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world to a better, and to place his trust on that Saviour, who would never forsake any who looked to him, and who was now fulfilling his promise and supporting them both in this dark and trying hour. “ And now, dearest mother,” said the son, “ read to me the 14th chapter of St. John, and Let not your heart be troubled ;' we soon shall meet again.” And the mother controlled her feelings, and with superhuman strength comforted and supported her son, and confirmed his faith; and now she read, and then she bathed his fevered brow, or gave him some refreshing drink, or moved him, when pain had rendered his posture uneasy, and then she read again, or strengthened both him and herself by prayer: and so passed away an hour or two. Tumult, and disorder, and discord reigned without; but the peace of God was in that little room.
Towards night this holy calm was disturbed. Again a tumultuous mob assembled round the door and called on the widow Bernard to admit them. She opened the door, and a scene of horror almost drew a scream of terror from her lips; but she thought of her dying son, and was still, and demanded what they wished.
“ We want the body of the martyr Victor ; we wish to carry it, with those of these other murdered heroes, through the streets, and to rouse their country to revenge;" and by the light of torches which they carried, the
widow saw they had a cart with them, in which they had placed the bodies of those who had fallen in the affray. She told them her son yet lived, but it was not till she had taken one of their leaders to the side of the bed, where, propped with pillows, sat the dying boy, whose strength was now failing fast, that they consented to withdraw and leave them once more in peace.
They withdrew, resuming their cries for “ revenge," and the poor widow would again have sunk with terror had she not heard the voice of her son. He was repeating in a low but firm voice, “ But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you,
pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.” Then seeing his mother draw near, he said, “ Sweet mother, read again, that I may lose those dreadful sounds ;” and his mother, seeing the change now rapidly passing over the face of her boy, turned to the 21st chapter of Revelation, and read to the 8th verse, and then turning to the 22nd chapter, she read on to the 6th verse; but before she had finished it, a gentle sigh caused her to turn to her son, who had been called to that “ throne of God and of the Lamb,” where “his servants shall serve him, and they shall see his face."
THE AGED MANASS EH.
Riveraz, July 14, 18%. My very
dear friend,,I wish that you, as well as myself, could converse with Manasseh. The mind of this humble peasant, a labourer, despised as he is in the eyes of the world, has been well cultivated in the school of Christ. He is a Christian, a reader of the Bible, to which his whole heart has been given, and which sanctifies his life and conversation.
Last Sunday, I went to the house where this child of God resides ; I came to the door, just as he opened it himself, to dismiss a dozen children, about seven or eight years of age, to whom he spoke, almost with parental kindness, reminding them to learn a certain portion of Scripture before the next Lord's day. All the children had Bibles in their hands, or under their arms, and their fresh and happy faces showed that their lessons were not irksome to them. 66 You have been well employed,” I said to Manasseh, as soon as the little band were gone.
“ May God himseif teach these children the real value of your efforts.”
Manasseh knew me again, and asking me to sit down, he said. " The texts of Scripture which you see there, upon the walls, were some that were hung up in the school where I learned to read, and in which I first received a Bible. God knows how often, during a life of seventy-five years, they have recurred to my memory, together with the instructions that I then received." “You try,” I said, “ to iinpart to these children the same advantages.
The old man leaned his head on bis hand, and said, who took pains to teach me that God gave his Son to be our Saviour has long since left this world, but still I seem to hear his voice and to see his looks of kindness.
These are engraven on my mind. Daily they come before me, and point me to Christ and his word. May I leave such marks on the hearts of these dear children, that the name of the Lord may be glorified in them also !” Just then Manasseh looked out of his window, and asking me to excuse him, he
66 One 66 This poor
went out, leaning on his stick, and in a few minutes returned, bringing with him a poor woman, who carried an infant in her arms.
He kindly asked her to sit down, as it had just begun to rain, and he offered her something to eat, telling her to give thanks to God. He said to me, woman has come down to-day from the mountains, where her husband is keeping cattle, and no doubt she is very tired. But now, sir, I hope to attend to what you have to say. You will have no objection to coine a little further into
He offered me the only chair which the room contained, and sat down himself on a stool. He seemed anxious that I should speak first, but, by degrees, he gave me the following account of his past life.
“My history,” he said, “is that of an insect, a mere worm, a rebellious worm, a sinner against the Most High, who has received mercy, and will be, to all eternity, a monument of the boundless mercy of the eternal God. I am called Manasseh, and the name is one that suits me well. This name is the only one by which I have been known in this village, where I have lived for the last twenty-five years, since the Lord laid his hand on me, and brought me to repent like the son of Hezekiah.
“I have been very wicked, sir, and the worst part is this, that I was not ignorant. I had been instructed in Divine truth from my infancy, yet this sacred truth I was disposed to resist, to the utmost degree. My father was a dealer in earthenware, at some distance from this place. He was a very honest, industrious, and respectable man, but it was not from him, or from a very kind mother, that I received religious training. This benefit I owe to the schoolmaster of our village, who was to me a kind friend and guardian, and under whose care I learned (what I was never taught at home) that the Bible is the message of God to the soul, and that the Lord Jesus Christ is rich unto all that call on him.
My schoolmaster was a prudent and sincere man, full of love to his Saviour, whose name he always mentioned with deep respect, and often with tears in his eyes. He used to say to us, “Children, if you knew how good and kind the Lord Jesus is, you would lose no time in seeking to have him for your friend, and then you would be truly happy.'
“I had great pleasure in listening to his instructions, and these led me to make a public confession of my faith, and to come to the table of the Lord. How happy I was at that time! What peace I enjoyed! How pleasantly passed these days of my childhood and early youth! But they soon hastened away, and were speedily followed by years of rebellion. My parents died, and I found myself at the head of rather a large establishment, when only twenty-one years of age. At first I went on pretty well. I observed the same habits of piety, and faithfully kept up the friendship I had formed with my spiritual father, the pious schoolmaster. By degrees, however, pride crept into my heart, and I thought myself somebody, because I had read a few books, and could speak better than my neighbours; I set up my own wisdom instead of the book of God, which I neglected, and ceased to read. Then my heart refused to pray, and I began to shun my
old friend, whom I feared, and turned away from. Public worship was wearisome to me, the Lord's day became more and more like other days. I profaned it, and this contempt of the commandments of my God was like the opening of a sluice, by which a torrent of vice and disorder overflowed my soul.
“Men of the world, by whose irreligious practices I had once been shocked, when I walked in the ways of the Lord, now became my associates. The public-house was the place where I met them, and there, in drinking, gambling, and lounging, I wasted my time, ruined my health,
and fell lower and lower, until, after the lapse of ten years, I found myself deprived of all that my father had left in my hands. My ruin was so complete, that having given up all that I possessed, I was obliged to flee, in order to escape from prison. Ah, sir! when young men who know the way of peace, are led astray by pride, when they treat with scorn the Saviour, who has been set before them as a friend, when the Bible, which once came to their hearts like the words of a tender father, is a weariness to them—surely their souls are in a wretched state. They are likely to become hardened, and go on from bad to worse, till they are hateful even to themselves. This was my own case.
“ Wicked and depraved as I had become, I could not quite lose the impressions of my childhood, which sometimes pleaded with my heart so forcibly that I could not help weeping at the thought of the time when my good master instructed me, when I used to read and pray, till I began to loath myself. Among other things of this kind, I remember, that once as a soldier (for I had enlisted) I was serving in a very distant place, and I heard a child sing a hymn that
I had been taught when young, and the sorrow which this remembrance occasioned me was so great, that at the moment I was ready to faint. Ah, sir! how often, in those sad years, did I wish that I had never known the Bible, or heard the name of my Saviour. I cannot recall them without terror, and at the time I dreaded to be alone, or to hear others speak of the love of God. This state lasted a long time. thirty years of age, and until I was more than fifty, I continued in a state of sinful stupidity. I became desperate, and expected at last to feel the weight of the Divine judgments.
“ But the grace, the boundless mercy of the Lord, was the weapon by which at last I was brought to yield. How wonderful the
of God! I had become a sailor, and was serving in a transport ship, where there were several passengers. One Sunday morning, I was playing at cards on the forecastle with some of my comrades, when one of the passengers, who was a missionary, came up to us.
He stopped and looked on us for some time; then speaking mildly, yet solemnly, he observed, “What is not for the glory of God is work done in the service of Satan. My friends, are you Christians, or unbelievers ? You play at cards on the Lord's day!'
My companions laid down their cards, and looked at him in silence. He continued, with the same kindness of manner, to speak to us of the mercy and love of God, and especially of the free forgiveness of sin to all who believe in Jesus Christ, repeating several times over, 'It is free grace—it is a gift.' One of the sailors, whom I had often observed to be more thoughtful than the rest, and from whom I had more than once picked up a few good words, asked him, • Are you speaking to us about the one thing needful, sir ? • Do you know what that is ?' asked the man of God.
Perhaps I do, a little,' replied the sailor; but he turned away, and the matter was dropped.
“ This passed, as I said, in the morning. On the evening of the same day we had met upon the prow of the vessel to drink a bottle of beer; the missionary passed by, and one of the sailors asked him to share it with us. He thanked us, but declined. It is a gift, sir, a free gift' said the sailor, repeating the words which the missionary had so often used, whilst addressing us in the morning. He stopped, and said, very gravely, 'I understand you are willing to offer me a free gift, but I cannot taste your beer unless you offer it to me for the sake of the Lord Jesus.' A crowd gathered