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sure is, there will the heart be also. What a blessing then to have our treasure, our chief joy, in God! for “ in His presence is fulness of joy ;” and at His 6 right hand there are pleasures for evermore."
Thought is the great instrument by which God communicates with the soul; and its purity or pollution here, will, in a great measure, make heaven or hell hereafter. If the thought of foolishness be sin, how careful should Christians be to watch over their thoughts, and examine what character they bear! How fervently should they pray, “ Search me, O God, and know my thoughts !” The mercy of our heavenly Father is very great in veiling our thoughts one from another. Nothing short of his infinite love could cover their deformity; nothing short of the blood of the Lamb could blot out their defilement. And how jealously has the Lord concealed from every eye his own communications to the soul! Heavenly treasure is hidden treasure; heavenly joy, is joy with which the stranger intermeddleth not.
If we would possess this joy, we must seek to have our thoughts sanctified. The Spirit of God must dwell within us, “ bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” Then shall the meditation of our hearts be sweet, and we shall realize the beautiful exhortation of the apostle, 6 Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
OLD HEARTY. OLD John Hart was called Old Hearty, on account of being so much in earnest, and throwing his heart into everything in which he was engaged. One of his favourite sayings was this,
While suns and seasons round thee roll,
Oh serve the Lord with heart and soul ! Old John had no notion of doing things by halves, for he would have it that if a thing was worth doing at all, it was worth doing well. In hand-work, his motto was, “ Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might," Eccles. ix. 10. And in heart-work, such as fearing and loving God,
his words were “ I will do it with all my heart, with all my mind, with all my soul, and with all my strength.”
Edmund Wall, John Hart's nearest neighbour, was fond of his garden, and always kept it in excellent order. The time had come for him to lay down the hedge afresh, to weed his beds, to sow his parsnips, and to plant his potatoes ; but just as he was preparing to set about these things, he was laid on a sick bed with a fever. “What will become of my garden?” said he one day, rather forlornly, when John Hart had stepped in to see what he could do for him. “Leave it alone, Edmund !” said, John, encouragingly, “Leave it alone. Time enough to think of that when you can handle a spade. Look upwards with thankfulness, and trust in Him who can give you seed time and harvest too in his own gracious and merciful way! I warrant your garden will not be hurt. Trust in the Lord, Edmund, for blessed is the man that trusteth in him,' Psa. xxxiv. 8.” And was Edmund's garden hurt while he lay sick of the fever? Hurt! No! for John Hart took it in hand himself, and engaged so heartily in the work, that he not only dug it, weeded it, sowed the parsnips, planted the potatoes, and new pleached the hedge, but also whitewashed the walls of the cottage. As I said before, John Hart did nothing by halves, and I question whether he had not double the pleasure in doing up his neighbour's garden that he had in attending to his own.
When sickness tries us, or when growing old,
A Christian friend is worth his weight in gold. Bridget Holmes, a poor old errand woman, who got her living by going on market days to the neighbouring towns with her donkey, met with a sad misfortune, for her donkey died suddenly without Bridget knowing that anything was the matter with him. When the news had run through the village that poor Bridget had lost her donkey and was in great distress, some pitied her, and some wondered what she would do; but John Hart, losing no time in pity and wonder, set off at once round the neighbourhood, to get together, by small sums, enough money to buy her another donkey, putting down a shilling himself to begin with. With such hearty good will did he go through what he had undertaken, that in a few hours he had collected not only enough to buy another donkey, but half-a-crown over, to the great joy and thankfulness of poor old Bridget. Many a man would have thought over the matter for a-day or two, and then talked about it for three or four days more, before put
ting his plan into practice; but not so John Hart, for he was too hearty in the cause of poor Bridget to let the affair go to sleep in that manner.
Succour the poor, and then, with money free,
Martin Slade, though he could read and write, never would go to a place of worship, but spent the sabbath in idleness, till old John Hart took him in hand. Martin was for putting it off a little, but honest John told him that the beauty of doing a good thing was in doing it at once. Martin complained of his coat, for it was out at the elbows; but John said luckily he had two coats, and Martin should take his choice which he would go in on Sunday morning. Martin said he should not know where to sit, but John told him there would be quite room enough on the bench that he sat on himself in the middle aisle. Martin said he had no prayer-book, but John told him that he should look over his. Martin thought that he had rather go in just before the sermon began, but John would not hear of it, for that would be setting a bad example. Jolin was with Martin betimes on the Sunday morning, and so heartily helped him, urged him, and encouraged him, that he took him off to church, where, some time after, to John's great delight, he became a singer in the choir. “O come let us sing unto the Lord,” said John, “let us heartily rejoice in the strength of our salvation,” Psa. xcv.
My days of praise shall ne'er be past,
While thought, or health, or being last. John Hart had to speak to some young people on the subject of the Holy Scriptures, and very plain but very hearty were his remarks. Every one understood them, and very few forgot them. Some of his observations were these-" If you would really profit by God's holy word, you must use it as a poor man, who is prudent, uses what is bestowed on him, that is, you must make the most of it. Make the most, then, of God's holy word. Read it, think upon it, pray over it, love it, reverence it, and obey it. Use it yourselves, and recommend it to others. Regard it as a treasure! Bind it to your hearts, hold it fast in health, cling to it in sickness, make it your trust in life and your confidence in death. In short, regard it as your best earthly friend, putting up this prayer with your hearts and souls. "Blessed Lord, who hast caused all Holy Scripture to be written for our learning, grant that we may in such wise hear, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy word, we may embrace, and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ.”
The word of man is feeble, and will fail ;
The word of God is strong, and shall prevail. As I said at first, in hand-work and heart-work honest John is ever in earnest. He relieves the poor, he helps the weak, he visits the sick, and comforts the afflicted, never forgetting to point them all to the Lamb of God, who alone taketh away the sins of the world. Well may such a man be highly prized as a friend and neighbour; and well may John Hart be known by the name of Old Hearty.
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION. WHEN the daughter of Pharaoh rescued the infant Moses from the waters of the Nile, she committed him to his own mother to be nursed as her adopted son, with this injunction, 66 Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages, Exod. ii. 9. The Lord Jesus descended from his throne of glory above, entered this world of sin and sorrow, and rescued from the deepest waters of destruction souls cast forth to the death. Children shared his compassion, he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them and blessed them. He has returned to his throne again, but ere he departed hence, he left the charge behind, “ Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not." Change of place makes no change in his affection for them. He folds around them the everlasting arms of his mercy. And when he commits them unto the guardian care of a human protector, a voice from heaven seems to accompany each little deposit, “ Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages.”
Christian education is a matter of vast importance to all classes and all ages, and with parents and guardians in general, rests the main responsibility of giving children such an education.
But what is Christian education?
Every day's experience must convince reflecting minds that instruction and education are very distinct things. In
struction relates to the informing of the understanding; education, to the formation of character. Instruction imparts knowledge to the understanding; Christian education “trains up a child in the way in which he should go," and so moulds and forms and strengthens his character, that " when he is old he will not depart from it.” That education is faulty which does not aim at influencing the heart, as well as inproving the mind. Man is a creature destined to exist through eternity, and the character which he is to bear through eternity, is to be formed in the present life. Hence the importance of such an education as may affect and influence the soul, not only because the soul will live for ever, but because character centres in it. Nothing is done till the soul is educated. The soul regulates the whole mail. Consequently those truths which are the best adapted to affect the soul, should be most prominent in Christian education..
Christian education, therefore, should be full of eternity. So soon as children can understand that they are immortal creatures, they should be taught that this world will be to them either a stepping-stone, or a stumbling-stone-a stepping-stone to a higher and better, or a stumbling-stone to a lower and worse. With what solemn feelings would parents impart, and their children receive instruction, if eternity were a familiar subject! Let parents remember, that that little body which nestles itself in its mother's bosom, or that stout fraine which gambols in the bloom of youth, enshrines a soul which has begun the course of a never-ending existence. That form upon which the eye delights to gaze may soon be food for worms; but the jewel within will survive the wreck of time. It is not love to their child which leads parents to allow its soul to hold a secondary place in their affections. Would they but read “ immortal," engraven by the finger of God upon its brow, with what solemnized anxiety would they enter upon its education ! Alas! that parents or guardians, who profess the name of Christ, who know their children are immortal, should train them up in the practical forgetfulness of the future, and thus teach them to live, as if Mammon were their god, and earth their home!
Christian education should lead to Christ. Jehovah has united Christ and a blissful eternity together. What God has joined together, let no man put asunder in education. Christ is the hope of the future. The tendency, therefore, of all education should be to lead the soul to Christ. The doctrine of the atonement, as well as the example of Christ, so