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BLASTED HOPES.

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

D 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 fund 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, I 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 purer world.

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 à 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. I 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.

COUSIN JAMES.

COUSIN JAMES.

The happy days of boyhood passed "O for August! I wish it were come,

rapidly away; and to the harder business

of life James and I had to set ourselves. I And we would have some royal fun.'.

was working in my native town, but James TT was in that month we got our holidays remained at the farm. He grew up a strong, 1 when I was at school. For six or eight handsome fellow. His father died, and then weeks before they came, every door and he took the lead in managing the land for smooth piece of wall near the Academy had his mother. A most loving and faithful son these two lines scribbled on them. Very was he; and he had learned his farming poor rhyme they were, but they showed our lessons well. There was not better tilled longings to have done with lessons for a time. land in all the country side.

When the examination was over, and the One morning cousin James was going to prizes presented to the victors, we broke up the market town, about ten miles off, to sell with a joyful buzza. To get to the country some of his produce. He had gone out was the wish of most of us, for it was a nice after an early breakfast to mount his pony, change after being so long in town.

and start on the journey. He saw, however, I had the happiness of having an uncle a dismal black cloud coming rapidly over a and aunt who invited me often to visit them hill a mile or two from the farm-house. It in August. Uncle had a large farm, and showed a heavy shower to be near at hand, very much did I like to stay there. So and the horse was ordered back to the many things were new to me, and the air so stable till the rain had gone by. James fresh, and everything to eat was so good, went into the parlour, and sat down to wait that I never wearied. My joy would not on the sofa, just below an upright barometer have been complete, however, without which hung on the wall. cousin James and his donkey. James was Not many minutes had passed till black but two or three years older than myself. clouds were all over the sky, and a terrible His father had bought him a donkey, a very thunder storm began to rage. The rain fell strong one it was; and he and I had many in torrents, and my aunt was glad that her grand rides on it, for it was quite able to son had waited. Suddenly a terrible peal carry us both at once.

was heard. The whole house shook. It James was a very pleasant friend. He had been struck on one of the chimneys by and I always got on well together; and I a thunderbolt. The lightning, in one slept beside him at night.

instant, was in and out of the house. In its I had always been taught to pray at passage, as it rushed across the main rooms, home. At the farm-house I did not neglect it tore down heaps of plaster. All but the duty; but knelt and prayed when I had cousin James ran out of the parlour in fear. dressed in the morning, and before taking He seemed to be quietly resting where he off my clothes at night. James, being older, had first sat down. In two or three minutes was generally a little later of going to bed a servant came in and spake to him, but he than myself. I used to watch whether be | gave no answer. She touched him, and lo! kneeled in the bed-room, or not. I do not he was dead! think he ever did when I was there. Per The lightning had ran along the bell haps be went elsewhere to pray. I noticed wire, and a portion of it had rushed down one thing, however, that was a rebuke to the tube of mercury in the barometer. The me. Never did he go to sleep a single night glass was all broken, and the quicksilver without my hearing him, every now and had dropped on my dear cousin's head. In then, in. a gentle whisper, saying, "Father, one moment, he had been struck dead. He into Thy hands I commend my spirit.'

looked just as if asleep. In those days I fear I was a little like the It was a sad shock to my dear aunt, and Pharisees. Dear cousin James had more of to every one of us. The news reached the the spirit of prayer than J.

town where I lived in a few hours; and I A WET SUNDAY AFTERNOON.

mourned as for the loss of an elder brother. Bibles open, she has to close hers, and In my sorrow, I found comfort in the remem submit to a fire of questions upon what we brance of my cousin's nightly prayer; and I have read. She can answer B.'s question, trust our Father in Jesus had received the and C.'s too, but D. asks—Where did Asa spirit so suddenly unclothed, and which burn his mother's idol?' and she does not James had so often commended into His remember. So D. tells her that it was at kind hands.

the brook Kidron; and now he must close How quickly is life on earth sometimes his Bible and be questioned, while A may brought to an end! The youngest of my re-open hers, and take turn in questioning. readers may be the first called into the With every round of questions we get unseen. Are we all ready to go, yet more and more familiar with the chapters, willing to wait?'

and so better able to hold our ground, when, The words of my cousin's prayer were the having succeeded in puzzling our neighbour, last used by the blessed Saviour, ere He they are all trying to puzzle us. As we go breathed His life away on the cross. We on, 80 far from questions being exhausted, find a very similar utterance by David in the more and more seem to be invented, for the 31st Psalm: “Into Thy hand I commit verses are now cut up into little bits, and my spirit: Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord almost every word is a peg to hang another God of truth. And we know that Paul question upon. Even G. who has the acted out this very thing, for He says that cleverest head and the best memory cannot Jesus was able to keep what he had com long hold the post honour, for the most mitted to His Redeemer's care.

exact answers will be required from her, as What is the most precious thing we to which cities Benhadad's captains smote, have? Is it not the soul ? If we lose that, I or how many men of Benjamin there were we lose everything. Where can we put it ! in Asa's army. “I think it was two hundred that it may be safe in life and in death? and threescore thousand,' she says. No!' Only into the hands of Jesus, whom our cries little E., it was two hundred and Father sent to seek and to save us. Let us fourscore thousand! so now it is my turn!' all do so without delay. Let each of us At last we seem to know the chapters say, 'Lord Jesus, keep me, for I trust in by heart, but no one likes to leave off, they Thee;' and then we shall never perish. can see just one more question to ask which

may prove a puzzler, add just one more, HOW TO EMPLOY AN HOUR ON A WET and just one more! and so the intended SUNDAY AFTERNOON.

hour is generally far exceeded, and nothing TN a country house, a long way from but a very decided peel from the tea-bell

church, we had various resources for a puts an end to it. wet Sunday afternoon. I will tell you about When we go down to tea even the one, which taught us a great deal of the grown-up people feel that they know all the Bible in a very lively and un-lessonlike little ins and outs of Asa's story very much way. Our home party consisted of an aunt more exactly than they ever did before; and an elder sister, two younger girls, and while the little ones have learnt what would a boy; but there were often young visitors have cost them several Bible lessons to in the house, and these always joined us. acquire, in such a delightfully easy and

We began by choosing some connected entertaining way, that it has not seemed portion of Scripture history; for instance, like an exercise at all, and they are quite the three short chapters containing the fresh and ready for any more serious emhistory of Asa. These are read, verse ployment which may follow later on. about, with the greatest attention, for no Only, my little friends must understand one likes to be behindhand in what is to that this was not instead of the serious, follow. Then we will suppose A. is willing prayerful, and thoughtful Bible reading to begin. While all the rest keep their which should form part of every Sunday's

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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 byl 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 was 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 led miraculously through the Red / waters, whereof they could not drink. And

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