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slag, and stones. He returned with a light heart. But he recollected that he had left the staves of the cask in the quarry; and as there was no need to let them go to waste, his first act in the morning was to return and gather
Now, ye busy shopmen, and ye more noble merchants, say, before the only Witness who beheld that act under the night heaven, have you no P.D. which ought to be scattered before you go to sleep? Your thought turns towards something ; you were taught it; men worthy in their way justify it; you are able to laugh others out of their scruples about it; you argue with yourself till it appears
“fair enough ;" but do for once just go to your private room and sit down and think. Be rational for a moment or two; do not refuse to converse alone with your conscience and your God;
ay, go down upon your knees and pray for light, for it is no small matter to be doing wrong. You may smile at it, you may gloss it over, you may “pooh-pooh” warning; but wrong is wrong, and there is a Judge above us; wrong is wrong, and it will find you out. Be sure this world is not a lawless common, where all who can may plunder and go harmless; it is a kingdom with a strong, just King, whose laws cannot be broken, whose subjects cannot be ill treated in His
sight without bringing punishment upon the offender. BE
This world of ours contains a great deal of P.D. The shipowner has a ship which has become too old to carry sugar from the West Indies without damaging it by leakage ; so he fits her out as a passenger ship, and advertises her for Sydney as "the well-known, favourite, fast-sailing ship;” that is P.D.
The corn-merchant has a cargo damaged in a gale at “P.D."
sea; but as the underwriters will not pay unless the n Mr. Budgett's early days pepper was under a captain can swear that the vessel struck, the merchant,
heavy tax; and in the trade, universal tradition who was snug in his bed when the gale blew, tries to
said that out of the trade everybody expected it show the captain that just off Flamborough Head, the to be mixed. In Mr. Budgett's shop stood a cask keel did actually touch the ground, and that therefore labelled P.D., containing something very like pepper
he may safely take the requisite oath; that is P.D. dust, which it was usual to mix with the genuine The warehouseman is standing by a parcel of goods pepper.
The trade tradition had obtained for the which have been on his hands for some weeks; a cusapocryphal P.D. a place amongst the standard articles tomer enters and is received with smiles. “Are these of the shop, and on the strength of that tradition new ?” “ The latest things we have-just out; in fact, it was vended for pepper by men who thought they I almost thought you would look in to-day, and have this were honest. But as Samuel went forward in life, moment had the parcel opened for you ;” this is P.D. his ideas on trade morality grew clearer; this P.D. The provision merchant finds that Cork butters of began to give him much discomfort. He thought upon No. 11 brand "open” well, and changes the brand to it till he was satisfied that, after all that could be said, No. 1; that is P.D. A dealer selling to a man he knows the thing was wrong. Arrived at this conclusion, he to be “shaky,” makes a mistake on purpose, so that the felt that no blessing could be upon the place while it debt seems larger than it really is; if, therefore, he must was there. He instantly decreed that P.D. should take a dividend, he will have it on more pounds than are perish. It was night; but back he went to the shop, due to him ; and that is P.D. If you go on, you will be took the hypocritical cask, carried it out to the quarry, astonished how P.D. is in most places. In fact, if some then staved it, and scattered P.D. among the clods, and just power were to-night to take all the P.D. casks in
this great shop we call the world, and stave them in, affords greater benefits. It begins and ends with the there would be such a confusion to-morrow morning, day; it prepares us for joy and sorrow; it is a refuge that the whole shop would have to be re-arranged. from the storm and tempest; it is as “ rivers of water
Your business, just now, is to search out P.D. under in a dry place,” and as the “shadow of a great rock your own roof, and to be sure you do not let it
in a weary land." You may as well expect a seed to night there. Out with it !-a curse is in it. Stave the grow without soil, or a plant to flourish without water, cask in pieces. Scatter the cheat to the night winds. as hope to increase in Christian graces without prayer. Let the All-seeing Eye behold its dispersion; then go A prayerless man is a defenceless man, a weak man, and crave pardon for every instance in the past wherein and an uncertain man; but a prayerful man is an you have had anything to do with fraud.
Do not armed man, a strong man, and a steady man. mock the Almighty by asking pardon for the sin of Do you know practically what prayer is ?-earnest to-day, when you are holding the same sin in your prayer, urgent prayer, heartfelt
r? Do you know right hand for repetition to-morrow. Pardon for the the hope of prayer, the confidence of prayer, the peace past is freely offered ; but think not that God will for- of prayer, and the joy of prayer? There is as much give sins you will not forsake. If with a penitent heart difference between going unwillingly and willingly you turn from your evil ways, He is merciful to forgive to the throne of grace as there is between creeping you; but the righteous God loveth righteousness. and flying. The one is like journeying by a broad
wheeled wagon, and the other like travelling by the
railroad. The one oppresses the heart, the other TRUST IN JESUS.
relieves it; the one is an irksome duty, the other a
high, a holy, and a delightful privilege. s every day Thy mercy spares
All God's people are people of prayer; they cannot Will bring its trials and its cares,
live without prayer : he who does not pray is either O Saviour, till my life shall end,
robbing his own soul of comfort, or God of His glory. Be Thou my Counsellor and Friend : Teach me Thy precepts all divine,
Saints ought to pray heartily that they may ever be And be Thy great example mine.
mindful of the grace they have received ; and sinners
ought, if possible, to pray still more earnestly that Should poverty's consuming blow
they may be made partakers of the everlasting inheritLay all my worldly comforts low, And neither help nor hope appear,
He who has
ance prepared for the people of God. My steps to guide, my heart to cheer:
neither committed sin nor partaken of pardoning Lord, pity and supply my need,
mercy may do without prayer—but where is he to be For Thou, on earth, wast poor indeed.
found? The sinner has urgent need to pray for for
giveness, and the saint that he may evermore be When each day's scenes and labours close, And wearied nature seeks repose,
grateful. With pard’ning mercy richly blest,
When Moses prayed unto the Lord, the fire was Guard me, my Saviour, while I rest;
quenched. When Elias prayed, no rain fell on the earth And as each morning sun shall rise,
for three years and six months. David would never Oh, lead me onward to the skies.
have been such a man for praising God, had he not And, at my life's last setting sun,
been a man of prayer; but he gave himself unto My conflicts o'er, my labours done,
prayer : “ Evening, morning, and at noon will I pray," Jesus, Thy heavenly radiance shed,
said he. Daniel kneeled upon his knees three times To cheer and bless my dying bed;
a day and prayed. Peter went up upon the house-top And from death's gloom my spirit raise
to pray; and as to Paul, his recommendation is to “ To see Thy face and sing Thy praise.'
“Rejoice evermore," and "pray without ceasing.” There is every reason why we should
and no single reason in the world why we should not DO YOU PRAY?
Would you wish to be humble, forbearing, cono you pray? I hope and trust you do ; but siderate, kind, wise, and useful ?— Then pray. Would
the form of prayer and the spirit of prayer you wish patiently to endure your trials, and gratefully
take the thing for granted. The form of to obtain the mastery over your passions ?--then pray. prayer is the shadow, the spirit of prayer is the sub- Prayer is as powerful to prevent evil as to do good; stance. He who is contented with the form may be repress sin as to promote piety ; to help us on our said to feed on husks, while he who has the spirit way to heaven as to smooth our paths on earth. The feasts on the fatted calf. One of the best of all influence of prayer runs through a man's life, making prayers is, “ Teach me, O Lord, how to pray !” the rough plain and the crooked straight. Prayer makes
As there is no Christian duty more necessary than a man feel that he is with God, and that God is with prayer, including praise, neither is there any that him. Do you pray?
Sir Robert Grant,
It is said that "prayer moves the Hand that moves the universe ;” a comment on the text, “ The effectual
NEVER DESPAIR. fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." What a thought that the Almighty Lord of heaven
N a populous town lived an old
man and his wife. He was a and earth should take notice of the prayers of His sinful creatures, and, still more, that He should regard
cobbler by trade, and she a them favourably, and grant their petitions ! What
poor suffering little woman, a thought, that He should hear us, answer us,
who had grown so weak as to comfort us, strengthen us, protect us, guide us
be obliged to keep her bed,
and who needed so much by His counsel, and afterwards receive into
nourishment that her husband His glory! Surely all the affection and faculties of
found it difficult to pay the our hearts and souls should be called forth in our
rent and keep clear of debt. prayers. Sometimes God in mercy refuses our prayers,
One Saturday evening the
cobbler finished mending a for we know not what we ask. What ! if a spoiled child asked his parent for poison berries, will he
pair of boots and took them
home. give them ? No! Neither will our Heavenly Father
Nearly an hour passed before he returned. give us what is not for our good. We must pray that
Meanwhile, the little woman wondered what kept her we may be moved to pray with submission to God's
John so long absent. At last he entered the room holy will; we must pray with a willingness to receive looking very much discomfited, and flung himself into
the arm-chair by her bedside, saying, “It's no use at once, or to wait long for the fulfilment of our prayers; and we must pray, believing that there
trying any more, Sally; I shall give it all up.” may be as much mercy in denying as in granting
“ What's the matter, John?” our requests.
“No money for the boots, and no Sunday's dinner. Do you find a difficulty in prayer? This is another
It's no use for me to try any more-people won't be reason why you should persevere : your Heavenly fair, and I'm tired of life.” Father knows your difficulty. Do you feel your
“Oh, John, don't despair! we shall be helped someunworthiness to be permitted to pray ? call to mind
how; God never fails us." the worthiness of Him in whose name you pray. God
“He will now; the man won't pay for his boots will do for His sake that of which you are unworthy.
to-night. He kept me waiting all this time for the The less worthy you are, the greater need you have
money, and then his little girl came and told me her
father would send it. You know what that means, to pray, and the greater is God's mercy in accepting your prayer. The more you reflect on prayer, and
Sally; it has often been said before, and the cupboard
has been bare on Sunday.” the more you practise prayer, the higher value will you set on prayer. Do you pray ?
“John, John, it's harder to see you lose faith than But if you do pray, what do you pray for? We
to go without a Sunday's dinner. Cheer up, and pray should pray for those things that we most require.
with me that something may come yet.” The hungry want food, the naked clothing, the ignorant
“What's the use, Sally? Where's it to come from ?” knowledge, the sick health, the bewildered a guide,
“God can send it,” replied the brave little woman. and the sinner a Saviour ! Do you pray for what you
The words were scarcely spoken before a tap came
at the door, and the same little girl who had given the want? Do you pray that God of His mercy would
cobbler the message which sent him home despairing give you what you require, and make you what you ought to be ?
appeared. "Father's so sorry he didn't pay for his Do you pray for those you love, that they may be
boots when you brought them,” she said ; "he wasn't made partakers of the same blessings as yourself 8. D. quite sure he could manage it before Monday, but
mother thought you might be glad of it, so I've you pray for God's Holy Spirit, that you may know and do the will of God? Do you pray that you may brought the two shillings. Father hopes he hasn't be kept from all evil, and guided into all good ? Do
put you out.”
John could only nod his head, and Sally say you pray that your sins may be forgiven and your souls saved through Jesus Christ ? Do you pray in
“ Thank you.” the
As soon as the door closed on the child the cobbler very spirit of dependence, faith, love, and thankfulness ?—If so, be assured that He who heareth and knelt down at the bedside and prayed that he might answereth prayer, will hear and answer you. Prayer never despair again, but that he might trust in God, is one of our greatest earthly blessings, and one of
even if darker days were in store. And Sally clasped which the world cannot deprive us. Every one may
her hands together, and added very reverently, “Dear pray who has anything to pray for :
Father, forgive us, and teach us ever to remember that
in all the long years of our married life Thou hast Prayer is a blest employ that throws
never failed us; and therefore we should be ashamed A heavenly balm o'er earthly woes; Improves our gifts, hy Mercy given,
for one moment to lose our faith in Thy loving care. And helps us on our way to heaven!
LIE life of John Howard presents in which he sailed was captured by the French, and many instances of noble self-denial.
the passengers, including Howard, were carried to No man ever more fully acted on Brest, and thrown into prison. There he learned by the principle, “ This one thing I do." experience the sorrows of the prisoner; and in his cell Steadily did he walk in the footsteps was laid the foundation of that work of mercy which
of that brightest of all examples, subsequently brought relief to so many captives. The our Divine Lord, whose life was an illus- dungeon in which he was confined was a most wretched tration of the words—“I must be about place. He had to sleep upon straw strewn over the
My Father's business.” While on a voyage stone floor, and he and his fellow-captives had a leg to Lisbon, just after the terrible earthquake, the vessel of mutton thrown to them, as it might be into a tiger's