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UPON HEARING OF MUSIC BY NIGHT. How sweetly doth this music sound in this dead season! In the day time it would not, it could not, so much affect
All harmonious sounds are advanced by a silent darkness. Thus it is with the glad tidings of salvation; the gospel never sounds so sweet as in the night of persecution, or of our own private affliction : it is ever the same, the difference is in our disposition to receive it. O God, whose praise it is to give songs in the night, make my prosperity conscionable, and my crosses cheerful.
U PON GNATS IN THE SUN.
What a cloud of gnats is here! Mark their motion; they do nothing but play up and down in the warm sun, and sing; and when they have done, sit down, and sting the next hand or face they can seize upon. See here a perfect emblem of idleness and detraction. How many do thus miserably misspend their good hours, who, after they have wasted the succeeding days in vain and merely unprofitable pastime, sit down and backbite their neighbours! The bee sings, too, sometimes, but she works also ; and her work is not more admirable than useful: but these foolish flies do nothing but play and sing to no purpose; even the busiest and most active spirits must recreate, but to make a trade of sport, is for none but lazy wantons.
The bee stings too, but it is when she is provoked; these draw blood unoffended, and sting for their own pleasure. I would be glad of some recreation, but only to enable and sweeten my work; I would not but sting sometimes, where is just cause of offence. But God bless me from those men who will ever be either doing nothing, or ill.
SOCIALISM SILENCED. IT makes one sad to find how widely the canker of Socialism has spread amongst our working men. In our large towns, there are few factories or workshops into which it has not crept, and it does most michief where there is most igno
Sometimes one pert, prating, forward fellow will dupe and mislead a whole set of men, because he talks boldly, uses big words, and seems to be very knowing and deep. What a pity it is that our plain men are not more of them able to handle the evidences of Christianity, and to beat such pretenders at their own weapons! There is, however, one way, and that, after all, the best way, in which the simplest and least learned believer may meet and put down the subtlest infidel—a way in which he may face the scorner, as David the uncircumcised Philistine, with nothing save a sling and a stone, yet in "the name of the Lord of hosts,” be “ bold as a lion.” The way I mean is, to contend, not so much by words, as by deeds; not so much by the logic of the lip, as by the logic of the life.
I shall best make my meaning plain by a simple account, which I can promise you shall be quite true, because it will be about what lately happened in my own parish, and partly under my own eye. John R- is a dyer, who lives in a corner of
district. Some years ago he was as bad a character as you can well conceive; a regular drunkard, a blasphemer, a cruel husband, a noted boxer, a practical infidel. As is usual in such cases, his house was the home of wretchedness-unfurnished and deserted; his wife was in rags, his cupboard empty, and debt and shame were his constant companions. About three years ago, however, he came under the notice of an assistant of mine. His wife was induced to open her house for a cottage lecture, and the husband, after a time, began to steal into the back part of the dwelling during the little services, and to lend a halfunwilling ear to what was going on. It pleased Him, “who leads the blind by a way that they know not,” to reach his conscience in this manner.
He became very uneasy, and, spite of his mean clothes, began to attend church. For a time his anguish of mind was greater than can be told. But, at last, that Saviour who came “to bind up the broken-hearted,” manifested himself to him as he doth not to the world, giving him “beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.”
The calm morning after a stormy night is not a greater change than that which followed in the life and lot of happy John. All things became new. He set himself at once to wipe away the heavy scores which stood against him at the
tavern and the shop, till at last he owed 'no man anything but love. His house was made clean and tidy, and one piece of furniture after another was purchased, till the whole face of his cottage was changed. His wife and himself, decently dressed, were in their places at church whenever the sabbath-speaking bell bade them to the house of prayer, and ere long they were seen kneeling side by side &t the table of the Lord.
A light thus put on a candlestick could not be hid. So striking a change in one who had been so notorious, called forth much notice. He became a wonder unto many. Some admired, others mocked, and many persecuted him. His former infidel companions were more especially mad against him. They jeered him, reproached him, enticed him, swore at him, and did all in their power to draw or to drive him from his Saviour. But deeply sensible of his own -utter helplessness, he clung to the strength of God; and thus, out of weakness being made strong, his enemies only served to prove his faith, exercise his patience, and increase his watchfulness. The blast of temptation, which lays in the dust the plant which our heavenly Father hath not planted, only roots the deeper every “tree of righteousness” which he has set in “ the Rock of Ages.'
John had most to bear at his daily labour in the dyehouse. It was his hard lot to work amongst a band of “Socialists,” and they had it nearly all their own way. For a time, indeed, two men, members of a religious body, timidly took the Christian's part; but after a while, even these, worn out by annoyance, and ashamed of the cross, deserted both him and their profession of religion, becoming apostates, the vilest of the vile. The humble confessor was thus left alone, like a sheep in the midst of wolves; but he was not alone, “ for the Lord stood by him.” enabled to walk blamelessly and unrebukeably before them. Sometimes he reasoned with them, at other times he intreated them, but most commonly he did as his Master had done when heset by his accusers, “ he answered not a word.” His meekness was the more lovely, because he had been aforetime a terror to his companions, nor was there one of them who would have dared to provoke him. But now the gentleness of the lamb restrained the strength of the lion.
The quiet influence of John's consistent walk could not fail to be felt. His life was harder to answer than his tongue. A beautiful proof of this occurred one day, and shall form the point of my little narrative. His fellowworkmen had been for nearly an hour decrying Christianity as the source of all crime and wretchedness, whilst they boasted what their system would do if fairly tried—what peace and purity would reign in their “New Moral World.” John held his peace for a long time, till at last “the fire kindled,” and, lifting up his voice, he turned upon them, and said feelingly, but firmly, "Well, I am a plain-dealing man, and I like to judge of the tree by the fruits which it bears. Come then, let us look at what your principles do. I suppose they will do in a little way what they would do in a great. Now there,” said he, pointing at the two apostates, “there are Tom and Jem, on whom you have tried your system. What, then, has it done for them? When they were professed Christians, they were civil, sober, goodtempered; kind husbands and fond fathers. They were cheerful, hard-working, and ready to oblige. What are they now? What have you made them ? Look at them. How changed they are! But not for the better. They seem downcast and surly; they cannot give one a civil word; their mouths are full of cursing and filthiness; they are drunk every week; their children are nearly naked; their wives broken-hearted, and their houses desolate. There is what your principles have done. This is the New Moral World? they have made. “Now I have tried Christianity, and what has it done for
I need not tell you what I was before; you all too well know. There was not one of you that could drink sodeeply, or swear so desperately, or fight so fiercely; I was always out of humour, discontented, and unhappy. My wife was starved and ill-used; I had neither money nor trust; I was hateful and hating. What am I now? What has religion made me? Thank God, I am not afraid to put: it to you. He has helped me to walk carefully amongst. you. Am I not a happier man than I was ? Can you deny that I am a better servant to my master, and a kinder companion to you? Would I once have put up with what I daily bear from you? I could beat any one of you as easily
as ever: why don't I do it? Do you ever hear a foul word come out of my mouth? Do you ever catch me in the public-house? Is there any one that has got a score against me? Go and ask my neighbours if I am not altered for the better. Go and ask my wife, she can tell you. Go and
my house, let that bear witness. God be praised for it: here is what Christianity has done for me; there is what Socialism has done for Tom and Jem.”
He stopped. The appeal was not to be withstood. For that time, at least, the scoffers had not a word to answer. They were overpowered by the eloquence of example.
My brethren of the working class, follow this beautiful pattern—"With well-doing put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.” “Be not afraid of their terror.”
" Witness a good confession.” Stand fast, like Daniel before the den of lions, or Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, before the burning fiery furnace. If you cannot argue, you can act. If you cannot reason down, you can live down, the artful infidel. There is a logic of which, through grace, you may be masters; a logic so simple that a child can understand it, so conclusive that a philosopher cannot disprove it; it is the logic John made use of—it is the logic of the life.
CALLS OF USEFULNESS.
Call on a successful Sunday Scholar. NOW, Alfred, if you will reach me the reward book that was given you yesterday, I will put your name in it, according to my promise. You can find me a pen and ink, I dare say. Mind and do not shake the table. Your pen is not the best in the world, but yet I have managed the matter pretty well, and that flourish at the bottom makes it look very smart. Let it be kept clean, and get all the good out of it that you can: it is a capital plan to make the best of everything
A schoolboy once told a Christian parent that he had obtained two prizes at school for his attainments, “and now,” said he exultingly, “I have only one prize more to get, and then I shall be satisfied.” “ You are wrong there, Edward,” replied his father, “for there will then remain another prize to obtain of greater value than all the others