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is that if I needed a surety it would be some poor man I would have to look to, for I don't know a single rich man who would help me."
"Perhaps not. It is often the case in many things, that those who are willing are not able, and those who are able are not willing. But I have heard of One who was rich and became surety for the poor. You have heard of Him too, I daresay, 'Who though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich.' He became surety for our great debt of sin, and paid it with His life on Calvary, where He died the just in room of the unjust. 'Himself bare our sin in His own body on the tree;' 'He put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.' Why, then, should any of us die the second death when Christ has died to save us from it?
'From all my fears and bondage
Trust Him who has proved so true a friend to sinners. He was not deceived into becoming their surety. He knew from the first He would have to pay their debt with His own life-blood, yet He of His own free will, in love to us, undertook to be our surety.
"But I hear your factory bell. They've got the engine put right . Good morning, all."
$i« in ©nrselires arid- ©%rs.
Jrabbe, in his 'Tales of the Hall,' describes a youth grieved and disgusted by his father's vices, and speaking of them strongly and bitterly; but, in his own middle life, yielding to just such temptations as led his father astray, and committing the self-same sins. Thus the poet moralises on the fact, and there is sound practical wisdom in what he says:—
"How is it men, when they in judgment sit
The poet thus closes his tale :—
"'Tis said the offending man will sometimes sigh,
Ias the sun begun to break between the clouds yet?
I know it has been dark and trying, but I have
always been sure that peace and light would
come to you before many days. It was a Father's
hand that wounded, and a Father's hand will heal, and with
the healing will give something still better to make up for
what you have lost,"
Such were the words with which, one spring day, I entered the pretty house of Mr. and Mrs. Ellison. Ellison was one of the most respectable inhabitants of our parish, and one of the most regular and attentive members of my Bible class. He and his wife had always been religious people; but, until lately, all had gone so prosperously with them that no outward trial had ever put their faith to the proof.
A few months before they had become the parents of a boy, and this event had completed their happiness. Already two girls had come to brighten their home; but a son had been always especially desired by them both.
In their great earthly joy, however, their spiritual life began to languish. They were too much wrapped up in their new treasure, and their hearts were not as entirely given, as they used to be, to Him from whom it came. Then their heavenly Father had sent chastisement. The little child had been taken, and had gone up to be with the Lord who took the children in His arms.
At first the blow had been received bitterly and stubbornly; they mourned over their broken cistern, and refused to turn to the fountain of living waters. Still as I watched them I had good hope that the Lord would make this a means of perfecting their faith, and that they would be, hereafter, more entirely His than they had ever been before. They had not spoken much of their sorrow lately; they had given no outward signs of it; their faces were still very grave and thoughtful, but they were far calmer than they had been in the earlier days ©f their grief. To-day, as I entered the house, there was an expression of peace in their countenances which filled me with glad expectation with regard to them.
"Yes, it is just as you say, ma'am," answered George Ellison, looking up from his Bible, which he had taken up as soon as he came in after his work this afternoon; "I know what the Master meant, though it has taken me some little time to understand it."
"What, have you found out the meaning of some passage of Scripture which you did not understand before, George?" I asked.
"Oh, no; George does not mean that!" said his wife, with a sweet smile. He is not talking about any text when he says, as he goes on now saying over and over, I know what the Master meant."
"What is it then you mean?" I asked, turning once more to him.
"I mean to say that it's all clear to me now what was mist and darkness before," he replied, in a low tone. "I know what the Master meant by His dealings with us of late."
"He fell asleep last night repeating those words to himself," here spoke Mrs. Ellison again. "They seemed to soothe him to rest like music, and they have grown to have the same power with me, too, for I have learned to say them as well."
"Ah ! I see you are both taught and led by God's gracious Spirit, and are now able to feel that there was teaching for you in your late affliction."
"Our unbroken prosperity was making us forget God," said Mrs. Ellison; "as I rejoiced in it, and wrapped myself around in it. I sometimes even neglected to thank Him that bought us for His great salvation."
"A hard crust of worldliness was fast forming round my heart," added George Ellison, making his wife's meaning more plain.
"And by degrees you were letting the hopes of better things than this life can give slip out of your grasp," I said.
"Yes, that was just it," answered George; "but the Lord
would not have it so. He sent the chastisement we needed."
"But, at first, we took it like rebellious servants," went
on Mrs. Ellison. "We wanted to contradict our Master's
"It was a hard trial for you," I said, gently; "but we know most assuredly that all will work together for good to those who love Him."
"But that was what we could not and would not see at first," said the husband. "We cried out that we knew better than He did."
"I went on grieving for awhile like one who has no hope beyond this world," said Mrs. Ellison.
"And how did better things come to you?" I asked. "Well," said George, "it was the work I know of the blessed Holy Spirit, He would not leave us, though we had done so much to grieve Him. One day when I was coming home from the timber-yard, the text, 'Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth,' came with power into my mind."
"It is one good result of a Bible class, under the Master, that texts learnt there rise up in the minds and hearts of its members just when they most need them."
"Yes; that was just how that text, which was exactly the one I wanted to convince me of my sin, came to me. It would not leave me again. I went on calling up every word I had heard at the class about it, until I was on my knees asking the Lord, with tears, to wash out with His precious blood all the wrong-doing of which I had lately been guilty. Then, when I had finished that prayer, I knew what the Master meant when He took our boy."
"And what did He mean ?" I asked, softly. "He meant to call us, while it was yet time, back to Himself," said the young mother. "He bade our little lamb come up to be with Him, the Good Shepherd, in the