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gravely concerned and distressed, not so with my father. His life and and my mother wept silently. I his prayers went together; and every was sorry for this, for I really loved word he uttered made itself felt be. them both ; but was vexed, too, that cause there could be nowell-grounded the last evening should be made suspicion that it did not come from gloomy.
the heart. What can I say, mother?” I
Well, my father prayed for me asked, somewhat impatiently; "you with many groans and tears; he would not have me be a hypocrite, seemed
to be wrestling with God for and pretend to what I don't feel, me, and continued praying long, as would you ?”
if he would have said, “I will not let “No, George, no,” she answered ; Thee go unless Thou bless me!” He "anything rather than that ; but, prayed much for my soul, that it George, you know the guilt and might taste and drink deep into danger of rejecting the Saviour; and Christ's precious salvation; that I that He is ready and waiting to be might no longer delay, nor halt beyours, and to make you His. Why tween two opinions as to whom I do you keep back from giving your would serve ; that in the
voyage on heart to Himp”
which I was entering I might be Much more passed than I can or kept from following the evil exneed set down. On my part, it was ample of the careless, profligate, and putting off with promises that I profane. He prayed that I might would think more about religion be kept from danger, be prospered than I had lately done, and with in all my ways, and be returned hopes that some day I should be all home in God's own good time, in that they wished. On theirs, it safety :--that God would bless me was urging me not to delay, while indeed. in health and safety, seeking my
There was not much more said soul's salvation.
that night: we soon separated; and At last my father said, “We can- none of us went to bed, I think, with not do what we would for you, dry eyes or thoughtless minds. George; but we can pray for you." I was to start early next morning.
Yes, father,” I said--and I felt The Portsmouth coach left the inn melted a little with seeing his evident at eight o'clock; and I had some sorrow—"and I wish you to pray distance to pass through the streets for me."
before reaching it. We were all up, “Well,” he said, “I should like to therefore, long before it was light; pray for you, and with you, now.” for it was winter. It was a silent
We had knelt together an hour breakfast-time, as such times often before, at family prayer; but we are, when there seems to be the most knelt again; and my father prayed to
but no one ventures to speak. very, earnestly and very touchingly
It might be that I was going away for his “dear sailor-boy,” as he for ever; or if I returned, should I spoke of me to his God.
find them all living? More than a Now I have sometimes heard year, at any rate, would pass away persons in family prayer, and in before I could return; and what public as well, who have been very changes a year often brings about in much excited and very eloquent, and a family! perhaps very sincere at the time, “I cannot say much to you, who yet have not made much im- George,” said my father, who had pression on my mind-partly, I be- been trying to keep up all our spirits lieve, because I knew their lives without much success; “let were not consistent with the ex- pray together once more before we pressions they have uttered. It was part."
His prayer that morning was a short one; it was principally that I might have a safe journey that day, and a safe voyage out and home; or rather, that God would take me under His care and keeping, and deal with me as seemed good in His sight, so that all might be well in the end-well for eternity.
I have reason to remember this part of my father's
prayer. It was a fine frosty, morning, though scarcely light, when I took my place on the outside of the coach, and shook hands with my
father and brother for the last time; but the gloom soon cleared away, and when we were fairly on the road, the sun shone out cheerily and my spirits began to rise again.
The journey was more than halfway over, and we were going gently down a hill, when I felt a sudden lurch, and, without any other warning, felt myself violently thrown forwards in the air. The axletree, as I afterwards learnt, had snapped asunder, and the coach, which was heavily laden, was overturned with great force.
I was ignorant of this at the time, however, and of all things else. When I came to myself, I was lying on a bed, at a roadside inn, in great pain. I tried to move, but could not; and the agony caused by the attempt was so great that I shrieked, and again sunk into insensibility.
This did not last long, however; and when I once more recovered, I found myself under the hands of a surgeon, who was fomenting my head. I had barely sense enough to answer a few questions this gentleman put to me; but I gave him my father's name and direction, and the next day both he and my mother came to the inn.
some days before I was pronounced out of danger, and able to be moved; and then, by short stages and in an easy carriage, I was taken back to my home. By this time I understood how narrowly
I had escaped with life. I had been thrown from the coach-top on to the hard frosty ground, and fell on my head. The violence of the fall was partially broken by a thick fur cap which I wore that day; but for this I should probably have been killed on the spot. My collar-bone was also broken, and my whole system received a shock from which I was long in recovering. Strange to say, 1, of all the passengers, was the only one who received any severe injury.
I need not say that this accident at once put a stop to my voyage. The Burhampooter sailed without me; and my prospects seemed irretrievably marred.
For some weeks I felt indifferent about this, as about all things else; I was incapable of much thought, and was only thankful that the accicent had occurred within the reach of my father's house. But as I slowly recovered health and strength, sad, murmuring feelings were uppermost in my heart, and sometimes I gave them utterance. Instead of being grateful that my life was spared, I groaned with impatience at the disappointment which my hopes had undergone.
“Mother," I said one day, “I cannot make it out at all."
" What cannot you make out, George ?” asked my mother, who was sitting beside me, as I lay on the sofa.
“How is it I got this hurt? You believe that God hears prayer, I know, mother.”
"Yes, I am sure He does. He does more than hear prayer, George : He hears and answers.
Always, mother?” I asked; and, if I spoke as I felt, it was in a tone of scorn and unbelief.
Always, I firmly believe,” said my mother, with energy,
66 when the prayer is fervent and goeth not out of feigned lips; always, in God's own good time, and in His own best way.
“Father prayed for a safe and prosperous journey for me," I said
bitterly; "and see what came of it; I was the only one on the coach who did not have it."
“How do you know that ?” my, mother asked quietly; “I mean, said she, “how do you know that all the other passengers had a safe and prosperous journey ?”
"I know that they escaped, and I did not,” I said ; "and all events, you cannot say that mine was either safe or prosperous.”
My mother was a meek and gentle woman; she did not like argument; she used to say that she could not argue about religion, but she could trust, and pray, and believe. She looked mournfully in my face when I said that, and I could see that her eyes were filled with tears. I repeated my words: “Now, can you say, mother, that my journey was safe or prosperous ?"
“ We shall tell better about that by-and-by, George," she answered, in her mild, submissive way. “We cannot see yet what the end will be; perhaps we shall not see the answer to that prayer till we reach another world; but I am sure we shall see it then."
Many months passed away before I was sufficiently restored to be fit for sea; and then I had to wait a long time before another good opening_could be found for me. At last I obtained a berth, though not so promising as that I had lost in the Burhampooter, and was once more making preparations for the voyage.
A few days before going on board, I was in a coffee-room
in the city, and took up the day's Times; more from habit than design, my eyes rested on the shipping intelligence, and the first words I read were these -“LOSS OF THE BURHAMPOOTER." _
With dazzled eyes and reeling brain I read on, that on her homeward voyage, the Burhampooter had foundered in a heavy gale; that the catastrophe was witnessed without power of relief; and that all on board had perished.
My story is told. You may say that my accident was a stroke of good fortune; others have said so when they have heard my story; and they smile when I say it was an answer to my
prayer. not to be daunted by a smile!
A POOR SPECULATION. ROBBING God never did pay in times past, and it is doubtful if it can ever be made to pay in a business point of view. We should like to attend an "experience meeting," where people who have robbed God would bring in their books, and tell the honest truth about the profit and loss of these operations.
A writer in an American periodical gives the following account, which
may be set down as one of many instances where men have found robbing God to be a poor speculation.
“One of the most enterprising and successful Methodist laymen in Indiana says, when he began life for himself, he worked three years for ninety-five dollars, and gave one-tenth of it to the Lord. tinued to do so for many years, finding but little difficulty when making but little. At last the war came on, and he found himself partner in a hominy-mill, which was run day and night to supply the army. His income was between two and three hundred dollars per day. Now came a terrible conflict : Shall I give away between
twenty and thirty dollars a day?' The sum seemed to appal him; and one night, after a severe struggle, in which covetousness gained the mastery, he sank into a troubled sleep, but soon awoke to see the hominy-mill in a thousand flames! He has never had any trouble to give one-tenth since!
“This brother at that time estimated that the same rule of giving in his own denomination would realize one thousand dollars per year for the support of each pastor, pay all the connectional demands then made on the people, and leave a surplus of nineteen millions of dollars annually!' One-tenth was sacred to the Lord from the earliest
It not a Jewish provision merely; but when the gospel was “preached to Abraham,” he recognised the justness of the rule, and on his return from the defeat of the kings who had captured Lot, we are told that “Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine : and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: and blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him TITHES [tenths] of all” (Gen. xiv. 18-20).
So also when Jacob, the wandering fugitive, saw heaven opened above him at Bethel, and the Lord revealed Himself to him in words of grace and promise, “ Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God: and this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house : and of all that Thou shalt give me I will surely give the TENTH unto Thee" (Gen. xxviii. 20-22).
The law given by Moses simply re-affirmed this ancient duty; and not only tithes, but also offerings and first-fruits, and days and weeks of sacred time, were demanded by the law, and devoted to the Lord under the Jewish dispensation.
No one collected these tithes. No officer or tax-gatherer compelled their payment; all was voluntary : but notwithstanding all this, robbing God in tithes and in offerings always proved to be one of the poorest speculations that a backslidden Israelite engaged in. The rain would not fall on their fields, the worms and bugs would eat up their produce, and blight and blasting would consume that which greedy apostates sought to withhold from the Lord. It is so now. The curse of God is on the covetousness of the
age. A continual whine of poverty and hard times goes up from those Godrobbers on every hand. They are poor, and they ought to be. They are wretched, and they always will be. The liberal soul shall be made fat; and the stingy soul may expect to cry, "My leanness, my leanness!” Drought, blight, and insect-pests, are just as much at God's command to-day as they were three thousand years ago; and a man with eyes to see can perceive the results of robbing God on every side.
With all the extravagance of modern sectarianism, an honest tithe of the wealth of Christendom would pay every bill, and leave millions of surplus to carry the glad tidings into heathen lands.
But instead of this, church-members rob God, and then pass their corn-poppers and saucers ” around the congregation to beg halfpence of the Devil's children, to sustain religious worship, and then get up fairs and fandangoes, soirées and sociables, selling trinkets and nicknacks, and arranging feastings and riotings, to obtain money for the service of God. And all this that tight-fisted old skin-flints may rob God and hoard up wealth, while young people waste money in speculations, extravagance, luxury, and pride.
“ Will a man rob God?” Verily he will find it a poor speculation. “There is that scattereth and yet increaseth.” Floods and flames, blights and whirlwinds, stand ready to rebuke our greed and punish our covetousness; while to His obedient children the Lord says, as He did of old : “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your
vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed : for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts" (Mal. iii. 10-12).
THE MINISTER'S WIFE.
THERE are many saints whose of them ever made more real sacri. names have a fair place in the book fice for the heathen than she made of life who make very little stir in for the dull, immovable, and unthe world. They seem to the care- appreciative people of that remote less observer to move on very swim- town, where there seemed everymingly over the sea of life, neither thing to be done in the way.of redoing nor enduring enough to give fining and elevating, and yet where them a right to the name of saints. little could apparently be done, beBut there is a sacrifice keener far cause the people were full and wanted than that involved in hard labour, nothing. There was no great, new in coarse and scanty fare, or even in field to strike into with Christian outward persecution; it is that zeal and hope ; but old ground ordeal through which a delicate worked over and over, the very and refined spirit passes in yielding stones of which seemed satisfied. up taste, as well as ease and com- The people, with the exception of fort, for the good of others.
a few “righteous,” who saved them The minister's wife at Eastwood from moral paralysis, were a dull, was a heroine whose record at last heavy, dog-trotting community, who will shine as bright and pure as that wanted no impetus, and were very of any woman who ever crossed the jealous of ministers or any one else sea with the light of life to those who believed improvements possible who sit in darkness; perhaps few there.