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must thank you now, miss, for your plain speaking on New Year's Day, and for sending me to Mrs. Bean's. If it hadn't been for what you have both said, I think I should have gone to my grave an ignorant, discontented woman, and my poor soul would have been lost."
"Give God the glory," returned Miss Hargreaves; "we have only done what it becomes every follower of Jesus to do; and God has been pleased to bless our feeble efforts. It will make me, and I am sure it will make Mrs. Bean, all the happier to feel that we have been, in ever so small a degree, instrumental in doing you good. May He who has so mercifully opened your eyes to see your sinful state ever give you grace to continue to travel in the road you have now begun to tread; and may we all, after spending what more time is allowed to us on earth happily and usefully, meet at last in that world where times and seasons are known no more."
Reader, the grace of God is able to change the hardest heart, to dispel the densest fogs of ignorance, to remove prejudice, superstition, pride, and all that is unholy, and to fill the heart with love, joy, peace, and whatever is pleasing in the sight of Him who searcheth the hearts and trieth the reins of man.
Would you live a happy year, seek that grace; seek it prayerfully, earnestly, unceasingly, and the promise of God is, "Him that cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast out."
G. H. s.
Sweet flower of Faith, that cometh forth
That through earth's ages should be found
Our feeble sense
a. s. H.
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A TRUE STORY.
Hree half-pennyworth of coffee, and that lasts me a fortnight, so I am not extravagant, am I?" Such was the poor widow's explanation of the tiny packet she had brought from the shop. She lived now on parish allowance, for her breath was too bad to allow her to work; and alone, for the joy of her life, her "little Nil," as she called her, had passed away after long weakness. Yet not alone, for the mother's heart had at length followed her child to Jesus.
"Mr. Mills says I should not pinch myself so," she continued; "that it makes me weak and my breath worse, but out of three shillings a week, when I have paid my sixpence a month for the coal club, and sixpence a month for the clothing club, there is not over much left for victuals. Then I thinks about my rent, and I put by sixpence a week for that, and if I get sixpence given me, I put that by for it too; but still I am often afeard whether I shall make it all up. Then when my daughter Ann, that married over the hill there, comes over to see me, and finds me a bit down-hearted like, she says, 'Never mind, mother; remember the pinny.'"
"Did I ever tell you about my poor little Nil and her pinny? Oh, if I had only listened to her when I had her with me, I often think how happy she would have been. But then, while she was reading, or perhaps praying for me, on a Sunday, I was busy about. I need not have been, but I hadn't the love for better things then. She was always thoughtful and good, my little Nil, even when she was a tiny thing.
"After I had buried her poor father, I used to take her out with me into the field haymaking, and I bought her a pair of thick boots to keep her dry, and she was very pleased and fussy about these boots. Well, in the afternoon I lost her; she was nowhere in the field, and I thought she must have run round to her aunt's. But no, she was not there. At last we found that she had crept through a hole in the hedge next the churchyard, to tell her father (she had seen where we laid him) that mother had got her some 'scroopy' boots, because she thought he would be so pleased.
"But about the pinny. I got a new pinny for her, and one for her brother George. You know I could not afford to get new ones often, so I told them to take good care of them. There were some brambles in the lane near our old cottage, and the berries were just ripe then, and George and Hannah could not keep off from them, and as Hannah was reaching up to pick some, a branch caught her pinny and made a great rent in it both ways. Poor little thing! She was so frightened. When she came in I found she was very quiet, but she managed not to let me see what she had done till it came to bedtime. Then Ann and I went upstairs, and called to the two little ones to come up to bed. George came up at once, but Hannah did not come as usual. Ann called her again, and then, as she still did not come, Ann peeped down the stairs, and she saw little Hannah kneeling down at the bottom of the stairs, and she could see she was praying, though she could not hear what she said. We couldn't think what it was about; but when she was in bed, and I came to fold up her clothes, I soon saw what was the matter. She looked rather frightened in the morning, for she thought I should beat her when I saw what she had done; but I let a few days go by, and said nothing about it . Then one day, when I was going up to the gardens in the allotments to pick some peas, I told her to come with me; and as George was gone down the village, we were there all alone. As we were picking the peas she sidled away from me, as if she was afraid I was going to say something to her; so I called her to me and said,' Now, Hannah, you tell me the truth; what were you kneeling down at the bottom of the stairs for the other night?' She began to look very frightened, and to sidle away from me again; so I said, 'Now you tell me, and I promise you I won't beat you; but if you tell me all the truth I will give you a penny.' She looked up in my face, and I promised again I would not beat her, and then she told me all about it.
"' You know, mother, I tore my new pinny. I did not mean to, but as I was picking the blackberries, the thorns caught it and gave it a great slant both ways, and I thought you would be very angry with me and beat me, and I didn't know what to do; so I thought I would tell God, and ask Him to help me. So I told Him all; that mother couldn't afford to buy us new pinnies, and I had been and torn my new one, and I begged Him not to let you be angry and beat me. And you see, mother, He did hear, for you did not beat me.' So I gave her the penny, and she was quite happy. Many's the time I have thought on it since; and if I get cast down or afeard of any trouble, I remember the pinny, and how my poor little Nil got over her trouble by telling God all about it, and I do the same; and He helps me as He helped her.
"Sometimes I'm afeard I shall not get to her after all, but then that's Satan puts.that into my mind, 'tis misbelief."
"And how did your little Nil get through the last trouble, of which you still seem to have some ffear? Did her Helper fail her then.?"
"Oh, it was no trouble to her. She did not want to get better; she wanted to go to be with Jesus, and she knew she was going, only she could not tell me so outright, because I fretted so, and would not believe it . The last time I lifted her off the little bed where I laid her while I made her own, I said to her, 'I can't lift you off any more by myself. Though you are not heavy, you are long, and your feet fall while I hold your head.' 'Mother,' she said,' you have never done it by yourself, never. I always ask the Lord Jesus, and He helps you.'
"The last day she lay and looked up into the corner of the room, as if she saw something beautiful there, and she said, ' Mother, move my head.' So I did, and she kissed me, and then looked up again and said, 'Now take me'; and she was gone, though I did not know it for a while.
"Oh that I had listened to her sooner, and given to God my best days!" A. P.
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u Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the feith."—2 Cor. xiii. 5.
ANOTheR year is past!
Am I prepared to rise,
Where all is love;
Isaiah Ixiv. 4.