« FöregåendeFortsätt »
of beautiful lilies, and then the children set out for the house of their new friends. Miss Morgan came down to speak to them. “Please, miss,” said Esther, we have brought a bunch of lilies for the gentleman who is ill.”
“That is very kind of you," said the young lady, taking the flowers.
“And please," said Esther, hesitating, “he mustn't give us anything; we wanted to bring these because the gentleman is ill and has been so kind to us.”
“ The gentleman is my brother," said Miss Morgan. “I will take the lilies to him now, and you may wait a minute.” Presently returning, she said, " Come this way both of you; my brother wishes to thank you himself.”
The two children followed, and found themselves in a room larger and finer than any which Esther remembered to have seen before. On a couch drawn near the window lay a gentleman with a pale worn face, who wore a kindly smile as the children came timidly forward.
“So you are the little girl who has brought me such beautiful flowers; I am very glad to have them, for you see I cannot go and gather them myself: what made you think of bringing them to me?"
Before Esther could speak, Joseph answered: “When mother was ill, she always liked us to bring her flowers, and I found them for her, for I could see then.”
“Are you blind, my poor boy, I did not know that; how long has it been so ?” A few more questions drew from the children the whole of their little history, to which their kind friends listened with interest.
“So your mother loved flowers,” said Mr. Morgan, byand-by.
“ Yes, sir," said Esther; “and when I brought her lilies she used to say they were the sweetest flowers that grew, for they minded her of our Saviour's promise.”
"Can you repeat that promise ?" asked Mr. Morgan.
And little Esther reverently said : “Wherefore if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you,
O ye of little faith ?” "Well, my children, you have found that promise true. God has cared for you, and has never forsaken you.”
Yes, sir,” said Esther; “mother said she trusted us to God.”
“Do you go out with your flowers every day?"
“Oh no, not every day, sir.”
you and Joseph would like to come here once a week and learn ? Joseph could be taught some things even though he cannot see ; and if you could write and do sums, and learn other things, you might be able byand-by to do something better than selling flowers.”
The promise was joyfully given, and the mornings spent with their kind instructor grew to be the brightest spots in the lives of the children.
Two years had now passed since the sad day when the orphans had stood together in the churchyard and seen the coffins which contained the forms so dear to them lowered into the grave. On the anniversary of that day, Esther went to place on the mound of grass which covered the grave a wreath of the best flowers she could find. She looked everywhere for Joseph that she might bring him with her, but not being able to find him she set out alone. As she drew near the spot which she was seeking, she found that Joseph was there before her, kneeling on the grass. He knew the sound of her step, and rose as she drew near, and she saw that he looked fushed and unlike himself.
Esther put her arm round him, and kissed his forehead. “What is it, Joseph, dear ?"
“Oh! Esther, I am going to see again, I am not going to be blind any more."
“ What do you mean, dear?”.
“Mr. Morgan sent for me this morning, and there was a kind gentleman with him who looked at my eyes, and he says,-oh sister! he says " and the boy ended with a long irrepressible sob. Neither could speak for some time, but they knelt hand in hand beside the grave so sacred to them in silent thankfulness too deep for words. They were only children, but from both their hearts went up a song of joy and praise which was heard by God our Father in heaven.
“Esther,” said Joseph at last, “I didn't like to tell you before for fear it should ake you sorry, but I have so wanted to see, and I asked God very often that he would open my eyes as he did for the blind man you read of in the Bible."
“How glad mother would have been !” said Esther.
“Yes," said the little boy, so I came here; I wanted to say my prayers, and thank God by her grare."
Perhaps she does know,” said Esther; "and is more glad in heaven because we are so glad here to-day.”
By-and-by the good doctor performed an operation which completely restored Joseph's sight, to the great joy of all his friends, and most of all of his sister.
Mr. Morgan, after awhile, sent Joseph to a school, where he studied hard, and earned a good character for steadiness and obedience. He grew up in the fear of God, and lived to serve him; when he became a man he was very anxious to be a missionary, and after he had gone through the necessary training and preparation was sent out to carry to the heathen the glad news of the gospel, which gives true sight to the blind, and is a light to them that sit in darkness.
As for Esther, she was so well taught by Miss Morgan that she was able, when old enough, to take a situation as under-teacher in the school. Two or three years after, Mr. Maxwell succeeded, with the help of Mr. Morgan, in a longcherished plan of beginning a school in Oakwood, and Esther was the first teacher.
THE SHEPHERD'S CROOK.
HERE again! knock, knock, knock; there's no
All the peace is in there now, I'm thinking.” Something like
this was the thought of the servant-maid as she passed her master's bed-room door on her way to answer more inquiries. Now a carriage drove up, and a footman asked the question, while his mistress anxiously listened to the answer.
“No better, no hope at all the doctors say." The lady leaned back and mourned for the dying. She loved the voice that had awakened her from her dream of worldliness, and given a new value to life, and a new charm to duty, and wished she had treasured its teaching more. But she had the “fountain open” still, “ the word” of eternal truth still, the presence of her Saviour still, the Great Teacher and Comforter still-all of which he had taught and helped her to value; and the best proof she could now give of grateful affection was to “stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ had made her free,” and be a witness for him “ in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.”
Then a stout farmer rode up on horseback, and to his question received the same sad answer. He loved the earnest voice that had preached away his pride and selfrighteousness, and led him, under the power of God's Holy Spirit, to sit as a little child at the feet of Jesus. He had no words for his sorrow; they would have choked him, and he rode away to hide the feeling he could not master.
Next a village wife with her baby in her arms would beg to know how “the minister” was, recalling fondly the comfort and blessing he had been to her in sickness and sorrow; and hoping she would never forget his prayer by her husband's bed, and his anxious desires that they should follow Christ.
And the sorrowing servant could not be angry at a low and modest knock that waited her time to notice, when she saw the knot of school-children, with softened voices and awed faces, asking the oft-repeated question, and sorrowfully turning away with the grievous answer. Many of them, too, loved their friend and teacher, and had learned through him to “call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, and honourable.”
What were they to do ? To let him die and go to the Master whom he loved ? Yes; his work was done; he must go, and do higher and still happier work in heaven, and they would strive to remember him by minding his gracious teaching.
And thus the day wore on; each hour bringing nearer the moment which all but the one most concerned would have averted if they could.
It was quite true that “perfect peace” was in that sick chamber. A comparatively youthful face lay pale and placid on the pillow; a promising ministry was stopped, a useful life was ending; but He who holds the stars in his hands, and walks amidst the golden candlesticks, so willed it, and it was well. He could make no mistake, and his young servant was ready and willing. He was lying on the bosom of his Lord, washed and robed, and all but gone within the veil.
** Unto you who believe he is precious,'" whispered the friend who bent tenderly over him.
* Chief among ten thousand, altogether lovely,'” replied the voice of realizing faith. “He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love. Farewell--you will not forget."
“I will not forget," said the watcher.
Anviker few hours, and the village was in mourning; and when the dust returned to dust, and the earth fell with a sickening sound on the coffin-lid, a crowd of mourners around, and many a mourner in secret, felt that a friend to them, and a servant of God, had passed away.
There had been a fatiguing day at House. The work and worry of a ladies' school had come to an end for six weeks; the last car full of gay faces had whirled away to the station, and the principal of the establishment had sat down to rest, perhaps to think also. She was fully susceptible of the joy of holiday time, but she had solemn thoughts of the five months' working time.
All the prizes that had been won, all the commendations of the masters, all the love of the pupils for herself, seemed forgotten in one absorbing idea, the enduring, the eternal. What the better were these young souls for all her care, and prayer, and instruction, and how had they been influenced by her example?
She did not know, she had not seen fruit as she desired ; she was often disappointed; the foes were so many, so strong; and now the homes in many cases would undo all she had done.
“But I am thy servant, Lord, thy work shall stand. Oh give me patience and meekness to wait thy time, to show how much is thine, how much mine, and to leave results with thee."
Such meditations were suddenly interrupted, and Miss Crooke was wanted in the drawing-room. T'he visitor was a stranger; he advanced and shook hands warmly, yet respectfully.
“I do not feel that you are a stranger to me,” he said ; “and I have taken the first opportunity afforded to me to find you, and introduce myself. "
The lady bowed and waited further enlightenment, and the gentleman sat opposite to her, tracing out the description w ich a young and warm admirer had given to him.
It was no longer the maiden of eighteen or twenty years, with all the world before her, and seeking the duty that her Lord would give her to do. More than half the allotted term of life had passed over her, shadowing the brightness of her complexion, mingling here and there a silver thread among the fair brown curls, writing lines of dis