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THE TRIAL TRIP.
ON a beautiful spring morning, George Mortimer, with his little sister Mary, and Harry Jones, their constant companion in all expeditions, set out full of hope for the trial of 'The Fairy,' in the little lake not far from their home. 'The Fairy' was the first real ship, as George called it, that he had ever possessed. He had sometimes tried to sail small imitations of boats in a basin in the nursery, or empty cocoa nuts had sometimes been 'rigged out,' by his elder sister, to please his liking for all seafaring things; but a real ship, with sails, ropes, and helm, had never been his till now. His cousin Robert, who had actually been two years a sailor boy, and whom George looked upon as an experienced seaman, had spent his last Christmas with the Mortimers, and had built 'The Fairy,' while George and Mary looked on, in mute admiration of his skill. George was glad to be allowed to fetch and carry any thing that was needed, while the grand work was going on: and Mary could hardly sleep for a night or two, till the hemming of the sails was finished; for that was her share of the business.
And now, all was ready; Harry, as his contribution, had got' The Fairy,' printed in gilt letters on the blue pennon which fluttered at the mast head; and down ran the children, to trust their precious property to 'the winds and waves;' for the gentle ripple on the lake Mary dignified by this name.
It was really and truly a trial trip that was now to be made; for if 'The Fairy' behaved well, as sailors say, she was, next Saturday, to sail on the river that the children saw far off, from the nursery window; but strong currents were there, which might capsize the little craft, and eager as George was for his vessel to show her powers, he would not have risked her in the fast flowing stream, before she had been tested in the stiller, safer waters of the lake.
George, of course, had the honour of launching the ship. Harry ran round by the head of the lake, and stood watching the doings on the other side, ready to receive
'The Fairy' on her first landing. But fear filled the young hearts as the voyage began. After George and Mary thought her fairly afloat,' The Fairy' got entangled in the rushes near the shore. Mary bore up bravely when she saw the white sails on which she had spent such labour get soiled and wet, before the crossing had well begun; but George managed well, got her righted again, and fairly off at last; then stood watching with intense anxiety, when his much prized treasure was really out of his hands. Perhaps he thought, as he bent eagerly forward, that he could help on the little vessel, so much did he seem to feel each lurch, as' The Fairy' breasted the wave. He and Mary held their breath, as the tiny ship leaned to one side, and they thought all was over with her; but Harry's ringing cheer from the other side, as she recovered her balance and sailed steadily on, gave them heartening to run round by the head of the lake, as he had done; and all three joyfully welcomed'The Fairy,'as with the sun shining brightly on her white sails, she landed safely in her destined harbour.
Had there been a shipping list for the children's boats, such as there is in the newspapers for the great ships that cross the ocean, you would have seen reported amongst the arrivals next morning—'The "Fairy," all well, prosperous voyage.' This was what the young people eagerly announced, as they rushed into the drawingroom, and told Mrs Mortimer of the grand event.
'Oh! mamma,' said George, 'I only wish cousin Robert had been hero to see her; she is a splendid sailer, "obeys her helm beautifully," (for George had picked up a few seaman's phrases, which he liked to show off). "Don't you think we may go next Saturday down at once to the seaside, and launch her there ?"'
Mrs Mortimer looked wistfully at the eager faces of the children; perhaps she was thinking how all three, though little dreaming of it, were setting out on the voyage across life's ocean, and she wondered how it would fare with them.
'Don't you think so, mamma?' asked 27
HOW TO BE BEAUTIFUL.
Mary, impatient for a reply. 'You can't think how steadily she sailed, after she was fairly off; and it would be such a grand thing, if "The Fairy" was out on the ocean, like one of the great large ships. I would not. be afraid of her,' Mary added, in a wise, experienced tone, forgetting all her fears at the launch on the lake.
'Oh! no,' said her mother, 'that would never do. This morning "The Fairy "made her first trial trip; she must be tried a little more yet, before she ventures on the ocean, else I much fear she may suffer shipwreck; and we should all be grieved if that were to happen. Baby managed to walk safely across the nursery floor yesterday, for the first time, with a firm hold of my finger; that was his trial trip. But you would think it very strange, were I to set the poor little fellow off alone at the garden gate, because he had done his first journey well; he must be tried again and again. He will have some troubles, I fear, before he can be left alone.'
'Well,' said Mary, '"The Fairy" almost had a tumble just at setting off, but the sails were well set, and George had pointed her helm in the right direction, so all went well at the end.'
'Yes,' said Mrs Mortimer, 'that is the main matter. You and all of its are often making trial trips; beginning some new course, seeking some end,—be sure that it is a right one. Columbus knew he was right when he set out; and patiently and steadily sailed on, believing that he would reach the American shore, and so at last he did. It is terrible to make a trial trip in a wrong direction. Nobody does some very bad thing all at once; there is always some small beginning. Poor widow Smith's son, who was ringleader in a great robbery, and is banished for it now, began, as he told me when I saw him in jail, by stealing sixpence one day from a companion at school; he never intended to grow up a thief, he wished to please himself. In life's voyage, the point he steered for was his own will, not God's; and you see how he has been shipwrecked. I dare say you understand what I mean, George?'
'Oh! yes, mamma; and with such a wind as was blowing when " The Fairy" set out, with all sails set, she might have been wrecked too, had she not steered right for the port.'
'We grown-up people,' continued Mrs Mortimer, 'have had many trial trips in our day, and have come through many storms. You, children, who have yours still before you, see that in them all you put the helm in the Saviour's own hand, and He will guide you safely into the harbour.'
'There's the dinner bell, mamma,' said George, rather eagerly.
'Very well, my dear—put away your pretty ship for this week—she has done her part well; and if you remember a little of what we have been talking about, she has been your good "Fairy" in more ways than one.' k.
HOW TO BE BEAUTIFUL.
'Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ.' Rom. 13. 14.
WE all wish to look well. That is, right. It is a pleasure to ourselves, and to all who see us. The mistake is, that we often seek, not that we should look well, but that our clothes should look well. The goodness and beauty we think of, ant. seek after, is outside of us—in our dress, and not in ourselves. It is foolish to take pleasure in our clothes, if we cannot take pleasure in ourselves. A clothes screen is not any grander in itself, however splendid the dresses may be that are hung on it. A man is not any better in himself when he puts on better clothes.
A gentleman's son was playing on a country road near the village where his father lived. There was a potato field by the road side. In the middle of the field was a wooden man which the farmer had set up to scare the crows. After a while the boy noticed this figure, and was so much amused that he went up to it to see it nearer. In the end, indeed, out of fun, he dressed it up in some of his own
HOW TO BL BEAUTIFUL.
clothes. On its ugly head he set his beautiful cap; and on its square shoulders he hung his fine velvet jacket. 'Now,' said he to the scare-crow, 'if you had only got legs instead of that wooden stump, you might have walked away to the town, and had all the folk admire you and make way for you. If you had only real eyes, and not these burned-out holes in the wood, you would look proud of yourself. But you are a stupid bogle,' he cried, 'and cannot even hold your head a bit higher, now you are made a gentleman of.' Then the boy put the cap and jacket on himself, and he walked into the town, holding his head high, and looking about him with pride, because of his clothes; and because of his clothes the people had respect for him, and made way for him.
Now, was not that scare-crow, who had only a wooden head, after all the wiser? He never changed his opinion of himself in the slightest, when the fine clothes were put upon him. For was he not in himself still the same old bogle?
God wishes us to look well, and He has told us how we may be truly beautiful. We know that the richest dress and the prettiest face cannot please Him, if the person is not good. Goodness shining out in our words and actions, that is the beauty He wishes us to have. As there are many kinds of goodness—the goodness of being truthful, of bekig kind, &c.—the text takes a short way of naming them all at once. It sums up all possible goodness in one name.—the Lord Jesus Christ. He was perfectly good, and so perfectly beautiful. We are to strive to be like Him. Yea, we are to seek to be as like Him in our conduct as if we were He. We are to put on the Lord Jesus Christ.
A little girl crept into her mother's room. No one was there. She took a dress of her mother's which was thrown over a chair, and put it on. She then turned down the mirror that she might see herself. As she caught sight of her picture in the glass, she gave a quick laugh, and said, 'I'm mamma.' For long she amused her
self by moving about the room, imitating the walk and voice of her mother, and still repeating to herself, 'I'm mamma!'
So we are to put on Christ, by behaving like Him. Behaviour is the dress of the soul. One who behaves, just as Christ in His place would do, has put on Christ. That is a robe which becomes every one. It makes us beautiful in the eyes of our friends, and in the sight of God and His angels. It lasts for ever. The longer we wear it, the newer and the more beautiful it grows. Under the light of heaven it will shine with a glory we cannot now imagine.
However poor we be, we can get this best robe. We are offered it. We have simply to put it on! „. lnRkg.
•THE DAYSPBING' PICTURE GALLEBY.
THE next picture we come to ia so ■well-known as to require very little description. It is divided into five panels. In the upper one you see a man walking along a furrow in a ploughed field, scattering seed with a liberal hand. In the four panels below are represented,—1st, Part of a road which runs along one side of the field. Some seed has fallen there, and a flock of birds are busily employed in picking it off the hard earth. 2nd, A patch of rocky ground, with a few fast-withering ears of wheat growing in the scanty soil. 3rd, A weedy corner of the field, where two or three starved shoots of corn are dying among luxuriant nettles and thistles. 4th, The same field when harvest has come, and the reapers are joyfully binding the golden sheaves of heavy grain. On the frame above are the words, 'A sower went out to sow his seed;' and below, 'The seed is the word of God.'
You all know the parable which this picture represents, but do you all understand it? Let me try and put its meaning into a story for you.
Mr and Mrs Duncan and their four eldest children went to church as usual one Sabbath morning, but found that their own minister was from home, and a stranger was preaching. He was a tall, grave man, and the children thought at first they would not understand him. But, somehow, he interested them as soon as he began to speak. His text was Col. iii. 13, 'Even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.' He described (as little Annie said afterwards, 'with a tear in his voice') the forgiveness which the Lord Jesus bestows on poor sinners,—full, free, and final. Then he spoke very earnestly to all who had received this pardon, beseeching them to forgive others in the same way,—fully, freely, and ungrudgingly.
The eldest of the Duncans, Fanny, a girl of fifteen, was quite moved as she listened to the sermon, and made up her mind to begin next day to be always gentle and loving. She went on to imagine how astonished and delighted people would be when they saw her patience and kindness. Poor Fanny! She was so busy in admiring the picture she drew of herself that she forgot Christ and his forgiving love; and, by the time she reached home, the devil had stolen all the good seed out of her heart. Willy, who sat next Fanny in the pew, was even more impressed than she by the sermon. His mother noticed his struggles to keep back his tears, and prayed silently that her eldest boy might there and then give his heart to the Lord Jesus. For some days it seemed as if her prayer had been granted; he was so bright and loving. But, alas! the next Thursday there was a sad scene, when the baby broke Willy's little ship, which he had just finished rigging. A storm of anger burst over poor Willy's soul, that swept away every recollection of last Sunday's sermon, and left him the same impetuous, passionate boy as before. You see his heart had not been changed: he had 'no root,' and 'in time of temptation he fell away.' Charlie, the younger boy, listened very attentively in church, and gave a good many 'notes' in the evening at worship. But his thoughts
were so full of an essay he was writing, and a geography competition to take place next day, that the good seed could find no place in his heart. It was 'choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life.'
It was very different with little Annie, a sunny child of eight. After the minister had described the forgiveness that Christ bestows, he asked, 'Who will accept this gift to-day,—nowf' Little Annie's heart answered, 'I will.' And the Lord Jesus, the great Sower, who was present in the church sowing the seed by the hand of His servant, smiled upon the little child who was accepting the gift of His love for the first time. Under that gracious smile, the seed took good root in her heart, and bore fruit for many a year. Mrs Duncan used often to thank God as she saw her little girl's face clearing up into a smile after some great provocation had been given her; but even she did not know how hard the struggle sometimes was. When it was hardest, what helped Annie to win the victory was the thought, 'The Lord Jesus forgives me freely and fully;' and then these words rang like bells in her heart, 4 Freely and fully, freely and fully.'
Before closing let me mention three ways in which the Bible is like seed. 1. It has a hidden principle of life in it, like the dull seeds yousowin-yourgardens, which springup into beautifulgreenjilants. 2. Only God's power can quicken that germ, and draw out that hidden life. The farmer sows his seed, but he can do nothing to make it sprout. He leaves it in the cold, damp ground, trusting God that in a few months a golden harvest wiii wave over the field. So men can sow the good seed of the Word, but. only God the Spirit can make it take root in the heart, and bear fruit in the life. 3. There may be a long time between the sowing and the reaping. I have never heard that a farmer, who had been sowing seed all day, •ame home at night weeping because none of it was growing yet! Why then should those who sow the good seed of the kingdom get discouraged because they have to wait for the harvest? Yet there is this difference: if a certain time
passes after the sowing of the natural seed without its sprouting, we know it must have died, and there is no hope of its growing; but as long as the man is alive in whose heart the Word has been sowed, we dare not say there is no hope of its springing up.
About a hundred and fifty years ago, a baby was born in London, whom his parents called John. His mother was a very good woman; and though she died when her boy was only seven, she had already given him a great deal of religious instruction. Yet he grew up a very wicked man, went to sea, and became a ringleader in all kinds of evil; so that many would have called his a hopeless case. At last, God sent a fearful storm on his ship. The danger they were in for about a month, and the way God delivered them after they had given themselves up for lost broke the wicked sailor's heart, and John Newton became an eminent servant of Christ. In 1807, after a life of great usefulness, he joined his mother in heaven; and we may be sure the good woman reaped with rejoicing what she had sowed with tears.
Perhaps some of you may say, 'I have not much to do with the Bible as the seed: only grown-up people can be sowers.' Think again whether you can help sowing some seed or other every day. And remember that you must have to do with the Bible as seed. For, whether you are a sower or not, your heart is certainly part of the field where the seed is cast. What have you done with the seed sown there last Sabbath?' J H M.
Blessed are they that labour
Within God's vineyard wide,
Till falls the eventide.
Their toils and trials o'er;
On Eden's peaceful shore.