By S.B. Shaw
REVIVALS VS. FAIRS-WONDERS OF PRAYER.
The Methodist Preachers' Meeting of Boston was well attended last Monday, and Rev. W.N. Brodbeck, D.D., the pastor of the Tremont-street Church of this city thrilled the brethren with an address on "The relation of the ministers to revivals," during which he pointedly referred to church fairs and festivals as barriers to revivals.
He declared that some ministers and churches would never have a revival, because they would not do the hard work, and make the sacrifice essential to secure said results
At Urbana, Ohio, he began revival services, but at first only doubtful characters came to the altar, in whom the public had no confidence. Many were offended, and some said: "Do you know those people that are coming to the altar?
He replied: "Yes, I know them; they are immortal souls for whom Christ died." When the meetings had run three weeks, one of his leading members came to him and said : " I think it is time these meetings were stopped we have held them three weeks, and we want to hold a fair, and have some entertainments "
The pastor firmly and promptly replied: "You may do as you please, but these meetings will not stop."
His heart was broken, and so was the heart of one of the devout women members. They expressed their feelings to each other and parted. They both spent the night in prayer, and at 10 o'clock the next morning, the pastor gained the evidence that his prayers were answered. After dinner he went out, and met the devout lady on the street, her face shining with the glory of God. She said: "The victory is coming."
"How do you know?"
"I got the evidence at 10 o'clock this morning, after spending a whole night in prayer."
This was the very time that the pastor gained the evidence. That very night, while the pastor was preaching, a young man arose and came to the altar; others followed, so that the pastor had to stop preaching. God was among the people in power; the church was quickened, backsliders were reclaimed, hundreds of sinners were converted. Places of amusement and saloons were closed. The face of the community was changed, and 275 converts joined that one church, and the fair was not held. All because they refused to have the fair. Oh, for more nights of prayer! Oh, for more agony of soul for perishing sinners! Oh! For more of the mind of Christ! Then would revivals prevail, and thousands would be converted to God. -- Christian Witness.
AN ARMY MIRACULOUSLY DELIVERED.
We clip the following from an epistle of the Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, who was born in the year 121, and died in the year 180, as found in Vol. 2, of the "Anti-Nicene Christian Library." -- Editor.
The Emperor Ceasar Marcus Aurelius Antonius, to the people of Rome, and to the sacred senate, greeting: I explained to you my grand design, and what advantages I gained, on the confines of Germany, with much labor and suffering, in consequence of the circumstance that I was surrounded by the enemy; I myself being shut up in Carauntum by seventy-four cohorts, nine miles off. And the enemy being at hand, the scouts pointed out to us, and our general Pompeianus showed us, that there was close on us a mass of a mixed multitude of 977,000 men, which, indeed, we saw; and I was shut up by this vast host, having with me only a battalion composed of the first, tenth, double and marine legions.
Having then examined my own position, and my host, with respect to the vast mass of barbarians and of the enemy, I quickly betook myself to prayer to the gods of my country. But being disregarded by them, I summoned those who among us go by the name of Christians. And having made inquiry, I discovered a great number and vast host of them, and raged against them, which was by no means becoming; for afterwards I learned their power. Wherefore they began the battle, not by preparing weapons, nor arms, nor bugles; for such preparation is hateful to them, on account of the God they bear about in their conscience. Therefore it is probable that those whom we suppose to be atheists, have God as their ruling power entrenched in their conscience. For having cast themselves on the ground, they prayed not only for me, but also for the whole army as it stood, that they might be delivered from the present thirst and famine. For during five days we had got no water, because there was none; for we were in the heart of Germany and in the enemy's territory. And simultaneously with their casting themselves on The ground, and praying to God (a God of whom I am ignorant), water poured from heaven upon us, most refreshingly cool, but upon the enemies of Rome a withering hail. And immediately we recognized the presence of God following on the prayer-a God unconquerable and indestructible. Founding upon this, then, let us pardon such as are Christians, lest they pray for and obtain such a weapon against ourselves. And I counsel that no such person be accused on the ground of his being a Christian. But if any one be found laying to the charge of a Christian that he is a Christian, I desire that it be made manifest that he who is accused as a Christian, and acknowledges that he is one, is accused of nothing else than only this, that he is a Christian; but that he who arraigns him be burned alive. And I further desire, that he who is entrusted with the government of the province shall not compel the Christian, who confesses and certifies such a matter, to retract; neither shall he commit him. And I desire that these things be confirmed by a degree of the senate. And I command this my edict to be published in the Forum of Trajan, in order that it may be read. The prefect Vitrasius Pollio will see that it be transmitted to all the provinces round about, and that no one who wishes to make use of or to possess it be hindered from obtaining a copy from the document I now publish.
She was a clear-eyed, fresh-cheeked little maiden, living on the banks of the great Mississippi, the oldest of four children and mother's 'little woman' always. They called her so because of her quiet, matronly care of the younger Mayfields -- that was the father's name. Her own name was the beautiful one of Elizabeth, but they shortened it to Bess. She was thirteen when one day Mr. Mayfield and his wife were called to the nearest town, six miles away. "Be mother's little woman, dear," said Mrs. Mayfield, as she kissed the rosy face. Her husband added: "I leave the children in your care, Bess; be a little mother to them."
Bess waved her old sun-bonnet vigorously, and held up the baby Rose, that she might watch them to the last. Old Daddy Jim and Mammy had been detailed by Mr. Mayfield to keep an unsuspected watch on the little nestlings, and were to sleep at the house. Thus two days went by, when Daddy Jim and Mammy begged to be allowed to go to the quarters -- where the negroes lived, to see their daughter "Jinnie, who was pow'ful bad wid the toothache." They declared they would be back by evening, so Bess was willing. She put the little girls to bed, and persuaded Rob to go; then seated herself by the table with her mother's work-basket, in quaint imitation of Mrs. Mayfield's industry in the evening time. But what was this? Her feet touched something cold! She bent down and felt around with her hand. A pool of water was spreading over the floor. She knew what it was; the Mississippi had broken through the levee. What should she do? Mammy's stories of how houses had been washed away and broken in pieces, were in her mind. "Oh, if I had a boat! " she exclaimed, "but there isn't anything of the sort on the place." She ran wildly out to look for Mammy; and stumbled over something sitting near the edge of the porch.
A sudden inspiration took her. Here was her boat! a very large, old-fashioned, oblong tub. The water was now several inches deep on the porch, and she contrived to half-float, half-roll the tub into the room.
Without frightening the children she got them dressed in the warmest clothes they had. She lined the oblong tub with a blanket, and made ready bread and cold meat left from supper. With Rob's assistance she dragged the tub up stairs. There was a single large window in the room, and they set the directly by it, so that when the water rose the tub would float out. There was no way for the children to reach the roof, which was a very steep, inclined one. It did not seem long before the water had very nearly risen to the top of the stairs leading from below. Bess flung the window open, and made Rob get into their novel boat; then she lifted in Kate, and finally baby Rose, who began to cry, was given into Rob's arms, and now the little mother, taking the basket of food, made ready to enter too, but lo! There was no room for her with safety to the rest. Bess paused a moment, drew a long breath, and kissed the children quietly. She explained to Rob that he must guard the basket, and that they must sit still. "Good-bye, dears. Say a prayer for sister, Rob. If you ever see father and mother, tell them I took care of you." Then the water seized the insecure vessel, and out into the dark night it floated.
The next day Mr. Mayfield, who, with his neighbors, scoured the broad lake of eddying water that represented the Mississippi, discovered the tub lodged in the branches of a sycamore with the children weeping and chilled, but safe.
And Bess? Ah, where was Bess, the "little mother," who in that brief moment resigned herself to death? They found her later, floating on the water with her brave childish face turned to the sky; and as strong arms lifted her into the boat, the tears from every eye paid worthy tribute to the "little mother." -- Detroit Free Press.
THE QUAKER WHO REFUSED TO FIGHT.
We clip the following from Lossing's Pictorial Field Book of the Civil War, Vol. 3, p. 79. It is certainly a remarkable evidence of God's power to deliver them that put their trust in him. -- Editor.
There were some Friends or Quakers from South Carolina in the battle at Gettysburg, who were forced into the ranks, but who, from the beginning to the end, refused to fight. They were from Guilford county, which was mostly settled by their sect, and as the writer can testify by personal observation, presented the only region in that state where the evidences of thrift, which free labor gave in a land cursed by slavery, might be seen. These excellent 4 people were robbed and plundered by the Confederates without mercy. About a dozen of them were in Lee's army at Gettysburg and were among the prisoners captured there. They had steadily borne practical testimony to the strength of their principles in opposing war. They were subjected to great cruelties. One of them who re-fused to fight was ordered by his colonel to be shot. A squad of twelve men were drawn up to shoot him. They loved him as a brother because of his goodness, and when ordered to fire every man refused. The remainder of the company was called up and ordered to shoot the first twelve if they did not execute the order. The intended victim folded his hands, and raised his eyes, and said: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." The entire company threw down their muskets and refused to obey the order. Their exasperated captain, with a horrid oath, tried to shoot him with his pistol. The cap would not explode. Then he dashed upon him with his horse, but the meek conscript was unharmed. Just then a charge of some of Mead's troops drove the Confederates from their position, and the Quaker became a prisoner. He and his co-religionists were sent to Fort Delaware, when the fact was made known to some of their sect in Philadelphia. It was laid before the President, and he ordered their release.
A CHILD'S PRAYER ANSWERED.
The following touching incident, which drew tears from eyes, was related to me a short time since, by a dear friend who had it from an eye-witness of the same. It occurred in the great city of New York, on one of the coldest days in February.
A little boy about ten years old was standing before a shoe-store in Broadway, barefooted, peering through the window, and shivering with cold.
A lady riding up the street in a beautiful carriage, drawn by horses finely caparisoned, observed the little fellow in his forlorn condition, and immediately ordered the driver to draw up and stop in front of the store. The lady, richly dressed in silk, alighted from her carriage, went quickly to the boy, and said: " My little fellow, why are you looking so earnestly in that window?"
"I was asking God to give me a pair of shoes," was the reply. The lady took him by the hand and went into the store, and asked the proprietor if he would allow one of his clerks to go and buy half a dozen pair of stockings for the boy. He readily assented. She then asked him if he could give her a basin of water and a towel, and he replied: "Certainly," and quickly brought them to her.
She took the little fellow to the back part of the store, and, removing her gloves, knelt down, washed those little-feet and dried them with the towel.
By this time the young man had returned with the stockings. Placing a pair upon his feet, she purchased and gave him a pair of shoes, and tying up the remaining pairs of stockings, gave them to him, and patting him on the head said: "I hope, my little fellow, that you now feel more comfortable."
As she turned to go, the astonished lad caught her hand, and looking up in her face, with tears in his eyes, answered her question with these words: "Are you God's wife? "-- Parish Register.
"SEND FOOD TO JOHN"
On the summit of Washington mountain, overlooking the Housatonic valley, stood a hut, the home of John Barry, a poor charcoal-burner, whose family consisted of his wife and himself. His occupation brought him in but a few dollars, and when cold weather came he had managed to get together only a small provision for the winter. The fall of 1874, after a summer of hard work, he fell sick and was unable to keep his fires going. So, when the snow of December, 1874, fell, and the drifts had shut off communication with the village at the foot of the mountain, John and his wife were in great straits.
Their entire stock of food consisted of only a few pounds of salt pork and a bushel of potatoes; sugar, flour, coffee and tea had, early in December, given out; and the chances for replenishing the larder were slim indeed. The snow-storms came again, and the drifts deepened. All the roads, even in the valley, were impassable, and no one thought of trying to open the mountain highways, which, even in summer, were only occasionally traveled; and none gave the old man and his wife a thought.
December 15th came, and with it the heaviest fall of snow experienced in Berkshire County in many years. The food of the old couple was now reduced to a day's supply, but John did not yet despair. He was a Christian and a God-fearing man, and His promises were remembered; and so, when evening came, and the north-east gale was blowing, and the fierce snow-storm was raging, John and his wife were praying and asking for help.
In Sheffield village, ten miles away, lived Deacon Brown, a well-to-do farmer fifty years old, who was known for his piety and consistent deportment, both as a man and a Christian. The deacon and his wife had gone to early, and, in spite of the storm without, were sleeping soundly, when with a start the deacon awoke, and said to his wife: "Who spoke? Who's there?" "Why," said his wife, "no one is here but you and me; what is the matter with you?" "I heard a voice," said the deacon, "saying, 'Send food to John." " Nonsense," replied Mrs. Brown; "go to sleep. You have been dreaming." The deacon laid his head on his pillow, and was asleep in a minute. Soon he started up again, and waking his wife, said "There, I heard that voice again, 'Send food to John.'"
"Well, well! " said Mrs. Brown. "Deacon, you are not well; your supper has not agreed with you. Lie down and try to sleep." Again the deacon closed his eyes, and again the voice was heard: "Send food to John." This time the deacon was thoroughly awake. "Wife," said he, "whom do we know named John who needs food?" "No one I remember," replied Mrs. Brown, "unless it be John Barry, the old charcoal-burner on the mountain."
"That's it," exclaimed the deacon. "Now I remember, when I was at the store in Sheffield the other day, Clark, the merchant, speaking of John Barry, said: 'I wonder if the old man is alive, for it is six weeks since I saw him, and he has not yet laid in his winter stock of groceries. ' It must be old John is sick and wanting food."
So saying, the good deacon arose and proceeded to dress himself. "Come, wife," said he, "waken our boy Willie and tell him to feed the horses, and get ready to go with me; and do you pack up in the two largest baskets you have, a good supply of food, and get us an early breakfast; for ram going up the mountain to carry the food I know John Barry needs."
Mrs. Brown, accustomed to the sudden impulses of her good husband, and believing him to be always in the right, cheerfully complied; and after a hot breakfast, Deacon Brown and his son Willie, a boy of nineteen, hitched up the horses to the double sleigh, and then, with a month's supply of food, and a "Good-bye, mother," started at five o'clock on that cold December morning for a journey, that almost any other than Deacon Brown and his son Willie would not have dared to undertake.
The north-east storm was still raging, and the snow falling and drifting fast; but on, on went the stout, well-fed team on its errand of mercy, while the occupants of the sleigh, wrapped up in blankets and extra buffalo robes, urged the horses through the drifts and in the face of the storm. That ten mile's ride, which required in the summer hardly an hour or two, was not finished until the deacon's watch showed that five hours had passed.
At last they drew up in front of the hut where the poor, trusting Christian man and woman were on their knees pray-ing for help to Him who is the "hearer and answerer of prayer;" and as the deacon reached the door, he heard the voice of supplication, and then he knew that the message which awakened him from sleep was sent from heaven. He knocked at the door, it was opened, and we can imagine the joy of the old couple, when the generous supply of food was carried in, and the thanksgivings that were uttered by the starving tenants of that mountain hut. --Albany Journal.
"KISS ME, MAMMA."
The child was so sensitive, so like that little shrinking plant that curls at the breath, and shuts its heart from the light.
The only beauties she possessed were an exceedingly transparent skin, and the most mournful, large blue eyes. I had been trained by a very stern, strict, conscientious mother, but I was a hard plant, rebounding after every shock; misfortune could not daunt, though discipline tamed me. I fancied, alas! that I must go through the same routine with this delicate creature; so one day, when she had displeased me exceedingly by repeating an offense, I was determined to punish her severely. I was very serious all day, and upon sending her to her little couch I said: "Now, my daughter, to punish you, and show you how very, very naughty you have been, I shall not kiss you tonight."
She stood looking at me, astonishment personified, with her great mournful eyes wide open-I suppose she had forgotten her misconduct till then; and I left her with big tears dropping down her cheeks, and her little red lips quivering. Presently I was sent for "Oh, mamma! You will kiss me; I can't go to sleep if you don't!" she sobbed, every tone of her voice trembling, and she held out her little hands.
Now came the struggle between love and what I falsely termed duty. My heart said give her a kiss of peace; my stern nature urged me to persist in my correction, that I might impress the fault upon her mind. This was the way I had been trained, till I was a most submissive child ; and I remembered how I had often thanked my mother since for her straightforward course.
I knelt by the bedside. "Mother can't kiss you, Ellen,"
I whispered, though every word choked me. Her hand touched mine; it was very hot, but I attributed it to her excitement. She turned her little grieving face to the wall; I blamed myself as the fragile form shook with self-suppressed sobs, and saying: "Mother hopes little Ellen will learn to mind her after this," left the room for the night. Alas! in my desire to be severe I forgot to be forgiving.
It must have been twelve o'clock when I was awakened by my nurse. Apprehensive, I ran eagerly to the child's chamber; I had had a fearful dream. "Ellen did not know me. She was sitting up, crimsoned from the forehead to the throat, her eyes so bright that I almost drew back aghast at their glances.
From that night a raging fever drank up her life; and what think you was the incessant plaint that poured into my anguished heart? "Oh! Kiss me, mamma, do kiss me; I can't go to sleep. I won't be naughty if you'll only kiss me! Oh! Kiss me, dear mamma; I can't go to sleep."
Little angel! She did go to sleep one gray morning, and she never woke again, never! Her hand was locked in mine, and all my veins grew icy with its gradual chill. Faintly the light faded out of the beautiful eyes; whiter and whiter grew the tremulous lips. She never knew me; but with her last breath she whispered: "I will be good, mamma, if you'll only kiss me."
Kiss her! God knows how passionate but unavailing were my kisses upon her cheek and lips after that fatal night. God knows how wild were my prayers that she might know, if but only once, that I kissed her. God knows how I would have yielded up my very life, could I have asked forgiveness of that sweet child.
Grief is unavailing now! She lies in her little tomb. There is a marble urn at the head, and a rose bush at her feet; there grow sweet summer flowers; there waves the grass there birds sing their matins and their vespers; there the blue sky smiles down to-day, and there lies buried the freshness of my heart. -- Ladies' Home Journal.
THE CONVERTED INFIDEL.
Some two miles from the village of C., on a road that wound in among the hills, stood a great white house. It was beautifully situated upon a gentle slope facing the south, and overlooking a most charming landscape. Away in the distance a mountain lifted itself against the clear blue sky. At its base rolled a broad, deep river. Nestling down in the beautiful valley that intervened, reposed the charming little village, with its neat cottages, white church, little red school- house, and one or two mansions that told of wealth. Here and there in the distance a pond was visible, while farmhouses and humbler dwellings dotted the picture in every direction.
Such was the home of three promising children, who, for the last three months, had been constant members of the village Sabbath-school. The eldest was a girl of some fourteen years. John, the second, was a bright, amiable lad of eleven. The other, the little rosy cheeked laughing Ella, with her golden curls and sunny smile, had just gathered the roses of her ninth summer.
The father of these interesting children was the rich Captain Lowe. He was a man of mark, such, in many respects, as are often found in rural districts. Strictly moral, intelligent and well read, kind-hearted and, naturally benevolent, he attracted all classes of community to himself, and wielded great influence in his town.
But, not withstanding all these excellences, Mr. Lowe was an infidel. He ridiculed, in his good-natured way, the idea of prayer, looked upon conversion as a solemn farce, and believed the most of professing Christians were well-meaning but deluded people. He was well-versed in all the subtle arguments of infidel writers, had studied the Bible quite carefully, and could argue against it in the most plausible manner. Courteous and kind to all, few could be offended at his frank avowal of infidel principles, or resent his keen, half-jovial sarcasms upon the peculiarities of some weak-minded, though sincere members of the church.
But Mr. Lowe saw and acknowledged the saving influence of the morality of Christianity. He had, especially, good sense enough to confess that the Sabbath-school was a noble moral enterprise. He was not blind to the fact, abundantly proved by all our criminal records, that few children trained under her influences ever grow up to vice and crime. Hence his permission for his children to attend the Sabbath-school.
Among the many children who kneeled as penitents at the altar in the little vestry, one bright, beautiful Sabbath, were Sarah Lowe and her brother and sister. It was a moving sight to see that gentle girl, with a mature thoughtfulness far beyond her years, take that younger brother and sister by the hand, and kneel with them at the mercy-seat-a sight to heighten the joy of angels.
When the children had told their mother what they had done, and expressed a determination to try and be Christians, she, too, was greatly moved She had been early trained in the principles and belief of Christianity, and had never renounced her early faith. Naturally confiding, with a yield-ing, conciliatory spirit, she had never obtruded her sentiments upon the notice of her husband, nor openly opposed any of his peculiar views. But now, when her little ones gathered around her and spoke of their new love for the Savior, their joy, and peace, and hope, she wept. All the holy influences of her own childhood and youth seemed breathing upon her heart. She remembered the faithful sermons of the old pastor whose hands had baptized her.
She remembered, too, the family altar, and the prayers which were offered morning and evening by her now sainted father. She remembered the councils of her good mother, now in heaven. All these memories came crowding back upon her, and under their softening influence she almost felt herself a child again. When Mr. Lowe first became aware of the change in his children, he was sorely puzzled to know what to do. He had given his consent for them to attend the Sabbath-school, and should he now be offended because they had yielded to its influence? Ought he not rather to have expected this? And, after all, would what they called religion make them any worse children? Though at first quite disturbed in his feelings, he finally concluded upon second thought to say nothing to them upon the subject, but to let things go on as usual. But not so those happy young converts! They could not long hold their peace. They must tell their father also what they had experienced. Mr. Lowe heard them, but he made no attempt to ridicule their simple faith, as had been his usual course with others. They were his children, and none could boast of better. Still, he professed to see in their present state of mind nothing but youthful feeling, ex-cited by the peculiar circumstances of the last few weeks. But when they began in their childish ardor to exhort him also to seek the Lord, he checked their simple earnestness with a peculiar sternness which said to them " The act must not be repeated."
The next Sabbath the father could not prevent a feeling of loneliness as he saw his household leave for church. The three children, with their mother, and Joseph, the hired boy, to drive and to take care of the horse, all packed into the old commodious carriage, and started off. Never before had he such peculiar feelings as when he watched them slowly descending the hill.
To dissipate these emotions he took a dish of salt and started up the hill to a "mountain pasture," where his young cattle were enclosed for the season. It was a beautiful day in October, that queen month of the year. A soft melancholy breathed in the mild air of the mellow "Indian summer," and the varying hues of the surrounding forests, and the signs of decay seen upon every side, all combined to deepen the emotions which the circumstances of the morning had awakened.
His sadness increased; and as his path opened out into a bright, sunny spot far up on the steep hillside, he seated himself upon a mossy knoll, and thought. Before him lay the beautiful valley, guarded on either side by its lofty hills, and watered by its placid river. It was a lovely picture; and as his eye rested upon the village, nestling down among its now gorgeous shade-trees and scarlet shrubbery, he could not help thinking of that company who were then gathered in the little church, with its spire pointing heavenward, nor of asking himself the question "Why are they there?"
While thus engaged, his attention was attracted by the peculiar chirping of a ground-sparrow near by. He turned, and but a few feet from him saw a large black snake, with its head raised about a foot above its body, which lay coiled upon the ground. Its jaws were distended, its forked tongue playing around its open mouth, flashing in the sunlight like a small lambent flame, while its eyes were intently fixed upon the bird. There was a clear, sparkling light about those eyes that was fearful to behold -- they fairly flashed with their peculiar bending fascination. The poor sparrow was fluttering around a circle of some few feet in diameter, the circle becoming smaller at each gyration of the infatuated bird. She appeared conscious of her danger, and yet unable to break the spell that bound her. Nearer and still nearer she fluttered her little wings to those open jaws; smaller and smaller grew the circle, till at last, with a quick, convulsive cry, she fell into the mouth of the snake.
As Mr. Lowe watched the bird, he became deeply interested in her fate. He started a number of times to destroy the reptile, and thus liberate the sparrow from her danger, but an unconquerable curiosity to see the end restrained him. All day long the scene just described was before him. He could not forget it or dismiss it from his mind. The last cry of that poor little bird sinking into the jaws of death was constantly ringing in his ears, and the sadness of the morning increased.
Returning to his house, he seated himself in his library and attempted to read. What could be the matter? Usually he could command his thoughts at will, but now he could think of nothing but the scene on the mountain, or the little company in the house of God. Slowly passed the hours, and many times did he find himself, in spite of his resolution not to do so, looking down the road for the head of his dapple gray to emerge from the valley. It seemed a long time before the rumbling of the wheels was at length heard upon the bridge which crossed the mountain stream, followed in a few moments by the old carry-all creeping slowly up the hill.
The return of the family somewhat changed the course of his thoughts. They did not say anything to him about the good meeting they had enjoyed, and who had been converted since the last Sabbath; but they talked it all over among themselves, and how could he help hearing? He learned all about "how good farmer Haskell talked," and "how humble and devoted Esquire Wiseman appeared," and "how happy Benjamin and Samuel were;" though he seemed busy with his book, and pretended to take no notice of what was said.
It was, indeed, true then that the old lawyer had become pious. He had heard the news before, but did not believe it. Now he had learned it as a fact. That strong-minded man, who had been a skeptic all his days, had ridiculed and opposed religion, was now a subject of "the children's revival." What could it mean? Was there something in religion, after all? Could it be that what these poor fanatics, as he had always called them, said about the future world was correct? Was there a heaven, and a hell, and a God of justice? Were his darling children right, and was he alone wrong? Such were the thoughts of the boasted infidel, as he sat there listening to the half-whispered conversation of his happy children.
Little Ella came and climbed to her long-accustomed place upon her father's knee, and throwing her arms around his neck, laid her glowing cheek, half hidden by the clustering curls, against his own. He knew by her appearance she had something to say, but did not dare to say it. To remove this fear, he began to question her about her Sabbath-school. He inquired after her teacher, and who were her classmates, what she learned, etc. Gradually the shyness wore away, and the heart of the innocent, praying child came gushing forth. She told him all that had been done that day-what her teacher had said of the prayer-meeting at noon, and who spoke, and how many went forward for prayers. Then folding her arms more closely around his neck, and kissing him tenderly, she added:
"O father, I do wish you had been there!"
"Why do you wish I had been there, Ella?"
"O, just to see how happy Nellie Winslow looked while her grandfather was telling us children how much he loved the Savior, and how sorry he was that he did not give his heart to his heavenly Father when he was young. Then he laid his hand on Nellie's head, who was sitting by his side, and said: "I thank God that he ever gave me a little praying granddaughter to lead me to the Savior." And, father, I never in all my life saw any one look so happy as Nellie did."
Mr. Lowe made no reply-how could he? Could he not see where the heart of his darling Ella was? Could he not see that by what she had told him about Esquire Wiseman and his pet Nellie, she meant he should understand how happy she should be if her father was a Christian? Ella had not said so in words - that was a forbidden subject - but the language of her earnest, loving look and manner was not to be mistaken; and the heart of the infidel father was deeply stirred. He kissed the rosy cheek of the lovely girl, and taking his hat left the house. He walked out into the field. He felt strangely. Before he was aware of the fact, he found his infidelity leaving him, and the simple, artless religion of childhood winning its way to his heart. Try as hard as he might, he could not help believing that his little Ella was a Christian. There was a reality about her simple faith and ardent love that was truly "the evidence of things not seen." What should he do? Should he yield to this influence, and be led by his children to Christ? What I, Captain Lowe, the boasted infidel overcome by the weakness of excited childhood! The thought roused his pride and with an exclamation of impatience at his folly, he suddenly wheeled about, and retracing his steps, with altered appearance, he re-entered his house.
His wife was alone, with an open Bible before her. As he entered he saw her hastily wipe away a tear. In passing her, he glanced upon the open page, and his eye caught the words: "YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN! " They went like an arrow to his heart "TRUTH," said a voice within, with such fearful distinctness that he started at the fancied sound and the influence which he had just supposed banished from his heart returned with tenfold power. The strong man trembled. Leaving the sitting-room, he ascended the stairs leading to his chamber. Passing Sarah's room, a voice attracted his attention. It was the voice of prayer. He heard his own name pronounced, and he paused to listen.
"O Lord, save my dear father. Lead him to the Savior. Let him see that he must be born again. O, let not the serpent charm him! Save, O, save my dear father!
He could listen no longer. "Let not the serpent charm him!" And was he then like that helpless little bird, who, fluttering around the head of the serpent, fell at last into the jaws of death? The thought shot a wild torrent of newly awakened terror through his throbbing heart.
Hastening to his chamber he threw himself into a chair. He started! The voice of prayer again fell upon his ear. lie listened. Yes, it was the clear, sweet accents of his little pet. Ella was praying-was praying for him.
"O Lord, bless my dear father. Make him a Christian, and may he and dear mother be prepared for heaven."
Deeply moved, the father left the house and hastened to the barn. He would fain escape from those words of piercing power. They were like daggers in his heart. He entered the barn. Again he hears a voice. It comes stealing down from the hay-loft, in the rich silvery tones of his own noble boy. John had climbed up the ladder, and kneeling down upon the hay was praying for his father.
"O Lord, save my father!"
It was too much for the poor convicted man, and, rushing to the house, he fell, sobbing, upon his knees by the side of his wife and cried "O Mary, I am a poor, lost sinner! Our children are going to heaven, and I am going down to hell! O wife, is there mercy for a wretch like me?"
Poor Mrs. Lowe was completely overcome. She wept for joy. That her husband would ever be her companion in the way of holiness, she had never dared to hope. Yes, there was mercy for even them. "Come unto me, and find rest." Christ had said it, and her heart told her it was true. Together they would go to this loving Savior, and their little ones should show them the way.
The children were called in. They came from their places of prayer, where they had lifted up their hearts to that God who had said: "Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name he will give it to you." They had asked the Spirit's influence upon the hearts of their parents, and it had been granted. They gathered around their weeping, broken hearted father and penitent mother, and pointed them to the cross of Jesus. Long and earnestly they prayed, and wept, and agonized. With undoubting trust in the promises, they waited at the mercy-seat, and their prayers were heard.
Faith conquered. The Spirit came, and touched those penitent hearts with the finger of love; and then sorrow was turned to joy-their night, dark, and cheerless, and gloomy, was changed to a blessed day.
They arose from their knees, and Ella sprang to the arms of her father, and together they rejoiced in God. -- Rev. H.P. Andrews, in Christian Advocate
On board an English steamer, a little ragged boy, aged nine years, was discovered on the fourth day of the voyage out from Liverpool to New York, and carried before the first mate, whose duty it was to deal with such cases. When questioned as to his object in being stowed away, and who had brought him on board, the boy, who had a beautiful sunny face, that looked like the very mirror of truth, replied that his step-father did it, because he could not afford to keep him, nor pay his passage out to Halifax, where he had an aunt who was well off, and to whose house he was going.
The mate did not believe the story, in spite of the winning face and truthful accents of the boy. He had seen too much of stowaways to be easily deceived by them, he said and it was his firm conviction that the boy had been brought on board and provided with food by the sailors.
The little fellow was very roughly handled in consequence. Day by day he was questioned and requestioned, but always with the same result. He did not know a sailor on board, and his father alone had secreted and given him the food which he ate. At last the mate, wearied by the boy's persistence in the same story, and perhaps a little anxious to inculpate the sailors, seized him one day by the collar, and dragging him to the fore, told him that unless he told the truth, in ten minutes from that time he would hang from the yard-arm. He then made him sit down under it on the deck.
All around him were the passengers and sailors of the midday watch, and in front of him stood the inexorable mate, with chronometer in his hand, and the other officers of the ship by his side. It was a touching sight to see the pale, proud, scornful face of that noble boy; his head erect, his beautiful eyes, bright through the tears that suffused them.
When eight minutes had fled, the mate told him he had but two minutes to live, and advised him to speak the truth and save his life. But he replied with the utmost simplicity and sincerity, by asking the mate if he might pray. The mate said nothing, but nodded his head, and turned as pale as a ghost, and shook with trembling like a reed in the wind. And then all eyes turned on him, the brave and noble fellow this poor boy whom society owned not, and whose own step-father could not care for knelt with clasped hands and eyes upturned to heaven. There then occurred a scene as of Pentecost. Sobs broke from strong, hard hearts, as the mate sprang forward and clasped the boy to his bosom, and kissed him, and blessed him, and told him how sincerely he now believed his story, and how glad he was that he had been brave enough to face death, and be willing to sacrifice his life for the truth of his word. -- Illustrated Weekly Telegraph.