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The first that died was little Jane,
In bed she moaning lay,
And then she went away.
So in the churchyard she was laid;
And when the grass was dry,
My brother John and I.
And I could run and slide,
And he lies by her side.”
“How many are you, then," said I,
“If they two are in heaven ?” Quick was the little maid's reply,
“Oh, master, we are seven."
" But they are dead—those two are dead!
Their spirits are in heaven!”
INEFFICIENCY OF HUMAN WORKS.
Rev. Henry MELVILL. SOME persons think that if they repent of their sins, they shall be pardoned. In other words, they suppose that there is a virtue in repentance which causes it to procure forgiveness. Thus, repentance is exhibited as meritorious; and how shall we simply prove that it is not meritorious? Why, allowing that man can repent of himself,—which he cannot,--what is the repentance
on which he presumes? What is there in it of his own? The tears ? they are but the dew of an eye, which is God's. The resolutions? they are but the workings of faculties, which are God's. The amendment ? it is but the better employment of a life, which is God's. Where, then, is the merit ? Oh, find something which is at the same time human and excellent in the offering, and you may speak of desert; but until then, away with the notion of there being merit in repentance !-seeing that the penitent man must say, “ All things come of Thee, and of thine own, O God, do I give thee.”
Again, some men will speak of being justified by faith, till they come to ascribe merit to faith. By faith, is interpreted as though it meant on account of faith; and thus the great truth is lost sight of, that we are justified freely “through the redemption that is in Christ.” But how can faith be a meritorious act? What is faith, but such an assent of the understanding to God's word, as binds the heart to God's service ? And whose is the understanding, if it be not God's ? Whose is the heart, if it be not God's? And if faith be nothing but the rendering to God that intellect and that energy which we have received from God, how can faith deserve of God ? Oh, as with repentance, so with faith : away with the notion of merit! He who believes, so that he can dare the grave and grasp eternity, must pour forth the confession, " All things come of Thee, and of thine own, O God, do I give thee.”
And once more: what merit can there be in works? If you give much alms, whose is the money ? " The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of Hosts.” If you mortify the body, whose are the macerated limbs? If you put sackcloth on the soul, whose is the chastened spirit ?. If you be moral, and honest, and friendly, and generous, and patriotic, whose are the dispositions which you exercise-whose the powers to which you give culture and scope ? And if you use only God's gifts, can that be meritorious? You
may say, “Yes; it is meritorious to use them aright, whilst others abuse them." But is it wickedness to abuse? Then it can only be duty to use aright; and duty will be merit when debt is donation. You may bestow a fortune in charity, but the wealth is already the Lord's. You may cultivate the virtues which adorn and sweeten human life; but the employed powers are the Lord's. You may give time and strength to the enterprises of philanthropy; each moment is the Lord's, each sinew is the Lord's. You may be upright in every dealing of trade, scrupulously honourable in all the intercourses of life; but “a just weight and balance are the Lord's, all the weights of the bag are His work." And where, then, is the merit of works? Oh, throw into one heap each power of the mind, each energy of the body; use in God's service each grain of your substance, each second of your time; give to the Almighty every throb of the pulse, every drawing of the breath; labour, and strive, and be instant in season and out of season ; and let the steepness of the mountain daunt you not, and the swellings of the ocean deter you not and the ruggedness of the desert appal you not;—but on! still on, in toiling for your Maker! and dream, and talk, and boast of merit, when you can find that particle in the heap, or that shred in the exploit, which you may exclude from the confession—"All things come of Thee, and of thine own, O God, have I given thee."
THE SECRET OF ENGLAND'S GLORY.
J. C. TILDESLEY.
A strange yet winsome story
Had strange you isles of t
Of a wonderful land in the Northern Sea,
A nation enshrin'd in glory.
When he heard these tidings of gladness, Grew quiet, and thoughtful, and grave; For he thought of his own down-trodden race, Of the want and the woe in each heathenish face,
And his bosom grew heavy with sadness. So he summoned a chieftain of high renown,
And told him the wondrous story:
Of all its grandeur and glory.
In a glow of exultation,
The Queen of this wonderful nation. "Oh! lady," he said, “in the isles afar,
We have heard a winsome story, How happy and free your people are; And my monarch has bidden me cross the sea, To this isle of the happy, this home of the free, And find out the secret, if that might be,
Of all its greatness and glory.
Albeit the winds are unsteady ?
Oh! tell me, gracious lady !"
The Queen glanced down on the ebon youth,
Well pleased with his earnest story,
ALEXANDER W. BUTLER.
GOLD-TINTED in the Autumn sun, the Autumn leaves
are glowing, Silently falling, one by one, while Autumn winds are
blowing; More beautiful than in their birth, as Christians are in
dying, They softly rustle down to earth, while the forest
boughs are sighing. And yet ’tis sad to watch them go, those whisperers of
the wood, That our own hearts had learnt to know, and almost
understood, To see them tremulously leap, as, driven by, they pass, Like gentle billows o'er the deep of the dark green
Autumn grass. A little while ago 'twas Spring, and we loitered by the
way, Where the hawthorn bush was ministring to the glories
of the May; And now in the new-furrowed ridge the hawthorn
flowers are sleeping, And hawthorn leaflets make a bridge where the canker
worm is creeping.