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It is a pleasant thing, when pilgrims are travelling the same road together, to beguile the time by the relation of their past adventures. A Zionbound pilgrim lately gave me an interesting history, in nearly the following words :
“Often, in the days of my youth, have I gazed on fragments of ruddy coral, goodly shells and pearls, costly stones and curious sea-weed, and thought of those wrestlers of the ocean, who dive down to the caverns of the deep in search of pearls.
“ The wild wonders of the ocean, explored by the pearl-diver, in his painful struggles to win the treasures of the raging ocean, have been at such seasons present with me ;-the broken ship and half-buried anchor; the monsters of the world of waters; the sharp, craggy rock; the deep, dark cavern ; the glittering spar; the sparkling gem, and light reflecting pearl : “ They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters : these see the works of the Lord, and his
wonders in the deep;' and he who pursues the wild and life-wasting calling of a diver, has scenes of terror and beauty presented to his eyes that others never saw. I speak of these things feelingly, for I myself have been a diver ; but do not mistake me. Pearls though I have, costly beyond all price, yet they were not brought up from the mighty deep: listen, and you shall hear my relation.
“For twenty years of my life, I was a diver in books, and brought up stores of knowledge that to me were prizable, gems of thought and costly pearls of reflection : but all this time I was as much a stranger to myself as I was to the bottom of the sea. I sought my own pleasure, I delighted to hear some new thing, and to see some new sight; but there was one sight I could never see, and that was, the sinfulness of my own heart.
“One sabbath day, as I sat in the house of God, it pleased the Holy Spirit to take of the things spoken by a zealous and faithful minister of the gospel, and apply them with power to my soul. The word of the Lord was 'quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow,' and was ‘a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.' The man of God seemed to smite me with the
rod of his mouth,' and to dash me in pieces 'like a potter's vessel. That sermon, for the first time in my life, set me diving into my own bosom. I descended, not altogether unattended by the light of His Spirit, who will search Jerusalem with candles,' into the deep caverns of my own evil heart. What I found there, I will not make known, nor attempt to describe the terrors that filled my soul at the discovery. Blessed be the God of mercy! in my distress I became a diver in the Scriptures of eternal truth; and, though for a long time I was unsuccessful, through his good. ness who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, I became possessed of the pearl of repentance, and cried out, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner !' Luke xviii. 14.
Though I then possessed a gem more precious than the gold of Ophir, in the pearl of repentance, yet for a long time I knew not the value of it, nor felt any comfort in its possession, until one day a kind friend, by his encouraging and Christian counsel, set me diving again, no longer into the troubled sea of my own guiltiness, nor the dark, frowning waves of God's holy law, but into the boundless ocean of the everlasting promises of the gospel. Another pearl was then added to my treasure, and that was the pearl of hope ; so that I was enabled to rejoice in the
blessed assurance of Ilim who spake as never man spake: Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out,' John vi. 37.
“ The time came, however, when I left off to do business in great waters ;' for things went very smoothly and well with me. I began to think, with David, that the Lord had made my mountain to stand so fast, that I should never be moved.' I began to be less careful, and then was less prayerful, in my heavenly walk. This carelessness and self-confidence by degrees brought in great backsliding of heart, and barreness of soul ; and where it would have ended, I cannot tell : but it pleased a faithful God, who had set his love
upon me, to visit me with the rod. The dark clouds of his providence gathered above me, and a heavy storm broke over my head. One dearer far to me than my own life was suddenly snatched away, and I was left a lonely pilgrim on the earth. Then, indeed, was my soul overwhelmed within me; and, being exceedingly tossed in the tempest of affliction, my cry was, “ All thy waves and thy billows are gone over me!' Again I became a diver; and, in the deep waters of adversity, by the mercy of a covenant God, who made all these bitter things to work together for my eternal good, the pearl of submission was added to my treasures :
• The Lord gave,' said I, and the Lord hath taken away ; blessed be the name of the Lord.'
“In this great deep,' I saw more of the works of the Lord and his wonders than I had ever known before. He made all his goodness to pass before me, and showed me wherefore he contended
I had departed from him. I had left my first love. I had joined myself unto idols, and mine eyes were turned earthward; but in these deep waters the Lord lifted them up, and then I saw ‘no man, save Jesus only.' Two other pearls were obtained through mercy-the pearls of love, and of Christian assurance. Yes! when the winds and waves were stilled, there was
a great calm ;' and in that calm my soul could say unto the Lord, not only, “Whom have I in heaven but thee?' but also, “There is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. These, then, are some of the pearls which, through mercy, I possess.
“I must now say a few words about one pearl which I have kept back till the last, because, in comparison thereof, all the pearls I have spoken of are worthless as the small dust of the earth; and, as my Lord knows how apt I am by my waywardness to lose or injure the pearls and ornaments in my possession, he hus placed this one Pearl of pearls, which is the sum and substance of all my