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66 What do you
towards the place where the main body was usually collected to receive their wages on that evening of the week, and all at once, on turning the corner of a hedge, found myself unexpectedly among a crowd of the workinen, of above two hundred in number, who, in consequence of a slight shower, had collected under the shelter of some trees. I was in a certain degree known to some of them, and they immediately collected in a circle around me; many of them asking me what I wanted among them ; some of them charging me with being a character very unpopular with them, that is, a tee-totaller, and others with being a ranter, mixing with their observations, oaths, threats, and no slight share of ridicule. come among us for? Don't you know that we are like a set of wild horses, who wouldn't mind knocking your brains out?” Or, “ We don't care for such chaps as you, all we want is beef, beer, and a good song.” However, at the same time, a few were endeavouring to get for me a hearing. I had a smali Bible in my hand, and took advantage of a lull in the storm of tongues, to commence the perusal of our Lord's words on the brazen serpent. By raising my voice, and making some quick answers to some of the most direct and troublesome opponents, I was enabled, after a few minutes, to obtain perfect silence, which I thankfully employed in preaching the gospel of Christ according to the glorious passage which I had just read. I have seldom witnessed a more striking change than that which came over the countenances and the mien of these rough and (as it might have seemed a few minutes before) impenetrable men. Tears appeared in many eyes when I had done. Some shook hands with me; many thanked me. All contradiction, abuse, and ridicule, had passed away. I trust that much good ensued, and, indeed, it would have been wrong and faithless to doubt it. One instance came to my knowledge, which I shall now relate.
Among those assembled was a man about thirty-five years old, who had lived a notoriously ungodly life. Among his vices were drunkenness, swearing, and not only a total neglect of the Lord's day, but also such a prejudice against its observance that he actually took strong and wicked measures to prevent his wife from pursuing any line of conduct on that matter superior to his own.
On the evening of the day to which I allude, this man went home and said, that he had heard a gentleman speak to the men about the brazen serpent and Jesus Christ, and added, that he should like to hear him again. He immediately became a regular attendant at my church, and gave up all his wicked and ungodly habits in a most remarkable and decided way. He delighted in hearing the Bible read to him every evening, and above all, used to ask for the Psalms. About three months after, having on the evening before been thus engaged, he went out to his work early in the morning, in that full strength and vigour of frame for which the railroad men are so remarkable. At ten o'clock he was no more; a mass of earth and gravel falling upon him had crushed him utterly dead in a moment. Can we doubt of that man's change ere his appointed time had arrived? Can we refuse to notice God's sovereign grace, or the power of his Spirit and word, in his blessing on a few stammering, confused words of one of his servants? God forbid !
I shall give one instance more, showing that the most abandoned characters may be softened in due time, although, in one's own short-sighted heartless view, one might have almost thought the individual in question, even as one of the swine, before whom the gospel and the word were pearls all idly flung.
One day, when passing a public-house, not far from my church, I heard a loud quarrel inside among a body of about twenty railroad men. Thinking it my duty to try to act as
peacemaker,” I went in and addressed them on their conduct, and here I was protected from absolute violence-for most of them were drunk-by two or three who knew me. One of the party was, however, quite furious, and abused me in worse terms than I have ever been subjected to on any other occasion which I happen to remember, following me out into the road, and only being prevented from striking me by some who held him back. Pray don't have anything to do with him," said they ; “ he is the worst man on the line." Among other things he said to me was this:
They talked of your giving away books ! you would not give me one, I am
Indeed,” said I, “I will. You shall have one left for you wherever you like.” His lodging was named, and it was my intention to have given him a Testament, when I next passed that
way. However, about two days after, and before I had left the book, I met him again, drunk.
He immediately commenced language of an abusive kind against me, and, among other things, said, I had not kept my word. told him my intention, and fulfilled it accordingly.
I heard nothing of him for about three months, and had quite forgot the circumstances, when one day as I was riding
fast along the road, a man, who was walking alone, sprang from the path, and taking off his hat, was in an instant almost under
my horse's feet, as if determined, at all hazards, to have an interview. He was quite sober, and said eagerly, “ Do you remember me, sir?” “ No,” said I, “ I have no particular recollection of you." “ I am the man, sir, who abused you so shamefully at the (mentioning the name of the public-house where the transaction occurred), and I am very sorry for it, and I want to ask your pardon.”
6 You have it, I am sure, but you should ask pardon from God for this and all your other sins.” “ Indeed I do, sir, many times, and I ought. I have been very ill since that time, and then I read the book you gave me, and it did me a deal of good.”
After a little more conversation I bade him farewell, and went on my way rejoicing at this fresh testimony to the power of God's holy word, where, perhaps, there was the least possible ground for anticipating such effects, according to our own faithless and narrow views. May these instances encourage many
may have to deal with rough and hardened characters, such as those of whom I have now spoken !
QUARRELS AMONG CHRISTIANS. IF Christians who have a matter of difference, would graciously agree to meet with each other in prayer, and to pray together kindly for each other before the throne of grace; surely, if they meant the attainment of that right and truth which they prayed for, they might soon find it out, and settle it accordingly. But it is the flesh that comes in and mars all. One cannot stoop, and the other will not. They are not so wise as Luther's two goats, that met upon a narrow plank, over a deep water. They could not go back, and they dared not to fight. At length one of them lay down, while the other went over him, and so peace and safety attended both. Why should not believers try this method ? But, alas ! while grace remains idle, or neuter, the world jeers and triumphs; the devil is busy and excites ; good men mourn and lament; the weak are stumbled and turned aside ; and a long train of inquietudes and jealousies fill the breasts of those who humbly hope to dwell with God and with each other throughout eternity. These things ought not so to be.
If my brother be in the wrong, how shall I show myself to be in the right? By wounding him more than he hath wounded himself? By doing wrong likewise, and rendering evil for evil ? No; let me pray that God would open his eyes, and not shut my heart; that he would give him more grace, and me more patience, to meet what is not gracious in him; and, at the utmost, that I may not be a partaker with him of anger, or of those sins which
it. Am I in the wrong? What then shall I Shall I persist in it, and make myself more in the wrong? This would not be gracious ; this would be bringing misery by heaps upon myself. Rather let me go first to God, and then to my brother, acknowledging my fault, or my error, to both. There is no shame in confessing our sins to God, nor any meanness in owning them to men. It is the mark of a noble and generous spirit in common life; and it is wisdom, as well as the duty and privilege, of a much better life in the Christian.
A. C. W.
THE HID TREASURE.
A TRAVELLER once called at a poor cottage to ask for a draught of water ; on entering, he found the parents of the family cursing and quarrelling, the half-starved children trembling and crouching together in a corner, and all around bore the marks of wretchedness and poverty. The stranger admonished them to live in peace.
56 Ah! sir,” said the man, you know nothing of the life and trials of a poor man, when, do what he will everything goes wrong, and all the recompense we get for our hard labour and sufferings is scarcely bread and water, with quarrels and disputes from day to day.”
The stranger, having drunk the water, was about to go, but thought he caught sight of a Bible on a dark dusty shelf in a corner of the cottage, and therefore addressed them in the following words. “Dear friends, I know well what would help you; there is a treasure concealed in your house ; search for it, and you will find it, and if you use it aright, in a short time you will be so rich and happy as never again to envy any one in the world;" so saying, he left them.
At first they thought what he had said was in jest, but could not help thinking about it. So when the man was at any time left alone, he searched and even dug, that he might find the treasure, and the woman likewise ; still they found it not, and increasing poverty brought only more quarrels, discontent, and strife. One day, however, as the woman was left alone in the house, she began to reflect on what the stranger had said, with greater wonder than ever. She looked now here now there till she cast her eyes (by chance as some would say) on the Bible which lay unheeded in a dark dusty corner. A strange foreboding took possession of her mind, and she said to herself, what if it was this book that the stranger meant. She took it from amongst the rubbish where it lay, and opened it; it had been the gift of her mother, and on the title-page was written in her mother's hand-writing, “ The word of thy mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver.” It cut her to the heart; “ Ah !” thought she, “ this is the treasure the stranger had in mind ;” she read from that old Bible, and every word went to her heart as she had never felt it before.
On her husband's coming home as usual quarrelling and in a rage, instead of meeting his angry words with angry replies, now she spoke to him with meekness and gentleness. He was astonished and ashamed, but she said “ Husband, we have sadly sinned, we have nobody but ourselves to blame for all our misery, we must lead a different life.” He looked amazed, and exclaimed, “ What dost thou say?” She brought the old Bible, and sobbing, cried out, “ There is the treasure; see, I have found it.” Her husband sat down in silence, she read to him out of it, how the Lord Jesus so loved sinners as to die for them. The husband's heart was moved, and he trembled. Henceforth they began to read their Bible every day, and to pray, and teach the children out of it. A year had passed by when the stranger returned again
“Behold,” said he to himself, “ yonder is that poor cottage ; I will just speak to the poor people once more, and see how they do now.” As he said, so he did; but he scarcely could believe it was the same place, it was so clean, so neat, so orderly, and the inmates came to meet him so kindly and cheerfully, with cheerfulness and peace beaming in their countenances. “ How are you now?” said he; then they knew the stranger, and for joy could not speak for some time, tears choking their words. Thanks, thanks, dear sir, they exclaimed, we have found your treasure. Now dwells the blessing of God in our house and his peace in our hearts ;" so said they, and their entire condition, and the happy faces of the dear children neatly clothed, said the same still more plainly. May all readers of this, similarly circumstanced, go and do likewise.