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and for a few minutes he chatted on general topics, but said nothing more about the treasure seekers.
I was again on the beach.
The tide began to go down at nine o'clock, and by twelve I noticed a few boys and girls standing about close to the water's edge, ready to pounce upon anything that might be left by a receding wave, but they didn't seem to have much "luck," as they would have called it.
An hour or two later more people came; men and women now; and among the searchers on the beach I noticed my acquaintance, the boatman.
"They must be looking for something more valuable than bits of rope, old nails, or drift-wood," I said to myself; and curiosity impelled me to make the inquiry of more than one of the searchers; but I was evidently looked upon with suspicion, and could get no answer more satisfactory than that "they were looking for anything they could find," or "nothing particular," or something equally evasive.
After watching them for some time, I returned to the house of the friend with whom I was staying, and in the course of conversation told him how I had spent my morning, and remarked upon the unsatisfactory answers I had obtained about the object of the search on the beach.
"I think I can explain it to you," said my friend. "The people are looking for coins. There is a tradition, probably a true one, that in the reign of Queen Elizabeth a vessel laden with bullion was wrecked just outside the harbour, and the treasure lost. It is certainly a fact that sometimes, after a storm, golden coins of that reign have been washed up, and found on the beach.
66 In any number ?" I asked.
"Oh, no; in fact it is now some time since I heard of one being found, though I believe, years ago, they were frequently picked up."
"And why did they not tell me what I wanted to know?” I asked.
"Probably because they did not want you to look for
them, and thus lessen their chance of finding. I suspect that your boatman made a slip when he first said anything about the people that would come to look down on the beach, and finding you inquisitive, he tried to prevent your searching, by saying what he did about old nails, and so on."
Here was the mystery explained at once. I had evidently been looked upon as an interloper. Had I found a coin, some one else's chance of doing so would have been gone. "I could make a good sermon out of this morning's experience," I said.
"Could you?-how?" inquired my friend.
"I would speak of a treasure which every one who will may possess, and which grows none the less because others share it," I answered.
"You shall have an opportunity on Sunday evening," said my friend. "I was going to hold a service on the beach, according to my custom. You shall do it for me."
This was more than I had bargained for when I said I could make a sermon out of the circumstances, and I tried to withdraw but no; preach I must, and preach I did, let us hope with some success.
It is not my intention to repeat my sermon now, but perhaps I may be allowed to give a few of the thoughts that struck me as being applicable to the case.
The Word of God says, of a treasure far greater than millions of gold, "Seek, and ye shall find." There is nothing doubtful in this assertion. It does not read, "Seek and ye may find," nor Seek at such and such a time, and you may be rewarded for your diligence." No; it is simply, "Seek and ye shall find.” It is a command to seek, with the assurance that by doing so, finding will become a certainty.
The treasure to be sought consists of many things. Forgiveness of our sins; sanctification and salvation of our souls; peace with God—that peace which passeth all understanding; fellowship with God; God's love in life, His comfort in death, a home with Him throughout eternity.
All these are contained in the treasure which all may have for the seeking; and all, in and through Christ, by receiving Him, believing on His name, and becoming a child of God.
How then is it that so many never possess them? Only because they do not seek them. They prefer the pleasures of sin for a season, to the love of God throughout life and eternity.
What folly this is! but it seems even greater when we know that, unless we possess the treasure, we shall certainly be held responsible for our negligence in not securing it. Knowing that we may possess this treasure, and yet refusing to seek it, is wilful sin; and what says the Bible? That he who wilfully sins against God will not go unpunished. There is nothing for him, "but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries."
The man who seeks the treasure of which we are writing is not rendered selfish thereby. The more fellow-seekers he has, the better is he pleased, and when he finds it he proclaims it to all around, saying, "See what great things the Lord hath done for me."
God grant that all who read this paper may seek and find the great treasure, and having found it, be the means of causing others to seek it too.
G. H. S.
When she kissed me on the Forehead.
HEN she kissed me on the forehead,
Think you not my heart was heavy,
ID you ever hear of St. Alban? There is, you know, a city called St. Alban's. It is the place where St. Alban lived, and where also he was martyred; for he was put to death for his faith in Christ. There have been many put to death for Christ's sake in England, but St. Alban was the first of them, and so he is called England's protomartyr. You would like to hear how it came to pass.
Well, somewhere about the year A.D. 297, before the Christian faith had taken much hold upon the people of Britain, most of whom were heathen, there was one Amphibalus, living in Wales, who became a believer in Jesus Christ. Among the Welsh, the Ancient Britons, the Christian religion was accepted earlier than it was elsewhere; yet even there the men in authority set themselves against it, and for a long time there, as throughout all Britain, the people who professed faith in Christ were persecuted, with a view to bring them back to the idolatry of their fathers. Well, this Amphibalus became a believer in Christ, and had to flee from his persecutors. He wandered a long way from his home, and at length reached the old town of Verulam, which is about twenty miles from London. There he fell in with Alban and told him his case, and Alban gave him shelter. While in his house Alban began to inquire of him as to the religion he had embraced, and for which he was persecuted. We may imagine Alban sitting with the Christian convert and learning from him about Jesus Christ and His coming into the world to save sinners, of His being put to death by wicked men, of His rising again from the dead, and ascending to heaven, and of His sending the Holy Spirit to move on the hearts of sinners, and bring them to repentance towards God and to faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, and of their receiving, through faith, pardon, and holiness, and heaven. All this Alban would hear from the Christian fugitive. And as he heard, the Holy Spirit wrought upon his heart, and he, too, became a believer in Jesus.
By this time the persecutors had tracked Amphibalus to his hiding-place. But do you think Alban would give him up? Not he. He changed garments with Amphibalus, and told him to escape, and escape he did, for the time. But Alban had to pay the penalty of harbouring him, and of becoming a Christian himself. Alban was offered pardon for concealing Amphibalus, if he would fall down and worship an idol. But he had learned that 66 an idol is