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His Annie's "bless papa” draws forth the big tears,
And Willie's grave promise falls sweet on his ears.

Strange, strange I'd forgotten.” said he with a sigh,
“How † longed when a child, to have Christmas draw nigh.
I'll atone for my harshness,” he inwardly said,
“By answering their prayers ere I sleep in my bed."
Then he turned to the stairs and softly went down,
Threw off velvet slippers and silk dressing-gown,
Donned hat, coat, and boots, and was out in the street,
A millionaire facing the cold driving sleet.
Nor stopped he until he had bought everything,
From the box full of candy to the tiny gold ring.
Indeed he kept adding so much to his store,
That the various presents outnumbered a score.
Then homeward he turned with his holiday load,
And with Aunt Mary's aid in the nursery 'twas stowed.
Miss dolly was seated beneath a pine tree,
By the side of a table spread out for the tea,
Awork-box well filled in the centre was laid,
And on it a ring, for which Annie had prayed.
A soldier in uniform stood by a sled,
“With bright, shining runners, and all painted red.”
There were balls, dogs, and horses, books pleasing to see,
And birds of all colours were perched in the tree;
While Santa Claus, laughing, stood up in the top,
As if getting ready more presents to drop.
And as the fond father the picture surveyed,
He thought for his trouble he'd amply been paid;
And he said to himself as he brushed off a tear,
“I'm happier to-night than I've been for a year.
I've enjoyed more true pleasure than ever before.
What care I bank stock fall ten per cent more!
Hereafter, I'll make it a rule, I believe,
To have Santa Claus visit us each Christmas eve.”
So thinking he gently extinguished the light,
And tripped down the stairs to retire for the night.
As soon as the beams of the bright morning sun
Put the darkness to flight and the stars one by one,
Four little blue eyes out of sleep opened wide,
And at the same moment the presents espied.
Then out of their beds they sprang with a bound,
And the very gifts prayed for were all of them found.
They laughed and they cried in their innocent glee,
And shouted for “papa” to come quick and see
What presents old Santa Claus brought in the night
(Just the things that they wanted), and left before light.
“And now," added Annie, in voice soft and low,
“You'll believe there's a Santa Claus, papa, I know.”
While dear little Willie climbed up on his knee,
Determined no secret between them should be ;
And told, in soft whispers, how Annie had said
That their dear blessed mamma, so long ago dead,

Used to kneel down and pray by the side of her chair,
And that God up in heaven had answered her prayer !
"Then we dot up and prayed dust as well as we tould,
And Dod answered our prayers; now wasn't he dood ?"
"I should say that He was, if He sent you all these,
And knew just what presents my children would please.
(Well, well, let him think so, the dear little elf,
'Twould be cruel to tell him I did it myself.)”
Blind father! who cause

your stern

eart to relent,
And the hasty words spoken so soon to repent ?
'Twas the Being who made you steal softly upstairs,
And made you His agent to answer their prayers.

PICKINGS FROM MY PORTFOLIO.

No. IX. It is reported in the Bohemian and therefore He hath proportioned story that St. Wenceslaus, their a way and a path to our strengths king, one winter night going to his and capacities, and, like Jacob, has devotions, in a remote church, bare- marched softly and in evenness with footed in the snow and sharpness of the children and the cattle, to enterunequal and pointed ice, his servant tain us by the comforts of His comPodavius, who waited upon his pany, and the influence of a perpetual master's piety, and endeavoured to guide. imitate his affections, began to faint He that gives alms to the poor, through the violence of the snow takes Jesus by the hand; he that and cold, till the king commanded patiently endures injuries and afhim to follow him, and set his feet fronts, helps Him to bear His cross; in the same footsteps which his feet he that comforts his brother in should mark for hin The servant affliction, gives an amiable kiss of did so, and either fancied a cure peace to Jesus; he that bathes his or found one; for he followed his own and his neighbour's sins in prince, helped forward with shame tears of penance and compassion, and zeal to his imitation, and by the washes his Master's feet; we lead forming footsteps for him in the Jesus into the recesses of our heart you will fix your last look upon glory, he replied, “Remember Jesus earth; upon Him your first in hea- Christ 2-dear Jesus Christ! He is ven. When memory is oblivious of all my salvation, and all my desire." all other objects, when all that at- Dr. Guthrie. tracted the natural eye is lost in the midst of death, when the tongue is In the days of King David, the cleaving to the roof of the mouth, Bible was a scanty book; yet he and speech is gone, and sight is loved it well, and found daily wongone, and hearing gone, and the ders in it. Genesis, with its subright hand, lying powerless by our lime narration of how God made the side, has lost its cunning-Jesus! worlds, with its glimpses of patri. then may we remember Thee. If archal piety, and dark disclosures of the shadows of death are to be gigantic sin; Exodus, with its glorithrown in deepest darkness o'er the ous marchings through that great valley, when we are passing along it wilderness, its thrilling memorials to glory, may it be ours to die like of Jehovah's outstretched arm, and that saint, beside whose bed wife the volume of the written law; and children once stood, weeping Leviticus, through whose flickering over the wreck of faded faculties, vistas David's eye discovered the and a blank, departed memory.

by holy meditations; and we enter manner does the into His heart when we express Him blessed Jesus ; for, since our way is in our actions, for so the apostle troublesome, obscure, full of objec- says, “He that is in Christ walks tion and danger, apt to be mistaken as He also walked.” But thus the and to affright our industry, He actions of our life relate to Him by commands us to mark His footsteps,

way of worship and religion; but to tread where His feet have stood; the use is admirable and effectual, and not only invites us forward by when our actions refer to Him as to the argument of His example, but

our copy, and we transcribe the He hath trodden down much of the original to the life.—Jeremy Taylor. difficulty, and made the way easier and fit for our feet. For He knows IF you know the love of Christ, our infirmities, and Himself bath His is the latest name you will desire felt their experience in all things to utter; His is the latest thought but in the neighbourhood of sin ;

you will desire to form

upon Him

snow
In the same

shadows of better things to come; One had asked him, “Father, do Numbers, with its natural history you remember me?” and received of the heart of man; and Deuter10 answer; and another, and an- onomy, with its vindication of the other, but still no answer. And ways of God; Joshua and Judges, then, all making way for the vener- with their chapters of providence, able companion of a long and loving their stirring incidents and peacefal pilgrimage—the tender partner of episodes; the memoirs of Job, so many a past joy and sorrow-his fraught with spiritual experience; wife draws near.

She bends over and the domestio annals of Ruth, him, and, as her tears fall thick which told to her grandson such a upon his face, she cries, “Do you tale of Divine foreknowledge, and not remember me?" A stare, but love, and care, all converging on

vacant. There is no soul in himself, or rather on David's Son those filmy eyes, and the seal of and David's Lord, — these were death lies upon those lips. The David's Bible; and, brethren, whatsun is down, and life's brief twi- ever wealth you have, remember light is darkening fast into a star- that David desired his Bible beyond less night. At this moment, one, all his riches. So thankful was calm enough to remember how the he for such a priceless possession, love of Christ's spouse is “strong that he praised God for its righteous as death”-a love that many “wa- judgments seven

times a day. ters cannot quench”-stooped to But you have got an ampler Bible his ear, and said, “Do you remem- -a Bible with Psalms and Prober Jesus Christ ”. The word was phets in it-a Bible with Gospels no sooner uttered than it seemed to and Epistles. How do you love that recall the spirit, hovering for a mo- law? How often have you found ment, ere it took wing for heaven. yourself clasping it to your bosom Touched, as by an electric influence, as the man of your counsel ? How the heart beats once more to the often have your eyes glistened over name of Jesus; the features, fixed a brightening page as one who had in death, relax; the countenance, found great spoil? How often have dark in death, lights up like the you dwelt on its precious promises, last gleam of day, and, with a smile, till they evolved a sweetness which in which the soul passed away to made you marvel ?

How many

times have you praised the Lord for the clearness of its light, the sanctity of its truth, and the sureness of its immortality P-Dr. J. Hamilton.

HOME! To be at home is the wish of the seaman on stormy seas and lonely watch. Home is the wish of the soldier, and tender visions mingle with the troubled dreams of trench and tented field. Where the palm-tree waves its graceful plumes, and birds of jewelled lustre flash and flicker among gorgeous flowers, the exile sits staring upon vacancy; a far-away home lies upon his heart; and borne upon the wings of fancy, over intervening seas and lands, he has swept away to home, and hears the lark singing above his father's fields, and sees his fair-haired boybrother, with light foot and childhood's glee, chasing the butterfly by his native stream. And in his best hours, home, his own sinless home, a home with his father above that starry sky, will be the wish of every Christian man.

He looks around him; the world is full of suffering; he is distressed by its sorrows, and vexed with its sins. He looks with

he finds much in his own corruptions to grieve for. In the language of a heart repelled, grieved, vexed, he often turns his eye upwards, saying, “I would not live here always; no, not for all the gold of the world's mines; not for all the pearls of her seas; not for all the pleasures of her flashy, frothy cup; not for all the crowns of her king: doms, would I live here always." Like a bird about to migrate to those sunny lands where no winter sheds her snows, or strips the grove, or binds the dancing streams, he will often in spirit be pluming his wing for the hour of his flight to glory.-Dr. Guthrie.

in him;

have upon

come. We cannot tell how He makes evil the minister of good; how He combines physical and moral agencies of different kinds and orders in the production of blessings. We cannot so much as conjecture what bearings the system of redemption, in every part of its process, may

the relations of the universe; not even what may be all the connections of Providence in the occurrences of this moment, or of the last. “Such knowledge is too wonderful for us: it is high, we cannot attain it." Our Sovereign's

way is in the sea, and His path in the deep waters: and His footsteps are not known.' When, therefore, we are surrounded with difficulty; when we cannot unriddle His conduct in particular dispensations, we must remember that He is God; that we are to walk by faith, and to trust Him as implicitly when we are in “the valley of the shadow of death,” as when His “candle shines upon our heads.” We must remember that it is not for us to be admitted into the cabinet of the King of kings; that creatures constituted as we are could not sustain the view of his unveiled agency; that it would confound, an scatter, and annihilate our little intellects. As often, then, as He retires from our observation, blending goodness with majesty, let us lay our hands upon our mouths, and worship. This stateliness of our King can afford us no just ground of uncasiness.- Rev. John Mason.

EARTHLY suffering seems to come either as a vengeance or as a calamity upon men. It is always a surprise until they have been long wonted to it. But the heavenly side, as disclosed in the apocalyptic vision, shows that suffering comes neither as

a vengeance nor as a calamity, in the ordinary course of nature. For although we may understand the liberty of God to employ suffering either as a vengeance or a calamity, yet such an employ

THERE are secrets in our Lord's procedure which He will not explain to us in this life, and which may not, perhaps, be explained in the life to

ment of it is special, and suffering believers, it is so still. At even is intercalated upon the course of -when the bright world is shaded nature, and is part and parcel of a —when the flowers have closed their universal experience. Storms may cups—when the song of birds has be most destroying, overflowing the ceased, and the sun of your earthly lands, tearing up foundations, sweep- bliss has gone down in the western ing away bridges, and submerging sky-then it is the lamp of prayer harvests; but their doing this is the is kindled in the soul's temple. exception. The fall of rain is a part Yes; just when other lamps that of the economy of mercy. It is not have lighted your pilgrimage pathfor destruction, but for benefit. And

way are quenched in darkness, so sufferings may, at times, in the

prayer lights its lone lamp in the bands of God, be vengeful; but heart's deserted sanctuary. It was ordinarily they are not. They are amid the darkness of the night, at part of God's design for the educa- the brook Jabbok, that Jacob wresttion of men in this world, and may led of old with the angel and prebe called pangs of birth into higher vailed. It is in the soul's dark and states. For suffering is intended to lonely and solitary seasons still that make us let go of things that are the church's moral and spiritual lower, and rise a grade higher. The wrestlers are crowned with victory, earthly seeming, and the heavenly and as princes, "have power with reality, if you could contrast them, God."

Macduff. are in wonderful opposition. Here it seems as if God were angry; but Good deeds are very fruitful; for in heaven as if He were dealing in out of one good action of ours God mercy. Here it seems as if great produces a thousand, the harvest disaster had overwhelmed us; but whereof is perpetual. Even the there as if the breaking of the cloud faithful actions of the old patri. over us was but the closing of the archs, the constant sufferings of waters of a bath from which we ancient martyrs, live still, and do shall emerge purer, cleaner, and good to all successions of ages by more manly.-.-H. W. Beecher.

their example. For public actions

of virtue, besides that they are preIt is in the season of trial and sently comfortable to the doer, are sorrow Jesus lends most lovingly also exemplary to others; and as His ear to hear His people's voice. they are more beneficial to others It is “songs in the night” He most are more crowned in us.

If good delights to listen to. It is prayers, deeds were utterly barren and inif we may so speak, saturated with commodious, I would seek after them tears, He loves best to put into His for the consciousness of their own

It was the express Divine goodness; how much more shall I injunction, regarding the daily in- now be encouraged to perform them cense-offering in the temple-service, for that they are so profitable to that on lighting of the lamps "at myself and others, and to myself in eyen," Aaron was to burn sweet in- others.-Hall. cense on the golden altar. Afflicted

censer.

NEWS OF THE CHURCHES. THE foundation-stone of a new and which has hitherto met in Baptist College has been laid in Chamber Hall, Bury. Manchester, for the society of which the Rev. H. Dowson is the president, The Baptist chapel at Widcombe,

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