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Swanson, Letter from Rev.
Travelling in Africa
Come refresh uş once again 89
Barn Lodgers, the
ANOTHER year gone !-with all its ups and downs, cares, toils, pleasures, blessings, and joys. It has been so pleasant to some, that they would like to live it over again ; others would not—they have bad so many storms and trials to encounter, that they are but too glad the year is ended. However, it does not matter much what our wishes'are, the year 1859 will never return.
“ The mighty flood, that rolls along
Its torrents to the main,
From that abyss again,
Descending down to night,
Back to the gates of light."
PLOUGHING AND SOWING.
But what we want to say is not so much about the past as the future-not so much about 1859 as about 1860. Suppose that you were sure to live another year, how do you mean to spend it? Is it to be wasted—its hours, and days, and months thrown away ; or do you mean to devote it to the service of God? Young people often think they have got so many years before them, that they can afford to waste one, that it is all very well for old people to take care of the minutes and the hours, because they have not many left. But this is a sad delusion : it has been tlie ruin of many, both for time and eternity, Youth is the spring-time of life, and no one who neglects his fields in spring can hope for å fruitful harrest. Solomon, in his Proverbs, has given us the lesson : “The sluggard will not plough by reason of the cold ; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing."
The fields must be ploughed even before the colds of winter have passed away, else the farmer will come to beggary. It would perhaps be more pleasant for these men and horses (sce woodcut) to be at home, sheltered from the cold spring winds and driving sleet; and, if they did as many a boy and girl do, they would be idling ai home, caring nothing for days to come. But, if they so acted, sad times would come upon them—something far more terrible than frost and sleet. Hunger and poverty would teach them the stern lesson, that the £luggard "shall beg in harvest, and have nothing."
Let boys and girls at school remember this—let them plough up their minds and memories, and get them filled with good seed, with useful knowledge, whilst there is time. The harvest of this life is coming, and those only who plough and sow well now—who are persevering and industrious-may expect to gather good fruit then,
PLOUGHING AND SOWING.
This lesson applies not only to the present life, but also to the next. We must plough and sow for eternity. “ Lay up a good foundation against the time to come." “ Their soul"_that is, those who plough and sow “ shall be as a well-watered garden.”
The lazy cannot succeed. Your soul is the garden : it must not be barren, for God will water ; but it will be barren if you do not work. The watered field will fill no man's bosom in the harvest if it be not tilled in spring. Therefore, “ break up your fallow ground” (Jer. iv. 3). But remember, although the field be tilled and broken, the labour will be unprofitable if it be sown with " tares,” or not sown at all. “ The seed is the Word,” and ourselves the field to be cultivated. Put the good seed plentifully in. Hide the Word in your heart diligently. Treat your soul as carefully as the farmer treats his fields. Draw. fences round it. Keep out all the tares—the briers and thorns of sin.
Begin this year well. Resolve in God's strength, that it shall be a fruitful year ; and, to ensure this, commence the ploughing in time--that is, NOW. Make sure of Jesus as your Saviour; then you will sow good seed in good soil, and the “ fruit shall be unto holiness, and the e id everlasting life.” Go to work as if this were the last year you
had to live. It may be so. Who can tell ? So spend it, therefore, that if the Master comes at morning, noon, or night, he may find you working, and welcome you with “ Well done, good and faithful servant."
Remember, “ He that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” (Gal. vi. 8.)
RECOLLECTIONS OF WILLIAM B.* Ycu remember William's bright countenance - you remember how decorous he was, and attentive; how regularly he attended ; how beautifully he sang, so that I asked him to lead the praise. Besides this, he was never absent on Wednesday evenings, or at any meeting of importance; the library, both congregational and Šabbath school, was much used. Not a missionary's life or book is there that he did not read. At home, the substance of almost every article in the Christian Treasury was treasured in his mind.
Some months ago he called on me, stating his intention to be a missionary. To be in some foreign part, where no missionary had ever been, taking his sister with him, was the romance-coloured but sincere desire of this youth. I knew how difficult a thing it is to be a minister : or missionary, and how men and Satan try to strike down such an one, as the lightning strikes a high pinna. cle, and was slow to encourage the idea ; but still, after conversation, I could not discourage him, for his ments! faculties, and the whole bent of his mind, seemed to be in that direction; and I arranged for his entering on a course of classical learning. That he should die I never feared. Even when he was sick and ill, I could not think, after what I knew of his inmost soul, that God did not intend to gratify the desire which, I thought, he had put in his heart; and William's last words were,
“ I did not think the Master would have sent for me so soon."
In this state of mental and spiritual preparation, let not boys think he was without play, for he was active enough, only that he hated evil companions, and would not, I am told, be even seen in their company.
On one occasion he boldly reproved a man for swearing; and, having formed a cricket-club, the rule laid down was a fine for the first offence in the way of evil language, and expulsion for the second. Let boys fly, as from the plague, from all that do
* Part of the monthly address to the children of Canning Street Presbyterian Church, Liverpool, the first Sabbath of November