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coming to the surface of the earth. It is even reported that many of the inhabitants have never beheld the outside world, and, consequently, can form no idea excepting from hearsay of what sun, moon, and stars resemble. Nay, further, many who have heard of the wonders of the light world above, do not seem to show any anxious desire to feast their eyes on its beauties, as it might have been supposed they would have done; nor to long to refresh themselves by breathing the pure atmosphere above. In a manner they are content with their own gloomy region, and account it more beautiful than anything else which can be shown them or spoken about.

One day a certain traveller, moved by curiosity, descended one of these interesting mines in order to behold its wonders for himself. What a striking spectacle met his eyes as he looked upon the illuminated galleries and corridors stretching away into the far distance! The shining strata on one side reflected the light from the other side, until as far as the eye could reach the scene resembled a picture in a fairy tale. The guide, who was proud of the marvels belonging to his native place, as of wonders hidden from the upper world, watched his companion's astonishment with satisfaction, and then triumphantly asked if the land above could supply anything more brilliantly beautiful than what was now beheld ? The traveller at once replied, “ The gloomiest above is brighter than all your illuminations.” On hearing those words the poor guide was chapfallen and disappointed. He had been deceived! He had fondly imagined that nothing in creation could be found to surpass the surprising beauties of his underground home. Now, alas ! he heard that something better existed above ! He became dissatisfied. The lights lost their brilliancy in his eyes, as did also the magiclike galleries their attraction ; for the poor miner longed to stand in the real sunlight and to breathe the clear pure air. Yes, he had heard of something better than a brilliant cavern, and he would not rest contented until he could look on the sun and the azure heavens for himself.

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Now, in a manner, the condition of that salt-miner very much resembles the state of those who live on and on contented with earth and its attractions; those to whom the world appears to be the most desirable place, until the Holy Spirit of God speaks to their hearts and tells them they are deceiving themselves, and that there is something better in another world than the things for which they are striving, and which they so greatly prize. Has the reader ever thought of this ? Perhaps you are young, strong and healthy, and find a pleasure in work, as well as a fascination in making money, which you can scarce resist. While earth’s fields are green, its cities are attractive, and your deceitful heart tells you that there is nothing more desirable than growing rich and winning a name. But if you ask the Bible the book in which God speaks to men—what answer does that give you? While advising diligence in business, the Bible warns you that, the things which are seen are temporal,” while, “the things which are not seen are eternal.”l In other words, the meanest place in heaven, which will endure for ever, is better than the best place on earth with all its wealth and honour, seeing, “The fashion of this world passeth away."

Thus no sooner does one realize that there is a perfect world beyond this life, than the things in which he formerly delighted fail to please. He years after other light and purer joys. How is he to secure them? What shall be our passport to the world of purity beyond the grave, since we have forfeited our right to enter on account of sin ? Christ must be our passport. We lost the right of heirship when our first parents fell : Christ has bought back the forfeited inheritance, and He bestows it as a free gift on those who put their trust in Him. But for this interposition of One who is strong and mighty, we should have sunk into the depths of despair. Now the message from heaven is, “ Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” 2 Cor. iv. 18.

1 Cor. vii. 31.

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IV.-HOPEFUL WORDS.

was very

ill;

ز

VERY one knew old Thomas Truman, and every

one loved him too. Good old man, with the
smile of heaven resting upon his bright face, and
making his

grey
hair

a crown of glory ; he seemed to come everywhere, and especially into dark places, like a ray of sunshine. Farmer Goodman walked out into his fields the picture of misery, and, poor man, he had enough to make him sad. He owed two quarters' rent; his wife

he had roused the servants and tried to make them get up, but they were idle and took advantage of their mistress's illness; and the little children were crying in their bedroom to be dressed ; and there had been so much rain that he was sure the crops would be ruined, and then what would become of them all ? He could not pay the rent and the doctor's bill, and then he must go to gaol, and all would be sold up, and his wife would die, and the children be sent to the Union; and just as the farmer was picturing to himself the sad scene, and was in imagination burying his wife in a friendless grave—and shedding a real tear because he could not get out of his imaginary prison to follow his wife's funeral

-at this moment he met Thomas Truman. He could hardly reply to Thomas's kind hearty “Good-morning," but began to tell him all his dreadful forebodings. Thomas did not laugh, for he saw Goodman's griefs were very real to him. “Hope in God,” said he; “ don't fret, but

pray.

How do you know that the crops will be ruined ?-hope thou in God. Who told you that your wife would die ; and who told

; you that Georgie and Janie would go to the workhouse ?oh, trust in your Father in heaven. How do you know that you are to go to prison ? Oh, Goodman, if God sends trouble, He sends support and strength also; but

you cannot expect support in trials that are only of your own imagination. Hope in God,” said he as they parted. On went Goodman; but those words had cheered and comforted him,

and there in that field he asked pardon for his faithlessness, and he

gave
himself

up

into the hands of his Father, God; and he gave his wife, and his children, and his crops, all into the care of his best Friend. At the end of the

year Goodman paid up all his rent, for the crops turned out wonderfully well ; and he went with his wife (for she did not die) to the debtors' prison—what do you think for ?—why to pay a small sum of money to release the poor glazier who had got into that place through signing his name to a bill for a friend. And the farmer called it his thank-offering; and he paid the schoolmaster to copy him out that text that had been such a comfort to him. It was printed in large clear letters, and framed, and hung over the mantel-shelf; and when people came to him in trouble he would tell them of that gloomy morning, and, pointing to the text, would bid them hope in the Lord.

John Finch was a truthful, out-spoken lad, but sadly too fond of daring adventures. It was he who climbed up and tied the weathercock, so that we all thought there was a prevalence of east winds. Every one wondered that he had not broken his neck in the mad freak, and prophesied that he would come to some bad end. About this time the squire's preserves had been broken into by poachers. The squire was wroth; not, indeed, that he cared for the game, for he never shot now that Reginald was gone; but he was indignant that any man should dare to poach in his grounds, and he a magistrate too. Their impudence and presumption must be punished, and the gamekeeper was ordered to take some men, and watch on the succeeding night.

Young Finch was out of work, and on this particular day was met in the public-house by these poachers, who persuaded John to join the party. It was his first offence against the laws of his country. John went to bed as usual, and his poor old widowed mother was fast asleep when he went slowly downstairs to join his wicked companions. There was a pleasant breeze and the moon was shining, and John was really enjoying the sport, when there was a cry of, Stand, or we will fire !" Instantly the poachers fled, and John remembered something striking him; and then, when he came to himself, his mother was standing over him, and the doctor was looking very grave. Day after day John lay tossing in fever ; afraid of every

; knock, for fear it might be the constables to take him away; afraid to live, and afraid to die. Thomas Truman was there, trying to comfort the conscience-stricken lad. “ Let us pray," said he, “that God will dispose the squire to be merciful;" and then the good old man went and pleaded for forgiveness. At first the squire would only talk of the necessity of upholding the laws and of justice.“ Think of the poor widow," said John; “if it were your boy lying in that case, would you not ask for mercy, not justice ?” At those words the squire's whole countenance changed. “Yes, Truman, yes. I forgive him, for my Reginald's sake." If you had seen Truman run to the cottage it would have done you good.

John clasped his hands in gratitude. “Oh,” he said, “if God would but forgive my sins; but I am such a sinner, I am dying, and my soul will be lost. And now was Truman's time to tell him of One who came to save the chief of sinners, and who would not cast him out; and John believed, and was converted. When he left his sick room and went out into his little world again the change was manifest to all. At first he was very much tried by the sneers and taunts of the wicked, but he used to humbly hope and pray for strength,

No one set a firmer face against sin. He did all the good he could, and then he offered himself as a missionary, and was accepted; and his daring spirit, now sanctified into holy boldness, is turned into a right channel, and Truman's words are often repeated under the shade of the banyantree. There was an account in the last letter Truman received from him of his hut having been surrounded by natives. “ But," wrote he, “I was not afraid. I said to my soul those words which have so often comforted me, ‘Hope thou in God.'”

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