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sixteen years have passed. Looking forward, I have much to contend with, much to oppose, and much to accomplish; I wish to make religion my paramount object, to enjoy its pleasures, and to perform its duties, and to give such an illustration of its excellencies in my own character and conduct, as to induce others to say, “we will go with you, for we see the Lord has prospered you.” “Always ready," must be my motto, God grant that I may go on from strength to strength, till at length, through his infinite mercy and sustaining grace, I shall reach the Zion above, where, in grateful notes of praise, I shall utter the “memory of his goodness."
The future conduct of Amelia Rushton was in keeping with the tenor of her remarks. She watched and prayed, that she might not enter into temptation, and by her cheerful, consistent, and fearless profession of the gospel, attracted the notice of several of her young associates.
Among these was Matilda Holden, whose parents were altogether averse from religion, when it exceeded the bounds prescribed to it by fashion and custom. Mrs. Holden was exceedingly devout in her way; but it was at set times and on particular occasions; she attended church always once, and sometimes twice on the Sunday, and never failed to present herself on sacrament days, which she always anticipated, by reflecting on the mercy of “her Maker,” and resolving to live in peace and charity with all men. She neither visited the theatre, nor played at cards during passion week, and held it as her opinion, that she was to obtain salvation by her works, and that if her obedience were imperfect, as she confessed it was, yet, if she were sincerè, it would be accepted, and its deficiency made up by the merits of her Saviour. It must be added, that she was a well meaning woman; but altogether ignorant of the plan of salvation. She erred, not knowing the scriptures, neither the power of God. With regard to experimental religion, she neglected it in toto, as enthusiastic and fanatical. Mr. Holden had been religiously educated by a pious mother, who entertained great hope respecting him, but the connexion with Mrs. Holden was unfavorable to serious impressions, and eventually led him altogether from the path of religion. He became careless and indifferent; worldly interest carried him away: he mixed in worldly pleasures, and associated
with dissipated characters ; the Sabbath was profaned; prayer was abandoned, and not a vestige of religion could be traced in his family. It is true that he occasionally attended public worship, and sometimes wept at the recollection of former days, but pleasure and company soon hushed his sighs and dried his tears.
Matilda Holden was among the number who congratulated Amelia on her birthday. “ You have been shedding tears," said Matilda, “and on your birthday too ?”
"I have, my dear friend; but not tears of sorrow, they have been produced by feelings of wonder, love, and gratitude, at the goodness of God. Every thing around me breathes mercy. Oh, Matilda, what a blessing I have enjoyed in my dear parents ! They taught me to seek God, and they set me the example. Happy should I be to see you on the Lord's side, earnestly and diligently seeking your salvation.”
Matilda sighed deeply, a long conversation ensued, which was terminated by the entrance of strangers. As she retired, Amelia whispered, “ my beloved friend, you are very dear to me. Is our friendship to be confined to this life? Should it not be perfected in eternity? Let us both walk by the same rule; let us love the same Saviour, and we shall enjoy the same heaven.”
They parted. Matilda reflected on the words of her friend; sought God in Christ, and found him. Her parents marked the change in her temper and conduct. Her father thought of the pious expressions of his departed mother, and became affected at his own irreligion. He wondered at the long forbearance of God; bewailed his sins, and sought forgiveness. Mrs. Holden was violently opposed to the alteration in his conduct. His children were taught to regard the Sabbath; prayer was instituted, and Amelia's birthday was often referred to as the happy means of introducing religion and happiness into the family. Even Mrs. Holden eventually acknowledged, that her objections were removed; and that experimental religion was a blessed reality.
REMEMBER THE SABBATH DAY.
( Concluded from page 306.) How often does God lead the Church and the world by a way that they know not! How completely does he make the path of duty not only the path of safety, but of happiness and honour. There is a guide-post on every man's road ;-on it is written “ That I may do my duty in that state of life into which it may please God to call me." If you follow the direction of that guide-post, you may be sure you are in the right way to be happy, if you only pray for the grace of God, obtained “through Jesus Christ our Lord,” to help you lest you go astray. So thought William Jones as he was returning home from church the same Sunday evening that Tresham was quarrelling with his wretched companions at the beer-shop. William had been more than usually affected by the parson's sermon. I like that good old word 'parson,' so I shall not call the able and excellent clergyman, Dr. Tatham, by any other name in my story. It seems that a number of ill-disposed and mis-led youths had been skating and sliding on a large mere, or sheet of water hard by the town, and near a strong mill-stream. This was on the preceding Lord's-day. Several had glided, almost unconsciously, towards the rapid flow of the stream, where the ice was thin and rotten. On a sudden, a shock was felt along the whole surface, and ten unprovided men were struggling with the benumbing waters. A sudden rush was made to the banks, and some with more forethought than their neighbours, put their hands tightly together, and ventured gently towards the hole, pushing a long plank before them. Two of the drowning men were recovered by the surgeons of the Humane Society. Eight sank to rise no more. The occurrence made a great sensation in the town. The funeral of the unhappy youths was attended by thousands. Mo. thers were seen weeping over the premature death of their grownup sons :
“ The feeble wrapt the athletic in his shroud.” The parson preached a sermon upon this sudden stroke of God's righteous hand. To William Jones it recalled a thousand solemn associations, for the text upon which the discourse rested was :-REMEMBER THE SABBATH-DAY TO KEEP IT HOLY.
William, as I said, was thus returning, humming a stave of Bishop Ken's beautiful evening hymn :
“ Glory to thee, my God, this night.” It still rang upon his ear, like the prolonged echoes of music in the mind, after the sound has died away. Suddenly, on turning a corner into one of the principal streets of the town, he saw a carriage,
the horses of which were rushing along with frightful rapidity. The reins were entangled with their legs, and the driver had fallen from, or in some other way lost, his seat. A sudden impulse for a moment stopped the speed of the infuriated animals, as I dare say you have seen, when horses run away. They seem to pause for a moment ever and anon, to consider what they must do next. Are not we like them, when we leave the path of religion and duty ? With that presence of mind, which sometimes nerves men for action when the right moment comes, William rushed forward, seized the reins, and the animals, seemingly glad enough to get under the control once more of a wiser head than their own, permitted him to hold them still. Crowds soon gathered round the vehicle. Some praised William, and some talked of assisting the ladies within; but before any thing could be done, a gentleman ran up, deeply agitated. In one moment he had rescued the ladies from the carriage, in another be rushed to thank and reward their deliverer. What was the astonishment of William and the other when it was seen that Jones had, humanly speaking, saved the lives of his employer's lady and sister! His consistency, lowliness, and pains-taking industry had already recommended him to the firm of Wilson and Company, as “ a hand” that must not be permitted, at any price to leave their establishment; but now, of course, Mr. Wilson felt doubly interested in his welfare, and nothing would satisfy the worthy manufacturer but that William should that same night come to his suburban residence, and receive the thanks of the ladies he had so providentially preserved. On the door of the elegant mansion being opened by a spruce footman, in rich livery, William felt some trepidation. The crimson mat in the hall seemed too good to wipe the feet upon. The rich carpets and statuary on the broad mahogany staircase excited his interest, and it was with a beating bosom he entered the drawing-room. He found the whole family grouped round the fire, conversing on the occurrence, and confessing the goodness of God in their escape. The ladies had scarcely recovered from their fright, but Mrs. Wilson thanked him with great earnestness and delicacy. The younger sister looked her gratitude; three or four sweet little children came to gaze upon him and express their infantile love at the good young man whom God had sent to keep mamma from danger; and after a thousand kind things had been said by Mr. Wilson, William
retired to his lowly home, rejoicing that he had been instrumental in aiding his master, and pondering upon fresh events which seemed to connect with his history more than ever, the command of God to his patriarchal church :-REMEMBER THE SABBATH DAY TO KEEP IT HOLY.
The next day he found himself promoted to an appointment of confidence in the counting-house, much to the joy of his mother and father. He now sat at a high desk, with a tall stool; he had an unlimited allowance of steel pens, and other perquisites of a similar kind. These were little things, but they discovered to him the fact, that he was getting on in the world, and therefore he was reminded that he must not grow vain and elated, or forget the Lord in his prosperity. Many were civil to him now who once would have smiled at the thought of such a thing; and some of the new workmen began to touch their hats as he passed by. He saw that there was a constant need for him to recollect the solemn precept, “ Be ye clothed with humility.” It is the little people who are generally vain and conceited.
Time wore on, and he found himself steadily advancing. His wages were changed to a salary; and the salary enabled him to support many useful church institutions. He began to subscribe towards the conversion of the heathen, and the supply of the colonies with clergymen; while he did not forget the claims of those funds which provide churches and schools for the people at home. He had been one day balancing some long and intricate accounts in the office, much to the satisfaction of his employers, when he was called into the private room of Mr. Wilson. “ Jones," said the worthy manufacturer,“ we are about to open an establishment in London, for the sale of our goods, and we have determined to entrust the management of its concerns to you. Consider our offer, and if it suits you, we will pay you a quarter's salary in advance, towards defraying your necessary expenses." William felt now the advantage of frugality. It enabled him to thank his master for this handsome promotion, and to decline the proffered aid of money. In a few days he was ready, and on the mail with his simple baggage, gaily on his way to the great metropolis.
How different the feelings with which the two young men, whose history is before us, set out for the mart of Europe! The