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sympathy in the trust and love with which they regarded their Lord. Prior to experience, indeed, it might have been expected that the leaders of the religious thought and life of Israel would be the first to welcome the Messiah whom the prophets of Israel had foretold. But such an expectation had proved utterly void ; and Peter, James, and John must have long ceased to look for fellow-disciples among the scribes and Pharisees. Yet two of that body are found rendering to the crucified Redeemer those funeral honours which His own followers were not at hand to perform. We may well learn and profit by the lesson. We are all sufficiently prone to demand that piety shall show itself by just such and such signs, occurring in just such and such a prescribed order, if it is to win our recognition and encouragement. We forget that persons of a certain disposition almost instinctively hide, rather than exhibit, their first feelings of interest in religion ; that such feelings take very different forms of expression, according to the character, or even the training, of those in whose breasts they rise. And so we are in danger of neglecting some to whom a word of sympathy would be “as cold water to a thirsty soul,” while we reserve all our attention for others whose emotions are more obvious, perhaps because they are more superficial. If we were broader in our hopes and sympathies with regard to young disciples, we should be more successful in winning them to full surrender to Christ, and open confession of His name.
Nor ought we soon or easily to give up hope of seeing those who have long remained among the secret disciples come forward to join the ranks of the avowed followers of Christ. We may, perhaps, imagine that Peter or John was aware of the favourable disposition of Nicodemus and Joseph towards Christ, and was eagerly watching for the hour when they would take their place among His disciples. As miracle after miracle was wrought, each transcending the other in grandeur; as discourse followed on discourse, each revealing more of the wisdom and the love of Him who uttered it; they would cry,“Now surely these men must yield ; now all doubt, all reserve, must be at an end with them.” And hope would grow less, and disappointment more keen, to find that they remained, after all, secret disciples still. But When the crucifixion came, if that day of dismay and anguish left them any thought to spare for others, all hope of seeing this secret discipleship exchanged for open confession would be utterly abandoned. “Now," they would say," that feeble, half-formed faith and love will be crushed and quenched for ever.” And lo! those very events which seemed to threaten such an issue, which well-nigh destroyed for a time the faith and love of the disciples themselves, are the very means of rousing these men to new resolution, of breaking the spell of reserve which had held them so long, and bringing them to clear and bold avowal of Jesus as their Lord. Never let us grow hopeless or impatient when we have to wait and watch and pray long for the open decision of Mose whom we ardently desire to see united with the Church of Christ. pome unforeseen incident in their course, some word spoken without
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und be that wathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” It sure you to be the munious desire of every one who loves the Saviour, to lea
loubt whether he wishes to be reckoned as belonging to Christ or to the world; not to give, by any neglect of his, any excuse to the ene. mies of Jesus to inscribe his name upon their muster-roll.
And your position of secret discipleship robs your witness for Christ of more than half its power. Look at these men. Joseph had dissented rom the foul act by which Jesus was given up to death; but his dissent was feeble and ineffectual. We know that that of Nicodemus was so na previous occasion. His protest against injustice consisted of one nesitating question, and was silenced by a sneer. And why? Because 20 was in a false position, a position of compromise, and therefore of weakness. By his timid refusal to commit himself as a disciple of Jhrist, he had deprived himself of the right to speak for Christ. Peter, then he “followed afar off,” denied his Lord. Peter, when he had ung all compromise away, was able to preach Christ to the assembled anhedrim with the high-priest at their head. If you would witness ffectually for Christ, there must be no reserve in your confession of hrist. You have not the same excuse for secrecy which these men had; less eason to fear men ; less to make it difficult to accept Christ as the son of God. Nay, more: that Cross of Christ which brought them to confession, you know; know after a fashion which was impossible to shem. They saw in it, more or less vaguely, proofs of the superhuman greatness and love of Him who suffered upon it; you know it as the expression of “the love of Christ which passeth knowledge ;” as the swful price of your redemption. Your silence is more sinful than
Let the same Cross which broke their silence break yours also, Nothing else will. It is not by balancing difficulties that you will bring this question to decision; it is not by trying to work yourselves up to resolution that your hesitation will be ended; but by just looking from yourself and all beside to Christ on the cross, and crying, "He died for me : shall I not live for Him? He held back nothing from me-not even His life, His blood ; shall there be any reserve in my consecration to Him? Shall I neglect the least of His commands?
Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?' Only show me Thy will, and, to its last jot and tittle it shall be my liberty, my joy, my glory, by Thy help, to fulfil it."
THE LADY AND THE ROBBER. - In a large, lonely house, situated | feared no evil under His protecting sleep in peace under the shadow of ple by night and by day. She read the Almighty, who was her trust and aloud. Never was a chapter so read her shield.
in the south of England, there lived care. - many years ago a lady whose only It was the lady's custom to pass companions were two maid-servants. around the house with her maid. Though far away from all human servants every night, and see that all habitations, they dwelt in peace and the doors and windows were propersafety, for they trusted in God and ly secured, and then to lie down and
before. In that lonely house, with a One night she had accompanied | desperate robber hidden in the room, her maids about the house as usual, that helpless woman read out the and having ascertained that all was mighty promises of Him whose word safe, they left her in the passage can never fail, and stayed her soul close to her room, and then went to upon those assurances of Divine their own apartment, which was protection which cannot disappoint quite distant, at the other side of the the hopes of the trusting children of house.
the Most High. Her heart gained As the lady, thus left alone, opened strength as she read the words of the door into her room, she distinctly truth, and closing the book she saw the feet of a man under her bed. kneeled and prayed to God, and Her feelings may be imagined. Her prayed as she had never prayed beservants were far away, and could fore. She told the Lord her help. not hear her if she called for help; lessness and need; she commended she might be murdered before they herself and her servants in their decould arrive, even if they did hear fencelessness and loneliness to the her; and if they were there, three care of a protecting God; she dwelt weak and defenceless women would upon their utter lack of all human have been no match for an armed defence, and clung to the sacred and desperate burglar. Danger was promises which were given for com all around her; flight was impracti fort in the hours of trouble and dis cable; earthly refuge seemed to fail. tress. She lingered long in suppli What then could she do? What cation, for it was her hour of need did she do PShe did what it is al and she came boldly to the throne o ways safe to do,-she trusted in the grace, for every other refuge was in Lord, She knew that she had a God vain. At last she rose from her to go to, who never leaves nor for knees, put out her candle, and laid wake His confiding saints; and so down upon her bed,-but not to whe possessed her soul in patience sleep. and in peace. Making no outcry, And how felt the wretched man and giving no intimation that she this while? He was bold, he wa Observed anything wrong, she quiet bad, he had companions near, and in ly closed the door, locked it on the his desperation was prepared for any inside as she was in the habit of struggle or for any crime; but how doing, leisurely brushed her hair, must he have felt to hear the pro wucking the while, no doubt, the mises of the almighty God rear help and guidance of the Lord whom forth, and to listen to the pleadin che served, and, putting on her dress voice of that helpless woman, as sh ing gown, she took her Bible and poured out her prayer to the God ( calmly eat down to read the word of her life! God, that word which is quick and Soon after the woman had lai powerful, and sharper than a two down, she became conscious that th sulged sword, piercing to the dividing man was standing by her bedsid sounder of the soul and spirit, and He spoke to her in a voice very di discerning the thoughts and intents ferent, we may be sure, from hi of the heart.
usual tone; he begged her not to b Guided of the Lord, she selected a alarmed, and said, “I came here t portion of Scripture, perhaps the rob the house, and if necessary t ninety-first Psalm, or if not this, it | kill you; and I have companion was wome passage which recites the out in the garden ready to obey m watchful care of God over His peo- | call for help. But after hearing th
words you have read and the prayers | bered him before the throne, but nei. you have uttered, no power on earth ther she nor any one else could trace could induce me to hurt you or to him in all his course of sin or sorrow touch a thing in your house. If you through the world. But God fol. had given the slightest alarm or fowed him; the Holy Spirit pursued token of resistance, I had fully de him, and the message of God's termined to murder you, and it was mercy was in his hands, and for the God's good guidance that led you to result we must wait and hope. pursue the course you took. You In the month of April, 1867, an must still remain perfectly quiet, and aged lady, Mrs. Hannah P- , fell not attempt to interfere with me. asleep in Christ in the city of BosI shall now give a signal to my com. ton. It was not my privilege to panions which they will understand, know her personally, though I was and then we will go away and you acquainted with a member of her may sleep in peace; for I give you family, and at his request endeamy solemn word, no one shall harmvoured once to call upon her, but you, and not the smallest thing be- failed to find the place of her resilonging to you shall be disturbed.” dence. She was a native of Eng.
He then went to the window and land, and the daughter of one of the · opened it, and whistled softly, as a | godly Methodist women of olden signal to his comrades to disperse to time. In her old age her memory a distance; and returning to the bed lingered lovingly about the scenes side of the lady, who had neither of her youth, and frequently she spoken nor moved throughout the would relate to the younger members whole, he said, “Now I am going. of her family the tales of her early Lour prayer has been heard, and no English life. disaster will befall you. But I never One time, she said, when she was heard such words before. I must but a little girl, she went with her have the book you read out of;” and mother to attend a meeting of the taking her Bible, willingly enough Bible Society, or some religious sogiven, you may be sure, he bade her ciety in Yorkshire, England. After good night, and disappeared through several noted clergymen and others the open window.
had addressed the meeting, à man Directly all was quiet, and the arose, who stated that he was em. lady composed herself to sleep, up- ployed as one of the book-hawkers held by that faith and grace which of the Society, and told the story of had so signally sustained her in her that midnight scene, as a testimony hour of trial, and awoke in the to the living, saving energy of almorning to give thanks to Him who mighty God, declaring that through had covered her with His feathers, the influence of that Bible and the and preserved her from “the terror prayers of that Christian woman, the by night," and been to her a rock of robber was led to Christ for mercy refuge and a fortress of deliverance and salvation. He paused in his in her hour of need.
narration, and as the assembly, But how fared the robber? He thrilled by his story, waited breathCame for treasure, and he got it. He less for the conclusion, he said, “I sought gold and silver, and gained was that man.” Instantly an elderly the law of God that is better than lady rose from her seat in the midst thousands of silver and gold. He of the congregation, and quietly said, carried that away with him which "It is all quite true; I was the lady,” outweighs all treasures, and shall , and sat down again. outlast the world, the word of God Many years had elapsed since the that liveth and abideth for ever. No lady and robber parted, and she had doubt this praying woman remem. never heard of him before that day..