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“I will put some of my pears into “ What is that, mamma, smiles ?” your basket, and go with you,” said asked Georgie, looking up. his mother; " but there is one thing “Yes," answered his mother, we can always give, and sometimes giving him a kiss; "and it is a good it does more good than nice things plan to throw in a kind word or two to eat, or even money."
with them, where you can.”
"I AM A CHRISTIAN.”
It is related of Sanctus, one of the early martyrs, who suffered in the latter part of the second century, that when examined with the most excruciating tortures, and questioned concerning his name, his city, his nation, and whether he was a slave or a freeman, no other answer or confession could his tormentors extort from the heroic man, save, “I am a Christian.”
In these days of pride and vain-glory; of regard for names and sects and parties; of restless endeavour to secure the honour that cometh not from above; is it not well to pause, and consider the difference between the motives that govern men now, and those that led this primitive Christian to maintain his simple yet glorious confession amid the direst tortures, and in the face of death itself?
“I am a Christian.” We see here no pride of kindred or of nation; no pleading of family circumstances or relations; no urging his services to the State, or his personal goodness and uprightness ; no selfish hope of release; and especially no thought of denying his Lord, to tarnish the glory of his testimony. He had experienced the power of the cleansing blood. He had tasted the pure waters of salvation. He had known the indwelling of the Comforter. In seasons of danger and of suffering he had proved the truth of the promise, “Lo, I am with you alway," and had felt the sustaining power of the everlasting
” And now, in that hour of final conflict, he was ready to confess that worthy name by which he was called, and that only. It was enough for him to be a Christian, and to suffer and die for the sake of Christ.
Alas, how different it is to-day! In how much of the Christian service and worship of this age is self exalted, and Christ dishonoured! In these days of enlightenment and learning, when so much is thought of talent and intellectual ability, and so little of prayer and faith, how few of Zion's watchmen can say with Paul, “ I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified”! In how much that is said to be done for the glory of God, is God almost forgotten! How much there is of self-gratification, how little of real self-denial, in the modern Christian warfare! How hath the offence of the cross ceased !
And has the Church become a greater power for good in the earth ? It is true that she is far greater in numerical strength, and in worldly
wealth and splendour, than she was in primitive times. It is true that the "gospel of the kingdom” has been so preached in all the world, that numbers have turned from idols to serve the living and true God, from every nation under heaven. But has the Church the living energy to elevate and save men to-day, that she had when a single itinerant preacher had “fully preached the gospel of Christ” “from Jerusalem and round about unto Illyricum," labouring with his own hands, that he might not be chargeable unto any ? Is there more done for the glory of God to-day, or have His people more peace and joy, than when "all that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need”? And then, "continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favour with all the people"? How natural the result that is immediately recorded : “And the Lord added to them daily such as should be saved”!
Fellow Christian, how is it with your heart? Has your acquaintance with Christ been so intimate and sweet that He is to you“ the chiefest among ten thousand," and the one “altogether lovely”? Or has "the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life,” 80 abated the ardour of your early love that you bave ceased to find in Him the sum and centre of all your peace and blessing? Do you find your meditation of Him, the study of His word, and the time spent in communion with Him, the most profitable and precious part of your experience? Or are you so hurried with worldly duties, and pressed with worldly cares, that you have no time for such sweet employ? Do you drink from the Fountain of living waters and find satisfaction ? Or do you still seek in vain to quench your feverish thirst from the bitter streams of earthly pleasure and earthly fame? In short, is Christ all and in all to you? Or does the world take the greater part of your thought and care?
These are important questions. Let us weigh them well. Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. We can experience the same precious nearness now that those did who counted not their lives dear unto them, but were willing to suffer the loss of all things, that they might win Christ. If we would know the peace and share the hope of such, we must follow their example; and when the crown which they were assured was laid up for them shall be bestowed, we also may be presented "faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.”
THE TRANSFORMED DWELLING.
It was night in the mansion,--deep, desolate night
The ceilings were frescoed with angels; and rich
Joy! joy to the dwelling! for Jesus is there!
LOOKING UNTO JESUS.
Thou, who didst stoop below,
To drain our cup of woe, Wearing the form of frail mortality;
Thy blessèd labours done,
Thy crown of victory won, Hast passed from earth,-passed to Thy home on high !
Man may no longer trace,
In Thy celestial face,
Nor may Thy servants hear,
Save with faith's raptured ear,
Our eyes behold Thee not,
Yet häst Thou not forgot Those who have placed their hope, their trust in Thee
Before Thy Father's face,
Thou hast prepared a place,
It was no path of flowers,
Through this dark world of ours, Beloved of the Father, Thou did'st tread;
And shall we, in dismay,
Shrink from the narrow way,
O Thou, who art our life,
Be with us through the strife; Was not Thy head by earth's fierce tempests bowed ?
Raise Thou our eyes above,
To see a Father's love
Even through the awful gloom
Which hovers o'er the tomb,
Our spirits shall not dread
The shadowy way to tread, Friend, Guardian, Saviour, which doth lead to Thee.
PICKINGS FROM MY PORTFOLIO.
No. II. I HAVE not seen an argument proceed from the same eternally against what is called the efficacy harmonious thought, they too are of prayer, which appears to me to so in harmony, that for the perfect have any force but what is derived operation of either no infringement from some narrow conception of the upon the other is needful; and that Divine nature. If there be a God what seems to be such infringement at all, it is absurd to suppose that would show itself to a deeper His
ways of working should be such knowledge of both, as a perfectly as to destroy His side of the highest harmonious co-operation. Nor would relation that can exist between Him it matter that we know so little, and those whom He cared to make-- were it not that with each fresh to destroy, I mean, the relation of discovery we are so ready to fancy the will of the Creator to the indi. anew that now, at last, we know all vidual will of His creature. That God about it. We have neither humility should bind Himself in an iron net enough to be faithful, nor faith of His own laws—that His laws enough to be humble.—Macdonald. should bind Him in any way, seeing they are just His nature in action A CHURCH may be what the world is sufficiently absurd; but that such calls a strong Church in point of laws should interfere with His numbers and influence. A Church deepest relation to His highest may be made up of men of wealth, creatures, should be inconsistent men of intellect, or men of fashion, with the highest consequences of and being so composed, may be, that creation which alone gives in the worldly sense, a very strong occasion for those laws; that, in Church. There are many things fact, the will of God should be at that such Church
do. strife with the foregoing action of It can launch ships and endow God, not to say with the very nature seminaries. It can diffuse intelli. of God—that He should, with an un- gence, can uphold the cause of changeable order of material, causes benevolence, can maintain an im. and effects, cage in for ever the posing array of forms and religious winged aspirations of the human activities. It can build splendid will, which He has made in the temples, can rear a magnificent pile, image of His own will, towards its and adorn its front with sculptures, natural air of freedom in His will; and lay stone upon stone, and heap would be pronounced inconceivable, ornament upon ornament, till the were it not that it has been con- costliness of the ministration at the ceived and uttered-conceived and altar shall keep any poor man from uttered, however, only by minds to ever entering the portal. But, which the fact of this relation was, brethren, I will tell you one thing it if at all present, then only in the cannot do; it cannot shine. It may vaguest and most incomplete form. glitter and blaze, like an iceberg in That He should not leave Himself the sun; but without inward holiness any willing room towards those to it cannot shine. Of all that is formal whom He gave need, room to go
and material in Christianity it may wrong, will to turn, and look up, and make a splendid manifestation; but pray, and hope, is to me grotesquely it cannot shine. It may turn almost absurd. It is far easier to believe everything into gold at its touch; that as both—the laws of nature, but it cannot touch the heart. It namely, and the human will may lift up its marble front, and pile