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ANECDOTES AND SELECTIONS.
necdotes and Selections.
THE GOOD AND MISERY OF LIFE.-It is the good and evil not of the outward condition and estate, but the good and evil of disposition and character, with which are bound up for men the issues of life and death, the possibilities of that good which we call heaven, and that evil which we call hell. All experience, and not alone all Scripture, teaches us this. A beggar, in virtue of his character, may be enviable; a rich man, in spite of his purple and fine linen, may be an object of pity. Do you wish to sound the deepest depths of misery? Do you wish to scale the topmost heights of blessedness? You cannot do it either in the way of beggary or the way of luxury; but you can do it by the love of evil or love of goodness. It is not a revelation of things beyond our ken, outside our experience, but a revelation of things that were, and are, and ever shall be, the most certain and most real of all things which is made by any religion worth the name. It is a fact which transcends all facts, as well in its certainty as its importance, and not a doctrine or a theory resting upon doubtful authority or limited observation, that the good of this life, and all life, is goodness; and the misery of this life is sin. We are human; therefore our life turns in its large movements and great issues, not upon meat and drink and clothing, but upon right and wrong, upon truth and falsehood, upon selfishness and kindness, upon passion indulged and passion regulated,not upon the needs of the body, but upon the wants of the soul. Search the world, and you will find not one corner of it containing one man where the law has not been, and is not, that the soul that sinneth it shall die, and the soul that loves good, it shall eat and be satisfied.
HOW HE PAID FOR A BIBLE.-A missionary lodged one night in the house of a gentleman, among the mountains of Kerry, in Ireland. In the morning, as he stood beside his host, looking over the wild and beautiful country, they saw a shepherd tending some sheep at a little distance. The gentleman pointed him out to the notice of the missionary. "There is Peter,” said he, “one of the shrewdest men in the district." Then the missionary went up to him, entered into conversation, and gave him a tract in Irish. A few weeks after, he and Peter met again. "I've swallowed the tract," said the latter. "If I give you an Irish Bible, will you swallow that?" "I wont be indebted to you for it, but I'll buy it." "Well, I've got two or three." "What is the price ?" "The price I ask is this: when God shall strike the light and love of it in your heart, that you will teach six men like yourself to love the Bible." And Peter took it. Some time after an English gentleman, accompanied by the missionary, started to cross the mountains. Just before them was Peter. "Och," said he, "but y'r riverence is welcome so early." Why, Peter, what are you doing here ?" "Sure, I'm doing honestly; I am paying for the book," and on the top of the mountain, where by this time it was broad daylight,
ANECDOTES AND SELECTIONS.
he led me to a hay-stack, behind which were six Roman Catholic men, away from the eye of the priest, waiting for Peter to teach them to read the Word of God.
TWO SORTS OF CHRISTIANS.-There are many who are very zealous, very regular, very orthodox, amazingly diligent in upholding the church, shocked at false doctrine or irregular practice; but they are bitter, intolerant, unloving, and even malignant. In vain you listen for the soft answer that turneth away wrath; in vain you look for the sympathetic spirit that considers the case of others, or the charity that suffers long and is kind. Hard to their servants, exacting to all their dependents, nursing hatred and cherishing the memory of wrongs, they are as bad as the disciples who would have called down fire from heaven to consume the Samaritan village. Well for them if they hear the Master's rebuke in this life; they run such a risk of hearing in awful tones on a future day-"I never knew you; depart from Me, ye that work iniquity." On the other hand, we sometimes find both men and women deficient in many ways, but rich in spirit of ministering. We find them, perhaps, in churches of which we do not think well, or in connection with a creed we abhor. Let us not for such reasons think little of their spirit, but rather magnify the grace of Him who makes the flower to bloom in the desert, and the birch and pine tree to spring from a cleft of the naked rock. And for ourselves, surely the rich lesson must be-If the desert or the rock can show such fruitful plants, how much richer fruit should be found on those in reference to whom God asks, "What could have been done in My vineyard, that I have not done in it?"—Rev. J. Service.
JESUS ALWAYS THE SAME.-I remember some twelve or fifteen years ago I was asked-very earnestly asked-by a painter to sit for my portrait. I did sit some ten or twelve times, and at the end of each sitting, when I looked at what he had done, I thought the picture less like me than it had been before. He seemed to be much of the same opinion, though he was an eminent and skilled artist. At last he dashed his brush across the canvas, and gave up his task in despair. When I asked him why, he said, "I never see your face twice alike; it is quite impossible for me to paint you." No such complaint can be made of our Lord's character. Or, at least, though a thousand fresh beauties rise to our view as we gaze on His lovely face, and though the majesty and the meekness that blend in Him surpass all power of delineation, yet He is evermore the same Jesus, ever lovely, ever kind and true, ever gracious; therefore, by resorting to Him and consorting with Him, we ought more and more to know Him.-C. H. Spurgeon.
THE WHOLE TRUTH.-To take away from truth the smallest portion of itself is paving the way for its utter loss and annihilation. In this respect truth resembles the insect which is said to die if deprived of its antennæ. Truth requires to be entire and perfect in all its members, in order to the manifestation of that power by which it is able to gain wide and salutary victories and extend its triumphs to future ages.D'Aubigné.
THE PENNY POST BOX.
A DEVOUT PRAYER.-Strip us, O Lord, of every proud thought; fill us with patient tenderness for others, seeing that we also are in the same case before Thee; and make us ready to help and quick to forgive. And then fix every grace, compose every fear, by a steady trust in Thine eternal realities, behind the changes of time and the delusions of men. Thou art our Rock; we rest on Thee.-Martineau.
The Penny Post Box.
A BLIND PARTY AT TEA.
THE school-room under the East London Tabernacle, in Burdett-road, is apparently the scene of a constant succession of tea parties. But perhaps none have exceeded in interest one which was held there, at which the guests were blind. The meeting was the twelfth of a series inaugurated a dozen years ago by Mr. Clarke, the honorary secretary of the Christian Blind Relief Society. The experiment, begun in a small way, last night reached proportions which filled the spacious school-room, nearly four hundred blind men and women being present, each having his or her guide, who was privileged to share the soothing tea and to revel in the abundance of bread and butter and currant cake. The society, whose hon. secretary had spread the feast, is one of modest pretensions, and is marked by some features which place it in a select and special list of charities. Its business is conducted absolutely without charge. It has neither paid officer nor agent, and no rental is charged for the office, which is at the hon. secretary's private residence. Every shilling subscribed goes direct to the class whom it is designed to benefit. Its mission is to grant weekly or monthly pensions to poor blind persons without reference to religious qualifications, the only claim admitted being that the candidate shall be needy, and the only qualification demanded that his or her character shall bear inspection. The pensions granted are at the rate of half-acrown a week or five shillings a month, and are paid not for a limited period, but as long as the pensioners shall remain blind and poor. the institution does not confine its bounty to East London, or, indeed, to any part of the United Kingdom, it finds no difficulty in disposing of its funds. According to a recent inquiry, it appears that the proportion of blind persons to those who can see is equal to one in every thousand of the population of the United Kingdom, and it is further found that there are not more than five out of every hundred blind people who are able to earn a living. Allowing that 20 per cent. are able partially to earn a maintenance, there remain 75 out of every 100 entirely unprovided for. Thus, out of an estimated population of 22,000 who are dependent upon charity for their daily bread. It is to the alleviation of the wants of these that the Christian Blind Relief Society turn their attention, working in an unostentatious manner that
THE PENNY POST BOX.
makes its name more familiar among the blind than with the general public who can see.
The tea party was of a character akin to the general operations of the society-being simple and practical. Its reocurrence having by this time become a red-letter day among the dark months of the poor blind throughout London, there is no difficulty in getting together a company, the difficulty being, in truth, in the other direction, upwards of a hundred blind persons who had applied for tickets being of necessity refused. The feast provided was of the most bountiful order, and was done full justice to by the guests, many of whom had walked long distances in order to be present. It is on record in the archives of this great tea-party centre that at a recent meeting, at which 1,175 persons sat down, there were eaten 10,000 pieces of bread and butter, in addition to something short of two hundredweight of currant cake. The returns for the blind party at tea have not yet been made up, but it is probable that in proportion they will not fall far short of these figures. Tea over, the benches were turned round, and the company gave themselves up to the delights of a social evening. As far as sex went they were pretty equally divided, and all being dressed in their best looked comfortable, and for the nonce were supremely happy. There were six old women from a neighbouring workhouse, who, being blind, had been sought out and invited. They were dressed in neat brown capes, and wore large white straw bonnets of a shape resembling that which, in the revolving cycle of fashion, is once more beginning to show itself at the West-end. As long as the tea was about, these old women steadly devoted themselves to its consumption, wasting no time in vain words. When tea was gone, and even the tables that had held it were removed, the white straw bonnets began to bob up and down as the old women, animated by the unaccustomed strength of the tea, entered into confidential conversation with each other and with their neighbours. After a short interval, Mr. Archibald Brown, to whose success as a preacher the East London Tabernacle is a testimony, appeared on the platform, in a few cheery words reassured the guests of their welcome. Mr. Clarke, who followed next, happening to mention, in the course of his brief speech, that the example set by these tea-parties had been followed elsewhere by the promise of a dinner, Mr. Brown declared that East London should not be outdone, and added that if four hundred of Mr. Clarke's blind friends would eat their next Christmas dinner with him, he should be glad to see them. The Rev. R. Sedden, of the Victoria Park Tabernacle, followed up this invitation by undertaking to provide tea on the same occasion; whereat there was what in French Parliamentary reports is called "movement" and "general hilarity," the six large straw bonnets being violently agitated, and four hundred faces, which do not find too much of gladness in the world, being lit up with happy smiles. The evening's entertainment was provided chiefly by the guests themselves; the Metropolitan Blind Choir, under the direction of Mr. G. T. Pyne, singing glees and songs in a style that would not have disgraced far more ambitious choristers. Light refreshments were served out in the course of the evening, and as the guests were led out they each received a bright new shilling.
FACTS, HINTS, GEMS, AND POETRY.
Facts, Hints, Gems, and Poetry.
The United States annually ships over 100,000 boxes of clothes pins to England.
The sun is equal to 20,610,000 Mercuries, to 1,520,000 Venuses, to 1,328,460 Earths, 9,394,000 Mars, 973 Jupiters, 1,399-4 Saturns, and 1,595.5 Herschels.
It is computed that France now possesses steam engines of an aggregate force of 1,500,000 horse-power. That is equal to the effective labour of 31,000,000 men, or about ten times the industrial population of the country.
The net result of the measures in force in the different provinces in India toward exterminating wild animals and venomous snakes is that upward of 21,000 persons and 48,000 head of cattle were destroyed during one year by wild animals and venomous snakes; that 22,357 wild animals and 270,185 venomous snakes have been killed, and that 120,015 rupees had been expended in rewards.
CITIES OF THE EARTH.-There are two hundred and fifteen cities with populations of over 100,000; twentynine of half-a-million or more; and nine containing a million or more inhabitants each. Of these last, four are in China. The greatest cities of the world stand in this order: London, 3,489,498; Paris, 1,851,792; New York, 1,535,622; Vienna, 1,091,999; Berlin, 1,044,000; Canton and three other Chinese cities, 1,000,000 each.
The greatest scholars are not the wisest men.-Rabelais.
No excellent soul is exempt from a mixture of folly.-Aristotle.
Man doubles all the evils of his fate by meditating upon them.
There is no defence against reproach but obscurity; it is a kind of concomitant to greatness, as satires and invec
They that do nothing are in the readiest way to do that which is worse than nothing.-Zimmerman.
Christians estimate their happiness by the shining, and their misery by the clouding, of God's face.
Silence is the angel that stands in the gate of the temple when the soul is at prayer.-Duff Porter.
Our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.- Oliver Goldsmith.
Perhaps it would be dangerous for us to possess the abilities we covet; it is always safe to consecrate those we have.
There are falsehoods that represent truth so well that it would be judging ill not to be deceived by them.Rochefoucauld.
"THE LORD CARETH."
HE cares for me! Why do I fret
And vex myself so needlessly?
Resting on Him, then let me stay