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BLASTED HOPES.

rapidly before the foe. Many years since I BY UT one short hour since she left them, stood in a quiet country churchyard by a

and all the labour of a spring-time grave covered with long grass, rank docks, gone! The well-built home thrown down; and nettles; and moving them aside found the tender, callow brood destroyed! The buried beneath them a rude stone with axe of the woodman has done it, let us hope ! 'J. W., aged 20,' carved upon it; and I in ignorance, but all the same, the blow knew that beneath that again lay the has been struck, and the circling flight blasted hope of loving hearts, and the round the cut-down tree, and the mournful wreck of a ship that had been freighted wail of the parent bird show that the hope with precious gold, but which had sunken of coming summer days has been blasted. beneath the dark waters, never to know a The pencil of the artist has depicted in the resurrection to honour and glory. lower order of animal life what is happening I cannot, however, leave off these remarks every day in the higher. There is another, with so sad a tale as this. While mingling whose keen, glittering axe is cutting down very frequently with young people, I see day by day the young on whom the hopes at times how their hopes, too, are often disof fond hearts have been resting. It has appointed. In our Sabbath school, for happened ere now to many a loving father instance, we had arranged for a trip which and mother to look upon the broad brow, was to eclipse all former excursions in the sparkling eye, the quick, apt nature of pleasantness and enjoyment. It was the their child, and to find that within a few subject of conversation among us for days. short hours, all the hopes they were Flags were looked out, flag-staffs were got cherishing of a great and noble future for ready, and many proposals

were made as to the loved one have been laid low, and that the best mode of spending the few halfthe future of greatness and nobility was not pence which had found their way into the to be enjoyed on earth, but in another and pockets of the intending excursionists. In

fact, as the time drew near, little else was I have seen blasted hopes of a sadder kind talked of but, "our excursion.' Little than even this. At a Parish school in

weather-prophets, looking up wisely to the Perthshire, there was some forty years ago, blue skies, were speaking of the certainty of a pupil whose progress in learning was so a beautiful day; and when the day rapid as to excite in the heart of his teacher came, lo! one steady down-pour of pitiless and of his friends the hope that he would rain, and all the high hopes were scattered rise to great position in the world. His to the winds. The trip had to be given up, parents, who were in humble life, straitened and we really thought it was hard-very themselves that they might give their eldest hard. And yet I never had a better son the advantage of a University education. illustration of how a blasted hope may During the first two sessions he filled the prove a real blessing; for if all things had highest place. The University felt proud gone as we wished there might have been of him, and it was hoped that he would be sorrow in many a home, and anguish in an honour to the most ancient seat of learn- many a heart. On the line of railway, over ing in Scotland. At the end of his third part of which the excursion must have year the high place which he had formerly passed that forenoon, and about the time it taken was no longer bis. People outside would have been passing, an accident took were astonished that he who had with ease place which might have proved disatrous to carried off all the highest honours of his the train of intending excursionists. The year, should have fallen so low in the rank lesson was not, I hope, thrown away upon of merit. The secret could not be long our young friends, for they must have kept. Poor W- had become fond of learned from it that seeming evil, and strong drink, had listened to the voice of present disappointment are often real good, the tempter, and body and mind sank and actual blessing.

purer world.

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COUSIN JAMES. *O for August ! I wish it were come,

And we would have some royal fun.' 'T was in that month we got our holidays

I

weeks before they came, every door and smooth piece of wall near the Academy had these two lines scribbled on them. Very poor rhyme they were, but they showed our longings to have done with lessons for a time.

When the examination was over, and the prizes presented to the

victors, we broke up with a joyful huzza. To get to the country was the wish of most of us, for it was a nice change after being so long in town.

I had the happiness of having an uncle and aunt who invited me often to visit them in August. Uncle had a large farm, and very much did I like to stay there. So many things were new to me, and the air so fresh, and everything to eat was so good, that I never wearied. My joy would not have been complete, however, without cousin James and his donkey. James was but two or three years older than myself. His father had bought him a donkey, a very strong one it was; and he and I had many grand rides on it, for it was quite able to carry us both at once.

James was a very pleasant friend. He and I always got on well together; and I slept beside him at night.

I had always been taught to pray at home. At the farm-house I did not neglect the duty; but knelt and prayed when I had dressed in the morning, and before taking off my clothes at night. James, being older, was generally a little later of going to bed than myself. I used to watch whether he kneeled in the bed-room, or not. I do not think he ever did when I was there. Perhaps be went elsewhere to pray. I noticed one thing, however, that was a rebuke to me. Never did he go to sleep a single night without my hearing him, every now and then, in a gentle whisper, saying, "Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit.'

In those days I fear I was a little like the Pharisees. Dear cousin James had more of the spirit of prayer than I.

The happy days of boyhood passed rapidly away; and to the harder business of life James and I had to set ourselves. I was working in my native town, but James remained at the farm. He grew up a strong, handsome fellow. His father died, and then he took the lead in managing the land for his mother. A most loving and faithful son was he; and he had learned his farming lessons well. There was not better tilled land in all the country side.

One morning cousin James was going to the market town, about ten miles off, to sell some of his produce. He had gone out after an early breakfast to mount his pony, and start on the journey. He saw, however, a dismal black cloud coming rapidly over a hill a mile or two from the farm-house. It showed a heavy shower to be near at hand, and the horse was ordered back to the stable till the rain had gone by. James went into the parlour, and sat down to wait on the sofa, just below an upright barometer which hung on the wall.

Not many minutes had passed till black clouds were all over the sky, and a terrible thunder storm began to rage. The rain fell in torrents, and my aunt was glad that her son had waited. Suddenly a terrible peal was heard. The whole house shook." It had been struck on one of the chimneys by a thunderbolt. The lightning, in one instant, was in and out of the house. In its passage, as it rushed across the main rooms, it tore down heaps of plaster. All but cousin James ran out of the parlour in fear. He seemed to be quietly resting where he had first sat down. "In two or three minutes a servant came in and spake to him, but he gave no answer. She touched him, and lo! he was dead!

The lightning had ran along the bell wire, and a portion of it had rushed down the tube of mercury in the barometer. The glass was all broken, and the quicksilver had dropped on my dear cousin's head. In one moment, he had been struck dead. He looked just as if asleep.

It was a sad shock to my dear aunt, and to every one of us. The news reached the town where I lived in a few hours; and I

the lo

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A WET SUNDAY AFTERNOON.

As we go

mourned as for the loss of an elder brother. In my sorrow, I found comfort in the remembrance of my cousin's nightly prayer; and I trust our Father in Jesus had received the spirit so suddenly unclothed, and which James had so often commended into His kind hands.

How quickly is life on earth sometimes brought to an end! The youngest of my readers may be the first called into the unseen. Are we all 'ready to go, yet willing to wait?' The words of my cousin's

prayer were the last used by the blessed Saviour, ere He breathed His life away on the cross.

We find a very similar utterance by David in the 31st Psalm: ‘Into Thy hand I commit my spirit: Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth. And we know that Paul acted out this very thing, for He says that Jesus was able to keep what he had committed to His Redeemer's care.

What is the most precious thing we have? Is it not the soul ? If we lose that, we lose everything. Where can we put it that it may be safe in life and in death? Only into the hands of Jesus, whom our Father sent to seek and to save us. all do so without delay. Let each of us say, 'Lord Jesus, keep me, for I trust in Thee;' and then we shall never perish.

Bibles open, she has to close hers, and submit to a fire of questions upon what we have read. She can answer B.'s question, and C.'s too, but D. asks—Where did Asa burn his mother's idol?' and she does not remember. So D. tells her that it was at the brook Kidron; and now he must close his Bible and be questioned, while A may re-open hers, and take turn in questioning.

With every round of questions we get more and more familiar with the chapters, and so better able to hold our ground, when, having succeeded in puzzling our neighbour, they are all trying to puzzle us. on, so far from questions being exhausted, more and more seem to be invented, for the verses are now cut up into little bits, and almost every word is a peg to hang another question upon.

Even G. Who has the cleverest head and the best memory cannot long hold the post honour, for the most exact answers will be required from her, as to which cities Benhadad's captains smote, or how many men of Benjamin there were in Asa's army. “I think it was two hundred and threescore thousand,' she says. "No!' cries little E., “it was two hundred and fourscore thousand ! so now it is my turn!'

At last we seem to know the chapters by heart, but no one likes to leave off, they can see just one more question to ask which may prove a puzzler, add just one more, and just one more! and so the intended hour is generally far exceeded, and nothing but a very decided peel from the tea-bell puts an end to it.

When we go down to tea even the grown-up people feel that they know all the little ins and outs of Asa's story, very much more exactly than they ever did before ; while the little ones have learnt what would have cost them several Bible lessons to acquire, in such a delightfully easy apd entertaining way, that it has not seemed like an exercise at all, and they are quite fresh and ready for any more serious employment which may follow later on.

Only, my little friends must understand that this was not instead of the serious, prayerful, and thoughtful Bible reading which should form part of every Sunday's

Let us

HOW TO EMPLOY AN HOUR ON A WET

SUNDAY AFTERNOON. IN N a country house, a long way from

church, we had various resources for a wet Sunday afternoon. I will tell you about one, which taught us a great deal of the Bible in a very lively and un-lessonlike way. Our home party consisted of an aunt and an elder sister, two younger girls, and a boy; but there were often young visitors in the house, and these always joined us.

We began by choosing some connected portion of Scripture history; for instance, the three short chapters containing the history of Asa. These are read, verse about, with the greatest attention, for no one likes to be behindhand in what is to follow. Then we will suppose A. is willing to begin. While all the rest keep their

BIBLE IMAGES. -LIVING WATER.

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occupation. God has given us these quiet, lost. Still, it is a good thing to know every holy days that we may make them stepping- part of His holy and beautiful Word, and stones to heaven; and He has given us that to recollect even the little things clearly sweetest and dearest Book, that we may, and exactly; and so we found this little day by day, and especially Sabbath by plan very pleasant and helpful for filling up Sabbath, learn more about Him, our an hour after the Bible lessons, and hymn heavenly Father, and our kind and loving singing, and Sunday reading had all been Saviour, by the good Spirit's help. This is had or arranged for, and when it was too the first thing to be wished for and aimed wet to go across the muddy fields to a at on Sundays, and without it the day is second service.

F. R. H.

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BIBLE IMAGES-A WELL OF LIFE. IT. Twas a happy day for the children of sea, and after three days journey in the

Israel when they came to Elim. They wilderness they came to Marah's bitter had been Jed miraculously through the Red waters, whereof they could not drink. And

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