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years of folly and adventure led him to return to of those notions to which he had clung for years. the externally religious habits in which he had been They now stood dressed in their proper colours, and trained, and to observe the ordinances of public worship. loudly proclaimed their diabolical origin. A strong In the esteem of many he was now a good Christian, and restless desire to be savingly united to God and but his own confession is, that he felt no remorse His people drove them from their place in his heart, and in daily doing many things which he could not think of evidently prevailed in their room. “I saw," he says, in after life without shuddering.
“the absolute necessity there was of such a Saviour as He was only a Pharisee. Yet by degrees he cut off Jesus Christ, and was convinced there was no possibimany sins which were as dear to him as a right hand lity of being saved
way than by Him.” or a right eye. His struggles with his love of gambling While in this state of mind he dreamed a dream, were protracted and painful. First he vowed-and which produced results that made him regard it ever that very solemnly—that he would devote only a cer- after as the principal means of his conversion. tain time to cards, and no more ; but this resolution From the day of that dream, he began to live a failing, he vowed to play only for a certain sum, and life as different from that which went before as never to exceed it. When that would not do, he any two opposites can be.
“Old things were vowed still more resolutely to play only for recreation. done
and all things became new. Not,” he says, But all proved ineffectual. The more he resolved, the “that I obtained a complete victory over my domistronger grew the sin.
ncering sins all at once, or renounced all my false One Lord's day, when he was to take his place at opinions in one day; but a bitter and eternal war the table of the Lord, his conscience so condemned was instantly declared against the one, and as God him that he tried in vain to pacify it by a renewal of made the discovery to me, I let go the other. My his vows. “There is an Achan in the camp,” said mind was gradually enlightened to comprehend the conscience; "approach the table of the Lord if you glorious and important truths of the everlasting Gospel, dare.” Scared by these monitions, and yet unwilling and the eyes of my understanding were so opened to to part with his darling lust, he became like one discern spiritual things that I now read my Bible with possessed. Restless and uneasy, he fled to the fields to wonder and astonishment.” And as he read he grew vent his misery under the wide canopy of heaven. in grace and in the knowledge of God. Thoughts of future judgment filled him with indigna- “Surely nothing less than Divine power," he wrote tion against the “accursed thing" which was corrupt- | many years afterwards, "could in the space of a few ing and tormenting his soul, and, crying to God for months have thus effectually overthrown the massive help, he knelt down under a hedge, and taking heaven bulwarks of infidelity which Satan had been conand earth to witness, wrote on a piece of paper with his tinually strengthening for the space of six years in pencil a solemn vow that he would never play at cards my corrupt heart, or have bent my vicious and stubon any pretence whatsoever, so long as he lived. This born will to embrace the self-abasing doctrines of the was no sooner done than his burden was gone and Gospel. That such a change has been wrought, I am he was at peace.
But, alas! the reformation was as certain as of my own existence; so likewise am I all on the surface. While endeavouring to heal his confident that it was not in the smallest degree attrisoul in one place, ere he was aware, sin broke out in butable to any inherent strength of my own. God another.
alone must have been the Author of it; to Him thereAfter holding his commission in the Marines for fore be all the glory.” At the time of his conversion, some two years, the restoration of peace reduced him Andrew Burn was twenty-six years of age, and his to half-pay, and circumstances took him to France, future life was one both of exemplary virtue and of where he plunged again into all manner of wicked- enlightened piety. “Forty-three years,” to use the
It was by slow degrees, and after many hard- words engraved on his tomb, “he served his God as a fought battles with his conscience, that he succeeded faithful soldier of Jesus Christ.” in persuading himself that his vow to abstain from card-playing was rash, and need not be kept. The bondage of sin in which he was now held was
PRECEPT_PROMISE-PRAYER. strengthened by the inroads of scepticism. On his way home he spent six weeks in Paris, and indulged
PRECEPT. — Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likewithout remorse in every forbidden pleasure which that
minded, having the same love, being of one accord, city could present.
of one mind.
Philippians ii. 2. After an absence of six years, Andrew Burn
PROMISE.--He that hath My commandments, and found himself once more in England -not a proud
keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that Pharisee as when he left it, but a proud sceptic. He
loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will was not a little self-complacent that he had shaken off
love him, and will manifest Myself to him. the prejudices of education, and could look down with pity on well-meaning people who knew no better.
PRAYER. -0 continue Thy loving-kindness unto Soon after his return to England, the sudden death
them that know Thee: and Thy righteousness to of a beloved brother made him feel the worthlessness the upright in heart.
Psalm xxxvi. 10.
John xiv. 21.
I left you.
A SERMON IN A CHANDLER'S SHOP. piece of business, of which I had no expectation when
The Company who made some time since n a letter written by the celebrated essayist, John an establishment at Sierra Leone in Africa, have
Foster, while under the tutorship of the Rev. brought to England twenty black boys to receive
Joseph Hughes, he thus describes his labours : European improvements, in order to be sent back “I have been rather busy most of the time since I when they are come to be men, to attempt enlightencame hither. Many evenings I have spent in interest- ing the heathen nations of Africa ; and I have agreed ing company.
I have preached several Sabbaths, to take the care of them for a few months. You and made a journey of perhaps forty miles in the may then fancy me sitting in a master's chair, country to preach to heathens, at one place, in a sort with a look of consequence, encircled with twentyof coal-hole ; and to plain good saints at another, in a one black visages, pronouncing commands, asking little shop. I stood behind the counter, and some of questions, and graciously administering instructions. the candles hanging above touched my wig. I should Most of them have been several years instructed in a extremely like to preach in this style every evening in school at Sierra Leone before they came, and conthe week. This was not a casual adventure of my sequently speak English perfectly well. Their ages own; there has been for some time past a regular are chiefly from nine or ten to fifteen or sixteen. The plan, which they call a mission, in which a consider- domestic manager is an aged black woman, with able number of preachers are employed to go round her daughter. The elder is a singularly pious and the country to obscure places, where the Gospel scarcely happy woman. She has been in different parts of ever went before, to endeavour to establish a kind the world, has undergone severe trials, but professes of religious posts. For two weeks I have been to have felt, and evidently now feels, a degree of engaged, and shall remain so for some time, in another devout resignation most rarely to be met with.”
little row of houses, came to meet her with a troubled THORNY GROUND HEARERS.
look upon her face.
“Has anything gone wrong?” cried poor Mrs. Hol. HOSE were true words that the minister spoke,” croft, eagerly. “Anything the matter with the baby?”
said a poor woman, the hard-working mother "No," said her neighbour, "it's not the baby, and
of a large family, as she slowly went down it might have been a worse thing that has happened : the hill. “It is a world of sorrow, sure enough ; and but your Ned went sliding on the pond instead of troubles seem to come thicker every year. I wonder if going to school, and fell down and hurt himself—a bad
folk can find the comfort in religion that some of sprain it seems like ; well he did not break a limb, the the gentry do. There's Betsy's teacher, now, when she naughty lad!” comes and talks to her about her Sunday-school, how The poor mother clasped her hands in distress. cheerful and happy she looks; and yet, if people speak “And he was to have gone to his new place to-morrow ! the truth, it is not for want of troubles at home.
and my husband out of work ever since the frost ! *Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy Oh! neighbour, my troubles are more than I can laden, and I will give you rest.' Those are beautiful bear !" words. I'll look for them in Betsy's Testament when “Pray the Almighty to help you through them,” I get home; and,
returned the other, may be, if I pray
with that habitual to Him, the Lord
reference to God will help me to
which, amongst bear my burden, for it cannot be
times made lighter in
much, and some this world, I fear.”
little. And then her
But Mrs. Holcroft thoughts went to
said nothing in reher care - stricken
ply. She thought home, to her sick
to herself that it ly baby, her im
was hard to have provident hus
this trial, just as band, her boys
she had resolved growing up self
to lead a more rewilled and unruly;
ligious life. The her pale, weakly
sinful, unsubmisdaughters, know
sive heart within, ing little from
blinded by ignortheir infancy but
ance of God and
Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord poverty and priva
of my God, Thou art very great; Thou art
itself, whistion. She tried
clothed with honour and majesty.
pered that her proto recall more of
Who coverest Thyself with light as
mised amendment what the minister
with a garment: who stretchest out the
deserved had said. She felt
heavens like a curtain.
mark of Divine that the O Lord, how manifold are Thy works / in wisdom hast Thou
favour, rather than made them all: the earth is full of Thy riches. he spoke of was
the weight of an just what she
added trial. needed; and she
And therefore resolved that, come what would, this year should see when she entered her comfortless dwelling, and saw her a different woman : she would think more of her her husband's gloomy looks, and heard the moans of soul's concerns, and, since this world was worth so her disobedient boy, the holy thoughts of the previous little to her, she would begin to prepare for another hour faded from her mind and left no trace for futuro and a better life to come.
recollection. The seed had fallen among thorns; and Full of these good intentions, Mrs. Holcroft turned the cares of this world choked the Word, and she the corner of the lane, and came in sight of her own became unfruitful. cottage. Betsy, who had stayed at home to mind the Perhaps there may be among my readers some who baby while her mother went to church, was looking have troubles of the same kind as Mrs. Holcroft; and anxiously out at the door, and at the first glimpse of they may reasonably inquire, “How could she help her grey shawl and black bonnet darted quickly back taking such things to heart? And why was it wrong into the house. The mother instinctively felt that to do so? Does religion forbid a poor person to care something was amiss, and was hurrying along, when a for her family, or to grieve when misfortune comes neighbour, who had also been looking out from the upon those whom she loves best ?”
Dear reader, the answer is short. Christ says to us, “Seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteous
A GREAT DELIVERANCE. ness.” When Mrs. Holeroft went back to her home, and found a new trouble there, she should have again
He following incident, narrated in the remembered His promise to the weary and heavy laden.
American Messenger, occurred She should have held fast the good seed of the Word in
on Lake Erie, North America, her soul. A thought of the pitying Saviour, a silent
nearly forty years ago. prayer to Him for help, would have brought down
The principal personage in
the narrative was a Christian grace and strength from the Holy Spirit ; and so the afiliction, instead of putting her farther from God,
sailor, employed as first mate would have drawn her nearer to Him. Will you try
in a ship. Determined to lead the navifor yourself, to find out what I mean? Will you take
gation of the season, the ship left Buffalo your troubles to God in prayer, tell Him of all your immediately after the harbour was cleared of ice, supgriefs and hindrances, and ask Him to show you how posing, what was a quite usual occurrence, that the wind He may be sought, even by those who are most would carry the ice up the lake, break it up, and so oppressed by a load of earthly care?
disperse it that they would have no further trouble with it; but, to their great surprise, as they neared the upper end of the lake, they found themselves moving between
two immense fields of ice-that on the right extending, WHY STAND ALL THE DAY IDLE? apparently, to the Canadian shore, that on the left moving
before the wind, slowly, but surely, down upon them. Thy stand ye thus all day ?
The ship was not prepared for an Arctic encounter
like this, and how to escape from their perilous position Why squander thus their last remaining ray
was, of course, an anxious question. But two courses In indolent delay?
presento themselves, and whether either of these was
practicable remained to be seen. The first was to cross Since dawn the vineyard gate Hath stood wide open to each waiting one;
the ice, and so make their way to the Canadian shore. Many have entered, and their work begun,
Our hero volunteered the attempt to reach the land. Who rich rewards at set of sun await :
It was, of course, fraught with fearful hazard; but he It is not yet too late.
succeeded in making the exploration and in returning It is the Master's call
safely to the ship, but only to report that the ice was That now would rouse you with its earnest word :
entirely detached from the shore, and that escape in Sorrow and wonder in its tones are heard,
this direction was impossible. That proffer of heaven's joys and treasures all
The second method was to reach the open water On heedless ears should fall.
through the channel between the ice-fields in the ship's Hark! what a pleading cry
boats; but this idea was soon abandoned, for, at the rate Comes from the dark-browed hosts of India's land, the ice was moving before the wind, it was very certain the Comes from the dwellers upon Afric's sand,
two fields would meet long before the boats could reach Comes from the climes where martyrs' ashes lie
open water, and, if caught, they would be crushed like A low, despairing sigh.
egg-shells. What was to be done? Officers, sailors, Nor yet from these alone,
passengers looked in silence and with pallid cheeks But from our crowded cities' lanes and haunts, upon the approaching foe. In front, as far as could be Where crouches poverty, where folly flaunts,
seen, there was nothing but that narrow channel, and Where every hideous vice is broadly shown,
no wind to carry them through to the open water. And virtue shrinks unknown.
Under these circumstances the captain called the Yet, side by side with these,
passengers and as many of the crew as could be spared A thousand churches in their beauty rise ;
from the deck into the cabin, made a plain statement A thousand spires stand pointing to the skies,
of their danger, and of his entire want of power to And from their bells, on every Sabbath breeze,
afford them relief. Though not a professing Christian Ring out “good will and peace.”
he said, “We are in the hands of God; if He does not Ah, what a mournful cry!
interpose for us there is no help, no hope. If any of “No man hath cared for us—none bid us come; None told us of Christ's mercy, or heaven's home;
you know how to pray, I wish you would do so.” None taught us how to live or how to die ;
There sat that despairing company with bowed heads None pointed us on high.”
in dead silence, so still you could hear your heart beat.
In that terrible moment the pious mate raised his head, Christian, no longer wait;
and just in a whisper said, “Let us pray.” Out to the street and lane and thronging mart : Echo your Master's words from heart to heart;
Officers, passengers, sailors at once quietly went Call every lingering one to bear his part;
down upon their knees, and naught was heard except Short is the time, and the reward is great :
now and then a deep-drawn sigh or a half-suppressed It is not yet too late.
30b. Then the converted sailor, in simple, child-like language, told, in the ears of Him who holds the “Only that Christ died for them as well as for uswinds and the sea in the hollow of His hand, their we are at least bound together by the need of the same exposure and danger, the interest they each bad in their salvation." own lives and the lives and happiness of others, fathers, There was no reply to this, for just then the man mothers, wives, children, and friends; humbly con- came in again to hang up a lantern, and as he stooped fessing their sins and just exposure to pain and penalty; to brush up some ashes about the stove, Clara hearů a and then, with tearful penitence, and loving trustful low sigh, and she was convinced that she ought to ness, supplicating mercy and deliverance through the speak to him. crucified and exalted Redeemer.
“You must find it very lonely here, sir,” she said, After the prayer the captain and mate went on deck, after an instant's hesitation. and who can tell what were their thoughts when they The man looked up surprised, as if he thought, saw that, during the solemn moment of penitent “And what does anybody care if it is?" then he prayer, the wind had changed, and now, instead of answered,“
answered, “Yes, miss, awful lonesome I call it ; blowing the crushing ice-field upon them, it was especially ”—and his voice faltered—“since my wife blowing the ship slowly through that open channel! died.”
The mate looking aloft at the nearly naked yards, “ Your wife died—and here!” said, “Shall I put some more canvas on her, captain ?" “ Yes, miss, and we had to bury her there, just within
“No," said the captain," don't touch her; some one the woods. Lucy-she's my oldest—likes it, because else is managing the ship.”
there's an evergreen climbing round that big tree, and And so the unseen Hand did lead them to the open she said it would be cheerful like when everything water, and to their desired haven in safety.
else was withered. But it seems so bleak and hard ” The incident, of the truth of which the reader can —and the man shuddered—“to think of her lying rest assured, shall be left to bear uninterpreted its own there." testimony to the truth that God hears and answers “Was your wife a Christian ?” asked the teacher. prayer. And therefore it is written that "men ought “Oh yes, miss, indeed she was.” always to pray, and not to faint.”
“ Then you must not think of her there, but in a home far more beautiful than we can imagine. Don't
you believe in her Saviour ?” A WORD IN SEASON.
“Well, miss, there it is; I don't know. You see,
I had to come here; I couldn't get anything better to TRAIN stopped at a lonely station do, and there's no one for a body to speak to, and it
on the edge of a forest clearing in isn't much I can teach my two girls; and somehow I America. Two young
ladies were feel out of the way, as if God didn't care for me here, helped out, two trunks tossed upon and sometimes I think I'd be more in the way of being the platform, and the train moved a Christian somewhere else.” on, leaving the girls stranded, as “Did you ever read in the Bible the story of blind it were, upon an inhospitable-look- Bartimeus ? .” ing shore. There was but one tiny “Yes, miss; the children like that." log-house in sight, and far on to- “Have you never thought that all that poor man wards the horizon stretched the
could do was to beg, and so begging became his duty, bleak, barren prairie. The travel- and as he sat in the way of his duty, Jesus passed by? lers, however, were familiar with the spot, for they If Christ is to be found in one place more readily than were teachers in a school, thirty miles distant, reached another, it will be in the place in life to which God by a branch line forming here a junction with a great has appointed us. Wherever we are, the opportunity central route, and were returning to their labours after for repentance is always ours, and through the blood the winter holidays. A man had appeared as the train of Jesus, which cleanses from all sin, God has written stopped, who first examined the trunks, and then now is the time for pardon and salvation.” entered the solitary room of the station and reple- “Do you really think it means all of us ?” nished the fire.
“Yes, all. Give up everything but belief in God's “Oh, this is a terrible glum-looking place,” said the willingness and Christ's power. He is waiting for you, elder of the two as he left the room. “That man looks yearning to receive you, if you will only come.” surly and ill-natured, and I don't wonder.”
“Bless your kind heart, miss!” said the man, with "Do you think so ?” answered her companion. “I tearful eyes, as the expected train arrived. “ With all thought he looked troubled, and was questioning the people coming and going, nobody has said a word whether it would do to speak to him.”
to me like that.” “Nonsense, Clara! The man is cross, like enough, A month or two after, Clara received a letter in an because he has to keep sober in this out-of-the-way unknown hand, and one evidently not used to correden ; and it isn't a very proper thing to be making spondence. It contained simply these words : free with people with whom we have so little in “God bless you again, niss! It is not lonesome common.”
I've found Him-Jesus has passed by.”