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face when I go in, and a sunny smile when I leave him. I believe he has lain in much the same state for many years, but lately I have seen a change in him, for he grows much weaker; but go yourself to him, a visit will do you good and him too. You will best learn his story from his own mouth, for he loves to tell of the accident which laid him on his bed. He says it shows what many ways and means the Lord has of bringing his people to himself.”
Accordingly I soon bent my steps that way again, and, tapping at the door, it was opened by a nice clean old
It was Linwood's wife, and I thought the cheerful quiet of the poor sufferer was over the whole house ; for though it all seemed very humble and poor, yet it looked so clean and pleasant, and the wife herself was the very picture of neatness and cheerfulness in her oldfashioned mob cap, her white handkerchief pinned over her shoulders, the ends tied down by the strings of her large and comfortable check apron. I told her that I had called to see her husband, hearing how glad he was to have a friend sit a bit with him, and read to him. “ Bless you for that then, ma'am,” she said;
sure my good man will only be too proud to listen to you, for he can't read himself, and I'm no scholar, more's the pity, for his sake. We wa’nt brought up in the time of good schools and teaching, like there is now-a-days for the young. Come up, ma'am, I know he'll be right glad to see you."
I went in, and saw the same sweet calm face that I had a glimpse of before through his little window, and such a happy smile spread all over it as he saw me. • Come in, come in, lady; I know you are the parson's sister; bless his kind heart! I've seen you before, too, perhaps when you didn't know it (alluding to his little window). Set a chair by the bedside for the lady, my woman; it's the Lord has sent her to me. I was low and wicked this morning, wishing I could get out in the sunshine, and envying those that passed by; and when I get in that low bad way, He always does send some kind friend to cheer me; and when they read to me all about his sufferings and how much he bore my sins, then my own troubles seem to grow light, and I know and feel why he put me on this sick bed never to rise from it more; and then I bless him that it is so, I do indeed, lady."
His head seemed so clear and his voice so strong that I
ventured to ask him what was the matter with him, and then noticed for the first time that his hands lay helpless outside the bed-clothes. The thought of what he had been and what he now was I suppose overcame him for a few moments, and the slow tears trickled down his pale cheeks,- he could not raise his hands to wipe them off, his faithful wife did it for him ; and gently raising the bed-clothes, which were propped so as not to press heavily on his legs, I saw a sight which indeed drew tears from my eyes; the limbs were utterly useless, swollen, and distorted, and they were so painful he could scarcely bear human fingers to touch them; and you may suppose how much he suffered at times.
“ Do not cry, lady,” he said, “ for me; the poor old limbs are most done with, but 'tis time-most time I hope for the Lord to work out his will concerning me- and there will be no more pain there, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.'
But if you are in no hnrry, I will tell you,” he said, “ how I came in this state, and then you will see how in mercy the Lord punished my poor body, but only that he may send better health to my poor soul.”
I settled myself by his bedside, and Linwood told me his simple and affecting story; I will try and tell it in his own words as near as I can.
Old Linwood's Story. “I was born and bred in this village, and at a very early age my mother died, and we were left to shift for ourselves in a great measure. My father was a thatcher, and I used to go out with him and carry the straw up to him and water it ready for use. I think I was about eighteen when he died, and having learnt how to thatch well under him, I made up my mind to carry on the business : and as I was a good workman and pretty steady, I got most of the old custom, and my time was well filled. after this Betsy and I were married; a good and faithful woman she's been to me these four-and-forty years come Michaelmas. We had two girls, and got on happy and comfortable, except that I think my poor woman was often made unhappy because I cared so little about religion. 'Tis true, I never made game of it as some do ; but
wife and children went to the house of God regularly, and read their good books at home, yet I never offered to go with them; and I am sorry to say always found some excuse if
pressed by her to go too. Our two girls grew up as pretty, modest, good girls as one need wish to have; they have both been gone to service these many years past, but they are still good children to us; they pay our rent between them, and do not forget to come and see the mother and me when they can.
“ I lived on for many years thinking I was as good as my neighbours, yet I never thought about my godless life, or that if it pleased God to call me away suddenly how fearful a thing it would be to lose my own soul. So the
life went on, and I was nigh on fifty-six, a strong, steady, sober, hard-working man, though I say it; but alas! with no love or fear of God in my heart. All was cold and dark and cheerless there, though folks little guessed at that when they saw me so well to do. My woman, I know, prayed for God to give me a new heart, and she and I are now both content that God should have worked that change in the way he saw best.
“ I was very busy finishing a job for farmer Hobbs one cold, windy March day; the wind was most too high to venture up; but he was pressing, and I anxious to do the job, as it only wanted a bit doing. I foolishly went up. Somehow I can never well remember how it happened the wind must have blown the ladder down just as I got to the top of it, and down it came on the hard court-yard below, and I fell with it, or rather it fell on me. remember no more till I was aroused by the pain of having my thigh set, and my shoulder was sadly put out; but it was a great wonder and a great mercy too I was not killed on the spot. Bless the Lord for sparing my life and giving me time for repentance. Weeks and months I lay bruised, and lame, and helpless; but I did not know at first, or the doctor either, the full truth. It turned out my spine was injured, and from that day to this, now past nine years, I have never left my
bed able so much as to lift
up hand to my mouth. At first, I complained bitterly of my hard lot, and was most ready to curse God and wish I might die; but when the whole truth came out and I knew and felt I should never more rise from my bed I was terrified.
“ Now was the blessing of my good wife proved. She bore with me, strengthened, comforted, and prayed with
But I cannot tell you the misery of that first year's suffering. I pray God you may never know the like, lady.
Then by degrees God sent his comfort into my heart. I was like a child—a young child, sucking in the blessed hopes and truths and promises out of his holy word, and so in time I knew and believed that Jesus died for me,-yes, for such a sinner as me. I saw the truth, and I saw too the meaning of all that God wanted to teach me when he laid me here a helpless cripple for life. He paid the debt for my
he delivered me from my sins; and now I can say with all my heart, 'It is the Lord : let him do what seemeth him good.
I can now die happy, thanks be to God; I have waited for him these many years; I do not think it will be very long before he takes me, yet happy, oh, so happy, so thankful! Yet the devil will not leave me even yet; whilst there is breath in this poor body he scourges me, and puts sometimes evil, discontented thoughts in my heart, like he did this morning; but When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will raise a standard against him.' A kind friend put in that little window there, so I can lie and see all that goes on.
I shall never forget, lady, what I felt when I first looked through it: I saw old faces and things I had not seen for years; it was ’most too much for me, it seemed as if I had been dead and brought to life again."
I thought he had talked enough, so I told him he must rest awhile, and I would read to him ; he thanked me, and asked me to read out of his own Bible which I should find under his pillow; “I cannot read it myself,” he said, “ but I like to know that it is near me. I read to him, and eagerly and devoutly did he listen to every word. When I rose to go, the tears stood in his eyes, and he begged me often to come and read for him. I promised to do so, and often found my way to his bedside. I was called away from Lindridge very unexpectedly soon after this; still I managed to slip in and wish Linwood goodbye.
I did not return to Lindridge for at least another year, and when I did, one of my first inquiries was after old
Linwood. “ The grass is scarcely green on his grave, said my brother; “ we buried him this spring in hope of a joyful resurrection through the merits of Christ his Saviour. He gradually declined all the winter, but did not seem to suffer so much pain at last. But one day when I saw him, he seemed to feel his end to be near at hand; but he was so happy, so cheerful, I scarcely thought
he was so soon to be taken ; yet that very night he was released from all his pains; he found what he desired, 'a better country, that is an heavenly.'”
His wife who, faithful to the last, sat by his bedside all night, told me he went off so quietly, she scarcely knew when the change took place, but that a little before he died she asked him if he could not sleep, and he replied, with a sweet smile, “ I am not tired now, God has taken all my weariness
I shall soon be at rest. You must not grieve for me, my woman, rather be glad when a wanderer reaches his home; kiss me, Betsy-God has pardoned my sins." He never spoke again.
This is no fiction, it is a true story; the grave has not long since closed over the real Linwood. Let us ask ourselves, Do we receive and own Christ as our Saviour, as he did? Do we feel that Christ died for our sins, and do we honour and love him as our deliverer? If so, we may rest assured that “ that which we have committed unto him he will keep against that day.”
UNCLE EDWARD'S ADVICE ABOUT MARRYING. ? A KINDER, more genial heart than my uncle, Mr. Morris's, never beat.
We nephews and nieces never called him anything but Uncle Edward ; and a good many of our young friends, who were neither nephews nor nieces, called him so too. Some of them, indeed, gave him another name, and it described him well—“Sunshine ;" for really he seemed to take the sunshine with him whereever he went. Dear, good old man ! I think I see him now, with his slightly stooping form, and his silvery hair, and his beaming smile; and, just as if it were only yesterday that I heard them, the clear tones of his ringing voice seem sounding in my ears. We owe him much; for he divided his property amongst us equally when he died : but far more than for that, we are indebted to him for wise counsels, which have already proved very precious, and which, I trust, we shall never forget.
Uncle Edward was a widower. Our aunt, the very counterpart of himself, died when she was a little turned fifty. They had had two lovely children ; but both were carried off in their childhood, after a very short illness,
within a few days of each other. When aunt died, therefore, uncle was left quite alone ; but I am quite sure he