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DARK cloud overshadows me,
A see
The way, my God, that leads to Thee;

Lord Jesus, lift the cloud.
I hear the angels' voices rise
So clear and sweet within the skies,
But still the cloud obscures my eyes-

Lord Jesus, lift the cloud.
Weary and faint, I strive and pray
To walk within the narrow way ;
But through the cloud shines not one ray,

Lord Jesus, lift the cloud.
Oh! how I long to see Thy face,
So holy, pure, and full of grace,
Yet through the cloud no sign I trace

Lord Jesus, lift the cloud.
As through the wilderness I tread,
The dark cloud still surrounds my head,
Yet still I feel by Thee I'm led,

Lord Jesus, through the cloud.
The path grows smooth, the way is clear,
The burden of my anxious fear
Falls, as I feel my Lord is near :

He has dissolved the cloud.

E. S. P.

Dick Morgan's Excuse.

PART IV.

E left Dick Morgan going to bed with this oft

repeated excuse, “I be no scholar.” And when he thought of things that he ought to have

done, but had not done ; when he thought of things he ought to know, but was wholly ignorant of, he made the excuse over and over again to himself, as though the acknowledgment of being no scholar were a remedy for the evil. He fell asleep with the words on his lips; he awoke with them on his heart, a heavy but unrecognised burden. In the morning, whilst his trembling fingers did their best towards dressing himself, he still kept saying the words, as though some one were standing by and demanding an excuse, if not a reason, for his ignorance.

The night, or evening we should call it in sweet summer hours, found Dick again leaning on his living crutch, and making way for the school. This time he took a hindmost seat, behind a pillar, to avoid being seen by the minister. The text chosen this time was: “He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain My words: keep My commandments, and live."!

"All about learning !" thought Dick; "the minister speaks up for his school !"

Again Dick went unobserved to his cottage ; no, not unobserved, for the quick eyes of Mr. Grey observed him at once; but, as before, no notice was taken.

To-morrow night, and Dick was again at the school ; this time he drew one seat nearer. The text chosen by Mr. Grey on this occasion was: “I have taught thee in the way of wisdom ; I have led thee in right paths.”2

“About teaching this here time!" whispered Dick to his faithful little “ crutch."

She nodded a wise little nod and said, “ Can't learn, maister, wi’out teaching : but us don't talk in church, please, sir.” Then remembering it was not church, she whispered with a smile, “I forgot ; 't'aint church—there we mustn't talk ; 'tis school; here t'aint proper like, nor 'spectful to talk.”

On Dick's return home, he said to Matty, “Matty, my lass, I should like, if I were a bit younger, to tell over the three texeseys we've heard ; they all seems to be out of the same book, and all about school. Can 'e say 'em, my dear ?" Matty thought a minute, and then replied : “Say 'em ? i Proverbs iv. 4.

2 Proverbs iv. II.

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fatigued. But the sweetest, purest, holiest rest is the result of coming and then learning of the Lord Jesus Christ, even rest to the soul; and when the soul rests, be the body never so tired, there is a peace and quiet that the world can neither give nor take away. Whilst I hope, then, none of you know the terrible unrest of a soul persisting in sin, I hope many of you experience that sweet, pure, holy rest of soul, which makes you forget even the fatigue of a hard day's work. Such a soul-rest arises from obedience to the entreaty, I will not say command, of your great, your Divine Teacher: 'Come-learn-of Me.'

Another little rap on the desk, and Mr. Grey descended, went amongst the men for a few minutes, and then passed out, just in time to meet old Dick hobbling away. But he knew the poor man was subject to bronchitis, and therefore would not keep him in the cold wind; he took the dark side of the road, and so let Dick go by unnoticed.

“Mat, child," said Dick, "you shall eat a bit o' supper long wi' me, if you'd read them there words again to me."

“Sure, sir ; but no need to read 'em, I can say 'em right off, and other textys too."

She repeated the text we have so often quoted, and then, with a sigh, said :

"I wish I was sure I'd comed. Mother has, and father did years agone, and he's got real rest for ever so long, rest up in heaven ; and so has sister Jane and brother Harry ; all gone up to the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh, I wish I'd real comed."

Dick had not expected this turn to the conversation, and as it added not a little to his mental discomfort, he said, somewhat hastily :

“Come now, lassie, if I'm too old, you're a trifle too young to talk that 'ere way.”

But Matty, with a shocked look, said: "Oh, maister, I'm not old, but I'm not too young to die. I must come and learn, as well as you, if, if-"

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Her mother's voice, calling, “Mat, Mat, it's getting late,” put an end to the conversation, and she ran off to her excellent parent, leaving old Dick muttering, “I be no scholard."

X. Y. Z.

“ They desire a better Country.” HAT has been the great and what is now one of the

strongest and most influential powers or motives in the human heart? A desire to find some

better place, some lovelier spot, than we now have. For what does the tradesman toil? for what does the physician practise ? for what does man hope at the decline and the close of life? Some sheltered nook, some quiet spot, where, if he cannot have a rest that will never be moved, he may have, at least, a foretaste and foreshadow of it. What was it that carried Columbus across the western wave, amid insubordination within his ship, and unexpectedly wild waves that roared and curled around and without ? What sustained him on the unsounded sea, amid the untraversed waste of waters? The hope of a better country. What was it that sustained the hearts of the Pilgrim Fathers when, driven forth from this land by stern ecclesiastical persecution, they went to the far distance, and across the western wave, and feared not the iron-bound coast or the rugged and unknown territory on which they set foot ? It was the hope and prospect of a better, even a free and peaceful country.

Dr. Cumming.

Gone Before !
E are going fast down the hill, wifey ;

'Tis fifty long years now and more, Since first I caught sight of you knitting

Outside the low-thatched cottage door.

W

I loved you at first sight, my wifey,

You stole my poor heart on that day When you gave me a dew-sprinkled ro

rose-bud, To wear in my coat on the way.

That rose-bud is in my desk, wifey ;

It lies with our baby's first toy, The rattle, strung through with blue ribbon,

You bought for our bonnie wee boy.

Ah ! those were bright, happy days, wifey,

When we planned out a future for Jack ; We did not think then God, who sent him,

Would ask us so soon for him back.

But He left me my own darling wifey,

To be my companion and friend ;
The acorns will drop from the branches,

But the oak remains firm to the end.

Sometimes as I sit alone, wifey,

When you are away from my side, I look at the flowered chintz curtain,

Behind which our boy used to hide.

And I see it move now and then, wifey,

As though little hands were behind, And I hear the sweet baby-voice saying,

“Come, father, you've Johnnie to find !”

And just as that chintz curtain, wifey,

Once hid for the moment our boy, And as after a feigned search I found him,

And he rushed out to meet me with joy

So will it soon be above, wifey,

When God draws the dark curtain back, Then father and mother will find him,

Their lost little angel-boy Jack.

'Twas his Sunday-school hymn at first, wifey,

Made us think of the bright home above; And taught us God spoke not in anger

When He asked for the child of our love.

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