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Read what Paul says: "Be careful for nothing; but in everything hy prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests he made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Philip, iv. 6, 7. Take your care to God, and commit it to him in prayer. He will hear you and give you, instead of it, a peace so full, so sweet, that it will he indescribable.
These are hut a few of those precious promises which God has given you on this matter. Try to be familiar with them all, and believe them all.
Eead, moreover, what Jesus says in his sermon on the mount, about laying up treasures in heaven. If you are really bent on that, and really succeed in that, your earthly cares will sit on you very lightly.
Cultivate withal a spirit of contentment with what God appoints. If you have the power of improving your lot use it; but, whatever the position assigned you, accept it with a lowly, thankful heart as from God. Observe how the apostle puts these together, contentment and freedom j from care. "Let your conversation be without covetous- I ness, and be content with such things as ye have: for he j hath said,-1 will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So I that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper," Heb. xiii. 5, 6.
Archbishop Leighton says on this point, very beautifully: "Entertain no care at all but such as thou mayst put into God's hands, and make his on thy behalf; such as he will take off thine hand, and undertake for thee. All needful, lawful care and that only will he receive. So then, rid thyself quite of all that thou canst not take this course with, -and then, without scruple, take confidently this course with all the rest. Seek a well regulated, 'sober spirit. In the things of this life, be content 'with food and raiment;' not delicates, but 'food;' not ornament, but 'raiment;' and conclude, that what thy Father carves to thee is best for thee, the fittest measure; for he knows it, and loves thee wisely."
And if your care be for your family, rather than for yourself, do as a Christian lady did, who having enumerated in a letter to a friend the troubles and solicitudes in which her children were involved, said, "I cast their care, where I have cast my own."
Thk is indeed the secret of true happinsss.
"O Lord, how happy should we bo,
If we from self would rest;
Is working for the best.
Could we but kneel and cast our load.
Then rise with lightened cheer,
Will hear in that we fear I
How far from this our daily life,
By sudden, wild alarms!
On thine almighty arm I"
JOHN PEICE, THE WATERLOO MAN.
During a cold winter, several years ago, I was requested to call to see two old sick persons of the name of Price John Price was eighty. He was an old Waterloo man,poor, infirm, and had a sick wife. I found John looking ill, bent with ago, and clothed in thin patched garments, very unsuitable to a bitterly cold day. He seemed very grateful for the trifling comforts which I brought him, and asked me to sco his wife, who was ill in the next room.
After I had been some time with them, John Price begged me to read, saying, "I cannot now read even large print, and my wife has been ill all this year; but I inust not complain, when I have so many mercies. I used to love reading, and could repeat whole chapters: now I forget much that I have learned; but I am generally very happy. I may forget the words of the Bible; but, thanks be to God, I cannot forget what he has done for me. He has sent his Son to die for me; and while that dear name, the Saviour, is in my heart, it is peace here, and will be glory hereafter."
The effort of talking seemed so painful, that I told him I should now read. After a chapter in St. John, he said, "Will you kindly read my text and my hymn? They were the first that ever struck me, and they were God's message to my soul: that is what my old master used to call them, madam." He then showed me on the fly-leaf of the Bible this text, written in laxge letters: "When the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive," Ezek. xviii. 27.
Beneath the text the following hymn was copied, hearing this inscription: "Sunday, August, 1820. Heard this text and hymn at Cowbridge: God grant I may remember that day as long as I live. J. Price."
"Behold the Lamb! 'tis ho who bore
I'll look to him till sight endear
The Saviour to my heart,
And never from him part.
I'll look until his precious love
My every thought control;
O'er body, spirit, soul.
I'll look to him till life is run,
My never-failing Friend:
And grace in glory end."
I soon felt much interest in the poor old man; and, when he had become accustomed to my visits, I one day asked him to tell me some particulars relating to his former life, and how he first became acquainted with his own lost state as a sinner, and with the merits of Christ's precious blood as the atonement for sinners.
His face brightened as he replied, "I should be glad to tell you, madam, but I cannot talk long. However, many years ago I wrote it all down: I always liked reading and writing." He then told me where I might find the paper in question, and I read as follows, having first, at the request of his poor sick wife, opened the door of her room, so that she might hear me read. She had not, she said, heard it read for years.
"I am a Welshman by birth, but till I enlisted I was employed in the mines of Cornwall. My wages were good; but I was not contented, and got money by cards, and then spent it all on drink or worse things. At last I enlisted, and all the time that the Duke of Wellington was in Spain and Portugal I was with his army. After the great battle of Waterloo I returned home. I was very ill, and had a had gunshot wound through my (shoulder. I went to Wales as soon as I left hospital, and there lodged with my uncle, whose farm was near Cowbridge.
"All the years I had served with my regiment I had lived a sinful, careless life; I never read the Bible, I never prayed, and, unless we happened to go to the garrison chapels at any time, I never even heard the service read: and even then I thought more of our marching through the town, of the merry tunes the band played, and the gay conversation I should hold with my sinful comrades when we got into barracks again. So I went on till middle life came, and I travelled to Wales ill and wounded; low in spirits, and anxious to got well, that I might again indulge in my former sins and follies.
"1 soon grew better in the fine air and quiet of the country; and one beautiful Sunday I and three of my cousins set off for a day's pleasuring amongst the mountains. The day was hot as July, and, though the end of September, the trees still kept green. I felt quiet and happy: I had become very fond of my cousins; and my cousin Euth, though years younger than myself, had promised to marry me when I was well, and able to return to the regiment. We dined at a little wayside inn: then Ruth and her sister Mattie went to visit some friends, while Davy and I took out our fishing tackle, and began to fish in the river. He soon laid the rod aside, being very sleepy with the long walk, the hot day, and our good dinner.
"I still sat there: by and by a bell began to ring, and people came down the different paths, and went into a small whitewashed church, which stood near the little hamlet. The bell ceased, all was very quiet, and the rustle of leaves, and the murmur of a distant waterfall alone disturbed the perfect stillness. Then I heard singing, and I determined to go into the church and listen. I had not been into an English church for a long, long time. The seats were full, but I placed myself on a bench near the pulpit, and there I sat till the minister gave out his text:— 'When the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.' I listened; I felt each word the minister said; and, as I caught his eye more than once, I thought, 'If all this is true that he says of sin and I its consequences, oh, what will become of mo?' I bowed my head, and the only tears I had shed from boyhood ran down my cheeks. I felt I was indeed the 'wicked man' he spoke of.
"Then came the second part, and I listened while he spoke of Jesus, who died to save us from our sins, he who loved us, and died to enable us to live eternally. Then the minister told us there is room in heaven for all who come to Jesus as their Eedeemer; and, as I heard ofthe great love of this dear Saviour, my very heart seemed touched. Oh, how good God was, and how veiy sinful I had been all my life! I feared it was too late now; and I sat there more miserable than I had been in my whole life. Then the hymn came, and that seemed rather to comfort me.
"I did not rejoin my cousins; I made an excuse and went home, but could get no sleep: indeed, from that Sunday I was so miserable, that I often felt sinking in utter despair. All my sins rose before me: my life of guilt and crime against God and man, my total inability to alter myself, all these things nearly drove me beside niyself, so great were my grief and terror. My aunt and cousins laughed at me; they called me Methodist, hypocrite, and many other names. Ruth said I must either give up her or my new fancies. In short, my whole life was one of torture and distress.
"I used to read my J5ible in the fields, for I had no quiet place in the house; and yet I had no comfort: sin, sin pressed upon my heart, and I could not hope for pardon. Time went on. I got some pious tracts and books, but still I had no peace; but, thank God, I was soon to learn that He who had wounded my soul could heal it. We often hear it said, 'The day is darkest just before the dawn;' and this truly was the case with me. The black cloud was to be lifted from my benighted heart; and Jesus Christ, the 'Day-spring from on high,'—Jesus, the 'Sun of righteousness,'—Jesus, the 'bright and morning Star'—shone into my heart, and brought light, and joy, and peace for ever. Oh! I thank God—I will thank him and praise him as long as I live.
"One day all seemed more sad than ever. Ruth had married some one else, and the house looked dull and uncomfortable without her. A party of the neighbours were drinking in the kitchen, and I got out of my bedroom window to avoid them. I soon ceased to hear their foolish