THERE is an old ballad called the Mistletoe Bough, which sings the story of an unfortunate lady, who, on her wedding evening, in a frolicsome mood ran away from her companions and hid in an oaken chest. It closed with a spring lock. She could not make herself heard, nor could her friends find her. Many years after, when her story was almost forgotten, the chest by chance was opened, and there was found the moldering remains of a person whose identity Was made known only by the bridal jewels she wore. These alone had borne the tests of time. 

When the Countess of Salisbury was burned at the stake, during the persecution of Christians by the Romish church, her pearls and diamonds were found among the charred remains, uninjured by the flames. They stood the test of fire. 

Are we placing in our characters jewels, which shall stand the tests around them? It is not in everyday life, when friends are near, and the world goes easy, that we can test our patience, cheerfulness, courage, or Christianity. It is only when the severer experiences of this world come, that we can measure their worth. 

You know how it is at school. An indolent scholar, by deceit and cheating, may pass through the term, and his true standing be undiscovered; but examination, if rightly conducted, will reveal just what is the truth. Or another scholar may recite the lesson - perfectly, in a parrot-like way, but if the test of questioning is applied, he is wholly bewildered. 

So many of US pass along, and there seem to be no flaws in our characters. We are honest, for there is nothing to tempt; patient and cheerful, for all is pleasant around; Christians, it may be, in profession; but let an emergency come, would we be ready for it?  A character, which will resist temptation and endure trial is not formed in a moment. It is the result of years of watchfulness and prayer. If we would have a character which, when troubles come, shall rise superior to them, a patience, which nothing can disturb, a cheerfulness that goes singing when clouds gather darkest, a religion upon which we can rely when everything shall fail, then must we be preparing that character by constant patience and cheerfulness, and an earnest exercise of all Christian virtues.