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about, as he always did whenever she was particularly busy.
“Well now, if he isn't as fine a little fellow as ever I set my eyes on,” said Mrs. Fair, taking the baby from his mother's arms, and making her sit down comfortably, before she had time to say a word; “ but you look very tired," she added, “and the kettle is boiling, so I'll make a cup of tea in a minute."
Mrs. Clancy wanted not to take it, but the other insisted, and very soon they had a little table laid out before them, and were enjoying their cup of tea.
• Now," said Mrs. Fair, when they had finished, you must tell me what has upset you so much. I'm older than you are, and I'm sure I'd be glad if I could help you."
But Mrs. Clancy wa rested now, and to say the truth, was rather ashamed of her ill-temper; however, she said, “ Well, I believe it's the wet day that put me out of sorts ; I don't know how it is, but it's almost sure to be wet of a Monday, and I with all my washing to do. I declare, I sometimes think it comes on purpose to fret me, and my husband hates to see a slop when he comes home in the evening, and then baby was so fractious all the day; but,” she said, stopping short in her list of troubles, "how is it that you've no signs of washing about? you're all as neat and tidy as if this was a parlour instead of a kitchen.”
“I never wash of a Monday,” said Mrs. Fair: “I put all the clothes in steep in a tub, and I find (as a tip top laundress told me I should) that it doesn't tako more than half the soap and half the trouble to wash them the next day. Then I never wash here, but in the little scullery at the back; it's but a scrap of a place, to be sure; there isn't much more than room to turn round in it when the tub is there; still I always wash and do my dirty work there, so that I can keep the kitchen neat and tidy for my husband when he comes in."
“ I've got two lessons already,” thought Mrs. Clancy to herself, but she said nothing.
And,” continued Mrs. Fair, “I pray earnestly that if it be the Lord's will, that Tuesday may be a fine day for my washing."
Mrs. Clancy looked at her in amazement. “You pray that it may be a fine day for your washing ?" she said ; " in all my
life I never heard the like of that. Why, I suppose
you don't expect me to believe that the great God who lives in heaven would demean himself to care whether
you had a fine day for your washing or not ?"
“I wouldn't venture to think it,” answered Mrs. Fair, “if I didn't know from his own book, the Bible, that there's nothing at all too little for him to care about and take notice of. You know it says, 'Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing ? and not one of them shall fall to the ground without your Father; and again, . The very hairs of your head are all numbered.' Nor since the Lord Jesus came from heaven to die in my stead, and to wash away all my sins in his precious blood, I could not but believe that he cares for me more than for the sparrows, even if he had not said, “ Ye are of more value than many sparrows. And as baving a fine day for my washing is of more consequence to me than the number of my hairs, surely if God can stoop to count the one, I may ask him to care for the other. Then when the fine day comes, it's so happy all the time I'm at my washing to think that it's a gift from my Father in heaven.” “ But sure it's not always fine on a Tuesday?"
No, not always,” said Mrs. Fair; "the best and wisest fathers have sometimes to refuse to give their children what they ask for; and so our heavenly Father, who is wiser, and better, and more loving than any earthly father could be, has sometimes to refuse us."
“But if you pray for a fine Tuesday, and a wet one comes, I don't see what difference your prayer makes," said Mrs. Clancy.
“Oh! it makes all the difference in the world,” answered Mrs. Fair: “I know God could make the day fine if he pleased, and that he would like to give me what I asked for, since I am his child; so that if I pray for a fine day, and a wet one comes, then I know that there must be some good reason for it, and that keeps me from fretting. I say to myself, Well now, it may be God wants to give you a lesson in patience; or he wants you to trust that what he does is best, even if you can't see the reason, or if I want a fine day somebody else needs a wet one, and I must learn to give up my own wish to other people's need. Then there is so much in the Bible about washing, to make me think of the Saviour, that the time passes on wonderfully fast.”
* Mait. x. 29, 30.
“How do you mean ?" asked Mrs. Clancy.
Why,” said Mrs. Fair, “when I'm washing the clothes, to make them clean, I think of the verse which says that our righteousnesses are as filthy rags,' and of another about those who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, and I ask Him to wash away my sins. Or that other verse, 'Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord : though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red as crimson, they shall be as wool.' If our hearts were more set upon God and his service, we should find something to remind us of him and of his word in everything we do. Just as our blessed Lord took his texts from bread and water, and wind and sheep, and reaping and sowing, and all the common things he saw."
“But sure you don't mean that we're to make so free as to ask God Almighty for every little thing we want, and think about him in every little thing we do?"
That's exactly what I try to do," said Mrs. Fair, “and not only to ask for it, but to expect to get it.”
“Well," answered Mrs. Clancy, "that may be all very well for good people, but it certainly can't be intended for the like of me. I must wait to pray till I'm better.”
“ Then,” said Mrs. Fair, “you'll wait for ever. There's nothing can make you good but coming to the Lord Jesus. Come to him now—just as you are—and let your first
sins in his precious blood; and so sure as you ask him to do it, so surely he'll do it.”
“But,” said Mrs. Clancy, " that seems so easy that I can't believe it's true ; why, it's as if you had only to ask and to get.”
Ay," answered Mrs. Fair, “it's easy for you to get it now, but it was not easy for the Lord Jesus by himself to wash away our sins. Before he could do so, he had to come down from heaven, and suffer, and die. The very thought of all he suffered that he might be able to save me, sometimes overcomes me so, that I can do nothing but just fall on my knees and ask him that I may love him and trust him more and more every day I live.”
“I never heard so much about prayer before,” said Mrs. Clancy. “Used you always to pray about everything, as you do now?”
No," answered her neighbour, “it was Mrs. Burke, the
prayer be that he
lady I lived with before I was married, who first taught me to pray about little things. Before that, though I had learned at the Sunday school to know that Jesus was my Saviour, I never thought about telling him little things, or asking him for little things. But at Mrs. Burke's it seemed a matter of course that everything, great and small, should be prayed about. I used to think it was just as if the Lord Jesus was really living in the house, and that he was so wise, and good, and kind, that everything was told to him, and he was asked for everything that was wanted. And it seemed as if he really was there, only we couldn't see him with our eyes; and he's here, too,” she added, “close beside us in this little room, watching over us and listening to us, and blessing us."
She stopped for a moment, as if she was speaking to him in heart, and then went on: “ The first day I went to Mrs. Burke's, after I had taken off my bonnet and shawl, I was shown up to the little room, where she always sat in the morning. She bade me kindly welcome, and said, she hoped I should be happy with her. Then she told me what my work was to be. I was to be nursery-maid, and she hoped I would be very truthful with the children, and never frighten them, or do anything behind her back that I would not do before her face. After that, she opened the Bible she had been reading when I went in, and said, "God tells us here the kind of mistress I ought to be, and the kind of servant you ought to be,' and she read the verses about it in Eph. V., and then said, “Now we'll pray that he may help me to be a good mistress and you to be a good servant.' So we knelt down, and the like of that prayer I had never heard in my life. I couldn't help thinking that some one must have told her all about me the way she told Jesus how lonely I was leaving home, and my
father and mother, and how afraid I felt at coming among strangers, and she asked that all day long I might feel that Jesus was near me, though I couldn't see him, and that I might remember that he was my Saviour and my friend, always able to help and to comfort me, and always willing to do it if I asked him. She said much more, but that was what helped me most; and when we got off our knees, I felt as if I had known her all my life. And that wasn't all; for that evening when I went up with all the servants to family prayers, the master himself bade me welcome, and in his prayer he asked that the new servant
who had just come to them might get a blessing while under his roof, and be made a blessing to others. Indeed, it seemed as if everything in the house went on by prayer. The head nurse was a good woman, but a very hard one, and I used to think she took a pleasure in finding fault with me. One morning we had very high words with each other, and neither would give in. The mistress, as she was passing by, heard us, and came in, and asked what was the matter? Each of us began to accuse the other, but she stopped us and said, 'I am grieved to see you both so angry; before I hear anything, let us kneel down and ask the Lord Jesus to help us to do what is right. I didn't like to kneel down, but I had to do it, and before the prayer was half over my anger had melted away, and I determined to ask nurse's pardon. I suppose it was the same with her, for when we got up, and the mistress asked her what had been the matter, she said quite gently, • Indeed, ma'am, it was nothing worth talking about; I'm very sorry for having spoken so hot, and with God's help I'll strive to keep a greater hold over my tongue in the future.' You may be sure I said I was sorry too, and from that day on it was a rare thing for us to fall out, and if we did we soon made it up again.'
Well,” said Mrs. Clancy, "I never heard the like of that. And do you and your husband keep up that way praying about everything ?”
“ Indeed we do," answered Mrs. Fair. " Mrs. Burke spoke a great deal to me about it when I was leaving her to be married. She was so kind as to tell me that from the day she and her husband were married they had half an hour together the last thing every night (no matter how full of company the house might be that their way was to talk over everything they were anxious about, and consult about it, and then have a prayer about it, no matter how small a trifle it seen
emed; and she said she believed that that half hour was the greatest help they both bad, and the reason they were so happy ; · For you know,' she said, 'the more prayers the more answers.' And she begged me to tell my John about it, and to begin from our wedding-day. She said, too, that she supposed the very best of husbands and wives had an angry word sometimes : * And if you ever have, Susan,' she added, “be sure you never go to sleep on it, always make it up
you come together to pray to God.'