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TO OUR FATHERS AND MOTHERS.
BY C. W. ASHBY.
REMEMBER being very much astonished when & clever
Bible, "He hath made everything beautiful in His time, also He hath set eternity in their heart."
It is a very solemn thought for us, who are parents, as we look into the faces of our children whom God has given us. What answers are we giving to the thoughts which arise in their hearts, and which are the result of what God has placed there?
An illustration occurs to my mind which may explain my meaning
Several years ago two young collier lads in the north of England were walking together in the fields. They were intensely ignorant, but over both of them had come an inexplicable feeling of awe as they thought of the unknown life beyond the present.
No one will ever teach us aught, Johnnie,” said Matthew. “Na, lad, 'tis na likely at a'," said Johnnie.
“ Then we shall both on us go the bad place,” said Matthew promptly. “I've heerd tell that a' who tells lies and swears, and steals goes there, and you and I do that, lad,"
'But oh! Matthew, my lad,” said the other, “what must we do?"
"I'll tell thee what," said Matthew, "we'll kneel down yonder, and we'll mak'a fair promise 'till one another, never to tell a lie, or to swear, or to steal.”
And so the two little fellows knelt down and promised one another never to do what they knew to be wrong.
But the Lord who loved them looked on the kneeling boys who were too ignorant even to pray, and the unspoken prayer was heard.
The next Sunday morning (I believe it was) I was walking by my mother's side to the village, when a bright-looking little boy passed us with a bird imprisoned in the cap which he had taken from his head.
“Wait a moment, my boy,” said my mother, “what have you. got there ?"
The boy stopped and with great glee showed his treasure--a magpie.
After a few words of kind persuasion from my mother the captive was released, but not before a deep interest in the boy was awakened.
“Did you ever hear of the Lord Jesus my boy?" she asked.
A few more questions and answers revealed to my mother the utter ignorance of this poor boy. The result of this casual meeting was, that Matthew came every day to be taught to read by my mother, and to be taught of Christ.
There was no immediate result as regard the boy's conversion ; he was sent to school, and then apprenticed to a ship builder, but suddenly he disappeared from the neighbourhood altogether.
My mother often thought sorrowfully of the boy about whom she had hoped and prayed so much, but all her efforts seemed to have been in vain.
At last the Lord took her home to Himself.
Some years after, a young working man and his wife were passing through the streets of Liverpool, one Sunday evening. They were attracted by the sound of preaching, and stopped to listen. The words were familar, and seemed like a long forgotten message to the man's heart.
Matthew (for it was he) went in to hear more, and the result, was that he and his wife were converted.
He came back to his native town longing to tell the lady, who many years before had sowo the seed of truth in his heart, of the joy he had found.
To his great sorrow he found that it was too late to do this, but not too late to work for the Lord among his old haunts, and ever since then amongst his fellow workmen and neighbours he has been an earnest, faithful worker for Christ, and the means of bringing others to Jesus.
Do we, parents, sufficiently remember that to all our children are given moments of unrest, of an undefined longing for a sense of security ? Many a little child's terror of the dark simply arises from not being at rest in Jesus.
Let us in fellowship with them, tenderly sympathise with the little ones, letting them know that we understand about these troubled thoughts. They are very transient, it may be, but none the less they are there, and the Lord “has need of us” to speak the word in season to the weary and troubled ones. He knows just the longing of the child's heart, and if we are in close fellowship with Him, guidance will be given when and how to speak.
One more lesson from the incident of that sunny Sunday morning more than twenty years ago, and I have done.
I was a little child then, but I did not need to be told that it was great joy to work for Jesus, and “to tell it out among the heathen that the Lord is King.” I could see it as I looked at the earnest face bent over the listening boy.
Let onr children know from our lives that He hath not only set
eternity” in our hearts, but the eternal life and the eternal joy which has its spring in God's redeeming love, and that the vague unrest and anxiety of the unsáved has its blessed answer and solution when the soul accepts the eternal salvation accomplished for the sinner by the death of the Lord Jesus, our accepted sacrifice before God.
OUR BIBLE CLASS .
BY A. ST. G, C. NUGENT.
“Blessed !” (Gen. i.) Would He not rejoice to open
to sound it all through ? When this word belongs to us " blessed is he whose sin is covered and whose transgression is forgiven,” then this blessing among others follows to His obedient children—"Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out!” (Deut. xxviii. 6.) Let us think what this blessing means. Long ago a cry went up to God that one might be given who should go out and go in before His people (Num. xxvii 15). Was the gift of Joshua God's only answer ? Later on, Solomon was facing a new task; how his prayer at that time (1 Ki. iii. 7). comes home to us, now as we think of the past failures and of the journey before us. but a little child, I know not how to go out or come in." He knew he should fail in the very simplest things. “Going out and coming in,” common, homely every day words which touch each one of us. Further on in His word, the cry of the helpless one is taken up by the Lord and a splendid promise is built over the need, “ The Prince in the midst when they go in shall go in, and when they shall go forth shall go forth" (Ezek. xlvi. 10). The type had been given in Joshua and David (Num. xxvii. 21; 1 Sa. xviii. 13). See how Peter describes the Lord's ministry on earth : “ The time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,' (Acts i.), which is now true spiritually to every child (Matt. xxviii.
20). Shall our heart and life response be less than that of Israel and Judah who “ loved David because he went in and came out before them?" If we want our New Year to be to God's glory and a blessed one for ourselves and others, let us keep with Him and let Him "control every humble action of daily life.” “At His word shall they go out, and at His word shall they come in." “Surely the simple words embrace all common errands in and out of our homes in His name, and all journeys too."
Then think of the glorious results of our thus going "in and out” obediently with Him. Blessing (Deut. xxviii. 6), Preservation (Psa. cxxi. 8); Freedom, food and rest (Jo. x. 9, contrast Josh. vi. 1); Joy (Deut. xxxiii. 18). Notice the solemn contrast to the disobedient (Deut. xxviii. 19). Men watched David's going in and out (2 Sam. iii. 25), but as “the Lord was with him, notice the grand testimony which Achish could give (1 Sam. xxix. 6). “I know thy abode and thy going out and coming in" (2 Ki. xix. 27). This was said to an enemy, but it is as true for God's children (Rev. ii. 13). What joy and rest to believe that our Father knoweth our going out and coming in! He cares about every thing we do! Then, what work does He give us ? “For we go out' for service, and 'in' for communion." We go out
” to lead others“ in !" " that My house may be filled” (Luke xiv. 23). We "go forth” with a glorious promise (Psa. cxxvi. 6). But “I know not how to go out.” Show me how my love-my whole self may 'go out' to others, and how my whole life may picture Thee who hast gone out to me.” “I know not how to come in."
“Teach me how in my coming in ’ at home to live out the life there, of which I speak to others in my 'going out.' God provides strength to go out and to come in (Jos. xiv. 11); until (Deut. xxxi. 2) we“ enter into the King's Palace," and "him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the Temple of My God, and he shall go no more out (Rev. iii. 12).
BIBLE SEARCHINGS. We give the following subjects this month :Nine descriptions of the Gospel. Acts xx. 24; Rom. x. 15. Seven miracles of healing by our Lord on the Sabbath-day. The various special “stones” in the Bible. Gen. xxviii. 11. We are asked to acknowledge 2s. 6d. from a few friends for the Nazareth Christmas Tree.
Many thanks to the kind friends who have responded so well to the appeal for Christmas Gifts for the sick ones. We quite believe we shall have all we want by the 15th, and hope to give a few details next month (d.v.).