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prayer: “To-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise,” is the royal answe of him who heareth prayer. Nor should we miss the sublimity of th Redeemer's familiar reference to that invisible world, which is so utterli dark a region to our understanding, nor lose the comfort of the glimps he here gives of it to the eye of faith. His words describe and certif our Heaven. Never mind where Paradise is—it is where Christ is, tha is enough. This saying of Him who hath the keys of death and the in visible world, is our glorious pledge that they who have fallen asleep ii Christ are not perished ; that they are not spending the centuries in: dreary, blank unconsciousness; but now, “to-day,” are “ with him wher he is.” Reading these words in faith, we, too, " are confident and willin rather to be absent from the body that we may be present with th Lord.”
It is certainly no matter for wonder that so much has been said anı written about the case of the penitent thief, that it has passed into household word of encouragement and warning in sermons and religiou books. But it may well surprise us that scarcely a sermon is eve preached, or more than a passing sentence written, about the malefacto who remained impenitent, whose case is hardly less full of interest and in struction than that of the other. He too, as well as his comrade in crim and punishment, was brought into immediate contact with the crucifiei Redeemer; to him also that contact was the crisis of his destiny. And, alas he is only too true a type in many respects of a class which is found in n scanty numbers wherever the Gospel is proclaimed.
We shudder at the awful illustration which his conduct affords of th malignity of sin, and the desperate hardness to which, by its influence human hearts may be brought. For that is the right way to put it. Thi man, manifesting towards the dying Saviour a bitter enmity, which fellow suffering and death could not soften or quench, is no solitary monster 0 iniquity, a wretch whose like has never appeared nor will appear upon th earth again. He was only what any man may become by the unrestrictei indulgence of selfishness, sensuality, avarice, or frivolity. It is a shallot and fruitless way of dealing with some terrible specimen of sin, to wonde at it and execrate it, but forget its personal lesson. His was the wiser a well as the humbler course, who was wont to cry, as he saw the culpri going to the gallows, “ There goes John Bradford, but for the grace God."
We may learn from this fearful instance of impenitence, how litt power affliction possesses, in itself, to soften or change the heart. God discipline is a mighty instrument for the training of his children ; an sometimes, though less often, I believe, than is sometimes thought, he use it as the means of conversion. But then the result is, not from any mag virtue in the sorrow, but from the power of the Spirit who applies it. C itself, sorrow is as likely to harden the heart as to soften it. In view this signal instance of a heart remaining hard, if not growing harde under affliction, let us be warned, and warn others, of the too comma superstition which ascribes renewing and sanctifying power to sorrow, an
of the subtle self-righteousness which reckons the sufferings of earth as a sort of credit account, to be balanced and compensated by the joys of heaven.
Here is one who perished in very sight of the Cross. Of how little avail, then, as means of salvation, must be all symbols of that great atoning sacrifice. If the Cross, as an outward object, could not save, what can the crucifix do? Alas! that there should be need, crying need, in this day and this land of ours, to utter loud the warning thus conveyed; to sound in the ears of men that no water sprinkled by priestly hands can make the infant on whose .brow it falls “a member of Christ, a child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven;" that no plunging, of our own will, beneath the wave can cleanse the heart; that no emblems of the Saviour's death, not even those which he himself enjoined, can convey him in spiritual participation to the soul, or give the dying sinner a passport to immortal bliss. Woe to him who believes the lie! “He feedeth on ashes ; a deceived heart hath turned hiin aside, so that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, 'Is there not a lie in my right hand ?'” And tenfold woe to those who teach the lie, or connive at its teaching ! “They have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, crying, Peace, peace, when there is no peace.”
Other solemn and momentous lessons might be gathered from this case of impenitence at the Cross, were there room to set them forth. It proclaims the solemn personality of all that affects salvation and destiny. These two men had, in all likelihood, been fellows in crime, perhaps tempters of each other; yet now the repentance of one cannot secure the salvation of the other. It bids us think, with trembling, how near a man may come to salvation and yet be lost. There will be no perdition so terrible as that of those who here were “not far from the kingdom of God," addressed by the appeals of the Cross, witnesses of the salvation of others, and yet remained unsaved.
And then, from the whole narrative, there comes the old lesson of warning against presumption, and encouragement against despair. There are very few late repentances recorded in Scripture; there are very few found in actual life. The end of the impenitent thief is the natural—the likely close of a life of trifling and unbelief.. And the penitent, whatever he Tras, was not one who had heard the Gospel again and again and rejected it. As far as we know, this was the first time he had been brought face to lace with Jesus ; and, at once, he believes. Procrastination was never $$ happy in its excuse than when it found one in the salvation of this
But if this narrative thus gives no license to presumption, it leaves no excuse for unbelief, no apology for despair. Unworthiness can be no bar to salvation, for where was ever sinner more unworthy than this ļ It can dever be too late for the penitent to hope for acceptance, for here is one accepted and saved in the very agony of death. Difficulties as to how to believe need hinder no one, after a specimen of faith so simple and so suc
cessful as this.
"O, Saviour, I have nought to plead,
In earth beneath, or heaven above,
And thy excdeeing love." That plea avails. There needs no other. None ever has urged it--none ever will urge it—in vain !
In the low-roofed turf cottage of a . He was for awhile forced to walk Scottish farmer, the only chimney of behind the old plough, that only which was a barrel protruding through scratched the surface of the earth: the ridge, a boy first saw the light, but often, after a whole morning's who was destined by his father to till toil, it was found that he had been the farm which had yielded oats and all the time retracing the first furpotatoes for two centuries, under the row. He was given over as inhands of his thrifty ancestors.
competent for a plough-boy, and The carts and ploughs were of the regarded but one step higher than rudest kind, such as might have a « fule." been used immediately after the Next the gude farmer, “ sorely curse was pronounced on the earth ashamed of his shiftless lad afore his for man's sin, and he forced to earn industrious neighbours," set him to his bread by the 'sweat of his brow. watching the sheep, saying that Hard work supplied, as far as possi- "ony fule wi' a sheep's brains in ble, the place of science in farming. his head could keep the gentle crea
Without regard to symmetry or tures from rolling over the bank into order, one strip of land was devoted the burn." to oats, an irregular patch to pota But even here young Kenneth toes, and then a ragged piece to proved unfaithful. At the close of cabbages; these surrounded by and the first day several of the sheer interspersed with heaps of rubbish. were found with broken limbs and In the rear of all this, and around necks at the bottom of the burn, and the farm, stretched vast unbroken the rest rioting in the winter's grain moors, the picture of desolation, while the reckless boy was in the
And this was the place to which bed of a deep ravine, constructing an ambitious boy was to be bound water mills and pumps out of hemfor life, because his forefathers had | lock twigs, with which to raise the been so before him. He was to drag water from some puddle he had à cart without wheels and a basket extemporised for the experiment on rollers home from the harvest At other times he would be missing field, with puny, half-starved oxen. altogether, and the sheep woul
Young Kenneth rebelled against have their own way while he lay a his lot, till he disgraced himself as full length in the sand near a mea "a child of the covenant,” and mill a mile off, watching the play o brought down the censure of the the wheel in the water. minister on him, as a son that would At length the worthy old farme bring down the grey hairs of his declared "he could mak' naething a father with sorrow to the grave, a' o' the laddie; that although h
seemed as fu' witted as ony ither lad As soon as his apprenticeship was wi the book and the thought, still over he left the region where he was when it com' to the practical, he was born, and for years he was heard of just an idiot.”
only perchance by some fellowKenneth's mother, however, could townsman meeting him in great not give up her darling for lost, poverty. and insisted that there was “ that But by-and-by the world heard within him that wad mak' a man that “a certain ingenious Scotch
man, a very scientific man, had When at last he rose in unkirklike invented a compass, which was to rebellion against parental authority, mark a new era in navigation.” It and declared he would do anything was on every tongue. Prince William they bid him abroad in the world, Henry, afterwards William IV., was but that he would not be a farmer, at the time commanding a man-ofthe mortified father took him to the war, and he tried the young Scotchneighbouring town and apprenticed man's compass. He was charmed him to a cabinet-maker, who very with it; and the lad who trod the soon grew sick of his bargain. The clay floor of the poor thatched cottage boy spoiled everything he attempted, with the barrel chimney, was apand at last got the nickname of pointed “compass maker to his "Spull the wood,” (spoil the wood,) Majesty ;" and Catherine, Czarina of and made as sad hayoc among the Russia, heard of the wonderful intools and materials as he did among ventor, and felt that she must have the sheep and the grain.
some of the results of his genius, and But the day came at last. A ship she sent him an order for a philohad come in needing some little re sophical apparatus for a college being pairs, which any man who could erected in St. Petersburg: handle a hammer could make. So He was ready for the royal order, our poor workman was dispatched and equal to its fulfilment. Money on the business. When on board he began to pour in upon him, and he spied a compass, the first he had ever became master of a fine house, and been. He leaned over it in wrapt was honoured and respected by the delight for hours, and suffered the very men who, when boys, used to repairs to take care of themselves. call him “ Spull the wood” and He forgot what he had been sent "Mak' na bread," in scorn, for, and returned home without All at once his old father found out his tools, and with his head full of that “Kenny had iver been a woncompasses.
derfu' lad; and although he did lot a Provoked with his heedlessness, few worthless sheep brak' their necks the honest cabinet-maker tried to by falling o'er the edge of the rapine, throw him back as a bad bargain on
after them dovouring the winter's bis father's hand; but the old man corn, ,wha could expect a gen’us to was too shrewd for him ; he would be looking after a poor shepherd's not take the burden till forced to do so by the expiration of the time men
And the minister, too, remembered tioned in the indentures.
how he used to balance one pin on But their abuse of him and their another, and whittle out wee anchors quarrels about him were scarcely during the last half of the two hours' ard by Kenneth ; he thought only | sermon. He forgot, however, how
ships, compasses, and mechanics he used to threaten to inform upon in general, and he whistled at the him at home, or report him to the ce of friends and the scorn of elders for “a maist unsanctified lad;"
and now declared that “although his
conduct was certainly disorderly for, and he might have saved him years a lad fortunate enough to be born in of toil and poverty, during which he the Kirk o' Scotland, he had na doubt was hourly stung by the mean sneers it was the genius cropping out of him, and the sarcasms of those who were instead of total depravity, as he then afterwards proud to boast that they thought.”
know him when a boy. His native town grew proud of him, Young Kenneth's case illustrates and every man in it remembered the wrong often done by parents to some word or act worth repeating of their children. The idea that you the boy who they once declared “wad can make just what you please of a never earn a red herring.”
boy is a mistaken one. A lad who There was one who had always possesses talent for trade will not be smiled on his waterwheels, and ex likely to be skilful at the plough, nor cused his carelessness when the dead yet will the one whom God has sheep were found; one who had called designed for a farmer guide safely the him tenderly her ain dear bonnie ship of state. How many boys are laddie, and who would never suffer dragged by force through college, and any one to call him a fool unrebuked. the irksome studies of a learned proThat was his mother. He was always fession, simply because their parents a hero and a genius in her loving can afford to pay their bills, when, eyes; and although she was rejoiced, perhaps, they had quickness and taste she would never admit that she was for some mechanical or mercantile surprised, at his good fortune. pursuit, in which they would have
Now, had the honest Scotch farmer proved a blessing to the world! discerned the boy's talents, he might Parents should study the natural have saved himself all the trouble preferences of their children in these and the mortification he had in his | matters, and be guided by them in unsuccessful efforts to convert him the selection of a suitable business or into & ploughman or a shepherd; 'profession.
REMARKABLE INCIDENTS FROM LONDON POOR LIFE,
BY THE REV. G. W. M'CREE.
II.--HOW THE POOR WERE FED. A London winter is a dismal time-- a time of privation and sorrow, a time of fog and falls, slush and slop, poverty and pauperism, disease, discontent, and death. It brings hunger into thousands of wretched homes, and makes the poor endure manifold woes. The grim misery of a severe winter in London is simply indescribable. Work ceases; want reigns. Need I say more ?
I have sad memories of a stormy winter. Down came the snow! The parks and roads were hard as iron! The heavens were low and dark, and the nights bleak and deadly with icy winds! Policemen died on their beats ! Old people perished on their way home! Hungry workmen fainted in the wide streets! Scores of poor people expired in fireless rooms, and none know of their need in time to comfort them. Groans and curses, sighs and prayers, meek patience and fierce ravings, were found