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God, in His infinite mercy, receives those who come to Him, even at the last hour, but oh, leave it not till then ! Come to Him now. Do not put it off.
Do not say, as so many, alas ! say, “ There is plenty of time.” There is not plenty of time.
We know not what an hour may bring forth. To-morrow it may be too late. Your opportunity is
Jesus is waiting to welcome you now into His fold. Oh, lose not this opportunity. To-night it may be too late !
I Day too Late!
How frequently these solemn words express our
lie awake, thinking of, and praying for, “those who go down to the sea in ships,” and we, who live upon the east coast of Ireland, have to hear many a sorrowful tale of wreck and ruin connected with the fishing craft. Their poor wives at home here in the port have many an anxious sleepless hour, while their brave men go out after the herring and mackerel that supply the tables of those who live at home at ease. The touching little song of the Scottish fishwife (“Caller herrin””) “ ca's them lives of men !” and such is often the price paid for the treasures of the deep sea; when life is saved, the precious life of the bread-winner, how often is the tight little craft broken on the rocks. Such was the case on this coast not long since. The brave man went out with high hopes of success in his venture, and his good little wife at home trimmed her fire, set the light in the window, and prepared a warm supper to welcome her husband-when the gale freshened, the night got wilder and wilder, and she, knowing how near his vessel must be to the coast, trembled and prayed in her heart as she put her little ones to bed, hardly daring to hope that her good man had reached the harbour in time. But her suspense was soon
over, morning brought her sad news. The " Betsy Jane" (called after herself) was on the rocks, and ro hope of saving her! Their all was in that little vessel, and if it were gone they were, so to speak, ruined. The fisherman was on the spot with the wreck; mercifully, he and the little crew safe, and the poor wife was wringing her hands and crying bitterly, when her kind sympathising pastor, having heard of the loss, came to see her. But she refused to be comforted ; she thanked God that her husband was safe, “ But oh, sir !" she cried, “our all is gone !"
“Well, my poor friend,” replied the pastor, "you must not be so terribly cast down; surely this is a clear case for help from the 'Shipwrecked Mariners' Society,' of which you are all members."
“Oh, sir !" she cried, with a fresh burst of sorrow, that is the worst of all; we have no claim. Jack let the day go by without paying up the premium, and it was so small, only half-a-crown, and every day I said to him, “Jack, isn't it time to pay up to the Mariners' Aid ?' and he would say, “Yes, yes, Betsy, I'll not forget, we have a day or two still.' And then before he went out this last time, he said, ' Now, I'll go and pay up,' but some one met him, and put it out of his head, and then he was busy with the nets, and forgot it. I have been looking over the book, and I find we are just one day too late! and sure, sir, we might as well be a year late as a day, so there is no hope."
The pastor cast down his eyes and sighed; he said it was a hopeless case, and all he could do was to pray with her, and promise her all the personal aid and influence he could muster in their behalf, at the same time saying, as he shook hands with her before he left, “ Well, my poor friend, yours is a heavy loss indeed, and I need not tell you how I feel for your sorrow, but there could be a greater loss, the loss of your husband; and a greater, far greater still, the loss of your precious immortal soul. See to it that you are not a day too late, an hour too late, a moment too late, in securing your everlasting salvation, by closing in with your Divine
Redeemer's loving offers of mercy. He
Thou hast destroyed thyself, but in Me is thy help.' 'Look unto Me, and be ye saved.' 'I am the Resurrection, and the Life: he that liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. Believest thou this?""
And is not this a suggestive subject to us each and all ? How is it with you, reader? Is all right with your soul? “ To-day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.” Remember, with the best resolutions, the best intentions, the best promises, it is still possible to be just one day too late ; for “when once the Master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; He shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whenie ye are." But now, while you read these words, “Ask, and it shall be given to you ; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."
R. R. T.
That's my Business !"
happily, one that, in a course of sixty years, had
preparation for the next world. Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ esteemed it as the business the most urgent of all.
How kindly, and yet forcibly, did He draw His hearers' attention to it when, in tones the most inviting, He told them that did they rightly understand the value of salvation they would sell all that they had to purchase it. And yet, again, when in solemn language He addressed them, “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul ? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul ?" 2
1 Matt. xiii. 44.
2 Mark viii. 36, 37.
Mrs. H— was old and poor, she had never cared about anything all her life but “What shall I eat, what shall I drink, and wherewith shall I be clothed ?" Her countenance was dull, unhappy, and unfeeling. All the labour, and all the sorrow, and all other events of life she had taken as matters of course, for no light or comfort from above had helped her on her way. The neighbours described her as miserable and quarrelsome. She was, moreover, a widow, and her only daughter, who lived with her, was an unruly and sinful woman. Often they had not enough to eat, and their home was wretched and dirty. Poor Mrs. H-! A light came into her dwelling one day, in the form of a kind Bible-woman, who brought her an invitation to a mothers' tea-meeting that was to be given in the neighbourhood the next afternoon. She made some difficulty in accepting it, but finally went, and arriving before the tea was ready, planted herself in a corner alone, with a touchme-not air, and surveyed the preparations now nearly completed. Several ladies were moving among the tables, endeavouring to render them attractive with cakes and flowers, when one of them came up to her corner, and offering a few remarks, asked her if she “knew the happiness of having her sins forgiven ?” She answered, in no courteous way, “That's my business! what's that to you ?" or words to the same effect. Seeing how rude and ignorant she was, the lady quickly explained to her her state as a sinner before God, and her immediate need of a Saviour. She seemed to dislike it all exceedingly, and was very sulky and impatient.
A day or two after the tea-meeting, the Bible-woman visited Mrs. H-, in the hope of continuing the good work that had been begun, and found that the lady's words had left an impression. She behaved civilly to Mrs. and allowed her to read, but when the subject of religion was pressed upon herself, and she was urged to forsake her sins and put her trust in Christ, she was again displeased. Yet she asked the Bible-woman to repeat her visit. The
visit was repeated erery week for about two years, when the clouds of ignorance began to break, and the hard heart of Mrs. H to melt beneath the influence of Divine truth. Although she had hated the words of the lady, she had never forgotten them, and now through God's grace she became a partaker of the new nature, and soon, with humble faith, could
" Read her title clear To mansions in the skies."
The two women now turned their attention to the daughter, and spared neither exhortations nor prayers. The mother, heretofore so hard and exacting, was now kind and gentle ; the daughter relented, and the home was changed. It was now a happy home, and the neighbours no longer knew Mrs. H- as a disagreeable woman, and her daughter as a sinful one, but wondered what could have changed strife into peace,
and the lion into the lamb. They were told that attending to the most important business in life had brought about the wondrous change.
Mrs. Hand her daughter lived in purity, peace, and happiness several years after this the most momentous passage in their history, and they were often heard to remark that they had “no idea there was so much comfort for any one in this life.” They maintained a consistent Christian walk, living in charity with all around them, and va!uing the privileges of God's house, which they had so long slighted.
At length Mrs. H- drew near the end of her journey, and said, “I am a poor, guilty creature, but Jesus Christ has died for me. I do not wish to see anybody who will not talk to me about Him. Lord, keep me to my last hour !"
Dear friend, the sands of time are quickly running, and your hour-glass will soon be out. Have you executed the most important business in life? It is your business, and no one can transact it but yourself.
B. W. M.