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At last, from the contemplation of a hideous death and more terrific resurrection, his heart gradually calmed before the cross of Christ, realised the atonement for sin in the blood of the Lamb, and offered in humble faith to the service of God, the life that his mercy had so signally preserved.
The frightful account of the catastrophe reached the widow's dwelling, and for a moment a torturing fear distracted her heart. Could her boy be among those unhappy dead? Had he forgotten his promise ?
Soon a letter from himself comforted her fears. “My dear and precious mother,” it began, "you have been permitted to save your son. Temptation pressed hard ; I had yielded, but recoiled only for your sake. The command to honour my father and mother, remembered in time, has brought its blessings with it, and my days are prolonged in the land. Help me up higher by your prayers, my mother, for your God shall be mine, and to him shall be dedicated the spared life of your grateful son."
The object of this little narrative is not to amuse with fiction, but to warn by fact. It occurred a few years since, in connection with a scene of human agony seldom surpassed. The three young men lived and acted as described. May the fate of two be a warning to surviving Sabbath-breakers, and the example of the third a stimulant to prayful parents and tempted wavering sons !-
THE UPPER AND NETHER SPRINGS. EVERY Christian knows two springs as sources of his supply. He gets some good at the lower fountain—the world; he gets more and better at the upper-direct from God. A parable, illustrating this thing, is given by a pious mother to her little son, in manner adapted to children, but in thought useful to readers of every age, as follows:
“There was once a man, Mark, who had two springs of water near his dwelling. And the farthest was always
full, but the near one sometimes ran dry. He could always fetch as much as he wanted from the farther one, and the water was by far the sweetest ; moreover, he could, if he chose, draw out the water of the upper spring in such abundance that the dryness of the lower should not be noticed."
“ Were they pretty springs ?” said Mark.
“The lower one was very pretty,” replied his mother ; “only the-sunbeams sometimes made it two warm, and sometimes an evil-disposed person would step in and muddy it, or a cloudy sky made it look very dark. Also, the flowers which grew by its side could not bear the frost. But when the-sun shone just right upon it it was beautiful."
“I don't wonder he was sorry to have it dry up, then,” said Mark.
“No it was very natural ; though if one drank too much of the water it was apt to make him sick. But the other spring—" and the widow paused, while her cheek flushed, and on her lips weeping and rejoicing were strangely mingled : There was
a great Rock," and from this the cold flowing waters' came in a bright stream that you could rather hear than see ; yet was the cup always filled to the very brim if it was held there in patient trust, and no one ever knew that spring to fail; yea, in the great drought it was fullest. And the water was life-giving.
“But this man often preferred the lower spring, and would neglect the other when this was full; and if forced to seek the Rock, he was often weary of waiting for his cup to fill, and so drew it away with but a few drops. And he never learned to love the upper springs as he ought, until one year, when the very grass by the lower spring was parched, and he fled for his life to the other, And then, Mark,” said his mother, looking down at him with her eyes full of tears, “when the water at last began slowly to run into the lower spring, though it was very lovely, and sweet, and pleasant, it never could be loved best again."
Mother,” said Mark, “I don't know exactly what you mean, and I do know a little too."
“Why, my dear," said his mother, “I mean that when we lack anything this world can give, we must fetch the more from heaven."
MEMOIR OF MARY ANN STAGGS. The subject of the following memoir was born in Clapham, July, 1838, and died April 9th, 1855, in the same place. She was a Sunday school scholar in the Wesleyan Association school, Bedford-row, for nearly three years. The Lord arrested her, and planted her in the church; and having witnessed her consistent walk with God, it affords me much pleasure to record her interesting biography.
Mary Ann was a scholar of the Bible-class, in which she listened with attention and interest to the religious instruction of her pious teacher, Miss Virgo; during the last two years before her death, she had been a member of our society. In the early part of her career, she expressed an ardent desire for the pardon of her sins ; the silent tear stealing down her cheeks as she felt herself a guilty criminal in the sight of God, lost, utterly lost, without the intercession of her bleeding Saviour, who had so freely given himself for all, the Just for the unjust, for us men, and our salvation.
Her class-leader and teachers, with other Christian friends who visited her, beheld her peaceful state of mind and resignation to God; this reminds me of what she stated in the class-meeting to her fellow travellers to Zion. She said, nearly the last time she was with us, in that means of grace, the buds of sin were removed from her guilty conscience; she could then feel the Spirit of adoption in her soul; verily she could say, Abba Father, my Lord and my God. During her illness, she was heard to express her feelings by repeating the following passages from the 23rd Psalm.—“Yea, though I walk through the valley and the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” And also Proverbs, Chapter 15. In one of my visits to her, I opened the Bible to read with her: on doing so, I found the above chapter particularly marked with black lead, and more particularly the early part of it. “A soft answer turneth away wrath," and so on. She was heard to say, with a faltering voice, just before she died, “I long to depart to be with Jesus. Come, Jesus, Come Jesus, ! O Jesus, come quickly! Soon after, she fell asleep in the arms of her Friend and Saviour. Her end was peace. Blessed are the dead which die in Lord.
F. W. STAPLES.
ENCOURAGEMENTS AND DISCOURAGEMENTS.
“Be ye strong therefore, and let not your bands be weak; for your work shall be rewarded. 2 Chron, xv. 7.
Who has not had encouragement) ; yes, and discouragements also ; we have all had encouragements from our Father in heaven and good people on earth, to persevere in the way everlasting, and in good deeds, and, on the other hand, we have all had discouragements or temptatiòns from the father of lies, to follow the way that leads to death, and to go on in evil works; we have all been discouraged from pursuing after that which is good ; and how often has the great Tenpter tried hard to block up our path with obstacles, hoping thereby to prevent us from leaving his broad way, leading to ruin. He loves not that any should walk in the narrow road, which leads to eternal life. Oh let him not accomplish his purpose ! But most of us are more easily discouraged than eucouraged, even when engaged in God's service, we soon say, “It is too much, I am not equal to it,” too many of us are ready to
“By the road side fall and perish,
Weary with the march of life.” It should not be so, our Heavenly Father has promised to give to his people, whatsoever they shall ask, believing, and, “He kuoweth our frame, He remembereth that we are dust,” let us all pray that our faith may be enlarged and strengthened in Him, who says, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” Well was it for Mary Grant, that she had a kind, and judicious mother, who was always ready to unlock the store-house of her own experience and take thence for the comfort and instruction of her children. Mary, returning from the Sabbath-school one afternoon, evidently much distressed, being lovingly questioned by her mother as to the cause of her sorrow, answered, “ Oh mama, Bessie Dunn tells me that she and her mother are going to remove to London to-morrow. Her father has been there some weeks, and keeps a small beer-house, I fear much for Bessie, she has never been a steady girl, and seems quite delighted when thinking of the change ; she will never attend a place of worship, or a Sundayschool, for when I asked her, she replied, “I shall have plenty to do instead.” “What can I do, mama ? I have taken more pains with Bessie than with any other of my scholars, for she was always unruly, and now she is going into the midst of temptations she will hardly wish to resist.” “My dear daughter, be not faithless, but believing, you can still pray for this poor girl, pray to God that He would at some future time, let you see the fruit of your labours.
gh the seed you have sown appears to have fallen on barren ground, yet He says, “ Cast thy bread upon the waters, for thou shalt find it after many