By S.B. Shaw
A WONDERFUL CHILDREN'S MEETING
Several years ago, when residing at G----, we became acquainted with Sister W---- who was especially fond of children. Her own were grown, and desiring to make a home for some homeless child, she went to the county farm, where there were several, in search of one. Among the children there she found a beautiful, little, bright-eyed girl, about nine years old, named Ida. Her heart went out to her at once and she expressed to the lady in charge her desire to take Ida, and her willingness to care for her as she would if she were her own child.
But the matron said "Oh, you have no idea what a terrible child she is! We can do nothing with her, she is stubborn and has an awful temper and it is impossible to control her. We are intending to send her to the Girl's Reform School."
Sister W---- who was an earnest Christian, was surprised but not discouraged. She could not bear the thought of such a little child being sent to such a place and so she said to the matron: "Well, I'd like to take her with me and see if I cannot help her to be good."
"Well," said the matron, "you can try her if you want to, but you will be glad to bring her back again."
Acting upon this permission, Sister W---- talked with Ida and easily gained her consent to go with her. Not many days had passed before she found that there was considerable reason for what the matron had said. Ida was hard to control and at times became terribly angry without cause; but Sister W---- prayed for her and dealt patiently and tenderly with her and told her how Jesus loved her, and would help her to be good if she would only give him her heart. Her prayers and loving labor were not in vain and it was not very long until little Ida was converted. The change was so great that all who were with her could plainly see that Jesus had indeed given her a new heart.
Soon after this we had charge of a children's meeting held in a mission hall in G----. Among the children gathered there were many of the worst boys in town. Little Ida was present. We knew how much Jesus had done for her and felt led of the Spirit to ask her to lead the meeting. She looked up at us much surprised but her little heart was full of the love of God and she consented to do the best she could. Words cannot describe what followed. In tears, Ida told, in her own touching way, how Jesus had saved her--just what a naughty girl she had been before she was converted but how Jesus had "taken the angry all away" and given her a new heart so that she loved everybody and loved to do what was right. Then she pled with them to give their hearts to God, and told them how Jesus died on the cross for them, and how He loved them and wanted to save them.
She had not talked long until nearly every child in the room was in tears, and how shall we describe that touching scene? We had an altar service. Ida knelt with those who were seeking and prayed for them and told them how to find Jesus; and right there many were converted and gave bright, clear testimonies that their sins were forgiven and Jesus had given them new hearts. Thus did God that day honor a little girl's testimony and exhortation and fulfill His own work, "A little child shall lead them."
Very often do we call to mind that scene, and we find it one of the sweetest of the memories of years of evangelistic work.
"THEY ARE NOT STRANGERS, MAMA"
Not long ago I stood by the death-bed of a little girl. From her birth she had been afraid of death. Every fiber of her body and soul recoiled from the thought of it, "Don't let me die," she said; "don't let me die. Hold me fast Oh, I can't go!"
"Jennie" I said, "You have two little brothers in the other world, and there are thousands of tenderhearted people over there, who will love you and take care of you."
But she cried out again despairingly: "Don't let me go; they are strangers over there." She was a little country girl, strong limbed, fleet of foot, tanned in the face; she was raised on the frontier, the fields were her home. In vain we tried to reconcile her to the death that was inevitable. "Hold me fast," she cried; "don't let me go." But even as she was pleading, her little hands relaxed their clinging hold from my waist, and lifted themselves eagerly aloft; lifted themselves with such straining effort, that they lifted the wasted little body from its reclining position among the pillows. Her face was turned upward, but it was her eyes that told the story. They were filled with the light of Divine recognition. They saw something plainly that we could not see; and they grew brighter and brighter, and her little hand quivered in eagerness to go, where strange portals had opened upon her astonished vision. But even in that supreme moment she did not forget to leave a word of comfort for those who would gladly have died in her place: "Mama," she was saying, "Mama, they are not strangers. I'm not afraid." And every instant the light burned more gloriously in her blue eyes till at last it seemed as if her soul leaped forth upon its radiant waves; and in that moment her trembling form relapsed among its pillows and she was gone.
--Chicago Woman's World
JESSIE FINDING JESUS
A little girl in a wretched tenement in New York stood by her mother's death-bed, and heard her last words: "Jessie, find Jesus."
When her mother was buried, her father took to drink, and Jessie was left to such care as a poor neighbor could give her. One day she wandered off unnoticed, with a little basket in her hand, and tugged through one street after another, not knowing where she went. She had started out to find Jesus. At last she stopped from utter weariness, in front of a saloon. A young man staggered out of the door, and almost stumbled over her. He uttered passionately the name of Him whom she was seeking. "Where is He?" she inquired eagerly. He looked at her in amazement.
"What did you say?" he asked.
"Will you please tell me where Jesus Christ is? for I must find Him"--this time with great earnestness.
The young man looked at her curiously for a minute without speaking, and then his face sobered; and he said in a broken, husky voice, hopelessly: "I don't know, child; I don't know where he is."
At length the little girl's wanderings brought her to the park. A woman evidently a Jewess, was leaning against the railing, looking disconsolately at the green grass and the trees.
Jessie went up to her timidly. "Perhaps she can tell me where He is," was the child's thought. In a low, hesitating voice, she asked the woman: "Do you know Jesus Christ?"
The Jewess turned fiercely to face her questioner and in a tone of suppressed passion, exclaimed: "Jesus Christ is dead!" Poor Jessie trudged on, but soon a rude boy jostled against her, and snatching her basket from her hand, threw it into the street.
Crying, she ran to pick it up. The horses of a passing street car trampled her under their feet--and she knew no more till she found herself stretched on a hospital bed.
When the doctors came that night, they knew she could not live until morning. In the middle of the night, after she had been lying very still for a long time, apparently asleep, she suddenly opened her eyes and the nurse, bending over her, heard her whisper, while her face lighted up with a smile that had some of heaven's own gladness in it: "Oh, Jesus, I have found you at last!"
Then the tiny lips were hushed, but the questioning spirit had received an answer.
"I'LL NEVER STEAL AGAIN--IF FATHER KILLS ME FOR IT"
A friend of mine, seeking for objects of charity, got into the room of a tenement house. It was vacant. He saw a ladder pushed through the ceiling. Thinking that perhaps some poor creature had crept up there, he climbed the ladder, drew himself up through the hole and found himself under the rafters. There was no light but that which came through a bull's-eye in the place of a tile. Soon he saw a heap of chips and shavings, and on them a boy about ten years old.
"Boy, what are you doing there?"
"Hush! don't tell anybody--please, sir."
"What are you doing here?"
"Don't tell anybody, sir; I'm hiding."
"What are you hiding from?"
"Don't tell anybody, if you please, sir."
"Where's your mother?"
"Mother is dead."
"Where's your father?"
"Hush! don't tell him! don't tell him! but look here!" He turned himself on his face and through the rags of his jacket and shirt my friend saw the boy's flesh was bruised and the skin broken.
"Why, boy, who beat you like that?"
"Father did, sir."
"What did your father beat you like that for?"
"Father got drunk sir, and beat me 'cos I wouldn't steal."
"Did you ever steal?"
"Yes, sir, I was a street thief once."
"And why don't you steal any more?"
"Please, sir, I went to the mission school, and they told me there of God and of Heaven and of Jesus and they taught me, 'Thou shalt not steal,' and I'll never steal again, if father kills me for it. But, please sir, don't tell him."
"My boy, you mast not stay here; you will die. Now you wait patiently here for a little time; I'm going away to see a lady. We will get a better place for you than this."
"Thank you sir, but please, sir, would you like to hear me sing a little hymn?"
Bruised, battered, forlorn; friendless, motherless; hiding away from an infuriated father he had a little hymn to sing.
"Yes, I will hear you sing your little hymn." He raised himself on his elbow and then sang:
"Gentle Jesus, meek and mild, Look upon a little child; Suffer me to come to Thee. Fain would I to Thee be brought, Gracious Lord, forbid it not; In the Kingdom of Thy grace Give a little child a place."
"That's the little hymn, sir; Goodbye."
The gentleman went away, came back again in less than two hours and climbed the ladder. There were the chips and there was the little toy with one hand by his side and the other tucked in his bosom underneath the little ragged shirt--dead.
-John B. Gough.
SIX MONTHS' RECORD
Very tiny and pale the little girl looked as she stood before those three grave and dignified gentlemen. She had been ushered into Brother Gordon's study, where he was holding counsel with two of his deacons, and now, upon inquiry into the nature of her errand a little shyly she stated that she desired to be baptized.
"You are quite too young to be baptized," said one of the deacons, "you had better run home, and let us talk to your mother."
She showed no sign of running however, as her wistful blue eyes traveled from one face to another of the three gentlemen sitting in their comfortable chairs; she only drew a step nearer to Brother Gordon. He arose, and with gentle courtesy that ever marked him, placed her in a small chair close beside himself.
"Now, my child, tell me your name, and where you live."
"Winnie Lewis sir, and I live on ---- Street. I go to Sunday school."
"You do; and who is your teacher?"
"Miss ----. She is very good to me."
"And you want to be baptized."
The child's face glowed as she leaned eagerly toward him, clasping her hands, but all she said was, "Yes, sir."
"She cannot be more than six years old," said one of the deacons, disapp rovingly.
Brother Gordon said nothing, but quietly regarded the small, earnest face, now becoming a little downcast. "I am nine years old; older than I look," she said.
"It is unusual for anyone to be baptized so young," he said, thoughtfully, "We might pray for you though."
The brother did not seem to hear as he asked, "You know what being baptized means, Winnie?"
"Yes sir"; and she answered a few questions that proved she comprehended the meaning of the step she wished to take. She had slipped off her chair, and now stood close to Brother Gordon's knee.
"I want to obey all of God's Word. You said last Sunday, sir, that the lambs should be in the fold."
"I did," he answered, with one of his own lovely smiles. "It is surely not for us to keep them out. Go home now, my child. I will see about it."
The cloud lifted from the child's face, and her expression, as she passed through the door he opened for her, was one of entire peace.
The next week Winnie's desire was granted. Except for occasional information from Miss ---- that she was doing well, Brother Gordon heard no more of her for six months.
Then he was summoned to her funeral.
It was one of June's hottest days. As the minister made his way along the narrow street where Winnie had lived, he wished for a moment that he had asked his assistant to come in his place; but as he neared the house, the crowd filled him with wonder; progress was hindered, and as perforce he paused for a moment, his eye fell on a crippled lad crying bitterly as he sat on a low door-step.
"Did you know Winnie Lewis, my lad?" he asked.
"Know her, is it sir? Never a week passed but what she came twice or thrice with a picture or book, mayhaps an apple for me, an' it's owing to her an' no clargy at all that I'll ever follow her blessed footsteps to heaven. She'd read me from her own Bible whenever she came, an' now she's gone there'll be none at all to help me, for mother's dead an' dad's drunk, an' the sunshine's gone from Mike's sky intirely with Winnie, sir."
A burst of sobs choked the boy; Brother Gordon passed on, after promising him a visit very soon, and made his way through the crowd of tear-stained, sorrowful faces. The Brother came to a stop on the narrow passageway of the little house. A woman stood beside him drying her fast falling tears while a wee child hid his face in her skirts and wept.
"Was Winnie a relative of yours?" the brother asked.
"No, sir; but the blessed child was at our house constantly, and when Bob here was sick she nursed and tended him and her hymns quieted him when nothing else seemed to do it. It was just the same with all the neighbors. She took tracts to them all and has prayed with them ever since she was converted, which was three years ago, when she was but six years of age, sir. What she's been to us all no one but the Lord will ever know and now she lies there."
Recognized at last, Brother Gordon was led to the room where the child lay at rest, looking almost younger than when he had seen her in his study six months before. An old bent woman was crying aloud by the coffin.
"I never thought she'd go afore I did. She used regular to read an' sing to me every evening, an' it was her talk an' prayers that made a Christian of me: you could a'most go to heaven on one of her prayers."
"Mother, mother come away," said a young man putting his arm around her to lead her back. "You'll see her again."
"I know, I know: she said she'd wait for me at the gate," she sobbed as she followed him; "but I miss her sore now."
"It's the old lady as Mrs. Lewis lived with sir," said a young lad standing next to Brother Gordon, as one and another still pressed up towards the little casket for a last look at the beloved face. "She was a Unitarian, and she could not hold out against Winnie's prayers and pleadings to love Jesus, and she's been trusting in Him now for quite awhile. A mighty good thing it is, too."
"You are right, my lad," replied the minister. "Do you trust Him, too?"
"Winnie taught me, sir," the lad made answer, and sudden tears filled his eyes.
A silence fell on those assembled, and, marveling at such testimony, Brother Gordon proceeded with the service feeling as if there was little more he could say of one whose deeds thus spoke for her. Loving hands had laid flowers all around the child who had led them. One tiny lassie placed a dandelion in the small waxen fingers and now stood, abandoned to grief beside the still form that bore the impress of absolute purity. The service over, again and again was the coffin lid waved back by some one longing for another look, and they seemed as if they could not let her go.
The next day a good-looking man came to Brother Gordon's house and was admitted into his study.
"I am Winnie's uncle, sir," he said simply. "She never rested till she made me promise to get saved, and I've come."
"Will you tell me about it, my friend?" said Brother Gordon.
"Well, you see, sir, it was this way. Winnie always had been uncommonly fond of me; and so was I of her,"--his voice broke a little--"and I'd never been saved, never felt, as I believed, quite right. Yet I knew her religion was true enough, and a half hour before she died she had the whole family with her, telling them she was going to Jesus, and she took my hand between her little ones and said, 'Uncle John, you will love Jesus and meet me in Heaven, won't you?' What could I do? It broke me all up, and I've come to ask you, sir; what to do so's to keep my promise to Winnie, for she was an angel if there ever was one. Why, sir, we were all sitting with her in the dark, and there was a light about that child as though it shone from Heaven. We all noticed it, every one of us, and when she drew her last breath and left us, the radiance went, too; it was gone, quite gone."
The man wept like a child, and for a minute Brother Gordon did not speak. Within a month the uncle was thoroughly converted, baptized, and a sincere follower of Christ. In the evening after this baptism, Brother Gordon sat reading in his study, thinking of his little child. "It is truly a wonderful record! Would we had more like her. Why do we not help the children to get saved, letting them feel that they are really one with us? We need their help fully as much as they need ours. 'Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in Heaven.'"
--L. C. W. Copyright by B. Wood, 1895.
A CHILD'S FAITH
Johnny Hall was a poor boy. His mother worked hard for their daily bread. "Please give me something to eat, for I am very hungry," he said to her one evening.
His mother let the work that she was sewing fall upon her knees, and drew Johnny toward her. As she kissed him the tears fell fast on his face, while she said, "Johnny, my dear, I have not a penny in the world. There is not a morsel of bread in the house, and I cannot give you any tonight."
Johnny did not cry when he heard this. He was only a little fellow but he had learned the lesson of trusting in God's promises. He had great faith in the sweet words of Jesus when he said, "Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name he will give it you."
"Never mind, mama; I shall soon be asleep, and then I shall not feel hungry. But you must sit here and sew, hungry and cold. Poor mama!" he said, as he threw his arms around her neck and kissed her many times to comfort her.
Then he knelt down at his mother's knee to say his prayers after her. They said "Our Father," till they came to the petition, "Give us this day our daily bread." The way in which his mother said these words made Johnny's heart ache. He stopped and looked at her, and repeated with his eyes full of tears. "Give us this day our daily bread."
When they got through he looked at his mother and said, "Now mother, do not be afraid. We shall never be hungry any more. God is our Father. He has promised to hear us, and I am sure he will."
Then he went to bed. Before midnight he woke up, while his mother was still at work, and asked if the bread had come yet. She said "No; but I am sure it will come."
In the morning, before Johnny was awake, a gentleman called who wanted his mother to come to his house and take charge of his two motherless children. She agreed to go. He left some money with her. She went out at once to buy some things for breakfast; and when Johnny awoke, the bread was there, and all that he needed!
Johnny is now a man, but he has never wanted bread from that day; and whenever he was afraid since then, he has remembered God's promises, and trusted in him.
TRIUMPHANT DEATH OF A LITTLE CHILD
Some years ago we knew a Brother and Sister G----, who told of the remarkable experience of their little girl, only seven years old, who had a short time ago gone home to heaven. The parents were devoted Christians who had taught their children to love and honor God. During little Ella's illness she manifested wonderful patience and told of her love for Jesus. The morning she died she called her papa and mama to her side and said: "I have been in heaven all night. My room is full of angels and Jesus is here. I'm going to heaven." Then she asked them to promise to meet her there. As soon as they could control their feelings they made her the promise. Then she kissed them and called for her little brother and sister and other friends. She talked with each one in turn, telling them in substance, the same she had told her papa and mama, asking each one to make her the same promise, and kissing each one good-bye. That was a touching scene. Those who were there said it seemed more like heaven than earth to be in her presence. In the midst of many tears all promised her they would surely meet her in that bright and beautiful home to which she was going. Just before she died she asked her mama to dress her in white and also to dress her doll in white and put it by her side in her coffin. Then she folded her own little hands and closed her eyes and said, "Jesus is calling me and I must go now. Good-bye," and she was gone.
Little Ella's death was glorious and she is not the only one that has left us such bright, joyous testimony. We have ourselves known of many children and older ones who had quite similar experiences. And though we may not all see, before we die, all that Ella saw, if we love Jesus and do what he asks us to, he will surely fulfill to each of us his promise: "I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also."
THE CHILD'S PRAYER
Into her chamber went A little girl one day, And by a chair she knelt, And thus began to pray:--
"Jesus, my eyes I close, Thy form I cannot see; If Thou art near me, Lord, I pray Thee to speak to me."
A still, small voice she heard within her soul-- "What is it child? I hear thee; tell the whole."
"I pray thee, Lord," she said, "That Thou wilt condescend To tarry in my heart And ever be my Friend.
"The path of life is dark, I would not go astray; Oh, let me have Thy hand To lead me in the way."
"Fear not; I will not leave thee, child, alone." She thought she felt a soft hand press her own.
"They tell me, Lord, that all The living pass away; The aged soon must die, And even children may.
"Oh, let my parents live Till I a woman grow; For if they die, what can A little orphan do?"
"Fear not, my child; whatever ill may come I'll not forsake thee till I bring thee home."
Her little prayer was said, And from her chamber now She passed forth with the light Of heaven upon her brow.
"Mother, I've seen the Lord, His hand in mine I felt, And, oh, I heard Him say, As by my chair I knelt--
"'Fear not, my child; whatever ill may come I'll not forsake thee till I bring thee home.'"
THE CAT CAME BACK
Jimmy was lying on an old cot out in the orchard, getting some of the nice spring sunshine on his thin body. There was an anxious frown on his face now, and every little while he would turn on his side, look through the orchard, and call "Kittv kitty! kitty! Annette, Come, Ann-ette."
But Annette did not come. His mother came and reminded him that Annette was very old indeed, and it might be that she would never come again.
"She was here yesterday, Mother," he answered her, and the big tears came to his eyes "She felt perfectly fine then."
"I know, but she's an old cat. She never strays away of her own accord, and certainlv no one would steal an old blind cat."
Later on during the day a man came walking up to their house. He introduced himself as the new neighbor who just moved across the little creek. He made inquiries as to where he could buy fresh vegetables and milk. And just as he was about to leave he remarked, "I did a strange thing early this morning. There was an old cat came over to my place. One ear was almost gone and it was blind. I'm not much of a hand to make way with things, but I felt so sorry for that poor old animal that I killed it."
"Oh!" With a strangled sob Jimmy quickly left the room.
His mother explained to the man it had been their old pet. He was very sorry, but of course that did not bring the cat back.
"When I saw it, I just banged it over the head with a stick and then buried it. You will never know how badly I feel about it."
When he was gone, mother went out to find Jimmy and comfort him. He was out in the orchard on his knees. Quietly she went up and knelt beside him, slipping her arm about his shoulder.
He turned to her at once. "Mother, there's something funny about Annette. I've been praying and I feel all happy inside. It's just as if she wasn't dead at all!"
"What would we ever do without our Comforter, son?" she said. "He does help us bear our burdens in a wonderful way."
"I'll say he does. This morning I felt so bad I didn't know what to do, and then when that man said--he had killed Annette--I thought I just could not stand it. And here I am happy as anything again. And just because I took it all to Jesus. I think Annette is all right now."
"She was very old, son. It wouldn't have been much longer anyway. Why--why--Jimmy!"
But Jimmy was running swiftly across the field toward an old blind cat that was staggering in his direction.
Apparently the new neighbor had only stunned the cat and she had dug her way out of the shallow hole and come home again.
It was years before she really died, and long before she presented Jimmy with a very tiny kitten with two whole ears and two very bright eyes.
This story may sound strange to you, so perhaps I had better add that it is really true.
--Mary M. Naylor.
HOW GOD ANSWERED DONALD'S PRAYER
God often uses children to win grown folks for Christ. Little children not only have a deep faith but a childlike trust in believing that God answers their prayers. "All that ye ask in my name, believing, that ye shall receive."
As a young girl, I went to Sunday School and learned about Jesus. Although I knew about my Savior and what He had done to save me, yet I never accepted Him as my own Redeemer and Friend.
As years went by, I went into sin and shared in the common sins of worldly people. I knew better than to do the things I did, but sin is a miry clay pulling its victims down deeper and deeper. For ten years I never entered a church house except to attend my father's funeral. I saw him go into eternity without being able to point him to the "Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world."
During these years I had married and God had given us a dear little boy. Donald began to attend Sunday School early in years. Often on Sunday mornings he would get ready for Sunday School after a sleepless night. Wild parties were a part of the ungodly life we lived in our home. Sometimes I took him to the church house door and there he would beg me to come in and meet the Christian people who, he said, would be so glad to see me.
Donald learned much of the Scriptures. He would pray and ask God's blessings at the table. In Aug. 1932 we were living in Minneapolis. One evening in particular I shall not forget. I was in an apartment below the one in which we lived, partaking in a drunken party. Donald was then 12 years old. He suffered over my sins and came to the door to call me. I promised him to come up soon, but I continued on for some hours with the drunken crowd. When I did come up to our apartment I found Donald on his knees by his bed with his Testament and an old hymn book of my mother-in-law's. The books were open on the bed. He looked up through his tears and said, "Mother, I am praying for you." I looked at the Testament and hymnal which were wet with tears that he had shed for his ungodly mother. On September 15th, following this experience I went to a mission. That night a group of Christians united in asking God for my soul. When the song, "Lord, I'm coming home," was sung after the service I made my way to the altar. While kneeling there I felt someone very close to my side. It was Donald who was praying for his mother. God heard my prayer to be saved. He was merciful and washed away my sins. Psalm 51 has become precious to me.
God saved me for service. I marvel at his grace and mercy toward me. I cannot cease to thank Him for picking me up out of the miry clay. I am thankful also for my little boy who never ceased to pray for his mother. Now, my life is in God's hands. I want to help others find the Savior. I am especially burdened for others in the bondage of sin as I was. But even more than that, I am burdened for children who have no opportunity of knowing Jesus as their personal Savior.