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NIGHT THOUGHTS BY A WATCHMAN.

BROKEN SCHEMES. CHILD of grace and heir of glory, it is labour in vain for you to make a nest or build a castle in this world, for God will burn that and cast down this as soon, or perhaps before, you have completed it. Can you prepare a nest which He cannot find out and shake to pieces ? Can you erect a castle too strong for His adverse winds to blow down? You may find sweet repose in the Christ of God, and perfect security in His covenant; but you shall never find either safety or satisfaction apart from Him. Yet, is not your poor, restless heart ever anxiously preparing some scheme, which you vainly hope God will own, in order that you may have at least a little repose here ?

There never was but one Eden in this world, and that was lost quickly. Be content to be guided by God's counsel, and incline not to thy own understanding, for " there are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.” Consider how many schemes have been broken, to the grief of their makers ; but the Lord's way has proved steadfast, to their heart's joy. The scheme of Abraham, in calling his wife his sister, resulted in both he and her being sadly humbled by the King of Gerar. Rebekah put Esau's raiment on Jacob's body, and goat's skin upon his hands ; but this did not bring peace to the tent. Jacob had to leave his parents and home with a sad heart and bis brother's hatred. Then, again, not to name David's plan to hide his sin, look at King Jehoshaphat's worldly policy in making a league with Ahaziah, King of Israel, who did very wickedly;

and he joined him in making ships in Ezion-gaber to go to Tarshish. 6. Then Eliezer the son of Dodavah of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, Because thou hast joined thyself with Ahaziah, the Lord hath broken thy works. And the ships were broken, that they were not able to go to Tarshish” (2 Chron. xx. 35—37). If God does not smile upon our undertakings, vain will be the help of man.

In looking back upon the past, you can but observe how often your carefully-laid plans have been thrown into confusion by the most unlikely, little, and yet painful things coming in the way; or, at other times, by your mind being quite changed in regard to the matter, so that what was a pleasure to you, while it was only in purpose, became a pain to you when it was realized in fact.

There is written on a gravestone in Colchester cemetery, erected in memory of a young woman who was found dead in her bed on the morning of the day on which she was to have been married, the following verse, "My days are past, my purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of my heart” (Job xvii. 11). Thus

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suddenly God often snaps the thread of life, and the restless mind has at once done with time, its cares and its joys. The fearful heart no longer beats with anxiety, nor can the evil heart again take pleasure in iniquity.

My dear reader, as you look around, and behold death and dying stamped on all things here below, and on yourself with the rest, can you look up and sing

My home is not here, 'tis above, where the poor,
The tempted and tried ones will suffer no more.
My rest is in heaven, my rest is not here;

Then why should I tremble when trials are near?
« It is not for me to be seeking my

bliss
And building my hopes in a region like this."
“ Come joy, or come sorrow,

whate'er A home with my God will make up for it all” ? Not only have we to thank God for breaking our schemes, but for frustrating the schemes of our foes, and bringing their dark designs to light. Look at Joseph and his brethren, at David and king Saul, at Daniel and his enemies, at Mordecai, Esther, and Haman ; and, if God is able to manage all the hosts of the spirits of darkness, what have you to fear ? His arm is not shortened, nor His ear closed to your cry. Watch and wait.

W. B.

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may befall,

“ ENOCH WALKED WITH GOD."
OH, blest estate ! oh, fellowship divine !
Such high, such sweet communion, Lord, be mine!
To walk with Thee, with Thee hold converse sweet,
Thy voice to hear, Thy smile of love to meet.
Far from the hollow world's deceitful glare,
To bathe my spirit in a purer air ;
To lean on Thee, to trust Thy love alone,
Making to Thee my care, my griefs all known.
To meet Thine eye, to hold Thy guiding hand,
And know it safe will lead amid an alien land;
Thy counsel seek, to Thee my all confide,
My Friend of friends, the faithful, true, and tried.
The friends of earth may change-perchance may die,
E'en where I fondest cling, most firm rely ;
From earthly shadows which evade the grasp
Unlock the heart, whose tendrils round them clasp.
My Saviour-God, oh, may Thy wondrous love
Constrain this treacherous heart no more to rove !
Be Thou my Central Star, my Guide, my Sun;
Walk Thou with me till travelling days are done.

-Selected.

worse.

6 LOOKING UNTO JESUS." I HAVE no doubt but that you have striven against your violent temptations, against the carnal enmity of your minds, against the corruptions of your hearts, against your evil tempers and your besetting sins, with all your might; and, after all this wearisome toil and labour, matters are still the same, and sometimes rather

Then you resolve, and watch, and work with more care; more diligence, and more good intention; and the more you labour, the more the stream runs against you. Then you fret, grieve, and conclude that your family concerns and daily and unexpected trials are laid in your way for the purpose of hindering you, and that it is in vain for you to strive any more, for that you never shall obtain deliverance

. All these things are against us. Seeing, then, that we gain no ground this way, let us try another. Let us see what looking to Jesus will do. Hear, therefore, what He says: “Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all ye ends of the earth; for I am God, and besides Me there is no Saviour.” Here we are to look for salvation, and for all the help we stand in need of: “I will look to the hills, from whence cometh my help; my help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.' And what did anybody ever get by this? Why, “they looked unto Him and were lightened, and their faces were not ashamed.”' Is this all ? No. While we look, as “through a glass darkly," we are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord. Looking, Mary, will do more than labouring. therefore," says Paul, "lay aside every weight, and the sin that doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us'; looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.” Looking, Mary, implies believing. “As Moses lifted

6 up the serpent in the wilderness,” that all that were bitten by the serpents might live, “so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in Him may not perish, but have eternal life.” Looking implies hope and expectation. God has laid help upon His dear Son, who is "mighty to save ;” and, when poor sinners” hear of this, they are led by the Holy Spirit to hope for it in Christ, and to expect it from no other quarter. And you 'know not how Jesus is charmed at poor sinners looking to Him. Hear what He says: “O My dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let Me hear thy voice ; let Me see thy face; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely." And He

“ Turn away thine eyes from Me, for thou hast overcome Me." - Huntington's Posthumous Letters.

“Let us,

adds,

THORNS prick us. They are the hedges which God has planted to keep us in the way of life.

REMINISCENCES OF DUGALD BUCHANAN.

The memory of the just is blessed." -PROVERBS x. 7. THE parish of Balquidder, the county of the freebooter, Rob Roy McGregor, gave birth to Dugald Buchanan, in 1716, at the farm of Ardoch, in the valley of Strathbogie. His father rented the farm, and was owner of a small meal-mill there, the remains of which are still standing. Both his parents were estimable persons—people of sterling Christian worth—of that class which constitutes the very bone and sinew of a healthy commonwealth.

He speaks of his mother with great veneration and affection. “I had the blessing," he says, “to be born of religious parents, who took great care to train me in the fear of the Lord, especially my tender mother, who followed all the means used for my improvement with her fervent prayers at a throne of grace for my conversion.”

The following passage from his diary shows he was, at a very early period, the subject of religious impressions : "To the best of my recollection, when between five and six years of age, I went on a Sabbath day, without my mother's knowledge, and amused myself foolishly; and, after returning home, my mind was filled with heavy accusations of conscience for breaking the Lord's Day. Previously I did not pray unless pressed to it by my mother, but now I began to pray without any entreaty."

In 1722 his excellent mother died. Of the loss thus sustained he speaks with deep emotion. Her example, her instruction, her maternal solicitude for his soul's welfare, were,

he

says, thorns that hedged up my way, on the removal of which I began to slight duty." There were, however, at certain intervals, a revival of these early impressions, after his mother's death, each constituting a link in the chain of successive convictions. Terrible visions of the day of judgment greatly frightened him, and he fancied he found himself, along with others, sentenced to everlasting burnings. For two years in succession these visions came at intervals. He thought of God only as an angry God, and from his ninth till his twelfth year he lived in a kind of stupid despair.

He closes the portion of his diary that ends with his twelfth year with the following observations :-"Instead of honouring God with my first-fruits, Satan got the first-fruits of all my abours. I did no duty to which I was not pressed by my parents, or by a slavish fear of hell. When I take a retrospective view of this period of my life, I am led to see the absolute necessity for regeneration by grace for renewing our will, and conforming the soul to the image of God. Man is helpless and hopeless in himself.” How true as well as touching are the

as the

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words of Samuel Rutherford—“I have nothing but my loathsomeness to commend me to Christ. He must take me as I am for nothing, or not take me at all."

Dugald Buchanan received the rudiments of education in one of the schools belonging to the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, which was founded by a few devoted Christian gentlemen in Edinburgh, in the year 1701. One of these schools was planted in Buchanan's native parish, under the charge of Mr. Nicol Ferguson, a man of Christian character. At the age

of twelve Buchanan was considered qualified for the situation of a tutor, which shows that he made fair progress for one so young. He soon obtained employment as tutor in a family who were remarkable for every kind of profanity, with the exception of the mistress of the household, who was an excellent person. Before he was a month in this family he learned to speak the language of Ashdod, and shortly afterwards exceeded every one of them in uttering oaths and imprecations. “I sinned,” he says, “ without restraint, except when I thought of death.” At this time his terrors of mind were overwhelming. He heartily resolved to refrain from committing sin, but his resolutions were soon at an end. In less than eight days he was just what he was before.

Allusions in his diary lead to the inference that he early showed a precocity of intellectual vigour that promised future eminence, and which encouraged friends to make especial efforts to promote his educational efficiency.

At the age of fourteen years he went to Stirling, probably to prosecute his education. He remained there for two years, very much in his former condition of alternate deadness and alarm. In subsequent years he narrowly escaped death from a series of accidents which are particularized in his diary. His preservation he wholly ascribes to the interposition of God's good providence, of which he was a great observer in after life.

After a stay of six months in Edinburgh, Buchanan returned home to Ardoch. He was now in his eighteenth year, and his father was anxious that he should enter upon some profession or trade. He was apprenticed for three years to a house carpenter in the parish of Kippen—a step in many respects conducive to his good. He associated with a better class of companions, and attended with greater regularity the house of God. Under the godly ministrations of Mr. Potter, minister of the parish, he profited considerably He abandoned his former careless ways, felt brokenness of heart for sin, and found sweetness in the promise"* I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for Mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” Not rightly understanding the true meaning of these words, his legal heart inclined him to put confidence in his prayers, tears, and other acts of duty.

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