Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

*

great, so she only broke forth into lost no opportunity of serving all piteous sobs. It was as if the rigid who came in her way; and thus crust around her heart had been vio- she found, as she grew older, many lently melted away, and, lifelike, a occasions of following her Divine long pent-up stream had suddenly Master in the path of self-abnegarushed forth. Mrs. Payne shrank tion; a path which, though not back before this unlooked-for out- bright to our earthly vision, yet burst. Her conscience had been leads to a glorious, shining goal. busy all the afternoon, and now, as she heard Gretchen's sobs, she con Years sped on, and brought fessed to herself that she had changes in the lives of our young wronged, by her neglect, the deso- friends. Gretchen's aunt died, and late girl. Many words were not in shortly after Gretchen was placed her

way, so she only smoothed in an asylum, where she received Gretchen's hair with her rough, tender care and instruction. Anna hard hand, and said, “Don't cry; married and removed to a distance, to-morrow we'll turn over a new where the grateful prayers of Gretleaf."

chen's faithful heart ever followed From this day the friendly rela- her. tions between the two girls grew;

Years after, Anna was standing on the one side a tender pity, on one lovely summer evening by an the other a warm, ever-increasing open window in her cosy cottage, gratitude. Not but that Anna's looking into her blooming garden patience was often sorely tried, as with a far-off expression in her eyes. she sought to teach Gretchen to Her youngest child was in her knit or sew or read, for the clumsy arms, while the oldest, a sturdy hands and dull brain were alike boy of four, was busy building a difficult to instruct. In theory, we wooden tower on the floor near her. find it so easy and pleasant to fol- Anna's life in her new home haå low the Golden Rule, but in reality, been serene and happy until now, when day after day small sacrifices when she stood so absorbed in anxmust be made, it needs more than ious thought as to neither heed a sudden effervescing pity, it must the merry prattle of her boy, or be a fulness of love which we can- the rich beauty of the summer landnot have of ourselves. We must scape. A few days previous a ask it from Him who is love itself, contagious fever had broken out and stands ready to give us hourly in the neighbourhood, which had all we require. Yet, spite of dis. spread with frightful rapidity, and couragements, Anna's work was had already claimed many victims. not without visible results, for Gret- Only an hour before she had heard chen's heart and mind began to that two children in an adjoining grow like a plant which, after a long house had been seized. She presswinter's sleep, is awakened by the ed her tiny girl closer, and prayed warm breath of spring.

for submission to His will" who Nor was the blessing alone given doeth all things well.” Night drew to Gretchen. No! the work which on, but the soft lullaby had no one does for another rebounds upon effect in calming her boy's restlessthe doer in even richer blessings ; ness; and before dawn both chilnot always outward ones, but inner dren were tossing in the delirium ones of peace and joy. So it proved of fever. Restless days and anxious with Anna. The more her heart nights followed; Anna's husband gave, the richer it grew in faith was smitten, her nurse also sickenand contentment. Not satisfied ed, and no other could be found. with her efforts for Gretchen, she One evening, after a sultry day,

Anna sat with her dear ones, worn | leaves from the trees, Gretchen out in mind and body, dreading was unable to leave her room. As the weary watches of the night. little Charlie eagerly told that in The door was softly opened. Anna the spring new leaves would grow looked up. Was she dreaming ? again more beautiful than those There, like a vision of her child they had lost, a feeling came into hood, stood Gretchen.

Gretchen's mind that another than “ Can it be you, Gretchen, come an earthly spring awaited her; a to me in my sore need ?"

spring which would free her spirit “Yes, I heard the fever had from the heavy covering which had broken out here, so I have come to proved such a burden here. The nurse for you."

buds began to swell again, the days “But Gretchen, you may be ill, to lengthen, and a new life to show and die.”

over wood and meadow, and then A smile of wonderful sweetness Gretchen lay down to rise no more. flitted over Gretchen's face. “I Sweetly she sank to her last repose, have only asked one favour of God, rejoicing to reach her Father's and that was to be allowed to do house on high. something for you. The time has Anna adorned with loving care come, and God will help me to be the remains of her faithful friend, useful, for of myself I am still too and hot tears fell on the fragrant awkward and clumsy."

blossoms she placed about her. In a little while she was at home As the simple procession wended in the sick-room, and with a feeling its way to the churchyari, now and of security Anna could allow some then a passer-by would inquire who rest to her tired body. There were was being borne to the last reststill anxious days and weary nights, ing-place. but the burden was easier to carry Only a half-idiotic servant of when shared with another. When Mrs. Willard's,"

was the usual at last the danger was over, Gret- reply. chen's delight knew no bounds: But in the room from which the all weariness was rewarded by the coffin had been carried, the weeplove of the little ones and their ing children gathered around their mother. But as their strength in- mother, asking for Gretchen; and creased, poor Gretchen's seemed to in the cemetery soon arose above fail. She was not ill, she would the flower-covered mound a plain say, “ only tired,” and utterly in- white stone, upon which were the capable of her usual exercise. words which one day another Autumn came and went. Its last Judge than the world shall say :sunny days had seemed to invigo “ THOU HAST BEEN FAITHFUL OVER rate her, but when the rough winter A FEW THINGS; I WILL MAKE THEE storms shook the remaining yellow RULER OVER MANY THINGS."

RECLAIMING BACKSLIDERS. BACKSLIDING members are usually treated in a way that results in more harm than good. Neglecters of covenant obligations are rather likely to be let alone unless somebody gets offended at them; and discipline administered in anger is worse than wasted. If you are

animated by passion in punishing a child, or even an irrational animal, you may engender fear, or hate, or wrath, but you will not rectity the evil that needs to be remedied. The boy's heart will fill with cursing, and the cow's hoof with kicking, but no wrong will be righted. It is love that edifieth. It is considerate and gentle treatment which must be relied upon mainly to subdue and renovate a depraved nature. Said a young girl to me: “I know that I do wrong many, many times. I would give almost anything for motherly advice and a few encouraging words, but there is no one to go to. If I stumble, they all are ready to push me on further into the wrong; but there is not one to help me rise. Instead, they will give me a scathing lecture, only to madden my wounded feelings and make me worse than ever.”

But I remember another young girl—a member of the school I was teaching. She was bright enough to learn her lessons in a quarter of the time required by her mates, and so had abundance of leisure. She was prone to mischief, and was very sly in perpetrating it. She was the consummate p'ague of the school. Two or three years afterwards I re-visited the place, and among those who greeted me on Sabbath morning, in the vestibule of one of the churches, was that incarnate annoyance, Mary G. She remarked : “I hope, Mr. M., I am a better girl than I used to be when you were here.” In the most cordial manner I replied, " Why, I think you used to be a pretty good girl, didn't you ?” She burst into tears.

“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such an one." Dov't avoid him; don't reproach him; don't file charges against him; there is only one thing to be thought of reclaim him, get him right again. Set your heart upon that, and direct your effuits towards it, discreetly, considerately, tenderly, and the erring one will be reclaimed. Perhaps not, but undoubtedly he may. In visiting a Church with which I had once been conuected, I learned that one member of the Church had not attended public worship for over twenty years; his pastor had offended him, and he allowed his children to grow up outside of religious influences. I learned that two other meinbers bad scarcely visited the Lord's house for thirteen years ; a babit of neglect seemed to have stolen over them almost imperceptibly. Another had omitted some of the conspicuous duties of a Church member for seven or eight years; a majority of his brethren had decided on some step to which he was opposed, and he

Here were notable instances in which the covenant of the Church was continuously violated, but no discipline was undertaken. An unbappy case, which had formerly occupied the Church during seven or eight years, and had threatened to make a wreck of the institution, discouraged further engagement in that line. But there had also been an omission of the informal and more genial kind of effort to recall the wanderers. “ If a man be overtaken in a fault, .... restore such an one." It was obvious that no one of the brethren had read this admonition for nearly a quarter of a century.

stayed away.

I addressed a note to the aged member who had been longest astray, requesting him to call upon me. I mentioned that his relations with the Church did not seem as orderly and pleasant as would seem desirable, and that I was desirous of having the disorder adjusted. He called upon me, acknowledging his grave fault, wept over it, knelt with me in prayer, and signified that the wrong should be set right so far as he could do it.

The other unapproved members were approached in the same friendly and considerate way, and the effort was crowned with the happiest success. All of them resumed their right relation to the Church, and walked in all its ordinances blameless.

Anything more useless or more hurtful than the way in which brethren sometimes attempt to " discipline

" each other is not easy to conceive of.

" HE GAVE IT TO ME BEFORE." In the course of a delightful tour had been in countless thousands. in Scotland, in September last, I The back views were equally lovely, found myself on Loch Ness; and as we caught between the trees although I had twice before visited wide expanses of the smooth blue the celebrated Fall of Foyers, yet loch, now far below us, and of the so magnificent and fascinating is mountains on the other side, towered the scene that I could not resist the over by the great Mealfourvonie, temptation of making a third pil- rising almost perpendicular from grimage to its side.

the lake to the height of 3,000 feet. It was

a beautiful day. For The fall is seen from two points some time previously there had been -one from above, where (almost heavy and continuous rain, so that on a level with the river as it we might calculate on an unusual bursts through its rocky barriers) body of water; and from the lake we the eye looks down and down into could already see at nearly half-a- the dizzy and horrid depths of the mile off the clouds of spray ascend- vast cauldron into which it pre. ing from out the gorge and float- cipitates itself in a sheet of whitened ing wide over the trees, as if to foam. This leap is above 200 feet, justify its Gaelic name, which is, and forms one of the highest cataliterally, “ The fall of smoke." racts in the world. Few are the

The sun shone brightly on the heads that do not turn and swim steep but well-kept path that led as they continue to watch it falling us to the cataract, the sapling oaks — falling--falling in ever-bursting and ash and the drooping birches torrents, " dim seen through rising danced freshly in his beams; and mists and ceaseless showers." where they struggled through that But perhaps the most striking leafy canopy they fell upon the view is obtained after a scramble mountain breast, carpeted with amongst rocks and trees, which heather and ling, and the green terminates on an isolated pinnacle, leaves of primroses, that told where a yard or two broad, that juts out in springtide their starry blooms into middle air and brings one full

[ocr errors]

in front of the fall. You then see had watched the same rush and that you are in the midst of a wide struggle and leap, and had comcircle of crags, almost as one might pared it with the softer beauties fancy the crater of an extinct vol- and warmer delights of his native cano. These walls rise abrupt and Terni. Here had come mailed sheer some 500 feet; but at one warriors of the middle ages; here, side of this circle a chasm has been too, the Covenanters, who, exiled cleft deep in the rim, and through from temples made with hands, this struggles and twists the im- had worshipped the Creator in petuous stream, like a living crea- rocky cathedrals piled up by His ture that will not be restrained in own hands to the diapason of cata.' some desperate course. The rocks ract and winds; here in after times appear to rise as if to forbid its had come artists and lovers of progress, and for a moment it nature, simple countryman and seems to pause ; but heaped up busy citizen ; here have come, do and crushing between them it come, and will come, tourists by rushes on; a moment and it is over thousands; and all have seen and the ledge, and in one great leap of will see the same grand sight, all 200 feet it falls a mingled shifting be stirred by the same emotions of arch of brown water, and foam surprise, wonder, delight, and fear. white as carded wool, into the Again, I say, how different from rocky abyss below, to escape by a the works of man is this manifesnoisy tortuous channel and through tation of the Creator! a deeper rift on the other side of As I stood and watched its rethe circle to the far down loch. sistless power, energy, perpetuity,

The rocky pinnacle on which I it seemed to me, if not a very in. stood stretched out into the centre carnation, at least a revelation of of the crater, and made one side of the Deity, " the same yesterday, the pit into which the seething to-day, and for ever.” cataract fell. Far down you look Perhaps these thoughts lent a to see the rocks against which it colouring and a meaning to the dashes itself, and from these rocks words I a few minutes after overascends so thick a spray that the heard, and which gave the title and mackintoshes and umbrellas that reason for the present paper. are spread for a defence run in At the last gate that leads to the streams in a few seconds. Words Fall two little girls wǝre stationed, are weak to describe the sublimity hoping, in acknowledgment of their and wonderful beauty of the scene. courtesy, to receive an odd penny As I stood and watched it I could or two from the tourist. As I not byt reflect that this same over- loitered near them for a moment, powering rush and fall and thunder waiting for my party, one comely had been going on day after day, little lassie said to the other, “ But night after night, through thirsty perhaps your father will not give it summers, through icy winters, to you.” Replied the other, “Oh, ceaseless, pauseless, restless, since yes, but he will though, for he gave I had seen it first, years before---so it to me before.” Gave what? I different from all the works of man, know not. But fragmentary as the that soon intermit or wear them- conversation was, the child's arguselves out. Nay, I considered that ment was clear. Her father had here in prehistoric times came the given her a something in the past, wild painted Scot and saw all that and that in her eyes was a conI still saw. Here came the Roman clusive reason why he should give legionary, and doubtless from this it to her again. self-same rock, 1,800 years ago,

Can we not learn a lesson from

« AnteriorContinuar »