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we get through anyhow, in a decent way, without all that romantic nonsense.” My good friend, the very tone of your answer shows that you have become soured and hopeless through want of that very sunshine of which we now speak. If you had welcomed Christ as your best friend at an early period of your life, you would have very different feelings
You would feel that there is no end to the brightness and serenity with which He is able to fill the humblest home, and cheer the roughest lot of humanity.
One other benefit we must notice which Christianity brings pre-eminently to the working classes, -I mean the spirit of hope. Notwithstanding all its present benefits, the Gospel reserves its chief glories for hereafter. What Jesus did at the marriage-feast at Cana of Galilee he does still; he keeps the good wine to the last. There is no class or condition of real Christians whose hearts this great truth is not fitted to cheer, but it has a special adaptation to those wnose lot in life is but poorly furnished. As often as the heart is disposed to be downcast from present hardship or want, hope may be summoned with its reviving cordials. It is often dejecting even to think of the hardness of a poor man's lot. So much toil, day after day, month after month, year after year. Toil through the cold and
gloomy winter. Toil through all the mocking brightness of summer. Toil while the blossoms are bursting in spring, and toil while the clusters hang rich and mellow in autumn. Toil when the bones are aching, toil when the little ones are ailing, toil when the shadow of death is falling, toil when the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. As Ebenezer Elliott puts it
“ Up, weary man of eighty-five,
And toil in hopeless woe!” It would be a hard lot, it is a hard lot, with the pleasures of hope unknown. So weary a journey and no home at the end, so hard a struggle, and no earthly chance of relief; what could be worse? But Christianity dispels this gloom. It draws the curtain a little to the side, and bids the toil-worn believer look through. The glare of glory is too bright for distinguishing all, but enough is seen to satisfy every craving of the weary heart. It is so satisfying, that the question that starts up is, Can it be real? In the view of such glories, the toil even of threescore years is felt as nothing; and the cry of the spirit is for patience to wait without a murmur, till at length the gates shall be thrown open, and the trumpetvoice be heard,—“Come up hither!" .
We have but touched, in these remarks, on a wide and varied subject--the blessedness of Christianity
to the children of toil. But we believe enough has been said to justify us in repeating our wonder, our profound regret at the fact, that to so large an extent the working classes show distrust and dislike to earnest spiritual religion, as if it were rather a rigid exactor or tax-gatherer whom it is a happiness to get rid of, than the best of friends whom it is their greatest privilege to welcome. They stand most grievously in their own light. The spirit of true Christianity, kindly and genial as it truly is, and should ever appear to be, would render their earthly lot tenfold more blessed, not to speak of the treasures it would secure for eternity, treasures which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the mind of man.
It may be that not a few who read these lines need no more than to have their minds stirred up by way of remembrance. But, working men and women, are there not thousands and tens of thousands of your order who think not of these things ? Must we not try to reach them, and get their hearts, by God's help, filled with these earnest convictions ? When one thinks of the only sunshine that transfigures life, and turns it from a funeral procession to a triumphal march, and when one remembers what masses of the people hate that very sunshine, and deliberately prefer the cold shade of infidelity, or at
least indifference, how agonizing is the thought ! Separate the working masses from Christ, and then Mr. Potter's remark comes true-life is a ceaseless degradation, a daily martyrdom, a funeral procession to the grave. Bring them under Christ's banner, it is the pathway to glory, honour, and immortality.
THE SWEAT OF THE BROW.
“For men must work, and women must weep,
“ FINLAY was away; my friend of the Doocot cave was away; my other companions were all scattered abroad; my mother, after a long widowhood of more than eleven years, had entered into a second marriage; and I found myself standing face to face with a life of labour and restraint. The prospect appeared dreary in the extreme. The necessity of ever toiling from morning to night, and from one week's end to another, and all for a little coarse food and homely raiment, seemed to be a dire one, and fain would I have avoided it. But there was no escape, and so I determined on being a mason."
So writes, in his Schools and Schoolmasters, one of whom working men may well be proud, and at whose feet all men may well sit for many a noble lesson. Many a working man is doubtless familiar with the feeling to which Hugh Miller alludes here, and like