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they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not
"Then should our active spirits move.
DANGER AND DELIVERANCE.
The memory of past follies, dangers, and deliverances may do much good. It shotdd humble us by making us feel our own guilt, and weakness, and folly. It should fill us with gratitude to Him who pardoned our sins and delivered us from the snare, and saved us from the ruin in which we were involving ourselves. It should teach us caution and circumspection to avoid those evils from which we so narrowly escaped. And it may, too, be useful to others, putting them on their guard when placed in positions of | danger and temptation like those to which we were once | exposed. May God make the following narrative useful'' in all these ways. It will, doubtless, fall into the hands of many young persons who are just entering upon life, and who with this new year are beginning to encounter temptations of which they have hitherto had no experience. It is for their sakes especially that this record is! written.
It is now many years ago that I was in London for the I first time. Though I was a well-grown lad, my life had been spent entirely in my native town, and I had never seen the great city. London was not so easy accessible then as it is now. There were no railways and excursion trains in those days. My first journey, an event to be remembered then,—and how well I do remember even its . most trivial incidents,—was performed by the stage waggon, which was usually nearly three days on the road. I
When I alighted at the inn, and my fellow-passengers had, one by one, gone about their business, I felt somewhat bewildered; but lads in their teens are not often troubled with nervousness, and I soon began to look about me with an interest in what was going on. The pro-! mise of a situation had been procured for me at a house in . the City, with which my father did business, and I ought to have made application at once; but I listened to the | * Isaiah xl. 29-31.
temptation to have a look at the City first, and, I must confess it, to the suggestion that I might as well have a little enjoyment before beginning work. Accordingly, giving my box in charge to the ostler, I started on my expedition. The first wrong step was taken very easily indeed.
My appearance, my gait, my manners, my evident wonderment at all I saw, proclaimed me at once a countiyman, and several persons turned for a moment to look at mo as they hurried past or pushed me on one side in their impatient haste. At last, one of these passers by, a gentleman I thought, at any rate his dress was showy enough, accosted me and began to enter into conversation. He soon found out what he wanted to know about me, and with professions of greatest kindness offered, as he was at leisure, to give me the benefit of his company for a few hours. He knew London well, he said, and could show me, "life." "But," he added, "would it not be as well before we went further, to have some refreshment?" and he led me, I am sorry to say nothing loath, to a public house in a side street.
I say nothing loath; it is quite true I had been taught to avoid the public-house and its company, but I had not heeded the warning. More than once I had gone with some other lads of my own age to a neighbouring village inn of no very good repute. These visits were of course kept strictly secret, and they were but occasional; but they had been frequent enough to break down the outward defences of sobriety, and had made me familiar with the company and the language of their frequenters. And although at first the voice of conscience had been loud enough, I persisted in my sin, and it soon became like a distant echo.
As we entered the door, a young man came up to us and shook hands with my conductor with great friendliness, and then asked to be introduced to his friend. When this was granted he was of course asked to join us, and we went at once into the inn parlour, a dingy, smoky room at the end of a long passage. Some other persons were seated there who seemed to be strangers, but in a little time we got into conversation; and when I told them where I had come from, one of the strangers found out he was a fellow-townsman, and had, he said, a great respect for my father, so we became very friendly and confidential.
I Treating and being treated soon became too much for me, and, half intoxicated, I was soon talking with loosened Qtongue. A pack of cards was now introduced, and I was tasked to play; but as I knew nothing about cards I was linvited to look on. Bets were soon made, and following lthe advice of my friend I too betted and won. Then l !lost, and was urged to bet again to retrieve my losses, and lwas encouraged to drink to keep my spirits up. Then ,followed a confused murmur of voices, and a scene of :mingled cards, and tables, and glasses, and the room upside down-and then I remember no more till I was _awoke by a rough voice and a rougher shake, and saw istanding by me a dogged bad-looking man whom I had noticed at the bar as we went in, and who, as I remembered ‘ afterwards, had greeted my companion with a very knowing look. “ Now then are you going to be sleeping here all night ?” he said, with a liberal garnish of oaths and slang. I got up and stood as well as I could with aching, giddy head. °‘ Come, pay your shot and be off,” he again growled. “ How much ?” I stammered, and put my hand in my pocket. Of course it was empty. I turned sick and faint. All my own little savings, my allowance for expenses, the guinea that my mother had put into my hands with tears as she gave me her parting kiss, my watch,which was an old family relic, and which I knew they prized at home far beyond its actual value, all gone. “ Come, don't stand here all night,” said the man. I had to tell him, what no doubt he knew well enough, that I was destitute. He affected to be angry, threatened me with the watch-house, and finally, having consented to accept my coat by way of compensation, turned me out into the street. Where I wandered, where I slept that night, I have no distinct recollection. The merciful God protected me. Had it been in these days of police, they would, doubtless, have taken care of me; but there were many parts of London at that time both unwatched and unlighted. At last the grey dawn began to break. Thoroughly wretched, and fearing lest anybody should see me in my disgrace, I took my way to the inn where l had left my luggage. My coatless back, haggard countenance, and swollen eyes too readily betrayed me, and jcers were very freely flung at me by the few I met. I had eaten nothing, too, and was penniless. Is it any
wonder that when I reached the inn yard I sat down anc cried. I began how to know the meaning of the words which I fancied of late my father had often uttered significantly in my hearing, "The way of transgressors it hard." The ostler, a good-natured man, who saw what was the matter, came to my help. I told him what had happened, at which he grinned knowingly, and suggesting that I must be getting hungry, took me with him to a neighbouring coffee-house and ordered me some breakfast. "But," I said, "I have got no money." "Wait till I ax you for it," he said, and tried to keep up my spirits bv saying, "Ah, you'll be all right now; only, my lad, i) you stop here," jerking his thumb over his left shoulder in "the direction of the street, "keep out of that lot." His was genuine kindness which I did not soon forget.
Having dressed myself in the best clothes I had, my next step was to go to the warehouse where I had been promised a situation. As I entered, a respectable looking porter was attending to the sending out of some parcels, and eyed mo, I thought, rather suspiciously. He, howover, told one of the warehousemen my errand, and I was directed by him in a very off-hand way to the countinghouse. One of the principals, Mr. C—, was there, and his look at me over the newspaper was not re-assuring. He had had my father's letter, he said, but added, looking at me sternly and suspiciously, "we have no vacancy. 1 am sorry—for your father's sake ;—good morning."
I could not misunderstand his meaning. I paused for a moment at the door and burst into tears.
Mr. C— said nothing, but I thought he watched me closely; and as I took hold of the handle of the door and turned to make my parting bow, he pointed to a chaii and bade me sit down. All this passed in less time than I write these words; yet in those few seconds a gracious Providence was turning for me the whole curren‘ of my life. Had I left the house in my then state oi mind I might have gone recklessly to destruction. Thai momentary pause saved me. It was "man's extremity anc God's opportunity."
Mr. C— was a man somewhat stern in manner at firsi sight, but he had a loving heart, and was in spirit anc temper, as well as in profession, a true Christian. Seriously, yet with evident compassion in his look, he nov said to me, "Young man, you were to come to me yester day, and, out of respect for your father, I was prepared to help you.: why did you not come?"
I was at first tempted to evade his question, but his look seemed to forbid the attempt. I determined to make a clean breast of it, and told him all.
"Come to me to-morrow morning," he said, "at ten o'clock;" and, ringing the bell, which was answered by the head porter, he said to him, "David, find this young man lodgings for to-night;" and turning to me, he put into my hands a small sum to meet my expenses. Grateful and ashamed, I went with David out into the narrow street.
"Got a berth?" asked David, as we pushed our way through the throng of foot passengers. "I don't know I'm to come again to-morrow," I said. "Hum," said David, as if suspecting something, and speaking to himself rather than to me, " Guv'nor's a good sort, too, a very good sort he is;" and then to me, "You make friends with him if you can, young 'un."
I went the next morning and was shown into the count ing-house as before. Very seriously and earnestly, yet with a kindness I can never forget, Mr. C—. then began to talk to me about my conduct, said he feared I had before this been in the way of temptation, and urged me to consider the punishment I had already suffered, and the probable loss of employment, as a warning to me to sin no more. He spoke of my father's character, his respectability as a tradesman, his hopes respecting me, and the grief of a father's heart in the misconduct of his sons. His voice faltered here; but I did not know till afterwards why, nor how deeply his own heart had been thus grieved. He then went on to warn me against the ways of vice, and begged me as the only true safeguard to seek through Jesus Christ the pardon of my sins, and to ask him to give me a new heart and a right spirit.
"And now," he said, "you have your way to make and your character to regain, and for your father's sake as well as your own, I am willing if possible to help you; but remember, it depends upon yourself whether I can do so. I can give you a situation inferior to the one I had intended for you; and if you like to take it and try, there it is, and we'll see afterwards what can be done with you."
I need hardly say that I thankfully accepted his offer. For some months I remained in that situation, and eventually succeeded in winning my employer's confidence. I