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strength without God's help,—and we must not pray, without watching; for it is inocking God to ask him to keep us from sin, while we do not also try with all oup might to keep from it. We should pray as if we could do nothing, and strive as if we could do everything.
Watchfulness is the sentinel which guards the camp, while prayer is the warrior who goes out to take the spoil. Both are needed.
Watching and praying together, may be likened to a man going up a ladder. Watchfulness is like his feet, which try every step, and take care to rest in the right place; prayer like the hands, which are ever reaching upwards for support and help, to raise the man onwards nearer and nearer to heaven.
LETTER OF A DYING WIFE. THE following most touching fragment of a letter from a. dying wife to her husband was found by him some weeks after her death, between the leaves of a religious volume which she was fond of perusing. The letter, which was literally dim with her tear-naarks, was written long before her husband was aware that the grasp of fatal disease had fastened upon the lovely form of his wife, who died at the early age of nineteen.
"When this shall reach your eye, dear George, some day when you are turning over the relics of the past, IT, shall have passed away for ever; and the cold, white stone will be keeping watch over the lips you have so often pressed, and the sod will be growing that shalt hide for ever from your sight the dust of one who has often clung close to your warm heart. For many long and sleepless nights, when all besides my thoughts were at rest, I have wrestled with the consciousness of approaching death, until at last it has forced itself upon my mind; and although to you and to others the fear might now seem but the nervous imagining of a girl, yet, dear George, it is not so ! Many weary nights have I passed in the endeavour to reconcile myself to leaving you, whom I love so well, and this bright world of sunshine and beauty; and hard indeed it is to struggle on silently and alone, with the sure conviction that I am about to leave all for ever and go down into the dark valley! But I know in whom I have believed, and leaning on His arm, 'I fear no evil. Do not blame me for
keeping all this from you. How could I subject you, of all others, to such sorrow as I feel at parting, when time will soon make it apparent to you! I could have wished to live, if only to be at your side when your time shall come, and smooth your pillow, wipe the death-damps from your brow, and cheer your departing spirit with my love and prayers. But it is not to be, and I submit to God's most holy will. Yours will be the privilege of watching, through long and dreary nights, for the spirit's final fight, and of transferring my sinking head from your breast to my Saviour's bosom. And you shall share my last thought, and the last faint pressure of the hand, and the last feeble kiss shall be yours; and even when flesh and heart shall have failed me, my eyes shall rest on yours until glazed by death; and our spirits shall hold one last communion, until, gently fading from my view—the last of earth-you shall mingle with the first bright glimpses of the unfading glories of the better world, where partings are unknown. Well do I know the spot, my dear George, where you will lay me ; often we have stood by the place; and as we watched the sunset, as it glanced quivering through the leaves, each, perhaps, has thought that some day one of us would come alone. But we loved the spot, and I know you will love it none the less when you see the same quiet sunlight linger and play among the grass that grows over your Mary's grave. I know you will go there, where my body will lie; but my spirit will be gone into that better world : there I shall await your coming. The parting will not be for long, for we both trust in that dear Saviour who for us has conquered death. If I could speak to you then I should say— I am not lost, but gone before.'”
NEARLY HOME. “ Almost well, and nearly at home," said the dying Baxter, when asked how he was by a friend. A martyr, when approaching the stake, being questioned as to how he felt, answered, “Never better; for I know now that I am almost at home.” Then, looking over the meadows between him and the place where he was to be immediately burned, he said, “Only two more stiles to get oyer, and I am at my Father's house." “Dying," said the Rev. S. Medley, “is sweet work, sweet work: home! home!" Another, on his death-bed, said, “I am going home as fast as I can, and I bless God that I have a good home to go to."
THE UNFRIENDLY LETTER. • SPREAD it before the Lord, Leonard,” said Lucy Grey. “ Do not say any more about it, nor answer it, nor take any steps about it, till you have spread it before the Lord.”
Leonard Grey made no reply to his sister, but continued to pace the room with unequal steps. His countenance betokened anger, and he thought he did well to be angry. It was natural anger, and just anger, and righteous anger, and generous anger: so he would have said. An open I letter was in his band. His first impulse on reading it had been to tear it up and trample it under his feet in token
of his angry contempt of the writer; so far he had restrained himself; but whether the offending sheet would be thrust between the fire bars or thrown into his desk was yet an open question, when his sister interposed again.
“ Be angry, but sin not, dear Leonard. Follow Hezekiah’s example.”
“ Hezekiah! Hezekiah! what are you talking about Lucy ?” said Leonard, turning round upon his sister, rather sharply perhaps ; at least he thought so himself afterwards, when he became cooler. It is to be noted that, though Leonard Grey was a Bible student, he was just then so carried away with his angry feelings, that for the moment he did not catch his sister's meaning. He heard her words indeed, but they conveyed little sense to his mind.
It is a great blessing and a great mercy too when an impetuous, hot-headed, generous-hearted man has a better angel by his side, in the shape of a wife or a sister, for instance; who is not afraid, on any needful occasion, to tell an unwelcome truth in a gentle way, or to pour the oil of mild persuasion and judicious counsel on the turbulent waves of passion. Such an one was Lucy Grey to her brother, who at this time, however, felt far too provoked and excited to listen at first to his sister's mild remonstrances.
“ Is it not an abominable letter, Lucy? itell me that," said he, striking off from Hezekiah at a tangent.
" If I were to say yes, would that do any good ?" asked Lucy, with a half smile on her countenance, though in truth ske sympathized deeply with the insult and injury her brother had received.
" Good! why, you know it would do good, Lucy. I should feel doubly sure then that the man who wrote this "-Leonard crushed up the poor letter in his hand as he spoke—“ that the man who wrote this is a detestable, speaking, undermining—" i
" Leonard, Leonard, dear brother; • In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin,'” interposed Lucy.
“ Sin, Lucy! It is no sin to call things by their right names.”
“ But there may be sin, brother, in the temper of mind which induces us to call things by even their right names. Besides, we may be mistaken; and though this letter seems very unkind, illiberal, and unchristian
" Seems, Lucy! It is all that, and more. I am sure you cannot deny it, gloss it over as you may,” said Leonard, breaking in upon his sister's apology for the writer.
" Well, dear Leonard, say then that it is all that and more; what a fine opportunity here is for showing a better spirit. Do not forget, my dear brother, that you are a Christian ; à follower of the blessed One who, when he was reviled, reviled not again, when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.'"
“ I am to submit, then, to these imputations, Lucy; and the fellow who wrote this letter”-once more the poor sheet of paper was crushed up in Leonard Grey's hand“ is to go over half the world blasting my character ? Do you mean that?"
“ Half the world is a long journey, Leonard. But better even that he should do this than that you should do wrong. Two wrongs can never make one right, you know. They never have yet; and they never will.”
“A word spoken in season, how good it is !" Leonard paused in his erratic course across the carpet of his drawing room, laid the offending epistle on the table, and sat down in silence by his sister's side.
Now, what was in that letter need never be known : our readers may supply this want of information for themselves. Perhaps it contained 'false accusations affecting the personal character of the receiver. It might have been a retaliatory letter, threatening injury for some imagined wrong. Or it was possibly a legal demand for a large sum of money not really due to the writer except by some flaw in an agreement or in consequence of some pettifogging quibble. Or it was, perhaps, a mean and spiteful letter, intended to give offence to Leonard Grey by some rival in business. On the other hand, it was probably an honest though mistaken outpouring of wrath stirred up by a talebearer and backbiter, or by some mutual misunderstanding, All these things have happened since the world began, and will happen again and again before it comes to an end : at any rate until the happy time comes, prophetically prefigured by the dwelling together of the wolf and the lamb, the lying down of the leopard with the kid, and the cow and the bear feeding together. Until then it must needs be that offences come; and brother will sometimes sin against brother.
Whatever the subject of the letter, or the manner of the