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days are nights, nights of sorrow, of suffering, of distress, of perplexity, of temptation, of trial, of sin. Nights of wrestling and fighting, and agonising, and praying and wearying, and there no night,” not even one hour of night, for there even the shadows flee away. Poor wanderers on earth's darkest ways, whose days are clouded, and whose nights are countless, listen, “there shall be no night there,” not onenot one, for Jesus lives and reigns, and in His presence is perpetual day. Oh! think of it and shout for joy; even in this your night of earth “cling to the mighty One," ask Him to put beneath you His everlasting arms, to hold you, to bear you on His wings. Oh, “wait on Him" if you would see the blessings of eternity, and have them for your own. Light ! blessed light ! thrice blessed, when the Lord of light its fulness does impart; these eyes are dim, they cannot see; they long and strain and try to pierce the oft-recurring gloom; but there! but there ! 'twill all be bright. Earth's shadows will for ever flee away. Ah! the thought is grand and sweet, it fills the aching void, it calms the troubled breast, and with its gentle force it presses back the surging thought we cannot always stay, and it whispers in its own sweet tones, so pure that we picture the white robes so silvery, that we discern the glassy sea, so full and satisfying, that we find God and heaven reflected in them : 'Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world," and “ there shall be no night there."
An Important Question.
the light and warmth of a well-blazing fire in
was a great attraction to half-benumbed travellers who had left their homes at such an early hour in readiness for the first train ; and one old woman especially had drawn her chair closely in front of the fender, and carefully putting her homely-looking bundle on the ground at her side, was leaning forward, spreading out her thin, skinny hands to catch, if possible, a little of the genial heat.
There are some old people whose every look and gesture seems to tell of life having been to them a seed-time of noble Christian purposes and deeds, which have blossomed and borne fruit in an evening of content and satisfaction, not with themselves, but with Him of whom they can say with quiet gladness, "He led me forth by a right way, that I might go to a city of habitation.” There are others, in whose faces the lines of discontent and disappointment have hardened into an expression of habitual gloom and sourness very sad to see, because it makes one fear that they have spent the precious day of life in hewing out to themselves “broken cisterns that can hold no water." Of this last class was the old woman in the railway station, and as she stooped over the fire the bright flame played, as if in mockery, on miserable features that seemed never to have had the illumination of sunshine from within. She took no part in the casual talk that was going on around her, but cowered down, apparently absorbed in her own gloomy thoughts.
Her forlorn appearance attracted the attention of a young woman who was standing a little apart from the crowd near the fire. Mary Lanyon had her own burden of grief that morning, for she had been summoned to the journey she was now taking by tidings of her mother's alarming illness, and had, during her absence, to give up the school which was her sole means of support; and so anxiety about the future might well have added its weight to the heaviness of her present sorrow. But no one could look at her peaceful, though tear-stained face, without instinctively feeling that the secret of the Lord was with her.
And so it was. She had, like her noble namesake, “ chosen that good part" which no adverse circumstances can ever wrench away from the hand of faith—“the good part” of trust in a Saviour's dying love, an assurance of His constant care and fellowship, and the privilege of feeling, even when dark days come, and the onward path is well-nigh blocked up, that “ all the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth to such as keep His covenant.” And in her grateful love to this blessed Friend, especially for His support in this time of trial, Mary had prayed that in this journey she might have some opportunity of work for Him; and from the time that she first saw the unhappy face of the old woman, she longed to speak to her of the great Comforter.
But she could not do so before the other passengers, and neither she nor they seemed inclined to leave the fire until the train was in sight. So Mary had time for earnest prayer for words to speak, and for power to accompany the words.
A few minutes later, and the clanging bell brought all the other passengers hurriedly out of the waiting-room, and the old woman's tottering steps now carrying her after them, when a kind hand was stretched out to help her with her bundle, and a clear voice, close at her ear, asked the question, gently and solemnly, “My friend, have you felt the Spirit's power?” The old woman started and glanced round, and as she met the loving look of Mary's face her own heart grew warmer, and instinctively she put out her hand and grasped that of the young girl, whilst her eyes smarted with the unwonted moisture of tears.
“I know what you are talking about; they are good words you are saying, young woman," she muttered, “and they bring back my young days to me. If I'd remembered what I learned then, it would have been better for me. Pray for a miserable old creature, will ye now, and God bless you !" There was just time for Mary to help her into a compartment, where there was only one seat left, and then let the guard hurry her away to another part of the train, where there was more room. She has never seen the old woman again, nor heard whether the seed sown that cold November morning fell into good ground; but she has followed it by prayer, and is earnestly hoping that one day she will meet her fellow-passenger once more in the city where “there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain,” and find then that she had from that morning sought the Spirit's power, and been led by it, as a helpless, heavy-laden, sinner, to a mighty and rest-giving Saviour.
M. C. F.
J Sure Mark of a Christian.
acknowledge His precepts as my rule of life. I
I must be meek and forgiving. I must be temperate and self-denying. A different society must be lived in ; new habits formed ; old habits abandoned. There is one proof that must be evident in every man who has a Christian hope in him, namely, that the flesh is subdued to the Spirit. It is a sure mark of a Christian that “he walks not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”-Archbishop Sumner.
Naught bast Thou, poor Child of Sin.”
“This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.”
John vi. 29.
Pardon, peace, and heaven to win;
Leave thy feelings, leave thy fears,
Believe and Live. “ Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved."-Acts xvi. 31.
EAR His voice, O child of woe,
Where the Gospel breezes blow,