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last new fashion. Proud of her personal appearance, and delighting in every opportunity of displaying herself, thoughtless, weak, and easily led into evil, Susan Williams became a disobedient and ungrateful child, an unkind sister, and a habitual sabbath-breaker, having no hope, and without God in the world.
Her favourite companion was a young girl residing in the same village, and working at the same house, who used to call for her every morning
in order that they might walk into B~ together. As Mrs. Williams said, “ It was as good as a clock
to hear Ann's cheerful voice calling out so punctually at the same hour, ‘Susan! Susan! are you ready?” And to do Susan justice, she seldom kept her waiting very long, and was frequently at the door, or window, looking out for her.
Thus it happened one beautiful summer morning. Susan was leaning idly from the window, listening to the singing of the birds, and inhaling the sweet-scented lavender which grew so plentifully in their little cottage garden, and was sold by the younger children for a few pence, and never thinking that these wasted moments might have been better employed in helping her busy mother, or preparing her brothers for school, when a man carrying a coffin upon his shoulders stopped just beneath her to rest.
Poor Mary Grant !” said he to a neighbour, wiping his hot brow as he spoke, and his eyes too, unobserved,
6 Poor Mary Grant! It was very sudden. Only three days ago my girls met her at a dance, and she was the merriest of them all. She died in the night, and so quietly that her sister, who slept with her, never heard a sound. What a solemn thing death is !” “ Susan! Susan !" called out Ann, from beneath the win
are you ready?” Susan drew back and shuddered. Somehow it did not seem like Ann's voice. The question rang in her ears like a warning, and haunted her throughout the whole day. It so happened that Ann was detained at B-, and as the girl walked home alone in the still evening she had time for much serious thought. Every tomb in the old village churchyard, through which she had hitherto passed so heedlessly, seemed to have a voice on that night, and to exclaim in solemn tones, “ Susan! Susan! are you ready?” It pleased God to make the sudden death of
poor Grant one of the means of awakening Susan, who was but a year younger, to such deep convictions of her own lost and
Mary sinful state, and her need of a Saviour, that she soon afterwards became completely altered. Then her sisters and young companions, won by. her example, were constrained to admit that religion is something more than a name, and acknowledged its power and reality in the changed character of Susan Williams. It would be well if all believers were as careful as Susan became, to adorn the doctrine of God her Saviour in all things, and so bring glory to His name who had redeemed her to himself.
Her little earnings now, instead of being spent upon her own personal adornment, were laid' out, in the first instance, upon the purchase of a new gown for her mother, whose only excuse for not attending church was the want of a decent dress in which to appear. A pleased and happy mother was Mrs. Williams when she put it on for the first time, but not nearly so happy as Susan. After this many little comforts gradually found their way into the cottage. The last of which we heard was a large family Bible, with so good a print that her mother can see to read it aloud to her children on the sabbath-day, even without her spectacles, ay, and on week-days also, ever since Susan, who is so handy with her needle, has taken to the mending after she comes home at night. How true it is that a willing mind can find time for anything. Ann's cheerful call, “ Susan! Susan! are you ready ?" frequently finds her in the midst of cleaning up the cottage, watering the little garden, or hearing the children repeat their lessons. But her hands are washed, and her bonnet tied on in a moment, and she joins her with the happy smile of one conscious of well-doing.
Not very long ago Susan Williams had a severe illness which brought her to the brink of the grave. Death knocked at the door, and called out, “Susan! Susan ! are you ready?” and, trusting in her Saviour's merits, the young girl could
Yes,” without fear. Nay, she could even exclaim in joyful triumph, “ Come, Lord Jesus ! come quickly! O death, where is thy sting?' O grave, where is thy victory? Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ !"
“ Reader! reader! are you ready?” Have you fled for refuge to the hope set before you in the gospel? Have you, as Susan did, renounced the error of your ways, acknowledged your misdoings, and come to Christ for pardon and justification? Have you been washed in the blood of the Lamb, “ the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world ?"
Death may come to you as suddenly as it did to poor Mary Grant. Even this very night thy soul may be required of thee! “ ARE YOU READY?”
CHRISTIAN SCRIVER'S THOUGHTS.
(From the German.)
THE HOP PLANT. GOTTHOLD was standing in a hop garden, and observed, with interest, that the weak and feeble plants had twined among the closely fixed poles, and had risen nearly to their tops. He asked himself, why the All-wise Creator had formed such helpless plants, also the vine, the ivy, and others. Doubtless, thought Gotthold, that we may be constantly reminded of our own weakness. Sin makes me feeble, sorrow bows me down, inward and outward troubles press upon me; how could I ever spring upward toward heaven, unless supported by the power of God, and leaning on the cross of Christ? The hop plant is naturally in need of support, or it would creep on the earth, still stretching out its shoots after something to grasp ; it is furnished with tendrils, on purpose that it may catch hold of other substances, and find the help that it needs. I also feel within the working of the Divine Spirit, which teaches me to know my own weakness, and with a humble, contrite heart, to cling to the cross of Jesus Christ. My tendrils and clasps are the prayers of faith, with which I seek for the stay and ground of my confidence, Christ Jesus; and by him, feeble as I am, I may be enabled to rise, and stand against the powers of hell.
RAILROAD MEN. The following anecdotes taken from a work entitled “Scotland," by the Rev. Francis Trench, of Reading, have an interest both for railroad men themselves, and for those who are engaged in efforts to benefit them. They are our brethren in the flesh, and though there may be much that is unpromising in their habits and general character, yet it is evident their hearts are to be reached by kindness and truth as the hearts of other men are, and the gospel of salvation by Christ is as applicable to them as to others; and if the Lord's people are moved to care for the souls of these often darkminded and wild men, doubtless it will be found that there will be fruit seen among them also, to the praise of God's grace in the salvation of some.
6. A vast number of railroad men were loitering about the streets (Kendal), telling their avocation by their mien, dress, and general appearance, in a way that cannot be mistaken by any one who has lived in the neighbourhood of their work, or at all events observed them with any degree of interest and attention. Exactly as I remember them standing in groups, or slowly strolling about the streets at Reading, after their day's work was done, so I found them at Kendal this evening, telling at once the nature of their avocation by their claycoloured garments, their strong bodily development, and their independent bearing.
My present notice of their dress recalls to my memory some particulars of their peculiar tastes on this subject, as indulged on holidays and Sundays. Then, in many instances, their costume is very handsome, and no small sums are expended on it. I have seen them clad in coats of the finest broad cloth, and of such copious dimensions that they would certainly have made two garments of the same kind for many a slim young gentleman. Their tailor's bill must, of course, have been in accordance with the size of the garment. To this was often added a velvet waistcoat, figured, of red, or of some other brilliant colour, adorned with hanging buttons of equally showy pattern. Nor must I forget the corduroys and highly polished lace boots. The dress of their wives too was sometimes of a costly and showy description, and altogether there was something very peculiar in the appearance of one of these high-dressed labouring men, accompanied by his wife to church, especially when coming for the baptism of a child, or on any other marked incident in their lives.
As to their independent mien I have only one remark to make here, which is, that I would earnestly recommend to all ministers and others interested in their spiritual and moral welfare, and desirous “ to have fruit among them even as among others,” not to mistake it for insolence or repulsiveness; nor at all to suppose that they are less susceptible of kindness and attention than others engaged in hard and rough toil, and removed from all influences of a softening and ameliorating character. Just let it be proved to them that you have their interest at heart, by attention to some of their number in cases of sickness, or any circumstances where sympathy can be shown; just let them be addressed in plain, hearty, friendly, short, significant language, and not in a cold essay-like style; just let them be treated as if you knew somewhat of their temptations, their difficulties, and of their obstacles in the pursuit of a godly life-gregarious wayfarers as they are—and you will awaken their interest; you will gain their affection; you will, by God's blessing, be instrumental in turning them also, like any other class, from the error of their ways, and in leading them to serve God through Jesus Christ, our one common Lord. At least, you may expect that some will be thus impressed; and what is any ministry but the effectual conveyance of God's truth to some of those who outwardly hear it? When Paul himself 66
persuaded concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening, what was the result? That all believed ? No! some believed, and some believed not,” Acts xxviii. 24. I well know the value of instances which one has met with oneself; and I, therefore, have introduced two instances, where in my own humble, and, after all, but very scanty endeavours to advance the religious condition of the railroad men, I have personally experienced the truth of those scriptural assurances; how the word of God shall 66
prosper in the thing whereto he sends it;" how his message of salvation can break the heart of stone as with a hammer;" how if we cast our bread by the side of all waters, it shall and will return to us after many days.
A vast number of railroad men were assembled for some time at Reading for carrying on their work in that neighbourhood. Very few of them appeared in church, and their conduct, on the whole, was undoubtedly of a very ungodly and dissolute character. Some of my valued clerical friends of the town, in conjunction with myself, adopted certain measures towards their spiritual welfare, such as that of distributing Bibles and tracts among them, together with short but earnest invitations to attend the house of God; and a special service was opened for their benefit in my church, at a certain period of the week, when it seemed most likely that some of them might be gathered in to hear the word of God. During the progress of these measures I went along the line, one evening, to meet the men on their return from work, in company with two of my brethren, our object being to address all who would listen to us, whether singly, or whether in small parties, on the subject of their souls. : . My friends were soon engaged in the good work, addressing little groups of listeners who quickly gathered around them. I went onward