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you want, and be able to manage over the winter; you must go to some of the richer members of the congregation, and I have no doubt they will help you; there are plenty of things given away at Christmas-time."
It was with a sorrowful face that poor Esther passed me; she seemed slightly to shiver; perhaps she was thinking of the contrast between her scanty clothing and miserable handful of fire at home, and Mrs. Coleman's warm winter dress and cheerful blazing grate. At any rate, if she was not, I was. As I took my customary subscription from the bland, smiling Mrs. Coleman, how sorry I felt that she, too, had one of the imperfect Bibles.
How do you know that she had ?” are you saying, dear reader ? Why, don't you remember the fifteenth verse of the second chapter of the Epistle of James: “If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, depart in peace,
ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body, what doth it profit?” And the seventeenth verse of the third chapter of St. John's Epistle: “Whoso hath this world's goods, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?! “He that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen ?” Certainly, these verses were not to be found in Mrs. Coleman's Bible. The supposition that it might contain them, is too absurd to be credited, for she could not then have acted as she I was very thankful when I took
poor Esther had already departed, for I met the grocer's lad in the passage, with a large basket piled up with tea and sugar, currants and raisins, and a variety of such like articles, in preparation for the approaching festivities ; and as Esther probably was not aware how imperfect Mrs. Coleman's Bible was, such a sight as
that might have raised some painful, if not bitter thoughts in her mind.
After that, I proceeded to widow Wilson's. Her eldest girl, Fanny, had just finished her subscription for a nicely bound Bible, and I was carrying it for her in my new Zolverein bag. Fanny is a pleasant-tempered and rather clever girl ; but she has one sad fault; she does not obey her mother, as a child should, with promptness and cheerfulness. She never does anything she is required to do until the last moment; until she cannot well help it. They live up stairs; and before • I reached their room, I heard the widow say, in too mild a tone perhaps, “Fanny, how many more times this morning must I tell you to put away that crochet and mend your brother's shirt ? "
“Well mother, I'm going to do it presently," said Fanny, without moving an inch, or looking up for a minute.
“Presently is not now, Fanny.”
“But I do so want to finish this piece of lace, 'mother.”
“You can finish that another time; besides, it is your duty to do as you are told."
“I hate mending shirts," said Fanny, sulkily," why can't Ruth do it instead of me?"
After a little more altercation in the midst of which I entered-Fanny got up for her work and sat down to do it; but I could see by the way in which she drew her needle in and out, that she was in a cross mood. The sight of the new Bible, however, brightened her up a little. She expressed her gratification at having such a nice one for herself, and I joined in her admiration of it, adding, “Yes Fanny, and it is quite perfect too, which, I think, your old one is not.” Fanny opened her eyes rather widely. “ Indeed ma'am,” she said, “though the old one looks very shabby, there is not a bit of it gone."
"Then I was mistaken, Fanny,” I said quietly, “I
imagined that one of the leaves must have been lost, because you don't appear to have read it. Shall I show
the one I mean ?" I turned to the sixth chapter of Ephesians, and pointed out to her the first
The colour rushed to her cheeks, for she instantly perceived my meaning; but I had only time to say one or two kind words to her, before her mother returned from the room above, where she had been to fetch her son Harry's contribution towards his new Bible ; and I am too well acquainted with young folks to talk to them about themselves, and especially about their faults, before their parents. I rejoiced to think that Fanny had got a whole Bible now; and I trusted she would prove that she had by the alteration in her daily conduct.
There could be no question that the text to which I had referred my little friend Fanny, was printed in large and legible characters in the family Bible of Mrs. Marshall (my next subscriber) for she is perpetually repeating it for the edification of her band of little
I suppose they need its reiteration, for Mrs. Marshall is very often scolding them for their disregard of it. She is one of those mothers who seem to think that the only way to get their children into the paths of obedience, is to teaze and torment them into it. To use an expressive family phrase, she is always “at them.” They hardly have a minute's peace, poor children! And so incessant is her fault-finding, and so irritating are her reproofs, that they get discouraged and careless, and make impertinent speeches in reply. I am sure my heart ached for them that morning, as I sat there and watched them. Some seemed sulky; others were rude and defiant; and one or two of the younger ones looked really frightened of their mother.
It immediately occurred to me, that although Mrs. Marshall's Bible plainly contained the first part of the sixth chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians; yet,
through some unaccountable oversight, the third verse had not been inserted there, “Fathers” (I understand the term as inclusive of both parents) “provoke not your children to wrath.” And the twenty-first verse of the third chapter of the Colossians, “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger lest they be discouraged,
bsent. did not think it right to draw Mrs. Marshall's attention, in the presence of her children, to her defective copy of the Scriptures; but I purpose giving her a hint on the subject when I have a convenient opportunity. And perhaps I may tell her of a reply which a little girl, between three and four years of age, gave to her mother one day. Having failed in some small duty, her mother remarked to her,
Sarah, do you not know that it is said in Scripture, Children obey your parents ?” The child probably felt herself unjustly accused. “Yes mother," she replied, “and directly after it takes the part of the poor children, and says, 'Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath.'” I only wish Mrs. Marshall was as well informed, as this quick little Sarah seemed to be about parental obligations.
Now it would be very easy for me to multiply instances of these imperfect Bibles. I could tell you of thin, sharp-looking Miss Sparks, the dressmaker, in whose copy of God's Word the Tenth Commandment, and the injunction, “Be ye content with such things as ye have,” seem to have no place ;-of old Milly Simpson, whose anxious and incessant solicitude about the future, clearly indicates, that the closing paragraph of St. Matthew's sixth chapter, and St. Peter's precious words, “ Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you,” were, for some unknown and inexplicable reason, left out from the venerable volume which she uses; of —; but it is unnecessary to enumerate any more illustrations of the fact with which I commenced this paper; for if you are not already persuaded of its reality, you never will be.
So having, as I think, fairly proved my point, I have only, dear reader, respectfully to suggest in conclusion, the possibility of your Bible belonging to the imperfect list. You may not have examined it very carefully; will
you do so now? I do not ask whether the copy which you possess is bound in sheep, roan, or morocco; whether its type is diamond, pearl, ruby, minion, nonpareil, or brevier; whether it is gilt-edged and silver-clasped, or neither; but I merely wish to know whether any part of your daily conduct warrants the supposition that some precept or promise must surely be lacking there. If it does, I advise you, without delay, to remedy the defect; ever bearing in mind that “the law of the Lord is perfect ;” and that "all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness.'
A TALE OF THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY.
Chapter II. “WELCOME home, Philip," said his father ; “I guess by that look that thou hast news to tell us.”
“News indeed, father!" repeated Philip, as he threw aside the coarse woollen cap which hid his clustering hair, and displayed his manly sunburnt countenance, news which brings us vengeance for the past and hope for the future. The Prince of Orange is in Flanders ; ten days ago he had arrived at Ruremonde; he has brought some thousand brave Germans to aid us, and
Hush, brother! not so loud; we are not free yet," interrupted Lisa.
“But we shall soon be, Lisa, and these are tidings worth the hearing ; and a summons, I was about to say, to all true hearts and hands to join him. Amsterdam, Dort, Gonda, and almost every other town, will open their gates to him ; and some are his already."