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178 AN EVENING AT A THIEVES' MEETING.
going down—and the experience of all the runners has convinced me that a holy life is the happiest, the safest, and the best, and that it is just as true as the sun shines that "the way of the wicked is hard," and that "godliness hath the promise of this life and that which is to come."
The truth of these texts was forcibly impressed on my mind some years ago when attending a very curious meeting in a place called the Minories, in London. It was held in a school-room, and there were just about 100 persons present. It was a thieves' meeting, and none were admitted but those who had been at least once in prison. Perhaps, my friend, you aro saying, "What, are you a thief?" I hope not: I did not get into that meeting as a thief, at any rate; for my good friend Mr. Jackson, the City Missionary, who called the meeting together, and myself, were made exceptions to the rule. But all the others were thieves. A noted thief was appointed door-keeper; he had been a score of times in prison, and knew all the " men about town," so that no one could pass him without the proper " qualification," and who might therefore go away and tell tales.
Well, one by one they entered; form after form was filled, until there were I think about ninety-eight present altogether. What a sad sight! Nearly all were young men from sixteen to twenty-four years of age—without employment, without homes, without characters, and without friends! Only one in all the number had any other employment but stealing. Poor fellows, many of them had been brought up thieves—had been " taught thieving from their youth up" and could do very little else; and others had been respectably educated, but had become the prey of bad companions, and had caused their GOOD FOB SOMETHING. 179
parents, and brothers, and sisters many an hour of bitter sorrow.
Here is a poor fellow, of about nineteen, who comes up to me and says, "I was respectably brought up at a Wesleyan Sabbath school in Cornwall—first a scholar and then a teacher; and now through giving way to bad companions, I am an outcast on the streets. Oh! sir, do try to get me away to a foreign country where no one woidd know me, and where I might regain my character.'' Others came to me with tearful eyes and told me similar tales. I listened to their stories, gave them suitable advice: the missionary also addressed them in a very affectionate manner, and after praying with them we sent them away.
There are many things I wish to say about some of the thieves who were present, but which must form subjects for a few interesting chapters in the Juvenile Messenger for next year. The first will appear in January.
"My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. If' they say, Come with us .... Cast in thy Ipt among us, let us have one purse; walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path."
GOOD FOR SOMETHING.
"Maet you are good for nothing," said a father to his' little girl. "Yes I am, dear father," said she, looking thoughtfully into his face and throwing her little arms around his neck—" I am good to love my father and my mother."
This is a beautiful answer, and the littls boy or girl who can say it from ths heart, must be good for something.
YOU NEVER CAN RUB IT OUT.
One pleasant afternoon, a lady was sitting with her little son, a white-haired boy, five years of age. The mother was sick, and the child had left hia play to stay with her, and was amusing himself in printing his name with a pencil on paper.
Suddenly, his busy fingers stopped. He had made a mistake, and, wetting his finger, he tried again and again to rub out the mark, as he had been accustomed to do on his slate.
"My son," said his mother, "do you know that God writes down all you do in a book? He writes every naughty word, every disobedient act, every time you indulge in temper and shake your shoulders, or pout your lips; and, my boy, you can never rub it out."
The little boy's face grew very red, and in a moment tears ran down his cheeks. His mother's eye was on him earnestly, but she said nothing more. At length he came softly to her side, threw his arms round her neck, and whispered, "Can the blood of Jesus rub it out?"
Dear children, Christ's blood can rub out this dreadful account, but not without you pray to him to have it done. Go to him, then, and feel that he is near you like your father and mother, only more able to help you»than they can be. Try to be good, and obey him, and he will help you, if you ask him.—From the Teacher's Offering.
LOST BUT POUND.
I Was was a wand'ring sheep,
I did not love the fold;
I would not be controlled.
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I was a wayward child,
I did not love my home,
I loved afar to roam.
The Shepherd sought his sheep,
The Father sought his child,
O'er deserts waste and wild.
They found me nigh to death,
Famished, and faint, and lone;
They saved the wandering one!
Jesus, my Shepherd is,
'Twas He that loved my sonl,
'Twas He that made me whole.
'Twas He that sought the lost,
That found the wandering sheep,
'Tis He that still doth keep.
TRIUMPH OF FAITH.
Dixrtno an earthquake that occurred a few years smce the inhabitants of a small village were generally very much alarmed, and at the same time surprised at the calmness and apparent joy of an old lady whom they all knew. At length one, addressing the old lady, said,
"Mother , are you not afraid?" "No," said she,
"I rejoice to know that I have a God that can shake the icorld.'"
A HEATHEN GOD.
Can we wonder that the people of India and other heathen lands are cruel and degraded when they bow down to such miserable paltry objects as these? One might sooner worship a lady's doll. No better description could be given of such a vile wretched mockery than the following, from the 115th Psalm t—
"Their idols are .... the work of men'? hands.