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dressed her for her tomb, and hours afterwards he came to look his last upon her, ere she was borne from his sight for ever.
As he entered the death-chamber the lamps were burning dimly, but he could see that Aglen Aga lay on her couch in the centre of the room, with jewels shining on her brow and arms, the very same jewels that had been showered upon her when she was a bride.
He stepped noiselessly over the carpets, and as he came near he saw kneeling at the foot of the bier the small crouching figure of a little Coptic slave. The child did not perceive him. She was talking to herself, apparently, and Timur scarcely gave her a thought or a glance as he bent over his dead wife. But presently the muttered words reached his ear: what was it she was saying?
Alone, quite alone, Great God! and yet Thou art with me. A poor child torn from home and friends, a slave in a strange land, but Thou dost love me. And death--it will come to me as it has come to Aglen Aga-but when it comes Thou will take me to Thy land to be with Thee." Her voice sank lower. “It is hard to believe it ;" she went on, "but Thou hast said it: hast Thou not promised to help me and love me, and save me, for the dear sake of Christ my Lord ?"
Timur understood it now. The Coptic girl was of the hated religion of the Christians, the people who believed that Jesus, the crucified Nazarite, was a prophet greater than Mahomet, a King whose kingdom yet should come.
Poor child! her faith must needs be false, but the emperor found it in his heart to envy it as he turned away. Help," "Love," Care," the words sounded as sweet as they were strange.
They came back to him often, in the sad days that followed. The glitter and glory that surrounded him seemed hollow and horrible now; the throne he had lifted so high, the wide empire he had won, all the pleasures and beauty at his command might crumble and vanish in an hour. The
stroke of a dagger, the tooth of a snake might snatch him away from it all, and then what would remain? What?
Was he walking so close to a precipice down which he might fall at any moment? For the first time in all his life he felt himself to be a weak helpless mortal, too weak to stand alone, too helpless to dare either to live or die.
Should he bow his pride to learn faith of a Coptic slave? Scarcely! the words of the Koran had been enough for his fathers, they should be enough for him.
And so the veil of darkness fell again upon his soul; the light, faint as it had been, was quenched-and Timur Bec turned again to find happiness and forgetfulness in the things he loved. His armies again swept over the world; his victories again were sung by bards and wept over by the conquered his kingly power rose to yet greater height. But the home of Aglen Aga remained silent and unvisited for evermore.
He could not stir again the memories that lingered in the Garden of the Golden Throne. The memories of his lost love and of the glimpse of faith and safety which had come to him there. In the darkness he lived, and in the darkness he died.
The light which had reached him was but a gleam, and amidst all that dazzled him in his earthly life he forgot that his soul had been sick and sad as it stood on the verge of the Unknown.
But for us the light has arisen that cannot be darkened. It shines upon us, that sweet steady ray, telling of forgiveness and comfort and goodness bought for us by Christ's blood. There are those of us who are far from being emperors and conquerors, who have no showered jewels, no gardens of delight; but we have our hours of wearyheartedness when the things of this world seem mean and poor beside the realities which lie beyond the shadow of death.
Shall we not listen to our Lord's "comfortable words," "Come unto Me"? Shall we not remember how brief a
step divides us from the land where gold is valueless, and glory but as scorn?
In that land Timur Bec shall have different dealing from ours; ought not our hearts to sink low in humility as we read: "Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes .. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee."
"Now we know in part."
["I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting himself with now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst a great ocean of truth lay undiscovered before me."-SIR ISAAC NEWTON, a little while before his death.]
IKE children sporting on the shore,
So great, so vast, the treasured stores
So strong the power that bade them be,
And spread with generous hand.
Search as I may, there still remain
Deeps far below my reach,
Grand heights, and mines of hidden truth,
And now, as on life's edge I stand,
And watch the fast-receding land,
How valueless my labours seem,
Ah! when I've passed the river's brink,
These things my heart desires to know,
Free from all sin my eager mind
S. W. P.
Reckoning for the Great Account.
ow shall we live ?" is the cry of the world; and every purpose and scheme is to enable men to answer this end with the greatest amount of satisfaction. "How shall I die?" is the question of the awakened soul; and many a pitiful and mean expedient falls and dissolves before the great question of the account he has to give. 'Every one for himself," says the world; and each in the struggle strives to outdo his fellow. "Every one shall give account of himself to God,"1 is the estimate of the soul that has, even in thought, stood before the final judgment bar.
Tim Bailey had a place in a cornshed, from which he had to dole out the allowances to various pit companies for the horses. A strange life had Tim's been; at one time so careless and dead to all better influences; so willing, for the sake of a few shillings hush-money, to let some of the managers or butties have some corn for their own private use, and let it go down to the general account. No strivings of conscience had poor Tim, for he had come to argue that
1 Rom. xiv. 12.
if he did not do it, others would; and "he must live; it was the master's fault, and not his."
But some new truth had come to Tim's heart. been laid by in sickness, and during the visitation of a loving friend he had learnt to look at things more in the view of eternity, and 'his conscience had become awake to the fact that he would have to answer for his part in this dishonest practice at the works.
Tim went back to his work with his heart very heavy, but with a strong determination to speak out what he knew to be right; he would trust himself to God, whatever might be the result. Accordingly, when the order came from one of these butties to send some corn as before, Tim sent word he could not without the leave of all the partners concerned. In a torrent of rage, the one interested came to Tim, threatened and swore, taunted and coaxed, but all to no avail; all the man answered was, "I've learnt my lesson, that for all this I shall have to give account; you may do as you like, but I don't mean to lose my soul for a few shillings. And look here, master, next time I come to be paid, I shall split on the whole job to the others; that's what I call repentance; and I'll run the risk of what you'll do."
Now the master stood aghast. He promised all sorts of reward if only Tim would hold his peace; but no more did this avail than had the threatenings, so with a curse and an assertion that he would ruin him, he went his way without the corn.
The next pay-day Tim had made up his mind what to do, and before going to work that morning he knelt at the feet of Him Who feedeth the ravens, and asked to be made brave to speak and patient to bear.
When his turn came to go before the masters, he looked calmly round from one to the other, and as his eye rested on the one whose dishonesty he had determined to expose he caught the threatening scowl and menacing gesture, and for a moment his courage failed, for he knew he was throwing