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the coach was much earlier in its arrival that evening than usual, and, strange to say, had brought only one passenger. That one passenger, however, had been enough to occasion the greatest discomfort among the visitors, whom, upon my return to tea, I found with pale faces chatting in groups under the trees.
"What is it?" I eagerly asked. It was a brief but melancholy story. R G , having robbed his employers, had been for several weeks in hiding. He had spent the greater part of the proceeds of the robbery in riotous living; and then had chosen one of the most secluded parts in Wales, thinking that if he might be safe anywhere he might be safe there. The solitary traveller by the evening coach was a detective police officer from London; and as soon as he saw the young prodigal he went up to him, and laying his hand upon his shoulder, said, sternly, "You are found out!" With a terrified look at his captor,
R- G attempted to escape; but the surprise and
terror had been too much for him; and, with a groan, he fell dead in one of the walks where his bent and trembling figure had often excited such fervent sympathy.
The one lesson impressed upon all our minds was that expressed in the words of the psalmist, "Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit, or whither shall I flee from Thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, behold Thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me, even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from Thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to Thee."
Reader! sooner or later sin must be found out. Concealment may be possible for awhile; and the wrong-doer may lay the flattering unction to his soul that he has escaped with impunity, and that his sin is forgotten. But it is truer than some suppose that, even in the present world, a man's sin is found out, and that he is compelled to bear the penalty. We have seen many thus "found out." There has been the young man who has become addicted to vicious and dissipated courses. For awhile he was able to keep his secret from his employers or from his relatives. He has walked according to the lusts and devices of his heart, thinking that there was no witness of his conduct, and that he had only to be secret to be safe. But soon, very soon, he has become a strong witness against himself. His face has revealed his secret to every one who looks at him. The trembling hand, the emaciated body, and the joyless, spiritless, wearied way in which he has applied himself to his daily tasks have told plainer than any spoken words the kind of life he was leading. He has been found out!
There is another, who has become the companion of the sceptical and profane. There was a time when a coarse word, a ribald jest, a blasphemous expression would never have polluted his lips. He was at home with the pure and good, and was to be found in associations and pursuits that tend to refine and ennoble the character. But he left this home of serene enjoyment, and journeyed into a far country, and speedily became dead to all his former tastes and aspirations. As you listened to the scoffing way in which he talked of religion and the Bible, and to his profane conversation in general, as you watched the lowered and degraded tone of intellect and affections, had you any doubt that the man himself was the strongest witness against himself, and that he was found out?
Let no one imagine that the punishment of wrong-doing is wholly deferred until the solemn future, when the secrets of all hearts shall be revealed, and the sinner shall reap the due reward of his deeds. In the present world, in the loss of character, and the tranquil joys attached to a life of integrity and godliness; in the loss of reputation, of friends, of position in society, and of an honest livelihood, the sinner is found out, and made to feel, in the bitterness of his spirit, that God is not, cannot be mocked, but that he who soweth to his flesh shall, of the flesh, reap corruption.
And if not found out here, it is only a little while, and his secret sins shall be set in the light of God's countenance. Here the sinner is never wholly found out, whatever punishment may befall him. Society takes note of sinful actions; but of the evil motive which was the life and soul of these wrong-doings, we are not able to form a correct estimate. We only know that the wrong-doer is capable of much darker and more awful enormities; but God not only judges a man's deeds, but is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. He will bring every thought into judgment as well as every work. Therefore, though a man may escape the penalty attached to sin here, though he may wrap himself up in a veil of secresy, it is only that he may receive the yet sorer punishment when there is nothing secret that shall not be made known. If he were wise, he would infinitely rather be found out here, than hereafter, when repentance will be impossible, and the soul that is filthy must remain filthy still.
For it should not be forgotten that while the consequences attached to sin are fixed and inexorable, God in the gospel of His Son comes in between the sinner and the penalty due to his transgression. In His infinite love and compassion, the Lord Jesus Christ takes the penalty upon Himself, and thus breaks the chain between guilt and its retributive consequences. He not only bears our sins, but the sorrows due to those sins, and permits the transgressor who accepts Him as his Saviour to go free, to rejoice in the blessedness of having his sins for ever cancelled by His precious atonement, and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to enter upon a new life, every characteristic of which is an element of holy satisfaction, of ever increasing joy. All that is needed on the sinner's part when "found out"— and he finds himself out long before others do so—is to bring the burden of his guilt, and in penitence and faith to cast it upon Him who has already borne its dreadful penalty, and who tenderly waits to say to the believing and contrite one, "Thy sins are forgiven thee; go and sin no more."
And then, in His amazing mercy, although the sinner is found out by himself, and it may be by others also, his sin is so covered that it cannot rise up to his condemnation in the world to come. Reader, is not this a blessing worth seeking? Is it not one worth any sacrifice? It can be yours without money and without price. With an aching conscience, burdened with a load of anxiety that almost crushes you to the earth, turn, in faith, unto Him who is able to save unto the uttermost, and you will be in the loving arms of One who will cover your shame and confusion in the folds of His robe of perfect righteousness, and speak to you words of forgiveness and hope. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved from thy sins, though they be red like crimson. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved from the consequences of thy sins; from the worm that dieth not, and from the fire that never shall be quenched. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and to all eternity you will rejoice that your sin did find you out, because it led you, through the help of the Holy Spirit, truly to repent, and unfeignedly to put your trust in Him through whose merits it was "pardoned,'' "passed by," "subdued," and "cast into the depths of the sea."
fjofo to fpanaxp E pusfranir.
Ell, I think it's quite shameful of George to stay out like this, the first time you are down-stairs, too."
"But he did not know I was coming down to-day," said the invalid, with a slight colour mounting to her pale cheeks.
"Then he ought to have known it," angrily returned her sister. "You are a great deal too easy with your husband; you'll be sorry for it some day, I know."
"George has stayed out of an evening a good deal lately," admitted his wife; "but then just think how dull the house has been for him with me up-stairs. You forget I have been ill six months, and there has been nobody to make George comfortable when he came in."
"No, I don't forget; but it puts me out of all patience to hear you make excuses for him as you do. You should just hear how I go on at my John if he dares to stay half an hour over his time. It's the only way to manage husbands, too, I can tell you."
The invalid smiled faintly. "I shall never manage George that way, I know," she said.
"No! you are too easy. Now look here, Maria, George is a kind husband and all that to you just now, and having no children and in good work, he can afford to give you all you want; but this won't last long, if he don't alter. I wouldn't trouble you with telling you about it just now, ill as you are, but I think you ought to know it. He is taking up with all the worst sort of men on the works, and spends his evenings at the public-house."
The look of anxiety deepened on the invalid's pale face to hear her husband's failings thus spoken of. She had feared all this, but she had not mentioned it to any one, and hoped that no one knew it but herself. "I must see what I can do to win him back to his home now I am able to get about again," she said, with a sigh.
"Win him back?" replied her sister, contemptuously. "Maria, you ought to ask him what he means by treating you so shamefully: it would be a good opportunity to-night, as you have come down stairs and he has not come home."
"But he did not know I was coming down," said Mrs. Wells. "He said he would be at home this evening, and I came down to surprise him."
Her sister tossed her head. "I would surprise him in
another way," she said. "I would let him know he is not
going to do just as he likes. John knows he can't do it
with me, for if he stays out for half an hour I grumble at