Abbildungen der Seite



“Oh, well,” said Jane, “I mean that you're religious. For my part, I don't see the use of people making themselves so much better than other folks."

The other servant said nothing, but it was quite evident from her looks that she thought Jane had said a very smart

Grace replied, with good temper, that she had promised her mother when she went to place, that she would read her Bible every day; and besides it was the best of all books, and she felt she ought to read it.

“I think it's quite enough,” resumed Jane, “to hear it read at church or chapel, or at all events to read a chapter to one's self on Sundays, without reading it all the week.”

It was a sharp fire that opened on Grace to begin with; and a series of annoyances followed, which lasted a good while. She was often deeply grieved, and sometimes it was no easy matter to keep her temper; but she was very guarded, and never gave an unkind or a hasty reply. She made no parade of her religion, was always cheerful and always obliging, and showed at all times a readiness to please and help; but on no account would she do what she deemed wrong. By and by she was left to take her own course in peace. Indeed her fellow-servants agreed between themselves that the only fault they had to find with her was her religion.

This was much more pleasant, but it was not enough for Grace. It grieved her much to hear their frivolous conversation, and to see the trashy kind of reading with which they occupied their leisure; but she was most of all concerned to find that they scarcely ever went to any place of worship, and, instead, rambled about in the fields or visited their friends. What could she do to lead them to see and act differently?

She had a number of interesting books of her own, some of them given her at the Sunday school, some of them presents from her late master and mistress and from visitors at the house, and a few which she had bought. These, without saying anything about them, she laid in their way. There was an excellent library at the place of worship which she attended, from which she had long been in the habit of procuring books; and now her choice was guided much more by what she thought would do her fellow-servants good than with a view to her own gratification.

Such books as they preferred were not always to be had; so, for lack of what suited their taste, they were frequently glad to take up Grace's books. Very pleasant books they were, interesting stories, anecdotes or memoirs; all of them imbued with the great principles of the gospel. By and by, they began to feel that they were far superior to the books they had been accustomed to read, and gradually learned to prefer them.

One day Jane Evans said, "Grace, can any body get books out of the library at Mr. Crozier's ?”

Grace thought it was for the use of the congregation exclusively, but would inquire. On stating the case to the librarian, he said that the rule might be relaxed, and that they might procure books from the library, on payment of a small nominal subscription.

But one thing led to another. A favourable influence was exerted on the minds the two servants by the readiness with which their request was granted. They often heard from Grace what a good minister Mr. Crozier was; and now and then, when the sermon was one which she thought would interest them, she told them what she could remember of it. After a while she ventured to remonstrate with them on the way in which they spent their Sundays, and asked them to accompany her to the house of God. At length, one evening, Mary Grey said she would be glad to go with her.

The sermon that night was a very plain and earnest discourse on the passage, “ One thing is needful.” Mr. Crozier showed how salvation was the one thing needful, how much more precious it was than any thing else that could be desired, and how it was to be obtained through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He concluded by an earnest appeal to all his hearers who had not found salvation to seek it at once.

Mary had never heard such a sermon as that before, although she had been in some measure prepared for it by the good books she had lately read. She listened with much attention, and was deeply impressed.

“ I'll go with you again, Grace,” she said on her way home; “ I liked it very much.”

She fulfilled her resolve, and persuaded Jane Evans to go

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

as well.

[ocr errors]

The result was, that there were no more Sunday rambles or visitings; but, on every occasion when it was possible,

they went together, and Grace had every reason to believe that they were both sincere inquirers after salvation.

Matters had reached this stage in the kitchen and the nursery, when deep trouble befell the family with whom Grace lived. One of the children, the eldest daughter, a sweet girl of about fourteen years of age, returned from school, which had been broken up hastily on account of a fever which had prevailed amongst some of the pupils. It was hoped that she would escape, for she was taken home as soon as her parents heard of what had happened; but she had already caught the infection. All care was taken; but four out of the six children were prostrated, and in one day the corpses of the youngest two were carried to the grave. They could procure no assistance, as everybody was afraid; but the servants devoted themselves with entire self-forgetfulness and unremitting care to the nursing of the sick, till they themselves were almost worn out. Poor Ellen recovered from the fever, but it left behind the seeds of consumption. During the fever, she had been Grace's especial care, and afterwards she expressed a strong desire that Grace should be with her as much as possible. It was not only that she was very kind and gentle; she had spoken to Ellen of salvation through the Lord Jesus, and had read to her portions of Scripture and hymns; and Ellen, awakened to serious thought, wished to hear more. Her parents, altogether ignorant of the great truths of the gospel, were at first unwilling that her mind should be disturbed with thoughts about religion;" for their great idea of religion was, that its only use was that of a preparation for death, and that at best it was a very melancholy thing. Ellen, however, was so earnest, that they yielded, and left Grace at perfect liberty to converse with her as she pleased.

One day, Grace went to her mistress and said, “ Please, ma'am, I've been talking to Miss Ellen, and she says she would


much like to see Mr. Crozier." Mrs. Gilmore was startled. She had tried to persuade herself that her darling would soon recover; and the expression of such a wish by the poor sufferer seemed an indication of her own sense of danger. “I hope it is not needful, Grace," at length she said; “I hope she'll soon be

” better.”

“ She does not think so herself, ma'am,” replied Grace;

“ but it can do no harm Mr. Crozier coming, and I'm sure it would be a comfort to Miss Ellen.”

“I will consult Mr. Gilmore when he comes home," replied Mrs. G.

The parents consented. So well, however, had Grace taught the dying young lady the way of salvation, that Mr. Crozier felt he could address her as one of the dear lambs of the Saviour's flock, and speak to her such words of comfort and hope as could be fitly spoken only to a true Christian. To himself his visits were a source of much pleasure, and Ellen always welcomed him most gladly; till at length the hand of death dismissed her to the great fold above.

The benefit of Mr. Crozier's visits, however, was not confined to Ellen. With much kindness and wisdom, he directed Mr. and Mrs. Gilmore to the great sources of Christian consolation, and, through the blessing of God on his teachings, they learned, even when the third bereavement befel them-on many accounts the heaviest of all--to say,

Thy will be done."

Grace left them soon after to enter on a home of her own, but she was always remembered gratefully by both master and mistress and fellow-servants as the first link in the chain of influences which led them to Christ.

[ocr errors]

TRUE CHARITY.* We may trace the practical working of this spirit, in charity for the opinions of others in matters of religion. The religious opinions of men are often the result of early education, of the circumstances which surround them, or of some bias or prejudice taken up without due reflection. Sometimes they are the result of severe thought and prolonged mental struggles without proper helps to truth. In the whole sphere of mind there is hardly a spectacle so thrilling as that of a great intellect honestly intent upon the discovery of truth, groping blindly among the pillars of her temple, and at last, like Samson, mocked and baffled, pulling them down upon itself. Could we give sight to those eyes, could we guide those faltering steps and plant

* From “The Band of Christian Graces.” By Dr. Thompson, of New York. Just published by the Religious Tract Society.

them upon

the rock of truth, what joy should we bring to that soul, and what honour to the truth! Did we know more of the early education of others, of their mental habits, of their inward struggles, we should be more charitable toward them in their errors ; remembering the counsel of Paul to Timothy: “Be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient; in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves, if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.'

But while I thus plead for charity toward those in error, I do not plead for that false liberality which is indifferent to truth. The distinction between the two is finely drawn by a recent writer: “ Charity holds fast the minutest atoms of truth, as being precious and divine, offended by even so much as a thought of laxity. Liberality loosens the terms of truth; permitting easily and with careless magnanimity variations from it; consenting, as it were, in its own sovereignty, to overlook or allow them; and subsiding thus ere long into a licentious indifference to all truth, and a general defect of responsibility in regard to it. Charity extends allowance to men; liberality to falsities themselves. Charity takes the truth to be sacred and immovable; liberality allows it to be marred and maimed at pleasure.” While therefore our charity should lead us to be kind and gentle toward those in error, we should remember with Paul that, as the friends of Christ, “ We can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.”

Another application of this law of love is to the faults of others. Charity shall cover the multitude of sins,” not however, in the papal sense, that almsgiving pays for indulgences—that one can buy license to sin against God by doing some petty favour to man. The charity here spoken of is not alms to men, but the spirit of love in the heart. The sins which it covers are not those of him who loves, but those of the object of that love. Charity does not ignore sins, nor connive at them, nor make light of them as against God; but it passes by offences against itself, and does not suffer them to deter it from doing good to another. Though the raving drunkard should mock and curse you, yet should you cover his nakedness, and minister to his wants. The rule of Christian forbearance and good-will has a wider sphere than the church of Christ.

" If a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such an one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest


« ZurückWeiter »