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air indeed, but not upon the shore, although the blue sky was over our heads, and the blue sea stretched away, seen through an enormous opening on our right hand, and looking exactly like a picture set in a great oval frame of black rock.
We were at the bottom of Crowey Hole!
My brother shouted out " Hurrah!" Instantly a perfect volley of "hurrahs" arose, as if a company of giants were hiding there and shouting back at us. We shrunk together in a sort of alarm, for there was something terrifying in the sound coming, hollow and unearthly, from all sides at once.
"It is only the echo," my eldest brother said. "Only the echo," repeated the rocks gently. The " giants" were gentle this time, for my brother had spoken softly.
Then we began to shout all sorts of things; calling our own names aloud, and listening for the way in which they were shouted back to us. "I love you !" somebody cried. "I love you !" said the giant voices, over and over. "You wretch!" shouted one of the boys, and instantly the echo repeated the words in a torrent of abuse. We shouted, and sang and whistled until we were weary, and then we began to think of returning.
First we walked about the bottom of Crowley Hole, thinking it grand to tread the shingle on which we had often looked down; we looked up at the birds now flying across the chasm, and scarcely envied them their wings; we had found a way for our own little feet.
Crowey Hole proved to be a cave whose roof had fallen in and had been washed away by the waves. The mouth of the cave was still arched over, and formed the opening through which we could see the wide plain of the ocean, covered with its shining summer waves. On the land side the cavern branched off into several dark holes, like the fingers of a gigantic glove; these we did not then explore, but, quite contented with our discovery, we hurried home as quickly as we could, to tell where we had been and what
we had seen.
Sometimes, now, when I wish to amuse the children around my knees, I tell them of Crowey Hole and its wonderful echo; and I know they would like to go with me to explore its wonders; they would like to shout out words for the cliffs to repeat; they would like to raise some simple melody, to try if the echoes can sing as well as talk.
But Crowey Hole is far away, and my children and I hear other echoes day by day.
If we hear kind, loving words from friendly voices, it is because we have uttered kindly loving words to them. If hard cold tones chill and pain us, can we not trace them as the echo of hard cold moods of ours?
And memory brings us echoes which are sometimes very sweet, and sometimes very sad. It is in our own power to awaken the sweet ones, if we care to do so.
The Sabbath comes, the day which God has given for us to hear sweet words which will echo for us all through the week. Every time it dawns we may hear, "Our Father which art in heaven." Listen to the echo. Listen to it on Mondays, when the week's work is beginning, and, as you listen, just think: "I ought to be happy, and to go singing on my way; for although I am in the midst of earth's trials and labours, in heaven there is a mighty God who allows me to call Him Father."
"Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us." Listen for that echo when you are tempted to feel angry with those who have annoyed you. Let the vexations of the week bring with them an echo of the forgiveness and gentleness which we are bidden to show, even to our enemies.
"Deliver us from evil." Daily we should hearken to the echo of that prayer. The Saviour Himself lifted His hands to His Father for aid; and ought not we to do so, poor, weak, sin-stained, and ruined as we are? Evil within, evil without—deliver us, O Lord!
That seventh day will waken many such echoes. And yet some lives are filled with sadness. Their mouths are full of " curses, deceit, and fraud;" awful echoes come back for them. Their Sabbath is only a day for idler hours, deeper sin, "evil continually."
They scarcely listen to the echoes now, but one day they will sound with awful force—one day, when it will be too late to awaken one gentle sound, one comforting word.
Echoes, echoes! Our lives are being filled with them. Ah, dear reader, pause a bit, just to think what sort of echoes your Sundays and week-days are awakening for you.
Sweet words, or sad ones? Blessed, beautiful, holy thoughts? Or the folly and the sin that will darken eternity?
May God forgive us! May His Holy Spirit teach us what is pure and true and lovely, for the Lord Jesus Christ's dear sake. Amen.
% JWse anir a Wxm Jfranir.
'Love not the world, neither the things of the world."—1 yohn iL 15.
* Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity."—Epk, vi. 24
"Love not the world,"
Heb. i. 10-12.
Seek Jesus the Lord,
Cling to Him ever;
He is your best Friend;
Trust to no other:
"Closer than brother."
Earth's kingdoms shall fall
Then love not the world
D. H. C.
J|rom review of the past, we naturally come to consideration of the present daily life. Do you, aged pilgrim, indeed realise the solemnity and blessedness of the near approach of the end of your pilgrimage ?—that you are even now treading on the confines of "the other land," nearing the shore of everlasting life, while yet a space your little bark rests in a quiet haven to give you more time to prepare? Do not let this be a slothful, self-indulgent time; make it all it may be to you, whatever the past has been; a gathering together of all your remaining strength to fit you for the last call. For He whom we love stands ready on that glorious shore which needs no sun nor moon to lighten it; with outstretched arms and hands still pierced, He stands, and, one by one, He beckons to His people to come; one by one, He gathers in His sheep to the fold. Can we be too earnest in our efforts to prepare ourselves for going to Him? Not in our own strength can we do this; but we must ask Him to apply to us the benefits of His blood-shedding; we must beg Him for His grace.
It is very likely that your eyes are failing, and you cannot see to read His Holy Word as you desire to do; but I hope that some kind friend, or your minister, may come to read to you. Let me, however, advise you to take daily some short text, and make that your thought for the day. Sometimes you will find the echo of your own heart's desire in the sweet prayers of the Psalmist, and hour by hour your heart will raise the petition to God. Such texts as the following you will find very helpful. When thinking over your past life, say, "Hide Thy face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities;" "Create in me a clean heart, O God f "Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin;" "O God, Thou hast taught me from my youth; now, when I am old and grey-headed, O God, forsake me not."
Or when your heart fails you, as, thinking over your sins, you feel your wretchedness in God's sight, let the thought that God is your Father, Who loves you with an everlasting love, be present to your mind as you say, "Be merciful unto me, O God! be merciful unto me! for my soul trusteth in Thee." Then, are you poor as well as aged? think what sweet comfort lieth for such in those words: "Though I am poor and needy, the Lord careth for me." O friend! in all your poverty, in all your trials, if you could once feel Who this great Friend is Who cares for you, I think that the darkest day would seem bright from the joy of that knowledge. Once we can say with truth, " I am not alone, for the Father is with me;" loneliness and suffering, poverty and sorrow, have lost their keenest edge. Will you try to make God your ever-present Friend and strength?
I can hardly speak to the aged without a word about sleepless nights—a trial which comes to nearly all old people. Perhaps God wishes to speak solemnly to you in those night-watches, for there is no time in which He seems so near as when all is still, others in the house all sleeping quietly, but the old pilgrim watching !—ay! and seeing the stars bright at midnight; and then, with just occasional