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"Poor mother!" said Nellie gently, "you are very disappointed, but it is not settled yet," she added cheerfully.
"Oh, I know he won't get it," said Mrs. Hudson dolefully, and the fond, foolish mother sat all day disconsolately beside the fire, which though it was still early autumn was lighted for her benefit.
"Come for a little turn in the garden, mother dear," urged Nellie later in the day, "the sun is quite bright and warm, and I am sure it would cheer you.'
"No, dear, I have no heart to go out to-day," was the reply, and the mother moped on, nursing her disappointment, and throwing a gloom over the whole house on that bright autumn day, by her dispirited manner and melancholy face, making no effort to put her forebodings aside and look on the hopeful side of things.
Two days after this Nellie Hudson's light feet flew nimbly up the stairs and into her mother's bedroom before Mrs. Hudson was out of bed.
"It is all right, mamma, Charlie is to have the extra week. Old Harrington, he says, has been very kind, and arranged that he should bring a little work down to do during the extra week, just to prevent any jealousy," and Nellie waltzed lightly round the bedroom flourishing her brother's letter aloft.
Mrs. Hudson's face beamed with pleasure, but she did not say anything, and Nellie was too dutiful and loving to remind her mother, even distantly, of the unnecessary misery she had inflicted on herself, and on the household generally, during the last two days, by going forth with outstretched hands to welcome a trouble that after all was not coming to her gate even, much less into her home and heart. Putting aside the superfluous abuse heaped on unoffending Mr. Harrington, she had taken up a phantom trouble and hugged it to her heart as a thing of reality, wasting two whole days out of her life here on earth, in idle grieving over an uncertainty. I think we often meet with people of this disposition in the world; people who wholly
ignore the divine maxim, "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."
Our Saviour knew well the injurious effect produced upon the spiritual and moral life by the continuous anticipation of evil. Not only is it bad for ourselves, but it is bad for every one with whom we come in contact. We all have some power to influence those around us; unconsciously it may be, and entirely without effort or desire on our part; but very few amongst us are so completely isolated in their lives as to be able to act without reference to those around them. We all know the soothing power of a few cheering, kindly words spoken in season; but have we an equal realization of the depressing power of gloomy words and sad forebodings? Upon children more especially these influences are heavy and sometimes lasting. They look forth into the future with eyes that are untried and untrained. Their troubles, if more transient, are as big to them as ours are to us; bigger, perhaps, because for the moment they seem final. They have not gained the experience which teaches practically that "there is a silver lining to every cloud," and that all sorrow is lightened in time. The darkness that falls on the path of the young is in a sense heavier than that which shadows the path of their elders, because they cannot believe that it will ever pass away. We should therefore be doubly careful of the words we address to children, of the forebodings we indulge in before them.
Things sink deeply into the hearts of the young. Let those who are older, and should be wiser, see to it that they do not overshadow youthful hearts by going out to meet troubles halfway, and by anticipating evil; but rather teach them by precept and by example to cultivate faith and patience (in looking forward into the future), to hope for the best till the worst actually comes. We can never tell that the danger which threatens and appears imminent may not even at the last moment be averted or avoided. We should keep our faces towards the sun so long as a ray of his
cheering light remains to guide us. We may even learn a lesson from that dog lying there in the warm autumn sunshine. See how sensible he is; the shadow of a thick tree has fallen upon him as the day travels on, but he does not lie still in the chilly shade, shivering and miserable, and say to himself, "The sun is gone away, and it's very cold, but it can't be helped." He lifts his head presently, and gets up and walks across to a place on which the sun still shines warmly, and lays himself contentedly down again; he can guard his master's house as well from the sunny spot as from the shady one. May not we take example from this dumb animal, and learn to turn our faces to the light, and to seek the sunny spots when our life is clouded, so long as we do not neglect our real duties? Trouble must come to every one here on earth sooner or later; it is part of our earthly discipline and education; but it is no part of our duty to be looking out for evils that may never fall upon us, making those around us unhappy, and rendering our own minds morbid and unhealthy.
Things that are Left.
N cottage homes many are the "humble livers in content." Such were the old weaver and his wife that I knew. They had hard work enough to make both ends meet. But never a murmur escaped them. Sharp temptation must they have had to complain; but "the joy of the Lord was their strength" to resist it.
One early day in spring I called to see them. Every thing in the little cottage was spotlessly pure. The wife who had seen so many springs was rejoicing in another. She led the way to a small plot of garden green that the visitor might see the opening flowers. He must share in her gladness. "I cannot," she said, "hear the birds as once. How I loved to hear them! But I can see the flowers! How beautiful they are !-more beautiful every spring!"
In the failure of her hearing she was comforted by the continuance of her eyesight. She with grateful heart thought not of things that were taken without thinking of things that were left.
Have losses come upon us? Let us think of what remains. The eye may be gathering dimness; the ear dulness. The old elasticity may be lost to the step. The former deft skill may have passed from the hand. But think of what is left! The bodily powers may be failing. Still memory in part remains. Still the great gift of reason is not taken away.
Possessions once our
Losses may have come upon us. own may have passed to other hands. With eagle-like flight wealth may have taken wings and flown from us. Losses through the wrongdoing of others or our own unwisdom may have impoverished us. Let us think, then, rather of what is left than what is lost. Is there nothing to be thankful for?
Bereavements may have saddened our home and life. The fond parent on whom we depended; the fond child who depended on us; perhaps "the dearer one still and the nearer one yet than all other" may have been taken away. These living losses! But are none left? Let us think of them. Sorrow cannot recall the dead. Sorrow makes us wise when it leads to a more considerate affection to the living. They are God's loan to us. Let us be thankful for the loan.
What is taken? Nay, what is left? Life still remains. The Bible still is ours to guide us; the Blessed Saviour still waits to save; the Holy Spirit still longs to purify us and "make us meet" for heaven. Christ still left? Who can be poor with him? Accept Him! Then He will say, "I will never leave you!" Never! In death dearest friends must stand aside. Jesus never! Then, when in your death-chamber they say, "he is gone," Jesus will say, "he is at home-at home with Me for ever."
A Song of Divine Consolation.
"Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people."
Is there no balm in Gilead for thy sore?
O weary soul, that cannot find a rest!
There is an ear that listens to thy prayer;
Thy voice shall join the anthem while they sing;
Trust Him for ever then, for He is truth;
O heart distracted, weary and forlorn,
Bear ye One Another's Burdens.
ANY years ago a policeman, walking his beat in the west end of one of our great cities, noticed a grocer's boy vainly endeavouring to lift from off his head the heavy basket full of goods which he had been sent out to deliver. The officer, a kindly man, went to the boy's assistance, and not only helped him down with his basket, but assisted him to carry it to the next