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He met him on returning home, and could not but express
His wonder that he gave so much. " So much ?" he cried “'tis less
“ Far less than I would willingly bestow, far less than He,
Whose cause 'tis humbly meant to serve, might well require of me.
" How many a blessing I've received which others are denied !
A happy home--a loving wife--and children who beside
Our hearth spring up like summer flowers, diffusing gladness round;
And shall I grudge the Giver aught, while thus His gifts abound?
“O! what were I, to sit and hold those blessings to my heart,
And deem it ev'n a sacrifice to render back a part
Of what from his kind hand received, enables me to shield
From want those cherished ones, who me so much of comfort yield.
“Or think you, I each Sabbath-day could my young children lead
Unto the house of God, nor feel my heart within me bleed
To think how many a parent sees, grow up beneath his eye
Such pledges, with no thought of their immortal destiny.
“ Who ne'er themselves the sound have heard of that glad Gospel voice
Whose joyful tidings bid the heart bowed down by sin rejoice.
O! ever when I heard the sound of that sweet Sabbath-bell
It calls on me to aid the spread of what I love so well.”
All this came back upon his mind, as restlessly he cast
His eyes around the room, which now he could not but contrast
With the plain parlour, where he knew that friend would seated be
Who cast into God's treasury as rich a gift as he.
He gazed upon the flick’ring flame, awhile in abstract mood-
Then wearied, flung him back, upon that subject still to brood ;
But all o’erwrought, to slumber soon the harrassed mind gave way,
And while within his spacious room, alone, asleep he lay-
A sound, as of a gentle tap seem'd on his ear to fall,
And in his sleep, it seem'd as if to answer to the call-
The door was opened, and within a form appeared to glide
With noiseless step advancing, till it stood his chair beside.
No ghastly visitant was this, with visage grim to scare
The slumb’rer, and in hollow tones, pronounce the word—beware !
But a poor man, of aspect plain, in homely garb arrayed,
Who in a low sweet voice for one short hour of audience prayed.
Who could deny that mild request ?---another chair was set
Beside the fire-the stranger gazed on all his eyes that met
With fixt attention, then drew forth a paper, which he gave,
And softly said, “ Some further aid, for this good cause I crave.
“There is the sum you last subscribed for Missions; well you know
Their need. I called in hopes you might a larger now bestow.
Think of the multitudes abroad, our Sovereign's sway who own,
And yet bow down to images of senseless wood and stone."
Say wherefore did the quiet tone of him who now addrest
The wealthy merchant cause such strange emotions in his breast.
Never from human glance before had shrunk that eagle eye,
Yet now it shunn'd that stranger's gaze of steadfast scrutiny.
And faint and hurried was the tone in which he muttered o'er
Excuses that had ever seemed so full of weight before.
· The times are hard—the taxes great—expense on every hand Increased—what can we spare to send out to a foreign land ? "I've given what I could afford, and really to increase The sum just now, excuse me Sir, I cannot; therefore cease To urge me further.” “ Nay, but hear one word before I close, Consider how this land of ours from heathen darkness rose. " Had none on them more binding felt that mandate of the Lord Than you appear to do—“Go forth and preach this blessed word O'er ev'ry region of the earth"* _How think you had the light Of the pure gospel ever dawned on our land's hopeless night ?" “ 'Tis all in vain,” the merchant said—“I will not send away The money that I see required around me ev'ry dayThen," said the stranger, handing him another scroll, "you ll find Your name in this ; its object will more nearly suit your mind. " This sends not its resources forth across the pathless sea, To turn the Hindu worshipper from his idolatry; Too many in our crowded streets, and lanes, on ev'ry hand, Are sunk in darkness as intense as broods o'er India's land. Here is what our Home Mission last received, which well you know Is striving with such energy to aim a deadly blow At that now overwhelming mass of brutish ignorance And crime that o'er our land we see with giant strides advance. " And where the Power that shall arrest its progress, but the Word The preached and written word of God-0! who would not accord His utmost aid to sow within these haunts of vice the seeds Of something that may yet spring up and choke these noxious weeds. "For rest assured whatever may by this world's wisdom be Devised to check the evil, nought will e'er successfully Against it strive, unless the scheme its strong foundation take l'pon that rock which all the powers of hell can never shake.
Nor e'er forget that he who gave that word was rich in all That Heaven could give, with seraph bands attendant on his call; And that for us he veiled awhile that glory, and became “* Poor,"t and a life of suffering lived, and dieå a death of shame. "And think you then, that they who have assumed the Holy name Of Christians can, consistently, deny that here a claim ls laid on all his followers, on whom he hath bestowed The gift of wealth, to scatter it, with liberal hand abroad. “But not, oh surely! not on self-indulgence, or the vain Display of idle shew, until perforce they must restrain The hand, when asked to place in their less favoured brethren’s reach The riches, to attain to which, His word the way will teach. "Was it to give that · Blessed Hope—but to a few like thee ? That He though rich' thus bowed to all the ills of povertyThat some might make the voice of praise ascend from lordly halls For that great gift, and yet complain, • There are so many calls.'
Whenever they are pressed to lend their aid in sending forth
That truth of which they yet so well appear to know the worth,
Unto the thousands perishing for lack of what so free
God offers unto ev'ry child of sin and misery.
" Are not their souls as precious in the eyes of Him who gave
His life a ransom, that from death the guilty He might save ;
And is he guiltless, who, himself assured of safety's path,
Withholds what yet a brother's soul might save from endless wrath."
But something of impatience now was mingled in the tone
With which the merchant answered him, " And if the seed were sown
In those vile haunts whereof you speak, when would the tender shoot
Amid such fearful wickedness bring forth effective fruit ?
The stranger answered solemnly,“ 'tis ours that seed to sow,
The increase is with him who makes each blade of grass to grow
When, where, and how, He sees it fit, nor will his blessings be
From one good work withheld for which 'tis sought right earnestly."
“Nay, nay, 'tis useless thus to plead for those who, sunk in shame,
Are deaf to every call you give-no sympathy they claim,
These hardened wretches who disgrace our cities ““ Ah! but stay,"
The stranger cried, " If He who made, yet hath not cast away;
“ 0! what are we, to say, from us 'no sympathy they claim.'
Who maketh thee to differ ?* What were all when Jesus came
To die for man? Bethink thee well of this. But let me say
A word for those in distant parts removed so far away
“ From every Gospel ordinance. O! should you not delight
To send a faithful Minister to glad their longing sight
Who pine in our own Christian land, without the Joyful sound,
And this our Mission fain would do where'er the need is found.
“But if you still more aid refuse to this our native scheme,
I scarce, I fear, need press the claims of one which you will deem
Still less to you should look for aid—those exiled ones who dwell
In all our distant colonies, though sad the tale they tell
“Of weeks and months that pass away-yet never on their ear
Falls the bloss'd sound they erst were wont each Sabbath morn to hear
Of mem'ries, cherished long, of all that Scotland's Sabbath brings
To mind, but fast becoming now to them forgotten things.
“ Still less for them, though they have claims no Christian dare deny
God's ancient people, who so long possessed a place so high
Among the nations of the earth, from 'mid whose tribes arose
That sun of Righteousness from whence all light and healing flows.
“But here is one from which you scarce can turn your eyes away,
Whose still increasing claims become more urgent day by day-
It strives not to impress the minds of those in crime grown old,
But fix religion in the heart of youth, with stead fast hold.
“ Thy Lord himself, while here on earth, this scheme appeared to bless,
When he on little children smild, and with such tenderness
His sacred arms about them wound, rebuking those whose zeal
Forbade them to approach. 0! who has read, and does not feel
“ The force of these few touching words, though simple all they be
“Suffer the little children, nor forbid to come to me”-
• 1st Corinthians, iv. 7.
# Matt. xix. 13, and Mark 1. 16.
"Of such my kingdom is"*--and“ he who as a little child
Receives it not"t on him the light of grace hath never smild.
"0! are not little children made by this a precious thing-
Are they not blessed who unto Him but one such offering bring,
For this our Education scheme I cannot plead in vain
To one who, in the fear of God, knows well his own to train."
He paused, his hearer only said, “I deeply grieve that I
Cannot at present unto all, subscribe more liberally-
I know their usefulness, and have, I trust, been ever found
Ready to give my mite to all, as each in turn came round.
But really there's no end to what it's thought one ought to give,
And other things regard must have; one's family must live-
These double calls, I can't afford—but yet, of all you say
I see the truth, nor will it be forgot some future day.”
The stranger heard him silently, but ever cast his eye
With looks of quiet meaning round that hall of luxury,
Where marble columns, with their wreaths of massive foliage crowned,
Stood with the crimson drap’ry that between them swept the ground.
And with its ample folds shut out the storm that wildly still
Through that well-guarded casement sent its tones so loud and shrill---
The gilded cornice-fretted roof--and mirrors from whose bright
And polished surface was flung back the warm fire's ruddy light.
All these he marked with steadfast look, and rising from his seat,
Bent on his host that calm clear eye, whose gaze he could not meet-
And uttered words whose deep tones thrilled the list'ners inmost heart,
And made the blood o'er cheek and brow rush up with sudden start.
"One year ago but one short year”-he said "your daughter lay
Almost in death's cold grasp-you watched the lamp of life decay-
One year ago! this very night-ay you were sleeping now-
You slept not then, for agony convulsed your throbbing brow.
" You smote your hands upon your breast-you groaned in anguish wild,
As on the livid face you gazed of your once lovely child;
You saw those features where the glow of health 'so late had been
Distorted with the cries wrung forth by pangs of suff'ring keen.
You saw the shadows of the grave' that forehead dark’ning o'er-
You felt till then you had not known the depth of love you bore
Unto that gentle suff'rer, who amid her agony
Strove ever with a smile to greet her father's anxious eye.
"Oa whom did you that fearful night of sleepless anguish call ?
Throughout its long and dreary hours, on whom did you, with all
The fervour of a spirit wrung by overwhelming woe,
Call and implore to interpose, and stay th' uplifted blow.”
The merchant started and looked up, but now there seem'd a strange
Unlooked for diff'rence in his guest; whence came that wondrous change?
For there he stood with stately mien, erect, determined brow,
And eye that seem'd the very soul to search with scorching glow.
No wonder he who almost quailed beneath it when it wore
Its inild deep lustre, should have cow'rod 'neath that which now it bore;
Subdued, and awed, he backward sunk, and on his temples prest
His burning hands, while solemnly again he was addrest.
" Five years ago, when you were deemed at the grave’s brink to lie,
And thought how early you must leave a helpless family-
When to your mind arose the scenes of danger and distress
These little ones might have to brave, if rendered fatherless.
" Do you remember with what wild, imploring earnestness,
You prayed ?-who listened then—who saved from that hour's wretched-
ness?" Again he paused-still no reply that stricken man returnedBut oh! the shame within his now-awakened heart that burned. He bent him down like one o'erpowered by some resistless might, As if his agony he fain would hide from mortal sightNo sound escaped ; the very sob that laboured in his breastSuch was the awe that voice inspired-was in its rise supprest. His guest drew nearer with a tone more thrilling than before" Is there no mem'ry now of times when thou hast knelt to pour The pray’r of deep contrition forth, yet felt that scarce for thee So lost-80 guilty-hope could ev'n in boundless mercy be. “ When old resolves of foriner years, all broken, rose to mock The seeming fervour of the new, who to the living Rock Thine eye directed, and in faith bade thee behold and see Thy refuge, strength, salvation, in the Saviour on the Tree ? “ Bringing thee back with love's sweet voice, howe'er thy footsteps strayed, And hearing in the lone dark night, thine earnest cries for aid, Binding each wound, and bidding thee “ Go forth in peace,* for all Forgiven was ;t"— Who answered thus thine oft-repeated call ? " It was my God! my Saviour" ! at length burst forth, “ 'twas he"! While in his bosom wrought remorse, with keenest agonyAnd, with a face of ashy hue, as one by conflict worn, He gazed on him whose ev'ry word some wound afresh had torn. “And has thy God, thy Saviour-has he complained that thou Didst make so many calls? or say, wilt thou be willing now, From this night to begin, and ask of Him, in future, nought, If for His cause no further aid from you be henceforth sought? "O! never-never !"- he exclaimed, and at his feet he fellBut the form vanished as if these last words had broke a spell; And, when the merchant rose, his soul was stirred his breast withinAnd, kneeling he besought the Lord for pardon of his sin. 0! Thou my God! my Saviour !-how hard a heart was mine! What have I said ?—what done ? behold all that I have is thine. 0! what is all of this world's wealth to that Thou hast bestowed On me-Oh would my bosom more with gratitude had glowed ! Not ask of Thee !-ay, this reveals in very fulness all The value of that privilege that we esteem so small ; While ev'ry hour, of ev'ry day, an hour to us may be In which with all we need, or wish, we may resort to Thee. “ But let the very thought but once unto the mind be brought That be our sorrow what it will, no balm may thence be sought. * Luke, vii. 50.
+ Luke, vii. 48.