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these troubles to bring down the pride of my heart. But even now I trust that God will enable me to pay off all I owe before I die; that is all I wish to live for."
And they were not forgotten. At their utmost need the Lord brought them a friend,—Thomas's old master, who came one day to tell them that they were to have one of a set of almshouses which were then just built, Besides the house, they were to have twenty pounds a-year, coals, and a nice warm coat every two years for the old man. Their hearts overflowed with gratitude for these unexpected blessings.
It was a pleasant sight on a summer's evening to see that peaceful little building gleaming in the sunshine, with the little chapel in the centre, and all the old people looking so happy and contented; some sweeping and rolling the turf in the quadrangle, which it was their pride and delight to keep in the most perfect order ; some standing chatting at the porter's lodge; and many of the women sitting in the picturesque porches before their doors. From some of the windows you could catch a glimpse of the chaplain's house; and this they considered a great privilege, for he was very dear to them all. There was a spirit of gratitude pervading that little community that is but too seldom met with. They were not of the very lowest class; mostly old servants or tradespeople, who had some trifle besides their pension to look to, and consequently their furniture was superior to that usually seen in places of the kind. The parlour floors were carpeted, pictures and looking-glasses adorned the walls, and there were very few who had not an old-fashioned sofa or large arm-chair. But poor Ford's house had nothing of the kind; two wooden chairs and a rickety table, with a saucepan or two, composed nearly the whole of his furniture. At first this excited some surprise, that they should have been admitted to the building, which was never intended for the very destitute; but at length it was known that the poor old man was denying himself even the necessaries of life in order to discharge his debts; and then it was beautiful to see how unostentatiously, yet how willingly, every one of the other pensioners offered to assist them in any way that their own limited means permitted. One day it was observed that no one was stirring in No. 4. Mrs. Penrose, at No. 3, knocked, but in vain; the shutters remained closed and the door was locked; she called the neighbours, but there was no admittance to be obtained. At length, becoming alarmed, they procured a ladder, and one of them climbed to the upper window. There were the old couple in bed; and, on questioning them, it appeared that they had the previous day paid the last of their creditors, but they were left completely destitute; and having no food in the house, they had agreed to remain in bed, that they might feel the want of it less; and from their deafness they had heard nothing of the noise at the door. Well, now, all was paid ; and very thankful and joyful they felt. Thomas now could die in peace; his obligations to his fellow-men were discharged; and with his God he knew he had a powerful Mediator (he knew in whom he believed), who would plead his cause and make his peace above; so that whenever his summons might come, it could not be too soon for him. He had not long to wait. In a few weeks he was taken ill and unable to leave his bed. His poor old wife was too old and infirm to be a very good nurse; but Thomas did not feel the want of it. All their neighbours were ready to assist them: "silver and gold had they none, but such as they had they gave unto them." One cleaned the house, another made his gruel, another arranged his bed, another went every day to the chaplain's house to fetch the broth and other things with which he was supplied from thence; all seeming glad of an opportunity of showing their gratitude to God for the blessings they themselves enjoyed.
Ford's illness was short. The privations he had undergone had weakened his constitution, and he soon sunk beneath it, dying, as he had lived, in humble reliance on the merits of his crucified Redeemer. The poor old woman, who had become very nearly childish, took refuge in the workhouse, where she could be far better provided for and taken care of than when left to herself.
I have written this short history to show that none need despair of freeing themselves again should they have
unfortunately become involved. At the same time, I hope it may act as a warning to others to be cautious how they venture rashly upon such dangerous ground, by showing the misery these poor people suffered. There is also a third lesson to be learnt from these “ short and simple annals of the poor,”—that however humble our station, however limited our influence, still it is never out of our power to do some good to our fellow-creatures, either by kind and friendly offices, by sympathy with the sufferings of others, or by setting a good example to those around us.
That was a community of cheerful and grateful hearts. When I knew them they seemed like one large family; all had the same interests : “if one member suffered, all the others suffered with it; and if one member rejoiced, all the others rejoiced with it.” I have not been there for some years, and I hear the Lord has taken many of those I knew to himself; so that should I go there now, there would be many strange faces; but I trust the same spirit of Christianity is amongst them still, and, by God's blessing, will be there always.
J. T. L.
I saw him in his younger days,
A bold and reckless man was he,
I warned him of the wrath to come,
When next I saw
Of wild adventures, skirmishes,
Again I bade him forward look,
In pitecus accents he implored
EXTRACTS FROM DIFFERENT AUTHORS. Questions of Inquiry at the Close of the Old Year.In the course of the foregoing year, many good examples must we have seen and heard of; and by means of books and conversation from without, and hints from our consciences within, much wholesome advice, many faithful and kind reproofs must we have met with. For all these admonitions are we the better, and have we profited by them? Let it be supposed, for instance, that we had been accustomed aforetime to pray but seldom, and when we did, to pray without attention and without fruit. Do we now observe the seasons of prayer with more constancy and less distraction? Do we really and truly find pleasure in our devotions ? or are we dragged unwillingly to them as a task, and consequently rejoice with all our hearts when they are over ? For years together, perhaps, we have turned our backs on the communion-table. Is it in our intention to give that holy ordinance a more frequent attendance for the future? Do we hear a sermon with a determined resolution to carry what is said into practice, or as a matter of amusement only, and a subject whereon to display our powers of criticism? Does the current of our thoughts flow in any degree more pure than formerly? Is our conversation become more innocent, at least, if not improving ; free from slander and scandal, from pride and conceit? Are our actions more and more directed by the rules of justice and charity? Above all, what use do we make of the talents with which it hath pleased God to intrust us, particularly those two, our time and our fortunes ? When we examine ourselves as to the progress we have made in the Christian life since this day twelyemonth, do we find that we have made any progress at all; that we have discarded any evil habits, or acquired any good ones; that we have mortified any vices, or brought forward to perfection any virtues? In one word, as we grow older do we grow wiser and better? These are questions which should be asked at the conclusion of a year. And may the heart of every person return an answer of peace !-Bp. Horne.
Life.---Life bears us on like the stream of a mighty river. Our boat at first glides gently down the narrow channel through the playful murmurings of the little brook, and the windings of its grassy border. The trees shed their blossoms over our young heads; we are happy in hope ; and we grasp eagerly at the beauties round us; but the stream hurries us on, and still our hands are empty. Our course in youth and manhood is along a wider and deeper flood, and amidst objects more striking and magnificent; we are animated by the moving picture of enjoyment and industry which passes before us; we are excited by some short-lived success, or depressed by some equally shortlived disappointment. But our energy and our despondency are both in vain. The stream bears us on, and our joys are alike left behind us; we may be beaten with storms, but we cannot anchor; our voyage may be hast