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if the chief end is kept in view—the making known the way of life to those who have never before heard anything of it, and preaching Christ crucified, and the powers of the world to come, to those who are in the region and shadow of death,—there is no life on earth to compare with it.'
M. T. s.
&. BRAVE BOY;
OE, 'I PROMISED MOTHER.
npHE factory bell had scarcely ceased .*, clanging when the doors were thrown open, and crowds of tired-looking workers poured forth, each one seemingly in a hurry to reach his or her respective home.
My way happened to lie in the same direction as that of a group • of boys. There were six or seven of them, of different ages, varying perhaps from thirteen to sixteen. They were talking very loudly and all at once, their united voices tending to produce a perfect babel of sounds. I was a few paces behind them, and as they seemed inclined to linger, I quickened my steps, hoping to get past them and out of hearing as soon as possible; but as I drew near, 1 caught words which fixed my attention, and I became deeply interested. The tallest and boldest-looking boy of the group was saying, ''Tis a shame, I say; and I for one will not be hindered. So here goes.' With these words he flung himself against the hedge which skirted the lane, forcing his way into the park beyond.
Those whose homes were in the upper part of the town had got into a custom of crossing this park in passing to and from work, until they began almost to fancy they had a right-of-way there; and certainly it was much nearer, and a great deal more pleasant, especially on a lovely summer's evening like this, the path almost the whole way being shaded by the fine old trees that grew along the river side. But now, since the fences were repaired, and cows grazing on the nice fresh pasture, there had been a notice put up, threatening with punishment anyone found trespassing.
And this it was which had thrown the foolish boys into such a state of excitement. They seemed to imagine that some grievous wrong had been done them. For some days they had kept on the road, though not without much murmuring, which at length broke out in open rebellion in the manner I have described.
Some of the boys were rather startled when they saw what a large gap he who acted as ringleader had made in the hedge; however, they forgot everything except admiration of his bravery, or a.s they termed it 'pluck,' when he called out, 'Come along, boys; who's afraid?'
'Not I!' and 'Not I!' they answered, as one after another they followed him, all except one bright, honest-faced lad, who appeared to be about fourteen years of age. For one moment ho seemed to hesitate as he glanced longingly at the cool, shady river-side path; the next he had turned away, and was walking resolutely along the road. When his late companions saw that he did not follow them, some of them called, 'Come along, George; be quick, and we will wait for you.' While one or two said, sneeringly, 'Never mind him, let him go; he is afraid, we dont want a coward with us.'
I shall not soon forget the noble yet modest look with which he faced them as he replied, 'It is not because I am afraid, but / promised mother that I would not go into the park again, and I mean to keep my word.'
This, thought I, is really a brave boy, and his mother must be a happy woman. It is years since this incident took place. George is now a young man, and I think he must be as brave as ever, from the words his mother—who is one of my closest friends—said to me the other day. We were talking of our children, when, with a reverent look, she said, 'I thank God, my George never vexed me in his life.'
My dear young friends, I wish every one of you to understand that true bravery consists not in following the multitude to do evil, but to be able to stand alone, firm and undaunted, in the path of duty. A. *.
of milksop, and if I try to be like him, I'll get laughed at as a good boy. No; I wont read this paper.' If any reader of the 'Dayspring' is thinking in this way, I would just say to him, wait till you read about the boyhood of Edward VI.: read first and judge afterwards: then you will see whether there was not much in his character worthy of your imitation.
In a former month, you will remember, there was an account of another king, Louis XVII. Edward VI. lived more than two hundred years before Louis XVII. Though living in very different ages, there was much resemblance between them. Both showed that they had decided to stand up for honesty and right; both sought to help the sick and the suffering; both were called to an early grave. There were also points of difference. Edward's life was a much happier one than Louis'; but Louis had an affectionate mother to take care of him, while Edward was left motherless when only twelve days old. Indifferent stepmothers and nurses were Edward's guardians for six years.
To show that piety and courage may go together, the following story will suffice. One day Edward was going out to ride. His pony had been brought, and was waiting for his master. The princess Elizabeth, Edward's sister, was in the garden at the time; and, full of daring, she leaped on the pony's back. Off started the animal, sportive and fresh. The girl was unable to command him, and at last, leaping a wall, the beast entered the Thames. The prince appeared at this point. Seeing his sister's danger, he mounted the groom's horse, and with all possible speed made towards his sister. With difficulty he reached her, and grasping the pony, sought to bring it to land. The animal was unmanageable, and during the struggle, Elizabeth, quite exhausted, fell into the river. Soon she rose, but some distance from the spot where her brother was. To reach her the prince urged on his horse, but again she sank before he could reach her, Dismounting, he dived after her, and having caught
hold of her, he rose to the surface, swam to his horse, seized the reins, and was thus dragged to shore.
When in the library one day with some companions, he was unable to reach a book he wanted. One of the boys placed a large Bible on a chair for him to stand on, but Edward would not put God's word to such a use. Checking his companion, he removed the Bible and expressed his sense of the importance of that Book to England.
From Archbishop Cranmer, of whom you have doubtless read, Edward got a costly gift of silver plate. One of his servants, thinking to please him, reminded him that the plate was all his own, and no one else had a right to use it. 'If no one else but I be permitted to touch these valuables without spoiling them,' replied Edward, 'how do you suppose they would ever have been given to me?' Next day he had a feast to which he asked his companions; the plate was used, and at the close of the feast he gave each of his guests a portion of the plate as a present.
In 1552, Edward had several severe illnesses from which he never properly recovered. During his sickness, he founded several hospitals for the helpless and neglected. Among others there was one for poor boys, who wear a particular dress which leads to them being called the 'blue coat boys.' This school is still in existence, and the members may be seen in London streets clothed in long blue coats, and wearing no hats on their heads. Many schools also were founded or helped by him, showing how much he had the good of his people at heart.
The 6th of July, 1553, was the date of his death. Those attending him in the room heard him speaking in a low tone. 'I was praying to God,' he replied, when they asked him if he wished anything. His last words were, 'Oh! I am faint Lord, have mercy on me, and receive my spirit, for Thy Son Jesus Christ's sake.' With this prayer his eyes closed for ever on this earth, but his soul joined the thousands of children around the throne of God in heaven.
THE OLD MAN AND HIS BIRDS.
What Edward tried to do was to fit himself for his work. He wished to be a good king, and so he sought to master the laws and sound principles of government. Above all, he knew that to be a good king, he must be a loyal subject of the King of kings. My readers have all a work in the world to do. Try to fit yourselves for it, whatever it may be. Spare no pains to be good scholars or masons or whatever business you mean to choose. But never forget that to all real success, God's help is necessary. Whoever your earthly master may be, see that in serving him you are not forgetting to serve your Master in heaven. When tempted to do wrong, remember, 'Thou God seest me.' If this short sketch of Edward VI. should teach my readers this great lesson, Edward VI. will have proved one of the most useful of the 'DayspringV Famous Boys.
THE OLD MAN AND HIS BIRDS. T WITNESSED something the other day -*. which I think would have interested many young readers of the 'Dayspring.' In going with a friend to see Dryburgh Abbey, we had to cross a chain bridge which spans the Tweed; at one end of the bridge is a little wooden house erected for the man who takes the toll. I said to him I understood that he and the birds were very friendly, and that I should like to see how he and they got on together. 'O yes, sir,' he said as he came limping to the door of his house. He then cried,' come away,' when immediately the birds of the air came flying to him. Then taking from his vest-pocket a bit of biscuit, they at once flew to his hand and took the crumbs. He told me that some of the birds were attending to their young at present, and that one of them would sit on his breast and take the food from his pocket, while another would take it from his mouth.
What a beautiful illustration is this, I thought, of the gospel! Jesus compares the blessings He brings to us to 'a feast,' 'a great supper,' 'a marriage feast,' and
that of 'a king's son,' and his servants are commanded to say, 'Come, for all things are now ready;' 'Come to the marriage;' and He Himself cries, 'Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat.' And holding out to us the bread of life, He says,' Whosoever will, let him take.' So that we are all invited to 'come away' to Him, and get the bread of life, which if a man eat he shall never die, for you see His blessing maketh rich and lasts eternally. Some of us have come to Jesus and got his blessing, and we wonder now how we could have misunderstood our Lord so long.
I noticed that other birds came fluttering around at the old man's call, but did not venture to come near and take the food from his hand. And I thought of the many who hear the Lord's call, and come fluttering around Him and His ordinances; looking for signs and feelings and a good life, before they will put confidence in Him and in what He says. They take not the bread of life, and perish with the many others who seek to satisfy themselves with the world's passing pleasures.
Thrice happy boys and girls who come at our Lord's call,
'And take with rejoicing from Jesus at once, The life everlasting He gives.'
For it is the lambs—the boys and girls— that He carries in His bosom; the sheep— the men and women—He carries on His shoulder. Those who lie in His bosom feel the throbbings of His loving heart, and see His face radiant with smiles. Fly to His hand at once, my young friends. It was pierced on the cross that you might drink from it the living water. It throbs with divine love as it holds out to you the bread of life. If you will but come and rest on it, and feed from it, and feel its love throbbings, you will begin to be merry and sing,
'Take my life, and let it be
LITTLE MAUD, I walked through the woods to-day. Have you been watching the leaves dimming and brightening on the trees? The ash leaves grow pale yellow; the elm leaves grow deeper orange; the beeches brown; the chestnuts are ablaze with crimson and gold.
This early afternoon the forest keeps state. The sun has so flushed all its vistas —one is but aware of a glory, a brooding of utter peace. The late love of Autumn is on it, the finger too of its decay. Mixed with the brilliant leaves are clusters of crumpled brown.
And the fungi—do you note the fungi? Dim green, rose colour, pyramids of pure snow. The flowers are dead among the hedge-roots;—dead among the roots of the
oaks. But flecks of glorious colour are left still among the withered things,—lights with their lingering benison and their touches of late joy. *
While I walked, little Maud, I listened, and the forest seemed to chant a psalm. I do not know where it found voice, for there was neither breeze nor bird. But the psalm was so very lovely, I sat on a low mound, and said:
'If my fairy Maud were here, would she hear the same words as I?'
I do not think she would. Little Maud has all the years to fill. She would only hear the happy music of her own young hope.
That ia well, little Maud. Hope on joyfully. More than hope or dream has imagined, life, perhaps, has hid for you.