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often, in the midst of our conversation, I have heard her offer up the ejaculatory prayer, "O that I may
"You must expect," I said, "to have these clouds pass over you; you must not think some strange thing has happened unto you, when God permits Satan thus to try you."
"Yes, sir, I know it is what I must expect; Satan has been very busy with me, but I shall not be tempted more than I can bear. The doubts which troubled me have passed away now, and I can see my path more clearly."
I then referred to the violent storm which we had just had, and inquired whether she was not frightened by it, as she lived quite alone.
"It was very awful," she said; "it blew so loud, I went up stairs, as I thought I might hear it less in my bed-room, but I remember what you told me, and I try to let faith shut the door every night, for I am sure that mercy will open it every morning."
Not long after this, I asked her one morning how she was, and though she was evidently suffering from a severe cold at the time, she replied with cheerfulness, "What cause I have to be thankful! how many at my age are confined to their beds, while I am able to muddle, and clean my own house. I hope I may have my faculties to the last."
"You find, I dare say," was my remark, "that your tabernacle is being dissolved: now one pin is taken down, now another; now this part melts away, now that; God has heard the prayer which you have so often uttered in his house, and has delivered you from sudden death."
"Yes, sir, I do indeed find that my poor old body is very weak; often when I only walk across the room, I am extremely giddy, and my memory too almost fails me-for sometimes I get up, and go into the other room to fetch something which I want, and when I come there, I stand, and have quite forgotten for what I came." "You remember, perhaps," I said, "what took place
when you were a girl, eighty years ago, far more distinctly than what you heard or saw only last week."
yes, sir, it seems to me but a few days since I was a girl; my father lived at the mill, and I remember well how I used to go into the fields, and have many a game there with my little playfellows."
I observed, that memory generally seemed to be the first faculty which was taken from the aged, and that God thus appeared to remind them to forget those things which are behind, and to reach forth to those things which are before. He prevents their looking back, in order that they may learn to look forward. "Would you wish to be young again ?" I asked.
"O no," she replied with energy, "I wish to reach safe, I wish to be with my dear Saviour, I would not be young again if I could. I have seen, sir, many troubles in my time, but the Lord has delivered me out of them all. It will not be long now. O that I had more love!"
When I next went to her cottage, she was looking very poorly, and was evidently in a very suffering state. It was about half-past three by the clock, and she was just preparing to take her solitary tea. As I entered, she placed the tea-pot on the hob by the side of her little fire, to keep it warm, and welcomed me in her usual affectionate manner.
"You are taking your tea very early to-day. Four o'clock is your usual time for tea, is it not ?"
"Yes, sir," she replied, "but I have such sharp pains in my head, and feel so unwell, that I thought my tea would do me good. I have been very poorly for the two or three last days; I feel that I am sinking." "Say, rather, going home."
"Yes, sir; I hope so," she said. "O may I be ready!" "You must not murmur at your suffering," I observed, "for you know that you desire hereafter to be one of those who have come out of great tribulation."
"Oh, I do not murmur, sir. I deserve far more than I suffer. My Saviour suffered far more for me: may I love him more than I do."
While her strength permitted her to come to church,
Molly Gay was scarcely ever absent from her place, and was a regular communicant; but for several years she had now been unable, through the infirmities of age, to attend public worship. It was her custom, and let me recommend this custom to all who, like her, are unavoidably kept away from their church, to read the whole service for the day to herself at home; and her kind and valued friend, Mrs. Ge, or some other neighbour, always came to tell her the text from which the sermon had been preached; so that I found no one better acquainted with them, or who had them so frequently marked down carefully in their Bibles, as Molly Gay. It was her daily practice also to read through the psalms for the day in her prayer-book, which she often assured me was the means of much consolation to her. Taking up her ejaculation, I said, "I wish indeed that you could come to your church; but you will never again, I fear, enter any temple which the church on earth has raised; you must rather think of joining the Church triumphant in heaven." Her countenance beamed with peaceful hope at the thought, but she said nothing for a moment.
"It will not," she soon aterwards remarked, “be long, I think, before I go." And then she spoke with the most perfect calmness of her funeral. "My little things," she said, "will pay, I hope, all the expenses of my burial; but oh, it matters not where the body lies with its earth, and ashes, and dust, if the soul be with Christ still I should like every one to be paid. Mrs. G——e has kindly promised to see to it, and says that she will follow me to the grave if no one else does."
The old woman spoke with the greatest calmness of her end, which she then thought was near, and death seemed to have lost all its sting for her "O death where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law but thanks be to God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.' No one, sir, besides God, knows the trials through which I have have had to pass, but goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life."
"You must, I dare say," was my answer, "have known great hardships in your time, but still God has brought you through them all, and even to hoary hairs he will carry you. I have been young,' the Psalmist said, 'and now am old; yet never saw I the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging their bread.""
The next time I paid my usual weekly visit to Molly Gay, she was sitting at her little window with her large Bible open upon her lap. After some expressions of pleasure at seeing me, she said, "I am reading you see, sir, the dear book. The prophet Isaiah speaks very beautifully."
Looking over the open pages of her Bible as it lay before me, my eye fell upon the words, "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, come ye, buy and eat, yea, come buy wine and milk without money and without price." I repeated these words to her, saying, "This is indeed a cheering invitation."
"Yes, sir, it indeed is; and oh! that I may love my Saviour the more for giving it. But I was not reading there; it was this verse," she said, "I was reading," as she pointed to Isaiah liv. 10. "For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.'" And then looking out of the window, (it was a lovely evening towards the end of April, the trees were just bursting forth into leaf, and the fields were enamelled with the sparkling daisy,) she turned to me, and said, "These things shall be removed, but the kindness of my God is sure."
"Yes," I replied, "you can say, can you not? that goodness and mercy have followed you all the days of your life; and they will follow you for ever, till you lie down in the green pastures and beside the still waters your rest above."
"Oh, that I can, sir," her eyes beaming while she spoke with gratitude at the thought of God's goodness and mercy towards her. Yet Molly Gay was a lonely
widow, reduced through the drunkenness of her husband to the greatest poverty-a parish pauper with the allowance of two shillings and sixpence a week. The poor old woman, who was so thankful for God's goodness and mercy to her, was scarcely able to walk across her room, and was often called to endure the most acute pain. But her heart overflowed with gratitude for what her Saviour had done for her, and she fully entered into the apostle's feelings, Rom. viii. 32. "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" and believed that the love which had planned and perfectly finished her redemption, would not needlessly afflict her or deny her any earthly blessing. If she was therefore afflicted, she knew it was good for her to be afflicted, and that everything here should work together for her good. (To be concluded.)
TO THE PARENTS OF SUNDAY SCHOLARS.
MY DEAR FRIENDS,―The Lord has blessed you with children, and you doubtless have a great deal of affection for them. You do all you can for their bodily wants. Are they hungry? You will pinch yourselves of food, rather than that they should want. Are they sick? You eagerly seek for help. Do they want clothing? Where is the mother who will not cut up her own clothes, sooner than let her child go shivering in the cold? You spare no pains for the bodies of your children; but what are you doing for their souls? I think I hear you say, you do attend to their souls-that you make them say their prayers night and morning-that you send them to church-and that they are constant at the Sunday-school. So far well. I like to think you teach your children to pray; and oh! that they may pray with their hearts! It is right to send them up to the house of God to pray, to praise, and to hear. It is also very desirable that you should hail with joy the opportunity of sending your children to a Sunday-school. Sunday-schools are great blessings, and I believe many that care little for them now, will praise God for them through eternity.
But let me ask further, Do you seek to strengthen or weaken the advice their teachers have given them?
By your conduct you may just undo all that their teachers