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therewith,” Prov. xv. 16. In the cottage under the wood they lived in quietness and peace ; and though some would have thought such a situation lonely and unsafe, they had no fear. God was with them, “and the angel of His presence saved them." Those who trust in the Lord are safe everywhere, and a simple prayer, whispered in a cottage under a wood, finds its way to heaven as soon as a loud hallelujah from a temple of the Most High.
But now came the time when affliction and trial were to enter the cottage of the widow, for poor Ruth was taken ill, and when the parish doctor called to see her, he shook his head, and was silent ; from the very first he seemed to have no hope of her getting better. Ruth was very patient, and her mother very kind, but sickness went on doing its work. It was soon plain enough that the days of Ruth were numbered, and that she had not long to live.
Time passed, the leaves of the trees had faded, and the wind sounded mournfully as it whistled through the wood, when, one night, after the widow had been singing a hymn, as she sat at work beside the sick bed, Ruth, looking up, said to her, “Mother! that is a sweet hymn ; but do you remember what you said to me by the blacksmith's shop that stormy night, when I was so tired coming from market. ?” “ No, love! What was it ?.”
Why, you said, 'Keep up your courage a little longer Ruth ; for you are almost at home.' It did me good then, mother, say it again ! say it again!”
The poor widow struggled hard to speak the words, but she could not. Too well she knew that her child was drawing very near her end, and her grief for a moment overcame her submission to God's holy will, but it was only for a moment; and no sooner did Ruth say, “ Mother, why don't you speak the words ?” than, making an effort, she pulled down her apron from her eyes, bent with affection over her dying child, and said, in a cheering voice, while printing a kiss on her pale cheek, “Keep up your courage a very little longer, dear Ruth; for indeed, you are almost at home."
Ruth nestled down under the bed-clothes, with a languid smile on her happy face, and very soon closed her eyes for ever. When the doctor came in the morning to see his patient she needed no more medicine, and no more attention; her sufferings were over, her hands were still, and her heart beat no longer. Her heavenly Father had called her above, and she was at home in heaven.
How sweet to go above, from earthly pain,
Where peace and holy joy for ever reign. Perhaps, reader, you are young, like little Ruth ; or middle-aged, like her mother ; or it may be that you have gray hairs on your head—whichever it may be, it matters but little, if, as a sinner, you have sought and found the Saviour. Nor does it matter much whether you have a little, or a great deal of knowledge, so that you know Him whom to know is eternal life.
No doubt you have your trouble! It may be poverty, which is very trying; or some bodily affliction, that is hard to bear; or some continual care, that makes you weep
in secret with bitter tears. Come ! come ! do not be cast down. God knows all about it, and he will bear you through it. You have only to trust Him, and to cast your burden on Him, and He will bear it. Have you forgotten how he preserved Daniel in the lions' den ? how he moved Paul and Silas to sing when they were in prison, and made his servant Simeon ready to "depart in peace
?” Doubt him not for a moment. If you regard God's dealings with you aright, you will find that eyerything is in your favour. He is your Father and Friend, and has prepared a mansion for you in heaven : keep up your courage, then, a little longer; for remember that you are almost at home.
BENEFITS OF AFFLICTION.
MEMOIR OF WILLIAM HENRY ASHWORTH.
William Henry Ashworth, was born at Calis, in Yorkshire, Jan. 30, 1838. His father was a native of Newchurch, Bacup Circuit, but his mother of Calis; he was sent to the Myrtle Grove Sunday-school, when between four and fire years of age; his parents never had any trouble with him about going to school. At school he was quiet and attentive to his teacher. He attended a day-school in the neighbourhood, and made great proficiency in learning. At the age of seven he could read his Bible, write a good hand, and was tolerable at figures. The master of the day-school said to his father if he would allow him to remain two years longer at school, he could make a scholar of him, so that he would be able to earn his living with his pen, but his father was not in circumstances to allow him to remain longer at school, therefore, when a little orer seven years of age he was sent to the mill, and remained at work in the mill till within a few days of his death. In the year 1847, the family came to reside in Newchurch, and William Henry, along with his sister Mary, was sent to our school. He entered as a scholar the third Bible class. His behaviour was commendable, he always seemed quiet and thoughtful, and advanced from class to class, till he got to the highest class in the school.
A bout June, 1854, he took charge of a class, and was much beloved and respected both by teachers and scholars. His master held him in very high esteem, he was worthy of being trusted, and was faithful to his charge. When his master came to see him he expressed his regret at the idea of losing him as a servant. As a son he was kind and obedient, and after his return from work would do anything in his power to assist his mother. He would often relieve his mother of the baby and nurse it for her. As a brother he was kind and affectionate, he assisted his younger brother in his learning during the week evenings. During the last two years before his death he manifested particular regard for the school, and Divine service as well, for his mother cannot recollect that he was ever away from the school twice, and the serviee three times every Sabbath during the last two years of his life, except one or two Sundays he was away at his grandfather's. He was very anxious to be awake in the service, and lest he should feel drowsy in the afternoon, he would wash himself, again at noon, and again at tea time, but if he was overcome with sleep during the interval of service as he was but weakly, he would say to his mother, Mother, you must awake me in time for the service at six o'clock.
For a long time before he cast in his lot with God's people, he appeared to be labouring under deep conviction, for in general he staid at tho Sunday evening prayermeeting, and seeing his state, I asked him again and again to class, and set others to do the same; for sometime he declined, remarking that the matter required consideration; he seemed to be counting the cost, and wishful to weigh over the claims of religion before he came to a decision, however, he decided for God to live and die. But a short time before his decision, and but a few weeks before his death, he remarked to a young woman who was employed in the same place, that he would at once begin to lead a different life, in reply to which the young woman said, she could not see how he could mend his living for his life was ererything that a strict moralist could or would require ; but apparently he saw the necessity of a change of heart, the Holy Ghost was at work within him, giving him to see the importance of his soul's salvation, for he remarked to the young woman that time was short, and that he might be near to eternity. In the beginning of the year 1854, he came to class, gave in his name; the first time of his coming his name was enrolled. He had not come long before the time for the renewal of tickets; that night when he got home he began to talk to his mother, and said what a blessed time he had had.
He then received a note on trial. The class met for tickets with another whose members were in the general advanced in life, and many remarked that he was a youth of promise ; the expectations of some were high concerning him, little thinking he was to be soon cut off. After he began to meet in class he cut off companionship with all who were not like-minded. There was a choice companion who had begun to go to class without his knowledge, he began to decline his company, but he found he had begun to go too, he could address him in the language of the poet,
If thy heart be as mine, if for Jesus it pine;
Come up into the chariot of love. On Monday, the 5th of March, he came home from work and sat him down by the fire, his mother was a little alarmed. “What ever is to do with you, William ; are you lamed ?" A tear stealing down his cheek, he said, “No, mother ; I am very poorly.” The doctor was called in on the Tuesday morning; but when the doctor first saw him he seemed to think there was little hope of his life. On the Wednesday morning I saw him and was shocked to find him in such a state, apparently struck with death ; it was the more shocking, baving seen him twice at the school, thrice at the service, and at the prayer-meeting, on the Sunday: that passage of Scripture came powerfully to my mind—“ In the midst of life we are in death.”
He was very weak in body, but he appeared to be very composed in his mind ; satisfied with the choice he had made, he expressed his resignation to the will of God; he was remarkably patient notwithstanding he was the subject of great pain. His mother says, she never heard a murmur escape his lips during his sickness. He said to