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Have you had a testing timet ' Thank God
that you have come out. and up to the highest usefulness. A. A. L. Contributed WHAT OF FREE AGENCY. By Rev. II. P. McClintic. Whatever freedom of will man may have ever had, even in his state of innocency, must have been limited, growing out of the fact that he is a creature of an absolute and sovereign Creator. He has freedom of will, but that freedom is always exercised in accordance with his nature. If man is sinful, then the whole man is sinful in every part of his being. If it is his nature to sin, of necessity the will is of the same na ture, it can not be one thing while the remain ing parts of the man is something else. Man's will acts freely, but always in harmony with his nature, anything else is to us unthinkable. The first man was free to choose. He could either obey God or the Devil. When he de liberately chose the latter he became like him whom he obeyed, devilish. The total man in all his parts and faculties was and is involved. In his obedience to the devil instead of God he naturally lost his likeness to God. He could not sin and still be like God. Not only did he lose his nature, but he also lost his standing before the law of God and of necessity be came an exile from that Kingdom against whose laws and King he had transgressed. He became a citizen of the kingdom of him whom he obeyed. Being an exile all his posterity by ordinary generation are born in exile, bom away from and out of the kingdom of heaven ; in short, are born in the kingdom of the devil. To call that kingdom anything else than hell does not in any sense change its condition. Be ings born in the kingdom of the devil are like him in whose kingdom they are born, hence at enmity with God, not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. To illustrate, we know that one is a free citizen of the State until he breaks the laws of that State in which lie resides; when he does so he forfeits his freedom as a citizen therein. The State has the right and exercises itself in the same when it lays its hands upon law breakers and incarcerates them in prison, it may be for life, they having forfeited all their rights of freedom. When one has been thus deprived of his liberty, mind you, not by the State, but by his own deliberate act, the^e is no way by which he can regain his freedom by any act that he may perform, for whatever good he may do is but what is due from him and can in no regard remove the penalty of his past offense. There is but one hope left him of regaining his freedom and that by the pardoning clemency of the States against which he has sinned. Ilis pardon, which removes his further obligation to the penalty of his trans gression, is of grace, purely a matter of favor. As to what he will do with his citizenship so graciously restored to him will depend upon , his conduct. This illustrates to our mind the spiritual situation of man who was a free citi zen in the Kingdom of God until he broke the laws of that kingdom, thereby forfeiting his freedom as such. He became exiled from God's Kingdom, or, may we say, was shut up in God's prison, whose keeper thereof is the devil. He can not escape therefrom nor can he be re stored to his freedom as a citizen in the King dom of God, save by His pardoning grace, the clemency of God against whom he has sinned. If he can win his pardon it is then not of grace but of works. "What the pardoned sinner does with his restored freedom as a citizen in the kingdom, of course depends upon him. Christ entered the prison house, conquered the keep er thereof, so that the gates of hell can not prevail against him or his blood-bought, re deemed Church, but must swing open for his and their exit therefrom. Faith, by its very nature, precludes it from being a condition of this pardoning grace, but a result. Faith is vision. It is seeing. It is the restoration of sight to those made blind by siri. It is the first act of the regenerated soul which enables it to see and to comprehend something of the fullness of the pardoning grace that makes us free, free agents, free to love and to serve him who has bought our free dom at the cost of his servitude oven unto death. So we arc justified by the works of Christ on his paat, on ours by faith. That is to say, our faith is accounted unto us in the place of our righteousness, in the stead of our original standing before the law, which we lost in the sin of our federal head, Adam, regained in our federal head, the Second Adam. An unpardoned, unregenerated sinner is no more a free agent, than is the penitentiary convict, serving time for life. For a -man in prison to boast of his freedom is consummate folly. For a sinner out of God and in the prison house of sin to boast of his freedom, is no less a folly, yea it is folly run mad. In Christ we have a freedom that is born of God, in Him we are freedmen, bought out of the slave mar ket of sin and freed forever. Christ and Christ alone is our emancipator. As to our personal sins after regeneration, we get forgiveness for them conditioned on our repentance, and are punished for them in this life. The judgment seat of God is to his re deemed no longer a judgment seat, but a mercy seat, having been sprinkled with the blood of the Judge Himself. Liberty, Mo. THE SOLE SOLACE ON THE DYING BED. By L. S. Marye. G. R. P. Kean (Garlick Kean as he was called by his friends) was an A. M. of the Univer sity of Virginia and one of its most disting uished graduates. He was not only a fine scholar, but a learned lawyer, also, the leading lawyer at the Lynchburg bar, and with the exception of Judge William J. Robertson, the most eminent lawyer in the State. On his death bed he repeated, as if to him self, the first verse of Cardinal Newman's beau tiful hymn on resignation : Lead kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom, Lead thou me on. The night is dark, and I am far from home, Lead thou me on. Keep thou my feot; I do not ask to seo The distant scene ? one step enough for me. Here was this ripe scholar and jurist when "life's fitful fever was ended," the inevitable home at hand, and the last enemy knocking at the door. In that supreme moment all his erudition was of no avail. His sole solace was the Light to kindly lead him on, the invitation of the Saviour, "Come unto me ye who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest." This story calls to mind the death-bed scene of Sir Walter Scott. As the great novelist, at his beautiful home, Abbotsford, lay on his death-bed, listening at the open window to the rippling of the Tweed, he said to his nephew Trevillian: "Hand me bock." "What bookt" inquired his nephew. "There is but one book," answered Sir Walter, whereupon Trevillian, now understanding him, handed him the Bible. Here was Sir Walter Scott, who had read hundreds of books, and who had himself writ ten many, on his death-bed declaring that there was but one book. In that supreme mo ment he counted all the books he had read, and his own Waverly Novels, as nothing. There was for him in his expiring hour but one book, the Bible. Its precious promises and invita tions could alone give him consolation and so lace in that supreme moment. Charlottesville, Ya. PRISONERS OF THE PAST. By Rev. R. V. Lancaster. Each of us is the prisoner of his past. Few earthly prisons are as secure and none more largely determine the scope and value of a man's life. Of this prison memory constitutes the bars, reputation is the lock, habits the wardens and disposition the containing wall. This does not make men the victims of acci dent or the pawns of destiny. It invites them to a full valuation of the present, and by giving them the consciousness that what is and what is to be will both certainly one day be the past, arms them with a divine prescience for the conduct of life as it comes upon them. Now no one will be able to pause at each turn and event of life to consciously weigh the issue and determine what its character will be when it shall have taken its place in the past. But there are great lanes of life which if chosen and walked in become transformed like the sun's western trail into luminous glory when the present has dissolved into the past. These are the paths to choose. They send forth no ray or cloud of unhappiness and regret. Selections BEGIN RIGHT. "John, let us begin right." The word was spoken with a winning smile, itself a good beginning for the day, flashed at John across the breakfast table. Yes, they were just setting up housekeeping ? John and Mary, and this was their first meal in the pretty home the young husband had provided for his dainty bride. The interior of the house, the cleanness and neatness of its furnishings, the flowers tastefully arranged, the well-laid repast, gave token that the little wife had done her happy part and that, as ever, the deft weaver and the doughty house-band had united to produce the charming picture of "Love in a Cottage" that men and angels love to look upon ? if they may. Just now John was folding his napkin with a satisfied air, and was evidently preparing to give the hearty but hasty morning salutation and catch his car for down-town and the day's work that was calling to him. "Wait a minute, John. Let us begin right," said Mary. John looked across at his little wife a bit surprised. "I ? I thought we had already be gun," he ventured. "Yes; but you know what I mean, John. We ought to begin the day with God, oughn't wet" The man of the house threw up his head slightly and then looked gravely down for a moment. He was a Christian, as was the fair daughter of a pious home ho had chosen for his helpmate; but he had never accustomed himself to lifting his voice in public prayer or voicing hk personal petition aloud. How many others ^'iere are like him! And so he answered quit, naturally, "What shall I sayt"