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Cain hated his brother Abel. It would be hardly possible to tell all the cruel sufferings he laid upon him; and in the midst of them he would still ask, in language like that which Job's wife used“ Dost thou still retain thine integrity ? Curse Christ, and die.”

But the Christian knew that his God would not lay upon him more than he would give him grace to bear, and instead of yielding to the Turk, he went on constantly telling him of the excellence of Christianity, and showing his persecutor that he tried to practise its holy precepts, and was sustained and comforted by its blessed power.

This Christian officer was a man of rank, and of a country too whose nobles are naturally of a proud and haughty temper; so the Turk thought that to degrade him to a level with beasts of burden would crush his spirit in the way he wished, and be à trial he could not support: therefore he actually sent him out into the fields to draw the plough with the oxen. He was harnessed with them, and dragged the same plough with them!

What could then support him ? what could teach him to bend his neck to the yoke? Nothing but the grace of God, nothing but the spirit of Christ, who gave his back to the smiters, and his cheek unto them who plucked off the hair ; and in answer to all the revilings of his enemies, or the questioning of his tyrant, he replied, “ If you knew the doctrine of Christ, you would not act thus. That doctrine is love, and bids men to love even their enemies. God is good to the unthankful and the unholy; and even for sinners Christ died, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God.”

Thus spoke the Christian; but the Turk was hardened more and more, and still resolutely bent on breaking his spirit, and making him give up Christ. The friends of the young nobleman made great efforts to obtain his liberation, and, after the custom of the time, offered a large ransom, but none would be taken. The Turk had set his heart on the accomplishment of his purpose. Suffering, toil, hunger, and uncleanliness, were destroying his poor captive, but he still hoped to make him a disciple of his false prophet.

But as all hope of ransoming him failed, his friends formed a plan for his deliverance. A Turkish ambassador had been sent by his government on a mission of importance; the friends of the Christian nobleman watched his return, way. laid him, surprised and scattered his guards, and seized his person. They shed no blood, and took no booty, but they

carried the Turkish ambassador away, and kept him confined safely. A ransom was offered by the sultan, but it was refused. A larger ransom was refused, and then the captors were asked what ransom they would accept; and they answered that they would exchange the ambassador for the young officer whom the governor of Belgrade held in captivity. The Turkish government found the terms very easy, and ordered the young noble to be released. The cruel governor was obliged to have him conveyed to the frontier, where his friends met him with the captured ambassador, and the prisoners were exchanged.

But what a grief as well as joy was it for the friends of the Christian officer! They first shrank back from him ; then darted forward to embrace, and weep over him.

He was so changed ! His hair was long and matted, his nails were like bird's claws, his cheeks were pale and hollow, and his frame all worn and wasted! He had suffered for Christ's sake.

But there was joy in his father's hall when he returned, and great joy around them. Rich and poor rejoiced, for the Christian soldier was loved. Home consoled him for his troubles, and he blessed God who had kept him in the hour of trial.

Then he was happy, for that change to him was something like what heaven will be after all the troubles of this life ; but it was not quite like it, for it was not sinless, and it was not eternal. However, as far as earthly happiness can go, he was very happy; for past pain enhances present pleasure. And then he married one who had loved and suffered for him, and there was peace in his land, and he spent two happy years serving God, and having the good report of all men.

But alas! for human joy ; to rest on it is to rest on a reed which breaketh, and pierceth the hand.”. War came again. The Turks renewed it, and the Christian soldier thought duty called for his help in repelling them. His old parents wished him to stay, and said he was the staff of their age, and his young wife pleaded hard, and said her life would be worn away with weeping if he died, or fell again into his enemy's power. But he answered, “ Our times are in God's hands; duties are ours, events are God's.” So he went to battle again, against the foe of his country and his faith.

This time the Lord covered his head in the day of battle : the Christians were victorious, and took Belgrade from the Turks. The governor was a prisoner. Perhaps he had been


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thinking of getting back his young Christian adversary, who had so well fought the good fight of faith, into his power ; but now he was a captive ; and, to his horror, he learned that he was to be delivered into the custody of his former prisoner, whom he had yoked with oxen to the plough.

That young officer had valiantly distinguished himself in the siege, and for his sole reward and prize he had demanded the disposal of the governor's person. The leaders of the army knew how cruelly he had been treated, and believed that the desire of vengeance, so natural to a sinful heart, was the object of the request.

The former governor was confined in the fortress, and was informed that his fate was at the disposal of one who was once his victim.

He was not, however, thrust into the inner dungeon, neither were his feet made fast in the stocks; but he was prepared for the alternative, which he was sure would be offered to him—either to worship Christ as God, or to undergo greater tortures than he had inflicted.

When the young nobleman went to see his captive, he found the Turk sitting on the ground; his arms were folded, and his countenance was stern: he seemed to expect the worst, and to be ready to meet it. As soon as he saw his former slave he cried, “ Do your worst ! My fate has given me into your power, but I will obey the law of our prophet.” " And I also will obey the law of my

Lord and my God," the Christian nobleman replied ; " and the law of Christ is, • Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you.' Your life and liberty are in my power, and as the servant of Christ I restore them to you.'

The Turk did not understand him. He thought he meant him to accept life and liberty on condition of becoming a Christian. He shook his head and answered mysteriously, “ that he was beyond his power; that no tortures could now make him become a Christian.”

“ The doctrine of Christ,” said the young nobleman, “ is one of love, and not of fear. No Christian ever persecutes any one into his religion ; for persecution affects the body only, not the soul. I offer life and liberty freely, even as Christ offers to us his salvation ; accept them, and they are yours."

The Turk looked earnestly at him. “ How," said he, 66 do I understand? You would give me life and libertydo you recollect me? do you remember your sufferings ?”

66 Yes ;

and mercy,

and our Lord remembers his, yet he forgave his murderers, and would save his enemies; he has taught us not to render evil for evil. His law is love, and his doctrine mercy, and his precept forgiveness.' Come, you are free !"

“ It is too late!” cried the Turk. « The religion of Christ is the religion of God; there is no other religion of love and of forgiveness. But I did not know this. I expected evil for evil, and cruelty for cruelty. I have taken poison.”

These last words were a great grief to the Christian, and quite did away with the joy he felt at hearing the Turk confess that the religion of Christ was the religion of God, since it brought forth from the heart of man those sweet fruits of heaven, which earth so seldom sees—love, and forgiveness,

He stood amazed for a moment, thinking of the goodness of God who had kept him from such a fearful sin, and given him a nobler courage to endure and trust.

But the Turk spoke again. “I have taken poison," he repeated, “ to save myself from your vengeance: it is certain, but very slow in its effect. Let me spend the time that remains to me in learning more of your religion; for surely that faith of which you formerly spoke so often, is better than mine. The religion which caused you to bear what you have borne, and to act as you have acted, must be Divine."

The distressed yet happy Christian instantly called for help. He had his former enemy removed to his own abode; the application of antidotes retarded still more the fatal effects of the poison ; and the persecuted Christian made use of the time in preaching to him Jesus. We cannot tell the result; that is known to God only: for a death-bed repentance or faith we should rejoice with trembling.

The story is not invented; it is recorded in the histories and annals of the time and country, and it is added that the dying Turk requested to be baptized into the faith of Christ, which once he had despised.

By their fruits ye shall know them,” said our Lord, of his followers; and this historical anecdote illustrates the saying


S. B.


THE WORTH OF SOULS. The apostle Paul says, Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves : for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account.” This text reminds those who have the care of others, that they are not entrusted with silver or gold, with pearls or precious stones, but with the souls of men, created by God for everlasting life, and redeemed by Christ Jesus for his own. They will be called to account for these treasures committed to them, and will have to answer for those that they have lost by neglect, Heb. xiii. 17; Acts xx. 28; Ezek. iii. 18, and xxxiii. 8. Their office (watching for souls) requires the greatest diligence, and the exercise of prayer, exhortation, entreating, warning, instructing, comforting, and meditation, day and night, that, as far as in them lies, no soul committed to their care should be left to perish.

What an important charge, an office surpassing human ability, is here! Every man has much work to be done, in his own soul, as is well known to all who seek, in earnest, to be sayed. All sincere Christians feel the plague of their own hearts, requiring constant watchfulness, restraint, and effort, and how can one man watch over the souls of many? When rightly considered, this is indeed so serious a charge, that ministers might naturally regret having ever undertaken their office, though many press into such a post from mere worldly considerations; expecting pleasure, but finding labour; looking for honour, but meeting with burdens. Truly it might be said of the prophet's mantle, as well as of the kingly diadem, “ If it were known how much care, and weariness, and responsibility this covers, it might be thrown on the earth, and no one would stoop to pick it up again.” Oh may those who are the ministering servants of Christ seriously consider, that it is not gold or silver which is committed to their care, but the charge of souls-souls created in the image of God, bought by the blood of Christ, and set apart to be the temples of the Holy Spirit !

Christian masters and employers should also consider this subject, that they may rightly value those who are under them, and faithfully endeavour to promote their present and everlasting welfare. As to outward things, there may be a great difference between a poor ploughman and his master, but inwardly they are alike. The ploughman has a neverdying soul, which may bear the impress of the image of God, and for him the blood of Christ has been shed. Let this be borne in mind by those who are connected with him, whether in service or in war, in business or exercise, that there may be no cause for regret on either side, when the concerns of this life are at an end.

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