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“ Thou knowest I have a cross to bear ;
To keep me near Thy side.
I feel so satisfied." For this discipline is administered by one who is infinitely wise ; and we may be sure that His wisdom will be applied to the adaptation of the discipline to the character with which He has to deal ; the husbandman does not “ thresh fitches with a wain, nor is a cartwheel turned about upon the cummin; but the fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the cummin with a rod.”
You look at your children and you discriminate; you say that boy has a sensitive, gentle, yielding nature, and I must be careful that I do not handle him too roughly, lest I brush the bloom off and spoil the possible beauty which, by careful training, may be made to blossom in the kingdom of God. And that lad is made of a coarser grain, which is not readily injured, and with a dash of self-will and obstinacy in it, upon which I must lay a firm and strong hand. And so, it may be, you put your arm around the one, and you have a rod for the other; and yet all the while you mean the same by both. “If ye, being evil, know how—by what mode of education—to give good gifts unto your children, how much more will He:” He who cannot make a mistake. “He that planted the eye, shall He not see ? ” Will He not weigh you to the minutest grain of exactness in His unerring scales? Will He infuse into your discipline a single sorrow which you do not require ? Will He, in testing and exercising you unto godliness, lay upon you a weight or a task one ounce beyond your strength, and so destroy the elasticity of the spring, even if He do not cause it to snap? Will He leave you in the furnace one moment beyond the time needed for bringing to its zenith the hidden virtue? Will it have crossed the meridian the thousandth part of an inch ere it is withdrawn from the purifying crucible? Never fear. “He tempers the wind to the shorn lamb; “ He gently leads those that are with young." “ He will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, but will with the temptation make a way to escape," “ that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”
But, you say, can the suggestion be true? Does He really care enough for us to take all this trouble ? Of course He does. Just look at the husbandman, With timely attention and varied labour he prepares the ground; when it is ploughed and harrowed and levelled the seed is cast into it; and after months of waiting the sickle is thrust in, and the grain is bound into sheaves, and carried in and safely housed. And do you suppose that the harvest of so much toil and waiting and sweat is of no consequence to him, or that he will carelessly or lightly sacrifice it to destruction. “ Brethren, ye are the
redeemed of the Lord.” You remember the argument which He employs in Isaiah: “ Thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob. Fear not, for I have redeemed thee. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee. When thou walkest through the fire thou shalt not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God. . . . I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee, since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable.” Oh! the gracious argument is one of the most comforting which it was possible for love to build up. ye have been purchased not with corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ.” You are the fruit of the agony and bloody sweat, the toil and travail of the dreadful cross; and “ He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all,” do you think He is going to spare anything else that can contribute to our perfect and eternal development unto the eternal weight of glory" į After having fertilised the soil with blood, and sown it with the precious seed of His own life, do you suppose He is going to throw the grain out upon the dunghill of corruption, or mar it for the want of the exercise of due wisdom or proper care ?
And He who is wonderful in counsel is also wonderful in working. He allows Moses to go out into the wilderness, and you fancy it is all over now for the Israelites, but ere long you see Moses coming up out of the wilderness, in every respect better qualified to be a leader and to do the work given him to do. He permits Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to be cast into the burning fiery furnace and you think to yourselves there are three staunch Nonconformists whose testimony for God and His kingdom is at an end, but you hear Nebuchadnezzar crying out and looking into the furnace, and you see that positively they are better Nonconformists, mightier witnesses, than ever, for only their bonds are consumed and they themselves are walking about in the midst of the flames, in close and holy fellowship with One who is like unto the Son of man. “ He is wonderful in wisdom and excellent in working.” Do not, however, forget the admonitory side of this subject. It is only corn which will be preserved through this threshing ; whatever is chaff must and will be beaten out and destroyed. Whatever in you is husk, God must and will work out, or if need be smash out. For “He who cometh has his fan in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor.” And if you yourself are all husk, why then I can only solemnly warn you in the words of the first Psalm. Under any circumstances, “ Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly ; but " the ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away."
THE LAND WHERE WISHES COME TRUE.
FOR THE YOUNG.
KıȚTY HATHAWAY sat by the open (foolish wishes people made, that window and looked out in a very she had not a moment of time to disconsolate frame of mind. Her “ do up” her hair, or keep her mother had told her that the sun clothes clean or mended. was too hot for her to go out in the There so many people yard without a hat on, and her hat wanting her just now that she could was away upstairs in the nursery, not stay by Kitty: so she just and she did not want to go up there waved her wand, which looked very for it. Nurse was putting the baby much like a scourge, over her, and to sleep, and so she could not be in the twinkling of an eye Kitty called to throw it down; and Kitty, was surrounded by the land where in a very lazy frame of mind, did wishes come true. not know what was to be done about She did not know it, however, it.
but still kept thinking about how She had a habit of letting herself nice it was out-of-doors, and how
discontented. She knew it far it was up to the nursery where was wrong, for her mamma had her hat was. As she thought, some often told her so, and said that if sparrows hopped down on the paveshe did not overcome it, and stop ment, and began to eat the crumbs wishing for things she did not have her mother had thrown out to and be satisfied with what she had, them. that she would grow up to be a very “Oh dear,” sighed Kitty, “I do unhappy woman.
wish I was a sparrow, then I could But Kitty thought her mamma go out in the sun without putting on was very hard on her; that no little a hat." girl could be contented with every Much to her surprise, she sudthing; she must want things she denly began to dwindle away; her could not have, and be very un- legs shrank up until they were not happy that she did not get them. much larger than a match, her
As she sat there, thinking it over, clothes changed into feathers, and she was so engaged in being un- her arms grew into wings. happy that she did not see a little “ Dear me," she exclaimed, in fairy come in at the window; how surprise, “I am a sparrow. Isn't ever, she could not have seen her, that nice ?" any way, for she was invisible to And up she started to fly out of mortal eyes. She was not a very the window and join the others; pretty fairy : she had an unhappy but she had never flown before, and look on her face, her eyes were of course did not know how; so drawn down, the corners of her she flew against the window-pane, mouth went in the same direction, and fell down on the ground, her hair hung down all limp and bruised by the fall. She made draggled, as if she had just come another attempt, and succeeded no out of a sea-bath, her clothes were better; and it was five or six all torn and hanging loosely on her, minutes before she was able to fly and altogether she was in a forlorn out of the window as she wanted to. plight.
When she finally did get out, she It was hardly to be wondered at, flew directly to the rest of the for she was the fairy who grants sparrows, thinking that, of course, foolish wishes, and the poor thing they would know her and be glad to was so pushed for time, so dragged see her. But she found they did hither and yon by the quantity of just like little girls do when a
strange child comes among them. the neighbour's large dog,stood ready They drew off, and began to whisperto catch her as she came down, and laugh as they nodded their which he did, and holding her down heads towards her. She felt very on the ground with his big paw, uncomfortable about it, and tried | barked at her in the most ferocious hopping up nearer to them and say- manner, almost terrifying her out of ing, “Peep, peep !" which she her wits. meant for "How do you do ?” She was too frightened to know
Then they flew at her and com- what to do, and Carlo's foot pressed menced to peck at her feathers, so so heavily that she could hardly she grew frightened and flew off by breathe. She thought that she was herself. She saw her pussy-cat just dying, when a voice called, toasting herself near by in the sun,"Fie, Carlo! Aren't you ashamed of and thought, at any rate, she would yourself, teasing Kitty Hathaway's know and play with her, so up she little pussy; let it alone, sir!” hopped in the most confiding man. Carlo raised his foot as he turned ner. The pussy-cat was really very to look at the speaker, and Kitty well behaved in regard to sparrows sprang for her life back over the when they kept out of her way; fence, quicker than she had come but what cat could be expected to over, thinking, as she went, resist such temptation as a sparrow dear, oh dear, I do wish I was deliberately walking up to its very Kitty Hathaway again.” mouth. Pussy, of course, made a She spoke too quickly, for she ferocious spring on her poor little changed back into a little girl while mistress, who did not at all under- she was still in the air, and came stand what it meant until she felt down upon the ground on her hands the sharp claws in her wing; then and knees. She fell so hard that it she remembered, and peeped out, hurt her very much, and jumping “Oh, I wish I was å pussy-cat up, she ran into the house, crying, instead of a sparrow.'
and forgetting all about the dog. No sooner said than done, and Her mother met her, and as she she turned into the cat, and in- was washing the dirt off her hands, stantly felt very indignant that the she said, “ How did you hurt yoursparrow had escaped from her. self, Kitty ?”
"It really is too bad," she thought "I fell off the fence, mamma," to herself, that, when I so seldom she sobbed. have a chance of catching a sparrow,
“That fence is too high for you I should miss when I did have one to try to climb." almost in my claws.”
“I wasn't myself, I was pussy, “Never mind !” she went on; mamma," she answered. "I know where there are some nice “ Well, you mustn't play pussy young mice in the stable across the on high fences any more,' her alley; I will go after them.” mother said. Off she went down the yard, not " But I was
pussy,” Kitty even stopping to frisk with a dead answered, with a sob; it and I fell leaf that blew in her way, and off and turned to myself.” right up the fence, thinking, as she Her mother laughed and said, rushed to the top, “Oh, isn't this “You are sleepy; come and take a nice, to climb the fence so easily; nice nap, and you'll feel better.” it is a dreadful trouble when I am Mrs. Hathaway shut the shutters a little girl. I'll always stop a cat." and made the room cool and dark,
With which words, down she and Kitty soon fell asleep. When jumped into the next yard, not she awoke everything was quiet, noticing, in her delight, that Carlo, and she lay there thinking. Present
ly, little by little, it all came back (had nice, sensible thoughts, "I to her, and she began to wonder suppose it was meant to teach me whether it was a dream all about what mamma is always telling me, the pussy and sparrows and Carlo's about how wrong it is to make almost killing her, and she could foolish wishes, and not to be connot quite settle it to her satisfaction. tented. I will try and remember it
“Any way,” she said to herself at now, and when I make a foolish last, for she was not always a foolish, wish, remember what a dreadful discontented little girl, but often time I've had to-day.”
IN THE COVERT OF THY WINGS. An early railway journey brought me to the sick-bed of a dear friend, from whom I had received, on that morning, an urgent summons. His case was a hopeless one, and he knew it, but that was not the cause of his present anxiety. Almost his first word to me on my entering his room was, “ This is death. I feel it, and do not expect to get better ; but I am not like you, I am not sure that I am safe. Look at that,” he said, and handed me his Bible open at Psa. lxi.
I read it aloud slowly, and when I came to the fourth verse, “I will trust in the covert of thy wings,” I paused, and asked my friend, • Where is the chicken safe? Under its mother's wing. Does it know it ? May it not flutter and be in terror ? It may, but nevertheless it is safe. Now, let me ask, to what are you trusting your soul's salvation ?”
“ To Jesus only; I have no other hope."
“ Neither have I any other hope,” I said ; " in that respect we are both alike-we are both in the covert of His wings.' You flutter and tremble and are in doubt, wanting something besides shelter ; I take God at His word, and though, like you, a helpless sinner, yet, trusting in Jesus, I fear not, for He has said, 'Fear not, for I am with thee; be not afraid, for I am thy God. I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Now suppose that you and I are crossing the ocean in the same ship. You are constantly apprehending shipwreck: every wave terrifies, every blast affrights; and I am peaceful and contented, trusting in the seaworthiness of the vessel--are we not equally safe? Your fears will not sink the ship, nor my confidence keep it afloat; we are both on board, and as the ship is safe, so are we.'
He raised his hand, pressed his finger on his brow, and said quietly,
Sinking back on his pillow, a look of peace passed over his worn features.
“Now," I said, "if we are both under His wings, how are we?" 66 Safe.” “ If we are both in the ship ?”
Safe," he said, emphatically. "Is it not grand to think that we are equally safe--you, with your
66 I see.”