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gone without !
yourself? Oh, Richard, I do believe it was, and you have
“Never mind asking questions, but let me enjoy my pleasure,” said Richard. “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” And though poor himself, Richard always found some way to help those who were still poorer.
“Oh, sir," said the woman who had first spoken of Richard to the visitor who sought admission to his door, “ I have been longing to tell you of the change that has come over that good man. He often suffers sadly at night. Indeed he says an hour or two of sleep at a time is all he ever gets; and what do you think he does, sir ? Why, instead of tearing about, and raging and swearing till we are all frightened out of our senses, as he used to do, he gets up quietly (my husband slept in his room a few nights when the children were ill, and Richard kindly said he had better come there and ge some sleep, else he couldn't work in the day), he gets up and lights his candle and sits at his little table with the Bible before him, and he just softly asks God to come and stay by him, and teach him something out of his word, to pass the time, and keep him from minding his pain. Why, sir, it's done my husband good to see it, for he says the religion must be true and real that can make such a change as this. And I do hope I'll be forgiven for calling him a lion in his bad days; for sure I am, he's like nothing but a lamb now, with his kind heart and gentle ways."
Yes, Richard was a lamb now; in temper and disposition and manner, so changed from his former self, that had it not been for the same sickly suffering body, few would have known him again. He was a living epistle, a light in the dark world, a messenger of peace and blessing, because he believed in the Lord Jesus Christ for his own soul's salvation; and with the mind of Christ within him, it was his meat and drink, his life and pleasure, to follow his steps and •
no longer live unto himself, but unto Him that died for him and rose again.” If any one might be excused from working for others, Richard surely might; but he thought there was no way to forget one's own trouble so sweet, so effectual, as in efforts to soothe and mitigate the troubles of others. It was to a visit of mercy, and “ word in season,” that he owed, under God, all his hope and happiness; and to minister in his turn, and let the meekness of the lamb be known where the fierce rage of the lion had
been, was at once his duty, his privilege, and for his Master's honour. Beautiful fruit, from union with the living vine! Who would not desire the Divine root to spread and flourish, and thus bear conclusive evidence against the lying spirit that denies the power of the cross of Christ, whence alone springs all that is “pure and lovely, and of good report.” Christ the sufferer for suffering man, revealed by the Spirit in his soul, constrained him to be cheerful and resigned, nay more, to be useful and even joyful; and instead uf murmuring at pain, enabled him meekly to say, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted.”
May this true story of Richard B-, which I have told exactly as it happened, stimulate many to labour for Christ, even amidst the most discouraging circumstances, and help many afflicted ones to bear even the heaviest trials.
THE LORD WILL PROVIDE. “I do hope they will take down that awning,” said a lady to her nearest neighbour, on board a steamer.
Why, ma'am ?” asked the gentleman addressed. “I think it dangerous. A man has just been saying that a sudden gust of wind might overset the vessel, so topheavy as it is, and with that awning flapping about."
“ Have no fear, my dear madam; there is no danger." In the course of conversation he proceeded to speak of the perfect security enjoyed by those who trust in God's care.
“And you believe in God's especial providence ?"
“I never suffer myself to doubt it. I believe that he guides our smallest action, if that action be submitted to him. We do not quite realize this sufficiently; or we should be far less anxious about the things of time."
“Ah!" sighed the lady, "that is true : 'In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and he shall direct thy path.' That is a promise: but what wonderful condescension !"
“It is so; and yet we have daily proofs that he does condescend to guide us. A most wonderful instance of this occurred in the neighbourhood of the city of Bwhere I live."
“Will you kindly relate it?" “ With pleasure.
A young woman had been for some time much impressed with the awful condition of poor fallen women: the subject occupied her mind unceasingly
---she could not dispel it; and so, after much thought, and fervent prayer, she opened her small house to receive one or two who had bitterly repented, and turned from the path of sin. Her means were very small, but she shared them cheerfully. Soon another, and yet another were added to her family; though labouring diligently, she found it hard to support the increasing burden. Some days her soul would sink within her, fearing lest she had been guilty of presumption, and that the Lord would not give his great blessing to her work. At these times she would pray very earnestly for guidance; and generally after these seasons of trial she would go on with fresh energy.
“ It happened one morning, when much harassed with these perplexing fears, that a fresh applicant arrived, a poor young creature bowed down with sorrow. •6• Save me!' she cried. Oh save me shelter me, I en
!! “ Poor Miss Christiana (for so I will call her) knew not how to refuse such an appeal. But her means were running short. She would not go into debt.
There were others to be thought of and cared for. Then, further, she had no bed : every bed was full, and she had no means to buy one. What could she do?
6 • Poor girl! poor girl!' she sobbed forth, 'what am I to do?
“ « Shelter me,' implored the sufferer; "save my soul, and my body! Do not cast me forth !' “No, I cannot; and yet-oh, what can I do ?'
Oh, save me, save me!' groaned the wretched girl. 66. Leave me now.
I will decide after a few hours of reflection. Call this evening, at five o'clock.'
“ The girl went away; and Christiana prayed to her God for guidance, for strength. She spread forth her hands
. in the solitude of her own chamber, and cried with an exceeding bitter cry unto her Lord. Did he hear? He always hears; though sometimes he may answer in a different way to what we expect. On leaving her chamber Christiana went about her usual daily duties, but always with the prayer at her heart. Hour after hour went by, when, a little before the decisive hour, a man called inquiring for Miss Christiana ;-he had brought a bed for her.
“Oh,' said Christiana, “it is a mistake; I do not expect a bed; I have not bought one.'
Indeed, ma’am, there is no mistake at all. Did not
you say your name was Miss Christiana ? and is not
your house No. ? There can be no mistake about it. I was told to bring this bed and bedding to the Refuge ; and this I reckon is the Refuge, miss ?'
“ Tears choked Christiana's voice. Could it be? Was this indeed for her ?what she most needed ! The man would take no denial; neither would he say by whom the bed was sent;—he had been told to take it to that place, and to fix it up for Miss Christiana ; and he did
The bed therefore was in its place before the clock struck five; so of course the poor outcast was admitted. Although greatly relieved, and abundantly thankful for this most providential and mysterious gift, Christiana's troubles were not all, and immediately, at an end. She had
many, many further trials of faith and patience. One day, being much bowed in spirit, she again, as was her wo ad out her case before her Lord; and after much earnest prayer, she came to a resolution to go on for another three months, and, if at the end of that time, the obstacles should not be in some degree removed, she made up her mind to give up her work, believing firmly that she should be directed.
" Some weeks of the period had gone by, when a lady called to see the little establishment, which by this time began to be known in the neighbourhood. The lady was very particular and kind in her inquiries, expressed herself much pleased, and took a cordial leave of Christiana. A little time after this visit, a parcel was sent, with the lady's compliments; a large bulky parcel it proved indeed, containing, what think you ? Seventeen pairs of excellent blankets, and a cheque for fifty pounds. Of course Christiana diá not give up her undertaking, now so signally blessed. She had many, many more proofs of God's direct love and care. Many things which she had desired much, but which seemed too trivial to pray for, came to her. It was now a table, now a small sum of money; many and various were the well-timed benefactions; it was just this —the Lord cared for her. In all her ways she acknow
him, and he fulfilled his promise,- he directed her paths.
“ It was about six years since the first struggles, that a pious Quaker lady was in conversation with Christiana; they were talking of the wonderful ways of God shown in small, as well as in great things. When Christiana
related to her visitor the mysterious and most opportune arrival of the bed, the Quakeress smiled, and a tear stole into her kind eye. . And dost not thou know, my.friend, who sent thee that bed ? No,' replied Christiana. 'In all those six years I have never been able to discover.' *Nor have I ever mentioned the circumstance, either, to any one,' replied her visitor; but it seems now fitting that I should tell thee that I sent that bed.' The lady then related how, that on that particular day, she was strolling in her garden, when she seemed to hear a voice saying, Send a bed and bedding immediately to Christiana -to the Refuge.' She thought it was fancy, and continued her walk; when again the words came to her, borne this time more strongly on her mind, 'Send a bed and bedding to the Refuge. She did not dare to hesitate; neither did she like to mention a circumstance likely to incur a smile of incredulity. She therefore immediately rang for her servant, and told him to take a small bed which she had, and the bedding belonging to it, without any delay, to the Refuge, and not to say one word more about it.”
These are very remarkable facts, showing the infinite love of God for his dear children. And who are his children ? Those who trust, honour, and love him, whosoever they may be. Christiana was a Wesleyan Methodist ; the kind donor of the blankets and the cheque was a worthy member of the Established Church; while, as we have seen, one friend in need was a member of the Society of Friends. 1
Are we, then, not all brothers and sisters in the Lord ?
THE HOUR OF HARD WORK.* •
“I know what that is as well as any one can tell me. It seems to me as if all
hours were like that,-hours of hard work!" True, dear friend, you know perhaps much more of what is generally called hard work than I do, and yet cannot we talk about it together and find something that will suit us both in our daily work? For all of us have work to do, and we all need the same strength for it, though each one has a different work.
It has been often said that women's work is never done. Is not this a true saying ? Have not you often thought when your
husband has come home from work, * From “ Hours with Working Women." Just published by the Religious Tract Society.