"Lift up your hearts!"
and I would have you answer,
"We lift them up unto the Lord."
For it is indeed of Him—the Lord of all Lords, that I now wish to speak to you. He made the Sun and Stars and the great mountains of our earth; but He made also the smallest insects that crowd the air and water, and which are invisible to our imperfect eyes.
He rules the nations by His word, and "binds kings in chains, and nobles with links of iron," as the psalm expresses it; but also not a sparrow falls to the ground without His knowledge and consent. Angels and Archangels worship around His throne, but His ears are equally open to the prayer of the youngest child who lifts up its little heart to Him!
The universe is at His feet, but the smallest events of our lives are under His especial superintendence and care. Yes! nothing, however small and insignificant, that is connected with the present or future welfare of the smallest and most insignificant of his creatures, is beneath the notice of God!
Ah! here is indeed a lesson for the fancied Giants of the world!—For, in this picture of Almighty greatness combined with infinite condescension, we see that real Perfection requires no Pride to elevate it.
But I said this anagogical sense was hard to be attained to and difficult of comprehension.
And is it not so? Is it not very difficult to believe thoroughly that the great God whom we hear about, really and truly cares how we behave and what we do—really and truly listens to our prayers—really and truly takes as much interest in us as our earthly Fathers and Mothers do?
Ah, I am sure it must be very difficult, because so few people do it, although we should all be both better and happier if we did. We should say our prayers so much more earnestly, try to keep out of sin and naughtiness so much more heartily, and, above all, always be contented with whatever happened; for who could be anxious, and discontented about their condition or circumstances, if they quite believed that every thing that happened to them was watched over and arranged for their good, by the wisest, kindest, and most powerful of Beings? If you, my dear children, who have been reading the fairy tales in this book, were to be told that a most wise, most kind, and most powerful Fairy had suddenly taken you for life under her particular care, and that she would never lose sight of you by night or by day, how delighted you would be!
Yet just so are you under the particular care and watchful concern of Almighty God!
But now, say you, you begin to feel the difficulty of believing it possible that the great God of the Universe takes this tender interest in such insignificant and sinful creatures as men and women.
Consider, then, that we are told that "God is Love;" and if He loves us, there is no difficulty in believing that He feels all this interest in us. Do not judge Him by earthly Kings and Potentates. These are Giants who cannot see carraway seeds. We do not blame them, for it is impossible they should be interested for every body. But very very different is both the power and the feeling of the King of Kings!
Still we have not got over the difficulty yet, for of all the wonderful truths we are commanded to believe, no one is so wonderful and so incomprehensible as the Love of God to the sinful human race.
And yet it is a truth, and of all truths the most important and most comfortable; and therefore it is much to be desired that we should thoroughly believe it: and I think I can make you understand that it is possible, by something which you feel in your own hearts. I think God has placed even in our own hearts a witness of the possibility of this great Truth.
My idea is this. We know that God has been merciful to us—(His very creation of man was an act of mercy), and therefore we know that He loves us. He loves us because He has been merciful to us. If you cannot see why this should be, I refer you to the following story, and advise you to try for yourselves. Only be kind to any living creature, whether a human being, or an irrational animal, and see if you can keep your heart from loving it! Certainly it does not become us to try to search out the unsearchable mind of God, but I think it is permitted us to hope, that the remarkable fast of Kindness engendering Love, which we experience in our own hearts, is intended to lead us upwards as by a holy guiding thread, to some comprehension of the Love of that God, who in Christ Jesus actually gave Himself for us.
Lift up the curtain!
In a baronial hall, not of the size and grandeur of that at Warwick Castle, which those who have never seen should try to see before they die: but still in a hall as antique and interesting in style, fits a young man reading.
It is evening, though the sun has not yet set, but it is evening, and the young man is sitting at a small oak table in a recess in one of the ancient windows, and before him lies open a book, and on the book, which he touches not with his hands, but on which his eyes, blinded by tears, are fixed, there lies a faded primrose.
The book is the Bible, and the faded primrose lies on that verse in the Psalm, "Oh that men would therefore praise the Lord for his goodness, and declare the wonders that he doeth for the children of men!" and some hand had placed a slight pencil mark before these words.
This scene brings before you a story of distress, and yet this young man is the possessor of a large estate;—the baronial hall and house are his own, and he is young and amiable, and till within the last few months had led a life of almost uninterrupted comfort and prosperity from his cradle upwards. Two years ago he became the betrothed lover of a young lady no less interesting than himself, and as no obstacle prevented their union, both had for these two years looked forward to it, as the one certain and sure event of their lives. The young man's parents had died when he was very young; but, in compliance with the wishes of his Guardians, he deferred his marriage till he should have come of age.
Meanwhile, as the time of probation drew near its close, it had been his delight to sit up the old place in such a manner as should become his bride, and the alterations had, in many cases, been made under her eye and according to her wishes, for she was already by anticipation, and in the heart of its owner, the mistress of the place.
At last the wedding day was fixed; but a few weeks before the time came, one of those sad diseases which steal mysteriously into the vitals of the young and wear away life long before its natural period, fell upon her:—and now, nothing remained to him, who had hoped to have her as his companion through life, but the Bible she had used during her sickness, and which was found on the table by her couch after her death, open and marked at the very place I have told you about; together with the faded primrose which he had gathered for her on the last morning of her life.
This was a very sad event for those who were left behind to lament the loss of one whom they had loved so dearly. The Mother indeed, who had known other trials of life, bent her head submissively to this one, and cherishing sweet recollections of her daughter's piety and goodness, looked forward to a time of reunion in a happier world. But the poor young man, whose name was Theodore, never having known a care or a sorrow before, was stupefied and overpowered by this sudden destruction of all his hopes and happiness. Seeing, however, that her last thought had been the mercy and goodness of God, he tried to make it his thought too; and he would sit for hours looking at the verse which she had marked in the Bible.
But unfortunately he made no effort besides, and having no kind relatives or friends near him to rouse him from his melancholy stupor to some of the active duties of life, he spent many many weeks in listless sorrow, not caring much what became either of himself, his dependents, or his property. And though he had become, by degrees, so far resigned as to believe that every thing was for the best—even her death—he now took up a strange and dismal fancy, that though the Almighty was a God of goodness and justice, it was quite impossible that He should love any beings so sinful and ungrateful as the human race. This vain distinction of a morbid imagination was the result of that solitude, inactivity, and the constantly dwelling upon himself and his own troubles, to which he had unfortunately given himself up, and which had brought his mind into such an unhealthy state, that he could neither reason nor think properly.
In this condition of feeling, having one day wandered to a considerable distance from home, he sat down on the greensward to rest; when lo! after he had remained there for some little time musing, as usual, he saw approaching him two shining creatures, who looked like spirits or angels, and as they came up to him they looked at him very earnestly, and one said to the other,
"He is doubting the goodness of God!?"
Then Theodore shuddered, and said, "I am not! once perhaps I did, but not now: all things happen for the best." Yet the Spirit repeated, "He is doubting the goodness of God!" Theodore shuddered again, and cried out "I am not!" for he felt as if it was a heavy accusation. Whereupon the Spirit continued, "To disbelieve the love of God is to doubt His goodness."
"No, no," exclaimed Theodore eagerly, "it is not! I do not doubt His goodness—His compassion even for the wretched creatures whom He formed out of dust. But I—thoughtless in my youth; self-confident in prosperity; ungrateful and rebellious under affliction; how can such a wretch as I have been, believe in the love of God to me! God is good and just, but do not talk to me of His Love to man, as if it were possible He could feel for them the tenderness of kind affection! Who are you?"
Without noticing this question, the Spirit repeated, in emphatic tones, "To disbelieve the Love of God is to doubt His goodness, and deny the perfection of His nature!"
"I tell you, No!" shouted Theodore, wildly: "It is because of His goodness and because of the perfection of His nature, that I disbelieve the possibility of His Love to the wretched race of man!"
"Judge by your own heart!" exclaimed the Spirit who had not yet spoken.
But when Theodore raised his eyes to look upon her, both had disappeared. He felt grieved, he knew not why. "My own heart!" he murmured; "ah! my own heart has been the witness against me. It has taught me the dreadful truth."
"Truth never yet was found of him who leads a life of selfish misery," whispered a soft voice receding into the distance; "Theodore! Judge by your own heart. Even it may teach you better things!"
Theodore started up and looked hastily around. He felt as if he could have followed that soft receding voice into eternity. But there was no one near. That sound, however, had been like an echo from hopes buried in the grave; and the poor youth sank to the ground on his knees, and, hiding his face in his hands, wept bitterly. Suddenly one thought took possession of him out of what had been said. And it was one (as usual) of self-reproach. The Spirit had reproached him with leading a life of selfish misery! Vividly impressed by this idea, he started off hurriedly for his home, crying aloud—"Oh, the wasted time; the lost hours; the precious moments that might have been employed in usefulness!" And thus he pursued his way till he had left the outer country behind him, and had entered the gates that bounded his extensive domain when, all at once, his course was stopped by something he struck against as he was walking quickly along.
Looking down, he perceived that a sickly, hungry-looking child was stretched across the road asleep, and that by its side sat a woman, the picture of misery and want. Theodore felt a strong sensation of compassion seize him as he gazed at the child, and he stooped and lifted it from the ground.
The woman observed Theodore's eye, and said, "Ay, without help we shall neither of us be here long!"
"I will help you," said Theodore, "tell me what I can do!"
"What can you or any one do, for a dying woman and a half-starved child?" groaned the poor creature. "Food, food! medicine and help!" These words burst from her in broken accents—I am dying!"
"Are you so very ill?" asked Theodore, turning deadly pale; and he murmured to himself—"Death again! I dare not see it again so soon! Here!" continued he, thrusting gold into her hand, "now you see that I will help you! Look, I will send you food, and you shall be brought to the house: but let me take the child, he cannot do you good, and I will see to him." "He must not see her die;" was Theodore's inward thought.
"Ay, take him," muttered the woman gloomily, "and send me cordials. No one wants to go even an hour before their time!"
Theodore obeyed almost mechanically, and lifting up the little boy, he made a shift to carry him to the house. On arriving there, he called for his housekeeper and desired her to take food and wine to the woman he had left, and to bring her to the house. Then he sent another servant for a doctor, and afterwards undertook himself the care of the forlorn child. He placed him on a sofa in his study and sat down by him.
"Are you ill?" was his first question.
"I don't know," was the answer.
"Are you hungry?"
Here Theodore got up and went to the next room, where preparations were being made for dinner, and fetched bread and gave it to the boy, who ate it greedily, without once lifting up his eyes. "Poor child," thought Theodore, "life has no mental troubles for him!"
"Are you sorry your mother is so ill?" was his next inquiry.
"She's not my mother," muttered the boy.
Theodore started—"What do you mean? Are you not that woman's child?"
"No! She told me I wasn't."
"Who are you, then?"
"I don't know. She told me she had stolen me to beg for her."
"And do you remember nothing about it?"
"No, its too long ago."
Theodore now fetched him more bread, but whilst he was eating it he no longer sat by him, but walked up and down the room. Every now and then as he stopped and looked at the thin, sickly looking object he had brought into the house, he was overtaken by a strong feeling of pity for his miserable condition.
This child was as desolate as himself, only in another way. Stolen from his parents to beg for the strange woman, he had lived with her so long that he had forgotten his real home altogether! Bound by no ties of kindred and comfort to this world. "He is more desolate than I am myself!" repeated Theodore, again and again.
After a time he approached the boy again.
"The woman will say you are her child, and make you go back and beg for her if she gets better, will she not?"
"She doesn't want me now."
"She says, I'm too hungry, and eat all the bread away from her, and don't get enough for us both."
A curious expression passed across Theodore's face as he turned away and sat down in his chair once more. It looked like a gleam of satisfaction. The boy, meanwhile, sat quite still, looking round the room. He had a grave and somewhat interesting face, but that the dark eyes looked a little too keen and restless to be quite pleasant. Still, when he smiled, and he had smiled brightly when he first saw the bread, his countenance improved; and there was, besides, something about his open forehead which redeemed the covert expression of his eye. He was about seven years old, and precocious in quickness of a particular kind, as is very often the case with vagrant children.
Theodore's reverie was broken at last by the arrival of his good old housekeeper, who came in, flurried and indignant, to inform him that the woman she had been in search of was no where to be found. She had been, "she was sure," up and down all the carriage roads, and made enquiries at all the lodges, and finally discovered that a beggar woman had passed out at one of them upwards of an hour before, very hurriedly, and indeed almost at a running pace.
Theodore glanced at the child, but his countenance never changed. Only he sat eying the housekeeper as she spoke, apparently indifferent to the result. The housekeeper now began to ejaculate in broken sentences, "The base creature! To think that you should have taken all this trouble, Sir! and had the child actually into the house! and—gracious me," added she in a half whisper, "hadn't I better call the butler, Sir; hadn't he" (nodding significantly towards the child) "better be taken to the workhouse at once, Sir?"
"I think not," answered Theodore slowly—"not yet, I think. The truth is, I find he's not her own child, but has been stolen; and—and—in fact, we can send him to the workhouse to-morrow. Perhaps, after all, the woman may come here for him. But, at any rate, there is time enough. You see this is an odd affair; and, as the boy is not hers, we don't know who he may not turn out to be some day." And, as Theodore thus concluded his sentence, he got up and looked at the old housekeeper with a smile—a melancholy one it is true, but still it was a smile—the first that had been seen on his face since his terrible bereavement.
And the faithful servant was so much pleased that she forgot every thing else in a desire to keep up the interest that had lured her young master so unaccountably from his misery.
"Well, to be sure, Sir, what you say's quite right, and we can make the poor thing comfortable for to-night, and then you can do as you please to-morrow. Shall I take him with me, Sir, and make him clean, while you dine? I can borrow some tidy clothes from the bailiff's wife, I dare say; and after he's made respectable, you can see him again, Sir, if you think proper."
This proposition was more grateful to Theodore's mind than he cared to acknowledge to himself. Indeed he had no clear ideas of his feelings about the little accident that had interrupted the dismal course of his life; and he studiously avoided questioning himself too closely. Only there came across him, every now and then, a sensation that there was some special providence about it all, and that there was some mysterious connection between this adventure and the words of the apparitions who had spoken to him in the morning.
But "let be, let us see what will happen," was the ruling feeling, and as he felt less miserable than usual, he did not wish to disturb the pleasing dream by enquiries, why?
After his solitary dinner, as he was seated alone in his arm chair, he was relapsing fast into his usual unhappy state of mind, for this was at all times the most trying part of the day to him, when a knock at the door aroused him.
Ah, it was the good old housekeeper again! She who, with the acute instinct of sorrow-soothing which women so eminently possess, had purposely come at this the young master's "dark hour," to try if it could be kept back by the charm she had seen working a short time before. "The little fellow is quite fit to come in now, Sir, if you'd wish to see him before he's put to bed." And her efforts were rewarded by seeing a look of interest light up poor Theodore's eye. The boy was now ushered in, and his improved appearance and cleanliness were very striking. Theodore took hold of his hand—"There, you need not be afraid; you may sit down upon that chair. Are you comfortable?" "Yes." "Have you had plenty to eat?" "Yes, plenty." And the child laughed a little.
"I hope you are a good boy."
He looked stupid. "Can you say your prayers?"
"Ah! I was afraid not. You never heard about God?" "Yes; but the woman used to keep that to herself." "Keep what?"
"Why," for God's sake, when she begged. She didn't let me say it, but she always said it herself; and then, when people wouldn't give us any thing, she used to say—"
"No, no! I will not hear about that;" interrupted Theodore, "but I hope some day you will learn about God."
"In the begging? must I say it in the begging next time?"
"No, I don't mean that; not in begging bread of people in the road, but in praying."
"What's that?" "Begging." "Then I am to beg?" "No, not on the road, but of a great good Being, who will never refuse what you ask."
"Is that you?"
"No, my poor boy; not me, but the great Being, called God, who lives in the sky. You must beg all you want of Him."
"I don't know Him."
"No; but you will learn to know Him when you have listened to me and prayed to Him."
"I don't know praying; I know begging."
"Well, then, when you have begged Him—"
"What am I to say?"
"First, you must say, 'Our Father—'"
"Father's dead," interrupted the boy;
"Ah, but I do not mean that father," answered Theodore; "and how do you know even that that father is dead?"
"The woman said so. One day she told me Father and Mother were both dead, and there was nobody left to love me, so I must mind her."
"The woman was wrong," cried Theodore compassionately. "You have another Father, who never dies, and who loves you always!—"
A knock at the door interrupted Theodore's lesson on the Love of God.
"It's about time the poor thing was put to bed," suggested the housekeeper, looking in. "I dare say he's tired."
"I dare say he is," said Theodore mechanically. "Good night, little boy. What used they to call you?"
"Good night, little Reuben." And he was taken away.
You have another Father who never dies and who loves you always! founded like an echo through the room. Theodore arose and looked around, but there was no one there. He resumed his feat, and wondered how he had got involved in teaching the beggar boy religion. He lamented his awkwardness and unfitness for the talk; but still he thought he had done right. As to his last assertion, how else could he make the child comprehend God at all? Besides, how cruel it would be to infect him with his own miserable convictions. They would come time enough, perhaps!
Such was the current of his thoughts. The next morning he told the old housekeeper of the boy's ignorance and his difficulty with him, and engaged her to help him in his talk, which she readily undertook.
It is not my intention to describe the many endeavours Theodore made to impress the first great truths of Christianity upon Reuben's mind; but I can assure you he felt all the better for them himself. How it was that he never sent the little boy to the workhouse you can guess. For the first few days he kept him to see (as he said), if the woman would come back for him. Then he wished him to stay till he and the housekeeper had sufficiently impressed him by their lessons. And then—why then—by degrees, all mention of the workhouse ceased, and better clothes were bought for him; and the housekeeper, who was one of the by-gone generation of warm-hearted old family servants, became, for her master's sake, a perfect mother to him; and to Theodore he involuntarily proved an object of daily increasing interest, and finally, of strong personal affection.
And thus nearly a year passed over, during which time Theodore's health and activity in a measure returned; but the cheerfulness of a happy mind was still wanting. Reuben often lured him temporarily into it, but he would again relapse, and had never given up his unhappy theory, though now he dwelt upon it much less frequently than of old. At the end of the year, however, Theodore was much distressed by fancying that he detected Reuben in lying; and he was, besides, by no means sure that little trifles were not taken from him by the child for his own use and amusement. He communicated his suspicions to the housekeeper, and alas! found his worst fears confirmed. The pain and sorrow he felt at this discovery were of a kind totally new to him. But the strongest feeling of all was, that he would not give up the boy to vicious habits without a struggle (cost what it might) to save him! The housekeeper told him, with tears, that she had observed Reuben's habit of petty lying and taking any thing he fancied, very soon after his admission to the house; but she confessed that she had not had the heart to inform her young Master, lest he should send the boy away who had seemed to take him so out of his trouble! This was what she most thought about. So she had tried to correct the child herself, but not with the success she had desired. "How little she knows the heart," thought Theodore, "his evil propensities would have been an additional claim upon my kindness!"
I will pass over all that Theodore said to the boy himself. No father could have been more earnest, more solemn in his warnings, or more kind in his expostulations. Reuben, by this time, could understand all he said, and shame and repentance burnt in his face during a painful interview. It is right to remind you, dear children, of the many excuses that were to be made for him. He had been brought up, till seven years old, in total ignorance of God, and without ever having heard one duty commanded or one sin forbidden. The woman lied daily and hourly in his sight, and made him do the same; and she took all she could lay hold of in any way, and beat him if he did not follow her example; and although Theodore's instructions had opened a new world on the child's mind, the evil HABITS were not so soon got rid of. So there the mischief was; and now the great difficulty Theodore felt, was to know what to do for the best. And, after much consideration, he decided to send him to school, as the likeliest means of eradicating the bad habits the boy had acquired. I say habits, rather than dispositions, for there was indeed nothing mean or sneaking about his character. On the contrary, he was both courageous and generous in the turn of his mind, and, after his health improved, his manners partook of the same freedom and candour.
To school therefore poor Reuben went; and Theodore was almost astonished himself at the blank which his absence created.
But having desired that continued reports should be sent to him of his conduct, he meanwhile began seriously to think what was to become of him hereafter. At last it occurred to him that he might employ him in some way or other about his property; and with a view to this, Theodore himself began to take more interest in his estate than he had had the energy to bestow before, and made himself more intimately acquainted with the wants and modes of life of those under his control.
Thus another year passed away in quiet but constant occupation; and the many opportunities Theodore now had of doing good, softened and cheered his mind. But he was not quite cured. For of all things in the world whims are the very hardest to cure, because, reason as you will, people still stick to their whims. Reuben was not allowed to return once during that year to the old hall. During the last few months, however, his progress had been most satisfactory, and the Master considered that the evil was overcome; and so, at the end of the year, Theodore wrote word to Reuben that he wished him to come "home" for his holidays. Poor Reuben cried bitterly again when he read the letter; for, as he said to the Master, "It is not my home, though he has been very good to me. I have no home!"
Theodore's heart overflowed with pleasure and almost pride when he saw the boy again. Every turn in the expression of his face was improved; and when Theodore first took his hand, the lad bent his face over it and sobbed out an entreaty for pardon for his dreadful wickedness. "Reuben," cried Theodore, "never say that again. All is forgotten since your conduct is changed. Forget the past as soon as possible. It will never be remembered by me."
Time went on during the holidays very happily on the whole. In fact there was no drawback; but that now and then Theodore, who would often sit looking at his adopted child's face, noticed a painful expression which he could not account for. His conduct was irreproachable and his respect for Theodore seemed, if possible, increased; but he would not be frank with him, and no encouragement beguiled him into the ease of trusted affection. Theodore did not choose to notice this for some weeks, but, as the time of Reuben's return to school drew near, he was unwilling to let him go without some expostulation.
"Reuben," said he one day, "you are going back to school. Your conduct has quite satisfied me: but tell me, before you go, why you so often look unhappy? It is a poor return (though I now touch on this subject for the first time in my life), it is a poor return for the interest I have taken in you; and for the real love you know I feel towards you!"
For a moment Reuben's large dark eyes glanced up at Theodore's face; but they sank again as quickly: his cheeks grew crimson, and tears rolled over them which he could not conceal.
"What is the matter, Reuben; what is the meaning of this? Am I loving one who does not love me in return?"
"You cannot love me, Sir!" ejaculated the boy so earnestly that it quite startled his companion.
"Reuben, what can you mean? Have you forgotten how I have taken you and acted by you as if I had been your Father. I cannot love you? What else but love for you has made me do what I have done?"
"That was all your goodness and the kindness of your heart, Sir. You couldn't love me when you picked me up in the road. It was pity and kindness, and it has been the same ever since; not Love—" and the tears again struggled to his eyes.
Theodore rushed suddenly from the room and into his private apartment, and falling on his knees, spread his hands over his head in prayer. "My Lord and my God!" cried he solemnly, "what means this echo from my own heart? Am I awake, or do I dream?" A profound silence was around him; but, as he arose and opened his eyes, he beheld before him, though fading rapidly from his sight, the angelic visions he had seen two years before.
* * * * *
He returned to Reuben, who was sitting at the table, his face buried in his arms.
Theodore laid his hand upon him. "Reuben, look up! You are under a great mistake. You are but a boy, and must not fancy you know the ins and outs of the human heart. Reuben, I do love you, and have always loved you."
"You cannot, Sir!"
"Again? and why not?"
"You are too much above me; I am an outcast, and was a beggar. It wasn't likely you could love me at any time. Besides, there has been something since."
"You told me to forget it, Sir, but I cannot. After all your kindness and goodness, and trying to make me happy and do me every good, I was all along (during the first year), doing what was wrong, deceiving you and injuring you. I am not only an outcast, but I have been wicked and ungrateful, and made you unhappy by my misconduct. Indeed I cannot bear to think of it; but I dare not deceive myself about your Love, Sir! I know you cannot love me; but I am so grateful to you for your goodness, I hope you will not be angry with me for speaking the truth: only, though I am grateful and try to be contented, I cannot be as happy as if you did love me."
As Theodore gazed on poor Reuben's face, he saw standing behind him the beautiful visions once more.
"Now judge by your own heart!" murmured the Spirits, as smiling they disappeared.
And Theodore did so. Going up to Reuben, he put his arms around him, and wept over him tears of love and gratitude for the blessing which he felt stealing into his own mind. "Reuben," cried he, "my child Reuben! There have been but two human beings in the world on whom I have bestowed my love; for, like you, I lost my parents young. These two were—her I lost and yourself!"
"If I thought you loved me, I would die for you!" cried Reuben, springing up and gazing earnestly on Theodore's face.
"My God!" murmured Theodore, "may I be able to feel this to Thee!"
* * * * *
I think more words are unnecessary. You cannot doubt that Theodore soon convinced Reuben of his love, nor that Theodore took the lesson to himself, and now saw that God had placed in the human heart a witness of the possibility of His love to man. Yes, the clinging affection we feel for those we have been kind to; our own power of forgiving any thing to them; is an instinct which has been mercifully implanted in our hearts to teach us to believe in that Love of God, which is otherwise so incredible to human reason.
If you care to know what became of Theodore and Reuben, you must in fancy pass over a few years. Reuben soon had so strong a wish to go to sea, that he entered the merchant service; and by the time he became Master of his own vessel and revisited the hall when he came ashore, Theodore was to be found there with a kind and gentle wife by his side; and frolicking about the ancient hall were a parcel of noisy children, to whom the arrival from sea of him whom they always unaccountably would call "Uncle Reuben," was ever a gala treat. Dear readers, Farewell!