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whom I had become acquainted in the course of my missionary labours. There was a young man with pale, emaciated face, and slender form, sitting by the fireside, leaning over and reading one of the cheap light periodicals of the day. His mother introduced me as the missionary of the district, and then addressing me she continued, “ Robert has come home from his work complaining of his chest, and he has a very bad cough.” In this first interview he seemed rather shy, had little to say, and, as I thought, was annoyed with being interrupted in his reading, and considerably relieved when I took my departure. I continued to visit him, however, and gradually his diffidence wore off; he opened out wonderfully, and if I happened to let a few days, pass without visiting him, he wearied to see me. His disease proved to be consumption. And it was evident that he was rapidly wasting away.
I remember conversing with him one day when all hope of his recovery was gone. Depressed by bodily weakness, and anticipating the sadness and bitterness of death, he said to me in a very melancholy tone, “ Oh! it is hard to die so young, to leave all my friends; and to think of others who are permitted to live long."
“ Truly it is hard to die," I replied, “ if one has no hope in Christ through the Spirit. It is sad to leave all we love here on earth and to go into that strange world, if we have not found peace and pardon in the Saviour-if we have not his presence with us in the valley--if we have no prospect of being happy for ever. But what a blessed thing it is that sin which makes death so terrible, is done away in the death of our Lord, and that through his death he delivers us from all that is evil in our death, and even from the crushing bondage of the fear of death: “ The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law: but thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." But no hope seemed to rise in his soul. To him at that time it was only a fearful, dreadful thing to die.
In the journal which I kept of my labours, I find the following entry concerning this interesting young man: “ May 21. Called on R. B-, read a portion of Scripture to him, conversed with him about it, and was pleased when he requested me to pray with him. I have found to-day what I have long desired, but never till now obtained—an opportunity of speaking to him about his soul, and his prospects for another world. Hitherto I have found that underneath his attachment to me and his apparent interest in my visits, there was spiritual darkness and indifference. I have sometimes thought that he was not fully alive to the solemnity of his position, as a dying man. and often have longed for some unmistakable evidence that he was seeking Christ. But when the opportunity occurred to-day of conversing with him closely, and free from the presence of a third person in the room, I was delighted to find that he is much concerned about his state in the sight of God; and that he is anxiously and prayerfully seeking the salvation of his soul. He tells me that for some time the question has pressed upon his heart, • What must I do to be saved ?' but that he did not like to tell me what was on his mind before the other members of the family. He feels that he has but a short time to be in this world, and with deep anguish laments that he is without an interest in the atoning blood of the Lamb. I tried to unfold to him the love of Jesus in coming into the world, and taking the sinner's place, dying the just for the unjust, to bring us to God. His reply was, “ But I have so long neglected the Saviour when in health that I do not feel that I can go to him now when in sickness and near death. I do not like, after having served Satan so long with the best of my days, now to go to Jesus in the last extremity, just when I cannot help myself. “My dear friend,' I said, as long as any of us think we can help ourselves, we are all very willing to do without Christ. He knows you cannot help yourself, therefore he is your helper. He will not cast you off because you are weak; he will not reject you because you in the day of prosperity forgot him. His ways are not as our ways. He might justly refuse your prayer, but he says to you, Come. He is waiting even now to receive you, and to prove to you his word, that he will give you rest.' He has been dealing with you for this purpose, that you might feel your need of him, that in the day of your trouble you might seek his face. Oh, believe in the willingness of the blessed Saviour to save you, and trust your soul in his safe keeping.
“For a few minutes neither of us spoke; he seemed to be thoughtfully weighing what I had said; and I did not care to interrupt his thoughts, but rather allowed the truth to settle down in his heart, silently praying that the Spirit of all grace might enlighten his mind, and draw out his heart's confidence to the Redeemer. At length, somewhat abruptly, he raised his eyes full of anxious interest and inquiry, and with great simplicity and earnestness asked, · Does Jesus ever save great sinners ? « Yes, oh yes ; he will save the chief of sinners. We have his own word for it. And we have the testimony of many great sinners whom he has saved. You remember that the apostle Paul describes himself as having been a blasphemer and a persecutor and injurious ;' but, says he, 'I obtained mercy. Then he tells us that the grace of God is exceeding abundant; and that this is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.' You have read too of the dying thief-how the dying Saviour responded to his cry of weakness and of faith, · To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise. You may come then to the same source of comfort and salvation:
The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day;
Wash all your sins away.'
“A ray of light from the Sun of righteousness appeared to have entered his heart-hope seemed then to spring up in his soul, and his countenance was lighted up with a calm, yet animated joy, as he uttered what seemed rather a soliloquy than intended for me— And is it possible that Jesus will take me and wash away my sins ? Oh what love to save me; and all out of his goodwill and grace! Lord, I believe: help thou mine unbelief.'”
In another entry in my journal about a month afterwards, I find the following: “ R. B. is sinking fast-he is daily growing weaker- but his spiritual state is cheering. The tranquillity that reigns within is seen in the sweet and patient spirit of resignation he manifests in all his suffering, and in the thankfulness with which he receives any little kindness intended to alleviate his pain. To-day, when I went in, his mother was bathing his feet. I sat down by the bedside. He said, looking up to me, Oh what a relief that is !' then drawing me close to him, he added, "What must it be to dwell in endless torments ? But there is a fountain of living water, a plentiful supply ; and bless the Lord I have been led to it. I asked him if
he wished now to get back to the world, if he still felt it • hard to die. With an amazing energy for one so prostrate, he rejoined, “Oh no; I see nothing in the world so good, so precious as Christ; let me be found in him.' But after awhile he appeared downcast, and then he remarked that one thing distressed him; he was about to be taken from his parents when they were getting old, and at a time when they had begun to look to him to assist them. · Well,' said he, “they have still the Lord to look to, and he will provide.'”
The last notice I find, a few days after, to this effect: “ R. B. is now no more in this world. He died yesterday at three o'clock. He was quite sensible and perfectly composed to the last, and quietly passed away. A short time before he died, he called his father and mother, his brothers and sisters around him, and bade them each farewell. He besought each one as they held his thin emaciated hand to love Jesus, and whatever else they neglected, to make sure of heaven. One asked him if he was afraid to die : with unskaken confidence in his Saviour, he replied, “No, Jesus is with me. And there in that humble and poorly furnished room, on a sunny summer day, he fell asleep in Jesus, and entered into that world, whose brightness far exceeds the brightest days of earth-where “the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick—where death is a thing of the past. The city had no need of the sun; for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.'”
Truly “'tis hard to die ” out of Christ; but to the soul that trusts him he imparts his grace, and then “ to die is
CAREFULNESS ABOUT MANY THINGS; PEACE IN THE
ONE THING NEEDFUL,* “ Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful
and troubled about many things : but one thing is needful; and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away
from her.”—Luke x. 41, 42. NOTHING shows more plainly the deceitfulness of sin, than the fact, that men so seldom inquire for what purpose they are placed in this world. Even some who wish to be thought Christians are heard to say, " I must work while it is day," as if the only matter of importance were that men should work, without regard to the nature or object of
* From the German of Tholuck.
their work. People engaged in manual employments will perhaps acknowledge more readily than some others, that their daily work cannot in itself be the main end of life. If, as Christ says, even “ thu sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath," much less can a human being be made merely for felling timber, or trafficking, or some mechanical occupation. But on no person does this error operate more mischievously than on those who cultivate literature, or science, or the fine arts. These pursuits have an intellectual lustre, which makes us regard them as noble and sublime. It does not occur to one man in ten, that if the love and glory of God be not the beginning and end of even such labour, all literature and science are no better than task work, mere drudgery like that of a ploughman. And on the other hand, the most ordinary employment if performed in the love of God and for his sake, becomes a noble spiritual service.
“All may of Thee partake;
Nothing can be so mean
Will not grow white and clean.
Makes drudgery Divine :
GEORGE HERBERT. History tells us of men of earnest aspirations, who at the very beginning of life's journey were impelled to inquire, whither they were going; they wondered how human beings who confessed themselves to be travellers could while away their time at an inn on the road, instead of pressing forwards, and making preparations for the place where they expected to remain for ever. But how rare are men of such earnest aspirations! The world ought to look on that man as a madman who inquires not after his Creator; yet it is rather disposed to view him in that light who seeks in earnest after God and is devoutly anxious to do his will. And yet that Being whom the world cares not to know is no other than its Creator!
Oh, how do men who forget God busy themselves, especially in this restless age, about a multiplicity of objects, hunting after a good which they might find close at hand. With what intense eagerness do they pursue art and science, as if these gave out the precious ointment