GOD KEEPS HOLD OF THE OTHER HAND.
A little boy with his mother was returning from a visit; the night was very dark, and little could be seen ahead. She led her little boy, by the hand, who trustingly walked by her side. He had only just begun to learn and remember the stories of the Bible, and he believed and trusted everything he heard. After walking for sometime in the darkness, very silently, he burst out with,
"Mamma, I'm not afraid."
"Why, what makes you feel so."
"Because, mamma, God keeps hold of the other hand."
This is the beautiful lesson older ones, too, must learn, the simple, childlike confidence in God, which gives no fear, no alarm.
The skeptic can never accuse little children of the same theories, philosophies, imaginations and beliefs which are characteristic of older heads. The child knows nothing of such books of reason, science or religion. Many a child who could not read has asked of God and his prayer has been answered; and when the whole world witnesses a little child, who in its innocence has been told that God lives, that God loves him, that God can do everything and will surely hear his prayer, and then in its care and grief, kneels before the God it trusts, offers its little prayer, and the prayer is answered, let none of maturer minds ever presume to doubt. The faith of little children is typical of the very simplest faith wherewith any human being must approach its Creator. The child never questions, never doubts; but in its simplicity asks, and God honors the trust. The following incident illustrates the point, that not one thing is ere too small for God to consider, or a soul to bring to him in prayer.
A CHILD WHOSE LIFE WAS SAVED IN ANSWER TO PRAYER -- BY HIS OWN PRAYER THE LIFE OF HIS SISTER IS SAVED.
One of the most beautiful incidents ever known relating to the faith of children, and the reward of their trust, is contained in the following circumstance, personally known to the editor of this book, who was a participant in the facts.
The only child of a young married couple, living in this city, their pride, their hope and joy, and the darling of the whole family, was seized with severe sickness, grew rapidly worse. The grandfather, who was a skilled physician, was constantly present, ministering in every way, by every means, but nothing was of any avail. No medicine could cure, and the child seemed ready to die. No one could think of relief or knew where to find it. The grandfather, at last, proposed to lay the case before God, and ask the prayers of His people in the child's behalf. The mother was only too glad to ask other prayers with her own, to bring relief. The father, who had hitherto never seriously thought of religion, was in intense anxiety and despair. Here was his first, his only child about to be taken away from him, and then came the thought, is it possible his family life was not to be blessed; his child was in distress, no human effort was available. At last, he too joined in the prayer of his wife and father, and bowing before the Great Unknown, unseen God, he poured out his heart in prayer, saying, "Lord, if thou wilt spare my child, wilt give him life, and thus show to me thy power and will to save, I will never doubt again, and will give thee my heart"
A request for prayer was written and sent to the pastor, Dr. William Adams, of the Madison Square Church. It arrived after church service had begun; the sexton was unwilling to carry it to the pulpit, as it was against the rule, but when told he must, as a life was in great danger, he consented, and delivered it to the pastor.
The messenger waited breathlessly, and when in silence the doctor specifically mentioned the case before him, and asked the Lord to heal and spare the little one, and comfort the hearts of all, and make it a witness of his love and power, the messenger accidentally looked at the clock, and it marked just quarter to eleven, A.M.
When prayer was finished he returned home. Arriving at home, he was astonished to find the child better, its whole condition had changed, the medicine had taken hold, and the doctor now said everything was so hopeful the child would surely recover, and it did. But mark the unparalleled singularity of the scene. The father asked the messenger the time when the prayer was offered. He replied, "At a quarter to eleven." The father in astonishment said, "At that very moment the disease changed, and the doctor said he was better."
The father, who had thus been proving the Lord with this test of prayer and its identity of time in his answer, was so overwhelmingly convinced of the real power of prayer, and thereby of the real existence of God, and that a Christian life was one of facts as well as beliefs, now finding that the Lord had indeed kept His own promise, he, too, kept his promise and gave his heart to the Lord, and became henceforth, a professing Christian.
But there were more wonderful things yet to happen -- a period of five years passed. Other children were added to the family, and one day, the youngest, a sweet, beautiful girl, was taken suddenly ill with convulsions. The sickness for days tasked the strength of the mother, and the skill of the doctor, but no care, ingenuity, or knowledge could overcome the disease or subdue the pain. The little girl's fits were severe and distressing, and there were but short intervals between, just time to come out of one and with a gasp, pass into another still more terrible. In its occasional moments of reason, it would look piteously as if mutely appealing, and then the next convulsion would take it and seem to leave it just at death's door.
All attendants were worn with care, the doctor fairly lived in the house and forsook all his other business. The clergyman came and comforted the anxious hearts with words of sympathy and prayer; but her little brother Merrill, (whose own life we have just related,) tender-hearted, a mere child, scarce seven years of age, who had known of the Lord, and who believed that He was everywhere and could do everything, was intensely grieved at "Mamie's" distress, and came at last to his mother and asked if he could go and "make a prayer to God for Sissy." The mother said, "Go." The little boy went back into his room, and kneeling humbly by the side of his bed, as he did at his night and morning prayers, uttered this request:
"O God, please to bless little sister, she is very sick. Please stop her fits so she won't have any more. For Jesus' sake, amen."
He came back, told his mamma what he said, and added: "Mamma, I don't think she will have any more."
Now mark how the Lord honored this simple faith of the little child. From that very moment the fits left her. They never returned; and the child soon entirely recovered.
Notice the full beauty and instruction of these two incidents: Little Merrill's life was saved in answer to prayer; was the means of his father's salvation, and when he in turn had grown to an age when he could learn of God, his own prayer was the means of saving his own sister's life.
Notice, too, that all earthly available means were used to save each child, but to no effect. Physicians and parents considered the case hopeless, and then committed it to the decision of God.
Notice, too, that when little Merrill was so sick, that the mother and doctor both prayed, yet it was not until his father had also prayed that the answer came. God meant to honor the faith of the first two, but was waiting for the prayer of the third ere he granted the request. That child's sickness was one of the purposes of God. Notice in the second case, that while father, mother, doctor, the clergyman, and others of the house were all trusting in prayer, yet the Lord was waiting for the prayer of the little brother, ere he sent the blessing of relief. Such an incident draws its own conclusion. Never cease in prayer for anything which is to God's honor and glory. Use all the possible means to help God. Where human means are of no avail, commit it to God and wait in humble resignation. Ask others to pray, too, for the same object, that when the answer comes, God may be glorified before the sight of others as well as your own. When so many are waiting to see if God will honor his promises, depend upon it, God will be found faithful to all his word.
TRUSTING IN GOD'S PROMISES.
"It was a fierce, wild night in March, and the blustering wind was blowing, accompanied by the sharp, sleety snow. It was very desolate without, but still more desolate within the home I am going to describe to you. The room was large and almost bare, and the wind whistled through the cracks in the most dismal manner. In one corner of the room stood an old-fashioned bedstead upon which a woman lay, her emaciated form showing her to be in the last stage of consumption. A low fire burned in the large fire-place, and before it a little girl was kneeling. She had a small testament, and was trying by the dim fire-light to read a chapter, as was her custom, before going to bed. A faint voice called to her from the bed, 'Nellie, my daughter, read the 14th chapter of St. John for your Mother.' 'Yes, Mother,' was the reply, and after turning the leaves a few moments, the child began. All that long Winter day that poor mother had been tortured with pain and remorse. She was poor, very poor, and she knew she must die and leave her child to the mercies of the world. Her husband had died several years before. Since then she had struggled on, as best she could, till now she had almost grown to doubt God's promises to the helpless. 'In my Father's house are many mansions.' 'I go to prepare a place for you.' Here the little reader paused, and crept to her mother's side. She lay motionless, with closed eyes, while great hot tears were stealing down her wasted cheeks. 'Mother, He has a place almost ready for you, hasn't He.' 'Yes, my child, and I am going very soon, but He will watch over you, Nellie, when Mother has gone to her last home.'
"The weeks went slowly by to the suffering invalid; but when the violets were blooming, they made a grave upon the hillside, and laid the weary body down to rest, but the spirit had gone to the home which Christ himself had gone to prepare.
"Years passed away. It was sunny May. The little church of Grenville was crowded. I noticed in one of the seats a lady plainly but neatly attired. There was nothing remarkable in the face with its mournful brown eyes, and decided looking mouth and chin. I ransacked my memory to find who the lady was. Suddenly a vision of the poor widow came. This, then, was the little girl, little Nellie Mason. 'We will read a part of the 14th chapter of St. John,' the minister said. 'In my Father's house are many mansions; I go to prepare a place for you.' The slow, deliberate tones recalled me from my reverie, and I looked at Nellie. Her head was bowed, but I could see the tears flowing like rain."
THE FAITH OF A LITTLE CHILD.
An incident most beautiful was told in the Fulton Street prayer meeting by a converted Jew.
"Journeying in the cars, I was attracted by two little girls, Jewesses. I asked them if they loved Jesus. To my surprise, they said they did. I found that their mother was in a seat near by. She had attended some of the gospel meetings for Jews, and was interested in them. She said her husband had not been to church or synagogue for eleven years, and she did not know his views on religion. Her two little girls had attended a Methodist Sunday school, and there learned of Jesus. A day or so after, the mother was taken very sick, and remedies failing, the eldest child, a little over eight years old, said: 'O Mamma, if you will let me pray to Jesus for you, He can take away your pains and give you sleep.' She knelt with her sister and prayed in simple words to Jesus to heal her mother, telling Him that He had so promised to hear prayer. Shortly after, the mother, after long hours of restlessness and suffering, fell into a deep sleep and awoke relieved of pain and much refreshed. She heard from her daughter's lips the story of her faith in Jesus and love for Him, and then sent for me, begging me to pray for her. I am glad to tell you that she is now a converted woman, a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ."
THE WANDERER FOUND.
A mother sent a request for prayer to the Fulton Street prayer-meeting, that she might hear from him who had long ago left home, and wandered far away. She had been praying very earnestly for him, and soon she wrote that she had just heard from him, and heard too that he had become a Christian and learned to trust in Him.
ARE YOU THERE.
A mother, one morning, gave her two little ones books and toys to amuse them while she went up-stairs to attend to something. A half hour passed quietly away, and then one of the little ones went to the foot of the stairs, and in a timid voice called out, "Mamma, are you there?"
"All right," said the little one, and-went on with her play. By-and-by the question was repeated, "Mamma, are you there?"
"All right," said the child again, and once more went on with her play. And this is just the way we should feel towards Jesus. He has gone up-stairs, to the right hand of God, to attend to some things for us. He has left us down in this lower room of this world to be occupied here for a while. But to keep us from being worried by fear or care, He speaks to us from His word, as that mother spoke to her little ones. He says to us, "Fear not; I am with thee. I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." "The Lord will provide."
And so we see how certain it is that God does provide relief in trouble for those who love and serve Him.
GOD KNOWS THE BOTTOM OF THE BARREL.
"Mother, I think God always hears when we scrape the bottom of the barrel," said a little boy to his mother one day. His mother was poor. They often used up their last stick of wood and their last bit of bread before they could tell where the next supply was to come from. But they had so often been provided for in unexpected ways, just when they were most in need, that the little boy thought God always heard when they scraped the bottom of the barrel. This was only that little fellow's way of saying what Abraham said when he called the name of the place where God had delivered him, "Jehovah-Jireh."
GOD'S CARE FOR LITTLE CHILDREN IN LITTLE WANTS.
"I was early taught that God cares for His children, even to regard their little daily wants. An illustration of my implicit confidence, which I do not remember ever to have been betrayed, occurred when I was about ten years of age. I was accustomed to give five cents each Sabbath at the Sunday School collection for foreign missions. This money was not given me directly by my parents; but I was allowed to go on an errand, or to do some little piece of work for a neighbor and thus earn it, outside of the performance of the duties that naturally fell to my lot at home. At one time, when I was attending school about a mile from home, my time out of school was taken up by my walk to and from it and the chores which necessarily fall to a farmer's boy, so that for some months I had no opportunity of earning anything. One Sabbath morning, I dropped my last silver piece into the collection, with a prayer -- which I always offered at such a time -- that God would bless it to the heathen, that some one might be led to Him by it.
"I went home that day with a child's anxiety, feeling that I could not bear the thought of giving nothing for the heathen on next Sabbath, and yet not seeing how I could possibly obtain it. That night I asked my Heavenly Father to provide the money for me. The anxiety was all gone; for I felt that God would answer. Next morning, when almost at the school-house, I found a handkerchief in the road, in the corner of which was securely tied a silver quarter and a silver dime. Instantly my thoughts flew to the next Sabbath, and to the prayer I had offered. O, yes! I thought, God has more than answered my prayer; instead of giving me just enough for next Sabbath, He has given me enough, for seven Sabbaths.
Then the thought came, somebody lost it; yes, it was my duty to find the owner, which I did not expect would be difficult, although it was in town. So I cheerfully gave it up, thinking that 'the Lord will provide' in some other way. I took it directly to my teacher, and asked her to find the owner. She made faithful inquiry, but no one was found to claim it. Who can question this being an answer to prayer, when we think of the numerous chances against its occurring just as it did."
A CHILD'S PRAYER FOR PAPA.
A drunkard, who had run through his property, returned one night to his unfurnished house. He entered his empty hall. Anguish was gnawing at his heart-strings, and language was inadequate to express his agony as he entered his wife's apartment, and there beheld the victims of his appetite, his loving wife and a darling child. Morose and sullen, he seated himself without saying a word; he could not speak; he could not look up then. The mother said to the little angel at her side, "Come, my child, it is time to go to bed;" and that little baby, as she was wont, knelt by her mother's lap and gazing wistfully into the face of her suffering parent, like a piece of chiseled statuary, slowly repeated her nightly orison. When she had finished, the child (but four years of age) said to her mother, "Dear Mother, may I not offer up one more prayer?" "Yes, yes, my sweet pet, pray;" and she lifted up her tiny hands, closed her eyes, and prayed: "O God! spare, oh! spare my dear papa!" That prayer was lifted with electric rapidity to the throne of God. It was heard on high -- it was heard on earth. The responsive "Amen!" burst from the father's lips, and his heart of stone became a heart of flesh. Wife and child were both clasped to his bosom, and in penitence he said: "My child, you have saved your father from the grave of a drunkard. I'll sign the pledge!"
A LITTLE QUAKER BOY'S PRAYER RIGHT OUT IN MEETING.
A little Quaker boy, about six years old, after sitting, like the rest of the congregation, in silence, all being afraid to speak first, as he thought, got up on the seat, and, folding his arms over his breast, murmured in a clear, sweet voice, just loud enough to be distinctly heard on the front seat, "I do wish the Lord would make us all gooder, and gooder, and gooder, till there is no bad left."
WHAT THE LITTLE CHILDREN MAY DO.
At family prayer, little Mary, one evening when all was silent, looked anxiously in the face of her back-sliding father, who had ceased to pray in his family, and said to him with quivering lips, "Pa, is God dead?"
"No, my child -- why do you ask that?"
"Why, Pa, you never talk to him now as you used to do," she replied.
These words haunted the father until he was mercifully reclaimed.
THE UNBELIEVING FATHER LED TO GO TO CHURCH.
An unbelieving father came home one evening and asked where his little girl was. "She has gone to bed," said his wife. "I'll just go and give her one kiss," said the father, for he loved his little daughter dearly. As he stood at the door of her bedroom, he heard some one praying. It was his little Jane, and he heard her say, "Do, God Almighty, please lead daddy to hear Mr. Stowell preach."
She had often asked him to go, and he had always said, "No, no, my child." After listening to her prayer, he determined, the next time she asked him, to accompany her, which he did, and heard a sermon which took his attention and pricked his conscience. On leaving the church, he clasped the hand of his little girl in his, and said, "Jane, thy God shall be my God, and thy minister shall be my minister." And the man became a true follower of the Lord.
A CHILD'S PRAYER FOR RELIEF
An interesting little daughter of a professor in Danville, Kentucky, in the Summer of 1876, in eating a watermelon, got one of the seeds lodged in her windpipe. The effort was made to remove it, but proved ineffectual, and it was thought that the child would have to be taken to one of the large cities to have an operation performed by a skillful surgeon. To this she was decidedly opposed, and pleaded with her mamma to tell her if there was no other way of relief. Finally, in order to quiet her childish fears, her Christian mother told her to ask God to help her.
The little one went into an adjoining room and offered her prayer to God to help her. Shortly thereafter she came running to her mamma with the seed in her hand, and her beautiful and intelligent face lighted up with joy. In response to the eager inquiry of the mother, the little one said that she had asked God to help her, and while she was praying she was taken with a severe cough, in which she threw up the seed.
GOD'S CARE OVER HIS PEOPLE -- THE PRAYING WIDOW
A young widow with two children was living in the city of Berlin. She was a Christian woman, and trusted in Jehovah-Jireh to take care of her. One evening she had to be away for a while. During her absence a man entered her house for the purpose of robbing her. But "the Lord who provides" protected her from this danger in a very singular way. On returning to her home she found a note lying on her table, which read as follows:
"Madam, I came here with the intention of robbing you, but the sight of this little room, with the religious pictures hanging around in it, and those two sweet-looking children quietly sleeping in their little bed, have touched my heart. I cannot take anything of yours. The small amount of money lying on your desk I leave untouched, and I take the liberty of adding fifty dollars besides." The Bible tells us that "the hearts of men are in the hands of God. and he turneth them as the rivers of waters are turned." He turned the heart of this robber from his wicked purpose, and in this way he protected the widow who trusted in him.
GOD SAVED A FAMILY MERCIFULLY.
One morning a Christian farmer, in Rhode Island, put two bushels of rye in his wagon and started to the mill to get it ground. On his way to the mill he had to drive over a bridge that had no railings to the sides of it. When he reached the middle of this bridge his horse, a quiet, gentle creature, began all at once to back. In spite of all the farmer could do, he kept on backing till the hinder wheels went over the side of the bridge, and the bag of grain was tipped out and fell into the stream. Then the horse stood still. Some men came to help the farmer. The wagon was lifted back and the bag of grain was fished up from the water. Of course it could not be taken to the mill in that state. So the farmer had to take it home and dry it. He had prayed that morning that God would protect and help him through the day, and he wondered what this accident had happened for. He found out, however, before long. On spreading out the grain to dry he noticed a great many small pieces of glass mixed up with it. If this had been ground up with the grain into the flour it would have caused the death of himself and his family. But Jehovah-Jireh was on that bridge. He made the horse back and throw the grain into the water to save the family from the danger that threatened them.
A CHILD'S FAITH IN THE LORD'S PRAYER.
About the 30th of July, 1864, the beautiful village of Chambersburgh was invaded and pillaged by the Confederate army. A superintendent of a Sabbath school, formerly resident in the South, but who had been obliged to flee to the North because of his known faithfulness to the national government, was residing there, knowing that if discovered by the Confederate soldiers, he would be in great peril of life, property and every indignity, -- in the gray dawn of that memorable day, with his wife and two little girls, again on foot, he fled to the chain of mountains lying north-west of the doomed village.
After remaining out for some days and nights, with no shelter but such as was afforded by the friendly boughs of large forest trees, and without food, they became nearly famished. At last, the head of the family, unable to endure the agony of beholding his wife and children starving to death before his face, and he not able to render the needed relief, withdrew to a place by himself, that he might not witness the sad death of his loved ones. With his back against a large oak, he had been seated only a short time, when his eldest little daughter, not quite ten years old, came to him and exclaimed:
"Father, father, I have found such a precious text in my little Testament, which I brought to the mountain with me, for very joy I could not stop to read it to mother, but hastened to you with it. Please listen while I read." To which he said:
"Yes, my child, read it. There is comfort to be found in the Scriptures. We will not long be together on earth, and there could be no better way of spending our last mortal hours." To which she replied:
"O, father, I believe that we will not die at this time; that we will not be permitted to starve; that God will surely send us relief; but do let me read." Then opening her dear little volume, at the ninth verse of the sixth chapter of Matthew, she read as follows:
"'Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven; give us this day our daily bread.' O, father, to think that our dear Saviour Himself taught His disciples to pray for their daily bread. These are His own words. It is not possible, therefore, that He will allow any person to starve, who, in His own appointed language, asks Him for food. Will He not, dear father, hear our prayers for bread?"
At once and forever the scales fell from the eyes of that parent. With tears streaming down his cheeks, he clasped his child to his bosom, and earnestly repeated the Lord's Prayer. He had scarcely finished it when a small dog ran to where he and his daughter were upon their knees, and barked so fiercely as to attract to the spot its owner, a wealthy Pennsylvania farmer, who was upon the mountain in search of cattle that he had lost for several days. The kind-hearted tiller of the soil immediately piloted the suffering family to his own comfortable home, and properly provided for their wants.
A CHILD PRESERVED FROM WOLVES.
A little girl only nine years old, named Sutherland, living at Platteville, Col., was recently saved from death by ferocious forest wolves as follows: The child went with her father on a cold afternoon to the woods to find the cattle, and was told to follow the calves home, while the father continued his search for the cows. She did so, but the calves misled her, and very soon she became conscious that she was lost. Night came on, and with it the cold of November and the dreaded wolves. With a strange calmness she continued on her uncertain way. The next day, Sunday, at 10 A.M., she reached, in her wanderings, the house of John Beebe, near a place called Evans, having traveled constantly eighteen hours, and a distance of not less than twenty-five miles. All night the wolves growled around her, but harmed her not; neither was she in the least frightened by them. All know that in ordinary cases fierce packs of blood-thirsty wolves would devour a man, and even a horse. But this little one was invincible in her trusting, simple faith. The narrative states: "She said that the wolves kept close to her heels and snapped at her feet; but her mother told her that if she was good the Lord would always take care of her; so she asked the Lord to take care of her, and she knew the wolves would not hurt her, because God wouldn't let them!" The child was hunted for by a great number of people, and being found was restored shortly to her parents in perfect health and soundness.
JESUS CURED ME.
In the family of a missionary pastor in Kansas, was a daughter of twelve years of age, seriously afflicted with chronic rheumatism. For three years she suffered, until the leg was shrunken, stiff at the knee, shorter by some two inches than, the other, and the hip joint was being gradually drawn from its socket. The child read of Mrs. Miller's cure by prayer, originally published in The Advance, and wondered why she could not also be cured by the same means. She repeated to her mother some of the promised answers to prayer, and asked: "Don't Jesus mean what he says, and isn't it just as true now as then?" The mother endeavored to divert her attention by representing the affliction as a blessing. The physician also called and left another prescription, and encouraged the child to hope for benefit from it. The child could not, however, be diverted from the thought that Jesus could and would heal her. After the doctor's departure she said: "Mamma, I cannot have that plaster put on."
"Because, mother, Jesus is going to cure me, and he must have all the glory. Dr. -- -- doesn't believe in God; if we put the plaster on, he will say it was that which helped me; and it must be all Jesus." So earnest was she, that her mother at length placed the package, just as she had received it, on a shelf, and said no more about it.
The little girl and her mother were alone that day, the father being absent from home. When the household duties were done she called her mother to her.
"Mother, will you pray now to Jesus to cure me? I have got the faith; I know he will if you will ask him." The mother, overcome, yielded to her daughter's request, and commenced praying. She was blest with unusual consciousness of the presence of God, and became insensible of all outward surroundings, pleading for the child. She remained in this state of intercession for more than an hour, when she was aroused by her daughter, who with her hand on the mother's shoulder was joyfully exclaiming, "Mother, dear mother, wake up! Don't you see Jesus has cured me? O, I am well! I am all well!" and she danced about the room, literally healed.
One week from that day, the girl was seen by the writer in the "Advance," who says she was out sliding on the ice with her companions. From that day to this she has had no further trouble; the limb is full, round and perfect; there is no difference between it and the other.
To every question asked she replies, with the overflowing gratitude of a loving heart, "Jesus cured me!"
THE LITTLE BOY WHO WANTED HIS SISTER TO READ THE BIBLE.
Rev. Mr. Spurgeon, of London, tells of the excellent faith of a little boy in one of the schools of Edinburgh, who had attended a prayer-meeting, and at the last said to his teacher who conducted it:
"Teacher, I wish my sister could be got to read the Bible; she never reads it."
"Why, Johnny, should your sister read the Bible?"
"Because if she once read it I am sure it would do her good, and she would he converted and saved."
"Do you think so, Johnny?"
"Yes, I do, sir; and I wish the next time there was a prayer-meeting you would ask the people to pray for my sister, that she may begin to read the Bible."
"Well, well, it shall be done, John."
So the teacher gave out that a little boy was anxious that prayer should be offered that his sister might read the Bible. John was observed to get up and go out. The teacher thought it very rude of the boy to disturb the people in a crowded room, and so the next day, when the lad came, he said:
"John, I thought it very rude of you to get up in the prayer-meeting and go out. You ought not to have done so."
"O, sir," said the boy, "I did not mean to be rude; but I thought I should like to go home and see my sister reading her Bible for the first time."
True to his faith, when he reached his home, he found the little girl reading her Bible.
NETTIE'S DAILY BREAD.
A little girl in a wretched attic, whose sick mother had no bread, knelt down by the bedside, and said slowly: "Give us this day our daily bread." Then she went into the street and began to wonder where God kept his bread. She turned around the corner and saw a large, well-filled baker's shop.
"This," thought Nettie, "is the place." So she entered confidently, and said to the big baker, "I've come for it."
"Come for what?"
"My daily bread," she said, pointing to the tempting loaves. "I'll take two, if you please -- one for mother and one for me."
"All right," said the baker, putting them into a bag, and giving them to his little customer, who started at once into the street.
"Stop, you little rogue!" he said, roughly; "where is your money?"
"I haven't any," she said simply.
"Haven't any!" he repeated, angrily; "you little thief, what brought you here, then?"
The hard words frightened the little girl, who, bursting into tears, said: "Mother is sick, and I am so hungry. In my prayers I said, 'Give us this day our daily bread,' and then I thought God meant me to fetch it, and so I came."
The rough, but kind-hearted baker was softened by the child's simple tale, and instead of chiding her or visiting threats of punishment, as is usually the case, he said: "You poor, dear girl; here, take this to your mother," and he filled a large basketful and gave it to her.
THE BROTHER'S PRAYER.
A physician, who for many years practiced his profession in the State of California, was called once to see the child of Mr. Doak, of Calveras County, living on the road between San Andreas and Stockton, and not far from the mining town of Campo Seco, or Dry Camp. He says: The patient was a little girl about ten years of age, bright and intelligent and one of twins, the other being a boy, equally bright and well-disposed. The primary symptoms had indicated inflammation of the stomach, which the attending physician had hopelessly combated, and finally, when by metastasis it attacked the brain, with other unfavorable symptoms, he was inclined to abandon the case in despair.
It was at this juncture I was called in. The symptoms were exceedingly unfavorable, and my own opinion coincided with my professional brother's. However, we determined to go to work. A day and night of incessant watching, and the state of the patient caused us both to feel the case hopeless, and we only continued our attendance at the earnest solicitation of the child's mother. The anxious, care-worn and restless sorrow of the little brother, his deep grief as he saw his sister given over to the power of the King of Terrors, had attracted our attention. He would creep up to the bedside of his sister silently, with pale and tearful face, controlling his emotion with great effort, and then steal away again and weep bitterly. With a vague, indefinite idea of comforting the little fellow, I took him to my knee, and was about to utter some platitude, when the little fellow, looking me in the face, his own the very picture of grief, burst out with --
"Oh, Doctor, must sister die?"
"Yes," I replied, "but," --
Before I could go farther he again interrupted me: "Oh, Doctor, is there nothing, nothing that will save her? Can nobody, nobody save my sister?"
For an instant the teachings of a tender and pious mother flashed over my mind. They had been long neglected, were almost forgotten. California, in those days, was not well calculated to fasten more deeply on the mind home teachings. There were very few whose religious training survived the ordeal, and for a long time I had hardly thought of prayer. But the question brought out with the vividness of a flash of lightning, and as suddenly, all that had been obscured by my course of life, and, hardly knowing what I did, I spoke to him of the power that might reside in prayer. I said, God had promised to answer prayer. I dared not allow the skeptical doubt, that came to my own mind, meet the ear of that innocent boy, and told him, more as my mother had often told me than with any thought of impressing a serious subject on his mind, "That the prayers of little boys, even, God would hear." I left that night with some simple directions, that were given more to satisfy the mother than from having the slightest hope of eventual recovery, promising to return next day.
In the morning, as I rode to the door, the little boy was playing round with a bright and cheerful countenance, and looked so happy that involuntarily I asked:
"Is your sister better?"
"Oh, no, Doctor," he replied, "but she is going to get well."
"How do you know," I asked.
"Because I prayed to God" said he, "and he told me she would."
"How did he tell you?"
The little fellow looked at me for an instant, and reverently placing his hand on the region of his heart, said:
"He told me in my heart."
Going to the room where my patient was lying, I found no change whatever, but in spite of my own convictions there had sprung up a hope within me. The medical gentleman with whom I was in consultation came to the room, and as he did, a thought of a very simple remedy I had seen used by an old woman, in a very dissimilar case, occurred to my mind. It became so persistently present that I mentioned it to my brother practitioner. He looked surprised, but merely remarked. "It can do no harm." I applied it. In two hours we both felt the case was out of danger.
The second day after that, as we rode from the house, my friend asked me how I came to think, of so simple a remedy.
"I think it was that boy's prayer," I replied.
"Why, Doctor! you are not so superstitious as to connect that boy's prayers with his sister's recovery," said he.
"Yes, I do," I replied; "for the life of me I cannot help thinking his prayers were more powerful than our remedies."
LIGHT GIVEN TO A BLIND CHILD.
"A missionary visiting one of the mission schools of Brooklyn, was introduced to a remarkable child. He was brought into the school from the highways and hedges, and young as he was, he had been taught of God. One day he was playing with powder, and putting his mouth to the match to blow it, it exploded, and the whole charge went into his face and eyes. He became totally blind, and the physician gave but little hope of recovery. But the little sufferer was patient and calm, and even hopeful; sitting through the dark days meditating on what he had learned at the mission Sabbath-school, and repeating passages of Scripture and many a beautiful hymn.
"One evening after the physician had spoken discouragingly, and his parents, as he perceived, were in deep distress, he was absorbed on his knees in a corner of the room in earnest prayer. His voice, though subdued almost to a whisper, was indicative of intense feeling. His parents inquired what he had been praying so earnestly for. Why, said he, that Jesus Christ would open my eyes. The doctor says he can't, and so I thought I would ask the Savior to do it for me. God honored his faith. In a few days his sight came to him; and the prayer was answered. He can now see clearly."
ASKING THE LORD TO HELP HIM IN HIS LESSONS.
"A little boy was at school, he was diligent, and determined to succeed, but found that parsing was rather hard.
"One day he went to his mamma for a little help in analyzing some sentences. She told him the proper manner of doing it, and he followed her directions; but he was much troubled that he could not understand the whys and wherefores himself.
"His mamma told him it was rather hard for him then, but that after he had studied a little longer, it would be quite easy.
"Johnnie went into another room to study alone, but after a little came back, his face perfectly radiant with joy. He said: 'O mamma, I want to begin again. I asked Jesus to help me, and now I think I see just how it is. He always helps us when we ask him;' and with unspeakable delight he with his mamma went over his lesson again."
GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD.
"The American Messenger tells the story of Johnny Hall, a poor boy. His mother worked hard for their daily bread. 'Please give me something to eat; I am very hungry,' he said one evening. His mother let the work upon which she was sewing fall from her knee, and drew Johnny toward her. Her tears fell fast as she said: 'Mamma is very poor, and cannot give you any supper to-night.' 'Never mind, mamma; I shall soon be asleep, and then I sha'n't feel hungry. But you will sit and sew, and be so hungry and cold. Poor mamma,' he said, and kissed her many times to comfort her.
"'Now, Johnny, you may say your prayers;' for dearly as his mother loved him, she could ill afford to lose a moment from her work. He repeated 'Our Father' with her until they came to the petition, 'Give us this day our daily bread.' The earnestness, almost agony, with which the mother uttered these words, impressed Johnny strongly. He said them over again: 'Give us this day our daily bread.' Then opening his blue eyes, he fixed them on his mother, and said: 'We shall never be hungry any more. God is our Father, and he will hear us.' The prayer was finished and Johnny laid to rest. The mother sewed with renewed energy. Her heart was sustained by the simple faith of her child. Many were the gracious promises which came to her remembrance. Although tired and hungry, still it was with a light heart she sank to rest.
"Early in the morning a gentleman called on his way to business. He wished Johnny's mother to come to his home to take charge of his two motherless boys. She immediately accepted the offer. They were thus provided with all the comforts of a good home. Johnny is a man now, but he has never forgotten the time when he prayed so earnestly for his daily bread.
"God will hear prayer is his firm belief. In many ways has he had the faith of his childhood confirmed. He looks to God as his Father with the same trust now as then.
GOD WILL TAKE CARE OF ME.
"When the yellow fever raged in New Orleans, the pestilence visited a Christian household, and the father died. Then the mother was suddenly seized, and knowing that she must die, she gathered the four children around her bed, the oldest being only about ten years of age, and said to them that God was about to take her home to heaven. She urged them to have no fears, and assured them that the kind, heavenly Father who had so long provided for them would surely come and take care of them. The children, with almost breaking hearts, believed what the dying mother had told them.
"She was buried. The three youngest soon followed her, although they received every necessary attention from friends during their sickness. The oldest, a boy, was also seized by the pestilence, and in an unguarded moment, under the influence of delirium, wandered from his sick-bed out into the suburbs of the city, and lying down in the tall grass by the roadside, looked steadfastly up, murmuring, incoherently at times, 'Mother said God would come and take care of me -- would come and take care of me!' A gentleman happening to pass at the time, and hearing the unusual sounds, went where the lad was lying, and rousing him, asked him what he was doing there. Said the little fellow in reply: 'Father died; mother died; little brother and sisters died. But just before mother went away into heaven, she told us to have no fear, for God would come and take care of us, and I am now waiting for him to come down and take me. I know he will come, for mother said so, and she always told us the truth.'
"'Well,' said the gentleman, whose kindliest sympathies were stirred by the little fellow's sad condition and his implicit confidence in his sainted mother's pious instructions, 'God has sent me, my son, to take care of you.' So he had him carried to his home, and kindly nursed and cared for by his own family. He recovered, and to-day is one of the most useful Christian young men in the far West, where he has fixed his home."
"A Christian teacher, connected with a Southern Orphan Asylum, writes The Christian, that often when the children were sick, and most of them came to me more or less diseased, I cried to the Lord for help, and He who 'bore our infirmities, and carried our sicknesses,' healed them. Oh it is so good to trust in the Lord! How much better to rely on Him 'in whom we live, and move, and have our being,' than to put confidence in man, even in the most skillful physician. To confirm and strengthen the faith of the doubting, I send you the following account of the healing of one of our orphans.
"Laura was one of a large orphan family, living on Port Royal Island, S.C. When her mother died, she went to live with a colored woman who made her work very hard, 'tote' wood and water, hoe cotton and corn, do all manner of drudgery, rise at daybreak, and live on scanty food. Laura suffered from want, exposure and abuse. The freed-women of the plantation looked with pity into her eyes, and desired her to run away. But she replied, 'Aunt Dora will run after me, and when she done cotch me, she'll stripe me well with the lash; she done tell so already.'
"One morning, however, when Laura went to the creek for crabs, a good aunty followed her, and throwing a shawl over the poor child's rags, said, 'Now, Laura, put foot for Beaufort fast as ever you can, and when you get there, inquire where Mrs. Mather lives: go straight to her; she has a good home for jes sich poor creeters as you be.' Laura obeyed, hastened to Beaufort, seven miles distant, found my home, was made welcome, and her miserable rags exchanged for good clean clothes. In the morning, I said, 'Laura, did you sleep well last night?' She replied, 'O, missis, my heart too full of joy to sleep. Me lay awake all night, thinking how happy me is in dis nice, clean bed, all to myself. Me never sleep in a bed before, missis.'
"Laura, then about thirteen years old, came to me with a hard cough, and pain in her side. I put on flannels, gave her a generous diet, and hoped, that with rest and cheerful surroundings, she would soon rally as other children had, who came to me in a similar broken-down condition. Still the cough and pain continued. I dosed her with various restoratives, such as flax-seed, and slippery elm, etc., but all were of no avail. She steadily grew worse. Every week I could see she declined. Her appetite failed; night sweats came on; and she was so weak that most of the day she lay in bed. The children, all of whom loved Laura, she was so patient and gentle, whispered one to another, 'Laura is gwine to die; dere is def in her eye."
"One evening in mid-winter, the poor child's short breath, fluttering pulse, and cold, clammy sweat alarmed me, and I felt sure that unless the dear Lord interposed in her behalf, her time with us was very short. I lingered by her bed till near midnight in prayer for her recovery. I could not give her up. Again in my own room I poured out my soul in prayer for the child, and then slept. About two o'clock, I suddenly awoke, and heard what seemed a voice saying to me, 'Go to Laura; I can heal her now; the conditions are right; you are both calm and trustful.'
"I arose quickly, hastened to her room and said to her, 'Laura, do you want to get well?' 'O, yes, missis, me wants to get well.' 'Do you believe Jesus can cure you?' She replied, 'I know he can if he will.' 'Well, Laura,' I said, 'Jesus has just waked me out of a sound sleep, and told me to go and tell you that he will cure you now. Do you believe he will, Laura?' 'Yes, missis, me do believe,' she replied earnestly. She then repeated this prayer. 'O, Jesus, do please to make me well; let me live a long time, and be a good and useful woman.'
"The burden had rolled off my heart; I returned to my room and slept sweetly. In the morning, Tamar, Laura's attendant, met me at the door, exclaiming joyfully, 'O, I'se so glad! Laura is a heap better, Missis. She wake me up long time before day and begged me to get her something to eat, she so hungry.'
"From that night Laura rapidly recovered. Her cough abated, her appetite was restored, her night sweats ceased, and in less than a month she was strong and well."
A LITTLE SLAVE'S FAITH.
A missionary in India, passing one day through the school room, observed a little boy engaged in prayer, and overheard him say, "O, Lord Jesus, I thank thee for sending big ship into my country and wicked men to steal me and bring me here, that I might hear about Thee and love Thee. And now, Lord Jesus, I have one great favor to ask Thee. Please to send wicked men with another big ship, and let them catch my father and my mother, and bring them to this country, that they may hear the missionaries preach and love Thee."
The missionary in a few days after saw him standing on the sea-shore, looking very intently as the ships came in. "What are you looking at, Tom?" "I am looking to see if Jesus Christ answers prayer."
For two years he was to be seen day after day watching the arrival of every ship. One day, as the missionary was viewing him, he observed him capering about and exhibiting the liveliest joy.
"Well, Tom, what gives you so much joy?" "O, Jesus Christ answer prayer. Father and mother come in that ship," which was actually the case.
A GOOD REASON FOR PRAYING.
A little girl about four years of age being asked, "Why do you pray to God?" replied: "Because I know He hears me, and I love to pray to Him."
"But how do you know He hears you?"
Putting her little hand to her heart, she said, "I know He does, because there is something here that tells me so."
MY HEART TALKED.
A child six years old, in a Sunday school, said: "When we kneel down in the school-room to pray, it seems as if my heart talked."
WHY, SIR, I BEGGED.
A little boy, one of the Sunday school children in Jamaica, called upon the missionary and stated that he had lately been very ill, and in his sickness often wished his minister had been present to pray with him.
"But, Thomas," said the missionary, "I hope you prayed." "Oh, yes, sir." "Did you repeat the collect I taught you?" "I prayed." "Well, but how did you pray?" "Why, sir, I begged."
A LITTLE CHILD'S PRAYER FOR HEALING.
A very little child, who had but recently learned to talk, and the daughter of a Home missionary, had been for weeks troubled with a severe cough, which was very severe in its weakness upon her. At last her father said to her, "Daughter, ask Jesus, the good Lord, to heal you."
Putting up her little hands as she lay in bed, she said, "Dear Jesus, will oo please to cure me, and do please tell papa what to give me."
The father, who was listening, thought several times of "syrup of ipecac" but did not connect it immediately with the prayer. At last the thought came so often before him, that he felt, "Well, it will do no harm, perhaps this is what the Lord wants me to give her." He procured it, administered it, and in three hours the little child's cough had wholly ceased, and she was playing on the floor with the other children. A most singular feature is the fact that the same medicine was administered at other times and had no effect in relief.
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