« AnteriorContinuar »
The child sprang to those loving arms, and with one cry that spoke all the agony of bitter doubt that had crept into her young confiding heart, exclaimed, “Oh, mother,
have been knocking at the door of heaven, and Charley would not let me in."
Dear, grieved little Katie ! refusing to be comforted in this thy first great sorrow. It may be that ere the violets come again, “God's hand will beckon unawares," and with a better guide thou shalt find indeed the “ door of heaven.” Then knock, little pilgrim, and thou shalt be heard amid the hallelujahs of all the heavenly choirs. Back shall roll the blessed portals, and Charley shall lead thee with eager wings to the feet of Him who loves little children, while the song of the angels shall be,“Of such is the kingdom of heaven.”—N. Y. Evangelist.
SKETCH OF A DEVOTED SUNDAY.
(Continued from page 177). In the various relationships of life he exhibited the graces of the Christian character-affectionate to his wife
-kind and indulgent to his children and at all times deeply anxious for their spiritual welfare.
He experienced the sorrows of bereavement in the death of his son Joseph, who was connected with this school as scholar, and afterwards as teacher; and to whom he was strongly attached. His sorrow, however, was mixed up with joy at his remarkable conversion ; and there are many still connected with the same school who remember the circumstances of that happy death.
When he was requested to take a society class in connection with this church, he positively refused, as unworthy of the important position. He was urged to this office by the Rev. James Molineux, who, finding all entreaties and reasonings of no avail, placed the class-book upon the table, and dared him to refuse the call of the church at his peril. Thus solemnly pressed he took up the responsibility.
In his intercourse with his members be was affectionate and faithful, advising with them on temporal matters as , well as spiritual. By these means he became a leader of" one of the most prosperous classes in the Circuit.
His chief work, however,-in connection with the church ---was in the Sabbath-school, of which he was one of the conductors; and to this department of labour he brought all his powers of body and mind.
His motto was “ Punctuality, Perseverance, and Prayer," and his connection with this school was a practical commentary upon these principles.
The teachers' register shows that his continuous conneotion with the school was only interrupted by his absence two Sundays, at the death of his sop Joseph.
His hymns for the services were judiciously selected, and his lectures most carefully prepared.
In his business journeys he was continually looking oat for something novel or impressive to narrate to the children on the Sabbath ; and he rarely failed to secure their profound attention.
On one occasion, when lecturing upon the habits of the bee, he brought a large piece of honey-comb to illustrate his lecture; and upon its conclusion, the scholars had each a taste of the honey, no doubt they would remember this as one of the sweetest lectures to which they had ever | listened.
On another occasion, he brought to the school a bird's- | nest with eggs, which had been found deserted; and, amidst the interest excited by this novel expedient to secure attention, he lectured upon the habits of birds, the skill displayed in the construction of their nests, and the
cruelty of robbing them. 1 He was not only interesting but energetic: the truths of our holy religion were not with him a cold, formal system of morality, which commends itself to the judgment merely, but a living principle, operating upon the heart and affections.
And full of zeal for God's glory, and of love to those around him, he spoke with uncommon earnestness, and sent the truth home with irresistible power.
Many times he has stood at the desk, endeavouring to convince of righteousness, temperance, and a judgment to come-gathering, by the earnestness of his tones, a little knot of listeners at the windows on each side of the platform ; and impressing us all, by the energy of his manner, with the solemn realities of religion and eternity.
Like all true Sunday-school men he was pleased to see the scholars in the street during the week, and was glad if they recognised him. In his many journeyings he was sometimes hailed by name, by persons of whom he was entirely ignorant. On one occasion, he was going with Mrs. A. to Ashton in a gig, and in passing through Garton they noticed a boy running after them : they stopped the gig, and the lad said, “Don't you know me, Mr. Ashton? I was a scholar in Grosvenor-street Tabernacle Sundayschool.” And the little fellow cried at the sight of his old conductor, and the remembrance of former days. On another occasion, he had gone to Blackburn by an early train. On entering the town his handkerchief blew away, and a sweep, who was standing on a bridge close by, with two of his comrades, ran after and brought it: when they reached him, they laughed, and called him Mr. Ashton. “ How do you know me ?" said he. " Why, we went to Grosvenor-street Tabernacle Sunday-school." He entered into conversation with them, and gave them some gingerbread cakes which he happened to have in his pocket, and they soon had a crowd round them, who seemed much pleased at him taking so much interest in the sweeps.
When he was a monitor in the Church of England Sunday-school, he had a Bible presented for “diligence and good conduct," which he prized very highly-this one he used for his daily reading ; but there was another he prized, if possible, still more highly than this; it was a large volume with gilt edges, and which lay constantly in the centre of his parlour table, and this one was given him, along with a similar one to his colleague Mr. Wilson, by our Sunday-school scholars. In this Bible was printed, “ Presented to Mr. James Ashton by the Scholars of the Wesleyan Methodist Association Sunday-school, Grosvenor
street, Chorlton on Medlock, as a testimonial of their affectionate regard, June 3, 1846."
This testimonal was presented on Whit-Wednesday, at the annual tea party; and Mr. Ashton had great pride in showing his friends this token of the love and respect of the scholars.
Next to the more sacred claims of his own household Grosvener-street Sabbath-school was near and dear to his heart; and both scholars and teachers reciprocated the feeling— they looked upon him with love and respect. It is difficult, even now, to realize the truth that we shall 1; see him no more in the flesh-that he will no more walk up these aisles, and round those classes, nor stand on this platform,-as he was wont with one hand behind his back, looking upon those cheerful faces ; nor elevate his voice from this desk in tones of faithful warning and affectionate entreaty. His more immediate personal influence is gone, but though absent to our bodily eyes, he is present to our mental vision; and we think of his looks, and fancy what he would say long after the tones of his voice have faded upon the ear. We might have wished his stay longer; but God in his wisdom has ordered it otherwise; and if we remember what he has said to us in former times—and imagine what would be his advice to us when tempted to do wrong-then, of Mr. Ashton it may be said " He being dead yet speaketh.”
GLEANINGS FROM LEIGHTON.
THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT'S STILL SMALL VOICE. This powerful, this sanctifying Spirit, knows no resistance,-works sweetly and yet strongly ; it can come into the heart, whereas all other speakers are forced to stand without. That still voice within persuades more than all the loud crying without ; as he that is within the house, though he speak low, is better heard and under-, stood than he that shouts without doors.
NEAP. THE KINGDOM OF GOD, BUT NOT IN IT. They that are in the visible church, and partake of external vocation, are but like a large list of names, as in civil elections is usual, out of which but a small number rise to the dignity of true Christians, and are invested with their privileges. Some men in nomination to offices or employments, think it a worse disappointment and di grace to have been in the list, and yet not have made our calling sure, than if their names had not been mentioned at all. Certainly it is greater unhappiness to have been not far from the kingdom of God, as our Saviour speaks, and miss of it, than still to have remained in the farthest distance ; to have been at the mouth of the haven, the fair haren indeed, and yet driven back and shipwrecked.
THE STONES FOR THE HEAVENLY TEMPLE. Let us not delude ourselves—this is a truth, if there be any in religion—they that are not made saints in the estate of grace shall never be saints in glory. The stones that are appointed for that glorious temple above, are hewn, and polished, and prepared for it here, as the stones were wrought and prepared in the mountains for building the temple of Jerusalem.
THE FATHER BEHELD THROUGH THE MEDIUM OF THE SON.
But our Saviour taking sin out of the way, puts himself betwixt our sins and God, and so makes a wonderful change of our apprehension of him. When you look through a red glass, the whole heavens seem bloudy; but through pure, uncoloured glass, you receive the clear light, that is so refreshing and comfortable to behold. When sin un pardoned is betwixt, and we look on God through that, we can perceive nothing but anger and wrath in his countenance. But make Christ the medium, our pure Redeemer, and through him, as through clear, transparent glass, the beams of God's favourable countenance shine in upon the soul.