By S.B. Shaw
THE MIDNIGHT CONFLICT.
Shall I repeat a true story told me by the sufferer himself a few weeks ago? And may I repeat it, so far as memory serves me, in his own language? I can never forget the passionate energy of my friend, as he walked again in the darkened chambers of a wrecked life, and recalled the scene when alone he met the tempter. But to the story
"I left my New England home in boyhood. As I kissed my mother good-bye, she put her hand on either side of my cheeks, and said: "You are pure now, my son. Ever keep your soul sweet and clean, and never touch a glass of intoxicating liquor.' The pledge I then made to her I kept under strong temptations, and in circumstances that severely tried my good resolutions. Serving through the war, I came out with a cough that threatened quick-consumption. My physician recommended cod-liver oil and whiskey. I took his prescription. The former cured me of one disease; the latter brought on one of deeper and deadlier nature.
Yet I was not conscious of it, till one day a friend roused me with the words: "Major, you must be careful. You are bringing disgrace to your family." I was shocked, and resolved that this should never be said of me again; but I still pursued the vile way.
"A little later, my brother repeated the warning, and I pledged him that I would heed his kindly words. That pledge was broken. I had a delightful home, was blessed with wife and children, and to her wifely pleading I again said: "I'll drink no more," and went on to disgrace the name she bore.
"One morning as I passed the open door of my daughter's room, I saw her on her bended knees, and heard her sweet voice crying out: "O God, spare my father, and save him from a drunkard's grave." Then and there, I vowed before God that I would never drink again. I was drunk before night! A little later I was summoned to see a loving sister that was sick. I hastened to her bedside only to find in a darkened room her dead body. As I leaned over that marble form, and my tears fell on her cold cheeks, there, with clasped hands, alone with the dead, I told my God that the cup should never again soil my lips. In three days I was as bad as ever! At last, in a fit of desperation, I sent for my father and mother to visit my home, securing for them a palace-car, making their long journey as pleasant as possible.
They came to my charming home to meet their drunkard-son. The dear mother begged and prayed with and for me, that my purity might be restored. "After their return, with the echo of her agonizing petition sounding in my ears, I said: "I will once more take the pledge, and if broken now, I will go to the Pacific coast, leaving wife and children, to hide myself where they shall never hear of me again. "With this came the resolve to invite in a few friends to take one more social glass together, and then to sign the pledge. I sent to Boston for the choicest liquors, and one night when I had been left alone in the house, invited them in. For an hour I waited, and no one came. I paced the floor, and looked out into the moonlight, longing for their presence, that I might satisfy the appetite that began to clamor.
"And the clock struck nine, and no friends came. Then rushed into my soul visions of my childhood, and the voice of my mother sounded out: "'Keep your soul pure and clean, my son;" and her words of tenderness awakened memories that had long been sealed. I opened the Bible, and read: 'No drunkard shall inherit the kingdom of God." Ah! Does that mean me? Closing the book I paced the room, and longed for companionship, that these busy thoughts might be dispelled, and the clock struck ten. I listened for voices, but there was quiet everywhere save in my own tempest-tossed soul. Then it flashed upon me that alone I must meet the tempter, and alone take the promised pledge. I reached out my hand to unseal the bottle that never looked so attractive, when a voice seemed to sound. "Let it remain untouched-now is the decisive hour;" and again I paced the room, and again with greater force, appetite begged for satisfaction. The struggle began to be more bitter, the tempter made a heavier assault, the hour dragged wearily along, and the clock struck eleven. Then I felt that the next hour must be the point on which my destiny for eternity was poised. For I was impressed by the thought that if I could resist the tempter until midnight, in some way, I knew not how, God would bring to me a way of escape. Oh, how I longed to break the bottle, the contents of which were more attractive than anything on earth; and yet that voice sounded out: "Touch but a single glass, and you are lost."' Then said the tempter: "Why not drink just once? You have resolved tonight to take the pledge; it will be all right to indulge in a parting farewell to an old friend."
I again opened the Bible, and read: "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." I fell on my knees, and with the open Bible before me, and the bottle by my side, implored and prayed for strength to hold on till midnight. Oh! how appetite begged and clamored; and yet I was conscious that if I yielded it would be fatal, and my soul would be lost. The minutes dragged along, oh! so slowly, till eleven and a half o'clock, and the voice cried: "Only hold on till twelve, and you are safe." Fifteen minutes passed, and then came the sorest, bitterest conflict of soul that man ever experienced. I had been in the midst of great physical peril on the battlefield many a time, when death came on the right and on the left in fearful form, but never had been in such deadly danger as now; for it was a conflict with heaven on one side and hell on the other. One who has never been under the maddening control of a master passion cannot realize the agony that can be concentrated, into even a few moments; and so the bitterness of that last fifteen minutes seemed prolonged into hours. Can I hold out? Will this struggle end in life and peace? Will the tempter vanish, a defeated, baffled spirit, and leave me free? Five minutes more and the agony increased, as appetite begged and clamored with tenfold power. There pealed out on the still hour of the night the stroke of the distant clock: one-two-three-four-five-six-seven-eight-nine-ten-eleven-twelve! I leaped to my feet and shouted, Victory! Saved by the grace of God! The burden rolled into the open sepulchre, and I felt that I was saved, and saved forever. I went out on my back piazza, and held the bottle up in the moonlight, and looked at it as calmly as a mother would look at a sleeping child; and then, hurling it upon the pavement, fell upon my knees in glad thanksgiving, and then and there yielded my soul, my life, my all, to Him who had redeemed me with His precious blood. The final stroke of the midnight bell, as it heralded a new day, was the dawn of a new life for me. I was made conscious on the instant, my sins were washed away. From that hour to this I have had no taste or craving for liquor, and my life is devoted to scattering the leaves which shall be for the healing of the nations."
Such is the story of my friend, who, in a Western city, is today doing service for the Master. Years have passed since that midnight conflict, and his life has been one of consecration, and many a soul has been lifted and inspired by his burning, loving words:
"Touch not, taste not, handle not," even though it is placed to your lips under the seductive guise of "only a medicine." -- Congregationalist.
HEALED THROUGH FAITH.
"I am the Lord that healeth thee."
With a deep sense of gratitude to my Heavenly Father for my restoration to health, I write this testimony. I will begin with extracts from a statement of my condition at the time of my restoration, written by the attending physician thinking it will be more satisfactory than one of my own.
"Mrs. Claghorn came to me for treatment, first on June 6, 1885, then afterwards during August, 1885, and almost continuously thereafter, until January 26, 1886 -- the day of her sudden and marvelous restoration to health. Her symptoms were frequent chills, pains in the bones, pains in the back, inability to sleep, and at times terrible paroxysms of tonic and clonic spasms, strongly marked opisthotones, cramping of limbs, coldness of extremities, intense pain at the base of the brain, intolerance of light, sometimes complete unconsciousness; the paroxysms being frequently followed by partial paralysis of the right side. She also suffered from a large cellulitis tumor. At times the case responded readily to the treatment given; at other times, she grew rapidly worse for several days; the attack culminating in a paroxysm, followed by more or less paralysis. Such an attack occurred from the 21st to the 25th of January, 1886, although not so severe as some she had had. The morning of the 26th, she was unable to turn herself in bed, and had not stood upon her feet for five months. The details of her sudden restoration, which occurred that afternoon, she can best give in her own language. She rode about a mile the next evening, in a cutter, to prayer-meeting, walked down the aisle like a girl of eighteen, and from a condition of emaciation, rapidly gained in flesh and appearance. I made an examination March 5, 1886, and found the cellulitis tumor gone. More than a year has now passed away, and she is and has been apparently in the most perfect health. There has been no recurrence of her sufferings during the past year.
A.M. HUTCHINSON, M. D., Waseca, Minn.
For two weeks before my restoration I was unable to turn myself in bed, or to feed myself. All that time my right side was helpless, and I was rapidly sinking. On the 25th of January, I was taken with convulsions, though not so severe as on some previous occasions.
My physician was with me until midnight, when I grew easier. On the morning of the 26th, I felt better, until about seven o'clock, when I commenced to feel much worse. I suffered intensely, and could feel the terrible convulsions coming back. While I was in such pain, my husband received some statements of "faith-cure," which an unknown friend had sent, and he commenced reading one; saying it might make the time pass more rapidly if I could bear the reading. I was not at all interested at first, for I knew nothing of such things; I had heard of a few cases, but they were all so far away, I set them aside as something I could not understand. But this was an account of a lady whose disease was just enough like mine to hold my attention, and he read it to the close. I was too ill to think much, but I could see it was no made up story, and wondered if God would really do such things.
At 12:40 P.M. my husband went out, leaving me in the care of an attendant, who was in an adjoining room. I began to wonder if it were possible the Lord could have healing for me. I had not, in all my sickness, asked Him for health. But now I seemed to be led to make the request: "Lord, if thou hast this healing for me, give it to me now and instantly a voice said: "In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, arise and walk!" and I was thrilled through and through with sensations impossible to describe. While I was wondering, the command was repeated in the same words. But I did not feel returning strength, and the terrible pain still remained. So I said aloud: "But I haven't the strength, Lord; give me the strength, and I will get up;" and again the same voice said: "In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, arise and walk " Then I made an effort to arise; it was more a mental effort than anything else; but I rose like a feather, and stood upon my feet. All pain ceased the first moment for months. It was just one o'clock. I commenced to say: "Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief," and prayed it continually. Then I sat down on the side of the bed, and raising my arms above my head, used the paralyzed side freely.
A swelling the size of an egg was gone, and everything inside of me seemed to be changing position, and recreating sensations impossible to describe were felt all through me.
Then I got up and walked a few steps, and turned and looked at the bed, and the medicine beside it, and I commenced to sink to the floor. But I asked for more strength, and received it, and went on around the bed to the center of the room, when I thought I would have my clothes brought, and dress. But when I would have called the nurse, the impression was received (not in an audible voice): "It is enough, you have seen the power of God, go back to bed;" and I obeyed.
Upon returning to bed, I reconsecrated myself to God, and begged Him to complete His will in me; and if He could better use me as a sufferer, to let me suffer, but only glorify Himself in me; and I received the assurance that He would. Soon after the nurse brought me some food. I surprised her very much by feeding myself, and my stomach, which had previously rejected all food, retained it now with ease.
Now my husband came in, looking so disconsolate, and prepared to find me much worse than when he left me. I need not attempt to tell of his joy and surprise upon hearing what God had done for me in his absence; you can better imagine it. When he had returned thanks, I requested him to go for my physician.
Doctor was not in town, and I did not see him until evening. His first words upon entering my room were: "Glory to God!" and he returned thanks to God for His marvelous work, as only a thoroughly consecrated Christian could; not reserving a particle of credit for the cure, but giving all glory and honor to God. He forbade all medicine. That night I arose and knelt at the bedside in prayer. I slept that night, as I have every night since, like a babe. I never had such refreshing sleep. I had had no natural sleep during my sickness.
The next morning I arose and dressed, unassisted, and walked out to breakfast; ate heartily, and in the evening I rode nearly a mile to our weekly prayer-meeting, and told how great things the Lord had done for me. My strength returned gradually. For days I could not stand upon my feet without first asking for strength; and if I were standing, and would for aj instant take my mind off Christ, I would commence to sink to the floor. All functions were naturally resumed without any pain whatever.
Tumors and all inflammation were all dispelled, and I was a well woman. Several times I had severe paroxysms of pain, but I would go right to God, and he-would remove them at once.
My right side was much shrunken, and shorter than the other. When I stood upon my left foot, the toes of my right foot touched the floor. That, however, stretched out gradually as I used my limbs. It is now more than a year since I was restored. I have done all my work since the first of June. I ask for strength for a day at a time, and God helps me over all the hard places.
I have not had a sick day since my restoration. I have had severe colds several times, but they have been removed by resorting to my new found Physician; and I have not taken a drop of medicine since the 26th of January, 1886, neither have I done anything for myself in a medicinal way. God has done it all.
Satan has tried many times to tempt me, but the Sword of the Spirit, when presented, proves too much for him. I have written this for the glory of God, and trust He will bless it. -- Mrs. Alice B. Claghorn, in Michigan Holiness Record.
TRANSLATION OF BISHOP HAVEN.
On Saturday morning, January 3, 1880, in MaIden, Massachusetts, Bishop Gilbert Haven's physician said that his last day had come, and that it would do him no harm to see his friends. Many were near at hand. Others were summoned by telegram and by messenger, until groups gathered around that couch, touched with the light of immortal glory, to muse over the transition from death unto life. A physician who was present said: "I never saw a person die so before." A clergyman remarks: "To me it did not seem that I was in the presence of death. The whole atmosphere of the chamber was that of a joyous and festive hour. Only the tears of kindred and friends were suggestive of death. I felt that I was summoned to see a conquering hero crowned."
We have preserved some of the Bishop's utterances to different persons, as they were reported in the public prints. As Dr. Daniel Steele entered his chamber, the Bishop lifted up his hand, exclaiming, in his familiar way : "O Dan, Dan, a thousand, thousand blessings on you! The Lord has been giving you great blessings, and me little ones, and now he has given me a great one. He has called me to heaven before you. "Do you find the words of Paul true: "O death, where is thy sting?" inquired Dr. Steele. "There is no death, there is no death" interrupted the Bishop; "I have been fighting death for six weeks, and today I find there is no death." Then he repeated again and again John viii. 51: "Shall never see death; Glory! Glory! Glory!" In life he seldom, if ever, shouted; he certainly had a right to shout in death. "You have a great Savior," was remarked to him.
"Yes," he answered, "that is the whole of the gospel, the whole of it" With difficulty he repeated
"Happy, if with my latest breath
I may but gasp His name
Preach Him to all, and cry in death,
Behold, behold the Lamb!"
He had an immediate opportunity to preach Christ by witnessing to his saving power, for his counseling physician from Boston had come to bid him farewell. Said the dying man, as he took the doctor's hand: "I am satisfied with your attentions; you have done all that human skill can do to heal me. I die happy. I believe in Jesus Christ. To Dr. Lindsay he also remarked: "Good-night, doctor. When we meet again it will be good-morning." To his old classmate, Dr. Newhall, he said: "I have got the start of you. I thought you would go first. Your mind has been clouded a little, but it is all light over there." When Dr. Mallahieu approached him he put his aims around his neck and drew him to his face, and exclaimed: "My dear old friend, I am glad to see you. You and I would not have it so if we had our way, but God knows best. It is all right! All right! We have been living in great times, but there are greater times coming. You have been my true friend-you never failed me. You must stand by the colored man when I am gone. Stand by the colored man." Then he spoke of dying, and said: "Oh, but it is so beautiful, so pleasant, so delightful! I see no river of death. God lifts me up in His arms. There is no darkness; it is all light and brightness. I am gliding away into God, floating up into heaven." As the hour drew near, and death preyed upon him, his faith failed not. His right hand was dead, and black from mortification; but holding up his arm, and gazing at the perishing member for a moment, he said, with triumph: "I believe in the resurrection of the body!" Thus he trampled death under his feet, and Elijah-like, in a flaming chariot of glory, went shouting to his home in the skies. -- Golden Dawn.
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 unmissed, 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 streetcar 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: "O Jesus, I have found you at last!"
Then the tiny lips were hushed, but the questioning spirit had received an answer. --Selected.
A MOB QUIETED IN ANSWER TO PRAYER.
In the early part of the summer of 1882, while we were holding a camp-meeting at C----, a drunken mob came on the ground, and disturbed the meeting by their profanity and quarreling. They came armed with revolvers, and were determined to break up the meeting. Not having anticipated any such difficulty, no police force had been provided. Our words of expostulation were unheeded, and they went so far as to yell and blaspheme, and shake their fists in the faces of the leaders of the meeting. So great was the disturbance, that for a time the services were entirely suspended, and there was certainly imminent danger that the meeting would be completely broken up.
Realizing that God's help alone could give to His children victory, in the midst of the excitement we went to the woods, and in sobs and tears, fell upon our face. God gave us great help of the Spirit in prayer, and we told Him how we were holding the meeting for His glory and the salvation of souls, and unless He came to our rescue, great reproach would be brought upon His cause.
We obtained evidence that God would deliver, and hastened back to the camp, called for order, and began to exhort the people in the power of the Spirit. A halo of glory came over the meeting. Wicked men turned pale, and acknowledged the wonderful change. Many began to weep, while some of God's children shouted for joy, and many were prostrate under the power of God.
Defeat was changed to almost unthought of victory, and during all that night the workers were kept busy praying with seekers, and many were saved. Not until the light of the morning dawned could they find time for rest; and the two remaining days of the meeting were days of triumph.
So great was the conviction that some who repeatedly tried to leave were constrained to return, and yield themselves to God. One man said he was determined not to yield, and for the third time started to leave the grounds; but God showed him that this, if rejected, would be his last chance for salvation. So, at about two o'clock in the morning, he came to the altar, and was gloriously saved. -- Editor.
SHOW ME THE DOCTOR
A man, blind from his birth a man of much intellectual vigor, and with many engaging social qualities, found a woman who, appreciating his worth, was willing to cast in her lot with him, and become his wife. Several bright, beautiful children became theirs, who tenderly and equally loved both their parents.
An eminent French surgeon, while in this country, called upon them, and, examining the blind man with much interest and care, said to him "Your blindness is wholly artificial; your eyes are naturally good; and if I could have operated upon them twenty years ago, I think I could have given you sight. It is barely possible that I can do it now, though it will cause you much pain.
"I can bear that," was the reply, "so you but enable me to see."
The surgeon operated upon him, and was gradually successful. First there were faint glimmerings of light; then more distinct vision. The blind father was handed a rose he had smelled one before but had never seen one. Then he looked upon the face of his wife, who had been so true and faithful to him; and then his children were brought, whom he had so often fondled, and whose charming prattle had so frequently fallen upon his ears.
He then exclaimed: "Oh, why have I seen all of these before inquiring for the man by whose skill I have been enabled to behold them! Show me the doctor." And when he was pointed out to him, he embraced him, with tears of gratitude and joy.
So, when we reach heaven, and with unclouded eyes look upon its glories, we shall not be content with a view of these. No; we shall say: "Where is Christ? He to whom I am indebted for what heaven is? Show me him, that with all my soul I may adore and praise him through endless ages." -- Selected.
SHE DIED FOR HIM.
A poor emigrant had gone to Australia to "make his fortune," leaving a wife and little son in England. When he had made some money, he wrote home to his wife:
"Come out to me here; I send the money for your passage; I want to see you and my boy." The wife took ship as soon as she could, and started for her new home. One night, as they were all asleep, there sounded the dreaded cry of, "Fire, fire! " Every one rushed on deck, and the boats were soon filled. The last one was just pushing off, when a cry of, "There are two more on deck," arose. "They were the mother and her son. Alas! "Only room for one," the sailors shouted. Which was to go? The mother thought of her far-away home, her husband looking out lovingly and longingly for his wife. Then she glanced down at the boy, clinging, frightened, to her skirts. She could not let him die. There was no time to lose. Quick! Quick! The flames were getting round. Snatching the child, she held him to her a moment. "Willie, tell father I died for you! Then the boy was lowered into the sailors' willing arms. She died for him. -- Selected.
PRAYING FOR WOOD.
Rev. E. B. Slade tells an interesting instance of answered prayer. One cold winter he was forty miles away from home, holding revival services, when, in the midst of a terrible snowstorm, during which travel was almost wholly impossible, his wife, at home, ran out of wood. To save the little that remained, she put her children to bed, and wrapped them up in blankets, At last baking must be done, and, making a fire of her last wood, she began to pray that help might come, and persevered until her faith won the victory. She then went about her work in perfect peace of mind, assured that relief would come. In the course of a few hours her nearest neighbor, a lady, waded through the snow, saying that she had been impressed that she must come over and see what was the matter. The facts were stated, and relief promised. Hardly had she gone when another lady came in with the same statement, and the same offer was made. A little while later a gentleman came in expressing a similar feeling; and when he learned the facts, he took them all to his home, and cared for them until Mr. Slade returned home.
We extract the following from the Methodist Magazine for July, 1827, being an account of a conversion that occurred in a revival of religion, at Lanjeth, in Cornwall, England. The account is given by Rev. W. Lawry, preacher on the St. Austell circuit.
"The first extraordinary conversion which I remarked, was that of old William Morkum, of Lanjeth, who had lived just seventy years without God in the world. In the month of February, 1826, as he was at work as usual on the high roads, and reflecting on his long life spent in the neglect of religion, his mind became greatly alarmed at the prospect of eternity. Night came on; he sought to be refreshed on his bed by sleep, but in vain. His alarm and terror increased so much that his family, consisting of his wife and daughter, were kept up all night. On the next day he proceeded to his labor, but remarked to his companion, with great apparent emotion 'I believe I am a lost soul.' The next night came on, when, such was the horror of his mind that his family, at his request, sent for some of their pious neighbors to come and pray with him. They spent the whole night in prayer; but he remained without hope, under the most fearful apprehensions. The third day was spent as the former; but the third night was still more terrible to him than the second. The religious friends were again called in, and great was the agony of his mind. Hitherto he could not be persuaded that prayers would avail; but at this crisis his friends prevailed upon him to join them in prayer to God, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. He now poured forth the cry of the publican: "God be merciful to me, a sinner." During the third night his fears subsided, and he had power to cast his soul on the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, through whom he obtained peace with God. For many years he had through infirmity been bowed almost double, and had not been able to lift his hand to his head. His employment had been to break stones on the roads. The moment, however, of his deliverance from his load of guilt and fear, he exclaimed in ecstasy
"I am made whole both in body and soul!"' He accordingly stood perfectly erect, and clasped his hands together behind his head. "Now," said he, "I will request the parish to buy me a pair of spectacles, that I may learn to read the Bible; and I will myself procure a lantern to light me on the winter evenings to the Methodist chapel." He joined himself to the society at Lanjeth, and met twice in class. About a month after his conversion he became unwell, and said to his family: "The time is come that I must die." He lay down for a few days upon his peaceful bed, without pain or mental conflict, expressing his trust in the adorable Redeemer, and peacefully fell asleep in the Lord.
CARLETTA AND THE MERCHANT.
"If I could have your faith, Hawkins, gladly would I but I was born a skeptic. I cannot look upon God and the future as you do."
So said John Harvey, as he walked with a friend under a dripping umbrella. John Harvey was a skeptic of thirty years standing, and apparently hardened in his unbelief. Everybody had given him up as hopeless. Reasoning ever so calmly made no impression on the rocky soil of his heart. It was sad, very sad. But one friend had never given him up. When spoken to about him "I will talk with and pray for that man until I die," he said; "and I will have faith that he may yet come out of darkness into the marvelous light." And thus whenever he met him (John Harvey was always ready for a "talk "), Mr. Hawkins pressed home the truth. In answer, on that stormy night, he said: "God can change a skeptic, John. He has more power over your heart than you, and I mean still to pray for you."
Oh, I've no objections, none in the world, seeing is believing, you know. I'm ready for any miracle; but I tell you, it would take nothing short of a miracle to convince me. Let's change the subject, I'm hungry, and it's too far to go up town to supper this stormy night. Here's a restaurant; let us stop here."
How warm and pleasant it looked in the long, brilliant dining saloon! The two merchants had eaten, and were just on the point of rising, when a strain of soft music came through an open door a child's sweet voice.
"'Pon my word, that is pretty," said John Harvey; "what purity in those tones"
"Out of here, you little baggage!" cried a hoarse voice and one of the waiters pointed angrily to the door.
"Let her come in," said John Harvey. "We don't allow them in this place, sir," said the waiter ; "but she can go into the reading-room."
Well, let her go somewhere. I want to hear her," responded the gentleman.
All this time the two had seen the shadow of something hovering backwards and forwards on the edge of the door; now they followed a slight little figure, wrapped in patched cloak, patched hood, and leaving the mark of wet feet as she walked. Curious to see her face, she was very small, John Harvey lured her to the farthest part of the great room, where there were but few gentlemen, and then motioned her to sing. The little one looked timidly up. Her cheek of olive darkness, but a flush rested there; and out of the thinnest face, under the arch of broad temples, deepened by masses of the blackest hair, looked two eyes, whose softness and tender pleading would have touched the hardest heart.
"That little thing is sick, I believe," said John Harvey, compassionately. "What do you sing, child?" he added.
"I sing Italian, or a little English."
John Harvey looked at her shoes. "Why," he exclaimed, and his lip quivered, "her feet are wet to her ankles; she will catch her death of cold."
By this time the child had begun to sing, pushing back her hood, and folding before her little thin fingers. Her voice was wonderful; and simple and common as were both, air and words, the pathos of the tones drew together several of the merchants in the reading-room. The little song commenced thus
"There is a happy land,
Far, far away."
Never could the voice, the manner, of that child be forgotten. There almost seemed a halo round her head; and when she had finished, her great speaking eyes turned towards John Harvey.
"Look here, child; where did you learn that song?" he asked.
"At the Sabbath-school, sir."
"And you don't suppose there is a happy land?" he continued, heedless of the many eyes upon him.
"I know there is; I'm going to sing there," she said, so quietly, so decidedly, that the men looked at each other.
"Going to sing there?"
"Yes, sir. My mother said so. She used to sing to me until she was sick. Then she said she wasn't going to sing any more on earth, but up in heaven."
"Well and what then?"
"And then she died, sir," said the child; tears brimming down the dark cheek, now ominously flushed scarlet.
John Harvey was silent for a few moments. Presently he said: "Well, if she died, my little girl, you may live, you know."
"Oh, no, sir! No, sir! I'd rather go there, and be with mother. Sometimes I have a dreadful pain in my side, and cough as she did. There won't be any pain up there, sir it's a beautiful world"
"How do you know?" faltered on the lips of the skeptic.
"My mother told me so, sir." Words how impressive! Manner how child-like, and yet so wise. John Harvey had had a praying mother. His chest labored for a moment, the sobs that struggled for utterance could be heard even in their depths and still those large, soft, lustrous eyes, like magnets, impelled his glance towards them.
"Child, you must have a pair of shoes." John Harvey's voice was husky. Hands were thrust in pockets, purses pulled out, and the astonished child held in her little palm more money than she had ever seen before. "Her father is a poor, consumptive organ grinder," whispered one. "I suppose he's too sick to be out tonight."
Along the soggy street went the child, under the protection of John Harvey, but not with shoes that drank the water at every step. Warmth and comfort were hers now. Down in the deep den-like lanes of the city walked the man, a little cold hand in his. At an open door they stopped up broken, creaking stairs they climbed. Another doorway was opened, and a wheezing voice called out of the dim arch, "Carletta!"
"O father! Father! See what I have brought you!"
"Look at me! Look at me! " and down went the silver, and venting her joy, the poor child fell, crying and laughing together, into the old man's arms.
Was he a man?
A face dark and hollow, all overgrown with hair black as night, and uncombed-a pair of wild eyes-a body bent nearly double - hands like claws.
"Did he give you all this, my child?"
"They all did, father; now you shall have soup and oranges."
"Thank you, sir -- I'm sick, you see -- all gone, sir had to send the poor child out, or we'd starve. God bless you, sir! I wish I was well enough to play you a tune;" and he looked wistfully towards the corner where stood the old organ, baize-covered, the baize in tatters.
One month after that, the two men met again as if by agreement, and walked slowly down town. Treading innumerable passages they came to the gloomy building where lived Carletta's father.
No -- not lived there; for, as they paused a moment, out came two or three men bearing a pine coffin. In the coffin slept the old organ-grinder.
"It was very sudden, sir;" said a woman, who recognized his benefactor. "Yesterday the little girl was took sick, and it seemed as if he drooped right away. He died at six last night."
The two men went silently up stairs. The room was empty of everything save a bed, a chair, and a nurse provided by John Harvey. The child lay there, not white, but pale as marble, with a strange polish on her brow.
"Well, my little one, are you better?"
"Oh, no, sir; father is gone up there, and I am going."
Up there! John Harvey turned unconsciously towards his friend.
"Did you ever hear of Jesus?" asked John Harvey's friend.
"Do you know who he was"
"Good Jesus," murmured the child.
"Hawkins, this breaks me down," said John Harvey; and he placed his handkerchief to his eyes.
"Don't cry, don't cry; I can't cry, I'm so glad! " said the child, exultingly.
"What are you glad for, my dear?" asked John Harvey's friend.
"To get away from here," she said deliberately. "I used to be so cold in the winter, for we didn't have fire sometimes; but mother used to hug me close, and sing about heaven. Mother told me never to mind, and kissed me, and said if I was His, the Savior would love me, and one of these days would give me a better home; and so I gave myself to Him, for I wanted a better home. And, oh, I shall sing there, and be so happy!
With a little sigh she closed her eyes.
"Harvey, are faith and hope nothing?" asked Mr. Hawkins.
"Don't speak to me, Hawkins; to be as that little child, I would give all I have."
"And to be like her you need give nothing only your stubborn will, your skeptical doubts, and the heart that will never know rest till at the feet of Christ."
There was no answer. Presently the hands moved, the arms were raised, the eyes opened yet, glazed though they were, they turned still upward.
"See! " she cried; "Oh, there is mother! And angels and they are all singing."
Her voice faltered, but the celestial brightness lingered yet on her face.
"There is no doubting the soul triumph there," whispered Mr. Hawkins.
"It is wonderful," replied John Harvey, looking on both with awe and tenderness. "Is she gone?"
He sprang from his chair as if he would detain her; but chest and forehead were marble now, the eyes had lost the fire of life; she must have died, as she lay looking at them.
"She was always a sweet little thing," said the nurse, softly.
John Harvey stood as if spellbound. There was a touch on his arm; he started.
"John," said his friend, with an affectionate look, "shall we pray?"
For a minute there was no answer-then came tears; the whole frame of the subdued skeptic shook as he said it was almost a cry: "Yes, pray, pray!"
And from the side of the dead child went up agonizing pleadings to the throne of God. And that prayer was answered the miracle was wrought the lion became a lamb the doubter a believer the skeptic a Christian! -- A tract.