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“ Well !" I said, when I had finished ; “as far that goes, the matter is cleared up; but I don't mean to ask you any more ques. tions just now. Perhaps I may get some farther insight into this business by following up the topic we began with. I am unwil. ling to part company with our little tramper, and having settled it, that he shall become a future Bunyan, I am, of course, anxious to look at the means by which that great man achieved his greatness. And really the coincidence holds good still farther than we have traced it. The Bible was Bunyan's only schoolmaster—the source of all his nobility of soul- the groundwork of all that majestic simplicity and singleness of heart which made him what he was. Like his great teacher, Paul, he learned from it, no longer to confer with flesh and blood, but fearing God, determined to know no other fear. Nor did he owe to it his religious education only; it made him great in literature as well; not that he rose to scholarship or erudition, or a deep knowledge of curious questions in philosophy or science, but it gave him so pure, so forcible, so manly, so majestic, so unmistakeable a language in which to clothe his inspirations, that though dead, he will live to bless unborn ages, and to speak effectively and constrainingly to our children's children."
My wife smiled at this eulogium. She knew that on many points I did not make the Puritan of Elstow my model, for the subject had often come before us, and I had taxed him on some points with littleness and intolerance, and with a feeling making head too strongly in the present day, of opposition to observances and the constitution and modes of church government which, if not exactly all right, were certainly not all wrong. “What!" she said, as I remarked her good humoured commentary on these unqualified expressions of my zeal—" Have you forgotten the intolerance of these separatists in the case of brother Ingello, who, ‘being a thin, spare, slender person, did go very neat in a costly trim,' and was verily guilty of a love of music?”.
"No," I replied, laughing, “nor that great, 'godly woman,' Mrs. Kelly, who at the needle's point, held all the lordly bishops of her time at bay; the Bristol Deborah, 'who would keep open her shop on the time they called Christmas-day, and sit sewing in her shop, as a witness for God in the midst of the city, in the face of the sun, and in the sight of all men !' But this littleness
in the old puritans was not learned from the Bible. Bunyan, of course, was not free from these errors of the school to which he belonged ; but the jail, and not the gospel, was his teacher here. Let by-gones be by-gones. The Bible made him only great ; it was persecution, oppression, and bonds, that made him little.”
“ We agree there, I think,” resumed my wife. “ Could we be sure that poor Bozwell would read the New Testament you gave him, why should it not as well be blessed in his, as in the other case ? All that induced this desire in Bunyan was the hope of finding pleasure in it; his providential contact with the man who
did talk pleasantly of the Scriptures and of religion,' set on fire his innate inquisitiveness, and we see in his subsequent history how great a spirit was kindled by it. And who knows, Charles, but that your conversation, glorified by your little acts of kindness in ministering in temporal things, to the poor starveling this morning, may lead to similar results ? A little act of kindness, and little enough it was, certainly—if honest, unostentatious, and intelligible, will often work out great ends. Shew me thy faith by thy works —don't tell me of it; don't talk about it ; but shew it me; this seems to be the Scriptural demand, and it seems also to be Christian policy (if such a term be allowable); for it works, where nothing else will, and shews to them that are without,' that there is a reality, a body, a substance, in Bible Christianity."
" Well said, wife," I answered ; " and the thought is, at least, a very pleasing one, that our poor tramper may be induced to read the book I have given him. If so, I am satisfied that he must, and will, .grow thereby.' At all events, whatever may be the issue of our interview, the great facts remain the same. Here are the same materials to work upon ; the same implements to work with ; the same mode of using them; and the same stimulus to work, in both cases. The work can be done ; for no one will question the adequacy of the apparatus. It may be done; for experience has proved this, and it will be done, if the highest kind of assurance is to be relied on. As the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither again, but watereth the earth and causeth it to bring forth and bud that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth : it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.'”
I turned instinctively to the window as I uttered these remarks. " The rain and the snow" were still “coming down from heaven;" and I could not for one moment believe that they were watering the earth to no purpose. Who dares, in fact, do this ? And yet the very same promise that secures the one result, secures the other; and secures it too by stronger bonds. He, who by continuing the merciful provisions of the material world, is the Saviour of all men, is specially the Saviour of them that believe. Let showers and sunshine, then, alike teach us the power and efficiency of the good Word of God. H. R. E.
(To be continued.)
Love, and serve, and look for heaven.” “This is likely to be a hopelessly wet day," observed Catherine Simpson to her sister Mary: “how nicely we shall get on with our work. Suppose we send in to ask the Maxwell's to join our party. I think when so many of us are assembled together, we shall work with redoubled activity.”
Mary gladly acceded to her sister's proposal; a message of invitation was dispatched to their young friends who lived next door to them, and it was not long before a party of five were seated round a large table which was strewed with materials of various forms and colors. Nothing appeared to be finished, and, indeed, many of the articles were so completely unformed, that a spectator would have found it difficult to guess for what purpose they could possibly be intended.
The fact is, that a bazaar was about to be held in the town where our young friends resided ; the names both of Mrs. Simpson and Mrs. Maxwell were enrolled among those of the lady patronesses, and their daughters felt themselves bound to exert themselves to the utmost, to make as large contributions as possible to the table at which their mothers were to preside. Ample means had been placed at their disposal for this purpose, so they were at full liberty to indulge their tastes, and tax their invention to any extent."
"I wish it would rain for a fortnight!” said Emma Maxwell, “ if it does not, I fear half my things will be in an incomplete state on the twenty-fifth; for I like to put all the finishing touches to my work at once. I think it is so pleasant to see them come forth in perfection just at the end ; if I were to finish as I go on, I should be tired of looking at the things before the eventful day arrives, and be tempted to make alterations, and perhaps to spoil them.
“So say not I,” replied her sister Anne; “ I like to finish every thing thoroughly as I go on; then I feel I have really done something, and if an attack of influenza, or any thing of that sort, should occur before the sale, it will not all be labor lost, as yours would be, Emma, in such a case.”
“ I do not know how it is,” said Catherine Simpson, after a pause, “but I do not think grandpapa quite likes the idea of this bazaar. He has never exactly said so; but there is something in his manner that makes me suspect it: and he is generally so much interested in all our occupations, that I think he would by this time have inquired how we were getting on, if he altogether approved of it.”
“ I am sure," rejoined Fanny Maxwell, “if your grandpapa disapprove of bazaars, he has some very good reason for it, and I should like to know what it is.”
“That is just because you do not like work,” interposed her eldest sister, “and you would be glad of an excuse for backing out."
“No, indeed,” said Fanny, "you wrong me, Emma. I know I am not fond of work, but on an occasion of this kind, I feel it quite a pleasure to conquer my own inclinations : and I shall gladly give up my books and music for the next fortnight,
as the only way in which I can do good to those poor children in the Orphan School.”
“Mr. Simpson takes such a great interest in every benevolent scheme that goes on, I cannot imagine he can object to the bazaar,” resumed Emma; “indeed, I think I have heard mamma say that he was the original projector of the Orphan School; so he must take an interest in the bazaar, though I suppose he does not care for looking at half-finished nic-nacs. But depend upon it, Kate, you and Mary will have a vote of thanks from him when all is over-but there he is, passing the window: who would have thought of his being out this wet day ?”.
Mr. Simpson was soon ushered into the drawing-room, where he was cordially received, not only by his grand-daughters, but by their friends whom he had known from their cradles. He had not long to stay, and certainly did not appear to notice any thing that was going on among the young work-women; though Emma tried in various ways to draw his attention to the subject that was uppermost in her thoughts : but her suspicions were confirmed as he left the room, when, after begging them soon to come and see him, Mary said that she hoped he would not think them neglectful if they did not come till after the bazaar, as they really had so much to do before that time, that they meant to stay in the house as much as possible.
“ Only beware of busy idleness !” were his parting words ; and all the girls felt a good deal disappointed that nothing more encouraging had been uttered by him.
The eventful day at length arrived. It was a clear, bright, frosty morning, when Emma Maxwell was with some difficulty roused by her sister ; having adhered to her resolution to finish nothing till the last, her labors had for several preceding nights been prolonged till past midnight. And now, after all, there were several beautiful and costly articles which it was quite impossible to attempt to complete. She arose, however, and dull and disappointed as she at first had felt, her spirits soon revived when she entered the hall where the sales were to take place. Her sisters had been able to assist in the arrangements on the two preceding days—a part of the proceedings to which Emma had looked forward with considerable pleasure, but the more imperative claims of her unfinished elegancies had prevented her