Зображення сторінки


[ocr errors]

no one residing there. However, the perusal of the letter induced him to read the tract; the Holy Spirit blessed it to his conversion; and he became a consistent Christian. He wished very much that he could find out wbo had sent him the tract; and a kind friend to whom this interesting fact was mentioned, thought that he knew the person from whom it

He wrote accordingly, and received the following note, which proved that his conjecture was right :

“My dear sir,—It was in hours of weakness, and during a long detention from the house of the Lord, that I was directed one sabbath day to write the letter to which you refer to poor Matthew. It used to be a saying with myself, to myself, on doing any such thing, · Well, I have cast one grain more of the good seed of the kingdom into the field of the world; that world which still lieth in wickedness.' I bless the Lord he permitted me to cast in that grain, and I praise him still more that he caused it to germinate, and bring forth fruit. Glory be to his holy name that he has seen fit to glorify the riches of his grace in the salvation of a soul, by means in themselves so weak and poor. When I received the supply from London, of which that tract formed one, I selected a number of that description for the purpose of enclosing in letters (now in these days of



penny-postage blessedness, in which in almost every letter we write we can proclaim the glad tidings of mercy, by inserting an eight-paged tract)—and among others, poor Matthew received one. Surely it would have been a shorter journey from Paternoster Row to the London Hospital; but in this case it seemed needful that it should go from London to the country, and back again to town, to reach the object for which it was designed, Several other such grains have been cast into the field of the world. Oh that it may please the Lord to cause them to be fruitful also !"

Now, reader, let the example of this pious invalid win you, in some measure, to follow it. It does not, you see, require much money, much talent, much influence, or much strength to be useful. A few kind words written, or a good tract enclosed, to an acquaintance or even to a stranger, may be the appointed channel through which God's grace shall flow into their souls. “Cast thy bread upon the waters : for thou shalt find it after many days."*

Then there is the influence which you may exert over children and young persons. Not by fault-finding, or selfish requirements, or sarcastic observations; but by kind words, persuasive advice, and affectionate treatment. Your little grandchildren, or your elder nephews and nieces, as they cluster round your cheerful

[ocr errors]

* Ecc. xi. 1.

[ocr errors]

fireside, may drink in many a gentle lesson which shall guide them in after years. If you have not any youthful relatives, you can cultivate the acquaintance of the children of your friends and neighbours. It is a lovely sight to see age and youth sweetly blending together : age tempering the gaiety of youth, and youth brightening the gravity of age. The ivy adorns the oak; and the oak supports the ivy. “But young people, you may say, are so self-willed and conceited; they think they are as wise as old folks.” It is often too true; but bear with them; we have all been young in our time; and it is astonishing how grateful even the most independent among them are, for a real and warm-hearted interest in their welfare. You may influence them strongly, if you are only kind in purpose, and judicious in practice.

Sympathize with them in their joys and their sorrows.

Show them that increase of years does not necessarily blunt the feelings, or narrow the affections; that the pilgrim who has almost reached his welcome and longexpected resting-place, does not forget, or despise those who have but lately set out on their toilsome journey. Speak to them of your own experience of actual life; of the mental and moral discipline which you have endured; of the difficulties in the path of duty which you have met and conquered; of the comfort which has sustained you in the hour of trial and bereavement. Simple facts are more impressive than mere advice. Quietly but deeply they sink into the memory, arousing no oppo, sition, exciting no argument; in time of need they will be remembered and turned to good account. You may thus be the honoured instrument of guiding some wayward and careless heart to true peace and happiness; of imparting right principles which shall steer some perplexed spirit across the rough sea of temptation; of forming the character of those who are destined in coming years to exercise great moral power over their fellow creatures. You may not-you will not live to behold those happy results of your patient and prayerful efforts; but when those who die in the Lord rest from their labours, their works follow them. An aged man carefully planted several fruit-trees in his garden, that they might grow up

for the use and benefit of posterity; so may you cast into human hearts that precious seed which will germinate, and spring forth, and bless the world, long after you have departed to your rest.

The destiny of future generations may be linked with your Christian endeavour to gather one youthful friend into the fold of the Saviour. God grant that you may fully appreciate and fulfil your peculiar mission to the young.


But perhaps the best way in which the aged Christian--ay, and any Christian-can benefit others, is by the purity and loveliness of his example, You cannot now do much, or say much, for the good of your fellow-creatures; but nothing speaks so loudly as the silent eloquence of a holy and consistent life;" nothing exercises such gentle and yet such powerful influence over the mind as the example of one whom we love and respect. It is a practical and perpetual sermon. Look into that quiet and half-darkened

In the large easy chair sits an aged lady. She is confined by constant indisposition to her house-to her apartment; nay, even to her chair, for she cannot move herself without assistance. Her friends are forbidden to see her, as the least excitement proves injurious; and therefore a skilful nurse, and a lovinghearted daughter are her only associates. But she does not wish for society; incessant pain renders her unable to converse much, and the exertion of speaking but a few words fatigues her sadly. Poor lady! the days have indeed come in which she has no pleasure; the grasshopper is become a burden; desire has failed; and fears are in the way. Her life has been a life full of good works; and now, withdrawn for ever from her loved occupations, she must solace herself with the beautiful thought,


" They also serve who only stand and wait.”

« НазадПродовжити »