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remember, when I was a child, I, too, used to think that the horizon was the end of the world, and that heaven touched the earth there. What a good thing that the lights should have attracted them here! They would have died of cold otherwise, to-night.”
“Do they really think they are in heaven now?" continued Mrs. Neuring. “I have no doubt the contrast when they entered our lighted rooms from the dark fields increased the illusion. But, my dear, can we think of sending them out again into the world? Shall we not rather do what we can to educate them for heaven?” The young wife, with tears in her eyes, looked beseechingly at her husband.
“What do you mean? That we should keep both these children here altogether?"
“Yes, Frederick, that is what I mean. Remember, there was once upon earth a Divine Child. He came to dwell with us, and what should we be without Him? And now this evening He has sent us two poor children who are seeking heaven, and they have neither father nor mother. Frederick, I shall never have another moment's peace if we reject these poor children.”
“ But, my dear wife,” replied the doctor, “have you well weighed what it will cost to maintain two more children? We have a sufficiency, but we are not rich ; and our children are growing up, and cost more every year.”
“ Frederick, though He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor. Can we not be content to become a little poorer for His sake? I have often thought we give Him very little ; nothing, indeed, that we feel the loss of at all. I promise you to give up many pleasant little things, to economise in my toilet and in our furniture, and when our friends come to see us we will provide for them a little more simply. I am determined to live more plainly and with greater economy, and we shall have enough for these two children.”
While she thus pleaded she raised her eyes to her husband's face, and read in his noble countenance that he shared her views and wishes. 6. Well, with God's help,” said the doctor. “We praise those who give up all for the love of Jesus, and shall not we, who bear His name, try to give up a small part of our luxuries and comforts for love of Him? Do not fear: that which is done from love to Jesus has always a happy result."
"I shall try and rise earlier in the morning, that I may make my children's clothes. I have so many things I no longer use, that I shall not need to buy anything. I must be very industrious, and that will be all.”
“Let me, too, do my share. From this day forward I will give up smoking. What I have spent each year on cigars and tobacco would amount to a good round sum. I will give it up from this day forth, although--don't laugh at me !—it will cost me something. But if we keep the children we will educate them with our own, and equally with them; they must receive a good education. The boy looks intelligent: I fancy he has good abilities.”
"Above all, let us endeavour that they may find with us the heaven they seek. It seems they do not as yet know Him who is the Way, Let our chief endeavour be to make these little pilgrims citizens of heaven.”
“Then,” replied the doctor, “let us ask God's blessing on His work.”
They knelt down and commended it to Him in whose name it was undertaken. He heard their prayers, and sealed them with His own Amen." It was midnight when the doctor and his wife stood beside the bed of the little Strangers and vowed together to be to them in the place of father and mother. And as they bent to kiss their new children God beheld them from His throne, and they found grace in His sight. “I have never before spent so happy a Christmas Eve," said the doctor's wife. It is as if the Child Jesus had come to us in quite a new way-as if He were in His own person beneath our roof, and I permitted to surround Him with care and forethought.”
“You have Him in your heart," replied her husband, and, offering her his arm, they returned to the parlour : the doctor seated himself at the organ, and chanting a solemn psalm together, they gave full vent to the emotion with which their hearts overflowed :
“ Give thanks to God most high,
The Universal Lord,
His power and grace
Bowen's Old Hymw-book.
who was ill. I went, and found him in bed
versation he told me the history of his past life. He had been many years at sea, and had doubled both Capes so often that every part of the visible coasts was quite familiar to him.
He showed me many certificates of good conduct, stamped, from his employers; but now, in consequence of his long illness, he was short of many things he wanted, and his wife was obliged to sell their little things to administer to immediate necessities.
“Well, Bowen," said I, “I don't think you'll go any more earthly sea voyages now. I hope you have been preparing for the great voyage. You have weighed anchor many a time, but you'll only weigh it once more, and then you are off through the ocean of eternity. I hope your anchor is fast to the Lord Jesus Christ, and that the cable of faith holds your soul to that Rock which has never moved, in spite of all the tempests the world, the flesh, and the devil have tried to raise to capsize your bark.”
He listened attentively as I boldly challenged him to make a confession of his faith, and then he drew himself up in the bed, and pointing to a shelf against the wall, said, “I have a hymn-book there, sir, which contains a hymn that | gives the substance of my belief.” I handed him the book, and he searched for the hymn till he found it; then he asked me to read it.
The book was very old, and oblong in shape, with many pages short both at the beginning and at the end. It had plainly been much used and well thumbed, was stitched throughout, and covered with striped velvet. Though many pages were gone, the last numbered in the book was the 414th. I read aloud his favourite hymn, which extended over seven of these pages. It was divided into parts convenient for public worship. The following extracts show the nature of the hymn which led to the remarks which followed :
“ The God of Abraham praise,
Who reigns enthroned above,
And God of love :
Jehovah, great I AM,
By earth and heaven confest;
For ever blest.”
Here was a confession of God, as a God of love, requiring worship from His creatures.
“ I all on earth forsake,
Its wisdom, fame, and power ;
My shield and tower."
“ He calls a worm His friend !
He calls Himself my God!
Through Jesu's blood.” Here we have reconciliation with God through the blood of atonement, and salvation assured to the last.
“ He by Himself hath sworn,
I on His oath depend ;
To Heaven ascend.
I shall behold His face,
I shall His power adore,
Here the sinner, washed in the blood of Christ, has laid hold of his inheritance, is triumphant in his song, believes without any doubt, hopes without despair, and ascribes ail his mercies to Divine grace from beginning to end. The rest of the hymn was of like character with these few
I need not quote them. But on concluding I said, “Well, Bowen, I am glad to find you can sing this song. The saints may sing it; angels might sing some of it; but no unconverted man could sing it without telling a lie, or deceiving himself.”
Oh, sir, I'm not a converted man!” This he said witin conscientious openness. “What?" said I, rather surprised.
" You read your Bible, and hold to it, you have worshipped God in His house; you believe that you are a sinner, deserving everlasting punishment, and that Jesus Christ died for you; and by faith you lay hold of His merits, and so are reconciled to your Father ;-you believe all this, Bowen, and then you say you are not in the way of salvation?"
“I do believe all this, sir. But yet I don't think I'm a converted man."
Well, then, all I can say to you is, that if you are sincere and anxious for salvation, and are not in the way of it, holding this belief, many whose names are in the Bible as saved will not be saved. The Philippian jailer is not saved; for he could do no more than ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ,' as Paul told him. This he did, and as a proof of his desire, he was instructed in the plan of salvation and
1 Acts xvi. 31.