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papa. It was our talk last night, Edith, that made me go to him. I could not help remembering how much easier we have always found it to do things together, and I knew that I ought to enter the strait gate if you did. I thought about it until I began to wish to go very much ; and now, since I have been talking to papa about it, I feel quite resolved, for I am sure it is the only way to be truly happy. So, dear sister, let us seek the Saviour at once, and Margery will help us, will you not, dear cousin ? ' said Ellen, imploringly.
Margaret was too much affected to speak. Her cup of happiness was full to overflowing; for since her own decision for Christ, it had been her constant desire and prayer that her cousins might make the same blessed choice. She could only press Ellen's hand in token of her joy. And what did Edith think? She was taken by surprise. She saw her sister outstripping her in the race. There was no feeling of jealousy ; but just as she had questioned her own resolve, she was disposed to question her sister's. Ellen, however, was too intent to be diverted. One object was clearly before her, and she determined to reach it at any cost. Come, dear sister,' she said, in her most earnest manner, 'let us go to Jesus now.' Edith's scruples were silenced; they knelt in the Saviour's presence, and he heard the fervent prayer of his young disciple, and even then spoke to those trembling hearts his own gracious words-Thy sins are forgiven thee; go in peace.' There was a hushing of the tempest, an end to the warfare. Edith looked for her difficulties, thinking to carry them still, but all had vanished. She had, indeed, come at last to Jesus, and she knew it. She felt that she could say, "Whereas I was blind, now I see.' And she arose from that prayer at peace with God-a new creature in Christ Jesus. Ellen, too, had not been passed by unblessed. It was a memorable Sabbath to those two sisters, and they think of it still with heartfelt gratitude.
It was the Christmas week, and on the Tuesday Margaret's papa and mamma were expected. Thursday was Christmas-day, and all were full of busy preparation. The poor had to be visited; warm clothing was ready for distribution; and there were plans for making the children of the school happy; but, in the midst of all the bustle, Edith and Ellen did not neglect what had become their greatest enjoyment-intercourse with Jesus. The happiest time was when the dark hour came, and the three friends could quietly sit by their own favourite fire-side, and talk to each other of their new-found love.
Mr. and Mrs. Thompson noticed the change in their beloved children with deep gratitude, but they waited to express their joy until thcy should be assured that it was indeed the Lord's work. Their friends arrived, and all looked forward to a happy Christmas. Margaret told her parents of Edith's and Ellen's decision, and they rejoiced with her. That evening, when Edith was alone with her sister, she sat so long looking earnestly and silently at her, that Ellen inquired her thoughts. * I was thinking how much I owe you, my precious sister. I am so happy now, and we shall not have dull holidays after all.' Oh no, not now,' answered Ellen, “but you must not say that you owe
it to me, dear. We both owe it to the Saviour who heard our prayer.' A glad household awoke in that happy home on the following morning. Edith and Ellen were early in their mother's dressing-room, waiting to surprise her with their loving wishes ; however Mr. Thompson was before them, and drawing his children to him, he implored for them heavenly blessings. “Dear mamma,' said Edith, “I am so happy now. Ellen helped me to strive, and I trust we have both entered into the strait gate.” “No, no, persisted Ellen, 'I should not have thought of it, if I had not seen you so anxious.' My children, is it not the Saviour we must bless, who has led you both into his fold?' said their mamma, kissing them fondly. They assembled at the breakfast-table with grateful hearts, and tears were in many eyes, when Mr. Thompson gave thanks for the wanderers restored to their father's house; and thank-offerings were not forgotten for the distant villagers. In the evening the cousins were together again. Their faces were bright with happiness. • Dear Edith and Margaret, have we not had a delightful day?' said Ellen. 'I could not have believed that religion was half so pleasant as I find it.' • Nor I, either,' said Edith ; 'I am sure worldly amusements never made me so happy as I have felt today. There is such peace in doing right. How I wish we could persuade others to “strive to enter in." We can say as Solomon did, “Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.”'
My dear young readers, many years have passed away since Margaret, Edith, and Ellen began to try this course. They have had many trials, for we must not suppose the Christian's life a life of ease. I have told you only of their putting on the armour. Some day I should like to tell you how they fought the fight. They are not children now, but they have never repented their choice; for in all their difficulties, they have had a heavenly Friend to guide and help them. Will you not follow their example, and strive to enter in at the strait gate ?
Things Old and Iru.
THE TRUTH OF CHRISTIANITY:
A LESSON FROM DEATH-BED SCENES.
How noble was the spectacle presented in the Mammertine prison at Rome! An apostle, weary, and worn out with toils in his Master's cause, expecting to be led forth to be torn in pieces by the lions, or to be cast into the flames, takes a collected retrospect of all his past career, and expresses no regrets, and enters calmly and joyously on the prospect of his coming doom, and neither flinches nor fears it. Beautiful and quiet, and full of strength, is the closing scene presented here. It is a contrast strong and sharp as contrast can be to scenes,-deathbed scenes,-presented by those who either knew not the Lord of Paul, or had rejected the gospel of Christ. One distinguished for his taste in literature and acquaintance with the world thus closed his sparkling career, in language which sufficiently contrasts with the words of Paul. Lord Chesterfield said, • I have
recently read Solomon with a kind of sympathetic feeling. I have been as wicked and as vain, though not as wise as he; but now I am old enough to feel the truth of his reflection,-"All in the world is vanity and vexation of spirit. Goëthe, the distinguished German philosopher and poet, declared, at the age of eighty-four, as the lights of time went out, and the great lode-stars of eternity were beginning to open out on his vision, that he had scarcely tasted twenty-four hours' solid happiness in the whole course of that protracted
Lord Byron, the great poet, gifted beyond measure in genius, destitute more than many of grace, wrote his experience in his own beautiful but unhappy strains, when he said, upon the verge of the tomb :• Though gay companions o'er the bowl
• Count o'er the joys thine hours have seen, Dispel awhile the sense of ill,
Count o'er thy days from anguish free, Though pleasure fill the maddening soul,
And know, whatever thou hast been,
"Tis something better not to be. *Ay, but to die, and go, alas!
* Nay, for myself, so dark my fate Where all have gone, and all must go,
Through every turn of life hath been, To be the nothing that I was
Man and the world so much I ha'e,
I care not when I quit the scene.' The bitter sarcasm of the poet contrasts indeed with the glorious pæan of the apostle, “I have fought a good fight, am ready to be offered up. There is reserved for me a crown of righteousness.' Voltaire, the French atheist, pronounced the world to be full of wretches, and himself the most wretched of them all. Mirabeau, one of the same school, died-calling, in his last moments, for opium to deaden the terrible forebodings of coming woe. Paine died intoxicated and blaspheming. Hobbes, prepared to take a leap in the dark; and Hume died joking and jesting about the boat of Charon, very much, I suspect, in the way in which school-boys whistle when they walk through a dark and lonely place, just to keep their spirits up, and their terrors dova; but Paul, of far different character, breaks forth, as he departs, in the euthanasia indicated in the text, 'I have fought a good fight.'
Why should there be this contrast? Was Paul a fanatic? He was the soberest of men. Was he a mere mystic dreamer. He was the most logical of reasoners. Was he a novice? He had been in perils by land, in perils by sea, in perils amongst false brethren, arrested, tried, beaten, scourged, imprisoned ; and yet, at the close of all, conscious that he had a rock beneath him, and a bright light above him, and a glorious home before him,-he breaks forth in these thrilling, -almost inspiring, -certainly inspiriting, accents, “I am now • ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight; I have finished my course, I have kept the faith : henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day.' 'I do indeed believe, that a sober and extensive comparison of the death-beds of those who have repudiated the gospel with the dying moments of those who have accepted and
rejoiced in it, would alone convince mankind that Christianity is true,--that Infidelity, practical or theoretical, is a deception,
-a delusion, mischievous in life, and miserable at death. --Cumming's Voices of the Day.
ON A SLEEPING INFANT.
* A. F. L'
There is not less of poetry than principle in the following extract from Mrs. E. Barrett Browning's last volume, entitled 'Casa Guidi Windows.' 'Deeply,'as a recent critic remarks, ' as Mrs. Browning venerates peace, she is no party to that one-sided tranquillity which is built on the sacrifice of the weak. True peace, she holds to be the recognition of mutual rights by the component classes of a state. There are few things in modern poetry more passionate or vigorous than this protest against that hushing of human claims, which means not the silence of a people contented, but that of a people stifled. It is almost needless to say, that it is directed not against these noble teachers, who, abhorring recourse to the sword, would base national peace upon national justice,—but against the despotic, who, in the lust of power, would crush the soul, and the sordid, who would postpone its demands to the convenience of traffic.' In regard to the means which should be employed to obtain this peace, we should perhaps differ from the gifted authoress, for we believe in po peace obtained through (raking of the guns across the world,' or any other physical means. Brute force never get brought ‘fellowship’and.mercy.'
'I, too, have loved peace, and from bole to bole
Of immemorial, undeciduous trees,
The holy name of Peace, and set it high
Not upon gibbets !-With the greenery
Sweet mediation 'twixt the earth and sky
Not upon gibbets !-though the vulture leaves
Not upon dungeons ! though the wretch who grieves
As much as little field-mice stir the sheaves.
Has dulled his helpless, miserable brain,
To sing and laugh out idiocies of pain.
Has sobbed itself asleep through curses vain !
And which includes not mercy. I would have
The world, and shrieks against Heaven's architrave.
Of dying men and horses, and the wave
And by the faint heart of my womanhood,
Beside the hearth in self-commended mood,
Are howling out of doors against the good
Of outside anguish while it sits at home?
It is no peace. 'Tis treason, stiff with doom, -
Annihilated Poland, stifled Rome,
And Austria wearing a smooth olive-leaf
The life from these Italian souls, in brief.
"Sing praises unto God, sing praises.'
I heard the winter weep and sob
Through hours of a moonless night, When the blank fields and naked trees
Were suffering the wind's despite :
My heart, she sang in her delight.
Her beam of double pureness bright,
That helped her beautify the night ; And still, as on my bed I lay,
My heart, she sang in her delight.
When even the very grass is still ;
Sound from the woods, she singeth still.
And sing she must, and sing she will. She finds a glory in the dark,
Another glory in the sun ;
A glory in the spring begun ;
She sings, as round the seasons run.
GIFTS AND RECEIVERS.
"Ye are straitened in your own affections.'
HEAR we no music in the shade ?
See we no beauty in the wild ? Feel we no freshness in the wind,
When storms have passed and skies are mill? Still from the deaf is music far,
Though sweetest birds around him sing ;
Beautiful flowers are clustering.
The pulseless dead unwakened lie
And warm-cool airs blow tenderly.