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its original channel by the art of man, and forced to drive his mill-wheels and set in motion his machinery. Once in its course it was made to fill a reservoir to form an artificial lake, and this delayed it long; days and weeks passed before the reservoir was filled and the stream found its way out on the lower side ; and it seemed to grow weary of waiting, and to long to be once more moving towards the wide ocean whither it was bound.
Sometimes it had been quite near the sea, and its journey appeared well nigh at an end; but a sudden turn in its course took it far away again. Meanwhile it had been increasing in size and splendour. It left its mountain home a little babbling rivulet, over which the children bounded in their play; but as it journeyed on, other tiny streams joined it, and it grew deeper and wider. After a time, as it increased in size, its pace became still slower ; but for all this it still continued flowing towards the ocean for which it set out.
Wider and wider grew the stream, woods and hills, villages, and then towns, were reflected upon its clear surface. It passed through many beautiful scenes, which its own presence rendered still more charming; yet it did not linger in its course. True to its original destination, it journeyed on.
Presently large vessels sailed upon its bosom, and when it neared the ocean it formed a harbour of refuge for ships of all nations; and at last it reached the boundless sea and found a home in its mighty depths.
Would that all men were as true and constant as the mountain stream. Would that all Christians kept as steadily on in their course of duty; but it is not so.
The young and inexperienced religious enthusiast often starts forward as if he would carry all before him; his love is intense, his zeal is strong, but he meets with obstacles in his path ; does he always, like the little stream, find a way round or over these obstacles ? Alas! no; he is too often stopped in his career, and, sinking into some foul pool, is content to lie in quiescence, forgetting the great end for which he started.
Even the most earnest Christian finds difficulties in the way; the troubles of the world are like the mill-wheels over which the stream had to pass; they are harassing and perplexing, and for the time stay his onward progress.
Then sometimes come periods of great trial and temptation, when he seems stayed altogether in his course ; like the stream when it had to fill a reservoir. But if he is faithful to the end his usefulness will expand, others will be drawn into the way that he is pursuing, and as he advances in Christian graces and Christian knowledge he will be like a harbour of refuge, for he will be able to point whoever comes to him to the Saviour of mankind. And then, at last, when his short career is run, he will find rest and satisfaction in the heaven which is prepared for all who love the Lord.
G. H. S.
Dick Morgan's Excuse.
HEY were at the school by this time, and as Matty
gently pushed the door open, Dick unconsciously said: Old men, sure enough!
They're like some youngsters, with most two good score o' years before 'em. I'd be grandfather to the whole lot !"
Whilst Dick, by Matty's help, just got inside, and leaned against the wall, Mr. Grey, who always opened the school, gave a slight rap on the desk to announce his presence. All was immediate silence ; when Mr. Grey said, “Let us pray.” Dick looked frightened, as he could not kneel; but Matty whispered :
“ If you can't kneel, God won't mind it. He is too good to think it dispecful. Turn to the wall, and put your hand-here, this one--to your face ; there, I'll hold your It is a very
other hand.” Dick obeyed, as though he had been the little child.
Prayer over, Mr. Grey said: “You know, my friends, that this is not church; but as I always like to begin with God's Word, before I speak any of my own, I will say a text, and ask you all to repeat it after me. simple one-very clear, very gracious, very loving, very sympathising, very pressing, very full of power, very full of tenderness, and very full of Christ /” This last word he spoke out with the full force of his fine voice, and all the men looked towards him with faces that seemed to say : “He don't speak that there loud way for show, but because 'he can't help it, when he speaks of Jesus Christ.”
" Listen, my friends," said Mr. Grey, “to this text, and remember they were spoken by the very lips of the Lord Jesus Christ; they proceeded from His guileless lips, just as what I am now saying proceeds from my lips. Listen.
“Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.'
66.6 Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart : and ye shall find rest unto your souls.'1
“ Now, my friends, as we have met to read, write, and cipher, I shall not preach a sermon, but only say something appropriate to the object in view, namely, learning. I will, therefore, take three words only from the text, leaving the whole of it for your solemn thought when you return home; and I am sure, if you do think seriously over it, you will find that each 'very'I applied to it is not only true, but does not half express its hidden treasures. The three words are-- Come,' Learn,' 'Rest.' Each of these is adapted for scholars and school use.” Here Mr. Grey saw one man looking as though he did not understand the meaning of adapted, so he said: “Each of these three words is a school word;
take the first-Come.' Do we not always say this to you, my older friends ? And do we not say it to the young and old.
1 (Matthew xi. 28, 29.
younger ones who attend in the morning? And do we not say it more earnestly still to those who will not accept our invitation? Do we not say—'Oh, come, come and welcome? The doors are open free and wide for all,
Come to this school.'' The men all answered, “Yes, sure, none can say as how • Come' wasn't said to them; and sure all of us would find 'em a seat if they would just come—ay, that we would, if we stood for to give 'em room.”
“ The next word is ‘Learn.' Ah, my friends, this is the very root of the matter. We are entreated to come that we may learn. Learn of whom? Who is the teacher ? None other than the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory! He has lessons to teach that none else can teach, unless they have first been taught of Him; then they can tell others all about it, and strive to bring them, too, to hear the words of love and wisdom that proceed out of the great Teacher's mouth. In olden times, when He was here upon earth, in this same world in which we now are, a great multitude gathered together to hear the wonderful teaching that He only could give ; and what do you think they exclaimed, or rather what they thought of His words ? They were astonished.'? And when this same holy and Divine Teacher was to be brought before His persecutors the officers sent to take Him said, 'Never man spake like this
This is He who invites you to come, that you may learn from Him. You, too, will be astonished when you hear what He has said, and what He still has to say. You, too, will be obliged to confess that “Never man spake like this man.' Come, then, my friends ; learn, then, my friends.
" " Rest' is the last word we will speak of before we open our copy-books or bring out our slates. Rest ! Ah, I see what my friend Joe Benson is thinking of; he thinks learning a queer way to take rest—and Joe is right. In earthly matters learning is anything but restful; the head gets weary, the limbs ache, and the whole body feels * Matthew vii. 28.
John vii. 46.
fatigued. But the sweetest, purest, holiest rest is the result of coming and then learning of the Lord Jesus Christ, even rest to the soul; and when the soul rests, be the body never so tired, there is a peace and quiet that the world can neither give nor take away. Whilst I hope, then, none of you know the terrible unrest of a soul persisting in sin, I hope many of you experience that sweet, pure, holy rest of soul, which makes you forget even the fatigue of a hard day's work.
Such a soul-rest arises from obedience to the entreaty, I will not say command, of your great, your Divine Teacher : 'Come-learn-of Me.'
Another little rap on the desk, and Mr. Grey descended, went amongst the men for a few minutes, and then passed out, just in time to meet old Dick hobbling away. But he knew the poor man was subject to bronchitis, and therefore would not keep him in the cold wind; he took the dark side of the road, and so let Dick go by unnoticed.
Mat, child,” said Dick, “you shall eat a bit o' supper long wi' me, if you'd read them there words again to
“Sure, sir ; but no need to read 'em, I can say 'em right off, and other textys too."
She repeated the text we have so often quoted, and then, with a sigh, said :
“I wish I was sure I'd comed. Mother has, and father did years agone, and he's got real rest for ever so long, rest up in heaven; and so has sister Jane and brother Harry ; all gone up to the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh, I wish I'd real comed."
Dick had not expected this turn to the conversation, and as it added not a little to his mental discomfort, he said, somewhat hastily :
“Come now, lassie, if I'm too old, you're a trifle too young to talk that 'ere way.”
But Matty, with a shocked look, said: “Oh, maister, I'm not old, but I'm not too young to die. I must come and learn, as well as you, if, if