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A Satisfactory Argument and its Result.
T was a June Sabbath afternoon, and in the library of General R's beautiful home he and his son were sitting near the open window in the softly-shaded light, engaged in earnest conversation. Colonel R- was at home on leave of absence
from his regiment, and he had been speaking to his father of the joy and strength which the salvation and companionship of Jesus can put into a soldier's life amidst its physical dangers and moral perils. The face of the younger man was radiant as he spoke, but no brightness rested on the strong handsome features of his aged companion.
"Ah, Bob,” he said at length, "you are a happy fellow ! What would I not give if I could feel as you do, that the Lord Jesus is my personal Saviour! but I cannot, my boy, I cannot."
"You may not feel it, father, but you believe it, do you not?" his son gently asked.
"I believe everything in a general kind of way, of course, Bob, but I get no comfort from it, for I cannot see that the Lord died for me personally."
The son paused a moment; he thought of his father's beautiful life, so blameless in the eyes of his fellow-men, but he could not bid him take comfort from this, except so far as it was an evidence of the soul's union to Him in whom alone we have righteousness and strength. He longed that the life of this beloved parent might have an " eventide light," with joy in God through the Lord Jesus Christ, and in that brief interval of silence an earnest prayer went up to heaven that he might be permitted to teach him the way of simple faith more perfectly.
"Do you not believe, dear father," he asked, "that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners ?"
"Yes, I do."
"And are you a sinner in the sight of God?"
"I am indeed," the old general answered; "it needs no effort on my part to believe that, Bob.".
"Very well, then, father, Jesus Christ must have died for you, unless there was an exception made by the Almighty God in your case, and it was decreed that when Jesus Christ came into this world to die for sinners General R was excepted."
There was perfect silence for a few moments, and then
the old gentleman said earnestly, "Will you repeat that again, my dear boy?"
Gravely and slowly the son went over the argument: "You say, father, that you believe Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners; you say you are a sinner; therefore Jesus Christ came to die for you, unless God has decreed that His blessed Son should die to make an atonement for sinners with the exception of General R——.”
Again a pause; the birds outside singing, and the sun shining, Colonel R—, sitting by his father's side, praying that the Sun of Righteousness might arise with healing in His wings, the old man pondering with absorbed attention the simple words. Suddenly a lovely smile stole over the aged countenance, and a look of peace such as his son had never seen there before was in his eyes, as he raised them to his face.
"I see now! yes, I see it now! The Lord Jesus Christ came into this world and died for sinners; I am a sinner, therefore He died for me, unless I can prove that I am excepted." This he repeated several times with increasing confidence and exultation, only pausing to listen as his son solemnly added, "Yes, God will never punish, for there is no condemnation for you, because Jesus Christ has died and atoned for your sins."
Soon afterwards Colonel R- went out with his regiment on foreign service. The dear old disciple was left in the home from which, years ago, his beloved wife had gone to the City of the Great King. But he was never lonely now. He was possessor of a joy which no man could take from him, and he exulted over his treasure, and pointed it out to all the friends who loved to visit him, with almost childlike ingenuousness and glee. "I am so happy now," he would say ; "my mind is full of peace. My son Bob has told me more than I ever before understood; when I was doubting he put the truth before me in this way: 'Christ died for sinners; you are a sinner; then He must have died for you, unless your name is excepted.' Now, could
anything be plainer than that? The Holy Spirit applied that reasoning to my heart, and I have been rejoicing ever since."
My readers will agree with me that this was a true cause of rejoicing. Old age is sometimes prone-as the senses lose their sharpness and the powers of imagination and intellect become dull-to value inordinately the material possessions with which it is surrounded, and few things are more profoundly affecting than the sight of an immortal being, trembling on the brink of eternity, and yet with no other riches than the things of time, which must so soon be left behind.
It was a case of this kind that brought out the memorable reply of a great moralist when a rich old man took him into his magnificent pleasure-grounds, and, pointing to the signs of wealth and luxury that were all around, asked, in a voice quavering with excitement, "What more could I wish?" "Permanence," was the wise man's faithful rebuke and warning. It was this permanence that gave General R―'s happiness its true value. All who had the pleasure of knowing him in the closing years of his life, testified to his absent son of their remarkable brightness. Even when his eyes waxed dim, and at length failed altogether, the outward darkness was illuminated by the sunshine that filled the old man's heart. "Quite happy!" was his unvarying testimony, until the shadows of earth passed away, and the darkened eyes were opened in heaven to see the King in His beauty. What more can I wish for my readers, whether old or young, than that such an assured hope, and such true riches, and such a bright sunset, may be theirs?
M. C. F.
To a Butterfly in the Streets of London.
HENCE came ye, little wanderer, with your tired and drooping wing?
What brought you to these dusty streets, poor weary little thing? Did you miss the path in your homeward flight last eve, as the sun went down,
And wandering through the lonely night have reached the murky town?
Oh! how will you miss the pure green fields, and the flowers so fresh and fair,
In this hot, heavy atmosphere, and dewless, parching air;
In this maze of streets, with their noise and din, will you find a place to rest?
Or 'mid "bricks and mortar" make a home, and still your fluttering breast?
Ah me! I much fear you have wandered here-in the wilderness-to
For our window-gardens' sickly flowers scant food can e'er supply;
Wanderers from home! we here abound, amid the city's din,
Oh! that before the dark night come we turn our eyes and see
H. D. I.
Dick Morgan's Excuse.
ATTY, my lass, how soon could 'ee get tea?" said Dick, when the lass made her appearance. Matty could only stare, for if there was one point more than another on which Dick was particular, it was that of having his meals "riglar and punctool." "For,"