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"I hope my God will help me."
"Let us pray," said I. And a short prayer, pleading for God's help, closed the meeting.
I afterwards found numerous reasons for believing that that was one of the most profitable religious meetings I ever attended. Among others was the case of my friend, whose expression had drawn me somewhat out of my proposed mode of conducting the exercises of the evening. He became, as he hoped, a true believer. He stated to me the exercises of his mind, his repentance, his faith in Christ, his peace and hope, and his reliance upon the Holy Spirit. His mind appeared to seize upon the great truths of the gospel almost without emotion. He had no eostacy, no exultation, no joy. He had only peace and hope. He told me that his agitations had all been useless to him; that they were not faith, and did not lead to faith; and that he thought "sinners ought to attend to the calls of God in a believing manner." And when I asked him what had kept him from Christ so long, he replied: "I was trying to make myself better—to have a religion instead of trusting in Christ. What you said to me that night showed me my mistake, and I went home with a deeper sense of my dependence, and a clear view of the free grace of God to sinners through the redemption of Christ."
"I KNOW IT IS MY DUTY."
A Man lived on a cliff overhanging the sea. The ground, sloping inland, was protected from the winds that, on the ocean-side, raised frequent and destructive storms. Indeed, to all appearance, no ocean could be near. Having wealth at command, and taking much interest in the adornment of his home, he had made of it a very paradise. Trees, grouped with fine effect, shaded the lawns; flowers and shrubbery bordered the pleasant pathways. The house itself had a most home-like and attractive aspect. Surely might the passer-by say, "How happy the owner of this place must be!"
And in a sense he was happy. Family and social relations were satisfactory. True, he was afflicted with a nearsightedness which prevented his taking any distant view, but he seemed content with what was immediately around him. A friend once offered him an eye-glass that would open to him a sight of the ocean beyond; but he declined using it, saying that "what he could see on his own place, and inland, was sufficient."
And yet all this time the ocean was wearing, wearing away the base of the cliff on which he dwelt. Its waves were undermining its very foundation. Both tide and storm at times hurried on the work of destruction. Tet he seemed to know it not; or if he heard it spoken of, it made little impression on his mind. Being short-sighted, he did not see the danger.
And he was very self-sufficient. Baised in some respects above his fellow men, he prided himself upon his independence of thought, his intuitive insight, his knowledge of men and things. He seemed to have an indefinite impression that in some way he was not like others; that he could not be exposed to danger common to such as they; that what concerned them was of no account to him. So he lived on, busied with his own affairs, apparently unconscious or heedless of the coming doom.
But reports of the danger grew thick and fast. The community were aroused. Some of his neighbours on the cliff' left all, and took refuge on a " sure foundation." Some, alas, delayed too long. The ground crumbled and gave way under them. They were lost. Still he lived on as usual, driving from his mind the anxiety which sometimes came across him as to his safety.
What did his neighbours do for him? His friend warned him from time to time, urging him to use the glass that would show him the ocean that must yet destroy his pleasant home. But this warning was only occasional, for from all meetings of the citizens respecting the danger he held himself aloof. Was he not as good and as wise as they?
Some of the neighbours talked over the matter as to their own duty to him, but hesitated to approach him. They perhaps did not feel the danger to be pressingly imminent. One said, "He has everything so finely arranged, it were a pity to disturb him." "It is difficult to know whether to approach him on the subject. He is peculiar. Speaking might do more harm than good." "He has known the cliff was not to be relied on since he was a child. He sees that we are afraid to stay on it. Our example speaks louder than words." But while his friends thus lingered, the waves were still working, working, wearing, undermining.
At last a friend bolder than others had a plain talk with him. He, in return, thanked his friendly visitor, and after further conversation said, with an indifferent tone, as if the thing did not concern him particularly, "Well, I know it is my duty to attend to this matter." "Duty, my friend, duty? duty?" rejoined the other; "do you not see it is the only thing really worth your attention? Certain death and destruction await you and your family if you do not leave all and escape in season."
This parable may serve to illustrate the conduct of men in regard to religion. Men think of it as one among many things that claim their attention. Some pass it by altogether. Some even say, "I know it is my duty to attend to it," but being satisfied with this present world, they delay providing for the future. What short-sightedness! Would they but use the eye-glass of faith in the word and promises of God, it would help them to realize how their sands of time are every moment washed away into eternity. It would show that eternity to them threatens to be a bottomless abyss of destruction. It would point them to a sure place of refuge.
Is your own "house built upon the sand," or upon the "Eock of our salvation," the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ?
"Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner-stone, a sure foundation. He that believeth shall not make haste;" that is, shall not flee in terror when the Lord shall lay "judgment to the line and righteousness to the plummet, and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding-place."
Can all that optics teach unfold
Thy form to please me so,
Hid in thy radiant bow?
When science from creation's face
Enchantment's veil withdraws. What lovely visions yield their place
To cold material laws!
And yet, fair bow, no fabling dreams,
But words of the Most High,
Was woven in the sky.
When o'er the green undeluged earth
How came the world's grey fathers forth
And when its yellow lustre smiled
O'er mountains yet untrod, Each mother held aloft her child
To bless the bow of God.
Methinks thy jubilee to keep,
The first made anthem rang
And the first poet sang.
Nor ever shall the Muse's eye
tJnraptured greet thy beam: Theme of primeval prophecy,
Be still the poet's theme I
The earth to thee her incense yields,
The lark thy welcome sings,
The snowy mushroom springs.
How glorious is thy girdle cast
O'er mountain, tower, and town, Or mirrored in thy ocean vast,
A thousand fathoms down!
As fresh in yon horizon dark,
As young thy beauties seem, As when the eagle from the ark
First sported in thy beam.
For, faithful to its sacred page,
Heaven still rebuilds thy span,
That first spoke peace to man.
Campbell. HOW CAN I BE USEFUL?
They were busily at work in Mrs. Gee's large workroom, those young needlewomen. In one part of the room three sewing-machines, attended by their ministering directresses, were merrily whirling and whirring, and making quick progress in seaming, hemming, and stitching; while in another part of the room were some half-score of nimble-fingered seamstresses, employed in the elaboration of delicate trimmings and the more complicated manipulations in the