Obrázky na stránke
[ocr errors]


coming to see her soon.' He put a shilling into May's hand as he spoke.

O how happy little May lookod and felt! But she hesitated to keep it all. “It is too much, sir,” she said, a great deal too much.”

"If I buy your flowers," said the gentleman pleasantly, "I must give my own price. Who has given you that money, May ?

You, sir.” “But who has sent it to you just now, when you so much wanted it?"

“God, sir,” said little May, reverently.

“ Then don't forget to thank Him for it; always trust in Him, and you will be a happy little girl. And now run home, and see about


dinner." May forgot how tired she was, and went back a great deal faster than she had come, grasping the money very tightly, as if she could hardly persuade herself she really had it. O how joyfully she ran into the cottage, and dropped the shilling into her mother's lap! Mrs. Thornton was as surprised and delighted as May had been, and she was as much puzzled as her little girl was to account for the gentleman's acquaintance with their poverty and distress. The more she thought about it, the more puzzled she became, so at last she gave it up in despair, and went out with May to spend the shilling.

In the evening of the same day, May's new friend called, as he had promised, to see them. He sat for a long time on one of their old wooden chairs, talking to May's mother, and asking her many questions, until he understood all about her circumstances and wants. He was glad to find that she was accustomed to do plain needlework, because his wife was just then in want of a good seamstress; and he said that if she would come up to his house early the next morning, she could have immediate employment. And he also kindly offered to let her have the money which she owed for her rent; and she was to repay him when she was able to do so.

Cau you imagine how grateful May's mother felt for

[ocr errors]

this assistance? She did not know until she went in the morning to the gentleman's house how much she owed to little May's prayer.— Church of England Sunday Scholar's Magazine.




A SAILOR'S TALE. I wonder whether any one who reads this tale has ever wished to be a sailor—to ride over the tossing waves, and see the wonders of the great deep,—to learn the ways of far-off lands, and bring home presents for mother, sisters, or cousins, from China, or the Indian Isles ! I think I am not wrong in the idea that the very mention of a sea life, with its fresh breeze and sparkling foam, its perils and adventures, its novelty and freedom, has a charm for young and buoyant hearts; therefore I write this brief, but true story, only asking that my readers will follow me to the end, and not think it dull to listen to the moral at the close of a sailor's tale. I am a sailor, then ; not very old, though I have sailed

; more than once from my own island home to America, and from Cape Horn to the rich ports of China'; returning through the Indian Seas, and by the Cape of Good Hope, and the warm fair islands of Madeira and Canary. I have seen the tented plains of San Francisco, and spoken with the rough treasure-seekers of Australia, bargained with the cunning Chinese, and listened to wild stories of enterprize from every quarter of the globe. Still I am young enough to remember my boyish feelings and pleasures, and the quick thrill of delight with which I always welcomed the promise of a tale of the sea; I have not forgotten the day I parted with my father and my mother, when my

Ι sisters tried to smile as they kissed me, and I hardly knew whether to be glad or sorry that I was really going to be a sailor; and though I have since found out many hardships and dangers, both to body and soul, that I then little dreamed of, I love the sea still, and I love the young too. I would fain give them a pleasure that I used to enjoy,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

and will pray God that it may teach them a useful and a lasting lesson.

One day we were sailing with a gentle, favouring breeze, not very far from the shores of America, on our ontward voyage, when it was proposed by one or two of my companions to get our lines and try to add a few fresh fish to our usual salt fare. I was pleased enough to join them, and for some time we had abundant sport. This put me in high spirits, and when at last they grew tired and left me alone, I climbed out nearly to the end of the long spar that I dare say you have seen in pictures projecting from the vessel's stern, straight over the sea, and sat there, careless and secure, fishing and thinking all the while of things far enough away,—the old pond in the orchard, where I had played at home, and my sisters' faces, and my mother's words, watching the changing clouds, and dreaming happy day-dreams, All at once, a sudden roll of the ship, for which I was not prepared, threw me on one side ; I felt that I had lost my balance, and joining my hands over my head, I let myself fall, as if voluntary diving into the waves beneath. I felt no fear, for I could swim like a duck, and seeing my cap which had fallen vff already at some yards' distance, I struck out towards it, never thinking of the rate the ship was going, or that I should have any difficulty in overtaking her again. I heard my mates call out to me to let the cap go and come, but I thought there was no hurry, and swam on, till just as I had snatched and caught it, I looked round and saw at what a perilous distance the ship was from me. O how I turned and swam! My blood seems to run cold within me now when I think of that moment, and the feelings that gushed upon me as I strove with all the energy that deadly peril can bestow to reach the ship's side once more. There were thoughts of home,-how different to those so fondly dreamed over a few moments before,—but they only flashed across me with a keen, quick pang, and then I thought of death, “and after that the judgment.” On occasions such as this, the thoughts of hours seem crowded into seconds, and though you may wonder how in that

brief moment of mortal struggle with the waves, conscience and memory found time to speak, many a one will tell

you that the moment of deadly peril is often the time for them to display their most vivid power. I had been taught all Christian truth from my childhood, I knew my responsibility, I felt I was unsaved, and with this thought, solemn and dark pon my soul, I dashed on desperately towards the ship. It was my only hope, for they had no boat, as I well knew, that they could lower in time to

rescue me.

At last I was alongside of her, and two ropes were flung cut to me.

Who will believe that after all my terror I could trifle still ? And yet I hardly caught at the first; when I saw myself within reach of the ship, I didn't think there was any hurry. Just at that moment one of the men called out, in a voice that showed he was in earnest, “ It's your last chance, Ned, I can see a shark close astern!” Then, indeed, with a sharp cry of terror, I sprang towards the rope, I nearly missed it, for the men pulled up hastily because of the nearness of the danger, and it was only by the convulsive

grasp of two fingers that I was drawn in safety up the ship's side. Ten minutes after, a monster shark, which must have been a very few yards from me, was hauled up on deck and despatched. You must picture to yourselves, for I can never describe them, the feelings with which I looked into his fearful jaws, and supped that night on some of his flesh, knowing how very nearly he had made a meal

of me.

Young reader, my tale is done. Do you think that in this passage in my life I was strangely rash and foolish ? Do you condemn my delay in turning, when I was warned of my danger, and my indifference to the means of safety when within my reach ? You are quite right in so judging; but stay a moment, lest you

condemn yourself. Have you never acted, are you not now acting, in a matter of far more importance, just as I did? You know you are a sinner ; fal from God and goodness into a state most perilous, and going farther and farther from him every day. You know there is no help but in Jesus,

the saving ark of God; yet you turn your back on him, and pursue things that you must own to yourself are but the merest trifles in comparison with the salvation of your soul. Friends, parents, ministers, saved themselves, and anxious to see you out of danger, call on you to turn and come,

but you think there is no hurry. You will go your own way first, and then, when you are older, and have got all you wanted, you will turn, and all will be right. I did not mean to miss the ship in the end, neither do you mean to miss Christ and heaven at last, nor did any of the millions of lost souls now overwhelmed beneath the billows of Almighty wrath.

But you think there is no hurry. Is not the Ark of Refuge, with its freight of ransomed souls, fast sailing on, nearing its blissful haven at the end of Time's long voyage? Are you sure that you will have time to reach it? O turn, turn! “God has promised salvation if you repent, but he has not promised repentance if you delay."

Perhaps you think you are not in such great danger. You have been told that Jesus is ever near, ever ready to save; and that at any time you have but to call on him, and he will take you in. Unconsciously, perhaps, you are resting on the fact that salvation is within your reach, and yet never stretching out your hand towards it. Just so it was with me. The rope was within a few feet of my hand, but if I had not grasped it, the sight would only have added bitterness untold to my last struggle. If you do not lay hold of the blessed hope that God sets before you, will not your lost opportunities, when it was within your reach, add tenfold agony of self-reproach to your eternal woe ?

You may be near to Christ; but if you are not in Christ, you are unsaved. And is there no shark near ? Has no companion ever been snatched from your side, and lost in the jaws of death? It may be that the same destroyer is close upon you now; it may be that the fatal cramp of a chilled and deadened conscience is even now settling on

your soul.

Dear reader, now, while you have time and strength, O

« PredošláPokračovať »