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THE PRODIGAL'S RETURN.
world; and how, at last, his little boat was blown into the windy bay, driven deep into some cove of sand which lay among the rocks; and how the weary monk was glad, and how he thought he would rest here, and how he buried the Apostle Andrew's bones on the lonely sea-shore.
St. Regulus, or St. Rule, was the name of the monk. To-day we climbed the old Saxon tower which still bears his name. For he lived here all the rest of his life, and here he died and was buried.
You see St. Andrews was a stormy bay, even then as now; unsafe for little ships, which kept far off it when they could.
Two nights ago the storm was wild. We heard it shrieking through the little city, shrieking along the shore. For the waves of the German Ocean were breaking, with fierce fight, on the old brave battered cliffs, and drifting in long clouds of foam along the moaning sand.
'The poor ships!' said little Lucy Home.
She is a fair-haired little child with a wondrously sweet voice. Her eyes have a kind of music in them—soft, like caressing words.
We sat, a quiet circle, round the blazing fire, Lucy beside my knee. At each wild shriek of the wind she nestled closer and closer, now and then with trembling tears shining in her dark fearful eyes.
We did not speak much because of that wild storm. Through the darkness we saw the white crests, like storm-birds, on the waves, and the waves that came in unbroken on the shore in great dark walls of water.
Soon our quiet circle broke up.
'Let us go down to see the storm,'said one.
'I too shall go,' said another.
So we were left alone, Lucy and I, in the dark. Lucy went to the window, and pressed her face against it, looking out through the fearful blackness; I close behind, watching the racking storm with the same child-like helplessness.
While we looked, the moon broke through the clouds, and gleamed down on the sheltered castle and the old sea-tower. Strips of torn, ragged clouds floated over
it, and then dense bars of blackness. Then they passed, and the light of the moon lay a long track upon the waters.
Perhaps it was a waking dream—but a sweet spirit stole through the moonlight. It had no form: I only felt its presence.
But it had a clear, sweet voice, and it spoke through the pauses of the storm.
It said: 'The storm must come; but the storm is in God's hand—the storm and the night and the dark. It was on the stormy water that Jesus walked of old. Through the storm He comes still; His sweetness breaks through the dark.'
Yet why should I write thus to my young and happy Jean? What though the wind whispered it: it was only for my ear.
It said: 'The storm will come in life for you and for Lucy and for Jean; but if your sails be set heavenward, every wave will bear you more swiftly home.'
Then came a long shriek of wind, and a rush of waves on the sea-tower, and it seemed as if the very sky were torn to shivers by the blast.
Again spoke the clear little whispering voice:—' God is as the wings of the storm. Meet Him in the storm; meet Him in the mystery of darkness: for God is surely here.'
Lucy had slipped from the window—she was curled upon the rug by the fire; and, lulled by wind and water, she was soon fast asleep.
And when the morning broke, the bay lay all in sunshine. And I heard, from my high window, a child's voice singing a psalm.
Is this worth writing in a letter? I do not know, little Jean, and I have not asked Lucy—who perhaps would say 'no.' Perhaps when I write again, I shall have something more to tell—meanwhile I bid you good-bye.
Lovingly, H. w. n. w.
THE PRODIGAL'S RETURN.
THIS little picture tells its own story. The wandering Ishmael—his hand against every man, and every man's hand
THE PRODIGAL'S RETURN.
against him—is a type to all time of those who leave a father's loving home to go out to the far country, in whose desert wastes it is often hard to find a cup of water to cool their parched lips. Desolate and sad at heart they wander, till like Hagar, they hear a voice from heaven which recalls the father's home and assures them of a father's love. And so, returning, they find that love unaltered and become like Ishunel, heirs of a goodly heritage.
It was so with this younger son. When he grew up to manhood, he turned his back on his father's house, and went to the far country, carrying with him only the portion of goods which would have been his when his father died. lie left behind him the precepts and lessons which he had learned at home. He forgot the prayers which long before he had learned at his mother's knee, and in the gay and merry life he now sought to lead, he tried to forget the father whose love still yearned over him. There can be no doubt that a great shadow fell on the old home, when, as the years rolled on, no tidings were heard from the younger son who had gone away. Hope died at last even in the father's heart: the brightness of his home was gone. He missed the merry laugh and kindly smile of the child of his affections, and the hardest part was that the boy whom he had loved so well, seemed to have forgotten him. He could not know the whole truth; he could only fear that all was not well. How many years went by we know not; but at last his father settled in his own heart that his child was lost, and considered his son dead.
And so he was, although he didn't know it. The old, good life, of his early days was left behind, and the strange new life on which he had entered, was a living death. A wise man once said, 'he that liveth in pleasure is dead.' And this young man lived for nothing else. For years, life was to him a perpetual sunshine, and he dreamed that like the gay butterfly he had only to wing his way from flower to flower, and to enjoy himself. But at last the sun went down, and the dream was at
an end. The storm broke, and with drooping wing he was dashed to the ground to find no shelter from the pitiless blast which bore him to destruction.
Of all the friends that gathered round him in the heyday of prosperity, not one would help him now. At last he sank down to the lowest depths. For very want he took the only occupation that was open to him. He became servant to a hard master, who sent him to feed his swine, and in whoso service he was often so hungry, that he would gladly have eaten some of the beans which the swine eat, but they were kept from him. It was God's own mercy that in this extremity he remembered his father's house. Even the servants there had plenty to cat. 'My father would not grudge me a portion of their food, and I would gladly now be servant to one so good.' With downcast look he treads the weary journey back. But when he draws nearer to the old home—while he is yet afar off—the old man sees him and hastens to meet him. He runs to his son and falls upon his neck and kisses him. The son had feared a father's frown, but when he looks up he sees his father's smile. It is the old kind voice that bids the servants bring the best robe and put it on him, put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet, and bring hither the fatted calf that they may eat and be merry. Nor does he ever remember sweeter tones than those in which his father sings the glad song that celebrates his return: 'For this, my son, was dead and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.'
This loving story, or parable, was intended by Jesus Christ to teach lis that God is our Father, and that He loves us with an everlasting and unfailing love. 'There is joy in the presence of the angels of God, over one sinner that repenteth. May God our Father draw the hearts of all who read this story to Himself. Clothed with the spotless robe of His righteousness may they abide forever in the house of His love.
Sin took off my garments, every kindly fold.
Jesus bearing the cross and the weeping multitudes following after. No wonder the road bears the name Via Dolorosa.
We know very little concerning Simon the Cyrenean. Mark mentions him as the father of Alexander and Itufus—perhaps the same Rufus whose name is enrolled among the worthies in the ICth chapter of Romans. Cyrene was a large and beautiful city on the north coast of Africa.
Who can tell how much Simon learned of Jesus while bearing the cross after Him, along the Via Dolorosa? If he had been a disciple before that time, his faith and love to the Saviour would be greatly increased, and if till that day he had been a stranger to Him, he could be so no longer.
Those who compelled Simon to bear the cross after Jesus little knew what an honour they were conferring upon him. Ever since, Simon the Cyrenean has been remembered as the man who bore the cross after Jesus, and by doing so shewed us what Jesus requires of every one who would be His disciple. Jesus' own words are, 'Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it, but whosoever shall lose His life for My sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.'
Jesus will never again tread the path of sorrow—Simon was never again called on to bear the wooden cross on which Jesus was nailed, and yet all his life long he was a cross-bearer. The thought of the wondrous love of Jesus in bearing our sins in His own body on the cross, that we might inherit everlasting joy, enables the believer to look on his own cross as light and but for a moment, and to take it up and follow Jesus.
'Follow to the Judgment Hall,
A little girl named Theresa received a present of a small ebony cross. The cross piece becoming loose, she asked her father to mend it for her. 'That I will do
willingly,' her father replied; 'and by means of it will try to teach you a lesson how you may live in this world, and no affliction or duty prove a cross to you. See! without this cross-piece, the longer piece is not a cross; only when the cross-piece is added is a cross formed. So it is in every trial which we call a cross. The longer piece represents God's will: our will, which always desires to cross God's will, is represented by the cross-piece. Each cross you are called upon to bear, take from it the crosspiece, (your will), and it will no longer prove a cross to you.'
A pious old slave had well learned how to bear the cross. When asked if he was never unhappy he answered, 'I nebber allows myself to reflect on de bad tings dat happen to me, nor de good tings dat I netber had; and, when I tink about something to call my own, it seems as if I had a big treasure right here, dat I dont owe any man, for, when all de rest ob de world are saying, 'Dis is my house,' 'Dat is my sugar-mill,' 'Dere is my great cotton-patch,'
1 say, 'Dere is my hope, and dere is my Saviour;' and when I own de Lord Jesus, it seems as if I owned all de rest; for de earth is de Lord's and de fulness dereof. De air is mine, and I can bread it; dc sunshine is mine, and 1 can sit in it; de earth is mine, and I can lie down on it to sleep.'
'Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.' „. T.,.
PRIZE BIBLE QUESTIONS.
Three Prizes are offered for the largest number of correct answers to the Questions during 1S80. The Competition is limited to those under 14 years of age. The answers to be sent to the REV. JOHN Kay,
2 Cumin Place, Grange, Edinburgh, by the 85th of each month.
4 What king was urged to act wickedly by his own wife?
5 What king was advised to act wickedly by his own mother?
6 When did a mother induce her daughter to commit a great sin?