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could continue long to live at such high pressure without pause. We are resting in our legislation, we are resting in our manufacture and export-but there is no panic and no paralysis of industry. The excise returns establish that the spending power of the working classes is diminished in only a very limited degree.
But luxury has received a check, and wanton expenditure is curtailedand it was time. Very serious dangers of a moral kind were gathering around us through the rapidity and magnitude of our gains. A much more sober spirit reigns in society; and it reaches deep down, among the labouring class, who needed the lesson almost more than their employers. The demands of labour, which had reached a point almost paralysing to our trade in competition with our continental rivals, are greatly moderated, and the working classes have learnt a very valuable lesson, that in pressing unduly on capital they are drying up the springs of their own sustenance, and that the paradise of labour, which a large class of well-paid workmen seemed to seek in bull-dogs and skittles and beer, or more costly stimulants, is in the far distance still. Over all this there is no need to be very dismal. Everyone is somewhat crippled. Holders of shares suffer severely; manufacturers have to find storage room for their wares. Articles of luxury are largely dispensed with. Pictures may be bought by other than millionaires. An old china shepherdess is no longer worth an earl's ransom. But for the present the worst which we have to endure is a general straitening and narrowing of resources, imposing self-denial, economy and simplicity. It is probable that when the crisis is past we shall find ourselves greatly the better for the discipline. It is not good for any people to have too much of its own way upon the earth.
Most emphatically will the working class profit by the lesson which it is learning and has yet to learn. There was something very saddening in the manner in which a very large section of it set itself to enjoy its sudden outburst of prosperity. It was proved plainly enough that our workmen were not inwardly educated to the point of their prosperous fortunes ; and they are sent back by the present dulness and stagnation in all the departments of trade, to study humbling lessons in the lower forms of the school. In America the stagnation is still more complete, and the artisans are feeling the pressure sharply. But their superior intelligence enables them to adapt themselves more readily to what they recognise as a necessity. Strikes there are mainly among the unskilled and newly-imported labourers. The intelligent American workman gets to understand the true bearings of a crisis almost as well as his employer, and trade there rarely comes to a dead-lock. It is just this intelligence and self-command which the English workman has to master. An immense advance has been made during these last years, but the test of the recent prosperity shows plainly that the best part of the lesson bas to be studied still. But the blessing is for all classes, if we can accept the discipline cheerfully, content ourselves for a time with narrower resources, and live a somewhat simpler and healthier life.
In politics it is perhaps well for the future of the Liberal party, that the Tories have shown the country so plainly what a reactionary policy means.
They have gathered strength from the general lassitude to neutralise all that they could, and to undo all that they dared, of the policy of their prede
The country suffers from it for a time, and the Church is using the opportunity to lengthen its cords, and to strengthen its stakes, and to throw forward, as it hopes, the Disestablishment movement to at any rate another generation. But here again good is mixed with the evil. The present pressure of the Church on the springs is but preparing the material for & strong recoil. Perhaps for the moment we may say that the more it presents and urges its pretensions the better. But there is one department of our public life in which the reaction has been profoundly detrimental. Dír. Disraeli's enormous majority, and the general lassitude of parties, has enabled him to play with the Eastern question in a way most congenial to his cynical Oriental temper, but most humbling to this country, and most disastrous to the Christian populations in the Ottoman Empire. His tone and language about the Turkish atrocities throughout have been shamefully indifferent and contemptuous. He little appreciates how deeply the country has been stirred by it; and how firmly the resolution is forming itself, that the power and influence of England shall no longer even appear to be prostituted to the support of the basest and most brutal despotism which afflicts the civilised world.
J. BALDWIN BROWX.
Siu, or the Saviour ? I HAVE just come from a solemn inquiry meeting, in which several members of my flock were making their choice between a life of sin or the service of the Saviour. Some of those gathered in that prayer-room were young men. Many who read this article are yet in the morning hours of life's brief day. To such I have one bright example to present as their model. It is the example of the most remarkable young man of ancient times, who, in a luxurious royal court, “chose to suffer affliction ” (or opposition) “with the people of God, rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season." He deliberately preferred the “reproach of Christ” to the dangerous and soulpoisoning "treasures of Egypt.” The same choice must be made now by every soul. It is the same alternative-sin, or the Saviour ?
We must not restrict the sphere of "sinful pleasures ” to gross sensual indulgences. It is a far wider sphere than is included within gaming-rooms, drinking-saloons, ball-rooms, play-houses, convivial clubs, or the sumptuous haunts of harlotry. Every pleasure which does not please God is more or less sinful. Everything which is pursued in total forgetfulness of God, or which so occupies the mind as to exclude God's just claims, must be styled sinful. If Christ and conscience disapprove, then a choice against them is wilful sin. God's claim is first; anything that dethrones God is a wicked usurper.
When a man lives to make money, and makes money solely to please self, he is pursuing a "pleasure of sin for a season.” When a person gives the time, the thought, and the money, to fine arts, to literature, or to any
mental luxury, which belong to God, that person robs God. To rob God is a sin. Perhaps the eye of the Omniscient sees a more flagrant exhibition of selfishness and unbelief and downright irreligion in many a luxurious home of refinement than He sees in some dens of sensual vice, where ignorance sinning against but small light and under powerful temptations. Pleasing self without caring whether God is pleased or not is “ sinful pleasure.” To persist in pleasing self in utter defiance of God is to choose death !
We must not be deceived by the expression “ for a season.” The immediate gratification produced by self-indulgence may be momentary. But the influence lasts. The mischief of the sin is permanent. The guilt is permanent. The effect on the conscience is permanent. I know of impenitent persons whose character is absolutely worse to-day for having grieved God's Spirit ten years or fifteen years ago. Sin poisons. Sin kills. These “ sins for a season " last into eternity. Their consequences are felt in the endless retributions and woes of the world to come.
The wages of sin is death! Just as a night of sensual indulgence is often followed the next day by the headache and the severer heartache, so a career of selfpleasing ungodliness is followed by the agonising heartache of Hell.
Now comes the question, How shall the pleasures of sin be rooted out ? If they are destroying the soul, how shall they be destroyed ? There is but one way, and it is by the expulsive power of a new affection. The right must expel the wrong. Christ or sin must have the control. Both cannot rule. ' Christ must expel the supreme love of sin, or you are lost! The soul cannot remain empty. Either Jesus or sin will hold the helm and control the affections. When Moses shut out the luxuries and the ambitions and the idolatries of Egypt, he filled their place with something infinitely better. He chose hardship, banishment from court, a forty years' march of faith through the wilderness. Was there any “pleasure ” in all these ? Yes,
" He had respect to the recompense of reward.” God was more to be trusted than Pharaoh. Duty was sweeter than self-indulgence. A good conscience was better than being “ called the son of the king's daughter." The desert was safer to his soul than the guilty glitter of a palace. Heaven was better than Egypt ! He shut out “the pleasures of sin ” by the incoming of a grand, a holy, and a glorious faith, and a sublime self-consecration to the Lord and the Lord's work ! And what a career he had, clear on to the hour of his majestic translation to glory from the top of Mount Nebo !
The conflict was between Christ and self. With Christ came “reproach,” self-denial, hardship. But with Christ came a new affection, a new strength, a new joy, and a magnificent career, that blessed the whole world for ever. Happy choice! Happy man! Happy will you be, my friend, if you can put the Lord Jesus Christ where you have always put sin—on the throne of the heart !
God gives you your choice. You have to decide. Either sin or the Saviour must have you. Either the “pleasures of sin for a season,” with the afterpangs of perdition, or the self-denials of earth, with the limitless joys of heaven. Which will you have ?
Let me whisper a word of encouragement. God will help you in this choice. His Holy Spirit is beseeching you. The bleeding Saviour offers you what He suffered to secure for you. He offers you life! A true life here; a glorious life eternal beyond the stars !
In the simple words of a child, I will tell you what you will have. Dr. Leifchild, of London, once met a poor lad who was watching the gateway into a nobleman's park. He found the boy reading the New Testament, and asked him if he understood it. “A little.” The lesson was about Nicodemus, in the third chapter of St. John-“Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” “What does it mean to be born again ?” inquired the Doctor. The lad replied : “ It means a great change.” “ Then tell me," said the Doctor, “what you understand by the kingdom of God.'” The little fellow very tenderly and sweetly answered: “It is something here” (laying his hand on his breast), “and it is something Up THERE!”
T. L. CUYLER.
ROYAL VISITS. ONE day lately, when Her Majesty was at Aldershot, inspecting the camp, she became fatigued, and expressed a wish for a cup of tea. She accordingly, and without any ceremony, entered the nearest officer's tent, which chanced to be that of Lieutenant Drysdale, son of Mr. Drysdale, of Kilrie, and to him the desire of his Queen was made known. As was to be expected, the lieutenant found himself at first a little awkwardly situated for the reception of so distinguished a visitor; but the ease and homeliness, so to speak, of Her Majesty quickly put all feeling of that kind to flight, and he proceeded to cover his humble table with the best cloth he had, and, having handed out a soldier's "tea-things," he retired, leaving the august lady with her attendants to enjoy her cup.
Reader, if such be the feelings on receiving an unexpected visit from an earthly monarch, what must they be on receiving a visit from King Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords ? And is such an act of condescension never to be realised ? Hear His own gracious words, “Behold, I stand at the, door, and knock : if any man hear My voico (not will hear, as often misquoted), I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me."
Now there is one mark of difference in such royal visits worthy of observa. tion. When the lieutenant had set out the “tea-things” for Her Majesty, out of courtesy he wisely retired. Now, when King Jesus comes in He does not wish this--yea, we may keep in His society as long as He favours us, and we may talk as familiarly with Him as a friend. We may open our hearts to Him, and pour out all our soul's language before Him, and He loves to listen to them all ; nor does He ever leave without a gift. So that when we walk out again at large, it can always be seen that we have been with Jesus. Oh, then, poor sinner, go to Jesus! His throne is always open
for poor sinners; He never yet cast one away, nor ever will. Say to Him “Oh, be not as a wayfaring man, who only tarries for a night, but come in, blessed Lord and Master, and take up Thine abode in my heart ! Live and reign here, and let me know no will but Thine." And, reader, you never need feel embarrassed in His presence ; for He knows all about your weakness and poverty, and is Himself touched with the feeling of your infirmities, having passed through all before you, that He might be a suitable Saviour for such a sinner; and may you and I have more of His royal visits.
KEEPING THE SABBATH. Less than twenty years ago, at one of the most beautiful towns on the Connecticut river, a new bridge was needed. The parties who contracted to do the work, with ten or twelve men, wrought upon it seven days in the week, during a whole winter, to the great annoyance of the people of the village. They would frequently be going from the hotel to their work just as the people were assembling for the afternoon service. Their excuse for all this was that the framework of the bridge must be completed while the ice remained firm ; and they claimed that no more men could be employed. But to other people there was no apparent reason why they might not have increased their force, and it seemed an entirely inexcusable desecration of holy time.
On one of these Sabbaths thus employed, a tailor in the village continued his work all day in his shop, that he might finish two overcoats, ready to be delivered on Monday. About midnight the village was startled by the cry of fire, and his shop was found to be in flames, and his goods, overcoats and all, were consumed, together with two other stores and a dwelling in the same block. The family had a narrow escape from perishing in the flames.
Still the men at the bridge seemed to prosper; and before the spring came, the last timber was put in its place, and all the shores were removed from the ice. They left it, thinking all was safe, to go and complete another before covering this. Scarcely had they gone, when a sudden storm, such as
never known there before, arose, and lifted the whole structure from its foundations into the river above the piers. It went down the stream a total wreck, and the state of the river would not allow it to be replaced for months; in the meantime all travel between two villages being confined to row-boats. The Rev. Wm. Warren, in his “ Twelve Years with the Children,” relates the incident of his being rowed far up the stream in order to reach the opposite landing, on account of the current. It was at this place, and because this bridgewas carried away, and the writer went to see him across. I will not say that its destruction was a direct judgment from Heaven upon these men because of their Sabbath desecration. The gale might have come if they had rested the seventh day. But one thing is true. They took the Lord's time for their own work, and He demolished it in a remarkable way.