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By Strange patys.
as far as it regarded the yellow fever, but not so
voyage, the vessel was wrecked off Madeira, and all were lost, save some five or six of the company, including Alexander, and the captain of the ship. A homewardbound vessel picked them up, and brought them back to port.
After remaining here some little time, Alexander again set sail with his former captain, in a new vessel, for the African coast. They succeeded in landing safely, but the fatal yellow fever laid hold of the crew, almost immediately upon their landing, and the captain and first mate were among the first to succumb to it. Alexander also took it, and was brought very low, so near the gates of death, indeed, that once or twice he was left for dead. But he rallied, and was spared to return home, although much emaciated, and subject to fits, from the ravages of the fearful fever. He was brought home, almost as useless as a log of wood, and thrown on shore, unfitted for any employment. Not a friend interested himself about the poor prodigal, and had not a humane pilot conveyed the sufferer to the “Seamen's Home,” he might have perished in his misery. But God had been watching him, all through these long years of hardened sin and defiant wickedness, with purposes of love.
A long affliction was his portion, wearisome days and nights were appointed to him, and when, after many months, he left the “Seamen's Home," and travelled northward, it was with scarcely any definite purpose. He had refrained from acquainting his sisters with his circumstances, for during his last voyage his father had died; and now it seemed to have become his settled determination to separate himself from all who were in any way related to him. With only a few poor rags on his back and those bestowed by the hand of charity—he wandered into the north of England, trusting to find some employment suited to his diminished strength. Providence guided his footsteps, for within a fortnight he obtained work in the lamp-office of a coal-mine, under an old man, who, to his capacity and business qualifications for the office of a foreman, added the ornament of a sterling Christian character. Not content with merely giving the stricken, afflicted wanderer employment, the tender-hearted old foreman took Alexander into his own house, and sheltered him under his own roof. His wife was a praying woman, and was in no way chary of administering rebuke, while she ministered to the wants of the repentant prodigal.
At the first, Alexander was given to understand plainly that his home and employment depended upon his conduct; that unless he left off drink, evil company, and restless habits, he would be turned out in the world again. But the poor fellow was almost tamed by the breaking down of his physical strength. He no longer possessed the giant muscles of old, neither could he perform the feats of activity upon which he used to pride himself. Consequently, the tender, motherly, thoughtful care of the old lady was like a God-sent blessing, and had not a little to do with alluring the prodigal into better ways. His daily work was somewhat distasteful to him, it is true, but it served to keep the grim wolf of starvation from the door, and afforded him the only possible outlook towards sobriety and respectability. So he strove to do his best, and to make his best of the shattered remnant of his life. But God still was watching him; blessings were waiting for him, of which he did not dream.
As, one Sabbath evening, Alexander strolled aimlessly through the mining village, he was attracted by the sound of singing, proceeding from a building which was evidently a place of worship. Drawn by curiosity, he stepped in and took a seat near the entrance, intending to listen to the worship unobserved, and to slip out again when the service
should approach its close. As he sat in his quiet corner, his thoughts travelled back to the time when last, as an innocent child, he had gone with his friends to the sanctuary of God. Pondering thus, softened feelings took possession of his soul; gradually he came back to the present, heard the voice of the preacher, listened to the tender invitations given to “come to the Saviour,"—to “give up sin,”-to “find rest in Him.” These invitations seemed specially intended for himself—they just met his case, and he listened with astonished eagerness. At the close of the sermon, the preacher requested any who were feeling sorrow on account of sin to remain behind for private conversation and prayer; and, in spite of his former resolution to leave the building before the service had concluded, Alexander now felt impelled to remain. The arrows of conviction had pierced his soul, and he longed to hear how he could be saved. He felt himself a sinner, and now he knew that he wanted a Saviour. “The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost," was the passage that was specially blessed to him that night; it spoke peace to him, and assured him that though lost, in almost every sense of the word, Christ Jesus could find and save him! After some time spent in earnest prayer and supplication, the blessing came ; and Alexander Lloyd stepped out of the sanctuary into the frosty air of that January night " the Lord's free man.” Surely there was rejoicing in the courts of heaven, among the angels, as they surveyed the scene !
This was the beginning of a new life indeed to the young Christian. As time rolled on, he gradually regained his health, and felt equal to more arduous duties. Through the influence of his good old friend, he exchanged his post of lamp-cleaner for that of engineer—a much more respectable and better-paid position—and here he was able to save a little money. Very bright was that New Year to Alexander, for in every way he tried to serve his Redeemer's cause by active labour, counting no toil too severe, that he might manifest his gratitude. He soon took charge of a class in
the Sunday-school, and rapidly secured the affection and attention of his boys.
Having in the meantime grown acquainted with a young woman, who although poor in this world's goods, was rich in faith, the acquaintance ripened into love, and in due time they were married. A reconciliation was effected with his friends, and his sisters rejoiced with him over the happy change.
E. R. P.
Our Father's Promise.
Exodus iii. 12.
C That promise is ours to-day,
“ Certainly I will be with you!”
“Certainly I will be with you!”
Oh! we praise Thee, most merciful Father!
por long since I met with the following remarkable
narrative :-"At Gilberton, a town about three miles from Shenandoah, in the heart of the
Mahanoy coal-field, Pennsylvania, a house was swallowed up on Michaelmas day. The house stood over the outcrop of a vein; and when the coal was taken away, there was nothing left for its support but a crust of not many feet of earth. A heavy rain loosened the earth, and on that day the inmates of the house happened to notice their little garden patch sinking into the depths below. They had just time to snatch their nearest movables and run for their lives, before the house began to rock, and then fell over, and disappeared roof foremost in the abyss, followed by an avalanche of rock and earth, which quickly buried it. Had the accident happened at night, some, if not all, of the family must certainly have perished. The strangest part of the story is that the inmates were wellinformed as to the position of their house; knew that it was liable to sink at any moment, and yet continued to live in it apparently regardless of consequences.”
We wonder, as we read, of the infatuation of people who would persist in living in a house which was only supported by a few feet of earth, which might at any moment crumble away and let it fall, in utter ruin, into the yawning abyss beneath; and yet this conduct, which seems so strangely unreasonable, is not without a parallel. How many are there whose hopes for time and eternity are resting on a foundation even more insecure than that to which the inmates of the ill-fated house in Gilberton so incautiously trusted! How many are there who, instead of building upon the firm and well-set rock, have no better foundation than the shifting and treacherous sand !
One of the most striking parables of our Lord, that with which He brings to a conclusion His Sermon on the Mount, sets before us, in vivid contrast, the wise builder who looked well to the foundation, and the foolish and incautious