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THE RETURN OF THE ROBIN.
BY W ORLAND BOURNE.
Thou art back from the sunny Southern land,
With a song of the flowery Spring,
On the plume of thy lightning wing; 'Mid the flowers, where they wait for a trancing kiss,
And the spray of the waving tree,
The song of the gay and free!
The land of the fruitful vine ?
That giveth thy blessings and mine?
Where the proud magnolia waves ?
In lands of the lost Indian braves ?
Of the tall old pine near thy nest?
While he mocked and thou didst thy best?
And the forest-band heard his choir,
Fill up to thy heart's desire ?
Where oft thou hast been of yore,
And sing of thy garnered lore?
At the door of thy homestead seen?
Has thy home in the cypress been?
Thy notes are the notes of Spring!
Thou hast come to the North to bring,
'Mid the cares of my sterner way,
And the hope of a brighter day.
For its winds blow sad and chill
From the clime where the dews distil;
Of the birds and the holy flowers,
Restoring my peaceful hours.
FALSE REFUGES AND VAIN EXCUSES.
BY TO ELL.
What are you swearing at, young man ?
It is none of my business l_but it is my business. I am a sworn follower of that God whose name you blaspheme, and an insult to Him is an insult to me.
You will do as you please ?
If only you would, but you will not. I am certain it would please you much better to have the hope of gaining heaven than the certainty of reaching hell. Certain, am I, that you would please yourself much better if you would respect yourself more, and instead of using your tongue to utter curses or obscene jests, would use it to praise and honor your God.
You are your own master ?
Wrong again—you are no such thing. On the contrary you are the servant of the hardest master the world has ever known. One who repays his best and most faithful servants with continual curses—who heaps burden after burden— task after task upon them, and to crown all, leads them at last to endless destruction. You are not your own master ; far from it. You are a servant-a slave of the devil !
You are free to choose your own course?
Now you are partly right-you are free relatively, not absolutely. Free to choose whom you will serve; but not free in the sense of independence. You are left free to choose your master, but a master you must have. You are left free to choose good or evil—to follow the promptings of the Spirit of all truth, or, to fall in willingly with the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil. But just because of this freedom, because a merciful God has made it possible for you to choose whom you will serve-God or the Devil—for this very reason will your condemnation be the greater if you deliberately reject the service of God, despise his offers of mercy, revile and blaspheme the name of His Holy Son,-choosing darkness rather than light-the service of the devil rather than that of God.
Go preach to some of your Church members, they are as bad as I, and much greater hypocrites. That
may be true ; but what benefit is it to you ? How will it help you that some church members are hypocrites ? Will their guilt make you innocent ? Will their betrayal of God's cause cover or atone for your rebellion ? Not at all. Each one of us shall answer for himself at the judgment; and it will not help you or me to say then, that many were worse than we, nor will it be much consolation that the company which surrounds, us is large and that even some of them perish with God's solemn vows upon them. It may be true that you know some Christians who do not walk worthily—who dishonor and betray the master they have sworn to serve; but surely their guilt will not avail to
cleanse you, or in any manner secure your salvation. Think for a moment who it is that these hypocrites betray. It is your Creator and Redeemer as well as theirs. It is He who formed you and gave you life-who has ever preserved you and given you every good thing you possess. It is He who offered Himself a sacrifice for your sins-who took upon Himself our human nature—suffered in it as a man, and as a man satisfied, the requirements of God's justice, making it possible for us to be received of the Father again as children. He it is whom they betray; and should not this betrayal, the ingratitude it manifests towards Him who offers to redeem you from the curse of the fall and the power of the devil-should it not, instead of affording you an excuse for serving His adversary, be a strong incentive, a powerful reason, to you to yield yourself to Him, and instead of making common cause with these hypocrites, whom you despise, fight on the side of Jesus, that in Him you may find eternal life. Nothing is more certain than that you must finally rest in heaven or writhe in hell-nothing plainer than that all men are divided, as to whom they serve, between God and the devil, and nothing is more clearly taught in the scriptures than that our eternal destiny is determined here in this world during our mortal lives. If you acknowledge these things, then why not accept the offers of pardon and salvation ?
Because you are not worthy ?
Not worthy of salvation! Jesus Christ, our blessed Saviour, did not think thus, else would he never have left the bosom of His Father to suffer in the flesh and die for your redemption. He thought us worthy; and to secure us this salvation, He endured the wrath of God-conquered death and hell and drove back our great enemy the devil, by whom our race was tempted to their rebellion against the Father. It is not for you
that you are not worthy. The Saviour has already decided that you are worthy of salvation, by His coming to save you ; and it remains but for you to feel that you are in need of this salvation, and that without it you are lost, and to accept it as freely as it is offered, without money or price, in the shape of good works on morality. Good works are consequences of this salvation—not causes of it; they follow it, but cannot produce it. If we accept this great salvation, if we fall in with the counsel of God in favor of our redemption, we must not do it upon our own merit or good works ;—it is secured to us alreadyfull and complete--by Him who is our salvation, and all the power of Heaven-all the strength of the mighty Redeemer is pledged to us against the assaults of the world, the flesh and the devil.
When I have conquered some of my evil habits I will follow Christ!
Shall the sick man say, I will take medicine when I am well? Shall the hungry man say, I will eat when I am no longer hungry; or shall the weak man say I will exercise when I am strong ? No it is the sick who need medicine; it is the hungry who need food ; and the weak who need exercise; and so it is with you. If you remain out of the kingdom of Christ, you will never get wiser or holier than you now are ; because wisdom and holiness belong to the Lord, and it is only in Him that you can attain to any degree of either. The means which He has rdained for the cultivation of every grace are all within His kingdom,
the church ; it is only by and through these means that you can grow in grace and knowledge, or perform any acceptable service unto God.
But cannot I pray to Him, and gain strength and be saved outside of the Church.
The Lord our God is wise and never does anything in vain. If he intended that men should be saved just as well outside the church as in it, He would not have instituted the church, and given to men ordinances and means of grace, The right to baptize and to administer the Holy Communion of the Body and Blood of our Saviour is only in the Church, which he declares to be His Body, and without these sacraments, without the use of the means of grace, faith in Jesus is mere belief-lifeless, dry and dead. If that which you believe to be repentance does not lead to obedience, depend upon it you are deceived. Would a father believe his child, who would profess sorrow for a fault and yet refuse to obey him ? Would a thief be penitent for his sin, and yet retain that which he had stolen? No-the penitent child obeys the voice of his father, and the thief restores the stolen goods; and so with men when they see themselves as rebels against God, when they behold themselves in possession of lusts and appetites, warring against His purity-straightway will they humble themselves before Him in repentance and obey His commands, in that He has said they shall be baptized for the remission of their sins, and shall partake of the emblems of his broken Body and shed Blood for the nourishing of the new life they receive from Him in baptism. “Except a man eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of man there is no life in Him," says the scripture ; and no man supposes for a moment that these sacraments can be found outside the church. The rankest infidel would pause before he would dare pronounce the name of the triune God in the form of baptism; and where is the man daring enough to dispense, in mockery, the bread and wine of the Holy Supper! In the church alone is lodged the power to use these sacraments, and to ignore them is to ignore the church, and to ignore the church is to deny the scriptures and defy God, who has declared that the gates of hell shall never prevail against her. As the great Head of the Church was bruised and spit upon during His earthly life, as He endured the contradiction of sinners, was wounded and scourged and betrayed, yet still remained the same divine human Saviour throughout it all, even so His body, the church militant, tho' torn by distractions, tho' despised by some and cursed by others, tho' bearing oftentimes upon her bosom the filth cast there by a defeated and desperated devil, or a depraved and rebellious world, tho' betrayed by many a Judas among her apostles, yet still is she the bride of the Lamb, still is she the bearer of salvation to men, embracing within her sacred borders all that is good, all that is holy, all that is beautiful in the whole world.
All that we know of God, and all that we know of His will toward us, we know from the scriptures; and if you can find one single promise to those who do not accept His covenant, and yield to the requirements of His will
, then you may hope for salvation outside His church. We can demand nothing of Him; all we can get must be given to us freely, and all we ever will get will come in the way which He has appointed. Have faith, therefore, in His promises; renounce all merit of your own; care nothing for the number of hypocrites which your fallible judgments
tells you are in the church ; cease to hope or look for redemption in any other way than that which God has appointed; yield yourself in obedience to His will ; and you will be delivered from the dominion of the devil, and your own sinful and fallen human nature, and will become a new creature in Christ Jesus, and an heir of immortality and bliss.
HERE AND THERE.
FROM THE GERMAN OF LANGE.
“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”—1 Cor. 2. 9.
What no human eye hath seed,
What no mortal ear hath beard,
In her noblest flights conferred
Fades before my closing eye,
Heaven's own scenery shall lie ;
Life's pure river, murmuring low,
Lost to earth long time ago
Many a joyful sight was given,
Many a lovely vision here,
Friendship's smile, amiction's tear;
When upon my wearied ear
Earth's last echoes faintly die,
All the chorus of the sky;