« PreviousContinue »
form. But no, she was not there; but the Bible-that precious book that she loved so well-was there. It lay where it long had lain, on the window-sill, and the sick man asked the person who attended him to read it. From that time he constantly had the Bible read to him—it was his only comfort. How sweet those precious words were, “Come unto me, all ye that labour, and I will give you rest” (Matt. xi. 28). “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John iii. 16). The old man never rose from that bed again, but we believe he did go to Jesus, and that loving Saviour made him so happy that he did not mind the pain, and was not afraid to die. When his spirit passed away from the earth, it passed into the presence of the King of kings and Lord of lords, to rejoice with him for ever.
LIVE USEFULLY. A SOLDIER's widow lived in a little hut near a mountain village. Her only child was a poor cripple. Hans was a kind-hearted boy. He loved his mother, and would gladly have helped her to bear the burden of poverty; but his feebleness forbade it. He could not even join in the rude sports of the young mountaineers. At the age of fifteen years, he felt keenly the fact that he was useless to his mother and to the world.
It was at this period that Napoleon Bonaparte was making his power felt throughout Europe. He had de creed that the Tyrol should belong to Bavaria, and not to Austria, and sent a French and Bavarian army to accomplish his purpose. The Austrians retreated. The Tyrolese resisted valiantly. Men, women, and children of the mountain-land were filled with zeal in defence of their homes. On one occasion, ten thousand French and Ba. varian troops were destroyed in a single mountain pass, by an immense avalanche of rocks and trees, prepared and hurled upon them by an unseen foe.
A secret arrangement existed between the Tyrolese, by
which the approach of the enemy was to be communicated by signal fires, from village to village, from one mountain height to another; and combustible materials were laid ready to give an instant alarm.
The village in which Hans and his mother lived was in the direct line of the route the French army would take, and the people were full of anxiety and fear. All were preparing for the expected struggle. The widow and her crippled son alone seemed to have no part but to sit still and wait. “Ah! Hans !” she said, one evening, “it is well for us now that you can be of little use ; they would else make a soldier of you.” This struck a tender chord. The tears rolled from his cheek. “Mother, I am useless," cried Hans, in bitter grief. “Look round our village all are busy, all ready to strive for home and fatherland ; I am useless."
My boy, my kind, dear son, you are not useless to me."
“ Yes, to you ; I cannot work for you, cannot support you
age. Why was I made, mother ?”
• God has his plan
For every man.'” Little did Hans think that, ere a few weeks had passed, this truth was to be verified in a remarkable manner.
Easter holidays, the festive season of Switzerland, came. The people lost their fears of invasion in the sports of the
All were busy in the merry-making--all but Hans. He stood alone on the porch of his mountain hut overlooking the village.
Towards the close of Easter-day, after his usual evening prayer, in which he breathed a wish that the Father of mercies would, in his good time, afford him some opportunity of being useful to others, he fell into a deep sleep.
He awoke in the night, as if from a dream, under the strong impression that the French and Bavarian army
was approaching. He could not shake off this impression; but with the hope of being rid of it, he rose, hastily dressed himself, and strolled up the mountain path. The cool air did him good, and he continued his walk till he climbed to the signal-pile. Hans walked round the pile ; but where were the watchers ? They were nowhere to be seen, and perhaps they were busied with the festivi. ties of the village. Near the pile was an old pine tree, and in its hollow stem the tinder was laid ready. Hans paused by the ancient tree; and, as he listened, a singular sound caught his attention, now quickened by the peculiar cir. cumstances in which he found himself
, and by the perception that much might depend on him. He heard a slow and stealthy tread ; then the click of muskets, and two soldiers crept along the cliff. Seeing no one, for Hans was hidden by the old tree, they gave the signal to some comrades in the distance.
Hans saw instantly the plot and the danger. The secret of the signal-pile had been revealed to the enemy; a party had been sent forward to destroy it; the army was marching to attack the village. With no thought of his own peril, and perhaps recalling the proverb his mother had quoted, he seized the tinder, struck the light, and flung the blazing turpentine brand into the pile.
The two soldiers, whose backs were then turned to the pile, waiting the arrival of their comrades, were seized with fear; but they soon saw there were no foes in ambush-only a single youth running down the mountain path. They fired, and lodged a bullet in the boy's shoulder. Yet the signal-fire was blazing high, and the whole country would be aroused. It was already aroused from mountain-top to mountain-top. The plan of the advancing army was defeated, and a hasty retreat fol. lowed.
Hans, faint and bleeding, made his way to the village. The people with their arms were mustering thick and fast. “All was consternation. The inquiry was everywhere heard, “Who lighted the pile ?” “It was T," said at last a faint, almost expiring voice. Poor crippled Hans tot.
tered among them, saying, “The enemy—the French were there.” He faltered, and sank upon the ground. me to my mother," said he; "at last I have not been useless."
They stooped to lift him. “ What is this ?” they cried ; "he has been shot. It is true ; Hans, the cripple has saved us."
They carried Hans to his mother, and laid him before her. As she bowed in anguish over his pale face, Hans opened his eyes and said : “ It is not now, dear mother, you
I am happy, now. Yes, mother, it is true
* God has his plan
For every man.' You see, he had it for me, though we did not know exactly what it was.”
Hans did not recover from his wound, but he lived long enough to know that he had been of use to his village and his country; he lived to see grateful mothers embrace his mother-to hear that she would be revered and honoured in the community which her son had preserved at the cost of his own life.
Great emergencies, like those which met Hans, cannot exist in the history of all. To all, however, the Tyrolese motto may speak, and all will experience its truth.
None need stand useless members of God's great family. There is work for every one to do, if he will but look out for it. So long as there is ignorance to instruct, want to relieve, sorrow to soothe, let there be no drones in the bive, no idlers in the great vineyard of the world,
" OLD PATCH." Here is a little narrative which we have seen in print two or three times, but it deserves stereotyping :-A poor boy came to school with a large patch on his knee. One of his schoolfellows, who was a little haughty, and withal a great “ tease," began to nickname him “Patch," and finally “ Old Patch." The other boys, who had perhaps suffered:
THE JUVENILE REPORTER.
in the same way from the teaser, said to Patch," don't you ‘lick him'? Yes, give it to him! I wouldn't be called names so by him ; I'd give it to him!” “Pooh!” answered the boy with the patch, "you don't suppose I'm ashamed of my patch, do you ? For my part, I am very thankful for a good mother who, though poor, toils to keep me out of rags. A neat patch looks much better than a slovenly ragged hole in my trousers. Yes, I honour this patch for my mother's sake.” There was a true and noble philo. sophy in this, and his companions felt it. “There's no getting the better of 'Patch,' in said the boys;
bit of false shame about him.” And now the boys honoured him for it.
DEATH OF JESSIE YOUNG. No doubt some of our readers remember the late Dr. Young, who was one of our first missionaries to China, and who returned to this country and died, a few years ago. He left two little orphan daughters, who have since lived with their kind aunts in Edinburgh : and we are very sorry to hear that the elder of them, Jessie, died on the 9th of November, after a short illness. It is pleasing to know that, so gentle and engaging was she, all who knew her loved her, and from the good hope she gave when on earth, they believe she has gone to be with Jesus.
Her earliest lessons were received from Booa, the faithful Chinese nurse, who brought her to England at the time her poor father came home to die.
Booa has just returned to Amoy, after a voyage she made to America. She went there on a similar errand to that which brought her here—to take charge of a mis. sionary's family. It is pleasing to know that she is still the same faithful, affectionate, devoted Christian that she was when amongst us.
THE JUVENILE REPORTER. How time flees ! Just within sight of another Christmas! “ The harvest is past, the summer is ended”-dark,