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pocket, and showed them first the rough sketch or skeleton of the building, and than a view of the finished edifice. It was a smali Gothic church, every part of which was in keeping, and the eye most uninstructed in the rules of architecture would receive from it an impression of silent and sacred beauty.
The children were much struck with it, contrasting as it did with the turmoil and apparent confusion of the scene before them. They looked at it for a long time, at length Ellen said
“Oh, mama, do you think the workmen know what a beautiful end there will be to all their labours ? Do you think they have seen the plan?”
“They may see it, Miss, as often as they please,” said the man; “there is one hanging up where all may refer to it, but very few take advantage of it. However, some do, and there is one man, a simple stonecutter, who tells me that the thought of the finished building nerves his arm with twice the energy. He seems to think that somehow the glory of it will reflect back upon him.”
“And I think he is right, to a certain ex. tent," said Mrs. Lester.
“No doubt he is, madam; there is not a faithful worker among them but will have pleasure in looking on the building when it is finished; and the more heart they put in their work now, the greater will be their satisfaction then."
The man was now called away, and soon after Mrs. Lester and her children rose to return home. They walked slowly, and the children had no inclination now to run on or gather flowers.
“Mama,” said Ellen, “I have enjoyed this last half hour so much."
“So have I, my dear, and I think we may learn a useful lesson from what we have seen ; I wonder whether you can guess what I mean."
The children looked at thcir mother. She had accustomed them to search for hidden meanings in many of the beautiful works of Creation around them, but it was evident they did not understand her now.
“ Tell us what you mean, mama.”
“We have been watching a building made of stones and mortar; what is the building not made with hands?”
“Oh, mama, I know: the church of the · living God.”
“ And what is that made of, Ellen ?"
“Of living stones, mama ; of individual Christians."
“ And who is the master builder »»
“Now, then, see whether you can trace out any other resemblance."
The children thought awhile. It was to them a new subject of reflection, and while it solemnized, it deeply interested them; at length Minnie said, “ Yes, mama, they were only workmen; none of the materials with which they worked were their own, and, I suppose, all that we have is rightly God's.”
“And they were all equal,” said Ellen; “I mean, they were all servants of the same master, though their work was different.”
“And the work is all equally important," said Mrs. Lester; “ that which seems of least value, is as essential to the safety and beauty of the building as the more prominent and external parts; and many a lowly Christian, whose work has been lightly regarded by his fellows as well as himself, will find, perhaps, that he has been employed in the noblest part of the structure.”
“But the Master Builder, mama—that is the best and happiest thought of all, don't you think so ? He is really going about from one to the other, appointing to each his work, and encouraging all, is He not ?”
“Yes, my dear, indeed He is. And as He alone knows our different capacities, our several infirmities, so He alone is able to decide what each can do, and it is our privilege as well as our duty to work with all our hearts."
“Mama," said Ellen, as she fixed her large soft eyes upon her mother, “I wish we had thought of this in the morning; how very wrong and foolish we were !"
“ You will think of it next time a trial comes before you, my dear; you will remember that it is needful for the work assigned you, and that, as the Master Builder is looking on, He is ready to help you, should it be beyond your strength."
“What should we do, mama, if you weró not here to help us ?”
“I shall not always be here, my dear, and therefore I would so earnestly lead you to the One Friend who never can fail. We are all workers in His sight now, and how kind of Him to place us three together in this our peaceful little home. We will all go in with renewed determination to glorify Him in every act of our daily lives. That we have been chosen to work for Him at all, is sufficient to rouse our warmest gratitude, and to have His approval is the summit of earthly bliss."