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declined the reward. “I will never," he said, “expose my life for money; myself, my wife, and my children live on my labour;
purse to this poor family, who have lost all."
There! what say you to this? Here is true greatness of mind. The courage that could encounter danger for the sake of others, is combined with true generosity. Now, what do you suppose I should guess? You think, perhaps, that difficult to say. Well, then, I should guess that the Italian peasant who rescued that perishing family from the waters, was not used to boast. He who is prepared to do much, is generally one who says little of his own doings.
Would you like to have a similar tale? Here is one for you :-A gentleman was travelling near Philadelphia, when a little girl about two years old, who had left a small house by the road-side, was lying basking in the sun, in the middle of the road. About two hundred yards before he reached the little creature, the teams of three wagons carelessly left by their drivers while they drank at an inn, started off, and came nearly abreast, galloping down the road.
The English traveller got his gig off the road as quickly as possible, but greatly feared lest the poor child should be crushed to pieces. At this moment a young man, a carpenter, who was roofing a shed by the roadside, seeing the child, and aware of its danger, jumped from the shed, ran into the road, and snatched up the child when scarcely an inch before the hoof of the leading horse. The horse's leg actually knocked him down; but, catching the child by its clothes, he flung it out of the way of the other horses, and saved himself by rolling back with surprising agility.
The mother of the child rushed out of her dwelling, where she appeared to have been busily employed, caught up the child at this moment, hugged it in her arms, and uttering a loud shriek, dropped down as if dead. On the application of the usual means, she was, however, soon restored; and the traveller, anxious to proceed, asked the carpenter if he were related to the parents of the child. He said he was not. “ Then," said the traveller,
you merit the gratitude of every father and mother in the world, and I will show you mine by giving you what I have,” pulling out the money he had in his pocket. But what was the reply? “ No, I thank you, sir; I have only done what it was my duty to do."
I cannot tell you how those words strike on my mind : “I have only done what it was my duty to do.” For what does our duty include ? That we should “ love God with all the heart, and mind, and soul, and strength, and our neighbour as ourselves.” Had we, then, loved God supremely—had we loved others just as ourselves are loved, every moment of our lives—we should only have done that which is required of us. We could have claimed no merit then. There would not have been a single deed, or word, or thought, in which we could glory. As God is the giver of all good, we should only have surrendered to him that which was his
But we have not done this; in every instance of failure we have sinned; who can tell, then, the number of his iniquities?
How great, then, is our need of the redemption of Christ! "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a