The Baldwin Library
THE CHILDREN OF THE
THE CHILDREN OF
LONDON: THOMAS NELSON AND SONS.
EDINBURGH; AND NEW YORK.
THE CHILDREN OF THE KINGDOM, ... .. ... 7
" I WOULD NOT LIVE ALWAYS ... ... ... 84
TRUE STRENGTH AND WEAKNESS, ... ... ... 46
LITTLE ALICEE, ... ... ... .. ... 58
CHILDREN OF THE KINGDOM.
E afternoon sunlight, streaming
brightly through the windows of
the little, old-fashioned church,
gilded the fair young heads in the choir,
and down a broad golden path slid a quiver-
ing crown upon the good old minister's
silver hair. Daisy and Bob Saybrook sat
in the square pew under the pulpit, tightly
wedged in between Aunt Skinner and mis-
chievous Cousin John, and listened with
4pore than their usual attention to the words
the sermon. The text was so very
t,-" Fear not, little flock; for it is yowr
8 THE CHILDREN OF THE KINGDOM.
Father's good pleasure to give you the king-
The tears came in Daisy's eyes. She
looked at Uncle Skinner, but he had settled
down with his eyes shut, probably so that
his attention might not be distracted by
anything earthly. John (a thoroughly bad
boy) was scrawling in the hymn -book,
drawing pictures of dogs and cats, and
another one, which made Daisy shudder, of
a man hanging on a gallows. But Bob-
that was a comfort-gave her a bright look
of sympathy, and, pressing each other's
hands, they listened with eager ears.
Now Bob and Daisy were orphans, and
it was only a few weeks since their dear
mother had died, and they had come to live
with Uncle and Aunt Skinner. No one in
all the world can take the place of a
precious mother; and so, although Aunt
Skinner tried to be very kind, they could
not yet feel at all happy in their new home,
THE CHILDREN OF THE KINGDOM. 9
and they had to struggle very hard against
a feeling of positive dislike towards their
cousin John. He was older and stronger
than Bob, and was continually doing every-
thing in his power to make his young
cousins uncomfortable. Even now, as they
sat in church, he would now and then vary
his occupation of drawing by giving Daisy
a violent pinch, which would make her
start off her seat. Then Aunt Skinner
would give her such a sharp look, that the
child's heart would be nearly broken. So
it is no wonder that these little children
listened so eagerly to the comforting words
of the good old minister. He told them
such wonderful things of the glorious King
who made all the shining worlds, of his
great white throne, and his angels, beautiful
because they had stood so long in his light,
the harpers harping with harps, and the
cherubim veiling their faces because the
glory was so great. But this wonderful
10 THE CHILDREN OF THE KINGDOM.
King so loved the little world that he sent
his Son to die upon the cross, that all his
sinful, wandering Earth children might come
back to his love. And he, the great King,
would be their Father, Jesus his glorious
Son their Elder Brother, and they with him
should be heirs of the kingdom. "Behold,
what manner of love !" said the good
minister, with tears in his eyes. Through
this dear Elder Brother we can even come
nearer God's heart than the angels."
Daisy looked at Bob with a glad sur-
prise, and when service was over, they
walked slowly home, talking it over together.
They had often talked before with their
dear mother, and when she died she hoped
that she left them both "followers of God
as dear children." But Daisy felt troubled.
Bob," said she, anxiously, do you really
think we are children of the kingdom?"
"Why, I hope so; but I'll tell you what
I did in church, Daisy. I gave my heart
THE CHILDREN OF THE KINGDOM. 11
to God over again; and I promised to study
his Book more, and find out all he wishes
me to do, and then do it with all my
Then I will, too," said Daisy, lifting her
clear eyes to heaven.
"But I'll tell you what, Daisy, we'll have
a tough time trying to do some things.
What do you think of 'Love your enemies'?
Now, there's John-"
Well, to be sure, my arm is all black
and blue; but then I feel now as if I for-
gave him, and, indeed, Bob," said she slowly,
"I'm not quite sure, but I think I could
almost love him."
"Ah, indeed!" sneered a voice behind
them, "don't put yourself out too much."
Daisy coloured violently. Have you
heard all we said?"
".'I've had the privilege," said John, in a
*nasal tone, "of listening to most of your
edifying conversation. It was a great
12 THE CHILDREN OF THE KINGDOM.
treat for such a poor sinner, I assure you.
It's so very affecting to think that these
dear lambs of the flock can love a poor goat
with such very long horns;" and he pretended
to wipe his eyes.
Now, John," said Daisy, deprecatingly,
"you know we did not mean to say any-
thing so bad. We want to love you very
much, but you will not let us."
"And why not, pray, Miss Sanctity ?"
"You need only look at her arm," cried
Bob, indignantly, "and you'll have one
answer. And I'll tell you what, John
Skinner, you'll have to stop that fun."
"Ah !" said he, with provoking coolness.
"Will the little lamb fight ? I thought it
could only bleat, and cry for its ma."
The tears sprang into Bob's eyes at that
heartless allusion to his recent sorrow, and
a voice whispered in his heart, "It's no use
-give up trying to be one of God's chil-
dren, and punish John Skinner just once."
THE CHILDREN OF THE KINGDOM. 13
But he struggled against the feeling, though
his hands clinched involuntarily all through
his busy prayers for help. Daisy, too,
would not trust herself to speak, and walked
on silently, while John sang scraps of psalm
tunes profanely all the way home.
Arrived at the door, John turned to
Daisy. "My dear Christian friend, I have
such a pleasant surprise for you." Daisy
followed him apprehensively through the
garden to the barn, when, opening the door,
out walked her little pet kitten, Pearl, her
pure white fur dabbled with streaks of red
and yellow paint, looking like a little clown
You see," said John, while Daisy uttered
an exclamation of dismay, "I knew your
taste in colors, because you admired the
sunset so much last night. I'm so glad I've
pleased you," he grinned maliciously.
The kitten mewed piteously, as if in great
14 THE CHILDREN OF THE KINGDOM.
I declare," said John, I believe she has
been trying to lick -it off. I hadn't the
least idea that she had a taste for colour,
too;" and he laughed loudly.
"You're a cruel boy, John," cried Bob,
coming up. "That poor kitten has swallowed
too much paint, and will die before night."
John only laughed louder, while Daisy
tenderly took her kitten, and with Bob's
help washed it with soap and warm water.
The poor kitten seemed grateful, but lay
languidly in Daisy's lap till night, when, as
Bob predicted, it died.
Daisy could not be comforted, and Bob in-
dignantly told Aunt Skinner the whole story.
"Oh, John is always up to his tricks,"
said she, a little impatiently, "but I don't
think that little bit of paint hurt the kitten
at all. It always was sickly. Daisy
played with it too much. But don't cry,
child," she added, more kindly; "you shall
have another some time."
THE CHILDREN OF THE KINGDOM. 15
"It will never be like Pearl," sobbed
"Dear sister Saybrook," drawled John,
passing her little stool, your affections are
"Daisy," whispered Bob, as they lighted
their candles to go to bed, "could you love
John now ?"
"Don't ask me," cried poor Daisy, in a
choking voice. "It's as much as I can do
not to hate him to-night."
Nevertheless, Daisy prayed so earnestly
that God would take all bitterness out of
her heart, that in the morning she was able
to look quite cheerful, and spoke so pleasantly
to John that he was greatly disappointed.
"She didn't love her kitten so much,
after all," said he to himself.
But now Bob was in trouble. One of
his boots was nowhere to be found. His
other pair had gone to be mended, and it
was almost school time. High and low
16 THE CHILDREN OF THE KINGDOM.
pattered the willing feet of little Daisy, but
all in vain.
"You're a very careless boy," cried Aunt
Skinner; "John never did such a thing in
"I believe John has done it now, then,"
sighed Daisy to herself.
Then I must stay at home from school,"
cried Bob bitterly, "and I was so anxious
not to lose my place."
There was no help for it, and Daisy left
her brother with an aching heart.
"It's all John," cried Bob fiercely, when
he was left alone. Now I've lost my place
up head. Oh, I just hate-"
"Stop a minute, Bob," said his good
angel. There are worse things than losing
one's place at school. Remember your
Father sees everything, and if you do right,
and conquer these wicked thoughts, John
can't make you lose your place in the
THE CHILDREN OF THE KINGDOM. 17
"To be sure," said Bob, more cheerily;
"how could I forget it for a moment ?"
Just then a bright idea came into his head,
and hurrying to the barn, he found an old
cast-off boot of Uncle Skinner's. It was
much too large, but Bob drew it on, and
clattered bravely away to school. There
was a great laugh when he made his appear-
ance, but he kept his place up head, and
felt very happy.
At night John sullenly threw the missing
boot into the room.
"Where did you find it ?" asked Aunt
"Under a chair in his room."
O John!" cried Bob and Daisy together.
"It's true," said John, "but you're just a
couple of bats."
Bob and Daisy looked at each other, but
knew it was useless to say any more.
A day or two after John came to them,
18 THE CHILDREN OF THE KINGDOM.
I'll tell you what, if you'll give up trying
to be such saints, I'll give up plaguing you."
But Bob and Daisy could not agree to
that. So day by day their trials increased.
Their books and most cherished treasures
disappeared very mysteriously. They were
taunted and provoked in every possible
way. But still these little children of the
kingdom struggled patiently on; and in the
Book they studied to learn their Father's
commands they also often found his beautiful
promises, and this was one,-
"As one whom his mother comforteth, so
will I comfort you."
"Ah, Bob!" said little orphan Daisy,
"how sweet it is to be children of the king-
In the chill December air Bob and Daisy
were again wending their way home from
church. The sweet voices of the village
choir came floating on the wind,-
THE CHILL REN OF THE KINGDOM. 19
Am I a soldier of the cross?"
and in Bob and Daisy's hearts were still
ringing the words of the text, "I have
fought a good fight; I have kept the faith.
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown
of righteousness," &c.
"Daisy," said Bob suddenly, "I don't
think I fight enough."
What can you mean, Bob ?"
"Oh, I think I take things too easy.
When John provokes me (and Aunt Skinner
always takes his part), I think it's enough
if I don't say a word, or don't strike him,
when I'm just longing to do it. 0 Daisy,
if you only knew how angry I feel all the
time! Sometimes I have to run out to the
wood-shed and saw wood just as fast as I
can, and sometimes I get the hammer and
nails, and pound on the new chicken yard
just as if it were John's head, and I just let
all sorts of wicked thoughts run on, and
don't try to stop them. Now, if I'm in the
20 THE CHILDREN OF THE KINGDOM.
King's army that the good old minister told
about, I ought not to run away" so like a
coward. I ought to stand firm, and fight
down all these wicked feelings-come out
like a man into the front rank, and stand
Dear me," sighed Daisy, what do you
think of me ? I don't know how to fight.
O Bob, must all the children of the kingdom
be in the King's army ? "
"I suppose they must," said Bob, half
laughing; "but then, you dear Daisy, don't
you remember what the minister said, that
some had more fighting to do than others ?
Each one must do something, but there
must always be some one to look after the
baggage-' Bear one another's burdens,' you
know; and then some one must carry the
banners. Now, I think you'd make a
"What do you mean, Bob ? Could any
one see my flag?"
THE CHILDREN OF THE KINGDOM. 21
"Why, yes; you must be so gentle, and
forgiving, and patient, and loving, that
when people look at you, they will read
something as plain as print on a banner."
Well," said Daisy, with sparkling eyes,
"what banner shall I carry ?"
I'll tell you what I read," returned Bob,
looking at her affectionately, "' Blessed are
the pure in heart, for they shall see God.'"
Daisy coloured painfully. 0 Bob, don't
make fun of me; I'm so bad, no one would
ever think of that."
"I'm not so sure," cried Bob, kissing her
round dimpled cheeks.
They opened the garden gate, and walk-
ing up, paused a moment to look over the
broad fields of snow, rosy in the light of the
setting sun. Bob's heart was full of gentle
and brave resolutions.
"I'll tell you what, Daisy, you shall carry
the banners, and make the music, and I'll
try to be a real, faithful soldier, and-"
22 THE CHILDREN OF THE KINGDOM.
His remarks were cut short by a very
unexpected shower of icy water from the
"This is a little too much," cried Bob
angrily, "over our Sunday clothes, and
your best bonnet, Daisy, I'll-"
"Take care," whispered a voice in Bob's
ear. "Is this the way you 'stand fire'?"
"Dear me," cried John's voice above, in
an affected tone of surprise and concern,
"who would have thought of your being
down there ? Dear pilgrims, with your new
clothes just fresh from Vanity Fair, and that
beautiful pink bonnet! How well it is that
Sister Saybrook never took any pride in it!"
Daisy bit her lip, for she remembered
looking in the glass that very morning, and
feeling quite pleased with the pretty pink
reflection on her cheeks. She also remem-
bered feeling very uncomfortable at hearing
John singing in the hall, in his disagreeable
THE CHILDREN OF THE KINGDOM. 23
Why should our garments, made to hide
Our sin and shame, provoke our pride?"
"I hope you'll be able to forgive me,"
"Oh, certainly," replied Bob, who had
quite recovered himself.
Now, this was not at all what John
wanted. He was greatly disappointed in
not seeing Bob fly in a passion. So he
"Oh, you precious hypocrite; to tell the
truth, I did it on purpose!"
Never mind," cried Daisy's cheery voice,
as they hurried in to repair damages; "we
forgive you just the same."
This was too much for John, and he
did not show himself again till tea-time.
The next morning, as Bob came out of
his room, he found chalked in huge letters
on his door, Saint's Rest;" but he, smiling,
wiped it off, and took no further notice of
the intended taunt.
24 THE CHILDREN OF THE KINGDOM.
So the winter passed on with daily con--
flicts, but also some grand victories. To be
sure, the young soldiers would often be
very weary, and greatly discouraged, but
they were never entirely conquered; and
sure of receiving fresh strength from above,
they were always ready to come bravely
back to the battle. And Daisy carried
some very beautiful banners.
Towards spring there was to be a grand
examination in the village school, and a
rich gentleman had offered two very hand-
some prizes-one for the best scholar in
mathematics, and one for the best composi-
tion. Now John, who was very ambitious,
and a boy of good talents, was determined
to have them both. In mathematics, Bob,
Fred Grey, and he, had already distanced all
other competitors, and it was hard to say
which would be the victor. But one day
John failed utterly in the demonstration of
a difficult problem, which was successfully
THE CHILDREN OF THE KINGDOM. 25
worked out by Bob. This was more than
John's spirit could bear, and for several
days he went about with such an air of
sullen gloom, that no one dared to sym-
pathize with him. At last he suddenly
betook himself with such energy to his
composition, in which there was good pros-
pect of success, that Bob believed his morti-
fication was forgotten.
Everything went on smoothly till the
day before examination, when Bob came
hurrying in after school, saying, Oh, I've
so much to study. Don't call me to tea,
please, Aunt Skinner, I couldn't eat a
morsel;" and he sat himself down in a
western window, to improve the last ray of
light. Suddenly he uttered an exclamation
"What's the matter ?" cried Daisy.
"Why, some one has torn the leaves out
of my Algebra, right in the hardest part 1"
"Why do you lay it to some one else ?"
26 THE CHILDREN OF THE KINGDOM.
said Aunt Skinner sharply; "you've probably
been careless yourself."
"I kept it just like a new book," said
Bob mournfully. "0 John, won't you let
me take yours ?"
"By-and-by," said John; but though
Bob begged and pleaded, he would not stir
to find it till after tea. Then he came
downstairs, saying with a yawn, "Oh, I'm
sorry, Bob, but I just remember I lent mine
to one of the boys yesterday."
Bob looked intensely disappointed, and
seizing his cap, rushed to the door.
Where are you going ?" asked Uncle
Skinner, coming in with his coat dripping,
and using all his force to shut the door
against the driving wind. "It's a terrible
"I don't mind it," said Bob. "I must
try to find an Algebra."
"Are you crazy, child ?" cried Aunt
Skinner. "You shan't stir a step. Do you
THE CHILDREN OF THE KINGDOM. 27
think I can have you on my hands with
fever and ague all through the spring ?"
Bob came back into the room very quietly,
and leaning his head on his hand, spoke not
a word for more than an hour. Neither
did little Daisy, who knelt beside him with
her head on his knee. At last he turned to
her with a very pale face, but a sweet, wan
"It's all over now, Daisy. It has been a
great fight, and I'm very tired, but I'm not
angry with any one now. I'm pretty sure
I shall, lose the prize, but perhaps I should
have been too proud."
Daisy only sobbed softly to herself.
John broke in fretfully, Mr. Brooks said
my composition would stand a good chance,
if it were only a little fuller upon this one
head. He said I'd find a great deal to help
me in a book he told me about; but I can't
get it at this book-store, and I suppose the
roads will be perfectly impassable over to
28 THE CHILDREN OF THE KINGDOM.
Snowdon to-morrow. What shall I do? I
could alter this one sheet at the last minute,
if I only had the book."
No one answered, and he, grumbling,
again applied himself to his task.
Poor Bob was up the next morning with
the first streak of light. He secured an
Algebra, and never before did a brain travel
at such express speed over the difficult
problems and equations. But the class was
called so soon, he was not more than half
ready. Poor Bob! he passed a fine ex-
amination, and had many compliments, but
he missed once in that very hard place, and
the beautiful prize went to Fred Grey.
As the boys walked silently home from
school, Bob turned off at the little bridge
over the creek. "I don't feel quite well,
John," said he, and I believe a walk would
do me good. Please tell Aunt Skinner that
I don't care for any dinner."
"Your pride's hurt, that's all," cried
THE CHILDREN OF THE KINGDOM. 29
John; "you don't want to show yourself,
after being so badly beaten. Well, it must
go down rather hard after all your superior
"I forgive you, John," cried Bob, throw-
ing back a bright look, as he dashed into the
"Forgive me! What for?" screamed
John, stamping his foot. "Do you think 1
tore your book ?" But Bob had sprung
out of hearing. "Well, it would be a pity
to let such lovely Christian charity die for
want of exercise," muttered John; and he
loosened one of the boards of the little
bridge, so that when Bob came bounding
back, it would tilt up, and give him a heavy
But John's conscience troubled him all
the afternoon, and he could not even
think of the composition which was to come
off with such glory on the next day. As
soon as the late school was dismissed, he
30 THE CHILDREN OF THE KINGDOM.
almost flew down to the little bridge. Ahl
his fears were too true! There, at full
length, in the dim, gray light, lay the
motionless form of his cousin Bob. He had
struck his head in falling, and was quite
"I've done it at last," groaned John, in
conscience-stricken despair. "I've killed
He lifted him tenderly, for Bob's slight
figure was a light burden, and carried him
"Bob has fallen and killed himself," he
almost screamed, as Aunt Skinner came to
Then all was hurry and confusion. The
doctor came, and old nurse Comfort; and
poor little Daisy never ceased to sob and
kiss Bob's pale hands. John, too, could not
keep away; and as he hovered near, he saw
a little medal on a long black cord fall from
his bosom. He took it up. On one side
THE CHILDREN OF THE KINGDOM. 31
was scratched in Bob's plain hand, Robert
Saybroolc, entered the King's army Dec.
10th, 18--;" and on the other: "My
Father's promise, 'Be thou faithful unto
death, and I will give thee a crown of
John shuddered, and for the first time in
his life he prayed earnestly-" Not yet, 0
God! Keep it for him a little longer.
Spare him this time."
But John's cup of remorse was not yet
full; for, carrying Bob's coat into the hall,
a heavy book fell out. John picked it up.
It was the very one he had been wishing
for; and in it was written, "John Skinner,
with the love of his cousin Bob."
That is where he went, then," groaned
John. Poor, tired, disappointed Bob, went
away over to Snowdon, for me. Oh, he'll
die! I know he'll die! I've killed him!"
He went to his room, and threw himself
on his bed in an agony. The long hours
32 THE CHILDREN OF THE KINGDOM.
passed on, and at last some one knocked at
his door. Is it all over ?" said John, in
a low, fearful whisper; is he dead ?"
"Oh no," answered the pleasant voice of
nurse Comfort. Your cousin will live, and
I thought you would like to know."
No words can describe the happiness that
thrilled poor John Skinner's grateful heart.
Neither can it be told with what tenderness
he waited on Bob through all his weary
confinement. And at last, when the boy was
able to bear it, he made a long confession of
all his wicked and malicious deeds, and
humbly asked forgiveness. "For you see,"
said John in a faltering voice, "you have \
been such a good soldier, you have not only
conquered yourself, but even me, your
greatest enemy; and now I want you and
Daisy to tell me how to join the King's
army, for I too am determined to fight the
good, fight. 0 Bob, if you could only know
how I thank you "
THE CHILDREN OF THE KINGDOM. 33
"Don't thank me," faltered Bob; hut he
could say no more for the happy tears.
But as Daisy looked at his radiant face,
she whispered, "I know what banner you
are carrying to-day."
"What?" asked Bob.
Daisy clasped her fair hands reverently:
"Thanks be unto God, who giveth us the
victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
"I WOULD NOT LIVE
" s AMMA, will you take us to see
the very old woman to-day ?"
"Yes, my dear, both you and
your sister, if it does not rain."
So in the afternoon, Mrs. Campbell, with
her little boy and girl, set out on a long
walk. The road lay through a wild moor-
land country, with ranges of distant hills
bounding the horizon. It would have been
a desolate scene in winter, but looked
bright and beautiful under the changing
lights and shadows of the autumn sky.
The children ran before, in high spirits,
making excursions in search of wild flowers
"I WOULD NOT LIVE ALWAYS 35
into the moor on either side. Their mother
walked more slowly, and thought of many
things. How great the contrast between
these light-hearted young travellers, just
beginning life's journey, and the aged, way-
worn pilgrim they were about to visit!
How great the changes she had lived
through in the days of the years of her
pilgrimage! What stirring events in the
nation, the world, the Church of Christ
And yet her extreme age was but youth
compared with what was once the ordinary
life of man on earth. What kind of minds
and bodies must have been those of the
patriarchs of our race, to enable either to
stand the tear and wear of centuries?
Surely the experiences of earth must have
been far less sorrowful then, and the pros-
pect of heaven far less clear, to have made
such a lengthened sojourn in the body de-
sirable, or even endurable, for those who
"walked with God."
36 I WOULD NOT LIVE ALWAYS "
She was roused from such reflections by
the children coming to her side.
"Mamma, how old is Widow Wilson ?"
"Ninety-nine years, at least."
"Ninety-nine years! almost a hundred!-
older than grandpapa ?"
Yes, about twenty years older."
The boy was lost in wonder; it was some
minutes before he could comprehend the
"Mamma, should you like to live as
"Certainly not, my dear."
She spoke quickly and decidedly, and
Tommy was again surprised.
"Should you like to be sure of living as
long, Tommy ?"
"I think so, mamma. Why would not
you like it ?"
We shall speak of that again, after we
have seen Widow Wilson."
They were now not far from the shep-
I WOULD NOT LIVE ALWAYS 37
herd's cottage. It was sheltered by a fir
plantation, and though so lonely, looked
pleasant then in the sunshine, with a peat
stack at one side, and a-small garden in
front. An old-looking woman came out of
the door as they approached.
Is that Widow Wilson, mamma ?"
"Oh no, only her daughter, Mrs. Elliot.
-How are you, Mrs. Elliot ? how is your
mother to-day ?"
"In her ordinary, ma'am; much the
better for all your kindness."
"I have brought my children to see you
"They will be tired with the long walk.
Come in, ma'am, come in."
They entered the house. In a high press
bed, which seemed clean and comfortable,
lay a figure so slight that it would have
appeared that of a child, but for the aged
aspect of the small clay-coloured face which
was on the pillow.
38 I WOULD NOT LIVE ALWAYS "
She is asleep," said Mrs. Campbell; "do
not disturb her."
"Oh no, ma'am, she is only dozing.-
Mother, mother! this is Mrs. Campbell, the
kind lady that brought you the tea, and
sent you the blankets."
The old woman looked up with quick
blue eyes. "God bless her!" she said.
"How are you feeling to-day, Mrs. Wil-
"An auld frail body, ma'am; auld and
"I have brought my little boy and girl;
they were anxious to see you."
She held out her withered hand, which the
children touched with looks of wonder and
almost fear. She looked at them with a
smile. "Blessings on them! I ance had
"How many have you had ?"
She looked bewildered. "I dinna mind.
Jean will ken."
I WOULD NOT LIVE ALWAYS 39
"There were ten of us once," said her
daughter. "I was the eldest, and I am the
last on earth now."
And she entered at some length on a
little family chronicle of joys and sorrows,
to which her visitor listened with com-
"And how long is it since your father
"Thirty years this harvest."
"How long has your mother been con-
fined to bed ?"
She was aye able to gang about till nine
years ago, when she got a fall on the snaw
at the door, and broke what the doctor called
the hip-bone; then she took to the bed."
"Nine years in bed!" exclaimed little
Mary and Tommy, who were listening with
The old woman, who had been dozing,
now looked up again. Maybe," she said,
"I hae seen you afore."
40 I WOULD NOT LIVE ALWAYS "
"Oh ay, mother; this is Mrs. Campbell,
the kind lady who was here last week."
"My memory's sair failed; I dinna mind
my ain daughter at times."
"But," said Mrs. Campbell gently, "you
do not forget the Lord Jesus, the Lord your
"The Lord's my shepherd, I'll not want,"
she replied, and repeated, without mistake,
though in a low, monotonous voice, the
whole Scottish metrical version of Psalm
You see," said Mrs. Campbell turning to
the children, "how good it is to learn the
word of God well by heart in youth. For
whatever is learned then will remain when
other things are forgotten."
"She minds the Catechism too," said Jean.
-"Mother, who is the only Redeemer of
God's elect ?"
"The only Redeemer of God's elect is the
Lord Jesus Christ, who, being the eternal
"I WOULD NOT LIVE ALWAYS 41
Son of God, became man, and so was, and
continueth to be, God and man in two dis-
tinct natures, and one person, for ever."
"What precious truths are these!" said
Mrs. Campbell. "In a world of change
and sorrow like this, how delightful to
think of such a Redeemer,-of strength
that never wearies-love that never for-
sakes-mercy that never fails-Jesus Christ,
the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever "
But the aged invalid had already dropped
asleep again, and after some more talk with
her daughter, and a few words of prayer,
the visitors departed.
The children walked slowly now, and for
some minutes were quite silent. Tommy
held his mother's hand as if afraid to let it
go. At last he said,-
"Mamma, I know now why you would
not wish to live so long as Widow Wilson."
Shall we sit down for a little on this
green bank, and talk about it ?"
42 I WOULD NOT LIVE ALWAYS "
They were affectionate little things, and
now their hearts seemed full. Mary got on her
mother's knee, and Tommy threw his arms
round her neck, as he exclaimed with tears,-
"Mamma, I would not like to see you
lie in bed for nine long years !"
You would rather think of me in heaven
with Jesus, my child, would you not ?"
"And she had forgotten about her own
children! Mamma, could you ever forget
about us ?"
The mother only replied by pressing
them both to her heart.
"But she will remember all her children
again when she sees them in heaven, will
she not, mamma ?"
I have no doubt of that, my dear, if
they are all there."
"And is not she a good woman? Will
not she go to heaven soon herself ?"
"I do hope so; I do believe poor old
Widow Wilson is a Christian."
I WOULD NOT LIVE ALWAYS 43
"But though she repeated the psalm and
the catechism, she did not answer you, or
seem to care to hear you speak about Jesus."
That was only from her great weakness
of mind and body. You see, my dear chil-
dren, that so long a life is not a thing to
be desired, and that our heavenly Father
has been very wise and merciful in so
ordering that very few indeed have to
spend as many years on earth. He knows
it would not be kind, if we may so speak,
to keep his people in their frail bodies so
long. But when he does appoint this, no
doubt he has wise and good reasons for it;
and his Holy Spirit can give comfort and
peace to their souls in a way we do not
"Grandpapa is not at all like Widow
Wilson, He is always so happy-looking;
he tells us stories, and reads and prays with
us, almost as well as you do."
"Dear grandpapa is only eighty, and he
44 WOULD NOT LIVE ALWAYS "
is a wonderful old man. But if you were
to ask him, I daresay he would tell you
that he was glad to think the time must
be near when he will go home to God."
Mamma, we hope you will live quite as
long as grandpapa."
My dears, that is not likely, and, as I
have said, there are few like my dear father
at his age, and I could not expect to re-
semble him. But all that will be as our
Father in heaven pleases. You have learned
iust now that if we have reason to believe
that ourselves, or any whom we dearly love,
have come to Jesus, and are his pardoned
children, we should not desire for such a
very long life on earth. I would also like
you to feel that the people of God should
never be afraid or unwilling to die at any
time. There are many children in heaven
who left this world at your own age. Not
one of them would wish to come back, or
ever thought they had gone there too soon."
"I WOULD NOT LIVE ALWAYS 45
"But, mamma, Mary and I do not wish
to go to heaven just now; we would rather
live longer with you and papa. Is that
"No, dear, not wrong. But we should
pray much that the Holy Spirit may make
us ready to die any day, and quite willing
and joyful when the time does come.
Those whom God calls away in youth are
saved a great deal, of temptation, and toil,
and sorrow. Yet it seems a higher honour
and privilege to be the Lord's faithful sol-
diers and servants for many years on earth.
The hoary head is a crown of glory when
it is found in the way of righteousness.
But now we must go home. We shall get
quickly down hill."
They kissed her tenderly again, and then
all walked on. The mother was still pen-
sive, but every shadow had passed away
from the young hearts before they reached
their happy home.
TRUE STRENGTH AND
"AMMA, how is Charles now?"
said Anna Stanley, as hermother
entered the parlour.
"He is better, and asleep."
"Oh, I am so glad!"
Mrs. Stanley sat down on the sofa, look-
ing grave and sad. Anna stood beside her
for some minutes, silent also.
"Mamma, are you anxious about Charles ?"
"No, I am thankful to say. The doctor
considers that there is no cause for alarm."
"But you are vexed about something."
"Yes, a little."
Are you not pleased with me ?"
TRUE STRENGTH AND WEAKNESS. 47
"Why should you think so ?"
"Oh, I know your face so well, and I
am sure you are angry."
Not angry, Anna, but certainly vexed
and disappointed by your conduct to-day."
Anna coloured deeply. "Was it because
I did not stay beside Charles ?"
"Yes; when the poor boy was brought
home with his leg so badly hurt, you only
cried and hid your face. Your little sister
of eight years old was of far more use than
you, a girl of fourteen."
"But, mamma, I could not look at that
leg; it would have made me quite sick."
"And suppose it had, where would have
been the great harm ?"
Anna opened her eyes with a look of
"What would have signified your feeling
sick for a little while, compared with your
being able to help to give your brother
48 TRUE STRENGTH AND WEAKNESS.
"But I was not needed; you were there,
and Betty was in the house."
"That is true; but supposing I had not
been at home, would you have acted differ-
ently ? And when the doctor came, and
many things were required, you still kept
out of the way."
Mamma, I really could not bear to be
in the room. You cannot think how
Charles's groans went to my very heart. I
was just crying in the garden."
"And do you think my heart was not
feeling the suffering of my dear child
"But you have such strong nerves; you
"I do not suppose that my nerves were
by nature stronger than those of most other
women, but I was early called to many try-
ing duties, and taught by my dear mother
not to shrink from them. And by the
grace of God I was taught where to look
TRUE STRENGTH AND WEAKNESS. 49
for help in all. I was early enabled to say,
I can do all things through Christ which
"Oh, mamma, I know that too; and
indeed-indeed, I was praying for Charles
in the garden."
I believe you, my dear," said her mother
in a softened voice, laying her hand kindly
on Anna's head as she took courage to sit
down on a low stool at her side. "But I
would like you to feel more the necessity of
striving, as well as praying, against our
besetting sins and weaknesses. I wish you
to see that this weakness of nerves, or
sensitiveness, or whatever your London
companions may choose to call it, is really a
great misfortune, if not a grave fault, and
as such, that you ought to make every
effort to overcome it. At school, I fear,
( you have been learning rather to think of it
as a feminine, interesting quality. Is not
that the case ? "
50 TRUE STRENGTH AND WEAKNESS.
Anna did not reply.
"What would become of this suffering
world, my dear, if all women were or ought
to be like you ? How little the surgeon's
skill would avail, in many cases, without
the help of the kind, loving nurse, he leaves
behind him at home, or even the hired
nurse in the hospital! And how often
woman is left to do her best, without help
from the doctor at all! It is her glory, her
honour, to be able for such a ministry of
love and mercy."
"But only some women can be able for
all that. I am sure every one does not feel
as I do at the sight of blood."
"No doubt some are much better suited
for such service than others. If you had
to choose your way of maintaining yourself,
I should not bid you become a sick-nurse.
But the weakness you complain of may
certainly be conquered, so far as to make
you able to be useful in such a case as that
TRUE STRENGTH AND WEAKNESS. 51
of to-day, instead of being useless, or an
additional burden. Only think what we
read of ladies going through in former
times, or even in our own day; and what
the Sisters of Charity constantly do, in
many countries, in the most loathsome
dwellings, in the crowded hospital, or on
the battle-field. Many of them are well-
born and refined women; do you not think
they have had to overcome quite as much
as you could suffer ?"
"But they are Roman Catholics, mamma,
and they are doing it to get salvation. We
do not need that."
"No, thank God; yet I often think we
might learn many a good lesson from their
self-denial and devotedness. Is it not a
reproach to us, that their false, mistaken
views of religion, should often make them do
far more to serve Christ and help their fellow-
men than most among ourselves think of,
with all our purer light and good hope
52 TRUE STRENGTH AND WEAKNESS.
through grace ? Should not we do at least
as much from love and gratitude for our
free salvation as they do from fear and
anxiety about it ?"
Yes, in some ways. But surely a lady,
if she feels as I do, need never see those
dreadful things; she can always pay for
doctors and nurses."
"There are many times when no doctor
or nurse could or should take the place of
the mother, the wife, the friend. And in
such a case the noblest woman is in her
right place when not shrinking from the
most trying or humble offices of love. Did
you ever read about Joan, queen of Navarre,
and her wounded general ?"
"I do not recollect."
A little girl, who had been playing in a
corner, now came forward.
"Oh, mamma tell us the story; it will
do you good."
"Well, you deserve a story, Jessie for
TRUE STRENGTH AND WEAKNESS. 53
you have behaved well to-day, so I shall
"Joan, the good queen of Navarre, was
one of the best and noblest women of whom
we read in history. She died about three
hundred years ago. Her life was full of
troubles and sorrows, and would make a
long interesting tale, if I had time to tell
you it. She was a Protestant, or Huguenot,
as they were then called in France; and in
her days the Protestants were much perse-
cuted by the Papists, and had to fight for
their lives and liberty. Queen Joan was
looked up to and loved by them all.
"One of her best generals was called La
Noue. In a bloody battle his right arm
was broken by a ball, and he had to give
up the command of the army and retire to
the town of La Rochelle, where the queen
was then residing, as a place of safety. He
was most kindly welcomed, and the greatest
care and tenderness bestowed upon him, for
54 TRUE STRENGTH AND WEAKNESS.
his illness was considered quite a public
calamity. But in spite of all the care and
skill of the best physicians, his wound got
worse and worse, and at last the arm morti-
fied, and the doctors told him that unless it
were taken off he must soon die; and even
that operation would but give a chance for
"This was a terrible sentence for the
brave man,-not the thought of death, but
the idea of losing his right arm, and being
ever after maimed and useless. He told
the doctors that he would never submit to it,
and that they might just leave him to die."
"Was not that very wrong, mamma?
could he be a good man ?"
"It was certainly wrong, Jessie; for it is
our duty to do everything not in itself sinful
in order to preserve our life, till God sees
fit to take it away. I hope La Noue was a
Christian; but you know the best of men
often feel and do what is sinful, and perhaps
TRUE STRENGTH AND WEAKNESS. 55
his long sufferings had weakened his mind
as well as his body. So the doctors, much
distressed, after trying all they could to per-
suade him, went to the queen and told her
the case, and that every hour increased the
danger, and took away from their hopes of
success from an operation I suppose Anna,
in Joan's place, would have written La Noue
a letter, full of good, kind advice and re-
monstrance. But Joan acted differently.
She went herself at once to the sick-chamber
of the wounded man. She stood beside him,
and spoke to him in the gentlest, kindest
way, sympathizing with him in his distress,
and yet reproving his impatience. She
showed him how his duty to God, and his
love for her, and for the holy cause for
which he suffered, should make him willing
to submit to anything that could give a
hope of saving a life which might still be
so useful; and then, should it not please the
Lord in the end to bless the surgeon's skill,
56 TRUE STRENGTH AND WEAKNESS.
he would die with the consolation of having
done his duty to the last, as a brave man
and a Christian.
"La Noue was quite overcome, both by
her arguments and the affection with which
she spoke. He said he could not bear to
distress her any more, and would agree to
whatever she wished. What do you think
she did then ?"
"She would go and send the doctors."
"She did still more. They were within
call, and she made a signal for them to
come in at once. With her own hands she
laid bare the wounded arm, and supported
it through the operation, speaking words of
comfort and encouragement to the sufferer.
There was no chloroform known in those
days, and a surgical operation must have
been in many ways much worse than
now. But the brave woman did not faint
nor turn away. Hers was true friendship,
true sensibility. She felt all the good that
TRUE STRENGTH AND WEAKNESS. 57
her presence might do, and thought not a
moment of her own feelings."
"Oh, mamma, it was beautiful! And
did La Noue get better ?"
Yes; by the blessing of God his life was
saved. The queen watched over his recovery,
and got an ingenious workman to make a
false arm of iron, by means of which he could
even guide his horse. You may believe that
his love and gratitude were unbounded, and
that he could not speak of her heroic kind-
ness, in after life, without tears. So you
see that even a queen, with all the doctors
and nurses in the kingdom at her command,
might do more herself than any of them to
save a dear friend, by overcoming nervous
weakness and forgetting her own feelings.
"Now, Jessie, go and see if Charles is
"Mamma," said Anna, rising, "may I go?"
"Surely, my dear; and if he is awake,
sit beside him till I come."
KILLING FOLKS IN OUR HEART.
j LICE was the youngest of a large
circle of brothers and sisters. She
was the pet; but she was not a
spoiled pet, wilful and selfish, as pets are
apt to be. She had a mother who made
her children not only love, but revere and
obey her. She was a praying mother,
whose heart's desire was, both by precept
and example, to lead her little ones to "the
Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of
the world." The Holy Spirit owned this
LITTLE ALICE. 59
mother's efforts, and the eldest four were
numbered among the children of God.
Alice was now five years old; and
could you have seen her in company with
her cousin Ruth, her playmate and school-
mate, as they dressed dolls or skipped off to
school, you would have said, Surely peace
and love dwell in the bosoms of these little
One night when it was Alice's bed-time,
she had no mind to go to bed. Sarah said,
" Come, Alice, I will go up with you, for
mother is engaged, you know."
Alice sat still on the cricket, looking
down very sadly. She had scarcely tasted
her bread and milk. "I am not a bit
hungry," she said, shoving away the
Do you feel sick ?" asked Sarah.
"No, I am not sick," she answered.
Again Sarah took her hand to lead her
upstairs. "I wish mother would," said
60 LITTLE ALICE.
Alice; "I had a great deal rather mother
Sarah told her that her mother had com-
pany, and could not be spared; then she
was led away, but slowly and unwillingly.
As Sarah undressed her, she saw tears
flowing down her cheeks.
"What is the matter, Alice? Tell me,
child, what ails you," cried her sister
But Alice gave no reason, nor made a
complaint, she only sighed. When it was
time for her to kneel down by her little
bed to pray, as her habit was, Alice knelt
and bowed her head, but no words came
from her lips. Sarah thought this was
strange. Then she arose and crept into
bed, so silent, so sad, so tearful, that Sarah
became frightened. When she went down-
stairs, and joined the company below, she
watched an opportunity of mentioning the
matter to her mother.
LITTLE ALICE. 61
"I will run up directly and see what ails
the child," said she.
"Why, she is not sick, mother," said
Sarah; "only it seems as if something were
on her mind."
Nor was it long before the mother escaped
from the parlour and went to the chamber
of her little one. As she trod the entry
softly, lest Alice might then have fallen
asleep, she listened and heard a low cry-
"My child," said the mother tenderly,
stooping down to her bedside, what troubles
you ? tell me."
0 mother, I am so glad you have come!"
cried Alice, uncovering her head and seizing
her mother's hand; "I can never go to
sleep. 0 mother, I have killed Ruth in my
heart to-day-I did;" and the tears flowed
afresh. "She got angry, and I wished she
were dead. I can't ask God's forgiveness
till I've made up with Ruth. He won't
62 LITTLE ALICE.
hear me, for my heart had hatred in it, and
not love. O mother !" and the little child
seemed broken in heart. Her mother
tried to comfort her; but there lay the
cold, heavy weight of sin upon her bosom.
"Oh, if I could only see Ruth, and we
could make up, then I could pray," she
cried piteously. "Can't I go to Ruth's
The mother thought a moment, and then
said, Yes, my child, you shall go;" for she
well knew no more important business could
claim her attention than helping her child
through the thorny passes of the "narrow
Alice's father was called, who, wrapping
the weeping Alice in a blanket (it was
summer-time), carried her to the home of
cousin Ruth, whose door was next their own.
She was taken to Ruth's bedside. It was
a touching scene,-the confession, the prayer
for forgiveness, the kiss of reconciliation;
LITTLE ALICE. 63
then laying her head on her father's shoulder,
she asked to be carried home.
Once more in her chamber, Alice again
knelt down and prayed God to forgive her
for the sin of hating Ruth. "Give me love
in my heart," she cried earnestly, "because
God is love, and because it was love that
made Jesus Christ die on the cross for us;
give me love, for I want to be like Jesus
Christ,-keep me from hating and killing
anybody in my heart."
Thus prayed the little Alice. Oh, what
a prayer and conflict! Sin and conscience,
love and hatred had been fighting in her
bosom. Alas in the bosoms of how many
children does hatred conquer love, does sin
put out the light of conscience In Alice
love gained the mastery. Love to God in
Christ, love to our fellows, love to do right,
it is this love which shows us to be children
of God: it is hatred, and anger, and strife
which show us to be children of the devil.
64 LITTLE ALICE.
How many children who read this can
remember hating and killing people in their
hearts I Have you been sorry for it, and
begged to be forgiven? If not, does it
not show that you are far, far from God
and holy things ?