« AnteriorContinuar »
mind these thoughts produced. Although, through the mercy of God, I have learned since then to put my trust in the Saviour, and feel that my soul is safe in His keeping, yet I cannot bring to remembrance the thoughts that came over me then without a shudder."
"You say that you wished you had lived a better life; did you imagine that if you had you would have been safe?" asked the gentleman.
"I hardly know what I thought about that, sir; but I know now, that no life that I could have led would have made me fit to stand before the judgment throne; and I tremble to think what would have become of my soul if I had perished then."
Such a narrative as this can hardly fail to produce serious thoughts in the mind of any one who hears or reads it.
The awful suddenness of the catastrophe and the extent of the destruction it wrought must impress every thinking mind.
There is something solemn, at any time, in the thought of meeting the last enemy, death. The apostle Paul recognised this fact; for, after dilating upon the glories of the future state of the believer, he says, in words that have been echoed by many a Christian since his day: "Not that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life."
Death at any time and under any circumstances is awful, but doubly so when it comes in a manner so sudden and unexpected. Out of the three hundred and eighty-three persons on board the Arctic probably not one had the slightest apprehension of coming danger until the catastrophe actually occurred. How many were prepared to meet their fatal doom it is impossible to say. It may be, that to many the sudden termination of mortal life was only the equally sudden entrance into glory; death to them would be the translation from a state of imperfection and of sorrow and suffering to one of perfect peace and happiness.
But there is reason to fear that many, like the narrator
of the story, were totally unfit to die.
Let us ask the question, what would be our fate if we were suddenly called to appear before the judgment throne?
Another thought presents itself. Are we not all of us in somewhat the same position as the persons clinging to the raft? They knew they could not stay in that position long. One by one they dropped away; every hour made their numbers less, and not one knew how soon his strength might fail and he be launched into eternity. We are all uncertain'how long we may live; day by day our friends and neighbours are passing away, death is busy around us, and we do not know how soon he may lay his hand upon us. Let us then prepare for that great change, and for the eternity that awaits us, by laying hold of the hope set before us, by placing ourselves in the hands of our Saviour, and by striving earnestly and prayerfully, as we are helped by the Holy Spirit, to live as becomes the children of God.
Only one man was saved from the raft. We may all be saved if we really desire it, and accept the salvation that is offered us; the salvation which was bought for us by Christ's most precious blood, and which is held out to all who will receive it. G. H. S.
)t knofottfr % Mag tlrsrf J take;" or, %\t
I Cannot see into the future,
Perchance 'twill he sunshine and spring;
The friends I have trusted forsake,
For many long years He hath led me
O'er mountains of doubting and fear,
By pathways both stony and drear.
His voice hushed the tempest to stillness,
My bark will be safe with its Pilot;
Though darkness may shroud all the future,
His presence the gloom will dispel,
With Jesus to lead, "all is well."
A path through the desert He'll make,
"He knoweth the way that I take."
He knoweth the past and the preseat;
The future my Lord can foresee,
Will not be unmindful of me.
Nor leave me when morning doth break,
"He knoweth the way that I take."
He knoweth, and when He hath tried me,
And fashioned me into His mould,
Shall shine in His presence as gold.
In His likeness at last I shall wake,
"Who knoweth the way that I take."
&(p (Saririit toitjjout anir % (Sariren toitjrin.
| Hat a desolate, dreary look a piece of garden-ground
wears in winter; the earth is hard and cold,
and if the garden has not been planted, nothing
is to be seen but a few weeds. The spring
sunshine will come, and the rains will fall on that ground,
but still only weeds will flourish if the gardener does nothing
to it . Just like such a piece of ground are our hearts by
nature. God's mercy shines on us like the sun in spring. His loving words in the Bible, His messages by His ministers, and His gentle voice in our hearts rebuking us for sin, and sometimes drawing us to seek Him, are like the gentle rain and dew and south wind to the garden of our souls; but unless our wills work with these heavenly influences, all that the garden of our hearts brings forth is still only weeds. Thousands are trusting to God's mercy who are doing nothing whatever to improve the garden of their hearts, except chopping off the tops of the thistles, perhaps, to make it appear a little better before men, while the roots remain; and so year after year the garden yields no good fruit, and when harvest-time comes, and the Master calls for the produce of the garden, where will it be? The Master has given the gardener tools and seed, and he has strength to work, but he has left his garden neglected, though his mind is his tool-basket, and God's word is full of seed.
Dear friend, ask yourself, "Am I neglecting my heart's garden? Am I trusting to the sunshine and the dew, and not working with their help to bring forth fruit foiGod's glory? Am I sowing good seed by taking into my heart the precepts and promises of God's Word, with an appetite as if they were my daily food? Do I neglect no means of improving my heart by meeting with others to pray for the sunshine of God's grace to bless my own endeavours?" (for without this all seed-sowing is as useless as the sunshine is without the seed). To say, " I am as safe as others, and God is merciful," will not avail you when the end comes and "the wheat is gathered into the garner, and the chaff burnt with unquenchable fire." Your garden must be dug up, your heart must be probed; God's Holy Spirit must be allowed an entrance, as the sun must penetrate between the cold clods of earth. Do not shrink from this probing; it may give you suffering at the time, but sin must be brought to light and laid bare before God. The prodigal did not hide his sin when he came back to the father. Oh no! his first words were confession: "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son." Have you ever been brought to this state, and felt that you could gladly leave all your empty sinful pleasures to see the Father's smile, iand be embraced by His forgiving love? If you love the world better than your heavenly Father, there is no peace for you, no hope, if sudden death should call you away from this world.
Do I hear you say, " I cannot feel like this; I should like to be saved, but I am content to go on as I am at present; I shall have time yet to repent." Remember, every hour the weeds are growing stronger in your heart; the sunshine even will harden it more and more while it is left unfilled, and at last it will be found good for nothing. Time is fleeting. Be up and doing. Work with God; He can give you the will and the power, if you come to Him in earnest prayer, believing that you shall receive.
You are quite right in saying you cannot feel like the prodigal of yourself; but you have the power to ask to be made like him. An entire change in our natures is needed, and this is what in John iii. is called being "born again," and unless you are born again you cannot see the kingdom of God. You must have your past sins washed away through faith in Jesus' atoning blood. This is the spiritual meaning of being "born of water," because water cleanses. And you must be "born of the Spirit;" that is, the Holy Spirit must come and dwell in your hearts to keep you from sinning in future, for he that is bom of God doth not commit sin. By this is meant, does not 'willingly and wilfully sin, and does not run into temptation. If through carelessness a true Christian commits sin, it grieves him bitterly; it is not a pleasure to him to sin, as it is to the unconverted; he strives and fights against it'whenhe sees and feels it . To worship God and to work for his Saviour is his pleasure; and he longs to bring others to feel the peace he enjoys. He watches against temptation, and prays continually to be kept from it, and so watching and so praying he is "-safe in the arms of Jesus," and the