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world with its veil off, and the burning eye upon it; all, of which you catch faint and passing glimpses and shudder, bare in its naked horror before the eye of God. Things noble, beautiful, and glorious, blessed be God, mingle with them, and catch and flash back like gems through the darkness the light which streams over it all from on high. But there was a time when the earth was full of deceit and violence, and when one man only found favour with the Lord. Picture it, when this was the testimony of the loving and hoping Being who made it all, and who made it to be blest. Picture it now : take a day's walk with a city missionary in any poor district of London, and survey, if you can without shuddering, the filth, the squalor, the famine, the nakedness, the sickness, the cursing, the blasphemy, the brutality, that abound. There are little helpless infants by myriads, shrieking in their bitter agony of pain or hunger, to be silenced by curses and blows awhile, till the screams break out afresh. The tender mother's heart, on which the great Father cast the young nurslings—most helpless of all the infants of creation-as hard and cold as the bare stones on which they lie, moaning and sobbing into life. There are myriads of poor women, sick, weary, so full of pain and heartache, that a plunge into the midnight river would be a balmy rest, but for the little ones for whom the mother drags herself, with stern courage, which is always on the edge of breaking strain, through the daily sixteen hours of monotonous toil; and the wage just keeps them in bread, but will not drive the wolfish look of famine out of their gaunt faces-sight of agony to a mother's heart, the mute cry of famine in childish eyes ; and what to the great Father who sent them hither, and keeps them here, and on whom the responsibility of suffering the existence of such misery wholly rests! I need not multiply specimens of the life of great cities in their Rookeries and Rag-fairs. Set before your mind's eye all that you have seen of sin, sickness, and misery; and multiply it by myriads, by millions. See every great city of the world full of this, or worse. For this is Christian England; God only knows—men tremble to say what they have seen of the horrors of the life of the poor in the great cities of the East. Picture, too, the brutal degradation, the sullen misery of the great masses of the tillers of the ground through the whole empire of Paganism; the tortures, physical and moral, of the millions of embruted slaves, who through the world are held to toil by the whips of their hardly less brutal lords. The myriads of living meneach of them bound as tenderly as you are to a circle which holds them dear, and which will be filled with anguish by their loss—whom emperors, kings,

and presidents can, by touching a bell or signing a name, hurl against each other in furious shock; leaving them inevitably dashed to fragments, strewn, like the dead leaves of autumn, on the bloody ground, while wide neighbourhoods of men wail, as once Rachael wailed for her children, and refuse to be comforted because they are not. Measure it all, as far as your little line will reachthe sins of power, the woes of its victims,

“ The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,

The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes”—

and remember that all which you can imagine of human misery and wrong, is but as a pool on the sea-shore to the great ocean ; that that great ocean is bare to the eye of God, and that ever the question is before Him-Shall I bear it yet, or destroy? Measure this, and you will understand something of the burden of existence, as it is felt by Him who knows all that flows out of existence, who sees all the raging madness, and hears all the moaning misery of the world. And He endures it; He endures it even with the memory of Eden, for the sake of the great hope which He cherishes of the glory which grace may bring out of it in His eternal heaven. He spake not of things which He but looked down upon

from the supreme height of His serene blessedness when He said, “ Behold, we count them blessed which endure." Measuring the burden of existence under the conditions which sin has developed, we see that the supreme endurance in the universe is—the endurance of God!

A very terrible endowment, too, is life for man. To those who are content to dart about in the shallows, gay in the sunlight, and catch the flies which the stream bears down, life may be merry enough ; and they will turn a very impatient car to those who speak of it as an awful endowment, and who realize that the pressure of its burden may be greater than a man can bear ; but the gay thoery finds but little support from Scripture, and as little from the broad history of mankind. The first human home may perhaps be taken as striking the key-note of history. And what is the picture which it presents to us? Beauty, innocence, gentleness, faith, dead on the cold ground, blood-flecked and ghastly ; while power, manly vigour, imperious will, stagger forth from the childless home in a horror of remorse and misery, moaning already in the ear of outraged Heaven, “My punishment is greater than I can bear.” To men who live, who are not content simply to play at living, there are moments when life appears not only a wonderful, but a terrible thing; a gift too awful to be forced

on any man without the consent of his free will. But He who gives it asks no consent of us, and leaves no choice. He calls us forth into life under conditions which sin and death have made for us, and which He elects to perpetuate, and He compels us to live on and to bear the burden, to death, through death, and to eternity. The burden, be it light or heavy; and how much of the weight depends on temperament and early nurture, with which our will has absolutely nothing to do! There is a child of sickly or vicious parents, born with a rotten constitution, which will make life one long, weary strain, and nursed to a temper which will break out through life in a ceaseless battle against society. Perhaps trained to be a thief, taught to hate, as a child, the laws and the order which are the securities of freedom to the virtuous and genial on whose birth and growth Heaven has rained benedictions, but which become iron prisonbars to the young outlaw, which will eventually cage him, nay, crush him at last! And that man must bear his burden as surely as the most lighthearted of us; he may have God's help to bear it, but he shall not lay it down. Misery drives myriads of the weary and heavy-laden to take arms against this sea of troubles, and, by one daring effort break from them into the quiet sleep of death, in its quiet home—the grave! Yes~


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