« AnteriorContinuar »
It was in the midst of all these troubles that they heard again of the bond which Gregory Moore had signed. Every penny they could spare had been swallowed up by the cost incurred by their payments for their children, and they had even incurred some debt, which, however, they had reason to believe they would wipe off in a year or two. Gregory had just returned with a heavy heart from seeing his eldest son on board the ship for Australia; and it will be readily believed that the mother's heart was heavier still. The very morning after his return, the postman handed in a letter, which informed them that Henry Bell had failed, and that Gregory Moore must pay the money for which he had made himself jointly responsible.
Gregory fairly broke down. He burst into tears, and exclaimed, "We're fairly ruined!" So at first thought his wife; and there rose before both of them the visions of execution, and distraint, and utter poverty.
But Mrs. Moore soon aroused herself, and she had the good sense to avoid all reproach of her husband.
"It's done," she said, "and we must make the best of it. Bad's the best; but there's no use in crying over spilt cream."
Various schemes were suggested, but only one was feasible, and few things could have humbled Mrs. Moore so greatly as to feel compelled to have recourse to it. There was a cousin of her own, a farmer, Mr. Pearce, who lived about three miles distant. He was an excellent man, and a sincere Christian, and his wife was a woman of kindred spirit. For some time past, however, there had been no intercourse between them and the Moores. The fact was, that Mrs. Moore had said some sarcastic and unjust things about Mr. and Mrs. Pearce, of which they had heard, and of which they had asked an explanation. It had been refused; and that was not all-Mrs. Moore had made matters worse by the manner in which she had received her cousin. It was three years since, but there had been from that time no intimacy. Mr. Pearce was a man of some property, and he was the
only person they could think of from whom they had any hope of help.
Mr. Pearce, who had heard what had happened, was not altogether unprepared for his cousin's visit. He received her kindly, heard all she had to say, and then said, "Well, Mary, I suppose you want me to lend you this money ?"
Of course she answered, though very hesitatingly, in the affirmative. She stated, too, in what way and within what time they proposed to repay it.
"Well, Mary," he said, "you shall have the money. Let Gregory meet me at Mr. Tottie's office on Thursday, and we will settle everything. I know you will do your utmost to fulfil your promise of repayment."
Mrs. Moore, who had scarcely shed a tear in all the trouble before, was completely overcome. "It is very good of you, George !" she said, when she could command herself sufficiently to speak; more than I had any right to expect after what passed between us. I felt in my heart I was wrong all the time; but I was too proud to say it. I hope you will forgive me-but you would not have done this unless you had forgiven me."
"We freely forgave you at the very time, Mary," said Mr. Pearce;" and we have never felt otherwise than kindly towards you all. But just let me say this, Mary: do try to curb your tongue; and especially to avoid those sharp things you have been in the habit of saying about your neighbours."
That I will," said Mrs. Moore: "I'll try to find out my own faults-and there are plenty of them-instead of condemning other people for theirs."
"And pray to God to help you," said Mr. Pearce.
Mr. Pearce then asked about her family; and Mrs. Moore told him all her troubles.
Her cousin expressed his deep sympathy with her, and then said: "Ah, Mary! I think you have made a mistake in your way of bringing them up."
"How do you mean ?" she asked. "I've done my duty
by them as far as I knew it: I've taught them right, and tried my best to keep them from going wrong. I'm sure it's disappointing that they have done so badly; but it's hard to throw the blame on me."
"Did you ever do anything, Mary," asked Mr. Pearce, to lead them to trust and love the Lord Jesus? Did you ever tell them anything about him? Did you ever pray for them? You have had a house now two-and-twenty years: did you ever gather your children and servants together for prayer as a family? There's a good Sunday School in the village: did you ever send them there? We can't expect our children to turn out well unless we try to lead them to trust in the Lord Jesus and to serve God."
Mrs. Moore made no reply, but there had been suggested materials for serious thought which bore fruit afterwards.
"Don't let me keep you any longer now, except just to take a little refreshment," said Mr. Pearce. " Gregory will want to know what you have done.”
Through God's blessing, the troubles she and her husband passed through formed a turning-point in their life. Mrs. Moore soon found that, if she were to train up her children for Christ, she must become a sincere Christian herself; and she did become one, and by-and-by her husband, through her influence, was led to trust in Jesus. Mrs. Moore did not quite conquer her old failing; but she did her best, and she prayed to God to help her; and it was wonderful how far she succeeded. Whenever she found that she was yielding to it, she checked herself, saying, "The old thing! Leave other people's faults alone, and mend thy own."
There is a very different state of things in the household now; and there is every hope that the younger children will prove a great blessing to their parents in their declining years. It may just be added that they have repaid Mr. Pearce's loan, and that they and the Pearces are warm and most intimate friends.
N one of the backwoods of America, in a little hut on the banks of a stream, lived a poor man who got his living by felling timber. We can, perhaps, form but a faint idea of the scenes around this woodcutter's home. What miles on miles of trees, nothing but trees! What festoons of wild vines and jessamine, clinging and climbing from one to the other! What rank grass growing underneath! No highways, no roads, no beaten paths; and the trees all so like each other that there seems, to an inexperienced wayfarer, to be nothing to mark the ground. It was a lonely spot for a house; but the woodcutter had a wife and children; he feared God, and he was not unhappy.
One morning he put his axe on his shoulder as usual, and started off for his day's work. It was eight miles to the place where his work lay at that time; but he was active and healthy, and did not mind a walk. It was a foggy autumn morning; but he trudged on, expecting every minute to reach his destination. At last, when the fog cleared, he found, to his surprise, that he did not know the objects around him. Thinking he had gone too far, he now took another course, and, as he thought, retraced his steps. But time passed on, the sun began to sink, and all around became dim and indistinct in the approaching gloom of early evening. In all this time not a human being had crossed his path; it was all like a dull and dreary dream. There was no sign of his home, and nothing to direct him to it.
His home! how far away it seemed! The poor woodcutter thought of his family; he knelt and commended them and himself to God; and then, cold and hungry, he laid down to get what rest he could, trusting that, with the morning light, he should be able to find his way back to his cabin.
* May be had also as a tract.
It was a long, dull, moonless night. With the first dawn he started to his feet, and pursued his way. He kept walking on faster and faster, in the hope of nearing his longed-for home. But the day passed, and a second night still found him a bewildered wanderer. He was aware now of the perils of his situation; but his trust in God did not desert him. He knew that a Father's care was over him, even in that pathless wilderness; and he looked up to him with the quiet confidence of a child. He ate some herbs and roots, and again lay down to rest.
A third day passed in like manner; so did a fourth, so did many others. The poor woodcutter, faint, famishing, weary, but living still, was wandering on in search of his home just the same. He subsisted on what roots and berries he could find in the way of food. A tree called the cabbagetree was a great help to him; and when he came to one he humbly thanked God and took courage. But his clothes were torn to tatters by the rough brushwood; his hair had become matted; and his feeble frame was little more than a skeleton.
At last, one day when his strength seemed wellnigh gone, he thought he heard the sound of waters rippling; he made a desperate effort, and struggled on, and there was indeed a river. He drank of the refreshing stream long and eagerly; then he knelt down to thank God; but his brain grew dizzy, his head reeled, he fancied he heard the dashing of oars— was it a dream? And then he knew nothing more—he had fainted away.
But it was no matter now; the wanderer was found, and the lost one was saved. There was indeed a boat advancing towards him; and this was the very same river that glided past his own cottage door, though it was miles and miles away.
Those who found him carried him back to his sorrowing wife and children, who had mourned for him with hopeless grief, and who now rejoiced over him as one who "was dead, and is alive again, was lost, and is found."