OH, John, what are you doing? 

Looking over your accounts?"

"Yes, trying to. I have many. December, you know, and I must fix up things. I deal with many people."

"Are you square with them all?"

"Yes, I believe so. Let me see. There's Tubbs, the butter man square with him. There'sShears, the tailor; square with him. There's Sawyer, the joiner; square with him."

And John turns over the well-thumbed leaves of the old account-book, whispering, as he goes along, " Square with him."  John shuts the book, puts his spectacles back upon his forehead, and looks up jubilantly, as if saying, "I don't owe anybody a cent."

John is an honest fellow. We would trust him with our last dollar. Indeed, he makes so much of honesty that some one has said that honesty is John's religion. It is an excellent record, as far as it goes, but it will never do to stop there. And we think also we can show that there is one account which John has never tried to settle, and to that extent he is dishonest.

"John, you say you owe nothing. Are you sure?" Pie looks up, his eyes flashing as if a candle-light were in each.

"What say?"

"John, I, I think you haven't looked at one account."

"What? Another account?"

"Yes, that other account; please look at it."

John murmurs, "That other account! That other account!" He lowers his spectacles to the bridge of his nose, and looks again through his book.

"Have I missed one? No, I have gone through them all. No 'other account' here."

"That is so. You are right. And still there is another account somewhere."

"Not that I know of."

"I mean that other account—with God."  John turns in his seat, gives a faint little cough, and shows that he is uneasy.

That other account! How it broadens and stretches out! How it covers all the year! How it seems to grow till its pages cover all the past! So vast is this account that most of the items are blurred, dim, lost in the distance thereof.

"It is all down, John, all your life. My life is down, too, in God's books. It has been said that we carry a record also in our own memories, forgotten and lost though our lives may seem to be. In the sixteenth century, Mary of Guise sent a note to Leith, apparently asking medicine of a physician. 

In reality, there was a message to the French besieged there. The note was given to Lord Grey, the English general, and he was asked to forward this innocent-looking note. Grey held the letter to the fire. The invisible ink turned black, and the real contents appeared! There was a message of importance designed for the French, but it went no farther than the fire. 

The secret message coming up out of the note, spread out in characters of black, what does it suggest but that account in the soul, forgotten and apparently lost, yet living on and sure to come up in the light of God's day of reckoning! John, have you thought about this other account?"

John is not looking up. He is silently resting his head on his hands. His child comes into the room. He calls her "Little Golden-hair." I think John in his strong attachment to the child could echo the words of a parent in "Stepping Heavenward:" "What this child is to me, I cannot tell." It suggests how much John owes God for this blessing alone.

"Did you ever think what a debtor to God you were, John, for this child? Did you ever try to balance it by anything on the opposite side of the account? Did you ever put a prayer there, a prayer of thanks?" John told us not long ago that he never prayed.

"Your child suggests your home. Around that one blessing of your home, John, cluster others. In a country where rare stones are found, diamonds have been seen, imbedded in the mud walls of a house, and unappreciated by the natives living there. 

Take the surroundings of a very lowly home even, what diamonds are imbedded there, qualities, possessions, blessings, that are priceless. For these things, for the diamonds at home, do you ever make a prayer of thanks to God, and let that go into the account in your favor?"

Little Golden-hair is up in John's lap now, stroking his bowed head.

"Suppose, John, that this child should turn from you, be indifferent to you, neglect your wishes, ignore you as you do the street-dust, what would you say of Little Golden-hair? Is not that the way you, God's offspring, have been treating your Heavenly Father? Is not this a fearful list of sins in the account, and is it not time to attempt a settlement?"

John is feeling all this. He looks up and exclaims, "I can never settle that account."

"Ought you not to call on the help of  One who can settle it, that Almighty Saviour 'once offered to bear the sins of many,' by faith in whom we are justified?"

John is still bowed in deep feeling, and motions to be left alone.

At night there are two bending before God, both children in spirit, though one is a strong man, and the other is Little Golden-hair. She is saying, in tones like the warbling of a bird, "Our Father." At its close comes John's tearful, sincere response, "God be merciful to me a sinner!" 

It is the cry of a heart broken in sorrow for sin.

John is trying to settle that "other account." Rather, let it be said, there is an Almighty Saviour settling it for him. 

American Messenger.