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servant of God must regret, if, through infirmity or affliction, he does sometimes despond and give a false impression of a service, the peace and joy of which he ought to make visible to all around him. If we could but constantly make manifest the peaceful and joyful influence of faith, it might lead many to exclaim, as Agrippa did, “ Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian ;" or if, like Festus, they think such a belief to be madness, they would yet confess it to be a delusion worth all the realities that this world can offer. But even though the cheerfulness of the believer should fail to convince the unconverted of the truth and reality of Christian joy, it cannot fail to cheer and encourage the poor trembler still burdened with sin, entering the narrow path, frightened at the thought of his own weakness and the temptations and difficulties before him.
The intelligence of the death of one, who was a striking instance of the clouds of this world's sorrow being unable to obscure the joy imparted to those who walk in the light of the Lord, called these reflections to my mind and led my thoughts back to my first introduction to Miss Montague. Soon after the death of my father, I was sitting in sorrow and despondency, looking forward with dread to the prospect before me; for with my beloved parent I had lost that wealth which had hitherto been my portion. I was left in comparative poverty, and was totally inexperienced in worldly affairs. A friend came in, and after a brief conversation said, “ Sitting alone here at home is very bad for you; come out with me, and I will show you what is cheering and instructive.” As we went along she told me she wished to introduce me to Miss Montague, and hoped I would frequently call upon her, adding that she was by birth and education a lady, though now reduced to live on the charity of strangers, having no relations, and being so weakened by constant attacks of illness as to be unable to earn her livelihood; and that for the last eighteen years she had been confined to one room, sometimes for weeks together to her bed. We had now reached the street in the suburbs where she lived, and mounted to the very top of a poor house. My friend entered the room a moment before me, and instead of the languid, mournful voice I had expected from eighteen years of poverty and bodily suffering, I heard one of lively, joyful tone, saying, “Oh dearest Mrs. T- I am glad to see you; sit down by my side and admire this lovely view from the window;
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you are not often high enough to enjoy such a prospect." My friend, however, said she could not then stay, as she must go on further; and, if Miss Montague would permit, she would leave me there and come back for me in an hour. Miss Montague held out her hand to me, saying I was most welcome. She was lying on a sofa, and though very pale and thin, she had no look of pain or uneasiness. The room was without carpet, and the furniture plain and scanty ; but there was a neatness and refinement in the whole arrangement that showed it was the habitation of a person of taste.
When we were alone she said, “ From Mrs. T_'s introduction, and from a something in your manner, I am sure I see a sister in Christ; indeed, who else would take the trouble of visiting me? My age and infirmities allow me to throw aside ceremony and to speak freely. The deep crape on your dress shows me you have lately lost some near relation; and your eyes bear such traces of weeping, as show me it is not merely the mourning dress of form that you wear.” The sweetness and cordiality of her manner at once won my confidence, and my tears flowed afresh while I told her of the death of a father such as few have been blessed with ; but so indul-| gent as to have rendered me quite unfit for contact with the world and its harshness. Gradually I unfolded to her all my grief and fears, telling her of my inexperience, my narrow means, and my anxiety on account of two dear younger sisters looking to me for counsel and guidance.
Miss Montague said: “ From your account of your father's last moments it is evident that he sleeps in Jesus. Do those amongst whom you live give proof that they are God's people ?” “ No," I said, “ though kind and amiable, they are still strangers to Christ." " Then,” said Miss Montague, “ your father is gone to happiness greater than words can express; and you, a professed follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, bound by that profession to do all to his glory, are now sorrowing, or at least appearing to sorrow, even as others who have no hope;' and this before the unconverted, who may by this be led to doubt the promises of God, and to say that the anchor to which you trusted has broken in the first storm. Is this honouring the Saviour? Oh be thankful for the opportunity given you of proving that he does give peace and heavenly consolation to those who trust him and accept his invitation
of · Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden.' As to worldly affairs, if you were left quite destitute as I was, I should say, "The Lord will provide,' and tell you my own experience as a proof; but as you have some means left, I only say, “Do your diligence gladly, to give of that little;' ard, dear sister in Christ, it makes no difference whether that diligence is exercised in economy to spare somewhat to give away, or in industry to gain it. Depend upon it that if you pray for it God will give you wisdom and strength, and enable you to manage even your worldly affairs; for he never imposes a burden on his servants, without giving them strength to bear it."
The time passed so quickly that I was surprised when Mrs. T— returned. As I was going away, Miss Montague invited me to visit her frequently, and during the following winter I often saw her. She always appeared happy, and always had some new mercy to be thankful for, and this at a time when her weakness and pain were so great as to render her unable to walk from the bed to the sofa.
I asked her to tell me the particulars of her past life, but she refused, saying she wished to press forward and to look back as seldom as possible; for that having suffered much from misplaced confidence and unjust dealing, she feared some feeling of unkindness or anger might rise in her heart, if she permitted her thoughts to dwell on what was past. I learned, however, in the course of various conversations, that the rent of her room was paid, and most of her necessities provided for, by the family of a tradesman with whom her parents had dealt in former years. What caused the loss of wealth I never heard; but her mother had been a widow and in great poverty for many years before her death, and God had prospered the efforts of this tradesman, who had in the meanwhile made a large fortune. He and his wife were visiting the poor widow in her last illness; and when she said she knew her end was near, and that her only sorrow in leaving the world was her daughter being totally unprovided for and an invalid, this Christian man said, “ We have enough and to spare. You befriended us when we first began business, and we shall feel it an honour put upon us by the Lord to be allowed to contribute to Margaret's welfare.”
As she told me this, Miss Montague added : “ Though so long secluded from the world by confinement to my room, enough of its influence remained to make me, for a moment, shrink from being thus provided for; but I thought of Elijah and the widow of Zarepta, and was soon taught to take all as from the hand of the Lord. My friends act towards me with such delicacy and kindness, that they make it appear as if I were doing them a favour, in accepting what I do." In less than a year I quitted Dwhere Miss Montague lived, to settle with my sisters in a distant county. At parting she said she considered our intercourse so short that it was but an introduction to our dwelling together in the Redeemer's kingdom hereafter, and that she hoped I would often write to her and tell her of any little difficulties or trials I met. On parting she put into my hand a little manuscript book, composed of a few sheets of paper sowed together. On the first leaf was written
“ Though here on earth we may not meet
Again to hold communion sweet,
Where parting words are heard no more." The rest consisted of prayers that she thought suited to me, and exhortations to courage and to confidence in the guidance of the Lord, though my path should be a difficult one.
This happy Christian often wrote to me during the few years that she survived. Every letter spoke of joy in the Lord, and of thankfulness for some new mercies or blessings. In one written not long before her death she told me of the marriage of the daughter of her benefactors, saying, “ When I first heard of it I felt frightened for my dear Julia. The gentleman is so far above her in family and station, that I feared he was choosing her on account of her large fortune; but I am sure I wronged him by my suspicions, and you will agree with me, when you hear that on their wedding-day the bride and bridegroom visited me in their bridal attire. My sweet Julia said she knew none would have been more glad to attend her on the occasion than her dear Miss Montague, and as I could not go she had brought me my share of the cake, and she thought 1 would like to see her dress. Her husband said he had often heard of me, and that his Julia owed much to my prayers and instructions, and now that he was her husband he hoped I would consider him as a friend. I was in bed, too weak to get up that day; and these dear young people knelt one at each side of the bed and asked me to pray for them, I did, indeed, pray from my heart that God would grant them as much happiness in their riches and health, as he had given me in sickness and poverty.”
A longer time than usual elapsed without my hearing from Miss Montague, when I received a letter directed in an unknown hand. It was to announce her death. Inside was one written to me by her, a few days before her last attack of illness. She was then as well as usual, nor was there anything particular in what she said, except, perhaps, brighter anticipations of happiness in the visible presence of the Saviour. The letter was found on her table after her death, and forwarded to me.
Oh, surely when we see such instances of the joy and peace that the Lord gives his servants, we are taught that the petty sorrows of this world are nothing in comparison with “ the things which God hath prepared for them that love him," and of which this joy is an earnest and foretaste. We ought to show our gladness and joyfulness of heart, and not wear a sorrowful countenance on account of “our light affliction which is but for a moment.”
"" "TIS HARD TO DIE." In all our towns and cities there is a large class of persons who would never hear the message of salvation, but for the visits of the missionary or the voluntary labours of those who, from love to the Saviour and their fellowmen, are induced to seek them out in their own homes. The results of these efforts cannot be fully estimated now, but the record is kept on high; and one day the Master whom they serve shall rehearse the story of long-forgotten acts of love, and say, “ Inasmuch as yo have done it unto the least of these my brethren; ye have done it unto me.”
The writer some years ago, while a student at college, devoted a few hours of each day to the work of visiting a poor district in one of the large cities of the north. Part of this district was inhabited by the lowest, and most degraded class of people; another portion was occupied by a class a little above those just mentioned-a class for the most part composed of those who honestly earned their livelihood.
It was while engaged one day in visiting this part of my district that I called on a poor but respectable family with