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you ? In secret it
As you sat in God's house your nearest neighbour knew it not. You knew it. Or it may have been in some life-crisis, in some great affliction, when you were kept to the house, to the chamber, to the bed. Then you came to yourself,” because Christ came to you. You saw life in His light. The past such folly and wreck! The future, what was it to be? What might it not be? Then you felt, as the heavenly vision shone to you, the unutterable beauty and grace of Christ.
What of that vision now? Is it growing brighter and brighter ? Alas ! that it ever should fade away!
Oh, the vision of Christ! He has shone to you. You have felt His Divineness. You have acknowledged to yourself that to live for Him was the only true life. You have been ready, in silent adoration of soul, to cry, “ Thou art the King of Glory, O Christ!"
Lose not the vision ; obey it. It will cost you something. But Christ, by His Spirit, will help you, if you seek it, to obedience. It is right to obey Him, and to be right makes obedience delightful.
Are you losing the vision? For what? How poor and passing everything is in comparison with Him! Look up; keep eye on Him; obey Him, and the vision will brighten. Let it not, for all earth can give, grow dim and die away.
“ Coals of Fire.” JOHN MORTON knew well that Edward Wayland was
his enemy; and a good many other people knew it too.
They first met as fellow-apprentices in the shop
of Messrs. Potter and Newsome, who were upholsterers and cabinet makers in the city of Gloucester ; but Wayland was two years older than Morton. Now I hope it frequently happens that when an apprentice enters a shop, the apprentice next above him treats him very kindly and makes a friend of him, but I do not think it is always so. afraid that, sometimes at least, the senior takes great delight in making his junior feel that he is his junior, and, to use a common phrase, in “putting upon him.” At any rate this is what Wayland did to Morton. There were some rather irksome duties which devolved on the two juniors, such as sweeping out the shop and putting everything straight for the men to begin their work in a morning, and taking out goods to the houses of customers, and Wayland took care to throw the greater part of these duties, and the least pleasant of them, on Morton. Of course Morton did not like this; and so unjustly did he think himself dealt with that at length he appealed to the foreman, who rebuked Wayland very sharply.
This was not very likely to make things especially pleasant between these two lads; and it did not. Indeed it was a cause of perpetual contention. I cannot say that Morton was entirely free from blame. He was just a little bit touchy, and he could get very angry. Wayland saw this and took great delight in provoking him. Morton had not yet sought the grace of God, and he had not learnt, as he did afterwards, the wisdom of controlling his temper and of bearing with provocation and injury.
I dare say matters would have gone on a little more smoothly if Morton would have made a companion of Wayland after work-hours, and joined him in his pleasures; but Morton knew better; for he saw quite plainly that his habits and his companionships were anything but what they ought to be.
When Morton was about nineteen years of age, he became, in the true sense of the word, a Christian, that is, a sincere believer in the Lord Jesus Christ; and he made a profession
of his faith and hope by becoming a regular member of the Church. Of course this soon became known in the shop, and there was a good deal of jeering about it; and nobody jeered more bitterly than Wayland.
It was very hard to bear, but he did bear it. Wayland would have been delighted if he could only have provoked him to retaliate ; but he never succeeded. I was in the shop at the time, and sometimes I saw his cheek flush and his lip quiver, and now and then I thought I saw a tear in the corner of his eye ; but unless Wayland said something altogether false he never replied. I don't think Wayland liked him any better for all that.
At length things came to such a pass that the feeling of the whole shop was roused. I remember one day especially when, besides saying something that was very rude, Wayland had played off upon Morton a practical joke which was alike injurious and insulting. One of the men was John Evans. He was a big, broad-chested fellow, and it understood he rather liked a fight than otherwise. He had not always treated Morton very kindly, but now he spoke out :
“ Ned, thou art a mean, spiteful fellow. Wilt thou never let that little rasping tongue of thine rest ? And thou hadst better keep thy hands to thyself. Thou forgets that though thou art two years older than Jack, he is big enough and strongh enough to thrash thee well : and to my mind he is a fool for not doing it. Thou mayst thank his religion that he has not done it long since. But now I have somewhat to tell thee: I have not got any religion—at least not much to speak of; and if thou dost not be quiet, I will give thee a licking thou wilt not forget for a month."
A cheer rose throughout the whole shop; for everybody had long felt a growing respect for Morton. Wayland was astonished and silenced. From that time he felt that the public opinion of the shop was against him ; but he had in his heart less love for Morton than ever. Morton treated him with unvarying kindness, but he hated him all the more even for that.
Another thing increased Wayland's enmity. In natural ability he was Morton's superior, and he prided himself greatly on his cleverness; but Morton had one gift which he had not, that of a steady, pains-taking perseverance. Whatever he did he tried to do well, and he could always be trusted; whilst on the contrary Wayland's work was often done in a very slipshod fashion. It followed from this, that though Wayland was now a journeyman and Morton as yet only an apprentice, the latter had often entrusted to him some of the best work, which Wayland thought should have been given to himself. Much embittered, he cast about in his mind what he should do to vex or injure Morton; but for a long time nothing occurred to him that he thought likely to succeed. At length he hit upon a device which he believed would effect his ruin.
Towards the close of Morton's apprenticeship, various articles of more or less value, some belonging to the workmen and others to the firm, were missed, and no one could imagine what had become of them. Somehow or other, Wayland contrived to throw suspicion on Morton; and one day when Morton was out at work in a gentleman's house in the neighbourhood, a box which he usually kept locked having been found open, some of the men—it was afterwards remembered at Wayland's instigation-searched it. There were the missing articles.
The foreman was informed; and it so happened that, just when he had been told about it and when he was anxiously considering what to do, the managing partner, Mr. Newsome, came into the shop; and he felt he had no alternative but to tell him what had happened.
Mr. Newsome, who was a hasty sort of man, though kind and well-meaning, said there was nothing for it but to dismiss Morton at once ; but the foreman pleaded that, to say the least, Morton should be heard. If he had really taken the things—and he could not but confess that things looked badly—he had never been so deceived in all his life.
It was evening before Morton returned, and when he did