“Good-bye,” I said to Conscience,
‘Good-bye, for aye and aye;”
And I put her hands off harshly
And turned my face away;
And Conscience, smitten sorely,
Returned not from that day.
But a time came when my spirit
Grew weary of its pace,
And I cried, “Come back, my Conscience,
For I long to see thy face;”
But Conscience cried, “I cannot,
Remorse sits in my place”
— Paul Lawrence Dunbar
INFIDELITY NOT FOR STORMS
That famous son of thunder, Benjamin Abbott, tells of a young man on one of his circuits who, while wasting his health and substance in riotous living, boldly avowed his disbelief in future punishment. Going to sea in a vessel commanded by a pious captain, he found himself one day in imminent danger of sinking with the sloop in a fearful gale. Then he was greatly terrified; and when the captain asked him what he feared, since he did not believe in Hell, he replied, weeping, and wringing his hands, “Oh! that will do well enough to talk about on land, but it will not do for a storm at sea.” This was the confession of an awakened conscience. A sleeping conscience can make light of the doctrine of retribution; but when God quickens it into life, it bears unmistakable testimony by its terrors to the truth of the doctrine.
JESUS CAN SAVE TO THE UTTERMOST
The story of the conversion of Valentine Burke, the burglar, is one of the most remarkable instances of God’s power to save to the uttermost. Twenty-five years ago Mr. Moody was preaching a series of evangelistic sermons in St. Louis and The Globe-Democrat was reporting every word he said. Burke had served twenty or more years in prison. He was a daring, profane and ugly man to deal with. Prof. H. M. Hamill, D. D., in The Epworth Herald repeats the story Mr. Moody told him, in these words:
One day somebody threw a Globe-Democrat into his cell, and the first thing that caught his eye was a big headline like this: “How the jailer at Philippi got caught.” It was just what Burke wanted, and he sat down with a chuckle to read the story of the jailer’s discomfiture.
“Philippi!” he said, “that’s up in Illinois. I’ve been in that town.”
Somehow the reading had a strange look out of the usual newspaper way. It was Moody’s sermon of the night before.
“What rot is this?” asked Burke. “Paul and Silas — a great earthquake — what must I do to be saved? Has The Globe-Democrat got to printing such stuff?” He looked at the date. Yes, it was Friday morning’s paper, fresh from the press. Burke threw it down with an oath, and walked about his cell like a caged lion. By and by he took up the paper, and read the sermon through. The restless fit grew on him. Again and again he picked up the paper and read its strange story. It was then that a something, from whence he did not know, came into the burglar’s heart, and cut its way to the quick. “What does it mean?” he began asking. “Twenty years and more I’ve been burglar and jail-bird, but I never felt like this. What is it to be saved, anyhow? I’ve lived a dog’s life, and I’m getting tired of it. If there is such a God as that preacher is telling about, I believe I’ll find it out if it kills me to do it.” He found it out. Away toward midnight, after hours of bitter remorse over his wasted life, and lonely and broken prayers, the first time since he was a child at his mother’s knee, Burke learned that there is a God who is able and willing to blot out the darkest and bloodiest record at a single stroke. Then he waited for day, a new creature, crying and laughing by turns. Next morning when the guard came around Burke had a pleasant word for him, and the guard eyed him in wonder. When the sheriff came, Burke greeted him as a friend, and told him how he had found God after reading Moody’s sermon.
“Jim,” said the sheriff to the guard, “you better keep an eye on Burke. He’s playing the pious dodge, and first chance he gets he will be out of here.” In a few weeks Burke came to trial; but the case, through some legal entanglement, failed, and he was released. Friendless, an ex-burglar in a big city, known only as a daring criminal, he had a hard time for months of shame and sorrow. Men looked at his face when he asked for work, and upon its evidence turned him away.
But poor Burke was as brave as a Christian as he had been as a burglar, and struggled on. Moody told how the poor fellow, seeing that his sin-blurred features were making against him, asked the Lord in prayer; “if He wouldn’t make him a better looking man, so that he could get an honest job.” You will smile at this, I know, But something or somebody really answered that prayer, for Moody said a year from that time when he met Burke in Chicago he was as fine a looking man as he knew. The St. Louis sheriff made him his deputy, and several years afterward when Moody was passing through the city, he stopped off an hour to meet Burke, who loved nobody as he did the man who had converted him. Moody told how he found him in a close room upstairs in the court-house serving as trusted guard over a bag of diamonds. Burke sat with a pack of the gems in his lap and a gun on the table. There were $60,000 worth of diamonds in the sack.
“Moody,” he cried, “see what the grace of God can do for a burglar. Look at this! The sheriff picked me out of his force to guard it.”
Then he cried like a child as he held up the glittering stones for Moody to see.
Many were converted through him, and when he died, the rich and poor, the saints and the sinners, attended his funeral in great numbers. The big men of the city could not say enough over the coffin of Valentine Burke. And to this day there are not a few in that city whose hearts soften with a strange tenderness when the name of the burglar is recalled.
THE GREAT PRAYER-MEETING
During a series of gracious revival meetings I was assisted by a lay brother whose great gifts were prayer and house-to-house visitation. One day he visited a home where all were busy as bees. They were too much engaged with the things of the world to allow him even a few minutes for prayer with them. Leaving the home with a sad and heavy heart, he handed them a tract of which the following is a copy:
“A great prayermeeting, to be largely attended by the royalty and nobility of all nations, will be held on the eve of the Day of the Lord. The kings of the earth and great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains and others of the ungodly, who seldom attend prayermeetings now, will be there to lead in prayer. ‘And they shall say to the mountains and rocks, fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.’ (Rev. vi, 17.) ‘Flee
They minded earthly things. But, dear reader, how about yourself? Do the cares of this life choke your prayer life? Take care, take care, lest some sad day you will be altogether smothered by the devil and asphyxiated by the very gas from Hell. How shall you escape if you neglect to call upon the Lord while He is near? Your time to pray is coming and you will either call upon the Lord now, or cry with remorseful agony unto the mountains and the hills hereafter. But it will then be of no avail. Escape will be impossible, but, thank God, now “whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
At one of our home missionary meetings some years ago the late James Earnest Clapman related a most interesting and instructive incident He said, “I had preached on Sunday evening in one of our large circuit chapels, and among others who came forward to shake hands at the close of the service was a man who made this remark, ‘I was converted in Parrott’s Revival.’
When I got to my host’s, I asked the meaning, and this was told me — Some years ago, we had on the Plan a village in which we seemed thoroughly beaten, and, at the Local Preachers’ Quarterly Meeting, it was often suggested that the time had came to abandon the village. The brethren hesitated to do this, because they feared it would break the heart of the dear old saint who had stood by our cause for many years. And so they resolved to try again. Then the old man, whose name was Parrott, like Jacob at Peniel, wrestled with God in mighty prayer. He got the victory, and the assurance of a revival. His faith never wavered, although he never lived to see it. He told the people, ‘It’s coming, it’s coming’ until it got to be a by-word, and the boys would shout after him, ‘It’s coming.’ After his death, at an ordinary service conducted by a local preacher, the mighty power of God was felt, and two persons were converted. The local preacher went on the Monday to continue the services, and again there were conversions. Then one of the converted ones shouted, ‘This is what old Parrott said would come,’ and the cry through all the countryside was, ‘It’s come,’ and a wonderful revival was the issue.” We never fail utterly in any place if we have one man thoroughly in earnest.
A solemn responsibility is now resting on all members of our churches. There is a tide in the affairs of our churches, taken at the flood, leads on to revival, but omitted, the curse of Meros becomes our portion.
— Out and Out.
PORT YOUR HELM, OR, THE POWER OF CONSCIENCE
Several years ago a prize of five thousand dollars in gold was offered to the sailing vessel that would make the quickest time from Liverpool to New York. Several entered into the race and all left the coast of England at the same hour. When the voyage was about half completed, one day while waves were quite high and ocean rough, the captain of one of the racing vessels saw a drowning man floating on a light spar, and true to his better nature, he cried, “Port your helm, there’s a man drowning.” Then as the towering waves hid the man from sight, he thought of the gold, and cried to the man at the wheel, “Steady on your course.” Again a rising wave brought the man into view, and the captain cried, “Port your helm, there is a man drowning.” The vessel veered around under the impulse of the helmsman’s hand, but again the captain thought of the gold, and greed crushing the noble impulse to save, he cried, “Steady on your course.” The third time this was enacted, when the drowning man was left to die. The captain was first to reach the Atlantic port and won the coveted five thousand dollars.
Some years after an old man lay dying on a cot in an insane asylum. For years he had been insane, and his one cry was, “Port you helm, there’s a man drowning.” “Port your helm, there’s a man drowning.” Death is now not far off, strength is almost gone, he can just whisper, and his last cry is, “Port your helm, there’s a man drowning.” Conscience, with its wired lashes, had driven the captain day by day — faithfully depicting the scene when he had let a man die for love of gold, until reason tottered from its throne and left him an awful wreck in a mad-house in New York.
HE ROSE AGAIN
An Arab of the streets stood looking in a window that exhibited a picture of the Crucifixion. He gazed so intently and seemed so deeply interested that a gentleman noticing him said, “My lad, what is that picture about?” and the boy, as though pitying him, said, “Why, mister, don’t you know, that’s Jesus. He was a good man, He loved sinners, and the Jews hated Him, and took Him and nailed Him to that cross. Don’t you see the blood on His hands, and on His feet?”
“Oh, yes,” said the man, “I see it,” now very much interested, and waiting for the boy to go on with the story. The boy was willing; he pitied such ignorance as this man displayed; he wanted him to know. “See that crown on His head, mister? they made that of thorns, and the blood trickled down over his face. Yes, sir, and they thrust a spear in His side, and blood and water came out. They killed him, sir, they killed Him.”
“Well, where did you learn all this, my boy?”
“Down at the Mission Sunday School. I go every Sunday, sir.”
“All right,” said the gentleman, and he went on his way thankful for missions that taught the children until they could give such an account of the death of Jesus as that lad had done.
He had gone but a block down the street, when he heard the patter of feet on the pavement, as the boy came running after him, hailing him at the top of his voice. “Say, mister, hold up, hold up. They did kill Him, but He rose again — He rose again.”
Yes, the boy was right, there is an incompleteness about the message unless we tell it all. Thank God Jesus rose again, and ever lives above for us.
JESUS NEVER TROUBLED ME SINCE
During a revival in Princeton, when Dr. Witherspoon was at the head of the College, Aaron Burr, at nineteen years of age, was under deep conviction. Many of the students were yielding themselves to God and the entire school knew the work was in divine order.
Burr, much troubled, went to a member of the faculty and asked him what he thought of the work, and received the reply that it was “all excitement, nothing in it soon wear off,” etc. But there was a man of God very much interested in Burr, and he pled with him to yield. In answer Burr said: “I am going home for two weeks, and when I return I will decide this matter.” Two weeks elapsed, and he returned and was again accosted by his godly friend, who earnestly besought him to give himself to God. Burr, under the stress of intense feeling, said, “Sir, I have made up my mind that if Jesus Christ will leave me alone, I will leave Him alone.”
The meeting closed and Burr went out into the world to become a man of affairs, a politician, in a certain sense, a statesman, and also a traitor to his country. He left America, went to France, spent several years there, at last coming back to New York. Here he became acquainted with a local preacher, a man of culture, toward whom Burr was attracted because of his rare conversational powers. The preacher was much interested in Burr and sought an opportunity to speak to him in regard to his soul, saying, “Mr. Burr. I have a friend I would like to introduce you to.” In his courtly manner, Burr replied, “Certainly, sir, if he is anything like you, I would be glad to meet him.” “Well, Mr. Burr,” the preacher replied, “my Friend is the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Instantly Burr’s face seemed to turn to an ashen gray, a look of hate came to his eyes, and in a voice of suppressed feeling he replied, “Sixty-four years ago I settled that matter. I told Jesus Christ if He would leave me alone I would leave Him alone, and He has never troubled me since.” The Spirit of the Lord departed from him forever when, at nineteen years of age, he made that awful decision.
“The light of the Word shines brighter and brighter,
As wider and wider God opens my eyes.
My trials and burdens seem lighter and lighter,
And fairer and fairer the heavenly prize.
“The wealth of this world seems poorer and poorer,
As farther and farther it fades from my sight;
The prize of my calling seems surer and surer,
As straighter and straighter I walk in the light
“My waiting on Jesus is dearer and dearer
As longer and longer I lie on His breast;
Without Him I’m nothing seems clearer and clearer,
And more and more sweetly in Jesus I rest
“My joy in my Savior is growing and growing,
As stronger and stronger I trust in His Word;
My peace like a river is flowing and flowing,
As harder and harder I lean on the Lord.
“My praise and thanksgiving are swelling and swelling,
As broader and broader the promise I prove;
The wonderful story I’m telling and telling;
And more and more sweetly I rest in His love.”
A few years ago my doorbell rang and a woman was ushered in, who evidently was laboring under deep feeling. She said, “Elder, I want to see you.” “All right, step into the parlor.” “But I must see you alone. I am in trouble.” Wife stepped out, and this troubled woman began her story, but it was very evident she was reluctant to tell it all, and so went away without any help.
A few weeks passed away and again this same woman, evidently in greater trouble than ever, called at the parsonage. “I must unburden. I must have peace. I have no rest. What shall I do? Oh, tell me,” was her cry. Then she began, and this time she told it all. A few years before, she was married, lived with her husband a year and grew tired of the relation, leaving him and securing a divorce. In the course of time she married again, and this time seemed more happily mated. She attended church, was wrought upon by the Spirit, gave herself to God, and without anyone saying one word, immediately became much troubled about her marriage relations, and she wanted to know, “What must I do, what shall I do? I cannot live with him and please God.”
Now mark you, this woman had a divorce, just as lawful as the courts could make it, no plan in it, and yet there was unrest and trouble and darkness, until her, in the sight of God, adulterous relations ceased, then came peace. See Matthew xix, 9.
A SPIRIT-ENERGIZED CONFESSION
“God sent me here. Can I see you?” was the exclamation of a woman who, with tear-stained cheeks, waited my appearance at the door. “I cannot rest until I confess it. I had no bringing up, no one told me about God, no one ever taught me to pray, and when I was a young girl I was married to a man — an awful sinner. He was untrue to me and I secured a divorce from him. Then a man paid attention to me and betrayed me, and a child was born. I did not want that child and I put my fingers around its neck and strangled it to death, and God made me come over and confess it.”
How I pitied her as I looked at her in her tearful agony — young, handsome, attractive and poor. God help the girl who is poor and handsome — the lustful hounds of Hell will be on her track till her ruin is accomplished, unless she becomes acquainted with the saving grace of God.
I said, “Come into the sittingroom (she had been standing in the hall while talking) and wife and I will pray for you.” We knelt together and prayed. Then from her heart came forth one of the most touching appeals to the throne of grace to which I ever listened — a cry for forgiveness, an acknowledgment of sin, a pleading in Jesus’ name, until the answer came, the burden disappeared, and God gave victory. From that time that woman has walked with God, shouting the victory, and an ensample to believers, mighty in prayer, effective in testimony, and an honor to the Church. “Thanks be unto God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
* * * * * * * * * *
A certain young man in a well known school was an excellent mathematician and was well liked among his fellows, who enjoyed watching him working out problems. One day a man came along who gave him this question, “What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” It was a question which he had never much thought about before, but it so touched him that ever afterward he lived a good Christian life.
PRAY! PRAY! PRAY!
Mrs. E. E. Williams-Childs tells in the Christian Standard of an affecting incident that happened in her own neighborhood a few years since. She had returned from an evangelistic tour, wearied in body, and was preparing for an evening of quiet and rest, when she was called to visit the son of a neighbor, who was dying. Quickly arraying herself for the call, she was soon in the home, and as she ascended the stairs she heard a hoarse whisper from the lips of the dying man, “Pray — pray — pray?’
Entering the room she was met by the mother of the dying man, who said, “Oh, Mrs. Williams, pray for Charlie, pray for him at once.” Mrs. Williams is one of God’s chosen women, gifted in prayer and known as such to friends and neighbors. She knelt by the side of the poor fellow soon to enter the eternal world and upon her ears fell again and again the cry, “Pray — pray — pray! She began, but there was no unction. The heavens seemed as brass, her prayers went no higher than her head. Soon she ceased to pray — and the mother said, “Oh, Mrs. Williams, you will pray for Charlie!’ Urged by the entreaties of that mother she assayed again to pray, and with the same result. Rising from her knees she was about to pass from the room when the brother who had called for her said, “You will not go without praying for Charlie?” and again she tried to pray, while the dying man in tones hoarse and low kept crying, “Pray — pray — pray.”
But she, gifted though she was, and urged by mother and brother, and by a soul soon to stand before God, yet could not pray. As she passed down the stairs and out the door, the last sound she heard was the voice in awful whispers, “Pray — pray — pray.”
Would you know the secret of the awful fact. Some years before, while in a revival meeting, this young man, hearing many of his companions asking for prayer, joined with a number of sneering, godless young folks in the vow, “We will never ask any one to pray for us.” In the presence of the awful need of a soul entering eternity the vow was repented of, but too late — and there was no answer, though the last words from his lips were the oft-repeated ones, “Pray — pray — pray.”
MOSES WOULD PRAY, EVEN IF HE HAD TO BLEED AND DIE FOR IT
Moses was a negro slave who lived in the South before the war. He was a joyful Christian and a faithful servant. His master, however, was in need of money, and one day a young planter who was an infidel, came to buy Moses. The price was agreed upon and the Christian slave was sold to the infidel. But in parting with him the master said, “You will find Moses a good worker, and you can trust him; he will suit you in every respect but one.”
“And what is that?” said the master.
“He will pray and you can’t break him of it; but that is his only fault.”
“I’ll soon whip that out of him,” remarked the infidel.
“I fear not,” said the former master, “and would not advise you to try it; he would rather die than give it up.”
Moses proved faithful to the new master, the same as he had to the old. The master soon got word that he had been praying, and on calling him said, “Moses, you must not pray any more, we can’t have any praying around here, never let me hear any more about this nonsense.”
Moses replied, “O Massa, I loves to pray to Jesus and when I pray I loves you and missus all the more, and can work all the harder for you.”
But he was sternly forbidden ever to pray any more, under penalty of a severe flogging. That evening, when the day’s work was done, he talked to his God, like Daniel of old, as he had aforetime.
Next morning he was summoned to appear before his master, who demanded of him why he had disobeyed him. “O Massa, I has to pray, I can’t live without it,” said Moses. At this the master flew into a terrible rage and ordered Moses to be tied to the whipping post, and his shirt off. He then applied the rawhide with all the force he possessed, until his young wife ran out in tears and begged him to stop. The man was so infuriated that he threatened to punish her next, if she did not leave him, then continued to apply the lash until his strength was exhausted. Then he ordered the bleeding back washed in salt water and the shirt on, and the poor slave to be about his work.
Moses went away singing in a groaning voice:
“My suffering time will soon be o’er,
When I shall sigh and weep no more.”
He worked faithfully all that day, though in much pain, as the blood oozed from his back where the lash had made long, deep furrows. Meantime God was working on the master. He saw his wickedness and cruelty to that poor soul, whose only fault had been his fidelity, and conviction seized upon him; by night he was in great distress of mind. He went to bed but could not sleep. Such was his agony at midnight that he woke his wife and told her that he was dying.
“Shall I call in a doctor?” she said.
“No, no; I don’t want a doctor — is there any one on the plantation that can pray for me? I am afraid that I am going to Hell.”
“I don’t know of any one,” said his wife, “except the slave you punished this morning.”
“Do you think he would pray for me?” he anxiously inquired.
“Yes, I think he would,” she replied.
“Well, send for him quickly.”
On going after Moses they found him on his knees in prayer, and when called he supposed it was to be punished again. On being taken to the master’s room he found him writhing in agony. The master groaning, said, “Moses, can you pray for me?”
“Yes, bless de Lord, Massa, I’se been prayin’ for you all nigh” and at this dropped on his knees and, like Jacob of old, wrestled in prayer; and before the breaking of the day witnessed the conversion of both master and mistress. Master and slave embraced, race differences and past cruelty were swept away by the love of God and tears of joy were mingled. Moses was immediately set free. He never worked another day on the plantation. The master took Moses and went out to preach the Gospel; they traveled all over the South, witnessing to the power of Christ to save to the uttermost. This is what the love of God will do for a person.
THE BABY’S SHOES
Scream after scream rang through the jail. It was a woman’s shrill voice, and one of the deputies said with a laugh, “Mag has the jim-jams again.”
Over in Cell 87 Mag twisted and writhed in a vain attempt to break the straps which fastened her to her cot, cursed and called on the white-headed matron to “chase that little red beast out of the corner; pull that wire out of my mouth.” Begged for water, whisky, a knife to cut her throat, and raved incessantly.
“George,” said the police matron, “I want you to take Maggie to my room. I believe she would do better there. Prison surroundings affect women unpleasantly.”
“Mrs. Barnes, you don’t want a bloat like Mag in your room; she is a hard egg; nothing will make her better. Prison is too good for her.”
The matron was undaunted. “Are you going to do what I tell you? I have charge of the women prisoners.”
Abashed, they carried the wild creature over to a plain little room. The matron gave her medicine, strong coffee, stroked her soft, yellow hair and sang softly, “Hush, my dear, lie still and slumber.” On and on she sang; the screaming and cursing stopped.
Mag choked and sobbed and said eagerly, “Don’t sing like that; please don’t sing like that!”
“Don’t you like me to sing, Maggie?” she queried.
“Yes, oh, yes; but not that. I used to sing that to my baby before she died. I was a good woman then. Oh, my God, what am I now?” and the poor woman sobbed bitterly.
The matron’s kind eyes were misty. “I had a baby once; he died,” she said simply. “I have his little shoes here on the mantle. He never wore but one pair. I’ll show them to you.”
A step to the mantlepiece and back, and the little worn shoes were clasped tightly in the criminal hands.
Mag cried softly now; only the matron’s voice broke the silence as she read that story of ineffable love — the story of the Prodigal Son. She read the twenty-first verse. Then the broken voice checked her.
“That’s me. I am no more worthy. I could only begin over”
The next half-hour witnessed a scene in that little room which caused the angels to rejoice.
That was the beginning. When Mag left the jail the matron pressed a little paper-wrapped parcel in her hands. “Keep it, my dear; it is for him. I know he would like you to have it.” Five dollars out of Mrs. Barnes’ scanty salary were tucked in the baby’s shoes.
The end! There is no end. Margaret Adams has an open door and helping hand for sinful women, and the hundredfold increase is more than realized. But time keeps no record of deeds of love. Angels rejoice throughout all eternity, and, instead of “finished,” God writes “continued.”
Let all things be done decently and in order, because order, we are told, is Heaven’s first law. To give a present of money to a rich man would be inconsistent, as also would be the issuing of a license to go hungry to a pinched and starving beggar. To preach holiness to unrepenting rebels, and plainness of garb to severe examples of funeral and ill-fitting attire, would be a useless expenditure of energy and breath. The following, which we clip from the Advance, indicates that it is not only inconsistent, but hazardous to allow one’s zeal to mistake a suffering mortal, just escaped from a dental chair, for a victim of drunkenness. It points an excellent moral:
A reporter is said to have once asked John Jacob Astor if it were true that he had twenty-seven automobiles, five chauffeurs, thirty-three horses and forty-eight carriages. Mr. Astor interrupted: “Statistics are always dry, stupid and even irritating. Let me tell you a story of a temperance exhorter who, while in the suburbs, found a man lying full length on the path with flushed face and tousled hair. He touched him with his foot to rouse him and said in a voice full of gentle reproach: ‘My friend, did you ever pause to consider that if you had placed the price of one glass of whiskey out at compound interest at the time of the visit of the Queen of Sheba to Solomon you would now have $7,816,472?’ The red-faced man lifted his head, brushed the place where the other’s foot had touched him and replied: ‘No, I haven’t worked that out, but I’m something of a statistician myself, and if you don’t go back 119 feet in seven seconds I’ll hit you forty-three times and make you see 17,598 stars, for I’ve just had six teeth pulled for $8 that’s $1.33 a tooth — and I tell you, you old meddler, I’m in no mood for fooling.'”
ANYTHING BUT THE BIBLE
It is related of Napoleon, that When Marshal Duroc, an avowed infidel, was once telling a very improbable story, giving his opinion that it was true, the Emperor remarked: “There are some men capable of believing everything but the Bible.”
This remark finds abundant illustrations in every age. There are men all about us, at the present day, who tell us they cannot believe the Bible; but their capabilities for believing everything which opposes the Word of God are enormous. The most fanciful speculations that bear against the Bible, pass with them for demonstrated facts. The greediness with which they devour the most far-fetched stories — the flimsiest arguments, if they only appear to militate against the Word of God, is astonishing.
A CHURCH, OR A SOCIAL CLUB?
“If you can’t close the theaters you can keep out of them. While you have the Thaw case before you that is enough evidence that the atmosphere of the theater is enough to ruin a woman and murder a man. I don’t think that my Jesus would spend His evenings at the theater giggling at girls dressed in tights. — If you don’t see a difference in your churches, I do. The churches are becoming more and more worldly. The church parlors are being desecrated by dances and card-parties, and prayermeetings are going out of date. There is far more worldliness then there was ten years ago. Then the weekly prayermeeting was a great thing and was attended by half the membership. Where are the members now? They are playing whist — gambling, or dancing, or at the theater. I read a notice not long ago which read, ‘A progressive whist party will take place as usual on Friday night, admission 50 cents.’ I protest that that ‘church’ is not a Lord’s house, but has become an ecclesiastical refrigerator. — I read in one of your papers that some of your ladies have been visiting certain districts and that they were told by a keeper of one of these brilliantly lighted places that the girls who go there are trained in dance halls and theaters. And yet you are having dances in your so-called Christian home and church parlors. When your churches are given up to that purpose you may write on the doors that glory has departed. To do your part toward preventing the downfall of girls, you men should refuse to ask another man’s sister to go to a dance. If you don’t stand for that you are not worthy of the name you bear.”
THAT SOBERED MEA gentleman, high in commercial circles in a Western city, was relating some of his experiences to a group of friends.
“I think,” said he, “the most singular thing that ever happened to me was in Hawaii.
“My father was a missionary in those islands, and I was born there. I came away at an early age, however, and most of my life has been spent in this country; but when I was a young man — and rather a tough young man, too, I may say — I went back there on a visit.
The first thing I did was to drink more than I should have done. While I was in this condition an old man, a native, persuaded me to go home with him. He took me into his house, bathed my head, gave me some coffee, and talked soothingly and kindly to me.
“‘Old man,’ I said, ‘what are you doing all this to me for?’
“‘Well,’ he answered, ‘I’ll tell you. The best friend I ever had was a white man, an American. I was a poor drunkard. He made a man of me, and I hope, a Christian. All I am I owe to him. Whenever I see an American in your condition I feel like doing all I can for him, on account of what that man did for me.’ “This is a little better English than he used, but it is the substance of it.
“‘What was the name of the man ?’ I asked him.
“‘Mr. Blank, a missionary.’
“‘God help me,’ I said. ‘He was my father.’
“Gentlemen, that sobered me — and, I believe made a man of me. It is certain that whatever I am today I owe to that poor old Sandwich Islander.”
THE NEIGHBORHOOD TRAGEDY
They looked like children, he and she, when they moved into the forlorn little house on the roadside in our village, writes a woman contributor to the New York Tribune. “Just married, of course,” said the gossips. “Shall we call? Better wait, perhaps, till we know who they are and what his business is.” So no one disturbed them. The young husband went to town early every morning, and the little wife sat alone on the porch and awaited his return. They planted morning-glories and nasturtiums, and hung a birdcage among the vines, so the place blossomed into new life, and looked as it never had done before. The young people seldom left home; only on Sundays, they walked to the church and sat in a far back pew, hand in hand, through the service.
One day I saw the doctor’s carriage in front of the little porch. “Dear me,” I thought, “I wonder what is the matter there? I must surely look in tomorrow.” I did. But alas! a grim visitor, who will not be denied, had been before me. As no one responded to my knock, I opened the front door and found my way to the sittingroom. In an instant I knew what had happened. There sat the poor boy alone, his face buried in his hands, his whole frame shaking with dry tearless sobs. I put my hand on his shoulder. He was younger than my own son. I whispered: “Oh, let me help you, if I can.”
“Oh,” he groaned, “if you had only come before. She was so lonely! She longed so for a woman’s hand and a woman’s voice!”
“Yes,” he added, “you can help me. Tear down the flowers when I am gone; they were hers. And give away her bird. I shall never see this place again after today.”
The sorrowful departure took place that very afternoon, and I did as he requested. I never pass the bare porch of that house without remembering that I had practically denied the kindness and the sympathy so sorely needed and craved by one of my sisters.
BRUDDER JONES’ OLE PIPE
“I say, Brudder Jones. I thought you belonged to de chu’ch.”
“So I does.
“Den why are you suckin’ dat ole pipe?”
“Kaint a feller smoke an’ b’long to de chu’ch?”
“Well, y-a-a-s, he kin b’long to de chu’ch buildin’, but never to de chu’ch triumphant.”
“How you make dat out?”
“Well, Brudder Jones, look at it dis way: How would you look walkin’ de golden streets ob de New Jerusalem wid de pipe in yo’ mouf?”
“I’d snatch it out berry quick.”
“Yes, but what would you do wid it ? You want to fro it out ob sight; no place to hide it; dar yo’ is! You hab been gibben a nice white garment, an’ dar ain’t any pocket in it to put de old pipe in, so you’ll hab to hide it in yo’ hand.”
“I say, Brudder Perkins, isn’t yo’ gitting a little pussenal in yo’ remahks?”
“But dat ain’t all; bymby you’ll want to smoke, an’ you’ll walk de golden streets tryin’ to find a place to hide, so you’ kin smoke, ’cause you’s ‘fraid to have decent saints an’ angels ketch you practisin’ sech a dirty habit. De streets ob dat city is about fifteen himdred miles long, and if you go to de end ob de strec you would fotch up agin de wall dat is made ob jasper an’ so high yo’ kaint climb ober, an’ no bole in de wall to stick yo’ haid for a smoke, an’ you will want a smoke so bad you’ll be tempted to pizen de air ob de golden city. Den you’ll want a match to light up, an’ it will come ober you all ob a sudden dat dar ain’t no matches in you new cloes, an’ no brimstone in Heaben. Den you’d wish you was back in dis ole world again wid de ole close, an’ matches, an’ pipe so you could take some comfut.”
“Brudder Perkins, I kaint afford to lose dem golden streets for de old pipe, so here goes pipe, terbacker, matches and all.”
“Dat is right. If you was going to a weddin’ whar would you fix up?”
“At home, ob course.”
“Just so. Now if you spec to git to Heaben yo must get ready down heah, for de chu’ch triumphant is de folks dat triumph ober all dare sins by de help oh de lord, ober all nasty habits, and lib just as clean as possible, for de Word says, ‘Let him that is filthy be filthy still, and let him that is holy be holy still.’ So if you lub to use de debil’s cologne, you will hab to go whar ‘de brimstone kinder kills de smell!”
Bob began to work at a salary of $35.00 per month, and when he drew his first month’s salary he counted out his money, and laid aside $3.50.
“Now,” said he, “that is my church money for this month.”
“You don’t mean to give that much out of your own month’s salary, do you?” said some one.
“No,” replied Bob; “I am not giving that. I am only paying my debt; that tenth belongs to the Lord. After that comes the giving.”
After that Bob got a raise to $50 per month.
Some of the boys said, “Well, Bob, I suppose you will give $5 out of your month’s wages?”
“I’ll pay my debts,” said Bob.
Again he was raised to $60 per month, and it was the same thing.
But Bob was to be tested in another way. One Saturday afternoon the assistant superintendent said, “Well, boys, I don’t have you work on Sunday as a rule, but we are behind now, and you will all have to come down tomorrow and work to get things in shape for the end of the month.”
Bob spoke quietly: “I can’t work on Sunday.”
“Now, Bob, this is the first time I have had you boys do so, and we must work tomorrow to catch up.”
“I’m sorry, sir, but it’s against my religion, and I can’t do so,” said Bob firmly.
“Well, Bob, if you can’t do the work I want you to do, at the time I want you to, I’ll have to get a man that will.”
Sunday morning every one but Bob went down to work. He went to Sabbath School and preaching. On Monday morning he was discharged.
That night, when Bob brought in his part of a month’s wages, some of the boys said: “Well, Bob, I guess you won’t give any of that money to the church, but keep it to live on until you get another job.” But Bob paid his dues.
Bob started out at once to hunt another job.
Days passed and still he was out of work, until the boys thought things pretty blue for him. But there was a brighter day ahead for him.
One day the president of the company came in. He knew Bob, and missed him right away. “Where is Bob T___ ?” said he.
“I had to let him go.”
“What was the matter?”
“I had some work to do on Sunday, we were so badly behind. Bob refused to work, so I had to let him out.”
The colonel made no further remark then, but afterward he asked about Bob, where he was and what he was doing. He forthwith sent for him to come to his office. Bob went over next morning.
“Well, you are the chap that preferred losing a job to working on the Sabbath?” said the colonel.
“You are the boy I have been looking for one that will stand by his principles. You can go to work at once in my office. What salary have you been getting ?”
“Sixty dollars per month was my last salary.”
“I’ll start you at $75,” said the colonel.
And little Bobbie went on climbing up, until he climbed up to New York, and the last I heard of him he was getting $150 per month, and he may be still climbing, for I have lost sight of him for some years.
— Christian Observer.
A DYING MOTHER’S LOVE
The plague broke out in a little Italian village. In one house the children were taken first: the parents watched over them, but only caught the disease which they themselves could not cure. The whole family died. On the opposite side of the way lived the family of a laborer, who was absent the whole week, only coming home of Saturday nights to bring his scanty earnings. His wife felt herself attacked by the fever in the night; in the morning she was worse, and before night the plague spot showed itself. She thought of the terrible fate of her neighbors. She knew she must die, but as she looked upon her dear little boys she resolved not to communicate death to them. She had before locked the little children in the room, and snatched her bed clothes, lest they should keep the contagion behind her, and left the house. She even denied herself the sad pleasure of a last embrace. Oh, think of the heroism that enabled her to conquer her feelings, and all she loved, to die! Her eldest child saw her from the window. “Good-bye, mother,” said he, with his tenderest tone, for he wondered why his mother had left him so strangely. “Good-bye, mother,” repeated the youngest child, stretching his little hands out of the window. The mother paused, her heart was drawn toward her children, and she was on the point of turning back; she struggled hard, while tears rolled down her cheeks at the sight of her helpless babes — at length, smiling through her tears and praying God to “keep her darlings safe from all danger,” she turned from them. The children continued to cry, “Good-bye, mother.” The sound sent a thrill of anguish to her heart; but she pressed on to the house of those who were to bury her. In two days she died, commending her husband and children to God with her last breath.
“God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
DOES GOD CARE?
In a large, lone house, situated in the south of England, far from any other human habitation, there once lived a lady and her two maid-servants. It was the lady’s custom to go around the house with the maids every evening, to see that the windows and doors were properly secured. One night she had accompanied them as usual, and ascertained that all was safe. They then left her in the passage, close to her room and went to their own, which was at the other side of the house. As the lady opened the door, she distinctly saw a man under her bed. What could she do? Her servants were far away and could not hear if she screamed for help; and even if they had come to her assistance, they were no match for a desperate, armed house-breaker. In an instant her plan was formed, and quickly entering she closed the door, and locked it on the inside, as she was in the habit of doing. She then leisurely brushed her hair, and, putting on a dressing-gown, took her Bible, sat down and read aloud a chapter which had peculiar reference to God’s watchfulness over us and constant care night and day. When it was finished, she knelt and prayed at great length, still uttering her words aloud, especially commending herself and servants to God’s protection, and dwelling on their utter helplessness and dependence upon Him to preserve her from all dangers. At last she arose from her knees, and put out her candle and lay do, but not to sleep. After a few minutes had elapsed, she was conscious that a man was standing by her bedside. He addressed her and begged her not to be alarmed. “I came here” said he, “to rob you, but after the words you have read, and the prayer you have uttered, no power on earth could induce me to hurt you, or touch a thing in your house. But you must remain perfectly quiet and not attempt to interfere with me. I shall now give a signal to my companions, which they will understand and go away, and you may sleep in peace, for I give you my solemn word that no one shall harm you, nor the smallest thing belonging to you shall be disturbed.” He then went to the window, opened it, and softly whistled. Returning to the bedside, he said: “Now I go. Your prayer has been heard, and no disaster shall befall you.” He left the room, and soon all was quiet, and the lady fell asleep, still upheld by that calm and child-like faith and trust. When she awoke in the morning, she poured out her thanksgivings to Him who had “defended” her under “His wings,” and “kept” her “safe under His feathers,” so that she was not afraid of any terror by night. The man proved true to his word, and not a thing in the house had been taken.
ALL THE BIBLE OF GOD
A preacher entered a home one day and saw half a Bible on the center table. He was led to inquire what that meant, and was told by the owner that it was half of his mother’s Bible. “When mother died I wanted her Bible, and brother Bill, he wanted it, so we compromised; he took one-half, and I took the other. His half was blessed to the salvation of his soul, and my half was used of God to my salvation. Say, preacher, that half Bible on that stand is a wonderful book.”
INTOLERANCE REBUKEDThere lived in Berlin a shoemaker who had a habit of speaking harshly of all of his neighbors who did not think as he did about religion. The old pastor thought it was time to teach him a lesson. Calling one morning he said, “John, take my measure for a pair of boots.” “With pleasure. Take off your boot.” The clergyman did so, when the shoemaker measured his foot from heel to toe, and over the instep, noting all down in his book.
As he was putting up his book, the pastor said, “John, my son also requires a pair of boots.” “I will make them with pleasure, your reverence. Can I take his measure this morning ?” “Oh, that is unnecessary,” said the pastor, “the lad is fourteen, but you can make his boots from my last.” “Your reverence, that will never do,” said the surprised shoemaker. “I tell you, John, to make my boots and those for my son from the same last.” “No, your reverence, I cannot do it.” “it must be done; on the same last remember.” “But, your reverence, it is not possible, if the boots are to fit” “Ah, then, master shoemaker, every pair of boots must be made on their own last, if they are to fit, and yet you think that God is to form all Christians exactly according to your last of the same measure and growth in religion as yourself. That will not do, either.”
The shoemaker, much abashed, took the lesson, and said, “I thank you, pastor. Hereafter I will try to remember it, and judge my neighbors less harshly in the future.” Amen.
GOD HAS FORSAKEN ME
Rev. Alfred Cookman, of precious memory, was preaching in a Methodist Church in New York, conducting an evangelistic service. His brother George lived in the city, but was unsaved. The last night of the meeting was at hand and Alfred was very much exercised for his brother who, thus far, had not put in an appearance at any meeting. Calling a few of the saints around him, he requested them to pray, saying that he was going to call on George and ask him to come to the service. Leaving them, he went to his brother’s place of business, and after being cordially greeted, he invited him to come to the meeting, as this was the last night, and he had not been there once during the series. Consent was secured, and Alfred returned to his room.
That night he preached with such an unction that his friends, who had often heard him, said he surpassed himself. During the sermon, a woman under awful conviction cried at the top of her voice, in agony of soul, “O God! O God!” Mr. Cookman stopped in his sermon and said, “I would give the world, were it mine so give, to hear my brother George cry out like that.” In the meanwhile George was up in the gallery.
The Spirit, always faithful, was dealing with him. For a time he was undecided and started for home, but under the voice of the Spirit, he at last yielded and returned to the church, went to the altar and was saved.
A few years afterward Alfred was called to see a dying woman. Entering the home he failed to recognize her, and she said, “You do not know me, Mr. Cookman ?” “No, ma’am.” “Do you remember preaching in the Methodist Church one night and a woman cried out in agony of soul, and you remarked, ‘I would give the world to hear my brother George cry out like that?” “O yes, I remember now.” “Well, sir, I am that woman. I was under such conviction that night I could not restrain myself, and I cried in my very soul agony; but I would not yield, and that night the Spirit left me forever.”
Prayer did not avail, promises were powerless, and thus she died. God left her forever that night when she said “no” to God.
A terrible accident in a sawmill occurred on the Saginaw Bay, in Michigan. At the noon hour when the machinery was stopped, the five-year-old boy of the proprietor came in and climbed up on the large belt which carried the sawdust and shavings to the furnace. Delighted with the springing of the belt, he played among the shavings, laughing with childish glee, until the whistle blew. The machinery was set in motion, moving the belt slowly but surely toward the roaring furnace. The child laughed for joy, unconscious of his approaching fate. The father came in and, looking up, saw his darling boy going to certain death. He screamed in agony, but it was too late! A moment more and this prattling child was dropped into the fire and entirely consumed.
My friend, there are many carrier belts loaded with the pleasures of this vain world — mere sawdust; yet you laugh and sport and realize not that the wheels of time are surely taking you toward that place of torment “where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched.” There are carrier-belts running through the ballroom, the saloon, the theater, the “innocent” amusement, the church raffle, to the mouth of Hell. Dear friend, if you are on one of these, sporting amid the shavings of empty pleasure, beware! The fire of eternal torment is just ahead! Your fate is certain unless you turn to Christ, who is able to break the power of sin and make you a “new creature.”
NOW, SUSAN, SHOUT
An old presiding elder, accustomed to preach with great unction, often took his daughter Susan with him to his appointments. She often got blessed and would shout aloud the praises of God — much to the annoyance of some of the staid brethren. On the way home one day after preaching, the old presiding elder cautiously approached the subject of shouting, and said to his daughter: “Susan, some of the friends object to your shouting; it annoys them, and perhaps it would be better if you would hold in a little.”
Susan listened very respectfully, and thereafter “held in as much as she could. Time passed on and the preacher became very sick; it was soon evident that the end was near at hand. Somehow or other the way was not clear; clouds threw their shadows on his path. At last he asked all to pass out of the room, excepting Susan. Then he said: “Susan, my daughter, the time is near at hand when I must go. The way seems hedged up, and I have not the assurance that I expected at this hour. I want you to join with me in prayer. Let us pray until the light breaks in.”
Soon that room echoed, and re-echoed with the earnest petitions from two souls that were determined to test the promises of God until victory came. The promise was on record, “At even time it shall be light.” “Call upon Me and I will deliver thee.” Surely God heard, the light broke in and a gust of praise filled the room as the old presiding elder cried out “Now, Susan, shout! shout’ till I pass over and join the throng that never cease their praises.” Praise was on his lips until he joined the hosts on the other side, who render eternal praises unto Him who washed them and redeemed them “in His own most precious blood.”
REDEEMED MEN MUST SHOUT
In Baltimore, Md., an old-time Methodist lay on his death-bed. The outlook was so good that he would praise the Lord again and again. Some of his friends and the physician by his side said: “Don’t shout; you are wasting your strength, you are hastening the end.” But it was no use; he would shout.
Then one said: “If you must praise, don’t shout; whisper.” But the old saint nearing the glory world cried out: “Let angels whisper; redeemed men must shout” and he kept it up until the gates of the city of God opened to take him into the eternal welcome that awaits the ransomed of the Lord.
WHAT IF I SHOULD DIE TONIGHT
A Confederate soldier, with feverish energy, said to his chaplain: “The man that lay on that cot was taken out this morning; and I have got the same sickness. I don’t know how soon my turn may come. I want you to tell me what I ought to do.”
I explained to him the way of salvation, as I supposed, with great simplicity. He looked me in the face with an earnestness which I can never forget, and said: “Stranger, couldn’t you make it very plain to a poor feller that never got no schoolin’?”
His words, jerked out in the energy of his fever, had a strangely intense force in them. I tried again, and endeavored to simplify and illustrate my instruction, succeeding, I hope, in bringing the atoning death of Christ before his mind. I concluded by saying; “You must pray to God to forgive you your sins for Christ’s sake.”
“Preacher,” said he, “I can’t pray. Nobody never taught me nothing.”
Said I, “Have you never prayed ?”
His manner grew almost fierce as he ejaculated: “I tell you I never got no schoolin’,” and then, as if recollecting himself, he raised his head and added, “Stranger, couldn’t you teach me a prayer? and if I said it maybe the Lord would hear me.”
I replied, “I will teach you a prayer and the Lord will hear you, if you say it sincerely.”
I began to recite the 51st Psalm: “Have mercy upon me, O God, — according to Thy loving-kindness: According unto the multitude of Thy tender mercies — blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, — and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions — and my sin is ever before me.”
“Yes,” said he, raising his finger, “that’s it, that’s it, exactly. But, stranger,” rubbing his hand across his fevered brow, and looking at me more piteously than ever out of the pain-encircled eyes, “my head’s full of fever, and I can’t mind it. If it were writ down now, and I was to read it, don’t you think the Lord would hear me. I could spell it out, preacher, — if you think He’d hear me.”
“It is written down, my poor brother, and I’ll get it for you, if there’s a Bible in this hospital, and God will hear you.”
I set out to find a Bible, and in that camp, containing hundreds of sick and dying men and some thousands of rebel prisoners, there was not an accessible copy of the Word of God! I returned from my unsuccessful search, and said to him: “There is not a Bible I can lay my hands on in camp, but I will bring you one tomorrow, if God spares me.”
“Yes; but stranger,” said he, wistfully, “what’s to be come of a poor feller if I should die tonight?”
It was a most serious question.
A DYING SOLDIER
Company F, of the 95th Pennsylvania Volunteers, was lying during the darkness of the night, by the railroad in the rear of the works at Petersburg, in April, 1865, when they were bringing the wounded to the cars, to be taken to City Point, then to be transferred by boat to the North.
The ambulances were backed up to the track awaiting the coming of the cars. It was twelve o’clock at night, but not a boy in that company could sleep. They were weary enough; they wanted sleep; but sleep fled from them. Why? There was a dying soldier in one of the ambulances, and his heart-rending cry pierced every ear. The years have rolled by, but still I can hear that awful agonizing cry, “O God, have mercy on my soul! O God, have mercy on me!” He faced batteries and bullets, and not a murmur, no flinching; but now he was facing eternity, and that cry of an unsaved soul, “O God, have mercy on me!” kept us all awake, and it lingers with us in memory yet.
GOOD-BYE, OLD ARMA wounded hero was lying on the amputating table, under the influence of chloroform. They cut off his strong right arm and cast it all bleeding upon the pile of human limbs. They then laid him gently upon his couch. He awoke from his stupor and missed his arm. With his left hand he lifted the cloth, and there was nothing but the gory stump!
“Where’s my arm ?” he cried, “get my arm; I want to see it once more.
They brought it to him. He took hold of the cold, clammy fingers, and looking steadfastly at the poor, dead member, thus addressed it, with tearful earnestness: “Good-bye old arm! We have been a long time together. We must part now. Good-bye, old arm! You’ll never fire another carbine nor swing another sabre for the Government” and the tears rolled down his cheeks.
Looking round on those standing by, he said: “Understand, I don’t regret its loss. It has been torn from my body, that not one State should be torn from this glorious Union.” Was not the poet speaking for him when he sung?
“Some things are worthless, some others so good
That nations that buy them pay only in blood;
For Freedom and Union each owes his part,
And here I pay my share, all warm from my heart.’
A clergyman tells that when he visited the great pyramids in Egypt, he found both the ascent and the descent of the interior passages very difficult. At length, in descending, he came to a place where he stood upon a narrow, slipper”‘ shelf of rock over a deep chasm, and the next step would take him to a still narrower one, and right there the candle of the Arab guide went out. The guide then required him to cast himself upon his shoulders, saying, “You’ll be quite safe, resting on Arab. But you must trust all; if you try to help yourself, you’re lost.” At length he concluded, though with much fear and trembling, to do as the guide required, and was soon brought to a place of light and safety. Even thus did Abram “believe on God,” — commit himself wholly to Him, rest upon Him as a babe in a mother’s arms. And Abram rested upon an arm that has never yet lost one committed to Him.
THANK HIM FIRSTAfter service, one of the nurses asked me to go down to Ward E. A sick man wanted a chaplain. Dutton and I went. We found him — an East Tennesseean — prostrate with fever, a tall, athletic man of middle age, evidently wholly unused to sickness. I approached him cautiously, saying to myself, this is one of those cases of religion sought, not so much because the man wishes for it, as because he feels that he must have it. He would not have God when he was well, and wants me to make it up for him in this last sickness. So I began a long way off: “I am sorry to see you in this trouble.”
He interrupted me. “I’m sick, parson; but I’m not troubled. Did the nurse tell you I was in trouble?”
His cheerful tone and sweet smile showed me my mistake; that was a Christian’s voice; and I became as much interested to test his faith as I had been before distrustful of his sincerity.
“You are very sick?”
“Yes, and a heap of men are dying in this hospital; but I am not troubled; it’s all right parson.”
“You have a wife?”
“Do they know at home how you are?”
“No, sir,” said he, for the first time showing emotion, “and I don’t know how they are; but I ain’t troubled about ’em. You see, parson, when the rebels run me off, my wife fed me in the bushes. One night she came to tell me the rebels were getting hot after me, and I must go directly. We knelt down by a gum tree and prayed together. She gave me to God, and I gave her and the children to God; and then made for the Union lines and enlisted. I haven’t heard from them since eight months ago. But I am not troubled about them. It’s all right, parson; it’s all right.”
“Why did you send for me?” I asked.
“I wanted somebody to pray for me.”
“What shall I pray for? You don’t seem to want anything.”
“Why, parson, can’t a man pray without he’s in trouble? My mind is weak and scattered like, and I wanted somebody to come and help me thank God. You can pray for anything else you reckon, but thank Him first.”
We knelt on the ground by the cot, and with tears and difficult utterance prayed with thanksgiving, the prostrate soldier occasionally breaking in, “Yes, Lord; yes, thank God.”
QUENCH NOT THE SPIRIT
During the ministry of the Rev. John Wesley Childs, the following awful incident, as related in the Earnest Christian, took place:
Mr. Childs had preached on Sabbath morning with unusual power and effectiveness. The whole congregation was deeply impressed, and in every direction sinners, cut to the heart by the power of God, were weeping and praying for mercy. Seriousness was depicted on very countenance.
Mr. Childs walked out into the congregation and conversed with such as attracted his attention, upon the subject of religion. Passing about from one to another, he came to a gentleman, well known in the country, who appeared rather indifferent, and he spoke to him kindly about his soul. The man was an avowed infidel, and was engaged in a traffic well adapted to blunt and destroy all the finer sensibilities of the human heart. He was wealthy and proud; he disdained religion. When Mr. Childs spoke to him on the subject, he treated the matter with the utmost levity and contempt.
He was tenderly besought to think more seriously and to speak less rashly about a matter in which he really had so deep an interest. But he grew angry, and cast every indignity that he could upon the gentle and holy man that sought to lead him to Christ. Mr. Childs proposed prayer, and as the man of God pleaded for him the man began to curse him; and with all conceivable oaths and blasphemies, he continued to vent his feelings of malignity and contempt until Mr. Childs closed his prayer. He then turned away in a rage, and in a short time left the campground and returned to his home, which he reached about the going down of the sun. He sat for a long time on the long piazza in front of the house and conversed sparingly with his family. As the twilight deepened and night let drop her curtain, he commenced walking up and down his piazza. Presently his tea was announced, but he refused to join his family at the table, saying he felt a little indisposed and did not feel like eating anything. He continued to pace his piazza until it was time for the family to retire for the night.
His wife requested him to go to his chamber. “No,” said he, “not now. Leave me alone for the present.” She urged him to go in from the night air; that he was further endangering himself by his exposure. “Let me alone,” said he, as she insisted upon him leaving the piazza. “When I go in at that door,” said he solemnly, “I shall come out no more, until I am carried out to my grave.” At first his wife was startled, but she recovered herself and remonstrated with him for using such language and indulging such gloomy feelings. Said he, “I cursed the preacher today. I did wrong. He is a good man, I doubt not, and I should not have treated him the way I did; and now I am going to die, and I shall go to Hell. I ought not to have cursed that man. She continued to expostulate with him; told him that he was depressed and low-spirited, and did what she could to relieve his mind, but all to no avail. At a late hour he went to his bed; but alas! to rise no more. In the morning he was found quite ill. Medical aid was called in and everything was done for him that could be to give him relief. But he told them that it was all in vain, that he should die and go to Hell that his case was hopeless for this world and the world to come. He grew worse; and it admits of a doubt whether the dying chamber of any man ever presented a more terrible and heart-appalling scene than did the chamber of this miserable man. He sent for the pious tenants of his farm to come and sit by him and keep the devils out of his room. He said that the multiplied sins of his wicked life were like so many demons tearing at his bleeding heart. Some attempted to direct his mind to the Savior of sinners. “Oh,” said he,” “I have rejected the last offer! I have cursed the minister who made the tender of salvation to me in the name of Jesus.” The scene was too awful to behold. His neighbors fled from his presence, and his words of despair and remorse and unavailing regret haunted them wherever they went.
The scene grew still more frightful. Despair — utter despair — was depicted in his face. His eye seemed to be kindled as with a spark from the pit of Hell. His voice was unearthly. He called his friends to his bedside for the last time. Said he, “I am dying. When I am gone you will all say that I died frantic and out of my senses. This report will spread through all the country. Now,” said he, “I am perfectly in my senses. I never was more rational. I know what I am now saying, and all that I have said; and I now make this statement that what I have said may not be lost upon you.” He then, with his remaining strength, cried out in the most startling accents, “The devils are around my bed; they wait for me; they mock my dying struggles, and as soon as I am dead they will drag me to the hottest place in Hell.” These were his last words.
HOW LOVE LIGHTENS LOADS
The story is told of Dr. McGregor, that he one day met a little Scotch girl carrying in her arms a baby so large that she fairly staggered under its weight. “Baby is heavy, isn’t he, dear?” he said. “No sir,” said the little girl. “He isn’t heavy; he’s my brother ”
TO DIE LOOKING UP
A surgeon going over the field to bandage bleeding wounds, came upon a soldier lying in his blood with his face to the ground. Seeing the horrible wound in his side and the death pallor on his face, he was passing on to attend to others, when the dying man called him with a moan to come just for a moment. He wanted to be turned over. The doctor lifted the mangled body as best he could, and laid the poor fellow on his back. A few moments after, while dressing wounds near by, he heard him say: “This is glory; this is glory!”
Supposing it was the regret of a dying soldier, correcting, in this scene of carnage, his former estimate of the “pomp and circumstances of war,” the surgeon put his lips to his ear and asked: “What is glory, my dear fellow?”
“O doctor, it’s glory to die with my face upward!” and moving his hand feebly, his forefinger set, as if he would point the heavenly way, he made his last earthly sign.
A GOD-GIVEN DUTY
No duties that are God-given ever lead a mother to neglect her child. Above all others, to the little ones, home should be the place of love and prayer and blessing. A wealthy New York lady said, “One day my little daughter, Constance, came to my room as I was hurriedly dressing to drive to a director’s meeting. The child held a new game in her hand. ‘Oh, mamma,’ she cried eagerly, ‘this is the loveliest game; do try it with me.’ Her request, in my haste and absorption, seemed in the highest degree trivial. ‘Nonsense, Connie, you know I cannot,’ I replied, rather sharply; ‘this is board day at the hospital, and I am late now.’ Standing in front of the mirror, I saw in the glass how her face fell and the light died out of it. ‘I wish,’ she said wistfully, ‘you would sometimes have a day with me, mamma.’ The child’s speech went through me like a knife. I had never received so stinging a rebuke. Was it possible that in the pursuit of other duties I was neglecting the one that should be chief? My drive to the hospital that morning was full of serious introspection, and Connie has had her Saturday ever since.”
IN THE INDIAN’S HEART
Red Owl was the great orator of the lower Sioux during Bishop Whipple’s early missionary work among the Indians. Red Owl never attended church, because he was afraid he would lose his influence among the people. But one day he came into the school room and stopped before a picture of Christ, and asked, “What is that? Why are His hands bound? Why are those thorns on His head?” With patient gentleness the school-teacher told again the old story of Him who was rich, yet for our sakes became poor; of Him who wore the crown of thorns, was nailed to the cross, and who rose again, that we, too, might live. Red Owl was so touched by the story of the love of the “Son of the Great Spirit” that he came again and again to ask about Jesus. One day as the bishop rode over the prairie, he saw a new-made grave, and over it was a plain wooden cross. He learned that Red Owl was dead. He had been taken ill suddenly, and when dying, he said to his young men, “That story which the white man has brought into our country is true; I have it in my heart. When I am dead, I wish you to put a cross over my grave, that the Indians may see what is in Red Owl’s heart.”
— Sunday School Times
THE BLOOD WAS GONE
I once met a Christian man, who told me that years before he had taken a man’s life, but when tried had been acquitted on the plea of self-defense. He told me that although he had escaped the penalty of the law, he could never get away from the impression that there was blood on his hands whenever he found himself alone in the dark. He would wash his hands, again and again, with the strongest soap, and think he had them clean at last, but as soon as darkness came on again he would feel the blood on his hands.
This went on year after year, making him untold suffering and the most bitter remorse, but from the moment when he was converted, and realized what it means to be washed in the blood of Christ, his hands had been clean, and never troubled him again.
How fully this confirms the promise: “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, and though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.’
Thirty years ago a bare-footed, ragged urchin presented himself before the desk of the principal partner of a manufacturing firm in Glasgow and asked for work as an errand boy. “There’s a deal of running to be done,” said Mr. Blank. “Your qualification would be a pair of shoes.” The boy, with a grave nod, disappeared. He lived by doing odd jobs in the market, and slept under one of the stalls. Two months passed before he had saved enough money to buy the shoes. Then he presented himself to Mr. Blank one morning, and held out a package. “I have the shoes, sir,” he said quietly.
“Oh!” Mr. Blank with difficulty recalled the circumstances. “You went a place? Not in those rags, my lad. You would disgrace this house.” The boy hesitated a moment, and then went out without a word. Six months passed before he returned, decently clothed in coarse but new garments. Mr. Blank’s interest was aroused. For the first time he looked at the boy attentively. His thin, bloodless face showed that he had stinted himself of food for months in order to buy those clothes.
The manufacturer now questioned the boy carefully, and found, to his regret, that he could neither read nor write. “It is necessary that you should do both before we could employ you in carrying home packages,” he said. “We have no place for you.’ The lad’s face grew paler, but without a word of complaint he disappeared. He found work in a stable near to a night school. At the end of the year he again presented himself before Mr. Blank. “I can read and write,” he said briefly. “I gave him the place,” the employer said afterwards, “with the conviction that, in process of time, he would take mine, if he made up his mind to do it. Men rise slowly in Scotch business houses, but he is our chief foreman.”
WHILE WE MAY
By Neal Dow
The hands are such dear hands;
They are so full; They turn at our demands
So often; they reach out
With trifles scarcely thought about,
So many times, they do
So many things for me, for you,
If their fond wills mistake
We may well bend, not break.
They are such fond, frail lips
That speak to us. Pray, if love strips
Them of discretion many times
Or if they speak too slow or quick, such crimes
We may pass by, for we may see
Days not far off when those small words may be
Held not so slow, or quick, or out of place, but dear,
Because the lips that spoke are no more here.
They are such dear, familiar feet, that go
Along the path with ours, feet fast or slow,
And trying to keep pace, if they mistake
Or tread upon some flower that we would take
Upon our breast, or bruise some seed.
Or crush poor hope until it bleed,
We may be mute, not turning quickly to impute
Grave fault; for they and we
Have such a little way to go, can be
Together such a little while along the way,
We will be patient while we may.
So many little faults we find,
We see them; for not blind
Is love. We see them, but if you and I
Perhaps remember them some bye and bye
They will not be
Faults then, grave faults to you and me,
But just odd ways, mistakes, or even less
Remembrances to bless.
Days change so many things, yes, hours;
We see so differently in sun and showers;
Mistaken words tonight
May be so cherished by tomorrow’s light,
We will be patient, for we know
There’s such a little way to go.
Let me today do something that shall take
A little sadness from the world’s vast store,
And may I be so favored as to make
Of joy’s too scanty sum a little more.
Let me not hurt, by any selfish deed
Or thoughtless word, the heart of foe or friend
Nor would I pass, unseeing, worthy need,
Or sin by silence when I should defend.
— Ella Wheeler Wilcox