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were sitting under the colonnade, and I frightened you by my extravagant fancies.”
“ We will not speak now of the past,” said Mrs. Maitland, wishing to prevent any agitating recollections.
“ We must talk of it," returned Ella, “and think of the best means to render it less painful. Years of strict economy shall make up for months of waste. Servants, horses, jewels -let all go."
“ You always go to extremes; there is no necessity for such rigid saving. Begin by degrees."
“I would have my own way before, let me have it again, in this,” interrupted Miss Thornton, earnestly. “Oh, Mrs. Maitland, if you only knew how the thought of all my early hopes and aspirations has come back to-day, and how bitter is the memory of those feelings—how I have thrown away the talents that God has given me-youth, health, money ; I know that they were vain, those aspirations-vain and foolish ; but,"
“ Listen to me, darling," said Mrs. Maitland, soothingly. “We have both been very wrong, but my fault has been the greater. I should have been your guide, but I felt that you possessed the elements of a character stronger than mine, and left you to follow your own will."
“Do not reproach yourself, my dear, kind friend,” ex. claimed Ella ; you were tco gentle to restrain a wilful girl like me ; but, that others might not suffer from my neglect of their interest, you gave up your time, your energies, your money, for their good."
The performance of one duty is no excuse for leaving undone another more imperative."
“It is never too late to mend,” said Miss Thornton, smil. ing. “ We will make a compact. You shall be my Mentor: scold me when I deserve it, as though I were still a child, and encourage me to follow your example ; and I will be dutiful and obedient.”
“May I enter on my office immediately? Then I desire you to tell Mr. Graham the state of your affairs, and ask his advice."
Ella would have shrunk from this humiliating confession; but Mrs. Maitland was firm, and she yielded. A letter, explaining everything, was written that night, the bills were enclosed, the packet sealed ; and Ella, though she expected the reply with many misgivings, felt that the first step had been taken in the right direction. In due time the answer came.
Mr. Graham was very angry; but, to tell the truth, more so at having been de.
ceived than on account of his ward's extravagance and deception. Some of the charges, he said, were exorbitant; he recommended that the Hill Farm, a freehold property in a distant county, should be sold, as the price would cover her debts, and he could readily find a purchaser, if she would empower him to dispose of it.
Ella would willingly have agreed to this proposition had she not desired, by some personal sacrifice, to punish herself for her imprudence ; for, by giving up what had really never belonged to her (as a term of years for which the lease of the farm had been sold was just expired), she would feel no inconvenience; but Mrs. Maitland represented that, by waiting till she could save as much as she had spent, she would unjustly disregard the claims of her creditors, and it was improbable that they would allow her to do so.
The farm was sold, the debts discharged, and the moment the receipts were deposited in the drawer, where the unpaid bills had laid so long, was the happiest of Miss Thornton's life.
Whoever has watched the gradual development of good in her character, and has seen the improved condition of Greyhurst parish since then, will say that while many missions in this wide world are left unfulfilled, those of Mrs. Maitland and Ella Thornton are well accomplished.
THE AWAKENED SINNER. In the first place, we wish to speak of the Means by which a sinner is awakened from his spiritual slumber—from that deathly lethargy in which every human being lies by nature. The means is the Word of God.
Now, we allow that Providences serve to arouse attention: just as, for instance, if we had an important message to deliver to a man sound asleep, we should first of all find it necessary to awaken the man from his slumber, before we addressed the message to him, so, before we may expect the Word of God to come home with power to any conscience, before the sinner will give a serious attention to those things that make for his peace, he must be awakened-he must be awakened from that slumber into which sin and Satan have cast him; his attention must be aroused; he must be brought to reflect seriously; his mind must be drawn into a solemn condition, a condition favourable to his reception of Divine truth. God has many ways of thus awakening concern—of thus bring. ing the sinner into a state of mind in which he is likely to give heed to that important message which God sends to his soul. It may be by sickness, or by some bereaving providence, or by temporal losses, or by other providential visitations, that God disturbs that long moral slumber which has sealed his eyelids in a strange, unnatural sleep. Then, when he is thus brought into this state of solemn attention, we may hope that the Word of God will enter and quicken his soul. It is always the Word of God that does this. Other things may assist in giving entrance to the Word, but it is by the Word, as a rule, that God's Holy Spirit works in convincing the sinner of his sin.
It matters not how the sinner gets the Word, so that he do get it. The question is not, Who brings the Word of God to him? but, Is he sure that it has come ? Provided it get to his heart, it is of very slight consequence how it was conveyed thither—by what agency God transmitted that important message which enlightens his understanding and alarms his conscience.
Mark, then, what is wanted for a guilty world-a Bible ministry-men of the Bible-men with the Bible
-men dealing out Bible words in the ears of sinners. Oh! we do not want ministers to preach about ordinances, or ceremonies, or church systems, or anything else but the Bible. It is by means of the Bible that the world is to be regenerated; it is by God's own Word, accompanied by the might and energy of His Holy Spirit, that a moral reformation is to be worked. " It is therefore of very little use to build churches and chapels, or to institute religious services, unless the Word of God has thereby free course and is glorified. How important, then, to secure a scriptural ministry-how important that they should be sustained who, taking the Word of God as their guide, and as the basis of their preaching, preach as the apostles preached of the things concerning Christ, and thus give forth that Word which is the only Word of truth and life.
From what has been said, it is evident that all Christians ought to be Evangelists. If the Word has been found precious to our own souls, we ought to be anxious to communicate that Word to others. Obligations of the deepest urgency bind us to this important duty. If we have only natural affection for our fellowcreatures, it is sufficient to urge us to provide for their everlasting interests. Our own sympathy with Christ, our desires for the extension of His kingdom, and the glory of God, stimulate us in this holy and important work—the work of making known that Word
of God without which souls must “perish for lack of knowledge." Each of us, then, in our own vocation, ought as much as possible to assist in the circulation of the Bible; and each of us in our own station, and according to our respective opportunities, should avail ourselves of the influence we possess, should exercise the talents with which God has endowed us, to make known to our relatives, and to our friends, those precious truths which give light in the soul's darkness, and which make wise unto salvation.
Still, the Bible without the Holy Spirit is entirely useless : it is a mere book. Although the best book the world has ever seen, yet unless the Holy Spirit accompany the reading of that Word, and the preaching of that Word, with His own secret, energizing operations upon the soul, no spiritual benefit will be conferred. Men may read, but no spiritual illumination will irradiate the sacred
hear the Gospel preaching which conveys that Word; but unless the Holy Spirit be present, to carry home the
sacred words to the conscience, they will fall idly to the ground. Let us, then, earnestly pray, that wherever the Bible goes, and wherever Bible truths are proclaimed, the Spirit of God may so take hold of them and employ them, as sacred instrumentalities, that they may prove to be that mighty "two-edged sword,” which shall pierce to the innermost recesses of the sinner's conscience, and, awakening the concern of his careless heart, shall bring him to the footstool of Divine mercy, supplicating for pardon and peace.
II. Having spoken of the means employed to awaken the sinner's conscience, we proceed to consider the Anxiety which is the result. A sense of sin is produced; and sin is felt to be as a heavy burden, pressing upon the soul. Some have felt this a burden intolerable to be borne; they have groaned under it, as men would groan under some severe burden which pressed them to the earth. They have gone on, scarcely able to
weary way, on account of that weight of sin which they have felt clinging to their consciences. Let me here make the remark, that this sense of sin has been very variously felt. Some have felt the burden of guilt to be heavier than it has seemed to be to others; and for your guidance let me make the observation, entreating your careful attention to it, that it does not matter how deep our sense of sin is, provided we have any sense of it, and any realization of it as a burden. It is whether we feel sin to be sin—whether we feel it to be a grievous thing—whether we look
it as a burden which we would gladly cast off—but not how much that burden weighs, not whether we can estimate, as others have estimated, the depth, the criminality, the enormity of guilt. And I mention this, since many Christians have been very much troubled, because they have not felt sin so much as other Christians have felt it: they have not had that sense of its loathsomeness, of its aggravation, of its burdensomeness, as some others