By S.B. Shaw
ALWAYS TELL THE TRUTH
Truthfulness is a mark of Christianity. The heathen go astray, speaking lies as soon as they are born. In China a mother will give her boy a reward for the best falsehood that he can tell. Beginning so early, and regarding it such a fine thing to tell wrong stories, they become skillful in falsehoods. Some parents in Christian America are very careless in this matter. It made my heart ache one day when I saw a lady in a street car trying to keep her little boy awake by telling him that, if he went to sleep, that man who had all those teeth in his window (referring to a dentist's office they had passed) would come into the car and pull every tooth out of his mouth. The little fellow looked up dreadfully scared, and did his best to keep awake: but I thought to myself, when he finds out what a wrong story his mother has told, he will not believe her even when she tells the truth. He will be like a little fellow of whom I heard once, whose mother told him that if he vent to play in a bank from which the men had been drawing sand for a building, a bear would come out and eat him up. One day another boy tried to coax him to go there and play, but he said, no, he was afraid of the bears. The other boy said there were no bears. "But there be bears cause my mother said there be bears." While they were disputing, the minister happened to come along, and they asked him if there were bears in the sand-bank. He told them there were none. "But," said the first little boy, "My mother said there be bears there." "I am sorry she said so," said the minister, "but the truth is, there are none." The child began to cry, and started for home as fast as he could go. "O Mama!" he said, "Did you tell me a wrong story? Did you tell me there be bears down at the sand-bank when there aren't any?" She saw what a dreadful sin she had committed, and she told him that she was sorry; but she was afraid that if he played there he would get buried in the sand, and she told him that to keep him away. "But, Mama, it is such an awful thing to tell a wrong story." "I know it Tommy, I know it," she said, tears coming into her eyes; "and we will ask Jesus to forgive me and I will never do it again." They knelt down, and she was just about to pray when he said, "Wait, Mama, let me ask Him; maybe you won't tell Him truly." That pierced her heart like a dagger. She saw that her little boy had lost confidence in her truthfulness even when she prayed.
--Jennie F. Willing
THE CHILD HEROINE OF NEW BRUNSWICK
We have read a touching incident about three little children, who, last autumn late in the season, wandered alone in a dreary region of New Brunswick. The sun had already sunk in the west and the gloom of evening was spreading itself over the surrounding country.
The night came on fast; and feeling sure that they could not get home before day break, the eldest (a girl of only six years) quietly placed the two little ones in a sheltered nook on the sea-beach; and fearing the cold chilly night for the younger children, Mary stripped off most of her own clothes to keep them warm.
She then started off to gather dry sea-weed, and whatever else she could find, to cover them with. Having tenderly in this way wrought for some time to make them a nest, she at last fell down exhausted with the cold, and half bare to the cold inclement night.
That evening the loving father and tender mother sat up wondering at their children's long absence; the hours dragged slowly past with anxious watching and silent listening for the well-known little pattering feet. In vain the fond parents' eyes pierced through the darkness. At length they roused the neighbors with their anxious inquiries after their lost ones. All that night was passed in searching and in tears, till early in the morning, lying fast asleep and somewhat numbed with cold, were found little Johnny and Lizzie. But oh! a touching spectacle lay near them; their young savior was stiff, cold, and dead on the sea-weed which the poor little child-heroine had not strength to drag into the nook, where those she so deeply loved, and died to save, were sleeping. Thus this little New Brunswick girl died in her successful and self-sacrificing endeavor to save her brother and sister.
Does not this recall the love of the Lord Jesus Christ to you who read? Mary went to the full extent of human love in dying for her little brother and sister. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." Yet the Lord Jesus laid down his life for his enemies; for "scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die; but God commendeth His love toward us," etc. He makes no mistakes. Yet how many listen to this story with more emotion and interest than they do to the story of the cross, where the love of Jesus, the Son of God, is told in letters of blood!
--Dawn of the Morning
ANNIE AND VANIE'S FIRST REAL PRAYER
Two sisters, one about five years of age, the other one older, were accustomed to go each Saturday morning, some distance from home, to get chips and shavings from a cooper shop.
One morning with basket well filled, they were returning home when the elder one was taken suddenly sick with cramps or cholera. She was in great pain, and unable to proceed, much less to bear the basket home. She sat down on the basket, and the younger one held her from falling.
The street was a lonely one occupied by workshops, factories, etc. Every one was busy within; not a person was seen on the street.
The little girls were at a loss what to do. Too timid to go into any workshop, they sat a while, as silent and quiet as the distressing pains would allow.
Soon the elder girl said: "You know, Annie, that a good while ago Mother told us that if we ever got into trouble we should pray and, God would help us. Now you help me to get down upon my knees, and hold me up, and we will pray."
There on the side-walk did these two little children ask God to send some one to help them home.
The simple and brief prayer being ended, the sick girl was again helped up, and sat on the basket, waiting for the answers to their prayers.
Presently Annie saw, far down the street on the opposite side, a man come out from a factory, look around him up and down the street and go back into the factory.
"O sister, he has gone in again," said Annie. "Well," said Vanie, "perhaps he is not the one God is going to send. If he is he will come back again."
"There he comes again," said Annie. "He walks this way. He seems looking for something. He walks slow, and is without his hat. He puts his hand to his head, as if he did not know what to do. Oh, sister, he has gone in again; what shall we do?"
"That may not be the one whom God will send to help us," said Vanie. "If he is, he will come out again."
"Oh yes, there he is; this time with his hat on," said Annie. "He comes this way; he walks slowly, looking around on every side. He does not see us, perhaps the trees hide us. Now he sees us, and is coming quickly."
A brawny German in broken accent asks:
"O children, what is the matter?"
"O sir," said Annie, Sister here is so sick she cannot walk and we cannot get home."
"Where do you live my dear?"
"At the end of this street; you can see the house from here."
"Never mind," said the man, "I takes you home."
So the strong man gathered the sick child in his arms, and with her head pillowed upon his shoulder, carried her to the place pointed out by the younger girl. Annie ran around the house to tell her mother that there was a man at the front door wishing to see her. The astonished mother, with a mixture of surprise and joy, took charge of the precious burden and the child was laid upon a bed.
After thanking the man, she expected him to withdraw, but instead, he stood turning his hat in his hands as one who wishes to say something, but knows not how to begin.
The mother observing this, repeated her thanks and finally said: "Would you like me to pay you for bringing my child home?"
"Oh, no," said he with tears, "God pays me! God pays me! I would like to tell you something, but I speak English so poorly that I fear you will not understand."
The mother assured him that she was used to the German and could understand him very well.
"I am the proprietor of an ink factory," said he. "My men work by the piece. I have to keep separate accounts with each. I pay them every Saturday. At twelve o'clock they will be at my desk for their money. This week I have had many hindrances and was behind with my books. I was working hard at them with the sweat on my face, in my great anxiety to be ready in time. Suddenly I could not see the figures; the words in the book all ran together, and I had a plain impression on my mind that some one in the street wished to see me. I went out, looked up and down the street, but seeing no one, went back to my desk and wrote a little. Presently the darkness was greater than before, and the impression stronger than before, that someone in the street needed me.
"Again I went out, looked up and down the street, walked a little way, puzzled to know what I meant. Was my hard work and were the cares of business driving me out of my wits? Unable to solve the mystery I turned again into my shop and to my desk.
"This time my fingers refused to grasp the pen. I found myself unable to write a word, or make a figure; but the impression was stronger than ever on my mind, that someone needed my help. A voice seemed to say: 'Why don't you go out as I tell you? There is need of your help.' This time I took my hat on going out, resolved to stay till I found out whether I was losing my senses, or there was a duty for me to do. I walked some distance without seeing anyone, and was more and more puzzled, till I came opposite the children, and found that there was indeed need of my help. I cannot understand it, madam."
As the noble German was about leaving the house, the younger girl had the courage to say: "O mother, we prayed."
Thus the mystery was solved, and with tear-stained cheeks, a heaving breast, and a humble, grateful heart, the kind man went back to his accounts.
I have enjoyed many a happy hour in conversation with Annie in her own house since she has a home of her own. The last I knew of Annie and Vanie they were living in the same city, earnest Christian women. Their children were growing up around them, who, I hope, will have like confidence in mother, and faith in God.
Annie was the wife of James A. Clayton of San Jose, California. I have enjoyed their hospitality and esteem both very highly.
GOD HEALS A BLIND GIRL
One day we went to visit Ruth's aunt. While there, a very dear friend of Ruth's aunt came to visit her, bringing Annie, her little four-year-old girl who was the same age as Ruth. They had taken Annie to an eye doctor the day before and he had said that she was blind and would always be blind. The two children played together. Ruth would lead her by the hand and this touched her heart very much.
After we went home, she came to me crying, and said, "Mama, Annie is blind. Mama, Annie can't see anything. Mama, Annie can't even see her mama!"
I (Ruth's mother) answered, "No, Annie can't see anything."
"Can't Jesus make Annie see her mama?" Ruth asked.
"Yes, Jesus can do anything," Mother told her.
"I'll never quit praying till Jesus makes Annie see her Mama," she said. She knelt down and prayed, and for several days she would come in from her play ever so often and kneel down and pray and ask Jesus to make Annie see her mama.
In a few days we received word that Annie said "Oh, I see my mama!" From then on she could see.
When the girls were eight years old and Ruth had moved from that state, her aunt (who had also moved) received a letter from Annie's mother, saying, "Annie seems to be losing her eyesight again." She said also that she would like for her to send Annie a new dress while she could still see it, and if she knew where Ruth was to ask her to pray for Annie that Jesus would not let her go blind again. Ruth was at the home of her aunt when she received this letter. She prayed earnestly again and God answered her prayer and gave Annie her eyesight. It was even better than normal.
The last time I saw Annie she was a grown woman around forty, and she showed me how she could see to read a long way from the light, which we could not do. Surely God did a wonderful work in answer to a little girl's prayer.
Children, let's pray; and when we pray, believe that God hears, and receive the good things that he has to give us and others.
"DOES THIS RAILROAD LEAD TO HEAVEN?"
In traveling we often meet with persons of different nationalities and languages; we also meet with incidents of various character, some sorrowful, others, joyful and instructive. One of the latter character I witnessed recently while traveling upon the cars. The train was going west and the time was evening. At a station a little girl about eight years old came aboard, carrying a budget under her arm. She then commenced an eager scrutiny of faces, but all were strange to her. She appeared weary, and placing her budget for a pillow, she prepared to try and secure a little sleep. Soon the conductor came along collecting tickets and fare. Observing him she asked him if she might lie there. The gentlemanly conductor replied that she might, and then kindly asked for her ticket. She informed him that she had none, when the following conversation ensued. Said the conductor:
"Where are you going?"
"I am going to heaven," she answered.
"Who pays your fare?" he asked again.
She then said, "Mister, does this railroad lead to heaven, and does Jesus travel on it?"
"I think not," he answered, "Why did you think so?"
"Why sir, before my ma died she used to sing to me of a heavenly railroad, and you looked so nice and kind that I thought this was the road. My ma used to sing of Jesus on the heavenly railroad, and that He paid the fare for everybody, and that the train stopped at every station to take people on board; but my ma don't sing to me any more. Nobody sings to me now; and I thought I'd take the cars and go to ma. Mister, do you sing to your little girl about the railroad that goes to heaven? You have a little girl, haven't you?"
He replied, weeping, "No my little dear I have no little girl now. I had one once; but she died some time ago, and went to heaven."
"Did she go over this railroad, and are you going to see her now?" she asked.
By this time every person in the coach was upon their feet, and most of them were weeping. An attempt to describe what I witnessed is almost futile. Some said: "God bless the little girl." Hearing some person say that she was an angel, the little girl earnestly replied: "Yes, my ma used to say that I would be an angel some time."
Addressing herself once more to the conductor, she asked him, "Do you love Jesus? I do, and if you love Him, He will let you ride to heaven on His railroad. I am going there and I wish you would go with me. I know Jesus will let me into heaven when I get there and He will let you in, too, and everybody that will ride on His railroad--yes, all these people. Wouldn't you like to see heaven and Jesus, and your little girl?"
These words, so pathetically and innocently uttered, brought a great gush of tears from all eyes, but most profusely from those of the conductor. Some who were traveling on the heavenly railroad shouted aloud for joy.
She asked the conductor: "Mister, may I lie here until we get to heaven?"
"Yes, dear, yes," he answered.
"Will you wake me up then so that I may see my ma and your little girl and Jesus?" she asked, "for I do so much want to see them all."
The answer came in broken accents but in words very tenderly spoken "Yes, dear angel, yes. God bless you." "Amen!" was sobbed by more than a score of voices.
Turning her eyes again upon the conductor, she interrogated him again, "What shall I tell your little girl when I see her? Shall I tell her that I saw her pa on Jesus' railroad? Shall I?"
This brought a fresh flood of tears from all present, and the conductor knelt by her side, and, embracing her wept the reply he could not utter. At this juncture the brakeman called out: "H----." The conductor arose and requested him to attend to his (the conductor's) duty at the station, for he was engaged. That was a precious place. I thank God that I was a witness to this scene, but I was sorry that at this point I was obliged to leave the train.
We learn from this incident that out of the mouths of even babes God hath ordained strength, and that we ought to be willing to represent the cause of our blessed Jesus even in a railroad coach.
Brother Dosh:--I wish to relieve my heart by writing to you, and saying that that angel visit on the cars was a blessing to me, although I did not realize it in its fullness until some hours after. But blessed be the Redeemer, I know now that I am His, and He is mine. I no longer wonder why Christians are happy. Oh, my joy, my joy! The instrument of my salvation has gone to God. I had purposed adopting her in the place of my little daughter who is now in heaven. With this intention I took her to C--b, and on my return trip I took her back to S--n, where she left the cars. In consultation with my wife in regard to adopting her, she replied, "Yes, certainly, and immediately, too, for there is a Divine providence in this. Oh," said she, "I could never refuse to take under my charge the instrument of my husband's salvation."
I made inquiry for the child at S--n and learned that in three days after her return she died suddenly, without any apparent disease, and her happy soul had gone to dwell with her ma, my little girl and the angels in heaven. I was sorry to hear of her death but my sorrow is turned to joy when I think my angel-daughter received intelligence from earth concerning her pa, and that he is on the heavenly railway. Oh! sir, me thinks I see her near the Redeemer. I think I hear her sing! "I'm safe at home, and pa and ma are coming," and I find myself sending back the reply: "Yes, my darling we are coming and will soon be there." Oh, my dear sir, I am glad that I ever formed your acquaintance; may the blessing of the great God rest upon you. Please write to me, and be assured, I would be most happy to meet you again.
--J. M. Dosh, in Christian Expositor
THE YOUNG MARTYR
On the afternoon of August 9, 1853, a little Norwegian boy, named Kund Iverson, who lived in the city of Chicago, Illinois, was going to the pastures for his cow as light-hearted, I suppose, as boys usually are when going to the pasture on a summer afternoon. He came at length to a stream of water where there was a gang of idle, ill-looking, big boys; who, when they saw Kund, came up to him; and said they wanted him to go into Mr. Elston's garden and steal some apples.
"No," said Kund promptly; "I cannot steal, I am sure."
"Well, but you've got to," they cried.
They threatened to duck him, for these wicked big boys had often frightened little boys into robbing gardens for them. Little boys, they thought, were less likely to get found out.
The threat did not frighten Kund, so to make their words good, they seized him and dragged him into the river, and in spite of his cries and struggles, plunged him in. But the heroic boy even with the water gurgling and choking in his throat, never flinched, for he knew that God had said: "Thou shalt not steal," and God's law he had made his law; and no cursing, or threats, or cruelty of the big boys would make him give up. Provoked by his firmness, I suppose, they determined to see if they could conquer him. So they ducked him again but it still was, "No, no"; and they kept him under water. Was there no one near to hear his distressing cries, and rescue the poor child from their cruel grip? No; there was none to rescue him; and gradually the cries of the drowning child grew fainter and fainter, and his struggles less and less, and the boy was drowned. He could die, but would not steal.
A German boy who had stood near, much frightened by what he saw, ran home to tell the news. The agonized parents hastened to the spot, and all night they searched for the lifeless body of their lost darling. It was found the next morning; and who shall describe their feelings as they clasped the little form to their bosoms? Early piety had blossomed in his little life. He loved his Bible and his Savior. His seat was never vacant at Sunday school, and so intelligent, conscientious and steadfast had he been.
Perhaps the little boy used often to think how, when he grew up, he would like to be a preacher or a missionary, and do something for his Lord and Master. He did not know what post he might be called to occupy, even as a little child; and as he left home that afternoon and looked his last look in his mother's face, he thought he was only going after his cows; and other boys, and the neighbors, if they saw him, thought so, too. They did not then know that instead of going to the pasture he was going to preach one of the most powerful sermons of Bible law and Bible principles the country ever heard. They did not know that he was going to give an example of steadfastness of purpose and of unflinching integrity, such as should thrill the heart of this nation with wonder and admiration. He was then only a Norwegian boy, Kund Iverson, only thirteen years old, but his name was soon to be reckoned with martyrs and heroes. And as the story of his moral heroism winged its way from state to state, and city to city, and village to village, how many mothers cried with full hearts: "May his spirit rest upon my boy!" And strong men have wept over it and exclaimed: "God be praised for the lad!" And rich men put their hands into their pockets and said, "Let us build him a monument; let his name be perpetuated, for his memory is blessed." May there be a generation of Kund Iversons, strong in their integrity, true to their Bibles ready to die rather than do wrong.