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give any opinion about for a month or two. I
suppose she'll grow, though it hardly seems possible,” said Tom, as a happy smile played round the corners of his mouth, and he drew his big brown finger across the soft velvet-like cheek of the infant. At length a little feeble cry was heard, and baby was soon hushed to sleep in her mother's arms, and Ruth went with Tom into the sitting-room, where she soon made up the fire, filled the kettle with water, and set it on to boil in readiness for his tea.
“How beautifully the bells are ringing, Tom. What a happy Christmas Eve this is for us, is it not?” said Ruth, as she spread a white cloth on the little round table, fetched two cups and saucers from a small cupboard on the righthand side of the fireplace, and a half-quartern loaf, from which she cut two slices of bread, and kneeling down on the rug, proceeded to toast them. Tom went over to the lattice window, and, throwing it open, leaned out.
Ding dong! ding dong ! ding dong! ding dong!
Ruth dropped the toast down from the bars, turning her pretty fair head on one side to listen.
“How lovely! They sound like joy-bells, ringing in honour of your baby's birth. Don't they, Tom?"
“Yes," he murmured, coming back into the room.
“ You'll go to church with me to-morrow, I know; won't you, Tom?" she said, as they sat together at tea.
Why? Christmas Day isn't Sunday !" “No; but don't you want to go and thank God for giving you such a Christmas gift?” and Ruth raised her large thoughtful eyes to his face, with a very earnest look in their blue depths.
Tom shuftled his feet under the table, and went on eating his hot toast without replying.
There was silence for a few minutes. The coals crackled in the fire, and the snow fell noiselessly without.
“ If everybody went to church every time they had a son or daughter, the churches would be pretty full, I guess," said the young sailor at length.
“ Then you don't mean to go with me, Tom?” “Who's going to stay with Mary ?"
“Mrs. Farmer's coming in to be with her just while I'm at church. You've been saved from all the perils of the sea, brought safely home to your wife, had a dear little daughter given you; and have you no thanks to offer to the Giver of all these good gifts, Tom ? "
“Oh, of course I'm thankful enough, and all that; but I'm not going to make a parade of my feelings in church, so I tell you, Ruth. I'm going for a walk to
morrow with Jim Patterson. I promised him I would to-day, and I don't intend to break
word.” “And a Christmas Day service is so beautiful,” murmured Ruth ; "and you won't have the chance of hearing one again for another year, remember, Tom."
“All right; I know. Don't you worry yourself about my salvation, Ruth, there's a good girl, or I'm afraid you'll find it a harder task than you bargained for;" and Tom laid his hands on the girl's shoulders and looked into her face with a saddened look in his dark eyes. “I only hope my little daughter will grow up just such another as her Aunt Ruth, and then she may do some good in the world, which is more than her father has done, or ever will do, I fear.”
“ How can she grow up good if you don't set her the example? Children invariably follow their parents in everything. If you and dear Mary don't go to church, or ever teach your little one to love Jesus, how can she grow up a good and loving child ? “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.' You know in what book those words are written, don't you, Tom, dear? And again, One says,
Suffer little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.' Won't you give your little one to Jesus ?”
“Do you think our baby is going to die then, Ruth ?” exclaimed the sailor, in a startled tone.
“No, indeed; I trust not, Tom. She seems healthy enough; but she can belong to Jesus without dying. If we wait till we are dying to seek Jesus, we shall never belong to Him. It is too late, Tom, then;" and Ruth looked very serious as she wished her brother good night. “You will never forget this Christmas Eve, shall you, Tom? It seems such a happy night to be born on, so near the time when our blessed Redeemer came as a baby to live as a man among us for thirty-three years, and then die an ignominious death to save our souls. Think of this, Tom. A merry Christmas and a happy New Year to you, your wife, and little daughter."
My Heart's Cry.
ORD, now to Thee I cry;
To Thee for safety fly,
Yet, oh! Thy grace impart,
Let not the storm I dread
By Thy love's gentler way,
I to Thy mercy cling,
Take from my heart each fear,
E. S. H
The Hiding -place.
as you seem to think me; leastways it's not the
Loftus, looking rather vexed. “Ah, dear friend," said Mrs. Graham, as she laid her hand tenderly on Mrs. Loftus' arm; "forgive me if I have said one word to offend or pain you; no one knows better than I do what a thrifty wife and careful mother you are; and many a time I have brought up you and your rooms as an example to others; but 'what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?'1 said our blessed Lord; and it is because I want you, oh, so earnestly I want you, to make sure that your never-dying soul is safe, that I have urged you, perhaps too strongly, not to risk an eternity of joy or woe, by putting off and off the one and only means of safety. Perhaps, Mrs. Loftus, I have not chosen a very convenient time for my visit this morning; so, shall I say good-bye, and come another day?”
“Not at all, ma'am,” said Mrs. Loftus, whose passing vexation had quite disappeared. “I have been working hard all the morning, and my back is so aching that I said to myself, I would sit down and work a bit until the children come back from school, which won't be for another hour; I can do the mending in the evening. So will you be so good as to take a chair? You are right, ma'am, I know well; but poor and busy folks haven't much time for religion.”
“I think, Mrs. Loftus," began her kind friend and visitor, “ what made me speak so very urgently to you just now was a verse I had been thinking over for a long time; this morning it came in my regular reading; it is this : 'A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.'
“ Now I think the whole world is divided into two sets; the prudent or the wise, and the simple or foolish ;3 and that which in God's sight marks the difference between them is, the wise 'foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself ;' the foolish pass on,' and this evil that they would not believe, or at least would take their chance about it, comes surely and swiftly, and they are punished.' You remember in the time of Noah, when God declared that He would send a flood on the earth to destroy the ungodly, how few 1 Mark viii. 36.
2 Prov. xxvii. 12. 3 Prov. i. 22 ; viii. 5.