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the lightning's flash; and my poor boy lay crushed beneath the fearful load. It was an awful moment; but
time, that changeth all things, brought relief; and I had still two sons. But my cup of affliction was not yet full. They too were taken from me. Side by side they died-not as their brother-but the fire-damp caught their breath, and left them scorched and lifeless. They brought them home to the old man-his fair jewels-by whom earth's richest treasures in his sight had no price—and told him he was childless and alone. It is a strange decree that the old plant should thus survive the strippling things it shaded, and for whom it would have died a thousand times. Is it surprising that I should wish to die here in the mines ?" "You have indeed," 1 replied, " drank of affliction. Whence did you derive consolation?"
The old man looked up-"From heaven: God gave, and he hath taken away; blessed be his name. I bowed my head to the miner's pious prayer--and the old man passed on.
THE CHRISTIAN LIFE.
It has been remarked, that there is scarcely any state of the Christian life which may not be found described in the Psalms of David: scarcely any lot in which the child of God may not find the instruction he needs, in the writings of this sweet singer of Israel. If his heart be attuned to joy and thankfulness, he will find in the triumphant songs and exulting praises of the inspired Psalmist many an accordant strain; and if bowed down by sorrow and grieving for sin, he will find his thoughts expressed in the humble confe sion, the mournful complaint, or the earnest supplication.
'There are two incidents of David's experience, which considered in their connection, may afford matter for profitable reflection. On one occasion he tells us that he had said, in a season of prosperity, "I shall never be moved;" and what followed? Thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled."
Again, on another occasion, we find this record: "When I said, My foot slipped, thy mercy, O Lord, held me up." A very plain inference from the two passages in connection is, that danger is never so near as when we feel most secure; nor are we ever so safe, as when, sensible of our own weakness, we are ready to cry, "Our foot slippeth.'
Indeed, it would hardly be too much to say, that the whole Christian life consists in the alternation of these two states. There is first the state of prosperity, either spiritual or temporal, or both united. Then the candle of the Lord shines upon us; his secret is in our tabernacle: our root is spread out by the waters, and the dew lies all night upon our branches. We begin to comfort ourselves in our strength, and take pleasure in our fancied security. Our mountain stands strong, and we trust that we shall never be moved. In short, we are in the situation of the town of Mansoul, when old Carnal Security obtained admission into the walls.
In this moment of ease and self-confidence, God hides his face. The days of affliction take hold upon us; we see trouble and sorrow. Perplexity and distress encompass us, the light of God's countenance is withdrawn, we know not where to look for guidance and safety, and are ready to cry out with David, "My foot slippeth," or with Hezekiah, "I shall not see the Lord, even the Lord in the land of the living."
But even in this thick darkness God is near us, though we perceive him not. We may be cast down, but shall not be utterly destroyed. Just when we are despairing of all help, his mercy shall hold us up. While we are concluding that the Lord has forgotten to be gracious, and will be favourable no more, he puts a new song into our mouths, even praise to his name. Then, with new hope and trust, rejoicing yet trembling, we take hold of the Almighty arm extended to us, and our souls follow hard after God. Well for us if our foolish pride and self-confidence do not speedily plunge us again into darkness, and bring down our souls to the gates of the grave.
"CHRIST IS ALL."
Yes, my dear fellow-sinners, and fellow-pilgrims to the kingdom of glory, never did I know so much of this blessed truth as I have for the last year, especially when I have been called into a new and unexpected situation; a situation most trying, most revolting to my natural feelings; where I seldom meet with any one to wish me, "God speed;" but where all help from man seems to fail me. Every thing joins with my naturally sorrowful spirit to look dark and gloomy; but, out of the depths, I cry unto the Lord, and God the Spirit testifies of Jesus to my soul. He tells me that I have an Advocate with the Father, who is pleading my cause with him; who will stand by me in every trying hour; who will not leave nor forsake me; who knows all my sorrows; nay, who is touched with the feeling of my infirmities; who, having loved me with an everlasting love, will love me unto the end: thus, when my heart is almost overwhelmed within me, the unspeakable love of Christ to such a poor, wretched sinner as I feel myself to be, constrains me in a measure to love him, and to commit my cause into his hands, believing that he will uphold and strengthen me in the hour of tribulation.
But, my dear brother-sister-in tribulation, I find I must be continually going to Christ; indeed, it is only as I look with an eye of faith unto Jesus that I can stand: the moment I look off from him, and attempt to meet my present circumstances in the strength of nature, that moment help and strength fail; for I have, indeed, no might nor power of my own: but Jesus is precious to me; I feel, when faith is in exercise, that his grace is sufficient for me, whatever I may be called into, for he perfects his strength in weakness. O what should I do without Christ! what cannot I do through him strengthening me? He is my "All in all;" I feel he is. Pray for me, that my faith fail not; that I may glorify him in the fires here, and at length reign with him for ever.
L. R. C.
Faith is needful to victory; it is hope that keeps the heart whole. "He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.
Say not that your powers are feeble, and your means small. A young woman, who worked in a factory, became a pious Christian. From early morn till night she was, through the week, engaged in labour. She had never enjoyed the advantages of school, excepting barely enough to have learned to read and to write. But her heart, kindled with the fire of sacred love, intensely desired to promote the Redeemer's kingdom. To this end she set herself diligently to improve herself. She devoted half an hour every evening to reading, and used all other means in her power to prepare herself for usefulness. She used often to place a leaf of the Bible upon her loom, and to commit and digest its contents while her hands wrought. Within a single year, she became one of the best teachers in the Sunday School, and was the means of bringing four of her pupils to a saving knowledge of Christ. "Go thou, and do likewise." Who is there, whose means are not equal to hers?
Look not only for future but for present fruits. None of your pupils are too young to be sinners, nor to repent and love the Saviour; nor yet to die and be lost, if unrenewed. Dear, precious immortals, how many of them find an early grave! And how many more, though they live to manhood, have their characters formed, while yet members of the Sunday School. Cousider, then, that your object is never gained, till they are safely folded in the Saviour's gracious arms. To this result, with full confidence in the grace of God that it may be secured, give your whole strength. So far as your relation to the Sunday School is con cerned, let all your powers and attainments bend strongly and continually to the good of your pupils.
This is in truth the only object worthy of your highest gifts and attainments. Oh! if the teachers of our Sunday Schools throughout the land would cultivate their minds to the height of their several abilities, and then bring all their attainments and lay them down at the feet of Jesus, what a bright and blessed day would soon dawn upon the rising generation.
Come then, brethren and friends, let us up and be doing with our might. A glorious and prolonged revival of religion awaits the faithful labours of the Sunday School, that may turn from its very sources the whole current of this world towards the kingdom of God. Yours is a labour whose fruits can never fail. The seekers of mere intellectual eminence, of political distinctions, of earthly
riches, yea, even the most renowned artists, who covet to live in future ages upon the breathing canvas and in sculptured marbleif they have no higher aim, must look forward to some dark and awful grave in the uncertain future, which will bury them and their works in everlasting oblivion. But when all the honours and treasures of this world shall have been consumed by the fires of the last day, when all the statues and monuments of earthly glory shall have crumbled in ruins and been forgotten, then shall the reward of the faithful Sunday School teacher fully appear in those sun-like spirits before the eternal throne, which they on earth with prayer and faith conducted to the Lamb of God.
A HINT ON THE TIMES.
Amidst the feverish excitement of the times, when men are not afraid to speak evil of dignities, when our most venerated institutions are attacked, when infidelity, popery, secularity, are rampant in the world, and our national establishment is in danger, may I ascend my watch-tower of observation, take a scriptural view of things, live by faith, walk in love, march forward to Jesus, bearing in mind the rousing truth: namely, that to stand still is madness; to go back, destruction; to hold on hope, to hold out a
No men in the world want help like them that want the Gospel. Of all distresses, want of the Gospel cries loudest for relief. A man may want liberty, and yet be happy as Daniel; a man may want children, and yet be happy as Job was; a man may want plenty, and yet be full of comfort, as Micaiah was; but he that wants the Gospel, wants every thing that can do him good. A throne, without the Gospel, is but the devil's dungeon; wealth, without the Gospel, is fuel for hell; advancement, without the Gospel, is but going high to have the greater fall. What do men need that want the Gospel? They want Jesus Christ; for he is revealed only by the Gospel. He is "All in all;" and where he is wanting, there can be no good. Hunger cannot truly be satisfied without manna, the bread of life, which is Jesus Christ: what shall a hungry man do that hath no bread? Thirst cannot be