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the plainer Christian man. Without it man is undoubtedly not equal to his situation here. The world is too vast for him. The sphere of his knowledge is too contracted; his memory is not equal to the experience gathered from the past; nor has he prescience of the future. If he be a bad man he cannot reckon upon success for any length of time. He can hope for it only so long as he is unnoticed by the justice of the universe. Once he has (as it were attracted attention by his bold defiance of right and law he is destroyed. Those expedients that Proyidence hides in its own keeping are employed against him, as they are resources on behalf of the good. Time and chance, not reckoned upon, slip in as the angels of destruction, and reveal the folly of the calculations on which he has been relying. He finds himself unequal to the struggle against the Supreme to which he had committed himself. But, if he be a good man, he will arrive at a conclusion, similar in one respect, though totally unlike in another. He will find he cannot command success; disappointment waits on hope, and failure on what seems to him his wisest projects. When he succeeds, he is often, as he reviews the causes of success, astonished to find that the means he used to attain his end contributed very slightly to the result; that other means contributed, and more efficiently, to it. Experiences of this kind occur to us all at various times, and especially at certain turning points of life. Of necessity, and in the nature of things, we do not reflect in this way in the earlier years of life; it is as we grow older—as we know more of ourselves, and of the vicissitudes of others. It is then we come to feel the need of some theory of life: one unlike those which the best books of our childhood supplied us with, but which embraces all the facts of our experience, and which will satisfy our feeling of what ought to be. It is in this way that men have come, in the closing years of life, to be more deeply convinced than they were in their earlier ones of a future life, and of its having conditions higher and more permanent than those they have known here. Failure, disappointment, fruitless effort, seem to have in them the promise of another world. But they also correct our views of this. They forbid our regarding this as intended to be the scene of unbroken happiness, while they equally forbid our believing that it is abandoned to a malicious enemy of order and right. Much more certainly they lead us to the conviction that the whole of life is a system of means by which we may attain to that perfectness of being which consists in a devout dependence on God, and in a sense of His all-penetrating presence. This is not the highest state to which the soul of man may ultimately reach; there is a fellowship with God to which this is but preparatory; and this preparation is

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carried out partly, at all events, by the discipline of failure. The Infinite Father has been pleased to reveal Himself to His creatures in the Word made fesh-in His Son Jesus Christ. We know now, or can know increasingly, the nature of God. We know, too, through the life of Christ, what is the true meaning of the words, Accept failure. We see the true standard of the one is agreement with the will of God; the latter is apparent conquest of it. The priests and rulers had it apparently all their own way that passover evening that Jesus was taken down from the cross. His disciples also thought all was over; they went to their homes dispirited, and mournfully owned they were mistaken when they said, “We trusted that it had been He which should have redeemed Israel.” They none of them knew then that Jesus would soon reverse the verdict of His foes and friends, and set the true standard of right and success for us. The whole of our mortal career must be looked at in the light of the incarnation, in relation to spiritual good. The circumstances that surround us are the means of discipline, and the channels of unseen good. The experience of the wise man, who wrote the proverb at the head of this paper, led him to the conclusion that happiness was not his being's end and aim; that wisdom was most needed by man, as wisdom was the true means of reaching good. That good he found to be in the love of God, and obedience to His will. He learnt this through many failures ; his failures he attributed to the fact that his wisdom was not equal to the demands of his life. There is a bitterness sometimes in his complaints not quite consistent with true manliness; but it is not inconsistent with his contracted view of the future. For there is a larger view, which lies in the light of the risen Son of God. “We know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true.” We know that to reach this, the true end of our life here, to attain unto this success, we are not competent of ourselves. Here science cannot help us. For this all that experience has accumulated from past generations is of little avail. But a firm conviction that God is in our lives; that His providence is ever about us; that time and chance which happeneth to all are the means by which, at any moment, help can be brought to us; that to those who love God all things work together for good. This will keep us from vexation at failure; will enable us to understand why it happens to ourselves and others in spite of all precautions to the contrary, and will help to form such a theory of life as will exclude vain fears and vainer pleasures.

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THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET HAGGAI.

(B.C. 520.)

THE FIRST PROPHECY. I. In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high-priest, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, This people say, “The time is not come, the time that the house of the Lord should be built.” Then came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet, saying :

Is this the time, O ye, for you to dwell
In panelled houses, while this house lies waste ?
Thus saith the eternal God, the Lord of hosts,
Consider well your ways! Much have ye sown,
And little have brought in. Ye eat and drink,
But are not satisfied. Ye clothe yourselves,
But still ye are not warm; and he who earns
Storeth his wages in a worn-out purse.
Thus saith the Lord, Consider well your ways !
Ascend the mountain, and bring wood, and build,
And in this house will I be glorified,
And will take pleasure in it, saith the Lord.
Ye looked for much, but little brought ye in,
For it was blighted by my angry breath.
And wherefore ? saith the Lord. Because my house
Is waste, while each doth to his own house run.
For this the heavens above restrain their dew,
And earth withholds her fruit. For I the Lord
Have sent a drought upon your plains and hills,
On corn, and wine, and oil, and every crop,

On man and beast, and on their fruitless toils. Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Josedech, the high-priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the Lord their God had sent him, and the people feared before the Lord. Then spake Haggai, the messenger of the Lord, by a message from the Lord unto the people, saying, “I am with you,” saith the Lord. And the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high-priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and

worked in the house of the Lord of hosts their God, in the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king.

THE SECOND PROPHECY. II. In the seventh month, in the twenty-first day of the month, came the word of the Lord by the prophet Haggai, saying, Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high-priest, and to the remnant of the people, saying:

Who is there left among you all that saw
The house in its first glory? And, behold,
Is it not now as nothing in your eyes ?
Yet now be strong, Zerubbabel! Be strong,
O Joshua, son of Josedech, high-priest !
Be strong, ye people of the land, and work!
For I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts,
As once of old I promised, when ye came
From Egypt's bondage. Still my spirit dwells
Among you; fear ye not! Yet once, and soon,
I shake the heavens, the earth, the sea, the land,
Yea, all the nations. That which they desire
Shall come; and I the Lord will fill this house
With glory. For to me belongs the gold,
To me the silver, saith the Lord of hosts.
The glory of this house shall greater be
Than of the former, and within this house
Will I give peace, so saith the Lord of hosts.

THE THIRD PROPHECY. In the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the Lord, by Haggai the prophet, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Ask now of the priests concerning the law, saying, “ If any one carry holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any food, shall it be holy ?” And the priests answered and said, "No." Then said Haggai, “If any one unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean?” And the priests answered and said, “It shall be unclean.” Then answered Haggai, and said :

(E'en as a man who carries holy flesh,
Doth not make holy what his robe may touch,
But he who is unclean, makes all unclean)
So is this people to me, saith the Lord,
Such is their work, and such their gifts unclean.
And now mark well, I pray you, from this day,
Back to the time when yet no stone was laid
Within the house of God, I smote your crops.
For twenty sacks of corn, ye found but ten;

And fifty vats of wine, but proyed a score.
With blight, with mildew, and with hail I smote
The labour of your hands; but yet none turned
To serve me, saith the Lord. Mark from this day,
From this ninth month and four-and-twentieth day,
Back to the day when first a stone was laid,
Consider ye! Is not the grain unsown?
The vine, the olive, pomegranate, and fig,
Are fruitless now,—bless them from this day !

THE FOURTH PROPHECY. And again the word of the Lord came to Haggai on that twenty-fourth day of the month, saying, Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying :

Behold, I shake the heavens, I shake the earth,
The throne of kingdoms I will overthrow,
The strength of heathen kingdoms I will break,
And chariots, and those that ride therein.
Both horses and their riders shall come down,
Each by his brother's sword. Yet in that day,
Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I will take thee,
Zerubbabel, my servant, saith the Lord,
And make thee as my precious signet ring.
Thee have I chosen, saith the Lord of hosts!

H. C. L.

AMERICAN SCHOOLS.

“The American people, if not the most highly educated, yet certainly are the most generally educated and intelligent people on the earth." “Compare the political knowledge and the mental activity displayed by a New England farmer or mechanic with that possessed by an Englishman in a similar social position, and the contrast would be ludicrous.”

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Such is the testimony of the Rev. J. Fraser, an English clergyman, who has recently visited the United States for the purpose of reporting on the Common School system of America. “The Americans are emphatically a reading people.” They read newspapers incessantly. To an American the morning journal is as indispensable as his morning meal. He eats his breakfast with his eyes all the while fixed upon his newspaper. The number of newspapers published in the States is something wonderful. A town of 10,000 inhabitants, in the Northern States, without its one, two, or three daily papers, is a rarity; and the Americans

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