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Just then the door opened and the singer appeared, but Margaret could not stay her fast-falling tears. That well-known tune had brought back to her the days gone by, when she was light-hearted and happy, ay, even as light-hearted as that fair girl before her, with her eyes so full of love, light, and sympathy.
Louise Ashley looked on the troubled face, but with true womanly delicacy appeared to take no notice, although in reality she noted every tremulous movement of the hands, every shade of expression which flitted across the worn features, and her loving heart ached for the sorrow of the lonely one. "Perhaps she is one of Christ's little ones," she said to herself, as she re-entered
the workroom, intending to return in a few minutes to the room wero Margaret sat. Margaret sat. When she did so, however, it was empty, the solitary woman had gone back to her room, where, with a heart sadder than ever, she sat over the embers of the fire, thinking sadly. Her faith seemed all gone, the enemy seemed. to have her at a disadvantage, and she could not feel that she could trust her future with her God; but despairing feelings came as she thought on her isolated life. Then the words of the hymn she had heard in High Street came across her, and blended with it came memories of the time when she had taught little lips to say "Our Father," and to repeat hymns at her knee. She remembered some which had been especial favourites with her children, and which, by teaching them, had become engraved on her own memory. Those little ones were safely gathered in the Saviour's arms, and, with her husband, were awaiting her on the other shore; and Margaret thought of them as she recalled the time when they made life so fair and gladsome to her, and softer feelings came with their memory, for sho
could not help recollecting at the same time how her God had been her help, when one by one they sickened and died. He had given her strength to bow in submission and say, "Thy will be done," as she saw husband and children taken away; and would He not help her now? Oh, yes! and unconsciously Margaret found herself murmuring aloud,
"Each sweet Ebenezer I have in review
Confirms His good pleasure to help me quite through."
Then in deep self-abasement she knelt down and prayed for help against the enemy, who was sowing seeds of doubt and rebellion in her soul. She felt herself powerless to fight against him, and so went to the Strong One for strength, and pleaded, ay, as we plead for life, that He would hear her prayer.
Oh, where there is urgent need felt there is sure to be earnest
prayer sent up, and earnest prayer for spiritual blessing is sure to be answered, let scoffers say what they will. Not in our time, not in our way, perhaps, will such prayers be answered; but they will be answered, otherwise God's promises are not to be depended upon.
Earnestly Margaret prayed for stronger faith to trust in her God and to cast doubt to the wind ; and as she prayed she grew more earnest, and rose up comforted, believing that her prayer was heard and answered. Peace, perfect peace, reigned now where anxious care had stalked, and fear was driven away by trust. Margaret Leigh was a happy woman as she lay down to rest that night, feeling herself in His care without whose knowledge not even a sparrow falls to the ground; and coming days proved indeed that her prayer was answered.
ARGARET she had been for many a day. Memories of the past spoke to her eloquently of God's care and providence, and looking back over all her history she recognised the merciful guidance she had received, and felt sure that for the future also her bread would be given her and her water would be sure. She thanked her God for the measure of faith He had granted to her in
rose next morn
ing with a lightened heart. She had prayed for faith to trust God, and faith was given; for, though the circumstances of her lot were no brighter than on the preceding evening, Margaret herself was brighter and happier than
answer to prayer, but entreated that it might be doubled, yea, trebled; and then, with a glad heart, she turned to the records of Holy Writ, and read of the achievements of prayer-of prayers and answers to prayer in the histories of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Moses, David, Daniel, and a host of others. Then she turned to the prayers addressed by needy suppliants to our Saviour during His life on earth, and His gracious answers to them; and by the time her congenial occupation was over, Margaret's heart was quite freed from its anxiety, and she could joyfully sing the hymn which the night before she could only murmur with choking voice. And then it occurred to her what a happy Good Friday she was spending. The loneliness was all gone now, for she felt that she had a Guest who was also a Friend and a Saviour that Jesus was by her side, reading her inmost heart and understanding her perfectly, loving her with tender love. So the day wore on, and Margaret's lowly room was a palace to her, and the bread and cheese which formed her meal was royal food. The water was
turned into wine by her Saviour's presence, and the heart of the lonely woman was overflowing with joy and peace.
We have all some red-letter days in our almanac of life, and this was one to Margaret, to which she looked back in after days, and saw it standing out in bold relief from those which surrounded it-a day which was a festival indeed, for the germ of faith was in her heart, and she had prayed for its abundant increase, and believed that already her prayer was answered.
Could she have foreseen the days that were coming when this faith was to be so sorely tried, she might have trembled for the result; but she was in the hands of an All-wise God, and He mercifully and kindly drew a veil over even her near future, and gave her surpassing joy in her present possession.
So ended the day, and the next morning found Margaret a prisoner in her room. A severe attack of rheumatism made even the slightest movement an effort attended with great pain. She arose at her usual hour, and with much difficulty managed to light her fire; then, overcome by the pain, she sank