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through which not the faintest beam of light can penetrate ; yet to such a one he may send his Spirit to whisper peace, saying, “ The morning cometh.” Another may be just wounded by conviction, who has heard only the thunder. ings of Sinai, but not the sweet accents of Calvary ; who has only seen the smoke of the burning mountain, but not the blood of the cross. And dost thou in despair, like the stricken deer, retire “ to seek for death in distant shades"? Oh think! there is One "who has himself been hurt by the archers;" one who knows well " what sore temptations mean, for he has felt the same." Your feeble though almost hopeless cry for mercy has reached his ear; yea, it hath touched his heart; and he will send you, also, the Comforter, to heal the wounded spirit, to change your sighs into songs, your prison garb into the garments of salvation, and turn your sad night into a gladsome day.
Reflect further on the faithfulness of your Counsellor. There have been instances in which those who have been intrusted with a cause have betrayed their clients. There is one sad passage in our English history which may serve to illustrate this. The Earl of Essex was at one time great in favour with Queen Elizabeth, and she then gave him a ring, with an assurance that the sight of that token would at any time procure him whatever was in her power to bestow. Political changes, however, enabled his enemies to procure his impeachment and his condemnation to suffer death. The Queen felt confident the unfortunate Earl would now cause to be presented to her the valued pledge, and pleased herself with the idea that he would owe his life to her royal clemency. No such appeal being made, she concluded the impeached prisoner was too proud thus to seek for mercy; and her own impetuous temper not allowing her to make the first overture, she signed the fatal warrant, and the Earl was privately beheaded in the Tower. A considerable time elapsed before the mystery was solved, till, in the last year of Elizabeth's life, the Countess of Nottingham sent for the Queen in her last moments, and informed her that the Earl of Essex, shortly before he suffered, had committed to her charge the precious pledge on which his life depended, entreating her to be his intercessor with the Queen by presenting to her the ring, with the remembrance of the royal promise ; but she had been induced by her husband's persuasions to keep back the ring, and lock up the secret in her own breast till this, her dying hour; upon which, it is said, the Queen, in a furious passion, shook the dying Countess in her bed, exclaiming, “God may forgive you, but I never can."
This affecting narrative cannot fail to remind the Christian reader of the Psalmist's exclamation, “ It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes” (Ps. cxviii. 8, 9). While of our great Intercessor we may confidently say with the Apostle, “ We know whom we have believed [margin, trusted), and
are persuaded that he is able to keep that which we have committed unto him · against that day” (2 Tim. i. 12).
Another cheering consideration is the certain success of our Lord's inter. cession. It is not uncommon in the proceedings of earthly courts for advocates of undoubted talent and integrity to lose their cause ; but this cannot be the case with Him “whom the Father heareth always.” We know that the “ effectual prayer of the righteous availeth much." The strong ground of our assurance of success with regard to the intercession of Christ, has been ably put by Mr. Foster, in something like this form. Suppose at the time you prayed you knew that every believer in the world was also in his closet supplicating God on your behalf ; yea, more, suppose at the same moment you could assemble in solemn convocation all the Christian Churches on earth, with their simultaneous prayers to plead your cause; or, beyond even this, could you ensure the supplications of the Church above-could you doubt the result of such united intercession ? But what, if at the moment of audience, when the violent seemed thus to be taking heaven by force, what if then you should see the Saviour himself come forth, and stand at the altar of incense, having in his hand the golden censer, and what if you should hear him announce, “I will pray the Father for you,” would not this inspire your confidence, and shame your unbelief? But this is not conjecture ; it is substantial truth. There is no clearer or more unmistakable statement in the Bible than this, that “ He ever liveth to make intercession for us.” “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."
In conclusion, let not the humble child of God be discouraged by the consideration of the imperfection of his prayers; for, as Gurnall remarks, “ Believer's prayers pass through a refining process before they come to God." Did he, indeed, read them with all the interlineations of our wandering thoughts, taking the blotted copy directly from our hands, we might well despair of their acceptance; but they pass through the correcting hand of our Advocate, who blots out all their imperfections with his precious blood, which sweet Gospel truth was typified by Aaron's “bearing the iniquity of the holy things.” Thus, our great High Priest separates the precious from the vile, and presents to his Father only such petitions as he has indited by his own Spirit.
Neither be cast down, although some of thy prayers may never be answered. Were it otherwise, the answer would often be in judgment rather than in mercy; as it is recorded of the Israelites in the wilderness, “ He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul." Paul sought the Lord thrice that the thorn in the flesh might depart from him ; but the Lord, knowing it was best for it to remain, “lest he should be exalted above measure," did not grant the petition, but gave him an equivalent in the promise, “ My grace is sufficient for thee.” “We ask and receive not, because we ask amiss." So God, saith Augustine,“ does not give us what we would, but what we should have."
Nor let us think our prayers disregarded because they are not immediately answered. God's delays are not denials. He promised Abraham a son, but it was many years before the promise was fulfilled. For how many years had Zacharias and Elisabeth prayed for a son before John the Baptist was born! Hope deferred had probably made the heart faint. Gray hairs now marked old age, and nature precluded all hope of the prayer being answered. To continue to ask now for the blessing of a child was out of the question. The prayer was forgotten, and the good old priest resigned himself to his disappointment, continuing to attend his duty in the Temple; and while engaged in this service “there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord," saying, “Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard ; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.” Yes; the prayer was answered: and how it enhances a blessing when it comes in answer to prayer! There may be often a long winter between the sowing-time of prayer and the reaping. “If the vision tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, and will not tarry.” Even the glorified saints have not yet all their prayers and desires fulfilled. They prayed when on earth, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is heaven." And for aught we know, they may be presenting this prayer now ; for it is not yet accomplished, and prayer for unfulfilled prophecies and promises may not be incompatible with the worship of heaven. Paul desired that he might "attain unto the resurrection of the dead;" but it is a consummation yet to be desired. Further, Christ at this moment, in heaven, hath not received a full answer to some of the prayers he offered when on earth, but is “ from henceforth expect. ing till his enemies be made his footstool.” The ship that makes a long voyage may return with the richest cargo. Therefore, having put our prayers into the
hands of the great Intercessor, let us unite in the apostolic ascription, “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think,” “ unto him be glory in the Church by Jesus Christ throughout all ages, world without end. Amen."
Bury St. Edmund's.
THE SISTER OF ST. PAUL.
Acts xxiii. 12-22. It is a pleasing legend of the Catholic charm; and we feel here, as in so many of Church, that St. Luke was by profession a his narratives, that Luke the Gentle turns painter, and that after bis conversion to with pleasure from the harsh, malignant, Christianity, he consecrated his pencil to crafty Jewish nature, to the calm manli. the delineation of the holy personages of ness and cosmopolitan courtesy of the New Testament history. As in most rela world-ruling Roman. tions of the old nurse Tradition, so pro. This is merely incidental, however, to the bably in this, we find a real truth in a dress point of chief interest in the narrative, of fable—the contemporaneous idea of the glimpse it affords into the private life of Luke's peculiar genius as a recorder of the great apostle. But for this one little sacred story. In that age of culture, such episode in the history of his public career, traits as his could not fail to charm the we should never have known that any interæsthetic as well as the moral sense of many course still subsisted between Paul and his to whom his writings became known. They kindred ; and it might have been supposed were addressed to a noble Roman; and that the duties and interests of bis new humble as were the fortunes of the early spiritual sphere had absorbed his whole Church, not a few persons from the higher soul, or that his devotion to a hated and ranks were enrolled among its members. despised cause had severed the natural ties The fine feeling for grouping in many of between the haughty family of the Pharisee his narratives, the delicate but telling and the follower of the Nazarene. The strokes of detail, and a certain pervading former supposition would be a slander on purity and tenderness of tone, which reveal the heart of Paul, as well as on the spirit of to us the artist-nature (none the less so Christianity. There are little touches in because of the wholly inartistic, the simply bis writings which show how alive he was moral aim which guides his pen), did not to all the finer natural feelings. “ Greet escape, in that day, the notice of minds Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother trained in all the refinements of classic art and mine," is the index to a world of and literature. And thus, we may suppose, tender memories. From his very constituarose the designation of the third Evan tion, we might infer an extraordinary susgelist as Luke the Painter.
ceptibility to the influences of domestic, and The interesting little incident in the pas- especially of womanly affection. He was sage before us contains a slight but happy not one of the calm, self-centered, silent illustration of Luke's pictorial manner, in souls, moving with grand serenity through the interview between Paul's nephew and their appointed orbit, like the sun bestow. the high Roman officer to whom Pauling blessings and asking none in return. sends him. Observe how the single phrase As such we think of Plato, of Isaiah, of “ took him by the hand” motivirt the pic- Washington : men appearing at long inture, suggesting on the one side the figure tervals in the history of humanity, to whom of the ingenuous but abashed boy, and on we look up with a feeling akin to worship, the other that of the grave, friendly digni and find in them our nearest buman ideal of tary, who thus reassures the timid young the Divine. Not to this class belongs Paul. messenger, and encourages him to tell his He was thorougbly a mau, and in no respect story. One could almost fancy having more so than in his intense craving after seen the group on an antique amphora or human appreciation and love. Even in the medallion. The contrast of the quiet in highest exaltation of his Christian life, we terview with the zealot fury, the occasion of see him keenly sensitive to the voice of re. it, which is raging without, heightens its proach or blame; and sharply does he visit, on their own heads, the slanders of those member of the Sanhedrim ; for the plot who questioned his integrity and bis claims was undoubtedly communicated to those to the apostleship. More sensitive still is only whose aid was necessary to its execuhe to the love or the indifference of his tion. How it could have become known children in the faith. How many be greets to her, we can only guess; but it must be by name in his epistles, coupling the name a well-kept secret indeed which can elude with some distinctive endearing epithet, | & woman watching for the safety of one which shows that each one had his own beloved. That her young son was sent to place in the writer's heart. And what a warn the imperilled prisoner, seems to ex. cutting tenderness there is in the reproach, clude the idea that the father had any part like that of a mother wounded by neglect, in the friendly service. The transaction “ Though the more I love you, the less I be throughout bears the impress of a woman's loved." In no one of the New Testament hand. How naturally does it bring up be. writers is personal consciousness so strong. fore the mind the image of a family in out. It is not Peter, nor Jamos, nor John, but it ward life one, but divided in heart: the is Paul who cries to the converts of his mi. father a stern Jew, to whom the apostate nistry, “My dearly beloved and longed for, brother is viler even than a “ Gentile my joy and crown, stand fast in the Lord, dog ;” while the nobler mother, and the dearly beloved"! It is not merely the boy she has trained, share a rich inward truth which he presents to them: it is Paul life, true to the holy and generous instincts whu presents it; Paul who yearns over which God implanted in the human soul. them with a passionate desire to be himself How entirely she confided in the truth and the instrument of their salvation, who exults discretion of the lad, is seen by the terrible in the thought of pouring out his blood as risks incurred in case of betrayal or de. a libation on the offering of their faith, who tection. What Jewish vengeance was, for travails in birth for them with more than a such offences, we well know. Paul would promother's pangs, till Christ be formed in bably have not been the only victim, had the them, the hope of glory. His great mind errand of sisterly affection become known to itself partakes of the sympathetic nature of the desperate conspirators who sought his life. his heart. It is not abstract truths, but we would fain know whether this true vital interests, which engage it; and his heart, which thus watched in secret over highest flights of inspired thought end, Paul's life, were one with his in the faith. without a hint of transition, in some prac Apart from sympathy in this respect, we tical admonition to the beloved ones who can readily understand the idolatry of had seemed just now to be so far below. affection with which his natural traits We remark, too, that the intensity of his might inspire a sister. That mind, rich national feeling is no whit diminished by with the gifts of genius, that proud will, the burning warmth of the new life which that insatiable ambition, that passionate has been kindled in his breast. The heart yet exquisitely tender heart, were just the which glows with love for all mankind, and combination to excite womanly devotion. glories in the title of “ messenger to the The desertion of him by all others of his Gentiles," still olings with fondest tenacity kindred might be to her the argument for to his own nation, and “could wish that clinging to him more faithfully. The very himself were accursed from Christ, for his | shame by which his name was tarnished brethren, his kinsmen according to the might bind her to him all the more firmly, flesh.” Such a man, we may be sure, could as one that had most need of her love. never forget the nearer ties of family, the Thank God! he has so formed the heart of home of his childhood, the sacred claims of woman that this would be but one out of father and mother, the endearing remem. innumerable instances of like character. brance of a sister's love.
But let us please ourselves with the Luke's little narrative assures us that one thought that, as there were true believers member at least of that early home was no even in Herod's court, so bere, in the less true to the holy voice of nature. house of a Pharisee, a member of the Whoever else may have forsaken him, his baughty and corrupt aristocracy of the sister bad remained faithful. Like him, Jews, dwelt one who had drunk from she had left the scenes of their childhood her brother's lips the living wisdom, and and was married in Jerusalem. It is pro- | had been strengthened for woman's holy bable, from her knowledge of the conspi mission by the union of heavenly faith racy against Paul, that her husband was a with earthly love.
Tales and Sketches.
WHAT SQUIRE DUNHAM HEARD. ; had been an interested listener to the
conversation which had transpired in the “ HAVE you heard the news ?"
seat before him. At the first mention of “No: what is it now?"
Squire Dunham's name, he had leaned for“Squire Dunham is gone; was found ward, and drank in breathlessly every word dead in his bed this morning; was carried which followed; while quick flushes and off by a stroke of apoplexy."
strange agitation went over the hard, thin “He was one of our prominent citizens. face. He leaned back so that the men could He will be widely missed."
not catch a glimpse of his features as they “ I'm not at all certain about the last left the carriage, and his reflections went oli remark. In my opinion there'll be very somewhat after this fashion :few mourners at Squiro Dunham's funeral. “Well, it's pleasant, that's a fact, for a He was a hard old customer, from first to man to sit still and have his life held up last; and all he thought of, or cared for, after he's laid in his cöffin. I never met was to make money. He was shrewd either of those men, but it appears that enough at a bargain, and always got the one of them, at least, is pretty well posted best of it; but I think you'd have to go a up about me, and the estimation in which long way to find the man, woman, or child I am held in public opinion—though he has that's any the worse off 'cause Squire Dun. mistaken my name for Silas Dunham, the ham has finished his days.”
old lawyer, who died last night. Compli“It's a great pity he couldn't take any of mentary, wasn't it, Stephen Dunham ? his bank stock or real estate with him. I Suppose there was a little spite and envy at tell you, my friend, after all, it's a losing the bottom of it all, just such as poor folks operation to have all one's property in what always have towards those who have got goes for nothing on the other side. They more money than they; but then- " want a different kind of coin there." .
At that moment the carriage stopped in "That's a fact. I reckon Squire Dun front of the stately dwelling in which the ham has learned some new truths by this old bauker resided. And that “ but then” time.”
followed him into his house, and sat down The above conversation took place in a with him at his solitary supper-table; and city omnibus, just as the night was falling, after it was through, these words were the so that tbe passengers could scarcely discern text which the roused conscience of the one another in the dim twilight. The man took up and preached to him after this speakers were two plain talking men, in the wise: “But then, Stephen Dunham,” it prime of their years; and the conversation whispered, as the rich old miser walked up was suddenly cut short, for the omnibus and down the gorgeous parlours of his lonely stopped at the street-crossing, and the home, “you know what that man said friends hurried out together.
about you was true. There is no use getting In the seat behind them sat an old man, aside of it, for he hit the nail straight on of somewhat portly figure and dignified the head. presence. He had a hard, cold sort of “You know, too, that your object and face-a face which no tender sympathies, aim in life has been to make money, and no high and noble purposes, no earnest that there isn't a human being above ground unselfish strivings for right and truth, who would have reason to shed a tear if had softened or spiritualized ; and looking you were laid beneath it. You've got money, into the keen, gray eyes, under the shaggy as that man said. You generally get the eyebrows, a beart that had gone to them best of a bargain, but; after all, your half for pity or mercy would have been turned million, that you delved your whole life to away. Beneath lay no sweet, gushing springs get together, won't pass for anything in of human love-only the cold, hard rock, that world which you are getting pretty where no flowers blossomed, and from whose near now; and, as there's nobody to mourn bosom gushed no streams gladdening the you here, it isn't likely that you will have Waste desert of the man's soul.
any welcome there." But it was evident that the old man 1 And here Squire Dunham sat down in his