« AnteriorContinuar »
A CALL ON A HUCKSTERWOMAN. Good morning, Mrs. Marnet! I will thank you to give this book to your little girl. The freshground coffee smells in your shop as pleasant as a posy. A long job is before you to weigh up all that sugar into half and quarter pounds, but practice makes us quick and perfect in most things. Your business is not without its temptations; but the scales, the emblem of justice, are always before your eyes. I will tell you what should always come into your head when you hold up the scales between your thumb and finger. It is this verse of the Holy Scriptures : “A false balance is abomination to the Lord; but a just weight is his delight,” Prov. xi. 1; but I hardly need remind you of this, Mrs. Marnet, as everyone in the neighbourhood speaks favourably of your integrity. I will answer for it, that you never felt your heart the heavier for putting an extra pinch to make the scale turn well. No! no! and you never will: your business requires carefulness, and will not admit of much liberality; but, for all that, uprightness is indispensable. Pinching and screwing without conscience may make money, but it will never give peace; and, without peace, money is useless as dross. Hundreds have found, to their cost, that riches without God's blessing are
unprofitable things ; and thousands have experienced, that “ Godliness with contentment is great gain,” 1 Tim. vi. 6. Give this tract to your next customer; it may tell him something which he does not know; and, if not, it will at any rate refresh his memory with the truth, that “God be merciful to me a sinner" is a suitable prayer for every poor sinner and for every true believer.
A CALL ON AN UNDUTIFUL SON. Barnard, I have often called upon you with a feeling of satisfaction; but I now call with anguish of spirit. Your undutiful and unkind conduct to your only surviving parent pains me to the very heart.
The brier may soon be bent over the grave of your mother, and you may bend there, too, with the thorns of remorse in your bosom for your undutiful conduct. It is a bitter thing to walk over the grave of those we have used unkindly.
“Honour thy father and thy mother,” Exod. xx. 12, is the command of Him who can punish with his heaviest judgments all those who despise his commandments. So you see, that it is not the displeasure of your poor mother alone that you have to fear, but the wrath and the punishments of God. Your mother is weak;
but God is strong. Your mother may pass over your bad conduct, but God will notice it; for though he has abundant mercy for the penitent sinner, he has terrible judgments for the hardened transgressor.
His mercy spreads around the world,
And gently lights on all ;
His righteous judgments fall.
There can be no pleasure to me, Barnard, in thus rebuking you, and I had rather dwell on your good qualities than reprove your faults ; but you ought to know that your best friends set their faces against such unkindness as you have practised. By and by, you will wish that it were possible to blot out our errors with your tears; but when your mother, now heavily afflicted with infirmities, is in an eternal world, your contrition will be too late, and your tears will be shed in vain. Can you follow your only parent to her long home; can you see her body lowered into the grave; can you hear the earth rattle on her coffin-lid, without remorse, without agony? No, believe me, you cannot do these things. If you consider me to be your friend, follow my counsel, be kind to your afflicted mother; she has borne with you, bear with her; she has been kind to you, be kind to her, she
has watched, and wept, and prayed for you, watch and weep and pray for her, that her last days may not be embittered with your unkind
ess, but rendered happy by your dutiful affection.
A CALL ON A FRIEND IN TROUBLE. One word in passing, for I have no time to tarry. Though I know that you are in trouble, yet I know also that your trouble is not unknown to God. If I can, I will call in to-morrow, and see if something cannot be done that will lighten your heart; in the meantime trust in God, for it is a sad thing that we cannot trust our heavenly Father in the shade as well as in the sunshine ; but so it is. When his will agrees with our own, we admire his wisdom and goodness; but when otherwise, we think that he deals hardly with us. All is right when he gives, but all is wrong when he takes away. This should not be the case; for he is a faithful and covenant-keeping God, and ought to be trusted at all times. Confidence in him is joy to the heart, and stability to the soul. It was a dark night, no doubt, to Daniel, when he was cast into the den of lions; but was there no ray of light shining upon him? Ay, indeed there was, for he believed that the God whom he served was able to deliver him from the lions, and he did deliver him. There are no fewer stars in heaven now, to shine in the midnight hour, than there were in the days of Daniel ; and when, in our trouble, we cry unto him who placed them there, he will deliver us, also, out of our distresses.
Cheer up, then; God was with his people in the years which have gone by. “ In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the Angel of his presence saved them; in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them and carried them all the days of old,” Isa. Ixiii. 9. And as he is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever, he will be with his people now, “a very present help in trouble," Psa. xlvi. 1.
Take heart, friend Wellings, and think of your mercies as well as of your troubles. What is the use of poring over the cobwebs in the dark corners of our earthly habitations? Why should we dwell for ever on our cloudy mornings and darksome nights? Away with these unworthy doubts and desponding fears that dishonour God! Let us sing a new song, even praise and thanksgiving :
And gaze with confidence on high ;
The clouds ere long shall sever;
It will not frown for ever.