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Dot could not make out what the lady meant, nor what her little girl had meant, the night before she died. She wanted very much to hear more about her, and she hoped the lady would soon come again.
“Mr. Solemn,” said Dot the next day, as she was in her usual place on the top of one of Solomon's graves, “ didn't you say that my little girl was in that long box?"
“ Yes,” said Solomon-"yes, Dot, I said so, I believe."
“ But my little girl's mamma says she isn't in there, Mr. Solemn, and my little girl said so, the night before she died.”
“ Where is she then ?” said Solomon.
“ She's somewhere up there," said Dot, pointing with her finger to the blue sky.
"Oh, in heaven," said Solomon. “Yes, Dot, I suppose she is in heaven.”
“How did she get there ?” said Dot; "I want to know all about it, Mr. Solemn."
“Oh, I don't know," said the old man; “good folks always go to heaven.”
“Shall you go to heaven, Mr. Solemn, when you die ?"
“I hope I shall, Dot, I'm sure,” said the old man. “But there, run away a little ; I want to tidy round a bit,"
Now Solomon had often “tidied round," as he called it, without sending little Dot away; but he did not want her to ask him any more questions, and he hoped she would forget it before she came back.
But Dot had not forgotten. She had not even been playing; she had been sitting on an old tombstone, thinking about what Solomon had said. And as soon as he had finished the grave she ran up to him :
“ Mr. Solemn,” she said, “did she get out in the night ?" * Who get out ?" said the old man, in a very puzzled voice.
“ My little girl, Mr. Solemn; did she get out that night, after you covered her up, you know?"
“No," said Solomon, “she couldn't get out how could she?"
“ Then she's in there yet,” said little Dot, very sorrowfully.
“ Yes, she's there, safe enough,” said the grave-digger; " it's the last home of man, is the grave, Dot.”
" But, Mr. Solemn, you said she was in heaven," Dot went on, in a very mournful little voice.
Solomon did not know how to answer her, indeed it was very puzzling to himself. He wished he could think what to say to Dot, but nothing would come to him, so he gave up the attempt, and tried to think of something else.
- But Dot's busy little mind was not satisfied. The little girl's rnamma must be right; and she had said she hoped Dot would see Lilian above the blue sky. Dot wondered how she would get up above the sky..
;* Mr. Solemn," she said one day, “don't you wish you were just like a bird?"
"No," said the old man--"no, Dot, I'd rather be digging my graves." * But; Mr. Solemn, they've got two wings,” she went on.
And what would you do with two wings, my little dear?" said the grave-digger.
“I'd go right up into the sky, and look for my little girl," said Dot.
“ Oh !” said Solomon, “ your thoughts are always running on that, Dot. How's dolly to-day pa
But Dot had left her dolly at home-she had almost forgotten it the last day or two.
(TO BE CONTINUED.)
: The Grabes of the Greedy.
NsMBER$ xi, 34. O UCH is the meaning of a name which Moses gave to
a place where a great multitude of the people of N A Israel died. They had murmured at what they
thought the fewness of their mercies, and had longed for fleshly comforts God had seen fit to withhold. They cried to God for them with impatience and distrust. Then God did with them as He sometimes does with us : He punished their foolish prayer by answering it. He gave them the meat they sought, without the blessing which they despised. Accordingly, as soon as it came they ate : and multitudes only ate to die. So Moses called the place The Graves of the Greedy, for a warning to all who were left alive, and to all who have wisdom to take warning from it. Let us try and learn the lesson of this striking name, understanding by it a covetous, lustful hankering after, not rich food only, but anything presented to the eye or the mind as an object to be desired.
Greed always leads to a grave. God has joined the two things together, and man cannot put them asunder. Contentment is a tree of life, bearing many kinds of blessed fruit, gladdening all who dwell beneath its shadow: but greed casts a shadow of death over all who cherish it.
“They that will be rich," says St. Paul, “fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts that drown men in perdition.” In fact, the life of every greedy man has graves for milestones. Every day something good about him dies and drops into a grave, till at last the great grave takes all that is left of his soul.
Look at some of these graves of a greedy soul :
1. One of the first dismal stage-marks on his journey is the grave where joy is buried. As a boy he was merry as a lark. Play and friendship whiled the happy hours away. His heart was at leisure to gaze on all the glories of nature; to listen to the singing of the birds; to take delight in the presence of all who loved him. But as greed began to grow strong within him, joy began to weaken and fade away. He could not take time to enjoy a single mercy, and so at last became blind to all his comforts. The success which at first used to delight him came to be a matter of course. However wealthy, he never had enough. Care began to stick to him so closely, that even when he tried he could not throw it off ; till at last the power of rejoicing in anything
left him altogether. Joy sickened and died; and its grave made a mile-stone in his path. His smile now almost alarms you. It is so shallow, is displaced so soon by a serious look, that you know it is only the ghost of dead and buried gladness.
2. One of the next graves we meet with in the life of a greedy soul is the grave of love. Love and life come together to us. Everything that lives seems to have some love about it; and love is at once the beauty, and the rest, and the strength of man. But greed and love cannot exist together; for love is a costly thing. It costs time and thought, money and care. He that hath friends hath to show himself friendly, hath to weep with them that weep, and rejoice with them that do rejoice. Greed grudges all this distraction of sympathy, and this cost of kindness : it seems a “waste of precious ointment.” And so gradually love is limited and enfeebled. Parents are forgotten; old friends are neglected, no new ones made ; till the heart cares for nobody, and nobody cares for it. Love dies, and drops into another of the graves of greed. Gold fills and chills the heart that love would have refreshed and glorified.
3. After many lesser graves, you see one great one standing conspicuous on his path. It is the grave of hope.
The fact is, hope and love go hand-in-hand, and the one never long survives the other. And hope needs a certain measure of rest and freedom, of ease and joy, to keep it alive. It is the great reward of love that it can see and believe in the love of God, and gathers hope from seeing it. It is the penalty and curse of selfishness that it cannot believe in the existence of love even in the heart of God, and so cannot gather any hope from gazing on Him. The creed of a greedy man is that God is greedy too. Hard, austere, reaping where He does not sow, and gathering where He has not strawed. So he cannot hope for anything from man or God, from Providence or grace. He may expect to gain what he has strength to win by a hard struggle ; but when his strength begins to slacken, and he
cannot ensure his success so certainly as he used to do, then hope passes from him. It falls into a grave. Hope is one of the things that make the chief difference between heaven and hell ; and to be without it, is to be miserable indeed. Yet long before the man himself dies, greed will have slain utterly the hope which would have cheered and sustained him.
4. After many more, you meet with one over which angels are weeping. It is the grave of conscience. .
Conscience is a wonderful gift of God. It is, perhaps, His greatest: a higher glory and a better guide than reason itself. God gives it us for our good-an angel to guide us and to protect us from ill; a pillar of cloud by day, and of fire by night. It is a living oracle, ever teaching the lowly soul; saying at every turn of life, “ This is the way: walk ye in it." When God quickens it, it can inspire us to lofty undertakings, can nerve us to endure great trials, can reclaim us from our wanderings, can bring us to Jesus, and enable us to understand His cross.
And having a work so high, conscience has a hardy life. It takes a great deal to kill it. But sometimes it seems as if greed had succeeded in killing it utterly. Our conscience will not continue to speak, unless we listen and obey. It withdraws its light when we refuse to follow it; and greed will neither listen to its precept nor follow its lead. So gradually it grows feebler, speaks seldomer and more faintly, till, giving up a useless strife, it dies and falls into the grave, where it will rest until the resurrection wakes it up to bear witness against the soul it could not guide. How fearful is that condition in which even conscience is dead and buried !
5. Not far ahead of this, the path of the greedy ends in a great grave, deeper than we dare to think, more fearful than we dare to name. We cannot tell what exactly is the second death, and what are the elements of those great penalties that the instincts of men have anticipated, and the Scriptures of God declared.