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place that truth very vividly before us. Do you remember a terrible shipwreck which occurred not many years ago on our west coast, and how those who were saved out of a large number that perished, owed their life to one wakeful man? He was no watchman of the coast-guard, no pilot on the look-out for homewardbound ships, but only an old, infirm seaman, who had gone to bed with the rest of the world. He had courted sleep that night; but, for no reason that he could fancy, his eyes were kept waking. Weary of turning and tossing on a sleepless bed, he rose and walked the floor. With an old sailor's love of the sea, he drew aside the curtain of his cottage window to gaze out on the heaving deep. And while the sight of it was waking up the memory of former years, his eye, ere a landsman could have descried it, caught an object coming shoreward through the gloom. Horror seizes him. It is an ill-fated ship rushing, like a reckless soul bent on destruction, through the fog on that iron coast, right into the jaws of death. Many were hurried that night into a watery grave. Yet, but for the circumstance that sleep had fled the old man's couch, but for the alarm he gave, but for the boats that were launched to the rescue, many more had been drowned, and some, perhaps, damned, who, converted to God, are now living to his glory on earth, or, beyond the reach of all storms, safely housed in heaven. God held his eyes waking; he had work for that ancient mariner to do.
But, to take an example on a scale involving worldwide interests, I can show that not the life of individuals only, but the existence of a nation, and, since the Saviour sprang from that nation, the salvation of the world, once turned on a sleepless night. Strange, yet true! The king of Persia —like many other king?, a mere puppet in the hands of unprincipled ministers— has signed a decree to exterminate the whole Jewish race. Conscience, uneasy for the deed, does not keep him awake when he retires to rest in Shushan's palace. Her hand has planted no thorns in the royal couch, yet he cannot sleep; nor is there balmy virtue in silence, or wine, or music, to make his weary eyelids drop. It is strange that he cannot sleep; and yet more strange his choice of something to relieve the tediousness of night. He calls for the chronicles of his kingdom. Dry reading, one would think; yet you know the issue, and how the page turning up that related the story of Mordecai's forgotten service, these wakeful hours led on to the honor of the Jew, the hanging of Haman, and the preservation of the race from which our Saviour descended. Was there no providence in that? Was it accident or blind chance which kept slumbers that night from the downy pillow? Accident, that instead of music, the revel, the dance, the soft arms of pleasure, led a voluptuary to seek entertainment in the musty records of his kingdom? Accident, that opened the book where it recorded the story of Hebrew loyalty? No. I believe that God's own finger turned these leaves, and held the king's eyes waking. He had work for that king to do.
These events draw aside the veil. We see all the reins that guide and govern the world gathered into the hands of God. We see Jesus standing by the helm of affairs; that there is no such thing as chance; that his care of his people extends to the most common, minute, and apparently trivial matters; how even waking hours, or dreamless slumbers are links in the golden chain of providence. A happy belief, too precious to be parted with! Let the thought that Jesus watches over your fortunes, and guards your welfare, and guides your way, banish every care. I do not say that you will never be disappointed, but certainly you ought never to be discontented. Many things in your circumstances may occasion anxious thought, but nothing should occasion or can excuse repining. Child of God! he has numbered the hairs of thy head, as well as the stars of heaven. Charge of angels! they shall keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
By him all things consist; and on raising our eyes to Jesus exalted, crowned, enthroned, with the government on his shoulder, two thoughts suggest themselves. First, our mind reverts, by way of contrast, to Jerusalem, to Calvary, to the doleful day when he sank beneath the weight, and expired amid the agonies of his cross. If he, who now bears the weight of worlds, once staggered under the burden of our sins, oh! what an incalculable, mysterious load of guilt must there be in sin! It bent the back that bears with ease the burden of ten thousand worlds. That load you cannot bear; and if you would not have it sink your souls into the deepest hell, flee to Calvary, leave it at the Cross. Cast sins and sorrow, cast both on him who invites the burden, saying, Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Again, beholding Christ thus exalted to the right hand of God, we think of the security of his people. They are to watch and pray, and rejoice with trembling. Yet they cannot sink whom he holds up, nor lose the battle on whose side he fights. Believer, what art thou doing, going groaning through the world beneath a load of fears and cares? What should discourage thee? What should disturb thy peace? What ruffle the calm spirit of a man who knows that the hands once nailed for him to the tree now hold the helm of his fortunes; and that the blessed Saviour, who by love's golden sceptre reigns within his heart, holds sovereign sway over earth and heaven; and by both bitter and sweet providences, by coffins and cradles, by disappointments and joys, by losses and gains, shall make all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
He is the head of the body, the Church.—Colossians i. 18.
At a celebrated battle there was one position from which the enemy, after suffering defeat in every other part of the field, kept up an unabated fire. There, a huge twenty-four pounder vomited forth galling and continuous discharges; nor could our artillery, nor musketry, nor riflemen, silence it. "That gun," said the commanding officer, addressing the men of two regiments in a few brief, brave words, "must be taken by the bayonet. I must have it;" adding, as he placed himself at their head, " No firing, and recollect that I am with you." There needed no more. They advanced, the grape from the battery crashing through their ranks. They fired four rolling volleys before they charged; but when they did charge, the onset was irresistible.
The importance of a military position may be always estimated by the determination with which it is on the one hand assailed, and on the other hand defended. By this test I have been able to discover the key of an old battle-field. Who fought there, and in what cause they fell, are matters about which history is altogether silent; and even the lingering traditions of the glen are dim and vague, like objects seen through its gray creeping mists. Yet the hoary cairns that are scattered on