« AnteriorContinuar »
||as the sun begun to break between the clouds yet?
I know it has been dark and trying, but I have
always been sure that peace and light would
come to you before many days. It was a Father's
hand that wounded, and a Father's hand will heal, and with
the healing will give something still better to make up for
what you have lost."
Such were the words with which, one spring day, I entered the pretty house of Mr. and Mrs. Ellison. Ellison was one of the most respectable inhabitants of our parish, and one of the most regular and attentive members of my Bible class. He and his wife had always been religious people; but, until lately, all had gone so prosperously with them that no outward trial had ever put their faith to the proof.
A few months before they had become the parents of a boy, and this event had completed their happiness. Already two girls had come to brighten their home; but a son had been always especially desired by them both.
In their great earthly joy, however, their spiritual life began to languish. They were too much wrapped up in their new treasure, and their hearts were not as entirely given, as they used to be, to Him from whom it came. Then their heavenly Father had sent chastisement. The little child had been taken, and had gone up to be with the Lord who took the children in His arms.
'At first the blow had been received bitterly and stubbornly; they mourned over their broken cistern, and refused to turn to the fountain of living waters. Still as I watched them I had good hope that the Lord would make this a means of perfecting their faith, and that they would be, hereafter, more entirely His than they had ever been before. They had not spoken much of their sorrow lately; they had given no outward signs of it; their faces were still very grave and thoughtful, but they were far calmer than they had been ia the earlier days ©f their grief. To-day, as I entered the house, there was an expression of peace in their countenances which filled me with glad expectation with regard to them.
"Yes, it is just as you say, ma'am," answered George Ellison, looking up from his Bible, which he had taken up as soon as he came in after his work this afternoon; "I know what the Master meant, though it has taken me some little time to understand it."
"What, have you found out the meaning of some passage of Scripture which you did not understand before, George?" I asked.
"Oh, no; George does not mean that!" said his wife, with a sweet smile. He is not talking about any text when he says, as he goes on now saying over and over, I know what the Master meant."
"What is it then you mean?" I asked, turning once more to him.
"I mean to say that it's all clear to me now what was mist and darkness before," he replied, in a low tone. "I know what the Master meant by His dealings with us of late."
"He fell asleep last night repeating those words to himself," here spoke Mrs. Ellison again. "They seemed to soothe him to rest like music, and they have grown to have the same power with me, too, for I have learned to say them as well."
"Ah ! I see you are both taught and led by God's gracious Spirit, and are now able to feel that there was teaching for you in your late affliction."
"Our unbroken prosperity was making us forget God," said Mrs. Ellison; "as I rejoiced in it, and wrapped myself around in it. I sometimes even neglected to thank Him that bought us for His great salvation."
"A hard crust of worldliness was fast forming round my heart," added George Ellison, making his wife's meaning more plain.
"And by degrees you were letting the hopes of better things than this life can give slip out of your grasp," I said.
"Yes, that was just it," answered George; "but the Lord would not have it so. He sent the chastisement we needed."
"But, at first, we took it like rebellious servants," went on Mrs. Ellison. "We wanted to contradict our Master's will"
"It was a hard trial for you," I said, gently; "but we know most assuredly that all will work together for good to those who love Him."
"But that was what we could not and would not see at first," said the husband. "We cried out that we knew better than He did."
"I went on grieving for awhile like one who has no hope beyond this world," said Mrs. Ellison.
"And how did better things come to you?" I asked.
"Well," said George, "it was the work I know of the blessed Holy Spirit. He would not leave us, though we had done so much to grieve Him. One day when I was coming home from the timber-yard, the text, 'Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth,' came with power into my mind."
"It is one good result of a Bible class, under the Master, that texts learnt there rise up in the minds and hearts of its members just when they most need them."
"Yes; that was just how that text, which was exactly the one I wanted to convince me of my sin, came to me. It would not leave me again. I went on calling up every word I had heard at the class about it, until I was on my knees asking the Lord, with tears, to wash out with His precious blood all the wrong-doing of which I had lately been guilty. Then, when I had finished that prayer, I knew what the Master meant when He took our boy."
"And what did He mean ?" I asked, softly. "He meant to call us, while it was yet time, back to Himself," said the young mother. "He bade our little lamb come up to be with Him, the Good Shepherd, in the fold above; and when He thus commanded us to resign him to Him, He meant us to wake up from the drowsiness which was fast overpowering us, making us forget, making us slothful soldiers of Christ."
"Aye," here began again the husband, "that was just what the Master meant, and the Holy Spirit has so graciously guided and shaped it all, that we are both of us now more entirely the Lord's servants than we ever were before. We never entered so fully into all Jesus did for us, when He died for us, as we do now. It was as if before we had had partial scales before our eyes, and now we see the full brightness of the Gospel Light."
"And I can bring my little girls much closer now to Jesus than I used to do somehow," said the mother.
"And I can turn my mates away from the public-house and to religious services with so mnch more power and will than formerly," said George Ellison, "for I am always thinking of what the Master meant by that lesson of ours, and trying to carry out the teaching."
Oh 1 if trial might teach all Christians such a lesson.
The sun was low, the sea was grey,
Across the path two lovers stept,
I blessed them from my heart, nor wept,—'
It is the will of God; and dear
And sacred be the plan
To die a weary man.