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the words, "Create in me a clean heart, O God!" she passed peacefully away.

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Where had those children, rescued from such wicked hands, learned the blessed words, which, when all other means were vain, had led the weary and worn and sad heart to home and rest in Jesus? "At a school," the little ones said, "in Field Lane, where they had been taught hymns and texts by some young men belonging to the Christian Association."

Little did these servants of Christ expect such fruit of their ministry of love in the Field Lane Ragged School. Well may this touching incident encourage us all in the morning to sow our seed; in the evening to withhold not our hand, knowing not whether shall prosper, this or that, but "knowing that our labour shall not be in vain in the Lord."

What the New Year's Bells said to

Tom Miles.

INE. TEN. ELEVEN. TWELVE. The last note tolled the departure of the old year, and then the brief silence was broken by the joyous clangour of

bells proclaiming that the new year had come. The midnight air was full of the jubilant sounds, peals from all the churches crowding together and falling over each other like many children at play. Everywhere the clear voices came full of brightness and hope, and Tom Miles heard them as they unceremoniously forced their way into his room.

It was an attic in one of the dreariest parts of Shoreditch, and Tom was half sitting, half crouching on a seat which he had instinctively drawn near the grate, but no fire burned within the bars, and no object within the room gave a home-like aspect to the place. He had been sitting in the same position for nearly an hour, wrapped in the gloom

of his thoughts; for on this New Year's Eve memory had been busy flinging brilliant pictures of the past on the dark screen of the present.

There was first a glimpse of a happy home and a New Year's gathering of all its scattered members, and he, a bright boy from school, was there; and he could see the beaming faces of his parents, and hear the gleeful talk of all the brothers and sisters, and then almost feel the goodnight kiss of his mother as, later in the evening, she knelt by his little bed and murmured the prayer, "God bless and keep my boy, and give him a happy New Year."

Again a New Year's Eve, not in his father's house, but in his own. The wife, so fair and dearly loved, sitting there, and little bright-faced children playing round, and great fun and wondering about the New Year's gifts that next morning would bring.

And then a picture with less colour and more shade. A New Year's Eve when the children were in bed, and this wife, with pale face, from which all the young brightness had gone, sitting alone, listening for the coming step of her husband, mending meanwhile the little garments that the children would need to make them decent on New Year's Day. No preparation of presents, no happy guessing at the little surprises which affection commissions the New Year to bring; only a dull look of endurance that told of a cup very nearly full of sorrow. No wonder Tom Miles's lips were set as he looked. "Poor Hetty! How well I remember coming home that night! How she talked to me and coaxed me, and wanted me to promise that I wouldn't go to the club any more; and all she got for her pains was hard words. I knew I called her selfish, poor Hetty! what a lie it was! That was three years ago

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And Tom's thoughts rapidly sketched in the descending steps of the interval, and the precious treasures he had lost by the way. Love of home had gone, then character, business position, self-respect, happiness, all flung down in the mad pursuit of pleasure falsely so called.

Last of all, the home itself had gone. In a moment of desperation he had left his wife and children, unwilling to face the misery he had wrought; and they had never heard of him since; and all he knew of them was, that Hester's widowed mother had taken them into her little house, that they might all struggle together for daily bread. Since then Tom had been drawn into the whirlpool of London vagabondage, and had only preserved to himself the last shred of respectability in continuing still to hire his own wretched room, instead of herding with the lowest and vilest in the common lodging-house.

Into the very heart of this misery and degradation the voices of the bells came, piercing Tom's dull ear, and constraining him to listen, as again and again they repeated their cheery message-Another chance! another chance! And stealing in and mingling like a sweet undertone with their music, was the echo of his mother's prayer, "God bless and keep my boy, and give him a happy New Year."

That mother was in heaven, saved from the knowledge of her boy's disgrace; but has not every prayer a covenant blessing attached to it? and now He who is never at a loss for means of entrance to the human heart was finding His way into this fast-closed one by the voice of the bells.

Another chance! was it possible? Tom had just been saying to himself that his case was hopeless; coming down the ladder had been so easy, and now he was most surely at the bottom, and he had thought he must stay there to die; but, with the inspiration of a new hope, he saw that the ladder was still standing near, the true Jacob's ladder of Providence and grace, and as he had come down, so he might ascend again. Not in his own strength-how miserably had that failed! He groaned in the bitterness of his soul, as he thought how many chances he had lost through reliance on his own strength. But in that solemn hour, when the power of the Holy Spirit was softening his heart, and bringing back a child-like readiness for teaching, his memory recalled as vividly as though he had learned them

yesterday, words that he had not heard for years, words that his mother had taught him in the happy days of boyhood:

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Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind,
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need, in Thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come!"

And as his heart thrilled at the thought of a Saviour so long forsaken and forgotten, but still near in Divine compassion and grace, the bells once more chimed out "Another chance! another chance!"

Tom Miles took that chance, grasped it as a sinking man clutches at the rope that is the only link between him and life; and as he cast himself at the Saviour's feet, with the publican's prayer for mercy and help, a true New Year's joy came into his soul, a consciousness that the life which, in its highest import and interests he had so trifled with and well-nigh wrecked, might be given afresh to him by the renewing of the Holy Ghost, and that henceforth he might live by faith on the Son of God—a life worth the name, not a life of degradation and defeat, gravitating downward to death, but a life of conquest and elevation, tending step by step to "immortality."

On that New Year's morning there was joy in the presence of the angels of God over this repenting sinner; and the year was not many days old when Hester Miles's heart was well nigh "broke with the new joy, too sudden and too sweet," of hearing of her husband, and that he had really turned round from a course of self-indulgence and self-ruin, that he had "put off the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts," and "put on the new man, which, after God, is created in righteousness and true holiness."

Some readers of these lines may be entering the New Year with a spirit buffeted and well nigh despairing. Many purposes have been broken off, many hopes buried in the grave of the old year. And, saddest of all, some of you have "entered into temptation," have been caught in its toils, and are writhing there in an agony of remorse. Listen,

all of you, to the voice of the bells. They tell that the New Year brings to each of you another chance. Another chance of giving up bad habits; another chance of cultivating good ones; another chance of making the home and the world happier; another chance of growing more Christ-like, and so more meet for the inheritance, when years shall not be "new" or 66 old," for there shall be time no longer. This New Year is God's gift to you; only ask Him, and He will give you also the Saviour's grace and the Holy Spirit's power to make it, in truth, a "happy" one.

M. C. F.

A New Year's Petition.

ROBABLY most readers of the "Tract Magazine" are familiar with the sweet hymn commencing "Father, whate'er of earthly bliss," etc. With very many of

us it has been from childhood a cherished favourite. But it may not be generally known that the three verses of which it consists are said to be slightly altered, and to form only a small part of the original composition, which contained, in the whole, ten verses.

I should add that it is not in my power to authenticate this statement, having met with it only recently in looking over the papers of a deceased friend, and no clue is given as to the source whence the information was obtained.1 But those who are familiar with other hymns written by Miss Steele, will doubtless think the additional verses here given bear internal evidence of coming from the same pen. The entire hymn reads thus:

"When I survey life's varied scene,

Amid the darkest hours,

Sweet rays of comfort shine between,
And thorns are mixed with flowers.

1 It has, since the above was written, been satisfactorily authenticated.-ED. T, M..

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