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" Ernest.—' I can't without mamma.'
• Gentle Jesus, meek and mild,
Look on me, a little child;
He then proceeded to pray in his own simple words. After this, I often heard him, in the stillness of his attic chamber, when he thought that no ear but His to whom he addressed himself could hear; and found that meditation and prayer were precious and habitual exercises to him. I rather think that he discovered that his voice could be heard from the other rooms, for I did not hear him from this time at all. Alarmed at what I feared might be declension, I took an opportunity of inquiring of him if he prayed in private ? His head drooped, and he appeared in difficulty. This deepened my suspicion, and I urged my inquiry with greater earnestness, on which he replied, with much gentleness, “ Mamma, we should pray in secret.” Faithless and unbelieving as I was, I still said, “But do you?' He was evidently pained, and said, 'Of course I do!' thus embodying, in other words, Montgomery's beautiful stanzas,
• Prayer is the Christian's vital breath,
Bertie had a great thirst for knowledge, but had to acquire all that he obtained almost wholly by observation and conversation, as I was particularly recommended by our medical adviser not to let him continue scholastic training until his health was fully established. He was, therefore, only taught to spell monosyllables ; but being very anxious to read the Word of God, so determined was he to acquire its contents, that in an incredibly short period he taught himself to read fluently. And now his intimate acquaintance with his Bible was increasing each day. It was manna to his soul, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and manna which it was his delight to gather up. His Bible is full of marked passages and used pages. If a Bible was inquired for, it was almost proverbial amongst us~ It lies where Bertie was last. He would often recommend to his brother an earnest attention to its contents, reading and repeating bymns and verses in its praise, as
• Here would I learn how Christ has died
To save my soul from hell;
Such heavenly wonders tell !'
“ His love for truth was painfully tested on one occasion. He was running round the garden in some childish game, when, being nearly caught, he uttered an exclamation which sounded much like a profane use of the name of God. He was accused to me, but repelled the charge with firmness. The accusation was persisted in by three or four children. I took him aside, and told him that many persons could not be all mistaken ; he insisted upon his inno
I thought he was adding sin to sin, and was deeply distressed. I prepared to whip him, and again I urged him to confess; but he persisted still in denying it. I commenced the punishment, and then for a moment desisted to give him the opportunity of confession. I shall never forget his behaviour as he knelt down unresistingly to receive the correction, and said, — Mamma, you may flog me, but I dare not tell a lie ;' then looking upwards, he said — O Lord, thou knowest that I did not swear!' I could no longer doubt him, but folded him, naked and trembling, in my arms.
“ When scarcely seven years old Bertie was a delightful companion, -a child who was an example of what nature and grace could accomplish: intelligent and thoughtful, gentle and affectionate, obedient and amiable, exceedingly sensitive, and consequently very careful not to wound the feelings of another-and yet he was a child-an unaffected, untrained child of nature-racing at the top of his speed to be first at the wood, but, recollecting those behind, running back for dear mamma;' then scampering away, like a Shetland pony, with his little sister in her · bauble coach,' to the wild strawberry banks, along the skirts of the wood. Bank and brae, forest and field, yielded their treasures of grasses and mosses, flowers and fruit-it was their last offering to him.
“ Bertie's beloved grandpapa had furnished us with a number of woodcut illustrations of Scripture histories; in the use of which I found a most felicitous method of imparting Bible lore to infant minds — a very treasury of knowledge. We pinned our pictures within the head of the little bed where Bertie and his brother slept ; so that on awaking in the morning they supplied a choice of sacred subjects for thought or conversation; and on going to bed at night they also suggested topics on which there were a score of questions for reply, within as many minutes, accompanied by earnest solicitations to remain in the room and talk about them.
“ Bertie had learned the “ law of kindness' from The Master, and carried out the precepts as a little child. Thus, during the summer, his pocket money was reserved to redeem the lives of captured birds and butterflies, while he reasoned with their cruel captors. Often
when he has wished for fruit or other childish dainties and toys he reserved the money, denying himself in order to enjoy the higher gratification of bestowing it upon some hungry child or destitute and afflicted person. He had considerable strength of body, and when attacked by rude boys, and unable to reason with, or avoid them, he would secure their hands and hold them down until they begged for pardon, or promised to let him alone, but never hurting them. When his brother, who is full of health and spirits has behaved ill to him, and I have proceeded to correct him, Bertie would earnestly intercede for him ; and when this has failed, nobly offer, even entreat me to punish him instead of the offender; so that the younger one thus won by the law of love, has rushed into his arms, and hung upon neck, begging the repeated assurance of his forgiveness, being unable to forgive himself. Bertie sympathised deeply with any one in pain, he was the first to hear a cough, and would come to me when sleeping in another room to give me notice of it.
“ On one occasion a dear aunt offered to purchase for him whatever he most wished for. This was a tempting offer; he looked at me-I understood him; he had just previously frequently expressed a wish for a copy of Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress. I knew that he would hesitate to name it, so I announced his choice, which instantly relieved him. Oh how anxiously his Pilgrim friend was looked for! At length he really held it in his hands. And now the Bible and the Pilgrim were almost always before him. All the references were carefully sought out; at first he was unacquainted with the Roman figures, but finding it difficult to obtain my assistance as often as he required it, he got few minutes' explanation from me, and then retired; in about an hour he returned for me to test his perfect acquaintance with the figures, and to prove to me the ease with which he could now find the references.
“ I remember on one occasion that he was talking very seriously to his brother, and said, “Now, whenever you are tempted to sin, remember that God sees you, in the dark as well as in the light, and remember what it cost him to put sin away. You would not love the cruel nails that pierced Jesus' hands and feet, would you? I am sure you would not. Well, it was for our sins those hands and feet were pierced-so, our sins are the nails. And besides, when you are going to sin, there's a voice within you which says, " Don't sin!” That's the voice of God-hear him!'
“ He was one day lying on the sofa, when, after a time he said, • Mamma, this pillow is hard ;' then, after a moment's pause, he continued, · But dear Jesus had no pillow! and Jacob only a stone one. I do not remember his ever complaining again of the hard pillow.
“ Being now very weak and unable to walk we hired a donkey for him, which was not inclined to go faster than it could possibly help, or indeed to move at all, so we proceeded to use the whip ; but were immediately checked by Bertie. Patting it gently, and speaking kindly to it, the animal mended its pace a little. • There,' said he, “poor thing, it isn't used to kindness, and it doesn't know how to be glad enough for a kind word-never beat them. The patient ass, with many a load'-and he repeated a verse hich I have forgotten ; but on returning home he showed me these lines :
He hates the hardness of a Balaam's heart;
And, prophet as he was, he might not strike
On which he rode.'
Some time after this, his mother writes :
“ We were now hurriedly ordered away, by our medical adviser, to the coast, as our last resource; forlorn, although the hope we cherished was. And yet, Bertie had ever been in such excellent health when near the sea, that we hung tenaciously to the possibility of recovery. It was several weeks before a suitable place could be found and prepared. As soon as the dear child learned that a pretty cottage residencé, promising fairly to be the abode of health and peace, awaited him, the most intense desires were expressed to get there. 'How happy we shall be in our sweet little home! our own home, mamma! and we'll have schools for the children who do not know about Jesus. When I get there I shall run on that shore and be well again. Oh, take me now, and bathe me in those waters !'
“ It was the middle of April when we arrived at our new residence. All was bright and promising ; ' the winter was past'—the flowers appeared on the earth, and the time of the singing of birds was come.' When we were once more in the fields, he let go my hand, and was busy as the busiest gathering handfuls of wild flowers. We reached the shore; health seemed inhaled with every inspiration of that pure, bracing air. The tide was curling in white crested waves, borne on, in measured and marshalled order, till reaching the sandy barrier ; and then, as if forgetting their assumed dignity, they dashed themselves into a cloud of silvery spray, and hurriedly gathering up the squandered remains, rolled back to swell the imposing majesty of the next line of advancing billows. Even dear Bertie's enervated frame responded to the invigorating influences; and again, hope, which comes to all, sprung up spontaneously within my breast.”
These fond expectations were, however, never to be realized, for his heart-wrung but resigned biographer thus continues :
“ It was on the 8th May, 1847, that I awoke to the sad certainty that the dreaded hour of separation from my beloved child was now at hand. As I reflected upon the value at which I should hereafter estimate these few fleeting days, I mentally determined with Elisha - As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee.' In accordance with this purpose I requested the members of my family not to disturb me for anything less than an imperative cause; and shutting the door of our little parlour upon all the world, I endeavoured to create a little world of interest around him. As I did so, the dear child exclaimed, · How happy we are here in this quiet little room by ourselves!' It was a pretty spot; the windows were shaded by the luxuriant growth of ivy, which so embowered them, that curtains and sun-blinds were quite superfluous. They looked out into the gardens now clothed in May-day greenness, and as the spring was cold and backward, we were glad of the warmth of the Jittle parlour, contenting ourselves with the view of the outside. The day was wet, too, so we made a little sunny sphere around us. got our books, and pictures, and plates; and I endeavoured to amuse the sufferer, in the intervals of the distressing fits of coughing, with colouring little prints for his scrap-book, then got him to attempt the same amusement; but in a few minutes he laid himself down again on the sofa, exhausted by this trifling exertion. Looking languidly round the room, his eye rested upon a vase which he had filled with flowers of his own gathering ; and observing that they were fading, he said, “These flowers are fading fast, but I think I am fading as fast."
(To be concluded nert month.)
POPERY IN NAPLES. The Official Gazette of the Two Sicilies contains a decree of which the following is a translation:
“ Ferdinand II. &c., &c. Upon the proposition of our Minister the Secretary of the Interior, after having heard our Council of Ministers, we have resolved to decree, and we do decree as follows:
“ Art. I. The National Guard of our most faithful city of Naples is placed under the special protection of the most holy Virgin of Carmel."
“ Art. II. Our Minister the Secretary of State, President of the Council of Ministers, and our Minister the Secretary of State for the Interior, are charged with the execution of the present decree.
FERDINAND. Naples, March 15th, 1848.