morning when she came along. But | bushes from under the fast melting she saw the Indian's hut, and did snow, and made a hotter fire to cook not stop to reply. She had put on the feast. And they did feast, and her winter coat of white, yet the In then went away. dian had seen her in spite of all her The Pine-tree had found out its care. He followed her over the snow mission. It had helped to save three with his net, and caught her among lives. the drifts.

In the summer there came along Poor Pine-tree! She was almost a band of explorers, and one, the his only friend; and when he saw botanist of the party, stopped beher eaten, and her skin taken for the side our Pine-tree. " This,” said child's mantle, he was very sorrow he, in his big words, “is the Pinus ful, you may be sure. He saw that monophyllus, otherwise known as the if the Indians stayed there he too Bread - pine.” He looked at the would have to die, for they would deserted hut, and passed his hand in time burn off all his branches and over his forehead. “How strange use all his cones; but he was doing it is !” said he; "this Pine-tree good at last, and he was content. must have kept a whole family from

Day after day passed by-some cold and starvation last winter. bleak, some warm-and the winter There are very few of us who have moved slowly along. The Indians done as much good as that." And only went from their hut to the Pine when he went away he waved his tree now. He gave them fire and hand to the tree, and thanked God in food, and snow was their drink. He his heart that it grew there. And was smaller than before, for many the Bread- pine waved his branches branches were gone, but he was bap in return, and said to himself, as he pier than ever.

gazed after the departing band, “I One day the sun came out more will never complain again, for I have warmly, and it seemed as if spring found out what a pleasant thing it is was near. The Indian man broke a to do good, and I know now that hole in the ice, and got more fish. every one in his lifetime can do a The Indian woman caught a rabbit. | little of it.” The Indian child gathered sage

THE RIVER OF LIFE. * Waters to swim in ; a river that could not be passed over." Ezekiel xlvii. 5.

In the South of France, there is a river which is formed by two smaller rivers, whose waters meet and flow in the same channel to the sea. Those who have seen this large river tell us that its appearance is very remarkable, for the two streams, which unite to make its current, join, but do not mix. The stream of the Saone, flowing on the right bank, is dark and muddy, while the waters of the Rhone, on the left, are clear and pure. There is a hymn, well known to Sunday scholars, which says :

"As flows the rapid river,

With channel broad and free,
Ito waters rippling ever,

And hastening to the sea,
So life is onward flowing "

Let us look for a little while at the great River of Life, and at those who are voyaging down its waters, and see if we cannot learn some lessons to interest us and to do us good.

The divisions of the subject are these : I. The Two Streams; II. The Truthful Lamp; and III, The End of the River.

I. As we look at the River of Life we can see plainly two streams in it, like those in the French river. There is clear water on one sido and dark water on the other. In life there are two classes, between which are divided those who live, and in one or other of which you and I, reader, must be, viz., those who love God, and those who havo never yet begun to love him. The dark water in the River of Life is God's anger against sin; the clear water is God's love to his people.

We notice, as we gaze at the two streams, that those who are passing down the dark water are bearing burdens on their backs, heavy burdens that grow heavier the further they are borne. Those are the burdens of unforgiven sin, which is a fearful weight. The voyagers in the clear water aru not without their burdens, also ; they have God's commands to keep, but the yoke is easy and the burden is light.

The two streams are much alike in some respects. In both, the water is very rough at times, and, in both, there are rocks and eddies, waves and surges. These are the trials and sorrows which come to all of us, and which there is no escaping.

Was there always dark water in the River of Life ? Oh, no! God created man holy, and in his own image. Then what has darkened it ? The answer is simple, sin; it is sin that has defiled it. Did sin defile the whole river ? Yes, the whole. How comes it there is clear water now? The history of the cleansing of the water is "& strange and wondrous story.” Once, a mighty Sufferer passed down that river. How He suffered none of us can tell. He was dashed against the rocks ; He was buffeted by the billows; and the waves of God's anger went over his head. Yet, in his great mercy, He bore it all, and He conquered ; yes, He conquered, though He was bruised and bleeding. The blood that flowed from that sufferer's wounds cleansed the stream wbich is now 80 clear. “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin."

Strange sights and sounds are seen and heard in this River of Life. In one part there is indifference to duty among the voyagers, in the other persecution is raging. Here, in the one stream, a professed Christian seems to care only for himself; there, from the very midst of the dark stream, comes the piercing cry of the heathen, “ Come over and help us. O bring us to the clear water." These are stirring thoughts, reader, to quicken us to do what we can in our day and generation.

We see with interest that nearly all those in the clear water, and many of those in the dark stream, are carrying lamps. Some keep these lamps wide open, and the light shines brightly. The lanterns of others are almost closed, and we can scarcely see the light at all. There is no doubt What this lamp is. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto by path." The Bible is our best guide, and one that we sorely need, for the River of Life is surrounded by mists and shadows. We cannot see before us; we can see a little on each side, and, by the aid of a strange, soft light, called Memory, we can see for some distance behind. Let us remember that God's word is our guide for life, as well as to eternity; that it teaches us how to live here on earth, and we shall better appreciate its value as a Truthful Lamp.

II. A lamp that is thoroughly trustworthy is essential to those who pass down the waters of Life, for on either bank of the river are trees, and fruits, and flowers within reach, to pluck and gather. We think we see clearly what these are, but, unless we use the truthful lamp, which at once reveals each object as it really is, we make great mistakes.

On the bank of the river, for instance, grow two flowers, one red and the other crimson. Both are gaudy flowers, with straight, smooth stems, and we admire as we look at them. Surely they will be handsome ornaments to wear, and we can easily pluck them. Stop a minute before touching, and throw the light of the Truthful Lamp upon them. What a change ! The flowers are no longer as we thought them. The red flower has turned a livid green; the crimson flower is red, but its redness is the redness of blood. On the right side of each smooth stalk is revealed a stout, sharp thorn, sure to pierce the hand of the gatherer. The name of the red flower, that turns to green, is Envy; the blood-red flower is Revenge. Beware, reader, when you are filled with envy of some one who has what you have not, or who is free from something by which you are troubled, the thorn of Discontent is wounding you. If you are forgetting that God says, “Vengeance is mine," and are possessed with a longing for Revenge, wbich you are sometimes told is a fine and manly feeling, the thorn of Malice will fester in your flesh.

On the shore of life's river are trees bearing fruits of all sorts and shapes. We may notice two fruits which are often plucked by the young, and which hang near to each other, fair to look upon and apparently pleasing to the taste. We try the Truthful Lamp, and, in its searching rays, one side of each fruit melts away, and shows us that inside, beneath the fair exterior, is rottenness with bitter ashes. One fruit concerns our behaviour to our fathers and mothers, it is called Disobedience ; the other relates to brothers and sisters, playmates and companions—it is Unkind. ness. We all know the temptation in the time of youth to break, to wantonly break, the commandment, “Honour thy father and mother," and the disposition to take delight in tyrannising over those who are younger and weaker Tasting the fruit is sweet until the bitter ashes are reached. The results of acts of disobedience and unkindness are bitter indeed when remorse seizes us. There are two lines of a certain poem that seem to have been prompted by a broken heart. A girl weeping over her mother's grave, cries :

"Oh, if she would but come again,

I think I'd treat her 80 no more.” My young reader, do not let such be your experience. If your father is taken from you, and you remember how often you vexed him; if your

mother is no more, and you know that she used to be sad and sorry to think her child treated her so badly; if brother or sister or companion is removed by death, and you recollect they seemed sorry when you met them and glad when you went away, for you were were so unkind; or if a little baby brother is gone never to return, and your remembrance of him is that you always pushed him from you, that you refused the affection of his little loving heart, and turned his laughter into tears, bitter indeed will be the taste of the ashes that are hid in the deceitful fruit.

On the river bank lies a staff or stick, seemingly strong and useful, with a curious knob at one end which serves for a handle. We are often inclined to grasp this stick and make use of it in our voyage, especially in pushing off from some rock that impedes us. But take care; try the Truthful Lamp, and we start back in horror. There is no stick there, but a serpent, cold and stiff. The curious handle is the serpent's head; its mouth is open, its white teeth are gleaming, with the forked tongue between them, and the faugs charged with poison are ready to be fixed in the hand that touches. Once a man grasped that stick to save himself from a sharp rock called Danger, and he cursed and swore and said, “I know not the man.” Jesus looked at him, and he felt the serpent's teeth fixed in his hand and the poison entering his veins, and “ Peter went out and wept bitterly.”

Are all things by the River of Life bad? Oh no! Look at that small heap of withered leaves, looking utterly valueless to us, and try the Truthful Lamp. You will see that, instead of being a heap of leaves, it is a little cloak of feathers, wonderfully made, which you can wrap round your shoulder and which will enable you to bear many a buffet from the waves. The name of that cloak is Patience. Let the Truthful Lamp shine on that straggling creeper, or weed, that trails by the water side, and you will discover that it is a silken cord, soft but so strong that it will stretch to any distance without breaking, and those, however many they may be, who hold by it can keep near together in the voyage of life. It is the wondrous cord of Love..

You wish to try the effect of the Lamp on the two streams ? The clear water will endure the test. Pure as crystal, the strong light only more fully shows its clearness. The charms of true religion are developed when it is examined by the light of the Bible, The Truthful Lamp penetrates the dark water and sin is shown in all its hidoousness. Foul and muddy, the dark waters have à reddish gleam that is terrible to behold, and, here and there, on the surface are floating little tufts of living fire. Those who persist in sin come in contact with these points of flame, and there is a start and a shudder, known only too well, which we call the pricks and alarms of conscience. It is our own fault if we disregard the warnings and neglect the wonderful powers of the Truthful Lamp, which, in this land, we may all possess in the Holy Bible.

Is there no end to the River of Life ? Does it flow round and round in a circle for ever? No, reader. One day, I cannot tell when, you and I will reach the end of the River.

III. Do koth strcams, clear and dark, end together and alike ?

The dark water flows on and on, until it crosses a narrow sea, and suddenly, without a moment's pause, plunges down a dreadful gulf, carrying with it all those who die in their sins to dwell in misery with the devil and his angels. And the clear water-is it also lost ? The clear water flotes on through the narrow sea (which is also sometimes called a “river") until those in the pure stream reach the other side, and then

“There's a beautiful land on high,

WŁere we never shall say "good-bye.'
When over the river, we are happy for ever,

In that beautiful land on high!” In which stream are you, reader? God knows, and you yourself know whether you love him or not. Do not satisfy the voice of conscience by saying that “some day” you will think of these things, for there is danger in delay. Of all the sounds in that dreadful gulf where the dark waters go, one of the saddest is the mournful echo of the words, “Too late! too late!” Then come to God through Jesus Christ, at once in his own appointed way, and your future life will be happier, in spite of whatever trials and sorrows may come upon you, until you reach that Home where there is everlasting happiness, without any sorrow or pain. What a joyful thought to close with-to think that all who are in the clear water of God's forgiving love can look forward with joy and hope to a bright future. Now we are in the midst of the waters, and the surges of Life's River are rolling around 118; then we shall meet beyond the river, where the surges have ceased to roll. London,


“0, when wilt Thou come unto me?”—Psalm ci: 2.

Come to me, Lord, when first I wake-
As the faint lights of morning break;
Bid purest thoughts within me rise,
Like crystal dewdrops in the skies.
Come to me in the sultry noon-
Or earth's low communings will soon
Of Thy dear face eclipse the light,
And change my fairest day to night.
Come to me in the evening shade
And if my heart from Thee bave strayed,
0. bring it back, and from afar.
Smile on me like Thine evening star.
Come to me in the midnight hour
When sleep withholds her balmy power;
Let my lone spirit find its rest,
Like John, upon my Saviour's breast.
Come to me through life's varied way-
And when its pulsos cease to play,
Then, Saviour! bid me come to Thee,
That where thou art Thy child may be,

« 上一页继续 »