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“Well, I told John, but he was very shy about it, and said he could pray in his heart, but that he could never bring out his words before any one. But I only laughed at him, and said that I wasn't going to be called “any one, and that when I was his wife I would only just be a bit of himself and not another person at all. So I coaxed him into it, and God only knows how that evening prayer together has helped and encouraged and comforted us, and it seems to bring fresh love to us every night; till John sometimes
he doesn't know what we'll come to in the end if we go on loving each other this way. And, says I, we're to go on till we love each other as much as Christ loves his church; for that's what he says himself.* But, indeed, I don't know what we'd do without prayer. And by God's blessing we're training up the children to think nothing too little to pray about, seeing that God is their Father.”
Well,” said Mrs. Clancy, “all you say gives me a good deal to think about. I'm sure, Mrs. Fair, you're a great deal happier than I am—but then, you know, some folks are born naturally good and others not. I'm afeared I'm one of the latter."
“You never made a greater mistake in your life,” said Mrs. Fair. “ As to being naturally good, my heart is not better than yours; and Mrs. Burke, though she was the best woman I ever knew, would say the same. It is all summed
of the Lord Jesus Christ that reconciled us when we were enemies by his death; it is the grace of the Holy Spirit which renews my will from day to day, and it's all of grace that I can pray one prayer or love God in return for his loving
Think of that, Mrs. Clancy, and remember the Lord Jesus has said, Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.'t"
THE GREAT SYMPATHIZER.
JISS ARNOLD shrank back with a shiver as she
opened the hall-door at nine o'clock that wild winter morning. It was piercing cold, and the oppose them.
bitter wind drove a shower of sleet full into her face as she stepped out. If it had been permissible, she * Eph. v. 25.
+ Matt. vii.
would have promptly re-entered the house, sought refuge from the storm 'in her own room, and spent the day in comfort, even if in solitude. But she was a governess, who must earn her daily bread by her daily labour; and no matter how fierce was the storm, unless she was ill, Miss Arnold must go forth and brave it.
She did so now, drawing her waterproof cloak closely around her, and bending her head before the sharp blast, as she hurried on her way. But she felt it hard as she struggled along, and caught passing glimpses now and then of other women looking out upon the storm from the pleasant shelter of curtained windows; she felt it hard that her life should have so much of exposure and effort in it. She had had such feelings before, but had felt them to be wrong, and had succeeded in subduing them; but they came to her with more than usual force this morning, and she seemed to have less courage, less faith, with which to
Things had not gone quite pleasantly with her in school for the past two days. Her oldest pupil, a girl of sixteen, had displayed, at some well-merited, but kind remonstrance, a degree of resentment and insubordination which had distressed her teacher very much, and had obliged her, with whatever reluctance, to persevere in her assertion of authority, and to indicate disapproval by assuming a coldness of manner which reacted with a chill upon her own genial nature.
She had not allowed herself to be discouraged the first day, however ; but when the second passed, and her pupil, while not venturing an open act of disobedience, displayed its spirit constantly by haughty looks, sullen tones, and a total absence of any consciousness of error, or any promptings of regret, then the young teacher's heart grew sick, and her life-work assumed the look of an ungenial, a laborious, a thankless task. And what made it all more discouraging, was that the young girl who was causing her so much trouble was a professing Christian; but, although appealed to in the way most likely to influence such, had still persisted in a quietly, but resolutely wrong and unpleasant course.
So the young teacher had gone home, tired and disheartened, and more ready to repine at her lot than to ask help to bear its trials. There was no one to whom she could open her heart; she did not wish to write and sadden her mother, who had so many cares of her own, by a recital of her troubles. She spent the evening in her lonely room, yielding to the influence of desponding and murmuring thoughts, and retired to rest with only her usual evening devotions, never remembering that there was a special Friend to go to in times of special need, and that we have One upon whom we may safely cast our cares, knowing that he careth for us.
The wild storm to which she awaked in the morning did not tend to cheer her spirits, and it was with a very dreary feeling that she took her seat, tried with the buffeting of her mind, in the dirty and comfortless omnibus filled with cold and dripping people. She sat intrenched behind her veil, thinking her own moody thoughts for a wbile; but by-and-by her attention was unconsciously arrested by a conversation going on in a low tone between two gentlemen just opposite to her.
is as the great Sympathizer he seems most precious to me, now-a-days," one was saying to the other. " It has pleased God to send me much trouble of late-not that I would murmur at it; I know that whom he loveth he chasteneth—but still it would have been very hard to bear if it had not been for the sweet consolations of Christ. Jesus has been my nearest Friend, my best help, my great Sympathizer, through it all. Oh, I cannot tell you the comfort it has been just to go to him with my grief when it seemed too grievous to be borne, to drop my burden at his feet, to lay my head upon his breast, to feel the everlasting arms beneath me, to know that he understood and pitied all my suffering, to be comforted as one whom his mother comforteth. Ah! there is no earthly friend whose sympathy can do one so much good; and it has become my sweetest privilege now to go to Jesus with everything, small and great, joy and sorrow, pain and pleasure. He never disappoints one, and it is the only sympathy of which one can always be sure.”
The speaker's voice was low with deep feeling, and no one heard his earnest words but the friend to whom he addressed them and the desponding girl opposite, who drank them in as thirsty lips drink in cold water. She had felt so lonely, so friendless, so poor in pity and sympathy but a moment before; and now she thought, with a rush of remorseful tenderness, how she had forgotten that Friend above all others, who sticketh closer than a brother,
and who has promised never to leave them comfortless who put their trust in him.
Her eyes filled with tears, springing up from the same sweet source as those which trembled on the lashes of her unconscious comforter opposite.
“ Dear Jesus !" she thought, a tender, solemn glow warming her heart, so cold and sad before. He is indeed the great Sympathizer; he feels for me, I know, in this small trouble of mine, as well as in the great griefs which he has helped that sorrowful man to bear. I will not think of it any more; I have done my duty, I think, with my pupil; I shall try to do it to-day, and leave the issue with him. He will help me, I know.”
With not only a patient, but a cheerful spirit, she stood a few minutes later at her pupil's door. Instead of the servant answering her ring, the young girl herself came hastening along the hall, her eyes filled with ashamed and penitent tears.
“ Will you forgive me, dear Miss Arnold ?" she pleaded ; “I am so ashamed, so sorry!
I have offended not only you, but God; but indeed
She could say no more, for her teacher's kiss of forgiveness sealed her lips. That night she had joy instead of sorrow to take to the bosom of the great Sympathizer.
“ BEFORE THEY CALL I WILL ANSWER.”
ancient records of God's wondrous working, so
new every morning and fresh every evening;" and we read with never-failing interest the testimonies of those who have found him to be a present help in every time of trouble and distress. The following narrative is another of the countless instances which demonstrate our heavenly Father's care for his little ones.
Above a century ago, in a sequestered part of Scotland, a hard-working couple were struggling through life, and frequently found it difficult to gain a bare subsistence, and provide even necessaries for their young family. But though their lot was cast among the poor of this earth, they were honest. They lived in a thinly-peopled neighbourhood, remote from town or village, and indeed at a considerable distance from any habitation whatever. The poor man could generally contrive to earn a scanty subsistence, barely sufficient to maintain his wife and four children. At times, indeed, his means of support were cut off; for though industrious when he could procure work, his employment at best was precarious. In that secluded district, where there were few resident gentry, his resources in this respect were limited and uncertain; and sometimes this worthy couple were reduced to great necessity for want of food, when they experienced unexpected interpositions of Providence, by which help was sent to them in the most unlooked-for manner. Thus God often reveals himself to his chosen ones, and in time of their need proves that he is "
a very present help in trouble.” At some miles' distance from this humble cottage was the residence of an excellent Christian lady, whose piety and active benevolence had gained her the love and esteem of all the neighbourhood. Lady Kilmarnock devoted her time and fortune to doing good, and was indeed a blessing to those around her. These worthy cottagers had, of course, been frequent objects of her bounty, and through her aid they had often obtained most seasonable relief. But, though Ann Young—for that was the former name of the cottager's wife, by which she was still known in the neighbourhood—had formerly been a servant in her family, yet such was her repugnance
burdensome to her benefactress, that it was seldom indeed that her distress was made known by herself.
It came to pass, on one occasion, that these poor people were reduced to the greatest extremity of want; all their resources had failed. Their little store of provisions gradually diminished, till they were exhausted. Her children had received the last morsel she could furnish, yet she was not cast down, for Ann Young was indeed a Christian. She knew in whom she had believed ; she had learned to trust in the loving-kindness of her God, when apparently cut off from human aid ; and, having found by experience that man's extremity is God's opportunity, she still did not despond.
The day, however, passed slowly over, and no prospect of succour appeared. Night came at last, and stilī no relief was vouchsafed to them. The children were crying for their supper;
and because there was none to give them, their mother undressed them and put them to bed, where they soon cried themselves to sleep. Their father was