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Then I saw how much better was a We are not perfect, by any means, living love than a dead theory, and but the old maid's children’ of the lesson which your sweet, happy last summer have gone. In their home-life seemed to teach me was places you will find a pair of noisy, this: let your children see that you loving little rogues, whose greeting love them, and don't make moun- will not be wanting in cordiality, tains out of molehills. I thought I however sadly it may be in grace. studied the lesson faithfully while Come and see these happy little with you, but even now it is not rogues, and their happier mother, thoroughly learned. Still, I no
· LESBIA GRAFTON.” longer envy you your kisses, for my children love me. Come and see “ Lesbia has found her heart,"
We are pining for your visit. said my grandmother.
BY THE REV. W. ABBOTT.
“Fellow-citizens with the saints.”—Ephes. ii. 19. The grace of God by Jesus Christ gives the chief distinction to man here and hereafter. Many of the Ephesians were the subjects of this grace. They are here reminded of the spiritual changes it had produced among them, the privileges they participated, and the prospects it opened to them. Out of the fulness of his heart the apostle wrote to them, as a partaker with them of the same grace, and as expecting the same glory. No one was better capable of appreciating this subject than the writer. By this grace he was saved ; and this grace he had witnessed saving others. It was a truth which he ever felt interested in thinking, speaking, and writing about, and thanking God for. And can we join him in this ? Can we, too, say, “ By grace we are saved, through faith in Jesus Christ;" “ By the grace of God we are what we are ” ?
The Apostle here congratulates the Ephesians on their citizenship. Cities have chartered immunities. Privileges are thereby secured to the citizens. The saints, as citizens, excel in their choice and permanent privileges. The covenant of grace is their charter, and relates both to earth and heaven; to the supplies of grace needed while on their pilgrimage, and to the portion reserved for them in the city of glory. It is the new covenant-the Gospel covenant, founded upon better promises, ratified by the Mediator's blood, having an amplitude of blessing, and giving the best possible security. Our great Father's love originated it, while the Redeemer works out the purposes of that love, and the Holy Spirit of adoption witnesses to the truth and grace of it.
These citizens are saints. As such they are of a peculiar class, differing from all other men ; they are “a peculiar people," the holy ones of God, the devotees of Christ, the sanctified of the Spirit. Holiness is a living and therefore a growing principle. It is a spiritual
affection of the heart, a habit of the life. It shows itself in spiritual ideas, tastes, affections, and hopes. Special grace, and not creature merit, makes the saint. Men make saints by dressing them up in their creature doings ; God makes saints by renewing them in the spirit of their minds. His grace makes the heart right, and so also the life. The one leads to the other; the new heart makes the new
“If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.” A sinner and a saint are two different men. A sinner is not a saint, yet a saint is a sinner; for saints are not free from sin, though they desire to be. Sin and holiness both exist in the saint, and make the strange warfare. This will be the case till death; then the saint will cease to be a sinner, but never cease to be a saint. He is a saint now, striving against sin ; he will be a saint then, triumphing over sin. He is a saint now, spotted with sin ; he will be a saint then, shining in holiness. He is a saint now, weeping over sin ; he will be a saint then, with all his sins washed, and all his tears wiped away.
These saintly citizens are in fellowship. They are in fellowship with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit of fellowship is with them and in them. Union with Christ is the cause of their union with each other; and union with each other is essential to fellowship. Union with Christ is by faith,
" That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith.” By faith we come to Him, and also abide in Him. United believers are said to form the “ household of faith.” “One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one hope of our calling, and one God and Father of us all."
It is a fellowship requiring and promoting spiritual affections. They are quickened
to spiritual life; the love of God is shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Spirit ; and also the love of Christ constrains them. "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.”. This exercise of love is essential to the comfort, joy, and usefulness of their fellowship.
“ Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds is like to that above.” Heaven is the home of these saintly citizens. They are freeborn of that glorious city. Elect, redeemed, regenerated, their names written in the Lamb's book of life, and so eligible to all the privileges of that city. It is a city of light. 6. The inheritance of the saints in light." Light is an emblem of beauty and blessedness, and is often applied to the heavenly state. It indicates both its holiness and happiness. And of this city it is said, “ For the glory of God lightens it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.” It is a city of
is peculiar to heaven. On earth they enjoy peace with God through faith in the Saviour. In this sweet peace they live and die as the earnest of its blissful consummation in heaven. It is a city of freedom. A freedom enjoyed by all the “ransomed of the Lord. Of freedom from every evil; of the free enjoyment of every good. Free
dom from the power, guilt, and grief of sin. Sin is pardoned, sorrows cease, and free and full joy is realised. It is the “ glorious freedom of the children of God." It is acity of joy and rejoicing. Here, as saved sinners, they had joy and peace in believing; here the streams of joy relieved and refreshed them; but in heaven they come to the fountain, the “fulness of joy.” Everlasting joy is their portion. It is a city of friendship. The Prince is the friend of all the citizens, and they are all friends of each other on account of His friendship. There old friends and new friends meet and rejoice together. All the citizens are friends, and will ever be friends. It is a city of life. There sickness, pain, sorrow, and death are never known; but there life-healthy, active, happy life-life eternal in all its rich blessings, is realised by all the citizens. It is a city of praise, sacred, social, ceaseless praise.
" There shall my passions all be love,
And all my powers be praise." Blunham.
STARTING AFRESH. " I've come again, aunt Sophy,” | would certainly give me a lift tosaid Alice Maynard, as she sauntered wards goodness.” into the room where a grave, elderly “My blessing, dear cliild! why, woman sat at her sewing. Mrs. you have that all the time!” May was " Aunt Sophy” to every
“But I want something in parbody in the neighbourhood. Her ticular to-day; it is a solemn sort great, motherly heart held a larger of day to me, in spite of all the parcel of young folks' confidences presents, and the kisses, and the than any woman in town. The good wishes. There's always any visitor helped herself to a chair by amount of advice to young people, her kind friend's side with the air but I don't see exactly how it is. of assured welcome.
to get me prepared for the future, “Of course you've come again, the solemn duties of life, as the Allie."
preachers and writers are wont to “And with a special request of say. you this time, aunt Sophy. This “Do you want me to tell you is my birthday. I'm twenty years what is the very best preparation old to day.”
for the duties of to-morrow, near or "Twenty years! Oh, how the far ? " time does go!"
“Oh, yes, aunt Sophy, do!” “ It doesn't seem as old as it did “Well, it is simply to do promptly four years ago. I feel just as young and faithfully the duties of to-day.
But life has a different If I could inspire you with that one aspect, after all. I don't feel so idea, Alice, it would be a rich careless. I want to be, aunt Sophy blessing to your birthday.” -oh, I want to be a good woman, “I thought, aunty, you would a better woman than I ever used to offer a great, strong prayer for me, think of. And so I've come to talk and God would hear it, and I should with you about it; maybe you can be blessed.” say something good to help me; “And so I will, dear, ask for you and I want your blessing. That in earnest prayer a very great bless
ing. It shall be this: that you afraid that woman would label you may have the disposition to be dili- with her terrible "shiftlens. gent, to be punctual, to be thorough Alice began to cry. “Oh, aunt in everything that belongs to you Sophy, do show a little mercy! to do. And then you must your- Why, you are as bad as my mother self answer my prayer for blessing when she gets out of patience !" by becoming diligent and punctual “Cry away, child; you know I and thorough every day. A birth- mean only love by talking so. Such day is a good time to turn over a tears are what Mrs. Browning new leaf, and get a new blessing. would call salt and bitter and Praying and doing, you know, must good.' I'm sorry for your mother, go together. God wouldn't mind and sorry for you, and so I deliver much about our prayers for pre- my blessing to you, even as the paration and for special blessing, if Lord sent you here to receive it.” we didn't rouse ourselves up to “It's all right, I know, aunt grasp the blessing with our own Sophy, and true, and I ought to hand. Praying that does not take thank you, I suppose. But I didn't hold of doing is either hypocritical think of being blessed in this way, or sentimental; neither the one nor by confronting my faults.” the other makes a woman much “You thought I would say some better.”
loving, tender words, and pray for “I'm afraid my duties don't some spiritual blessing; and then amount to much, aunt Sophy.” you would feel so sweet and happy,
" Then, dear, I suspect it's be- and in some mysterious, spiritual cause you don't take hold of them way you would be made better by rightly. Let's see; you get up in it. You would go home and be the morning, of course. I wonder if very nice and kind to everybody it's always promptly, so that nobody for a little while, and you woulă is hindered or tried with your tardi- do some things extra, that it hapness? And if you go at once about pened to please you to do; and the care of your room, or the break- then when the transient impresfast, or the children, no matter what, sion had worn off you would be anything you have to do ? "
just as before.
But you may be "O aunty, mother has been tell- sure that is not the way God gives ing of me, I know she has.” blessing. His blessing for birth
“No, indeed; you've been report-days is a new inspiration that ing yourself to me, little by little, doesn't die out through the year. these two years. And so I am It holds on day after day until anmaster of my opportunity to offer other anniversary comes round, and a very great blessing. I've been to then it starts afresh. His blessing your home, too, a good many times. is vigorous self-discipline; it is What was that you were saying the putting one's hand right into the other day about your sewing getting duty-no matter what it is that behindhand, and especially about belongs to the moment, and comthe hooks and buttons that tore off pelling oneself to be thorough in so much, as if they were never pro- it. His blessing is hard work for perly sewed on? It seems to me other people as well as for oneself. you confessed, too, to reading more His blessing is being patient with novels than anything else, and to slack and disagreeable folks, while forgetting, for lack of review, the you are prompt and well-behaved science and the history it cost so yourself. A new resolution in much to learn at school. On the God's strength to begin at once and whole, if you were to sit to Miss be this, and do this, is God's blessOphelia for a daily picture, I'm sing on your twentieth birthday.
This is what makes a woman good, felt for a long time that I must turn better, best.”
over this new leaf, and I need-you Alice was crying heartily by this know I am so slack and carelesstime, and tears were dropping on all you can ask God for, to keep me aunt Sophy's folded work.
to the resolution. Ask Him for His “Now let's go aside, dear, and inspiration, His strength. lay the case before your Father and It was a precious season to both : mine."
to Alice it was the golden opporThey knelt down together, the tunity to begin a new year by a regrey-haired matron tenderly clasp- newed life. This twentieth birthing the youthful hand.
day has but just passed. We shall “ Shall I ask Him for this bless-see in another twelve months what ing, darling, this that can come comes of a true resolve in a sacred only by your own earnest persistent hour. will in everyday doing and every · Again and again in our lives day prayer ?”
God takes us by the hand,' as the Šlowly and carefully Alice replied: old Moravian hymn sings, and says, “ Yes, aunt Sophy, even this; I've Start afresh!
VISIONS AND VOICES FROM THE HOUSE OF
BY THE REV. R. H. ROBERTS, B.A. ' • Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.”
Psa, cxix. 54. II. True religion is a present joyous appropriation. Unsatisfaction does not mean gloom or bitterness. This is the mistake into which many good people fall. They have fancied that in order to be good it is necessary to be ugly; that in order to be sober it is necessary to be sombre; that in order to walk as those who are dead in Christ and raised to be citizens of the world to come they must go about in graveclothes; that in order to live as pilgrims do, it is necessary to hang the harp upon the willow, and sitting down, clothed with sackcloth and covered with ashes, refuse to sing even the Lord's song in a strange land. It is worth noting that the festivals appointed by God for the Jews were arranged only during summer, spring, and autumn, and that not one was held during the winter. But some Christians seem to be keeping their festival only during the winter, and therefore they appear to suffer from perpetual cold, and to have an everlasting croak in the voice; they talk only in an awful whisper, and if ever they do attempt a hymn your nerves are in a jangle for days after.
You will tell me, perhaps, of what John Bunyan says concerning the pilgrims Christian and Faithful in Vanity Fair. I mind it well enough, and undoubtedly there are times when the fight is very stiff and stern, so stiff and so stern that you cannot afford to smile. But let me ask you to remember what the glorious Dreamer, in nothing more powerful than in this