TOUCHING INCIDENTS and REMARKABLE ANSWERS TO PRAYER
COMPILED BY S. B. SHAW
For many years in our work among children, we have felt the need of something similar to this book.
The cuts are made especially for this work. Pictures in this book will suggest thoughts of God and heaven and awaken desires to live pure lives which will sooner or later result in the salvation of many of our young readers. God bless all our readers.
—S. B. Shaw
We are sure these stories will interest you children (and most older people, too). Especially good and true stories like these. In all that we have selected there are precious lessons of kindness and sympathy and obedience, gratitude, courage, and faithfulness: then there are two other very important lessons which I wish you to learn. The first is that children can be and should be true Christians, that is, have their sins forgiven for Jesus' sake and their hearts changed so that they love God and the right and hate everything that is wrong. The second lesson is that we must be Christians to be ready to live or ready to die. You will find in this book several accounts of happy deaths of Christian children, and you will find also much that tells of the good done by happy Christian children that lived.
—Mrs. S. B. Shaw.
When I was a little girl about nine years old, my mother gave me the book, "Touching Incidents and Remarkable Answers To Prayer," for children. This book was published by Brother and Sister Shaw.
I still have that book, which is about fifty-nine years old, and I have enjoyed the stories it contained many times. One time while teaching a Sunday School class I gave them each one of these books. They liked them very much, but there came a time when you could not buy these books, as other modern books took their place. But I feel that books like this one are still needed, and I am sure that if Brother and Sister Shaw were living they would like to see the stories sent out again to the children. We are adding a few more true stories.
So we are praying God's blessings upon this book and dedicating it to the memory of Brother and Sister Shaw who printed the first book in 1895.
Yours in Him,
Laura M. Conkle
(This dedication was written in 1955 for the first reprint edition.)
Always Tell the Truth
The Child Heroine of New Brunswick
Annie and Vanie's First Real Prayer
God Heals a Blind Girl
"Does This Railroad Lead to Heaven?"
The Young Martyr
A Child's Prayer Answered
The Converted Infidel
The Golden Rule Exemplified
Only One Vote
How A Little Girl Utilized the Telephone
Jesus Answers Ruth's Prayers
The Dying Girl's Prayer for Her Drunken Father
The Little Girl, Who Died to Save Her Father's Life
"Forgotten My Soul"
Prevailing Prayer of a Child
The Dying News Boy
Little Jennie's Sickness and Death
She Died for Him
"I Don't Love You Now, Mother"
Robbie Goodman's Prayer
Carletta and the Merchant
How Three Sunday School Children Met Their Fate
He Blesses God for the Faith of His Little Girl
A Wonderful Children's Meeting
"They are Not Strangers, Mama"
Jessie Finds Jesus
"I'll Never, Steal Again—If Father Kills Me for It"
Six Months' Record
A Child's Faith
Triumphant Death of a Little Child
The Child's Prayer
The Cat Came Back
How God Answered Donald's Prayer
ALWAYS TELL THE TRUTH
Truthfulness is a mark of Christianity. The heathen go astray, speaking lies as soon as they are born. In China a mother will give her boy a reward for the best falsehood that he can tell. Beginning so early, and regarding it such a fine thing to tell wrong stories, they become skillful in falsehoods. Some parents in Christian America are very careless in this matter. It made my heart ache one day when I saw a lady in a street car trying to keep her little boy awake by telling him that, if he went to sleep, that man who had all those teeth in his window (referring to a dentist's office they had passed) would come into the car and pull every tooth out of his mouth. The little fellow looked up dreadfully scared, and did his best to keep awake: but I thought to myself, when he finds out what a wrong story his mother has told, he will not believe her even when she tells the truth. He will be like a little fellow of whom I heard once, whose mother told him that if he vent to play in a bank from which the men had been drawing sand for a building, a bear would come out and eat him up. One day another boy tried to coax him to go there and play, but he said, no, he was afraid of the bears. The other boy said there were no bears. "But there be bears cause my mother said there be bears." While they were disputing, the minister happened to come along, and they asked him if there were bears in the sand-bank. He told them there were none. "But," said the first little boy, "My mother said there be bears there." "I am sorry she said so," said the minister, "but the truth is, there are none." The child began to cry, and started for home as fast as he could go. "O Mama!" he said, "Did you tell me a wrong story? Did you tell me there be bears down at the sand-bank when there aren't any?" She saw what a dreadful sin she had committed, and she told him that she was sorry; but she was afraid that if he played there he would get buried in the sand, and she told him that to keep him away. "But, Mama, it is such an awful thing to tell a wrong story." "I know it Tommy, I know it," she said, tears coming into her eyes; "and we will ask Jesus to forgive me and I will never do it again." They knelt down, and she was just about to pray when he said, "Wait, Mama, let me ask Him; maybe you won't tell Him truly." That pierced her heart like a dagger. She saw that her little boy had lost confidence in her truthfulness even when she prayed.
—Jennie F. Willing
THE CHILD HEROINE OF NEW BRUNSWICK
We have read a touching incident about three little children, who, last autumn late in the season, wandered alone in a dreary region of New Brunswick. The sun had already sunk in the west and the gloom of evening was spreading itself over the surrounding country.
The night came on fast; and feeling sure that they could not get home before day break, the eldest (a girl of only six years) quietly placed the two little ones in a sheltered nook on the sea-beach; and fearing the cold chilly night for the younger children, Mary stripped off most of her own clothes to keep them warm.
She then started off to gather dry sea-weed, and whatever else she could find, to cover them with. Having tenderly in this way wrought for some time to make them a nest, she at last fell down exhausted with the cold, and half bare to the cold inclement night.
That evening the loving father and tender mother sat up wondering at their children's long absence; the hours dragged slowly past with anxious watching and silent listening for the well-known little pattering feet. In vain the fond parents' eyes pierced through the darkness. At length they roused the neighbors with their anxious inquiries after their lost ones. All that night was passed in searching and in tears, till early in the morning, lying fast asleep and somewhat numbed with cold, were found little Johnny and Lizzie. But oh! a touching spectacle lay near them; their young savior was stiff, cold, and dead on the sea-weed which the poor little child-heroine had not strength to drag into the nook, where those she so deeply loved, and died to save, were sleeping. Thus this little New Brunswick girl died in her successful and self-sacrificing endeavor to save her brother and sister.
Does not this recall the love of the Lord Jesus Christ to you who read? Mary went to the full extent of human love in dying for her little brother and sister. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." Yet the Lord Jesus laid down his life for his enemies; for "scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die; but God commendeth His love toward us," etc. He makes no mistakes. Yet how many listen to this story with more emotion and interest than they do to the story of the cross, where the love of Jesus, the Son of God, is told in letters of blood!
—Dawn of the Morning
ANNIE AND VANIE'S FIRST REAL PRAYER
Two sisters, one about five years of age, the other one older, were accustomed to go each Saturday morning, some distance from home, to get chips and shavings from a cooper shop.
One morning with basket well filled, they were returning home when the elder one was taken suddenly sick with cramps or cholera. She was in great pain, and unable to proceed, much less to bear the basket home. She sat down on the basket, and the younger one held her from falling.
The street was a lonely one occupied by workshops, factories, etc. Every one was busy within; not a person was seen on the street.
The little girls were at a loss what to do. Too timid to go into any workshop, they sat a while, as silent and quiet as the distressing pains would allow.
Soon the elder girl said: "You know, Annie, that a good while ago Mother told us that if we ever got into trouble we should pray and, God would help us. Now you help me to get down upon my knees, and hold me up, and we will pray."
There on the side-walk did these two little children ask God to send some one to help them home.
The simple and brief prayer being ended, the sick girl was again helped up, and sat on the basket, waiting for the answers to their prayers.
Presently Annie saw, far down the street on the opposite side, a man come out from a factory, look around him up and down the street and go back into the factory.
"O sister, he has gone in again," said Annie. "Well," said Vanie, "perhaps he is not the one God is going to send. If he is he will come back again."
"There he comes again," said Annie. "He walks this way. He seems looking for something. He walks slow, and is without his hat. He puts his hand to his head, as if he did not know what to do. Oh, sister, he has gone in again; what shall we do?"
"That may not be the one whom God will send to help us," said Vanie. "If he is, he will come out again."
"Oh yes, there he is; this time with his hat on," said Annie. "He comes this way; he walks slowly, looking around on every side. He does not see us, perhaps the trees hide us. Now he sees us, and is coming quickly."
A brawny German in broken accent asks:
"O children, what is the matter?"
"O sir," said Annie, Sister here is so sick she cannot walk and we cannot get home."
"Where do you live my dear?"
"At the end of this street; you can see the house from here."
"Never mind," said the man, "I takes you home."
So the strong man gathered the sick child in his arms, and with her head pillowed upon his shoulder, carried her to the place pointed out by the younger girl. Annie ran around the house to tell her mother that there was a man at the front door wishing to see her. The astonished mother, with a mixture of surprise and joy, took charge of the precious burden and the child was laid upon a bed.
After thanking the man, she expected him to withdraw, but instead, he stood turning his hat in his hands as one who wishes to say something, but knows not how to begin.
The mother observing this, repeated her thanks and finally said: "Would you like me to pay you for bringing my child home?"
"Oh, no," said he with tears, "God pays me! God pays me! I would like to tell you something, but I speak English so poorly that I fear you will not understand."
The mother assured him that she was used to the German and could understand him very well.
"I am the proprietor of an ink factory," said he. "My men work by the piece. I have to keep separate accounts with each. I pay them every Saturday. At twelve o'clock they will be at my desk for their money. This week I have had many hindrances and was behind with my books. I was working hard at them with the sweat on my face, in my great anxiety to be ready in time. Suddenly I could not see the figures; the words in the book all ran together, and I had a plain impression on my mind that some one in the street wished to see me. I went out, looked up and down the street, but seeing no one, went back to my desk and wrote a little. Presently the darkness was greater than before, and the impression stronger than before, that someone in the street needed me.
"Again I went out, looked up and down the street, walked a little way, puzzled to know what I meant. Was my hard work and were the cares of business driving me out of my wits? Unable to solve the mystery I turned again into my shop and to my desk.
"This time my fingers refused to grasp the pen. I found myself unable to write a word, or make a figure; but the impression was stronger than ever on my mind, that someone needed my help. A voice seemed to say: 'Why don't you go out as I tell you? There is need of your help.' This time I took my hat on going out, resolved to stay till I found out whether I was losing my senses, or there was a duty for me to do. I walked some distance without seeing anyone, and was more and more puzzled, till I came opposite the children, and found that there was indeed need of my help. I cannot understand it, madam."
As the noble German was about leaving the house, the younger girl had the courage to say: "O mother, we prayed."
Thus the mystery was solved, and with tear-stained cheeks, a heaving breast, and a humble, grateful heart, the kind man went back to his accounts.
I have enjoyed many a happy hour in conversation with Annie in her own house since she has a home of her own. The last I knew of Annie and Vanie they were living in the same city, earnest Christian women. Their children were growing up around them, who, I hope, will have like confidence in mother, and faith in God.
Annie was the wife of James A. Clayton of San Jose, California. I have enjoyed their hospitality and esteem both very highly.
GOD HEALS A BLIND GIRL
One day we went to visit Ruth's aunt. While there, a very dear friend of Ruth's aunt came to visit her, bringing Annie, her little four-year-old girl who was the same age as Ruth. They had taken Annie to an eye doctor the day before and he had said that she was blind and would always be blind. The two children played together. Ruth would lead her by the hand and this touched her heart very much.
After we went home, she came to me crying, and said, "Mama, Annie is blind. Mama, Annie can't see anything. Mama, Annie can't even see her mama!"
I (Ruth's mother) answered, "No, Annie can't see anything."
"Can't Jesus make Annie see her mama?" Ruth asked.
"Yes, Jesus can do anything," Mother told her.
"I'll never quit praying till Jesus makes Annie see her Mama," she said. She knelt down and prayed, and for several days she would come in from her play ever so often and kneel down and pray and ask Jesus to make Annie see her mama.
In a few days we received word that Annie said "Oh, I see my mama!" From then on she could see.
When the girls were eight years old and Ruth had moved from that state, her aunt (who had also moved) received a letter from Annie's mother, saying, "Annie seems to be losing her eyesight again." She said also that she would like for her to send Annie a new dress while she could still see it, and if she knew where Ruth was to ask her to pray for Annie that Jesus would not let her go blind again. Ruth was at the home of her aunt when she received this letter. She prayed earnestly again and God answered her prayer and gave Annie her eyesight. It was even better than normal.
The last time I saw Annie she was a grown woman around forty, and she showed me how she could see to read a long way from the light, which we could not do. Surely God did a wonderful work in answer to a little girl's prayer.
Children, let's pray; and when we pray, believe that God hears, and receive the good things that he has to give us and others.
"DOES THIS RAILROAD LEAD TO HEAVEN?"
In traveling we often meet with persons of different nationalities and languages; we also meet with incidents of various character, some sorrowful, others, joyful and instructive. One of the latter character I witnessed recently while traveling upon the cars. The train was going west and the time was evening. At a station a little girl about eight years old came aboard, carrying a budget under her arm. She then commenced an eager scrutiny of faces, but all were strange to her. She appeared weary, and placing her budget for a pillow, she prepared to try and secure a little sleep. Soon the conductor came along collecting tickets and fare. Observing him she asked him if she might lie there. The gentlemanly conductor replied that she might, and then kindly asked for her ticket. She informed him that she had none, when the following conversation ensued. Said the conductor:
"Where are you going?"
"I am going to heaven," she answered.
"Who pays your fare?" he asked again.
She then said, "Mister, does this railroad lead to heaven, and does Jesus travel on it?"
"I think not," he answered, "Why did you think so?"
"Why sir, before my ma died she used to sing to me of a heavenly railroad, and you looked so nice and kind that I thought this was the road. My ma used to sing of Jesus on the heavenly railroad, and that He paid the fare for everybody, and that the train stopped at every station to take people on board; but my ma don't sing to me any more. Nobody sings to me now; and I thought I'd take the cars and go to ma. Mister, do you sing to your little girl about the railroad that goes to heaven? You have a little girl, haven't you?"
He replied, weeping, "No my little dear I have no little girl now. I had one once; but she died some time ago, and went to heaven."
"Did she go over this railroad, and are you going to see her now?" she asked.
By this time every person in the coach was upon their feet, and most of them were weeping. An attempt to describe what I witnessed is almost futile. Some said: "God bless the little girl." Hearing some person say that she was an angel, the little girl earnestly replied: "Yes, my ma used to say that I would be an angel some time."
Addressing herself once more to the conductor, she asked him, "Do you love Jesus? I do, and if you love Him, He will let you ride to heaven on His railroad. I am going there and I wish you would go with me. I know Jesus will let me into heaven when I get there and He will let you in, too, and everybody that will ride on His railroad—yes, all these people. Wouldn't you like to see heaven and Jesus, and your little girl?"
These words, so pathetically and innocently uttered, brought a great gush of tears from all eyes, but most profusely from those of the conductor. Some who were traveling on the heavenly railroad shouted aloud for joy.
She asked the conductor: "Mister, may I lie here until we get to heaven?"
"Yes, dear, yes," he answered.
"Will you wake me up then so that I may see my ma and your little girl and Jesus?" she asked, "for I do so much want to see them all."
The answer came in broken accents but in words very tenderly spoken "Yes, dear angel, yes. God bless you." "Amen!" was sobbed by more than a score of voices.
Turning her eyes again upon the conductor, she interrogated him again, "What shall I tell your little girl when I see her? Shall I tell her that I saw her pa on Jesus' railroad? Shall I?"
This brought a fresh flood of tears from all present, and the conductor knelt by her side, and, embracing her wept the reply he could not utter. At this juncture the brakeman called out: "H——." The conductor arose and requested him to attend to his (the conductor's) duty at the station, for he was engaged. That was a precious place. I thank God that I was a witness to this scene, but I was sorry that at this point I was obliged to leave the train.
We learn from this incident that out of the mouths of even babes God hath ordained strength, and that we ought to be willing to represent the cause of our blessed Jesus even in a railroad coach.
Brother Dosh:—I wish to relieve my heart by writing to you, and saying that that angel visit on the cars was a blessing to me, although I did not realize it in its fullness until some hours after. But blessed be the Redeemer, I know now that I am His, and He is mine. I no longer wonder why Christians are happy. Oh, my joy, my joy! The instrument of my salvation has gone to God. I had purposed adopting her in the place of my little daughter who is now in heaven. With this intention I took her to C—b, and on my return trip I took her back to S—n, where she left the cars. In consultation with my wife in regard to adopting her, she replied, "Yes, certainly, and immediately, too, for there is a Divine providence in this. Oh," said she, "I could never refuse to take under my charge the instrument of my husband's salvation."
I made inquiry for the child at S—n and learned that in three days after her return she died suddenly, without any apparent disease, and her happy soul had gone to dwell with her ma, my little girl and the angels in heaven. I was sorry to hear of her death but my sorrow is turned to joy when I think my angel-daughter received intelligence from earth concerning her pa, and that he is on the heavenly railway. Oh! sir, me thinks I see her near the Redeemer. I think I hear her sing! "I'm safe at home, and pa and ma are coming," and I find myself sending back the reply: "Yes, my darling we are coming and will soon be there." Oh, my dear sir, I am glad that I ever formed your acquaintance; may the blessing of the great God rest upon you. Please write to me, and be assured, I would be most happy to meet you again.
—J. M. Dosh, in Christian Expositor
THE YOUNG MARTYR
On the afternoon of August 9, 1853, a little Norwegian boy, named Kund Iverson, who lived in the city of Chicago, Illinois, was going to the pastures for his cow as light-hearted, I suppose, as boys usually are when going to the pasture on a summer afternoon. He came at length to a stream of water where there was a gang of idle, ill-looking, big boys; who, when they saw Kund, came up to him; and said they wanted him to go into Mr. Elston's garden and steal some apples.
"No," said Kund promptly; "I cannot steal, I am sure."
"Well, but you've got to," they cried.
They threatened to duck him, for these wicked big boys had often frightened little boys into robbing gardens for them. Little boys, they thought, were less likely to get found out.
The threat did not frighten Kund, so to make their words good, they seized him and dragged him into the river, and in spite of his cries and struggles, plunged him in. But the heroic boy even with the water gurgling and choking in his throat, never flinched, for he knew that God had said: "Thou shalt not steal," and God's law he had made his law; and no cursing, or threats, or cruelty of the big boys would make him give up. Provoked by his firmness, I suppose, they determined to see if they could conquer him. So they ducked him again but it still was, "No, no"; and they kept him under water. Was there no one near to hear his distressing cries, and rescue the poor child from their cruel grip? No; there was none to rescue him; and gradually the cries of the drowning child grew fainter and fainter, and his struggles less and less, and the boy was drowned. He could die, but would not steal.
A German boy who had stood near, much frightened by what he saw, ran home to tell the news. The agonized parents hastened to the spot, and all night they searched for the lifeless body of their lost darling. It was found the next morning; and who shall describe their feelings as they clasped the little form to their bosoms? Early piety had blossomed in his little life. He loved his Bible and his Savior. His seat was never vacant at Sunday school, and so intelligent, conscientious and steadfast had he been.
Perhaps the little boy used often to think how, when he grew up, he would like to be a preacher or a missionary, and do something for his Lord and Master. He did not know what post he might be called to occupy, even as a little child; and as he left home that afternoon and looked his last look in his mother's face, he thought he was only going after his cows; and other boys, and the neighbors, if they saw him, thought so, too. They did not then know that instead of going to the pasture he was going to preach one of the most powerful sermons of Bible law and Bible principles the country ever heard. They did not know that he was going to give an example of steadfastness of purpose and of unflinching integrity, such as should thrill the heart of this nation with wonder and admiration. He was then only a Norwegian boy, Kund Iverson, only thirteen years old, but his name was soon to be reckoned with martyrs and heroes. And as the story of his moral heroism winged its way from state to state, and city to city, and village to village, how many mothers cried with full hearts: "May his spirit rest upon my boy!" And strong men have wept over it and exclaimed: "God be praised for the lad!" And rich men put their hands into their pockets and said, "Let us build him a monument; let his name be perpetuated, for his memory is blessed." May there be a generation of Kund Iversons, strong in their integrity, true to their Bibles ready to die rather than do wrong.
A CHILD'S PRAYER ANSWERED
The following touching incident which drew tears from my eyes, was related to me a short time since, by a dear friend who had it from an eyewitness of the same. It occurred in the great city of New York, on one of the coldest days in February.
A little boy about ten years old was standing before a shoe-store in Broadway barefooted, peering through the window, and shivering with cold.
A lady riding up the street in a beautiful carriage, drawn by horses finely caparisoned, observed the little fellow in his forlorn condition and immediately ordered the driver to draw up and stop in front of the store. The lady richly dressed in silk, alighted from her carriage, went quickly to the boy, and said:
"My little fellow why are you looking so earnestly in that window?"
"I was asking God to give me a pair of shoes," was the reply. The lady took him by the hand and went into the store, and asked the proprietor if he would allow one of his clerks to go and buy half a dozen pairs of stockings for the boy. He readily assented. She then asked him if he could give her a basin of water and a towel, and he replied: "Certainly," and quickly brought them to her.
She took the little fellow to the back part of the store, and, removing her gloves knelt down, washed those little feet and dried them with the towel.
By this time the young man had returned with the stockings. Placing a pair upon his feet, she purchased and gave him a pair of shoes, and tying up the remaining pairs of stockings, gave them to him, and patting him on the head said: "I hope my little fellow, that you now feel more comfo rtable."
As she turned to go, the astonished lad caught her hand, and looking up in her face, with tears in his eyes answered her question with these words: "Are you God's wife?"
THE CONVERTED INFIDEL
Some two miles from the village of C. on a road that wound in among the hills stood a great white house. It was beautifully situated upon a gentle slope facing the south, and overlooking a most charming landscape. Away in the distance, a mountain lifted itself against the clear blue sky. At its base rolled a broad, deep river. Nestling down in a valley that intervened, reposed the charming little village with its neat cottages, white church, little red school house and one or two mansions that told of wealth. Here and there in the distance a pond was visible; while farm houses and humbler dwellings dotted the picture in every direction.
Such was the home of three promising children, who for the last three months had been constant members of the village Sunday School. The eldest was a girl of some fourteen years. John, the second, was a bright, amiable lad of eleven. The other the little rosy-cheeked, laughing Ella, with her golden curls and sunny smile had just gathered the roses of her ninth summer.
The father of these interesting children was the rich Captain Lowe. He was a man of mark, such, in many respects as are often found in rural districts. Strictly moral, intelligent and well read, kind-hearted and naturally benevolent, he attracted all classes of community to himself and wielded great influence in his town.
But, not withstanding all these excellences, Mr. Lowe was an infidel. He ridiculed in his good-natured way, the idea of prayer, looked upon conversion as a solemn farce, and believed the most of professing Christians were well-meaning but deluded people. He was well versed in all the subtle arguments of infidel writers, had studied the Bible quite carefully, and could argue against it in the most plausible manner. Courteous and kind to all, few could be offended at his frank avowal of infidel principles, or resent his keen, half-jovial sarcasms upon the peculiarities of some weak-minded, though sincere members of the church.
But Mr. Lowe saw and acknowledged the saving influence of the MORALITY of Christianity. He had especially, good sense enough to confess that the Sunday School was a noble moral enterprise. He was not blind to the fact, abundantly proved by all our criminal records, that few children trained under her influences ever grow up to vice and crime. Hence his permission for his children to attend the Sunday School.
Among the many children who knelt as penitents at the altar in the little vestry, one bright beautiful Lord's Day, were Sarah Lowe and her brother and sister. It was a moving sight to see that gentle girl, with a mature thoughtfulness far beyond her years, take that younger brother and sister by the hand, and kneel with them at the mercy-seat—a sight to heighten the joy of angels.
When the children had told their mother what they had done and expressed a determination to try to be Christians; she, too, was greatly moved. She had been early trained in the principles and belief of Christianity, and had never renounced her early faith. Naturally confiding, with a yielding, conciliatory spirit, she had never obtruded her sentiments upon the notice of her husband, nor openly opposed any of his peculiar views. But now, when her little ones gathered around her and spoke of their new love for the Savior, their joy and peace and hope, she wept. All the holy influences of her own childhood and youth seemed breathing upon her heart. She remembered the faithful sermons of the old pastor whose hands had baptized her. She remembered, too, the family altar, and the prayers which were offered morning and evening by her sainted father. She remembered the counsels of her good mother now in heaven. All these memories came crowding back upon her and under their softening influences she almost felt herself a child again.
When Mr. Lowe first became aware of the change in his children, he was sorely puzzled to know what to do. He had given his consent for them to attend the Sunday School, and should he now be offended because they had yielded to its influence? Ought he not rather to have expected this? And after all, would what they called religion make them any worse children? Though at first quite disturbed in his feelings, he finally concluded upon second thought to say nothing to them upon the subject, but to let things go on as usual.
But not so those happy young converts. They could not long hold their peace. They must tell their father also what they had experienced. Mr. Lowe heard them, but he made no attempt to ridicule their simple faith, as had been his usual course with others. They were HIS children, and none could boast of better. Still, he professed to see in their present state of mind nothing but youthful feeling, excited by the peculiar circumstances of the last few weeks. But when they began in their childish ardor to exhort him also to seek the Lord, he checked their simple earnestness with a peculiar sternness which said to them: "The act must not be repeated."
The next Sunday the father could not prevent a feeling of loneliness as he saw his household leave for church. The three children, with their mother and Joseph, the hired boy, to drive and take care of the horse; all packed into the old commodious carriage and started off. Never before had he such peculiar feelings as when he watched them slowly descending the hill.
To dissipate these emotions he took a dish of salt and started up the hill to a "mountain pasture" where his young cattle were enclosed for the season. It was a beautiful day in October, that queen month of the year. A soft melancholy breathed in the mild air of the mellow "Indian summer," and the varying hues of the surrounding forests, and the signs of decay seen upon every side, all combined to deepen the emotions which the circumstances of the morning had awakened.
His sadness increased; and as his path opened out into a bright, sunny spot far up on the steep hillside, he seated himself upon a mossy knoll and thought. Before him lay the beautiful valley guarded on either side by its lofty hills, and watered by its placid river. It was a lovely picture; and as his eye rested upon the village, nestling down among its now gorgeous shade-trees and scarlet shrubbery, he could not help thinking of that company who were then gathered in the little church, with its spire pointing heavenward nor of asking himself the question: "Why are they there?"
While thus engaged, his attention was attracted by the peculiar chirping of a ground sparrow near by. He turned, and but a few feet from him he saw a large black snake, with its head raised about a foot above its body, which lay coiled upon the ground. Its jaws were distended, its forked tongue played around its open mouth, flashing in the sunlight like a small lambent flame, while its eyes were intently fixed upon the bird. There was a clear, sparkling light about those eyes that was fearful to behold—they fairly flashed with their peculiar bending fascination. The poor sparrow was fluttering around a circle of some few feet in diameter, the circle becoming smaller at each gyration of the infatuated bird. She appeared conscious of her danger, yet unable to break the spell that bound her. Nearer and still nearer she fluttered her little wings to those open jaws; smaller and smaller grew the circle, till at last, with a quick convulsive cry; she fell into the mouth of the snake.
As Mr. Lowe watched the bird he became deeply interested in her fate. He started a number of times to destroy the reptile and thus liberate the sparrow from her danger, but an unconquerable curiosity to see the end restrained him. All day long the scene just described was before him. He could not forget it nor dismiss it from his mind. The last cry of that poor little bird sinking into the jaws of death was constantly ringing in his ears, and the sadness of the morning increased.
Returning to his house, he seated himself in his library and attempted to read. What could be the matter? Usually he could command his thoughts at will, but now he could think of nothing but the scene on the mountain, or the little company in the house of God. Slowly passed the hours, and many times did he find himself, in spite of his resolution not to do so, looking down the road for the head of his dapple gray to emerge from the valley. It seemed a long time before the rumbling of the wheels was at length heard upon the bridge which crossed the mountain stream, followed shortly by the old carry-all creeping slowly up the hill.
The return of the family somewhat changed the course of his thoughts. They did not say any thing to him about the good meeting they had enjoyed, and who had been converted since the last Lord's day; but they talked it all over among themselves, and how could he help hearing? He learned all about "how good farmer Haskell talked," and "how humble and devoted Esquire Wiseman appeared," and "how happy Benjamin and Samuel were"; though he seemed busy with his book and pretended to take no notice of what was said.
It was, indeed, true then that the old lawyer had become pious. He had heard the news before, but did not believe it. Now he had learned it as a fact. That strong-minded man who had been a skeptic all his days, had ridiculed and opposed religion, was now a subject of "the children's revival." What could it mean? Was there something in religion after all? Could it be that what these poor fanatics, as he had always called them, said about the future world was correct? Was there a heaven, and a hell, and a God of justice? Were his darling children right, and was he alone wrong? Such were the thoughts of the boasted infidel, as he sat there listening to the half-whispered conversation of his happy children.
Little Ella came and climbed to her long accustomed place upon her father's knee, and throwing her arms around his neck, laid her glowing cheek, half-hidden by the clustering curls, against his own. He knew by her appearance she had something to say but did not dare to say it. To remove this fear, he began to question her about Sunday School. He inquired after her teacher and who were her classmates, what she learned, etc. Gradually the shyness wore away, and the heart of the innocent praying child came gushing forth. She told him all that had been done that day—what her teacher had said of the prayer meeting at noon, and who spoke, and how many went forward for prayers. Then folding her arms more closely around his neck, and kissing him tenderly, she added:
"Oh, father, I do wish you had been there!"
"Why do you wish I had been there, Ella?"
"Oh, just to see how happy Nellie Winslow looked while her grandfather was telling us children how much he loved the Savior, and how sorry he was that he did not give his heart to his heavenly Father when he was young. Then he laid his hand on Nellie's head, who was sitting by his side, and said: 'I thank God that he ever gave me a little praying granddaughter to lead me to the Savior.' And, father, I never in all my life saw anyone look so happy as Nellie did."
Mr. Lowe made no reply—how could he? Could he not see where the heart of his darling Ella was? Could he not see that by what she had told him about Esquire Wiseman and his pet Nellie, she meant HE should understand how happy SHE should be if HER father was a Christian? Ella had not said so in words—THAT was a forbidden subject—but the language of her earnest loving look and manner was not to be mistaken; and the heart of the infidel father was deeply stirred. He kissed the rosy cheeks of the lovely girl, and taking his hat, left the house. He walked out into the field. He felt strangely. Before he was aware of the fact he found his infidelity leaving him, and the simple, artless religion of childhood winning its way to his heart. Try as hard as he might he could not help believing that his little Ella was a Christian. There was a reality about her simple faith and ardent love that was truly "the evidence of things not seen." What should he do? Should he yield to thin influence and be led by his children to Christ? What! Captain Lowe, the boasted infidel overcome by the weakness of excited childhood! The thought roused his PRIDE and with an exclamation of impatience at his folly, he suddenly wheeled about, and retracing his steps, with altered appearance, he re-entered his house.
His wife was alone with an open Bible before her. As he entered he saw her hastily wipe away a tear. In passing her he glanced upon the open page, and his eye caught the words "YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN!" They went like an arrow to his heart. "TRUTH," said a voice within, with such fearful distinctness that he started at the fancied sound; and the influence which he had just supposed banished from his heart returned with ten-fold power. The strong man trembled. Leaving the sitting-room, he ascended the stairs to his chamber. Passing Sarah's room, a voice attracted his attention. It was the voice of prayer. He heard his own name pronounced, and he paused to listen.
"Oh, Lord, save my dear father. Lead him to the Savior. Let him see that he MUST BE BORN AGAIN. Oh let not the SERPENT CHARM HIM! Save, oh, save my dear father!"
He could listen no longer, "Let not the serpent charm him!" Was he then like that helpless little bird, who fluttering around the head of the serpent, fell at last into the jaws of death? The thought shot a wild torrent of newly awakened terror through his throbbing heart.
Hastening to his chamber he threw himself into a chair. He started! The voice of prayer again fell upon his ear. He listened. Yes, it was the clear, sweet accents of his little pet. Ella was praying—WAS PRAYING FOR HIM!
"O Lord, bless my dear father. Make him a Christian, and may he and dear mother be prepared for heaven!"
Deeply moved, the father left the house and hastened to the barn. He would fain escape from those words of piercing power. They were like daggers in his heart. He entered the barn. Again he hears a voice. It comes from the hay-loft, in the rich silvery tones of his own noble boy. John had climbed up the ladder, and kneeling down upon the hay WAS PRAYING FOR HIS FATHER.
"O Lord, save my father!"
It was too much for the poor convicted man, and, rushing to the house he fell, sobbing upon his knees by the side of his wife and cried:
"O Mary, I am a poor, lost sinner! Our children are going to heaven, and I—I—AM GOING DOWN TO HELL! Oh, Wife, is there mercy for a wretch like me?"
Poor Mrs. Lowe was completely overcome. She wept for joy. That her husband would ever be her companion in the way of holiness, she had never dared to hope. Yes, there was mercy for even them. "Come unto me, and find rest." Christ had said it, and her heart told her it was true. Together they would go to this loving Savior, and their little ones should show them the way.
The children were called in. They came from their places of prayer, where they had lifted up their hearts to that God who had said "WHATSOEVER YE SHALL ASK THE FATHER IN MY NAME HE WILL GIVE IT YOU." They had asked the Spirit's influence upon the hearts of their parents, and it had been granted. They gathered around their weeping, broken-hearted father and penitent mother, and pointed them to the cross of Jesus. Long and earnestly they prayed, and wept and agonized. With undoubting trust in the promises, they waited at the mercy-seat, and their prayers were heard. Faith conquered. The Spirit came and touched these penitent hearts with the finger of love; and then sorrow was turned to joy—their night, dark and cheerless and gloomy, was changed to blessed day.
They arose from their knees, and Ella sprang to the arms of her father, and together they rejoiced in God.
—Brother H. P. in Christian Advocate
On board an English steamer a little ragged boy, aged nine years, was discovered on the fourth day of the voyage out from Liverpool to New York, and carried before the first mate, whose duty it was to deal with such cases. When questioned as to his object in being stowed away, and who had brought him on board, the boy, who had a beautiful sunny face, that looked like the very mirror of truth, replied that his step-father did it, because he could not afford to keep him nor pay his passage to Halifax where he had an aunt who was well off, and to whose house he was going.
The mate did not believe his story, in spite of the winning face and truthful accents of the boy. He had seen too much of stowaways to be easily deceived by them, he said; and it was his firm conviction that the boy had been brought on board and provided with food by the sailors.
The little fellow was very roughly handled in consequence. Day by day he was questioned and requestioned, but always with the same result. He did not know a sailor on board, and his father alone had secreted and given him the food which he ate. At last the mate, wearied by the boy's persistence in the same story, and perhaps a little anxious to inculpate the sailors, seized him one day by the collar, and dragging him to the fore, told him that unless he told the truth, in ten minutes from that time he would hang from the yard arm. He then made him sit under it on the deck. All around him were the passengers and sailors of the midway watch, and in front of him stood the inexorable mate, with chronometer in his hand, and the other officers of the ship by his side. It was a touching sight to see the pale, proud, scornful face of that noble boy; his head erect, his beautiful eyes bright through the tears that suffused them. When eight minutes had fled the mate told him that he had but two minutes to live, and advised him to speak the truth and save his life. But he replied with the utmost simplicity and sincerity, by asking the mate if he might pray. The mate said nothing, but nodded his head, and turned as pale as a ghost, and shook with trembling like a reed in the wind. And then all eyes turned on him, the brave and noble fellow— this poor boy whom society owned not, and whose own step-father could not care for—knelt with clasped hands and eyes upturned to heaven. There then occurred a scene as of Pentecost. Sobs broke from strong, hard hearts, as the mate sprang forward and clasped the boy to his bosom, and kissed him, and blessed him, and told him how sincerely he now believed his story and how glad he was that he had been brave enough to face death and be willing to sacrifice his life for the truth of his word.
—Illustrated Weekly Telegraph
THE GOLDEN RULE EXEMPLIFIED
Early one morning while it was yet dark, a poor man came to my door and informed me that he had an infant child very sick, which he was afraid would die. He desired me to go to his home, and, if possible help them. "For," said he, "I want to save its life, if possible." As he spoke thus his tears ran down his face. He then added:
"I am a poor man; but, Sir, I will pay you in work as much as you ask if you will go."
I said: "Yes, I will go with you as soon as I take a little refreshment."
"Oh, sir," said he, "I was going to try to get a bushel of corn, and get it ground to carry home, and I am afraid the child will die before I get there. I wish you would not wait for me"; and then he added: "We want to save the child's life if we can."
It being some miles to his house, I didn't arrive there until the sun was two hours high in the morning, when I found the mother holding her sick child, and six or seven little boys and girls around her, with clean hands and faces, looking as their mother did, lean and poor. On examining the sick child, I discovered that it was starving to death! I said to the mother: "You don't give milk enough for this child."
She said: "I suppose I don't."
"Well," said I, "you must feed it with milk."
She answered: "I would, sir, but I can't get any to feed it with."
I then said: "It will be well, then, for you to make a little water gruel, and feed your child."
To this she replied: "I was thinking I would if my husband brings home some Indian meal. He has gone to try to get some and I am in hopes he will make out."
She said this with a sad countenance. I asked her with surprise: "Why madam, have you not got anything to eat?"
She strove to suppress a tear, and answered sorrowfully: "No sir; we have had but little these some days."
I said: "What are your neighbors, that you should suffer among them?"
She said, "I suppose they are good people, but we are strangers in this place, and don't wish to trouble any of them, if we can get along without."
Wishing to give the child a little manna I asked for a spoon. The little girl went to the table drawer to get one, and her mother said to her: "Get the longest handled spoon." As she opened the drawer, I saw only two spoons, and both with handles broken off, but one handle was a little longer than the other. I thought to myself this is a very poor family, but I will do the best I can to relieve them. While I was preparing the food for the sick child, I heard the oldest boy (who was about fourteen), say: "You shall have the biggest piece now, because I had the biggest piece before." I turned around to see who it was that manifested such a principle of justice, and I saw four or five children sitting in the corner, where the oldest was dividing a roasted potato among them. And he said to one: "You shall have the biggest piece now," etc. But the other said: "Why, brother, you are the oldest, and you ought to have the biggest piece."
"No," said the other, "I had the biggest piece."
I turned to the mother, and said: "Madam, you have potatoes to eat, I suppose?"
She replied, "We have had, but this is the last one we have left; and the children have now roasted that for their breakfast."
On hearing this, I hastened home, and informed my wife that food was needed for the sick family. I then prescribed a gallon of milk, two loaves of bread, some butter, meat and potatoes, and sent my boy with these; and had the pleasure to hear in a few days that they were all well.
ONLY ONE VOTE
A local option contest was going on in W—, and Mrs. Kent was trying to influence her husband to vote "No License." Willie Kent, six years old, was, of course on his mamma's side. The night before election Mr. Kent went to see Willie safe in bed, and hushing his prattle, he said: "Now, Willie, say your prayers."
"Papa, I want to say my own words, tonight," he replied. "All right, my boy, that is the best kind of praying," answered the father.
Fair was the picture, as Willie, robed in white, knelt at his father's knee and prayed reverently: "O dear Jesus, do help papa to vote No Whiskey tomorrow. Amen."
Morning came, the village was alive with excitement. Women's hands, made hard by toil, were stretched to God for help in the decision.
The day grew late and yet Mr. Kent had not been to the polls. Willie's prayer sounded in his ears, and troubled conscience said: "Answer your boy's petition with your ballot."
At last he stood at the polling place with two tickets in his hand— one, license; the other, "No License." Sophistry, policy, avarice said: "Vote License." Conscience echoed: "No License." After a moment's hesitation, he threw from him the No License ticket and put the License in the box.
The next day it was found that the contest was so close that it needed but one vote to carry the town for prohibition. In the afternoon, Willie found a No License ticket, and, having heard only one vote was necessary, he started out to find the man who would cast this one ballot against wrong, and in his eagerness he flew along the streets.
The saloon men were having a jubilee, and the highways were filled with drunken rowdies. Little Willie rushed on through the unsafe crowd.
Hark! a random pistol-shot from a drunken quarrel, a pierced heart, and sweet Willie Kent had his death wound—
They carried him home to his mother. His father was summoned, and the first swift thought that came to him, as he stood over the lifeless boy, was: "Willie will never pray again that I vote No Whiskey."
With a strange still grief he took in his own the quiet little hand chilling into marble coldness, and there between the fingers, firmly clasped, was the No License ballot with which the brave little soul thought to change the verdict of yesterday.
Mr. Kent started back in shame and sorrow. That vote in his hand might have answered the prayer so lately on his lips now dumb, and perhaps averted the awful calamity. Fathers, may not the hands of the "thousands slain" make mute appeal to you? Your one vote is what God requires of you. You are responsible for it being in harmony with His law as if on it hung the great decision.
How a Little Girl Utilized the Telephone
A mother living not very far from the post-office in this city, tired with watching over a sick baby, came down stairs for a moment the other day for a few second's rest. She heard the voice of her little, four-year-old girl in the hall by herself, and, curious to know to whom she was talking, stopped for a moment at the half-opened door. She saw that the little thing had pulled a chair in front of the telephone, and stood upon it, with the piece against the side of her head. The earnestness of the child showed that she was in no playing mood, and this was the conversation the mother heard, while the tears stood thick in her eyes; the little one carrying on both sides, as if she were repeating the answers:
"Well, who's there?"
"Is God there?"
"Is Jesus there?"
"Tell Jesus I want to speak to him."
"Is that you, Jesus?"
"Yes. What is it?"
"Our baby is sick, and we want you to let it get well. Won't you, now?" No answer, and statement and question again repeated, and finally answered by a "Yes."
The little one put the ear-piece back on its hook, clambered down from the chair, and with a radiant face, went for her mother, who caught her in her arms.
The baby whose life had been despaired of, began to mend that day and got well.
—Elmira Free Press
Jesus Answers Ruth's Prayer
I went to sit up all night with a very sick neighbor. I took Ruth, my little five-year-old girl along. When I started to leave the next morning, the folks told me to leave Ruth there and they would send her home when she awakened. Being very busy, they forgot about the child for some time, and she got up and started home by herself. She started up the fence which she thought led home, but she took the wrong fence and it led out into a large pasture where there were deep canyons, bad cattle, wolves, and other dangers.
The neighbors missed Ruth and sent their son to find out if Ruth had got home all right. Her parents became alarmed when they were told that she had left two hours before. Her father started out to find his precious child, asking God to direct him to her. After going some distance, he heard someone talking. He stopped and listened. His heart was so glad, for he knew it was his child. She was kneeling by a post praying. And this is what he heard her say, "O sweet Jesus, please send my papa to find me! I'm not afraid! I know that you wouldn't let nothing hurt your little girl, but if my papa didn't find me, my mama would cry herself to death and my papa would almost cry his self to death. So please, sweet Jesus, send my papa to find me."
"Here I am, Ruth," Papa said, as he walked toward her.
"Oh, Papa, I knew Jesus would send you to find me!" Ruth said as she quickly jumped up and ran to her father, throwing her arms around him.
Mother was very happy when she saw father coming with their child, and thanked God for caring for her.
"Mother, Mrs. Oats is very sick!" Ruth said as she came in the door, looking very sad. "Mama, she is sick; she is awful sick. I'm sorry for her. What shall we do for her? Let's go into the other room and pray and ask Jesus what he wants me to do."
So Mother and her little girl went into the other room and knelt down. Ruth began to pray and ask Jesus what she should do for Mrs. Oats. And all of a sudden she jumped up and said, "Jesus told me what to do. He told me to go over and lay my hands on her and pray for her, and he would heal her." And without an answer, Ruth, who was just six years old ran out the door and didn't stop running till she was at Mrs. Oat's bedside.
"Turn over here, Mrs. Oats," Ruth said, as she laid her hand on Mrs. Oats' shoulder. "I came over here to pray for you and Jesus is going to heal you."
Mrs. Oats replied, "Well, pray for me, you blessed little angel; if the Lord would hear anyone's prayers, he would hear yours."
Ruth laid her hands on her and prayed for her and the Lord instantly healed her. She got up and dressed and came over and told Ruth's mother what Ruth had done.
THE DYING GIRL'S PRAYER FOR HER DRUNKEN FATHER
A child from a poor family had an intemperate father, who often used to abuse his wife and children. This child had been to the Sunday School— had become pious. The physician told the father that his little girl would die. No! he did not believe it. Yes, she will—she must die in a few hours. The father hastened to the bedside; would not part with her, he said.
"Yes, father, you must part with me; I am going to Jesus. Promise me two things. One is, that you won't abuse mother any more, and will drink no more whiskey."
He promised in a solemn, steady manner. The little girl's face lighted up with joy.
"The other thing is, promise me that you will PRAY," said the child.
"I cannot pray; don't know how," said the poor man.
"Father, kneel down, please. There, take the words after me. I will pray— I learned how to pray in Sunday School and God has taught me how to pray, too; my heart prays, and you must let your heart pray. Now say the words."
And she began in her simple language to pray to the Savior of sinners. After a little he began to repeat after her; as he went on his heart was interested, and he broke out into an earnest prayer for himself; bewailed his sins, confessed and promised to forsake them; entered into covenant with God; light broke out in his darkness; how long he prayed he did not know; he seemed to have forgotten his child in his prayer. When he came to himself he raised his head from the bed on which he had rested it; there lay the little speaker, a lovely smile was upon the face, her hand was in that of the father, but she had gone to be among the angels.
—Power of Prayer by Prime.
"Come, Mamie, darling," said Mrs. Peterson, "before you go into the land of dreams you will kneel at my knee and thank your heavenly Father for what he has given you today."
Mamie came slowly towards her mother, and said, "I've been very naughty, and I can't pray, Mama."
"If you've been naughty dear, that is the more reason that you need to pray."
"But, Mama, I don't think God wants little girls to come to Him when they are naughty."
"You are not naughty now, my dear, are you?"
"No, I am not naughty now."
"Well, then come at once."
"What shall I say to God about it, Mama?"
"You can tell God how very sorry you are."
"What difference will that make?"
"When we have told God that we are sorry, and when he has forgiven us, then we are as happy as if we had not done wrong; but we cannot undo the mischief."
"Then, Mama, I can never be quite as rich as if I had not had a naughty hour today."
"Never, my dear; but the thought of your loss may help you to be more careful in the future, and we will ask God to keep you from sinning against him again."
THE LITTLE GIRL WHO DIED TO SAVE HER FATHER'S LIFE
My dear little friend: I want to tell you about a little girl in Switzerland who died to save her father's life. I hope it will lead you to think of Him who died a dreadful death on the cross, that we might be saved from sin and sorrow here, and at last dwell with Him in bright mansions in the skies.
This little girl lived near a deep ravine at the foot of one of the mountains in Switzerland. A huge rock had fallen down the mountain side, and lodged in the ravine, and thus made a natural bridge, so that those who wished to pass from one side of the mountain to the other, could cross the bridge.
The mother of the child was an earnest Christian, and often told her daughter about the blessed Savior, who died in the place of sinners, who deserved to be punished that they might be forgiven and saved in heaven. And she told her also that unless she came to Jesus, and trusted in Him, she would be lost forever. At first the little girl did not care very much about what her mother said, but at last the mother's prayer was answered. Her little one felt herself to be a lost sinner, and that Christ alone could save her. God's spirit taught her that Jesus had paid the debt, and that He stood with open arms ready to receive her, and wash her sins away. Then she felt sure that heaven would be her home forever. Her father was not a Christian. He never gathered his loved ones around the family altar.
One day when about to cross the deep ravine upon the rock bridge, the mother saw that it was just ready to fall. The frost had loosened it. She told her little child that if she ever crossed it again it would fall, and she would be dashed in pieces.
The next day the father told his child that he was going over to the other side across the bridge. She told him it was not safe, but he only laughed at her. He said he had been across it before she was born, and that he was not afraid. When the dear little thing saw that he was determined to go she asked if she could go with him.
While they were walking along together, she looked up into her father's face, and said: "Father, if I should die, will you promise to love Jesus and meet me in heaven?"
"Pshaw!" he said, "what put such a wild thought into your head? You are not going to die, I hope. You are only a wee thing and will live many years."
"Yes, but if I should die, will you promise to love Jesus just as I do, and meet me in heaven?"
"But you are not going to die. Don't speak of it," he said.
"But if I should die, do promise, Father, you will be a good Christian and come up and live with Jesus and me in heaven."
"Yes, yes!" he said at last.
When they came near the crossing-place, she said: "Father, please stand here a minute." She loved him dearly and was willing to run the risk of dying for him. Strange as it may seem she walked quickly and jumped upon the loose rock, and down it went with the girl. She was crushed to death. The trembling parent crept to the edge, and eyes dimmed with tears, gazed wildly upon the wreck. Then he thought of all his little child had told him about how Jesus had died to save us. He thought he had never loved her so much. But he began to see that he had far more reason to love Jesus who had suffered much more to save him from the "bottomless pit." And then he thought of the promise he so carefully made to his daughter. What could he do but kneel down and cry to God to have mercy upon him?
If they meet in heaven, do you think that daughter will be sorry that she sacrificed her life for her father's sake? Can you not imagine that tears often filled the eyes of that father when he spoke of his sainted little one?
You would say that he would have been a very wicked man if he had not loved the memory of his child. But is it not a thousand times more wicked for you not to love Him who has loved you so much more than that little one loved her father?
How can you help loving such a precious Savior? Will you not ask Him to forgive you and help you to live for Him the rest of your life?
—The Way of Faith
"FORGOTTEN MY SOUL"
"Mother, you have forgotten my soul," so said a little girl, three years old as her kind and careful mother was about to lay her in bed. She had just risen from repeating the Lord's prayer. "But, Mother," she said, "you have forgotten my soul."
"What do you mean, Anna?"
'Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep! If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.'
"We have not said that."
The child meant nothing more, yet her words were startling. And, oh! from how many rosy lips might they come with mournful significance!
You, fond mother, so busy hour after hour preparing and adorning garments for their pretty little form, have you forgotten the soul? Do you commend it earnestly to the care of its God and Savior? Are you leading it to commit itself, in faith and love to his keeping?—Selected.
PREVAILING PRAYER OF A CHILD
At the close of a prayer-meeting, the pastor observed a little girl about twelve years of age remaining upon her knees, when most of the congregation had retired. Thinking the child had fallen asleep, he touched her and told her it was time to return home. To his surprise he found that she was engaged in prayer, and he said: "All things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." She looked up at the pastor earnestly, and inquired: "Is that so? Does God say that?"
He took up a Bible and read the passage aloud. She immediately began praying: "Lord, send my father here; Lord, send my father to the chapel." Thus she continued for about half an hour, attracting by her earnest cry the attentions of persons who had lingered about the door. At last a man rushed into the chapel, ran up the aisle and sank upon his knees by the side of his child, exclaiming: "What do you want of me?" She threw her arms about his neck, and began to pray: "Oh, Lord, convert my father!" Soon the man's heart was melted and he began to pray for himself. The child's father was three miles from the chapel when she began praying for him. He was packing goods in a wagon and felt impressed with an irresistible impulse to return home. Driving rapidly to his house, he left the goods in his wagon and hastened to the chapel, where he found his daughter crying mightily to God in his behalf; and he was led there to the Savior.
THE DYING NEWS BOY
In a dark alley in the great city of New York, a small, ragged boy might be seen. He appeared to be about twelve years old, and had a careworn expression on his countenance. The cold air seemed to have no pity as it pierced through his ragged clothes, and made the flesh beneath blue and almost frozen.
This poor boy had once a happy home. His parents died a year before, and left him without money or friends. He was compelled to face the cold, cruel world with but a few cents in his pocket. He tried to earn his living by selling newspapers and other such things. This day everything seemed to go against him, and in despair he threw himself down in the dark alley, with his papers by his side. A few boys gathered around the poor lad, and asked in a kind way (for a street Arab): "Say, Johnny, why don't you go to the lodges?" (The lodge was a place where almost all the boys stayed at night, costing but a few cents.) But the poor little lad could only murmur that he could not stir, and called the boys about him, saying: "I am dying now, because I feel so queer: and I can hardly see you. Gather around me closer boys. I cannot talk so loud. I can kinder see the angels holding out their hands for me to come to that beautiful place called heaven. Goodbye, boys. I am to meet father and mother." And, with these last words on his lips, the poor lad died.
Next morning the passers-by saw a sight that would soften the most hardened heart. There, lying on the cold stone, with his head against the hard wall, and his eyes staring upward, was the poor little frozen newsboy. He was taken to the chapel near by, and was interred by kind hands. And those who performed this act will never forget the poor forsaken lad.
"I wonder if there can be a pair of shoes in it!"
Little Tim sat on the ground close beside a very ugly dark-colored stone jug. He eyed it sharply, but finding it quite impossible to see through its sides, pulled out the cork and peered anxiously in. "Can't see nothin', but it's so dark in there I couldn't see if there was anything. I've a great mind to break the hateful old thing."
He sat for awhile thinking how badly he wanted a pair of shoes to wear to the Sunday School picnic. His mother had promised to wash and mend his clothes, so that he might go looking very neat indeed; but the old shoes were far past all mending and how could he go barefoot?
Then he began counting the chances of his father being very angry when he should find his jug broken. He did not like the idea of getting a whipping for it, as was very likely, but how could he resist the temptation of making sure about those shoes? The more he thought of them, the more he couldn't. He sprang up and hunted around until he found a good size brick-bat, which he flung with such vigorous hand and correct aim that the next moment the old jug lay in pieces before his eyes.
How eagerly he bent over them in the hope of finding not only what he was so longing for but, perhaps, other treasure! But his poor little heart sank as he turned over the fragments with trembling fingers. Nothing could be found among the broken bits, wet on the inside with a bad-smelling liquid.
Tim sat down again and sobbed as he had never sobbed before; so hard that he did not hear a step beside him until a voice said:
"Well, what's all this?"
He sprang up in great alarm. It was his father, who always slept late in the morning, and was very seldom awake so early as this.
"Who broke my jug?" he asked. "I did," said Tim, catching his breath half in terror and half between his sobs.
"Why did you?" Tim looked up. The voice did not sound quite so terrible as he had expected. The truth was his father had been touched at sight of the forlorn figure, so very small and so sorrowful, which had bent over the broken jug.
"Why," he said, "I was looking for a pair of new shoes. I want a pair of shoes awful bad to wear at the picnic. All the other chaps wear shoes."
"How came you to think you'd find shoes in a jug?"
"Why Mama said so. I asked her for some new shoes and she said they had gone into the black jug, and that lots of other things had gone into it, too—coats and hats, and bread and meat and things—and I thought if I broke it I'd find them all, and there ain't a thing in it—and Mama never said what wasn't so before—and I thought 'twould be so—sure."
And Tim, hardly able to sob out the words, feeling how keenly his trust in mother's word had added to his great disappointment, sat down again, and cried harder than ever.
His father seated himself on a box in the disorderly yard and remained quiet for so long a time that Tim at last looked timidly up.
"I am real sorry I broke your jug, Father. I'll never do it again."
"No, I guess you won't," he said, laying a hand on the rough little head as he went away leaving Tim overcome with astonishment that his father had not been angry with him.
Two days after, on the very evening before the picnic, he handed Tim a parcel, telling him to open it.
"New shoes! new shoes!" he shouted. "Oh, Father, did you get a new jug and were they in it?"
"No, my boy, there isn't going to be a new jug. Your mother was right all the time—the things all went into the jug; but you see getting them out is no easy matter so I am going to keep them out after this."
—New York Observer
LITTLE JENNIE'S SICKNESS AND DEATH
Little Jennie was eight years old, March 30, 1886. The April following she was taken very sick, and from that time until June 4, she seemed a little suffering angel. Then Jesus, who had so blessedly sustained her during all her sufferings took her to Himself. She would say, when able to talk: "Mama, I do not care what I suffer, God knows best." When she was very low, we would often see her dear lips moving, and listening, hear her praying. She would finish her prayer and after saying "Amen" having noticed that we were listening to her, would look up into our faces to see if we wanted anything.
This patience and devotion characterized her whole life. Often, when she was at play with her sister, who was the older by five years, when some little trouble would arise, she would take her sister by the hand and say: "Kitty, let's tell Jesus." Then bowing her little head, she would pour out her whole heart in prayer to God, with the fervency that is shown by a true Christian.
About three weeks after she was taken ill her little body was paralyzed and drawn all out of shape it seemed. Then in a few days her little limbs were so we could almost straighten them. What suffering she endured all that time, no one knows but those who were with her.
May 25th, which was Tuesday, while suffering terribly, she said: "Mama, play and sing." I took my guitar, and without stopping to think what to sing, began that beautiful song in the Gospel Hymns: "Nearer my home, today, than I have been before." I could praise God just then, for I was filled with His Spirit. She lay there looking at me with her little blue eyes and trying in her weak voice to help me. At last she seemed soothed by the music. But we knew that Jesus in his infinite love, had quieted her for a time, because we were willing to submit to His will. We had said all the time: "Lord, not my will, but thine."
She rested quite well until about three o'clock in the afternoon; then suddenly she spoke and her voice sounded quite strong. She said: "Oh, Mama see those people, how funny they look! They look like poles." She was lying so that she could look out of the window and as she spoke her eyes seemed to rest on some object there. Then she spoke louder; "OH, MAMMA, COME AND SEE THE LITTLE CHILDREN! I never saw so many in my life."
I sat down on the front of the bed and said: "Jennie, is there any there that you know?"
She looked them over so earnestly, then said: "No, not one." I asked her how they looked. She said: "Mama, every one has a gold crown on its head, and they are all dressed in white." I thought that Jesus was coming for her then. After telling me that there were none that she knew she sank back on the pillows exhausted. But in a few moments she raised up again and said: "Oh, Mama, hear that music! Did you ever hear such grand music? Now, do not shut the windows tonight, will you?" I told her that I would not.
The next morning she called Kittie into the room and said: "Kittie, I want to tell you what I saw last night." She then proceeded to tell her the same as she had told me the evening before. Then she said: "Now, Kittie, you will forgive me for ever being cross to you won't you?"
Kittie answered, "Little darling, you have never been cross to me. Will you forgive me, sister, for being cross to you?"
"Darling sister," she said, "that is all right."
Thursday night she was paralyzed in her left side so that she had no use of it. Friday all day she lay unconscious, and that night the same. Saturday, about ten o'clock, she commenced to whisper. We could hear her say: "Papa, Mama." We tried to understand her, but at first could not. She kept whispering plainer, and finally we heard her say: "Take—me— upstairs. I—want—to—lie—on—my—own—bed—once—more." But of course we could not move her. Suddenly she said aloud: "I am going to die! kiss me quick, Mama."
I bent down and kissed her, and she looked so wretched. I said: "Jennie, you will not have to go alone; Jesus will take you."
She answered: "I know it. I wish that He would come this minute. Kiss me again, Mama."
I did so; then she wished us to sing. Again, without giving one thought, I commenced singing the same words that I sang the Tuesday before. She raised her right hand arm's length, and began to wave it and bow her head. Oh! she was so happy. Then she said: "Play." They brought the guitar, and she continued to wave her little hand, while I played and sang the whole piece. One of her aunts, standing near the bed took hold of her hand to stop it, but it moved just the same; and I said: "Ollie, let go of her hand, that is the Lord's doings." After I finished, she kissed her father, mother, and sister and bade them goodbye; then called four other very dear friends and told them goodbye after kissing them. She then called for a book and wanted the music teacher, who was present, to play and sing a piece which she dearly loved.
Before she was sick she would have little prayer meetings, and her sweet little face would shine with happiness. She would say: "Oh, Mama, how the Lord has blessed me."
While the dear teacher was playing and singing her favorite she was waving her little hand. We sang three or four other pieces around her bed. We all thought that Jesus would take her then. Oh, what joy! it was heaven below. Jesus was there and the room was filled with glory on account of of His presence. Two of her aunts said that it seemed as though they were in heaven.
She never spoke after that, but would try to make us understand by motioning when she wanted anything. Sometimes it would take us a long time, but she would be so patient. She was ready and waiting. She had peace that the world cannot give, and, praise God! that the world cannot take away. The dear little one lived until the next Tuesday afternoon, and went to Jesus about three o'clock. That was the time she saw the vision the Tuesday before. Tuesday morning before daylight she tried to tell me something. I said "Sing?" She looked so happy and bowed her head. I began singing: "I am Jesus' little lamb." She bowed her head again. In the forenoon she kept looking at her aunts, Ollie and Belle, and pointing up. Oh! it meant so much. It seemed to me that she was saying, that it meant: "Meet me in heaven." Finally she motioned for me to raise the window curtain. I did so and she looked out the window so eagerly, as though she was expecting to see the little children. Then the little blue eyes closed to open no more in this world, but in heaven.
—Mrs. L. Jones.
SHE DIED FOR HIM
A poor emigrant had gone to Australia to "make his fortune," leaving a wife and little son in England. When he had made some money, he wrote home to his wife: "Come out to me here; I send the money for your passage; I want to see you and my boy." The wife took ship as soon as she could, and started for her new home. One night, as they were all asleep there sounded the dreaded cry of "Fire, fire!" Everyone rushed on deck and the boats were soon filled. The last one was just pushing off then a cry of "there are two more on deck," arose. They were the mother and her son. Alas! "Only room for one," the sailors shouted. Which was to go? The mother thought of her far away home, her husband looking out lovingly and longingly for his wife. Then she glanced at the boy, clinging frightened to her skirts. She could not let him die. There was no time to lose. Quick! quick! The flames were getting around. Snatching the child, she held him to her a moment. "Willie, tell Father I died for you!" Then the boy as lowered into the sailor's willing arms. She died for him.
"I DON'T LOVE YOU NOW, MOTHER"
A great many years ago, I knew a lady who had been sick for two years, as you have seen many a one, all the while slowly dying with consumption. She had one child—a little boy named Henry.
One afternoon I was sitting by her side and it seemed as if she would cough her life away. Her little boy stood by the post of the bed, his blue eyes filled with tears to see her suffer so. By and by the terrible cough ceased. Henry came and put his arms around his mother's neck, nestled his head in his mother's bosom, and said, "Mother, I do love you; I wish you wasn't sick."
An hour later, the same loving, blue-eyed boy came in all aglow, stamping the snow off his feet.
"Oh, Mother, may I go skating? it is so nice—Ed and Charlie are going."
"Henry," feebly said the mother, "the ice is not hard enough yet."
"But, Mother," very pettishly said the boy, "you are sick all the time— how do you know?"
"My child, you must obey me," gently said his mother.
"It is too bad," angrily sobbed the boy, who an hour ago had so loved his mother.
"I would not like to have my little boy go," said the mother, looking sadly at the little boy's face, all covered with frowns; "you said you loved me—be good."
"No, I don't love you now, Mother," said the boy, going out and slamming the door.
Again that dreadful coughing came upon her, and we thought no more of the boy. After the coughing had commenced, I noticed tears falling thick upon her pillow, but she sank from exhaustion into a light sleep.
In a little while muffled steps of men's feet were heard coming into the house, as though carrying something; and they were carrying the almost lifeless body of Henry.
Angrily had he left his mother and gone to skate—disobeying her; and then broken through the ice, sunk under the water, and now saved by a great effort, was brought home barely alive to his sick mother.
I closed the doors feeling more danger for her life than the child's and coming softly in, drew back the curtains from the bed. She spoke, "I heard them—it is Henry; oh, I knew he went—is he dead?" But she never seemed to hear the answer I gave her. She commenced coughing—she died in agony—strangled to death. The poor mother! The boy's disobedience killed her.
After a couple of hours I sought the boy's room.
"Oh, I wish I had not told mother I did not love her. Tomorrow I will tell her I do," said the child sobbing painfully. My heart ached; tomorrow I knew we must tell him she was dead. We did not till the child came fully into the room, crying, "Mother, I do love you."
Oh! may I never see agony like that child's, as the lips he kissed gave back no kiss, as the hands he took fell lifeless from his hand, instead of shaking his hand as it always had, and the boy knew she was dead.
"Mother, I do love you now," all the day he sobbed and cried, "O Mother, Mother, forgive me." Then he would not leave his mother. "Speak to me, Mother!" but she could never speak again, and he—the last words she had ever heard him say, were, "Mother, I don't love you now."
That boy's whole life was changed; sober and sad he was ever after. He is now a gray haired old man, with one sorrow over his one act of disobedience, one wrong word embittering all his life—with those words ever ringing in his ears, "Mother, I don't love you now."
Will the little ones who read this remember, if they disobey their mother, if they are cross and naughty, they say every single time they do so, to a tender mother's heart, by their actions if not in the words of Henry, the very same thing, "I don't love you now, Mother."
She was a clear-eyed, fresh-cheeked little maiden, living on the banks of the great Mississippi, the oldest of four children, and mother's "little woman" always. They called her so because of her quiet, matronly care of the younger Mayfields—that was the father's name. Her own name was the beautiful one of Elizabeth, but they shortened it to Bess.
She was thirteen when one day Mr. Mayfield and his wife were called to the nearest town, six miles away. "Be mother's little woman, dear," said Mrs. Mayfield as she kissed the rosy face. Her husband added: "I leave the children in your care, Bess; be a little mother to them."
Bess waved her old sun-bonnet vigorously, and held up the baby Rose, that she might watch them to the last. Old Daddy Jim and Mammy had been detailed by Mr. Mayfield to keep an unsuspected watch on the little nestlings, and were to sleep at the house. Thus two days went by, when Daddy Jim and Mammy begged to be allowed to go to the quarters where the Negroes lived, to see their daughter, "Jennie, who was pow'ful bad wid the toothache." They declared they would be back by evening, so Bess was willing. She put the little girls to bed and persuaded Rob to go; then seated herself by the table with her mother's work-basket, in quaint imitation of Mrs. Mayfield's industry in the evening time. But what was this? Her feet touched something cold! She bent down and felt around with her hand. A pool of water was spreading over the floor. She knew what it was; the Mississippi had broken through the levee. What should she do? Mammy's stories of how homes had been washed away and broken in pieces were in her mind. "Oh, if I had a boat!" she exclaimed. "But there isn't anything of the sort on the place." She ran wildly out to look for Mammy; and stumbled over something sitting near the edge of the porch. A sudden inspiration took her. Here was her boat! a very large, old-fashioned, oblong tub. The water was now several inches deep on the porch and she contrived to half-float, half-row the tub into the room.
Without frightening the children she got them dressed in the warmest clothes they had. She lined the oblong tub with a blanket, and made ready bread and cold meat left from supper. With Rob's assistance she dragged the tub upstairs. There was a single large window in the room, and they set the tub directly by it, so that when the water rose the tub would float out. There was no way for the children to reach the roof, which was a very steep, inclined one. It did not seem long before the water had very nearly risen to the top of the stairs leading from below.
Bess flung the window open, and made Rob get into their novel boat; then she lifted in Kate, and finally baby Rose, who began to cry, was given into Rob's arms, and now the little mother, taking the basket of food, made ready to enter, too; but, lo! there was no room for her with safety to the rest. Bess paused a moment, drew a long breath, and kissed the children quietly. She explained to Rob that he must guard the basket, and that they must sit still. "Goodbye, dears. Say a prayer for sister, Rob. If you ever see father and mother, tell them I took care of you." Then the water seized the insecure vessel, and out into the dark night it floated.
The next day Mr. Mayfield, who, with his neighbors, scoured the broad lake of eddying water that represented the Mississippi, discovered the tub lodged in the branches of a sycamore with the children weeping and chilled, but safe.
And Bess? Ah, where was Bess, the "little mother," who in that brief moment resigned herself to death? They found her later, floating on the water with her brave childish face turned to the sky; and as strong arms lifted her into the boat, the tears from every eye paid worthy tribute to the "little mother."
—Detroit Free Press
ROBBIE GOODMAN'S PRAYER
"What can be the matter with Walter," thought Mama Ellis as she sat sewing in her pleasant sitting-room. "He came in so very quietly, closed the door gently and I think I even heard him go to the closet to hang up his books. Oh! dear. I hope he isn't going to have another attack of 'Grippe,'" and Mrs. Ellis shivered as she glanced out at the snow-covered landscape. As her eyes turned once more to the warm, luxurious room in which she was seated, the portieres were pushed aside and a little boy of ten years of age entered. Little Walter was all that remained of four beautiful children, who, only a year ago, romped gaily through the large halls. That dread disease, diphtheria, had stolen the older brother and laughing little sisters in one short week's time, so that now, as the sad anniversary came near to hand, Mrs. Ellis' heart ached for her lost birdlings and yearned more jealously than ever over her remaining little one. Today his usually merry face was very grave and he looked very thoughtful as he gave his mother her kiss and allowed himself to be drawn upon her lap.
"What ails mother's Pet? Is he sick?" she asked anxiously.
"No, Mother dear, I'm not sick, but I feel so sad at heart. You see," he continued in answer to her questioning look, "Robbie Goodman and I always walk together going and coming from school, and I have noticed that he has never worn any overcoat this winter, but you know its been unusually warm and I thought perhaps his mother did not make him wrap up like you did me, but this morning it was so cold and he was just shivering, but he never had on any overcoat—just his mittens and muffler and cap were his wraps. Of course I noticed it, for nearly everyone else was all bundled up; but I didn't say anything as I did not want to be impolite. After awhile he said, 'My, I am so cold,' and I said: 'Where's your overcoat?' Then he told me it was too small and his papa can't buy him any this winter so he is afraid he will have to stop school. His mama says she would cut his papa's up for him, only then he would not have any; and of course he must have one to wear when he goes to the chapel and to see sick people. Even that one is thin and patched. He says he and his little sisters have been praying so hard for an overcoat for him and shoes for them, but they did not come at Christmas like they thought they would, and they are real discouraged.