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" GOD'S RAVEN."
A LADY who lived on the north sick woman was in bed, and her side of London, set out one day to daughter sat working in a corner of see a poor sick friend living in the room. Drury Lane, and took with her a “I see you are ready for tea," basket provided with tea, butter, and said the lady; "I have brought food. The day was fine and clear something more to place upon the when she started; but as she drew table.” near Islington a thick fog came on With clasped hands the woman and somewhat frightened her, as she breathed a few words of thankswas deaf and feared it might be giving first, and then said, “Oh, Mrs. dangerous in the streets if she could A you are indeed God's raven, not see.
Thicker and darker the sent by Him to bring us food to-day, fog became; they lighted the lamps, for we have not tasted any yet. I and the omnibus went at a walking felt sure He would care for us.” pace. She might have got into “But you have the kettle ready another omnibus and returned; but for tea ?" a strong feeling which she could not “Yes, ma'am," said the daughexplain made her go on. When ter; “ mother would have me set they reached the Strand they could it on the fire; and when I said, see nothing. At last the omnibus · What is the use of doing so ? you stopped, and the conductor guided know we have nothing in the house, her to the footpath. As she was she still would have it, and said, groping her way along the fog My child, God will provide. cleared up just at the entrance to Thirty years He has already proDrury Lane, and even the blue sky vided for me, through all my pain
She now easily found and helplessness, and He will not the narrow court, rang the No. 5 leave me to starve at last : He will bell, and climbed to the fifth story. send us help, though we do not yet She knocked at the door, and a see how.' In this expectation mother little girl opened it.
has been waiting all day, quite sure “How is grandmother ?”
that some one would come and “Come in, Mrs. A "answered | supply our need. But we did not the grandmother. “ How did you think of the possibility of your comget here? We have been in thick ing from such a distance on such a darkness all day.”
day. Indeed, it must be God who The room was exceedingly neat, sent you to us.” and the kettle stood boiling on a “The righteous cry, and the small clear fire. Everything was in Lord heareth and delivereth them perfect order; on the table stood a out of all their troubles.” little tea-tray ready for use. The
FAITHFUL SAYINGS. NOTES ON THE DECLARATIONS SO TERMED IN THE PASTORAL
BY THE REV. H. 0. LEONARD, M.A. In entering on the consideration of the third of these " sayings” we are met by a preliminary difficulty. Shall we find the text in the sentence before or after the emphatic words which declare the "faith
fulness"? Either part of the context might be thought sufficiently important. Following the weight of authority, and especially remembering the character of the quotations before us as "words of wisdom” prompted by the Spirit of truth in the Christian assemblies, we pass by the double promise of godliness and find our “saying” in 1 Tim. iv. 9, 10.
III. - FAITHFUL IS THE SAYING AND WORTHY OF ALL ACCEPTATION, FOR THEREFORE WE BOTH TOIL AND ENDURE REPROACH BECAUSE WE HAVE FIXED OUR HOPE ON THE LIVING GOD, WHO IS THE SAVIOUR OF ALL MEN, SPECIALLY OF THEM THAT BELIEVE."
The former declarations have had to do with the outward gifts of salvation and ministry. Now we are brought into the inner region of Christian experience, while still, as in them all, there is a doctrinal lesson. Here then are set forth the Christian's endurance and the secret of that endurance.
1. The Christian's endurance.—“We toil and endure reproach." It is the utterance of early Christian experience, an experience often repeated in the following ages, the experience of many Christians now, yet not necessarily our experience or that of all believers. The mistake is often made of repeating expressions which burst from brave and suffering hearts in times very different from ours, as though, because we find them in the Bible, they must necessarily suit our case. There is more poetry than truth in the words we sometimes sing :
"No sweeter is the cup,
Nor less our lot of ill;
'Tis tribulation still." Truly the cup and the lot of St. Paul, and of many likeminded with him, differed much from ours. Listen to his description : "In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren, in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.' Such was the Christian life then, and such to some is the Christian
But, it may be asked, is not this the common lot ? Toil and suffering are not peculiar to Christians. " Men must work and women must weep!” It was a busy world then, and it is a busy
Men toil in the pursuits of war, of commerce, of political and social life, and often it is the women who work, and sometimes it is the men who weep. Most of us know what it is to labour and to suffer. But the labours here spoken of are beyond and above the common lot of humanity. They are toils freely taken up, the toils of Christian 'workers and specially (no doubt) the labours of evangelists. It is true that toils, that active self-denying labours, are not peculiar to Christians any more than other labours are. The children of light may learn something here from the children of this
world. What eager energy do men throw into paths of human, and merely human, interest! See the Arctic sailors, with frost-bitten hands and feet, press onwards in the icy wilderness. Mark the "navigators" of another type laying down the rails of the great Pacific railroad at the rate of a mile a day. Watch the fishermen toiling in rowing. Look into the stock-exchange or city-office. Follow the student's eye
Should not the Christian worker also be a toiler ? Not to all believers is this call given. Some have neither strength of mind or body for it. The old woman to whom God said, " Betty, lie still and cough,” and who heard the voice within and obeyed with meek submission was, it may be, nearer to God than those who “subdued kingdoms, stopped the mouths of lions.” Surely it is true of some that,
“ They also serve who only stand and wait,” Yet there are some who have stood and waited too long. Hath no man hired them ? why stand they there all the day idle? A worid in need awaits their message.
But toil is only part of the Christian endurance; “We endure reproach.” All true work is worthy of true honour. It was well said by good George Herbert :
“ If done beneath Thy laws
E'en servile labours shine,
Makes that and the action fine," The world is usually not slow to give its meed of honour to any one who has done anything worthy of the name of work. How fervent the welcome given of late to the returning Arctic voyagers! Their toils seemed light to them when they saw the Hampshire shore alive with English faces and heard the roar of honest English throats. True, the pole had not been discovered, but the work had been true, work and the honour did not lack. In other ways and on all hands the world honours its benefactors, and often those who would be its benefactors if they could. But greater than all benefactions was the work of evangelising the world. And now, after the lapse of ages, the world does honour those who thus sought its highest good. Take the case of St. Paul. Next to the Name that is above every name, perhaps no name stands higher than his even in the d's esteem. But while he lived and toiled what was his reward? Reproach. Five times was he scourged, thrice beaten with rods, once was he stoned, till at last the sword severed from the frail body the head that had grown grey in serving men. “We toil and endure reproach." Nor is such reproach and ill-requital altogether a thing of the past. There are counties, we are told, in which the members of our Churches may not have a farm, villages where a cottage is denied them, markettowns where the humble Nonconformist tradesman must suffer loss if he will be true to his principles. If this is not our lot, if we are
not called to reproach, we are surely called to labour. Herein, too, is the Christian's endurance.
2. We are taught next, the secret of the Christian worker's endurance. “We have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of them that believe.” Here this faithful saying stands connected with the words that come before, describing the double promise of godliness. * The life that is to come! The prospect of that blessed life was the secret. The promise of “the life that now is” was a promise whose fulfilment those toiling and suffering workers "received not." If in this life only they had hope in Christ, they were outwardly of all men most miserable.
For a better hope Moses chose to suffer affliction with the people of God. “He had respect unto the recompense of the reward ; and for this better hope Paul and his fellow-workers endured, as the older heroes of faith had done before them, as seeing Him who is invisible. The anchor of hope was securely fixed within the veil in the holiest place of the Divine presence. Note that this faith in God was nourished by the way in which the Christian toiler and sufferer thought about God. They fixed their hopes in Him as the God of providence and as the God of
grace. " The Living God.” Christianity received this faith as the precious legacy of Judaism. Dead idols were around the ancient people of God, idols that could neither see nor hear nor walk. “ The living God” was their God. Two passages from the ancient Scripture may suffice to show what was further meant by this emphatic expression : “ He is the living God and stedfast for ever (Daniel vi. 26); " He is the living God, and an everlasting king” (Jeremiah x. 10). In contrast with dead idols He was the Eternal-the “ I am.” So in the Christian Scripture the same contrast appears. “ Turn from these vanities,” said Paul to the idolators at Lystra, “ unto the living God.” " Ye turned," wrote the same apostle to the Thessalonians, idols to serve the living and true God.” The Church is described a few verses before this “faithful saying," as " the church of the living God."
In our our own day a false philosophy would bring us back to the ancient paganism. God is said to be “a stream of tendency.” But it was the thought of a living God, an immortal hope in a God nigh at hand, who felt with them and for them, that helped apostles to toil, and nerved martyrs to endure.
“The Saviour of all men.” A yet deeper thought fed the energies of those who, amid fearful discouragements, toiled and suffered in spreading the Gospel. God, they were well assured, was the Saviour of all men.
This alone can adequately sustain the true missionary. There are some Christians who do not believe that God is the Saviour
Their Gospel is not for every creature, but for some creatures. Christ, they think, did not “ taste death for every man," but for some men,
of all men.
Consistently enough, such believers are not the friends of missions.
It is remarkable that the great truth of general redemption is specially insisted on in these latest epistles of the greatest of missionaries. Here it is that we are told that the Gospel is “ worthy of all acceptation,” that Christ“ gave himself a ransom for all,” that God " will have all men to be saved.” It is here that we read of “the kindness and love toward man" of God our Saviour." He who believes in such a Gospel, who hopes in a God who is the "Saviour of all men," may well be content to toil and endure reproach in making it known.
“ Specially of them that believe.” The way of faith is the only way. All comers are welcome, but only comers will be saved. God our Saviour has made with all believers " an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure.” There are times when the Christian worker, rejoicing none the less that he has a message for all, specially rejoices that his message has been received by some, that he has himself received it. At such times he may, without selfishness, turn from the thought of the general ransom, and cry with trembling joy, “ He loved me, and gave himself for me."
Here, then, is the double secret of the Christian's endurance. “ Henceforth there is laid up FOR ME a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me at that day; and NOT TO ME ONLY." “He must reign till he hath put all things under his feet.”
SUNSHINE AND KINDNESS.
FOR THE YOUNG.
rose very early one then ran away, laughing. Oh, morning and said to himself, “I dear !” cried the sun, and caught hope I shall have a fine day, and up a little cloud that was near, and not see any naughty children; for pulled it over his face. Down came if I do I shall have to cover my face the big drops, and two little girls, with a cloud, and I can never help who had started early to pay a visit, crying, and then the people will say, stopped in dismay, for they had no
Oh, how it rains ! what shall we umbrella, and did not like to spoil do ?' and make a great fuss about their pretty new hats. They turned it."
to go back, and saw the white stream He came up higher and higher, running from the waggon. They and the golden rays fell upon old called to old Ben, but could not deaf Ben, the milkman, who was make him hear, because he was so jogging along to town in his cart. deaf. They ran faster and faster, The sun peeped into it, and saw the until they got in front, and at last big can, and thought, “ How the made him understand what was the children will enjoy the fresh new matter. But it did no good to turn milk !". Just then a little boy crept the stopper then, for all the milk up behind and climbed into the was gone, and he could not get any cart, and saying to himself, “ What more. The little girls were sorry fun it will be to set the milk for the poor old man, and told him running,” turned the stopper and to go home with them, and their