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worse, and it seems that they were resolved to rid themselves of him, as they probably could never hope much from his discretion. Their first move was towards the barn in which I had found the little boy. It was by night; and in their passage, the principal man with his sons, and among them Jem, despoiled a farmer's hen roost, and brought away some other small matters. They met their associates and travelling stock at the barn, and there supped, under semblance of kindness giving the poor child a drink of strong liquor, which threw him into so heavy a sleep, that he did not awake till broad day. Before he went to sleep, a man whom he had seen with them several times since they had been in that part of the country, came in, and told them that the people at the farm had already missed some of their property, adding, in a jesting way, ‘you must all of you be off before peep of day, or you will assuredly be all hanged.' The trampers had often taken up the boy in his sleep, and carried him with them in their former midnight wanderings, so he yielded to the power of the liquor without fear; and when he awoke, found himself abandoned, for the people had gone down the pebbly bed of the brook, for some length of way, and then had probably dispersed to meet again at some distant spot by appointment.
“The poor child when thus left, had lain hidden from the fear of that hanging of which they had spoken before he fell asleep, whilst his illness gained so rapidly upon him, that, had he desired it, he could not have moved. In the evening of that day, poor Jem was found by Harry Bean ; and it had pleased God so to touch the heart of the elder boy, that from the time in which he first saw him until I met them both in the barn, he had done every thing which lay in his power to assist the forsaken child without betraying him. Harry was as fully impressed with the belief that poor Jem would be severely punished if discovered, as the child was himself, and perhaps with more reason; for he constantly heard the threatenings of vengeance which proceeded from the farmer who had been robbed ; and he was too inexperienced to know that the vengeance of an English yeoman, is very apt to spend itself in words, or to think it possible that this very farmer would have been the first to lend his assistance, if he had been told the state of the orphan child.
“But I shall not enter largely into what was done for the sick boy ; he was taken to the widow Morris, Harry Bean being established as his nurse, without whom he could not be content. The point to which I particularly wish to draw your attention as ministers of the truth, will develop itself, like the snowcrowned and sparkling summit of some mighty hill above the mists of this lower earth. I myself witnessed the almost triumphant death of little Jem, in which that child expressed a most perfect and joyful assurance of salvation in the Lord Jesus ; I was much perplexed to learn by what instrumentality this great change could have been brought about, fully conscious that it could not have resulted from any thing I had been enabled to say directly to him, for he had been delirious from the time of his removal from the barn, till within the last few hours of his death.
The Almighty has been very good, my dear Harry,” I said to his little weeping friend, 'in blessing that poor boy. But how did he obtain such a knowledge of the Saviour? Did you ever read to him from the Bible, when you had him all to yourself in the barn?'
*No, Sir,' he answered, looking down, 'I am sorry to say that I have lost sight of the little bit of learning I got at the Sunday school in the reading way ; but he was so unaccountably miserable, as much afraid to live as to die, that I began to think and search about for some sort of comfort to bring up to him, and then I thought of one afternoon in particular, last year, how you gathered some of us about you at the Sunday school, and laid out before us all about our Saviour-how he came down from heaven, being God, and became like one of us, only that he never sinned ; and all that, Sir; and how you spoke of his love to poor wicked children, and how he washes them from their sins. And I thought how you talked to us at another time about his leading his own ones like a shepherd, carrying his lambs, and caring for the weakest ; and there were verses to fit what
told us, which you said over and over again, till we could say them off. So when I saw poor Jem so miserable, I rubbed up all these memories, and he took them in most nge like, and cried ‘more? more !' and said, when I could not think of more, he would have the same over and over, till I got quite ashamed to think how much sweeter these things were to him, a poor tramper lad, than they had ever been to me.'”
With these words my dear old friend concluded his touching narrative. It has been a lesson to me, such as I hope I shall never be allowed to forget.
I shall next week, thought I, set about enlarging my Sunday school ; I have long seen it needed it, but have never yet had heart to go to work in earnest; and as I walked home, I said to myself, “ Would a minister desire to know what his God has enabled him to do, let him study the scenes of death which occur around him."
M. M.S. (To be continued.)
WHAT SAYS THE NEW YEAR?
Ir says many things. To some it says, “Are all the promises made by you, during the past twelve-months, fulfilled ; have you lived up to the resolutions you made at its commencement; have you perfected the schemes you then planned, and do you stand just where you proposed to stand, in wisdom, holiness, and happiness, when you halted upon the threshold of Eighteen hundred and forty-four, and looked into the dark untrodden future?" To others it says, “Death and Eternity are one year nearer than they were; the hardening influences of sin have not been idle, and the heart once willing to be drawn by cords of love is now firmly rooted in the stubborn soil of worldly conformity.” For each it has a different message, varying according to the outward and inward condition and circumstances of the individual; but for all it has a common voice rising above these lesser distinctions, when it takes up the language of the prophet, and exclaims—“ Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, my Father, Thou art the guide of my youth?"
“From this time”--from the first day of January, Eighteen hundred and forty-five--do not you, my dear readers—do we not all—desire to be happier ;-do we not all wish to spend the coming year with more pleasure and comfort to ourselves?
Then why should we not Is He who made us, unwilling that we should be happy; or unable to make us so ? You surely cannot think this: you cannot for a moment believe that a God who is Himself the source and centre of all happiness, could wish to see his children miserable; you cannot imagine that a God, whose power is unquestioned and unquestionable, could want ability to do it, even had he made no special revelation of His pleasure and His purpose in the words just quoted.
It may be well called a special revelation: it is directed to you, dear reader,- it bears “ a written label on its wing,” addressed to youth. It comes to you, moreover, with a marked specification as to time: it is charged to overtake you at a certain post and period of your journey; and that post is here—that period, now. “Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, 'My Father, Thou art the guide of my youth?”'
Come then, dear reader, and let us sit down together, carefully to analyze and prayerfully to study this New Year's overturethis letter from the Holy One to you and me.
First then and sweetest in its matchless catalogue of beauties, let us look at it as the language of forgiveness. Amongst ourselves there is nothing that the law so strongly sets itself against as treason: he who not only falls away from his allegiance to the sovereign, but goes over to an antagonist power, is doomed, as we think justly, to die the most degrading and abhorrent of all deaths. The crime too, dreadful as at best it is, becomes greater in proportion to the goodness of this sovereign. Yet this was the very sin, aggravated to the utmost and without one circumstance of extenuation, of which Israel had been guilty; when with more than a mother's tenderness, God stoops to whisper pardon, and more than pardon, to the high-handed rebel. He had been-nay he still was--a traitor against his God, his King, his Father; seeking other lovers, serving other gods, and practising his obscene and abominable idolatries upon every high mountain, and under every green tree. And yet the voice of his rightful sovereign still comes to him in love; still addresses him in the softest, sweetest, gentlest accents. It had been gracious, upon any terms, to take account of such a flagrant sinner, even had the earthquake, and the fire, and the great and strong wind been commissioned to arouse him to a fearful looking of judgment, but-0! the depths of the riches of His Father's loving kindness !-he is spoken to in terms of close endearment, of touching entreaty; he is at once taken into confidence; he is at once drawn into close contact with his injured but forgiving God; and in words which seem to glow in the
light of His paternal smile, is asked —" Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, ‘My Father, Thou art the guide of my youth ?""
Perhaps, my dear young friend-you who are canvassing with me the length and breadth and height and depth of this delightful text-perhaps you have left your first love; and are hewing out to yourself broken cisterns. Perhaps your experience has by this time told you, what the word of God had long ago declared, that they can hold no water; and you are possibly looking back upon those days when it was better with you than now. “O! that it were with me as in times past, when the candle of the Lord shined upon my head!” Is this the portrait of your present frame of mind? Then turn to Him again, at once-to-day-from this time; for He is just the guide, the stay, the strength, the All, you want.
We have pondered upon this new year's invitation, dear reader, thus far together; but for a little moment we must separate, for the text is personal. It is a communication from God to me.
It is “a message from God unto thee.” “Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, 'My Father, Thou shalt be the guide of my youth?'" Go then into your chamber, and I will go to mine; and see “ what the Lord will say unto me, and what I shall answer Him when I am reproved.” O! if I could but thus take all his words, whether of mercy or of judgment, to myself, and feel that there were but two parties to the treaty, God and my own heart – how closely should I investigate my thoughts, words, and actions: what carefulness it would work in me, what zeal, what clearing of myself, what holy indignation! But the visit is now not one of anger, but of unqualified, unmitigated, unreserved compassion. Look, while you pause upon the threshold of His secret place; there is none there but God. Enter, it is no hall of judgment; it is the presence-chamber of All His Goodness. Pray; there are no listeners but the everlistening Himself! and the love that casteth out all fear will enrich you with all knowledge of your Father's heart and your's; and all utterance for that amazing interview. Then let me tell Him all: there is no crime so trivial as to set his righteous indignation at defiance: there is no sin so great as to tower above His mercy : there is no trial so grievous that he cannot