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example is evidently quoted with self-complacency, as an apology for giving a very small sum, far below the ability God has given. Is it intended as a cloak for their covetousness? or do they really think that the smaller the sum, the more acceptable it is to God? It was not the smallness of what she gave that drew forth the commendation of the Saviour, but the greatness of her benevolence. The rich gave of their abundance a part only of their surplus; she gave all she had, yea, all her living.
The measure of benevolence is not the amount given, but the amount left from which the offering is taken. No person can exceed the poor widow in benevolence. How few come up to her! How many would call it an act of imprudence to imitate her till they give all they have-yea, all their living.
"IT IS I, BE NOT AFRAID."
Oh doubt not, thou trembling child, or fear
Should poverty come, and kindred depart,
If earth bid thee turn from its scenes in despair,
Should those you have loved so long and so well,
Should those who were walking with thee in the light,
FOSTER, PRINTER, KIRKBY LONSDALE.
MARY LOT was the daughter of the parish clerk of WShe went out to service at a very early age, and while yet young married a ship carpenter, at Bristol, of the name of Gay. Her husband worked at Portsmouth, Sheerness, and other dockyards, and was considered, I believe, a good workman in his trade. They had a family of several children, boys and girls, but of these, only one survived their mother; her eldest son died many years before her, while in the command of a West Indian merchantman. Gay, most unhappily for himself and all connected with him, was addicted to drinking, and therefore, when he became unable to work, instead of having a little sum of money laid by in the Savings' Bank against sickness and old age, he had no resource but to throw himself and his wife upon the parish for support. They returned therefore to W and rented two small rooms behind the old clerk's house, for her brother, who had succeeded her father in his office, had now seen full sixty winters or more.
Gay had died before I came to assist my father in the care of the parish of W, and when I entered upon the curacy, I found Molly Gay a widow of fourscore years. I had often heard of her before, as a bright example of a Christian character, but it was not till after her husband's death that I knew her well. For more than eight years I visited her once, at least, every week she liked my visits, and honoured me for my office sake: she always welcomed me with a smile, and rose immediately to place the ready chair. Many a time, when the infirmities of age had increased upon her, her tottering step nearly failed her in performing this little act of courtesy, and she would have fallen except she had caught my hand. I can truly say that the hours I spent in this poor widow's cottage, have
been to me some of the happiest and most useful of my ministerial life: never, except in one instance, have I seen the happiness of Christian faith more beautifully realized. This poor widow truly lived upon the Word and promises of God: they were her daily bread. I never left her but I felt I had been with one who was living more in heaven than on earth, and the decay of the body was forgotten in the life of the soul.
Molly Gay, at the time I first became acquainted with her, was in the full possession of all her faculties; she was not a person of more than ordinary intelligence, her memory was not remarkable, and very soon afterwards began to fail her in matters of recent occurrence. The difference between her and others arose from no natural gift, nor was she a better scholar than most of the poor around her. But religion had given a softness to her feelings, and therefore a softness to her manners a kindness to her heart, and, therefore, a kindness to all her movements and all her actions.
Molly Gay was in stature rather below the common height, though upright for her age; her fourscore winters seemed to lie very lightly upon her. But there was nothing very striking in her appearance, and unless her eye was lighted up by some Christian remark, there was not anything which would lead a stranger to notice her. In dress, she was as plain as she was neat; it was always the same-a small old-fashioned black silk bonnet, worn both in and out of the house, with a tidy cap beneath, a blue cotton gown, with short waist, an apron of the same material, with white strings; on her neck was a white handkerchief, with narrow stripes, and over all, a small shepherd's plaid shawl, pinned in front. I never remember the slightest variation, till her gown, one cold winter's day, caught fire as she was warming herself with her back turned towards the chimney, and Mrs. B, with thoughtful kindness, made her a present of a brown stuff gown, that she might be less likely in future to meet with such a dangerous accident. As Molly used to sit in the corner of her little room, with her small deal table by her side, and her large Bible upon it, she was the very picture of neatness.
The neatness of her house exceeded, if possible, the neatness of her dress. The walls looked as if they had just been white-washed, the stone floor always seemed as if it had been swept the moment before you came in, and not a speck of dust was to be seen on any of her well-cleaned, though humble furniture.
I cannot in any better way bring before the reader the character of this eminent child of God, than by placing before him the substance of a few out of the many conversations which I had the privilege of holding with her. I call her an eminent child of our Father in heaven, though the inhabitant of a poor cottage, and supported by the bounty of her parish-for her name was written, I believe, in the Lamb's book of life; and exposed as she was, like an out-door servant, for nearly fourscore years and ten, to the winds and storms of earth, God has now called her to his in-door service above, and she has joined the white-robed company round the throne.
Let me here express my earnest wish and prayer, that both you and I, my reader, whoever you may be, may have the same happy contentment through life, the same cheerful spirit of kindness to all, the same deep feeling of our own guilt and unworthiness, the same earnest longing for more love to God, and stronger faith in his Word and promises, and, above all, the same firm and simple trust in our ever blessed Redeemer, as old Molly Gay.
As I entered her cottage one cold day in March, the shrill scream of the railroad train was heard across the fields, and I saw in the distance, the long track of the engine's steam winding like a serpent through the valley. As I entered, she immediately rose, and placed for me the accustomed chair. I saw that she was weaker than usual, and inquired after her health.
"These March winds are very searching to us old creatures," she replied; "my time here cannot be very long. I often think, as I see the train sweep by, it is just like man's life upon earth-we shall all quickly pass away, May 1 be prepared! I have just been reading
a passage in a book which Miss Gh has lent me, it is beautiful reading; it says, "that afflictions ought to drive our souls up from branch to branch, and from spray to spray, till they reach the topmost bough, and are ready at a moment's warning, to rise upon the wing, and fly away to their Father which is in heaven."
I remarked, that neither afflictions nor old age could of themselves turn the heart to God, without the grace of God accompanied them; for our conversion must always be the work of the Spirit, and added, “We must take care not to put our trials in the place of our Saviour, as many ignorant persons do, and expect to be happy hereafter, because they are miserable now, for it is only for the sake of what Jesus Christ has suffered for us, that we can hope to enter into heaven.
"Yes, sir," she replied, "we must: time cannot change the heart without grace. The Lord deals very gently with me, he does not lay upon me more than I can bear. O that I could love him more! What he suffered for me!"
A few days after this conversation, I called upon her again. She was sitting alone in her window, looking at a new pair of stockings. As I entered, she exclaimed with all the buoyant spirits of a child, "See, sir, the present which I have just received. I never tell any body that I want anything, and yet some one always supplies all my need. It is very wonderful: I had only one pair of stockings, and they were getting very old, but I never mentioned it, and was not aware that any one knew it."
I remarked, that God knew all her wants, and could turn the hearts of men whithersoever he would.
She then turned the conversation, after breathing forth a short prayer for her kind benefactor-a prayer, I doubt not, of infinitely greater value than the kind present she had just received, and told me she had been very unwell last Saturday. "I had, sir, sharp spasms, the pain was great, but what I felt more, was the doubt that came over me whether I should reach safe."
This was a favourite phrase with the old woman, and