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extreme views of things. I don't deny that one's soul ought to be cared for, and that one ought #to try to do some good ; but there will be plenty of time for both when one has seen a little of life.” . “But you forget, George, that the Lord. Jesus says, ‘ Seek .first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness.' Besides, tell me honestly, is not the tendency of such pleasures as you have been enjoying to keep away from your mind all serious thought of religion-nay, to make you positively dislike it? Have you any relish for your Bible and prayer, when you have been at the theatre, or at the ball which has been kept up till the morning? And those Sunday excursions-do they make you like the services of public worship better the next Sunday? or make you more disposed to go to a Sunday school to see if there is any work for you there? Don't you Hnd that your pleasures
are leading you, gradually but surely, further and further
from all that Mr. Gowan used to urge on us so kindly ?" 'Irwin was silent. Conscience told him that Moffatt was right. ~ “ Then, again,” pursued Moffatt, “ do these pleasures of yours satisfy' you? Solomon ran the round of all kinds of enjoyment, and he came back from his pursuit of pleasure saying, ‘ All is vanity and vexation of spirit/ Have you ever been as happy, with all your pleasures, as you expected to be ?-or even as happy as you were when you were a boy at school ?” '.;`;v Once more Irwin felt that his friend was right. He had, of late especially, been deeply dissatisfied with himself, and his conscience, not effectually silenced, had sometimes accused him bitterly. He replied, however, ““Well, there is always something new to be enjoyed.” “ And the new, George, is just as unsatisfactory as the old. Oh, George, if you could but believe it, the only real happiness of life, for either young or old, is in the service oi the Lord Jesus Christ. I have not had a very long experience of it; but I never knew what true happiness was till I believed in Jesus. But I have seen what it has done. My mother, for years before her death, never knew what good health was; and yet I know that her religion made her very happy: and if you could have seen her as the end drew near--” The remembrance was too much for him, and the sentence was left uninished. The shops were not closed when they went back intc
the town; and, purposely, Moffatt led the way along one of the principal thoroughfares, half-way down which there was a print-seller's shop, in whose window he had seen, a day or two before, a striking engraving, which he thought it might be of service to Irwin to see. It was a copy of a picture bya celebrated Scottish artist, entitled, " The Pursuit of Pleasure." The aim of the picture was to illustrate the fact that the great bulk of mankind are bent on pleasure, and at the same time to teach the illusiveness of the pursuit, and the ruin in which it must inevitably issue. Pleasure was represented as a beautiful female, whose only covering was a thin film of gauze, and who floated along, beckoning onwards a motley crowd of all ages and classes, and of every kind of occupation, all of whom were pressing on with eager countenances and outstretched hands. Some had fallen in the race, and were trampled down by those who were urging their heedless way; whilst, beyond, the pit of destruction yawned to receive them all at last. In one corner, neglected and despised, lay the Book of Life; and above all was the Angel of Wrath, with unsheathed sword and open book, waiting the command to smite and destroy. Two or three people were looking at it; and Irwin's attention was attracted.
"What's this?" he asked. "Let us look."
"Oh," replied Moffatt, "it is Noel Paton's picture, «The Pursuit of Pleasure.'"
"But what does it all mean ?" asked Irwin.
"There's some printing below that explains it all," replied his friend.
Irwin stopped and read, looking up at the picture to compare it with the explanation. He understood it all very speedily, and was more deeply impressed by it than he cared to acknowledge.
"I see what it means," he said. "A little overdone, perhaps. Clever though; and some truth in it."
Moffatt judiciously replied very briefly. He thought, for that evening, he had said enpugh.
A day or two after, he said to him," By the way, George, your old fellow-clerk, Jobson, is very ill: I think he's dying of consumption. I go to see him now and then; and I thought of going to-night: would you like to go?"
"Poor fellow!" Irwin replied. "But he always was rather fast."
Moffatt did not say so, but the purpose of his visits to
Jobson was that he might read the Scriptures and talk with him about salvation: and very welcome he was— welcome for the kind pains he took to lead the dying man to Jesus; and welcome, too, because he had not been unmindful of his temporal wants.
It was a poor home in which they found the sufferer, for his habits had been dissipated; and whilst he had ruined his health, he had made no provision for a time of sickness, and was dependent on his widowed mother, whose means were very limited. They found him sitting in an easy chair near a table, on which there was an open Bible, whilst he held in his white thin fingers a tract which he had just been reading, and which had been left him on a previous visit by Moffatt.
A few words of greeting were exchanged, and Jobson inquired about Irwin's prospects in London. Very soon, however, he turned to Moffatt, and full of the greatest solicitude about salvation, he said,—
"That's a very nice encouraging tract. It represents Jesus as very merciful, and it quotes Scripture for it all; but I do sometimes feel as though it were too much to think that God would forgive such a sinner as I have been."
"You must not be discouraged," said Moffatt. "It's all for you, every word of it. The Lord Jesus died to save the chief of sinners."
The conversation continued for some little time, and it was closed by Moffatt offering a brief and simple, but most appropriate prayer.
"Come and see me again, if you can, Irwin, before you go back," said Jobson.
Irwin promised to do so, and went the following evening. Jobson spoke with deep gratitude of Moffatt's kind attention, and then asked his visitor how he spent his evenings and his Sundays. Irwin told him, perhaps, more than he had ever told to Moffatt.
"Well, George," said Jobson, "I think I see how it is. Take a dying man's advice. You're just on the way to an end like mine. I determined to enjoy life, and this is what has come of it. If I had lived differently, I don't believe I should have been as I am. Pull up at once, George. It's not too late, but it will be soon."
Before the Sunday came, Moffatt entreated Irwin to spend it with him. He knew that he had many friends who would wish to see him, and that it was quite possible they might induce him to spend it in company rather than in the house of God. He so far acceded as to promise faithfully that he would attend the chapel to which he had
been in the habit of going when he lived in both
morning and evening.
It so happened that in the evening the minister, whose attention had been attracted by the picture to which we have referred, made some allusion to it in the course [of his sermon. His discourse was based on two very different portions of Scripture; the former was from the second chapter of the book of Ecclesiastes, the first and second verses, "I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with .mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure: and behold this also' is vanity. I said of laughter, It is mad, and of mirth, What doeth it?" The other passage was that beautiful promise of Jesus. "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you. Not as the world giveth, give I unto you." He contrasted in a pointed and earnest manner the pleasures of sin and the world with the happiness which Jesus gives. Of the world's pursuit of pleasure he remarked that it was forbidden, delusive, and ruinous; and illustrated each principle by appropriate facts. Of the peace of Christ he, first, showed how it was to be obtained, by faith in the Lord Jesus; and then what it was worth when it was found, how real it was, how sustaining even in the heaviest sorrows, and how abiding. Tears filled Irwin's eyes and stole down his cheeks; and he went away deeply thoughtful and serious.
"Did you tell the minister about me, Arthur," he in-‘ quired, the following day, "and ask him to preach that sermon?"
"No, I did not," he replied. "I have not seen him, except in the pulpit, for a fortnight."
"Well, it was strange that such a sermon should come after our talk," said Irwin.
"Say rather, George, that it looks as though God were seeking you most perseveringly, that he might lead you to himself; and I do hope that will be the result."
Irwin went back to London with altered views and purposes. His eyes had been opened, and, through God's
blessing, that visit to was the beginning of a better
GRACE ATWOOD; OR, WHAT CAN HAVE DONE IT?:
"We give Thee* sacred Spirit, praise,
"Why, you do not mean to say you are come back, Mrs. Johnson! I cannot believe my own eyes, that I see you."
"Well, Mrs. Groves, it's me, and no mistake; for I really have come back again. Tbat job that my husband's master bad in the country is finished; so 'twas no good to stay there any longer; and we came back last night: and I've just stept in to see how all of you are, and to hear the news."
"And right glad I am to see you; so just sit down, neighbour, for you're welcome, that's certain."
And Mrs. Groves bustled about, stirring up the fire, and putting on the kettle, that she and her friend might have a comfortable early cup of tea.
'* Well, what's the news?" inquired Mrs. Johnson of Mrs. Groves, when the latter had placed the tea-things and tray on her little round table. "Are the Skeggs still living in the court? and does Jenny Dobson go on as she used to? And how's Grace Atwood and her husband?—are they still living the same cat and dog life they used to do?" "Mrs. Groves took a seat opposite Mrs. Johnson, and soon gave her all the information she required respecting'the Skeggs and Jenny Dobson; but when she came to the Atwoods, she said,
"I'm regularly puzzled, neighbour, about Grace; for I cannot make her out a bit. She is.not the same sort of -woman she used to be—I don't mean for good-heartedness, for she is as kind as ever: but she has got rid of her temper somehow, or somewhere."
"Got rid of her temper!" cried Mrs. Johnson; "then I am sure that's next kin to a miracle. Grace Atwood got rid of her temper !—why, I cannot believe it!"
"Well, it's true, whether you believe it or .not. You never hear her tongue now; and if there is a row in the court, she is not to the fore, like she used to be, but goes into her room, and, they do say, locks her door."
"My master says, wonders will never cease, Mrs. Groves, and I begin to believe it. now you say Grace Atwood