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In this our first love consisted. It was a new life,-new feeling,and a new spirit given to us. It led us to love God supremely and our Lord Jesus Christ. It led us to love all men who in any measure reflected the character of God, and to love all men as they were the creatures of God, and to compassionate the ungodly and perishing world around us, and to use all means within our limited powers to bless them and save them. And, oh! how sweet and profitable was the season to us, when we enjoyed our first love.
II. But, again, what is it to have left our first love? « Thou hast left thy first love."
This needs but little proof. A conscious sense of shame and guilt tells us what this is. Many a known duty, which used to be looked upon as a high privilege and source of delight, has not been attended to, or attended to with cold and indifferent feelings ; prayer, both in the closet and in the prayer-meeting, the word of God as food for the soul, the ordinances of the Church as delightful means of grace, have each and all lost their former relish and sweetness. While these things do not satisfy the soul, neither does the world, toward which we incline, satisfy it. We are like one cast out in the frost of night, cold and shivering, having no comfort ourselves, neither seeking to comfort others. Our first works go with our first love. We become careless and sluggish over the salvation of our fellow-men.
We may retain much of the outward form of religion, like the Church of Ephesus, but the power and spirit has become weak and feeble. We may retain many
excellent marks of godliness, which we never think of losing, and may never lose, but the first sweet lively interest in these things is gone.
We have left our first love, and we are indeed the losers of peace and joy which would otherwise abound toward us, and of gracious strength by which we would be profitable to our fellow-men. Alas! we have fallen, when we left our first love.
" Where is the blessedness I knew
When first I saw the Lord ?
Of Jesus and His word ?
How sweet their memory still !
The world can never fill." III. Now, observe, lastly, the necessity of recovering our first love, and how we may do so.
1. The necessity lies here. The glory of our Lord Jesus Christ and our own salvation.
If we ever have had the love of God poured into our hearts, it has been by the Holy Spirit's power. It was the Saviour reflecting His image, and He thereby set us up as lights in the world; but we have not trimmed our lamps, nor sought a continued supply of oil to keep them bright and burning. What a dishonour to Him whom we profess
to love and serve! We were His workmanship—to do His will and work on earth; but we have left the work He has assigned us, and allowed our spiritual powers to go to waste. What a dishonour is this we cast upon our Saviour and our God! Well may He say to us, "I have this against thee, thou has left thy first love. Remember, therefore, from whence thou art fallen, and repent and do thy first works, or else I will come upon thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place except thou repent."
Our own salvation is at stake. He only who endures to the end shall be saved. We, if ever we enter heaven, must possess, or regain if lost, our first love. If we have life, that life leads us to preserve it; and if we live as Christians we shall most surely seek more and more of that which will preserve us as Christians. It is the surest and the only true evidence that we are real followers of Jesus,-that we ever were sincere believers, that we now love Him with all our heart, and soul, and strength, and mind—with a first love. This is the right way, moreover, to make our calling and election sure.
2. But how may we recover this first love? Thanks be unto God, it is possible. Jesus, when He rebukes, it is in love; when He chastens, it is for our profit. He did not merely reprove the Church of Ephesus, but likewise counselled and instructed them in great compassion and tenderness. He tells the Church and He tells us how we may recover our lost spiritual energies. He says, Repent and do thy first works. Renewed repentance and faith will again restore our captivity. This at first awakened our love. Repentance towards God and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ. This also the Gospel demands, and this will again restore our lost love. Our first works are repentance and faith. Jesus said to the Jews of His day, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.” Let us, my guilty backsliding brethren, come afresh to the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness. Let us in deep and true penitence of heart come again to the cross of Jesus, and look on Him whom we have pierced by our sins and backslidings. Let us look until our eyes flow with tears and our hearts overflow with love. Let us realise this glorious truth in our hearts, “ He loved me, and He gave Himself for me," and once more let us give ourselves entirely to Christ Jesus.
o The dearest idol I have known,
Whate'er that idol be,
And worship only Thee."
THE BROKEN SAW.
FOR THE BOYS.
A BOY went to live with a man who "Did he tell Mr. Jones about the was accounted a hard master. He
?" asked Sam. never kept his boys: they ran away No," said the boy, "he was or gave notice they meant to leave: afraid; Mr. Jones has got such a so he was half his time without and temper." in search of a boy. The work was “ I think he'd better have owned not very hard-opening and sweep- it at once,” said Sam. ing out the shop, chopping wood, “I
suspect you'll find it better to Ảt last Sam Fisher wants toonde preach than to practise," said the
boy; “I'd run away before I'd tell with him,
him ; and he soon turned on his * Sam's a good boy,” said his heels, and left poor Sam alone with mother.
the broken saw. “I should like to see a boy now- The poor boy did not feel very a-days that has a spark of goodness comfortable or happy. He shut up in him,”. growled the new master. the woodhouse, walked out into the
It is always bad to begin with a garden, and then went up into his man who has no confidence in you; little chamber under the eaves. He because, do your best, you are likely wished he could tell Mrs. Jones; but to have little credit for it. However, she wasn't sociable, and he had Sam thought he would try; the rather not. “O my God," said wages were good, and his mother Sam, falling on his knees, “help me wanted him to go. Sam had been to do the thing that is right." there but three days, before, in saw- I do not know what time it was, ing a cross-grained stick of wood, but when Mr. Jones came into the he broke the saw. He was a little house, the boy heard him. He got frightened. He knew he was care- up, crept down stairs, and met Mr. ful, and knew he was a pretty good Jones in the kitchen. sawyer, too, for a boy of his age; “ Sir,” said Sam, “I broke your nevertheless, the saw broke in his saw, and I thought I'd come and hands.
tell you before you saw it in the “ And Mr. Jones will thrash you morning." for it,” said another boy who was in Mr. Jones said, “I should think the woodhouse with him.
morning soon enough to tell of your “Why, of course, I didn't mean carelessness.' it, and accidents will happen to the Because, said Sam, “I was best of folks,” said Sam, looking with afraid if I put it off, I might be a very sorrowful air on the broken tempted to tell a lie about it. I'm
sorry I broke it; but I tried to be “Mr. Jones never makes allow- careful.” ances,” said the other boy; "I never Mr. Jones looked at the boy from saw anything like him. That Bill
head to foot; then stretching out his might have stayed, only that he hand, "There, Sam,” he said heartily, jumped into a hen's nest and broke "give me your hand. Shake hands; her eggs. He daren't tell of it; but I'll trust you, Sam. That's right: Mr. Jones kept suspecting and sus- that's right. Go to bed, boy. Never pecting, and laid everything out of fear. I'm glad the saw broke; it the way to Bill, whether Bill was to shows the mettle's in you. Go to blame or not, till Bill could'nt stand bed.” it, and wouldn't."
Mr. Jones was fairly wou. Never
were better friends after that than Sam and he. Sam thinks justice had not been done Mr. Jones. If the boys had treated him honestly ind "above-board,” he would have been a good man to live with. It
was their conduct which soured and made him suspicious. I do not know how this is; I only know that Sam Fisher finds in Mr. Jones a kind and faithful master.
YEDDIE; OR, THE FIRST AND LAST COMMUNION.* . [A POOR idiot, who was supported by his parish in the Highlands of Scotland, passed his time in wandering from house to house. He was silent and peaceable, and won the pity of all kind hearts. He had little power to converse with his fellow-men, but seemed often in loving communion with Him who, while He is the High and Holy One, condescends to men of low estate. Yeddie, as he was called, was in the habit of whispering and muttering to himself as he trudged along the highway, or performed the simple tasks which any neighbour felt at liberty to demand of him. The boys, while they were never cruel to him, often got a little fun out of his odd ways. He believed every word they said to him; and because he had been told in sport that if he once rode over the hills to kirk in a donkey-cart, he would never be heir to the Earl of GlenAllen, he refused all the kind offers of farmers and cottagers, and replied always in the same words : “Na, na ; ill luck falls on me the day I mount a cart; so I'll ayo gang on my ain feet up to the courts of the Lord's house, and be talking to Himsel' as I gang."
Once, when a merry boy heard him pleading earnestly with some unseen one, he asked, "What ghost or goblin are you begging favours of now, Yeddie ?” “ Neither the one nor the tither, laddie,” he replied. “I was just having a few words wi' Him that neitber persel
' nor I can see, and yet wi' Him that sees the baith o'us ?” The poor fellow was talking to God, while the careless wise ones laughingly said, “ He is talking to himself."
One day Yeddie presented himself in his coarse frock and his hob-nailed shoes before the minister, and making a bow, much like that of a wooden toy when pulled by a string, he said, “ Please, minister, let poor Yeddie eat supper on the coming day wi' the Lord Jesus.”
The good man was preparing for the observance of the Lord's Supper, which came quarterly in that thinly-settled region, and was celebrated by several Churches together; so that the concourse of people made it necessary to hold the services in the open air.
He was too busy to be disturbed by the simple youth, and so strove to put him off as gently as possible. But Yeddie pleaded, Oh, minister, if ye but kenned how I love Him, ye wud let me go where He's to sit at table !" This so touched his heart that permission was given for Yeddie to take his seat with the rest. And although he had many miles to trudge over hill and moor, he was on the ground long before those who lived near and drove good horses.
As the service proceeded, tears flowed freely from the eyes of the poor “ innocent," and at the name of Jesus he would shake his head mournfully and whisper, “ But I dinna see Him." At length, however, after partaking of the hallowed elements, he raised his head, wiped away the traces of his tears, and, looking in the minister's face, nodded and smiled. Then he covered his face with his hands and buried it between his knees, and remained in that posture till the parting blessing was given, and the people began to scatter. He then rose, and with a face lighted with joy, and yet marked with solemnity, he followed the rest. One after another from his own parish spoke to him, but he made no reply until pressed
* The narrative part of the above appeared in The CHURCH some years since, though we believe in a different form. Our readers will not be sorry to read it again, for the sake of Mr. Balfern's beautiful poem, to which it is an introduction.-Ed.
by some of the boys. Then he said, “ Ah, lads, dinna bid Yeddie talk to-day! He's seen the face o' the Lord Jesus among His ain ones. He got a smile fro' His eye and & word fro’ His tongue ; and he's afeared to speak lest he lose memory o't; for it's but a bad memory he has at the best. Ah ! lads, lads, I ha' seen Him this day that I never seed before. I ha' seen wi' these dull eyes yon lovely Man. Dinna ye speak, but just leave poor Yeddie to His company."
The boys looked on in wonder, and one whispered to another. " Sure he's na longer daft! The senses ha' come into his head, and he looks and speaks like a wise one.
When Yeddie reached the poor cot he called “home,” he dared not speak to the “granny" who sheltered him, lest he might, as he said, “ lose the bonny face." He left his “porritch and treacle" untasted; and after smiling on and patting the faded cheek of the old woman, to show her that he was not out of humour, he climbed the ladder to the poor loft where his pallet of straw was, to get another look and another word “fro' yon lovely Man.” And his voice was heard below, in low tones: “Ay, Lord, it's just poor me that has been sae long seeking Ye; and now we'll bide together and never part more! Oh, ay! but this is a bonny loft, all goold and precious stones. The hall o' the castle is a poor place to my loft this bonny night!” And then his voice grew softer and softer till it died away.
Granny sat over the smouldering peat below, with her elbows on her knees, relating in loud whispers to a neighbouring crone the stories of the boys who had preceded Yeddie from the service, and also his own strange words and appearance. " And besides all this,” she said in a hoarse whisper, “ he refused to taste his supper—a thing he had never done before, since the parish paid his keeping. More than that, he often ate his own portion and mine too, and then cried for more; such a fearful appetite he had ! But to-night, when he cam' in faint wi' the long road he had come, he cried, 'Na meat for me, granny; I ha' had a feast which I will feel within me while I live; I supped with the Lord Jesus, and noo I must e'en gang up to the loft and sleep with Him.""
“Noo, Molly," replied granny's guest, “ does na’ that remind ye o' the words o' our Lord Himsel' when He telld them that bid Him eat, 'I ha' meat to eat that ye know not of'? Who'll dare to say that the blessed hand that fed the multitude when they were seated upon the grass, has na' been this day feeding the hungry soul o' poor Yeddie as he sat at His table? Ah, Molly, we little know what humble work He will stoop to do for his ain puir ones who cry day and night to Him! We canna tell noo but this daft laddie will be greater in the kingdom of heaven than the Earl himsel'— puir body —that looks very little noo as if he'd be able to crowd in at the pearly gate!"
“ And oh, Janet, if ye could ha' seen the face of yon puir lad as he cam' into the cot! It just shone like the light, and at first, even afore he spoke a word, I thocht he was carrying a candle in his hand! I believe in my soul, good neebor, that Yeddie was in great company to-day, and that the same shining was on him as was on Moses and Elias when they talked with Jesus on the Mount. I een hope he brocht the blessing home wi' him to 'bide on the widow that was too auld and feeble to walk to the table, but who has borne with bim, and toiled patiently for him because he was one of the Lord's little and feeble ones.”
“Oo, aye, doubtless he did bring home the blessing, and that ye'll get the reward o' these many cups o' cold water ye've given him ; for what's the few pence or shillings the parish grants ye, compared wi' the mother's care ye give bim ?” said Janet.
Aweel, aweel,” replied granny, “ if I get the reward, it'll not be because I wrought for that. I seemed ne’r to ken, syne the day I took the daft and orphanted lad, that I was minding, and feeding, and clothing one of these little ones,' and I ken it better to-night than ever. I ha' strange new feelings mysel' too, neebor, and I minded o' the hour when our blessed Master came and stood among His faithful ones, the door being shut, and said 'Peace unto you. Surely this strange heavenly calm can no' be of earth, and who shall say that Himsel' is not here beside us twa, come to this poor place more for the daft lad's sake than oor ain ?"
And thus these lowly women talked of Him whom their souls loved, their hearts burning within them as they talked.
When the morrow's sun arose, granny," unwilling to disturb the weary Yeddie, left her poor pillow to perform his humble tasks. She brought peat from the stack, and water