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THE LAW OF KINDNESS.
THE LAW OF KINDNESS.
T ONG ago, when Jesus Christ was living -TM in this world, walking and talking a man amongst men, there was one precept that He very often enjoined on his followers—' to love one another'; and one of the few times that we hear of the gentle Saviour being angry, was, when James and John wished to call down fire from heaven on the village that refused to receive their Master. Jesus wished his disciples rather to try to help people to become better—to do good to them and not evil; and this He desires of us also. You remember, dear children, that Jesus was God as well as man, and therefore knew all things, and saw how difficult it would be for people always to agree well together; for besides that we have by nature naughty hearts inclining us to please ourselves only, it is also true that other people are often so different from us in all their feelings and likings, that we dont really know how to be kind to them without thinking about their particular character and trials. This is what we call consideration; and the sooner young folks begin to practise it, the better will it be for themselves and their friends.
_ There, now, are two school-fellows sitting side by side on the same bench: the one bright, active, full of fun and mischief, willing to give qr take any amount of hard hitting, either by words or with fists. In complete contrast, his neighbour is a shy, reserved youth, on whose sensitive spirit the careless mocking language of companions leaves many a dint. But let these two beware of despising each other, for they severally have their God-appointed work and place in the world; for while the first may live to carry through some daring but worthy enterprise, none the less is the gentler boy fitted, by the truthfulness of his nature and a certain nobility of character, to exercise great influence, by and by, over the minds of men.
True kindness of heart, or the reverse, is often shewn by actions in themselves insignificant; and as
'Little drops of water, little grains of sand, Make the mighty ocean, and the beauteous land,'
so the little deeds of little people go far to make or mar the comfort of life at home.
What a blessing it is now to yon pale, careworn woman to have such a daughter as Mary Jane; for she is such a handy, careful little woman, that mother can always trust her to carry a cup without spilling it, and who nurses the younger children when they are sick so nicely, that Lizzie has quite made up her mind that it is, on the whole, not a bad thing to be laid up with a cold.
I had occasion lately to visit 'The Sick Children's Hospital,' and saw in one of the wards a poor child that had been severely burned. His wailing cry of pain was pitiful to hear; but even this sad scene had its bright side, for soon I noticed that a dear little girl, herself a patient, although now nearly well, was bending over the pillow of the suffering boy to ask if he would like a drink, which she quickly handed to him. Was that a very small deed of kindness, do you say? Ah well, then, it is all the more easy to do it; and I feel sure that the weary, restless feeling of the child was as much soothed by the kindly tones as were his parched lips cooled by the soft, nice milk. Nor should the boys of our families be behind in such considerate acts of affection. Do not fear that it will take anything from your manliness: the bravest are still the most tender. And, believe me, in the years to come, when brothers, sisters, and friends have parted for their different paths through life, words and actions that seem nothing now may be keenly remembered either for joy or sorrow.
I can distinctly recall an occasion of this sort. We children had been invited to spend an afternoon at a friend's house in the neighbourhood; and what a happy, merry business was a country tea-drinking in the old time; something much nicer, and I think more wholesome, than the children's parties of modern days, in which little stuck-up, dressed-up men and women ape the manners of their elders, and forcet
that they are bairns. There was, first of all, the long drive through the moor in the delicious summer sunshine, where we thought we saw adders springing out of the heather, and certainly we did hear the wild scream of the curlew, as well as the curious low call of the plover; while, from the more cultivated meadow-land, larks were rising right up into the clear blue sky, ringing out their most melodious song. Then when we got to the end of the journey, and had received a pleasant welcome from friends now no more in this world, the long summer day seemed only too short in which to explore the wonders and delights of the farm steading. After the barn, the mill, and the different sheds had been duly visited, the horses, cows, dogs, cats, and poultry, came in for their share of attention, while the Btack-yard was a playground that we never wearied of; and many a merry game at'hide and seek' we had there, as we chased each other round the stacks every now and again, coming to such unexpected meetings as to cause shouts of gay laughter.
On this particular visit, in some of our wanderings, little cousin John fell into a wet ditch, from which he came up with
a due complement of mud. James G ,
our young host, himself a child of not over ten years, but looked up to by us young ones as a big boy, far from making fun of the accident, came forward so kindly, and having rubbed off the mud as well as he could, tried by gentle words to soothe the ruffled spirits of the younger boy; for you know it is not a pleasant thing to get tumbled in a ditch; and so we were all
happy again. Long since, James G
was called to leave his earthly home for a place in the many mansions of heaven; but this gentle deed of the kindly lad has outlived him, and is a fresh, green spot in the memory of his life.
And now, just one other advice in closing. We are to be kind to everybody; not only to the people we love, and who love us. There are no limitations in the grand commandment, 'Be ye kindly affectioned one towards another.' The rich
are to consider the poor, but the poor have also certain duties towards the rich; the weak are not without the strong, any more than the strong without the weak. Try then, my young friends, now in your early years, to be 'ministering children'; ever keeping in remembrance that in this we are not alone; the Master is with us, for we read that'even Jesus pleased not himself.'
THE GOLD PIECE AND THE HALFPENNY. (a Fable.)
(Translated from 'Le Rayon de Soltil.')
ONCE at the Mint—where gold, silver, and copper coins are made—two new pieces lay side by side on the same table. The one was a beautiful gold piece, and the other a common copper halfpenny. Both of them shone in ttie sun. But the gold coin said to the halfpenny: 'Keep at a distance, I pray thee. Thou art only base metal, unworthy to reflect the rays of the sun. Thou wilt soon be all black; and if thou fallest on the ground, no one will take the trouble to pick thee up. As for myself, on the contrary, I am made of precious gold. 1 shall travel through the world in the company of princes; I shall attain to a high destiny. Who knows, but I may one day shine in the tiara of an Emperor!'
Now, what happened was precisely the opposite of what the proud coin predicted. For the gold piece fell into the hands of an old miser, who locked it up in an iron box, where, with hundreds more, it lay useless. And when the miserable proprietor became very old, he dug a deep hole in the earth, into which he put his treasure, in order that no one might be able to take it from him. The ambitious coin by this time must have become tarnished and mouldy, and probably no one will ever discover the place where it is hid.
But the good common halfpenny travelled through the world, and did much work. First, one employed in the Mint received it among his wages. He carried it straight home, and showed it to his little 100 102
THE GOLD PIECE AND THE HALFPENNY.
sister, who was so delighted ,with it that he made her a present of it. The child ran to the garden to her mother, and saw a poor lame beggar, who asked a morsel of bread.
'I have none,' said the child.
'Please give me a halfpenny to buy some,' said the cripple.
The child gave him the halfpenny. The beggar went halting along to the baker's. At the very time when he reached the shop, one of his friends passed. This was a man in the dress of a colporteur. He gave pretty picture books to a little group of children, who in return dropped their halfpennies and pennies into, his money box.
• Where are you going thus furnished?' said the beggar to his friend.
'I am going a long journey to a foreign town. I am going to redeem my brother, who has fallen into the hands of the Turks, who have made him a slave. It will require a large sum, and this is why I am gathering pennies.'
'Take mine,' said the cripple; and he gave his halfpenny to the traveller. He would have gone away without getting anything to eat, if the kind baker, having heard all, had not given him the bread he was now unable to buy.
Now, the traveller went through the country, then he crossed the sea, and at last arrived among the Turks. After praying to God, he went to the palace of the Sultan, who kept his brother in slavery, and offered him the sum for his ransom. But the Sultan asked more.
• I have no more,' replied the traveller, 'except this halfpenny, which was given me out of pure compassion by a poor starving beggar. If you would be moved by the same pity as he was, you shall have this coin with pleasure.'
The Sultan took compassion on the man, and gave his brother his freedom. Then he put the money, including the halfpenny, into his pocket, and soon forgot all about it.
Now, after some time, the Emperor of Germany fought against the Sultan, who commanded his own troops, and fought
bravely without ever being wounded. One day, however, an arrow, sent with great force, struck his breast on the right side, but immediately rebounded without piercing his clothes. The Sultan was much surprised; and after the battle, he discovered that the large halfpenny in his pocket had received the arrow, and made it rebound. After this the Sultan prized the coin so much, that he had it attached, by a little gold chain, to the sheath of his sword.
Some time after the Sultan was made prisoner, and obliged to give up his sword to the Emperor, who thus became possessor of the halfpenny.
One day, at table, the Empress expressed a wish to see the sword of the Turk. It was brought; and as the Emperor was showing it to his wife, the large halfpenny came off, and fell into the goblet of wine, which he was about to drink. Before drinking it, he took out the halfpenny, and was surprised to see it covered with a green coating. Every one knew by this that there was poison in the goblet. A meanspirited servant had put poison in the Emperor's wine, hoping thus to kill him. The murderer was executed, but the halfpenny was enshrined in the crown of the empire.
Thus the poor copper piece delighted a child, procured bread for a , poor man, delivered a brave man from slavery, protected a Sultan from being wounded, and preserved the life of an Emperor. Did it not deserve its reward? H. T. s.
THE TOWEB OF LONDON.
designed. Each of the towers has a history of its own.
The Tower of London is still used as a secure receptacle for the most valuable possessions of the kings and queens of England. The Jewel House, a well guarded room in the tower, contains St. Edward's crown, made for the coronation of Charles II. and used for all the sovereigns since his time; the new state crown, made for the coronation of Queen Victoria, and valued at more than £100,000; the Royal Sceptre, Queen's Sceptre, and many other costlypossessions. The famous Koh-i-nobr, or mountain of light, the wonderful diamond which once belonged to Runjet Singh, chief of Lahore, and now belongs to Queen Victoria, is also kept in the Jewel Boom.,
The Royal Armoury, in the tower, is a place of great interest. Bf any ancient suits of mail are to be seen there. One which is said to have been worn by Prince Edward, is gilt throughout, and differs from all the others in having coverings of mail even for the feet. This was rendered necessary by the eagerness of the Saracens to discover any unprotected part'of body on which their lances might take effect.
Many of the kings of England have occasionally resided within the tower of London. But it is not as a palace, but as the state prison of England, that the deepest and most terrible interest belongs to the tower. Of the many illustrious persons who have been imprisoned there, we would only name Wallace, the Scottish Patriot, who was led from iljs walls to be cruelly executed; Chaucer, the father of English poetry, who was confined there for three years; Sir Walter Raleigh; Lord William Russel; and the youthful Lady Jane Grey, whose memory will ever be fondly cherished by British Protestants. When only sixteen years of age, this amiable, gentlo and pidus girl, was persuaded, much against her' own wish, to accept the crown of England, on the death of her cousin, Edward VI. Only nine days had she been queen, when she was imprisoned and condemned to die, and after seven months ghe was executed.
But Lady Jane Grey was a child of God, and while awaiting the sentence of death, the Lord was her strength, a strong tower in which she found' safety.
In a letter to her father, written shortly before her death, she says, 'To you, perhaps, it may seem woeful: yet to me there is nothing can be more welcome, than from this rule of misery to aspire to that heavenly throne with. Christ my Saviour; in whose steadfast faith (if it may be lawful for the daughter so to write to the father) the Lord continue to keep you, so at last we may meet in heaven.'
The copy of the New Testament in Greek, which Lady Jane Grey read in the prison, is still preserved; and on a blank leaf at the end, these last words to her sister are written:
'I have here sent to you, my dear sister Catherine, a book, which, though it be not outwardly trimmed with gold or the curious embroidery of the artfullest needles, yet, inwardly, is more worth than all the precious mines the vast world can boast of. It is the book, dear sister, of the law of the Lord, His Testament and last will, which he bequeathed to us wretches, which shall lead you to eternal joy.'
'Lord, into Thy hands I commend my spirit,' were the last words she uttered. Is not such faith in the Lord Jesus, a more precious possession than all the costly jewels which are treasured with such care in the Tower of London? „, T. „.
How precious is the Book divine,
By inspiration given!
To guide our souls to heaven.
It sweetly cheers our drooping hearts
In this dark vale of tears;
And quells our rising fears.
This lamp, through all the tedious nteht
Of life shall guide our way, Till we behold the clearer light
Of an eternal day.