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more; and, perhaps, if your husband had thought of trying, he could have cleaned those shoes quite as well last night, and might now be ready to go to church.”
“That he might!” she cried, with a malicious look, turning round to the man, “ if it was not that he would rather spend his time in the public-house.' As she said this, she espied one of the younger children with its dirty hands immersed in the dough she had been kneading, great lumps of which it was handing to another to make cakes. The mother darted back, seized the child by the arm, and swung it violently across the kitchen-floor; its foot struck the pot of blacking, broke it in pieces, and spattered the contents over the father's clothes : he sprang up in a rage, and threw the brush out of his hand, which, unfortunately, hurt the most guiltless of the party—the poor baby that was sprawling on the floor. The child cried, the mother stormed, the father swore, and the two threatened children roared; while, in the confusion, the elder boys escaped from the washing, jumped out of the door, and ran shouting and laughing into the yard. What a terrible din assailed my ears ! I fled from it, rapidly retreated down the neglected garden, closed its broken wicket after me, and only breathed freely when I had advanced some way
down the quiet lane: even then the disagreeable sounds of angry voices, of screaming children, and all the uproar of that disorderly house seemed to disturb the stilly air.
As I went on, I saw Mr. Stone's door open, and forth the family came. The husband and wife walked first, arm-in-arm, then came my two schoolboys, and behind them was the grown-up daughter, her books in her hand, a white handkerchief folded up, resting on them, and a rose, which she had stopped to gather, placed over all. How nice she looked ! how nice they all looked ! their aspect soothed my
Reader, perhaps you think I have made up this contrast very well; that I have described an imaginary Sundaymorning scene. You are mistaken: I saw all, and more than I have related, and just in the way I have related, on that one morning. I have seen more than I have related, I have seen that good washerwoman die! die as she had lived-in the faith and hope of Christ's gospel : die joyfully, not because she had kept God's sabbaths, and observed, with more than decency, the forms of religion, but because Christ hath diedyea, rather hath risen again, and his blood cleanses, his Spirit sanctifies, his grace saves all who come to God through him ; and because, by the teaching of the Holy Spirit, she had believed in Christ unto eternal life. Nearly her last words were these: “ Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth.”
"SOW WITH PRAYER; REAP WITH PRAISE. It is God that giveth the increase, for he alone has said of every plant, that its seed is in itself, and he, alone, also, blesses the springing thereof. Thus He works in nature; and of the same kind, also, are his gracious dealings with men. It is his right alone to create, and to give fruitfulness: blessed is the man who knows this truth, believes it, and relies
It was the season of spring, and in the fields which the plough had prepared, the sowers were casting the corn into a thousand furrows, and already their hopes looked forward to plentiful harvests. An aged labourer, on the edge of a small plot of ground, was preparing to scatter his handful. I accosted him, and asked if the land which he cultivated were fertile. 6. Sometimes it bears more, sometimes less," he answered, " that depends on the weather and the season.” “ Above all," I answered seriously, “it depends on the blessing of Him, to whom belong the land, and the corn, and the sun, and the rains, in every place."
“ You are right,” said the labourer, “indeed it is in vain we work unless God blesses our fields." “Well,” said I, drawing nearer to the old man,“ have you prayed to God before you began to sow ? have you asked from him that blessing, which his goodness will not refuse to his children ? Are
you about to sow your field as a Christian should do, or as too many labourers do, without thinking of our heavenly Father, who gives us all things through Jesus Christ his Son, that he may be glorified ?”
“I had not thought of it,” said the old man; “perhaps I was wrong.”
“Should you like me now to do it with you ?” I inquired. “ We will do it from the heart, and the God of heaven will hear and answer us, for the sake of Jesus Christ.” The old man thanked me. We prayed to the Lord to bless the springing of that seed, and I took leave of the labourer. Days and nights followed: the blade
the ear appeared, and the full corn ripened; and the inan, who, whilst the Lord was working, had gone backwards and
forwards, had slept and forgotten his field, when he saw it white for the harvest came and brought his family to gather the sheaves. At that time, I again passed the field of the old man, and he then called to me, and, showing me the plentiful rich crop
which covered his land, said to me, with earnestness, " You see, our prayer has not been useless, I have never yet had so large a crop: this year, God has greatly blessed my field; we prayed together, now let us give thanks together." And as I continued my walk, I thought to myself, how often the word of God speaks of the sowing and reaping of the earth, to give men instruction as to heavenly things; and, in
particular, to encourage the Christian, and especially the minister of the gospel, in his work of faith and labour of love, in the midst of his field—the world. “It is said, “ Pray ye the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into the harvest.” Pray, then, that the seed of the kingdom may prosper. Pray in the morning, and withhold not your prayer in the evening. Cast thy bread upon the face of the waters, in the name of the Lord, and wait upon
labours may be blessed.
Rev. C. Malan.
THE ANXIOUS MOTHER. None but a mother knows, or can feel, the deep yearnings of affection which throb in her bosom. These deep yearnings of maternal love are implanted in the parental heart by the God of nature for the wisest and best purposes. But there is such a thing as being over-anxious.
There are thousands of parents whose lives are imbittered, and whose peace and happiness are destroyed, because they cannot really trust their children in the hands of God. Every little sickness alarms them; every precaution, whether suggested by reason or imagination, is taken, and the mind is full of restless, unsubmissive fears, as if they were under the dominion of a tyrant. Now, there is a certain degree of ordinary prudence and caution to be observed, and in case of sickness there is medical skill, which, to a certain extent, may modify or change results; but, after all, these precautions and this aid will go but a very little way. The invasions of disease, especially in children, are far less dependent on circumstances within our control than is often supposed. The development of hereditary tendencies, the mysterious influences of atmospheric changes, and a thousand combinations of causes and circumstances, not to be controlled, produce them; and when
they come, all we have to do is, quietly and calmly to pursue the course which seems best adapted to promote restoration. As to the responsibility for the result, we throw ourselves on God; and let him do just as he pleases.
Suppose, now, there should be a mother, always uneasy and solicitous about her child when it was in health, or sitting over it when in sickness, restless and anxious, trying this remedy and that, without reason and without hope, just because she cannot give him up; suppose, I say, that God should come to the bedside and say to her, “Anxious mother, I was taking charge of your child; but since you are so restless and uneasy about it, I will give up the case to you, if you will take it. There is a great question to be decided-shall that child recover or die? I was going to decide it in the best way for yourself and him; but since you cannot trust me, you may decide it yourself. Look upon him, then, as he lies there suffering, and then look forward as far as you can into futurity—see as much as you can of his life here, if you allow him to live; and look forward to eternity--to his eternity
Get all the light you can, and then tell me whether you are really ready to take the responsibility of deciding the question, whether he shall live or die. Since you are not willing to allow me to decide it, I will leave you to decide it yourself.”
What would be the feelings of a mother if God should thus withdraw from the sick bed of her child, and leave the responsibility of the case in her hands alone. Who would dare to exercise the power, if the power were given, or say to a dying child, “ You shall live, and on me shall be the responsibility.” Then, let us all leave God to decide. Let us be wise, and prudent, and faithful in all our duties, but never, for a moment, indulge in an anxious thought—it is rebellion. Let us rather throw ourselves on God. Let us say to Him, that we do not know what is best, either for us or our children, and ask him to do with us just as he pleases. Then we shall be at peace at all times—when disease makes its first attack—when the critical hours approach, by which the question of life or death is to be decided, and even when the last night of the little patient's suffering has come, and we see the vital powers gradually sinking in their fearful struggle with death.
THE BIBLE AND THE SINNER.
Bible. “ Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways," Haggai i. 7.
Sinner. I think my conduct very good, and do not like to be reproved.
B. “ There is a 'way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death,” Prov. xvi. 25.
S. Why speak thus to me? I am not worse than my neighbours.
B. “They, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise,” 2 Cor.
S. It seems to me, that if a man keep his conscience void of reproach, that ought to satisfy him.
B. Paul has said (Acts xxiii. 1), “I have lived in all good conscience before God unto this day; " and yet he is also constrained to say (Acts xxvi. 9), “I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth ;” and (1 Cor. xv. 9) “I am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.”
S. Few men are more particular than I am in the fulfilment of these duties.
B. “Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven,” Matt. v. 20.
S. What rule, then, must be followed, if it be not enough to imitate those who conduct themselves the best ?
B. “ The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day,” John xii. 48.
S. Agreed; I do not reject the Bible, and I even. endeavour to follow its precepts.
B. “ Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all," James ii. 10.
S. What is the law ?
B. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,” Matt. xxii. 37, 39.
S. I know all that; but it is impossible that the whole life should be conformable to that rule.
B. “ To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin," James iv. 17.