« AnteriorContinuar »
eye, "of course I knew that; but how many times have you been afraid of going?"
This was a home-thrust, but John saw what his friend meant, and he took it kindly.
"It seems to me," resumed George, " that there's a great lot of fretting care about to-morrow's bread, and the day after to-morrow's, which would all be spared if we would only be content to pray as the Lord taught us, 'Give us this day our daily bread,' and if we would pray that prayer believing that God would hear us."
"There's some truth in that," said John, not willing to admit too much. "I'll try to trust Him better."
"Thaf s right," said George. "He'll not fail us. He'll give us, if we ask Him, all the spending money we want for our present needs; and however freely we may spend it, it won't lessen our store in heaven. Nay, the more we spend in that way here, the richer we shall be when we get to the Kingdom."
From that day forward,. John was a happier man. He never got rich in worldly wealth, but he never had to go to the Union, and he never had to beg from anybody. But better than that, he enjoyed more and more of the " peace of God which passeth all understanding."
[here is a storm brewing, sir," said an old fisherman
in answer to a question I had put to him regarding
the weather. "Look at them," he continued,
pointing to a bank of dark rolling clouds that
seemed to be rapidly rising out of the sea; "they mean
something. And listen to the wind, too; yes, there will be
a storm before morning."
The man's words proved true. Ere the morning sun rose,
the clouds had broken, and heavy torrents of rain fallen. The wind, too, had risen to a gale and lashed the waves into a seeming fury.
Once more I found myself upon the beach where I had seen the fisherman on the previous night.
"You see I was right, sir," said the old man, touching his hat.
"Yes," I answered, "you certainly were. What a rough night it has been 1"
"Rough, indeed," he replied. "There will be a sight of people down here when the tide turns."
"What for?" I inquired, for I was a stranger in the place, and did not know the habits of the people.
"They come to look after anything that may have been washed up in the storm."
"Indeed!" I said. "And do they ever find anything worth having?"
"Not much now, I think," was the answer. "There is plenty of wood left on the beach when the tide goes down, but it is not of much account, though some of them gather it up for burning."
"What do they find, then?" I inquired again.
"Oh, the boys pick up old nails and screws, or anything that they can sell for a few halfpence; sometimes there are some goodish bits of rope drifted in; they like to catch hold of that—it sells well."
"Perhaps they find uncommon shells?" I said, in an inquiring tone, for I fancied the man was keeping something back from me.
"No; there are no shells much here; you want to go to Shellness, and along there, for them," he answered.
"I shall come down, after the turn of the tide," I said.
"It's no use; you won't find anything worth your having," was the answer.
"Nevertheless, I shall be here," I answered.
The old man turned away as if disgusted with me for my determination, but a few halfpence that I tendered him for the information he had given put him in a good humour, and for a few minutes he chatted on general topics, but said nothing more about the treasure seekers.
The tide began to go down at nine o'clock, and by twelve I was again on the beach. I noticed a few boys and girls standing about close to the water's edge, ready to pounce upon anything that might be left by a receding wave, but they didn't seem to have much "luck," as they would have called it.
An hour or two later more people came; men and women now; and among the searchers on the beach I noticed my acquaintance, the boatman.
"They must be looking for something more valuable than bits of rope, old nails, or drift-wood," I said to myself; and curiosity impelled me to make the inquiry of more than one of the searchers; but I was evidently looked upon with suspicion, and could get no answer more satisfactory than that " they were looking for anything they could find," or "nothing particular," or something equally evasive.
After watching them for some time, I returned to the house of the friend with whom I was staying, and in the course of conversation told him how I had spent my morning, and remarked upon the unsatisfactory answers I had obtained about the object of the search on the beach.
"I think I can explain it to you," said my friend. "The people are looking for coins. There is a tradition, probably a true one, that in the reign of Queen Elizabeth a vessel laden with bullion was wrecked just outside the harbour, and the treasure lost . It is certainly a fact that sometimes, after a storm, golden coins of that reign have been washed up, and found on the beach.
"In any number?" I asked.
"Oh, no; in fact it is now some time since I heard of one being found, though I believe, years ago, they were frequently picked up."
"And why did they not tell me what I wanted to know?" I asked.
"Probably because they did not want you to look for them, and thus lessen their chance of finding. I suspect that your boatman made a slip when he first said anything about the people that would come to look down on the beach, and finding you inquisitive, he tried to prevent your searching, by saying what he did about old nails, and so on."
Here was the mystery explained at once. I had evidently been looked upon as an interloper. Had I found a coin, some one else's chance of doing so would have been gone. "I could make a good sermon out of this morning's experience," I said.
"Could you ?—how?" inquired my friend. "I would speak of a treasure which every one who will may possess, and which grows none the less because others share it," I answered.
"You shall have an opportunity on Sunday evening," said my friend. "I was going to hold a service on the beach, according to my custom. You shall do it for me."
This was more than I had bargained for when I said I could make a sermon out of the circumstances, and I tried to withdraw: but no; preach I must, and preach I did, let us hope with some success.
It is not my intention to repeat my sermon now, but perhaps I may be allowed to give a few of the thoughts that struck me as being applicable to the case.
The Word of God says, of a treasure far greater than millions of gold, "Seek, and ye shall find." There is nothing doubtful in this assertion. It does not read, "Seek and ye may find," nor "Seek at such and such a time, and you may be rewarded for your diligence." No; it is simply, "Seek and ye shall find." It is a command to seek, with the assurance that by doing so, finding will become a certainty.
The treasure to be sought consists of many things. Forgiveness of our sins; sanctification and salvation of our souls; peace with God—that peace which passeth all understanding; fellowship with God; God's love in life, His comfort in death, a home with Him throughout eternity. All these are contained in the treasure which all may have for the seeking; and all, in and through Christ, by receiving Him, believing on His name, and becoming a child of God.
How then is it that so many never possess them? Only because they do not seek them. They prefer the pleasures of sin for a season, to the love of God throughout life and eternity.
What folly this is! but it seems even greater when we know that, unless we possess the treasure, we shall certainly be held responsible for our negligence in not securing it . Knowing that we may possess this treasure, and yet refusing to seek it, is wilful sin; and what says the Bible? That he who wilfully sins against God will not go unpunished. There is nothing for him, " but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries."
The man who seeks the treasure of which we are writing is not rendered selfish thereby. The more fellow-seekers he has, the better is he pleased, and when he finds it he proclaims it to all around, saying, "See what great things the Lord hath done for me."
God grant that all who read this paper may seek and find the great treasure, and having found it, be the means of causing others to seek it too.
G. H. S.
When she kissed me on the forehead,
Day and night, those hurrying weeks?
When the horse stood at 'he door,