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father, had a private fortune of nearly £300 (present value £1,000) a year besides his business; while his mother, Elizabeth Steward, was related to the royal house of Stuart. Their son Oliver was born on the 25th of April, 1599.
When quite a child, Oliver's career was nearly brought to a speedy termination by drowning. He fell into a river, but was saved, just in time, by a clergyman called Mr Johnson. There was work for Cromwell to do, so God did not suffer him to drown. Many years afterwards, he met this clergymen, and asked him if he remembered the good service he had rendered. 'I do,'replied he, 'and I wish I had let you drown, rather than see you here in arms against your king.' Cromwell smiled and passed on.
The bold, determined character of Oliver was shown on several occasions. When nine years of age he committed some fault which required to be severely punished. His father was from home, so his mother gave him a severe caning and sent him early to bed. Mrs Cromwell loved her son very dearly, and he loved her in return; so Oliver's misconduct made them both very miserable. His mother was sorry to punish him, but she knew it was for his good to teach him when he did wrong. You know when our parents punish us, it is not because they do not love us, but just because they love us that they do it. They want us to grow up good men and women; and so try to keep us from doing what is wrong by punishing us when we do it. Well, on this particular occasion Oliver lay sobbing in bed, when a servant who happened to come into the room mentioned that his mother had gone to visit a sick friend, and was intending to return by a road across some fields. Immediately he remembered that a fierce bull had been put into one of the fields that day, and that it might attack his mother as she had on a red cloak. As soon as the servant left the room, up got Oliver, dressed quickly, escaped by the window, armed himself with a light spade, and hurried to warn his mother. He met
her in time, told her of her danger, and proud of his position as guard to his mother, led her safely past the animal.
Another anecdote illustrates the same determined fearlessness of character. On one occassion when he was spending his school holidays with his father, a terrible disease, called the black fever, broke out in the neighbourhood. It was such a terrible pestilence that people were afraid to.help sick neighbours lest they themselves should catch the infection. At the back of his father's brewery were several cottages, and in one of these lived the foreman, who had been very kind to Oliver when a child. The pestilence entered this cottage, and laid upon a bed of sickness, first the mother, next some of the children, and lastly the foreman himself. The neighbours, in alarm, would afford no assistance. Nurses were got, but one caught the infection and the others fled from fear. There seemed to be nothing left for the family but to die. A friend however appeared in young Oliver. When he heard the foreman was sick, he set the disease at defiance and went to attend him. His parents tried to hinder him, but he replied, 'That not a sparrow could fall to the ground without the Lord's special permission, and that he wished to make himself worth many sparrows.' And so he proceeded, cooking their meals, sharing them himself, and trying to be useful in every way. At last the woman died, followed by one of her children. Encouraged by Oliver's example, two neighbours came to help the family, and the dead were decently buried. The father and rest of the family recovered under young Cromwell's nursing, and he was able to leave his friend on the fair road to recovery. Oliver never took the disease. There was One who saw him doing his duty, and shielded him from infection. He learned the truth of the psalm, 'Thou shalt not be afraid for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noon-day. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall
not come nigh thee.' Yes, children, if we are doing our duty we need not be afraid of any danger, for God will watch over us and keep us safely.
There is another story told of Cromwell's boyhood, which, if true, appears very curious in the light of what afterwards took place. He happened to be staying with his uncle, when James I., along with his son prince Charles, paid his uncle a visit. The two boys, Oliver and Prince Charles, were allowed to play together, when one day they quarrelled and Oliver gave the prince a good thrashing. This was the boy who, when he became King Charles I., was dethroned and afterwards beheaded by Cromwell.
We should try then to cultivate a firm, determined character like young Cromwell, and see that it is a determination to do the right. Never be ashamed to say 'No,' when invited to share in sin; but be ever firm and steadfast for the good. j. M'H.
WHITE OAKS OHAPEL.
HITE Oaks Chapel stands in the Hoosac Valley, north-east of Williamstown,Massachusets, and its history is a very interesting one. The district in whieh that church now stands was formerly noted for the vice and misery of its inhabitants. The Sabbath was scarcely known by most of the people, and crime and wretchedness prevailed.
The late Professor A. Hopkins became interested in the district,—his compassionate heart was moved by the poverty
and degradation of the people. Confident in the power of the gospel to change the heart of the most depraved, he set himself to make it known among these outcasts.
He began by establishing a Sabbath school. Then he held prayer meetings from house to house to which neighbours were invited, and at these meetings some were brought to Jesus.
Next he bought a small farm in the neighbourhood, that, by having some interest in common with the people, he might gain their affections and thus have more influence over them. His efforts were wonderfully successful. The people loved and reverenced him. Many of them consnlted him about their concerns, and by associating with him were led to follow Jesus.
The necessity for erecting a place of worship became evident, but it was difficult to see how this could be done. It seemed in the circumstances of the people impossible. But Professor Hopkins, after much deliberation and prayer, had made up his mind that a church must be built, that it ought to be done at once, and that the people themselves must take an active part m the scheme.
Accordingly the proposal to build a church was made at a meeting held on February 5th 1865. It was favourably received, although few of the people could give money, many could give labour. Masons, carpenters, and painters willingly gave their time; horses and carts were lent to convey stones from the quarries, and timber from the mountains.
Strangers who visited Williamstown were interested in the building scheme, and contributed towards it. The foundation stone was laid on May 10th 1866, and the church was dedicated to the divine service on October 25th 1866. No debt was on the church when it was opened. Professor Hopkins preached from the text, 'For the Lord shall comfort Zion; He will comfort all her waste places, and Ha will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord.' (Is. 51. 3).
Professor Hopkins gratuitously acted as
pastor of the congregation as long as he was able to preach. On March 18th 1872, two months before his death, he wrote in pencil from his bed a short sermon as his last message to the church he loved so well. Along with it he wished to send a choice specimen ef acate, highly polished, and mounted in a deep frame. The sermon, beautifully transcribed, with the agate in the centre, now hangs in the chapel underneath a portrait of the professor.
The following is a copy:—
'And such were some of you.' (1st Cor. 6. 11). This stone was sent from the Isthmus of Darien by Frederick Wicks, a faithful missionary. It was a rude mass, without form or beauty, but see what the lapidary has done for it! All capabilities are of God's creating, but it is ours to discover and develop them. The stone was not only rude, but most hard and unyielding. Emery and diamond dust and all the skill of the artist were needed to slice it from the parent mass.
In every human breast there is a gem, rude, sin-encrusted, more intractable than agate. To polish this gem, to bring out the infinite delicacy and beauty of its structure, exceeds all nature's powers. The hand of a Divine Artist alone can accomplish this.
And such were some of you. 'Look,' says the prophet, 'to the rock from whence ye are hewn.' Look not only backward, but forward, and see those gems differing from each other in brilliancy, but all brighter than the noon-day sun—not few in number, but more countless than the stars, glowing and sparkling forever in the Saviour's crown.
GLIMPSES OP THE NEW HEBRIDES.
COMMENCEMENT OF THE MISSION.
JOHN WILLIAMS, the apostle of the South Seas, was the pioneer of the New Hebrides Mission. After having done a great work in the Society, the Harvey, and the Samoau islands, he longed to carry the gospel to the New Hebrides and New Caledonia. Accordingly he asked the
Samoan teachers,—who would go with him to carry the glad tidings of salvation to these dark islands? Thirty offered themselves, and of these Williams selected twelve, whom he set apart by prayer for this work. November 3rd, 1839, was his last Lord'sday, and Williams spent it with his own family, and the Samoans at Upolu. He preached from Acts xx. 36-38: 'And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all. And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him, sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see Ms face no more.'
In the ship, besides Williams and his twelve Samoan teachers, there were Cunningham a missionary, and Harris a young Englishman, who had come to the islands for his health, and had been so much interested in Williams' work that he had resolved to become a missionary.
On the 4th November, they sailed for the New Hebrides, and after having placed teachers on the island of Tanna, they came to Erromanga, where they anchored on the 20th November, 1839.
Williams, with Cunningham and Harris, went ashore in a boat, but neither Williams nor Harris ever returned. Cunningham alone escaped the clubs of" the natives and reached the ship to tell the sad tale. The apostle of the South Seas had become the martyr of Erromanga.
Thus sorrowfully ended the first attempt made by the London Missionary Society to carry the good tidings of salvation to the New Hebrides. But the blood thus shed for Christ's sake was seed sown which sprung up after many days. The news that this good soldier of the cross had fallen stirred many hearts, and awakcued compassion for the poor savages who had thus ignorantly killed their best friend. Poor heathens! they thought that Williams and his companions were sandal-wood traders who had come to rob and murder them.
By the following August, Dr. Turner and Nisbet, commissioned by the London Missionary Society, were on their way to
the New Hebrides to take up the work Williams had laid down. Owing to the difficulty of getting vessels, it was June 1842 before they landed on Tanna, and in seven months afterwards they were obliged, with sad hearts, to leave that benighted island^aking the Samoan teachers with them. Disease had broken out on the island, and the*, savages blamed the new religion f or causing it; and made war with the missionaries and all who befriended them. Dr. Turner's own account of his short residence on Tanna is intensely interesting.
Dr. G-eddie, from Nova Scotia, was the first missionary who succeeded in settling permanently in the New Hebrides. He landed on Aneityum in 1848. At that time this island, like all the others of the group, was wholly given , to idolatry. Samoan teachers who had been left on Futuna a few years earlier had been killed by the fierce savages, and the lives of these Samoan teachers on Aneityum had been frequently placed in great danger. But Dr. Geddie had counted the cost and, constrained by the love of Christ, he resolved to risk every danger and begin to labour on that dark spot full of the habitations of cruelty.
He set himself at once to acquire the language: no easy task when there were no books to aid him; neither grammar nor dictionary, not even a written language till he had made one. Soon Dr. Geddie felt the need of a fellow labourer in the arduous work which he had undertaken. The Rev. John Inglis—who has been in London for the last two years superintending the translation of the Bible into the language of Aneityum, a work now completed—was then in New Zealand, and Dr. Geddie sent an urgent invitation to him to come over and help him.. Mr Inglis, feeling assured that God had opened for him a new door of usefulness, accepted this invitation, and settled on Aneityum in 1852. The word' spoken by these two eminent servants of God came with power, and, ere long, many of the ferocious savages were^found sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in their right minds. * *. T. s.
'WILL YOU GO!'
DURING the American war between the Northern and Southern States of America, tracts were being given out in an hospital. One cot, where a soldier] had long lain, was empty," and a single' leaf tract was laid on the clean, white counterpane. It was a hymn commencing,
'We are travelling home to heaven above, Will you go?' *
Next day there was held a crowded meeting in the Reading Room. After prayer, singing and addresses, any one who wished to confess Christ was called on to speak.
Slowly a tall military figure rose, and held up a tract. He said, 'I have never confessed my Saviour. '.■ I am ashamed of myself, that I have been so long'ashamed of Him. 'I desire now to confess'Him before the world. He is very^preciouS; to me. This little tract' was i the' means of turning me to Him." ? I found it on my cot, and read it. It saul, *
"We are travelling home to heaven above,'' Will you go?". - '.
So I sat down arid wrote upon it, "Yes, by the grace of God I will;" and signed my name. Pray for me that I may serve my Saviour, and stand up ' for Him ;here, and may at last have a home with Him above.' * ./ _'
'Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also beforo my Father whioh is in heaven.' Mat. 10.32. .
PRIZE BIBLE QUESTIONS.
Three Frizes are offered for the largest number of correct answers to the Questions during 1880. The Competition is limited to those under 11 years of age. The answers to be sent to the i REV. John Kay, 2 Cumin Place, Grange, Edinburgh, by the 26th of each month.
10 What wicked son deceived bis father by pretending zeal for God's service?
11 Who proclaimed a fast for a very wicked purpose?
12 By what striking emblem does Jesus describe .those who use religion for a cloak of wickedness?
^ -^ * y
O Jesus, hear my morning prayer: I thank Thee, blessed Saviour,
I have, For all Thy
morning prayer: I thank Thee, blessed
s :d' |r' :n'
For friends to love, for all I have, for all Thy loving
O wash me clean
In Thine own beauty dress me,
And Thou dost love to bless me.
O, teach me how
To serve Thee now,
Until Thou come
To take me home
Taisley: J. And R. Parlane.]
[Loudon: HouUTOK AND SoSS.