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MR. GLADSTONE ON OUR LIFE.
JR life may be food to us or may, if we will have it so, be poison; but one or other it must be Whichever and whatever it is, beyond all doubt it is most eminently real. So surely as day and night alternately follow one another does every day when it yields to darkness, and every night when it passes into dawn, bear with it its own tale of results which it has silently brought upon each of us, for evil or for good. The day of diligence, duty and devotion, leaves us richer than it found us; richer sometimes and even commonly, in our circumstances, richer always in ourselves. But the day of aimless lethargy the day of passionate and rebellious disorder, or of merely selfish and perverse activity, as surely leaves us poorer at its close than we were at its beginning. The whole experience of life in small things, and in great-what is it? It is an aggregate of real forces, which are always acting upon us, we, also, reactiug upon them. It is in the nature of things impossible, that, in their contact with our plastic and susceptible natures they should leave us as we were; and to deny the reality of their daily and continual influence, merely because we cannot register its results, as we note the changes of the barometer, from hour to hour, would be just as rational as to deny that the sea acts upon the beach because the eye will not tell us to-morrow that it is altered from what it has been to-day. If we fail to measure the results that are hourly wrought on shingle and sand, it is not because these results are unreal, but because our vision is too limited in its powers to discern them. When, instead of comparing day with day, we compare century with century, then we may find that land has become sea, and sea has become land. Even so can we perceive, at least in our neighbors-towards whom the eye is more impartial and discerning than towards ourselves-that under the stead, pressure of the experience of life, human characters are continually being determined for good or for evil, are developed, confirmed, modified, altered, or undermined. It is the office of good sense, no less than of faith, to realize this great truth before we see it, and to live under the conviction that our life from day to day is a true, powerful, and searching discipline, moulding us and making us whether it be for evil or for good.-[Address delivered in Manchester.
LITTLE words are the sweetest to hear; little charities fly farthest, and stay longest on the wing; little lakes are stillest, and little hearts the fullest, and little farms the best tilled. Little books are the most read, and little songs the most loved. And when Nature would make anything especially rare and beautiful, she makes it little-little pearls, little diamonds, little dews. Multum in parvo-much in little--is the great beauty of all that we love best, hope for most, and remember the longest.
E who has once stood beside the grave, to look back upon the companionship which has been forever closed, feeling how impotent there are the wild love, or the keen sorrow, to give one instant's pleasure to the pulseless heart, or atone in the lowest measure to the departed spirit for the hour of unkindness, will scarcely for the future incur that debt to the heart, which can only be discharged to the dust.
RIGHT AND WRONG.
BY GEORGE MACDONALD.
ALAS! how easily things go wrong,
A sigh too much, or a kiss too long,
Alas! how hardly things go right!
For the sigh will come and the kiss will stay,
And things can never go badly wrong
ACTIVE Working for God is the secret of a healthy He that watereth others shall himself be
THERE is no greater mistake than in investing religion with gloom. Wisdom's ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.
PRAYER is the mightiest influence men can use. Like the dew in summer, it makes no noise. unseen, but produces immense results.
CHRIST does not uproot human feelings. He only directs and elevates them.
IMPERFECTION is in some sort essential to all
that we know of life. It is the sign of life in a mortal body, that is to say of a state of progress and change. Nothing that lives, is or can be, rigidly perfect; part of it is decaying, part nascent. The foxglove blossoms,-a third part bud, a third part past, a third part in full bloom,-is a type of the life of this world. And in all things that live there are certain irregularities and deficiencies which are not only signs of life, but sources of beauty. No human face is exactly the same in its lines on each side, no leaf All perfect in its lobes, no branch in its symmetry. admit irregularity as they imply change; and to banish imperfection is to destroy expression, to check exertion, to paralyse vitality. All things are literally better, lovlier, and more beloved for the imperfections which have been divinely appointed, that the law of human life may be Effort, and the law of human judgment, Mercy.
LUTHER'S SNOW SONG.
N a cold, dark night, when the wind was blowing hard and the snow was falling fast, Conrad, a worthy citizen of a little town in Germany, sat playing his flute, while Ursula, his wife was preparing supper. They heard a sweet voice singing outside: "Foxes to their holes have gone,
Every bird into its nest;
And for me there is no rest."
Tears filled the good man's eyes as he said, "What a fine sweet voice! What a pity it should be spoiled by being tried in such weather!"
"I think it is the voice of a child. Let us open the door and see," said his wife, who had lost a little boy not long before, and whose heart was opened to take pity on the little wanderer.
Conrad opened the door and saw a ragged little child, who said:
"Charity, good sir, for Christ's sake!"
"Come in, little one," said he. "You shall rest with me for the night."
The boy said, "Thank God," and entered. The heat of the room made him faint, but Ursula's kind care soon revived him. They gave him some supper and then he told them he was the son of a poor miner and wanted to be a scholar. He wandered about and sang, and lived on the money peple gave him. His kind friends would not let him talk much, but sent him to bed. When he was asleep, they looked in upon him, and were so pleased with his pleasant countenance that they had determined to keep him, if he was willing. In the morning they found that he was only too glad to remain with them.
They sent him to school and afterward he went into a monastery. There, one day, he found a Bible, which he read, and learned the way of life. The sweet voice of the little singer became the strong echo of the good news, "Justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Conrad and Ursula, when they took that little street singer into their house, little thought they were nourishing the great champion of the Reformation. The poor Ichild was Martin Luther! "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers."
The following is the whole of the song which Luther
sang on that memorable night:
"Lord.of heaven! lone and sad,
Gracious Father look on me.
"Iwill stay my faith on Thee,
And will never fear to tread
Where the Saviour-Master leads;
He will give me daily bread.
And for me there is no rest.
For on Jesus I rely."
A Prince of the Church, a king among men, has entered within the veil. After a long life of ninety years, his weary yet quenchless spirit is at rest. For the last three years the Cardinal's health had been but feeble. To borrow his own words from that touching "Apologia" which will live in the memory of the English-speaking race as long as the echo of the music of Keble's "Christian Year" haunts as it strikes upon the responsive ear, "A death-bed has scarcely a history; it is a tedious decline, with seasons of rallying and seasons of falling back; and since the end is foreseen, or what is called a matter of time, it has little interest for the reader, especially if he has a kind heart." Question as one may the logic of the man-the validity of the evidence which
JOHN HENRY NEWMAN is dead.
he withdrew from communion with the Church of his birth-the sincerity of the motives which prompted the momentous step is beyond all shadow of a doubt. One of the deepest and best read of thinkers, gifted with surpassing powers of clear and lucid expression, he took the step deliberately, iu obedience to the dictates of conscience. "From the age of fifteen," he once wrote, "dogma has been the fundamental principle of my religion; I know no other religion; I cannot enter into the idea of any other religion; religion as a mere sentiment is to me a dream and a mockery." That belief he held to the end. How truly he lived up to it his written words, now that the living voice is silenced, remain to tell. Of John Henry Newman it may fittingly and reverently be said, in the iwords of Goethe, his was a "beautiful spirit."
HOW BEECHER PREPARED HIS SERMONS.
MR. BEECHER spent very little time on sermon
preparation, thongh he was always storing his mind with varied material.
His methods of preparation for the pulpit were peculiar. In one sense his whole life was a constant preparation, for he was always observing and studying, laying up stores for future use, seldom knowing just when he would utilize the material, yet sooner or later employing it all. His memory was a great magazine, filled with ammunition, on which he drew as the occasion required. This might be called his general preparation. Just before preaching or speaking he would enter into his special preparation, unlock the magazine, and lay out the material he wished to use. This he would do just in advance of speaking (his ammunition was highly volatile, and, if left exposed too long, was apt to evaporate and be lost.)
His Sunday-morning sermons were prepared after breakfast and the evening sermons after tea. He would retire to his study and think out the result which he wished to reach, making outline notes of the steps by which he proposed to reach it. He could never preach a sermon on a given topic unless it was in his mind. It sometimes happened that after wrestling with his subject in his study for an hour or two, and finally preparing a very unsatisfactory outline of what he wanted to preach, he would go to his church, and, while the choir were singing the opening hymn, the whole subject would come up before his mind in the form he wanted. Histily tearing a flyleaf from his hymn book, or taking the back of his notes, he would sketch out in a few lines the newborn sermon, which would perhaps occupy an hour in its delivery. These were very apt to be among his
whose works, peculiarities and eccentricities are almost as well known in London as in New York, has become a complete recluse. He lives all the year round at his place near San Francisco. He sees no visitors, and does not come over to the city more than twice a year. He does all his literary work in the morning, writing while in bed, until noon, when he rises and spends the afternoon in cultivating the trees in his ranche, or in long walks. Owing to his belief that a man should not become on too easy terms even with his family, he only meets them in common at the table.
the number of them.
A GLIMPSE AT GEORGE MACDONALD.
I had known George MacDonald some years by
reputation as the author of many novels, not one of which I had done more than dip into, when I became personally acquainted with him through the introduction of a common friend. A tall impressivelooking man, a little high-shouldred, and not without a tendency to Scotch gauntness, the head well-shaped, the features fine, the whole expression noble. Hair long and flowing to the shoulders, full beard and moustache, which, like the hair of the head, was grizzled. I was much struck by the broadness of his
As regards George MacDonald's books I fully appreciate the loftiness of their aim and their literary flavor. Their weak point is on the side of art. I cannot regard them as artistic creations. Their purpose is too obvious and, indeed, obtrusive. They are philosophical treatises rather than studies of life. Human nature is distorted in the interests of religious metaphysics, and the truth is sacrificed to the discussion of problems. If you already believe enough, you can accept George MacDonald's philosophy; but then you don't require it. If you don't already believe enough, it is of no manner of use to you. I will not intrude upon the privacy of Dr. MacDonald's life further than to say that a more charming family than his I never met. It is characteristic of the kindness and nobleness of him and his wife, that, though they have an exceptionally numerous offspring, they have adopted in addition another child.
Love is sunshine, hate is shadow.
CHI ESE PROVERBS AND PHRASES.
Scotch accent, all the more so that there is absolutely A CALF does not know a tiger-(simplicity and
no trace of it in his family, and he himself has lived the best part of his life out of Scotland. He told me that he usually spent the winter abroad-at the Riviera-on account of the weakness of his chest. Our conversation was not brilliant exactly. After mutually expressing our gratification at meeting one another, we drifted into literary chit-chat. He told me that his first work was a drama, and that it had been successful. I expressed my astonishment, poetry of any kind by an unknown author being notoriously unsaleable. "I do not mean," he said, "any great success, but my share of the profits was twenty pounds, which was an encouragement to a beginner. At any rate, it decided me to follow literature as a profession, I suppose. One ought to keep one's poetical claims distinct from one's claims as a prose writer. In the vulgar imagination the poet is a man who can only write poetry. If it is known that he writes prose as well, his poetry becomes at once pro saic in the eyes of the public." And I instanced Tennyson as one who has steadily abstained from publishing prose.
I am a
"As to myself," answered Dr. MacDonald, "I had no choice. I had to write for money, and prose pays the best; and I have had to write hard, too. very busy man. I have always two novels on the stocks at once. I used to manage three."