Page images

the matter with the brain, and he says he , within that little brain, all, all to perish! has known children to recover-has known It made his brain reel to think. “As he them to! Oh! how hopeless ! how hope walked noiselessly back and forth in the less that sounds. If she could only know long, carpeted passage, he came opposite an you and call you, I would give worlds old, grey-haired servant. She had set her worlds !”

pail of water down, and kneeling on the “I trust she will be better, my daughter," Tower stair, she prayedsaid the old man, though the hand he “O Father, heavenly Father, save that laid upon her head shook violentiy.

dear little child! O Lord of life, save that "Oh, no, no! you don't feel that," the good little child! But if thou seest fit to mother cried, in low, uneven tones. “I take her home, O Lord, make her one of can tell by the very sound of your voice, thy brightest angels, to sing evermore near that you also dread that terrible thing. thy throne. Amen." Father-father I shall die too." She had So simple, so brief, so fervent! The old caught at his hands in her wild grief, and man held his breath almost as he moved hung upon him as if death were indeed back into the shadow. And what if there striving to tear her away.

was a God, a future, an immortality for "Be calm, my child. Bring all your phi these creatures of clay! What? Impossi. losophy to bear npon this trial. Have my ble. Had not his reason rejected that doclessons all been in vain ?”

trine long ago ? Had he not made his "Father," she said, hollowly, “you have incredulity his boast? The poor, weaknever taught me what would compensate minded serving-maid, old and almost blind, for the loss of our child, our little Mary ! might believe it ; he could not. Oh, it must not be, it must not be!" she Suddenly a great cry sounded ; the door repeated, with stronger emphasis. “Nature flew open; his daughter stood on the must not claim my child back to dust. You threshold, her arms uplifted ; a grey white, have studied much, O my father! arrest sickly as the hue of the grave, pressed on the fatal agency."

her face, as she cried, “O father! father! Her father still caressed her head with she has gone! My darling, my darling is his trembling fingers, and essayed to soothe, dead! Let me die, too! Oh, I cannot bear to inspirit her. His own heart was ill at it! I cannot. What shall I do-what ease whenever he looked at the child : it shall I do!” seemed to him that he saw death in those He caught her half-senseless form, and beautiful eyes, decay upon that transparent bore her from the chamber of death, but brow. He grew dizzy and sick with the not to repose. After insensibility came thought, so that he almost reeled where he | agony most fearful to witness. The cries ; stood.

the sobs, so hard that they seemed like to "Can the child recover?” he asked, as burst the labouring heart; the pitiful wail he met the physician a few moments after. -"She's dead-my darling is dead-oh!

“I dare not give you any hope. I have cold, cold-father, father, FATHER, who just said as much to your son-in-law," | will restore her to me again ? Where shall replied the medical man, sorrowfully. “It I see her ? oh! where is she? where ? tell is a very sad case, for the young mother's | me.” life seems wrapped in that of the child.” And for that appeal of anguish the old 1." And mine, too-mine, too,” sorrow man had no answer. His philosophy had fully murmured the old man. A dreadful failed him as completely as suddenly. That desolation fell upon his spirit. Since his , the child was gone he could not bring himchildhood he had lost no immediate rela self to believe. Did he not almost feel the tive by death. Now the shadow of that pressure of the tiny arms, the velvet cheek ? awful presence (awful to him) loomed up And when he saw her in her cold beauty, darkly before him, enveloping the whole like a most lovely image of white marble, household. His boasted strength had de- lying pulseless, voiceless, dead, a whisper serted him : he felt for the first time his would echo in his inmost soul, “She lives urnatural isolation. It occurred to him she lives.” The nurse told him that just Also, for the first time, what a loss the life before she breathed her last, her little hands of one human being was. All that bright flew up, the old intelligence came back to beauty, that winning intelligence, the holy | her face, and with a smile, as of triumphant fore by which her infantile caresses had in recognition, she passed away. Yes; the pired him, the wonderful capabilities folded | smile was still there!

Doubly mournful was that house because making your life barren! for tearing out of there was no Christ within.

your heart the conviction born in every “ Dead, dead !" was all the white lips of soul, that there is a God.” the mother could articulate. She would "O father! may I believe this? I have listen to no Christian sympathy. “No tried to think it was not right to listen to no-I will not believe it. O that I could ! such precious consolations, but my spirit but my father cannot believe it, and I can yearned to hear them. My little Mary, not. O that I could!”

then, you are not wholly lost to me: I shall And thus she passed the wretched days, see you again, darling !" delaying the child's funeral— falling upon Humbly the old man of threescore took its grave-insane with an unholy sorrow up his cross, and proclaimed to the won: no strength of her own to support her dering world the glorious change. No

-no hope beyond earth-no faith that the longer the scornful Atheist, but the lowly babe she had loved would ever meet her servant of God, he strove nobly to redeem again-no belief in prayer or eternity. his time. With his daughter it was a But the old man !

longer work. Like a little child, she had to He too was near despair, but it was of be led from one point of reason to another. the conflict going on in his own soul. It The Bible was all new and wonderful to seemed as if a mighty hand had smitten her, and its perusal saved her from the asunder the bars of his unbelief; yet he terrible effects of solitary grief. It was struggled for days with his haughty scep nearly a year before she came forth a firm ticism, till his strength was gone, and his believer in the Christ so new and so preheart almost dead within him. Then he cious to her. But her faith was laid on a condescended to call for old Adelaide, firm foundation, and her belief accompanied whose simple prayer had awakened him, by fitting works. No longer does she bear and whose first cry, when she heard his about a dead heart, no longer look upon sorrow, was, the tears gushing the while, the dust of her child with despairing horror. “ O Mr. Hart! for twenty years I have The memory of that death-bed is often resupplicated my God that this hour might called, and she says that surely the angels come. O, do take the blessed Saviour for were hovering round, for hath not Christ your Master!"

spoken of those who shall “ minister to the The weeks passed on, and like one strug. | heirs of salvation”? gling blindly through the thick mists, the ' So hath God ordained that by the transold man at last groped out of the chains of | lation of little children many a soul is saved! his wretched unbelief, and took upon him the silken bonds of the Gospel. His daughter, meantime, had continued to give way to her despairing sorrow. She sat day after day SOW BESIDE ALL WATERS. in her darkened room, refusing food, re THE lamp burned brightly on the study fusing consolation. One day he went to table, the storm raged without, and the hail her. She saw the change in his counte. lashed against the window, as a young man nance, in his manners.

with clear, open brow, and deep thoughtful “My daughter," he said, as he took her eye, drew his chair closer to the cheerful hand in his," have you still your old faith fire, and seated himself for an hour's quiety in, your old love for me?"

patient thought. It was Ernest Murray, 6 Yes, father," she murmured; “I be who, with commanding intellect, and warm lieve you above all others : have I not affections, consecrated to Him who had proved it?"

redeemed him with his blood, had recently “ Believe then what I tell you now. entered a sphere of pastoral labour in the Your child-our angel-possessed an im town of O— . He had been settled mortal soul. That soul still lives, brighter but some few months before the evening and more beautiful than ever it was in its

in question ; yet there was on his count mortal form. You and I shall see our nance a look of anxiety that told of uners little Mary again."

pected discouragements in his work. The “ Who has told you-how do you be- population of the locality was very dense lieve ?" she cried breathlessly.

| and extended many miles round. What “ Christ, whom I have rejected, has, in chiefly depressed him was the way in which his great mercy, stooped to convince me of those at a distance specially slighted the my unbelief. O my child, forgive me for | ordinances of God's house. He earnestas prayed that God would give him his Spirit, she started and exclaimed, “Oh, you've as a spirit of wisdom and love, to direct made a mistake : you'll be wanting old him in his dealings with his people; and John Scott. He-" "No," interrupted had secluded himself, secure from inter Mr. Murray, “ I've made no mistake ; you ruption by the tempestuousness of the are the very person I came to call on. I weather, to devise some plan to rouse his came to see you, Kate." people from their indifference to the claims There was gentleness in his voice, and of God.

love in his eye, that found their way For Mr. Murray to decide upon any plan straight to the heart of the poor, lone was equivalent to its execution. Conse woman. “Did you, sir?" she said, her face quently, the morrow saw him commence colouring. “Well, you're the first minister a plan of visitation among the people who that ever came to see Kate Douglass since lived at some distance, and who absented | she lived in C- Please to take a seat, themselves from the church. Among the sir;" and she dusted a chair with the district of absentees he found families here corner of her apron. A few kind inquiries and there who formed exceptions to this and expressions of interest were concluded painful rule, and who were happily ready by inviting her to attend the evening to further his efforts on behalf of their prayer-meeting in her neighbour's house. godless neighbours. On his visiting days "Well, sir," she said, “as you've been he called on one such, and obtained per so kind as to come and invite me, I will mission from its members to hold a prayer come, and thank you.” meeting there in the evening, to which he True to her engagement, Kate appeared, might invite others. He then visited from to the extreme astonishment of every one. house to house, endeavouring to sow some That night, an arrow from God's quiver precious seed, and show his interest in entered her heart, and brought her low. their welfare, affectionately inviting them The strong, brave woman was humbled, at parting to attend the evening meeting. | and went home with the dart sticking The blessing of his Divine Master was not fast, and the cry in her soul, “ What must withheld from Mr. Murray's exertions. I do to be saved ?" Great success followed. The little prayer A week passed, and night was ushered in meeting proved in many instances a first by storm and wind. Ernest Murray was step to their coming to church, and, better alone in his study, when the servant anstill, of their being led to Jesus, whom they nounced someone wanted to speak to had so long slighted and despised. Among him. the subjects of this happy change was one “Show him in, then," was the reply. Kate Douglass, or, as she was better known It must be something urgent that should among the children, “Wild Kate," so bring any one out in such wild weather as fierce and masculine was she, both in figure and manners. Mr. Murray was told he "It is a woman, sir; and she has come need not trouble to call on her, as she all the way from C- ; and though I would neither welcome him nor come to 1 wanted her to warm and dry herself at the the meeting. So said her neighbours ; but | fire, she insisted I should come at once, in the earnest, glowing heart of the young , and ask you to see her.” minister was no echo to that caution. He 1 The next moment the door was opened, remembered the words of Him who said, and Kate entered the room. "He came not to call the righteous, but “Kate !” exclaimed Mr. Murray, as he sinners to repentance," and set out one day rose to meet her, “how are you? This is to visit her. Just as he approached the a rough night for you to be out. Come house, an old man accosted him, saying, near the fire : you are cold and wet;" and "Are ye going in there, sir ? ” glancing he placed a chair for her. with great significance at Kate's door. But there she stood, erect and motion"Yes, John," he replied. “Weel, weel, less, unable to speak. şir," was the response, “it's a useless fash. At last she choked out, “Ab, sir, wild as I wish ye a safe outcoming, sir, for she is is the raging storm without, it's nothing to an awful woman!” “I have a message of what is going on here," pointing to her peace for her, John,” said Mr. Murray, heart. “Ever since the night I heard you "and am not at all afraid of her.”

at the meeting, there's been nothing but Le knocked, and a strong, harsh voice storm within my soul. You spoke that said, “Come in.” On seeing her visitor, | night of a refuge from the storm, and I've


come to ask you to tell me where I can woman since I entered this room. I have find it."

found Jesus-my weary soul's refuge. God Lifting up his heart in earnest prayer to bless you, sir, for leading me to him!” God for wisdom, he took his Bible, and A marked alteration was henceforth turned to the passage, “God is a refuge in visible in the life of Kate, and intense were time of trouble.” “Do you mean to say," the struggles she had against sin, and espe. said Kate, “that God, against whom I have cially with her temper. It was no light been sinning all my life, is to be my refuge ? combat she had to wage, with a spirit so It is his wrath I want to escape. Oh, that bold, and feelings so strong and excitable. wrath, that wrath,” she added, " If you can A single instance of her victory in this tell me nothing but this, sir, then I may go warfare will serve as illustration. One back into the cold wild storm, and return afternoon a set of idle · boys, whose enterworse than I came;" and the expression of tainment it had often been to rouse Kate's the poor creature's face changed from in indignation by tormenting and irritating tense expectation to profound disappoint í her, were playing near her house. ment and grief.

"There's no fun with Wild Kate now," "Listen to me, Kate," said the minister : exclaimed one of them: “she's become so 6 you did not hear me out. When we bad quiet. She never swears now, nor runs destroyed ourselves, in due time Christ after us to beat us, as she used to do." died for the ungodly.' Christ's own words "Ah, the tiger has its velvet paw, no are, 'I came not to call the righteous, but doubt," said another ; “but I'll venture to sinners to repentance.'.

say I'll soon tear that off. See here," added Kate listened to the reading of these pas he, seizing a large black cat ; " come here," sages with intense eagerness.

and he marched towards the cottage door. « Well, sir, what must I do?"

It was open, and Kate was within, read“ Confess yourself among the chief of | ing her Bible most intently, with her back sinners, and plead Christ's promise to towards it. The boys noiselessly followed such. In Him is your help.''

their companion. “How, how, sir?

“Here's a present for you, mistress, Mr. Murray then read several passages said the wild boy, as, without any warning, where the coming of the Messiah is fore he threw the animal over her shoulder into told. Turning to the New Testament, he her lap, and retreated with a bound. He read of the birth and life of Christ, of his Kate had an inveterate antipathy against in death and resurrection ; dwelling again cats, and the boy knew this, and expected and again on his own words of promise and she would rise and follow them as for invitation to sinners. Hour after hour merly, uttering imprecations on their heads. waned, and Kate's eager eye dimmed not. Not 80, however. The strong woman, it is

“Now Kate," said Mr. Murray, “you true, sickened with the shock, but, lifting know all. “Christ Jesus came into the the creature in her arms, she carried it ; world to save sinners, even the chief.'to the door, and laying it gently on the le

“I am that one," burst forth from her ground in sight of the boys, she quietly relips. “Can it be that he will take me be entered her cottage, and closed the door. Las a refuge to me?"

“He willeth my sanctification,” were the i “His own word is, 'Him that cometh words that rose in her heart, and were the unto me I will in no wise cast out. Come means of enabling her to triumph over this unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy and many subsequent provocations. laden.'"

“Ah, Jack, you're out there,” exclaimed “Ah, sir, I see it now, I see it now: his companions : “she's not a bit angry." R how wonderful, oh, how wonderful! God Jack found the laugh very unexpectedly bless you, sir. Will you pray with me?”. turned against himself, and shrunk away

They knelt in humble, earnest prayer, not a little mortified at the failure of his i and in that still hour this tempest-tossed mischievous trick. soul sailed into its sure and abiding haven Meeting him next day, Kate seized him an of rest. She rose to depart. The storm by the neck. The boy quivered beneath her without had subsided, and the streaks of | firm grasp. early dawn streamed through the drawn " Jacký,” she said, “oh, Jacky, man, curtains. Mr. Murray threw open the | how could you do that last night? I am window, exclaiming, What a calm !" just beginning to ascend the hill of diffi“Oh, yes,” she said, “I am a changed culty, and you tried hard to pull me back,

but I had been drinking of the sweet stream pointing to the sleeper, "lay upon a bed of of living water, and I was kept from fall- | straw. Her feet and hands were numb ing."

with cold, her face was thin from hunger, What encouragement may all who labour and pale from sickness. Would you look in the Master's vineyard take, to sow be for a smile there, brother? But I found side all waters--to cast the good seed on one. The door opened, and a woman, all ground-to labour without ceasing, be wearied with toil, entered ; her features lieving that in due time they shall reap, if were harsh from care and labour ; but it they faint not!

was her mother; and as the child whis“Not many lives, but only one, have we;

pered to herself, “Mother will be troubled One, only one.

if I don't smile,' this smile rested on the How sacred should that one life ever be, pale thin lips. I took it for my Master as

That narrow span !
Day after day filled up with blessed toil,

the mother stooped to kiss it away. Hast Hour after hour still bringing in new spoil.”

thou, too, a gift for the Lord ?”

The other answered by holding up a flower of the deepest blue, with a single

golden star in its centre. Its sweet perEDITH'S TEAR.

fume filled the room, as the angel said, FOR THE YOUNG.

“I plucked it for my Master in a distant

land. I had wandered many hours, and THERE it lay, one large, clear drop, on saw nothing to bear to my Lord. I rested the soft, rounded cheek. The face of the 1 by a wayside well. There came to the well little sleeper was peaceful, and the breath one of earth's children of sorrow. Thou came lightly through the half-open lips, hast seen them, brother, and thou knowest without even a fluttering sigh to tell of that our Lord doth love them. The child sorrow. Only that one tear. I sat down drank from the spring, his tears mingling by the bedside, wondering at the tear. | with the water. What is the matter, How came it there ? Our Ëdith, so happy | little boy ?' said a childish voice. His and gay, singing like a bird from morning i tears came the faster, as he said, "They to night, what had sorrow and tears to do | have taken my mother away, and put her with her? Had old Phæbe, the doll that in the ground, and they say she's dead.' had descended to her from grandmother, The little girl who had questioned him met with any misfortune? Had dear old stood silent with a wondering look, and this Mother Goose been burnt up or lost? tear fell from her eye. I caught it for my Had Pussy's whiskers been trimmed, or Master, for I know he loves the sweet Pompey's ears cut? So I wondered, think blue flower of pity. Hast thou yet another ing not that our Father, who loves little gift ?'. children, often in the hours of darkness Then the angel of smiles took from his speaks to them with his still small voice, casket bright sapphires, smiles of love ; and that children's hearts are the temples pure white pearls, smiles of joy; and sparkin which he loves to dwell. As I sat thus, ling rubies, smiles of hope ; while the angel the light grew dim, the room seemed filled of tears showed a cluster of delicate flowers, with mist, and there stood by the bed, sweet mignonette, the fragrant honeywatching as I did the little sleeper, two suckle, and the lowly violet-tears they angels. Their white wings were folded, were, which he had gathered, tears of sorand their heavenly faces shone with a row, of sympathy, and love. softened light. Soft notes of music struck Then the angels stooped, and the holy my ear, I thought, but they were only the light of their faces shone on the little echo of their heavenly words.

sleeper. The tear glistened still on the “ Brother," said one, " where hast thou cheek, and a smile rested on the lips. been, and what gift hast thou found for “ Ah!” said the angel of tears, “here is the Master to-day?”

the sweetest flower of all!" He breathed “Look," said the other, taking from a gently on the tear, and it disappeared, casket of pearl a bright gem that flashed in leaving no trace, while he added to his the light of his eyes. “Is it not beautiful?" cluster a drooping white lily. “'Tis the he said. “I found it in a room into which tear my Master loveth best," he said, " for only a few straggling rays of the sun could | 'tis a tear of sorrow for sin.” find their way from the close alley without. / Then the angel of smiles, placing in his A little child, as fair as this," he said, I casket a flashing diamond, said, “My

« PreviousContinue »