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GEMS-POETIC SELECTIONS.-THE CHILDRENS' CORNER.
Prayer is neglected, not because men are busy and have no time for it, but because they are worldly and have no heart for it.
Neither time, nor death, nor eternity, can harm those who follow the light that God throws upon their path.
Our trouble is that we write our mercies on the sand, and engrave our afflictions upon a rock.
No man can go to heaven when he dies who sends not his heart thither while living.
My greatest losses have arisen from neglect of smallest opportunities.
Our greatest hope should be beyond the grave.
Happiness is in the taste, not in the thing.
"NOT MY WILL, BUT THINE."
Methought Thine angels, Lord, were sweet,
Have I not seen the desert drear
Bloom into holy ground?
And close beside the sepulchre
Thy brightest angels found?
O, faithless soul, that would not take
Whom the bright raiment glad must make,
At once Thy bidding to fulfill,
My stricken soul was loth;
I waited till the sweetness came,
Ah! then my God was known!
When in Thy paths shall I delight, Ere flowers make glad my feet? When shall Thy stroke upon me light, And still my song be sweet?
-Thomas H. Gill.
MY OLDEN HOME.
SITTING by my window, thinking,
Almost see the ships at anchor
'Neath pale Luna's silver ray. Ah! my eyes are filled with tear-drops, And I wonder as they fall,
Is it truth or is it fancy,
Do I thus behold them all?
Many years have bloomed and withered,
But to thee my thoughts are turning
The Childrens' Corner.
WE ARE THE BUDS.
A SABBATH-SCHOOL teacher was trying to make his class understand the dependence of the branches on the vine.
"Jesus is the vine, we are the branches; we get all our life and happiness from Him."
"Yes," said a little fellow;
"Jesus is the vine, grown-up people
are the branches, and we are buds."
THAT word "deny" means "thrust from." So when the New Testament speaks of "denying all ungodliness and worldly lusts," it means to thrust them far from us, and let them no more have dominion over the heart and life. When it bids us deny ourselves, it means to thrust on one side the appetites and passions which have been holding sway, and declare that henceforth our chief allegiance shall not be paid to them. So, too, when it speaks of denying Christ, it means to thrust His rightful claims out of sight, to disown our allegiance to His religion, and to be disloyal to His truth and righteousness. Hence it was that the apostle Paul wrote to Titus of those who profess that they know God, but in works they deny Him; and it is to this renouncing, disowning, this thrusting on one side, that the word always refers in New Testament usage. Will any one ask, after that definition, who it
is that denies Christ?
Very clearly he is the denier who keeps on in a guilty course though the teachings of Christ have shown him a more excellent way. To keep on in the old sins. though you have become convinced of their sinfulness; to speak the old falsehood, though you have learned how false it is; to disregard the claims of strict integrity in your business, though you have begun to feel their pressing obligations; to live as if your own passions were masters, though you have heard the higher voice of duty,-that is in very truth denying Christ and proving disloyal to His religion. It is simply a misfortune to be ignorant of the name of Jesus, or knowing it to be unable to believe in Him; but to feel convinced that He is the best spiritual leader of humanity, and yet to go on grovelling among the low passions as if we had never been urged to come up higher, that is not a misfortune merely, but a sin against God, and a crime against one's self. For the real infidels, in this or any land, are not those who cannot believe the truth and right, but rather those who believe them and yet refuse to shape their lives accordingly. Whoever thus refuses, does by that very act renounce his allegiance to conscience, disown the claims of duty, and deny the great Teacher who made known the will of God to men. Three causes specially seen at work to make men deny the Christ and thrust the obligations of His religion out of sight.
For some are bribed out of their loyalty. Even the school-boy
knows that, when, for the sake of getting credit for recitation, he peeps into a book, or whispers to his mate, or jots down words on the palm of his hand, and thereby disowns his allegiance to truthfulness and honour for a few good marks. And the school-boy's father knows it, when, in his haste to get rich, he sells conscience and truth with his goods. There was a man in the American war for independence who said to those who would bribe him to the Tory side, "I am a poor man, but poor as I am the king of England has not wealth enough to buy me;" but there are all too many now-a-days who begin a war for the independence of their souls, and are speedily bribed by a few pet luxuries to give up the contest and be disloyal to God. To do poorer work than you promised so as to make a little more on the contract; to take advantage of another's ignorance to sell him poorer goods than you pretend; or in any way to attempt adding to your riches by impoverishing your soul, that is thrusting away the religion of Christ for the sake of a paltry bribe.
Then some are laughed out of their loyalty to Christianity. Ridicule often strikes deeper than violence, and leaves a more bitter rankling behind. A sneering look or coarse laugh has gone right through a man's breast-plate, and made him throw down the banner of the cross though he had bravely withstood every assault before. The knight-errant who conquers in the tourney and battle is driven away from the banquet by the court-fool. So, many a one is ashamed to do right even when he is not afraid, and is laughed out of his allegiance when he is steadfast against all bribes. Yet as soon as the deed is done, and a man has shown himself ashamed of Christianity, how much more ashamed he becomes himself! For no one ever was driven by the sneers of the world into denying his loyalty to Christ, without feeling that he had thrown away his manhood and degraded himself to the level of the brutes.
But, finally, some who cling so fast to their faith as not to let it go on account of bribes or sneers, are yet frightened into denying it at last. We still need the spirit of the old martyr, who, when asked, "Art thou a Christian?" confessed and denied not, but confessed, I am a Christian," though he knew that answer condemned him to the savage lions. For, much as our times differ from those dark days, there are still lions in the path of those who would be perfectly true to Christian faith, and there is still need of strengthening our hearts lest we be frightened into a denial of truth and duty. It needs no words of a preacher, but only a glance at our own hearts and lives, to show
THE ISLE OF MAN.
that difficulties yet beset the pilgrim in his progress to the Celestial City, and
By the thorn-road, and none other,
It is indeed easy to do just about right, and far too many are content with that; but to do exactly right and not swerve to either hand from strict integrity, is to this day so hard that many are frightened out of the allegiance they know they ought to pay.
THE ISLE OF MAN.
THERE is a patch of land in the stormy Irish sea called the Isle of Man. On a sunny day the highlands of Ulster in Ireland, and of Galloway in Scotland, are visible from its western shore; and from the summit of Snaefell Mountain busy England is seen fretting in the golden haze across the sea. But small as it is-a mere speck on the map of Great Britain-it has a government of its own, with a House of Parliament, a people infused with noble blood, and a thrilling and eventful history. Hawthorne has praised it in the delicious prose of his " English Note-books;" Scott gathered material for "Peveril of the Peak" from its romantic scenery and legends; and Wordsworth commemorated a visit to it in a sonnet. But it is not in these few literary associations that its chief interest lies. The history of its varied fortunes, and the ancestry of its superstitious people have a peculiar interest, dating, as they do, from the thrilling age when the Norsemen were mighty in the West.
In its greatest length the Island measures about thirty-three miles, and in its greatest breadth about thirteen. Its circumference is seventy-five miles, excluding the sinuosities of the bays; and it contains a superficial area of about one hundred and thirty thousand acres, or two hundred and three square miles. Enjoying the benefits of the Gulf Stream, the climate is singularly mild and genial, and there are few other places in the world where the difference between winter and summer is so slight. The mean temperature of summer is usually about 59.17 degrees; of autumn, 46.97 degrees; of winter, 40.90 degrees; of spring, 44.70 degrees. There is plenty of rain, but very little snow or frost. Fuchsias grow to the height of ten or twelve feet out-of-doors, and are found a mass of crimson blossoms in the poorest gardens. As to the healthfulness of the climate, you should see the native girls, rosy-cheeked, plump, active, and gleeful, and the men, who are as stalwart, muscular, and handsome a race as ever breathed sea-air.
ON AN ICE FLOE.
For the most part the coast is rocky and wild, hoar with the foam of the turbulent sea that surrounds it, and indented with capacious harbours and innumerable creeks; but in the north the land sinks into a low pasturage, and meets the water on the glistening pebbles of a smooth beach. The interior includes nearly every kind of natural scenery-heather-clad, balsamic hills, plains as richly cultivated as the downs of Surrey, wide reaches of prickly gorse as drear as Yorkshire moors, and the prettiest of cascades. The enchantment of Northern land dwells in its subdued light and on its mist-crowned heights.
The vikings are fishermen now, and all great treasure steamers from Liverpool sail into the West without a thought or wish of evil toward them. Sleepy villages are perched on the cliffs where once the beacon-fires of the wreckers allured many a goodly ship to her doom. In the bays where the pirates hid themselves fly the white sails of pleasure-boats. So great are the changes wrought by time that even the spell of mist worked by the wizard king has been broken, and the summer has its share of cloudless days. The invaders are not Romans, Picts, or Scots, or Scandinavians, but aggressive tourists bearing knapsacks instead of eagles, and walking-sticks instead of javelins. These confront you in nearly every part of the island; and the primitive character of the natives is fast changing under the influence of the town manners which the visitors bring with them. Many of the superstitions have been laughed away, and hospitality has acquired a fair money value. I do not mean to say that there are no more generous hearts and simple minds in Mona. An old fisherman's wife entertained me with flour bread, salt fish, and tea, in her hut at Creg-yneesh, and indignantly thrust me out of the only door in the house when the meal was ended because I offered her a shilling. There are not a few honest folks, too, who yet have a steadfast faith in mermaids and fairies.
ON AN ICE FLOE.
Ir was on the evening of January, at ten o'clock; outside blew a frightful storm; the watch came in with the news that the ice was once more in motion. In the immediate neighbourhood of the house, our floe burst; and the broken ice flew high around us. It was high time to bring the boat Bismarck and the whale-boat more into the middle. This we did; but they were far too heavily laden to bring further. On this account furs, sacks of bread, and clothing were taken out and packed on two sledges, which were,