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dence-in her very heart she believed this, that if God takes care of the birds, He will not forget to take care of His bairns.
Many times since I first heard this old Scotch saying, have these words come back pleasantly to my recollection. I think of them as old Janet's cure for carefulness-that spirit of unbelieving, foreboding carefulness, to which God's children. sometimes give place, to their own hurt, and to the dishonour of their heavenly Father. It would be a good thing if many of us, who have never felt the pinch of want, or the dread of poverty, could keep well in mind the saying of the old Scotchwoman: "If God takes care of the birds, He will not forget to take care of His bairns." It is but a brief and quaint rendering of the words of the Master, in which He teaches us by pointing to the birds of the air and the flowers of the field. How unreasonable and profitless a thing this unbelieving and carking care is! How much better it is to leave the future with our Father than worry about it ourselves! Let us listen, then, to what Christ said, in reference to this, to His disciples, and through them to us: "Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they' sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment ? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (for after all these things do the Gentiles seek); for your heavenly
Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof."
This then is the true cure for that spirit of unreasonable and unbelieving carefulness in which we are all too ready to indulge. Let us try and realize the great and blessed truth that our "heavenly Father knoweth that we have need of all these things;" and that—to put it as old Janet did—if He takes care of the birds, He will not forget to take care of His bairns. "The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger; but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing."
It is quite possible that some one may read this little narrative, and say within himself, "Happy indeed are they who have a place within the limits of this family, which God undertakes to watch over and provide for !—but how shall such a poor sinner as I secure admission ?" The answer is a simple one. If as a rebellious and wandering, but now penitent, prodigal you desire to return, the way of return is open; and on your homeward way the Father, when He sees you yet a great way off, will come forth to meet and welcome you.
Do you want to know what this ever open way of return is? This, too, we are told. "I," says Christ, am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by me." And elsewhere we are told that, "As many as received Him to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name." Only, then, secure admission to the family of the faithful through faith in Christ, who stands ever ready to introduce you to the enjoyment of all its privileges, and you, too, as one of "the children," may take up the saying of old Janet as the cure of your carefulness: If God takes care of the birds, He will not forget to take care of His bairns."
1 Matt. vi. 25-34.
"O Lord, how happy should we be,
And feel at heart that One above,
How far from this our daily life,
Oh! could we but relinquish all
Oh for the faith to cast our load
Lord, make these faithless hearts of ours
Father! we trust, and we lie still,
My Father's Parable.
AVE you not brought a pattern, miss ?"
"No," I answered; "but I am sure I shall know the colour, if you will bring me several shades."
The shopman looked politely incredulous, as he went in search of what I wanted. It was a fringe to edge a crimson mat. I had come a long way to a shop noted for such trimmings, and found on arriving that I had lost a piece of the wool with which the mat was worked, and which I had intended matching; but I had used the colour in question so long, that I had no doubt of recognising it at once.
The man opened on the counter a box containing different
shades of red. Some I immediately perceived would not do ; they were too light or too dark, too pink or too brown. But there remained so many which, each in turn, as I examined them looked right, that I was obliged, in despair, to take one on the chance, the shopkeeper promising to change it if necessary. When, on returning home, I compared the fringe with my work, the contrast in shade was so great, that I wondered how I could have imagined them similar. I at once started again for the trimming-shop, taking care this time to secure my pattern. The winter afternoon light was fading, and I found, when I entered the shop, it was impossible to discern the various shades of colour. I asked the shopman to light the gas.
Certainly, miss," he answered; " but I advise you not to trust to gaslight for matching your pattern: ladies often find they've quite mistaken the colour by doing so."
There was no help for it but to give up my fringe that day. In the evening I told my father the story of my two fruitless expeditions.
"It's so tiresome," I concluded, "because of to-day being Saturday. I particularly wanted to finish my work this
Yes, my dear, it is disappointing," he answered; "but I think there's a spiritual lesson for you and me in all this, quite worth the day's disappointment can you think what I mean ?"
I could not; and my father said he would rather not tell me till I had considered the matter, and tried to find out the lesson for myself.
The next day my father preached on the example of Christ as the guide for Christians, and spoke of the duty and necessity of all true believers being conformed to Him. He said that our Saviour had not only died for our salvation but had left us an example that we should tread in His steps. A clue to his words concerning my experiences of the previous day presented itself to my mind. "He must have meant something about following the example of Christ,” I said to myself;
and when I asked him afterwards if my conjecture was correct, he replied:
"Yes, my child; every Christian professes by His very name to be a follower or imitator of the Lord Jesus. 'He that saith he abideth in Him, ought himself also so to walk even as He walked.' You will find many passages in Scripture which teach that we are to be pure, unworldly, forgiving, humble, self-denying, loving as He was. We are not, indeed, called to do His wonderful works, but we are called to lead His holy life. In the lowliest position we may show forth His glory; we may carry with us everywhere a reflection of Him. It seems to me that your failures of yesterday teach, as by a parable, how only we can be sure we are imitating Him,—we must never try to do without our pattern." "I don't quite understand you, papa," I answered.
"Tell me, my child, why did you think at first that your having forgotten your pattern was of no consequence?"
"Because I had worked so much with the shade I wanted to match I was sure I could remember it."
"Just in the same way, my dear, we, who have been led by the Holy Spirit to accept Jesus as our Saviour, are sometimes tempted to think that because we have followed Him for a long time we have got into the way of doing right, and so we trust to our own experience or judgment when any new question of right or wrong arises; instead of asking, whenever we need guidance, that the Holy Spirit may take of the things of Christ and show them unto us, that we may do as He would have done in the matter. And now tell me why, when you saw the different shades of colour, you could not choose the right one? Were they all so nearly right ?" "Oh no, there were some I rejected in a moment; but I still had to choose between so many something like my pattern, that it was impossible to make sure of the one I wanted."
spiritual life, Certain ways
"And so it will always be, my child, in the when we are trying to do without our Pattern. of action we shall see at once to be un-Christ-like, but there