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on the paper. With mingled feelings of joy and grief, the poor ,woman told her friends and neighbours the news of her son's sad captivity. They resolved to do what they could for his deliverance, but the sum required to ransom him was larger than they could provide. The king alone could procure his freedom. So the widow appealed to the king, who ordered a ship to be built immediately, and sent away to Africa to ransom Conrad and bring him home. It is said that the figure of the stork was carved on the church to commemorate the return of the widow's son from his captivity.
God has many ways of delivering His people. When He wills it even the birds of the air become His messengers. Who guided the stork to the very field where Conrad was toiling? It was God.
And who put it into the boy's mind to make the bird his messenger? It was God.
'For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him.'
God was with Joseph in Egypt, and delivered him out of all his afflictions. He was with Moses in the wilderness, with Daniel in the lion's den, and with the Hebrew children in the fiery furnace; and he is ever with all who put their trust in Him. 'Behold the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear Him, upon them that hope in His mercy; to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.' 'If God be for us, who can be against us?'
'A little boy was running about in an apartment, amusing himself, as children are accustomed to do. His money was potsherds, his house bits of wood, his horse a stick, and his child a doll. In the same apartment sat his father at a table, occupied with important matters of business, which he noted and arranged for the future benefit of his young companion. The child frequently ran to him, asked many foolish questions, and begged one thing after another as necessary for his diversion. The father answered briefly, did not intermit
his work, but all the time kept a watchful eye over the child, to save him from any serious fall or injury. Gotthold was a spectator of the scene, and thought within himself, "How beautiful an adumbration of the fatherly care of God! We, too, who are old children, course about in the world, and often play at games which are much more foolish than those of our little ones. We collect and scatter, build and demolish, plant and pluck up, ride and drive, eat and drink, sing and play, and fancy that we are performing great exploits, well worthy of God's special attention. Meanwhile the Omniscient is sitting by, and writing our days in His book. He orders and executes all that is to befall us, overruling it for our best interests in time and eternity: and yet His eye never ceases to watch over us, and the childish sports in which we are engaged, that we may meet with no deadly mischief.'
'Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him.' 'The
EYES OF THE LORD ARE IN EVERY PLACE, BEHOLDING THE EVIL AND THE GOOD.' A
father must often be absent from bis children, and then his eye cannot be upon them. Conrad's mother could not watch over her boy when he was on the ocean or toiling as a slave; but God's eye was upon him all the time.
The eyes of the Lord are in every place, and He is ever watching over His children, to do them good and to keep them from evil. 'Behold, He thatkeepeth Israel, shallneither slumber nor sleep.' He only waits for us to call upon Him in sincerity, and in truth, and He will hear our cry.
'Among the deepest shades of night,
Yes! God is like a shining light
When every eye around me sleeps,
May I not sin without control? No! for a constant watch He keeps
On every thought, of every soul.
If I should find some cave unknown,
Even there I could not be alone,
THE second picture in our gallery is about three thousand years old, and is painted by a king. It represents a nightxene in an eastern country. Though there are stars in the sky, there is no moonlight, and the night is so dark that you can scarcely discern any of the features of the landscape. In the centre of the picture is a man apparently bent on an important journey, for his look is eager; and though his garments are worn and travel-stained, he shows no inclination to stop and rest. You can plainly distinguish the lines of weariness about his mouth, and yet the steady purpose shining in his eyes; for in his hand he carries a small lamp hung from chains. It casts a clear light on his path; and you see that, by its guidance, he has just escaped a deep ditch on the one hand, and is now avoiding a large rock on the other. Behind him, all is dark; but before him is a light, towards which he is pressing. I am sure many of you are ready to give me the sentences which we shall find engraven on the frame of the picture. 'Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path;' 'The commandment is a lamp, and the law is
light;' and again, 'A light that shinetn in a dark place.'
Have you ever thought of the meaning of the Bible's being compared to a lamp V You know we never light our lamps when the sun is high in the heavens, but after it has gone down, and the night has come. When God first created this world, and placed Adam and Eve in it, He was their Sun, and they needed no Bible. But when they disobeyed God, they lost the sunlight; and the night of sin, and sorrow, and death settled down on them and their children. Then God took pity on us, and gave us a light from heaven, to guide us to heaven.
How is it that this book can give light, as no other book in the world can? I will tell you. It is because it carries, enshrined in it, Christ, the Light of the world, the Bright and Morning Star, the Sun of Righteousness. You may think of the Bible, if you like, as the lamp or pipe which holds the burning substance, while the Lord Jesus Himself is the Light. If there was no Saviour for you and me in the Bible, it would help us no more than a lamp without light, or a well without water.
One way in which the Bible is like a lamp k, that the darker everything around is, the more brightly it shines. You have sometimes travelled in a railway train, and never noticed that there was a lamp in the roof of the carriage till you were carried into a long, black tunnel. How glad you were then of the friendly light, which showed you your father's and mother's faces! So, many a man has read the Bible for years, and never discovered that there was light in it for him, till God sent some dark trouble upon him; and then this heavenly lamp revealed to him a Saviour by his side. And many of God's people will tell you that just as the blacker the night, the brighter the stars; so, in their deepest sorrows they have got most comfort, hope, and joy, from God's Word.
I spoke of two lights in the picture—one in the man's hand, and one towards which he is travelling. Perhaps it is a fancy of mine, but I like to think that when David says, • Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path,' there is a special meaning in each clause. 'A light to my path,' to make me sure that I am on the way to heaven; 'a lamp to my feet,' to show me, step by step, how to walk in that way.
I shall conclude with a story told by Mr Weylland,—a London city missionary,— in his 'Man with the Book.' One day, when visiting in his district,., he found a poor little girl of eleven, very ill indeed. She was the child of a travelling tinker, and was lying on a bundle of rags, in a filthy room, which her parents had rented for a few weeks. 'Turning towards the child,' says Mr Weylland, 'the visitor inquired how long she had lived there, and if she could say the Lord's Prayer. In reply, the child, panting at intervals for breath, in a low hollow tone, said, "For four or five Sundays, sir. I was ill, and we had to sleep under a hedge, which made me worse; and then we tramped on here, and the doctor has been to see me, and says he can't do much for me, as I am getting thin, and can't eat;" and then, raising herself upon her arm, she continued,
her eyes lighting up with a deeper brightness, "I can't say all that prayer, but I can say the pretty hymn which is in the book under my head. I can't read, but I know it's there." And the peach colour of her cheek deepened as she opened the penny hymn-book, and repeated the first two verses of the hymn,—
"Come, let us join our cheerful songs
Then she threw herself back as though exhausted, but her face assumed an expression of intense happiness. After a few minutes the question was asked, "And how did you learn that hymn?" "A little girl at the tramps' lodging at Ipswich," she replied, "went to Sunday school, and took me with her for three Sundays. The lady saw I was ill, and kissed me, and told me how to say that hymn, and it makes me so happy. And I am going to Him soon," she whispered, gazing up with evident delight.'
That night she 'went to Him,'—almost in the act of repeating her favourite hymn. Oh! how dark that child's death-bed would have been if light from the Bible had never shined in her heart! And she was led to the light by a * little tramp girl.' Dear children, none of you is too young to be a light-bearer. If you carry the lamp of God's Word in your hand, and walk by its light yourself, you may be sure that, sooner or later, its rays will shine upon the dark path of some friend or neighbour, who will be led thereby to the city which hath no need of the sun nor of the moon to lighten it, for 'the Lamb is the light thereof.'
A Glory gilds the sacred page,
Majestic, like the sun;
It gives, but borrows none.
The hand that gave it still supplies The gracious light and heat;
His truths upon the nations rise; They rise, but never set.
GEORGE HERBERT was of noble family, descended from the Earls of Pembroke, and born in Montgomery Castle, North Wales, in the year 1593. The castle is very old, and built on a steep and high rook. It was destroyed by the Welsh in the early Norman time, and rebuilt by William Rufus in 1093. It was five hundred years old, and had seen much storm of war, when within it was born this little child, who was to be no warrior like his fathers, but to fill the church with his peaceful songs, and down through the long future years comfort many people who might yet scarcely know his name. Yet perhaps he has no ode hymn which has won a household place, sung by little children, and kept as a cradle memory. His poetry is quaint and strange. These, perhaps, are his simplest verses:
'King of glory, king of peace,
I will love Thee;
I will move Thee.
Thou hast granted my request—
Thou hast heard me; Thou didst note my working breast—
Thou hast spared me.
Therefore, with my utmost art,
I will sing Thee;
I will bring Thee.
Though my sins against me cried,
Thou didst clear me;
Thou didst hear me.
Seven whole days (not one in seven)
I will praise Thee: In my heart, though not in heaven,
I will raise Thee.
Thou grew'st soft and moist with tears—
Small it is in this poor sort
To enrol Thee;
To extol Thee.'
Here, too, is a beautiful little poem, full of images so curious and bright, they may take the fancy of many young spirits.
And asked if Peace were there.
I did; and, going, did a rainbow note:
Surely, thought I,
I will search out the matter.
Did break and scatter.
Then went I to a garden, and did spy
A gallant flower,
Peace at the root must dwell.
What showed so well.
At length I met a reverent, good old man;
Whom, when for Peace
There was a Prince of old
Of flock and fold.
He sweetly lived; yet sweetness did not save
His life from foes.
There sprang twelve stalks of wheat:
To plant and set.
It prospered strangely, and did soon disperse
Through all the earth;
That virtue lies therein—
By flight of sin.
Take of this grain which in my garden grows.
And grows for you:
And peace which everywhere,
Is only there.'
And there are here and there little verses full of such wise counsel, or such fine desire, they are worth keeping in our memories to help us every day.
'Be useful where thou livest, that they may Both want and wish thy pleasing presence still.
Kindness, good parts, great places are the way To compass this. Pind out men's wants and will,
And meet them there. All worldly joys are less
Than the one joy of doing kindnesses.
Scorn no man's love, though of a mean degree
Much less make any one thine enemy;
The cunning workman never doth refuse
The meanest tool that he may chance to use.'
Here are three simple, oft-quoted lines from the little poem on 'Employment.'
'O that I were an orange tree—
That busy plant;
And never want
Elsewhere, on the same sujbect:
'If as a flower doth spread and die,
Thou would'st extend to me some good
The sweetness and the praise were Thine;
But the extension and the room, Which in Thy garland I should fill, were mine At Thy great doom.
All things are busy; only I
Neither bring honey with the bees,
I am no link of Thy great chain;
Like Hume of Logie, George Herbert in his youth was a courtier of James First. But as early as 1626 he became prebend of Leighton Eeclesia, and his life is henceforth one of such earnest and beautiful devotion as, perhaps even more than his hymns, has gathered love and reverence round his name. Leighton is a vilirge in Huntingdon