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bours kept the place and Meg tidy, and I took home what was left after paying score at the ‘Lion."
Bill gave Sam a good nudge to look at the speaker, for the tears had gathered in his eyes and were rolling in little channels down his cheeks.
“ One night there was a noise in the bar at the ‘ Lion.' Somebody sung out, Mind the little 'un; then there was a fall and a cry—Meg's cry—and I ran out, to see the landlady catch her up, and the blood flowing from a great gash in the forehead. • Pure accident,' some one said ; but I caught hold of Meg, the landlady bound her up somehow, and I rushed home with her-home to her mother, and the sight of the child seemed to put life into Alice; she fondled and sang to the little one in a way that almost broke my heart. The doctor came and bound the head up, but the little eyes were fast closed, and he gave no hope.
“ Once she opened the little eyes, gave one stare wild enough to shudder at, and then closed them ; so we sat, Alice with her on her breast in bed, and I on a chair by the side.
John,' said Alice, “I don't think I shall be here long, and I want to talk to you a bit ; will you listen?'
“I nodded, for I could not speak.
"Before I knew you, John, I used to read my Bible and pray to God; since then I have given it up; you did not like it, John; but I have got to die ; and it's all dark now, husband What am I to do?' “I kept quite still; what could I say? 'John, I'm too weak to read now; won't you
read a bit to me, and give me a little comfort before I die—if there is any for me?
“Not for years had I touched the book she spoke of, and where to find it now I did not know; but I hupted round, for I thought, If this will give her ease, I'm bound to try; and at last I found it behind the tea-tray. I asked her where to read; she said anywhere. So I opened and read where Jesus went into a house in which a little child lay dead; how the people mocked and jeered Him when He said she slept (and I looked at our poor Meg, so white and pained, wondering if He would have come to her); how Jesus took that little girl's hand, her cold, dead hand, and said, 'Arise.'
""Oh, John, if He were only here to speak to Meg and make her well,' said Alice.
* Perhaps it's only a tale,' I said—and stopped.
No, John,' said Alice. "When I was well I could live and not think much of Him; but since I've been ill He seems very
real to me sometimes; even now, John, I believe He is here !'
Mates, that was a cold, dark night, and the wind howled outside, the fire was all but out, and the candle flickered about with the draught. I tell you I felt bad, for her words did seem so full of meaning, her eyes almost looked me through.
“John, if He's here, He can save our Meg. John, dear, won't you ask Him? Won't you pray?'
“ Alice, I can't; I don't know how.'
“.6 Husband, look at the darling; think of her- of her. John, try. Oh, John, try!'”
The whole group of navvies gathered round him here with open eyes and strained ears, watching eagerly for what was coming.
“ I don't know what voice whispered back her words like an echo; but I heard, and fell upon my knees, crying to the Lord—if He was there—to have mercy on my sinful soul, and to heal our little lamb. Oh, mates, how I did cry, to be sure! and how I did hope it might be true that He was there ; for I felt sure, if He was, He would help usthe old story I had learned years before and forgotten so long—the story of His cruel death, seemed to rise like a strange bright picture in the awful stillness of that room ; how He died for sinners, that such might be brought back to God—this broke down my hardened heart. Just then, whilst I was on my knees, and the tears of penitence were
on my cheeks, Meg, dear little Meg, opened her eyes: once more. 'Oh, father, I have had such a beautiful dream,' she said ; "the Lord whom mammy loves has come, and called to such a lovely house your poor tired Meg. Father, take care of dear mammy !
“The little eyes grew more weary, closed at last, and, with one long sigh, Meg was gone to the lovely home.”
The rough men were touched indeed as he stopped to gasp down his emotion.
“ Lads, the mother went before long, clinging to the Lord whom Meg saw, resting on His Word as she passed through the Valley of the Shadow into the Light beyond. The old place was too full of sorrow for me; so I wandered on till I got to this place; and if I'm quiet, it is because I think of them. Ever as I work the sense of His presence is with me; their dying words are in my ears.
Oh! mates, take my story home to your hearts—home to your wives and little ones, and with them seek the Saviour, whose love so strangely made me turn from evil unto God."
Not a word had interrupted him all through ; but now Sam's voice was heard—but little above a whisper :
6 Mate, we want the song.".
John cleared his voice a little, and, as the men hushed down again, sang :
“I stay a little while below; The changing seasons come and go, but Christ my joy heals every
In Him I live, and fear no foe.
The night is dark and sad to me, But even in the gloom I see my Saviour bright who died to free
My soul from misery.
Though He has taken those above, \Vho once have cheered me with their love, clad in the robe Ilis hands have wove,
They safely rest, where'er I rove.
So still to Him my steps do tend; His power is present to defend ; on His sweet mercy I depend ;
His love to me will never end.
Friends ! come to Him, just as you are ;
His blood can pardon, and His love can feed.”
Short Readings for the year.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ."-Rom. i. 16.
“ followed the multitude to do evil;" but throug!
darkness to light, and the power of Satan unto God ;” and the “ love of Christ constrained him” to make this confession, even before his enemies. He would own his Master openly, and he was not ashamed to suffer death for the cause of Christ. We look back to the years of persecution which visited our land, when, for the truth of the gospel, so many Christians suffered death rather than deny Christ. But how do we stand? Can we brave contempt or reproach for the sake of Christ? Are we ashamed to confess Him before men? God forbid ! His children must be good and faithful soldiers and servants, true to their colours and faith. And why was the apostle not ashamed of the gospel of Christ ?" Because " the Word of God is quick and powerful;” and, while it warns the sinner, it brings peace and comfort to the troubled heart, as it shows forth the glorious plan of salvation and the great love of our Saviour, and reminds us, that “here we have no continuing city ;” but Jesus has provided for us a home with Himself-even a mansion in glory. Then, as servants of Jesus, shall we not make known boldly the gospel of Christ, and not be ashamed to recommend religion by our conduct and lives, and our temper, life, and conversation ? We know that our Lord and Master will honour those who honour Him, and “make them to sit with Him on His throne," as He confesses and owns them before the host of heaven. Oh! may we be stirred up to greater boldness, earnestness, zeal, and love for our Master; and daily looking unto Him, we shall receive strength, guidance, and wisdom to enable
circumstance, “not to be ashamed of the gospel of Christ.”
Be not ashamed of Jesus,
To own Him as Thy Lord;
And to proclaim His Word.
The footsteps of thy Lord,
He'll strength and help afford.
What Christ hath done for Thee;
Salvation full and free.
along the lonely road which led from the city to
business, and, being absorbed in his reflections, was unconscious of the slowness of the pace at which he travelled. His brow was knit, his eyes fixed upon the ground, his countenance pale, and his whole frame and aspect gave evidence of bodily weakness and mental unrest. The effort to control his thoughts seemed at first only to increase his perplexity; but at length he found expression for his feelings. Talking to himself, he said : "For more than two years now I have been gradually losing heart, as