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OPPORTUNITY.

BY THE REV. C. ELVEN. "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith."--Galatians vi. 10.

The Apostle enjoins upon us the duty of embracing the present opportunity for good. Let us then reflect for a moment on the consequence of neglecting opportunity. How important a principle is involved in the words of the great dramatic poet

“There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortuno;
Omitted-all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we pow afloat.
And we must take the current when it serves,

Or lose our ventures,” Most of the calamities of the present life are the result of neglected opportunities. Neglect the instruction of a child, and he will grow up in ignorance. Neglect the seasonable opportunity for cultivating your ground, and the passing observer will say, “I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; and, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down." And if thou dost likewise, only simply neglect thy opportunity of husbandry, “So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man." Neglect your business, and no one will be surprised to see your name in the bankruptcy list. No worldly interest can prosper where there is neglect. Well might the Apostle ask, with regard to the higher interest of eternity, “How shall we escape, if we neglect 60 great salvation ?" Let no reader therefore lay the flattering unction to his soul, that because he has not indulged in flagrant sins, because he has not been a studious sower of evil, or a diligent agent in the destruction of his own soul and the souls of others, that therefore he shall stand acquitted in the judgment. Why was that fearful denunciation, “Curse ye Meroz”? Simply because they neglected the opportunity of coming to the help of the Lord against the mighty. They had not taken up arms against Jehovah ; they had not gone over to the ranks of the enemy; but they had neglected the duty incumbent upon them of active adherence to the rightful cause.

Parents ! what an opportunity you have of training your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. We speak not now of those parents who, by positive evil example and influence, instead of training their children up for heaven, are training them down to hell; but even professedly Christian parents it is to be feared neglect the golden opportunity of instructing their children by domestic devotion and daily instruction in the things which pertain to salvation.

Dr. Read, on "The Revival of Religion in the Family,” furnishes

an affecting instance of the heart-breaking results of such neglected opportunity. “I knew (says the Doctor) a youth of about sixteen years of age, who was of a generous but froward temper, and he resolved to go to sea. He was tenderly beloved by his mother; and she had educated him with as much religious care as most parents. No sooner, however, was he placed beyond her reach, than memory and conscience were busy with her; and she thought bitterly of the many opportunities that might have been improved for his spiritual welfare, and were not. She reproached herself, but found present relief in the sincere resolution that on his return she would without delay be more earnest for his conversion to God. Alas for her, he never returned! he was lost at sea. The shock laid her prostrate, and left her distracted. What she regarded as neglected opportunities rose in her mind like the great waters, and threatened to overwhelm her. And still that tender and gracious spirit is battling in doubtful conflict with unavailing regrets and self-accusations which no earthly hand can subdue.”

This affecting narrative, it is hoped, will not only tell upon parents, but on teachers and on ministers too, for some of us are ready to confess to a want of moral courage in speaking to individuals. We can be bold enough in the pulpit, but in our visits do we avail ourselves of the opportunity of personal appeals to the various members of the households to which we have access ?

Nor let those who are called private Christians, who hold no official character in the Church, think themselves excused from opportunities of seeking the salvation of those around them. How kindly the little maid in Naaman's household availed herself of the opportunity of speaking of the prophet, which resulted in the healing and conversion of her master; and surely all Christians, in whatever capacity, should be moved to embrace every opportunity of speaking for Christ and for souls. Oh, let us think of the sinner's danger! Think of what Josus has done, is doing, and willing to do, for them; and, to use & common expression, "leave not a stone unturned" to rescue them from hell and lead them to heaven.

But we should not merely not neglect; we should seek for opportunities of usefulness. Our Lord “went about doing good," not only the good that came in his way, but he went out of his way, and sought for opportunity, as when “he must needs go through Samaria," to seek them that were lost." There are many occasions on which, with discretion, we may rebuke the ungodly, and not suffer the lewd and profane to go without hearing our testimony for God and for holiness.

“ And if some proper bour appear,

I'll not be overawed,
But let the scoffing sinner hear

That I can speak for God." So in doing good, by acts of benevolence we should imitate Job, who could say, “I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame; I was a father to the poor, and the cause which I knew not I searched out." Tlow especially this applies to those who have riches and leisure! () what they would visit the poor and the sick, “especially of the household of faith," to supply their need and cheer their spirits. Such efforts Kould bring their own reward, and prove not only opportunities of help to the receivers, but of spiritual health to the givers, who would be the greater gainers, as we know from the highest authority: “It

is more blessed to give than to receive.” by Again, we would say, omit no opportunity of either receiving or doing - good. One of the wise men of Greece gave this maxim for the guidance levy of life, “Know the opportunity.” And He, compared with whose - wisdom all Grecian learning was foolishness, said, “Are there not

Irelve hours in the day ?'' and then warned us that “the night cometh, in which no man can work." To everything there is a season-an opportunity-which, if slighted, may never return. Let us then seek for opportunity, in our household, our neighbourhood, and even in our journeys. The railway carriage may furnish goodly opportunities of usefulness. A friend of the writer was travelling, when in the same compartment were a company of very boisterous companions, who Fere singing vain songs, and in their rude hilarity called on my friend to give them a song, who, lifting up his heart in prayer for Divino direction that he might improve the opportunity, sang

“I heard the voice of Jesus say,

Come unto me and rest,
Lay down, thou weary one, lay down

Thy head upon my breast.
“I came to Jesus as I wag-

Weary, and worn, and sad-
In him I found a resting-place,

And he has made me glad." Do going through the whole hymn, and at the end of every verse singing the chorus

"Oh the blood of Jesus,

That cleanseth from all sin,” &c. , daring which they all paid the most marked and respectful attention,

and after the first verse actually joined in the chorus, after which they thanked him, and there was not another objectionable word spoken by them during the rest of the journey: and who can tell ? impressions may have been made that day that will result in swelling the chorus of

the skies.

Let us, moreover, embrace every opportunity for securing our personal iakation. Some reader's eye may alight on this article who has stifled many convictions, effaced many serious impressions, and lost many opportunities of mercy; yet to such we would say even, “Now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation !” There are special seasons and peculiar conjunctions which never return. But here, in the Gospel, is an opportunity announced superior to every other, having relation not only to the body, but to the deathless soul; not only to time, but to eternity! To some reader there may have been

convictions, and resolutions, and hopeful signs, when it might ha been said of them, “Thou art not far from the kingdom of God;" } instead of cherishing the conviction, it was banished, at least po poned to "a more convenient season,” but that season never can Take heed, therefore, to that fearful declaration, “My Spirit will o always strive with man.”

“Hasten, O sinner, to return,

And stay not for the morrow's sun,
For fear thy lamp should fail to burn

Bofore the needful work is done."

Bury St, Edmunds.

A CHILD OF DAY.

On this bare ocean-islet,

While the slow waves softly play,
And the happy breeze sings by me,

I sit and sigh for day.

am looking for the dawning,

For the first soft silver ray ;
I am looking, looking, looking,

For the morning and the day.

'Mid the shadows and the silence

Of the lonely, lonely way,
I am longing, longing, longing,

For the morning and the day.

I mark the waning starlight,

And the gentle streaks of grey ;
And I'm hoping, hoping, hoping,

For the morning and the day.

The pale pure light is springing,

The darkness steals away;
And I'm watching, watching, watching,

For the morning and the day.

Shall I close my eyes in slumber,

Shall I dream the hours away ;
When I'm waiting, waiting, waiting,

For the morning and the day.

Shall I cleave to shades and darkness,

To the chill of mortal clay ;
When I'm waiting, waiting, waiting,

For the morning and the day.

Shall I love earth's blazing torches,

Its lamps of midnight gay ;
When I know that they are coming,

The morning and the day.

Tales and Sketches.

MILES'S FORTUNE. valley, and to his mother's farm

house, his first request to her was to BEYOND the garden lay the river, let him go to sea. bright and broad, and beyond the My dear child," said she, “ only river stretched the long line of hills, | two years ago thy father died, and chequered with the dark pine forests | thou and thy elder brother are all I and the yellow fields of grain ; but have in the world-can I afford to it was not to watch the mists steal part with thee P” up their sides at night, nor the glory Miles was silent, and urged no of sunlight flood them with splendour more, for he saw the tears on his in the morning, nor the light haze mother's face; and all the summer veil them in the sultry summer noon through, and all through the long -it was not for these that morning, autumn, he went faithfully about his noon, and night saw Miles casting on duties, helping his brother in the them such yearning, wistful looks. | farm, and his mother in the house ; Whether he was helping his older but she saw his longing looks for ever brother at the plough, or trimming the on the hills, and the weariness on garden-beds for his mother, or lying his face, and she resolved at last to listlessly on the farm-house porch sacrifice her feelings and gratify his still those longing eyes were on the wish. hills. Ah! it was because beyond “A three-years voyage, and then those hills lay the sea, the mysterious thou wilt come back to me," she Bea—that world of wonders.

sobbed, as she pressed him to her Once Miles bad crossed those hills heart, and thought of all the dangers and gone down to the city, and seen he must encounter ; but she was a the wharves, and the forests of masts, pious woman, and found solace in and the ships laden with treasures thinking how the good God can untold, gliding out on their errands ; protect on sea as well as on land, and thousands of miles of water, days how all the deep is held as submig. and weeks and months of water, and sively in his band as the tiniest blade strange lands, and strange people ; of grass that flutters in the wind. those gentle, graceful ships, with So Miles departed. He cried their white wings, would fly half when he kissed his mother and round the world before they would brother, but when his face was come back to their wharves again. turned to the hills his heart bounded He watched the ships from far-off within him ; he could hardly believe ands—from India and from China; that he was really going on the great it seemed to his fancy as if their ships; and again and again he took coming filled the air with strange from his pocket the letter his mother perfames; they were to him arrivals had given him to a captain whom from fairyland, from the enchanted she knew, and who was just about gardens of the Arabian Nights, and sailing, to read the superscription, all a boy's restless wish arose in his and assure himself that it was heart for the sea—the mysterious really so. 12. All his spare money he spent It would take too long to tell of

books about the ocean-adven. Miles's adventures during those tures, and stories, and travels—and three years at sea—the fearful temMen he went back to the quiet pests that came rushing down on the

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