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“Mrs. Merton, in whose house I was taken ill, when I had not a friend besides her and her daughter; for it was when I was travelling, and was quite a stranger in the little town where they lived. But they took as much care of me, mother, as though I were their own son and brother, and were like mother and sister to me; and though I was in their house for many weeks, and was nursed by them with as much care as you and Mary could have bestowed, they would not take a dollar-no, nor a cent, for all the trouble and expense I had been to them.”
My mother and I exchanged glances; and words were trembling on her lips, when I prevented her from uttering them by saying,—" Perhaps they were rich people, John, and had no need to care for money ?" 1“ Rich! I did not see any signs of that, Mary," my brother replied. “No, they certainly were not rich; for they lived in a small cottage
« Was it anything like this, John ?" I asked, taking from my portfolio a pencil drawing which our lodger had given me.
“ Like it? Why, Mary, how did you get hold of this? It is the very cottage itself.”
" I thought so ; and the name of the little town near which your Mrs. Merton lives, is Salem.”
“ Mary, you are not a dealer in the black art, are you?" said John, laughing; and he showed such signs of amazement that I laughed too.
“ No," I said ; 6 but go on with your story."
" I have not much more to tell,” said he ; 6 and what little I have, you have put out of my head. Oh, I remem| ber;-well, Mrs. Merton was not rich, certainly; and she was in trouble also about
" About a son who had come to England, -and about a lawsuit in which he was engaged," I added.
I need not write down what my brother said in reply, nor give the particulars of the explanations which followed. But it was soon plain to us all that it was indeed to the mother and sister of our poor lodger that we were indebted for the kindness shown to our dear John, while he, like our Mr. Merton, was a stranger in a strange land.
It was two years after my brother's return home, and when he had, by industry and perseverance, with God's blessing, regained more than he had lost when in America, that we received a visit from Mr. Wilby. He was strangely mysterious, my mother thought, though perhaps this was a mistake. At any rate his errand was simple enough: it was merely to ask if we wanted another lodger; and he seemed rather disappointed when my mother re| plied that since John's return to London we had no room for lodgers. He replied, however, that it was of no consequence; and then he asked if we had happened to hear from Mr. Merton lately.
Again my mother said no: we had heard from him only once since he bade us good-bye ; and that was only to tell us of his safe arrival at New York, and of his brightened prospects there.
“Oh,” said Mr. Wilby, “I thought you might have heard but it is of no consequence.”
A few weeks after this, when we were, one evening, all assembled in our parlour, there was a knock at the street door, which startled both my mother and myself; it was so like Mr. Merton's knock
It was his knock; and the next minute he was seated beside my mother.
“ You did not expect me in England again ?” he said. “ No, indeed !"
“But not alarmed at seeing me, I hope,” he said, with his old smile.
" Not alarmed, but surprised :" and then remembering Mr. Wilby's visit, my mother added, hastily—“ Not alarmed, unless it is another lawsuit that has brought you back again, sir.”
“No, no,” he said, gravely: “ a burnt child dreads the fire, you know; but I am come to take possession.” And then he told us that his former opponent at law was dead; and that the disputed property had become his own by legal inheritance.
“I am not come alone,” he said, presently ; “my mother and sister are with me in London; and we are not going back again to America.'
I must break off my story abruptly. I shall only add that this happened a good while ago, and that I hope I have done all in my power to make Mr. Merton happy, since he became my husband.
NATURE AND REVELATION;
OR, THE WORSHIPPER'S TEMPLE. A SUNNY Sunday morning, how cheery and pleasant it is! Mind and body delight in the promise of a day of rest, with soft breezes and unclouded skies.
But many people give God the wet Sundays, and keep the fine ones for themselves : that is, they go to some place of worship to beguile the weary hours of cloud or rain, and take leave in the sunshine to please themselves, in some more congenial way. This was the manner of James Price; and he thought he was quite ready to face young Grant whom he spied coming along with his quiet happy face, and elastic step.
“ Where are you going, Grant?” said he, after remarking on the beauty of the weather, though he knew very well where Grant always went on a Sunday morning.
" Going to church : will you come with me?"
"Not I. I'm going to walk over the fields to B this nice morning; and now don't you be thinking that I can't worship God among trees, and streams, and sunshine, just as well as you shut up within four walls, listening to a sermon."
“ Well,” returned Grant, “ if you are really going to worship God, I will not detain you; I know 'he dwelleth not in temples made with hands, but 'where'er we seek him he is found, and every spot is holy ground.'".
" Now really you are getting liberal. Why not come along with me, and enjoy a walk then ?”
" It is also written that wherever a few are met together in the name of the Lord, there is he in the midst of them. Now that is worth seeking the right company for. Are you taking your Bible with you for a little quiet study in your stroll
" Perhaps not, but I suppose I can think and meditate, can't I?”
“No doubt you can, and you can pray like the psalmist, · Let the meditations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer."
“ You are a queer fellow, Grant. It's my belief you are trying to spoil my walk.”
* No indeed, Price. I will only pray God to bless you to-day, and that his Holy Spirit may teach you his truth, making you wise unto salvation.”
The young men parted company then ; but quite unintentionally, on Price's part at least, they met again in the evening. Price would have declined conversation, but he | began it in the morning, and could scarcely escape when Grant began it in the evening. He had been his stroll, had fallen in with a companion or two, and, somehow, did not seem the brighter or happier for his day's pleasure.
Grant looked serenely happy, the sweet hymn in which he had just been joining yet made melody in his heart; the good word to which he had been listening was full of interest to his soul; and he stood in thorough contrast with poor Price, whose lazy, listless air looked as if he had been half the day asleep.
" Well, Price, here we are again through mercy, kept safe to the close of another day. How have we profited by our opportunity ?”
"Oh, I know I have the advantage of you,” said Price, trying to force a laugh. “I've had a whiff of fresh air, and that's more than you can say; and meadows, trees, and streams united to make things pleasant to look at round me.”
“ Well, and what did the trees say to you ?”
“ Say? Why they nodded their heads, and said we are happy to shelter you from the hot sunbeams."
“ And the river as it murmured along ?”
“ Said sparkling refreshing things as I rested on its bank.”
“ But nothing of the tree of life,' whose leaves are for the healing of the nations '-nothing of that river whose streams make glad the city of God. No, the beautiful works of creation are dumb to the man who has not first sought God where he has said the light of his glory shines, in the face of Jesus Christ. The trees do not tell you that you are a sinner, nature never disturbs the conscience in its slumber; so you can admire it in peace, keeping clear of God.”
" But does not somebody speak of looking from nature up to nature's God?'”
“ Yes, but that is not true until the God of nature has first taught us that he is also the God of grace. To the pardoned sinner who has become acquainted with God by Jesus Christ, all nature teems with emblems of truth and love, and helps the mind to praise, and the lips to sing; but to none others. It is nothing but dreamy, useless senti
mentality to pretend to worship God in nature. He is holy, just, and good; and they who worship him must worship as he has appointed in spirit and in truth. His word declares the way in which he receiveth sinners, and no man comes to him but by Jesus Christ. The fact is, the Bible and the faithful preacher must tell the truth : revelation has a voice that upsets our self complacency, and we do not like it; this is the secret of half the sabbath breaking of the land.”
" Well now, is it pleasant and cheerful to be forced to think about death, when one feels young, and strong as a giant?"
“ The Bible says very little about death—it is a message of life, health, eternity. It teaches how to live happily for ourselves, and usefully for others here, and gilds the sadness of the grave with the brightness that shines beyond it. Show me the man who lives by faith in Christ, and I will venture to show you one whose end shall be peace. Show me the man who strives to walk with God, and I will show you one who may fearlessly lie down to sleep at night, to awake in heaven next morning. The question is not what sort of death we may die—it is what sort of life are we leading? Are we lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God? Are we seeking while we may find? Are we 'calling upon him while he is near ;' or are we shutting ourselves out from his revealed way, and making our own interpretation of his character and will ? It is a solemn thought; and those who fancy they can find their way to heaven and happiness through sabbath wanderings, and sensual indulgences, will find their rambles end in darkness, and their hope in disappointment. Be advised, my friend, in time, and let God be your guide to the knowledge of his truth; and his works will never be indifferent to the heart that loves himself.”
JOY AND PEACE IN BELIEVING. The people of the Lord are said by the apostle to be an “ epistle known and read of all men,” and the same apostle repeats more than once the injunction to “ rejoice;" yet so far from joy being what the worldling reads from this living epistle, there is no reproach more commonly cast upon believers than that of gloom and melancholy. The