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and will pray God that it may teach them a useful and a lasting lesson.
One day we were sailing with a gentle, favouring breeze, not very far from the shores of America, on our ontward voyage, when it was proposed by one or two of my companions to get our lines and try to add a few fresh fish to our usual salt fare. I was pleased enough to join them, and for some time we had abundant sport. This put me in high spirits, and when at last they grew tired and left me alone, I climbed out nearly to the end of the long spar that I dare say you have seen in pictures projecting from the vessel's stern, straight over the sea, and sat there, careless and secure, fishing and thinking all the while of things far enough away,—the old pond in the orchard, where I had played at home, and my sisters' faces, and my mother's words, watching the changing clouds, and dreaming happy day-dreams, All at once, a sudden roll of the ship, for which I was not prepared, threw me on one side; I felt that I had lost my balance, and joining my hands over my head, I let myself fall, as if voluntary diving into the waves beneath. I felt no fear, for I could swim like a duck, and seeing my cap which had fallen off already at some yards' distance, I struck out towards it, never thinking of the rate the ship was going, or that I should have any difficulty in overtaking her again. I heard my mates call out to me to let the cap go and come, but I thought there was no hurry, and swam on, till just as I had snatched and caught it, I looked round and saw at what a perilous distance the ship was from me. O how I turned and swam! My blood seems to run cold within me now when I think of that moment, and the feelings that gushed upon me as I strove with all the energy that deadly peril can bestow to reach the ship's side once more. There were thoughts of home,-how different to those so fondly dreamed over a few moments before, but they only flashed across me with a keen, quick pang, and then I thought of death, "and after that the judgment." On occasions such as this, the thoughts of hours seem crowded into seconds, and though you may wonder how in that
brief moment of mortal struggle with the waves, conscience and memory found time to speak, many a one will tell you that the moment of deadly peril is often the time for them to display their most vivid power. I had been taught all Christian truth from my childhood, I knew my responsibility, I felt I was unsaved, and with this thought, solemn and dark upon my soul, I dashed on desperately towards the ship. It was my only hope, for they had no boat, as I well knew, that they could lower in time to
At last I was alongside of her, and two ropes were flung cut to me. Who will believe that after all my terror I could trifle still? And yet I hardly caught at the first; when I saw myself within reach of the ship, I didn't think there was any hurry. Just at that moment one of the men called out, in a voice that showed he was in earnest, "It's your last chance, Ned, I can see a shark close astern!" Then, indeed, with a sharp cry of terror, I sprang towards the rope, I nearly missed it, for the men pulled up hastily because of the nearness of the danger, and it was only by the convulsive grasp of two fingers that I was drawn in safety up the ship's side. Ten minutes after, a monster shark, which must have been a very few yards from me, was hauled up on deck and despatched. You must picture to yourselves, for I can never describe them, the feelings with which I looked into his fearful jaws, and supped that night on some of his flesh, knowing how very nearly he had made a meal of me.
Young reader, my tale is done. Do you think that in this passage in my life I was strangely rash and foolish? Do you condemn my delay in turning, when I was warned of my danger, and my indifference to the means of safety when within my reach? You are quite right in so judging; but stay a moment, lest you condemn yourself. Have you never acted, are you not now acting, in a matter of far more importance, just as I did? You know you are a sinner; fallen from God and goodness into a state most perilous, and going farther and farther from him every day. You know there is no help but in Jesus,
the saving ark of God; yet you turn your back on him, and pursue things that you must own to yourself are but the merest trifles in comparison with the salvation of your soul. Friends, parents, ministers, saved themselves, and anxious to see you out of danger, call on you to turn and come, but you think there is no hurry. You will go your own way older, and have got all you
first, and then, when you are wanted, you will turn, and all will be right. I did not mean to miss the ship in the end, neither do you mean to miss Christ and heaven at last, nor did any of the millions of lost souls now overwhelmed beneath the billows of Almighty wrath.
But you think there is no hurry. Is not the Ark of Refuge, with its freight of ransomed souls, fast sailing on, nearing its blissful haven at the end of Time's long voyage? Are you sure that you will have time to reach it? O turn,
"God has promised salvation if you repent, but he
not in such great danJesus is ever near, ever time you have but to call Unconsciously, perhaps,
has not promised repentance if you delay." Perhaps you think you are ger. You have been told that ready to save; and that at any on him, and he will take you in. you are resting on the fact that salvation is within your reach, and yet never stretching out your hand towards it. Just so it was with me. The rope was within a few feet of my hand, but if I had not grasped it, the sight would only have added bitterness untold to my last struggle. If you do not lay hold of the blessed hope that God sets before you, will not your lost opportunities, when it was within your reach, add tenfold agony of self-reproach to your eternal woe?
You may be near to Christ; but if you are not in Christ, you are unsaved. And is there no shark near? Has no companion ever been snatched from your side, and lost in the jaws of death? It may be that the same destroyer is close upon you now; it may be that the fatal cramp of a chilled and deadened conscience is even now settling on your soul.
Dear reader, now, while you have time and strength, O
come to Christ, cling to Him with your soul's whole strength and he will save you! Delay not, be in earnest, put not away from you this faithful warning, "lest thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed; and say, How have I hated instruction and despised all reproof!"
Now the word is, "Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out." Come, and be safe; come, and be happy. Believe me, if ever you are brought to Christ, and saved, and sanctified, your deepest sorrow and repentant wonder will be, that you should have neglected him so long, and been so long heedless and unblessed.-Christian Treasury.
THE FATHER WHO LOST HIS PROPERTY.
AN INSTRUCTIVE SKETCH.
Ir is the duty of mothers to sustain the reverses of fortune. Frequent and sudden as they have been and may be in our own country, it is important that young females should possess some employment, by which they may obtain a livelihood, in case they should be reduced to the necessity of supporting themselves. When families are unexpectedly reduced from affluence to poverty, how pitifully contemptible it is to see the mother desponding or helpless, and permitting her daughters to embarrass those whom it is their duty to assist and cheer.
"I have lost my whole fortune," said a merchant, as he returned one evening to his home; "we can no longer keep our carriage. We must leave this large house. The children can no longer go to expensive schools. Yesterday I was a rich man; to-day, there is nothing I can call my own."
"Dear husband," said the wife, "we are still rich in each other and our children. Money may pass away, but God has given us a better treasure in those active hands and loving hearts."
“Dear father,” said the children, “do not look so sober. We will help you to get a living."
“What can you do, poor things?" said he.
"You shall see! you shall see!" answered several voices. "It is a pity if we have been to school for nothing. How can the father of eight children be poor? We shall work and make you rich again."
"I shall help," said the younger girl, hardly four years old. "I will not have any new things bought, and I shall sell my great doll."
The heart of the husband and father, which had sunk within his bosom like a stone, was lifted up. The sweet enthusiasm of the scene cheered him, and his nightly prayer was like a song of praise.
They left their stately house. The servants were dismissed. Pictures and plate, rich carpets and furniture were sold, and she who had been the mistress of the mansion shed no tears.
Pay every debt," said she; "let no one suffer through us, and we may be happy."
He rented a neat cottage, and a small piece of ground a few miles from the city. With the aid of his sons he cultivated vegetables for the market. He viewed with delight and astonishment the economy of his wife, nurtured as she had been in wealth, and the efficiency which his daughters soon acquired under her training.
The eldest one attended to the household work, and also assisted the younger children-besides they executed various works, which they had learned as accomplishments, but which they found could be disposed of to advantage. They embroidered with taste some of the ornamental parts of female apparel, which were readily sold to a merchant in the city.
They cultivated flowers, sent boquets to market in the cart that conveyed the vegetables; they plaited straw, they painted maps, they executed plain needle-work. Every one was at her post, busy and cheerful. The little eottage was like a bee-hive.
"I never enjoyed such health before," said the father.