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said, carries our thoughts away back to the history of our land more than two hundred years ago. That was a very sad time. Charles I., a very wicked man, then reigned. He thought that because he was the king he might command his subjects to do whatever he pleased. Though he had promised to rule justly, he never kept his promises, but broke them so often that no one could believe his word. He commanded the godly ministers throughout England and Scotland to do many things which they felt they could not do without disobeying God; and when they told the king that they must obey God rather than man, he put them out of their churches, and used some of them very cruelly.
• At length the nation would not submit to the king's tyranny any longer, and chose a Parliament to protect them from it. Civil war began; some fought for the king, others fought for the Parliament, and everything was in confusion. The truly good men in the country knew that peace and order could only be established throughout the land, by all the people, rich and poor, rulers and subjects, learning to obey God; and they earnestly desired that the gospel might be faithfully preached everywhere. They wished to secure liberty to every one to worship God according to His own Word, without being afraid of the king; and many of them were willing to give their lives for this noble cause.
Accordingly, more than a hundred of the most godly pastors in England were called to meet together in a chapel at Westminster, to consider and consult one another on the best means to be used for planting a pure Church of Christ in every corner of our beloved land. Four very pious Scotch ministers—Alex. Henderson, Robert Baillie, Samuel Rutherford, and George Gillespie-joined these good men at Westminster, to aid them in their great work. Day after day, week after week, for more than five years, these learned and good men met together to do all that they could for the spread of Christ's kingdom throughout the nation.
One very important part of their work
was to prepare a Confession of Faith for the members of the church, and while doing so they did not forget the young. For their benefit they prepared two catechisms, the larger and the shorter. The Shorter Catechism was written by these good men to help parents to teach their children the truths contained in the Holy Scriptures. It is really the confession of faith for the young, and is arranged in questions and answers to make it more easily understood and remembered.'
But, mamma, what is the Confession of Faith? ' asked Katie.
• A confession of faith is a statement of the truths which we believe are taught in the Bible, especially what we believe concerning the Lord Jesus. Paul says, “With the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” And the Lord Jesus says, “ Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.” In the Bible there are many instances of the Lord's people confessing their faith in Him, and I think were you to find some of their confessions of faith, you would understand better what it means. You might read John i. 49, and you will there see Nathaniel's confession of faith.'
Willie read the verse, and asked if the words, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel, were Nathaniel's confession of faith?
Yes; that was a noble confession of faith in the Lord Jesus, and you will find another in Matt. xvi. 16.'
Katie read : •And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.'
That was Peter's confession when Jesus said, "Whom say ye that I am?” Martha too confessed her faith in very similar words (John ii. 27). At the time when Nathaniel, and Peter, and Martha confessed their faith in Jesus, most of the Jews around them refused to acknowledge Him as the promised Messiah, though they all said they believed the Scriptures. So it is now. Many persons who say they believe
the Bible deny the precious truths contained Do you know what has changed them, neighin it, by which alone we can be saved.
bour?' 'Well, yes, I believe I doThis is why papa wishes you all to learn
For John told me himself the story, and he the Shorter Catechism. It is because it
said I might tell it you; points out the saving truths contained in the Scriptures, and helps you to find them
And I think you will join in saying, -in in the Bible itself.'
those words of the olden days • And, mamma, when we learn the “From the mouth of babes and sucklings God catechism should we think it is our con
has ordainéd praise.” fession of faith?'. That would be a very good way of
| A fortnight ago last Sunday, he had strolled learning it; and if you take pains always to find in the Scriptures the truth you learn
into the town in the catechism, and ask God to write it 'Mid its clouds of gold and crimson as the in your heart, you will grow in wisdom, sun was sinking down; and be ready always to give an answer to
| (I am telling you the story, if I recollect it everyone that asketh a reason of the hope
right, that is in you with meekness and fear.'
In the selfsame words he uttered when he
told it me last night:) *CAN SHE PRAY?'
“The bells were ringing, ringing, the churches' COOD morning, neighbour, good morn
doors stood wide, ing, truly a summer's day; If the rain hold off till to-morrow, we shall
He watched the folk who entered and knelt
down side by sidesafely stow our hay.
Was it a voice that called him ?-he heard no I say, thank God for the sunshine; the very
sound of words, earth seems glad After the dreary winter and the storms which
| Only an organ pealing its grand resounding
chords. we have had.' 'Yes, you say it truly, neighbour, it is a blessed
'He said it brought such mem'ries, his eyes change,
grew strangely dimAnd speaking of storm and sunshine, let me
The worship of his childhood, the long fortell you something strange;
gotten hymn-This morning forth with the mowers I saw
Ent'ring, he bent him lowly, no mortal heard John Arden go,
his voice; And his face bore on it no longer the stamp
| Only perhaps that moment the angels might of a drunkard's woe:
And chancing to pass his cottage I looked
through the open door, The room was gay and cheerful as it never
has been before, And his wife at her work was singing I
could not tell what she said, But her voice sounded blithe and gladsome as
yonder lark's overhead.'
And turning his footsteps homeward, he tells
me his soul was stirred By the mem'ries that had clustered round
each familiar word, And his heart was filled with a tumult that
was not all of pain, Though he longed with a fevered longing for
those sweet child-days again
• “But there is our little Amy, she has learnt “Though I hear they are saying, neighbour, at school to pray,
that no longer day by day And it may be she can help us to the words' Shall our children be taught of heaven and we ought to say:
instructed how to pray; Let us go and ask her, husband, something in
But it is not for their sakes only that I say, my heart avers,
if that day shall rise, God will not refuse petitions from such guile
It will be the saddest and darkest that ever less lips as hers.”
has met our eyes.'
“Their little child lay sleeping with a smile
upon her face, And her fingers softly folded in a child's
unconscious grace, When her mother gently waked her and ex.
plained their pressing need; Then the dark eyes filled and brightened with
an angel's joy indeed.
'Ah, we must have them taught the Bible,
for well we have learned its worth, With its hopes of a sinless heaven and a
faithful friend upon earth; And I know that I speak for thousands, for,
let some folk say what they will, The common people will hear it, and welcome
it gladly still:
* And they knelt, all three together, by sweet
Amy's little bed;
words that Amy said,
Listening, that we know,
path we ought to go!”
"And thanks for your story, neighbour; shows
it not that we need not fear? For the Lord's hand is not shortened, nor
heavy has grown His ear; Only we need to ask Him that He would our
faith increase, And through cloud and sunshine grant us His
own everlasting peace.'
BIBLE IMAGES—THE PEARL OF GREAT
PRICE. W HEN we read in history of a single
V pearl, valued at £80,000 sterling, being dissolved in vinegar and swallowed by a Roman Empress, we learn an impressive lesson of the vain folly of mankind; and if we combine with this the fact that the pearl fisheries of Ceylon yield an annual revenue of £240,000, we obtain an idea of the value of these gems, which gives force to the words of Job, when he says of wisdom that in comparison with the treasures which she bestows, no mention shall be made of pearls and rubies. Some of our little readers may in after years grow up to become travellers or missionaries, or may possibly penetrate on business or military duty to the Court of Persia ; and there they will see the famous throne so studded with pearls and other precious stones that its material can hardly be distinguished. There too on occasions of state, the Shah of Persia appears arrayed in his tiara and collar of pearls, composed of the largest pearls in the world-pearls truly of great price—which indeed are not to be had at any price. They are the possessions of a monarch-the diadem and crown which betoken his sovereignty, and he will not part with these. And yet the time was when these gems so rich and highly prized lay unnoticed beneath the surface of the sea. Formed in the oyster shell, as the result of disease, it is strange that pearls should now be prized as the ornament of beauty, and the glory of a monarch.
Pearls are obtained at a great costhundreds of persons pass their lives, and obtain their livelihood in diving for pearls. There are merchants who deal only in such precious gems. We read in Scripture of a merchant who was seeking goodly pearls, and who when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and purchased it. We are told that such is the kingdom of heaven. He was a man of high aims and of energetic earnestness. Nought but goodly pearls would content him, and when he met with that one pearl
far surpassing even his highest hopes, he parted with all the others that he might obtain it. To be possessed of that one pearl was to him the worthy end of a life. He who possessed such a gem was in a sense a monarch, and this symbol of sovereignty he would not part with. Truth is such a gem, and he who hath the truth is a king. So the Apostle says, “Buy the truth and sell it not;' that is, buy the truth at any price, even at thy all, and sell it at none, though thou shouldst be offered the highest earthly rewards to part with it. Let the law of truth be written in thy heart.
The one pearl of great price, again, is the kingdom of heaven-God's holy law written in the heart, the love of God dwelling in our hearts. This is the one pearl for which we must aim. One thing is needful,' said our Lord to Martha, and Mary hath chosen that better part which shall not be taken from her.' And an old Greek writer says, choose the best things.' Let your aim be lofty. The world has many pearls, for which men often give a great price. But the pearls of character can alone be called goodly pearls, and of these the goodliest is Holiness. For God is holy, and He says, "Be ye holy, for I am holy.' And the pearl of pearls is Christ, whom to know is life eternal, whom to love is joy unspeakable, whom to win is to be a child of God, and an heir of glory.
CARL AND GRETCHEN;
OR, GOD ACCEPTS OUR EFFORTS. TN the vast Black Forest in Germany, - more than two miles from any village, stood the hut of a woodcutter's widow. The Frau Schmitz was a poor but decent woman, who managed, by honest labour, to make a livelihood for herself and two little children-the Carl and Gretchen of our story. Young as they both were, they were not allowed to be idle, but spent several hours daily in the manufacture of toys, of which it is said,
"What the children of Deutchland
Take pleasure in making,
Take pleasure in breaking.'