Page images

close to the great cliffs that stood like walls against the sea; and as we children walked across the hills there we often looked down into the Hole and longed to explore it. Birds built their nests in the tufts of grass growing in the clifts of the rocks far below, and we used to think that no living thing without wings could ever get to the bottom.

But one day, as we were walking at very low tide at the foot of the cliffs, we noticed a narrow opening beside a great spur of rock. Quite a narrow chink, scarcely worthy the name of a cave.

We entered this place, stepping carefully over wet rocks and masses of sea-weed ; creeping almost on hands and knees beneath the stooping roof, and at length found ourselves many yards away from the outer air. It now began to get very dark, and we stopped for a minute to take breath. We could hear no sounds but the drip, dripping of some water falling far beyond us, and the ripple and boom of the sea. One of my brothers suggested going back; he was but a small boy then, and the dreariness and dimness made him feel a little bit afraid.

“No, no. Let us go on as far as we can !” cried another, who was much older and bigger. So we scrambled on once more.

“Hallo!” cried some one in front.

“What is it?" said I, my voice sounding strange and awful in that empty fissure of the rock. "Light ahead !" was the reply.

“ Come on!” So on we went, bumping our heads and bruising our knees ; splashing through little pools which there was not light enough to see, and now and then slipping upon some coil of sea-weed lying, like the sea-serpent itself, in great folds thicker than our bodies.

Presently the light before us grew stronger, and what was strange—we could hear the sound of the sea in front, instead of behind us. “ The cave must have twisted round, and got back again to the shore," said I.

A few steps more and we found ourselves in the open

[ocr errors]

“ You

air indeed, but not upon the shore, although the blue sky was over our heads, and the blue sea stretched away, seen through an enormous opening on our right hand, and looking exactly like a picture set in a great oval frame of black rock, We were

the bottom of Crowey Hole ! My brother shouted out “ Hurrah !” Instantly a perfect volley of “hurrahs” arose, as if a company of giants were hiding there and shouting back at us. We shrunk together in a sort of alarm, for there was something terrifying in the sound coming, hollow and unearthly, from all sides at once.

“ It is only the echo," my eldest brother said. “Only the echo," repeated the rocks gently. The " giants” were gentle this time, for my brother had spoken softly.

Then we began to shout all sorts of things; calling our own names aloud, and listening for the way in which they were shouted back to us. “I love you !” somebody cried. “I love you !” said the giant voices, over and over. wretch !” shouted one of the boys, and instantly the echo repeated the words in a torrent of abuse. We shouted, and sang

and whistled until we were weary, and then we began to think of returning.

First we walked about the bottom of Crowley Hole, thinking it grand to tread the shingle on which we had often looked down; we looked up at the birds now flying across the chasm, and scarcely envied them their wings; we had found a way for our own little feet.

Crowey Hole proved to be a cave whose roof had fallen in and had been washed away by the waves. The mouth of the cave was still arched over, and formed the opening through which we could see the wide plain of the ocean, covered with its shining summer waves. On the land side the cavern branched off into several dark holes, like the fingers of a gigantic glove; these we did not then explore, but, quite contented with our discovery, we hurried home as quickly as we could, to tell where we had been and what we had seen.

Sometimes, now, when I wish to amuse the children around my knees, I tell them of Crowey Hole and its wonderful echo; and I know they would like to go with me to explore its wonders; they would like to shout out words for the cliffs to repeat; they would like to raise some simple melody, to try if the echoes can sing as well as talk.

But Crowey Hole is far away, and my children and I hear other echoes day by day.

If we hear kind, loving words from friendly voices, it is because we have uttered kindly loving words to them. If hard cold tones chill and pain us, can we not trace them as the echo of hard cold moods of ours ?

And memory brings us echoes which are sometimes very sweet, and sometimes very sad. It is in our own power to awaken the sweet ones, if we care to do so.

The Sabbath comes, the day which God has given for us to hear sweet words which will echo for us all through the week. Every time it dawns we may hear, “Our Father which art in heaven.” Listen to the echo. Listen to it on Mondays, when the week's work is beginning, and, as you listen, just think: "I ought to be happy, and to go singing on my way; for although I am in the midst of earth's trials and labours, in heaven there is a mighty God who allows me to call Him Father."

"Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us.” Listen for that echo when you are tempted to feel angry with those who have annoyed you. Let the vexations of the week bring with them an echo of the forgiveness and gentleness which we are bidden to show, even to our enemies.

“Deliver us from evil.” Daily we should hearken to the echo of that prayer.

The Saviour Himself lifted His hands to His Father for aid ; and ought not we to do so, poor, weak, sin-stained, and ruined as we are? Evil within, evil without-deliver us, O Lord !

That seventh day will waken many such echoes. And yet some lives are filled with sadness. Their mouths are

full of “ curses, deceit, and fraud ;” awful echoes come back for them. Their Sabbath is only a day for idler hours, deeper sin, “evil continually."

They scarcely listen to the echoes now, but one day they will sound with awful force—one day, when it will be too late to awaken one gentle sound, one comforting word.

Echoes, echoes! Our lives are being filled with them. Ah, dear reader, pause a bit, just to think what sort of echoes your Sundays and week-days are awakening for you.

Sweet words, or sad ones ? Blessed, beautiful, holy thoughts? Or the folly and the sin that will darken eternity?

May God forgive us ! May His Holy Spirit teach us what is pure and true and lovely, for the Lord Jesus Christ's dear sake. Amen.

I False and a True Friend.

[ocr errors]

"Love not the world, neither the things of the world.”—1 John ii. 15. Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.”—Eph. vi. 24. Earth's kingdoms shall fall

LOVE not the world,"

Heed not its pleasures ;
The earth “shall perish,”

With all its treasures.
Its pomps and its vanities soon will be o'er ;
The place that now knows you shall know you no more.

Heb. i. 10-12.
Seek Jesus the Lord,

Cling to Him ever ;
When once joined to Christ

No power can sever.
He died for you, lives for you, and in His love
Will give you

a place” in the “mansions" above.

John xiv. 1, 2.
He is your best Friend ;

Trust to no other :
He sticketh even

" Closer than brother."
Earth's friends will forsake you, Jesus will never ;
His friendship will last for ever and ever !

John xiv. 3, 18, 19.

(Greatest and strongest);
Earth's days shall all end

(Brightest and longest) ;
But Christ's glorious kingdom shall never decay-
There'll ne'er be an end to Eternity's day!

Daniel vii. 27.
Then love not the world

Or aught it contains ;
Heed not its losses,

Desire not its gains ;
With thy heart's hope fixed on “the Lamb that was slain,”.
To live will be Christ, and to die will be gain !”
Phil. i. 20, 21.

D. H. C.

Chats with the Aged.


[ocr errors]

ROM review of the past, we naturally come to con

sideration of the present daily life. Do you, aged pilgrim, indeed realise the solemnity and

blessedness of the near approach of the end of your pilgrimage 2—that you are even now treading on the confines of "the other land,” nearing the shore of everlasting life, while yet a space your little bark rests in a quiet haven to give you more time to prepare? Do not let this be a slothful, self-indulgent time; make it all it may be to you, whatever the past has been; a gathering together of all your remaining strength to fit you for the last call. For He whom we love stands ready on that glorious shore which needs no sun nor moon to lighten it; with outstretched arms and hands still pierced, He stands, and, one by one, He beckons to His people to come; one by one, He gathers in His sheep to the fold. Can we be too earnest in our efforts to prepare ourselves for going to Him? Not in our own strength can we do this; but we must ask Him to apply to us the benefits of His blood-shedding; we must beg Him for His grace.

« PreviousContinue »