The New Zealand Evangelist
The Minister and the Robbers.—
A Wesleyan Minister, many years ago, in Ireland, was journeying to a village where he had to dispense the word of life, and was stopped on his way by three robbers. One of them seized his bridle reius; another presented a pistol, and demanded his money; the third was a mere looker on. The Minister looked them each in the face, and with great seriousness, said,—“Friends, did you pray to God before you left home? Did you ask God to bless you in your present undertaking?” The questions startled them for a moment. Recovering themselves, one said—“We have no time to answer such questions; we want your money.” “I am a poor Minister of the Gospel,” was the reply; “but what little I have shall be given you.” A few shillings was all he had. “Have you not a watch?” “Yes.” “Well, then give it us.” In taking his watch from his page 164 pocket, his eaddle-bage were displayed. “What have you here? “was the question again. “Some religious books, a pair of shoes, and a change of linen.” “We must have them.” The pious Minister dismounted. The saddle bags were taken, and no further demand made. Instantly the Minister began to unbutton his great-coat., and to throw it off his shoulders, at the same time asking, “Will you have my great-coat? “” No,” was the reply, “You are a generous man, and we will not take it.” He then addressed them as follows :—“I have given you every thing you asked for, and would have given you more : I have one favour to ask of you.” “What is that?” “That you kneel down, and allow me to pray to Almighty God in your behalf; to ask him to turn your hearts, and put you upon better ways.” “I'll have nothing to do with the man's things,” said the ringleader. “Nor I neither,” said another. “Here, take your watch; take your money, take your saddle bags : if we have anything to do with you the judgment of God will overtake us.” So each article was returned. This, however, did not satisfy him. He urged prayer upon them. He knelt down; one of the robbers knelt with him: one prayed, the other wept, confessed his sin, said it was the first time in his life he had done such a thing, and it should be the last. How far he kept his word is only known to God, to whom both past and future is always known.
Fruits of the Gospel.—
In Eastern poetry they tell of a wondrous tree, on which grew golden apples and silver bells—and every time the breeze went by and tossed the fragrant branches, a shower of these golden apples fell, and the living bells—they chimed and tinkled forth their airy ravishment. On the Gospeltree there grow melodious blossoms,—sweeter bells than those which mingled with the pomegranates on Aaron's vest,—holy feelings, heaven taught joys; and when the wind blowing where he listeth, the south wind waking,—when the Holy Spirit breathes upon that soul,—there is the shaking down of mellow fruits, and the flow of healthy odours all around, and the gush of sweetest music, whose gentle tones and joyful echoings are wafted through all the recesses of the soul. Difficult to name, and too ethereal to define these joys are on that account but the more delightful. The sweet sense of forgiveness; the conscious exercise of all the devout affections, and grateful and adoring emotions God-ward; the lull of sinful passions, itself ecstatic music; an exulting sense of the security of the well-ordered covenant; the gladness of surety-righteousness, and the kind spirit of adoption encouraging you to say, “Abba, Father;”—all the happy feelings which the Spirit of God increases or creates, and which are summed up in that comprehensive word, “Joy in the Holy Ghost.”
Swearing Ingeniously Reproved.—
An officer of the Army, much addicted to profane swearing, was once involved in a street brawl with some of the lowest class at Newcastle. The altercation was earried on with a plentiful supply of impious oaths on either side, when a Scottish Minister who was passing at the time, page 165 shocked at the profanity, thus addressed one of the leaders of the rabble:—“Oh, John, John! what is this I hear? You only a poor collier boy, and swearing like any lord in the land! O, John, have you no fear of what will become of you? It may do very well for this gallant gentleman, (pointing to the Lieutenant) to bang and swear as he pleases; but you—you John, it is not for you, or the like of you to take in vain the name of Him in whom you live and have your being.” Then turning to the Lieutenant, he continued, “you'll excuse the poor man, Sir, for he is an ignorant body, and kens nan better.” The officer shrunk away in confusion unable to make any reply. But the ingenious reproof had its desired effecl, for he became ever after an example of correct language.
The Sceptic Silenced.—
An infidel once railing against Christianity, mentioned as one very strong objection to it, the immoral life of many of its professors. The late Dr. Mason hearing the objection, said in reply, “Did you ever hear an uproar raised because an infidel strayed from the paths of morality?” The infidel admitted he had not. “Then don't you see,” said the Doctor “that by expecting the professors of Christianity to be so much better than others, you admit it to be a holy religion, and thus pass on it the highest compliment in your power!” The young man was silent.