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They went; and old Stout was now alone

Alone, but not for long:
Soon his feeble voice now faintly heard,

Will join in archangel's song.
His life was gently ebbing out,

No pain, but oh, so weak!
He would lie all day, and scarcely move,

It seemed an effort to speak.
Then even here he was bless'd in his work ;

Many loving hands there came:
The widow she tended him day and night,

And others would do the same.
And

many kind gifts from the rector came, Little things that might be a treat, And nice good dinners from Jones and Brown,

To tempt the old man to eat.
But his happiest time of all was when

Christ's minister was there ;
And brake the bread and blessed the cup,

And offer'd earnest prayer.
Oh bless'd communion hour!

Words could but feebly tell
The peace, the love, the holy joy,

That o'er their spirits fell.
A solemn stillness was around
As with closed

eye
One gentle sigh, then all was pass'd',

The spirit had flown away.
I ask'd not, and I know not,

If he had a pauper's grave;
His soul had wing'd its way on high

To Him who died to save.
I know that many wept around

The spot where he was laid,
And told of all his kindly acts,

And the good words he said.
A little head-stone put by Jones,

Now marks his latter end ;
With just these few and simple words,

“ John Stout, the Village Friend."

he lay;

“A SOFT ANSWER.”

JUDGES VIII. 1-3. AMONG the incidents recorded in Old Testament story “for our learning” is the example of a true-hearted Hebrew gentleman, which stands not surpassed, perhaps, by anything attained in more favoured gospel days.

Gideon the Abiezrite was chosen of God to work out his country's deliverance from Midianitish oppression ; but personal aggrandizement was no part of his mission. When, flushed with conquest, he was returning from an exploit which would have made any general of later times the idol of an admiring country, he was met by one of those envious, spiteful displays which jealousy sometimes raises against the great and good. Instead of receiving him with respect and honour, one of the tribes of Israel took him to task for not inviting them to share the victory he had gained. “ The men of Ephraim did chide sharply with him.”

How galling to the hero's pride! Was Gideon's temper roused? Did he denounce the paltry ingratitude, and vow to give up the public service ? Did he take his stand upon his divine mission, and call on God to avenge his cause? Oh, no! his conduct was an illustration of the precept afterwards embodied in those oft-quoted yet little heeded words, “ A soft answer turneth away

wrath." Picture the man, grandest in his meekness, noblest in his humility; more truly great in this conquest over his own spirit than when at the head of his renowned three hundred he led the battle cry, “ The sword of the Lord and of Gideon.” “Why," said the mean-spirited Ephraimites, “why hast thou served us thus, that thou calledst not us when thou wentest to fight with the Midianites?”

Listen for the reply: no proud defiance, no lofty contempt, but a gentle remonstrance, a polite compliment: “What have I done now in comparison of you? As the very gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim is better than the whole vintage of Abiezer, so your conquest of the princes far exceeds my defeat of their followers: what was I able to do in comparison of you?"

Mark the effect of this beautiful well-timed forbearance : “Then was their anger abated when he had said that.”

Gideon was a self-sacrificing peacemaker among his countrymen, and was terrible only to the enemies of Israel and Israel's God. While fame crowned the warrior, better and sweeter in Gideon's heart must have been the approving voice of the Prince of peace.

"Be ye angry and sin not” is an apostolic warning which has been aptly paraphrased, “Be ye angry and speak not;” so difficult is it to restrain that little member that, once unloosed, runs riot over feeling, forbearance, and charity : so, if a soft answer may not appease strife, let silence end it at once. Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall

be called the children of God.” And though we cannot still the passions and mend the tempers of our neighbours, let us seek for ourselves that forbearing lowly spirit which withholds fuel from the flame; which, like Gideon's answer, turns away wrath; and, like Christ's example, " when reviled, reviles not again.”

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OUR REST.
EVERY morning the red sun

Rises warm and bright;
But the evening cometh on,

And the dark, cold night:
There's a bright land far away
Where 'tis never-ending day.
Every spring the sweet young flowers

Open bright and gay,
Till the chilly autumn hours

Wither them away :
There's a land we have not seen,
Where the trees are always green.
Little birds sing songs of praise

All the summer long;
But in colder, shorter days,

They forget their song:
There's a place where angels sing
Ceaseless praises to their King.
Christ our Lord is ever near

Those who follow him ;
But we cannot see him here,

For our eyes are dim:
There's a bright and happy place
Where men always see his face.
Who shall go to that bright land ?

All who love the right:
Ransomed children there shall stand

In their robes of white;
For that heaven, so bright and blest,
Is our everlasting resta

LONDON: PRINTED BY WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS, STAMFORD STREET.

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