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Now you may

every other day, and send assurances which told as much of fear and doubt as of joy and love. write once a week, and the seventh day will be even as the first; for the stage of doubt is past, and the stage of perfect confidence is reached ; and it is really a higher stage, that the ardent lover has become a steady friend. Thus we eat the feasts of life, staff in hand; and, thank God ! it is with us as it was with these children of Israel, we are called upon to eat the feasts of life so only because we are called to go forth to the promised land.

And so with that other experience of life, in the matter of Religion : for here, as with our friendships, we seem to have lost something that has never been made up, and that can never be made up now. There was a time when we thought of God as just a little above our heads, looking at us from the lovely sky; and now we are disillusioned : the telescope has pushed Him away from us, in sweeping the heavens for millions of miles, to find Him nowhere. We prayed to Him just as we would ask a friend to help us, and it never occurred to us that He was weak or cruel if He did not give us our desire; but now we stand and criticise our own prayers, and some of us have lost a sympathetic God amid unswerving laws. We say with a new meaning, the old words we repeated in childhood :

I remember, I remember,
The house where I was born,
The little window where the sun
Came peeping in at morn:
He never came a wink too soon
Nor brought too long a day,
But now, I often wish the night
Had borne my breath away!


I remember, I remember
The fir-trees dark and high ;
I used to think their slender tops
Were close against the sky :
It was a childish ignorance,
But now 'tis little joy
To know I'm farther off from Heaven

Than when I was a boy." Yes! that is it:—we have unlearnt "the childish ignorance," but it has seemed to push us

farther off from Heaven.” But it is not really so. In enlarging our conception of God's universe we have enlarged our conceptions of God, and, though we may even have lost Him for a time, the loss is only apparent. We are in process of education, and many a man who thinks he has unlearnt his faith in God is really advancing to the grandest conception of Him and the sublimest faith in Him. What you are losing, or what you have lost, is a faith that belonged to an earlier and a less advanced stage of your experience : you are really enlarging your ideas, you are adding to your knowledge, you are re-adjusting things in a newer and truer perspective. Be patient, and God will find a place in your heart and mind, anon. Let no one be distressed, then, that an old faith has to be left : rather thank God and wait the signal to be gone. Listen to the Divine Spirit concerning this also,-“Thus shall ye eat the Passover of faith ; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; for God would have you leave the old for the new, and find in the land of Canaan rich repayments for the hardships and the bondage of the land of Egypt.

And now, what is true of the various stages of life and



to be gone.

of all life's experiences is true of life itself as a whole; and every one of us is standing daily staff in hand, waiting

At any moment the summons may come“Be ye also ready”; and it will be happy for us if the message shall find us so. And what will make us ready? Only one thing ;-personal fitness for the life and for the employments that pertain to the spirit. If we have lived to the body and to the body only, if we have found all our pleasure, all our satisfaction, and all our interest in the things of the flesh, how can we be ready for the journey we shall take into the spirit-land when the message comes ?

“Heaven," said the quaint puritans of an earlier day, “is a prepared place for a prepared people :" and they were right. For us, “Heaven” stands for advanced bright life, life under higher and fairer conditions: and it is only reasonable to conclude that for such a life there must be fitness---fitness and readiness. “Let your loins be girded about,” said Jesus, “and your lights burning: and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their Lord ;” and that can only mean the cultivation of the state of mind and heart that will make the great change neither a grief nor a surprise. Even now we stand at life's great Passover: even now for some of us the angel is at the door: hear ye not his message? Ah ! shrink not; it is the dear old word,

“Come unto me, and I will give you rest.”



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S the years come and go, I suppose there are very

few of us who escape the curious thrill that comes with the thought,- One year more! How fast they go! Sure, I must be getting old !' And then some of us will fall to making that touching little calculation which, by stern process of arithmetic, bounds our life, and determines the measure of our days. The good, sensitive-souled man will then begin to reckon the result—to turn over the old, old leaves of the ledger of life—to scan the spirit's profit and loss—to, perhaps, go softly with the sorrowful judgment that “all is vanity.” “What has my life been to me,' he will say,—what a little, narrow, useless, uneventful thing it has been, after all! I have made a few friends—perhaps as many enemies ;-I have had my little struggles, my little joys and sorrows, my little mournings and merrymakings, and now here I am, well nigh ended, and knowing pretty well all about it : and now what a poor thing it looks ! And, indeed, there is always some truth in that pathetic, depreciatory retrospect. Life, for the most of us, does seem a poor, unsatisfactory thing, which does not improve as we go on; and there is not a little in life to suggest the thought that in age we are a kind of finished feast, with nothing left to be done but for the crumbs to be quietly put out of the way.


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With age, for instance, come many disillusionings. Youth is full of sweet illusions : everything is so new, so untried, so hopeful, so delightful. To the new-comer it is a world as good as new : it might all have been born with the incomer. What poor, jaded, joyless, dusty forms are these?' say the bright ardent pilgrims just arrived : 'you shall see what a world we will make of it ! But presently the gold is rubbed off from the wings of all the butterflies, the bush that burned with fire becomes just a plain bramble; and love wearies, and hope wanes, and faith begins to calculate, and the old man, gradually losing his powers, his confidences, his burning zeal, sees and feels the fire go out, shrugs his shoulders as he sees other new pilgrims rush panting in, and says,-'Ah! poor young things ; I know all about that. I have been behind the scenes, and have seen the candles, the ropes, and the tinsel, and know all about the fairies and the halls of dazzling delight. Life is an old drum to me. It is broken now, but it was hollow always.'

Perhaps one of the most melancholy exhibitions of this mood is that found in the Book of Ecclesiastes, where you find even a splendid king moaning over the dry crusts and tattered tinsels of life's past. “I was king over Israel,” he says,—"and I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith. I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and behold all is vanity and vexation of spirit. That which is crooked cannot be made straight : and that which is wanting cannot

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