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the evidence afforded by the extraordinary labours, suf- “If there is a God that notices the desires of men, I only ferings, successes of these twelve men, that Jesus of wish that he would make known to me his will, and I Nazareth had actually risen from the dead and ascended shall feel it my highest privilege to do it, at whatever up on high. His attention had, however, been previ- cost.' He had been brought to see that there was ously drawn to a remarkable fact, which seemed to show nothing more desirable than for a man to be conformed that the same Jesus who was crucified many centuries to the will of an all-wise Creator, and also to feel that ago had power to accomplish things upon the earth at there must be some divine guidance in order that he this day, which no mere man could accomplish.
might know that will. But immediately after that “ There was a young lady dying of consumption in a ejaculation the thought arose, How foolish to suppose certain city. She was surrounded by all that could that God will occupy himself with our desires ! Hormake life attractive, and it seemed, especially to one ever, the sequel showed that God was pleased to hear who was much bound up in her, one of the saddest of that bewildered cry, that could scarcely be called a all conceivable things that she should go down to a pre- prayer. Two or three days after he went to a public mature grave. She herself would have gladly lived : library from which he was accustomed to get out booksthere was a hope in life that death could not offer. asked for a book-receiving one, put it under his arm, There was in the same city a lady in whose school she and returned home. The distance was about two miles. had been a pupil. This lady incidentally heard that her When nearly home, he looked at the book, and found, former pupil was dying, and not prepared to die. She to his surprise, that it was Paley's 'Evidences,' a very went to see her, but was not allowed access to the different book from the one he had asked after. He invalid. She would not, however, be denied, but per- could not go back to the library that day, and had to sisted, and almost forced her way to the sick-chamber. keep the book till he could get an opportunity of reThe Lord blessed her ministrations, and she was enabled turning it. He would not read it; he knew all about to show the patient her need of the Saviour, and to lead the evidences of Christianity ; he had long ago finally her to Christ. Then was all fear of death removed; the settled that question. Before putting it away, however, desire to live left her; the hopes that seemed to irradi- he glanced at the first sentence, and was arrested by it. ate this life shifted to the life to come, but elevated and He read one page, and another, and another, was pleased enriched a thousand-fold ; a sweet peace possessed her with the style and the candour of the writer, and at last soul, and she died rejoicing in the assured conviction sat down and read a good portion of the book. To his surthat she was going to be with Christ. Whatever grace prise, he found that he was beginning to take a new view of and beauty seemed to belong to her in health, were the evidences; and then shut up the book, and put it aside, eclipsed by the spiritual grace and loveliness that in- afraid of being surprised into any change of belief. He vested her last hours as with a halo. There was one went away for a few days in the country, and on his who would have given all his interest in life to impart return resolved to read the book carefully and calmly, the least alleviation to her pain, to have diminished in and see if there was really any reason to believe the the least the sting of death ; but he was made most Bible to be from God. When about half-way through painfully conscious that this was utterly beyond his the volume, he offered the prayer, “Help thou mine power to accomplish. Now the fact that arrested his unbelief.' When he had reached the last sentence, his attention was, that that Jesus of Nazareth, who had doubts were all removed; he was perfectly convinced of been so long disregarded and scorned by him, should the truth of the Scriptures.* He turned to Gibbon, come to the dying one and give her peace and sweet con- and read again the chapter which had first led him tent and joy in the assurance of a blissful immortality: astray, and saw its sophistries and the weakness of its here was something marvellous and inexplicable. He was arguments most clearly. The Bible was now God's bewildered. The effect wrought corresponded with that book, but he did not believe that it contained the which only the sublimest truth, in connection with a doctrines that men pretended to find in it. He would present divine power, could accomplish ; it was the re- read it for himself, and by himself, and see what it moval of the sting from death, the bringing of life and really taught. But he had had a great lesson, and felt immortality to light, the opening of a door into a glori- that humility best became him. He would read it in a ous and holy heaven ; and all this heightened by con- humble spirit, and whatever he found there he would trast with his own utter impotency and total penury of receive, no matter how repugnant it might be to his own help......
ideas. Day after day, alone in his room, communicating A Bible, bequeathed to him with a dying request to none the change he had experienced, he read it, and that he would read it, he received with thankfulness, by degrees found there the very doctrines that he had and proceeded to obey the injunction. He read it, and found much to admire in it; valued it for the comfort it had bestowed upon another; but he never for a moment
Upon this incident Mr. Bowen makes the following judicious
comment : “ Paley's 'Evidences' has been the means of bringin, doubted that he was right in his views regarding it, or many unbelievers to the knowledge of the truth. We say not suspected that it was really a revelation from God. One
that it is the book best adapted to all phases of scepticism ; **
do not think that it is; but to an out-and-out unbeliever, of a night, just before retiring, he said aloud in his roon, logical turn of mind, we believe it well adapted."
so much disliked. He found that he was a sinner; that , direction. He was led on to profess publicly his faith he needed a Saviour ; that a Saviour was offered him. in Christ, and after some years to become a missionary He took this Saviour, yielding himself up to his entire in India."
HE first day of December brought fresh snow.
All day the sun had cast his beams from a clondless sky over the snowy fields, so that
they glittered as if sprinkled with diamonds; but in the dusk, thick flakes began to flutter about again in the air. In the parsonage of Theuringen, pastor Leuthold sat by the stove in his arm-chair, rocking his little danghter of three years old on his knee. The mother had set off to town in the forenoon in the sledge, to buy the many things wanted for Christmas ; and little Marie had already, as the day faded, inquired at least ten times whether mamma would not soon be home. She had played happily all day, or been contented with the reply that the mother had gone to see after presents for Marie for Christmas. But now the father had sung her all his songs; had repeated the stories of Goose Mamma and her seven goslings ; had told the name of each gosling; had also related the history of Red Riding Hood and her grandmamma, and the wicked wolf; and did not know what more to tell. The child wanted something new; she had heard all these so often. The father sang again for a while, cogitating all the time; for, right or wrong, something new was demanded. At last he took the two skirts of his house coat, and made them represent two little birds. First they fluttered about here and there, then they settled down on the child's lap; and the father began improvising :
“See two little birdies flying,
"Last winter so drear,
In the forest near,
The wind it did blow
O’er the frozen snow;
But God is so kind,
Gives us coats and hoods so warm,
That the wind and snow
Might freeze and blow,
But though warm our coats,
And ruffs round our throats, We still had our cares and sorrows:
Father Winter old,
With his snow so cold,
We peered about,
Hopped in and out,
Not a single grub,
Nor worm that we love,
They were all, you know,
Hidden under the snow,— Not a seed nor a grain uncovered;
As my children three,
And I, you see,
So to them I said,
With a shake of my head : “We cannot stay here and perish;
To Theuringen we'll go,
There are farmers, you know, Who sure will us pity and cherish."
But at many a door,
Though full was their store, They drove us away still pining.
At last I descry
A cot hard by,
So, quite in despair,
We hop down there,
Behind it I see,
Looking out at me,
Her eyes so blue,
Looked sweet and true, And kindly she smiled upon us ;
Then away she ran,
As fast as she can,
The window so sinall
With a friendly call
And to us she said,
With a look so glad, “Dear birdies, you need not flutter.
Be not in alarm,
I would not you harm,
I know very well
What Jesus doth tell, How you sow not, and reap not, nor gathon
Dut thankful the danger was past.
And now I have said
Enough on that head, So we'll bid you good-by at last.'
But our God so good,
He cares for your food, He sent you to me to borrow;
So eat it up fast,
You have it at last, And come back for more to-morrow."
So every day
While the snow still lay The little maid fed us duly ;
Till winter was past,
And long it did last,
And now, Marie dear,
Again we are here;
And give us some bread,
And when we are fed,
So ended at last
Sir Robin Redbreast The story of how he was fed.
The lark, who stood near,
Said, 'Now it is clear, You must hear, too, how I have sped.
So happy we are,
We fly up so high
To the bright blue sky,
"Tis a happy lot,
With no anxious thought,-God gives us our daily bread;
So we sing his praise,
And an anthem raise To him by whom we are fed.
But though when on high,
So near to the sky,
When down we stoop,
And our wings we droop, Then care and sorrow we see.
In the fields, you know,
Where the grass doth grow, God hath taught us to build our nest;
Behind a big clod,
Or amid the sod,
And there we should be
Still happy and free, Did no reaper with scythe come near;
For a lowly lot,
By the world forgot,
But, alas ! one noon
In the month of June,
There caine down by
Where my young ones lie A mother with children at play.
They run about,
And search all out, At last my nest they spy.
In great delight
At this new sight, “A lark's nest!" they loudly cry.
Then the boy he spake: “The young I'll take To hang in a cage in my room;
And I'll daily there
Feed them with care,
But his mother cried :
Pray how would you feel
Were men you to steal,
So they left us there,
And so the birdies flew away, each to its place; which truly was not far off, seeing they were seved to the pastor's house coat.
In the meantime it had become dark outside, and only the fire in the stove still sent little gleams of light through the room. The mother's long absence began to make even the pastor a little uneasy. He lighted the lamp, and then opened the window in order to shut the shutters outside. But first he looked down the village street and listened, hoping to hear or see soniething of the sledge. Whilst he was drawing in the second shutter, his eyes fell on the high steps before the door of the house.
“Now what can this be ?” he exclaimed snddenly. “It must be some new trick of neighbour Fritz.”
Little Marie had managed to get up on a chair beside her father, that she might look out also.
“Little snow-men ! little snow-men!" she cried out in delight, as she saw three white figures on the broad landing at the top of the door-steps. That was the father's first thought also. But the little snow-nien suddenly rose up, and a whimpering and sobbing sound came from the steps. Pastor Leuthold shut the shutter hastily, and went to the door. Here he found three half-frozen boys in white shirts whom he at once recos. nized as “Star Boys.”
“Why did you not come in ?" was his first question. And as one of them with chattering teeth gave the frightened answer, “We had not the courage to do so," he took the speaker by the hand avd led him in, the others following.
He led them into the kitchen first, that the frozen snow with which they were covered might melt, and that they might get dried at the fire. In answer to his questions, they told him whence they came, and what was the motive for their journey. They were none other than Andrees with his two companions, Christel and Friedel. They had now been two days away from home, and had gone through several villages; but sometimes they had been so badly received, that the two brothers repented of their desire to wander the very first day they were out. They would have turned home that same evening, had not their father's question, "Where shall we get bread ?" rung in their ears, and their own counsel in reply lain on their hearts.
They related how they had been hunted out of the courtyard of a rich farmer by the dogs, and pursued with snow-balls by the boys of a village the whole length of the village street. In another village, an insolent boy, the son of a rich man, fell on them with his whip as they went by Andrees had not been slow to give him a box on the ear in return. His cries brought the village beadle, who seized our three kings by the nape of the neck, having not the least respect for their majesties.
He threatened to put them in the lock-up, begging be- did not speak as if he were joking, but seemed in serious ing strictly prohibited by the police, and fighting not less earnest. Little Marie had her mouth open to let out so. Andrees would have submitted patiently, but the the secret, but a wink from her father was enough to others wept and entreated so piteously that even the make her put her finger on her lips to keep it in safe ; heart of a beadle had to yield. So he led them out of but she could not suppress a low “I know.” Adolpbe, the village, and set them free, only warning them not to too, the pastor's adopted son, opened his eyes wide in let him see them again, or it would be the worse for them. astonishment. Not the least they had to endure was the constant mock- “Nay, how can I guess, father ?" said the mother. ery of the village boys, who would pursue them with the “What distinguished guests could wander out of their rhyme
way to us at Theuringen ?” “The three kings from afar,
Yes, that is just it; they have wandered from their Are come with their star;
way in coming here. And no less than majesties too ; They eat and they drink,
and three of them !" But to pay do not think."
“You are talking riddles," answered the wife ; "and They had indeed received many gifts; but their suffer- I give it up. I never can guess riddles." ing had far overbalanced the pleasure. They had “Then listen. This evening came here the three spent the two past nights in barns, and been confortable kings from the east, who seek the infant Jesus. I could and warm among the hay; but this evening they had not say, 'He is not here,' and send them away, so I just not succeeded in finding any such shelter, though they took them in at once. And now come to the kitchen, had inquired at many doors. If not expressed in the where you will find our poor majesties drying themselves. prophet's words, their minds had formed the prophet's You and Adolphe must make your obeisances to them.” longing desire, “Oh that I had a lodging place in the The pastor's wife smiled kindly on him as he thus exwilderness !” Now they had found the needed shelter plained the riddle, and she and the children followed unsought and unexpected. He to whose keeping their him to the kitchen. The “Star Boys” received them father had committed them when they set out, would with a respectful greeting. They were now pretty well not let his trust, or his own promise, come to shame. dried. After they had taken off their white shirts, and He who dwelleth in the high and boly place, and there washed the beards from their faces, they followed the has an abode for the holy angels, dwelleth also in the family into the parlour, where the table had meantime humble and contrite heart, and prepares a shelter for it been set for supper. on earth; and why not for a pair of poor “Star Boys" A short hour after that, the little kings were safe in who do not know where they shall lay their head? It the warm bed prepared for them by the pastor's wife, was the Lord who had prepared a shelter for them in the having prayed their evening prayer before they lay parsonage at Theuringen. It was under his providential down. In the room below, four happy hearts were reguidance that they had sat down wearied on the house- joicing in the guests the Lord had sent them. The steps there; and it was the duty of his servant who Bible ruled the pastor's house, and it says, “ Be not fordwelt there to follow his Master's leading, and befriend getful to entertain strangers ; for thereby some have enthe poor boys. Is it not written, “Deal thy bread to the tertained angels unawares.” And they did not forget, hungry, and bring the poor that are cast out to thy though sometimes it happened that they entertained bouse" ? (Isa. lviii. 7.)
some who were very far from being angels. They reThe boys were relating their adventures to the sym- membered also what the Lord Jesus said: “Whoso pathizing ears of the pastor and his little daughter, when shall receive one such little child in my name, receiveth he suddenly stopped them that he might listen. Yes, it me." And again : "I was a stranger, and ye took me was quite distinct now, the sound of the sleigh bells ! in. Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least He hurried out to the door just as the sledge drove up of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." with the long-desired mother in it. A boy of about The next day was Saturday. eight years old stepped out of it along with her. It was After morning worship and breakfast were past, the the orphan of a dead friend of pastor Leuthold. He had boys prepared to take their leave. They were quite disprociised him that the boy, whose mother had also gusted with the idea of going any further, and entirely shortly before been taken home, should be regarded by gave it up. Christel and Friedel were longing to be at him as his own child.
home again with their father. They spoke their feelings Soon everything was brought in, and little Marie openly to the pastor, and he advised them by all means had quite forgotten her "little snow-men” in her joyful to return home. They packed up their former kingly welcome for mother and brother. After the pastor's attire—otherwise called shirts—and their paper caps in wife had changed her clothes, and warmed herself a a bundle, which Friedel took under his arm. When little, Lenthold began :
they had expressed their gratitude for the shelter Only think, mother; we have got visitors, and dis- that had been given them, and were on their way to the tinguished visitors too! Guess now who they are." door, the pastor's wife stopped them and pointed to a
The mother looked round amazed, for her husband small sack in the corner, in which she had packed dried
pease, lentils, and meat, and told Christel he must take mained rooted in amazement at the door till the pastor it on his shoulder. The pastor would not be behind his came and took them by the hand. They had never seen, wife in upholding the hospitable reputation of the par- never once imagined, anything so splendid. There stood sonage, so asked for Christel's purse, and put a piece of the beautiful pine-tree, with its top nearly reaching the money in it—"For bread to eat with the meat,” as he roof of the room, and covered with lights ! said.
The dazzled little eyes gradually became accustonied Andrees' bag, too, was filled with the pieces of bread, to the brilliance; then they perceived the large gilt &c., that they had got in their two days' wandering. The angel on the top of the tree, and also saw that the poor boys could hardly express their thanks, they were boughs were bending under the weight of the sweet gifts so amazed at so much kindness being shown to them. that do not grow at all seasons, nor on every fir-tree.
“Just one thing more," said the pastor, as they were At the foot of the tree was a garden, with bright green going. “Christmas will be here in four weeks; you moss, fir-twigs, and creatures of all sorts. On one side must come back to us then. You have not sung us your were seen several shepherds, and a little flock of sheep"; songs yet ; you must do it then. Now, greet your father on the other was a thatched stable, with figures of for ne, and God be with you and keep you.”
Josepb, Mary, and the young Child laid in a manger. They gladly promised to return, then shook hands Of course an ox and ass were not awanting, which looked with all, and went their way.
on with large eyes, the ass nodding his head over his They found the way home much easier than the way manger. out, though they were so much more heavily laden. When the first wonder was past, the children could
observe more closely; and after looking, came touching.
Little Marie had found a doll, and hugged, and kissed, CHAPTER III.
and rejoiced over it. Adolphe was soon equipped in
his military paraphernalia, and felt himself something “ BEHOLD, I BRING YOU GOOD TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY !”
like David in Saul's armour ; but he was far from being “What can have become of our little majesties ?” said willing to lay it aside, and would even have gladly gone the pastor's wife, on the afternoon of Christmas-eve. to bed in it! “ They are long of coming." And the children of the The “Star Boys" were not forgotten. There lay three house were in double expectation-of their guests, and of full suits of clothes, and beside each stood a plate full the presents they were to receive. They were long of of apples, nuts, and a large gingerbread heart. They coming, but they did come at last.
scarcely knew where they were, when the pastor's wife The pastor was still in the large upper room, occupied | took then to where these good things lay, and told them in decking up the Christmas-tree, and the mother was they busy laying out the gifts, when they heard such shouts of welcome from the children, that they concluded their heartily. The familiar words went through Christel's expected guests must have arrived. And so it was; the mind : “That ye through His poverty might be rich." "Star Boys” were there, but incognito, for they carried So it was indeed; for this love which covered the naked their kingly state hidden in a bundle.
lived in the hearts of the pastor and his wife, because Evening had at last come, and darkness covered the they themselves had had their nakedness covered with earth ; but it was a night which long ago was lightened the robe of righteousness wrought out by Him whose by the glory of the Lord, which then arose upon the birth as a child they this day commemorated. world ; a night the remembrance of which is kept up “But now, children," said the pastor, " let us not foramong us by our national customs connected with the get the Giver while enjoying his gifts We shall now Christmas-tree. The children had sat for an hour with sing our Christmas song to his praise." So they sang their new friends, who had put on their dresses, and together Luther's child's hymn, “Down from the heavens Friedel had tried his star to see if it would spin round high I come." Christel and Friedel had learned it from all right. They had many speculations as to what their father ; Andrees joined low in the melody; and presents, sent them by the Lord Christ, might be await- even Marie piped with her shrill little voice in a very ing them in that room, where for some days they had devout manner. not been allowed to enter. At last the appointed signal After this song, Leuthold expounded to the children was given by the clear sound of a bell. Then the mother the beautiful custom of receiving all these gifts as from came in and led the little band up-stairs.
the child Jesus. “You are old enough now to know aul What light, what splendour, burst upon them as the understand something of the joy and good tidings which door opened before them! What devout astonishment the angel proclaimed at Bethlehem, and not merely to reand delight appeared on the young faces! Little Marie joice in the sweet things and other gifts of the season. nestled up shyly to her mother, who took her up in her You boys, as forest children, are well acqnainted with arms. Adolphe's eyes glanced with delight as soon as the pine-tree, and know how it rem ever green, even they caught sight of a glittering helmet, sword, and gun, when winter with its shrill blasts has stripped all the other which lie felt sure were for him. The “Star Boys” re- trees of the wood. The fir remains green and fresh, and
uts "At last they were able to speak, and thanked her