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tell where it will end? But there is a Being who knows where it began.' There," continued Mr. Shaw, "that little extract just answers to my idea of the power of the tongue; but then there is a brighter side to be thought of; if an idle word hastily spoken may bring forth such a harvest of evil, so may a good word, spoken prayerfully in the name of Jesus, bring forth a rich harvest of good that will bear fruit. all through eternity, and so will make a difference, not only in a hundred years' time, but through countless ages. Now I must wish you good morning," said Mr. Shaw, shaking Cooper and Bond by the hand.
"Good morning, sir, good morning; we shall think of what you have said."
Dear reader, are you a power for good or for evil on earth? You are one or the other. If for good, go on in thy way, and the Lord go with thee. If for evil, if you have never served God, nor been reconciled unto Him through Jesus Christ, think of the mischief you are doing to your own soul and the souls of others. Think, too, that you may be reconciled, you may be made a good and happy man; God is ready to receive you, to pardon you, to love you, if you will only go to Him in His own appointed way, through Jesus Christ the Saviour. Do not delay, do not foolishly say, "It will be all the same in a hundred years' time, whether I do so or not." It will not be all the same, for your soul will, before then, be either lost or saved. Accept, then, the offer of salvation ere it be too late.
G. H. S.
The Caged Eagle.
HEN walking through the gardens of a zoological society a short time ago, I could not help noticing the abject and miserable appearance of some of the larger beasts and birds. The eagle, especially, struck me as falling far short of the description given of him by those who have studied his nature and habits.
There, upon the branch of a dead tree, sat the king of birds. There was nothing royal in his appearance; on the contrary, he looked a very pauper. His feathers were draggled and dirty, his pinions drooping as if from very weakness; his eyes, which blinked uneasily and continuously, lacked life and lustre; and his whole air was woebegone and wretched.
Had I been deceived by the writers on natural history, who describe the eagle as the undisputed monarch of the feathered tribes, who write of his strength of wing, the beauty of his sombre plumage, the proud flash of his strong eye, so strong that he can gaze without flinching upon the sun itself, and who dilate upon the boldness of his nature?
Oh no! The difference was just this: they describe the bird as they have seen him in a state of freedom, and I was looking on a captive.
What a difference this captivity made! And yet there is not so much difference between a free and a caged eagle as there is between the free soul and the soul that is bound captive by Satan.
Let us compare the two. What is the human soul capable of?
It is capable of soaring upwards, even to heaven itself. It does this every time it breathes a prayer or sounds a note of praise to Him whom alone it owns as Master.
It can, by the powerful eye of faith, pierce the darkest earth-born cloud, and gaze upon things invisible to other sight. It can look upon the crucified and risen Saviour, and boldly exclaim : "I know that my Redeemer liveth.”
Its strength is such that by the help of Him in whom it trusts no earthly power can overthrow it, Man's body may be conquered, bound, and crushed; but his free soul
The beauty of a soul arrayed in the robe of Christ's righteousness, adorned with the graces of God, is such as to put to blush the most gorgeous earthly display.
All these things are true of the soul that is freed from the
bondage of Satan, by the grace and power of God; and yet there are those who prefer to be held captive by their own lusts, who are the willing slaves of the evil one, and who as little resemble the soul we have described as the caged eagle the free.
The captive soul possesses no beauty. Like a whited sepulchre, it may appear outwardly clean, but within it is full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness.
Its eye is dim, and can perceive nothing beyond the affairs of this life. It catches no glimpses of a happy and joyous hereafter. All, all is dark around it.
It never soars aloft in prayer and praise. Alas! no; it lives for this world alone.
There is this difference between the caged eagle and the captive soul. The bird cannot escape if he would; but, thanks be to God, there is a way of escape for the soul. Let it send one earnest prayer to God for its release, and let it strive for freedom; and, however heavily it may be bound, however many obstacles may be placed in its way, He who formed it, and who loves it with a father's love, will not refuse to hear the cry, but will come to its relief, and give it pardon, succour, and release. Listen to the words applied by our Saviour to Himself:
"He hath sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound."
Say, shall He come in vain, as far as we are concerned? Shall we turn a deaf ear to the proclamation of liberty? Shall our prison doors be opened, our fetters broken, and we refuse the proffered freedom? Nay, rather let us fly for refuge to Him who alone can save us, and let us do so now; to-morrow may be too late. "We know not what a day nor an hour may bring forth."
G. H. S.
A Golden Retrospect.
JOHN ADAMS sat alone by his fireside. The hearth was strewn with ashes, and the fire dying out; but he made no attempt to replenish it, though a chill wind was blowing off the sea, and the night was cold. He had that morning seen the body of his wife laid in its last resting-place in the breezy hillside church, with the sparkling blue sea beneath and the still blue sky above.
It was fifty years since they stood side by side at the altar of the old grey stone church and plighted their troth. Now she had been taken, and he was left. Tender hands led the old man back to his lonely cottage home, and when he had begged his kind neighbours to leave him, they had done so with reluctance, saying they would see him again in the morning.
John Adams drew his arm-chair to the fireside, and sat down in the silent pathetic grief of old age. A few tears rolled unheeded down his furrowed cheeks. Why should he weep? He had outlived the burning passions of youth, and the deeper and more lasting impressions of middle age. He had surely but a short time to wait before he, too, heard the Master's call, and he left this earth to dwell in his Lord's presence and join his beloved wife.
As he sat with his head bent forward, and his soft white hair falling on his rough blue fishing-jacket, the long years that had gone seemed but as a dream. The events of fifty years ago were fresher in his memory than the things that had happened yesterday. All the past rose up before him. He saw himself again a young man, the strongest and handsomest in all the village. The very scent of the hawthorn and lilac seemed in the air. They were in bloom all round him, as he waited, on a warm spring evening, to meet Margaret Davie, and ask her the all-important question, the answer to which would either shed the sunlight of happiness on his path, or leave him desolate. He was not a man who could love lightly, and Margaret, having won his heart, must
keep it, whether she took him with it or let him go on his alone.
Margaret Davie was a quiet girl of deep, if undemonstrative, feelings. She had allowed John Adams to walk with her to and from church on Sunday, to carry her pitcher of water from the well, or to do any of those thousand and one little offices which love sees so quickly and is so ready to perform. From these things he had judged he might hope to win her for his wife, and he was right. She did love him, and she told him so with all the warmth of her heart shining out of the depths of her blue eyes. She was more real to him as he saw her again, in his thoughts, with golden gleams in her sunny brown hair, in the gladsome strength of the unimpaired health of her girlhood, than she had been as she lay before him yesterday, with the withered hands crossed on her breast, and the white hair smoothed against her wrinkled cheek.
Then there was another day, marked with a white stone, their wedding-day. It had not been as soon as they thought, for the season was a bad one for the farmers, and Margaret's father had losses. She would not leave home while her family were in trouble, for the share she took in the work was a great help to them all.
A year later everything was better, and then John Adams took her to the pretty cottage he had had such pleasure in getting ready for her. How bright and happy she had looked, as she stood by his side in the church and gave her life into his keeping. Neither of them had ever, even for one moment, regretted the day that had made them one. They had trials and troubles, and sometimes found it hard work to get enough to feed the hungry little ones that gathered round them. But let what would befall, they were all in all to each other. Margaret might have a hard day's work, but she was never too tired to have home bright and cheerful for John, and to greet him with loving smiles. In the long years they passed together each saw and knew the faults of the other; but love shed a tender light on what