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holds the evening in it, as the acorn does the oak, and that the neglected seed-time can never return in harvests of knowledge, harvests of culture, harvests of habit, or harvests of Christian usefulness; these are all to be prepared for to-day. To have nothing around us but barren weedy fields in the evening of life will be a sad spectacle to gaze upon.

“Sow in the morn thy seed.” Concerning a study of the grain itself much might be said. It is wonderful—the history I mean—of any one of these ears of corn: how each one was carefully protected at first, how the growth of the stem proceeded from knot to knot-until it was strong enough to bear the weight of the ear, before that ear commenced to develop itself! Yes, God's works are very wonderful, and those who have microscopes might advantageously study any one blade and ear of wheat in all the stages of its progress to perfection.

Perfection we shall never reach here; but we are preparing for the glorious harvest-field of heaven, and there, through the blood of Christ, and the power of the Holy Ghost, weshall be "without fault” before the Throne ! Whilst we look on these waving fields in the quiet, restful country, it is well if we know how to use our leisure so as not to turn our hours of rest into hours of sloth. Character comes out more at holiday-times than it does in hours of harness; and as harvest-time is the time of heat, it is chosen by most brain-workers as the time of recreation. Some of our spiritual harvests may be somewhat delayed, but we are reminded that the times and seasons are in God's good hands, and that if we go forth weeping, bearing precious seed, we shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing our sheaves with us! And if success has manifestly attended us, if our harvests have been rich-if we have been called upon to rejoice in the results of spiritual work—these fields remind us afresh that Paul plants, Apollos waters, but God gives the increase. Glorious harvest-fields of dear old England ! how manifold are all your lessons, and how pleasant it is to see the touches of colour which run through your coat of many colours !—the blue-bells at the hedge side, and the bright poppies amid the corn, and the golden spots of lichen by the rocks, and the sapphire of the deep ocean, and the graceful sweep of the waves, and the hills of every conceivable green, and musical voices from shore and sea, and broad slopes covered with sunshine, and the surf gleaming white and whispering softly on the beach, and the concave curves of the cliffs, and purple hills backed by the clear sky, and the azure overhead, and the tinkle of a running stream through the ravine! But beauty without bread would be of little avail, and the corn-fields mean BREAD. Yes, and so it is with the Gospel of God's love. We are not called upon merely to admire Christ, or to rejoice in His ethical teaching. No! “ The bread which I will give is My flesh,

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which I will give for the life of the world.” The cross is the centre of the Gospel; and as we gaze on the ripening grain, we remember that the ear must be bruised and broken as well as gathered. It is the broken body which is the life of the world. “ He was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities.” And lo! as I finish this paper, an old man and a little child are coming across the fields-age and youth hand-in-band—and the old man seems to live again in the youthful prattle of the child. Even so Nature never tires us! At evening and morning in human life there is something to interest us and gladden us in nature. The world and its excitements wear out their charms.

We pierce beneath the veil, and find unreality, hollowness, and death. Walking with Christ, we can say, Blessed is age as well as youth ; blessed is weakness as well as strength. All are Christ's, and He is ours ! Blessed is the world of to-day, and blessed the unknown realms we shall enter to-morrow. The reapers

will into the field of corn--very soon—but then it will be ripe-it will have become ready for the sickle. No Christian really dies before his time. God knows when the fruit is mellow and the grain ripe. We are thinking-Oh! that our blessed dead had remained with us a little longer to gaze with us on these glorious scenes. Christ speaks of something more glorious——" to behold y glory.Think of those words, “ With Me.” Who amongst us can tell what that is? “ Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord.” And now the old man and little child are gone, and a young man and maiden, who I guess to be lovers, are leisurely strolling through the corn. It is not Schiller's walk under the linden trees, but it is probably the same old story. And so this old world renews its youth, and the romance of the heart makes all things yet more beautiful. I am wondering whether these and all who come and go through the corn are giving some thought to the great corn-grower of the world, and whether amid all human loves they know “the love of Christ which passeth knowledge." It is a mistake to suppose that all these reflections make one unduly pensive. Not so. It is blessed to live, but we would not live here always. The golden corn-fields are beautiful ; but Eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man what God hath prepared for them that love him.”


GRACE and glory are inseparably joined-he that gets the one may be certain of the other.

Satan promises what he never gives -lasting pleasure; and gives what he nerer promises—everlasting pain.

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Can you Staud Fire ? As I was walking along the Strand one night, I came upon a fine, tall soldier, and entered into conversation with him. In the course of our talk I said, “ There is one thing I cannot understand about the British soldier.” “What is that, sir?” “Well,” I said, “he is bold and daring; you could not insult him more than by calling him a coward. There are men among you who would rush up to the cannon's mouth, even if you knew it would be certain death ; and yet there are among you men who dare not kneel down in the barrack-room at night and repeat the prayer their mother taught them when they were children." He paused, and said, “ That is true, sir." “What is the meaning of it, soldier?” He said, “ You remind me of what took place in my own roll a few weeks ago. A young fellow came into our room, and the first night, before going to bed, he knelt down to pray, and instantly there was a noise and disturbance in the room. Caps and belts were flung over at the man, but he did not move. The second night there was a general cry, "Will he try it again ?' Down he went on his knees again. Caps and belts were thrown again, and the men whistled. The third night he went again on his knees, and again on the fourth night, with the same result, and on the fifth night. And then,” he said," the greatest blackguard in the room cried out, 'He is genuine-he stands fire ;' and from that night every one in the room respected him, and began to follow his example."

In a large establishment in Birmingham, very similar to what many of you young men are in, some seventy years ago, there was a youth who came from his mother's loving home in one of our beautiful villages. He had been taught to “stand fire," not to be ashamed of God or of prayer. The first night he retired to rest in a room with several other youths he knelt down to pray, and, as in the case of the soldier, he was instantly beset by the young fellows in the room, abusing him and ridiculing him, and everything was done to induce him to abstain from prayer ; but he “ stood fire,”—he was not ashamed of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Among them was a strong-built youth who stood on his right, and who said : “My mother taught me to do that. I have been ashamed of doing it; but I will do it.” That youth became the celebrated minister, John Angell James. If that youth had not stood fire, the world might never have known or been blessed by the labours of that eminent man.

The soldier told me what I want to leave with you. He said, “Sir,

as a rule, the fresh fellows who kneel down to pray do not do it a second night.” Ah, young men, may that never be said of you! That explains the meaning of those words, "He stands fire." Do not be ashamed to acknowledge your Lord and Master.

Some time ago, in one of our great ships of war, there was a solitary sailor who was not ashamed to own himself a follower of Christ. For a long time he was alone ; no other sailor joined him. His place of prayer was amid the noise and din of the sailors. One evening he perceived a shadow by the side of the gun.

Another Jack Tar was creeping along, and said, “May I come?" Oh the joy of the young sailor to have a comrade with him! They met for many nights behind the gun reading and praying. They became the butt of the men in two or three of the messes ; but still they continued, bearing and forbearing. It came to the ears of the commander, who was a Roman Catholic, and I mention this to his honour. The moment he heard that two of the sailors were meeting for reading and prayer behind one of the guns, he sent for them, and instantly ordered a portion of the lower deck to be curtained off, and gave orders that no one should molest them. For some nights they were the only two occupants, but by-and-by the curtain was opened, and a blue-jacket said, “ May I come in ?” He was welcomed. Another came, and another, and the last account I heard from that ship was this, that every night thirty-two men were meeting for prayer, thirty of them believed to be converted characters; and there, by standing fire, by standing firm, true to what was his duty, God has blessed that solitary sailor, and made him a spiritual father to at least thirty of the men on board the ship.


Confessing Christ. To confess Christ before men is to make a public avowal cf our acceptance of Him and attachment to Him as our Saviour and Lord. As to the method of this open avowal, He Himself has given us a specific command : “Do this in remembrance of Me!”—words which bid every believer observe that grand memorial ordinance, which He has instituted in commemoration of His sacrifice, and the keeping of which He has made the chief visible badge of discipleship. There is no other distinctive step a converted man can take, by which he so clearly sets forth the fact of the revolution effected in his character and life. By this he comes out from the ranks of the world, takes his stand in the public assembly, in the light of day, draws upon him the look of God, angels, and men, and assenting visibly, or speaking audibly, professes supreme love to God, covered any

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sincere contrition for all his sins, and faith and confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ. Failing of this, no confession of Christ is complete, for it falls short of His positive statute. If any man thinks he has dis


way in which he can as well serve the Gospel and honour his Master, he is arraying his judgment against the Divine wisdom, expressed in most absolute legislation. He may pray in secret, he may pray in his family, he may support the preaching of the Lord, and give of his goods to feed the poor—all this is well ; but it is not obedience to the injunction, “ Do this !” " Do this in remembrance of Me !"

The first few steps a convert takes as a Christian—the first few decisions he frames—the stand he assumes upon one or two practical questions meeting him at the outset, will soon fully bias and control all his future. 'Is it a feeble obligation now which he owes to himself in regard to these early and influential decisions? Is it a matter of little moment in what mould he runs the first cast of his Christian character ? If he begins at this initial stage of his journey to withdraw himself from close intimacies with the people of God, he will not be likely ever to seek their fellowship. If he now secludes himself from notice as a changed man, if he publishes no adequate acknowledgment of the grace to which he is so great a debtor, if in all visible and external relations he keeps right on as he was before, if he thinks of veiling his light as a Christian in privacy and silence, and non-profession, he will go on burrowing and mining, living like a blind mole under ground, and the light. he veils will soon be hidden under a bushel so opaque that it will be altogether undistinguishable from the darkness. Is this all he owes himself in the development of his Christian manhood? It is ignoble, it is unmanly, it is almost an act of the rankest treachery for him to cloak and cover up the change wrought in him, by keeping back under shadow. He not only hurts bis Christian character, but does violence to all the finest and noblest qualities of his humanity. A true man, an honest man, a man that respects himself, will be willing to be known for what he is. He will not attempt to hide his face in a mask. He will be ashamed to wear a costume that does not belong to him. The Christian who even suffers any concealment of his real principles, stifles the life just kindled upon his soul. That life, like a flame, wants air. If it be smothered in the retirement of a secret Christian walk, it will decline. It will not burn up warm and bright. It will only smoulder.

Such a man is laying a snare for his piety. He will be temptedthrough the fact that he has not professed Christ, that he has sworn

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