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“ Yes,” and “yes,” and “yes,” went round; but one, more cautious than the rest, hesitated.
“I suppose," said he, “ she's what they call 'good.' But our nurse at home is a 'good' woman, and goes to meetings, and reads the Bible—at least she keeps it on the table; and she's cross and disagreeable all the day long: I know I was right glad to get away from her. Let's wait till we do something our teacher doesn't like—I don't mean on purpose, but something we can't help,--and see whether she's real good then.”
“Mayn't I speak for poor nurse ?" said a voice behind them. Miss Crooke had come in with some things from her box. "Perhaps she is not well, or is tired, and needs to be cared for; and little boys forget. If she is the servant of Jesus, she cannot be cross always, she must be in sunshine sometimes. But if everybody we meet with were amiable always, those who are so from principle, and not from nature, would not find out what really rules us. If nothing provoking happens, we don't know whether we can keep our temper or not.”
" You aren't angry at what we were saying?"
6. Oh, no ; but I'm not good, I can tell you, so you need not do anything I don't like in order to find it out.”
“ Now do let us tell you that we think you've got such a funny name; but you are not going to be a crook to us, you know."
“A crook in your lot ?" said the young teacher, smiling; "not in a bad sense, I hope ; but in a good one I should like it very much."
“You would !- but how in a good sense ?”
“ We've just five minutes before bed-time, so I will try to tell you.” And they gathered round her in the great bay window. “You have seen pictures of shepherds and their flocks; the shepherd is represented holding a long stick with a hook at the end of it, with which he can catch a sheep by the leg, or hold a lamb until he can get to it to lift it in his arms, or guide it to the fold, or keep it safe with the flock. Now I wish very much to be like this crook in the hand of the Good Shepherd. He said, 'Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring; and He is sending for them from everywhere, calling them into his fold ; and if I may catch hold of your hearts, and bring you to Jesus, I shall have been his voice to call-his crook to draw you to his arms."
“And what will he give you for that ?"
The room was darkening in the twilight; the sky was a deep, deep blue; the stars one by one came twinkling out in the great firmament, and the young governess looked up, her pupils following the direction of her eyes. Her voice sounded clear and sweet, as she softly murmured, “They that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars for ever and ever.”
And every little brother's mouth was put up for a sister's kiss as they bade “good night.”
In the morning each hand presented a flower, the best in each little garden, as an offering of loving kindness, and Miss Crooke begged a little glass from the waiting-maid, and filled it with water, and put all the flowers into it to stand all the day on the desk before her, often looking at them, and re-arranging them, and proving that she thought better of flowers than to rub them to pieces against the desks and slates.
But, alas ! “the flower fadeth ;" the fate that carelessness was not allowed to hasten could not be averted after all; but the sweet-scented ones could be laid by, pressed, and preserved, and be precious remembrances after many days.
THE LORD'S PRAYER.
Christ to his disciples, is very suggestive as to
“Our Father which art in heaven,” here we are taught to come as children to a common father;
With reverence, “Hallowed be thy name;"
With loyalty and love, “ Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven;"
With modest desires for earthly good, “Give us this day our daily bread,” thus allowing the poor to ask his daily bread, and forbidding the rich to ask more;
With a forgiving spirit, “ Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors," so binding ourselves to forgive, on the penalty of never being ourselves forgiven ;
Deprecating sin, “ Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil ;"
And all for His own sake, “For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever.” The glory of God is the reason for requests so comprehensive, including blessings of such priceless value.
The great idea of prayer is petition, and in that prayer, which occupies with ordinary rapidity of utterance less than half a minute, there are no less than six distinct petitions.
The Lord's Prayer, it has been said, would alone provo the truth of Christianity. What uninspired lips ever expressed so much thought in so few words in prayer ? And when we have offered it from the heart, what remains for us to ask, or for God to give ?
A COMFORT THAT GOD CAN SEE THE HEART. a n familiar intercourse with irreligious associates,
Christians are apt to feel that the great truths of their belief are so nearly a sealed book to an un
regenerate mind, that remarks upon holy things are out of place. Yet we do not hesitate to speak freely of loved human friends, even when they are personally unknown to those about us; and shall we forbear to show our affection for Him who holds a relation to us dearer than any earthly one? We do not know what faithful word of ours may be used by the Spirit, for its wonderful ministration.
“ It is such a comfort that God can see our hearts,” said a Christian woman to her companion, as conversation turned upon some trying experience.
“A comfort!” repeated the other, with astonishment in look and tone. “Why, that fact that God could know my secret thought has been impressed upon me as a terror, ever since I can remember. I certainly never thought of it as a comfort.”.
“Ah, but it is the greatest one to a believer. When my actions are misjudged, because they cannot be explained; or my motives impugned, and surmises and suspicions set afloat, I can go in confidence to the dear Lord, who judges not according to appearance,' glad that he knows it all, that my inner self, sinful as it is, lies wholly open before his just sympathy. There is infinite rest and peace in the very thought."
No more was said, but that reflection—a comfort that God could see the heart-kept turning itself in the mind of that unconverted friend, as a reality of Christian communion with the Father that she had never conceived of. To lose the fear of the all-seeing eye, and find calm trust under His dreaded Omniscience-surely there was something worth having in religion, if it could do this. “Infinite peace !" instead of uneasy buffetings of conscience, and rebellious heart-aches over life's perplexities.
Ah, those few words! the simple breathing of a loving spirit, knowing God as a friend : they would not let that wandering soul go till they had blessed it; bringing one more redeemed one to the foot of the cross, where “ perfect love casteth out fear.”
I The holly gleams through every pane,
'Tis happy Christmas day again!
Of Jesus in his manger bed;
The holy Christmas chapter read.
If our home-circle be complete !
Because there is an empty seat.
That falls beneath the holly bough,
“ They spend a better Christmas now !"
Of changes sore, and changes sad,
Remind us that we once were glad;
And we may dread the future gloom,
As love grows stronger near the tomb.
But let us not forget to pray
For those who are alone to-day.
THE ORPHANS OF OAKWOOD.
of Oakwood. It was but a small cluster of farms
other dwellings. Its few inhabitants naturally shared each others' joys and sorrows and interests more. than can be the case in larger places. It was a gloomy morning in December. There was a funeral in the village, and nearly all the cottagers were gathered in the churchyard round a newly-dug grave. A man who for many years had worked on one of the farms near, had been killed a few days before by a fall from the cart, and his wife who