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the cottage also, and let its humble furniture go in order to satisfy them.
I went to the home of a godly woman, whose children and grandchildren were rising up to call her blessed, and unburdened to her the care that was pressing on my heart. She listened awhile; then stirred up the fire, set the kettle on, brought out her white cloth and spread the tea. After we had enjoyed our simple repast she said, "Let me tell you a story about my own house-rent!"
"It was years ago, soon after we were married, when my children were quite young; my husband had been ill and
out of work, and we could not make the rent up. Mr. B
when he called pressed for it, and said it must be made up by a certain day. I knew it was impossible: what to do or where to turn I did not know; and when I looked at my dear little children, the sight of them seemed more than I could bear.
"One evening they were all sitting round the fire; the youngest was in a high chair, looking over a scrap-book, and as I passed by to reach something from the cupboard, my heart still aching with its load of sorrow, I saw printed in large letters at the top of the page the child was turning, these words, 'Trust In God.' If they had not been very large I should not have seen them, for my eyesight was not very good, but they struck me forcibly, and I thought, 'Trust in God?—yes! I will trust in God!'
"I left the room; knelt down and told God all the sorrow, as I had often done before, but this time I seemed enabled to leave it with Him, and to trust. My heart grew light and peaceful, yet the circumstances remained unchanged, and the dreaded day I knew was drawing nearer.
"Before my marriage I had worked in the manufacture of needles, and I seemed to have a natural aptitude for it, but work was very scarce and difficult to obtain at the time I am speaking of.
"However, the next morning after my trustful prayer I thought, 'I will go up to the Fish (a noted needle manufactory in Redditch) and see if they can give me a little work to do at home.'
"I dressed and hurried to the manufactory. While I was
waiting to speak to the foreman, Mr. B entered, and
seeing me standing there, he said to him, 'Have you any
work for Mrs. W ?' 'I don't know,' he replied. 'Well,
if you possibly can, give her as much work as she wants,' said Mr. B .
"I came forward and said, 'Mr. B , all that I earn
shall go to the rent, or can be put by for you here.' 'That
will do, Mrs. W ;do what you can, and I will take it
out that way.' He was in a high position in the same manufactory, being the superintendent of its scouring mills at some little distance, and through his influence the foreman at once plentifully supplied me with work.
"How light-hearted and happy I returned to my little home with the burden gone, for the rent was as good as paid. Now you must trust in God, and He won't forsake you."
I did trust in God, and one evening the agent's son came down to say that some one so urgently needed a house for a short period that his father would take it off our hands, provided we would sign an agreement to pay a much smaller sum at the end of the six months. The next morning a cheque which had gone astray in the post reached me, more than enabling us to do this, so that we were able to purchase several things sorely needed besides, and, to crown all, a few posts after came another sum from the Religious Tract Society for a small paper, written, sent and entirely forgotten, so that all our needs were supplied, our heavy burden lifted off, and our hearts filled with praise, while we acknowledged that it was no vain thing to
Trust in God.
Pop GDJrmi in (Bab.
When the way is rough and dreary,
Hope thou in God I
When thy heart o'erburden'd fails thee,
Hope thou in God I
When the world in scorn rejects thee,
Hope thou in God!
He will gladden and relieve thee,
Hope thou in God I
$|t|r Jfrwnfj's Herbarium.
Jn the lowest shelf in the library of a friend of mine are a number of large volumes all in the same binding. I remember looking at them on the morning of their arrival from the bookbinder's five-and-twenty years ago. I found there was nothing in them but clean white paper, except that on each alternate page was pasted carefully and neatly the name and description of some plant or flower.
The volumes were, in fact, intended to be a Herbarium of native British plants. A specimen of every herb and flower indigenous to this country was to be inserted in the book beside the printed description of it.
It did not take my friend long to fill up many of the blanks, for a great number of the plants were common and easily found; but as time went on the task became more
difficult, and the work proceeded at a slower rate of progress, for some of the plants grew only in certain districts of the country, which had to be visited in order to obtain them, and some in localities not easily reached, while a few were of sorts so rarely to be met with that they are seldom found except after much search.
I looked over the pages of the Herbarium to-day, and noticed there were still a few blanks where the names of certain very rare Alpine plants appeared. I found, however, that my friend's enthusiasm, instead of being diminished, now that his collection was so nearly perfect, was greater than ever. I believe he would willingly journey a thousand miles in order to obtain one of those few rare specimens which, as yet, he has been unable to obtain. His great desire now is to complete the collection: and I have no doubt that if he lives two or three years longer he will succeed, for he grudges neither pains nor money if only he can add to it.
To-day, when I had finished my inspection of the Herbarium, I said to my friend that it seemed to me to afford a striking illustration of the growth and progress of a true Christian life.
"How so?" said he.
"In this way," said I. "When a soul first comes to Christ, all the graces of the Spirit have to be wrought in it. None of them are there at first. But there is a place for every one of them, and it is our life-long work to see that each of them be found there, and each in its own place."
"Quite true," said my friend; "and a young convert is like a young botanist. The work goes on fast at first, and he imagines that it is soon to be finished. But as time goes on the visible progress becomes less, and the task is felt to be the more difficult . When I began my collection, it seemed a poor day that did not furnish me with many different specimens, but now I think I have made good progress if in a whole summer I can obtain two or three additions to those I already possess."
"Yes," said I, "the Christian has an experience very similar to the botanist. In its more advanced stages growth in grace is not to be measured by ells but inches. The noblest graces are the rarest. The virtues that go to make the character the nearest perfection are the last to be attained to. But, friend," said I, "does your botanical experience suggest any further parallel?"
"Yes," said he; "I have sometimes found on afterexamination of a specimen that it was imperfect . It was of the right kind, but wanted some part or other."
"Ah," said I, " these fragmentary graces are too common in the life-herbarium of Christian men. What more have you observed?"
"I have sometimes," replied he, "on looking over my plants, found one that has not been so well-preserved as the rest, and has become mildewed."
"Yes," said I, "there are plenty of specimens of mildewed graces in our life-herbariums;—graces that are spoilt by worldliness and selfishness and carnal affections. What more, my friend?"
"Well," said he, "I have sometimes inserted a wrong specimen. Some plants very much resemble others. Look, there is the wild strawberry-plant, and here is another plant almost exactly like it, but yet quite different, for it bears no berries."
"I see," said I. "And in the life-herbarium there are not a few such plants: plants in the wrong place; plants of grace that should be fruit-bearing yet are not; but are, in fact, mere counterfeits of the grace they represent. Have you noticed anything else, my friend?"
"Not anything more, except that I am growing more and more anxious to get my collection completed."
"Ah, there, I fear as a botanist you have the advantage
of many Christian men as respects their life-herbarium.
There is not so much longing after progress, or so much an
aiming at perfection as there ought to be. Many of us,
having attained to the more easily-reached standards of
grace, are content to remain there. I trust your example