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to tell her child the truth. Mary paved the way by asking, in startled tones, as she entered,
“Mother, what can be the matter with me? I never felt like this before. Oh, mother, what is it?"
The look of speechless sorrow on her mother's face was at first her only answer, and then Margaret braced herself, though amidst broken-hearted sobs, to tell her.
“My darling, I am afraid you are going to die.”
“ To die, mother! Am I going to die? I never thought of that.” And for a moment the little girl, feeling the cold water of Jordan lapping round her feet, shrank back appalled. “Do you think I am quite ready, mother?" she gasped. What must I do? Tell me what to say, mother.”
The poor mother's heart was so full of feeling that her mind was empty of thought, and for an instant all was a terrible blank around her. And still this pitiful little face was turned towards her, and the eyes, dim and glassy now, pleaded for help.
· My darling, this is what you must say !” she cried ; "yes, this is it
“Jesus, lover of my soul,
Let me to Thy bosom fly,
Oh, receive my soul at last !'" Mary listened with hushed breathing, following with her lips each word of the hymn, and, as her mother ended, a smile of rapture brightened over her face, “Oh, mother; that's it, it's all Jesus! I needn't trouble; I've given myself away to Him, and He will be sure to look after me. I'm quite happy now. Don't cry so, dear mother; He'll comfort you, too.” And with a joyful recognition of her longloved Saviour, the dying child put her hand on His rod and staff, and went by His side through the “valley;" and her mother's grief was stilled, and even turned into grateful thanks unto Him who had given her little Mary the victory through her Lord Jesus Christ.
This is the only means of victory, dear reader. It is a wise and wholesome thing sometimes to anticipate our final encounter with the last enemy," to picture his approach, and the terror with which he will assuredly be armed to us, unless, like Mary, we have "given ourselves away to Jesus.” Let me entreat you to do this now. To the youngest reader of this true story, as well as to the aged, who can only see its words by the aid of spectacles, He is offering safety, pardon, and friendship. A "great salvation” truly, even in time of liealth, and when “the evil days” that darken so many lives have not as yet come near ours.
But how great to have our heads covered in the day of battle with outward and spiritual foes! Greatest of all, to meet death, that “strong man armed,” and “fear no evil,” because One “stronger than he” is with us, pledged to give us the victory. How is it that any one can turn aside from such a salvation as this, and prefer the risk and suspense and exposure of a life and a death without Jesus ?
M. C. F.
are not your own."
But all I have, and all I am,
All base desires, all earthly lust,
L. S. 11.
Baby's Two Birthdays.
A TALE IN TWO CHAPTERS.
By E. S. P.
"The baby wept ;
And baby slept.”-Hinds.
CHAPTER 1.-BABY'S FIRST BIRTHDAY.
ING dong! ding dong! The bells rang out merrily
on the frosty air, now loud, now soft, as the wind carried the sound far and near.
“ We shall have a white Christmas, I guess,". exclaimed Thomas Anson to his companion, as he toiled up the steep hill leading to his own home.
“ Yes, those clouds look like snow, and this keen wind 'll soon bring it down;" and Mrs. Wilmot drew her thin shawl round her shoulders and hastened on. Her short footsteps had hard work at times to keep pace with Tom's long strides.
“My little ones like to see the white flakes come fluttering past the window, and it's high fun to see the boys snowballing each other. Somehow, thank God, they don't seem to feel the cold like we older ones do; they enjoy the winter, so they say, though there's my Johnnie now with
his feet quite useless with broken chilblains. He has to keep them up all day, wrapped in old rags soaked in liniment, and never a boot on this week; and yet, bless his little heart, he doesn't complain, but just sits at the window, watching his brothers and sisters at play, and his laugh is as merry as any of theirs. I'm sure suffering children set us a grand example of patience and resignation.”
' Ay, they do that,” murmured Tom.
“Sometimes the pain and irritation are so great that he can't help crying, and then he looks up into my face and says, 'Mother, I'm not naughty, am I? But they do hurt so. And then I can't help my tears coming when I dress them for him. It's pitiful to see the state his poor little feet are in.”
“Ay, you've enough to do, Mrs. Wilmot, with your seven. If I live to see as many olive-branches round my table, I reckon I shan't be as patient in times of adversity as you have always been;" and the young sailor looked into the woman's face with a smile of admiration as he spoke.
“Oh yes, you will, Tom. The very sight of their helpless innocence would urge you on to forget your own troubles, and work bravely for their sakes.”
The sky looked very dark and lowering, and the sound of the wild waves dashing on the shore below could be heard distinctly by those two as they climbed the steep hill path leading into the little village of Ilton.
They parted at the corner, and Tom Anson made his way down the tiny lane towards the tiny thatched cottage, where the cheerful glow of the fire shone on the windowpanes, and looked most inviting to the cold and tired sailor.
“A merry Christmas, my boy,” was the cheerful greeting of an old coastguardman as he passed Anson on the road. “How's your wife now, Tom ?” and he stopped abruptly in his walk and caught hold of his arm.
“I've not seen her this week, and I'm anxious to get to her; so don't hinder me, there's a good man ;” and he was about to pass on quickly, but old Martin would not let him go.
guess I've some news for you, Tom, that'll make you hold your head some inches higher for many a day to come ;" and the old man smiled in a very knowing manner as he gazed into the sailor's handsome sunburnt face. What would you like to know best, eh?”
“That my Mary has passed through her trial, and is going on well,” was the ready answer.
“She has, Tom; and you've a little daughter.”
Tom Anson seized the old man's hand, and shook it heartily. “Thanks, a thousand thanks, for your good news, Martin. A right merry Christmas to you and yours.” And with these words he was off, tearing up the lane at his utmost speed. He drew up suddenly when he reached his own door, and stood with his hand on the latch a few minutes ere he entered. At length he opened the door softly and went in. The little sitting-room of the cottage was empty.
How strange it seemed to Tom to see no Mary running to meet him! Her chair was vacant; no work littered the table; no tea was prepared for him, and I don't know that he felt quite inclined to receive the tiny stranger now lying in its young mother's arms, in the small bedroom on the left of him, with such a welcome as he had at first intended giving it. He missed his wife sadly already.
“ Tom,” said a gentle voice from the next room.
He started at the sound. “ I'm coming, Ruth, directly I've got my sea boots off. How is my darling ?”
The big boots were quickly thrown off, and Tom, in his stockinged feet, crept away to see his new little daughter.
His wife's sister, Ruth Huntly, brought forward a large roll of flannel as he entered; but he was too anxious to see Mary again to take any notice of the baby yet, but in a short time he was able to devote a few moments to his little girl.
“Isn't she a darling wee thing, Tom?” exclaimed the proud young aunt, as she folded back the blanket from her niece's face and displayed its minute features.
“I can't see much of her yet, Ruth ; she's too tiny to