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or spontaneously. If a band of men spring upon a lonely traveller, demanding his life or his money, he may think it advisable to hand over his purse, to save them the trouble of taking it from him; but under such circumstances, he would hardly deserve the name of giver, and certainly could not be styled a cheerful giver. Nay, it is more than probable that, if opportunity were afterwards afforded him, he would compel them to restore that which they had thus gotten from him. And although what is contributed to God's cause may not be so evidently taken by force as that illustration supposes, we believe it is because they are compelled to do so, that some persons professedly give to that cause. Perhaps the person who pleads with them on God's behalf is as importunate as was the widow woman mentioned in the Gospel, and to get rid of him, those with whom he pleads give him something about as graciously as the unjust judge acceded to the widow's request, when he said within himself, *Though I fear not God, nor regard man; yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me." Or it may be that the fear of being singular causes some to do about as others are doing; while, if they considered their inclinations only, they would act very differently. We would have such consider, that what is given to God's cause must be given cheerfully, or it cannot be accepted by Him. It is not enough to give, or even to give all we have to God's cause; but it must be given by reason of the promptings of our love to Him, or it is of no account in His esteem.
Again, this form of expression seems to imply that we should give without hesitation, or promptly. How many a gift is marred by a want of promptitude ! With reference to our dealings with each other
, this fault is thus rebuked by the wise man, “Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to-morrow I will give, when thou hast it by thee;” and how strikingly is the conduct of some persons portrayed in that passage! But this need not be restricted to our dealings with each other, but especially in God's service should all we give be given readily. We may not stay to show the bearing of this observation upon those who always come late into the house of God
, whose tracts are usually distributed a little behind the proper time, or whose faces are seldom seen in the Sabbath-school until the first hymn has been sung; but we may observe that we shall do well to fancy we constantly hear the voice of our Saviour, saying to 78, “That thou doest, do quickly;? for it is in the very nature of cheerfulness to be quick and active in all its movements. Next, in order to give cheerfully, we must give without stint, or freely. He who gives but little, compared with what he might give, either to God's cause or to any other cause, assuredly cannot be styled a cheerful giver. Plentiful giving is not all that is meant by cheerful giving, but it is certainly included therein.
And this passage also implies that we should give without sorrow, but on the contrary, gladly. Although we should, from a sense of
duty, give all we could to God's service, yet if we felt sorry it was ou duty to give so much, we should not be giving cheerfully ; while on the other hand, though we should not give much because w had not much to give, yet if we gave our little gladly, and wishin it were more, we should be acting according to the spirit of this word What is wanted to cause us to give cheerfully is, that we should lool upon it, as we well might look upon it, as a great privilege to b permitted to bring our offerings to God. If we felt rightly upon thi matter, we should consider whatever we gave to the service of God disposed of in the best possible manner. It is infinite condescension, on His part, to receive anything from us : and it is honour well-nigh infinite conferred upon us, that we should be permitted to give anything to Him. Most gladly, therefore, should we bring our offerings to His footstool, esteeming ourselves most highly honoured when we were enabled to bring the most. Nearly all our shortcomings here may be traced to a want of reflection upon this particular point that, when we are asked to contribute to God's cause, it is not 8 much a fact that a favour is asked from us, as that we are asked to receive a favour. Let us endeavour to keep this always in view, that we may be moved to give, and to give cheerfully, all that we can to the Lord our God.
III. We have now to touch upon our last inquiry, WHY SHOULD WE THUS GIVE TO GOD AND HIS CAUSE ?
Many reasons for this cheerful giving might doubtless be brought forward, upon which it would be out of place to enlarge from this particular passage of God's word. It would be easy, for instance, to show that it is for our own advantage to act in this way; seeing that God never fails to honour those who honour Him, and we never give up anything for His sake without being rewarded a thousandfold for the sacrifice. But it is more to our purpose to observe the perfectly sufficient reason for cheerful giving to God and His cause, brought forward in the words," God loveth a cheerful giver.”
It should always be our desire to do that which is well-pleasing to God. The will of God concerning us should be the rule of our lives; and whatever in us would be lovely in His sight, it should be our endeavour to cultivate and manifest. And His love will be a perfectly sufficient reward for all that we can do for Him. Only think what an honour is involved in being beloved of God, and you will desire no greater recompense for any labour you may perform, or any suffering you may endure, in His service. But His love will not fail to bring with it substantial proofs of His delight ; hence all that could be desired seems to be included in that one expression," God loveth cheerful giver.” Yes; though it be but a cup of cold water given from a principle of love to Him, God's love will light upon the giver, and be to him in itself, as well as bring with it, eternal blessedness. J
We have left no room for special application, but we entreat the reader to think over what has been adyanced, and apply it to himself
'om henceforth; and giving to God first our best affections and then 1 we have beside, may our whole lives be as one continued act of bedience to the Saviour's command, “Freely ye have received, eely give !" Middleton Cheney, Banbury.
It was a lovely day in autumn; boys stopped, threw themselves he sun shone so brightly, the birds down on the long grass, and began warbled so gaily, and the flowers to arrange their fishing tackle. nodded their heads so encourag: A lovely scene lay around them. ingly to the little breezes, that of all The river was deep down in the the days of the week, the village valley; on the hill behind them lay schoolboys declared, none better the village, with its white cottages ould have been chosen for their dotted among trees and gardens in
picturesque style; on the slope Various were the plans as to how were fields of many hues, and orche afternoon should be spent; and chards laden with ruddy and golden roups of eager little pleasure- fruit. eekers were gathered here and After an hour spent in fruitless here, proposing--some, a walk over endeavours to get a “bite," our little he common to the market-town of friends-whom we will call Tom,
; some, a visit to the corn- Frank, and Charlie-began to think ields
, where the rich, golden grain of varying their occupation with a ay low under the reaper's sickle ; game of “hide-and-seek.” This was thers
, a nutting or blackberry speedily ended by an accidental picking expedition.
blow which Frank gave to Tom, Our little story has to do with and some unkind words ensued. one only of these little groups.
At last Charlie, by way of restoring Standing separate from the others the good-humour of the two, made were three of the younger boys, a proposal, which very quickly leads merry, mischief-making little fel- me on to the saddest part of my lows, whose plan for the day, and story. Charlie was a restless, darmost intense desire, was to take ing boy, whose rash, impetuous walk to the river side, with the spirit often brought him into trouhope of catching little fishes with ble and disgrace. His proposal was, their rough home-made rods. that they should visit the orchard Dispersing then, to reassemble on the opposite bank of the river, after their midday meal, we will there to get some of Farmer Bond's follow them as they bend their steps apples wherewith to regale themto the water's edge. First, we must selves; and, I am sorry to say, his fake our walk right through the persuasions soon induced the others, long street, composed of straggling who were his juniors, to join in the houses, to the lower end of the scheme. village; then, over a rustic style, Ab, boys! never be tempted to do and down through fields of turfy what you know to be wrong; sad, grass and waving corn, to the little indeed, may be the consequences. yoppice, at the foot of which flows
Leaving their rods and wallets he broad, calm river. Here the in a secure place, the boys set off
along the bank to the spot where eyes, but utterly beyond their reach, the river was crossed by a bridge. | for neither could swim. Over this, then down the lane, till “Keep up, Frank; keep up, my they reach a gateway just opposite boy,” shouted Charlie, as, with a where they had been fishing. Climb- heart full of agonizing fears, he ing the gate-now, there they are in jumped into the lane to scream for the orchard. Snatching the fruit help. His cries at last attracted which hung so near them, deyour- the attention of the man whose faning eagerly what they could, and cied pursuit the boys had so much putting more into their pockets, dreaded. they were suddenly surprised by a Leaping over the hedges, as soon shout from a man in the field above as he saw the danger; running,clamthem, who came running towards bering, he soon reached the bank, them.
just in time to see Frank disappear. “ Conscience makes cowards of us Boys! he never came up again all,” you know, boys; so never doubt- alive. Fully a quarter of an hour ing that the man was pursuing them, had elapsed before help arrived, and they scrambled out in too great a by that time he was beyond help. fright to think soberly.
With the aid of another man, who "Here, Tom, here's the quickest was passing, the little corpse was way, across the ford,” cried Õharlie; found, and carried quickly, to a “if we make for the bridge, we shall neighbouring cottage, where it was be caught.”
hot blankets for hours. The river, being shallow in some But all in vain! The spirit had parts, was easily fordable; so in taken its flight; and the body rethey went, jumping from stone to mained stiff and immovable, cold stone, and where this was imprace and white." As the clothes were ticable, wading across.
removed, there fell from the pockets And now, as I write, the whole five apples! For these poor little scene comes so vividly before me, Frank had lost
his life. It appeared that I can scarcely bear to think of afterward that the man whom the it.
boys thought to be chasing them, As I said, the river was shallow had no idea that they were in the in many places, and Tom and Charlie orchard, and was running towards crossed to the other side in safety; the hedge, not to catch them, but to but why did not Frank come ? secure a strayed sheep, which was
“Make haste, Frank," they hidden by the slope from their shouted; "make haste !” but in sight. vain; he did not move, but stood And so my sad story is ended. transfixed in the middle of the You ask, What of Charlie! Poor stream.
boy! he learnt a bitter, bitter lesson For a moment or two they waited, that day,-a lesson which he has doubting why he hesitated; then never forgotten, and which he never Charlie, with a wild cry, sprang will forget. He had presented the into the river, closely followed by temptation, and encouraged the Tom; for Frank seemed to be sink- others; and now he felt as if he ing from their sight.
were the poor drowned boy's mur Poor little Frank! In his eager- derer. ness to escape, he had missed the A few days after, a mournful ford, and had turned aside, where procession passed through the vilhe had waded in deep water; then lage. All the Sunday-school boys had stuck on the soft mud in the Frank's former companionsbed of the river. And now he was walked with the little coffin which sinking,--sinking before their very contained all that was left on earth
their dearly-loved little school
and as it was lowered into le grave, deep sobs broke the olemn silence. Dear boys, learn Charlie's lesson. Beware of leading others into temp
tation; beware of falling into temptation. Pray daily, in the words of the beautiful prayer,-"Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,”—and you will be heard.
PRAYER IN EVERYTHING. LET me relate an incident which came to my knowledge some years go, occurring in the life of a minister's wife who now dwells with the ingels. She told it to me herself when I was a young housekeeper, and perplexed, as both old and young housekeepers are apt to be, on account of her domestics.
“ You will have to apply where I did," said she, after learning my trouble. "Where was that?" I eagerly asked.
Said she, “I had been very seriously tried and annoyed for some time with poor help, and with the difficulty at last of obtaining any at all; and had been compelled to do without. That was seemingly impossible for any length of time, with my large family, my frequent company, and the many calls upon my time and strength for parish work. 1, "One Friday evening, I walked to the usual weekly prayer-meeting alone from choice, and took the time as I went for making that subject one of special prayer. It was, at the moment, my greatest care; and I felt that I must, and that I could, cast it upon Him who careth for 178. I was wholly occupied in this way, till, as I came in sight of the
my thoughts turned to the meeting, and I asked that my mind might be freed from this anxiety during the hour, and thai I might enter into and enjoy its devotions.” She added, that from the moment she took her usual seat, she had
thought of her home-cares, and felt herself rested and refreshed by the exercises of the meeting. At its close, as she stood near the door waiting for her husband to join her, a young girl hesitatingly
approached her, and asked if she was the minister's wife. On being told she was, she said: “Then, ma'am, perhaps you would help me about getting a place, as I'm a stranger." A few questions led to a partial engagement; and the next day she commenced a service in the minister's family, which only ended with the death of my friend--a service singularly faithful, whole-hearted,
was a Scotch girl, already a true Christian ; and she afterwards told to her mistress her side of that evening's experience. She had come
from her country home to find in the city a household where her labour would have a money-value, and had been staying at a friend's house till she feared her welcome was wearing, yet day after day disappointed in her search. Coming in at the close of a weary
and satisfactory *Maggie