THE LIVING FOUNTAIN
In a village on the Welsh coast, the people fetch all their water from a well.
“Is this spring ever dry?” I inquired.
“Dry? Yes, ma’am; very often in hot weather.”
“And where do you go then for water?”
“To the freshet a little way out of town.”
“And if the freshet dries up?”
“Why, then we go to the rock-well, higher up, and the best water of all.”
“But if the rock-well fails?”
“Why, ma’am, the rock-well never dries up, never. It is always the same — winter and summer.”
This precious well, which “never dries up,” reminded me of the waters of life and salvation, flowing from the heart of the “Rock of Ages,” and freely bestowed upon all men who believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Every other brook may go dry in the days of drought and adversity; but this heavenly spring never ceases to flow.
Without waiting till earth’s wayside brooks shall fail, let us all hasten at once, with hearts athirst, to the heavenly well “which never dries up.”
A Spanish artist was once employed to paint “The Last Supper.” It was his object to throw all the sublimity of his art into the figure and countenance of the Lord Jesus; but he put on the table, in the foreground, some chased cups, the workmanship of which was exceedingly beautiful. When his friends came to see the picture on the easel, each one said, “What beautiful cups.” “Ah:’, said he, “I have made a mistake; these cups divert the eyes of the spectator from the Lord, to whom I wished direct attention.” And he forthwith took up his brush and blotted them from the canvas, that the strength and vigor of the chief object might be prominently seen and observed. Thus all Christians should feel their great study to be Christ’s exaltation; and whatever is calculated to hinder men from beholding Him in all the glory of His person and work should be removed out of the way.
FAITH IN ACTION
A poor little street-girl was taken sick one Christmas, carried to a hospital. While there she heard the story of Jesus coming in the world to save us. It was all new to her, but very precious. She could appreciate such a wonderful Savior, and the knowledge made her very happy as she lay upon her little cot.
One day the nurse came around at the usual hour, and “Little Broomstick” (that was her street name) held her by the hand, and whispered:
“I’m having real good times here — ever such good times! S’pose I shall have to go ‘way from here just as soon as I gets well; but I’ll take the good time along — some of it, anyhow. Did you know ’bout Jesus bein’ born?”
“Yes,” replied the nurse, “I know. Sh-sh-sh Don’t talk any more.”
“You did? I thought you looked as if you didn’t, and I was goin’ to tell you.”
“Why, how did I look?” asked the nurse, forgetting her own orders in her curiosity.
“O, just like most o’ folks — kind o’ glum. I shouldn’t think you’d ever look glum if you know’d ’bout Jesus bein’ born.”
Dear reader, do you know “’bout Jesus bein’ born?”
— Faithful Witness.
A BEAUTIFUL INCIDENT
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 on them twenty years ago, I think I could have given you sight. It is barely possible that I could 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 smelt 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.”
CHRIST THAT BLESSED LITTLE CHILDREN
By a Teacher
“Little Willie” is a name which brings before me visions of blue eyes and golden hair, and ruby lips that often used to say, “Tecer, are I a dood boy tday?” But best of all were the gentle words and winning smiles that made him such a sunbeam in our school. His heart seemed overflowing with love and sympathy for evryone.
One afternoon I told the class of which he was a member how Christ took little children in His arms and blessed them, and I taught them the verse, “Suffer little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of Heaven.” That afternoon, after school was dismissed, as I was locking my desk, Willie stole softly back. Climbing upon the desk, he put his arms around my neck and kissed me, saying, “I love you, teacher.”
“What is love, Willie?” I asked. He thought a moment, then replied earnestly, “It’s what makes us good to folks.”
After a little pause, he added, “Teacher, who is Christ that blessed little children?” Before I could reply, there came a knock at the door. I opened it, and a little girl handed me a note which contained an urgent invitation for me to spend the afternoon with a friend of mine. I knew that Willie was the child of irreligious parents, and that I ought to encourage this, his first seeking after divine truth, but the tempter whispered, “tomorrow will do as well,” and I yielded to the voice.
But the next day Willie’s place was vacant. I missed the bright face and ringing laugh of my little pet. On the first opportunity, some days after, I directed my steps toward his father’s house. On the way I met his sister. Taking my hand, she said hurriedly, “Oh, teacher, won’t you come right down to our house? Willie is so sick and he don’t know any of us.” In a few moments I stood by the bedside of the little sufferer. He was tossing to and fro in restless pain, and they told me that scarlet fever was drying up the fountains of that young life.
As I entered the room he said softly, “Who is Christ that blessed little children?” Sitting beside him, I told him the sweet story of the Cross. But reason seemed clouded; and yet when I ceased speaking, he said with pleading earnestness, “Please tell me who is Christ that blessed little children.”
“Will you pray for us?” asked the father. It was all he could say, for his heart was full. Kneeling there, I prayed that God would spare our darling, if it was His will, and if not, that He would comfort the hearts of his parents in their great sorrow, and make me more faithful to the little ones committed to my charge. When we arose, a convulsion came over Willie, and the little form writhed in agony. It was but for a moment; then he lay still, with closed eyes and clasped hands. Silently we watched beside him.
An hour passed on, and then there was another convulsion. It was longer and harder than the last. At its close he lay pale and exhausted. Suddenly he opened his eyes and his lips unclosed. There was a strange, agonizing earnestness in his voice as he pleaded, “Please tell me who is Christ that blessed little children! Oh, please tell me who is Christ that blessed little children!” “Pray for him — for him!” sobbed the father; and I prayed then, as I had never done before that Christ would reveal Himself to that dying child. God heard the prayer; for as we watched him, an exultant look glanced across Willie’s face. He lifted his head, and stretched forth his little white hands toward Heaven. I shall never forget his last words — “There is Christ that blessed little children! I coming, I coming!” And the little head was buried in the pillows. The beating heart was hushed forever.
A BOY’S LAST HYMN IN A GARRETA friend of mine, seeking for objects of charity, got into the upper 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 through the hole, and found himself under the rafters. There was no light but that which came through a bull’s eye in 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 here?”
“Hush! don’t tell anybody, please, sir.”
“What are you doing here?”
“Hush! please don’t tell anybody, sir; I’m hiding.”
“What are you hiding from?”
“Don’t tell anybody, please, sir.”
“Where’s your mother?”
“Please, sir, mother’s 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 that the boy’s flesh was bruised and the skin was broken.
“Why, my boy, who beat you like that?”
“Father did, sir!”
“What did he 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 my father kills me for it. But please, sir, don’t tell him.”
“My boy, you must not stay here; you will die. Now you wait patiently here for a time; and 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;
Pity my simplicity,
Suffer me to come to Thee.”
“Fain I would 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; good-bye.”
The gentleman went away, came back again in less than two hours, and climbed the ladder, There were the chips, an there were the shaving, and there was the boy, with one hand by his side, and the other tucked in his bosom underneath the little ragged shirt — dead.
— London Christian.
JESUS, TOO GOOD TO GIVE UP
The following touching incident of child martyrdom is given by Eileen Douglas in “All the World.” We give it in an abridged form. Mattie was the child of drunken parents. She lived in the slums of a large city. By chance one night she strayed into a meeting. Christ was presented so lovingly and clearly that her hungry heart was anxious to receive Him. When the invitation was given she wanted to go, but fearing that it did not mean her she shyly slipped up to the leader and asked: “Does it mean me?”
When she was assured that it did, and was told just what to do, she dropped upon her knees and with closed eyes and folded hands said: “O Jesus, I’ve come.”
She tripped lightly home in her new-found joy. Arriving there, she poured out her story, imagining in her innocence that her drunken parents had never heard of Jesus who would do so much for them, and only needed to be told so that they would come, too.
Instead of that she was cursed and whipped, and forbidden ever attending the meeting again.
The peace of God kept her through it all, saying quietly to herself: “He’s too good to give up.” She went again, and this time was punished more severely than before. But nothing could quench the love in Mattie’s heart — neither persecution, nor starvation, nor cold. For one hour with Jesus she would brave anything, so next night saw her in her accustomed place.
Returning home she rushed to her father: “I could not help it; I had to go! Jesus is far too good to give up!”
Giving her a furious kick in the side, from which she soon died, and muttering, “I told ye I’d kill ye,” the murderer left her bleeding on the floor. During her dying hours she suffered much, and yet in the midst of it all, she said that she was “so happy.”
She pleaded earnestly for her mother’s soul, and when at last the conflict was ended, and years of sin and shame had been swept away by the blood current, Mattie’s power of speech failed her, and she could only lie and look with unutterable affection into her mother’s face.
A little while before she passed away, she called for her mother to bring her dress and the scissors. Then she asked for the patch that was stained with her life-blood to be cut out.
She looked at it, smiled, and then handing it back, said: “Give — give — it — to him.” Then she gasped and seemed to sink away. Then gathering up all of her remaining strength, she added. “And say it was because — I — I — loved — Him –so. He — was — too — good — to — give — up.”
Then her head fell back and her soul took its flight, to be forever with the triumphant martyrs, who “have come up out of great tribulation.”
HOLD UP THE LIGHT
The famous Eddystone lighthouse off the coast of Cornwall, England, was first built in a fanciful way, of wood, by the learned and eccentric Winstanley. On its sides he put various boastful inscriptions. He was very proud of his structure, and from its lofty balcony used boldly to defy the storm, crying, “Blow, O winds! Rise, O ocean! Break forth, ye elements, and try my work!” But one night, the sea swallowed up the tower and is builder.
It was built a second time of wood and stone, by Rudgard. The form was good, but the wood gave hold for the elements, and the builder and his structure perished in the flames.
Next the great Smeaton was called. Ht raised a cone from the solid rock upon which it was built, and riveted it to the rock as the oak is riveted to the earth by its roots. From the rock of the foundation he took the rock of the superstructure. He carved upon it no boastful inscriptions like those of Winstanley, but on its lowest course he put, “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it;” and on its key-stone, above, the simple tribute, “Laudus Deo!” and the structure still stands, holding up its beacon-light to the storm-tossed mariner.
Fellow-workers for the salvation of men, Christ the Light must be held up before men or they will perish. Let us then place Him on no superstructure of our own device. Let us rear no tower of wood, or wood and stone, but taking the Word of God for our foundation, let us build our structure upon its massive, solid truth, and on every part put Smeaton’s humble, trustful inscription, and then we may be sure that the light-house will stand.
AT THE LASTAn old clergyman said: “When I come to die I shall have my greatest grief and my greatest joy: my greatest grief that I have done so little for the Lord Jesus, and my greatest joy that the Lord Jesus has done so much for me.
QUITE TRUEWhen Chrysostom was brought up before the emperor, the potentate thought to frighten him into obedience to him, and said, “I’ll banish you.”
“No, you can’t,” said Chrysostom, “for you can’t banish me from Christ.”
“Then I’ll take your life,” cried the irate monarch.
“You can’t,” was the reply, “for in Christ I live and have my being.”
“Then I will confiscate your wealth.”
“You can’t,” was still the response, “for in Christ I have all riches.”
At last the tyrant said, “I shall cause you to lose all your friends, and you will be virtually an outcast.”
“But you cannot,” Chrysostom exultantly replied, “for I have a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”
Is it not sweet when to our own souls, as He was to His servant Chrysostom, Christ is “all in all”?
THEY KNEW WHERE TO GO
An old gentleman relates the following incident which occurred when he was a boy. The entire family aroused from sleep one night by a strange, confused noise outside the house. The cause was soon discovered, and the household gathered to witness the curious scene the yard presented. Almost at the very door were two huge oxen, and behind them an irregular procession of cows, calves, and sheep. They had apparently broken out of their pasture, two or three miles away, and come at the top of their speed to the house. What was it that so frightened them? was the question. It was answered the next morning when the torn bodies of twenty or thirty sheep were found scattered over the pasture and the tracks of two wolves discovered leading away toward the mountains. It seemed as if the terrified creatures had sought the protection of their owners.
THREE LOST CHILDREN
In northern New Jersey some winters ago three little children wandered off from home in a snowstorm. Night came on. Father and mother said: “Where are the children?” They could not be found. They started out in haste, and the news ran to the neighbors, and before morning it was said that there were hundreds of men hunting the mountains for these three children, but they found them not. After awhile a man imagined there was a place that had not been looked at and he went and saw the three children. He examined their bodies. He found that the elder boy had taken off his coat and wrapped it around the other one, the baby, and then taken off his vest and put it around the younger one. And then they all died, he probably the first, for he had no coat or vest. Oh, it was a touching scene when that was brought to light. I was afterward on the ground and it brought the whole scene to my mind; and I thought myself of a more melting scene than that — it was that, Jesus, our Elder Brother, took off the robe of His royalty, and laid aside the last garment of earthly comfort, that He might wrap our poor souls from the blast. Some ministers say the worst can be saved, because Richard Baxter was saved and John Newton was saved, any man can be saved. I do not want to put it in that way. You can be saved. I am certain of it; because I have been saved. Oh, the height and the depth and the length and the breadth of the love of God!
I ONLY WANT YOU
Nearly four years ago I was going to spend the day in a large city. Before starting I said my dear invalid sister who is now in glory, satisfied with the fullness of her Father’s house: “Can I buy anything for you, dear? I do want so much to bring you something from town.” She interrupted my question, saying with such a sweet, yearning look: “Nothing, dear. Don’t bring any thing. I only want you. Come home as soon as you can.” Her tender words rang in my ears all day: “I only want you;” and oh, how often, since her bright entrance within the pearly gates, have her touching words and loving look returned to memory!
Well, dear reader, is not this, too, what a dear Savior says to you? Do you want sometimes to offer prayers, tears, almsgiving, deeds of kindness, sacrifices, earnest service, and patient endeavor? But He, too, turns from all, and says: “I only want you.” “My son, my daughter, give me thine heart.” No amount of service can satisfy the love which claims only the heart. “Lovest thou me?” was His thrice repeated question to His erring disciple. “He that loveth me shall be loved of my Father.” (John xiv, 21.) Devotion of life, earnestness of service, fervent prayers, are only acceptable to Him as fruits of love. They are valueless without the heart. He says to each of us, as my sainted sister said to me: “I only want you.”
HIS NAME SHALL ENDURE FOREVERWhen Ptolemy built Pharos, the great lighthouse in the bay of Alexandria, he would have his name upon it, but Sostratus, the architect, did not think that the king, who only paid the money, should get all the credit, while he had none. So he put the king’s name on the front in plaster, but underneath, in the eternal granite, he cut deeply enough, “Sostratus.” The sea dashed against the plaster and chipped it off bit by bit. I dare say it lasted out the time of Ptolemy; but, by and by, the plaster was all chipped off, and there stood the name of “Sostratus.” I am not sure that there are not waves that will chip off all human traces from the Church of Christ; but I am quite sure that the one name of Christ will last forever.
— S. Coley.
JESUS IS ALL I WANT
The following incident shows in a very striking manner the all-sufficiency of Christ as a satisfying portion. Walking over the field of battle shortly after a severe fight, a chaplain stepped up to a wounded soldier lying on the ground apparently in severe pain, and said: “Can I do anything for you?”
“Oh, no,” replied the soldier; “I want nothing. I have Jesus here with me, and He is all I want.”
“But,” said the chaplain, “you can’t live but a few minutes longer.”
“I know it; but I am in perfect peace. I have no fear of death. Please put my blanket over me and cover my face and let me shut out all but Jesus; and so let me die.”
Oh, what wonderful words! “I want nothing.”
THY THE YOKE IS EASY
Mark Guy Pearse tells us of an incident which occurred in connection with a sermon of his on Christ’s invitation to the weary and heavy laden.
I had finished my sermon, when a good man came to me and said: “I wish I had known what you were going to preach about. I could have told you something.”
“Well, my friend,” I said, “it is very good of you. May I not have it still?”
“Do you know why His yoke is light, sir? If not, I think I can tell you.
“Well, because the good Lord helps us to carry it, I suppose.”
“No, sir,” he explained, shaking his head; “I think I know better than that. You see, when I was a boy at home, I used to drive the oxen in my father’s yoke. And the yoke was never made to balance, sir, as you said.” (I had referred to the Greek word. But how much better it was to know the real thing.)
He went on triumphantly “Father’s yokes were always made heavier on one side that the other. Then, you see, we would put a weak bullock in along side of a strong bullock, and the lighter end would come on the weak bullock, because the stronger one had the heavy part of it on his shoulder.”
Then his face lit up as he said: “That is why the yoke is easy and the burden is light; because the Lord’s yoke is made after the same pattern, and the heavy end is upon His shoulder.”
So shall ye find rest to your soul.
A BOY’S WISH
Some little boys in front of my house, a few days since sat down on the steps, and began to tell the largest wish they had. One wanted a pony to ride in Central Park one wanted all schools and masters in the bottom of the sea; one wanted ice to come by Thanksgiving Day. One dear boy said, “My wish is so large, so sweet, I hardly dare tell it, and it swallows up all my other wishes.” “O what is it I What is it?” “Well, don’t laugh, boys; I wish you only knew my Jesus.”
— Ralph Wells.