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THE GOSPEL UPSIDE DOWN.
ID you ever hear of the GOSPEL TURNED UPSIDE DOWN? I'll tell you what I mean. Gospel is glad tidings; the gospel of the grace of God is glad tidings of the
free gift, or grace, of the loving God. In fact, the best meaning is found in Scripture, where we read, "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John iii. 16).
(John iii. 16). This is indeed glad tidings of grace. A Saviour freely given; a salvation freely wrought; a finished work ; a complete righteousness, that he that believeth may be freely saved. Without work—without moneywithout price. Yet, in the minds of many men, this gospel is turned upside down !
Suppose I met a beggar in the street-a poor helpless one, with no money-in need of a penny to buy bread. What would you think if I said to that one "Give me a halfpenny, and then I'll supply your wants ?” Would that be charity? No. It would be very like charity turned upside down. We are in God's sight just like the poor beggar. We have no goodness, no merit, nothing at all. We want everything. This is a hard truth to receive, for most men think they have some good in them, but God's word speaks very plainly, and says, “All have sinned.” “ There is none righteous, no, not one.
If these words mean anything, they mean that you are a sinner, and nothing but a sinner, in the sight of God. Now what does God say to poor helpless sinners ? Many think that He says, “Amend your lives; do good works; try your best to please me, and then I'll be merciful and save you.” Many call this the gospel; but it is just like the charity of the man who would ask the beggar for a halfpenny. It is the gospel turned upside down ; in reality, no gospel at all, no glad tidings of grace, but the very opposite.
How different is God's loving message! Search His word, and you will there see that although He in His holiness hates sin, He loved and pitied us when we were lost sinners, and sent His Son Jesus Christ to seek and to save that which was lost. He came and laid down His life for us-died the just for the unjust-bore our sins in His own body on the tree-finished the work of our salvation-was buried and rose again-and ascended to the right hand of God in heaven, where He ever lives “ Mighty to save. This is what really meets our case as helpless sinners; this is grace ; this is glad tidings indeed; and if you as a lost sinner believe this message, and through faith receive Jesus as your Saviour, you shall not perish, but have everlasting life (John iv. 10, 14; vii. 37).
But are good works of no account before God ? Yes; but they are the result, or the working out, of our own salvation after we have got it through faith in Jesus. The saved man will be a holy man. He is created unto good works," but these are not the price with which we are to purchase salvation. God is a Sovereign, not a trader. He gives, but doesn't sell. He gave freely His own Son to die for sinners, and gives freely eternal life through Him, to all who believe (Isa. lv. l; Rev. xxii. 17).
ONE NEGLECTED CHILD.
HE power for good or evil that resides in a little child is beyond all human calculation. A child rightly trained may be a world-wide blessing, with an influence reaching onward to eternal years.
But a neglected or misdirected child
may live to blight and blast mankind, and leave influences of evil which shall roll on in increasing volume till they plunge into the gulf of eternal perdition.
A remarkable instance was related by Dr. Harris, of New York, at a recent meeting of the Charities Aid Association. In a small village in a county on the Upper Hudson, some seventy years ago, a young girl named “Margaret” was sent adrift on the casual charity of the inhabitants. She became the mother of a long race of criminals and paupers, and her progeny has cursed the county ever since. The county records show two hundred of her descendants who have been criminals. In one single generation of her unhappy line there were twenty children ; of these, three died in infancy, and seventeen survived to maturity. Of the seventeen, nine served in the State prison for high crimes an aggregate term of fifty years, while the others were frequent inmates of jails and penitentiaries and almshouses. Of the nine hundred descendants, through six generations, from this unhappy girl who was left on the village streets and abandoned in her childhood, a great number have been idiots, imbeciles, drunkards, paupers, and prostitutes; but two hundred of the more vigorous are on record as criminals. This neglected little child has thus cost the county authorities, in the effects she has transmitted, hundreds of thousands of dollars in the expense and care of crimi- . nals and paupers, besides the untold damage she has inflicted on property and public morals.
Who can tell how many of those people who saw this helpless child sent adrift on the world have been wronged, robbed, contaminated, or ruined by her descendants ? Those respectable people who neglect the poor and helpless, and make no effort to reclaim the vicious and train the wayward, but wrap themselves up in comfort, with the Cain-like plea, “Am I my brother's
keeper ?” will do well to consider what a harvest of murderers, thieves, incendiaries, and harlots they are allowing to grow up around them to plague themselves and ruin their offspring. None of us liveth to himself. The interests and destinies of humanity are interlinked. We must save the lost, or as they go down to wretchedness and ruin they may drag after them those that are nearest and dearest to our hearts.
There, go now, and try and save one neglected child. Seal up a fountain of grief, and woe, and cursing, and open a fountain of joy, and peace, and blessing, and “know that he that converteth a sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and HIDE A MULTITUDE OF SINS.
THE SAILOR AND THE PSALM.
CHAPLAIN to seamen at an American port was called, in the course of his duty, to visit a sailor who appeared to be near death. He spoke kindly to the
the state of his soul, and directed him to cast himself on Jesus Christ, the Saviour of sinners. With an oath, the sick man bade him begone. The chaplain then told him that he must be faithful to him, for if he
died impenitent he would be lost for ever. The man was now sullen and silent, and pretended to fall asleep. The visit was repeated more than once, with similar ill success. At length the chaplain, suspecting that the sailor was a native of North Britain, repeated a verse of the old version of the Psalms still in use in Scotland :
“Such pity as a father hath
Unto his children dear,
As worship Him in fear." Tears started into the sailor's eyes as he listened to these words. The chaplain asked him if he had not had a pious mother. The man broke into tears of grief. Yes, his mother had, in years gone by, taught him these words, and had also knelt by his side in prayer to God. Since then he had been a wanderer by sea and land; but the memory of her faith and love moved his heart. The appeals now made to him were blessed by the Spirit of God in bringing this prodigal to Christ with sincere faith, and with true penitence for his sins. His life was spared, and he lived to prove the reality of his conversion.
Mothers, fathers, what recollections will your children have of your example and instructions, when you have been long laid in the grave ?
" His life is neither tossed in boisterous seas Of troublous worlds, nor lost in slothful ease : Pleased and full blessed he lives, when he his God can please.”
THE HAPPY SHEPHERD.
When courts are happiness' unhappy pawns !
Is full of thousand sweets and rich content;
With coolest shades, till noon-tide rage is spent;
While by his side his faithful spouse hath place;
The lively picture of his father's face;
THE PRAYERS OF PARENTS.
of family prayer, his host, knowing the scepticism of his guest, intimated to him that though they should be happy to have him remain and unite with them in worship,
if he preferred he could retire. The guest intimated that it would give him pleasure to remain. A chapter of the Bible was read, and the family all knelt in prayer, the stranger with the rest. His visit ended, he left for a distant land. In the course of three or four years, however, the providence of God again led to the same dwelling the same visitor; but oh, how changed! He came the happy Christian, the humble man of piety and prayer. In the course of conversation he told his host that that room was the first in which for many a day, he had bowed the knee to his Maker. The act brought to his mind such a crowd of recollections, it so vividly reminded him of a parent's prayer, that he was entirely bewildered. His emotion was so great that he did not hear one syllable of the prayer which was uttered; but God made it the instrument of leading him from the dreary wilds of infidelity to the peace and joy of piety. The prayers of parents left an influence which could not die. But observe: the parents of this son might have prayed ever so fervently for him, but if they had not prayed with him, their child might have continued through life an infidel.