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"I know something of that blessing, too," said John. "I am sometimes all day long alone, but I never want for company, for I can speak to my good Lord, and He speaks to me by His Spirit, bringing one or another of His words to my heart . "In the long night, too, when other ears are shut in sleep, I can hold converse with Him who never slumbers nor sleeps, who is never absent, never too busy to hearken."
"And where His ear hears, there His heart pities. How many and bitter cries enter man's ear all unheeded, or, if heeded, how often he who would help cannot do so. But we can never cry to our God without His power and love coming forth in answer. For 'like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him.'1 Nay, His promise is, 'Before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.'2
"Even this is not all we want, nor all that is contained in our little verse, 'God for us.' We are strangers here; we are travellers; we cannot see one step before us of all that may and must befall us in this New Year. And as we have His ear to hearken, so we have His eye to guide. 'I will guide thee with Mine eye.'3 And again, 'The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him.'4 And, lest we might any of us think that promise cannot be for such as I am, we have again, 'To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word.'8 For the many who lie awake through the long night it is blessed to know 'The darkness hideth not from Thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to Thee.'6
"Then, again, we have His hands for us. Those hands that built up the heavens are ever over us to shelter, to protect, making a sure refuge, a safe hiding-place from all danger. What evil will not those hands avert? what good will they not give? For they are providing hands as well as protecting. One of His names is 'Jehovah-Jireh,' 'The Lord will provide.'1 Shall His children want anything that is really for their good? Let us but 'pour out our hearts before Him,' empty out all that is in them, telling Him, our Father, all we want and all we wish, our needs, our cares, our desires, our sorrows, yea, and our joys too, and we shall be able to write 'Tried and Proved' as our experience after His word, 'My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.'2 And this, 'The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.'3 Then these hands are not only protecting and providing, but preparing all that is good and glorious for His people. 'Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.'4 When our blessed Lord was going back to His home in heaven, He comforted His disciples with the words, ' I go to prepare a place for you.'5 And at the last, when the welcome home shall be given to each and all of His servants, the multitude that no man can number, the words are, 'Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.'"8
1 Psa. ciii. 13. 'Isa. lxv. 24. * Psa. xxxii. 8.
4 2 Chron. xvi. 9. * Isa. lxvi. 2. 8 Psa. cxxxix. 12.
A pause followed, as if the good man's heart were too full for words, and he could scarcely keep back the tears as he looked round on the poor and sick and suffering and dying ones around him, with the good hope, the joyful assurance that before the year had closed some amongst them would have changed the misery and poverty of their present lot to stand in the presence of their God, with Jesus, and like Jesus, for ever.'
"Shall we not bravely meet all that may be before us with this watchword, 'God for us?'" Many a glistening eye looked up in grateful, hopeful assent.
1 Gen. xxii. 14. * Phil. iv. 19. * Psa. xxiii. 1. * 1 Cor. ii. 9, • John xiv. 2. 6 Matt. xxv. 34. 'I John iii. 2.
"But," added Mr. Andrews, solemnly, "is there anyone who will venture to face the future, to live in the present, without this assurance? Think what it must be to have all this power, all this goodness, all this wisdom, not for us, but against us. To lie down and rise up, to go in and out, to wake and sleep, with the awful burden of God's wrath abiding on us.1 To be 'none of His,'2 to live 'without God,' to die 'without hope ;' to rise again only to hear the tremendous words, 'Depart from Me,' from His lips, whose tender and beseeching and oft-repeated, 'Come unto Me/ you have again and again rejected.
"Oh, if there be one such here with us to-night, one who thinks there is time enough, one who has never said, 'Yes, Lord, I come; I, a lost sinner; I come, just as I am, to Thee, the only Saviour; to Thee whom, in His great love, God hath sent, 'that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life'3—come now, come for life, for pardon, for peace, for heaven, for all that is contained in this 'God for us,' for ' God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.'"
"®jmt titat | ant afraiir."
When all within is grief and fear,
To Thee I'll flee in sorrow's hour,
By faith to cling to Thee.
When anguish is too deep for speech,
To lean, by faith, on Thee.
1 John iii. 36. 2 Rom. viii. 9. 8 John iii. 16.
When impious thoughts disturb my rest,
M. E. s.
"|t foill ht all tire smat m a |ptutirri& gears'
Et will be all the same in a hundred years' time," said John Cooper to his neighbour Harry Bond, when the latter remonstrated with him for having committed what seemed to him a foolish act . "' It is no use crying over spilt milk,' and as I said before, 'It will be all the same in a hundred years' time.'"
"Wait a minute, John; will it be all the same? Are you quite sure that what you have done will not have an influence on some one or other even a hundred years hence?"
It was not Harry Bond that asked these questions, but Mr. Shaw, the minister, who knew both the men and had overheard John Cooper's remark.
"I didn't know you were there, sir," said Cooper, looking just a little confused, for the minister had taken him by surprise. "No, sir; what I was talking about will make no difference to the world in a hundred years' time. It was only"
"Well, well," said Mr. Shaw, " I don't want to pry into your secrets, nor to ask what you were talking about, but, whatever it was, I think you are wrong in saying it will make no difference to anyone in another century; there is hardly a word one speaks or action one performs but has its influence on others; and no one knows where that influence may end."
"Well, sir," answered Cooper, " I must say I didn't think of that."
"I don't suppose you did, John; and I doubt very much whether most persons who make use of that saying do think notice the effect they have. Here goes the large one." Splash went the stone into the middle of the stream and disappeared, but though the stone was out of sight the effect of the splash lasted some moments. Around the spot where it fell there appeared a number of tiny rings, which quickly widened out and increased in size until they spent themselves one after another on the banks on either side of the stream.
"There," said Mr. Shaw, "that was the great man, and his influence was great and reached right on till it could go no farther, and was to be distinguished up to the end of time—for I will liken the sides of the stream to the end of all things. Now for the smaller stone, which we will suppose to represent a more obscure individual. See, there are the rings coming," he continued, as the stone fell into the water.
"Not so large, though, sir, this time," said Cooper.
"No, nor won't last so long; they won't reach the bank," cried Bond, as he eagerly watched the widening circles, which seemed to be racing each other to the edges of the brook, but before they reached their goals they had disappeared, and the quiet stream looked as placid as before.
"That little one didn't do so much as the other," said Bond. "I suppose that was something like you and me, John—hadn't got so much influence as the larger one; perhaps the large one was Mr. Shaw," he added, smiling slily.
"Well," said the minister, smiling in return at the implied compliment, "you noticed that the smaller stone, or the more obscure man, to keep up the simile, did not have so much influence as the other, the ripples raised on the surface of the water were not so high as from the other."
"No, sir, nor didn't reach so far," Bond put in; for he didn't want to give up that point.
"There you are wrong, Bond," said Mr. Shaw, "for although we couldn't see the rings come right up to the bank, the fault was in our want of sight keen enough to discern