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understand why I was forbidden to earn money in that way, but I promised not to attempt to do anything again without first obtaining my mother's consent.
"My story is nearly ended. The gentleman called to see my mother, as he had promised, and he proved a good friend to us.
"By his influence and through his kindness we were raised from the poverty into which we had fallen, and my mother soon had as many pupils as she could teach. Nor did his kindness end here. As I grew older he took an interest in me, and for several years did all he could to promote my interests. It was through the aid of this truly Christian man that I obtained my first situation in the surgery of an English doctor, then practising in Italy, and that I afterwards was enabled to go to college in London, where we first met.
"Since that time you know my history pretty well. It has pleased God to prosper me in my undertakings, and next to Him I have to thank the gentleman who, when I was a stranger, took me by the hand and helped me as I have described."
When Dr. Mann ceased speaking Mr. Farrier remarked that he did not now wonder at his friend having been touched by hearing the Christmas carol.
"And can you blame me for having given money to the singer?" enquired the doctor.
"No, I cannot," was the answer.
But whether Mr. Farrier ever relaxed the rule he had laid down for himself, "Never to give to a stranger," is more than the writer knows.
G. H. S.
The Safe and Pleasant Path.
ER ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.' That does not sound very dismal.
And "The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.'2 Neither does this sound gloomy. Why is it that people will be so stupid as to think that if they become the children of God, and walk in His ways, they must give up all that is pleasant, and bright and joyful? Even if we had not God's own words to the very contrary, we should have expected that our heavenly Father would not have appointed His children's path to their home a dark and dreary one."
66 But, Ellen, does not our Lord Himself tell us that it is a narrow and a thorny one?"
Some good books we speak as if was a sad
"Narrow, yes, but thorny-no! read, and some hymns we sing, do and tearful way, but I do not think it is thus the Bible paints it. Remember, too, that a narrow path certainly need not therefore be a dull one. Is it not rather this we prefer to the dusty high road, when we can choose our walk? There we find the sweetest and freshest wild flowers; and if, as often happens, it be a steep as well as a narrow path, what surprises of ever-widening views we meet; so that, reckless of the fatigue and possible difficulties to be overcome, we press on step by step, till resting on the hill-top, we think how well worth the toil for the lovely prospect spread out before us."
"True, Ellen; but still one must give up so many pleasant things."
"Dear Mary, "Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again.' 3 It is at best unsatisfying; but the Bible is full of what it gives rather than what you are to give up. The giving up always comes when we find that we have been given something so infinitely better in its place, that we no longer 3 John iv. 13.
1 Prov. iii. 17.
2 Prov. iv. 18.
care to keep, and can no longer enjoy what once may have given us a kind of fleeting pleasure. Do you think the Prodigal Son regretted the tattered garments he laid aside, when clothed with the best robe, with shoes on his travelworn feet, and his lost ring replaced by another?
'Mary, you and I have both tried the world's pleasures. Can you honestly tell me that you have found it a way of pleasantness, and path of peace? Because a way and a path does not mean merely a passing enjoyment, but a continuance of the view and pleasure. I certainly did not find it so; and now that by God's grace He has led me to know something of the better way-something of His love that passeth knowledge, and that He teaches me by His Holy Spirit to try day by day to follow the steps of my blessed Saviour, oh, I do so long to bring you with me, and then you will know, not only by report—and too often a not very true report-but by your own happy experience, that it is all, all true, that the narrow path is indeed one of joy and peace as well as one of safety. Indeed, how could it be otherwise? Just think; that way was planned by Him, who seeing us in the broad way, that leadeth to destruction,1 so loved us that He spared not His own Son, but gave Him to die in our stead, to redeem us from the guilt and power of sin, to deliver us from Satan, whose willing captives we were, that we might become the children of God; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ.2
Think, then, of the immeasurable love of the Lord Jesus, who through toil and shame, and reproach and agony made that way for us, and now He goes before us, calling on us to follow Him. Can that way seem hard to those who have been delivered from eternal death, and have received His gift of eternal life, by His agony and bloody sweat, by His cross and passion? It is a way of safety too, for none can pluck us out of His and His Father's hands; and He bids us fear not, for 'When thou passest through the waters, 1 Matt. vii. 13. 2 Rom. viii. 16, 17, 32; Gal. iv. 4, 5; Eph. ii. 1-5. John x. 28, 29.
I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.'1
"It is a way free from the anxious cares for this life, for our Father knoweth that we have need of food, and clothing, and shelter, and He says, 'Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.' The faithful Promiser has said, 'Bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure."2 'My God shall supply all your need." Of course when our faith is too weak to rest on these promises; when we cannot, will not, trust Him Who cannot lie; then cares and anxieties will come in and disturb the peace, and interrupt the pleasantness which should be our portion."
"But still, Ellen, I think that troubles come to God's people just as much as to the people of the world."
"True, Mary; sickness, and bereavement, and death come to all; and there are some trials that God's people pass through just because they are His people, sharers of their dear Master's reproach. But then, how different when they come from a loving Father's hand, and with His sure word that the trouble is working together for our good;5 with the blessed certainty of our Saviour's tender sympathy, His gracious presence, so that He gives His children songs even in their darkest night; and when death comes, it has lost its bitterness, and is only a shadow. He is with us still; and through the gate of death we pass into everlasting glory, where we shall see Him face to face, Whom seeing here only by faith, we have learned to love as the altogether lovely One. Oh, what will it be there, when seeing, we shall become like him !"6
"You paint a bright picture, Ellen; I do believe it is even as you say; but
"Come, taste and see for yourself, dear Mary, and you 1 Isa. xliii. 2. 2 Matt. vi. 32, 33.
↑ Heb. xi. 26; xiii. 13.
Isa. xxxiii. 16. 5 Rom. viii. 28.
3 Phil. iv. 19. 6 I John iii. 2.
will find that the half was not told you. There is so much that I cannot express, and that each dear child must discover for herself. And this all comes out more strongly when we look at the dark contrast. He who says, 'Her ways are ways of pleasantness,' says also, 'The way of transgressors is hard.' A hard master! his wages death; and eternal ruin the woeful end. There is no difficulty in seeing how 'hard' is the way of notorious sinners-the murderer, the wretched drunkard, the gambler, the robber; but if you will look carefully at the Third of Romans, you will see how all—all without exception, for there is no difference who are still out of Christ, and who are consequently still in the 'broad way;' of all it is said, 'The way of peace they have not known;' 'There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked."2 Indeed, how could there be peace in a heart that is enmity against Him Who is the only source and fountain of love, and peace, and life ?3 How could there be rest or lasting pleasure with the wrath of God abiding in you? It can surely be a terribly false peace or joy, only felt because Satan has blinded the eyes, and quieted or seared the conscience by repeating the old lie, 'You shall not surely die.'5 Thus when sickness comes, and the old pleasures can no longer be enjoyed, and former occupations can no longer interest; when perplexities come, and there is no safe Counsellor, no sure Guide to tell the way; and when the feet touch the dark river of death, and no Christ at hand to carry safe through, 'safe on His gentle breast;' and then for eternity-oh, I could not speak even the little I can conceive of what an eternity must be without Christ! He calls it outer darkness, the blackness of darkness for ever!
1 I Peter v. 8.
2 Cor. iv. 4. Rom. vi. 23. 2 Thess. i. 7, 8, 9.