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We may illustrate this principle by two very striking Old Testament incidents, recorded in the Second Book of Kings. The first is 2 Kings iv. 1-7: “Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant, my husband, is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the Lord : and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen. And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? Tell me, what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thine handmaid hath not anything in the house, save a pot of oil. Then he said, Go borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours, even empty vessels ; borrow not a few. And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and shall pour out into all those vessels and thou shalt set aside that which is full. So she went from him, and shut the door upon her and upon her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured out. And it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said unto her son, Bring me yet a vessel. And he said unto her, There is not a vessel more. And the oil stayed.” The woman was told by the prophet to borrow a large number of vessels. She borrowed as many as her faith and earnestness prompted her to borrow, and oil was given in exactly sufficient quantity to fill all the vessels she brought. Had she brought more vessels, she would have had more oil; had she brought less, she would have had less. According to the number of vessels she brought was the amount of oil she received. Thus it is with us. If we in strong faith bring many vessels to God to be filled with the oil of His grace, He will fill them all. If we bring few vessels, He will give no more grace than shall suffice to fill those few. If we bring to Him hearts enlarged by faith, He will fill those hearts with a large blessing. If we bring to Him hearts shrivelled by worldliness and unbelief, He will give us but a small blessing, for that is all that we can contain. “ According to our faith” will it be unto us.
The other incident is narrated in 2 Kings xiii. 14-19. When Elisha was dying the king of Israel came to visit him. The prophet told the king to take the bow and arrows, and to shoot, saying, “The arrow of the Lord's deliverance, and the arrow of deliverance from Syria." He then told him to smite upon the ground with the arrows. “And he smote thrice, and stayed. And the man of God was wroth with him, and said, Thou shouldst have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed it; whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice.” The king had faith in the prophet only to smite thrice upon the ground, therefore he was to gain but three victories; had he smitten oftener he would have gained more victories. So if we go to battle against our spiritual foes in weak faith, expecting just to be saved and nothing more, we shall be saved, “ but so as by fire.” But if we go forth strong in the Lord and in the power of His might, strong in faith, and assured that in God's name we shall be able to overcome all our enemies ; if we say with the apostle, “ We are more than conquerors,” and go forth to the fight in this spirit, then we shall gain mighty victories over our spiritual foes, and eventually “an, abundant entrance shall be ministered unto us into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” According to our faith it will be unto us. “Open thy mouth wide," says God, “and I will fill it."
Only let us remember that this faith, which God thus honours, is not a mere idle, otiose faith, that folds its arms, and then expects the blessing to come. It is an earnest, living faith, that shows its reality by persevering prayer, by following after Christ, by a life of selfdenying love. Men mighty in faith, as Paul and Luther, and, in our own day, Mr. Müller, of Bristol (whose experience is such a striking instance of the truth of these words of our Lord's), have ever þeen men mighty in work for God, men mighty in patient endurance of trial, and patient perseverance under it. To be strong in faith seems the simplest thing in the world-simply to take God at His word, to live a childlike life towards Him—but really, it is the most difficul attainment in the Divine life. It involves the vigorous exercise o every other grace. As our real, living faith is, so will every other grace be. Faith is the gauge of our spiritual state. As is our faith so is our soul; and therefore our Saviour well says, “ According to you faith be it unto you."
“I DID NOT THINK OF THAT!” ONE day, as Mr. Lawson, a merchant | bundle from the shelf, “which tailor, stood in his counting-house, want to-morrow evening at th a poorly-dressed woman entered his latest. If you think you can do shop, and approaching him, asked, very neatly, and have it done in tim with some embarrassment and you may take it.” timidity, if he had any work to give “It shall be done in time," sai out.
the young woman, reaching of “What can you do ?” asked the eagerly for the bundle. tailor, looking rather coldly upon * And remember, I shall expect his yisitor.
made well. If I like your work “I can make pantaloons and will give you more.” vests,” replied the girl.
“I will try to please you," return “ Have you ever worked for a the young girl. merchant tailor?”
The girl turned and went quick “Yes, sir; I have worked for Mr. away. In a hack room, in the thi Wright."
storey of an old house in Cher “ Has he nothing for you to do?”. Street, was the home of the pc
“No, not just now. He has re sewing-girl. As she entered, s gular hands who always get the said in a cheerful voice to her s preference.”
sister, “ Mary, I have got work ; “ Did your work suit him ?" is a vest, and I must have it done “He never found fault with it." to-morrow evening." “ Where do you live?”
“Can you finish it in time “In Cherry Street, at No. —-." inquired the invalid, in a fee
Mr. Lawson stood and mused for voice. a short time. “I have a vest here,” “Oh, yes ; easily." he at length said, taking a small! It proved to be a white Marseill As soon as the invalid sister saw , and customer. In justice you should this, she said, “I am afraid you will I pay me for the vest; but there is no not be able to get it done in time,
hope of that; so take yourself off, Ellen. You are not very quick with and never let me set eyes on you the needle, and besides, you are far again.” from being well."
Ellen made no reply, she turned "Don't fear, Mary dear; I will do round, raised her hand to her fore. all I engaged to do."
head, and, bursting into tears, walked It was after dark the next night slowly away. when Ellen finished the garment. After Ellen had gone, Mr. Lawson She was weary and faint, having returned to the front part of the taken no food since morning. The shop, and, taking up the vest, brought want of everything, and particularly it back to where an elderly man was for her sick sister, made three shil. | sitting, and, holding it toward him, lings, the sum which she expected said, by way of apology for the part to receive for making the garment, he had taken in the little scene, a treasure in her imagination. She “That is a beautiful article for a hurried off with the vest the moment gentleman to wear, isn't it?” The it was finished, saying to her sister, man made no reply; and the tailor, "I will be back as soon as possible, after a pause, added, “I refused to and bring you some cordial, and pay her as a matter of principle. something for our supper and break | She knew she could not make the fast."
garment when she took it away. “Here it is half past eight o'clock She will be more careful how she and the vest is not yet in !" said Mr. tries to impose herself upon tailors Lawson, in a fretful tone. “I had my as a good vest-maker." doubts about the girl when I gave it
“Perhaps," said the elderly gento her. But she looked so poor, and tleman 'in a mild way, “necessity seemed so earnest about the work, drove her to undertake a job that that I was weak enough to entrust required greater skill than she her with the garment.” At this | possessed. She certainly looked moment Ellen came in, and laid the very poor.” vest on the counter, where Mr. Law “It was because she appeared so son was standing. She said nothing, poor and miserable that I was weak neither did he. Taking the vest, he enough to place the vest in her amfolded it in a manner which plainly hands,” replied Mr. Lawson in a less showed him not to be in a very placid severe tone of voice. “But it was frame of mind.
an imposition for her to ask for work "Goodness!” he ejaculated, turn she did not know how to make.” ing over the garment, and looking | “Mr. Lawson,” said the old genat the girl. She shrank back from tleman, who was known as a pious the counter and looked frightened. and good man,“ we should not blame
"Well, this is a pretty job for one with too much severity the person to bring in," said the tailor in an who in extreme want undertakes to excited tone of voice; "a pretty job, perform a piece of work for which indeed!” at the same time tossing | she lacks the skill. The fact that a the vest away from him in angry young girl, like the one who was just contempt, and walking off to another here, is willing, in her extreme part of the shop.
poverty, to labour instead of sinking Ellen remained at the counter. At into vice and idleness, shows her to length he said to her, “You need not possess true virtue and integrity of stand there, miss, thinking I am character ; and that we should be poing to pay you for ruining a job. willing to encourage, even at some
bad enough to lose my material | sacrifice. Work is slack now, as
you are aware, and there is but little doubt that she had been to many places seeking employment before she came to you. It may be that she and others are dependent upon the receipt of the money that was expected to be paid for the making of the vest you hold in your hand. The expression, as she turned away, her lingering steps, her drooping form, and her whole demeanour, had in them a language which told me of all this, and even more."
A change came over the tailor's countenance. “I didn't think of that!” fell in a low tone from his lips.
"I did not think you did, brother Lawson,” said his monitor. “We are all more apt to think of ourselves than of others. The girl promised the vest this evening, and so far as that was concerned she performed her contract. Is the vest made very
Mr. Lawson took up the garment and examined it more closely. “Well, I can't say that it is badly done. But it is dreadfully soiled and rumpled; and it is not as neat a job as it should be, nor at all such as I wished it.”
“ All this is very annoying, of course; but still, we should be willing to make some excuse for the shortcomings of others. The poor girl may have a sick mother or sister to attend to, which constantly interrupted her, and, under such circumstances, you could hardly wonder if the garment should come somewhat soiled from under her hands. All this may be the case : and if so, you could not find it in your heart to speak unkindly to the poor creature, much less turn her away angrily, and without the money she had toiled for so earn
Ellen, on returning home, had entered the room, and, without uttering a word, thrown herself upon the bed by the side of her sick sister, and, burying her face in a pillow, endeavoured to smother the sobs that came up convulsively from her bosom.
Mary asked no questions. She understood the cause of Ellen's agitation. It told her that she had been disappointed in her expectation of receiving the money for the work.
Just at that moment there was a knock at the door, but no voice bade the applicant for admission enter. It was repeated, but it met with no response. Then the latch was lifted the door swung open, and the tailo stepped into the room.
The sound of feet aroused the dis tressed sisters, and Ellen raised herself up, and looked at Mr. Law son with a countenance suffused with tears.
“I felt that I did wrong in speak ing to you in the way that I did, said Mr. Lawson, advancing toward the bed, and holding out to Elle the money she had earned. “Her is the price of the vest. It wa better made than I at first though it was. To-morrow I will send yo more work. Try to cheer up."
Mr. Lawson, finding that his pre sence was embarrassing, withdrew leaving the two sisters so deeply affected that they could but lool at him with thankfulness. Shortl after they received a basket, i which was a supply of nourishin food and a sum of money to procur such articles as might be necessar for the sick sister. Though no one name was sent with it, they wel not in any doubt as to the individu who sent it. Mr. Lawson was nd an unfeeling man; but, like too man other in the world, HE DID NC ALWAYS THINK.
“I didn't think of that!” was mur-, mured in a low, suppressed tone of voice.
THE SPIDER AND THE HYPOCRITE.
BY THE REV. W. C. JONES. “Whose trust shall be a spider's web.”—Job viii. 14. To cross the ocean whilst dreaming in your bed, to journey round the world whilst dozing in your chair, to play the hero by your own fireside, is to perform feats not more easy than amusing. The Icarian wings of fancy seldom melt, her wand seldom fails, her colours seldom fade. Before realities, indeed, her grand creations soon collapse, her baseless visions quickly disappear. In physics, in morals, in religion, reality has no respect for those who have no regard for truth and fact. The storm will toss the prince as rudely as the peasant; the billows will drown Cæsars just as soon as cattle ; earthquakes will tumble down churches as readily as chapels. Abused nature, undeterred by rank, plies her scourge on all the votaries of sin.
Reality does not in moral matters seem to many so honest and severe. Fancy and imagining hold here a completer sway. Men propose to sip the sensual sweet and decline the sensual bitter. Their bees shall all have honey, but none stings; their serpents beauty, but none fangs. They will steal the golden apples and blind the guardian dragon ; pluck the forbidden fruit and still remain in paradise. They will hold back the ugly cause from its uglier effect, strip sin of its consequence, and rob Christ of His rod of iron.
In religion, reality might seem to reign without a rival, for here is no dreamland for fancy, but the field of revelation for the activities of mind and heart. Here forms of faith are fixed unalterably as forms of animal life; here is no theatre for actors, but battle for Christian soldiers ; here are not idle spectators to amuse, but a Holy God to please. Yet some run blindly in the traces of custom ; their chief dread the priestly whip; their chief law the priestly reins. Some make religion their mirror, in which they see themselves the end of their whole devotion. Some overact their part in the temple, the more easily to overreach their brethren in the market. Some forge the name of God to the cheque of a sanctified deportment, and present it for golden profits at the bank of Christian confidence. These are the hypocrites who hope that Satan will not put useful friends to shame ; who trust that God will not expose them this side the grave; but their hope shall be cut off; “their trust is as a spider's web," which, while very beautiful as to its structure, is equally fragile as to its texture, and, though adequate to the builder's purposes, yet, being self-spun, self-built, is destined to be swept away.
et Beautiful as to its structure. Admirable is the fairy architecture of the spider's web. Its filaments, fine as sunbeams in the haze, issuing m radial lines from a central ring through many growing ones to the outermost circumference, are made secure to branch and spray from all the winds that blow. This tracery of insect-art on hawthorn or holly Tence, seen before the sun grows hot, strung with beads of dew, asks