« PreviousContinue »
AMONG LIONS. and mothers, who had sung it in their day, (Continued from p. 155.)
lingered at their cottage-doors on their
way to church to see little Tom and Bessie CHAPTER III.
swell their rosy cheeks, and bear them N Sunday afternoon there strain their voices till perhaps the very were what were called lark in the sky paused in wonder.
Readings' at Moor Other eyes looked on, and wondered and School. The children admired, to-day. Very bright eyes, too, came as on a week-day, peering through a hedge as the day before and took their places in they had peered out of a travelling-cart.
their classes ; but the Ragged, unwashed, uncared for, it was yet Med teachers or readers were a pretty little girl who stood behind the volunteers on this occasion. Alice was one. hedge that Sunday afternoon, and felt a Miss Dawkins had a class of elder girls, and sort of thrill at the singing: it touched her Violet Darell, the doctor's daughter, a girl more than the birds' songs, which yet she of seventeen, had another of big boys. loved, and fancied she understood.
There was one other teacher, too, who When the train of children had quite never missed a Sunday in the year,- just a passed, and the hymn was dying in the yewsimple carter, with no learning,' as he told tree walk, and finally losing itself in the Mr. Swayne, but a sincere love for little church-porch, the little watcher sighed, children. He might be seen Sunday after and threw herself down on the
where Sunday in his own corner of the school- she lay awhile thinking; nay, not thinking, house, the centre of a cluster of little heads, but letting fancies float through her mind : while in bis arms he held the youngest of for, rude, untaught creature that she was, the band.
she had a very active little mind. He had two favourite texts,— Love God,' But she soon grew restless, for her and Love one another.' On these Mr. fancies were troublesome, and took the Prince preached a short sermon every Sun- form of a craving to see what the band day: he practised them every day of his of singers were doing now, shut up away life. Mr. and Miss Brett took no part in from the blue sky in the grey church these Sunday labours; Mr. Swayne thought yonder. The song of the lark did not they did enough teaching in the week. content her now, it seemed to confuse itself
It was Catechising Sunday, the one with the hymn she had just heard ; so she following the exciting arrival at Moor rose, shook herself, tried to stroke down Thornton; so the afternoon school-bell her tangled hair, and crept along the merely rang to collect the children for hedge till she reached the churchyard wall. their church-going hymn, a custom that The catechising had begun, but it might had long prevailed at Moor. In the old have been in Greek for all the strange clerk's days the hymn was short, and sung listener understood of it, as she timidly hid very slowly as the school marched two and herself in the porch. It was not like the two to church; now the melody was oftener sound of the Marching Hymn, that had changed, and the children walked with found its way through some chink into her brisker step: but still it went by the old soul, and awakened some craving within her name, the Marching Hymn,' and fathers which now asked for more light, more food.
Mr. Swayne became conscious at this little Bell the old first lore taught in intime that something was distracting his fancy to happier children, that there is a flock, and following the direction in which God who creates and loves them. Then, eyes were wandering, he, too, caught sight seeing her look puzzled and distressed by of the stranger.
the effort to understand, he turned to his . Come in, little one,' he said, kindly; own flock, saying,little girl,' he once thought of saying, but Now, children, you are all very much the short plaid frock and tumbled hair excited, I see, by hearing those lions roar
Ι hardly warranted the name.
ing in the paddock. Does it remind you of The child hesitated, but Alice stepped a text in the Bible ?' forwards and led her to a quiet corner.
Half-a-dozen voices were ready with . It is the little girl of the show, father,' quotations. Two of them were chosen out she whispered.
by Mr. Swayne, who repeated them to the Just then a low, strange roar was heard children till all knew them by heart. without. The children fidgeted, and here One was the cry of the Psalmist, My and there a tiny one clung to its elder soul is among lions;' and the other was the sister.
warning from St. Peter's letter to the • Those are your lions roaring, are they strangers scattered throughout the land, not ?' asked Mr. Swayne of the new-comer, * Be sober, be vigilant, because your adverwho nodded assent.
sary, the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh • Tell me your name,' he continued, about seeking whom he may devour.' that I may know what to call you.'
You can all understand, children, the · Bell,' said the little girl.
meaning of likening the devil to a lion, Have you ever been to church or to because we know he is something to be school before, little Bell ?'
afraid of, to guard against ; but tell me, The child shook her head for a No.' how can this lion, the devil, devour you?' • Do you know who made you?'
• “He may tempt us to do wrong, till our • No,' said poor Bell, reddening; then, sins become so great and so many that with a feeling that she was coming but they swallow us up,' said Alice. badly through the questioning ordeal, she • Are we sure that the devil appears in added, “But they think I was made in the form of a tempter?' asked Mr. Swayne. Manchester.'
“Yes; for he appeared so to our Lord,' Not a smile crossed Mr. Swayne's face, was the answer. and the poor child added, --
Yes, children; and though not in • I've been to a many places since I actual bodily forrn, he still appears in that came to the show, but I don't know nothing character. A thousand temptations to sin, except the lion-taming. I can do that. which crop up in our daily life, are attempts Antony minds me, though he growls at the of the devil to devour our souls. Think of rest.'
these temptations to guard against them. The little rustics stood aghast, first at Your souls are all among lions—lions of the new-comer's ignorance, and secondly sloth, of anger, of envy, of world-love, are at her professional experience; they were always about you, and you must be watchful awed into stillness, while Mr. Swayne in lest they destroy you. And let one of these the simplest manner tried to impress on lions once conquer you, though you after
Yes, bright as gods; but soon I found, the
brighter that they shone, A darker shadow of myself upon my path
was thrown : Yes, great as gods, not knowing death. But
what was that to me? To me, when cold and dark in death, what
would their brightness be?
wards escape him, it will be strange if he does not soon achieve a second victory. There is no path in life which they do not invade, no home so peaceful but what you may hear the sound of their roaring. Boys who go out in the world, girls who live quietly in their families, all must watch against these lions.'
Was it the dismal sound of the real lions roaring for their food that caused the children to listen with such interest and awe to Mr. Swayne's words? It may have been so, for even in the broad daylight the sound was terrible.
Only Bell looked unmoved. . They want their dinners; I must go and help,' she said to Alice, and stole out of the church, blue and golden lights from the stained windows brightening her shabby frock and tumbled hair as she crept down the aisle.
(To be continued.)
I sought for One to give me life for ever to
endure, I sought for One to make me bright and
pure as He is pure; I sought Him long in ignorance, till what I
sought was given, Given in three words—three blessed words
-Forgiveness ! Jesus! Heaven!
I heard the white man speak of Heaven; I
followed to his home. May a poor Indian, sir,' I said, " to those
bright mansions come?' “Yes, Heaven is open, welcome, free, to black
and white the same, And ready entrance given to all who seek
in Jesu's name.'
I did not know, I had not heard ; I looked
into the sky, And thought its lights would answer me:
but there was no reply. These all, Sun, Moon, and Stars, appeared
my blindness to condemn; • He seeks for gods, and what are we?' and
80 I worshipped them.
I strove to seek the white man's God, in
English strove to pray, But I could not speak much English then,
and I could only say,Poor Indian me! have mercy, Christ! poor
sinner l'o'er and o'er; And I was very sorry, friends, that I could
say no more.