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“After this the Lord himself answers Job; not condescending to enter into any particular explanation of his conduct, but from the consideration of his infinite and unsearchable wisdom and greatness, as seen even in the works of creation, convincing Job of his presumption, his ignorance, and guilt, in arrainging the dealings of his providence.
“Job, subdued and humbled, confesses that he is vile. His confession is accepted, and his general course approved. His three friends are reproved; and Job is directed to make intercession for them; and restored to double his former prosperity."
THE SUNBEAM'S MISSION.* Gerard was a quick, clever boy, but very idle. He was not lazy or indolent, like some little girls, for in his amusements, or in pursuits that pleased him, he spared no pains, and thought no exertion too great to attain his object. But, at his studies, or when obliged to do any thing he disliked, he thought every thing a trouble, grumbled over every little difficulty, and in short, was in great danger, with all his cleverness and sense, of becoming a useless, idle, selfish being. One bright day, early in summer, when all the leaves were in their richest, freshest dress, this young idler wandered out alone into a field, and lay down to enjoy, in the perfect luxury of doing nothing, the beautiful sights and sounds around him. He lay for some time, thinking how disagreeable it was to have difficult lessons to learn, or to be forced to exert himself and make himself of use to others. And as he watched the bright particles that appear to float up and down in the air on a warm day, he exclaimed, “Oh, how I should like to be a sunbeam, to have nothing to do but dance up and down in the air, glide out and in of dark shady nooks, and float on the surface of cool waters.” While thinking of this, lying comfortably on a soft bed of moss, his eyes gradually began to close, his thoughts became confused; he fell asleep. He slept and dreamed. He dreamed that as he lay there, a lovely fairy came flying towards him, and lighted on the turf beside him. She was clothed in a
We need add nothing to this pleasing extract, in order to recommend the beautiful little volume from which it is taken—" An Autumn at Karnford,” just published by Hamilton, Adams and Co.
golden colored robe, so dazzlingly bright that he could scarcely look at her. She stood beside him, and looked at him with a countenance that expressed both pity and contempt. “Foolish boy !” she said; wish to be a sunbeam, in order that you may have nothing to do but to enjoy yourself, and you know not that there does not breathe on earth a more miserable wretch than he who has none to please or to serve, who lives for himself alone. But, come with me and learn if the sunbeams have nothing to do but to enjoy themselves.” As she spoke she raised her light wings, and rose easily and gracefully into the air. Gerard found that he had wings too, and he followed her through the sky for many an hour, until the sun had gone to his rest and the stars shone out. Still on flew the fairy through the dark night, and on flew Gerard after her, until they arrived at the castle of the Sun, the great lord of the day.
Although the sun was not yet up, some of his servants had already gone forth on the business of the day, not clothed indeed in their dazzling golden attire, but in invisible robes, and their path only manifest by the faint, but ever increasing light which they shed around them as they proceeded on their way. But when the great lord of the day arose from his couch, then began the labors of his innumerable attendants.
Gerard felt that he had the power of accompanying any of the bright bands that he chose, and he was soon darting through the air with a company of busy dew-gatherers.
They alighted on a field of wheat, and began to occupy themselves in warming its tender shoots, chilled by the night-air, and in conveying up to their home in the sky the dew-drops that lay heavy on the young leaves. The dew-drops sparkled joyously as their friends the sunbeams stooped down to kiss them and to
carry them away, for they knew that their task was done, and they were glad to return to the bright skies, to rest there until again sent down in dew or rain to fertilize and refresh the earth. Some of them were, however, lying fast asleep, deep down in the heart of the plants, and the sunbeams had to seek them out diligently and awaken them, knowing that to permit them to sleep there too long would injure the tender flower, which had not yet ventured forth from the shelter of its guardian leaves.
“We are of use," cried these busy dew-gatherers to Gerard.
“We are gay and happy, because we are fulfilling the task appointed for us, and are nursing into health and fruitfulness this plant, so necessary to man.”
Some of the dew-gatherers too were busy in the garden, and Gerard observed how all things seemed to rejoice in their presence. The dark violet lifted its drooping head, and gave forth its sweetest odours when they touched it; the pretty primrose opened its leaves and looked up with joy in its glad eye at their approach ; while the birds sung gaily on every bush and tree.
“We are of use," they too cried. “See how the sight of us fills all things with joy. We are gay and happy, because we are contributing to the happiness of others."
And now Gerard went to join some who were directing their flight to a wood. They had great difficulty in making their way through the thick foliage, but they persevered ; climbing over one leaf, darting under another, and taking advantage of every chance opening which the light breeze afforded them, until they shone brightly on the grass beneath. And oh, how much beauty did they shed around them, on the velvet turf, on the rich brown moss, on the very green leaves which had tried to impede their progress. And Gerard saw innumerable tribes of insects stealing out of their nests, some to dance merrily with the sunbeams, others to creep up and down the trunks of the trees; and he heard the busy happy murmur that followed on their path wherever they went. And while he watched, he saw a young girl coming slowly through the wood. There was a shade of anxiety and sorrow upon her brow, and a weight of care upon her heart. Many vexations and troubles had conspired to depress her, and she had gone out that morning feeling as if nothing could help her or remove her sadness. But now, as she sauntered along, she remarked half unconsciously the gay sunbeams that were busy around her. She saw them darting into shady nooks, and lighting all in them up into life and beauty ; she saw the grey moss on the trees turn into silver at their touch. She saw the butterflies dance as if giddy with joy, because the sun shone upon them, and as she gazed she remembered the word, “If God so clothe the grass of the field, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith ?" And she thought, “If God forgets not to send his sun to warm, refresh, and beautify all these things, how can I fear that he shall forget me, or refuse to help me?" And her brow grew lighter, and she raised her heart to heaven, and prayed for faith to cast all her care upon Him who cared for her. As she passed on calm and peaceful, the sunbeams looked at Gerard and cried, “We are of use, and we are gay and happy, because we are fulfilling our appointed task, and are leading the hearts of the surrowsul to rest upon their God.”
Now Gerard took a long fight across land and ocean. Much did he see by the way of the faithful sunbeam's work, more than 1 have time to tell. But when they were crossing a country where oppression and violence reigned, he glided, with one gentle solitary ray, into a deep, dark dungeon ; where was one who had been there for many, many years; detained by injustice and cruelty because he was resolute to serve God, as God's Spirit and word taught him to do, and not after the dictates of man. The sunbeam glided in, shed, for a moment, a stream of golden light upon the dark, damp walls of his dungeon, and then fled away. But it had done its part ere it went. When first the captive saw it, it sent a thrill of anguish to his heart, as it reminded him of the bright sunshine he was never again to see, of the free fresh air he was never again to breathe, and pictured to his memory all the happy days of the past, all the dear ones whom he was never again to behold. But this anguish was but for a moment; soon there returned that calm peaceful waiting upon God, that patient submission to his will, that had been his support and consolation through the long years of solitude and misery. And Gerard heard him say, “ Yes, go, gay sunbeam, this is no place for you. Return to the bright hill side, return to shine on free waters, to rejoice the hearts of free men. You have told me your tale and you may go. You told me of earthly joy and happiness that will never again be mine ; but you told me also of home that is prepared for me where sorrow cannot come, and you have shed into my heart a ray of peace far brighter and more lasting than the light you cast on that dark wall.” The sunbeam looked at Gerard and whispered, “ I too am of use; my joy lies in fulfilling the work for which I am sent."
The next band led him to a rocky sea-shore, and oh ! how gaily and beautifully did they sport with the waves as they rolled in upon the sand or dashed against the rocks. Now lighting up
their white heads, and making them brighter than the eye could well bear to look at, now catching the light spray and turning it into sparkling diamonds and pearls, and now creating a thousand fairy rainbows, which shone for a moment, and died away only to shine again. Gerard was wiser now, and he knew that even in conferring beauty upon inanimate things, the sunbeams were fulfilling their appointed task, but he did not know until they pointed it out to him, all the good they were doing here. For on that rocky beach there stood a gay party, who had come to see the beautiful mixture of rock and ocean. Their eyes sparkled with pleasure as they beheld the brightness and splendour of the sunshine on the water, and many were their light-hearted joyous exclamations of delight. But there was one among them whose heart swelled, as she marked the glorious sight, with feelings too deep for utterance. She was one whom God's Spirit had shone upon, and led to seek a Saviour, the Sun of righteousness. And as she saw the bright colors that the waves gave back to the sun, she felt that they reproached her for remissness in rendering back to her Saviour the light with which he had blessed her. And she resolved, in that Saviour's strength, to shine before men as these waves did ; and by patience, meekness, gentleness, and love, to repay her God for what he had done for her ; to seek to refresh and comfort the hearts of those he loved ; and to endeavor, by the beauty of her life and conversation, to lead those who as yet knew him not, to seek after him.
“We too are of use," cried the sunbeams; "and are happy, far happier than an idle, selfish being like you can understand, in thus fulfilling our duty, and helping to stir up God's own people to serve him better."
The sun was by this time getting low in the heavens, and it was with a softer light and a gentler step that the sunbeams moved on their various errands. One small party went with Gerard to the window of a chamber in which lay a young boy in a deep sleep. His body was wasted with fever, his strength was gone, and all day he had tossed about in his bed, unable to sleep from pain and weariness. At length he slept, deeply, quietly ; and his poor mother, as she watched him, blessed the God who had in his kind, tender care, sent such a sweet sleep, which she fancied would be the precursor of renewed health and strength.