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them. I did not know what you meant then; but I know now; and I know that I have been just like them."
"Very true. Be like them still more. When they found that the water was sweet, they drank;—do as they did."
"How can I, sir?"
"Sarah, when the Lord Jesus Christ was on earth, he cried aloud to multitudes who stood around him—' If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.'* Any man—any woman or child—anybody who heard him, everybody who heard him, was invited then; everybody who hears the same words in his gospel is invited now. He himself, the fountain of living waters, bids you come to him and drink—drink so that you will never thirst again. Do you understand this?"
"I think I do, partly, sir," replied Mrs. Adams, hesitatingly.
"How can I make it clearer? See, Sarah; you are unhappy; you have long been unhappy; it needs no conjurer to make this discovery. Yet, all the while you have been thirsting for peace and happiness, and have been saying to yourself that there is no use in trying any more, and that you may as well give up—all this time, the fresh waters of joy and happiness and peace have been flowing all around you in the gospel of God's grace, in the love and compassion of the blessed Saviour, in the sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit, which you have refused to taste."
"What can I do, sir?" the poor convinced woman asked; and then my grandfather plainly and faithfully warned her of the danger of stifling her present convictions, and besought her to close at once with the invitations of Christ,— "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light;"—" If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink."
The words were spoken in season now. Sarah Adams returned to her cottage comforted and instructed: and though she found, what all who like her have wilfully for many long years shut their eyes against the light of truth, and hardened their hearts against the pricks of conscience, do more or less find—that the way back may be rugged and difficult; yet, by God's Spirit helping her, she laid hold of the hope of the gospel—very humbly, indeed, but not the less securely for that, and was ere long enabled to quench her * John vii. 37.
soul's thirst for peace with the sweet waters of Christ's mercy. No longer a neglected treasure, the Bible became to her a fountain of comfort amidst all her trials; so that she could sometimes even rejoice in tribulation. Eventually, too, she made a discovery, which though unimportant in comparison with the infinitely valuable matter of soulsalvation, is not unimportant in itself—namely, that "Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is."*
THE WALLED-UP BIBLE.f
A Lady, well known in Switzerland for her missionary efforts, once gave a Bible to a young Italian mason, hoping that he might be induced to read it, and that by God's blessing it might be the means of enlightening his mind as to the errors of the Boman Catholic church, to -which he belonged. But his priest hearing of it, assured him that it was a most dangerous book, and forbad his ever reading it. Antonio, the young mason, dared not disobey. He put the Bible into his pocket, and thought no more about it, till, shortly after, when he was helping to build the foundations of a large house, it suddenly came into his head to bury the book in a crevice between the large stones which he was so carefully adjusting. His companions applauded the proposal; and Antonio, before walling up the Bible, gave several sharp blows on the cover with his hammer.
"Now," said he, mockingly, "I shall be able to recognise it if the evil one ever gets it out of this."
The house was finished, and when the winter came Antonio returned to his native village with little more in his pocket than when he left it, having spent his wages as fast as he received them, drinking with his dissolute companions.
Five or six years elapsed, when the news of the entire destruction by fire of the little town of Glaris filled Switzerland with consternation and sorrow. Nobly did the Swiss then prove the truth of their motto, "One for all; all for one:" clothes, provisions, and money were sent
* 1 Tim. iv. 8.
t This remarkable narrative, translated from the Italian, is vouched for as strictly true by the author.
from all parts to the destitute inhabitants of the pretty little town, which, in a few hours, had been reduced to a heap of smoking ruins; but happily, notwithstanding the rapidity with which the fire spread, very few persons perished in this great disaster. During the summer the houseless crowd encamped round the crumbling ruins of their former homes, but when the cold weather came they were glad to accept the generous hospitality of the neighbouring towns and villages.
When the spring arrived they began to think of rebuilding their town, but amongst the heaps of ruins and ashes these poor people had some difficulty in finding the sites of their houses.
With spring came the swallows, the harbingers of fine weather; and soon after began to arrive the Italians, who may truly be called the masons of Switzerland, for without their assistance hardly a vineyard wall or the foundation of a chalet is built. Every day troops of these men passed over the mountains on foot, most of them having their whole stock of clothes on their backs, and each carrying a trowel and hammer tied up in a red handkerchief. The apprentice masons carried heavier instruments on their shoulders, a hod and shovel for making mortar.
Like all Italians, during the hours of sunshine, each had his jacket slung over the left shoulder, and they all wore much the same costume, a suit of coarse brown velveteen. Many of them carried bright red or blue cotton umbrellas, large enough to shelter a whole family. Less happy than the swallows who preceded them, these poor men had left their homes to lead a life of toil in a foreign land.
The young men, excited at the idea of seeing a new country, and certain of finding work either at Glaris or on the numerous railways then making in Switzerland, sang merrily as they marched gaily along; but the fathers of families might be easily distinguished by the regretful glances they cast behind them at every turn of the road. In the midst of one of these groups might have been remarked a middle-aged man of careworn appearance: he had left a wife and little ones behind him in the mountains of Piedmont while he went far away in search of work, hoping to save out of his wages sufficient to keep them during the long and severe winter. Arrived in Switzerland, this crowd dispersed in various directions in search of employment. One party, amongst whom was Jean the Piedmontese, having passed over the Splugen, directed their steps to Glaris, where the excavators had already commenced levelling the ruins and preparing the ground for the masons. Some days were spent in resting, after their long and fatiguing journey. Having erected some rude wooden huts to lodge in, and come to terms with the contractors who had undertaken to rebuild the town, each had his work assigned to him. Jean, with others, was employed in rebuilding a large house which had been only partially destroyed; but first of all they tried the solidity of the walls, which still remained standing, by striking them in various parts with their hammers.
"This house has been built scarcely more than five years," said Jean, to his comrades; "look what splendid stones these are, and yet they are all charred on the inside by the flames; let us see how far the mischief extends." As he spoke, a vigorous blow of his hammer displaced several, and greatly to his astonishment, and that of his companions, out fell a book. Jean picked it up, and in a tone of surprise and joy exclaimed, "A Bible!" The other workmen gathered round him, and Jean, opening it, read aloud these words, "The wicked worketh a deceitful work: but to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward."* "What happiness!" said he; "I have so long been wishing for a Bible; I do not deserve it, however, for some years ago a Swiss lady gave me one; but when I went home our priest saw it, and, like a coward, I let him take it from me: certainly, if I may judge by the sad example of immorality he set us, it was not to read it he wanted it; as for this one, it shall never go out of my possession again."
As most of the men who surrounded him could not read, they did not think of disputing his right to the precious book, a treasure which, in their ignorance, they could not appreciate. After a careful examination, and from the manner in which the stones had been placed, it was unanimously agreed that the Bible had been placed there purposely. The marks on the back could not have been caused by hammering the stones which hid it from sight, or it would have been knocked to pieces.
Jean received the Bible as a direct gift sent to him by God in his great mercy. On Sundays he read it aloud to as many of his companions as would listen to him. As yet * Prov. xi. 18.
he knew it too little to be able to explain it to them, and he therefore had the good sense to begin with the part he could understand best, and felt to be of most importance—the Gospels and the Psalms. Advancing by degrees from the known to the unknown, he began at last, under the teaching of the Holy Spirit, to understand a great portion of God's truth. The Divine words contained in the Bible have a clear meaning for all who read them in simplicity of heart, with faith, accompanied by prayer; so did their truths become impressed on the souls of Jean and of his fellow workmen.
Following the advice of a minister of the gospel, whom he applied to for guidance and counsel, Jean employed his leisure moments by holding a gratuitous reading-class in the hut in which he lodged. Hard work is a bad preparation for study, and many of these Italian workmen preferred carrying heavy stones to learning the alphabet.
"Come, take courage," said Jean to them; "your heads have had nothing to do, so let your arms and legs rest for a while, and let them work in their turn."
The most persevering came regularly, and made fair progress. Jean rewarded each of these with the gift of a New Testament, for which purpose a supply had been sent to him by a lady. What happiness when the day came that they were able to read and understand a chapter by themselves! Jean, in humble imitation of the Baptist whose name he bore, spoke much to his scholars about the fall of man and the necessity for repentance, knowing, by experience, that if once man feels himself to be a sinner, the want of a Saviour will soon be felt likewise, and he saw with gratitude that his hearers took an interest in what he told them. Many of the Italian workmen, when they heard of the discovery of the walled-up Bible, came to see it, and looked upon jit with reverence, as having been specially preserved by God.
It was a fine, dry summer, and the work advanced rapidly. Jean rejoiced already in the prospect of carrying back his savings to his family. When the foggy days and long nights of November came, most of the Italians began to think of returning to their distant homes. Some fewwere glad, for the sake of their food and lodging, to accept employment from the farmers for the winter season, and so escape the long and fatiguing journoy.
Our friend Jean was glad and thankfnl, after a perilous