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130 THE CHILD'S LITTLE VOYAGE.
glittered in the sunbeam; and where the rocks, receding, left a little cove, they lighted down on the sea-sand, and stood beside the shallows and the little erecks, where the salt water lingered as the tide went down, feeding on what the ocean-waves had brought and left for their supply. The snow-white birds, the golden sands, an" the blue sea, all made a scene of peace; and as I looked on it I thought how fair creation is when man is far away!
But presently, as I stood there upon the high cliffs brow I heard a low, sweet song. I could not catch the words,—only the air: the tones were those of childhood; and something in their music brought a sense of heaven to my heart more real and felt than all that scene of nature's peace. I looked down from the cliff, and saw a little bark below floating on the calm sea, and in it sat a child. She did not seem to guide the little vessel'i rudder, or to heed which way it went.
Surprised at this, I looked abroad upon the ocean, and saw that larger vessels were in sight, and her's was bound by cords to them; so then, relieved, I turned to watch the child. She was seated all alone, chanting tha heavenly melody. Close by her side I saw a Eook: i! was not open; but I knew its form; and beautiful to roi was the contrast of that young child, whose life so smal a space of time yet measured, and that most wondrous book, the link between the eternal past and future, anc which told her being's infmite duration!
And when I heard the child's voice singing, breathing forth her soul, as it was plain she did in that sweet hymn, I felt how both seemed one,—the child and that sanu book—that book which teaches earth the harmony o heaven, as if the little one were a living voice that fron THE CHILD'S LITTLE VOYAGE. 131
its pages woke! And now I did not watch the calm blue sea, nor those bright birds of snowy wing, nor the dark cliffs. I only looked upon that child below, and felt more power of peace with her than had been shed before over that scene of nature. I saw her fingers busy with a task that seemed to please her well,—sorting some coloured sea-weeds, and placing them upon a card that rested on her knee. The work looked suited for a child; but as I watched her something made me feel as if her interest in it rose above the work itself. The sea-weeds lay before her; and from the little heap she drew their delicate forms of beauty, which seemed to own her skill grouping their bright array; and as she worked she sang, while I—a listening watcher—stood above.
Then presently I felt how soon the child's light vessel would have glided far away; and I felt sad at thought of losing sight of her for ever; so I looked along the cliff, and saw a fissure in the rock near where the child must pass. I hastened there, and by the fissure's open space, came down into the cove, just where her little ressel floated ashore. She looked up from her work, surprised, but with no sign of fear; for, though a stranger to her, I doubt not that in my face she saw an expression of friendly interest.
"May I sit down beside you for a little while," I said, "and look at your bright work?"
"Oh, yes;" the child replied. "I am sorting seaweed on a card."
'' And do you like it better so than lying on the shore?" I asked.
She answered, "No; I think it looks the prettiest -when the waves go back and leave it wet upon the sand; but hardly any one can see it there."
132 The Child's Little Voyage.
"And so," I said, "you gather it that others may have pleasure?"
"No," she replied "I like them to have pleasure ; but it is not for that exactly that I do it."
"Why, then?" I asked.
"Because," she said, " such things as these are put in baskets, and sent round and sold; and all the money given for them is used to send good men to teach the heathen how to find the way to heaven. Many people make other things, just what they like. Only I like the sea-weed best."
"Why do you like the sea-weed best?" I asked.
"I hardly know," she answered, "only God made it, and it looks so beautiful upon the shore! and when I stand there, then the great wave comes and brings it up so gently from the deep sea's bed, and leaves it at mj feet, as if it came for me! I dare say I have seen other things as pretty, only I think I like the sea-weed best."
"Were you not singing at your work?" I asked.
"Oh, yes! I sing sometimes!" she answered.
"I wish you would sing that sweet hymn again," I said.
"It was a missionary hymn," the child replied. "Do you like missionary hymns?" she asked, as if not yet assured enough to grant me my request.
I answered, "Yes, indeed I do! I am sure I should like your's."
. With that she sang,—her little fingers all he while still busy with the ocean-weed :—
"Who are they whose little feet,
Pacing life's dark journey through,
They had ever kept in view?
'I, from India's sultry plain;'
'I, from islands of the main.'
THE CHILD'S LITTLE VOYAGE. 133
"All our earthly journey past,
Every tear and pain gone by,
At the portal of the sky.
Conquerors over Death and Sin!
Let the little travellers in 1"
"That is my favourite missionary hymn," the child made haste to say when she had ceased to sing.
"I do not wonder that it is," I answered; "but a dark wave may come, called Death, before we reach heaven's ' Golden Gates.' Are you not afraid when you remember that?"
"Oh, no, I am not afraid," she said. "I know about it all!"
"What do you know?" I asked.
She looked up with a smile, as if the light of heavenly truth suffered no trace of Death's dark shadow to rest on her young heart.
"I know," she said, about the Rock, the Anchor, and the Chain."
"Will you tell me about them, then ?" I asked.
"Do you not know ?" she asked.
"Tell me," again I said; and she replied,—
"The Rock means Jesus Christ: no one who gets to him can ever then be lost. The Anchoe means our Hope In Jesus: it is called so in the Bible, because the archor goes far down into the sea and takes fast hold, and keeps the ship quite safe, just like our Hope, which goes quite into heaven to Jesus Christ, keeping us safe on earth. And then the ship must have a Chain, by which it holds the anchor fast; and so must we, and our chain must be Faith: one end is in heaven with Jesus holding our anchor, Hope, and we must hold the other 1:34 STEEET EDUCATION.
end on earth: it must be very bright, like gold, and we must be quite sure not to let go that golden chain of Faith. I have told some poor old people, and some little children, who lived near the shore, about the Rock, the Anchor, and the Chain. They liked to hear it very much, at least I think they did."
"What is it that makes Faith's golden chain so bright?" I asked. The child answered, " Peater!"
But now the time was passing, so I rose. "I do not like to say good-by to you, dear child," I said; "I fear we shall not meet again!" With earnest look the little girl replied,—
"All who love God will live with Jesus in his home in heaven!"
I left her there, and' in a little while I turned back along the rocky shore; I reached again the fissure in the cliff; I climbed its steep ascent; I stood upon the height and looked around. The tide was flowing gently on the sands, and in the western sky the sun was sinking low; a flood of orimson, streaked with liquid gold, rose o'er the sea, and seemed almost to rest upon the bosom of the deep, as if that little child might now have sailed across, and entered into glory there, without the shade of Death!
STREET EDUCATION. A CITY missionary visited an unhappy man in jail, waiting his trial for a great crime. "Sir," said the prisoner, tears running down his cheeks, " I had a good home education: it was my street education that ruined me. I used to slip out of the house and go off with the boys in the street. In the street I learned to lounge; to swear; to smoke; to gamble; and then to pilfer. O, sir, it is in the street the devil lurks to work the ruin of the young! . Reader! Beware of a Street Education.