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FOR THE YOUNG PEOPLE.
A LITTLE MALAGASY APOSTLE.
By T. T. MATTHEWS.
Let me give you an illustration of the good done by the Bible teaching, especially among the young. A little Malagasy girl was brought to Antananarivo from the north-west province of Madagascar and placed in the Friends' High School for Girls. Miss Helen Gilpin, who was at that time in charge of the school, made the imparting of Bible knowledge a very special feature of her teaching. The little girl was quick at learning, as most Malagasy children are, and very diligent. She made extraordinary progress in all subjects," but in none more than in Scripture knowledge.
The stories of the Bible threw a spell over her. She was fascinated with them as she had never before been by any stories, and was never weary of listening to the Bible being read to her, until at last she could read it for herself. The story of the Flood; of Noah and his family in the ark; of Joseph and his brethren; of the wonders of the Red Sea; of the wanderings of the children of Israel in the wilderness; of the death of Moses on the Mount; of the three Hebrew youths in the fiery furnace; of Daniel in the lions' den—were there ever such stories as these?
Those of the New Testament were no less captivating. There was the visit of the Wise Men from the East, led by the Star, seeking for the infant Saviour; the flight into Egypt; the murder of the children of Bethlehem; the calling of the Apostles; the conversions on the Day of Pentecost; the conversion of St. Paul and his travels.
Then the parables and miracles! But most wonderful and heart-stirring of alh there was the death oi the Saviour on the Cross! These filled the mind and memory of the little schoolgirl by day and her dreams by night. They were as real as anything that had ever happened in her own life.
After being ten months at school, her mother came to take her home for holidays, which lasted two months. The journey took two days, and at the end of the first day they entered a village intending to spend the night there and continue their journey the next morning. While the rice for supper was being boiled they all sat around the hearth and chatted. The little girl and her mother were asked many questions—where they had come from, where they were going, and why they had been in the capital. The little girl told them about her school, and what she had learnt there. Then she hegan relating some of the Bible stories, as samples of the knowledge she had acquired.
After supper, at the request of the people, she told more of the wonderful stories and also what she knev/ about the "New Religion," and its author, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It was very late before they lay down on their mats to sleep, so it was very late before the little girl and her mother arose the next morning.
They at once prepared to continue their journey home. But, to their astonishment, the people would not hear of this. They said they wanted to hear more of those delightful stories and the Book from which they were taken, and more also about the "New Religion." They advised the travellers to rest for the day, and promised to provide food and lodging free if they would remain another night with them. Tni;s they did, and the evening and up to midnight was spent as the previous one had been. A number of the neighbors, who had heard about the wonderful stories, came in to hear for themselves. They also were enthralled by what the little girl told them of the "New Religion" and by the hymns she sang.
On the following morning, before the little girl and her mother could start on their journey home, they were waited on by a deputation of the villagers to ask them to stay another night that they might hear still more of the wonderful tales. They said they would provide rice and looka for them, give them a larger and cleaner hut in which to stay, so thaT the people could come together in greater numbers to listen. Once more they consented to remain another night.
Next morning there was another deputation from the other end of the village, asking them to come to their end of the village and tell those delightful stories there. The result was that they had to remain a week in that village and, night after night, to crowded houses, the little girl sang her hymns and fold Bible stories and all that she knew about the "New Religion."
They had to remain over Sunday, and the little apostle had to repeat her stories, sing her hymns, and tell all she could, from morning to midnight, so great was the anxiety to hear her. Their eagerness for information about the wonderful "New Religion" was intense, and this thirst for knowledge kept on growing until a congregation was gathered in the village. At first they would simply meet on Sunday, sit quiet for an hour, and then break up. Someone with a good memory perhaps would retell as much of the Bible stories as he could remember, or they would sing over and over again all they remembered of some of the hymns they had heard.
This went on for some time. Then a church was formed in that village, and to-day there are five-and-twenty village churches and five-and-twenty day schools within a circle of five miles of the village where the little girl and her mother lodged, and where she began telling the people those wonderful Bible stories.
That little girl has been for many years among the best and devoted workers for the kingdom of God. She did what she could, and has kept on doing so, and her efforts have been greatly blessed by Him in Whose service the Bible stories were so effectively told.
I think 'twould be lovely, to live to do good,
To grow up to be just the girl that I should;
A heart full of sunshine, a life full of grace,
Is beauty far better than beauty of face.
Far better than learning a myriad books,
Or being renowned for my wit, or my looks—
I'd rather be crowned at the close of the day
With good deeds remembered, to shine o'er my way.
—The Girls' Weekly.
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THE LORD'S BOARDERS.
"God lays a little on us every day. And never, I believe, on all the way Will burdens bear so deep, Or pathways lie so threatening and so steep, But we can go, if by "God's power We only bear the burden of the hour.
Shall we ever forget the first one who came to us, and how we saw the reason why God wanted us to take the house ourselves so that we might be in a position to receive His guests?
A gentleman came from the Coffee Palace one day, and asked us to take a poor girl into our home. She had come from the country and taken a situation in town, but, her health failing, and hearing such accounts of girls who were led astray, she was afrai" to go into lodgings, so paid half-a-crown a night for her bed in the Coffee Palace, and lived upon sixpence a day. She was white even to her lips, and was unable to take solid food, and we had to give her chicken broth, beef tea, and such delicacies. After she had recovered we sent her to the convalescent home, and then obtained a situation for her.
We can only mention a few of the girls whom we entertained for the Lord, some of whom we loved with a great love.
A retired doctor called one day at the office and said he was very anxious" to bring under our notice a young girl whom he had been called in to see one night at her lodgings. As she was going upstairs she fainted away, and he had her removed to the Alfred Hospital.
"She has some companions whom I am anxious to get her away from," he added. We promised to take her under our care, and our kind friend, Mrs. Berry, visited her regularly for a month. One day a gentleman called, and, in an imperious, scornful manner, said, "By-the-by, I believe you have a young girl under your care whom an old gentleman made himself very officious about, and we want to know her address. You see," he added, in a confidential manner. "she ran away from her home in a neighboring State. Her father sent her over one pound, hearing she was ill, and we will give it to no one but herself." "Yes," we answered, she is under our care. This lady has just returned from visiting her. Allow me to introduce you."
As he took his departure, he said, "When she is better, just send her to us, as we intend to pay her passage back. She came over in a frolic." "I will call with her," I answered, "but you must remember she is under the care of the Y.W.C.A., and cannot come alone." When Lottie came back from the convalescent home we told her that her father had sent a pound for her, and took her to the gentleman. He was exceedingly polite to her. "So sorry she had been ill." As she lifted her brown eyes and looked so Lovely we thought we had better cut the interview short, so we said, "We have called for the pound from her father, as you declined to give it to us." He turned away with a sneer, pretending to look for i among his papars, and then exclaimed, "Oh, by-the-by, I quite forgot, did I not forward it to you?" . "Yes, she answered, "I received one pound." "What abou the return fare which you mentioned?" I inquired. "Oh, yes, you shall have that on Monday; but, Miss D., you would never think of travelling second class; and what about refreshments by the way?" I answered for her in a very firm manner, "You forget, sir, this young girl is under our care. All we ask is a second class fare; the rest we will see after. We will telegraph to our secretaries along the line, where she will be met and handed over to her own people. Good afternoon."
When alone with the child, I said, "Now, Charlotte, you must tell me the truth, or I cannot possibly help you. Have you ever seen this gentleman before?" "No," she answered. "I lived in the country with my father and mother, and came up to the city for a holiday to visit my sister, who is housemaid at one of the leading hotels. A musical party was staying there at the same time, and one of the gentlemen took me to the concerts and said he would like me to come to Melbourne, and could quite easily obtain a position for me at one of the Coffee Palaces. He seemed to like me very much. After they left 1 felt very lonely, and I thought he loved me, so I came over to Melbourne. Then 1 became ill, and you know the rest; but I have never seen him since I came. I know now I was a very foolish giri, but he flattered me and i thought he really loved me." As she looked at me with her childish face, so innocent and so young—just sixteen—I could not help thanking God for His watchful care over the child. "Charlotte," I said, "you have a beautiful face. Your mirror must tell you that, and doubtless many others have also told you so, but, dear girl, what use are you going to make of this gift of beauty, for it is a gift straight from God? Are you going to give all the love of your young heart to God, and serve Him, or are you going to live for self? You have come to the place where two roads meet, and I want you to decide, and decide now."
Her beautiful eyes filled with tears, and God's Holy Spirit worked mightily with her. That night she fully decided for Christ.
The next morning my sister called upon the gentleman for the return fare. He was exceedingly rude, and seemed quite surprised at her errand. She could not understand, and thought I had make a mistake, so I called myself. "By what right do you come to me for the fare? Is it not a strange thing for a lady to ask from a gentleman?" "It would be a strange thing," I answered, "if you had not come to me first and told me this girl had left her home—or, rather, as I have heard since, been enticed away under the plea of obtaining employment for her. She is but a child, and the law could come down heavily if her parents were to take proceedings. But to return to your question. You made a statement in my office, and you must remember there was a witness present. I shall not trouble you again, and simply require an answer. Have you the fare as you stated, or have you not?" His manner changed at once—"Call again, and I will speak to the boys, and we will collect it in half-crowns." "I shall certainly not call again. I wish you good morning."
I laid the whole matter before the secretary of the society, and asked for the address of the young man who had tempted the girl to run away from home. Then I went to Major Barker. "Will you kindly put on your plain clothes, and accompany me to a gentleman's office?" I asked. He very kindly consented, and we were shown into the principal office and saw the head of the firm, and asked if we might see the young fellow, but did not state our errand. As we entered the large office, in which were seated a number of clerks, Mr._ came forward. He was a young man with a prepossessing appearance, and took us into an adjoining room. We stated our errand. At first he professed to be quite puzzled. "Charlotte D.? Let me see, I do not know the name." "It's no use pretending you do not know the girl," I answered; and then I told him the whole story, and also that I had been to see the secretary of the society, and that he
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had asked me to come back and state the result of my interview, and, if not satisfactory, that he would deal with the matter. Major Barker then added, "You see, this girl is only just sixteen." "May I ask who you are?" he said. "This is Major Barker, of the Salvation Army." His manner changed, and he said, "Well, I do know the girl, but I never heard her called by that name. I gave her tickets for the concerts, and took her out several times. You see, she was a young, pretty girl, but I never thought of her following me, although I admit I did say to her that I believed I could get her into one of the Coffee Palaces as waitress. Some of the fellows told me she had come to Melbourne after me, but I thought that was just their fun. I assure you I never meant any harm. What do you want me to do?" "No," I answered, "I believe you did not mean any harm, but 'evil is wrought from want of thought as well as want of heart.' You are not a villain—your face shows that—but there are plenty of villains in this city. Just think of it: in your boyish fun you tempted her over here, and if God had not been watching and sent this sickness and raised up this good, kind doctor to see after her, what would have become of this child? You ask me what I want you to do. What would you ask anyone to do if it were your sister? She received a letter from her brother this morning, saying, 'Charlotte, come home, oh, come home!' I ask you for a second class fare in order to send her home." "How much is it?' he inquired, evidently greatly relieved. Major Barker said he thought about two pounds, but was not quite sure. "Ah, well," I said, "give me two pounds, and if it is more I am certain it is all right. I will let you know."
The same evening I put Charlotte into the express train for Sydney. As we parted the child leaned out of the carriage window and whispered, "Good-bye, dear Miss Booth; I am going uack as pure as T'came, but I would not have done so if God had not raised up kind Christian friends." And as the train moved out of the station, she said, the tears rolling down her cheeks. "I will remember my promise." Dear child, I knew she alluded to her promise to be Christ's own one.
I found that another pound was required for the fare, so sent for my young friend to call. This gave me a chance to have a good talk with him, and again press upon him what might have been the result of a bit of thoughtless fun. He asked me never to mention his name, and of course I would not do so. He had behaved in every way as a gentleman. "I would like you to give me a promise also," I said, "that is to respect and protect women, and never let one be able to say you dragged her down, or were the cause of her ruin, when she stands before God's bar; also when the time comes for you to take a wife from your own station in life to be able to say, 'I am as pure as I expect my wife to be.'" He held out his hand with all the purpose of his soul in his face, and answered, "I will. No woman can say I have said a disrespectful word to her in the past, and God knows in this affair, though I own I was very foolish, I never had an impure thought, and I never will, God helping me." We knelt in prayer and asked God to register this vow in heaven…. By SARA C. BOOTH.
THE FLOWER THAT IS ALWAYS WHITE.
In the Northern coalfields, round about the mouth of the coal-pits, there is a tiny white flower with almost waxen petals. There it grows and flourishes amid all the dust and grime, for it has been endowed by nature with waxen-like petals which throw off the dust which would settle upon it. Character can triumph over circumstances. It is the life within, not the circumstances without, that counts.
A TRUE STORY.
In London a Christian woman entered a 'bus to get to her home. When the conductor came to her she suddenly found, to her dismay, that she had lost her purse. They looked at each other for a moment, not knowing what to do, and then the conductor said, "Well you must get out." She got out, and strolled into Hyde Park to think what to do; for somehow she must get home. She sat on a bench, and, lifting up her heart to God, very trustingly asked Him to provide the fare, which was sixpence. She believed He would, although she could not see how. She had an umbrella with her, and as she sat thinking she began raking the gravel pathway with it, like one often does when sitting alone. She started printing "God is Love," and when she got to the very last stroke of "E" she felt something hard. Out of curiosity she stooped to look, and found that it was a sixpence— very dirty, but still just what she needed at the time. She said, "I knew God would help me somehow or other," and after lifting up her heart in thanks to God she made haste for another 'bus, and reached home in good time for some special need which was await ing her there.
FULL, AND YET HOLDS MORE.
"Mamma," said six-year-old Fred, "I can't love God and you both, so I'll love you."
"Why, my child! What do you mean by saying that you can't love both?"
" 'Cause that's what the Sunday school lesson says; it says that I must love God with all my heart, and there isn't but one all to it, so if I love Him with all, there won't be one bit left for you."
Mamma laughed and asked him to come with her. Going to the cellar, she quickly asked him to help her fill a large pan with potatoes.
"There," said he, piling on the last big fellow, "it's full."
"Full, yet there's room," said the mother, as she took a bag of beans and shook them into the crevices between the potatoes.
"Neither is it full yet," she said, as she took a shovelful of sand, which disappeared, and another after it
"Not full yet," she said again, as she noured several cups of water into the pan. "Now you see, Fred, how a thing can be full and yet hold more—of something else. So your heart may be full of the love of God and plenty of room left for me, and papa, and sisters, and play, and books."—Selected.
MEASLES IN ANSWER TO PRAYER!
A young soldier in barracks, a notorious drunkard, was gloriously saved one evening. The next morning found him happy in his new-found joy, but not a little perplexed: the spirit was willing, but the flesh was weak, and desire for strong drink was very keen. While he was seriously thinking, and wondering how to keep himself from the canteen, the officer with whor he had given himself to the Lord came up, and to him the soldier told his fears. The officer suggested prayer together, and they prayed, the newly convertc one requesting that he might be shut up somewhere away from the drink. That evening the officer went in search of the soldier, but failed to find him; when he asked his comrades, they replied, "Don't you know?" "No," said the officer, wonderingly. "Why, he's got the measles." The officer turned away praising God for His wonderful answer to prayer. When the soldier recovered, and left the isolation ward, the desire for strong drink was entirely gone.—C.G,
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THE GIFT OF TRITEMIUS.
Tritemius of Herbipolis one day,
While kneeling at the altar's foot to pray,
Alone with God, as was his pious choice,
Heard from without a miserable voice—
A sound which seemed of all sad things to tell,
As of a lost soul crying out of hell.
Thereat the Abbot paused; the chain whereby
His thoughts went upward, broken by that cry;
And, looking from the casement saw below
A wretched woman with grey hair aflow,
And withered hands, held up to him, who cried
For alms, as one who might not be denied.
She cried, "For this dear love of Him Who gave His life for ours, my child from bondage save— My beautiful, brave, first-born, He chained with
slaves In the Moor's galley, where the sun-smit waves Lap the white walls of Tunis!" "What I can I give," Tritemius said, "my prayers." "Oh! man Of God!" she cried, for grief had made her bold, "Mock me not thus. I ask not prayers, but gold. Words will not serve me, alms alone suffice, Even while I speak perchance my first-born dies!"
"Woman," Tritemius answered, "from our door
None go unfed, hence we are always poor,
A single soldo is our only store.
Thou hast our prayers; what can we give thee
more?" "Give me," she said, "the silver candlesticks On either side of the great crucifix. God well may spare them on His errand sped, Or He can give you golden ones instead!"
Then spake Tritemius: "Even as thy word,
Woman, so be it! Our most gracious Lord,
Who loveth mercy more than sacrifice,
Pardon me if a human soul I prize
Above the gifts upon His altar piled!
Take what thou askest, and redeem thy. child."
But his hand trembled as the holy alms
He placed within the beggar's eager palms,
And as she vanished down the linden shade
He bowed his head, and for forgiveness prayed.
So the day passed, and when the twilight came He woke to find the chapel all, aflame. And dumb with grateful wonder to behold Upon the altar candlesticks of gold!
—By J. G. Whittier.
(1) Mind your tongue! Do not let it speak hasty, cruel, unkind, or wicked words.
(2) Mind your eyes! Do not permit them to look on wicked books, pictures, or objects.
(3) Mind your ears! Do not suffer them to listen to wicked speeches, songs, or words.
(4) Mind your lips! Do not let tobacco foul them; do not let strong drink pass them.
(5) Mind your hands! Do not let them steal, or fight, or write any evil words.
(6) Mind your feet! Do not let them walk in the steps of the wicked.
(7) Mind your heart! Do not let the love of sin dwell in it. Do not give it to Satan, but ask Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, to make it His throne.
A BOY'S OFFERING.
John Price, a little boy in England, was sent by his mother to buy a pound of candles. On his way home he passed a large hall, well lighted. Following crowds of people, who were entering, he became absorbed with the singing and speaking of a missionary from India who sat on the platform with two native converts. As they pleaded for help, he decided to give his black rabbit to the cause, and, as the collection plate was passed, and he had nothing else to offer, he put the candles on it, much to the astonishment of the people.
He heard the missionary say something about gifts increasing thirty to sixty-fold, so, on his return home, he said to his mother: "I have been to a missionary meeting, and the candies are there; likely as not you will have thirty pounds here to-night or early in the morning."
In the morning there was no peace until the black rabbit was packed in an old basket, although two or three tears fell on his favorite's shiny coat as he stroked it, as he thought, for the last time, and said:
"Now, Bunny dear, make the most of yourself, and sell for all you can, that the poor heathen may hear about Jesus."
Black "Bunny" was taken to the missionary's home, but she was soon back again accompanied by two white rabbits. The missionary brought them all three —the lady who had bought the rabbit was with him— on the condition that while the money went to the heathen, the rabbit should be returned to Johnny with a pair of her own white ones. She had brought something else, too, in the carriage—a basket of groceries and, of course, several pounds of candles. Johnny was so excited at the sight of the carriage that he jumped up from eating his bread and treacle and shouted out:
"Look, mother! Here's the thirty-fold coming in the carriage. Oh! how good of God! how good of God!"
The lady kept her eye upon Johnny Price, and she learned, by degrees, of his devotion to his mother, of his daily toil to keep the house clean, while her weary fingers, when able, did the sewing to get food and keep him in school, and found out how respected he was as an errand lad, and knew that he must continually make many little sacrifices to put coppers into his missionary box.
Before John Price left England to sail as a missionary for India, he said these words from the Exeter Hall platform:
"No one can be an out and out Christian unless they are doing all they can for the millions of heathen groping in darkness."—Selected.
A teacher in an Indian school,
Standing before her class,
Was explaining to her little ones
The attractive force of mass.
She showed to them how gravity
Drew all things to the earth,
And tested in experiment
How much this truth is worth.
"Now, children," then the teacher asked,
The wonder to discuss,
"If this strange force of nature ceased
What would become of us?"
At once a little Indian boy
Made answer quick as thought,
"If the earth no longer pulled on us,
We'd go straight up to God."
Published by the Victory Press, 106 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne, Australia.