Page images

burden for their brethren as well as for themselves. They fill up for their day and sphere that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ for His body's sake.

What a ministry! What a service to be performed by those who are apt to think they have been crushed and torn and unfitted for usefulness ! What a perfume to go out from bruised flowers! What a healthful and life-bearing influence silently to come back into the Church from those languishing in sickness, privation, or sorrow, whom we are too likely to mourn over as for the time cut off from usefulness ! Let us not undervalue their ministry because it is silent and hidden. Let us not think, because God removes them from one post to another, from an active to an inactive one, He has no more good for them to effect, and is laying them aside. He binds no dead weights upon the wheels of His chariot. Every part of its essential and ordained structure helps the rest.

Dried-up Christians. RECENTLY I went up to revisit the picturesque little waterfall on the Caldeno Creek, which lies up on the mountain back of the Delaware Water Gap. When I saw it last it was foaming over the mossy rock like a miniature Minnehaha. But now I found only a bare dry rock, over the centre of which trickled a slender thread of water, which was soon lost among the bare stones beneath. The evergreens and the rhododendrons encircled the sweet spot, as before ; everything was there but the water. The cascade had died of drought.

As I looked at the feeble dribble over the rock, I saw in it a picture of more than one professed disciple of Jesus. There is my friend Hopeful, who was once among the foremost in our Sabbath-schools and our prayermeetings. He was full of zeal, and beneath all the sound there seemed to be a great deal of substance. We expected him to prove a perennial disciple, “always abounding" in the work of the Lord. But he has unaccountably dried up. His forsaken Sunday-school class are dependent on “stated supplies," or go without a teacher; his seat in the prayer-meeting is empty, and when he comes in to the table where the band of Christ's followers are commemorating their Master's love he is a Thomas among them. The diffieulty with our backsliding brother is the same as that with yonder creek on the mountain side. The fountain-head of his graces has run dry, and he has had no heavenly rains upon his parched soul for months. I suspect that he has about abandoned secret prayer, or maintains it as an empty form. When prayer stops death begins. Just as soon attempt to keep up a fresh, fruitbearing piety without prayer as to make a tea-rose bloom in a Greenwood vault. I fear, too, that with the decline of secret prayer there has been a stealthy growth of secret sins. The root of the whole melancholy declension is in the heart; and nothing but a thorough heart-work, a deep re-conversion, can ever make Brother Hopeful what he was in his days of hale and happy usefulness.

I observe, too, a sad falling off with my neighbour Lovetrade. He was once an open-handed contributor to every enterprise of charity. There was a full stream from his liberal purse which watered many a thirsty spot. But now he gives rarely and stingily. What is to pay? I suspect that somewhere above the falls he has opened a sly cut-off of self-indulgence, which drains away nearly all his income. The water runs into another channel. He has built a costly new house. I hear of him as driving a pair of full-blooded bays in the park. His spouse gives grand entertainments, and there are big bills at the wine merchant's and the confectioner's. The “lust of the eye and the pride of life” are drawing off through their greedy outlet the bounteous stream which once made many a heart green with gladness. He only trickles now; he used to pour. Poor Lovetrade will never be a rich man again “ toward God” until he stops up that waste-pipe of selfish extravagance, and lets the current flow back again into the old channel. To-day he is sorely tempting Providence to bankrupt him ; for his prosperity is fast turning him into a spiritual pauper. The worst of it is that Lovetrade is tainting others by his bad example, and his stingy contributions are finding innitators in the fashionable church he “patronises” by his presence.

We might multiply these cases of dried-up Christians. Nay, we could point to whole churches which have run as low as Caldeno waterfall. In the pentecostal days of revivals how they gushed forth in gladness, and sparkled with spiritual joys in the sunshine! What music there was in the cataract ! But when the freshet had spent its surplus waters the rejoicing river shrank back again into a slender rivulet ; and they are now “parched with the drought of summer."

What is the remedy for this fitful, periodic piety, this disgraceful alternation of revival and declension, of foaming fulness and a pitiful dribble of drought ? Did God decree that His people should run low like summer brooks, and is this the normal condition of the Church which Jesus redeemed unto Himself? Is there not Divine fulness which can keep a believer always full to the brim, and can make the whole Church as steady in its flow as the majestic currents of Niagara ? It is an insult to the Divine Author of our holy religion to suppose that, either in its constitution or in that of human nature, there is a necessity for such periodic alternations. Our God is not a fickle, fitful giver of His grace, and His service is not a temporary spasm of excitement; and when the all-sufficient Saviour said "I am with you always," He made no provision for an intermittent Christianity. When Jesus is thoroughly within a man's heart, and that soul replenishes itself with Him, then is he a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”

As Christ is inexhaustible, why should a Christian ever run dry?

Paul was never parched with drought. That stream of living waters, which irrigates the earth to this hour, had its fountain-head in Christ. Not I,” exclaimed the glorious old apostle—“not I, but Christ, that liveth in me.” And the only reason why any healthy, effective Christian runs full to the banks is that the love of Jesus is welling up into his soul by day and by night. His reservoir is infinite, and he is filled with all the fulness of God." There are some Christians whom you can no more exhaust by drafts


on their graces than you could drain Niagara by tapping its banks with mill

And when I meet with a perennial Christian, who never disappoints me, who is always abounding, who is ready for any service, who is as good behind the counter as he is on his knees, who can be as cheerful in a storm as in the sunshine, whose words fall upon a prayer-meeting like the music of an April rain, who lives near to God and yet quite as near to his fellow-mortals —when I meet such an one, I know that his inner life is hid with Christ. That everlasting fountain in his heart is as exhaustless as the Godhead.


A Cry from Bulgaria.
HOMEs of England, fair and bright,
Radiant in the summer's light;
Full of mirthful voice and jest,
Loving look, and peaceful breast;
Pause, and hear the distant cry,
Full of unknown agony :
Deep it swells, oh, hark awhile !
Hush the mirth, and check the smile.
Mother, ʼmidst thy children band,
Send a thought to yonder land,
Where the young sweet voices cry,
“Give us help, we droop and die.”
Where the little cheek grows pale,
And the dancing footsteps fail ;
Mother! 'midst thy calm repose,
Think awhile on others' woes.
Father, with thy glance of pride
On the loved ones by thy side ;
Pure and happy, free from harm,
Broken hearts, or war's alarm.
Think upon the crushing woe,
Fathers there must surely know.
Think of him who loves like you,
With his starving ones in view.
Christian, in a land of light,
Pray and weep for yonder blight;
Lire not for thyself alone,
Jesuis left for thee a throne.
Rouse thee, and with liberal hand
Send some help to that far land,
Where the crushed and wounded cry,
“ Think of us, or we must die.”


Blessing in Business. THERE are two ways of making money. One is by grasping every possible penny, never letting it go, except to send it out after more of its fellows; and even when it goes for that purpose the parting is painful, and its return with its spoils eagerly watched for. This method, is, undoubtedly, successful in a large number of cases. The attendant anxiety and mental distress are unheeded. Body and soul are united in the great struggle, and nothing is too precious to sacrifice for the accomplishment of the purpose. Employés are merely considered appendages of the business, and are treated only as parts of a machine ; to be replaced as speedily as possible when unfit for service. The wealth which may thus pour into the coffers comes bringing no cheer. Those who help to make it, do it without enthusiasm, except it be in the enjoyment of the work itself. Conscience may make them faithful in giving all that they promise ; but there is no devotion in their service, and they call no blessing upon the master whom they serve, perhaps, with fidelity, but certainly without affection. Many great fortunes have been accumulated in this manner-some avowedly so.

Happily, however, this method is not universal. There is another and better way. There are successful business men who have not forgotten Christ's second commandment, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,” and have recognized their “neighbour” even in their errand boy. In the prosperity of such, all who are in any way concerned with them rejoice, and the larger their business and the more they can employ, the more are there to bless. In an establishment conducted in this Christian spirit an infidel was employed. He was almost crazed by the death of his only son, and soon after fell sick of typhoid fever. Seven months passed, and he raved of his lost place, which was an important one. The assurances of his wife and others about him could not convince him that he need not be troubled, and, hearing of his distress, the principal member of the firm sent a special messenger, telling him “ to feel no anxiety, his place was only temporarily filled, and was ready for him whenever he could take it." After a year's absence the man returned-no longer an infidel. The kindness of his employers proved to him a gospel message, which had turned his heart in love and gratitude to the Father, whom he felt cared for him.

Last spring a young widow, with a child and her aged parents to support, was forced to resign her situation. “Why?” asked the managing man in the establishment, and who is a worthy representative of the firm in their generous dealing. “I am unable to work, and am about to undergo a painful operation.” “Do not resign ; your place shall be kept open for you," was the reply. And the poor woman went away from the office with two months' salary advanced to her, with an assurance that she should have help in paying her physician's bill, and with words of sympathy and advice which she can never forget. Not only are the valuable assistants treated thus, bu an errand boy, known, as he supposed, only in the basement, received his salary, without intermission, during a scren months' siege of rheumatism.


A lady who has been in their employ some years, and from whom we have these facts, has on three or four occasions been compelled by her own sickness, and that of those dependent upon her, to leave her work for severa weeks at a time. As regularly as Saturday came, came also the salary, with kind inquiries from the office, and many little things were done which, in the words of the grateful recipient, were as much as the money.” More, perhaps, for through trial and sorrow they helped a brave heart to battle with obstacles which even that brave heart, without human sympathy, might have failed to overcome.

Though it may not be possible for many to scatter benefactions with such lavish hand as in the instances noted, the spirit which prompted them may be cultivated in the humblest position of command, and if they give all they can, may feel themselves taken into a partnership of good-will, whose stock is continually multiplied, being increased by division.

C. W.

Housebold Treasury.

THE SCEPTIC AND THE BIRD'S NEST. A young man who had more money than good counsel left him by his parents, became a sceptic. Having afterwards become a “believer," a friend asked what had wrought the change.

Said he: “You know I spent much of my time in hunting; and few weeks since, on a beautiful Sabbath morning, I went in search of game. Being weary of roaming about the woods, I sat down on a log to rest. While thus seated, my attention was attracted to a neighbouring tree by the cries of a bird which was fluttering over her nest, uttering shrieks of anguish, as if a viper were destroying her young.

“On looking about I soon found the object of her dread in a venomous snake, dragging his slow length towards the tree, his eye intent on the bird and her nest. Presently I saw the male bird coming from a distance with a little twig covered with leaves in his mouth. Instantly the male bird laid the twig over his mate and her young, and then perched himself on one of the topmost branches of the tree, awaiting the arrival of the enemy.

“ By this time the snake had reached the spot. Coiling himself around the trunk, he ascended the tree ; at length, gliding along the branch till he came near the nest, he lifted his head as if to take his vicinity by surprise. He looked at the nest, then suddenly drew back his head as if he had been shot, and hurriedly made his way down the tree.

“I had the curiosity to see what had turned him from his malicious purpose, and on ascending the tree I found the twig to have been broken from a poisonous bush which that snake was never known to approach.

“ Instantly the thought rushed across my mind : “Who taught this bird its only weapon of defence in this hour of peril ?' And quick as thought came the answer : 'None but God Almighty, whose very existence I have denied.''

God sends them to the ant to learn industry, to the ravens and to the lilies for lessons of trust; and here, in the protection of a defenceless bird's

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »