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It is now full half a century ago since my father took me to another village a few miles off, promising to show me a much larger mill-wheel than that which had so often excited my childish wonder. Well do I remember the astonish. ment with which I gazed upon it. The stream which impelled it round was much smaller than that by the side of which I had so often rambled; and yet it did three or four times more work than the other. The situation of the two mills was quite different. The first stood nearly on a level with the stream, and the other in hollow ground considerably below it. The sparkling brook which sprung out of a bill-side about a mile off, was so conveyed as to fall over the wheel, and gave the mill the name of "the overshot mill," while the former wheel, being struck by the water from beneath, was called “ the undershot mill.” In the overshot one, the motive power was more direct, and the motion more quick and graceful than in the other; indeed, the whole concern was altogether larger and superior.
I have thought that those two mills may suggest an illustration, though an imperfect one, of a very important subject, which it is desirable we should all be well acquainted with. In religion, one great thing is motive power. As steam is a motive power to the engine, wind a motive power to some mills, and water to others, so the soul must have something acting upon it, which shall produce service for God. By service, I mean the worship of the heart, including love in all its various actings, and the obedience of the life, or filling up all relations according to God's will, and for his glory. These actings of the soul towards God, and for God, cannot, however useful or spiritual, do anything towards the soul's salvation, or furnish the least ground of hope for acceptance with God. That must grow only out of what Christ has done. When his atonement is trusted, his righteousness rested on, and himself received as God's glorious gift (John i. 12; Rom. v. 10, 11), then is the soul saved in God's estimation, and becomes really possessed of eternal life. That is, such an one is justified by grace, endowed with a new life, and furnished with a title to eternal glory. All this is free, and may at once be received by the most unworthy who believe in the Lord Jesus.
The proof of this being the case, will be, living unto God,“ living not to ourselves, but unto him who died for us and rose again.” The faith which rests thus alone upon Christ, and receives him from the hand of mercy, will work by love, will purify the heart, overcome the world, and be fruitful in service for others. In order for all this, the soul requires a mighty motive power brought continually to bear upon it. This motive power must be something suitable to the spiritual nature of the soul, and suitable to the service and work which it is called to do. Water may impel a wooden wheel, and other physical substances may act upon material things; but spirit must be moved heaven wards by spiritual truths, and a spiritual agent. When we think of the soul of man, we think of his understanding, conscience, will, and affections. Now, all acceptable worship and true service must include the right actings of these, and this will only be the case as the true motive power is brought to bear upon them.
This motive power is redeeming love, which we know is the great theme of God's word, and that by which the Holy Spirit works all happiness and holiness in the hearts of believers. “The love of Christ,” says Paul, “ constraineth us." All his devotedness grew out of his apprehension of the great facts of Christ dying, rising, and interceding (Rom. viii. 35, 36). “ We love him because he first loved us," exclaims John, proving that his devoted love was the effect of Christ's love to him realised. This is the constant testimony of God's word, and the experience of all true saints verifies it.
Now, it is of immense importance to have the right motive power, and to have it properly applied. Some real Christians are too much like the undershot mill-there is a clear application of power and some work done ; but the movement is not graceful, nor the result abundant. The application of Christ's work is not simple and full; and other things are in some degree put along with it. There is a want of direct faith in Christ, a want of realising what it is to be “ filled with joy and peace in believing” (Rom. xv. 13.) The soul frequently reasons from a work within, rather than from a work without. Faith is weak and faltering, fear is not cast out; and so love is not strong. The matter of personal salvation is not fully settled; therefore the soul is not thoroughly occupied with grateful service.
What is wanted is (and this is not only warranted, but commanded by Scripture) to have the power of the Cross (1 Cor. i. 18), and the power of Christ's resurrection (Phil. ii. 10), brought directly to bear upon the soul. That is, to believe that God, for Christ's sake, hath forgiven us, who believe, all trespasses ; and then to live in communion with Christ in this resurrection life in heaven (Col. iii. 1, 2.) The blessed result will then be, that we shall “ seek the things which are above ;” “ seek not our own, but the things which are Jesus Christ's." Then we shall better understand the apostle's wonderful argument:-“How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Heb. ix. 14.)
One thought more connected with the illustration used. I well remember that the old mill-wheel used sometimes to stand quite still. There was no want of water, but there was a lack of employ—there was nothing to grind; and the water, or motive power, was sent flowing off another way. It is never the case as regards responsible and immortal souls that they have " nothing to do." Man has a great work set before him, even to “glorify God and enjoy him for ever;” and God brings the motive power within reach of all who hear the Gospel (Acts xiii. 38, 39). But how many souls are standing idle, and letting that motive power flow by them unnoticed! They will not come into close contact with truth. If it touches their consciences, they try to shake it off. The will sturdily refuses to submit; and the affections love not the truth, but rather love what it denounces and forbids. How sad to think of immortal souls standing idle; or only employed about trifles! How terrible to think of those souls employed in thinking over through eternity, the truths which they refused or trifled with here! “What shall the end be of those who obey not the Gospel of God!” “ How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation ? ” Immortal being, set thine heart upon realising the following words :-“But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life” (Rom. vi. 22).
Tales and Sketches.
THE CHURCH MEETING.
sway, over meadow and winding brook ; THREE months had wearily passed since 1 but now his right to reign was sorely we were all gathered in the little darkened disputed by the time-renowned January parlour at the parsonage, to look for the
thaw. last time upon the sealed lips, and pale, Long before meeting time Deacon Law. cold forehead, of dear old Pastor Adams. l son and his three sons began an animated He fell when the leaves were falling-and discussion upon the comparative merits of the low mournful sighing of the autumn sleighing and waggoning-considering the breeze sung a requiem over the dead, as we rather doubtful state of the roads. But laid him on the south side of the church the old man was rather more than a match yard, just where the swinging boughs for the sturdy boys, and at ten o'clock of that old weeping willow stooped and precisely the long green sleigh was drawn kissed the tops of the long waving grasses. by a span of spirited bays close beside the
Three moons had risen and set, and cast kitchen door. their trembling shadows upon the turfless As the bell in the steeple of the old grave, now mantled with pure white snow; church began to ring, numbers left their still no one had been found to fill the comfortable firesides, and through rain, place, so desolate, not only in the pulpit wind, and melting snow, picked their way, of the old grey stone Church, but in every as best they could, towards the church. « heart and hearthstone " in all Mossy Loads poured in from the country-some Glen.
in waggons, and others in sleighs—but all A father to us all he had been, and it as securely covered by an array of blue, was meet that we should mourn long and brown, and black umbrellas, as it was posheavily for the old man. So each Sabbath sible for them to be. we took our accustomed places in the When the pealing notes of the old bell church, and prayed, not only that the had ceased, and it began tolling, the green presence of the Master might grace our sleigh with the spirited bays, and all the assembly, but that the spirit of our dead Lawsons, stopped before a neat white cotpastor might leave the higher courts of tage some distance from the church. In a God, and, hovering near, breathe to each moment more the door opened, and an old heart the old familiar words of love.
man, bent and feeble, leading by the hand It was at the close of one of these meet- 1 the wife more feeble than himself, came ings that notice was given out by Deacon | down the walk. Dear old Uncle Elisha Lawson of a church meeting, the object of | and Aunt Hannah could not yet be spared, which was to investigate certain rumours although they had witnessed many January in circulation, respecting a brother, who thaws, and the cold of so many winters – such was the report - having been had slackened the warm gushing of their tempted a little too sorely, had fallen. youth's life blood. In fact, the deacon Alas! Pastor Adams was no longer with us remarked, rather confidentially, to his wife, to look up the wandering ones, and draw “I say, mother, I don't believe the meeting them, by the power of Christian love alone, could go on without 'em." back within the fold; and for the first As Uncle Elisha entered the church, time in the whole records of the church, many rose to greet him ; but the old man was the word discipline connected with our cast a searching glance around, and then loving band. The day appointed for the bent his feeble steps towards the farther meeting dawned dark and cloudy. It had corner of the building, where, alone, and been raining heavily during the preceding with bowed head, sat a middle-aged man night, and the gloomy light of morning, -the erring brother. Holding out his creeping over the distant hills, revealed | withered hand, the old man came near to long black lines of roads filled with water, | him, and with a hearty shake betrayed a while each foot-print on the melting snow little of the warmth and affection of his left a shallow well behind. The Winter aged heart. King had for many weeks held out his Finally, the door closed for the last time, white and silver sceptre with undisputed ) and Uncle Elisha was called upon to lead
in prayer. Instead, he slowly arose, and l chief, weeping like a child. The business with tones trembling with age and emotion, 1 of investigation seemed not likely, un
der these circumstances, to progress, until “My children, look at me! an old man, | after a long silence the brother whom they just ready for the grave. Full fifty years had supposed guilty arose, and with unI've come up here to worship. All those steady tones began the defence where no who were my fellow-labourers in youth, charges had been preferred. "Brethren," are sleeping in our churchyard ; but you, he said, “I would first confess before you their children, I have not ceased to love | this day, that I have not, during the fifteen and pray for until now. All our joys and years since the blessing of that old sersorrows have been shared in common. I vant of God fell upon my head, been in all have come here to your solemn feasts, and things as faithful to my trust as becometh have not stood back at your more solemn us. But that I have not been recreant funerals. We have wept together, over the thereto, on the point in question, I call graves of those whom God has taken. | upon God and my own soul to bear me Three noble sons have I seen laid upon --" He could say no more, for Uncle that little table in their coffins, and our | Elisha, who had risen from his knees when hearts are yet heavy with the weight of he began speaking, now stood upright, and our last great sorrow, when we wept to poured forth his whole soul in that in. gether over the lifeless form of him who
spiring hymn, beginningwas for years our spiritual leader. But never, before God, have I witnessed so sad
“Amen! amen! my soul replies,
I'm bound to meet you in the skies,” a day as this. Well do I remember, just fifteen years ago, when our dear old pastor
in which he was joined by every voice in led this our brother (and the old man laid that crowded church. his trembling hand upon the erring one's
As they were singing the first verse the head) down into the baptismal waters, and clouds which had been breaking since the blessed him, as they both came up together.
meeting began, parted — letting the sun And now I charge you, brethren, to act as
shine down, like the smile of God, upon in the presence of God this day. Think of
them. your own secret sins ; remember your own
Need I say our first church meeting for wanderings ; and then forgive as you have investigation was ended ?—New York Erbeen forgiven. Let the love and pity aminer. which brought our Saviour down from heaven, fill every heart; and may the Allwise, who seeth the hearts of all men,
GOD NEAR AT HAND. direct us.”
GOD sometimes seems a great way off, The old man sank upon his knees, and and we wonder if he cares for us. I know with streaming eyes turned heavenward, Jesus told us to say, “ Our Father,” and followed in a short and fervent prayer the Bible teaches that “He is nigh to all melting with tenderness, pleading with them that call upon him ;” and yet we eanchildlike faith and earnestness that the not help, sometimes feeling that he is too Holy Spirit might descend upon each heart, great to mind our small affairs, and has and that, if it were possible, their numbers larger interests to overlook than ours. This might remain unbroken. The amen was is not a happy feeling. Oh, no; it is unuttered low and fervently, but not a sound happy. While I was feeling so one day, I broke the stillness, save the stifled sobs walked out into my garden, and pulled a bud that seemed to come from every seat in the from the cherry-tree. It was in the early old church.
spring, and the trees looked bare as winter. Deacon Lawson drew the back of his It seemed as if spring, like hope, was great rough hand across his eyes again and frozen up. again, drew out his pocket-handkerchief The bud was not a spring bud, then. No; and replaced it, coughed, cleared his throat, it was made last summer; for summer is and tried to speak, but the hurried words, at work, not only to make leaves and “ Brother Woodson has the principal char: | flowers and fruit for its own year, but it ges," were too much for him, and he broke begins a bud, it begins millions of buds, for down entirely. Brother Woodson moved the next year. What a forethought this! not. There sat the rough, burly man, his! But a bud is a tender thing. Are they face buried in his red silk pocket-handker- | not running a great risk to come so long
beforehand; for how can they weather the them all, watches them all, loves them all, winter storms, frost and ice, and wind and as they strengthen and ripen, bearing snow ? The cherry-bud which I held in another life in their warm, white bosomsmy hand survived all this.
the full fruit, the rich, ripe, delicious “How did you live, little bud ?" I said, “White-Hearts” of July. Ah! the garcarrying it into the house. Then I began den-trees looked no longer bare. to uncover it, and that let me into the Will the great God have such care and secret. How much do you think that one love for a bud, and not care for you and for cherry-bud had on? First, I took off me? Then God seemed no longer afar off. thirteen little chippy coverings, hugging it He was near, very near. A sweet sense of round like the coats of a pine cone. That his love and care folded me round, and I showed as if somebody cared for it. Then was happy, very happy. I found three larger, finer, thicker ones; and under these three more, woollier and warmer. Here were six blankets, besides thirteen coverlids.
ONLY ONCE. What do you suppose I found between two of the blankets ? The smallest insect
FOR THE YOUNG. you ever saw, no bigger than a hair's “STOP a minute, James ; we're making breadth, but with legs to run away fast up a skating-party to go down the river enough, when I waked him up. “ Did to-night. We shall build a fire on the your mother put you in this warm cradle?” island and have a grand time. Come; go I asked. “Have you slept sweetly her: all with us." winter?" It did not answer, and seemed “No, George, I can't. Father says I impatient to go.
must skate on the canal. It isn't so wide, What did you find inside the blank nor quite so good skating I know, but it's ets?" Three little buds-blossoms to be, and cherries in July. They looked like « Nonsense! The ice is at least two three tiny babies, fast asleep, and not yet inches thick, anywhere, even in the thinnest ready to get up. They were not ready, for places." I was not the one to rouse them. It be “No matter. I can't skate on the longed to that good nurse, the sun, who river.” was fast warming up for the work. Now I "Well, then, come to the canal. You was about it, however, I thought I would can skate out to the fork, where it joins look a little further.
the river, and see us all. Will you do “Is the flower all there inside you, little that ? bud ?” I peeped in, and found atoms of « Yes.” the most delicate white leaves you ever saw, “All right. Be there at seven.” all beautifully grained ; and, oh! had Í James was ready with his skates at the lighted on a mine ? for here was a nest of time appointed, and about to leave the gold-golden specks, moulded and rounded house. with the rarest skill. How many ? Thirty " Where now, James ?” asked his five. Here indeed was the blossom, and father. these were the pollen-boxes of the stamens, “I'm going to skate awhile on the canal, for I found each gold speck perched on a father." little stalk, and all these grouping round “ Well, it's a bright evening ; but don't the heart of the blossom, the future stay late, and don't go on the river." cherry.
· Just then James's little sister, Marion, Who would have thought of finding this who was ready to go to bed, shouted after little world of life and beauty here-such | him, “Stop, Jamie ; give me a kiss," and delicate painting, such exquisite workman holding up her rosebud mouth, in a plump ship, part fitting part, many parts forming face, from which the laughing eyes wero a perfect whole, and not only one, but | shining, she received his good-night kiss, hundreds, thousands, millions, clinging to | and he went out. As he passed the the dry, black branches of the garden-tree? window, he saw, through the half-drawn I looked out of the window, and thought curtains, little Marion kneeling by their of all these, living, growing, perfectly, with mother, at prayer ; the father had laid his no haste-noiseless, hid from all eyes—all paper down, and sat reverently listening eyes but One. He knows them all, counts while the child's petition went up to heaven.