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offering to God willingly spend and be spent in behalf of Christ's poor.
The last use of joy we would mention is to teach us thankfulness, a duty too often we fear neglected. Alas, the words of our LORD are still applicable, “Ten were cleansed, but where are the nine ? There returneth to give glory to God only this stranger.”'l We are ready enough to call upon God in the day of trouble, and blessed be His Holy Name, we have His promise that in the day of trouble He will hear us, but in the day of joy are we so ready to remember Him? How
many pray earnestly under a sorrow who forget to return thanks in a joy. Oh, why is this, when both come alike from the same source? It is not a loving child who has tears for his father's chastisement, but no smiles for his rewards. The birds of the air drop their wings and sink to earth in a storm, but when the sunshine comes again they soar to heaven's gate with their carols of praise. The flowers droop and pale beneath the scorching heat, but when the soft dew-drops fall upon them they lift their gentle heads and offer grateful incense to their Maker, and shall we be less thankful than these His soulless creatures ? Daily we ask His forgiveness for our sins, for His aid and for His care, and ill will it fare with us if we cease to do so, but are we always as careful in our thanksgiving ? Every night let us thank Him for and ask His blessing on the joys and pleasures of the day; every night, I say, for I think none of us will find a day in which we have not something to be thankful for ; if we begin to count our joys their number will astonish us, even in times of trouble we are seldom totally bereft of them; no, God often sends His angel of sorrow and His angel of joy very swiftly upon each other's footsteps, nay, oftentimes they stand one on either hand of us, so merciful is our God Who “knoweth we are but dust, and remembereth whereof we are made," and so “tempereth the wind to the shorn lamb.” For instance,
does He send poverty, it is hard, but what unexpected friends does it not often raise up; and if it drive away our summer friends," what matter, if it shows the full value of those who remain ? Does sickness lay us low, and weakness deprive us for years, perchance for ever, of our share in the active duties and pleasure of life? it is hard, but “we will lie still and murmur not,” we may be certain it is needful, perhaps in those very duties and pleasures lay our chief peril. Shall we complain of being wounded early in the strife, before almost our warfare had i S. Luke xvii. 17, 18.
2 Ps. xlvi. 1.
begun ? God knew, it may be, that we had not strength for the conflict, and therefore withdrew us from the battle and laid us by the river bank; we may not be idle there, many will come from the heat and the din of the fight to claim our sympathy and love. The compensations of sickness are wonderful and sweet; in it we learn as we never did before our own weakness and God's strength; while our dependence on others draws out all their goodness and our gratitude, and every hour of our ease or of sleep is valued as it never is in health. The many unlooked-for kindnesses we receive and the tender care and affection shown by those who love us is another compensation; and when we recover, every hour of returning health is worth two ordinary hours : none can fully appreciate the beauty of the earth and sky or the happiness of once more going “with the multitude who keep holy-day" into the temple of our God, until sickness has deprived them of these blessings for a season ; none can tell the value even of a few sweet violets till some loving hand has laid them on their pillow in sickness.
If, as we see, there is so much to be thankful for, even in days of trouble, surely there is far more in ordinary times, and most of all in seasons of especial gladness. We have always the mercies common to all to be thankful for, of life and light, and food, we have our national mercies and our especial mercies as children of our holy mother, the Church. Nearly every day also we may find some particular mercies, one day it may be the beauty of God's earth, the songs of His birds, the breath of His flowers that has gladdened us; or some unexpected opportunity of worshipping in the “ beauty of holiness” has been given, some text may have comforted us, some doubt been removed, some gnawing anxiety calmed, or perhaps some chance of doing good to others has been ours; or in our turn, some one may have done good and shown kindness to us. Let us not despise this last source of happiness, for if to give the cup of cold water in Christ's Name be blessed, so also is it to receive it for His sake; yes, let us never forget to count among our joys the love and kindness of our friends. Human love is the type, the faint and wavering type, but still the true type of the divine love, and as such it is the best and dearest earthly gift of God to man. Let us then keep and cultivate it, being sure of this, that "he who loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, cannot love God whom he hath not seen :” for the great gift of human love, then, let us day by day lift up our hearts in thanksgiving to the Great Giver who is Himself Love, and from whom therefore all pure and holy love must come, for "every good and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the FATHER of lights.” If the love be not perfect, be not good, it is not from Him.
Some little of the “ teaching of joy,” we have endeavoured faintly to indicate. In conclusion, let us earnestly intreat those whom God is striving to draw to Himself by its golden links, not to neglect such gentle teachings. He may not always employ them, if they remain unnoticed. He may change them for the iron chains of adversity. Oh, follow the sweet echoes of the angel's song or perhaps the thunderclap of anguish may be the next sound you will hear. Pluck no joyflowers that grow not by the “ narrow path,” but of those that do grow there gather in plenty, and praise God for them day by day with joyful lips, and let their beauty and sweetness urge you onward to the heavenly garden, where the tree of lifel flourishes by the river of God, and where the Rose of Sharon and the Lily of the Valley bloom for evermore.
“As gold in the furnace He hath proved them, and as a victim in a holocaust He hath received them, and in time there shall be respect had to them."-Wisdom iü.
RUDDY the light
And win us mercy there.3 1 Rev. xxii. 2.
2 Cant. ii. 1. 3 Origen, c. Cels. 2, 64, p. 739.
So will we hope,
Nearer in soul,
THERE was once a poor old man who lived in a tumble-down cottage by the side of a mountain lake. He was not alone, for he had an only child, a little girl. The man's name was Sombre Grey, it was a strange name, an odd name, but it suited him well, for the man and his life were of the dullest, most sombre grey. He was very poor, consequently his clothing was mean and he was so pinched for want of food, that his face had always an ashen hue, his lips were pale, and blue shades circled his eyes and nose and mouth so often, that you felt as if he would suddenly fall and swoon away in a deathly faint, from whence there would be no return to life.
The only bright thing about him or the cottage was the presence of Evergild, Sombre's daughter. Now her name was a strange one, but it suited her well also, her mother knew when the babe was born that her own life was ebbing out, and as she felt that with her death, poor Sombre's lot would be dark indeed, she decided to call her child after a great-grandmother who had born this name, instead of after herself, with the prayer that the child's temperament might answer to her name, and that she thus might bring a little golden sunshine to gild her husband's lot. And Evergild's presence was a glory, long thick wavy curls rippled off her brow, fell to her knees and clothed the white shoulders from which the tattered frock fell off, in golden glistering raiment; dark brows and lashes gave a solemnity to her face, from which large blue eyes looked out bright and clear, like the blue northern skies against the dark pine branches.
i S. Dionysius, De Martyr. p. 41.
If Sombre’s life was grey, Evergild's was golden, his face was always, as I have told you, of an ashen colour, but rosy hues played on Evergild's cheeks and crimson was on her lips. She saw everything the brightest side, for her the clouds had always a silver lining, no day was dark and dreary,' her heart was never weary. If Sombre came home tired and sad, having found no work that day, Evergild would bring out the dry crust with a bright smile and say, while she broke off a wee bit for herself, “Our sleep'll be light to-night, father, we'll not have the nightmare like greedy Robin.” Or when the rain came down for days together and Sombre must perforce keep the house, since out-door work could not be done, Evergild would run gleefully to her store of dry fircones and brushwood, pile up the light materials on the poor hearth, coax them into a blaze with her breath, and then call her father, who sat with drooped head by the casement, to mind the fire while she shook out the meal bag to make some porridge, and prattle to him of the comfort it was to keep the house in that damp weather, and he so subject to rheumatism. The morrow would surely be fine, and if not, then the day after, but the good God would see to that; He had promised never more to drown the world, and had set His bow' in the clouds as a token to righteous Noah and all who should live after him.
Truly Evergild was the sunshine of Sombre's life, at all times, in all seasons, wherever her golden mantling tresses appeared, they parted the dark waters of life which rose high round him and almost closed over his head. But one year, the winter was long, sickness had prevented Sombre from getting about and doing the odd turns of work which sometimes came in his way, so the meal bag could not be filled and the fir-cone heap got level with the ground, food and warmth were wanting in the hovel, and the good FATHER above alone knew how little excess there had ever been there.
Therefore, at last when He, the LORD willed it, the Death Angel was sent. He came softly in the night, bent over the poor bed of the sleepers, touched with his kind hand the faint beating hearts, and then went back to Heaven, but not alone, for two happy spirits were at his