profligate's Doom
"He, that being often reproved hardens his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy!" Proverbs 29:1
Not many years ago, an eminent London clergyman observed among his regular hearers, a young man whose appearance excited in him an unusual interest. He took pains to learn the young stranger's history, and found that he was the son of pious parents, and had been trained to respect the ordinances of religion. A devout mother had added to her prayers the fervent precept, "My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent."
The young man at length was missed from his place in the house of God. The watchful eye of the minister sought for him in vain. He had met with a company of witty and engaging sceptics, who had persuaded him to abandon the house of prayer for the more "manly" entertainments of their infidel club-room, where the ribaldries of Paine were rendered more palatable by the lively jest, and the exhilarating glass. His conscience stung him, but their merry laugh soon drowned the troublesome remonstrance. He proved to be an apt scholar in the ways of sin. His Sabbath instructions among the sceptics soon prepared him for the haunts of revelry and for those chambers which lie nearby the door of Hell. A short career of reckless dissipation did its work of ruin upon his slight and delicate frame.
His former pastor, who had well-near forgotten him, was one day surprised by an invitation to visit the unhappy youth on his dying bed. He found him sinking rapidly, and sinking without hope. As the man of God approached the bedside, the young man hid his face and refused to speak to him. Finding it impossible to draw a word from the wretched victim of remorse, who was just about entering eternity in such a state of sullen despair, the minister offered a fervent prayer and turned away. He reached the door, his hand was upon the latch, when the young man suddenly rose in the bed, and beckoned him to return. He went back and leaned his head over the bed to receive the message. The young man threw his arms about him and drawing his head close to his lips, whispered in convulsive accents, "I am damned!" and then sunk back silent on his pillow. No further efforts or entreaties could rouse him. The heart-wrung pastor pleaded with him, but in vain. Having pronounced his own awful doom, his lips refused to speak again; and before the clock struck the hour of midnight, his unhappy soul was in the eternal world.
Young man! as you read the appalling narrative of the poor profligate's doom — you may be reading your own! If your feet have forsaken the house of God — if you have been seen on the seat of the scorner — if you have returned home at the midnight hour from the card table, or the drinking circle — you have good cause to tremble. Persist in your course of self-destruction, and you may meet that young man in the world of eternal despair! Partners in misery, you may, to all eternity, curse yourselves as the authors of your own damnation!
"A Christian." Acts 26:28
Among character painters Bunyan deserves a place in the highest rank. Shakespeare had to do with living men, and Bunyan with personifications, yet in the wonderful Tinker's hands, these personifications become living men. To all who read the "Pilgrim's Progress," old and young, learned and unlearned — the multitude of characters that throng its pages, are actual persons. We take but a short walk with Mr. Ignorance, who came out of the town of Conceit, but we see enough of him to know that he is the perfect counterpart of a dozen good-for-nothing fellows in our neighborhood. Mr. By-ends and my Lord Time-server, we have often in our legislative halls; and sometimes, if we mistake not, have beheld their smooth faces, and heard their fair speeches in the assemblies of the Church. Mr. Talkative has "pestered" us a thousand times. Mr. Self-will has long been an annoyance to us; and we never meet a faint-hearted brother with his head bowed down like a bulrush, without thinking of poor Mr. Fearing, who lay moaning so long beside the Slough of Despond, and who went down with trembling steps at last into the deep water.
The places described by Bunyan are as familiar to us as the places among which we spent our childhood — and among all the living tenors of the nursery there were none for whom we felt a more unaffected horror, than for old Giant Grim, or that other monster with crab tree cudgel, whose courtyard was paved with the skulls of ill-fated pilgrims.
The hero of the allegory is not only finely portrayed, but is himself a portraiture of the highest style of manhood. We know of no hero among all the creations of fiction who is equal to Christian. Bunyan's mind seems to have been fully equal to the conception of the truly great man. In Christian, the hand of a Bible-taught master has drawn everything that is brave, and honest, and true; everything that is genial and simple; everything that is lovely and of good report. He fights like a lion in the Valley of Humiliation; he sings like a lark in the Chamber of Peace; when he beholds the miseries of Giant Despair's captives he "gushes out with tears;" nor does he restrain a wholesome natural laugh at the expense of brave Mr. Talkative who came out of Prating row.
In narrating the personal adventures of his hero, Bunyan kept ever before his mind his own marvelous experience. The long road over which he brings his Pilgrim, is the same path in which the Lord had ever led him on; a path full of difficulties and dangers, of dark valleys and pitfalls — but a path on which God's sunshine sometimes fell, beside which living fountains of water gushed forth — and at the end of which rose the city not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
The City of Destruction, in the mind of Bunyan, was connected with his own early life in the village of Elstow, among a crew of abandoned profligates, who united the license of the higher classes to the ignorance and vulgarity of their own. From such scenes and companionships, the voice of the Spirit of God had called him forth with a loud and terrible warning. He had been mocked, he had been threatened, but the voice had waxed louder and louder. Onward he had gone, driven by the most agonizing pains and fears until he fell into that miry "Slough" where the sins, and doubts, and terrors of the convicted sinner had all settled; and here he had lain for a long time bemoaning his doleful estate.
Then had come an interval of joy and triumph. But this was of short duration, for he soon encountered the deceiver, who sent him to the law for relief; and while he was laboring to establish a righteousness of his own he had seen the anger of God to glow, and the flashes of fire had burst forth from the Sinai above him. While he was in this painful state, a good "Evangelist," in the shape of the minister of Bedford, had come to him, and with many rebukes, mingled with pity — had set him once more upon the right path.
Long was the road over which he had gone before he reached the Wicket Gate, and many and sharp were the arrows which Beelzebub had poured in upon his harassed soul. Even after he had entered upon the narrow path, his journey had been painful and protracted before he arrived at the gladsome spot where the burden fell from his shoulders, and while the tears coursed down his cheeks he heard a voice whisper sweetly to him — "Peace be to Your soul!" Then, like Christian, he had leaped for joy, and went singing on his way.
Thrice-blessed Dreamer! You have lain for more than a century and a half in Bunhill Fields, but no lapse of years can destroy the spell which you hold over the strongest minds! Your audience grows with the advance of time. In a country which you knew only as a trifling colony, your immortal allegory lies on the table of ten thousand drawing-rooms, arrayed in crimson and in gold, and lives too in the inner heart of God's struggling Church!
The Infidel's Sermon
C. H. Spurgeon
God moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill,
He treasures up His bright designs,
And works His sovereign will. Cowper
"Him that comes to Me I will never cast out." John 6:37
A Native of Sweden, who had imbibed infidel views, had occasion to go from one port to another in the Baltic sea. When he came to the place whence he expected to sail, the vessel was gone. On inquiring, he found a fishing boat going the same way, in which he embarked. After being for some time out to sea, the men observing that he had several trunks and chests on board, concluded he must be very rich, and therefore agreed among themselves to throw him overboard. This he heard them express, which gave him great uneasiness. However, he took occasion to open one of his trunks, which contained some books. Observing this, they remarked among themselves that it was not worth while to throw him into the sea, as they did not want any books, which they supposed were all the trunks contained.
They asked him if he were a minister. Hardly knowing what reply to make them, he told them he was; and at this they seemed much pleased, and said that they would have a sermon the next day as it was the Sabbath. This increased the anxiety and distress of his mind, for he knew himself to be as incapable of such an undertaking as it was possible for anyone to be, as he knew very little of the Scriptures; neither did he believe in the inspiration of the Bible.
At length they came to a small rocky island, perhaps a quarter of a mile in circumference, where was a company of pirates, who had chosen this little sequestered spot to deposit their treasures. He was taken to a cave, and introduced to an old woman, to whom they remarked that they were to have a Sermon preached the next day. She said she was very glad of it, for she had not heard the Word of God for a great while. His was a trying case, for preach he must; still he knew nothing about preaching. If he refused, or undertook to preach and did not please, he expected it would be his death. With these thoughts he passed a sleepless night; and in the morning his mind was not settled upon anything. To call upon God, whom he believed to be inaccessible, was altogether vain. He could devise no way whereby he might be saved. He walked to and fro, still shut up in darkness, striving to collect something to say to them, but could not think of even a single sentence.
When the appointed time for the service arrived, he entered the cave, where he found them assembled. There was a seat prepared for him, and a table with a Bible on it. They sat for the space of half an hour in profound silence; and even the anguish of his soul was as great as human nature was capable of enduring. At length these words came to his mind: "Truly, there is a reward for the righteous; truly, there is a God that judges in the earth." He arose and delivered them; then other words presented themselves, and so on, till his understanding became opened, and his heart enlarged in a manner astonishing to himself. He spoke upon subjects suited to their condition; the rewards of the righteous, the judgments of the wicked, the necessity of repentance, and the importance of a change of life. The matchless love of God to men had such a powerful effect upon the minds of these wretched beings, that they were melted into tears. Nor was he less astonished at the unbounded goodness of Almighty God, in thus interposing to save his spiritual as well as his natural life; and well might he exclaim, "This is the Lord's doings, and marvelous in our eyes."
Under a deep sense of God's goodness, his heart became filled with thankfulness, which it was out of his power to express. What a marvelous change was thus suddenly brought about by Divine interposition. He who a little while before disbelieved in communion with God and the soul, became as humble as a little child; and they who were so lately meditating on his death, now were filled with love and goodwill towards each other, particularly towards him; manifesting affectionate kindness, and willing to render him all the assistance in their power.
The next morning they fitted out one of their vessels, and conveyed him where he desired. From that time he became a changed man; from being a slave to the influence of infidelity, he was brought to be a sincere believer in the power and efficacy of the truth as it is in Jesus.
How marvelous the providence of God, and the sovereignty of his grace. Who is he who has stepped beyond the range of Almighty love? or has sinned too much to be forgiven? Reader! are you an infidel? What would you do in a similar situation? What other doctrine than that of Scripture would benefit pirates? Certainly not your own. What would you like to teach your own children? Certainly not your own sentiments. You feel that you would not wish to hear your own offspring blaspheming God. Moreover, forgive us, if we declare our opinion that you know that there is a God, though with your lips you deny him. Think, we beseech you, of your Maker, and of his Son, the Savior; and may Eternal love bring even you to the Redeemer.