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THE HONEST SUNDAY SCHOLAR.
An old woman, in humble life, who resided in the cotton district, although not herself a "mill-hand,” found, from the general depression of trade, that her little means were getting less and less, tuntil the pressure grew too great for her to bear.
In her sore poverty, she resolved to pack up the few articles she had left, and go to Preston, where she had a daughter, who was married, and with whom she might live. She went to take leave of the minister of a congregation of which she was a member; and on hearing her plan he endeavoured to dissuade her from it; urging her, if possible, to remain where she was, in hope of better times, and adding that perhaps her daughter might be even worse off than herself. "That cannot be," said the old woman, "for I am very poor, and have nothing left to live on; I will go to my daughterfor that will be shelter for me, at any rate." The minister, finding that she had so miserable a prospect if she remained in her old dwelling, kindly gave her the amount of her railway fare to Preston, and half-a-crown besides; and, with many thanks, she took her leave of him, and shortly afterwards departed on her journey. When she reached Preston Station a crowd of boys surrounded her, begging to carry her box, which she refused, as all the money now left in her purse, was a half-crown and three pennies. One poor lad, with a piteous look, besought her very earnestly to let him take it for her, adding, "I will carry it to any part of the town for twopence,-do let me,-for it is the only way I can get a bit of bread, -and we're clemming* at home."
Small as was the sum the old woman had, to begin enew her struggle with the world, she had a pitying heart-and the appeal thus made was enough. The lad shouldered her box, and followed her through the lamp-lit streets to a humble part of the town, where she knocked at the door of one of the houses—and after waiting awhile, and receiving no answer, she found it was locked. Supposing her daughter might be out on some errand, she desired the boy to put down the box; and, paying him for his services, she seated herself on it, by the door, to await the daughter's return. After a time the latter came up, and on finding her mother come to settle with her, burst into a lamentation—"0! why have you comel for we are starving. I have been out trying to get a morsel for the children, and I can'tWhat can we do?" Her mother calmed her a little, and begged
her to open the door. “Let us go in anyhow,-I have a half-crown in my pocket, and you can take that, and buy something—and that will
carry us over to-morrow, at any rate." They entered; and the old woman drew forth her purse to take the half-crown, when, to her dismay, she found she had paid it to the boy, in the dim light of the evening, in mistake for a penny. This was too much to bear, and both the women sank down and cried long and bitterly over the prospect before them. The mother, however, was a true Christian -and when the first burst of sorrow was past, her faith rose triumphant over all.
"Well!" said she, "never mind! we have two-pence left--and let us be thankful to God for that, and for a roof above our heads. You take it--it will buy bread for you and the children to-night-and I will go on to bed, for I shan't want any thing—and let us hope that God will provide for to-morrow when it comes. The daughter did accordingly—and that night passed away with its griefs and sorrows. With the early morning came a tap at the door, which the daughter opened. A boy stood before her, who introduced himself somewhat briefly with—"Didn't I bring a box here for an old woman last night?" "Yes, you did!" "Where is she?" "Up stairs.' “Then tell her to come down, for I want to see her.” Very soon the mother made her appearance, and was greeted with—"Missus, do you know you gave me a half-crown instead of a penny--because you did: and I have brought it back. Here it is." "Yes, my lad, I did-and I am very much obliged to you for bringing it back again. But I want to know how you came to do so, for I thought you told me you were clemming at home?" "Yes we are very bad off," said the boy, brightening up as he spoke, "but I go to Sunday School, and I love Jesus-and I couldn't be dishonest."
This needs no comment. It is simply an instance of what the power of religion can do, when put to the sorest test; for it was this that overcame the sorrows of poverty and the dread of starvation in the aged Christian, when no earthly help seemed near-and it was this that made the noble boy more than conquerer, in preferring to suffer the pangs of hunger, rather than defile his conscience by a secret sin.
"This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”
From a Lecture on "A Sound Mind," by the Rev. Jas. Hamilton, D.D.
First, for the rock:—firm faith, fixed principles. There is no greater blessing than a mind made up on the most momentous of matters. "My heart is fixed: my heart is fixed.” The man who has got firmly moored in the Gospel—who has seen God's glory in the face of Jesus Christ, and in whom God's Spirit has enkindled aspirations after unsullied sanctity-he may well be congratulated on possessing the great pre-requisite to strength and stability. "Thou art Cephas,” and where there are the clear comprehension and firm conviction of fundamental truth, He who has laid the good foundation will go on and build the character.
Of such first principles the great storehouse is the word of God, even as their great impersonation is the Son of God, the Saviour. He is the Truth, the Amen, the supreme Reality; that great Teacher who shows us plainly of the Father; that one Mediator, who coming from heaven, alone can take us thither; that mighty Revealer and Restorer, at whose feet, when once the legion of demons is driven forth, we hope to see a whole world sitting "in its right mind"dispossessed, and come to itself by at last coming to its God.
You have been afloat on a windy day, and, as the boat frolicked over the swell, it seemed to you as if the land were in motion. As you lay back in the stern-sheets, and with eyes half shut and hazy, looked shorewards, you saw the white cliffs curtseying up and down, and as plain as possible the houses hurrying backwards, and running off round the corner. And even if you landed, you might have a curious sensation of universal instability. A stranger who did not know your total abstinence habits might misinterpret your move
As you tried to steady yourself on the lurching pier, as you took a long stride to get over that rolling flagstone, as you proceeded towards your hotel heaving and lurching, see-sawing and sidling-it would need some charity to ascribe your eccentricities entirely to excess of water. And even after you lay down, and were safe among the blankets, you would feel so funny—the room swinging to and fro, the casement rising and falling with the swell, and the bed-foot going up and down "with a short uneasy motion.”
So if you were taking a little trip on the troubled sea of human speculation, it is not at all unlikely that your brain would begin to swim; but instead of suspecting any gyration in yourself, you would see a whirlgig or earthquake on the shore. Embarking in an “Essay or Review," or in the gay old craft which Voltaire built, which Tom Paine bought for a bargain, second-hand, and which repainted and re-christened by a bishop, has lately come out a regular clerical clipper, you proceed to sea, and in a little while you say, “Dear me, how strange it is! The mountains are in motion, the trees are walking; the world itself is running away. It seems to me as if the old Bible were going down. Moses and the miracles, the Ten Commandments and all such myths are fleeing away." And even if the captain should take pity on you, and seeing how pale you look, should
say, “Poor fellow, you seem rather queer. I don't want to kill you,
and as this sort of thing don't agree with you, I advise you to get ashore;"—it is not certain that you would all of an instant come right. Most likely the jumble in yourself would continue to operate as a general unhingement of the surrounding system, and, as with groggy steps and reeling brain you dropped upon the turf, you would be yourself for some time after, a troubled sea upon the solid land.
Ye who have arisen
With the Spring's first breath,
Smiling at past death ;
How an angel's voice,
Called ye to rejoice.
Warming heart and vein ;
And a raptured pain.
Ye, through dewy sod,
And the face of God.
Of our risen Lord,
By His living word:
From a deeper gloom,
At His feet to bloom.
SUNDAY SCHOOL RESULTS. A Paper read at the Sunday School Convention, Newcastle-on-Tyne.
BY MR. T. P. BARKAS. Like all other agencies, Sunday schools have a past, a present, and a future.
The first topic for consideration at this Convention naturally divides itself into two branches; one past, the other present; and both past and present have intimate relations with and bearings on the future.
The proposition before us takes an interrogative form, and asks two questions. The first; Have Sunday schools accomplished the objects for which they were founded? The second ; Are they now accomplishing the objects for which they are conducted ?
Before attempting to reply to either of these questions, it may be desirable to understand precisely what they mean. Many controversies would be found to be perfectly useless, if the controversialists understood each other's precise positions. The shields of religious, moral, scientific, and social truths would often be found to have both gold and silver sides, if those who contended about them would but exert themselves to walk entirely round them, and see them not only from their own favourite positions, but also from those of their opponents.
I shall attempt to give the questions as practical a bearing as I possibly can, in order that we may not have a mere logomachical war, where parties may contend for mastery, without any practical results; but a friendly discussion, in which old truths may be put in new lights; new truths placed before us for examination and acceptance; and useful practical conclusions be deduced for the future guidance of Sunday school teachers.
First-Have Sunday schools accomplished the objects for which they were founded ?
Sunday schools, as we all know, were founded by Mr. Raikes, in the town of Gloucester, in the year 1781. The primary desigu of their establishment was to teach neglected children the arts of reading and writing; to impress upon them moral duties, and to keep them from rambling about the streets on the Sabbath day. These were the objects for which Sunday schools were originally founded, and these, for many years, were the principal objects for which they were conducted. As in many other departments of labour and knowledge, the real importance and value of the Sunday school institution was not at first fully realised, and it was only gradually that the great truth dawned upon