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own to be looked after, they won't be so heedless like as to be sending for you about every little worrit or trumpery. Mark my words, neighbour; you'll save a deal of time, do a deal more good, and, what is of more consequence than all, your lamp will burn and your soul thrive by rendering to the Lord the morning's first fruits. You'll go forth in his strength, and you'll have his blessing in your labours."
"Well, Mr. Cantle, I'll try it, and glad I am that I've come to you. You do help a body so."
"They that have fallen know the dangerous places, and they' that have had a faithful friend and helper in life can best tell of his goodness. I have been down, and the Lord helped me up; and sure if any poor sinner can testify to his love and mercy, 'tis I, Nat Cantle. Good bye, neighbour; step in soon again."
Mrs. Fry having departed, Nat took up the shoe he had laid down when talking to her, and stitching cheerfully away upon it we will leave him for the present.
PROVIDENCE IN DAILY LIFE.
A Few years ago two young merchants met, by chance, in an hotel at a fashionable and popular watering-place in Derbyshire. They were prospering in business, and came to seek restoration of the health which had been impaired by excessive devotion to the pressing duties devolving upon them as junior partners in very large establishments. They had travelled together for some miles on the coach which conveyed visitors from the nearest railway station, and thus when they took their places side by side at the dining-table in the large public room of the hotel, they were not entire strangers to each other, though they had never met before. The conversation which had already passed led each to recognise in the other one who bore the image of their common Lord. Further intercourse changed their slight, casual acquaintance into close familiarity and a life-long friendship. For they had many topics of mutual interest, and were like-minded both as regards the life that now is and that which is to come.
One day our two friends, Mr. Stewart and Mr. Tweedie— for so we will oall them—had ascended a lofty hill in the neighbourhood of the hotel, and as they surveyed the course by which they had risen from the valley and climbed to the summit, they were led to speak of the path of life and the good hand of God guiding them by ways which they knew not. The remark was made by one of them that the most important incidents in our lives are seldom those of our own seeking or making. They come to us unsought, and fashion our after-course without our own choice. This led to an exchange of experiences in illustration of this, and they freely communicated .to each other many of the instances of God's providential dealings towards themselves. Among the marked features of these, the early steps in their business advancement came to be treated of. On this theme being introduced, Mr. Stewart said, "I owe my present position in the commercial world to a most unexpected but providential meeting which I had with one who was to me an utter stranger."
"This is singular enough," replied his companion; "my case is somewhat similar. To a most unlooked-for introduction to a gentleman of influence I ascribe, under Go.d, much of my present success in business. May it not strengthen our faith in the daily superintending providence of our heavenly Father, if we narrate to one another the leading events connected with such meetings to which each of us seems to owe so much."
"Agreed," said the other, and Mr. Tweedie gave the
'towing account of his early history:—
"Si was born of very poor but pious parents. Having few earthly friends, my prospects in life were, humanly speakinV, dark enough, when by a singular providence I was introduced to one to whose kind influence I owe much of my present advancement in life, and to whose friendly counsels I ahv^perhaps even more indebted than to all the influence he has exerted in my favour. I was anxious to get a good education, and, like many of our Scotch youths, 1 was determined to push my way upwards. Having procared a bursary at the high school, 1 was prosecuting my classical studies, and was in attendance on a Greek class, where I was struggling in a keen competition for the scholarship which 1 needed to enable me to carry on my education, for my parents could not keep me at school or college. An exercise in Greek prosody had been prescribed. The mode of accomplishing this was to me a perfect riddle, nor had I any one to whom I could apply for help. Many of my competitors had tutors or friends at home who could assist them. I had neither, and was almost in despair. I happened to mention my difficulty to a bookseller who took a kind interest in my studies, and to whose 6hop I was often sent by my father. He shook his head, and expressed regret that he could not assist me. Going at a later period that very evening into my friend's shop, I saw standing by the counter an intelligent-looking man, whom the bookseller introduced to me as one who had been a first-form scholar in his early days, and then stating my perplexity, he kindly said, 'Perhaps if this boy brought you his book, you would kindly help him in his difficulty?'
"' With all my heart,' was the frank reply.
"Off I bounded for my Euripides, and on my return I not only had my first lesson in Greek prosody, but formed a friendship from which I have received the greatest benefit ever since. The friend with whom I was thus brought into contact has stood by me in many a difficulty, introduced me to many important positions, used his influence on my behalf; and whenever I think of my present position in society, and feel how entirely I owe it to my friend, I love to trace the finger of God in my first meeting with him."
"Thanks for your nanative," rejoined Mr. Stewart . "My experience, though differing in its circumstances, illustrates the same great truth. One stormy night in the month of January, two travellers were seated by a comfortable
fire in the commercial room of the Eoyal Hotel of A .
For weeks the weather had been boisterous and changeable, and few, save those compelled by the call of duty, were disposed to quit the comforts of their own firesides. This accounts for the small number now occupying the coffee-room in a hotel which was often crowded with visitors. The present tenants of it were remaining for the night. The one was Mr. M—, a celebrated surgeon, whose skill led him to receive calls from distant parts of the country. He had been early brought to a saving knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus, and being a man of warm sympathies, he was ever on the watch for opportunities of ministering to the comfort of the sorrowful and distressed. He was now on his way home from a visit which he had been suddenly called to make to a gentleman who had sustained severe injuries by the fall of his horse in hunting. He purposed to take the earliest train next morning to the metropolis, where he lived.
"The other traveller was a young man, about twenty years of age, in deep mourning, and the sorrow of his heart indicated by the air of sadness on his countenance. He was quite a subject to awaken the interest of Mr. M—, who was busy writing down the particulars of the case which had occasioned his present absence from home, in order to make them the subject of a lecture to his students on the following afternoon.
"After a deep silence, interrupted only by the howling of the storm, and the occasional deep-drawn sighs of the mourner, Mr. M— thus accosted his companion.
"'Pardon me, sir, for thus obtruding on your notice, hut I see you are in deep sorrow, and having had no little experience of the ups and downs to which all are exposed in this life,'as well as of the consolations which the word of God affords, let me express the hope that you have found that while ours is a life of sorrow, ours is a religion of hope.'
"'No apology is needed,' said the youth. 'I thank you heartily for breaking a silence which 1 in vain endeavoured to do, recognising in your countenance that you are one not unaccustomed to sympathize with the afflicted. I am in deep distress. Within the last few weeks both of my parents have been cut off by cholera, and I have had to stand by the deathbed of my eldest brother, who has fallen a victim to malignant typhus fever. I am now cast friendless on the world. I came here to enquire after a vacant situation, but have been disappointed. I feel as if I had none to care for me, and must return home to-morrow to brood over my desolate condition.'
"' Your case,' said Mr. M—, 'is indeed trying. But let me remind you of One who has emphatically revealed himself as the "Father of the fathei less." If you make him your refuge, you will no longer need to say that you have none to care for you.'
"' But,' replied the mourner, 'my present trials are so great, and the disappointment I have now met with so vexatious, that I feel as if He of whom you speak, and to whom my dying father, ere he fell into a state of collapse, committed me, had altogether forsaken me. And perhaps the heaviest of all my trials is that, under the pressure of affliction, I have been led to question the truth of his promises, and to doubt his providence altogether.'
"'Your present experience,' rejoined Mr. M—, 'is no uncommon one. It is Satan's grand policy from present trials and emergencies to make faith in God's word stagger, and to conceal the truth that oft-times
'Behind a frowning providence
What you now feel to be against you, may yet, and that at no distant period, turn out to be for your good.'
"'But 1 feel,' said the orphan, 'that there never was any one so muoh tried as I am, and my case seems to be beset with inextricable difficulties. All this proves staggering to my faith.'
"'Not quite so fast, my young friend,' replied Mr. H—. 'I too was once an orphan, and hemmed in with the darkest difficulties, yet the Lord delivered me. I can speak from deep personal experience, when I say that God will be true to his promise. "The Scripture cannot be broken." Eesist the whisperings of Satan, and in spite of your present darkness still trust in the Lord.'
"' Would it be presuming too much on your kindness,' asked the young man of Mr. M—, 'were I to request you to give me a narrative of your experience in your days of orphanage? I begin to feel that especial providence has brought us together this evening, and it may be that our meeting in this hotel may be the means of raising me out of the Slough of Despond into which, through unbelief, I have been plunged.'
"Kindly complying with this request, Mr. M— recounted many thrilling incidents in his early days, which strikingly illustrated the ever wakeful providence of our heavenly Father, and the fulfilment of his promises to all who trust in him. When he had concluded his statement, his young companion thanked him warmly, and assured him it had read him many a useful lesson.
"' 1 already,' he remarked, 'see it is for my good that I have lost the situation in quest of which I came here. It was one in which I should have had good emoluments, but few spiritual advantages. I am now satisfied that the Lord has something better in store for me.'
"' It may be,' said Mr. M—, 'that our providential meeting here to-night may lead to your appointment to "something better." An intimate friend of mine in the city is looking out for a confidential clerk. Here is my card with my address. As soon as you get home to-morrow, forward me your testimonials, and I will bring your case