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a relation, a single man, who then earned but 88. a week, out of which he paid 4s. per annum to the Missionary Association; but work failing during a very hard winter, he had to go with others into the union-house; and before he left his home, sent this note to the clergyman of the parish:
“Rev. Sir,-I am sorry to say I must decline paying to the Missionary Society any longer, on account of being so long out of employ; but I heartily pray God will dispose the hearts of those who have it in their power to double and make up what I miss; and I humbly hope God will grant me a spirit of prayer for the prosperity of His kingdom, though destitute of the means any other way." The young man was a communicant, and during the time he remained in the workhouse, was employed in reading the Scriptures to the old people.
A little further down the lane lives a poor widow, who “of her want" contributes unsolicited, and with a ready mind, a small quarterly subscription to the Missionary Association. She says she gladly gives it, and though there are some things she cannot very well do without." she hopes she may be able to continue this trifling gift. A month or two ago, she was so reduced in circumstances, that at one time she intended to go into the union-house, not being allowed any pay out of it; but a lady that week having given her a trifle for some
work done, she brought the same day nearly half of the sum for her Missionary Subeription. Every month she kneels at the table of her Lord, and she must be ill indeed, or have some good reason, if her cheerful red cloak and neat black bonnet are not seen twice on the Sabbath-day, as she walks seriously to her accustomed place in God's house.
On returning to the road which runs through the village, there stands on the lefthand side a nice-looking red-bricked cottage, slated, with white palings round a little garden in front, full of gay flowers. A good-tempered, dressy-looking woman, is often seen standing at the door, with her work in her hand. She came forward, apparently with a very willing mind, and put down her name for 48. per annum, when the Missionary Association was first established in the parish; but her heart was not in the work. And scarce a year had passed, when she withdrew half the sum, and said she “could not af. ford more, there were so many things she could not very well do without." Afterwards, she had a new bonnet from London she gave more than a guinea for, which she could not only do very well but much better without, considering what her station in life was. About a week ago, she brought her annual subscription, and expressed a wish to have her name taken off the list of subscribers. Now and then she may be seen
at the meeting-house, now and then at church : her husband, a day labourer, never enters a house of prayer; and the only child at home, a youth about twenty, appears to be fast walking in his father's ways.
What a pleasure it is to step into that humble-looking dwelling nearly opposite ! True, the cottage is very small, the window scarce large enough to admit the light, and the wind whistles through its shaky walls ; but there is peace and content within. The little garden has been taken by the landlord to build on, and there is nothing to gladden the eye on the outside but a bright scarlet geranium and spreading fuchsia, now
full bloom, placed on a low bench near the door, and sent to the mother by a favourite daughter, the wife of a gardener. "I have lost my pleasant prospect, sir," said the poor woman one fine summer's day in July, as the red-brick wall rose up just in front of her dwelling; " but we musn't take these things too much to heart.” A widow and her sickly son inhabit the cottage ; a well-used Bible and Prayer Book are on the little round table; a manual of family prayers, read morning and evening, with other religious tracts, lie on a shelf in one corner of the
room. The mother and son are constant attendants at the parish church on the Sabbath-day, in the morning and afternoon, and at the table of their Lord. Each of them subscribed 28. per annum to the Missionary Association as soon
as it was formed, but after a short time, the son brought double that sum, and said “he had a desire to do more." He was asked “if he could afford it?” and he said he “should try, for he had a desire to do more;” and he has regularly paid the money. It is a blessed sight to see some humble Christian, unknown in this world's busy round, "going on to perfection" with a quiet mind, not only desiring to do more, but, by God's grace, bringing their desires to good effect. It is a blessed thing to be assured that such desires and good works are all known to Him who beheld, among the rich men's gifts which were cast into the treasury, the poor widow's two mites, and said, she “hath cast in more than they all." * To the church of Thyatira was the searching but encouraging message sent, “I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first,"t
Quite different to this humble dwelling is the shop, which stands a little way further up the road, with a bow window on one side of it, full of goods of various sorts : flowers and shrubs adorn the garden in front, and a neat gravel walk leads up to the door. The shop is kept by an industrious widow, who labours diligently“ for the meat which perisheth;" but her heart, and soul, and strength are not given to “that which endureth unto everlasting life." I She is said to be very well off, and has now no
• Luke xxi, 3. + Rev, ii, 19. 1 John vi, 27.
grown-up child at home to support. You enter the shop; with cheerful readiness she serves you of her best ; but speak to her of the privilege of assisting in the spread of the blessed Gospel, and ask her to give her help (however small) to the work, and she turns away vexed, and says, she really cannot afford anything." She is not at all frequent at the house of pray. er; and though advanced in years, has not yet been at the table of her Lord.
There are two other shops in the village, and we will not pass them by, as they strikingly furnish us with an example of that passage in Scripture, “Hath not God chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which He hath promised to them that love Him ?"* The first is situated in the most populous part of the parish, called " the Green,” and belongs to a man and his wife, who have no family. Their business has long been considered to have been in a very thriving state, so much so, that they are now intending to take a farm, when an opportunity occurs. Every thing around the place looks prosperous. The garden full of Aowers and vegetables, the borders neatly edged with the pink and white daisy, a thatched pig-stye near, and several bee-hives close by the wall of the house, against which stands a well-trained pear-tree. Do they honour the Lord with their substance, and with the first-fruits of all their increase ?t Step into the shop, and enquire James ïi, 5.
† Prov. iii, 9.