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“If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith, Give me to drink; thou wouldst have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. *** Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” Who would not respond to this gracious invitation, by exclaiming, “Lord, give me this water, that I thirst not !” *
WISDOM AND FOLLY. Is that man wise, as to his body and his health, who only clothes his hands, but leaves his whole body naked ? who provides only against the toothache, and neglects whole troops of mortal diseases that are ready to rush in upon him? Just thus does he act who takes care only for his vile body, but neglects his precious and immortal soul; who is very solicitous to prevent small and temporal inconveniences, but takes no care to escape the damnation of hell.
Is he a prudent man, as to his temporal estate, who lays designs only for a day, without any prospect to, or provision for, the remaining part of his life ? Even so does he that provides for the short time of this life, but takes no care for eternity; which is to be wise for a moment, but a fool for ever; and to act as untowardly and as crossly to the reason of things as can be imagined; to regard time as if it were eternity, and to neglect eternity as if it were but a short time.
Is not he an imprudent man, who, in matters of greatest moment and concernment, neglects opportunities never to be retrieved, who, standing upon the shore, and seeing the tide making haste to him apace, and that he hath but a few minutes to save himself, yet will lay himself to sleep there till the cruel sea rush in upon him and overwhelm him? And is he any better who trifles away his day of God's grace and patience, and foolishly adjourns the necessary work of repentance, and the weighty business of religion, to a dying hour?
And, to put an end to these questions, is he wise who hopes to attain the end without the means, nay, by means that are quite contrary to it? Such is every wicked man
* John iv. 10, 14, 15.
who hopes to be blessed hereafter without being holy here, and to be happy, that is, to find a pleasure in the enjoyment of God, and in the company of holy spirits, by rendering himself as unsuitable and unlike them as he can.Abp. Tillotson.
“While I am fast asleep,
Do nothing else but weep:
The glistening tear-drops lie
And in each flow'ret's eye.
At night become so sad ;
And seem all day so glad.
They fear the gathering shade,
Because they are afraid,
The pretty grass and fiowers
Through the dark midnight hours,
But cease at night to weep;
And gently go to sleep.”
Is the refreshing dew
Each morn and evening new.
Are to the grass and flowers,
Is to this life of ours.
Falls on us from above;
And train our hearts in love.
That he in love has made ;
Are night and day display'd.”
As one, in days of old, would fly
Farewell, thou dark and stormy world,
MOTHER'S SHEAF. WHEN I was a girl I lived by the sea-side. My home was in a little fishing village on the top of high cliffs; all around were bright fields, green woods, and hills covered in autumn with purple heather. I was never weary of sitting on the edge of the cliff to watch the wide blue sea dotted with distant ships and the brown and white sails of our fishing-boats, and then turning to the grey stone cottages among the yellow harvest fields around. And, like most of my neighbours, I had good cause to watch the sea, for both my brothers were fishers, and supported my widowed mother and me by the sale of the fish they
brought home. When they ran their boat on shore I used to help them unload and often carry the fish to the nearest town for sale; then I could mend the nets and help dear mother, who was weak and ailing.
Besides this, I was always very busy in hay time and harvest helping in the fields, and, like all the rest of the girls in the hamlet, went gleaning as soon as the last sheaves were gathered. I liked gleaning; true, it was sometimes rather hot work, and I would grow weary, and long to sit down under the shade of a tree or hedge; but we would keep one another up to our work and sing merrily the while till we all had our little sheaves bound
to carry home. That was the most pleasant part. I would take mine to dear mother and bid her see how large it was, and how many nice loaves we should be able to have. Mother said she thought the bread made from my sheaves was the sweetest she ate all the year.
I remember, one evening, after I had come in from my gleaning, and was sitting at the open cottage-door to rest and feel the sweet sea air, mother took her large Bible, which I know so well, and read to me in her gentle tones the sweet story of Ruth. I had heard it before, but that evening it all seemed new and fresh to me, and so real; I think that I never after went into a field to glean without remembering the story of Ruth's love and obedience.
Years went by, and Will and Tom and I were all nearly grown up; Will was the eldest; he was twenty-one now, and had a boat of his own bought with his savings. He was a lad for a sister to be proud of, so brave and gentle, such a good tender son and loving brother. This did not all come naturally either; he had a high spirit and strong will, I've heard that he was a troublesome boy, and poor father used to fear he'd be unsteady, and maybe run off to sea; but mother always hoped. And the secret of her hope was that she prayed. Many a night she would lie awake asking God to bless her Will, to soften his heart, and teach him to feel the great love of God through Jesus Christ. Her prayer was answered; not just as she had hoped, for the change seemed to be wrought by a most heavy sorrow. Father died, and at fourteen Will was left to take care of us all, for Tom was only nine years old then. It was enough to steady any one; but it was not only the grief and the care that changed Willy; I believe it was God answering his mother's prayer.