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but John couldn't find the needful capital. He had had so much trouble in his family as to be unable to save even the twentieth part of what was required to enter on such a large concern, and he could find nobody to help him. The business was therefore sold to two young men from a distance.
Mr. Pollard strongly recommended John to his successors, but they had formed their own plans. One of themselves was to act as foreman, whilst the other was to take charge of the front shop and the accounts.
Nor did they care to keep John in any lower capacity. He was fifty-five years of age, and he looked even older; so, though it might have been thought his knowledge of the business would have been of some advantage to them, they thought there was so little work left in him that it would not pay them to retain him. They had made up their minds to have about them none but young and vigorous
When a working man has to seek another place at fiftyfive, his chances of getting such a one as he would like are commonly very small: and so John found it. At length he came to the conclusion that there was nothing else to be done than to take a little place of his own, and to begin for himself in a small sort of way.
But John, though a good and careful workman, was one of those men who are better fitted to be servants than masters; and he did not get on very well.
Let it be stated that John was a true Christian.
One evening George Rylands, an old friend of his, called to see him, and he found him sadly downcast. Everything was going wrong; work was scarce; he could not get his money in; he was getting older and feebler, and so was his wife. They had two sons and two daughters; but the daughters had married working men, and had families of their own, and so were unable to help them; and the sons were in Australia. They would come to the Union, he said, before long.
George Rylands was far poorer than his friend, for he was only a cobbler; but in another way he was as rich as a prince, for he had a bright, hopeful spirit, and an undoubting trust in God.
George heard what John had to say, and told him how sorry he was; but as soon as he could he went off on quite a different tack. He knew, however, what he was doing.
"John," he said, "that was a grand sermon we had from Mr. Flower on Sunday morning."
Mr. Flower's text had been those words of the apostle Peter: "An inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away."
"Yes," replied John, "it was. Ah! if it were not for a hope like that, I sometimes think there would be no bearing life. Every now and then I wish it were all over, and I were there."
"Well, well," said George, "we shall get there when God pleases. We've a loving Saviour who won't forsake us, and who is able to save us to the uttermost; and we may say, like Paul, 'I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.'"
In this way they talked on, George contriving as they talked to bring out from John the expression of a strong hope of everlasting life in heaven through the Lord Jesus Christ.
"John," said George at length, "do you remember Little Faith, in the "Pilgrim's Progress' ?"
"Yes," replied John; "what about him ?"
"Well, this," said George: "I sometimes think you are a little bit like him."
"How so?" asked John.
"This way," replied George: "Bunyan says that, as Little Faith went on his journey, three sturdy rogues, Faintheart, Mistrust, and Guilt, set on him and robbed him, and took from him nearly all the money he had, leaving
him only some odd bits, not nearly enough to take him to the end of his journey, so that he had to beg to keep himself alive. But, says Bunyan, he had some jewels, which the thieves never found, because they never ransacked the place where he kept them."
"But what, in all the world," asked John, "has that to do with me?"
"Little Faith's chief jewel," replied George, "was his certificate his good hope of everlasting life, and he had kept that, though he had hardly any spending money for his present needs. Now I think you have that jewel safe. You can trust the Lord Jesus to take you to heaven, but you have not faith enough to trust Him for the present life. You've got no spending money. Bless you, John! if He is able and willing to do all that for us in the world to come, do you not think He is able-and willing too-to give us the little things we need for the short time we have to stop here? Ought we not to trust Him for these as well as for heaven? That's a Testament, is it not ?"
"Yes," said John, handing it to him..
"May I read a verse or two?" asked George.
John assented, and George read out of the sixth chapter of the gospel by Matthew, the Lord Jesus Christ's words. about the loving Providence of our Heavenly Father: and then he read those words of the apostle Paul: "He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" And these also: "My God shall supply all your need, according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
"Ah!" said John, "if one could only believe all that!" "And why should we not ?" asked his friend. "If they are God's promises, He expects us to believe them just the same as His promises of heaven. By the way, John, how many times is it that you have been to the parish ?”
"Been to the parish!'" said John, rather warmly; never once in all my life."
"Well, well," said George, with a merry twinkle in his
"of course I knew that; but how many times have you been afraid of going ?"
This was a home-thrust, but John saw what his friend meant, and he took it kindly.
"It seems to me," resumed George, " that there's a great lot of fretting care about to-morrow's bread, and the day after to-morrow's, which would all be spared if we would only be content to pray as the Lord taught us, 'Give us this day our daily bread,' and if we would pray that prayer believing that God would hear us."
"There's some truth in that," said John, not willing to admit too much. "I'll try to trust Him better."
"That's right," said George. "He'll not fail us. He'll give us, if we ask Him, all the spending money we want for our present needs; and however freely we may spend it, it won't lessen our store in heaven. Nay, the more we spend in that way here, the richer we shall be when we get to the Kingdom."
From that day forward, John was a happier man. He never got rich in worldly wealth, but he never had to go to the Union, and he never had to beg from anybody. But better than that, he enjoyed more and more of the " peace of God which passeth all understanding."
HERE is a storm brewing, sir," said an old fisherman in answer to a question I had put to him regarding the weather. "Look at them," he continued, pointing to a bank of dark rolling clouds that seemed to be rapidly rising out of the sea; "they mean something. And listen to the wind, too; yes, there will be a storm before morning."
The man's words proved true. Ere the morning sun rose, the clouds had broken, and heavy torrents of rain fallen.
The wind, too, had risen to a gale and lashed the waves into a seeming fury.
Once more I found myself upon the beach where I had seen the fisherman on the previous night.
"You see I was right, sir," said the old man, touching
"Yes," I answered, "you certainly were. night it has been !"
"Rough, indeed," he replied.
What a rough
"There will be a sight of
people down here when the tide turns."
"What for?" I inquired, for I was a stranger in the place, and did not know the habits of the people.
"They come to look after anything that may have been washed up in the storm."
"Indeed!" I said.
"And do they ever find anything
"Not much now, I think," was the answer. "There is plenty of wood left on the beach when the tide goes down, but it is not of much account, though some of them gather it up for burning."
"What do they find, then ?" I inquired again.
"Oh, the boys pick up old nails and screws, or anything that they can sell for a few halfpence; sometimes there are some goodish bits of rope drifted in; they like to catch hold of that-it sells well."
"Perhaps they find uncommon shells?" I said, in an inquiring tone, for I fancied the man was keeping something back from me.
"No; there are no shells much here; you want to go to Shellness, and along there, for them," he answered.
"I shall come down, after the turn of the tide," I said. "It's no use; you won't find anything worth your having," was the answer.
"Nevertheless, I shall be here," I answered.
The old man turned away as if disgusted with me for my determination, but a few halfpence that I tendered him for the information he had given put him in a good humour,