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the faint colour left his cheek, “Had we known of your coming, Frank, we should have preferred spending the evening alone; but our clergyman and some friends are invited to come, and I hope you will not dislike meeting them.”
As there was no alternative, Frank responded with tolerable cheerfulness, and hastened to his room, feeling his curiosity strongly excited as to the nature of the evening he was about to spend, and determined to escape if the dulness proved insufferable.
When he entered the room the company were assembled and at tea. Clara sat on the sofa, looking touchingly beautiful in her slight mourning attire, and near her was a pale intellectual looking
man, to whom Frank was at once introduced, and found to be Mr. Methville, the clergyman of whom he had heard so much. One or two of the officers whom he had previously known came forward to greet him cordially, and the conversation was soon resumed. Captain Deverell was careful to direct it so as to interest and not alarm his brother; and his fine powers of mind and great cultivation were well suited to draw forth and animate the resources of others. Mr. Methville was a man of great and varied information, and in conversing with him, Frank, whose mind was really of a superior order, found the evening pass most agreeably. He felt the charm of a highly cultivated intellect, and inwardly resolved that he would give more attention to study than he had done for some time.
The bell was now rung; the servants assembled; a large Bible was laid upon the table, and Mr. Methville took his place before it. This proceeding took Frank so completely by surprise, that for a moment he knew not what to do. He rose suddenly from his chair, then, feeling the awkwardness of leaving the room in his brother's house, hastily sat down again with a sensation of extreme discomfiture.
There was alternative, however: Mr Methville began to read, and he had no choice but to listen. The chapter selected was the second of Ephesians;
you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins." "Mr. Methville's reading was peculiarly striking. His voice was full of deep feeling, and every word fell from his lips with an earnestness of expression that was the best and most emphatic comment. He merely added a few words of practical application ; pointing out the fatal apathy of the worldly mind to those things which relate to everlasting peace, an apathy which the Scriptures term spiritual death: and then dwelling on the blessed awakening, the glorious privileges, and the deep responsibilities of the
redeemed in Christ. Earnest prayer followed; and after this some of the party gathered round the piano, and joined in hymns of praise.
These Frank Deverell did not hear. He quickly withdrew from the room directly the prayer was concluded, fearing the expression of his countenance might betray the agitation of his mind. The Word had been an arrow to his soul. He struggled hard against these new and powerful feelings, but they would not be resisted. He had not been wholly ignorant on the subject of religion, but it was now brought home to him as an individual; it was applied to his own soul with overwhelming force.
“ If these things be so," he thought, "I am assuredly leading the life of a maniac;" and he resolved to give his attention to and thoroughly to consider the subject. This first impression was deepened and strengthened by attending on the ministry of Mr. Methville, and by very full and frequent conversations with his brother. He applied for an extension of leave, in order to enjoy these advantages for a longer time: and when at length the brothers parted, it was with the unspeakable joy of feeling that there was no longer a gulf of separation between them, but that from henceforth they were one in Christ Jesus.
Checked in his thoughtless career, and with his attention now fully engrossed with the glorious and solemn realities of the unseen life, Mr. Deverell became truly earnest and ardent in his Redeemer's service. He had been a leader in every gay amusement, a favourite companion in every worldly pleasure; now he resolved that his whole influence should be thrown into the opposite scale, and that his constant endeavour should be to win souls to Christ. Having thought deeply and seriously, realised in some measure the priceless, the inestimable costliness of his own immortal soul, and having, through God's mercy, drawn with joy from the wells of salvation, his generous heart now went forth in solicitude for the souls of others.
He well knew all he would have to encounter in returning to his regiment; but in the spirit of a christian hero he resolved never to hide his colours, never to flinch from the conflict. Like Wycliffe he might have said, “ To live and be silent is with me impossible ; the guilt of such treason against the Lord of heaven is more to be dreaded than
deaths.” To his friend Captain Evans he said, as he welcomed him on his return, “Well, Evans, I went down to stop the hymn singing : thank God, I have returned singing hymns myself.” No wonder that, with a soul awakened to the deep realities of spiritual things, he should delight in singing the praises of Him who had called him “out of darkness, into his marvellous light.” He who has learned to pray will soon learn to praise, and in proportion to the depth and intensity of our prayers will be the overflowing joy of our praising hours.
Reader ! would you seek happiness now, and glory for evermore? Then leave the bondage of Satan, who is the prince of this fallen world, and enlist under the banner of the King of kings. Bear the cross now; soon and for ever” you shall wear the crown. “ If we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him;" but oh, remember, “if we deny him, he also will deny us” (2 Tim. ii. 12). Ask of your soul this one earnest question, “ Whom do I serve?” and oh, never rest till you know Jesus as the Captain of your salvation,-till you have enlisted on the Lord's side. If you are a votary of pleasure you are an enemy to Christ. His word tells us, “ If any man love the world the love of the Father is not in him :” and again, " The friendship of the world is enmity with God” (James iv. 4). Oh, leave the “ broad road that leadeth to destruction," and “strive to enter in at the strait gate.”
Pray earnestly. Remember, you must go through the working day of prayer before you can enter on the holiday of praise. Knock, seek, ask, with all the intensity of a soul in earnest to be saved, and God's word is pledged that the door of everlasting life shall be opened unto you.
Be not ashamed of taking up the cross, and serving under the banner of Christ. Remember his words of warning, “Whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."
HYMN OF THE CHRISTIAN SOLDIER.
and shall it ever be,-
J. F. SHAW, BOOKSELLER, SOUTHAMPTON ROW, AND
PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON ; AND W. INNES, BOOKSELLER, SOUTH HANOVER STREET, EDINBURGH.
London: J & W. RIDER, Printers, 14, Burtholomew Closc.
A DOWNWARD COURSE.
Some five-and twenty years ago a good deal of interest was excited in a religious circle with which the writer was identified, by the appearance in its midst of a soldier, a non-commissioned officer, and the schoolmaster of a regiment of cavalry which had just been stationed in the town. He was a man of more than average intelligence and education; and, what was more, there was everything in his demeanour to lead to the persuasion that he was a man of sincere piety. He had eommuned with different churches in the various towns in which his regiment had been stationed, by all of which he had been gladly welcomed, and from several of which he had received, on deparking, high testimonials. Besides the interest excited by the fact of a soldier making a profession of religion, the gentlemanliness of his demeanour and his social qualities secured for him a considerable measure of attention from a wide circle of christian friends. He showed every disposition to make himself exceedingly useful. There was a class of young men which met for the study of the Scriptures, and a vacancy having occurred in the office of president, he was unanimously chosen to fill it. So long as he retained the office, he discharged its duties with no little efficiency and usefulness. Gifted with more than ordinary powers of public address, his services were often in request at the various social meetings which were held in connection with the religious community to which he had attached himself, and at others which were held in connection with other churches. Considerable regret was felt when his regiment left the town; but as the time of his service was nearly at an end, he received from many quarters the most cordial and earnest expressions of desire that, when he obtained his discharge, he would return and establish himself in his profession as a teacher. He did so. He was welcomed most cordially; many persons interested themselves in his success ; and he secured almost immediately a large first class school. It was a gratification to all who knew him to see him raised so soon to such a position ; and there was every expectation that his influence would be steadily and powerfully exerted on behalf of all that was truly good. These expectations, however, were doomed to bitter disappointment. For some time everything about him seemed most satisfactory. His demeanour was consistent; and there was every indication of his continued willingness to engage in such departments of christian usefulness as were within the range of his opportunities. But by and by there appeared marks of a lessened interest in spiritual things. It might be that his prosperity had been more than he could bear; or it might be that other influences had tended to lead him astray. Whatever the cause, the result was soon manifest. Declension soon degenerated into positive inconsistency. Though he could scarcely be called a drunkard, there is reason to believe that he had acquired an increasing fondness for intoxicating liquors, and that otherwise he had fallen into grievous sin. It was impossible that such a course should be long concealed; and in process of time something transpired which showed how sadly he had fallen, and which rendered it necessary that he should be dealt with as an offender against the purity of the church, and excluded from its communion. After that time everything went wrong. There was a marked and rapid course of moral degeneracy; his school declined; and, ere long, his health failed. Some of his former friends, anxious to reclaim him, visited him in his adversity, but for a long period they could discern no indications of a truly humbled spirit. He spoke bitterly of the way in which he had been treated; and, evidently for the purpose of excusing his own fall, made insinuations of inconsistency which there is every to believe were groundless, against others whose christian reputation was unsullied. It was not till very nearly the close of his life that there were any marks of a softened spirit; but then an excellent and devoted minister of the gospel, who visited him, found him truly penitent. As might be expected, the anguish of his mind was very great. He felt that he had not only done grievous wrong to his family, but that he had inflicted irreparable injury on the cause of Christ, and had sinned most heinously against God. He deplored his wickedness most sorrowfully. “You think, sir," said he, “that I have been very wicked, and you are right; but you don't know how wicked I have been.” His visitor replied that he had not gone to him as his father-confessor, but as his friend, anxious to direct him to the true source of forgiveness and peace. He had the satisfaction of seeing him betake himself, as a broken-hearted penitent, to the cross, scarcely venturing to hope for mercy,