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"Be content with such things as ye have."
E pray to be contented,
As we march along the road,
Lest in our vain repining
We miss the smile of God!
We see not when we murmur
A thousand blessings sweet,
That are richly scattered round us,
That are lying at our feet.
There never falls a trouble,
But is hushed, and soothed, and lightened
From the spirit's depth of shade,
Oh would we gain possession
Of the wondrous key of gold,
We must bind around us gratitude
For the shining streets of heaven!
A Saviour's love is ours,
A Father's watchful care, God's promises as jewels
Of value rich and rare;
Through the clouds around, above us,
Nearer and nearer Jesus
We must ever strive to be;
The Fatherhood of God.
"Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him."Psa. ciii. 13.
"If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?"Matt. vii. II.
ILLIAM BEXSON was a tailor, rather comfortably off, for he often had four "hands" employed at his board. He was by no means a gloomy man; in fact, he would
remembered as being like the story she had heard that day. The Bible had been her mother's, and had scarcely been opened since that mother died.
"I can't find it, uncle," the girl said at last. "There's a bit marked here in red ink, but it isn't about the King." "Read it, child, anyway," Heston said as he relit his pipe.
So Annie read from the sixth chapter of Romans: "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?... For when ye were the servants of sin... What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.'"
As Annie read the lines old Heston looked over her shoulder. When the child had gone to bed the Bible was lifted down again, and his withered finger traced the words as he spelt them through laboriously.
"On which side has Heston been?" he muttered. "A servant of God? or a servant of sin? It's the death-wages I've been earning, I fear me-the wages, the wages of sin."
Long he sat there, pondering over the past, thinking of what the young stranger had said, and turning again and again to the verses which a dead hand had underlined.
The ashes grew white and cold upon the hearth-stone, the stars stole out through the peaceful sky, and still he sat there. "God be merciful to me, a sinner!" he prayed at length.
And God heard, and was merciful.
Not many days passed before the visitor came again. Old Heston welcomed him with a sort of wistful earnestness; and Annie smiled shyly as she responded to his greeting. Quite naturally he brought the conversation round to the
subject they had talked upon last time, and then old Heston brought out the Bible and showed him the marked words.
"I thought, sir, that maybe they have something to do with the service you belong to," he said.
"Surely they have. Servants of God, soldiers of His blessed Son-that is what we should be, my friend. I will find you the place where the Captain gives His standing orders, and also the place where one of the best of His soldiers writes of the armour we should wear, and the weapons we should use."
He turned to the chapters in St. Matthew's Gospel which give the "Sermon on the Mount," and laid within the pages a spray of flowering grass to mark the place. Then he found the sixth chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians, and beginning at the tenth verse read aloud what St. Paul says there to the ancient Christians about the soul's warfare. He read of the girdle of truth, of the breastplate of righteousness, the standing-ground of the Gospel of Peace, of the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit, and the safeguard of prayer.
As he read, old Heston's eyes filled with tears.
"Listen, Annie," he said, "you listen, child, and mind where you will find the words again. You must try to serve for the wages of life-to follow the King. As for me, I doubt I am too old to be enlisting in that army now; my best days are gone, and I'm but a poor maimed wreck of a man to offer for the service of God."
Then the young man spoke very gently of the lovingkindness of the Lord, and of how He accepted all who turned to throw themselves at His feet; and then he spoke of the way in which the King covered His servants' weakness and shortcomings with His own abundant righteousness.
Heston listened, but his brow was very sad.
Many times the stranger came stepping down the lane, and over and over again he told the story of the Gospel of
pardon to the sinful and weary, and those verses about the "whole armour of God."
Simply as a little child old Heston heard, and with the faith of a little child he learned to pray.
He caught a faint idea of what God's love must be for this guilty world, and he felt that if he offered himselfpoor mained wretch as he might be that he would be accepted for the Lord's dear sake.
His days of serving an earthly sovereign were over; he could march no more in the ranks of England's army against his country's foes; but old Heston had entered on a higher service, and had taken his place in a nobler army beneath the banners of the Prince of Peace.
"I can't Die like this."
OOR old Clements was known to me for many years, and the history of his experience is a striking proof that although a man who is professedly an unbeliever in religion and a despiser of the gospel may, to all appearances, live a happy and contented life, when the hour of death comes, if it find him in such a state that he is able to reflect on the past and look forward to the future-infidelity proves but a broken reed on which to lean; and the man who has, while health and strength lasted, mocked at the idea of a future state, is filled with fear lest, after all, he should be plunged into an eternity of woe.
Clements was a working man, with only a very limited education; but he prided himself on his intelligence, and professed to be a free-thinker.
The very mention of religion, or the name of God, was enough to set Clements talking of what he considered the absurdity of believing in a Supreme Being or a future state; as to the Bible, he professed to look upon it as the work of men who, at various times, and to answer their own selfish ends, had compiled it, and palmed it off upon the ignorant,