« FöregåendeFortsätt »
A WORD FITLY SPOKEN.
England city, a devoted Christian, whose hus-
She would go to the house of God on the sabbath, while he profaned the sacred hours by examining his business accounts, or in any way that suited his inclinations. Often had she prayed for him, with tears. Often had she endeavoured to direct his thoughts to the realities of immortality and the importance of a Christian life. Her consistent example, her tender interest in his spiritual welfare, caused him to love her ardently and respect her religious principles; but he would give very little heed to her counsels. He was a prosperous merchant, and his thoughts and affections were absorbed in worldliness. Her loving heart was often grieved at his indifference to the most important of all subjects. But she was not weary in well-doing. She continued to pray and labour.
On one occasion, in the month of June, they were riding to one of the suburbs of the city, where they were to visit a friend, and he was to attend to some business. It was a charming day. All nature was arrayed in beauty. He was an ardent lover of natural scenery. As they were riding, he was quite enraptured by the scene around them, and spoke in glowing terms of the wonders of the natural world. His wife, ever wishing to turn his thoughts to God, quietly asked him, “ Who made all this loveliness ?" As if somewhat surprised at her question, he replied, “ Why, God Almighty, of course.” Her only response was, “ Do you love that God ?” In an instant the aspect of his countenance showed that the question caused deep thought. He made no reply. With a hopeful heart, she prayed silently that this might be the Holy Spirit's means of conviction and conversion. During the rest of the way he seemed little inclined to talk. His thoughts were evidently moving in an unusual channel. His wife observed it in silence and in hope.
When they reached their destination, that abstraction on his part continued. Friends could not conjecture the occasion of it, and were surprised. They asked if anything had occurred to trouble him in his business. He briefly replied in the negative. Having attended to his business, they returned home early.
At night, when the usual hour of retiring drew near, his wife asked him to unfold to her his feelings. “What is it, my dear husband, that you have been dwelling upon so intently?” “Do you remember,” he replied, “what we were talking about as we rode over to-day?” “Oh, yes,”: she said ; “we were talking about the great goodness of God displayed around us." Said he, “You asked me if I loved that God. That question has not been out of my mind since then. No, I do not love God. I have been indifferent to his commands. I have never heeded your kindest counsels and entreaties. Will you pray for me now?"
The 'fitly-spoken words of the wife had indeed been effectual. The husband freely made known his feelings and convictions. Often had he evaded the subject of personal religion; but the hour which the wife had long prayed for had come. His indifference to the love of God displayed in nature had moved him; but she spoke to him of the love of God in Christ Jesus—the gift of a Saviour whom he had so often slighted. He was in earnest now. The soul's immortal interests engaged his attention. He felt how utterly engrossed in the world he had been-how indifferent to the offers of salvation. The wife bowed in humble prayer in his behalf, and encouraged him to do so for himself. He did so. The gloom of conviction was soon followed by a calm and' joyful trust in Christ, a forgiving, almighty Saviour. From that time he was a changed man. He became a Christian. He soon publicly professed Christ, and has ever since been an active, faithful member of the Christian church. Now husband and wife are one in the Lord. He is an example of the power of "a word fitly spoken.”
Have we always improved such precious opportunities of speaking a word in season? It is not the number of our words, but their fitness, their timeliness, that gives them power. To one who is spiritually-minded, the outward world and human experience often present suggestions and emblems of Christian truth and duty. This was the Saviour's prevalent mode of instruction. He led the thoughts of his hearers by familiar symbols from the things that are seen and temporal to the things that are unseen and eternal. So should his followers do. The humble child of God will ever be reminded of spiritual realities and duties by the manifold emblems in the natural world ; and to such a one it will be a precious privilege to use these familiar analogies in leading unconverted friends to duty and to Christ. None can tell the good we may thus do by“ a word fitly spoken.”
NOBODY SPOKE TO ME. intelligent lady, relating her Christian experience said: “I was deeply convinced of my sinfulness, and went mourning many days. My
soul thirsted for the waters of life, and I earnestly wished that some person would address me on the subject of religion ; but nobody spoke to me. I sought the society of church members; but they talked of other things, and said nothing to me about my soul. I went to the house of Rev. Mr. H —, in hope that he would converse with me; but he made no allusion to the subject, and I returned home sadly disappointed. I do not relate this to reproach any one, but to suggest that Christians should seek opportunities to speak with the unconverted about their spiritual welfare ; and I believe they will find persons whom they may benefit, and who will thank them for their faithfulness.”
“This is like my own experience,” another said. “When I was thirteen years old I felt myself a sinner, and tried to pray in secret, and wished that some Christian would talk with me, and tell me how I might be saved. I might thus have been preserved from the life of sin and folly that I afterwards lived."
There is little doubt that many persons are prevented by diffidence from revealing their feelings, who by the influence of kind friends might find the light, and become decided Christians; but being neglected, their feelings wear away, and they again become indifferent, some of them remaining a long time in darkness. Some perhaps perish altogether. The psalmist brings a terrible charge against all who neglect their duty in this respect when he says, “No man cared for my soul.”
“ WHERE IS THE HILL NOW?" WAS very tired. I was but a boy then: I am a man, and an elderly man, now; and I have many times been tired and weary and faint since then :
but this does not much matter. As I said, or wrote, I was very tired. We had had a long day's march, my father and I; and we were pretty well laden with our bags of geological specimens and other curiosities which we had been gathering for our museum at home. We were yet three miles or more from home; and before us was a long, steep, and rugged hill which it was n ecessary to surmount. I was very near despairing.
“Father,” said I, in a piteous tone, “I am sure I cannot go any further, I am so tired.”
“I am afraid you must, George,” said he, kindly but seriously, “or we shall never reach home. Let us sit down and rest awhile.”.
So we sat down by the roadside, and I was glad to lay my throbbing head on my father's arm. In a moment or two I was asleep. But not for long.
“Are you refreshed with your nap, George ?" asked my father, encouragingly, when I had rubbed my eyes.
" A little," said I. “Then we will get on. Let me carry your bag for you.”
But I was too manly, or rather, too mannish, to permit this. “I would rather carry it myself, please," said I. At which my father smiled; but he let me have my own way.
So we toiled and struggled on; and the hill, no doubt, was very steep and trying ; nevertheless, it did not prove so bad as it had looked in the distance. Moreover, my father encouraged me as we journeyed on.
“Step by step, my boy," said he. “It is only one step at a time we have to take, after all; and that is a comfort. If we had to surmount the hill in one long stride, we could not do it. But one step at a time, what is there so formidable in that? And as to its being a hill,” he went on, pleasantly, “it is scarcely worth calling a hill, is it? Why, where is it? It looked steep enough in the distance; but now we are come to it, what is it after all ?
“Not so bad as it might be," said I, “nor so bad as I thought it would be ; only I am tired."
“Ah, well, it will be surmounted soon,” said my father ; “and then-why
6. The more we toil and struggle here,
The sweeter rest will be;' don't you think so, George ?”
At last we reached the summit, and then a beautiful and cheering prospect was opened before us. It was a fine fertile valley, on which the beams of the setting sun were shedding a glorious golden light; and in the distance, with no more hills between us and it, was the home to which we were bound. A happy home, with stores of comforts; snug rooms for shelter from wintry cold and summer heat; pleasant gardens full of blooming fragrant flowers and ripening fruits; and, above all, a home where a loving welcome awaited us from those who held us very dear.