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"Because they apply so exactly to me," she said, weeping; "can you not see that they do?"
"Xo, I cannot. I am quite sure that they do not apply to you—at present," I said, as confidently as I could.
"Doctor, what do you mean? why do you say—at present?"
"Because the ever-blessed Lord is evidently calling you now, by his word and his Spirit, and is still waiting to be gracious. If you will listen to him, he will receive you and love you freely. If you will not return to him, then who shall say that those fearful words may not be descriptive of your case?"
The invalid fixed her eyes eagerly upon me as I spoke. "Doctor," she whispered, "will you pray for me?"
"I will, indeed, in my own chamber; I will pray for you here if you wish it."
"I do—oh yes," she said, earnestly.
I knelt by her side, and offered a few brief petitions. I think—nay, I am sure—I prayed from the heart; and I rose from my knees, trusting that prayer would be answered.
"But you must pray for yourself," I said, when she had thanked me for my concern on her behalf.
"How can I?" she asked.
"Answer me truly, Miss F—," I said, as gently and kindly as I could, but firmly; "do you really desire to be reconciled to God?"
"I do indeed," she replied.
"And are willing to be received by him in his own way?"
"Yes, lam; I think I am."
"Tell him so. Ask him, for Christ's sake, to be reconciled to you, to receive you in his own way; this will be prayer," I said.
Soon after this, on taking my leave of my patient, I said, "I havo spoken freely to you as a Christian man; but jo\i know I am only your physician. An experienced Christian minister might suggest other thoughts, and would speak with more authority than I have spoken, or can venture to speak. Why not have recourse to such an adviser?"
"My brother will not permit it," she said; "ho will not hear of a clergyman or minister entering the house. As I told you, he complains that my illness has been aggravated by what he calls my religious fancies; and ' the very affeotion he bears to me, forbids him,' he says, 'to yield to my wishes in this particular.'"
"Shall I speak to him on the subject ?" I asked.
"It would be useless, doctor," she said, dejectedly; "so useless, that I must entreat you not to mention to him a syllable of what has passed between us to-day."
THE PIOUS SON,
A BLESSING TO HIS UNGODLY FAMILY.
"I Once knew," writes Pastor Harens, "a man who was a perfect specimen of a good, upright man of honour; but he did not know the Lord Jesus. Among his fellow-men he stood in universal well-merited esteem, for he was friendly and amiable in social intercourse, and had something naturally noble in his whole manner. Prayer was never heard in his house, neither grace before meals nor morning and evening family worship. But parents and children, master and servants, lived in love and peace; and any dishonourable conduct was never endured. In other respects all went on in that household according to the ways of this world: cards were played; there was dancing occasionally; if passion was excited, swearing (though rarely) might be heard; but that worldly merriment should be carried beyond moderation the man would not allow. The Bible was never read, yet that man had a Bible which he had inherited from his pious mother; high in honour, it had the best place in his book-case, but it was never used, only taken down now and then to be dusted.
"The man had a great many children and a wife, bound to him by the most devoted love. His circumstances were tolerably good; he worked diligently, and got on by degrees. Church and communion were not regularly attended, but still not scorned.
"This man had a peculiar hatred against the pious, of whom he had known a few in his life. These so-called pious people of his acquaintance could not have been of the right sort, for by them he had arrived at the conviction that all pious persons without any exception were hypocrites . He often related that he had known a pious man who read much in the Bible and religious books, and held _ 1 prayer-meetings in his house, but was at the same time a niggardly miser and usurer. Another he knew who outwardly was equally pious, but was so often possessed by such violent anger and by such an ungovernable temper, that several times he had nearly committed murder. So he considered all pious persons hypocrites.
"This man was a lawyer, and was already advanced in years, when one of his sons, whom, on account of his superior talents, he particularly loved, and who was then studying the law, learned at the university to know and trust in the Saviour, and turned to him with his whole heart. A faithful preacher whose services he constantly attended, and with whom he afterwards became very intimate, was the instrument of his conversion. And now when the heart of this son was filled with such fervent love to his Saviour, nothing was more natural than that he should ardently desire that his tenderly loved parents, brothers, and sisters might also learn to know his Lord; and he poured out his whole heart to them in his letters, and told them without reserve what had taken place in himself, and how happy he now was in the assurance of the forgiveness of his sins, and in the certain hope of everlasting life. 'Oh that all men were as happy as I!' said he in one of his letters.
"For a long time he remained without any answer to his letters. At last there came one from his father, which ran thus:—' My son: Formerly, your letters were a comfort and a joy to me: your present letters on the contrary are an affliction and bitter sorrow to me. I perceive that you are on the high road to become like one of those hypocrites of whom I have so often told you. I must request you either to write as you did before, or to give up writing altogether.'
"The son replied :—' Father: You have always admonished me to tell the truth; you have impressed upon mo that there are no more despicable and cowardly beings than liars, for they have not even the courage to speak the truth; and now will you oblige me to tell a lie? I must either write to you what is in my heart—for I cannot and will not lie, neither will I be a hypocrite—or indeed I must do as you say, and write no more.'
"This greatly amazed his father, for he had often told his friends, 'That boy will never tell a lie: he would rather have his head cut off:' so he was honest enough to write in answer to his son: 'Well, write as you like: you are no hypocrite, you are an enthusiast; but you shall not tell a lie. You were right and I was wrong.'
"Soon after came the vacation, and the son journeyed home to spend it with his parents. When he entered the house his mother received him with tears, and looked at him very thoughtfully, as if she feared that he was not quite right in his head; but he fell upon her neck, kissed her and pressed her tenderly to him, whispering, 'Mother, do not make such a serious face; I still have all my five senses.' Next, he went to his father in his study, and was going to embrace him too, but he refused. Then the good son asked him, 'You are still my dear kind father, and will always remain so; am I no longer your son? Why not? What have I done wrong? Is there anything wicked in praying and reading the Bible?'
"Then his father kissed him and said, ' I must always honour the truth: you have done nothing wicked, my son.' Then they talked for a little while about the professors at the university, and about the lectures which the youth had heard there.
"In the mean time the mother had got supper ready, and they sat down to table. The son stood up, clasped his hands, and prayed. The father suddenly thrust back his chair with such violence that it cracked, and ran out of the room, and the mother after him, full of grief. But the young man did not move, and after he had fervently prayed for his father and mother, sat down and ate his supper with tears. As his parents did not return, he sought his chamber and poured out his heart to his faithful God and Saviour, and then slept quietly till the morning.
"When he arose next day ho prayed faithfully and fervently; and after he had read a chapter in his beloved Bible ho went down as usual to the sitting-room. The father sat in his arm-chair and looked first pale then red. The son shook him warmly by the hand, wishing him and his mother ' Good morning.'
"' My son,' demanded the father, 'are you the master of this house or am 1?'
"' Who else but you can be, father?' replied the son.
"' Why, then, will you introduce prayer before meals, when you know that it has never been the custom here?'
"' Father, have I ever said that you and my mother were to pray? I prayed purposely, "Come, Lord Jesus, bo my guest;" for generally we pray be our guest. I knew very well that you do not pray, so that it would have been a falsehood had I prayed our guest.'
"' But why do yo.u not leave off praying altogether? You know very well that it is not the rule here?'
"' Not for you, father, but for me it is the rule; and if I should eat without praying I should be a liar to God; and I am sure you do not wish that I should be a liar to God, for you abhor lying to men.'
"' No,' said his father, 'you shall not tell a lie; and for my part you may pray, but only when we are alone, not when strangers are here, or we shall appear ridiculous.'
"' Father, I could not even for the sake of you, my own dear father, be a liar to God. How could I turn for the sake of strangers? I am not ashamed of my God and Saviour before any man, neither before strangers, nor before kings; and I will remain true and faithful to my God. If you will not allow it when strangers are here, then do not call me to table.'
"' Boy, from whence have you such courage?' exclaimed his father.
"' I love the Lord,' replied his son. 'lie who has redeemed me—for him I would die a thousand times.'
"' Boy,' said his father, 'you are no hypocrite; so for my part you may be as pious as you like if you are only not a hypocrite.'
"From that time the ice was broken, and I have seen with my own eyes how father and mother and son read the Bible, prayed and sang together, and how the brothers and sisters one after the other were converted to the Lord. Seldom have I known a dwelling in which the Lord Jesus was so fearlessly confessed as in that house."
I WILL THINK ABOUT IT;
OE, THE WAY WITHOUT HIE WILL, AND THE WILL WITHOUT THE WAY,
It was winter time; that kind of weather when tho rich who walk about wrap themselves in thick cloaks and costly furs, and those who remain at home sit in warm rooms with softly-carpeted floors, and thick curtains to keep the least draught from coming in at tho windows. Of this class was Mrs. Perriman. She was a young widow, not only in easy, but in what many would have considered affluent circumstances; and on the morning in