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It was not long before he returned. There was joy in his very looks, and his step was quick and firm. His kind first master had taken him back again into his service without a reproachful word for having once deserted him. * And see,” said Robert, as
Master Dixon an account of his reception, “ he has paid me a whole week's wages
in advance. More than I had the whole time I served that hard master.”
“I am heartily glad of it,” answered James Dixon, " and I guessed it would be so. But now, lad, I want another word or two with you before you turn in to rest. old man, Robert, and you know I have stood your friend more than once in your life; so you will not be offended with what I am going to say. Just sit down, Robert, for one minute.”
Robert took a chair.
“ You have left one hard service, Robert, but I am afraid there is another hard master that has got hold of you with a close grip. You have not given up the service of sin yet, have you, Robert ?"
Robert shifted about uneasily in his chair. The truth is, old James knew more of this young man than the reader need to be informed ; and Robert knew in his heart and conscience, just as certainly as some readers of this account may know it of themselves, that he had not left the service of sin.
“Sin is a hard master, Robert, is it not ?”
Robert nodded assent. He knew it, and felt it, though he had not left the unprofitable service.
“ Hard work, and dirty work, and constant work, and disgraceful work, is sin-work, Robert. Slavery, nothing but slavery, if we look at it rightly."
Robert seemed at first inclined to dispute this. But his conscience told him it was true; so he said nothing, and old James went on.
wages of sin, Robert. The apostle Paul might well ask, “What fruit had ye in those things whereof ye are now ashamed ?' Rom. vi. 21. Terrible wages, the wages of sin, Robert. Death, nothing less than death, Rom. vi. 23. Do you not know this, my dear lad? Can you deny it?”
Robert did not deny it. He felt it to be true.
“ Then why not give it up, Robert ? Treat sin as you have treated your other hard master. Slip the tether, and go straight to God, your only right and true Master. He invites
66 Poor wages,
you to it;
he says, 'Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest,'" Matt. xi. 28. “Some day
” Robert was beginning to say, but old James stopped him.
“Some day! why to-morrow may be too late. Now is the accepted time, and the day of salvation. Go to the gracious and forgiving God, Robert, just in the same spirit as you went just now to your kind old master : go to him, in all your poverty and all your raggedness; go to him, because you are undone and ruined without his help; go to him, through his dear Son, the Lord Jesus, for he is the way, the truth, and the life; and all that go to the Father, must go through him. Go to him thus, Robert; and do not take the word of a poor old man like me for it, but take the promise of Christ for your warrant: 'Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out,'" John vi. 37.
Reader, whether Robert Staples acted according to the advice of his old friend or not is of little matter to you. But be assured that James Dixon was right when he said that sin is a hard master; and God, through Jesus Christ, the only Saviour, a willing and almighty Friend.
G. E. S.
LETTER FROM THE REV. HENRY BLUNT. The friend to whom the following letter, from the late Mr. Blunt, of Chelsea, was addressed, has kindly permitted its insertion in this Magazine.
Everything connected with so eminent a servant of Christ and minister of the gospel may well claim attention; but the peculiar interest associated with this letter arises from its having been written under the certain consciousness of approaching death. In this point of view, it is an important testimony to the solid reality of the principles of the gospel of Christ. Few persons, perhaps, can form a clear conception of what will be their own feelings when they become perfectly certain that they are about to die. All admit that death is certain ; but very different from this admission is the actual perception that it is now at hand; that the mortal disease is within, and the end is now nigh. The Christian who dwells on this thought will naturally ask, “How will it be with me at that awful moment of decided certainty ? Will my faith then stand ? Will my confidence in Christ then destroy the power and the fear of death ?” The promises of God should assure him that to every child of God such will be the case ; yet still the mind will waver, and look forward with some trepidation to the moment of conscious certainty. Valuable then is the testimony of one who had reached that moment, and who found his faith triumphant, and his God faithful to his word. It is as though one should come from the dead, and say, Fear not, I have passed through the trial; all is well. “ MY DEAR FRIEND,
“I FEEL your very kind and affectionate letter much. I assure you
I did not need that you should remind me of your valued promise, for it has been often, and more especially of late, upon my mind. My state of health, however, is
possibly what would be called not one of immediate danger; that is, by God's blessing upon the mild climate of Devonshire, (we hope to go to Torquay next week,) I may creep through the winter ; but the disease in the lungs is considered by the medical men too far established to allow them to speak of any lengthened period; the symptoms having now, without a single day's intermission, lasted since this time twelvemonth. I merely mention this, because you desire to know exactly how I am ; and yet, after all, it does not tell you;
says how the body is, but thanks be to God, the body is not I. I can truly and most gratefully say, that I never was better; that, in the fullest enjoyment of Chelsea work (and you know something of what that feeling means), I never experienced such unbroken peace and uninterrupted comfort. I do not even want to be up and doing, which, for me, is wonderful ; but am content to be laid aside, and to be taught what I have long been teaching. It was an often-expressed desire of mine to die in the midst of my work; but I now feel glad that the choice was not_left me, and am truly thankful for the quiet season, which I hope, by God's mercy, lies before me. I trust that both you and I, my very dear friend, have long known something of the value and strength of the promises ; but even you, I think, can hardly tell what adamant I find them now.
I think of death, and for a moment tremble, and then of Him, in whom we are made more than conquerors; and really I am almost surprised to find how entirely the sting of death is drawn. I am afraid of presumption, and perhaps, when I come into close quarters with the great enemy, I shall find him more powerful than I feel him now; and yet I cannot think it; to be in Christ (oh! the blessed reality), is, and must be, the strong tower;' and seeking all in him, I am perfectly satisfied I shall find all in him, all, both in time and in eternity.
“ But I have written more than my medical advisers allow me, and yet I could write sheets on my present feelings; however, they are only what you have witnessed in hundreds, as I have myself, and often in the weakest men, women, and children in our Redeemer's family, so entirely is it, 'Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.' Pray for me, that my present feelings may continue; more I do not ask on this side the grave. I have been so completely interdicted from letter-writing, as too exciting, that few things but the affectionate and urgent kindness of the oldest of my friends could, I believe, have drawn forth a reply.
6 Believe me ever, my dear friend,
“ HENRY BLUNT.”
CHRISTIAN LOVE. “Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips,"
Psa. cxli. 3. "I see many things,” says the Rev. Charles Simeon, in his sixtieth year, “in a different light to what I once did ; such as the beauty of order, of regularity, and the wisdom of seeking to win souls by kindness, rather than to convert them by harshness, and what I once called fidelity. I admire more the idea which I have of our blessed Lord's spirit and ministry than I once did."
Something having been told him to the disadvantage of another, he makes the following entry in his diary : “ The longer I live, the more I feel the importance of adhering to the rules which I have laid down for myself in relation to such matters : 1st. To hear as little as possible what is to the prejudice of others. 2nd. To believe nothing of the kind until I am absolutely forced to it. 3rd. Never to drink into the spirit of one who circulates an ill report. 4th. Always to moderate, as far as I can, the unkindness which is expressed towards others. 5th. Always to believe that if the other side were heard, a very different account would be given of the matter. I consider love as wealth; and as I would resist a man who should come to rob my house, so would I a man who would weaken my regard for any
human being.” “ My blessed Lord,” he writes on another occasion, “ when
he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not, but committed himself to him who judgeth righteously.” That seems the right thing for me to do, though some, perhaps, would think it better for me to stand up for my rights. But to all the accusations which were brought against him, our Lord made no reply, insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly. I delight in that record; and, God helping me, it is the labour of my life so to act that on my account also the governor or spectator may marvel greatly. My experience all this day has been, and I hope will yet continue to be, a confirmation of those words,
Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man.' Insult an angel before the throne, and what would he care about it? Just such will be my feeling whilst I am hid in the secret of my Redeemer's presence.
It takes two to make a slander; he who gives, and he who receives it.
Calumny and detraction are sparks, which, if you do not blow them, will go out of themselves.
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not ; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth ; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things, 1 Cor. xiii. 4-7.
LOOK OUT, AND LOOK IN. WAEN you see people afflicted with poverty, look out, lest by idleness or bad conduct you should reduce yourself to the same situation. Though poverty is not always brought about by error, it very frequently is so : have a care.
When you find yourself neglecting the poor, and not relieving their wants according to your ability, look in, for something is going on wrong. "Whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him ?" 1 John iii. 17.