« AnteriorContinuar »
indifference: crouching on a door step, near the light of the street lamp, on the opposite side of the way, lay a miserable woman. She hesitated, for she was cold and wet; but she thought of the man who fell among thieves and the good Samaritan, and immediately crossed to the spot. "Ah!" she thought, "none but the homeless would be here on such a night as this. Perhaps she is ill; or, alas! perhaps intoxicated; but I must not pass her by. A shelter of some sort, however humble, must be offered her." The widow felt in her pocket; two solitary pence were all her possession, and she had no more at home. She hesitated again, and stood by the prostrate figure, whose face was buried in a ragged piece of a shawl. Then she thought of the widow and her two mites, and she knew that Jesus was looking on; and again she thought how she would bless any hand that ministered to her own lost child in such a condition. So she instantly decided, and gently touching the woman, whose form seemed slight and youthful, said in a low voice
"Here, my poor girl, take this for thy mother's sake; it is all I have to give."
The face was raised from its covering, the once beautiful hair was tossed back, and the light fell upon it. To her mingled rapture and distress the mother recognised her long-sought child! She knelt down and clasped the drenched creature in her arms, she kissed the cold closed lips, and half leading, half carrying her precious burden, the two reached home together.
Suppressing her excited feelings that she might minister to her wants the better, to rekindle the fire, strip off the wet rags, and oblige the cold lips to receive warm nourishment, was the mother's first work; for the girl seemed paralyzed with cold, and wet, and wretchedness; but all the while the altered looks and wasted limbs struck dismay into her heart, and told the terrible story of sin, and pain, and disease in their hideous ravages. There was no need for questioning; the answer was plain enough. She had drunk the cup of so-called pleasure till she had to swallow its bitter dregs, and was cast forth in illness and misery, to live or die as it might happen. And all this at an age when the early bloom of health and innocence should have adorned the young life. Truly "the way of trangressors is hard."
"Mother!" was the first sound that came with return
ing speech, but it was startling and hollow: how unlike the tone of former times! It thrilled through the mother's heart.
"Mother, it is something to die in your arms, more than I thought could be; for I never would have let you know. I'm dying, and going to destruction, soul as well as body; and I've done it all myself."
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness," whispered the mother in reply, struggling through tears.
Hush, don't tell me. But oh! some haven't come to this yet, and they won't believe it's possible; but it will come. Go, mother, and tell them in time."
"To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him." "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon."
"Thoughts, thoughts-how can I forsake my thoughts? Oh! if you could clean out my mind, I would bless and thank you, but it's vile, black, hateful;" and then she rambled and moaned, and fierce fever took possession of her, and rioted over her remaining strength.
Mrs. Brown now sought for her child the help she had never solicited for herself, and kind friends ministered to bodily wants; while the missionary was watching and praying for opportunity to speak peace to the broken spirit.
But when reason returned, and Letty could listen, she still refused to hear.
Mother," she said, "don't let them mock me with talk about mercy and forgiveness; I can't bear it. I know I'm lost for ever. Who could forgive such a thing as me? Didn't I laugh at the words of a dying father? Didn't I rob my own mother? Oh! don't talk of heaven and a Saviour to such as me!"
"Your mother forgives you, Letty, and God is more merciful and tender than I am."
"You don't know; you've never done as I have to try him." "He is able to save to the uttermost, and none that come unto him shall be cast out."
"I can't come. He loathes me.'
"On earth he ate and drank with publicans and sinners. He is the same pitying Jesus still, ever seeking that which is lost, ever calling poor sinners to repentance.
Letty, see his mercy in that he put your poor sick body in your mother's arms, that you may now cast your sick soul into his; for he is the good Physician' who can save and heal."
Letty was silent, and seemed to sleep awhile, but presently began again—
Mother, what a wretch I am to be your child!”
"Yet you are my child still, Letty. I would not disown you for all the worlds that ever were made. You are thinking and reasoning now, Letty, and here is a message to you from a friend: Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool;' for the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin.'
Oh, mother, you would not mock your poor Letty with holy words that she has nothing to do with?" The piteous tone brought tears of thankfulness to the mother's eyes.
"No, Letty, I will be faithful to you; but I must be faithful to my Saviour, too; and you are very ill, my child, and you may be dying with a worse sin upon your head than any you have yet committed."
"Oh, impossible! what is it, mother? Am I sinning still?"
Listen, my child; it is a solemn word: 'He that believeth! not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.' Do you think that He who is the Truth' will suffer that insult to his Father and to himself? All other sins can be forgiven; but whoever persists that God and Christ told lies about their power and willingness to save even the chief of sinners, must be lost; for there is no other name under heaven whereby any can be saved."
"Oh, mother! I don't mean that. It is because I am so very bad that I dare not come and ask."
"Yet God says to such, It is true thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities;' but I, even I, am he that blotteth out, thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.""
"Mother, pray," suddenly cried Letty; and oh! how sweetly and pleadingly was the request obeyed; for though she had been prayed for in her hearing, she had turned away with a resolution not to listen or regard. Now, however, she laid her face by her mother's, and tears,
precious tears of penitence and hope, for the first time flowed down the wasted cheek.
"Oh, thank you, mother! dear, kind, patient mother! But when shall I dare to pray for myself?"
After awhile she started up with amazing strength.
Mother," she called out, "I'm afraid it's what sin has done for me that I hate, more than the sins themselves; and that can't be right."
"No, it is not right; but if you will let the light of God's word come into your heart, his Holy Spirit will teach you to hate the sins that crucified 'the Lord of glory.' You can't come very near to Jesus, near enough to feel forgiven, Letty, without grieving for sin in a way you could hardly bear to feel at once. Now lay yourself, believing, at his feet, and see if he is not all he has said.”
Poor Letty was able to do so, by Divine grace, at last, and to desire that He who alone can "make all things new should enter her polluted heart, "just as it was,' and make it his own for ever.
And then "old things" did " " "all things" pass away, did "become new;" and though for many reasons Letty would have been glad to die, and be safe from sin and temptation in heaven; yet again she looked at her gentle mother, and thought that to be spared to soothe her declining years would be a favour indeed, after all the anguish she had caused her.
And it was so. She recovered, but no more to the bloom of youth and health. She was prematurely old, and few would have recognised the gay spirited girl of a year ago.
As years passed on, and Mrs. Brown's health failed, it was Letty's joy and pleasure to work for her, attend her with every loving care, and repay, as far as possible, the debt of gratitude she owed. She blessed God for the opportunity, and lived in peace.
But though pardoned and accepted for Jesus' sake, Letty never forgave herself. God might forget, in that beautiful comforting sense by which he soothes the poor grieved heart by the expression; but the sinner does not forget.
There were moments when recollection of the past came like a spasm across her heart, and wrung forth a groan of anguish, and made her shrink from human eye. But again she looked unto Jesus, and the bitterness passed away; though not the chastened humility of one to whom "much is forgiven."
And she looked forward with joy to the time when the "vile body" with all its hated memories should be buried in the dust, and she should awake "satisfied" in her Saviour's "likeness."
If some poor wanderer should say, "But I have no mother to do like this for me, I broke her heart long ago;" oh! let her not despair, for the truth stands good to all, whoever speaks or reads it. And if there is but a penitent desire to forsake sin and follow Jesus, the appeal of the helpless and forsaken will bring the arms of paternal love and pity round her, and the voice will whisper, "As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort thee."
JOSEPH EBERT; OR, A STRUGGLE FOR LIFE.
THE Falls of Niagara are in the course of the river of that name, flowing from Lake Erie into Lake Ontario. The river above the falls is considerably wider than below. A large island (called Goat Island) divides the stream into two parts, which are called the American Fall and the Horse-shoe Fall. The former, from the water being more closed up by rocks, is six feet higher than the latter. A picturesque bridge connects Goat Island with the American shore. The space above the falls, for some distance, is called the Rapids-from the fearfully impetuous way in which the water rushes over its rocky bed.
How vast the volume of water is which flows downward in these cataracts may be supposed, when it is known that it forms the chief part of the stream of the mighty St. Lawrence before it is joined by the Ottawa. The water in the rapids-loudly roaring-leaps, bubbles, and hisses, as it rushes impetuously on with a power which no boat can stem, till it takes its final leap into the seething cauldron below. Above the rapids the river is navigable into Lake Erie.
Three men were employed in loading a small craft with sand, the youngest of whom, Joseph Ebert, was a tall, fine, active lad of eighteen. Towards evening, their task accomplished, they launched forth in their little boat to catch some fish for supper. Seldom had they found better sport, and so engrossed did they become in it, that they did not discover that their boat was drifting down the stream. A sudden whirl of the punt, as she lifted to a wave, made them look up, when, to their dismay, they discovered that