The law of God and His wrath against sin, the sanctions of the law, the eternal punishment of the finally impenitent, are not so plainly, boldly and earnestly preached as formerly. The law is still the school master, or child-leader to bring men to Christ. Where the law is not preached, through deference to long-pursed, impenitent pew owners, there are no conversions and the preacher has to send for some evangelist to come and preach the very unpalatable truths the pastor has kept back; and the sinners hear, and pricked in their hearts, and cry for pardoning mercy till they find salvation. There was no place for evangelists in Methodism fifty years ago, because every preacher preached the whole Gospel, thundering the terrors of the Lord into the ears of slumbering sinners. How rarely do we now hear a sermon on the second coming of Christ and the day of judgment!
“Day or judgment, day of wonders;
Hark! the trumpet’s awful sound,
Louder than ten thousand thunders,
Shakes the vast creation round;
How the summons
Will the sinner’s heart confound!”
This style of preaching is out of fashion in our pulpits, just as though the everlasting Gospel of the changeless Christ were subject to the caprices of fashion, fickle as the winds. Jesus addressed sinners’ fears, uncapping the pit of woe, bidding them gaze upon the undying worm, the unquenchable fire, and the smoke of the torment ascending up forever and ever. Sin and the penalty have not changed. Human nature and the motives which influence it are the same in all ages. Which, then, has changed? Modem Christians are not, through the fullness of the Holy Spirit abiding in them, brought into such sympathy with Jesus that we realize these great truths as He did when He warned them to flee from the wrath to come. The penalty of the broken law is not preached in liberalistic pulpits, and as a natural consequence, there being no school master to lead Christward, nobody is converted. Ought we not to expect the same barrenness to attend similar soft, sentimental and velvety preaching in so-called evangelical pulpits? The modern treatment of sin is alarmingly superficial. It is treated as if consisting wholly in the act; the state of heart behind the act is ignored. The doctrine of original sin, a poison eradicated from humanity by the radical purgation of the believer’s soul, body and spirit through the Holy Ghost in entire sanctification, after the new birth, has quite generally dropped out of our pulpits.
How few preach about sin in believers, repentance in believers, and bring our church members under conviction for clean hearts, attainable now by faith, and faith only, in the blood of sprinkling which sanctifieth the unclean! In how few pulpits do famishing Christians hear of the great salvation, Christian perfection, or the perfect holiness of believers, insisted on “clearly, emphatically and explicitly,” a work described by Richard Watson as distinctly marked, and “as graciously promised in the Holy Scriptures as justification, adoption, regeneration and the witness of the Spirit.” Why has the doctrine styled by John Wesley, “the grand depositum committed to the people called Methodists,” ceased to be heard in a majority of our churches, clearly unfolded, bravely defended and faithfully urged upon all believers with its unanswerable array of Scriptural proof? Is it not because the general tone of spirituality has sunk to so low a point that there are few believers in the pulpit and in die pews, thirsting after full salvation? This silence on a vital doctrine has almost wrested it from the church providentially raised up for its promulgation. And this silence, in turn, is the result of the lack of the general diffusion of the Holy Spirit through our ministry and membership. Doctrinal errors must follow. The advance guard of the coming host of heresies is already visible, the denial of the resurrection of the body, of original sin, of the personality of Satan, of entire sanctification after justification, and of this life as the whole of probation. what the main army will be we know not, except that it will be marshaled by Anti-Christ.
— Dr. Daniel Steele.
SINS REMEMBERED NO MORE
“According to the multitude of Thy tender blot out my transgressions.” Psa. li, 1.
A little boy was once much puzzled about sins being blotted out and said, “I cannot think what becomes of all the sins God forgives, mother.”
“Why, Charlie, can you tell me where are all the figures you wrote upon your slate yesterday?”
“I washed them all out, mother.”
“And where are they, then?”
“Why, they are nowhere; they are all gone,” said Charlie.
“Just so it is with the believer’s sins; they are gone — blotted out — “remembered no more.”
“As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us.”
ACQUAINTED WITH THE AUTHOR
The Free Methodist tells of an agnostic who, being present in a refined circle, was surprised when told that a certain noted lady believed firmly in sacred Scriptures. He ventured to ask her, “Do you believe the Bible?” “Most certainly I do,” was her reply. “Why do you believe in it?” he queried again. “Because I am acquainted with the Author,” she answered confidently. Poor souls, that know not God in Christ as their Savior, think, like Spencer, that He is “unknowable,” and so reject His Word. But true believers have a blessed acquaintance with both, and their faith in the Word has a sure foundation in their acquaintance with its Author.
TAKING THINGS FOR GRANTED
A young lady friend who was earnestly seeking her soul’s salvation, came to me in great distress one day, and said: “You tell me I must have faith in God, I must believe in Christ in order to be saved; now, how can I believe, how can I have faith? I have tried and tried, and I cannot; I am groping in the dark. Now you seem to take things for granted, and rest on that. I cannot do so I must know how I am saved in order to believe it; tell me once more what it is to have faith in God.”
And I replied, “You have just given a better explanation of faith than any I can think of. You must take things for granted. When you came to me this afternoon, you took it for granted I would listen, and help you if I could; just so when you go to God, take it for granted He hears, and when you confess your sins and ask forgiveness, remember His promise, ‘Ask and ye shall receive,’ and take it for granted that He forgives you.”
“Is that all?” she inquired; “and is that faith?”
“That is all,” I replied; and just then some friends called her, and she went away with a promise to try again, and the next time I met her these were her first words —
“I am taking things for granted and am very happy.”
Is there not some soul seeking God today, who finds the question of faith a perplexing one? To such an one I would say, Put aside all your questioning — stop trying to understand what perplexes you, come to God confessing your sin, pledging your life to His service, and take it for granted.
THE HERO OF THE LADY ELGIN WRECK
In my college life at Evanston I had as my room-mate my only brother, who was a theological student preparing for the ministry. Though slender in person he was a wonderful swimmer. Born on the banks of the Mississippi he had acquired wonderful skill in swimming and diving. When he came to Evanston one of the first accomplishments was not in Greek and Latin, but in swimming in the lake in time of storm. He could dive through the breakers when they ran at their highest, or toss upon their tops, or play with them as a giant might play with a tiny fountain.
One day the village was startled by the news that a great steamer, the Lady Elgin, had been struck by another steamer in the night time, ten miles out in the lake in a storm, and her four hundred passengers were coming to the shore on pieces of wreck and must be saved or find a watery grave. A few were picked up by a tug from Chicago far out on the lake.
My brother heard a bugle call in his soul that morning. He seemed to hear voices saying, “Who knoweth but thou art come into the kingdom for such a time as this ? His training, his childhood, all his life rose before him as a picture. Frail as he was he resolved to do his duty as a man. A rope was tied about him that his body might be recovered if he should be killed by the pieces of wreck floating in the breakers. Thus prepared he spent six hours battling with the waves and storm. Two hundred others took part in this struggle. One of them is the Rev. Dr. Chadwick, a pastor of Brooklyn. Another is now the Rev. Bishop Fowler, of Minneapolis. It was reserved for a single swimmer, however, to play an exceedingly important part in that day’s adventure. Into that single day my brother put the strength of a lifetime. His nervous system was shattered so that for many months he was unable to think, or read, consecutively for a quarter of an hour without dizziness and almost blindness. The physical strength for threescore years and ten was drawn upon by that single day’s exertion. Backward forward he went to save human life, and when the day was through, of the thirty that came through alive my brother had saved seventeen.
Everybody praised him. The illustrated papers of New York and London had his picture. The merchants of Chicago gave him a valuable present as a memento. Everybody praised him. How could they help it? And yet, when we were in the room alone, it was pitiful to see him. He could scarcely close his eyes, night or day, without the awful picture of the storm and the drowning coming before him. Sleeping or waking he seemed to hear the roar of the waves with the cry of those going down for the last time. When we were alone he would change color and become ashy pale in his great emotion. His hungry eyes would look at me as though they could not be satisfied, as he said to me, “Will, everybody praises me, but tell me the truth, did I do my best?”
He did not ask, “Did I do as well as somebody else?” He did better than that. He did not ask, “Did I do an well as the two hundred others?” He did better than that. He did not ask, ‘Did I do as well as any man in the world could have done?” I think he might have answered that question in the affirmative. His supreme question, that, like a poisoned arrow ran him through and through, as he remembered those that had perished in sight, and many of them within hearing of land, the supreme question to him was, “Did I do my best?”
As a result of this shock he was compelled to give up his studies as a student, compelled to give up the Christian ministry for which he was preparing. He is now in Southern California on a fruit ranch, thirty-four miles from a railway, the wreck of what he might have been but for that one supreme day. He paid the price of the redemption of many precious lives. No truer man lives than Edward W. Spencer, of Manzana, California.
God grant to you and me, when we stand on the shores of eternity and see Time’s wrecked millions standing with us before the Judge of the “quick and dead” — God grant to each one of us to hear from the lips of the Elder Brother, “Well done, good and faithful servant, you did your best.”
— Rev. W. A. Spencer, D. D.
HOW AN ANGEL LOOKS
Robin, holding his mother’s hand
says “Good night” to the big folks all,
Throws some kisses from rosy lips,
Laughs with glee through the lighted hall
Then in his own crib, warm and deep,
Rob is tucked for a long night’s sleep.
Gentle mother with fond caress
Slips her hand through his soft, brown hair.
Thinks of his fortune all unknown,
Speaks aloud in an earnest prayer:
“Holy angels, keep watch and ward,
God’s good angels, my baby guard.”
“Mamma, what is an angel like?”
Asked the boy in a wondering tone;
“How will they look if they come here,
Watching me while I’m all alone?”
Half with shrinking and fear spoke he;
Answered the mother tenderly:
“Prettiest faces ever were known,
Kindest voices and sweetest eyes:”
Robin, waiting for nothing more,
Cried with a voice of pleased surprise,
Love and trust in his eyes of blue,
“I know, mamma, they’re just like you!”
HAVE YE KEPT THE FAITH?
A dear brother of the writer, living in New York, was recently on a train which was just leaving the station. By the side of it, on the next track, was another train, which was about to start in the opposite direction. A man near my brother suddenly jumped to his feet, opened the window, and hurriedly called, “John!” A man at an open window in the other train instantly recognized his friend, and quickly responded, “William!” A hearty grasp of hands, and the short, solemn inquiry came ringing from William.
“John, have ye kept the faith?”
“Aye, by the help of God, I have.”
The cars moved away, a smile of pleasure on the face of each, and they saw each other no more. Was it strange that a thrill of Christian sympathy took possession of my brother’s heart, as he at once took a seat by the side of William, who had hitherto been a stranger, but now was a Christian brother.
Not, “Have you made money?” “Have you made a great name for yourself?” but “Have you kept the faith?” What stronger evidence of conversion could have been given in the question and answer which came from these two travelers to eternity?
Happy the man who can give a right answer to this important question, and who, at the end of life and in the day of judgment, can say, with Paul, “I have kept the faith.”
— The Christian.
HOW TO SECURE A REVIVAL
(Extract from a Sermon by Rev. W. R. Bates, D. D.)In the town of W___., Conn., one hundred and ten years ago, there was not a single Christian society. The inhabitants numbered four hundred scattered over a farming territory. Somehow three women found out that they professed to be Christians. A woman advanced in years lived in the center of the town; a woman in middle life lived three miles away; and another, a young woman, lived three miles the other way. They had moved into the town at different times, and had found out that they were orthodox Christians, members of the Church. The old lady said to herself, “I have not long to live; have I done my duty? My husband and family know that I have been faithful, but have I done my duty to the rest?” She invited the others to come to her house, and they came and prayed about it, and talked about it, and finally decided to meet the next Thursday afternoon at one o’clock at a school house and have a meeting. The old lady said to the young woman, “You can sing; will you sing?” “I will.” She said to the middle-aged woman, “You can read; will you read a few chapters from the Bible?” “I will.” The old lady said, “I will pray.” So they came, one three miles from the east, another three miles from the west. The young lady sang, and the middle-aged lady read, and the old lady prayed. A man going by with a load of wood, seeing the door open, thought to close it. He went up to the door and heard the old lady praying. It was a new revelation to him. He listened till she said “Amen.” Then she asked, “Shall we come again?” “Yes, let us come next Thursday at one o’clock.” He got on his load and told everybody he saw. The next Thursday at one o’clock the three women arrived there and found the house full. They found three chairs provided for them. They went in. The young woman said, “I am too diffident to sing before all these people.” The old lady said, “You must sing.” The other woman said, “I cannot read before all this company.” The old woman said, “You must read.” So the young woman sang, and the other woman read, and the old woman prayed; and there was sobbing all over the house. In a few days they sent for a minister. There stands today where that school house stood a little church. I have preached in it — the result of the revival prayed for by those three women. They not only prayed in their hearts at home, but they came together and prayed: “Lord, wilt Thou revive us again, that the people may rejoice in Thy work?”
HOW TO PREPARE FOR SERVICE
1. Prepare for divine service in your closet, not in your toilet.
2. Be early at church, and occupy the moments before service with meditation and prayer.
3. Consider the sermon, no matter who may be the preacher, as a message from God, not as an effort from man.
4. Pray before, during, and after the service for the minister and your fellow-worshippers.
5. In God’s house all should be kindly affectioned one to another, with brotherly love, in honor preferring, one another. Greet cordially those around you; welcome strangers into your pews; but let all be done reverently, and for the glory of God.
6. Give according to your means. If you spend money for dress and luxuries, do not stint your offerings for God’s house. Always begin to economize with self first, and with God last.
7. Carry your religion into your daily life
MY FATHER’S FORGIVENESSI was sitting alone in silence,
For my heart was hushed and sad,
As I thought that my conscience pointed
To the records my Father had.
Then it seemed that He softly whispered
I have blotted the records, child,
And the page of the book is open
Stainless and undefiled.”
But I feared, for the tempter told me
Some sins had so deep a dye
That a trace of the righteous record
Still stood in the court on high.
So again my Father whispered
“I have blotted the records, all:
Not a lingering stain remaineth
Where my holy glances fall.”
Then I thought that the dead were rising
I thought the last day had come:
I thought that I stood and trembled,
Fearful, and cowed, and dumb.
And the awful book was opened
But the Judge in silence read,
“I have blotted out thy transgressions.”
In a moment my terror fled.
Oh! since He has kindly whispered,
I surely may trust His word,
And rest in the blessed message
My listening ears have heard.
So I will not think of the record,
For the record has passed and gone,
‘Tis blotted out now and forever,
And the page from the volume torn.
— William Luff
A GOOD EXAMPLE FOR PREACHERS
There is a lawyer in Boston who is in the habit at times of addressing individual jurymen when inattentive or restless, and sometimes his argumemetum ad hominem is effective. Sometime ago he was trying a case against a street railway company, and there was an old sailor on the jury who seemed to give no heed to what either counsel said. The lawyer made his most eloquent appeals, but all in vain. Finally, he stopped in front of the sailor and said: “Mr. Juryman, I will tell you just how it happened. The plaintiff was in command of the outward-bound open car, and stood in her starboard channels. Along came the inward-bound close car, and just as their bows met she jumped the track, sheered to port, and knocked the plaintiff off and ran over him.” The sailor was all attention after this version of the affair, and joined in a $5,000 verdict for the injured man. Let ministers imitate this example and speak in the language of the people to the hearts of the people.
KIND WORDS ARE NEVER LOST
A gentleman who one morning stopped to buy a newspaper from a wizened, shrieking newsboy at the railroad station, found the boy following him every day after, with a wistful face, brushing the spots from his clothes, calling a cab for him, etc. “Do you know me?” he asked at last. The wretched little Arab laughed. “No. But you called me ‘my child’ one day. I’d like to do something for you, sir. I thought before I was nobody’s child.”
AN INFIDEL REBUKED
There was an infidel blacksmith who was always carping at professors of religion, especially when he could get a Christian to talk to, or knew there was one near enough to overhear him. Some choice morsel of scandal was sure to be served up about an erring minister, or a sinful deacon, or a Sabbath School superintendent who had fallen from grace. One day he was dilating with uncommon relish on his favorite theme to a venerable elder, who stopped to have his horse shod. The old man bore it quietly for awhile, and then he said:
Did you ever hear the story of the rich man and Lazarus?”
“Yes, of course I have.”
“Remember about the dogs — at the gate there — how they licked Lazarus’ sores?”
“Well, you remind me of those dogs — always licking the sores. All you notice in Christians is their faults.”
A TOUCHING INCIDENT
Among the crowd, says the Rochester Democrat that surged towards the gates as the St. Louis express rumbled into the Central Depot last evening, was a little old woman dressed in black with a little white face beneath a rusty old bonnet, and above a great comforter wound high around the neck. Jostled this way and that by the hurrying crowd, she was about to pass through the gate, when the gateman stopped her by a motion of the hand, and a demand for her ticket. “I am not going away,” she replied. “I didn’t buy a ticket.” “Then you can’t go through here; against orders, you know.” “But, sir, my son is coming, and” — “Can’t help it,” was the reply. “Stay here and he will come to you.” “O sir, if he only would,” and the tremble in the little woman’s voice arrested the impatient murmur of those behind. “O sir, if he only would; but he died in Cleveland last week, and now they are bringing him home in a coffin. He was the only one I had — oh, thank you, sir.” The gate was thrown wide open, and an unknown friendly hand assisted her on, and in a moment the sad face of the little old woman in black was lost in the crowd.
THANKFUL FOR THE HINT
At my time of life I ought not to be stunned by anything, but after service a good woman of my flock did manage to take my breath away. I was preaching about the Father’s tender wisdom in caring for us all. I illustrated by saying that the Father knows which of us grows best in sunlight, and which of us must have shade. “You know you plant roses in the sunshine,” I said, “and heliotrope and geraniums, but if you want your fuchsias to grow they must be kept in a shady nook.” After the sermon, which I hoped would be a comforting one, a woman came up to me, her face glowing with pleasure that was evidently deep and true. “Oh, Doctor — , I am so grateful for that sermon,” she said, clasping my hand and shaking it warmly. My heart glowed for a moment, while I wondered what tender place in her heart and life I had touched, only for a moment, though. “Yes,” she went on fervently, “I never knew before what was the matter with my fuchsias.”
WHAT A FAULT-FINDER IS GOOD FOR
In the village of ___ lived a man who was a bold leader of all opposition to religion, and always ready to publish abroad the inconsistencies or shortcomings of any who were professors of religion. After a time he concluded to remove to a distant part of the country, and meeting the leading minister of the village one day, after the usual salutations, he said: “Well, I suppose you know that I am going to leave town soon, and you will probably be very glad of it.” “Glad of it? Why, no,” said the minister, “you are one of our most useful men, and I shall hardly know how to spare you.”
Taken back by such an unexpected reply, the other immediately asked: “How is that? What do you mean by saying I am useful, or that you will miss me when I am gone?” “Because,” said the minister, “not one of our sheep can get a foot out of the fold but you bark from one end of the town to the other, and so show yourself one of the most useful watch-dogs that I ever knew. I don’t know where we shall find any one that can supply your place.” The rebuke struck home, and the fault-finder, with a crestfallen look, went on his way.
— Illustrated Christian Weekly.
A SLIGHT MISTAKE
“But that is not so bad as to think one is in church when one is at the play. My wife is the daughter of a minister, and had never been in a theater until she came to Boston with me, and I was to meet her and her hostess at the Park Theater one night. By some mischance I was late, and flurried and disappointed. The two ladies were ushered down what seemed to the country woman an interminable aisle, to the third row of stalls from the front. My wife, as she sank into her seat, dropped her head devoutly upon the rail in front. At this moment her companion gasped, Sara, what are you going to do?’ ‘Take off my rubbers,’ said the quick-witted woman, abandoning her prayers to clutch at a foot that was guiltless of overshoe.
— From the Portfolio of the American Magazine.
FAULT , WHERE LOCATED
Doubtless often the reason why some one is not religious is vitally connected with some unfaithfulness on the part of Christians; but in the majority of cases this is not true. Mr. McCresson relates: One evening in Lake Crystal, Minn., I related the following incident: Mr. Moody was approached by a lady who said, “Won’t you pray for my husband?” He said, “How long have you been married?” “Twenty-two years.” “Have you been a Christian all the time?” “Yes, sir.” “Then let us kneel down and I will pray for you. If you have been living with your husband twenty-two years and he is not saved yet, you have been living a very poor Christian life.” The lady admitted the truth of the statement, and fully gave herself up to God. In three days her husband was saved. As I finished the incident a gentleman in the audience rose and said: “I am not saved, but it is not the fault of my wife. Her lift is the strongest evidence I have that Jesus Christ can save sinners. I want her Savior to be mine. Pray for me.”
“As having nothing, and yet possessing all things.”
A crazy door, low moaning in the wind,
The beat and patter of the driving rain,
Thin drifts of melting snow upon the floor,
Forced through the patch upon the broken pane.
One chair, a little four-legged stool, a box
Spread with a clean white cloth, and frugal fare,
This is the home the widow and her lad,
Two hens, and his gray cat and kittens, share.
“Ben, it’s full time thee was in bed,” she says,
Drawing her furrowed hand across his locks,
“Thee’s warmed th’ toes enough, the fire won’t last
Pull to th’ coat — I’ll put away the box.
“Then say th’ prayers — that’s right, don’t pass ’em by,
The time’s ill saved that’s saved from God above,
And don’t forgit th’ hymn — thee never has,
And choose a one th’ father used to love.
“Now, lay ‘ee down — here, give the straw a toss,
Don’t git beneath the winder — mind the snow
I like that side — I’ll cover ‘ee just now,
The boards are by the fire — they’re warm, I know.”
No blanket wraps the lithe half-naked limbs,
But love, that teaches birds to rob their breast
To warm their younglings — love devises means
To shield this youngling from the bitter east.
The warm boards laid about the weary child,
He turns a smiling face her face toward
“Mother,” he says, soft pity in his tone,
“What do the poor boys do that have no boards?”
“He that overcometh shall inherit all things.” Rev. xxi, 7.
What is it to overcome? I began by telling you, and I close by telling you: it is to know that the one great power that is in this universe is our power. We talk about power, and men may grow conceited as they lift themselves up and say: “I will be strong and conquer the world.” Ah! it is not to be done so. There is one real and true strength in this universe, and that is God’s strength, and no man ever did any strong thing yet that God did not do that strong thing in him. A man makes himself full of strength only as the trumpet makes itself full, by letting it be held at the lips of the trumpeter, so only man lets himself be made strong as he lets himself be held in the hand of God. As the chisel is powerless — if it tries to carve a statue by itself it goes tumbling and stumbling over the precious surface of the stones the chisel becomes itself filled and inspired with genius when it is put into the hand of the artist, so man, putting himself into the hand of God, loses his awkwardness as well as his feebleness, and becomes full of the graciousness and the strength of the perfect nature. And to put myself into the hands of God, what does that mean? To know that God is my Father; to know that my life is a true issuing in this world of His life; to know that I become myself only as I know myself His child. So the soul puts itself into the soul of God, and lets God do its work through Him, so that that great mysterious consciousness enters into the life which was in Paul’s life, Do you remember, “I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me”? So the soul which has given itself to God in filial consecration says: “I live, yet not I, but God liveth in me.”
As the child in the household does not know whether the things that he does from hour to hour are his things or his father’s, so does his father’s will and law fill the whole household with its inspiration. Know God your Father; recognize what your baptism means, that it was the claiming of your soul for the Father-soul of God; give yourself to Him in absolute, loving obedience. Do not think about it as an unnatural thing, as a strange thing for a man to do, to give himself to God. The strange thing is that any man or woman should be living in the world without being given to or filled with God. Give yourself to Him as the child gives himself to the father as the most natural and true thing in all your life; and then, His power glowing through your power, the world shall become yours as it is His, and in overcoming you shall inherit all things,
NOT PUZZLEDA skeptic, who was trying to confuse a Christian man by the contradictory passages in the Bible, asked how it could be that we were in the Spirit and the Spirit in us, and received the reply: “Oh, there is no puzzle about that. It’s like that poker. I put it in the fire till it gets red-hot. Now, the poker is in the fire, and the fire is in the poker.” A profound Theologian could not have made a better answer.
FOR AMBITIOUS BOYSA boy is something like a piece of iron. When in its rough state it isn’t worth much, nor is it of very much use; but the more processes it is put through the more valuable it becomes. A bar of iron that is only worth $5 in its natural state, is worth $12 when it is made into horseshoes; and after it goes through the different processes by which it is made into needles, its value is increased to $340. Made into penknife blades, it would be worth $3,000, and into balance springs for watches, $25,000. Just think of that, boys, a piece of iron that is comparatively worthless can be developed into such valuable material! But the iron has to go through a great deal of hammering and beating and rolling and pounding and polishing; and so, if you are to become useful and educated men, you must go through a long course of study and training. The more time you spend in hard study, the better material you will make. The iron doesn’t have to go through half as much to be made into horseshoes as it does to be converted into delicate watchsprings. But think how much less valuable it is. Which would you rather be, horseshoes or watchsprings? It depends on yourselves. You can become whatever you will. This is your time for preparing for manhood. Don’t think that I would have you settle down to hard study all the time, without any intervals of fun. Not a bit of it. I like to see boys have a good time, and I would be very sorry to have you grow old before your tine, but you have ample opportunity for study and play, too, and I don’t want you to neglect the former for the sake of the latter.
THE GREAT ADMINISTRATOR
The Holy Ghost is the great administrator of Christ’s estate. The estate is very rich and very large, but will avail us nothing if not administered. The will must not only be probated, but executed. Christ said of the Holy Ghost, “He shall take of mine and show them unto you.” Never was the Church so well supplied with secondary agents. All she needs to press her with haste to her final conquest, is the Spirit in full measure. To have this there must be the sense of imperative need — our utter inability to do anything without His power — and that need must be urged by prayer. Faith in the Holy Ghost has been weakened by the ample supply of other aids. All our operations need the baptism of fire. Our hearts need His fully renovating, sanctifying power. Our sense of pardon is dim; our communion with God is not warm, intimate. Our singing needs His flame, the melody of His music. Our prayer needs His inspiration and intercession. Our preachers need to have the Spirit of the Lord God on them. Our Christian doing needs more of His quickening. Our Christian character needs to have more of His Spirit inwrought in our souls. We need Him, this great working power, this singing power, this praying power, this power of holy living, of glowing, heavenly experience and joy.
— St. Louis Christian Advocate.
* * * * * * * * * *
There are some Sunday Schools that remind one of the boy’s answer to the question, “Is your father living?” “Yes, but he isn’t very living. He has rheumatism all over his legs and back.”
THE MODERN DANCE
The modern round dance is to me especially abhorrent; for one, I will not put myself where I am compelled even to look upon it. I am too well acquainted with both its origin and its history to countenance it; and, after watching for twenty-five years its effects upon modern society, I have set my face forever against it as an iniquity and a snare. True, it did not have its roots in pagan idolatry, but it did have its origin in a worse than pagan laxity of morals; and the fact that pure-minded persons may possibly engage in it with entire innocence of wrong feeling or intent proves nothing as to its influence on society generally.
Now, let me ask you, if you had a family of children, how long would you tolerate in your house a man who, perhaps immediately upon introduction to your daughter, should lay hands upon her person with the familiarity and freedom of the modern waltz? I am simply astonished that there can be any doubt upon this point with soundminded, sensible, reflecting persons. The modern dance simply licenses or makes lawful what outside of the customs of the dance, is regarded improper, immoral, insulting. Society wisely regulates the ordinary social gatherings of men and women in the parlor, even when they are well acquainted, by certain wholesome barriers of restraint. A man who, especially at first acquaintance, should violate these restrictions, as he may do in the waltz with impunity, would be kicked out of doors as a scoundrel. But the devil has invented in the round dances a polite and popular method of making such gross familiarities allowable, under the unction of fashionable custom. Hence their attraction to the people of the world; hence their ensnaring influence to his disciple; and the better the class of men and women who countenance the devil’s device, the more conspicuous his triumph.
— Rev. Dr. A. T. Pierson.
WEIGHED AND FOUND WANTING
A purely secular paper, the New York Journal of Education says: “A great deal can be said about dancing; for instance, the chief of police of New York city says that three-fourths of the abandoned girls in this city were ruined by dancing. Young ladies allow gentlemen privileges in dancing, which, taken under any other circumstances, would be considered as improper. It requires neither brains nor good morals to be a good dancer. As the love of the one increases, the love of the other decreases. How many of the best men and women are skillful dancers? Alcohol is the spirit of beverages. So sex is the spirit of dance; take it away and let the sexes dance separately, and dancing would go out of fashion very soon.
Parlor dancing is dangerous. Tippling leads to drunkenness, and parlor dancing leads to ungodly balls. Tippling and parlor dancing sow to the wind and both reap to the whirlwind. Put dancing in the crucible, apply the acids, weigh it, and the verdict of reason, morality and religion is, ‘Weighed in the balances and found wanting.’
A Scottish minister made the following announcement from the pulpit: “Weel, friends, the kirk is urgently in need of siller, and as we have failed to get money honestly we will have to see what a bazaar can do for us.”
O, BAIRNES, CUDDLE DOON
Story of a Scotch Section-Hand Who Wrote These Beautiful Lines.Fifteen years ago or more a Scotch section-hand of the North British railroad in Scotland dropped into poetry. His first attempt at verse was successful so successful that it came to the notice of friends who recognized the merit that was in his song. How far it has gained recognition cannot be determined. but the beautiful bit of dialect is worthy of Robert Burns himself. It reads:
The bairnies cuddle doon at nicht
Wl muckle faucht an’ din’
O, try an’ sleep, ye waukrife rogues,
You faither’s comm’ in,
They never heed a word I speak,
I try to gi’e a frown;
But aye I hap them up an’ say,
“O bairnies, cuddle doon!”
Wee Jamie wi’ the curly held,
He aye sleeps next the wa’,
Bangs up an’ cries, “I want a piece”;
The rascal starts them a’.
I rin’ and fetch them pieces, drinks,
They stop a wee the soun’
Then draw the blankets up an’ cry,
“Noo, weanies, cuddle doon:”
But ere five minutes gang. wee Rab
Cries out, frae neath the claes,
“Mither, mak’ Tam gl’e oere at ance,
He’s kittln’ wi’ his taes.”
The mischief’s in that Tam for tricks,
He’cl bother half the toon
But aye I hap them up an’ say,
“O bairnies, cuddle doon!”
At length they hear their faither’s fit,
An’ as he steeks the door,
They tarn their faces to the wa’,
While Tam pretends to snore.
Hae a’ the weans been gude?” he asks
As he pits aff his shoon.
“The bairnies, John, are in their bed,
And long since cuddled doon.”
And juist before we bed oersel’s,
We look at oor wee lambs;
Tam has his airm roun’ wee Rab’s neck,
An’ Rab his airm roun’ Tam’s.
I lift wee Jamie up the bed,
An’ as I straik each croon,
I whisper till my heart fills up,
“O bairnies, cuddle doon!”
The bairnies cuddle doon at nicht
Wi’ mirth that’s dear to me;
But soon the big warl’s cark and care
Will quaten doon their glee.
Yet come what may to ilka ane,
May He wha rules aboon,
Aye whisper, though their pews be bauld,
”O bairnies, cuddle doon !”
* * * * * * * * * *
“Take ye away the stone.” God will not do your work. After the limit of human ability has been reached He will work, and resurrected Lazarus will come forth.
A SHARP THRUST
Some men who pass for very respectable citizens, and who really are not without good qualities, have a habit not only of finding fault with their wives at every least provocation, but of doing it in terms such as no gentleman would ever think of applying to any lady except his own wife, or possibly his own sister.
There is a story that such a man came home from the shop one night, and found his wife much excited over the outrageous behavior of a tramp. He had begged for something to eat and not liking what the woman gave him, had abused her in the roundest terms.
“Johnny,” said the man, thoroughly indignant, “when you heard that cowardly rascal abusing your mother, why didn’t you run at once to the store and let me know? I would have made short work of him. Didn’t you hear?”
“Yes, pa, I heard. I was out in the barn and heard what he said about the victuals; but — ”
“Why, pa, I thought it was you scolding mother. He used the very same words you do when the dinner doesn’t suit you. I didn’t think anybody else would dare to talk to mother in that way.”
* * * * * * * * * *
At the close of a long, rambling, and pointless speech by a delegate in the last General Assembly, the moderator, who grew to manhood in Washington County, the great sheep country of Pennsylvania, remarked, sotto voce, that the speaker reminded him of an old ram he once saw, which backed so far that he was out of breath before he got ready to butt.
Keep still. When trouble is brewing, keep still. When slander is getting on its legs, keep still. When your feelings are hurt, keep still, till you recover from your excitement, at any rate. Things look differently through an unagitated eye. In a commotion once I wrote a letter, and sent it, and wished I had not. In my later years I had another commotion, and wrote a long letter; but life had rubbed a little sense into me, and I kept that letter in my pocket against the day when I could look it over without agitation and without tears. I was glad I did. Less and less it seemed necessary to send it. I was not sure it would do any harm, but in my doubtfulness I leaned to reticence, and eventually it was destroyed. Time works wonders. Wait till you can speak calmly, and then you will not need to speak, may be. Silence is the most massive thing conceivable sometimes. It is strength in its very grandeur. It is like a regiment ordered to stand still in the mad fury of battle. To plunge in were twice as easy. The tongue has unsettled more ministers than small salaries ever did, or lack of ability.
PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT SOUL WINNERS
The husband who blows up his wife before the children because she happens to get too much saleratus in the biscuit.
The preacher who attends theaters and base ball matches.
The tobacco chewing father who thrashes his boy for swearing.
The mother who can talk by the hour about the dresses and bonnets of her neighbors, but can’t say a word to her little ones about the love of Christ.
This Sunday School teacher who does not know enough about the lesson to ask questions without reading them from the lesson paper.
The woman who talks about Heaven in church, and about her neighbors on the street.
The preacher who never says anything to sinners outside of the pulpit.
The Sunday School superintendent who never attends prayermeeting.
The young lady who hands wine to callers on New Year’s Day.
The sectarian who never has a good word for any other denomination.
The man who rings a bell every time he puts a dime in the contribution box.
The man who never goes near the church on lodge night.
The man who blows a tin horn and shouts himself hoarse during a campaign, but is down on anything like excitement in religion.
The woman who knows in her heart that she is wrong, but is too proud to own up to it.
* * * * * * * * * *
“To think, when heaven and earth are fled
And time and seasons o’er,
When all that can die shall be dead,
That I must die no more!
Oh, where will then my portion be?
Where shall I spend Eternity?’
SATAN’S WANT AD
Johnson, the drunkard, is dying today;
With traces of sin on his face;
He’ll be missed at the club, at the bar, at the play;
Wanted: A boy for his place.
Simmons, the gambler, was killed in a fight
He died without pardon or grace,
Some one must train for his burden and blight;
Wanted: A boy for his place.
The scoffer, the idler, the convict, the thief,
Are lost; and without any noise
Make it known, that there come to my instant relief
Some thousand or more of the boys.
Boys from the fireside, boys from the farm,
Boys from the home and the school,
Come, leave your misgivings, there can be no harm
Where “drink and be merry’s” the rule.
Wanted for every lost servant of mine,
Some one to live without grace,
Some one to die without pardon Divine —
Will you be the boy for the place?
* * * * * * * * * *
A company of people were putting up a tent at a camp meeting. It was necessary to drive a nail about nine feet from the ground. The tallest man could not reach it, and there was no ladder. Several attempts had failed, when a stout farmer lifted a boy upon his shoulders, hammer in hand, and in one minute the nail was driven. The farmer could not reach the nail, but he could hold the boy. The boy could not hold the farmer, but he could drive the nail.
DOING NO HARM
The story has been told of a soldier who was missed amid the bustle of battle, and no one knew what had become of him; but they knew that he was not in the ranks. As soon as opportunity offered the officer went in search of him, and to his surprise found that the man during the battle had been amusing himself in a flower-garden. When it was demanded what he did there, he excused himself by saying, “Sir, I am doing no harm.” But he was tried, convicted and shot. What a sad but true picture this is of many who waste their time and neglect their duty, and who could give their God, if demanded, no better answer than, “Lord, I am doing no harm!”
* * * * * * * * * *
All this reminds me of a stiff Presbyterian clergyman who took every occasion to quote from Paul, that women should keep “silent in the churches,” and he was uncompromising in his opposition to the heretical practice of permitting women to speak. There came a gracious revival into his church. At one of the meetings, the purest and best woman in the church was so filled with the Spirit that she got up and spoke so earnestly, sweetly and beautifully, that everybody was melted, and the pastor himself was weeping, and then he got up and said: “Brothers and sisters, when Paul said that the women should keep silent in the churches, he didn’t mean anything like that. Paul meant — what Paul meant was — well, Paul only meant — Paul meant — brothers and sisters — I don’t know what Paul meant!” (Laughter and applause.)
A fireman was scaling a ladder standing against a burning building, to reach a room in an upper story, where a child was sleeping, which had been forgotten by the inmates in their flight from the building.
He was checked in his progress by the flames and smoke, when a voice in the crowd cried out:
Up went a shout from the multitude, and on went the fireman, through smoke and flames, until he reached the room, and soon returned with the object of his adventure, triumphantly presenting the child to the horror-stricken mother.
I HAD TO LOOK THAT WAY
The following story is told of old “Father Taylor.” He once went from a certain town noted for its apathy in religious matters to a conference meeting, where his brethren in the ministry were comparing notes as to the condition of church work in each one’s locality. Presently some one asked Father Taylor how the religious interest in was.
“Oh,” replied that gentleman, “religion is looking up in _____.
This occasioned much surprise, as such a declaration seemed directly contrary to the common report.
“How’s that?” he was asked. “Is there any general awakening of the churches?”
“Any special interest on the part of those outside of the churches?”
“Well, then, how do you explain your remark that religion is looking up in ?”
“Why,” said Father Taylor, dryly, “religion is flat on its back in ____, and has to look up, if it looks anywhere.”
MEN — OR HATS ON POLES?
There is a deal of unreality in the life that surrounds us, — a vast amount of pretension, show, and sham, covering a very limited proportion of real, genuine piety, grace, and goodness.
W. F. Bainbridge, speaking of his travels in China, says: “Nearly six hundred miles up the Yang-tse-Kiang a Chinese officer heard that a high mandarin was coming along on our beat, and he prepared to display a military force equal to the rations he was drawing. Through my field-glass I counted twenty real soldiers, and nearly two hundred coats and hats stuck on poles.”
This was in China — how is it elsewhere? What shall we say of the Church? Here are genuine, devoted, Christian soldiers — a few, but oh, what hosts of “poles with hats on”! Here are soldiers who count, but do not fight; who draw rations, but do not defeat foes.
Here is a society or board of officers composed of twenty or thirty men; two or three of them are workers, and the rest are “hats stuck on poles.”
Would that we could see more reality; there would then be less call for pretenses, less dress parade and sham fight, and more warfare against the world, the flesh, and the devil. We have real foes; let us see to it that we are real soldiers, — good soldiers of the Lord Jesus Christ, clad in the whole armor of God, and ready to resist unto blood, striving against sin.
A LONESOME BOY
The boy sat cuddled so close to the woman in gray that everybody felt sure he belonged to her. So when he unconsciously dug his muddy shoes into the broadcloth skirt of her left-handed neighbor, she leaned over and said: “Pardon me, madam. Will you kindly make your little boy square himself around? He is soiling my skirt with his muddy shoes.”
The woman in gray blushed a little, and nudged the boy away. “My boy?” she said. “My! he isn’t mine.”
The boy squirmed uneasily. He was such a little fellow that he could not touch his feet to the floor, so he stuck them out straight in front of him like pegs to hang things on, and looked at them deprecatingly. “I am sorry I got your skirt dirty,” he said to the woman on his left. “I hope it will brush off.”
The timidity in his voice made a short cut to the woman’s heart, and she smiled upon him kindly. “Oh, it doesn’t matter,” she said. Then, as his eyes were still fastened upon her, she added, “Are you going uptown alone?”
“Yes, ma’am,” he said. “I always go alone. There isn’t anybody to go with me. Father is dead and mother is dead. I live with Aunt Clara in Brooklyn; she says Aunt Anna ought to help do something for me, so once or twice a week, when she gets tired out and wants to rest up, she sends me over to stay with Aunt Anna. I’m going up there now. Sometimes I don’t find Aunt Anna at home; but I hope she will be home today, because it looks as if it is going to rain, and I don’t like to hang around in the street in the rain.”
The woman felt somewhat uncomfortable in her throat and she said rather unsteadily, “You are a very little boy to be knocked about this way.”
“Oh, I don’t mind,” be said. “I never get lost; but I get lonesome sometimes on the long trip, and when I see anybody that I think I would like to belong to I scrouge up close to her, so I can make believe I really do belong to her. This morning I was playing that I really belonged to that lady on the other side of me, and I forgot about my feet. That is the way I got your dress dirty.”
The woman put her arm around the tiny chap and “scrouged” him up so close that she hurt him, and every other woman who had heard his artless confidence looked as if she would not only let him wipe his shoes on her best gown, but would rather he did it than not.
THE RIGHT SORT OF RELIGION
“That very same night there sat up in the gallery on my left an engine-driver who had been blacklisted by every railway entering Chicago, through his drinking habits, so that he couldn’t get a position with any railway. That night, quite discouraged, he sat up there in the gallery, and, as I preached, the power of God carried the Word home to him. He was born again without getting out of his seat. The next day he went down to the vice president of the Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railway. He got into his office — how I don’t know — and said: ‘Mr. L., I was converted last night up in the Moody church. I am blacklisted by your railroad and every other, but I am a good engine-driver, and I want a position.’ Mr. L. sprang from his chair, went to the door and locked it. He said: ‘I believe in that sort of thing; let’s pray.’ And that railroad vice-president got down and prayed with the engine-driver. I believe in a railroad vice-president like that. It was the first I knew that Mr. L. was a Christian, but he showed it that day. When he got up he said: ‘Go down to the round house with this letter. Whatever I say on the Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad goes. And it did, of course. Those two drunkards were born again while I was preaching.”
— The Soul-Winner.
THE TWO WORDS
One day a harsh word, rashly said,
Upon an evil journey sped,
And like a sharp and cruel dart
It pierced a fond and loving heart;
It turned a friend into a foe,
And everywhere brought pain and woe.
A kind word followed it one day,
Flew swiftly on its blessed way;
It healed the wound, It soothed the pain,
And friends of old were friends again;
It made the hate and anger cease,
And everywhere brought joy and peace.
But yet the harsh word left a trace
The kind word could not quite efface;
And, though the heart its love regained,
It bore a scar that long remained;
Friends could forgive, but not forget,
Or lose the sense of keen regret
O if we could but learn to know
How swift and sure one word can go,
How would we weigh with utmost care
Each thought before it sought the air,
And only speak the words that move
Like white-winged messengers of love!
— Sunday School Times —
* * * * * * * * * *
“How; do you know that Jesus went up into Heaven?” sneeringly asked an infidel of a Christian. “By what He sent down,” was the unanswerable reply.
A little elbow leans upon your knee,
Your tired knee, that has so much to bear;
A child’s dear eyes are looking lovingly
From underneath a thatch of tangled hair.
Perhaps you do not heed the velvet touch
Of warm, moist fingers folding yours so tight;
You do not prize this blessing over-much,
You almost are too tired to pray tonight
But it is blessedness! A year ago
I did not see it as I do today
We are so dull and thankless; and too slow
To catch the sunshine till it slips away.
And now it seems surprising strange to me,
That, while I wore the badge of motherhood,
I did not kiss more oft and tenderly,
The little child that brought me only good.
And if, some night when you at down to rest,
You miss this elbow from your tired knee;
This restless, curling head from off your breast,
This lisping tongue that chatters constantly;
If from your own the dimpled hands had slipped;
And ne’er would nestle in your palm again;
If the white feet into their graves had tripped,
I could not blame you for your heartache then!
I wonder so that mothers ever fret
At little children clinging to their gown;
Or that the foot-prints, when the days are wet
Are ever black enough to make them frown,
If I could find a little muddy boot,
Or cap, or jacket, on my chamber floor;
If I could kiss a rosy, restless foot,
And hear it patter in my home once more.
If I could mend a broken cart today,
Tomorrow make a kite to reach the sky
There is no woman in God’s world could say
She was more blissfully content than I.
But ah! the dainty pillow next my own
Is never rumpled by a shining head
My singing birdling from its nest is flown;
The little boy I used to kiss is dead!
The following incident appears in the New York Mail and Express:
The shiners and newsboys around the post office were surprised to see Little Tim coming among them in a quiet way, wishing to sell a kit of tools. “Here’s two brushes, a full box of blacking, a good, stout box, and the count goes for two shillings.”
“Goin’ away, Tim?” inquired one.
“Not ‘zactly, boys, but I want a quarter the awfullest kind just now.”
“Goin’ on a skursion?” asked another.
“Not today, but I must have a quarter,” he answered.
One of the boys passed over the quarter and took the kit; and Tim walked straight to the countingroom of a daily paper, put down the money, and said: “I guess I kin write if you give me a pencil.”
With slow moving fingers he wrote a death notice. It went into the paper, but not as he wrote it. He wrote:
“Died — Litul Ted of Scarlet fever gone up to Hevin, left one brother.”
“Was it your brother?” asked the cashier.
Tim tried to brace up, but he couldn’t. The big tears came up, his chin quivered, and he pointed to the Counter and gasped: “I- had to sell my kit to do it, b-but he had his arms around my neck when he d-died.”
He hurried away, but the news went to the boys, and they gathered into a group and talked. Tim had not been home an hour before a barefoot boy left the kit on the doorstep, and in the box was a bouquet of flowers, which had been purchased in the market by pennies contributed by the crowd of ragged but big-hearted boys. Did God ever make a heart which would not respond if the right chords were touched?
A DEAF MUTE’S STORY
“I have heard and read many pathetic stories,” said Senator Hoar, ” but none of them ever awoke so much sad sympathy as one which Professor Gallaudet related recently. The professor has a favorite pupil — a little deaf mute boy, who is exceptionally bright. Mr. Gallaudet asked him if he knew the story of George Washington and the cherry tree. With his nimble fingers the little one said he did. Then he proceeded to repeat it. The gesticulations continued until the boy had informed the professor of the elder Washington’s discovery of the mutilated tree and of his quest for the mutilator. ‘When George’s father asked him who hacked his favorite cherry tree,’ signaled the voiceless child, ‘George put his hatchet in his left hand — ‘ Stop,’ interrupted the professor. ‘Where do you get your authority for saying he took the hatchet in his left hand?’ ‘Why,’ responded the boy (who knew nothing of speech) ‘he needed his right hand to tell his father that he cut the tree.’ ”