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then becomes to know the will of God, and to be guided and directed by it, to submit to all His dispensations, to feel assured that all He does is for the good of His people, and that it will assuredly work for good to them that love Him.
It is in vain to call ourselves the followers of Christ, if we are not seeking for that mind which was in Him. It is in vain to call ourselves converts to His Gospel if we are not seeking to live according to that Gospel, to love Him, and to love the brethren. A harsh, unkind, discontented, and unthankful disposition, cannot belong to a man who is living under the saving direction and guidance of God's Spirit. The powerful influence of divine love effectually drives away those selfish, carnal, and unholy feelings. The Apostle James teaches us, that, if we have "bitter envying" and strife in our hearts, "this wisdom descendeth not from above;" he tells us that it is" earthly, sensual, devilish;" that is, it ariseth from an unholy love of the world, the power of our sinful lusts, and the temptation of the devil. It is true, indeed, that a man may have a kind and gentle disposition, although he may not be in reality a holy man, other parts of his conduct showing that he is not under the guiding influence of God's Spirit. This kindness of disposition often renders a man a great blessing to society, and gives him the power of communicating much happiness to his fallen creatures; but this is not to be mistaken for that spirit of holy love which leads a man, in all things, to seek to know the will of God, and to endeavour to act consistently and obediently in all things.
Let us seek then, that gracious influence which shall lead us to the love of God; and then there will be that effectual and productive principle which will teach us to love our fellow Christians and to seek their happiness, and to promote their temporal and their everlasting good. This would keep us from those grievous mistakes by which so many seek their own happiness, where it never can be found, and to hold forth such schemes for the pretended good of others which, if adopted, would most assuredly end in their misery and ruin as to earthly things, and leave the mind without any of those feelings and
THE POOR OLD LADY.
motives and influences, which make the Christian's preparation for that kingdom which his Saviour has purchased for him, and which He will give to them that love Him. V.
THE POOR OLD LADY.
"HAVE you heard the sad news, William," said a respectable looking workman, as he entered the sitting room of a small farm-house; "have you heard that the poor Old Lady at the great house is dead?"
Yes," answered William, very gravely, "I have heard it, James, and I was thinking at the moment you came in, how selfish it is to grieve for it; but yet," continued he, as he wiped a tear from his eye, "who can help grieving for the loss of such a friend, as she has been to me and mine ?"
"Why, indeed," said James, "she did seem to be a particular friend to your family, and indeed she was a kind friend to all the parish, and she will no doubt be greatly missed by us; but I hope it is a happy change for her, poor lady."
"I have not the least doubt of that," replied William "to such a true and humble Christian, death must indeed be a happy, a blessed change; to go from suffering, and sin here, to that heavenly and glorious rest, spoken of in the Word of God.-But pray tell me, James, why you call the dear and excellent friend we have lost poor?"
"Oh! that is only the common way of speaking, you know; she must to be sure have been very rich to give away among the poor, and do all the good she did; but you know, William, it is the custom to call people poor when they are dying or dead; and there is no harm in it, do you think there is ?"
"I think," said William, "that it is always better to call every thing by its right name. Now, in this case, any one who had not known Lady Jones, might suppose, that, hearing her called poor Lady, she had left all that was good, and to be desired, behind her; and had no hope of enjoying happiness in the world to which she is gone: this notion indeed often strikes me, when I hear people speak of those who are gone, and who have lived a life of faith,
and exercised that love and charity, which are among the best fruits of faith. Now, I think, James, it is those who are left, that are to be pitied, not those who are like Lady Jones and many others, to whom to die must be great gain."
"Ah! I know that you always talk of death in this way, and no doubt as you are an honest man, you think what you say; but still, William, it seems to me, that few in your station in life, have so many comforts and are so well off as you are: and then too, do you not, in your morning prayers, thank God for raising you up from sleep, to see the light of another day; and at night do you not pray to be kept safely through the dangers of it? Now I know you do this, and I cannot understand why you make so light of life; is it not the gift of God? And does He not give us all things richly to enjoy ?"
"To be sure He does, my dear James; and we should be very ungrateful if we were not thankful for such a gift. What I mean is, that whenever our appointed time comes, the faithful Christian may look up to his heavenly Father, in humble, and even joyful hope that his sins are forgiven, through the atonement of Jesus Christ, and that, clothed in the Wedding Garment of His Redeemer's perfect righteousness, he is about to be received into heaven, there to live for ever, in a state, the blessedness of which, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man to imagine the bliss he is going to enjoy, and that this change is a joyful not a pitiable one; but so far from making light of life am I, James, that I am sure, if I did not desire rightly, that is, highly to value it, I could have no such hope as I have described; the dear lady who is gone, was very far indeed from making light of such a gift, and very often has she talked to me of the goodness of God in creating us for glory."
"Pray, William, if you have no objection to it, tell me how it happened that this same lady was so particularly your friend, and had you so often with her; ever since I have lived in this village, and before I knew you so well as I do now, I have heard of your being continually at the great house, and being in high favour there."
THE POOR OLD LADY.
"Why you must know, James, that I was left an orphan, when I was very young; my father and mother both died of a fever; and as my mother had lived in the service of my lady's father, she was always very kind to her, and took much notice of me. When the fever first attacked my father, she sent for me, and kept me in her house, that I might not catch the fever. My parents died within a very short time of each other, and I was at the time too young to feel their loss very deeply, or to remember much about them, but never can I forget the care and kindness of my dear lady; she grew very fond of me, but she was too sensible to spoil me, and as an uncle of my mother's was willing to take me into his family, that I might learn farming, the business my father and grandfather had followed, my lady agreed to pay for my board for the first two or three years; but my poor uncle, though very careful as to this world's profit, was very careless of the one thing needful, and his children were sadly brought up; they were disobedient to their earthly parents, so it could not be wondered at, that they disobeyed God and very sad were their deceitful and tricking ways. At first I was very much grieved at all their wickedness, but I was beginning to get used to it, and might perhaps have been tempted by degrees to do as they did, when, most happily for me, my good lady sent an old and trusty servant to see how I was going on; he staid one whole day and night, and had time to see something of the habits of the family. Before he went away, he questioned me very closely, and I told him the whole truth; for God be praised, I had not yet learnt to lie and deceive. The worthy man said nothing to me, or to my uncle, by way of remark on the conduct of his house; but the next day I was sent for, and after spending a few days in the great house, during which I had a great deal of excellent and most kind advice, I was placed with a truly religious and steady farmer. With him I was kept punctually and regularly to business; was taught the best methods of farming, and in short, had all the teaching necessary to enable me truly to get mine own living, and to do my duty in that state of life to which it had pleased God to call me. And with all
this useful knowledge, the greatest care was taken of our religious duties, as they are properly called; but blessed be the mercy of God, I have learnt by experience to know them to be also our great and high privileges and happiness. I must, however, cut my history short; for though when I am speaking of all the goodness I have received, I could talk all day, yet you and I must go to our daily work, where we can think of our mercies, and in our hearts, praise the Giver of them. You will now understand, that Lady Jones was indeed a great friend to me, and she never failed in her kindness and care of me. I married my dear wife, with my lady's full consent; she lent me part, and gave me the rest of the money necessary to buy this little farm, and encouraged me to labour with my own hands, to save as much as possible the expense of hiring; and last Michaelmas, I had the pleasure of repaying the last portion of what she had lent me. On Christmas day last, when my Jane and I went to dine at the house, she called us into her room, and gave us each a handsome present, to buy us many little things which, as she said, she knew we had wanted, and denied ourselves that we might pay our debt to her. 'I have a great regard for you both,' the dear lady was pleased to say, ' and could have afforded to give you all the money at once; but, as your sincere friend, I wished you to get the habit of self-denial and frugality, and to feel the comfort which industry, and acting honestly and justly, never fail to give. I am growing old and infirm from long illness, and the hour of my departure must be near: this is one of the reasons why I refused to be one of the Godmothers, as I know you wished I should, to this dear little one,' said she, kissing the baby in my Jane's arms; 'butI wish to make her a Godmother's best gift, or rather her God's best gift, His own precious Word,' said she, as she took from her table a large handsome Bible, and added to it a Book of Common Prayer, bound like the Bible. I have written her name with the date in both books, because I thought you, my friends, would like to have it so; and moreover, William,' said she, 'I wish you to-morrow to place these ten pounds in the savings' bank, in her name, and let the