« AnteriorContinuar »
worse; come and have a glass of something, and forget it for the present.”
“No," was the reply, “I am going to give all that up now.”
“Nonsense, you must come and have something for 'auld lang syne.''
Arthur shook his head, but was finally induced to comply; he could not say No, and that night he again returned to his lodgings in a state of semi-intoxication.
“Mrs. Roberts,” he said the next morning to his landlady, “I have written to my mother to say I am going home; be good enough to have my box sent to the station.”
Going home, are you, Mr. Fisher ?" she replied. “You must pay your rent first, or leave
your box.” Arthur cringed, cajoled, and promised alternately, but to no effect; his landlady was inexorable, and he had to depart without his belongings. Who would envy him his feelings? How often, that miserable morning, he thought of his dead father's last words, and wished that he had never forgotten them! He was feeling now, what every one who transgresses against the laws of God must sooner or later feel, that “God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
That afternoon Arthur's widowed mother was at the little country station, waiting, oh! how anxiously, the arrival of her son. He had not been home for more than a year; and when he had last left his mother she had been full of dread for his future, although he had partly comforted her with promises of amendment She was troubled now, and anxious to learn the cause of his unexpected visit, for Arthur had explained nothing.
Presently the train came in sight; in another minute it drew into the station.
“Oh dear, he has missed it!” Mrs. Fisher said to herself, as the train stopped and she saw nothing of her son; but as she turned to leave the station she heard the guard call to
one of the porters, “ Jim, bring a shutter, quick ; a young man has met with an accident.”
“Oh! it cannot be my boy, it cannot be !” cried the widow, as she hastened to the guard. Alas! it was her son. In crossing the line at the previous station he had been struck by the buffer of an engine and dashed to the ground. Although in great pain and very severely shaken, Arthur had been able to finish his journey; but now he was in a state of unconsciousness, having fainted from pain and exhaustion. The shutter was soon brought, and the young man was carried to his mother's house ; the poor, almost distracted woman weeping by his side.
The injuries that Arthur had received were more severe than had at first been supposed. For many weeks he was unable to leave his bed, and months passed before he entirely recovered from the shock he had received to his system. During this time the young man had ample leisure to reflect upon the folly of his past conduct and to resolve amendment for the future. But, oh! how dark that future appeared ; his character was tarnished, if not altogether ruined, and he saw no probability of again obtaining employment. Meanwhile he knew that he was a burden upon his mother—the loving, patient mother who thought no sacrifice too great to make, so long as she could relieve and comfort her son; the mother who prayed for him every day and almost every hour, and never, by word or look, reproached him for his past folly and sin. The thought of the trouble and grief he had caused was as gall and wormwood to the young man ; but no repentance could obliterate the past, no amount of sorrow and contrition undo the mischief already done.
“If I ever get well again,” muttered Arthur to himself on one occasion, “I will lead a different life. I have acted like a madman, like a fool- _”
“ May God help you to live to Him in the future, dear Arthur !" said Mrs. Fisher, who had come into the room unnoticed by the invalid. “You must pray to Him to help you.” Man clings to the notion that he can work his own way to heaven ; do something toward saving himself. How many are there who are building on this foundation! And yet the very idea is not only inconsistent with, it is actually opposed to the gospel, which is not of works, but altogether of grace, lest any man should boast. Let us not think, however, that there is no room for works of righteousness under the gospel : there is; but we must regard them in the true light; we must assign them their proper place. We perform them not that we might be saved, but because we are saved.
The other false foundation of which our Saviour speaks is that of a merely intellectual acquaintance with the doctrines of Christ; a hearing of the word which is not associated with or followed by a doing of the word. During the whole period of our Saviour's personal ministry, He was followed by great multitudes, many of whom gladly listened to Him, and who, within certain limits, appreciated what He said, but did not receive the truths which Christ proclaimed as principles by which they were to live. They did not look to, or confide in, Christ as a Saviour. So still there are many who regularly listen to the words of Christ with attention, and a certain measure of understanding, but who stop there ; who never seem to go beyond that point: they are hearers only. It is a good thing for a man to be a hearer of the word, because he must be a hearer before he can be a doer. He must hear the word before he can receive it, before he can believe in it. But it is a sad thing for a man to remain a hearer only; hearing instructions which he never attends to ; having the way of life pointed out, and yet never setting foot thereon. And how many are there of this class ! How many who rest contented with merely hearing the word, as though their acquaintance with their duty would be accepted as a valid excuse for their habitual neglect of it. So important is this matter that we are more than once enjoined by our Master to take heed how we hear.
But it is not enough for us to avoid foundations which are non-enduring, which are essentially uncertain and treacherous, we must inquire for, and not rest satisfied until we find, some foundation on which we may safely build.
It is to be observed by us that what is condemned as a foundation, is good and serviceable in its own place. Sand, which is not safe to build upon, is useful as material for building. Just so profession is good, if it have a foundation, if there be something to be professed, but it is a poor sandy foundation if there be nothing else.
Religious activity is good, if it rest on a proper foundation, if it be an expression and result of real life; but it is a perfectly unreliable foundation for our hopes of heaven to rest upon.
And so hearing the word is good, if regarded as a mean to an end, but valueless, if considered as the end in itself. It is not, it never can be a foundation,
What, then, is the true foundation on which we may safely build, and how are we to build thereupon? There is only one foundation, and there can be none other laid than that is laid, even Christ Himself.
If we take God's word as our directory we can scarcely mistake. Nothing can be more plainly declared than that Christ is the one foundation on which we must build, if we would have our house stand unmoved in the great day of trial. Christ is the rock on which we must be built if the gates of hell are not to prevail against us. “Behold,” saith the Lord, “I lay in Sion a chief corner-stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on Him shall not be confounded.” It matters not how high our house be builded, or of what material it may be composed, everything depends on the foundation on which it rests. If it is to stand, it must be based on this underlying rock.
If we are grounded on, and built into, Christ, if we have taken hold of His words as the words of eternal life, we shall profess Christ, we shall be doers of His words; and having the principle of life within us, that life will declare itself in various forms of willing activity. Our house shall
And, when the bitter tears bedew our eyes,
Each sigh for hasty words too rashly spoken,
And taught us all the sympathy that lies
Not half of all Thy beauty and Thy grace,
Not half of all the tenderness that drew