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LIGHT OUT OF DARKNESS.
BY THE REV. W. OMANT.
"God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”--2 Cor. iv, 6.
It is man's boast, that, given the material, he will work out something which will add to the collections of art, or increase without encumbering the already innumerable pieces of manufacture.
God often works in a different way. He brings order out of disorder ; health out of disease ; strength out of weakness ; joy out of sorrow ; life out of death ; light out of darkness.”
The natural world around us is full of these wonders. And when we come to the Bible, we find it richly adorned with illustrations of the same great power, and of the same unwearied goodness.
We will notice now only three of those we find in the Bible--three of the instances in which God brought “light out of darkness.” First.–Out of the darkness of chaos God brought the light of life. Second.-Out of the darkness of Sinai God brought the light of law. Third.-Out of the darkness of the crucifixion-day God brought the light First.–Out of the darkness of chaos God brought the light of life.
It was the light of life, inasmuch as it was the immediate cause of life. And $0 now light brings with it life. Without light, nature would not live as now it lives. And well may it be called the light of life, for if we try to think of the time before then, ali is darkness. Just as when we try to think of the time before we were, it is all darkness to us. Second.-Out of the darkness of Sinai God brought the light of law.
In this light God set himself before men, and was seen as he had not been seen before. He was seen more readily, and more distinctly, and more fully. And in this light God placed his children, so that they might know themselves, and their relationship to their Father ; 80 that they might read their duties and their destinies. And in this light God showed to them the world he had given to them ; how men and things should be regarded, and how they should be used. Before this light came there was much darkness all around. A few rays fell on a few of Heaven's favoured ones.
But when the light of law burst through the darkness of Sinai, many were at once invited to walk in the light; and many generations, yet not knowing the light of life, were to be the heirs, not only of the light of life, but of the second light-the light of law. Third.-Out of the darkness of the crucifixion-day God brought the light This light discovered hope to the hopeless :-"For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of painful flesh, and concerning sin, condemned sin in the flesh.” The law said, "This is the way; walk ye in it." Love makes our willing feet to move in obedience to God. This light discovers a friend to the friendless. Light is a great gift of God's goodness. A friend is a greater gift of the same great goodnese. We want, not only to see our way, but one to lead us by the hand. Jesus is that one, who, as the Great Shepherd, leads his sheep;
Let us mark how these thoughts bear upon our hearts and lives. Is there darkness in God's providence over us ? Let us remember, that God commanded the light to shine out of the darkness of chaos ; and however chaotic
our affairs may be, he can bring out of them some new blessing. Does not God say, “I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert ” ? God is always creating some new thing. Perhaps we ought to regard his providence as a term, including his acts of creation.
Is there darkness in the soul? Is there the darkness of sin ? Let us remember, that with each of us there is the light of law. We must follow it through the darkness. A man lost in the forest's dreary depths, catches the faint glimmerings of some small and distant torch. He does not despise the light, though faint and flickering, but hastens onward, bent to reach it, and in full hope that it may prove a guiding-star to his lost home, and to his lost wife, and to his lost little ones. After hard toil through an untrodden tract, he reaches the friendly light; and his hope is more than realized, for now he not only sees his home, but he sees that it is very near, and he blesses the dim light, because it has led him to the light of his loved ones' smiles, and to the joy of their long-stored greeting. So we must hail the light of God's holy law, following the still small voice within us, if we would reach our home above, if we would behold the light of that heaven which needs not the light of the sun.
Is there the darkness of condemnation? The light of love will lead out ang who will walk in its light. It is written, “ There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus."
Is there the darkness of loneliness. There is a “ Brother born for our adverrity.” From the darkness of the crucifixion-day there goes forth the light of love ; love, which rests not in forgiveness, but which shows us Him who loves, and who says,
'Lo, I am with you always.” Let us open our eyes to the light of life, and to the light of law, and to the light of love, and we may be sure that “God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, will shine into our hearts,"
REJOICE in Christ alway,
When earth looks heavenly bright,
And peace shuts in the night.
The fainting soul oppress,
And morn brings heaviness.
Rejoice in life and death,
And comfort languisheth.
Whom Christ his brethren calls,
As on their heart it falls ?
Yet not to rash excess
Let joy like ours prevail ;
Till faith begin to fail.
Let it to all appear;
“ The Lord himself is near."
Tales and Sketches.
I have told
good would result from an attempt oa bis
part to show her that she was more than A STORY FOR MOTHERS.
half to blame for the boy's perverseness of "I AM entirely at a loss to know what temper. to do with the boy,” said Mrs. Burton to Once or twice the little fellow showed her husband, with much concern on her himself at the door, but was driven back face, and in an anxious tone of voice. “I with harsh words until the bour for tea never yield to his imperious temper; I arrived. The sound of the tea-bell caused never indulge him in anything; I think an instant oblivion of all the disagreeable about him and care about him all the time, impressions made upon his mind. His but see no good results."
little feet answered the welcome summons While Mrs. Burton was speaking, a with a clatter that stunned the ears of his bright
, active boy, eight years of age, came mother. dashing into the room, and, without beed- “Go back, sir !” she said sternly, as he ing any one, commenced beating on the burst open the dining room door, and get window-sills , and making a deafening it swinging with a loud concussion against
the wall; "and see if you can't walk down* Incorrigible boy!” exclaimed his stairs more like a boy than a horse." mother, going quickly up to him, and Master Harry withdrew, pouting out his jerking the sticks out of his hand. “'Can't rosy lips to the distance of full an inch. I teach you either manners or decency? He went up one flight of stairs, and then
you a hundred times that when returned. you come into a room where any one is "Go up to the third story, where you sitting, you must be quiet. Go up-stairs first started from, and come down quietly this inoment, and don't let me see your all the way, or you shall not have a mouthface for an hour.”
ful of supper." The boy became sulky in an instant, and “I don't want to," whined the boy. stood where he was, pouting sadly.
“ Go up, I tell you, this instant, or I “ Did you hear what I said?' Go up- will send you to bed without anything to stairs this moment!”
eat." Mrs. Burton spoke in an angry, tone,
This was a threat that former experience and looked quite as angry as she spoke. had taught him might be executed, and so he
Slowly moved the boy toward the door, deemed it better to submit than to pay too a scowl darkening his face, that was but a dearly for having his own way. The dismoment before so bright and cheerful. His tance to the third story was made in a few steps were too. deliberate for the over- light springs, and then he came pattering excited feelings of the mother ; sbe sprang down as lightly, and took his place at the towards him, and seizing him by the arm table quickly, but silently. pushed him from the room, and closed the “There--there, not too fast; you've got door loudly after him.
plenty to eat, and time enough to eat it in." "I declare I am out of all heart!" she
Harry settled himself down to the table exclaimed, sinking down upon a chair. " It as quietly as his mercurial spirits would let is line upon line, and precept upon pre- him, and tried to wait until he was helped ; cept, but all to no good purpose. That but spite of his efforts to do so, bis boy will break my heart yet!".
hand went over into the bread-basket. A Mr. Burton said notbing, but he saw look from his mother caused him to drop plainly enough that it was not all the the slice be had lifced; it was not a look in child's fault. He doubted the use of which there was much affection. While coming out and saying this unequivocally, waiting to be helped, his hands were busy although he had often and often been on with his knife and fork, making a most unthe point of doing so involuntarily. He
pleasant clatter. new the temper of his wife so well, and “Put down your hands!” barshly spoken, her peculiar sensitiveness about everything remedied this evil, or rather sent the active that looked like charging any fault upon
movement from the little fellow's hands to herself, that he feared more harm than his feet, that commenced a swinging mo
tion, his heels striking noisily against the happy all the while. I dislike to be scoldchair.
ing him for ever, but what can I do? If I “Keep your feet still !" caused this to did not curb him in some way, there would
be no living in the house with him. I am After one or two more reproofs, the boy afraid he will cause a world of trouble." was then left to himself. As soon as he Mr. Burton sat silent. He wanted to say received his cup of tea, he poured the en- a word on the subject; but he feared that tire contents into his saucer, and then tried its effect might not be what he desired. to lift it steadily to his lips. In doing so “I wish you would advise me what to he spilled a third of the contents upon the do, Mr. Burton,” his wife said, a little table-cloth.
petulantly. “You sit and don't say a A box on the ears and a storm of angry single word, as if you had no kind of in. words rewarded tbis feat.
terest in the matter. What am I to do? “Haven't I told you over and over I have exhausted all my own resources, and again, you incorrigible, bad boy, not to feel completely at a loss." pour the whole of your tea into your “ There is a way which, if you adopt, saucer? Just see what a mess you have I think might do a great deal of good.” made with that clean table-cloth. I declare Mr. Burton spoke with a slight appearance I am out of all manner of patience with of hesitation. you! Go away from that table this in. “If you would speak gently to Harry, I stant!”
am sure you would be able to manage him Harry went crying away, not in anger, better than you do.” but in grief
. He had spilled his tea by Mrs. Burton's face was crimsoned in an accident. His mother had so many reproofs instant; she felt the reproof deeply; her and injunctions to make, that the bearing self-esteem was severely wounded. of them all in mind was a thing impossible. "Speak gently, indeed!" she replied. “I. As to pouring out all his tea at a time, he might as well speak to the wind; I am had no recollection of any interdiction on scarcely heard now, at the top of my
voice." that subject, although it had been made over As her husband did not argue the matand over again dozens of times. In a little ter with her, nor say anything that was while he came creeping slowly back, and calculated to keep up the excitement under resumed his place at the table, his eyes on which she was labouring, her feelings in a his mother's face.
little while quieted down, and her thoughts Mrs. Burton was sorry that she had sent became active. The words “speak gently him away for what was only an accident; were constantly in her mind, and there was she felt that she had hardly been just to a reproving import in them. On going to the thoughtless boy. She did not object, bed that night she could not get to sleep therefore, to his coming, but said, as he for several hourg-her mind was too busily took his seat, " Next time you see that you engaged in reviewing her conduct towards are more careful. I have told you again her child. She clearly perceived that she and again not to fill your faucer to the had too frequently suffered her mind to get brim; you never can do it without spilling excited and angry, and that she was often the tea over upon the table-cloth."
annoyed at trifles which ought to have been This was not spoken in kindness.
overlooked. A scene somewhat similar to this was “I am afraid I have been unjust to my enacted at every meal; but, instead of im. child," she sighed over and over again, proving in his behaviour, the boy grow turning restlessly on her pillow. more heedless.
Mr. Burton rarely said “I will try and do better," she said to anything to Harry about his unruly man. herself, as she rose in the morning, feeling pers, but when he did a word was enough. but little refreshed from sleep. Before she That word was always mildly and yet firmly was ready to leave her room, she heard spoken. He did not think him a bad boy, Harry's voice, calling her from the next or difficult to manage—at least he never chamber where he slept. The tones were found him so.
fretful; he wanted some attendance, and • I wish I knew wbat to do with that was crying out for it in a manner that child," said Mrs. Burton, after the little instantly disturbed the even surface of the fellow had been sent to bed an hour before mother's feelings. She was about telling bis time, in consequence of some violation him
to be quiet until sbe could finish dress: of law and order; "he makes me feel un- ing herself, when the words "speak gently
during all this time the mother continued to strive earnestly with herself and with her child. The happiest results followed; the fretful, passionate, disorderly boy, became even-minded and orderly in his habits. A word, gently spoken, was all powerful in its influences for good; but the least shade of harshness would arouse his stubborn will and deform the fair face of his young spirit.
Whenever mothers complain to Mrs. Burton of the difficulty they find in managing their children, she has but one piece of advice to give, and that is to “SPEAK GENTLY."
seemed whispered in her ear. The effect Was magical —the mother's spirit was subdued.
"I will speak gently,” she murmured, and went in to Harry, who was still crying out fretfully.
“What do you want, my son ?" she asked in a quiet, kind voice.
The boy looked up with surprise ; his cges brightened, and the whole expression of his face was changed in an instant.
"I can't find my stockings, mamma," he said.
“There they are, under the bureau," returned Mrs. Burton, as gently as she had at first spoken.
“Oh yes, so they are," cheerfully replied
Harry; "I couldn't see them anywhere." ER
"Did you think crying would bring them ?" This was said with a smile and in a tone so unlike his mother, that the child looked up again into her face with surprise that was, Mrs. Burton plainly saw, mingled with pleasure.
"Do you want anything else ?" she asked.
"No, mamma,” he replied cheerfully, “I can dress myself now."
This first little effort was crowned with the most encouraging results to his mother;
she felt a deep peace settling in her bosom, 5 the consciousness of having gained a true vic
tory over both her own heart and the heart of her boy. It was a little act, but it was the first-fruits, and the gathering even of so small a barvest was sweet to her spirit.
For the first time in many months, the breakfast-table was pleasant to all. Harry never once interrupted the conversation that passed at intervals between his father and mother. When he asked for anything, it was in a way pleasing to all. Once or twice Mrs. Burton found it necessary to correct some little fault in manner, but the way in which she did it disturbed not his temper ; and instead of not seeming to hear her words, as had almost always been the case, he regarded all that was said, and tried to do as she wished.
“There is a wonderful power in gentle words,” remarked Mr. Burton to his wife, after Harry had left the table.
"Yes, wonderful indeed; their effect surprises me.”
** So it seems--stronger than any other influence that we can bring to 'ear upon a
Days, weeks, months, and ye , rs went by:
THE PIOUS STEWARDESS. A SEVERE gale one night caused great alarm among the passengers of a steamer which plies between two of the Atlantic cities. The ladies had just retired, and anxious fathers and husbands crowded round the cabin door with encouraging words to their friends within.
“Stewardess," said one of the gentlemen, " my daughter is in berth eleven. I fear she is alarmed. Will you give her this ? " and handed her a small piece of paper.
The stewardess took the paper to the young lady, whom she found too ill to read it.
“Will you please to read it to me?" she said to the stewardess : “ my head aches so that I'm almost blind."
“Yes, dear,” said the kind stewardess ; and turning to the light, read, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee."
“That's a precious text, miss," said she ; “it's comforted me many a time.”
"Thank you, nurse, so it is," said the sick girl.
The storm increased, and the alarm of many of the passengers showed itself in shrieks and groans.
The stewardess, amid the confusion around her, saw that the young lady in number eleven had left her berth, and was kneeling in silent prayer in a retired place. She went up to her and said,
“If you would read a few verses aloud, miss, I think you would do a power of good.”
The young lady rose, and going to a table opened the Bible, and in a low and faltering voice began to read some verses in the 107th Psalm. The noise in the cabin was so great
"Love is strong."