« AnteriorContinuar »
“ Jesus, my Lord, I know thy name;
Thy name is all my trust;
Nor let my hope be lost.” And then he told how he had signed the pledge with no intention of keeping it, yet he had never broken it. “It seemed,” he said, “as if there was a restraint upon me all the time, as if I was held by a hand I could not see ; and so I was, thanks be to God.”
His advisers were faithful men: they told him at once that he must give up his calling.
"I will never enter a theatre or concert room again if I! starve," was his reply.
“Beware how you make rasb assertions,” said Mr. S- ; “ you little know the strength of sin or the power of temptation. You must watch and pray, lest Satan lead you captive again.”.
"I was not afraid to say this,” said Mr. S- , when narrating this story of grace ; “I knew if the change were man's bungling work it would stand no such tests as time would give it; but if, as I believed, it was God's own hand, it would prove its Divine origin by resisting all the snares of hell, and all the assaults of sin."
The work proved to be of God; it withstood all temptations. The subject of it abandoned old habits, associates, and means of living; and, aided by Christian friends, pursued the honest trade he had been taught, with more comfort, if with less profit, than the sinful course ever yielded. His wife looked a new creature, and his home a new place. Billy Monk had a pious mother: her prayers and his salvation may be seen hereafter to have been bound together in a holy alliance, and graciously linked as cause and effect.
PART v. AMIDST the heavy trials and sorrows in which Charlotte Derwent found herself involved on the death of her father, she still remained steadfast in her purpose of seeking a situation as teacher in a national school.* But before leaving home, she one evening went to her brother's room, rousing him from a sad reverie, and said “ Will you tell me, dear brother, why you have wished
* Page 39.
to be a clergyman, and why you are-so sadly disappointed at the failure of the wish ?"
" I don't know exactly, sister."
" But those who are likely to adorn such an office usually know why they desire it.”
" Well, I won't say what is not true, Charlotte, though I know you would like me to say that I wish to do good as the motive. I would rather do good than harm in the world I'm sure, but that isn't it.”
6. What is it then, dear Percy ?”
“ Well, a sort of muddle, I believe. You know papa said I should go to college if I liked; and I like my books, and study isn't hard work to me. I should like to have a church of my own and teach people, and have no business to attend to. Then it is a respectable calling, one must be a gentleman you know, and it is an office respected by everybody."
Charlotte listened with intense regret, and after a pause replied, “ These are not the motives that should influence any man to enter upon the ministry of the gospel of Jesus Christ, dear Percy: I hope you will try to think of something else.”
“ I'm sure I don't know what I'm fit for.”
“Let me answer you by a question, dear. Do you love the Lord Jesus as your own soul's dear Saviour ? Do you love the souls of sinners around you, and long to tell them the way of escape from the punishment and dominion of sin ? Do you feel that the Lord God by his Spirit bids you devote your life to this branch of duty for him ; for grateful love and not for gain; for the Master's approval, and not for man’s respect; for a crown of glory, ‘reserved in heaven,' and not for name and position among men on earth ?”
“Oh, Charlotte, how solemnly you speak! Oh no, I do not feel anything like this."
« Then, my brother, think not of becoming by profession and position what you cannot be in truth until you do feel thus, an 'ambassador for Christ.' Dear brother, to see you a faithful minister of Christ would be the very joy of my heart, and I could work and beg to provide the means; but God forbid that you should seek the office untaught by the Spirit, unbidden by the Lord !"
“ Well, sister, you need not be afraid, for you have
nearly frightened me out of it already; I wish a good many fellows I know could have heard what you said." 1 66 Have I said the truth, Percy ?”
366 You are always truthful," said Percy, affectionately.. iss You know what you are talking about, and I believe you are right.” | Charlotte's heart was full of love and thankfulness, and the tears fell fast as her brother sealed the assurance with a loving kiss.
“My darling brother," said she, “ will you give yourself to God, and ask him to make you what he pleases? | He will show you what you can do best, and guide you in the way to do it. We shall soon be separated, dear Percy, each to our path of duty, but it is only for a little while; a few years at the most, and we may look forward to a meeting time, and a happy home which no worldly circumstances can ever break up, if-if
- If we should ever be as good as you are, Lotty.” 1 If we believe and love and follow Jesus, Percy. Oh, pray for his Holy Spirit, and ask him to be the guide of your youth.” And the true guardian sister murmured a prayer over her brother's drooped head, and left him.
Percy stayed up a long while that night, and at last laid a weary head upon his pillow, but not till he had formed a resolve, the strength of which time must prove.
" Papa," said Emily Lawton, “ did you have any very precise account of our new school-mistress before you en'gaged her ?
** Yes, my dear, a very precise account. Why do you ask? Do you not find her efficient?"
Oh yes, she is certainly efficient;" but there was some peculiarity in the tone of the reply that caused Mr. Lawton to put down his book, and look at the speaker. “ I think you told us that your friend Mr. B- had recommended her to you, papa.”
" Yes; have you any objection to that?”
" Oh no, papa ; but we are a little puzzled about her, for hshe is”— and Emily hesitated again.
“ Is what, my dear? ignorant? self-sufficient? vulgar?" 1 " Oh dear no; just the reverse. Why, papa, I wonder | how you could use such words in such a connection. I do "ibelieve you are laughing at me, and know more about this Jyoung lady than you choose to tell us."
“ Young lady! my Emily, what are you talking about ?” asked Mr. Lawton, with mock gravity.
“Well, papa, the truth slipped out unawares, for here is our perplexity. We think Miss Derwent is in the true sense of the word a lady, Mind, manners, and appearance, though her dress is scrupulously simple, all declare it."
Mr. Lawton smiled his most pleased smile on his fair questioners; his daughters, true ladies by birth, education, and character, had discerned the reality in another, whose position and occupation might have been supposed, according to the estimate of the world, a sufficient disguise.
“ I quite agree with you, dear children,” said he, “and I will go still further, and say that I think she is a Christian lady."
“ Well then, dear papa, do tell us what possessed her to take such a situation as this."
" I will. It was a convinced judgment, arising from a reasonable examination into the nature of the talent committed to her by her Lord, and a determination to occupy it till he come.'”
“ Then she needs not to get her own living, I suppose."
“ She would not occupy' in the right place and method if needlessly depriving some other of the emolument derived from it."
" Then I really wonder, papa, that she did not seek something more exalted than the situation of superintendent of a national or charity school.”
“ So bave many; and she has fought a battle of principle with some she dearly loved, in vindication of her conscientious view of right and wrong. She could not profess to teach the requirements of modern education in her own sphere of life, and there was no time for the attempt to become efficient for it, even had she tried; but she can, and will, teach the children of the poor their duty to God and man.”
" Thanks, dear papa : but why did you not tell us all this before ?”
“ Because I wished you to observe and discern for yourselves, and I am not mistaken in my idea that the pure gold cannot be long or completely hidden under any disguise."
"Well, but now, papa, we are in a difficulty. All that we have yet observed and heard makes us wish to treat
Miss Derwent as our equal and friend; but will it be right to do so ?”
“ My children, I counsel no flagrant violations of the usages of society, no needless disregard of the distinctions of rank; but society' and 'rank' must not prescribe bonds to trammel the exercise of Christian love guided by wise discretion. In the world, but not of the world, is our place and vocation. And I need scarcely add that true Christian feeling is delicate and tender in its manifestations, and should avoid all approach to that manner which pride and self-sufficiency have dubbed with the name of ' patronage.'"
When Charlotte Derwent found that she must earn her daily bread, she was in many respects unprepared for the task, and was consciously unfitted to seek it in teaching fashionable accomplishments. Uncertain what to do, she carefully examined into, and then prayerfully laid her abilities, qualifications, and character before the throne of grace, seeking God's guidance and favour on the right course to pursue. Her object was certainly to earn money, to earn for herself and those dear to her; but not solely and exclusively to earn money. Life was before her, and she had a Saviour to glorify, a talent to occupy, a precept to obey. And to accomplish these she must attempt only that to which her gifts and capacity were suited, and which they could sustain with persevering faithfulness. She must combine honour to God, and usefulness in her generation with the labour which was to “ provide things honest in the sight of all men.” She offered herself, “ body and spirit,” as the purchased right of the Lord who bought her, and was accepted. Her path was indicated and her true vocation found.
But Charlotte knew enough of the world to understand her own position with regard to it, and to prepare herself for all its consequences; consequences not very important to any who “ seek not the honour that cometh from man, but that which cometh from God only.”
The world! what is its paltry honour, its capricious favour, to the holy quiet of an approving conscience, and the satisfaction of doing efficiently the duty we undertake to do at all? What if the rule generally observed might mortify pride, and crush ambition, who would lose “ any good thing ?” Who would not profit by conquest over two Satanic attributes which have tormented and misruled the