The Baldwin Library
n s University
/F 6P 6-1 7 e ~.~ ij
Sec Page 36.
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing
and making melody in your heart to the Lord.-ErH. 5:19.
PUBLISHED BY THE
AMERICAN TRACT SOCIETY,
150 NASSAU-STREET, NEW YORK.
Isbcl, ... ..... ...... 5
We may all do something ... .... 11
Home influence, ...... ... 17
The responsibilities of the gifted, ...... 27
The lowly and the loving, . . 33
Friendship, . ... 40
The influence of books, . . 46
Our conversation, ..... . 53
Letter writing, . . . 60
The places we frequent,. . . 66
Our influence upon strangers, . ... .72
The memory of the dead, . . .. 79
Little children,. . . . 85
Let us pass homeward singing, ...... 91
Sing them, my children, sing them still,
Those sweet and holy songs!
Oh, let the psalms of Zion's hill
Be heard from youthful tongues.
IT is many years since the following simple story
was related by a kind friend to her youthful rela-
Isabel was a poor little silk-winding girl, employ-
ed at one of our great factories. Every day, and
all day long, except at the short intervals allowed
for meals, she worked from the dawning to the
setting sun, and sometimes even later. There were
moments when she could not help envying those
who were not obliged to toil so hard: but this did
not often happen, for the little Isabel was blessed
with a cheerful and contented spirit; and she might
far more frequently be heard thanking God that she
had health to labor; for she was an orphan and
had no one to provide for her. Her parents both
died when she was very young: they were honest
and pious people, and taught her to love and fear
Him who has promised to be "the Father of the
fatherless;" so that Isabel did not feel so lonely
when they were taken away, as she would other-
wise have done.
"A little while," said her mother with her dying
breath, and we shall all be together again; thanks
to that blessed Saviour who loved and gave himself
"A little while," repeated the orphan child
afterwards, only a little while." And she would
often look up and smile as she thought of the heav-
enly home which Jesus had purchased for her with
his own life. This it was that made Isabel so
cheerful and happy.
It was the bright summer time when the master
of the factory announced his intention of giving all
the work-people a holiday: "A whole long day,"
as Isabel called it, "to do what we please in."
Most of the young people had some friend or relative
to visit; but the poor silk-winding girl was an or-
phan, and alone in the world. Having nowhere
to go, she thought what a pleasant thing it would
be to spend the day in the woods, and look at the
blue sky, and hear the birds sing, and gather wild
flowers as she used to do.
The eventful morning arrived, clear and sunny.
Isabel arose with the lark, thinking of the long,
happy day before her. But she did not forget, ere
she went forth on her glad holiday, to kneel down
and pray. Her heart was full of joy and thankful-
ness, and she longed to do something for Him who
had done so much for her. But what could she do ?
she was only a little child.
The clock struck six as Isabel went into the woods
singing. She knew a great many hymns, and had
a habit of singing them to herself when alone.
Early as it was, there was one up before her-a
pale, stern-looking man, who was crouching be-
neath the shadow of the trees as she passed; a
second Cain, lying in wait to take away a brother's
life. The song which Isabel was singing happened
to be one he had learned years ago, at his mother's
knee. The memory of his innocent and happy
childhood came back to him as though it were but
yesterday. The little golden-haired brother with
whom he used to play-how they loved one another
then. How often had they wandered together, with
their arms around each other's neck, singing that
very hymn. The man's countenance changed as
he recalled those old times; the weapon dropped
from his grasp; and as he knelt down with clasped
hands, his tears fell fast. A human life was saved;
it may be that a soul was saved from death. But
Isabel knew it not, as she passed on singing.
Just within the wood there was a rude hut, in-
habited by a poor old woman, who earned a scanty
living in the summer time, gathering water-cresses,
or making up nosegays of honeysuckle, sweetbrier,
and wild flowers, which she sold at the neighbor-
ing town; and managed to exist in winter by knit-
ting coarse woollen stockings and comforters, which
the villagers were glad to purchase of her for a
trifling sum. But she was too ill now to gather
flowers or water-cresses, or even to knit; she lay
upon her bed helpless and hungry, and with a sad
feeling of desertion pressing heavily upon her heart.
She had forgotten, as we are so apt to do, God's
mercies in times past, and how he has promised that
he will never leave nor forsake those who put their
trust in him. But it all came back to her as Isa-
bel went by, singing one of her sweet and cheerful
hymns, one that the old woman knew well; for,
although now desponding by reason of her infirmi-
ties, she was a humble and sincere Christian. The
burden of Isabel's song was, "Trust in God."
Yes," replied the poor old woman, crossing her
thin hands, and lifting up her dim eyes to heaven;
"' Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.'
'Why art thou cast down, 0 my soul ? and why art
thou disquieted within me ? hope thou in God; for
I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my
countenance, and my God.'" Psalm 42: 11.
Isabel passed on singing; and after a time, He
who commanded the ravens to feed Elijah, when
he sojourned in the wilderness, by the little brook
Cherith, put it into the heart of one of his children
to carry some nourishing food to the poor woman
who lay sick and helpless in her little hut.
There were many sad hearts on that bright, sunny
day-there always are somewhere in the world.
A bereaved mother stood by the death-bed of her
little child, her only child; and her tears fell fast
upon its pale, happy-looking face. The sun shone
gaily into the chamber, but every thing seemed very
dark to her now that she had lost her sole earthly
treasure, the sunshine of her life. Isabel, little
dreaming of what was passing within, went by the
pretty rose-covered cottage singing. What was it
that made her choose, all of a sudden, an old hymn
about a little child whom God had taken away to
be an angel in heaven, and how happy it was play-
ing on its golden harp before the throne ? It may
be that God put it into her heart. The mother
listened, and was comforted. She no longer wish-
ed her child back again in this world of sin and sor-
row; but bowing down her head, said meekly,
"It is well. The Lord gave, and the Lord hath
taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. His
will, not mine, be done." From that hour, she sor-
rowed not as one without hope. "She may not
return to me," was her constant thought, "but I
may go to her: thanks to our blessed Redeemer."
Isabel passed on, winding her way among the
trees, and dreamed not of the good which she had
been permitted to do. All that long summer day
she spent in the woods; sometimes lying under the
pleasant trees and looking up into the blue sky, and
sometimes gathering flowers and listening to the
song of the birds, or else singing herself, and thank
ing and praising God for all his goodness. Her
hymns cheered the woodman at his task. The
daughter of the rich man who owned the grounds
came to meet her, when she heard her singing, and
felt rebuked when Isabel told her that she was only
a poor silk-winding girl, who worked from morning
till night. "If she is so thankful and happy for
her one holiday, what ought I to be?" questioned
the lady of her own heart. "And if, as I suspect
from what she says, it is religion that makes her
thus, who would not be religious ?"
Isabel went home at night quite tired out ; and
had no sooner ended her evening prayer, and laid
her head upon the pillow, than she fell fast asleep.
She told her companions, the following morning,
that she had had a very hapry day.
ALL MAY DO SOMETHING. 11
WE MAY ALL DO SOMETHING.
So teach ye me the wisest part,
That I may ever move
Along the cities' ways with heart
Assured by holy love,
And vocal with such songs as own
A Fountain to the world unknown.
IT is impossible to pass through the world, as
Isabel passed through the wood, singing hymns.
But if we watch and pray for opportunities, God
will often let us say a word at the right season, and
bless it; just as he did the word of the little maid
in the house of Naaman the Syrian. Isabel was
only a poor orphan girl; but before she went out
she prayed to God. She longed, we are told, to do
something for Him who had done so much for her;
but she said within herself, "What can I do? I
am only a little child." Even a little child may
do something. We may all do something, if we
try; so that, in passing, we may leave behind a
track of light. God has furnished us with a song
for every step of the way. And although it is often
very difficult to sing "the Lord's song in a strange
land," we must endeavor to persevere, and to go on
in his strength.
Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton is said to have resem-
bled, in his walk through the world, "a man pass-
ing through the wards of a hospital, and stooping
down on all sides to administer help where it was
A popular authoress tells us that she longs to be
like the church bells, uttering a "holy" over all
human activity, over all the striving and the suffer-
ing, over all the happy; calling and inviting men
to the house of prayer, as if they had said, Come,
ye sorrowing; ye weary and heavy laden ; ye gay
and thoughtless ones. Come and hear God's mes-
sage of redeeming love."
It is related of a good and noble lady, that her
last work every evening was to review with dili-
gence all the works of the day-her thoughts, words,
and deeds; what happened in this room or that
company; what good or evil she had done; what
opportunities of benefiting others she had embraced
or neglected ; what comforts and blessings she had
that day received: and after this examination, giv-
ing thanks, and begging pardon in every particular,
having communed with her own heart in her cham-
ber, she was still."
What a sweet example for us all to follow. How
necessary it is in passing through the world, to pause
every now and then, and see what we are doing or
leaving undone, so that we may be more careful;
to reckon up'our mercies, greater in number than
iLL MAY DO SOMETHING. 13
the sands upon the sea-shore, so that we may be
more thankful; to call to remembrance our many
sins, so that we may be more humble, more tender-
hearted and forbearing towards others, and more
grateful to our Saviour Jesus Christ.
God works by human means and instruments-
by men, and women, and little children; by their
influence upon others; by their conduct and conver-
sation; by their tempers and dispositions; by their
wealth, and talents, and affections; by their de-
portment as they pass through the world, but above
all at home; by the friendships they form, the
words they speak, the books which they read or
-leave about; by the letters which they write, the
places they frequent, the strangers with whom they
hold momentary intercourse; by the living, and by
"Without me," said our Saviour to his disciples,
"ye can do nothing." "As the branch cannot bear
fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine ; no more
can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the Vine, ye
are the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in
him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for with-
out me ye can do nothing." John 15 :4, 5. We
must remember that all our labor will be in vain,
and be careful to do every thing in his name, and
to his glory.
Let those who would resemble Isabel, as they
pass through the world recollect what St. Paul says
in his epistle to the Colossians, for it is to such that
the following verse seems particularly addressed:
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all
wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in
psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with
grace in your hearts to the Lord." Not unto men,
but "to the Lord." The little silk-winding girl,
when she sung her simple hymns in that lonely
wood, sung them to God only. She was praising
him, not seeking the praise of others. It would be
well if we all praised God oftener than we do.
And if we were only to sit down and think what
he has done for us in giving his Son Jesus Christ to
suffer for our sins, "the just for the unjust," and
permitting us to believe in him, whom to know is
life eternal, we should not be able to help doing
so, but should feel constrained to exclaim with
the psalmist, "He hath put a new song in my
mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see
it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord." Psalm
40 : 3.
There is no greater happiness on earth than to
be made, in any degree, the instrument of happi-
ness or of good to others, and then to give God all
the glory. But it is a solemn thought, that if we
are not instruments of good we must be instruments
of evil. There is no middle path. We are told,
and rightly told, that not only the gifted, but the
most obscure individual exerts an influence which
ALL MAY DO SOMETHING. 16
must be felt in the great brotherhood of mankind.
No human being can pass through the world with-
out increasing or diminishing the sum total of hu-
man happiness, not only of the present, but of every
subsequent age of humanity. No one can detach
himself from this connection. There is no seques-
tered spot in the universe in which he can retreat
from his relation to others." Let no one ever say
to himself or others, "I am of no consequence; I
am poor and despised, and of no account;" or, "I
am only one among many, and have no influence."
Every person, however limited his gifts, is contin-
ually operating for good or evil upon all connected
with him. Those professing to be Christians are
especially intrusted with a degree of influence, which
in another world only will they be able properly to
In the way of means, there are no little things
with God. The verse of a hymn, a text of Scrip-
ture, a kind word, a good book, a Christian letter,
a passing warning, a cup of cold water given in the
name of Jesus, all these have been blessed at vari-
ous times, and will be unto the end of the world.
Dear reader, will you not throw the weight of your
talents or your influence, be it great or small, into
God's treasury ? If it should be only the latter,
fear not, for he did not despise the widow's mite.
His strength is made perfect in weakness. We have
a loving Master; and if we sit at the feet of Jesus,
making him our trust, and doing all in his name
and out of love towards him who loved and gave
himself for us, he will own our feeble endeavors,
and say gently, in his own gracious manner, when'
the world or our consciences rise up to accuse us,
as he said of Mary of Bethany, Let her alone; she
hath done what she could."
HOME INFLUENCE. 17
Wouldst thou listen to its gentle teaching,
All thy restless yearnings it would still;
Leaf, and flower, and laden bee are preaching,
Thine own sphere, though lowly, first to fill.
I BELIEVE it is scarcely possible to live in a family
where religion is sweetly exemplified even by one
member only, without deep convictions. Truly has
it been said, "Our duties are like the circles of a
whirlpool, and the innermost includes home." A
modern writer has designated home, "heaven's
fallen sister;" and a melancholy truth lies shroud-
ed in those few words. Our home influence is not
a passing, but an abiding one; and all-powerful for
good or evil, for peace or strife, for happiness or
misery. Each separate Christian home has been
likened to a central sun, around which revolves a
happy and united band of warm, loving hearts, act-
ing, thinking, rejoicing, and sorrowing together.
Which member of the family group can say, I have
no influence ? What sorrow, or what happiness,
lies in the power of each! "We shall never know
until we are ushered into eternity," writes a living
author, how great has been the influence which
one gentle, loving spirit has exercised in a house-
hold; shedding the mild radiance of its light over
all the common events of daily life, and checking
the inroads of discord and sin by the simple setting
forth of that love which' seeketh not her own,' but
which suffereth long and is kind.' "
"A lighted lamp," writes M'Cheyne, "is a very
small thing, and it burns calmly and without noise,
yet it giveth light to all who are within the house."
And so there is a quiet influence, which, like the
flame of a scented lamp, fills many a home with
light and fragrance. Such an influence has been
beautifully compared to a carpet, soft and deep,
which, while it diffuses a look of ample comfort,
deadens many a creaking sound. It is the curtain
which, from many a beloved form, wards off at once
the summer's glow and the winter's wind. It is
the pillow, on which sickness lays its head and for-
gets half its misery." This influence falls as the
refreshing dew, the invigorating sunbeam, the fer-
tilizing shower-shining on all with the mild lustre
of moonlight, and harmonizing in one soft tint many
of the discordant hues of a family picture.
There are animalcules, we are told, "invisible
to the naked eye, which make the sea brilliant as
fire, so that every wave seems bordered with gold;
and there are also small reptiles which occasion
those miasms which by their plague can slay the
strongest natures : so even spiritual existence has
its monads, and the life-atmosphere of the family
HOME INFLUENCE. 19
depends upon what the nature of these is." Let us
all endeavor to resemble the good animalcules,
which, although invisible, make all around bright
And now let us glance for a moment on the home
influence of those who are neither kind nor gentle.
It is a sad picture, truthfully painted. "Do you
not know," writes the artist, "Do you not know
that they bestow wretchedness instead of happiness,
even upon those who are dearest and nearest to
them? Do you not know that their very voice is
dreaded and unwelcome as it sounds through their
home ? Is not their step avoided in the passage, or
on the stairs, in the certainty of no kind or cheerful
greeting, in the fear of angry words ? Do you not
observe that every subject but the most indifferent
is lightly touched upon in their presence, or conceal-
ed from their knowledge, in the vain hope of keep-
ing away food for their excitement of temper ?
Deprived of confidence, deprived of respect, their
society is shunned even by the few who still love
them." They pass through their homes like the
easterly wind, and a chilling blight falls on the do-
mestic scene. Their influence is a fearful one.
Anger begets anger. They are aptly compared to
a jar of household vinegar, wherein are dissolved
the precious pearls of daily life. They are unhappy
in themselves, and they make others so. They are
ill-tempered, and they spoil the tempers of those
with whom they associate. Harsh and unloving,
they breed hard thoughts in the breasts of others.
They darken the sunshine of daily life. They
weaken our faith in the good and beautiful. Their
home influence, instead of being a blessing, becomes
Dear reader, is any member of your family suffer-
ing from the infirmity of an irritable temper ? Try
what a contrary influence, try what kindness will do.
From daily and continual observation you can most
probably tell what things, what provocations are the
likeliest to call forth this besetting sin. Endeavor,
if possible, to avoid them; be on the watch for little
opportunities of smoothing away difficulties. Re-
member that a soft answer turneth away wrath;"
and that kind words are as oil poured on the troubled
waters. Seek to be always patient to the faults
and imperfections of others; for doubtless you have
many of your own. How blessed is he who by good
words and deeds can bring a continual sunshine
into the home where he dwells. How blessed are
the fruits of a cheerful and forbearing spirit, filled
with love towards God and man.
The following prayer, written by an experienced
Christian, is well worth learning by heart: "Be
pleased, 0 Lord, to bless the small, feeble endeav-
ors of thy poor child, to do her duty to others; for
without thy blessing they are all ineffectual, and
with thy blessing I need not doubt but they will
HOME INFLUENCE. 21
tend to my own good, and the good of those I desire
to serve-more particularly at homee" Elsewhere
we find the same person praying thus : "May I
dwell nearer in spirit to my Redeemer, that increas-
ed humility, watchfulness, patience, and forbear-
ance may be my portion; that I may not only be
saved myself, but that I may not stand in the way
of others' salvation, more particularly that of my
own household and family ; and that I may, if con-
sistent with the divine will, be made instrumental
in saving others." It is a fearful thought that we
may, by our influence, stand in the way of the sal-
vation of others, especially those of our own house-
hold and family:" and we do well to pray against
it, and that we may be a help and not a hinder-
ance one to another.
The same person from whom we have previously
quoted, writing in after-life, says, "How have gos-
pel truths opened gradually to my view the height,
the depth, length, and.breadth of the love of God in
Christ Jesus, to my unspeakable help and consola-
tion; principally, I believe, through the dispensa-
tions of almighty wisdom; partly from the sound-
ness of faith of some near to me :" she meant her
brothers and sisters; thus acknowledging their in-
fluence, and that it had been for good.
How great is the influence of the heads of fam-
ilies, of masters and mistresses, parents, brothers
and sisters, and even of servants and little children.
How many servants have had cause to bless the
day when they first entered into a pious family, and
not only listened to the precepts of God's holy word,
but witnessed how they were exemplified and car-
ried out in the daily life of those whom it was their
privilege to serve. How many parents are there
whose children have risen up and called them bless-
ed. How many a brother and sister have owed
their conversion, under God, to each other. How
many Christian servants have been the first to in-
troduce religion into a thoughtless and worldly
family, choosing the time of sickness or sorrow,
when the heart was softened and subdued, and ask-
ing God's blessing upon their humble endeavors.
How many a little child has been permitted to
speak a word for Jesus. Those," writes Miss
Catharine Sinclair, "who neglect to promote the
happiness, or to seek the salvation of any with
whom the providence of an all-wise Creator has
connected them by the most sacred ties, betray one
of their chief trusts, and lose one of the greatest
felicities which the world can afford."
The influence of a dear young friend, whose home
conduct was a beautiful illustration of the faith
that worketh by love, is thus described by an eye-
witness: "She moved about the house like a sun-
beam. I heard her singing as she passed to and
fro, and her mother heard her too, and said, with a
fond smile, It is Mary. She is always the same,
HOME INFLUENCE. 23
always happy. I do not know what I should do
without her.' I do not know what any of us would
do without Mary,' repeated her eldest daughter, and
the rest echoed her words.
Her youngest brother is of a violent temper,
and is always quarrelling with somebody; but he
never quarrels with Mary, because she will not
quarrel with him, but strives to turn aside his anger
by gentle words. Even her presence has an in-
fluence over him. So it has on all her brothers;
and to please her they have left off taking in the
Sunday newspaper, and go to church or read good
books at home. They none of them think as seri-
ously as she does about sacred things,'but they
avoid making a jest of them when she is present, or
saying or doing any thing to hurt her feelings. And
some day, Mary hopes that what they now abstain
from for her sake, will be abstained from out of
love for God, and for fear of grieving the Holy
"One day, when Robert, the eldest brother, de-
clined to join a party of pleasure on the following
Sabbath, a friend observed that he had no idea he
was so changed in his views, and recalled to re-
membrance the time when he had made a mockery
'Yes,' answered Robert; 'but that was before
Mary taught me to love it.'
"His sister, who was present, burst into tears.
'I never taught you,' said she; 'I have never said
a single word on the subject. God has taught
It is true that you have never said a word, my
sister; but your actions have spoken for you, and
To him be all the glory,' whispered Mary, as
she kissed him.
"The brother and sister are now constantly to-
gether; and Robert is, I think, likely to become a
decided Christian. If it be so, he will always say
that he owes it, under God, to her influence. And
I firmly believe that there are others in the family
who will feel the same ere very long. To love
and wait is excellent home philosophy.'"
What a blessing it is when religion enters a fam-
ily; though it be in the youngest or the least in
the house, by God's blessing it works like the leaven
hidden in the meal, until the whole lump be leave
ened. "Happy families," writes M'Cheyne, "but
Oh, how few, where parents and children fear the
Lord and speak often one to another, and the Lord
stands by hearkening, and writing down their words
in his book of remembrance,' wherein he reckons
up his jewels."
Miss Catharine Sinclair somewhere recommends
it as a beneficial practice, to offer up a short prayer
even as your hand is upon the door to admit you
into family intercourse-an intercourse which, she
HOME INFLUENCE. 25
justly says, involves duties and responsibilities, as
well as privileges and pleasures. If we could al-
ways remember to do this, our influence would
doubtless be far more powerful, and the following
touching lament would not be heard so frequently
as it is:
I feel full of love to others," writes Mrs. Fry, in
her daily journal, "particularly those near me, but
I have not towards them that patience and forbear-
ance that I ought to have, and I think I am too
easily provoked; not sufficiently long-suffering with
their faults." We must all have felt this at times;
and at such times there is one little text, a sermon
in itself, which it would be well to call to remem-
brance, containing as it does the exhortation and
the motive to obedience. It is to be found in the
fourth chapter of St. Paul's epistle to the Ephe-
sians, at the thirty-second verse : "Be ye kind one
to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another,
even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."
To the gentle, how many will be gentle; to the
kind, how many will be kind. How many does
meekness change to the like temper. Force, it is
true, may subdue; but love gains. And recollect
that we must love, in order to be loved. Believe
me, there is no greater happiness than that of feel-
ing that we can cheer and soothe and minister to
the welfare of another, especially those of'bur own
family and kindred. Remember, that if we are not
doing good in our own sphere, we are doing evil:
if we are not acting for God, we must be acting
against him. Will those we love, when we shall
have passed from among them-and G od only knows
how soon that may be-be the better or the worse
for our presence, for our influence ? It is a solemn
question, and may well make us careful, but not
despairing. When our blessed Saviour said to Paul,
" My grace is sufficient for thee ; for my strength is
made perfect in weakness," he said it for the en-
couragement of all who should believe in him, in
all ages of the world ; he said it for us.
DUTY OF THE GIFTED. 27
THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE GIFTED.
The blessed angels Iook and long
To praise thee with a worthier song:
And shall our silence do thee wrong?
IT is certain that mental gifts and accomplish-
ments greatly increase our power and responsibility.
The gifted, in most cases, become the presiding
spirits of the intelligent circles in which they move,
and become, by assent of all and without seeking
it, the oracles of the rest, either for good or evil:
consciously or unconsciously modifying and influ-
encing the c i.l .as well as the motives, of all
with whom rl.: are brought in contact; while
many will hear of, and be guided by what they say
and do, whom they may never meet on earth. In
proportion as our influence is great, great should be
our humility; fervent our petitions for grace to use
it aright; deep and unceasing the consciousness of
our responsibility: the prayer of David should be
continually on our lips, "Let not those who seek
thee be confounded for my sake, 0 Lord God of
Israel." Psalm 69: 6.
How often do we hear it said, when people are
disputing upon some subject of right or wrong,
"But Mr. A- does it, and we all know how tal
ented and well-informed he is; therefore it must
needs be right." And the argument is taken as
conclusive. The power thus exercised by the highly
gifted is incalculable and ".-;1 ... .l;.: extend-
ing often to remote generations. For example, as
Isabel passed through the wood singing, so many
have passed through the world writing at intervals
hymns which remain to cheer and comfort us when
the hand that traced them is mouldering in the
silent grave. We cannot take up a hymn-book
without being reminded of such persons. And who
does not love hymns; who has not felt their sooth-
ing power in the season of sickness and sorrow?
How often a verse will haunt and cheer us. How
an old familiar hymn brings back the past. How
have we seen it melt the stubborn, heart, and draw
tears from eyes that had not wept before for many
long and weary years. We learn them in our child-
hood, and love them in old-age. They soothe alike
the cradle and the bed of death ; and many a dying
saint has expired singing them.
"It is a great privilege," said a Christian poet-
ess, to be permitted to speak a word for Jesus to
one trembling sinner; how much greater when He
helps us in our writings to lift him up before all the
world, and condescends to bless and make use of our
feeble endeavors to his own glory. How sweet to
cast all our attainments, all our gifts at his feet,
and crown him Lord of all for ever."
DUTY OF THE GI.TED. 29
"Every man," writes the Rev. Thomas Adams,
"should be as a little sun in his own circle, merely
a creature of divine goodness, manifesting God's
glory, and shining without merit." The gifted and
intellectual are generally looked up to as suns in
their own little sphere: and they should be doubly
careful to show forth the glory of God their Saviour,
and adorn his doctrine in all things ; and "to walk
worthy of the vocation wherewith" they "are call-
ed, with all lowliness and meekness, with long-
suffering, forbearing one another in love." Eph.
It is related of a gentleman who had been a
sceptic from his youth, that his first thoughts about
religion arose from observing the serious deportment
of one of whose talents and intellect he had reason
to think very highly, and how regular he was in its
public duties, and in the constant practice of his
I never remember calling upon him," said he,
" without seeing his little clasped Bible lying upon
the table, or upon his desk; sometimes open, as if
he had just been reading it. Hitherto I had thought
religion only fit for the poor and ignorant; but my
friend was neither one nor the other, so I began to
fancy that there must be something in it. I told
Mr. S- this, one day when I called, and I shall
never forget his manner of replying.
"' Something!' said he, laying his hand upon my
shoulder, and looking kindly and sadly into my face,
for it appears that he had never suspected until that
moment how matters stood, 'Something! there is
every thing in it. Without religion, without the
gospel of Christ, I cannot imagine how any one
"Long and earnestly did we converse togeth-
er, and his words sunk into my heart, and were
blessed to me in future years. A few days after-
wards I happened to call when he was from home,
and amused myself in his absence by examining
the contents of his valuable library; congratulat-
ing him, upon his return, on the treasures he pos-
But you have overlooked my greatest treasure
of all,' said he.
I turned round eagerly, and he laid his hand
upon the little clasped Bible, and smiled. Thanks
be to God, and him," concludes the narrator of the
above fact, I can now truly say that the Bible is
my greatest treasure also ; that the religion of Christ
is every thing to me."
The gifted must not only be watchful in great,
but likewise in little things. What they do, others
will do; what they say, others will repeat; where
they lead, others will follow; what they praise,
others will approve; what they disallow, others
will reject. If they look serious when sacred
themes are discussed, others will look serious too;
DUTY OF THE GIFTED. 31
if they turn them into a jest, others will be quick
in following their example. Even a smile at the
wrong time may do mischief; while a word spoken
in season may become a word of power to one of
the Lord's little ones. The influence of the gifted
colors all around, either in light or shadow, and
brings a blessing or a curse.
It is a glorious privilege, if we use it aright; if
we use it for Christ; if we dedicate it to him and
to his work. Are we gifted with eloquence ? let us
be eloquent for Jesus. Can we argue with force
and brilliancy ? let us argue for God's truth. Is
our pen as that of a ready writer ? let us write
about him, and make mention of his righteousness :
it may be that we may thus win souls to Christ.
Have we sweet voices? let us sing God's praise.
But if we cannot say what we wish, let us say
what we can. If we cannot write of Jesus, let us
talk about him. If we cannot sing hymns, let us
act them. To whomsoever much is given, of him
shall be much required:" but we may all do some-
thing, if we try.
"Every station," writes Caroline Fry, "has its
peculiar duties; every individual her peculiar gifts.
There is not one so lowly, or so ill-endowed, who
cannot do something for the love and service of her
Redeemer God; not one so high and gifted that
she may be excused for thinking any thing her own,
that she should withhold it from him." There
are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And
there are differences of administrations, but the
same Lord. And there are diversities of operations,
but it is the same God which worketh all in all."
1 Cor. 12:4-6.
LOWLY AND LOVING. 33
THE LOWLY AND THE LOVING.
The alms most precious man can give to man
Are kind and loving words. Nor come amiss
Warm, sympathizing tears to eyes that scan
The world aright: the only error is
Neglect to do the little good we can.
LOVE has often far more influence than talent.
The one appeals to the reason, the other to the af-
fections; the one speaks to the intellect, but the
other goes straight to the heart. "It is delight-
ful," exclaims a Swedish author, "to believe our-
selves loved, especially by those whom we love and
value." Yes, it is delightful, certainly; but woe
to us if we neglect the responsibility attached to it.
When God permits us to win the regard of others,
he places in our hands a sweet and powerful influ-
ence, which we should be very careful to use in his
service and for his glory. Human affection, sancti-
fied by the divine blessing, may be made the instru-
ment of much good: wanting that blessing, it is
but a shining light without life or warmth.
The pious Jonathan Edwards describes a Chris-
tian as being like such a little flower as we see in
the spring of the year; low and humble on the
ground; opening its bosom to receive the pleasant
beams of the sun's glory; rejoicing, as it were, in a
calm rapture; diffusing around a sweet fragrance;
standing peacefully and lowly in the midst of other
flowers." The world may think nothing of that
little flower, it may not even notice it; but, never-
theless, it will be diffusing around a sweet fra-
grance upon all who come near it.
It has been truly said, that the amiable, the lov-
ing, and the unselfish almost insensibly dissuade
from evil, and persuade to good, all who come with-
in reach of their soothing power; that no one can
advance alone towards the happiness or misery of
another world ; and little can the most insignificant
of beings conjecture how extensive may have been
the beneficial or evil effects which have attended
their own apparently unimportant conduct.
"In the heraldry of heaven," writes bishop Home,
"goodness precedes greatness ;" so on earth it is
S often far more powerful. The lowly and the loving
may frequently do more in their own limited sphere
than the gifted. To yield consistently in little
things, begets the same yielding spirit in others and
renders life the happier. We must never forget
that we are all appointed to the station which we
fill in this life by the wise disposer of events ; who
knows what is suited to our various capacities and
talents much better than we do ourselves, and who
would not have placed us there if he had not some-
thing for us to do. How few there are who live up
to their own power of being useful. Earth is.our
LOWLY AND LOVING. 35
dwelling-place, where each has his or her appointed
sphere of usefulness, their mission of love and duty,
as they pass homeward to heaven.
A gentleman, travelling through a part of Wilt-
shire, where he had not been before for many years,
could not help observing the peculiar neatness and
even beauty of the little cottage gardens which he
passed, and which he did not remember having
noticed when he was there last.
No," replied the friend who accompanied him;
"it has only been so within the last few years,
since Lucy D-- came to reside in the village. It
is all owing to her."
"But how can one person keep all these gardens
so scrupulously neat ?"
"You must ask her," replied his friend Mr.
L- with a smile, and pausing as he spoke to
shake hands with a young and delicate-looking girl,
plainly attired, and carrying in her hand a nosegay
"Are they not beautiful ?" asked she, holding
them up. Widow Green gave them to me, and
she has plenty more. I was sure that they would
grow, if she only tried. You cannot imagine how
pretty they make her garden look."
She had no garden, I think, when first you knew
her," said Mr. L- .
No, I believe not. I do not know what she
would do without one now: she was saying so her-
self, this very morning; and that it was her great-
My friend is very anxious to understand how
you have managed to introduce so many gardens
into the village, and to keep them all in such good
order. He thinks that it must be a great deal of
trouble for one person."
"It is no trouble to me," replied Lucy, simply,
and with a modest blush. I have nothing to do
but to appear pleased, and to speak a word of praise
now and then, and accept all their little flower-
offerings. I always was fond of flowers."
"But how did you contrive at first ?"
"I almost forget. I do not think that I did much.
I only admired Mrs. Brown's flowers, and then she
planted more to please me; and by and by others
began to notice how pretty her garden looked, and
to wish to plant some also, and to come to me for
seeds and cuttings. I do not think that I did much
besides telling them the proper season for planting,
and where I thought they would thrive the best.
The little school-children weed, hoping that I shall
be pleased to see the garden looking neat and nice;
and so I am. The gardens of the poor are a great
comfort to them."
Yes," said Mr. L- ; "it keeps them out of
mischief. Many a poor man may now be seen
working in his little garden, with his children around
him, and his wife sewing peacefully in the cottage
LOWLY AND LOVING. 37
porch, who used to go to the public-house. Many a
happy home has sprung from the love of flowers."
Just then an old man came tottering towards us,
holding a stick in one hand, and a flower-pot in the
"I have been looking out for you all day," said
he to Lucy. If you could spare a moment, I have
so many things to ask and show you."
To be sure I can," replied the girl, with a kind
smile; and dropping a modest courtesy, she went
away with the old man, and left the two friends
"Well," said Mr. L- after a pause, "what
do you think of our Lucy ?"
She appears to be very young, and does not
look strong; but I was thinking of the power which
one individual may exert for good over those around
"But Lucy not only teaches and encourages the
poor people, and the little children to love flowers,"
continued Mr. L- "but tries to win them to
Christ, and to make them love him. Many a sim-
ple homily have I heard her preach from the lily of
the valley, or:the flower of the field. Her influeirce
is not only exerted for good, it is exerted for God;
and he has deigned to bless it in more than one
Lucy D- is neither gifted nor beautiful. Few
know her even by name. It can only be said of
her that she loves God and his children and all his
works. Contented and cheerful, she passes through
life, making it seem all the brighter and the better
for her brief sojourning. It has been well said of
a kindred spirit, that looking to heaven as her
rest, and to Christ as her Saviour, she seemed to
have caught something of the calm serenity of her
great Master, something of his purity and love. In
the world, but not of it, she was like one going
cheerfully homeward, and singing as she went;
while she scattered around her, in passing, holy
counsels and instructions, kind words and actions-
the bright sunshine of a lowly and loving spirit."
There are some who assert that in their isolated
position, they have influence on none. But there
is no such thing as a thoroughly detached and iso-
lated individual; we are all inextricably tied up
and interlaced with each other; so that no man
can live or act without affecting others in some de-
gree, and to some purpose. If they have no power
to do good, we would say that it is because they
seek it not; and beseech them to arouse their dor-
mant energies in that search which can alone bring
happiness. It is because they walk along with
their eyes on the ground, instead of looking around
them to see what they can do for God and for one
another. It is because they pass through the world
silent, instead of singing, that others might hear
them and be gladdened and comforted. Or it is
LOWLY AND LOVING. 39
because they have neglected to pray; for we can
do nothing without prayer. Or it is because they
are walking in their own strength, and trusting in
their own righteousness, instead of "coming up
from the wilderness leaning on the Beloved," and
making him their all in all.
If aught of grace or peace be mine,
To one dear friend that peace I owe;
God's instrument of love to me,
She gently taught me all I know.
THE Rev. Robert M'Cheyne, blessing God for his
mercies, says, "He has taken away friends that
might have been a snare, must have been a stum---
bling-block; I bless him for that. He has intro-
duced me to one Christian friend, and sealed more
and more my amity with another; I bless him for
that." A truly (.'liii; n1 friend is indeed one of
the greatest blessings that can fall to our share on
earth, and we may well bless God for it.
How many does a lovely example win to good-
ness. Who has not felt, as it were, tinctured with
the goodness of those with whtm he has been hold-
ing pleasant and friendly communion ? There are
some people, we are told, who exert on others a
moral power resembling the effects of climate upon
the rude and rugged marble; every roughness is by
degrees smoothed off, and even the coloring becomes
subdued into calm harmony with all the features of
its allotted position." All excellencies either of
mind or heart are, in some mysterious manner, act-
ually infectious; but then, alas, so it is with evil
influences. How necessary it is to ask God's bless-
ing upon all the friendships which we form, and
that he may be pleased to make us a help, and not
a hinderance one to another as we pass through
The writer of this little book, recalling to mind
a dear friend, can truly say that since the day she
first knew her a change has come over her whole
life. How many things have I left undone for fear
of grieving her, which were afterwards abstained
from for fear of grieving my Saviour. I used to
wonder, would she approve of my actions, long be-
fore I thought of seeking the approbation of God.
She was the instrument in his hands to lead me
from error into "the truth as it is in Jesus." Her
lightest word had weight. Years afterwards, I
learned the chief secret of her sweet and powerful
influence: Since we have known each other," said
she, I have never ceased to pray for you."
One who knew M'Cheyne long and well, speak-
ing of him after he had passed away, says, So
much did we learn from his holy walk and conver-
sation, that it is probable that scarcely a day goes
by in which we have not some advantages from his
Almost the last whispered words of a young
Christian to one who bent weeping over the bed
of death, were these: "Your friendship has done
me good." What a happy consolation to the sur-
How different was the exclamation of another, as
he passed away in the prime of youth, the victim
of vice and intemperance; and turning to the com-
panion, the friend as he called himself, who had led
him astray, said bitterly, Would to God that I had
never known you."
Another, stricken down by fever, and hearing for
the first time of the gospel of Christ as he lay upon
his dying bed, said reproachfully to one who had
loved him long and well, "You were my friend,
and you never told me this. For years we have
walked and talked together, and you never spoke
to me of Jesus. And now my poor head cannot
bear, cannot understand it; now it is too late."
Delirium came on, and he passed away thus.
It is an old saying, and one of fearful and fath-
omless import, that we are here forming charac-
ters for eternity. Forming characters! whose? our
own, or others' ? Both; and in that momentous
fact lies the peril and responsibility of our existence.
Thousands of our fellow-beings will yearly, and till
years shall end, enter eternity with characters dif-
fering from those they would have carried thither
had we never lived."
When friends come to us for counsel in moments
of disappointment and irritation, or for comfort in
the time of sorrow or distress; when they look up
to us, and say, "What must I do? How must I
act? Where shall I seek for peace ?" how fearful
is our responsibility. How carefully should we
weigh every word, and pause and pray, before we
utter it. How great is our power at such seasons
as these. We may be as beacon lights; or we may
only resemble wandering stars. Above all, let us
beware of saying, "Peace, peace !" when there is
no peace; or of leading them to look for it any-
where but in the love and mercy of Jesus Christ,
our Lord and Saviour.
We read in the book of Proverbs, that "faithful
are the wounds of a friend," chap. 27 : 6. It is the
duty of friends to reprove one another where they
see cause; only it must be in all gentleness, and in
the spirit of truth and love. They are not our real
friends who do not tell us of our faults; neither are
we true friends to others when we can behold them
do wrong, and remain silent. The results of such
friendships cannot be either purifying or good.
We can well remember walking through the
woods in autumn with a dear friend, since dead.
How beautiful they were, and how eagerly we ad-
mired together their brown and golden tints. Pres-
ently my friend began, as she usually did, to speak
of better things, and to look through nature up to
"Earth," said she, 'is preaching her annual
sermon: We all do fade as a leaf, and our iniqui-
ties like the wind have carried us away.'" And
then she spoke of the evil of sin, and of Christ's
redeeming love. I shall never forget that evening
walk through the woods. Like Isabel, she might
be truly said to pass on her way singing; and the
burden of her song was the same that the angels
sing in heaven: Blessing, and honor, and glory,
and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne,
and unto the Lamb for ever and ever." Rev. 6 : 13.
Before the spring flowers bloomed she had passed
away; but the falling of the leaf never fails to bring
back her memory and her influence.
How natural it is to take an interest in that
which interests those we love. Have we a friend
who is a botanist ? with what a different eye we
soon begin to regard flowers; and how we long to
understand something about them, in order that we
may be able to join him in this pleasant study.
Have we a friend who is musical? how we love
music. Are they fond of reading? what a fresh
interest we take in books. Are they religious?
how, in a manner, we even begin, to imitate them
in this also; although it may be only out of love
for them. 0, how thankful we ought to be if God,
at any time, is pleased to make use of us as instru-
ments and magnets to draw the hearts of our dear-
est friends towards himself. What a privilege to be
allowed to help one another forward, if it be but
one step nearer to glory. But we should be ever
ready to exclaim, in all humility, "It was not I;"
and to give God the honor.
Many beloved and valued friends may have pass-
ed away before another year shall have gone by;
or we ourselves may be called home. What has
been our influence over others ? What effects shall
we leave behind? Have we used the power given
to us for good, or for evil? Are our friends the bet-
ter or the worse for loving and trusting, and, it may
be, looking up to us ? Are they any nearer heav-
en ? If they die first, will they say to us, Your
friendship has been a blessing to me;" or, "Would
to God that I had never known you ?"
THE INFLUENCE OF BOOKS.
And the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations."
CICERo calls a library "the soul of a house:" a
solemn thought, and one that should make us very
careful. We heard of a gentleman, not long since,
refusing a richly bound copy of a popular but dan-
gerous theological work, which had been offered
him for his library. It is not," said he, "that I
fear its effects on my own mind, but only lest it
should hurt and unsettle others of the household,
who are less fixed and decided in their views."
Seneca terms books "his friends;" and hints
somewhere, that we should be alike careful in our
choice of them as in choosing our most intimate
companions. While Plutarch tells us, with much
quaintness, that "we ought to regard books as we
do sweatmeats; not wholly to aim at the pleasant-
est, but chiefly to respect the wholesomest : not
forbidding either, but approving the latter most."
Milton has called a good book, the precious life-
blood of a master-spirit."
To have dangerous books lying on our tables is
like leaving so much poison about; while good
books are God's messengers. Servants are apt to
INFLUENCE OF BOOKS. 47
look into the books which are left in their way.
Visitors take them up in idle moments-while wait-
ing for dinner, or on wet days-and are struck per-
haps by some line or passage, which God brings
home to their hearts with the lightning flash of
conviction. Many a one has traced his or her first
serious thought about religion to a book thus acci-
dentally, or rather providentially, taken up and
read. On the Sabbath-day we should be especially
careful not to leave any temptation to break it in
the way of others, and have nothing on our tables
but Sabbath books.
A young Christian, speaking of the day when she
first seriously resolved, by God's help, to renounce
the world, and give herself wholly to Jesus and to
his service, writes thus : On the afternoon of that
ever to be remembered Sabbath I was left alone;
and feeling very restless and unhappy, looked around
for amusement. A little paper 'On Eternity' lay
on the chimney-piece: I read it, and felt that I
must pray." In the evening, sad and unsettled, she
again had recourse to a book; this time it was the
'Life of Brainerd.' Had she been able to find any
other books about, she would doubtless have read
them in preference; but she lived in a pious fam-
ily, who were very careful about these things. It
pleased God to bless that little tract and that holy
life, to the warning, strengthening, and confirming
of his poor weak child. And that night she openly
declared her belief in Jesus, and her earnest desire
to live henceforth to his glory.
I cannot force my servants to read good books,"
said a dear old friend, "but I always take care that
they shall have them to read ; and who knows but
that some day they may be blessed to them ?"
On the same principle, the wedding present which
she invariably made all her young friends on the
day of their marriage-and she had a great many
friends, for every one loved her-was a Bible.
If they do not think much of it now," she would
say, sooner or later the season is sure to come when
they will find out its value. I remember once giv-
ing a book to a person in whom I took a deep inter-
est. In spite of its gay and handsome binding, it
was a serious book; and I prayed fervently to God,
that he would be pleased to bless it to her. Hap-
pening to call at the house nearly three months
afterwards, for I left town in the interval, I found
it lying upon the drawing-room table with the
leaves still uncut. My young friend colored when
I pointed it out to her, and pleaded in excuse her
numerous engagements. When I was gone, as she
has since told me, she sat down and cut it open at
once, peeping in here and there; but she did not
read it, for she saw that it was not the sort of book
to interest her.
Time passed away, and as the gay binding faded
the book was removed to make room for a more
INFLUENCE OF BOOKS. 49
costly one, and placed in a room then empty, but
soon afterwards occupied by a dear sister of the
owner, who came there on a visit, and as it subse-
quently proved, to die; but not before that little
book, under God's blessing, had been made the in-
strument of opening her eyes to 'the truth as it is
in Jesus,' and leading her to him as the sinner's
only refuge. After she died, the little faded book
became the chief treasure of her affectionate and
now pious sister. And I have heard her say that,
next to her Bible, she prizes it more than any thing
else upon earth."
Have we not said truly that great may be the
influence of one book ? We may never know it.
We may think that our gifts and prayers have
been offered in vain. We may see it flung aside,
and disregarded; but in some sick and lonely
hour, when the heart is sorrowful and subdued-
or, it may be, in moments of ennui, or idleness-
it will be taken up, and God will remember our
prayers, for Christ's sake, and bless it to those we
A party, travelling for pleasure, were once de-
tained for several weeks by the illness of one of
their number. It was a wild sea-coast, far away
from any town or village; and the weather being
particularly unfavorable, they were somewhat at a
loss how to get through the long and wearisome
days. There. Was no library, they were told, within
twenty miles; and the few books that they had
brought with them were soon exhausted.
"I do not know what we shall do," said one of
the party. And it is of no use applying to Mrs.
B- for she never has any thing but good
The lady alluded to was, nevertheless, requested
to produce her little store, which she willingly did.
And although they did not look very inviting to the
rest, they were better than nothing. With the help
of Mrs. B-'s good books, the little party managed
to get through that day; and the next, the sun
came out, and they flung them aside and began to
feel more cheerful-all but one, and he read on like
a person awakening from a long sleep, the sleep of
sin and death. A fortnight afterwards, he left the
place with the rest of the party, a changed man-
a new creature in Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit
had been his teacher; the instruments were Mrs
B-'s good books.
If we give away books-and they are common
presents among kindred and friends, and, above all,
to little children-why not give them such as will
do more than merely amuse; such as will instruct
and make them wiser, and better, and holier ? If
we offer to read to a sick friend, why choose a work
of fiction instead of the volume of God's truth ? If
we acknowledge the influence of books over our-
selves and others, how careful should we be in the
INFLUENCE OF BOOKS. 51
selection of those which we make the companions
of our solitary hours, the unconscious modellers of
our future thoughts and lives. If we love and
read and praise them, others will love and read
It may be that there are still some who will tell
us that they have no power over others; that they
are poor and lonely, and that no one cares what
they read, or what they do. We have shown this
to be impossible; but admitting it, we would say
to such, You can give away a tract. You may be
too poor to make presents of handsome books, with
gay bindings; but God's blessing will rest upon a
little tract, if you remember to give it in the name
of Jesus. Isabel was only a poor orphan child.
Try and pass through the world giving tracts, as
she passed through the wood singing hymns. Rec-
ollect that she did not know, when she went home
at night, how much good God had permitted her
to do; but she spent a very happy day neverthe-
less. And so may you as you pass homeward to
How interesting and remarkable have been the
interpositions of Providence concerning tracts. How
many a one has been lost, and found, and given
exactly at the right moment-just as Isabel sung
her simple hymns as she went through the wood
praising God. How many a tract has been read by
those for whom it was never intended. How sin-
gularly has God made use of them in the conversion
of thousands ; in instructing the ignorant, comfort-
ing the afflicted, warning the unconverted, and in
bringing the sinner to Christ. Who shall say that
they have no influence in the world, although in
passing through it they may only be able to give
away tracts ?
OUR CONVERSATION. 53
Speak gently; 'tis a little thing
Dropped in the heart's deep well:
The good, the joy which it may bring,
Eternity shall tell.
THE Egyptians have a saying, that "the tongue
is an angel; good or bad, that is as it happens."
Certain it is that its power is very great; and we
have all constant need to pray, "Set a watch, 0
Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips."
Conversation," writes Seneca, forms a large
portion of the comfort of human life ;" and we are
told that, without it, the best and wisest men live
only for themselves. Plato prefers conversation to
books, and believes its influence to be more power-
ful and abiding; and we are told that, before now,
" a sentence has formed a character, and a charac-
ter subdued a kingdom."
"In our connection with the world," writes the
Rev. Charles Bridges, many occasions will unex-
pectedly offer, when the heart is wakeful and active
to improve them. The common topics of earthly
conversation may furnish a channel for heavenly
intercourse; so that our communications, even with
the world, may be like Jacob's ladder, whose bot-
tom rested upon the earth, but the top reached unto
the heavens." Seasons of health and sickness,
times of peculiar suffering or enjoyment, new occur-
rences, accidents, or change of circumstances, will
always afford themes for religious conversation.
We knew a gentleman who, in order to prevent the
conversation from becoming desultory and trifling,
would frequently begin by remarking in the morn-
ing at breakfast, I have been reading, or med-
itating, on such a chapter;" thus affording us
food for profitable thoughts during the remainder
of the day. Conversation should always be im-
proving, even where it may not directly aim at
Kind words are the diamonds and pearls of every-
day life: they have more music in them than the
ringing of gold." But they are doubly precious
when they lead us to "the Pearl of great price," to
the knowledge of the Saviour. Let us all endeavor
so to act and speak in our little sphere of usefulness
and duty, that others may be the richer and hap-
pier for our presence and our influence ; let us speak
joyfully to the young, cheerfully and tenderly to the
old, and scatter the bright gems of love and sympa-
thy along the pathway of all we meet.
One of the late Mrs. Fry's daughters, and biogra-
phers, says of her gifted parent, She had a wise,
kind word for all. All loved her; all felt that her
message was not from herself, not of man's inven-
OUR CONVERSATION. 55
tion; but that, in her Master's name, she invited
others to love and good works.' "
Gisborne tells us that the language of reason,
unaccompanied by kindness, will often fail of mak-
ing an impression. It has no effect on the under-
standing, because it touches not the heart. The
language of kindness, unaccompanied by reason,
will frequently be unable to persuade; because,
though it may gain upon the affections, it wants
that which is necessary to convince the judgment.
But, let reason and kindness be united in your dis-
course, and seldom will either pride or prejudice
continue to resist." The united influence of kind-
ness and reason-we cannot help putting kindness
How frequently is a word, let drop in conversa-
tion, remembered long after those who uttered it
have forgotten the whole occurrence. Some casual
remark or careless jest, which seemed at the mo-
ment scarcely to be noticed, may perhaps have,
stamped its permanent impression on the mind of
another. A single sentence will often shine upon
our memory with singular distinctness, either to
guide us aright, or lead us astray. When talking
of sacred things, it is well to pray before we speak;
and never to enter upon these subjects lightly.
Neither must we neglect them altogether. Sure-
ly," writes the Rev. Charles Bridges, "the day in
which we have been fluent in worldly conversa-
tion, and yet have neglected our opportunities of
speaking a word for Christ, must be considered a
M'Cheyne, blessing God for his mercies, as he
never failed to do, says, He has helped me to give
up much of my shame in pronouncing his name,
and appearing on his side, especially before partic-
ular friends. Bless him for that." We are all too
apt to be ashamed of the name of Christ. And yet,
how natural it would seem to talk of what we love.
How inconsistent it is to call ourselves pilgrims and
strangers upon earth, and yet never to speak to one
another of the home to which we are passing.
We read in Proverbs that a word fitly spoken is
like apples of gold in pictures of silver," chap.
25:11. That "heaviness in the heart of man
maketh it stoop; but a good word maketh it glad,"
chap. 12: 25. And again, A word spoken in due
season, how good is it!" chap. 15:23. Our Lord
says, that every idle word that men shall speak,
they shall give account thereof in the day of judg-
ment." Matt. 12:36. Our words are heard in
heaven. "There is not a word in my tongue,"-
exclaims the psalmist, but, lo, O Lord, thou !,...'.i
est it altogether." Psalm 139:4. Those were
solemn words which we have already quoted in a
previous chapter-so solemn, that we may be ex-
cused for repeating them here: "You were my
friend," exclaimed the unfortunate youth, hearing
OUR CONVERSATION. 57
for the first time of the gospel of Christ as he lay
fever-stricken upon the bed of death-'" You were
my friend, and you never told me this. For years
we have walked and talked together, and you never
spoke to me of Jesus." Are there none who in like
circumstances might say the same to us ? It is a
"How many opportunities," was the touching
lament of another young person, on the point of
death-" How many opportunities have I neglected
of speaking a word for Christ, and entreating poor
sinners to come to 'the Lamb of God, which taketh
away the sin of the world.' I humbly hope that
God will forgive my silence, for his dear Son's sake,
and strengthen me henceforth to be more earnest
and faithful in his cause."
We cannot doubt God's forgiveness, asked as it
was in the name of Jesus Christ; but she had little
opportunity of glorifying her Saviour upon earth, as
we trust she is now glorifying him in heaven. A
few hours after having given utterance to the words
above recorded, she fell asleep, and so passed away.
Oh, let us take heed to exhort one another daily,
while it is called to-day; for "the night cometh,
when no man can work."
Do you remember," said a friend, after a sepa-
ration of many years, what you once told me about
the little star which you saw shining over the sea
at Sandrock ? I often recall to mind your words
when I look at it, and think of you." Oh, how
earnest was the wish at that moment that the words
had been better worth remembering.
We are never perhaps so truly happy as in the
free interchange of thought and feeling with those
we love, and who love us; when the sentiments of
the heart spring to the lips, and out of its abundance
the mouth speaketh. Great is our influence at
such seasons; great need have we then of David's
prayer, Let the words of my mouth, and the med-
itations of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, 0
Lord, my strength and my Redeemer."
How good it is to lay up God's words in our
hearts; talking of them when we sit in the house
and when we walk by the way, when we lie down
and when we rise up. How sweet to realize that
exquisite passage in Malachi 3 : 16 : "Then they
that feared the Lord spake often one to another;
and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book
of remembrance was written before him for them
that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his
As we pass through the world, God will often let
us speak a word for him, if we ask him and are
careful to look out for opportunities; and will make
it perhaps a word of power and comfort, a word
in season to him that is weary," Isa. 50 :4; for he
only can stamp it upon the hearts of others, and
make the fruit of the lips to grow. May all those
OUR CONVERSATION. 59
who hear the sound of our voices, as we pass among
them, be comforted and cheered and strengthened,
and made wiser and better and more holy. May
they learn from ourwords, as some did from Isabel's
hymns, to be kindly affectioned one towards an-
other, and to put their trust in God. And what-
ever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of
the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father
by him." Col. 3 :17.
Letters which are the links that bind
The absent to us: letters which have power
To wring the heart, or wake the ready shower
Of sympathy; or, on the soul when sit
Doubts of God's goodness, like ill-omened birds,
Come to disperse them with sweet, soothing words,
That give relief in sorrow's wildest fit."
TIE effect produced by letters is incalculably
great. Absence softens the heart, and inclines it
to receive many a warning word, many a solemn
admonition, which it would most probably resent if
spoken by those near, even though they might be
dear. Letters have often been God's messengers.
If ever we are permitted to do any good by means
of them-and we may be, if we try-let us remem-
ber that it is all of Him, and that there is nothing
left for us but self-renunciation and praise.
How useful has the kind, judicious, well-timed
letter of a Christian friend frequently proved. The
author of The Listener," and many other good
books, traces her first serious thoughts to such a
letter, written by one who was too timid to trust
herself to speak of these things.
Another, who has since been permitted to. bear
her grateful testimony to her Saviour, and write
LETTER WRITING. 61
little books in his name, concerning the faith which
she once denied, thankfully ascribes her conversion
to the same cause. She had written something
which the world called clever; and it might have
been clever, but it was unsound and unscriptural.
Nevertheless, there were many found to praise it;
and many were the letters, full of commendation,
which she was continually receiving.
One day, a kind friend to whom she had been
showing some of these, said hesitatingly, "I should
like you to see the letter which I have just received
about your little work; but I am afraid lest it
should vex you." The curiosity of the young au-
thoress was roused, and she never rested until the
letter was in her own possession. It was from a
clergyman, to whom her work had been shown.
The words which particularly struck her in it were
Your friend may be all that you describe; she
may be very amiable and talented; but, poor girl,
I am afraid that she is not a Christian-that she
does not believe in Christ."
The young authoress said little; but she asked
leave to keep the letter, and she has it now. We
have seen it many and many a time; and the paper
is faded and worn and blotted with tears. The
words which she had read fastened upon her mind,
and haunted her day and night, until she was mer-
cifully brought to confess their truth and faithful-
ness, and learned at length to know and believe
and put her whole trust in the merits of her divine
Redeemer alone. That letter was one of the most
powerful instruments used by the Holy Spirit to
bring her out of the darkness and error of Socinianism,
to the glorious light of the truth as it is in Jesus.
We should never write a long letter without a
little word of Christ. M'Cheyne is said to have
had a holy skill in dropping a word for his Master
upon all occasions. He wrote few letters in which
the name of Jesus was not mentioned, or something
of his spirit breathed forth. Writing to a member
of his family, he says, The Tay is before me now
like a resplendent mirror, glistening in the morning
sun. May the same sun shine sweetly on you;
and may He that makes it shine, shine into your
heart, and give you the knowledge of the glory of
God in the face of Jesus Christ."
We know one who never wrote the commonest
letter without prayer. If we think of it," said
she, it is a very solemn reflection that these silent
witnesses either for good or evil may remain to
influence others long after we ourselves are laid in
the grave." Her words have come to pass since
then, and her letters are preserved and read over
with tears. There is scarcely one in which she
does not allude to heavenly things; "It seems so
natural," to quote her own words, "both to write
and speak of what we love."
LETTER WRITING. 63
Wilberforce, addressing Sir Thomas Fowell Bux-
ton, says, "I do not like to conclude my letter with-
out one serious word." Oh, if we could all remem-
ber to think thus, how much more useful we might
become. Writing to those we love, in distant places
and at distant intervals, it is impossible to know
what may have come to pass since we last address-
ed them, or how much in need they may stand of
our affectionate counsel; and above all of being re-
minded of better things.
It is interesting to remark how frequently a letter
will arrive at the exact moment when most requir-
ed-like Isabel's hymns-and as if God had put it
into the writer's heart to send it just then, and what
to say, as doubtless he often does. A letter has ere
now arrested us when about to do what we ought
not to have done; or reminded us that we were
leaving those duties undone which we ought to have
We heard once of a Christian letter being put
into the hands of a young girl, while in the very
act of trimming a ball-dress to wear that evening
at a country ball. "I went all the same," said she,
"but it haunted me continually, so that I could not
take pleasure in any thing; and I date from that
night, and from the blessed effects of that letter, the
gradual weaning of my heart from worldly things
We once saw a little packet carefully sealed up,
and labelled, "Letters received from a friend during
sickness." "They were more than medicine to
me," said the possessor; so full of comfort, so full
of Christ. I used to lie with them under my pillow.
I would not part with these letters for their weight
in gold." The letters of those we love are indeed
of priceless value; especially when the one Name
is written therein. Some one has called the letters
of a judicious friend, her silent monitors."
"You seem quite in spirits to-day, my child," said
a mother to her daughter.
Yes, mamma; I have had a letter from Louisa
S- :" naming a dear cousin, a child of God, with
whom it was her privilege to be on the most friendly
terms. Such letters may well make us happy and
A religious letter is an unspeakable blessing in
the time of affliction. It is like oil thrown on the
troubled waters, soothing away our sorrows, and
leading us gently to the God of all comfort, through
Letters are a channel of communication between
loving and divided hearts. Most people like writing
and receiving them, but few pause to reflect upon
the power which they may exercise over others by
means of them. They take their pens in their hands
without ever thinking of using them for God's glory.
They discourse eloquently of the world, but seldom
speak of heaven. They make mention of almost
LETTER WRITING. 65
every thing but the "one thing needful." They
speak of the creature, and not of the Creator. They
tell where they have been, and all that they have
beheld; but it is to be feared that they have never
been with Jesus, for they do not speak of him.
They tell all they think; but, alas, God is not in
their thoughts. They speak of what they love:
Oh, if their hearts were filled with the love of Christ,
how could they be silent concerning him ?
We have said that letters are God's messengers,
awakening, comforting, and refreshing the world-
wearied and the sorrowful, if we will only send
them forth in his name, and write them with a
single eye to his glory. In this life we may never
know the good that they do; but we shall know it
in the life to come, thankfully ascribing it to divine
influence. As Isabel passed through the wood
singing, so may we pass through the world writing
continual hymns of praise and thanksgiving to God
through Jesus Christ.
THE PLACES WE FREQUENT
"'Tis religion that can give
Sweetest pleasure while we live;
'Tis religion must supply
Solid comfort when we die."
WE all have some friends-it may be many--who
will be acted on by our example, and insensibly led
to love the things that we love, to take a pleasure
in our pleasures and an interest in our pursuits.
For their sake, if not for our own, let us be very
careful what those pleasures and those pursuits are;
and whether they tend to bring us any nearer to
holiness and to God.
Mrs. Fry, speaking of her reasons for frequenting
no places of public amusement, says, I saw that
they only tended to promote evil; therefore, even if
I could attend them without being hurt myself, I felt
that in entering them, I lent my aid to encourage
that which I was sure, from what I saw, must hurt
others." And she concludes by praying that God
would keep her from ever hurting or bringing dis-
credit upon his blessed cause-would enable her to
do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly before him;
and so to abide in the light and life of Christ her
Saviour, that many might be led by her means, not
from, but to her Father in heaven.
PLACES WE FREQUENT. 67
The power which we exercise over the minds of
others is far more extensive than is generally im-
agined. It was once pleaded in defence of theatri-
cal amusements, There cannot be any great harm
in theatres, for Mrs. G- goes, and she professes
to be very strict." It is a solemn thing to make a
profession, and not endeavor to be consistent.
A short time since, a lady professing much seri-
ousness, and whom many loved and thought highly
of, went to a fancy ball at Paris. Those who re-
membered her words were staggered when they
heard of it ; and their confidence in all that she had
said was greatly shaken. Not a few, following her
example rather than her precepts, went back again
into the world. She was sorry afterwards, and said
that she had been overpersuaded to go to the ball.
We should never suffer ourselves to be persuaded to
do wrong: and it is still worse when others are
injured, and discredit brought upon the religion
which we profess. Believers should be very care-
ful to walk as the children of light, and to abstain
from all appearance of evil."
We believe that a portion of recreation is not only
allowable, but necessary and right, and in the order-
ing of a kind Providence for us all. Brooks are
granted us by the way, as we pass through the
world; wells in the desert, where we may rest and
be refreshed and go on our way rejoicing ; fountains
in the wilderness, beside which we may sit and
sing. In all our amusements, let us first ponder
well whether we can ask God to bless them; and
if so, let us pursue and enjoy them under his
Simple pleasures, it has been said, are the only
safe ones, because they alone leave the mind free
for the exercise of devotion, and the affections warm
and fresh for the contemplation of the things that
belong to our peace." How," asks the author of
The Listener-" how can we go to those places where
the thought of God must leave us; where our love
for him must be chilled; where our minds are un-
fitted for prayer at night, and disabled from devo-
tional service the next day, and our imaginations
filled for days and weeks with unholy images and
ideas, with which the thought of him cannot, must
not be intermingled ?"
One evening, at a party of gay young people, the
conversation turned upon sudden death.
How shocking it was about poor Clara N- ,"
said one. "She had been quite well all day; in
the evening some one brought her a ticket for the
opera, which she declined, complaining of a slight
headache. But she said no more of her headache
after they were gone, but appeared as cheerful as
usual. It was the custom to have family prayers
every morning and night. At their conclusion on
this particular night, all rose up from their knees as
usual, except Clara. After a few moments' silence,
PLACES WE FREQUENT. 69
one of her sisters laid her hand gently upon her
shoulder; but she never moved-she was dead."
How shocking," echoed her companions. "But
it would have been still more so had she died at the
"Surely," observed one, in a low voice, "we
ought not to go where we should be afraid to
Some smiled, but there were one or two who
agreed with the last speaker, and several who could
not get her words out of their heads for a long time
afterwards; so that the memory of them spoiled all
their pleasure. When they heard the name of God
taken in vain, and witnessed the mockery of prayer,
and saw heaven itself, with its holy angels, traves-
tied before their eyes, they could not help thinking,
"What if I should die now."
It is related that a lady, travelling in a stage-
coach with the Rev. James Hervey, was convers-
ing with great volubility of speech on the pleasure
which she derived from frequenting the theatre.
"There is," said she, "first, the pleasure of thinking
of it beforehand; then the pleasure which I expe-
rience when there; and lastly, the pleasure which
I derive from it afterwards, by reflecting upon the
"There is one pleasure, madam," replied Mr.
Hervey, mildly, which you seem not to have taken
into your account."
"And pray, sir, what is that?" demanded his
"The pleasure that it will afford you on a dying
No reply was made to this rebuke; and as there
were others in the coach at the same time, it is to
be hoped that some of them thought seriously of it.
It was the true saying of an old divine, that
" Christ without the world is enough; but the
world without Christ is nothing." Let us show
that he is enough, and more than enough; and
that we are well satisfied with our heavenly inher-
itance, and to be the sons and daughters of the Lord
Almighty according to his own gracious promise,
2 Cor. 6 : 18. The Holy Spirit himself has taught
us how we ought to walk, and that, denying un-
godliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly,
righteously, and godly, in this present world; look-
ing for that blessed hope, and the glorious appear-
ing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us
from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar
people, zealous of good works." Titus 2: 12-14.
Precept in all cases is good; but example is bet-
ter, and far more influential. We read somewhere,
that Bossuet proves religion, but F6n6lon makes you
love it. It is well to bear our testimony against
worldly pleasures, amid worldly scenes; but it is
better to live so that those around us may see how
PLACES'WE FREQUENT. 71
happy and cheerful we can be without them. A
Christian may do a great deal of good by only look-
ing happy. The hour will come when many shall
weary of those things in which they now take de-
light-when they shall feel within their hearts an
aching void, which earthly pleasures can never sat-
isfy. And if at such times they behold the child of
God still calm and peaceful, rejoicing in his Fathcr's
love, will they not long to exchange the laughter
in which the heart is sad, for that peace which
passeth all understanding ?
How happy Laura B-- always seems," was
the exclamation of a young acquaintance; "and
yet she never goes to balls.or theatres."
Oh, let us all strive to recommend by a cheerful
demeanor, the religion which we profess and which
we love ; and uphold the Christian standard in a
humble and watchful and prayerful walk before the
Lord, and before our fellow-creatures. In the world,
but not of the world, let us, so to speak, pass on our
way singing, that others may hear us and be glad,
and say within themselves, The religion of Jesus
must be a very happy thing, after all."
OUR INFLUENCE UPON STRANGERS.
IT is not enough, we are told, "that we act and
mean kindly in our intercourse with strangers; we
must manifest kindly feelings by a gentle and con-
ciliatory manner." To increase the happiness of
one human being, to speak peace to a mind op-
pressed with sorrow or disappointment, what a de-
lightful privilege. Old Humphrey tells us-and
Old Humphrey is one of those who pass through the
world singing, and finding good in every thing' and
everywhere-that "every sunny thought, every
kindly deed, every event, however trifling, that con-
fers a momentary joy, is in itself a blessing."
Smiles and kind words constitute a considerable
proportion of the wealth of human benevolence;
and the more we give away, the richer we become.
We have elsewhere likened them to diamonds, and
pearls, and precious stones; they also resemble
flowers-the heart's-ease and forgetmenot, the way-
side flowers of every-day life, which we may all
gather and exchange with mutual benefit as we pass
through the world.
A very little circumstance, a very trifling kind-
ness, a very few words, done and spoken at the right
time and in the name of Jesus, have often been
INFLUENCE ON STRANGERS. 73
made powerful for good. A fond but injudicious
mother was speaking one day, in a small party, of
the talents and abilities of her only daughter. "It
is perfectly astonishing," said she, what Adele
does; and yet she has very little time to her-
A stranger, who happened to be present, drew
the blushing girl towards her, and asked her kindly
how it was she managed.
I study at night," was the reply, "after I am
in my own room, and every thing in the house is
quiet. I can always do most then."
"But do you not read a little in the Bible, and
pray to God ?"
Her companion was silent.
Poor child," said the lady, looking at her kindly
and with tears in her eyes-" poor child, what good
will all your learning and accomplishments do you
without Christ ? What good would they do you on
the bed of death ? and you do not appear to be very
strong. Promise me that henceforth you will give
those quiet hours to God. You do not know how
sweet it is, having prayed to the Father, in the
name of Jesus Christ, to lie down with our sins for-
given us for his sake; but you will know, if you
AdBle was touched by her earnestness. She
promised to begin that very night, and she kept her
From that time," said she, writing years after-
wards to a dear friend-" from that time a change
came over my whole life. Her words haunted me.
Amid the praises of others, I heard only her pitying
voice, 'Poor child, what good will all your learning
and accomplishments do you without Christ ?' God
made them words of power. Upon inquiring about
the lady to whom I owed so much, I learned that
she left England the very day after we met, for the
south of France, to join a dear sister who was seri-
ously ill. I never saw her again; but I shall know
her in heaven."
Not very long since, the inmates of a stage-coach
were placed in circumstances of extreme danger.
One lady fainted; another, not being able to un-
fasten the door, madly attempted to fling herself
from the window; while a third was observed to
draw a tiny book from her pocket, and having
glanced at it for a moment, sat pale and tranquil,
awaiting the event. The horses were providential-
ly stopped, and no bad consequences ensued beyond
the terror into which they had all been thrown.
When they were a little more composed, some one
mentioned the spell," as she called that little
book, and asked to look at it. It was entitled, The
Dew-drop," and contained a text of scripture for
every day in the year. The owner smiled as she
produced it, laying her finger on the text for the
day: "I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy Redeem-
INFLUENCE ON STRANGERS. 75
er." Isa. 49 :26. Trusting in Him, it was no
wonder that she did not fear to die.
One lady was much struck; and the first town
they stopped at, she bought a little text-book. Let
us hope that it was blessed to her. Such has been,
and may be, the influence of strangers as they pass
through the world Zionward. "Oh for a little of
the best wisdom and influence of the Holy Spirit, to
walk circumspectly among all men, wise as the ser-
pent and harmless as the dove."
How many a stranger sojourning in a pious fam-
ily, and taking part in their daily worship and simple
hymns of praise, has been thus, under the blessing
of the Holy Spirit, won to Jesus. How many a
warning word, spoken in love-how many a warn-
ing tract, given in prayer to the stranger with whom
we come in momentary contact as we pass through
the world, has God made an instrument of power.
Therefore is it written, Cast thy bread upon the
waters: for thou shalt find it after many days."
Eccles. 11: 1. In passing through this otherwise
weary world, it is the bounden duty of man, woman,
and child, to speak gentle words, to wear cheerful
looks, and, like the church spire, where the sun
may always be observed to linger the longest and
the brightest, to point towards heaven.
God knows our motives; and those who love us,
trust to them: but strangers can only judge of us
by our actions. A solemn thought, and one that
should make us very careful lest there should be
any thing in our deportment, dress, or conversation,
to bring discredit upon religion. A Christian
should resemble a sunbeam, shining with a light
derived from the Sun of righteousness." The
amount of good and happiness which we may dif-
fuse around us, by only showing a smiling face and
a kind heart, and speaking kindly, is incalculable.
We remember walking one day through the fields
with a dear friend. She seemed to have a pleasant
word ready for every one we met. The little chil-
dren looked up in her face and smiled, as they
dropped their simple courtesies. The old men un-
covered their grey hairs, and seemed to be cheered
by her kindly greeting.
A fine day, friend," said she to one old man.
"Yes, ma'am, it is very fine."
"We must thank God for it, and for every good
"Aye, to be sure ; but I never thought of that.
I thank God with all my heart."
"You appear to be very lame, my friend," she
observed to another, who was passing wearily along,
and looked hot and tired: she called them all her
friends. The old man seemed touched by her
sympathizing looks, and told her the whole history
of the accident; upon which she prescribed some
simple remedy, and left him cheered and probably
INFLUENCE ON STRANGERS. 77
The next person we met was a little girl who
was crying because she had just upset her basket of
ripe blackberries into the ditch. Upon which my
friend smilingly suggested that she might gather
more, pointing at the same time to the rich clusters
which grew all around; and she soon dried her
eyes, and began following this advice.
Thus it was that she might be said to lass
through those green fields, as Isabel passed through
the wood, singing. Thus it is that we should all
endeavor to pass through the world, helping, cheer-
ing, and comforting one another. People who are
always innocently cheerful and good-humored are
very useful in the world; they maintain peace and
happiness, and spread a thankful temper around
them. It has been well said, that "we have no-
more right to fling an unnecessary shadow over the
spirits of those whom we may casually meet, than
we have to fling a stone and break their windows."
Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton gives us a touching
description of his sister-in-law, Priscilla Gurney.
" There was," he writes, an air of peace about
her, which was irresistible in reducing all with
whom she conversed under her gentle influence.
This was the effect upon strangers, and in no degree
was it abated by the closest intimacy."
Very similar in spirit is the following testimony
given of another beloved one: She looked as if she
had made peace with all the world, and only lived
to be glad in the gladness of others, and to weep
with those who weep." It should be the description
of all who have made peace with God through our
Lord Jesus Christ. "When he giveth quietness,
who then can make trouble?" Job 34 :29. Well
may believers pass on their way smiling, and sing-
ing the praises of their Redeemer.
MEMORY OF THE DEAD. 79
THE MEMORY OF THE DEAD.
IT is well to pause occasionally, and ask ourselves
this question, How will they speak of me when I am
gone ? and God only knows how soon that may be.
What will be the effect of my life upon those who
are left behind? According as we have lived will
be our influence when we are dead.
The world is filled with the voices of the dead.
Sweet and solemn voices are they, speaking with
unearthly authority ; coming back to us as the mes-
sages of angels. There -are few," says an Amer-
ican writer, who do not number in their families
those whose places are vacant at the table and the
hearth, and yet who are not reckoned as lost, but
only 'gone before.' And when the business of daily
life is for a while suspended, and its cares are put
to rest, nay,often in the midst of the world's tu-
mult, their voices float down clearly and distinctly
from heaven, and say to their own, Come up
hither.' And the more so, if while on earth they
often spoke of Him who is "the Way, and the Truth,
and the Life," John 14 : 6 ; and by whom alone we
have access to the Father, even Jesus Christ the
"Beneath every domestic roof," continues the
same author, there are more than are counted by
the eye of a stranger. Spirits are there which he
does not see, but who are never far from the eyes of
the household. Steps are on the stairs, but not for
common ears; and familiar places and objects re-
store familiar smiles and tears, and acts of goodness
and words of love which are seen and heard by
memory alone." Their influence is ever over us;
their footsteps are in our paths; the memorials of
them meet our eyes at every turn; their presence
is in our dwellings; their voices are in our ears;
they still sing to us, as it were, from heaven-still
speak to us, help us; guide, gladden, bless us.
How can we have known those whom it is a joy
as well as a sorrow to think of, and not be the bet-
ter for it ? Do we not often say of the dead, Per-
haps the eye of affection is on me now, and I will
do nothing to wound it?" Alas for human affec-
tion, do we not think oftentimes more of the crea-
ture than the Creator ?
"Always," said a dying Christian, to those who
watched and wept around his bed-" always asso-
ciate me with your happiest hours; never think of
me in sorrow or gloom. I trust that I am going to
the full enjoyment of my Saviour's purchased bless-
ings. Remember how happy we have been; hap-
piest when thinking and talking about him, our
glorious Redeemer." How cheerful and consoling
are memories such as these.
MEMORY OF THE DEAD. 81
Many a time," wrote a young clergyman, speak-
ing of a departed brother-" many a time have I
seen him reading his Bible, or shutting his closet
door to pray, when I have been going out full dress-
ed to some dance, or place of public amusement.
Many a time have I envied him his sweet sleep
when I returned home long after midnight, weary
and excited, and very often disappointed and heart-
sick of the world. If it had not been so, if he had
gone with me hand in hand in folly, instead of in-
sensibly weaning me from it by gentle admonitions,
and above all by his own example, how different
would my feelings be now that I have lost him.
How different would-be the influence of his mem-
It seems but yesterday," observed a lady, speak-
ing of a dear friend who had passed away many
years before-" it seems but yesterday that we stood
together by this very casement, with our arms
around each other, and she, the lost one, pointing
with her thin hand, and the beautiful smile on her
poor, pale face, to the distant cross of the old village
church. And her words of sweet and holy wisdom
steal back over my world-wearied spirit like a
Old Humphrey tells us, that when he is dead and
gone, he should wish that others may be able to say
of him thus, It was his to express and call forth
thoughts tender and good and high, and ours to
bless him for them. What cares has he lightened.
What hours and years has he brightened; and how
unsuspectingly, on our parts, did he lead us through
earthly objects to heavenly hopes. He was the
friend, the companion, the faithful reprover, and
kind adviser and comforter of all."
Words of admonition or counsel, after the lips
that uttered them are sealed in death, acquire a
peculiar sacredness. Great is the influence of the
departed. Though dead, they yet speak; and oth-
ers are stimulated by their example to follow them,
as they desired, and humbly endeavored, to follow
Christ. There are murmurings in the air," writes
a well-known authoress, speaking of one gone be-
fore-" there are murmurings in the air soft as the
footsteps of angels; and amid them all I fancy that
I can distinguish her gentle voice, bidding me pos-
sess my soul in patience until the great summons
comes that shall unite us again for evermore."
The influence of the dead is solemn and powerful
either for good or evil. Death hallows all the past.
How reverently we speak of the departed. How we
treasure up, and hide away their words in our
hearts. And it is well for us if they serve to make
us happier and better, and teach us to live nearer
to Christ, and to believe and put our trust in him
as our all-sufficient Saviour.
How common it is to hear people say of the de-
parted, "Poor man, he meant well; if his principles
MEMORY OF THE DEAD. 83
and his conduct in many things were not always
blameless, he hurt no one but himself. God is very
merciful." As if it were possible for any one to
live and die to himself. Even now the influence
of his death is an evil and a dangerous one; lead-
ing others, in their affection, to take a false view of
right and wrong, and to exclaim, Peace, peace !"
when there is no peace. Yes, God is very merciful,
but it is through Jesus Christ alone: to all who
reject Christ, he is a consuming fire.
We have heard and known in several instances
of a pious mother being taken away when her chil-
dren were very young, while her memory remained
with them even to old age. The recollection of the
words which she spoke, the hymns she taught them,
the tales she told, old Bible histories such as chil-
dren like to listen to, the books she loved, the songs
she sung to them, returned at intervals throughout
all their lives, to cheer and strengthen, and lead
them heavenward. Alas for the parents, the broth-
ers and sisters, the friends, who daily pass from the
earth, and leave behind them no such memories;
who live and die, and no one is the better for their
life or their death.
Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from
henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may
rest from their labors; and their works do follow
them." Rev. 14 :13. Blessed are they who sing
God's praises as they pass through the world; and
when they die, like Much-afraid in the Pilgrim's
Progress, "go through the river singing." Here-
after they shall stand upon the sea of glass, having
the harps of God in their hands, and singing the
song of Moses and the Lamb, Great and marvel-
lous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and
true are thy ways, thou King of saints." Rev.
15: 3. Blessing, and honor, and glory, and pow-
er, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and
unto the Lamb for ever and ever." Rev. 5:13.
LITTLE CHILDREN. 85
JESUs loves little children, and to see them happy
and cheerful, and hear them singing his praises as
they pass through the world. We read in the scrip-
tures, that he rebuked those who would have hin-
dered them from approaching him, saying, Suffer
the little children to come unto me, and forbid them
not; for of such is the kingdom of God." And that
" he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon
them, and blessed them." Mark 10 : 14, 16. God
has often condescended to make use of little children
as instruments to win sinners to himself; and he
will again, if they love and endeavor to please him
in all things. Isabel was only a little child. Many
a little child has he made the messenger of his sav-
ing mercy to a whole household.
We once heard of a poor woman who was afflict-
ed with a most violent temper. She quarrelled
with her neighbors, and beat her children on the
smallest provocation. On one occasion, after a hard
day's work, she came home more than usually irri-
table, and was tempted, in her uncontrolled anger,
to strike her youngest child, not more than four
years old. The little one shrunk away weeping to
bed: and then the mother's heart, not wholly hard-
ened, rebuked her for what she had done; and she
crept up stairs, thinking that by this time she had
cried herself to sleep, and longing to kiss the poor
little arm which in her passion she had cruelly
struck. But the child was still awake. She heard
her talking as she went up the narrow stairs, and
paused to listen. She was praying in her childish
Oh, dear Lord Jesus, pray forgive my mother.
And keep her from being so cross to us; and give
her a new heart."
The poor woman could bear it no longer; and
going into the chamber where the little one still
kneeled, she flung herself upon her knees beside
her and began to pray in right good earnest, using
the same petition, that God would be pleased to
take away her stony heart and give her a heart of
It must indeed have been a heart of stone that
could injure you," added she, taking the half-fright-
ened child in her arms, and covering her with kisses.
"Can you forgive me, my Letty? Can you forgive
your unhappy mother ?"
Our teacher says that we must not only forgive
our enemies, but pray for them," replied the child;
clasping her arms about her mother's neck and rest-
ing her head lovingly upon her bosom.
Her simple words sent a fresh pang to the heart
of the conscience-stricken woman. "I am indeed
LITTLE CHILDREN. 87
my children's enemy," thought she, and my own
enemy; but above all, I am at enmity with God.
O Lord, be merciful to me a sinner, for Christ's
From that night a change came over her; slowly
at first, for bad habits and tempers are slow to
mend: but nothing is impossible with God. And
the prayer of the little Sunday-school child was
heard and granted in her now peaceful and happy
It was the custom of another dear child to walk
up and down the room while learning and repeat-
ing her hymns and scripture texts. Her grandfa-
ther was an old man, but, alas, he did not believe
in Jesus. He loved, nevertheless, to hear the child's
cheerful voice, and to have her with him continu-
ally. After a time, he grew so feeble that he was
obliged to take to his bed; and would often ask
Clara, for that was the little girl's name, to come
and tell him something about the Saviour of whom
she was always talking and singing: and was thus
gradually brought, by the teaching of the Holy
Spirit, to the knowledge of "the truth as it is in
Jesus," and to place his whole trust and confidence
in the merits of his divine Redeemer.
A lady who was very apt to complain and murmur
about trifling grievances, instead of thinking how
to make the best of them, and endeavoring to be
submissive under them, went one fine summer day
to visit a sick child. She found the little invalid,
pale and exhausted, lying on a couch by the open
window which looked into a pleasant garden where
his brothers and sisters were at play.
"It must be very dull for you, my poor child,"
said she, in a pitying voice. "Do you not long to
be well enough to play again ?"
"No, not long," replied the little sufferer; "I
should like it if it were God's will, but he knows
best about every thing." The lady went away
thoughtful and conscience-stricken.
Another little boy, staying with his mother on a
visit at the house of a friend, and observing that
they were about to separate at night without the
family prayers which he had always been accus-
tomed to join in at home, said to her in a whisper,
"Why, mamma, they are all going to their beds
as if there were no God in heaven."
The lady of the house was struck by his words;
and writing to his mother shortly afterwards, bade
her tell Willie, that when they came again he would
find that they had prayers now every night and
"I wonder that you like travelling by the rail-
way," said a bystander to a woman, who was wait-
ing, with her little girl, the arrival of the next train
for Rugby. It was only the other day that a
frightful accident happened on this very line."
But that is no reason why it should happen
LITTLE CHILDREN. 89
again," replied the woman, half-frightened, and
yet trying to smile, as she drew her child closer to
Do not be afraid, mother," said the little girl in
a low voice : if we are killed, it will only be going
to Jesus all the sooner."
An accident did happen, and the little child was
killed; but the memory of her words remained to
comfort her afflicted mother, and prevent her from
sorrowing after her as she would otherwise have
done. She was often repeating them: and many
were led to wish for the sweet faith of that little
child; we need never fear death then. Believers
in the Saviour may well sing, as they pass home-
ward, "0 death, where is thy sting? 0 grave,
where is thy victory ? Thanks be to God, which
giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus
Christ." 1 Cor. 15:55, 57.
There is something singularly touching in the
piety of the young. It is related of one, by a writer
who dearly loves little children, and has kept a
record of the lives and deaths of many such who
have lived and died in the Lord, that "he was not
only good himself but did what he could to make
others so too, especially those who were nearest to
him. He was very watchful over his brothers and
sisters, and would not suffer them to use bad words,
or do wrong, if he could any how hinder it-but he
would be putting them upon that which was good:
and when he did rebuke at any time, it was as one
not a little concerned for God's honor, and with a
touching mixture of childishness and gentle grav-
It is recorded of another child, that "she was
the joy and delight of all the Christians thereabout
in those times, quickening and raising the spirits of
those who conversed with her; and although but
a babe, she was a great help to both father and
mother: and her memory is sweet to this day.
She walked as a stranger in the world, making
haste to a better country, of which she was contin-
ually talking and singing, until she made others
long to go there too. And after she had done a
great deal of work for her own soul and for others
also, she fell asleep in Jesus when she was about
ten years old, and went home to heaven." Thus
may little children pass through the world singing
hosannas and hallelujahs to their Redeemer God.
PASS HOMEWARD SINGING 91
LET US PASS HOMEWARD SINGING.
"WHAT a delightful privilege," exclaims Old
Humphrey, in the fulness of his heart, "to express
and call forth thoughts high and good, to lighten
the load of care, and to brighten the declining years
of age; to bring forth stores of knowledge and wis-
dom, to approve myself as a friend, companion, cor-
rector, adviser, and comforter, to become a messen-
ger of peace and love to all, and point them all to
When the burden of sin and guilt fell off Chris-
tian at the foot of the cross, as we read in the Pil-
grim's Progress, "three shining ones came and sa-
luted him with, 'Peace be with thee.' The first
said unto him, Thy.sins be forgiven thee;' the sec-
ond stripped him of his rags, and clothed him with
a change of raiment," the white robes of Christ's
righteousness; "the third also set a mark on his
forehead, and gave him a roll with a seal upon it,"
the witness of the Spirit whereby we cry, Abba,
Father. No wonder that he should go on his
It is striking to remark how often Christian
poured forth his songs of rejoicing as he passed on-
wards to the celestial city. All pilgrims should
sing, that others may hear them and be glad. The
shepherd boy sung in the "Valley of Humiliation,"
as he sat tending his father's sheep among the
lilies. Even in the night God giveth us songs.
As Isabel went singing through the wood, cheer-
ing and comforting those who heard her, though she
knew it not; so let us sit singing our simple hymns
by the fireside, or as we pass to and fro among
friends and kindred in our homes. Let the gifted,
those for whose voices the world listens, be careful
to lift them up for God; while the lowly and the
loving sit at his feet singing the same song, the song
of the angels, Glory to God in the highest, and on
earth peace, good will toward men." Luke 2 :14.
Walk as the children of light,, that others "may
see your good works, and glorify your Father which
is in heaven," Matt. 5:16: not us-let us remem-
ber that-but "our Father which is in heaven."
Let our studies, our conversation one with another,
the letters we write, even our recreations, have the
same great object in view, the praise and glory of
our Redeemer. Let us sing of him as we pass
through this world to the better land. Let us en-
deavor not only to live, but also to die to him who
died for us. "Young men and maidens, old men
and children, let them praise the name of the Lord;
for his name alone is excellent, his glory is above
the earth and heaven." Psa. 148 :12, 13.
PASS HOMEWARD SINGING. 93
A little child went out to walk with her nurse; and
she sung as she passed through the pleasant fields,
or paused to gather the wild flowers which grew
on the banks and hedge-rows. But the way was
long, and the twilight coming on, and it was rough
walking in the lanes; besides which, in thrusting
her hand into the hedge, in order to reach a bunch
of wild honeysuckle, she wounded it rather severely
with a thorn that grew there. And by and by she
began to be weary, and at length even to weep
with pain and fatigue. The nurse tried to cheer
her by telling her that they had only a short dis-
tance further to go, and should soon be at home
"Are you sure, nurse; quite sure ?" asked the
child, a little more cheerfully; and just then, catch-
ing a glimpse of the white house between the trees,
she sung again for joy, with the tears still upon her
Thus it often is with the child of God. At first
he can sing cheerfully enough; but if it gets rough
walking, or the sun ceases to shine, or he meets, as
he is sure to do, with thorns springing up by the
way, he begins to doubt, and be weary, and to hang
his harp on the willows, and perhaps sits down to
weep. But let a friendly voice only be near, to
bid him be of good cheer, for he is almost at-home
now; let the eye of faith catch but one glimpse of
his Father's house, and, with tears still glittering
on his cheeks, he will burst forth into singing, and
rejoice and give thanks.
Does the Christian complain that the world likes
other music, and does not care to listen to his songs;
and that it is lonely to be singing all by himself?
Faint because he feels alone,
With none to strike his favorite tone,
And join his homeward strain ?"
Courage, friend. Who knows but you may yet win
your brother or your sister, your parents or your
children, as the case may be ?
Courage, ye gifted. You know not what good
you are doing, as you pass singing through the
world; or what good your songs may do to others
when you are no more.
Courage, ye lowly and loving ones. Sing on,
and you will yet find an echo in some kindred
Courage, ye that grieve over one dearer than a
brother. Be faithful, and it may be that God will
give you your friend.
Courage, ye who write, and read, and give away
good books; if it is but a tract, God will surely bless
it, if given in the name of Christ.
Courage, ye who have given up worldly pleasures
for Jesus' sake. He has better things in store for
you. "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither
have entered into the heart of man, the things