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perhaps was thinking very complacently school, as she did every morning; but about a bright-eyed mouse which she had the chubby little brother and sister who recently caught; but Amy was thinking usually walked with her were replaced about the words which her mother had by two shining angels, so very beautiful just been saying.
that it seemed a feast to gaze at them; Mrs. Gilbert had told her little and in their gentle companionship she daughter about the beautiful belief thought that no unkind words could be which some of the people in Turkey spoken or wicked deeds done. In their have. She said that they think an hands were waxen tablets, and one held angel walks on the right side of all per- a rose-coloured pencil with which he sons wherever they go, and records continually wrote; the other sweetly everything in their thoughts, words, and and thoughtfully smiled on Amy. deeds which may be pleasing to God. All the day long she strove to be kind Another walks on the left, and whenever and gentle, and when the night came a bad action is performed he is sorrow- she penitently prayed to be forgiven for ful; but he waits, and if it is repented any wicked thing which she had done of before night then he does not record during the day. And then the angels it. If the sun sets and there is no lovingly blessed her and quietly dispenitence for it, he sadly puts it down. appeared. And as the twilight shades gather over As they went they seemed to call, the earth, they silently rise through the * Amy! Amy!” and at the sound she blue ether, pass the portals of the golden opened her blue eyes and found Aunt city, and bear their record to the King Emily standing by her bed. It's time of kings.
to get up, Amy-you must hasten ; the As Amy sat there so quietly, she sun rose long ago.” As Amy arose and firmly resolved that her angel com- dressed herself, she smiled to think of panions should have nothing but good the call which she thought came from to bear from her to heaven.
the angels. She humbly asked her Soon afterwards she kissed her mother heavenly Father for His help through a loving good-night, put kitten in her the coming day, so that the angels snug little bed, which was in an old might bear a pleasing message to Him flour-barrel out in the wood-house, and at night. then went to her own room.
And Amy did strive to obey her It was a neat little room, and Amy | heavenly Father's will in all things; thought there couldn't be another in the and though sometimes cross words and world quite as nice as hers ; there angry looks escaped her, she asked God might be others which were almost as to forgive them for Christ's sake. You nice, but she felt sure they didn't quite know He has promised to forgive those equal hers. Could there be another who are penitent, and so He must have library filled with books like her books ? forgiven Amy. or another carpet with roses and green Dear children, don't you think that if leaves like those in her carpet ? or you could see the angels watching you another cosy white bed as soft as her all the while, you would be more bed? Oh no! Of course not.
careful that every little deed should be But Amy didn't think about all this one which the dear Saviour would smile to-night. After she had said her evening
upon and bless ? prayer, she laid her head, brimful of
Perhaps angels do not always accombeautiful thoughts of the angels, on her pany us; but yet we read in the eleventh pillow; and not many minutes went by verse of the ninety-first Psalm, “He before she was soundly asleep.
shall give His angels charge over thee, Soon she seemed to be walking to to keep thee in all thy ways.” It is pleasant to see the sun after rain; so the face of a friend after long absence, health after sickness. But for the rain, the absence, and the sickness, they would not be so pleasant. This is one of the “uses of adversity."
LESSONS FOR THE LITTLE ONES.
EARLY TIMES OF THE BIBLE. XVIII. JOSEPI'S BRETHREN IN EGYPT.
“Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you."-Matt. v. 44. WHAT part of the history of Joseph did we end with, last Sunday ? Let me see whether you remember all that I told you.
Now we must go back a little. The famine was in other countries beside Egypt, and the people in those countries got hungry too. By-and-by they heard about the corn that could be bought in Egypt; and, among the rest, Jacob heard of it, and told his sons to go and buy some.
“ Did he hear that Joseph was selling it, teacher?”–No; because Pharaoh the king had given him a new name ; so they only heard that this grand governor was called Zaphnath-paaneah, which
6. The man to whom secrets are revealed.” Jacob's sons therefore set off with plenty of money, and asses to bring back the corn.
Now listen: when they got to Egypt and came to Joseph, he was so altered in the thirteen or fourteen years since they sold him, grown from a lad into a man, that they did not know him; he knew them however in a moment, but did not let them think so; he only asked what they were come for. They had bowed themselves down to the very ground before him when they came in, and Joseph directly remembered his dreams.
Why didn't he tell them who he was, teacher?”God does not tell us, so we cannot be sure about the matter ; but we may think of it a little. Joseph might ask himself, “ Ought I to let my brothers come into the king's country? As they were wicked enough to sell me, perhaps they may want to do some harm to the king. Perhaps they have heard that I am alive here, and want to kill me. Perhaps
Why, there are only the ten of them ! what have they done with
my little brother Benjamin ? At all events, I had better try to find out what they really want.” So when they said they were come to buy corn, he replied, “I am afraid you are spies, ten men would not come merely for corn.” Then were Joseph's brethren in a great fright; for spies in those days were generally hung; and they said, " No indeed we are not; we are all come for corn ; our father had twelve sons-one is lost, and the youngest is at home.”
“ Well, we will see if that is true,” said Joseph ; “one of you shall go back, and bring the youngest here." He kept them three days, and then he said, “I will keep only one of you here; the rest may go back with some food for those you say are hungry at home; and when you return with your youngest brother, I will let this one out."
Joseph's brethren were in great trouble; and now it was they remembered how wickedly they had behaved to Joseph ; and they talked about it, never thinking that Joseph understood all they said.
« Ah,” said one, we are guilty about that, and now God is punishing
“ Well,” said Reuben, “did I not tell you not to hurt the lad, and you would not mind me ?”
Can any of my little ones tell me what they should learn from all this? That God both sees and remembers sins; and that, though we may think at the time that we are safe, yet punishment will come, and then our own consciences will tell us we deserve it.
Joseph felt very sorry for his brothers, and, remembering his time of bitter agony, he could not help weeping a little; but he did not let them see him do so. At length he sent them away with plenty of corn ; previous to this, however, he told his steward to put each one's money back in his sack. Perhaps, as they had sold him for money, this was to see if they would now be honest and bring back what was not theirs; or perhaps he wished to give them the corn all for nothing.
On their way home the asses wanted
some food; so they opened one sack, and there they found the money that was placed in it, which surprised them very much; but how astonished were they when they got home to find every other sack had money in it! Very frightened they were too, lest they should be accused of stealing it; more especially as the governor had said they were spies. They told their father all that had happened, and that Benjamin was to go next time. Poor Jacob was dreadfully troubled, and said, No, no, he had lost Joseph so long, and now Simeon was absent; and if Benjamin went, and any harm came to him, he could not bear it; it would bring down his grey hairs with sorrow to the grave.
Some time afterwards, however, the
largest share of things to Benjamin. Indeed, he could hardly help running to kiss him as soon as he saw him; and he did say a sweet little prayer that God
i would bless him.
At night Joseph told his steward, "Now put all their money back again just as you did before, and put my silver cup into the sack of the youngest." In the morning Joseph's brothers set off, not knowing what was in their sacks ; ! but soon the steward
after them, pretending to be very cross, saying “ Why, have you stolen my lord's cup? you are bad men, and must come back.” “O sir,” they said, “We have not done such a wicked thing: look in our bags, and if you find it we will go back and be slaves.” “No," said the
more sadly; so Jacob said, “ Go again and buy us some more.” “ We cannot,” replied his sons, “un Benjamin go with us; for the man declared we should never see his face again unless our brother were with us ; " and so, with an earnest prayer to God to take care of them all and send them back safely, Jacob gave his consent. He told them to take back all the money that had been put in their sacks, and also some more money for corn, and to take beside a nice present of the best fruits and nuts and spices they had, for this governor whom he thought so fierce. Having done all this, the brothers started on their journey.
As soon as they arrived in Egypt and saw Joseph, he told his steward they were to dine with him. They were frightened when they found they were brought to Joseph's house, and felt no doubt it was because of the money in their sacks. However, they told the steward the truth (is not that always best ?), and he said, “You may be quite happy, for I had your money all right.” Then he brought Simeon out to them, and gave them water to wash with and get ready for dinner. At dinner time Joseph came and talked kindly to them. They ate with him at a table by themselves, and were much surprised that they were all placed according to their ages. Joseph sent them plates from his table, and he sent the
find the cup, the one who has got it shall go back and be kept for a slave." They agreed; the bags were searched; and when they got to the last—there was the cup !
How very sad they must have felt! They all went back directly, came to Joseph, and fell to the ground before him. He said he should keep Benjamin for a slave, and they might go home. But they were very different now from what they had been when they sought to rid themselves of poor Joseph. They did not say, “ Now we shall be rid of this pet too." No, Judah came nearer, and begged so eloquently that Benjamin might go home, lest his father's heart should be broken, and that he himself might be punished instead, that Joseph was sure now they were truly sorry for their past sin ; and he burst into tears, and told them who he was. This frightened them. But Joseph kissed them, and told them not to grieve, ! for God had taken care of him and had ! sent him there beforehand to preserve their lives in the famine. You see how he forgave them all that they had dono; and what does Jesus say we must do in like case? Then Joseph told his brethren to go back and bring his father, and he would take care of them all; he sent wagons for his father to come in. But we must stop now, and finish next Sunday.
JESUS WALKING ON THE SEA.
Read Mark vi. 46-51.
You have heard, little ones, of the sea of Galilee. Much of our Saviour's life was spent on its shores; and in Capernaum, one of its cities, He entered on His great work. Often, no doubt, He sailed upon the sea of Galilee with His disciples. These, you know, were fishermen, all Galileans we may say-for they either lived or were born in Galilee, and it was there that He first met them when they were mending their nets, and called them to follow Him.
Can any of you tell me some of our Lord's doings in Galilee? It was there He fed the five thousand with the five small loaves and two fishes ; He stilled the waters of Galilee when the fearful tempest arose, and the little boat in which He was asleep was tossed with the waves, and the disciples were filled with fear; and it was to Galilee that He told His disciples to go, that they might there meet Him after His resurrection.
Now let us look at the verses which form our lesson to-day. Jesus was wearied, we may suppose, with a long day of preaching, and He bids His disciples to get into their boat, and to cross over to the other side of the lake, while He remained behind to send away the great multitudes who had just received a miraculous evening meal at His hands. After this He went up into a mountain alone to pray. It was thus that Jesus found His refreshment, His repose. Look at Matt. xxvi. 36, Mark i. 35, Luke ix. 18, 29. The Lord Jesus is our great Example in prayer, He loved to commune alone with His Father. Try always to get a little time alone with God every day; but if you cannot get alone, never be ashamed to pray before others. I heard once of a sailor boy who was quite calm and fearless through a terrible storm at sea; and when asked by the captain how this was, he replied, “Oh, sir, I spent some time alone with God first in the crown of my
Now turn away from Jesus praying on the mountain, and look at the lake. See that little boat struggling with the waves; a high wind has arisen, and the angry billows threaten to swallow up the boat. Doubtless the disciples wondered why Jesus had left them alone, when the storm was coming. • Why did He not come with us ?” they may have said, or Why did He not let us stay with Him ? " think He knew about the storm ? Oh yes, He was watching them all the time; He was praying for them.
When people are in sorrow they sometimes think God has forgotten them (Ps. lxxvii. 9) ; but if they are really His children He is ever near them. He puts them into the furnace, as the refiner does the gold; but He sits by, watching until He sees His own image reflected there. See Mal. iii. 3.
When the faith of the disciples has been tried, and just as they are on the point of despair, Jesus comes to them ; and how does He come?-Walking on the water. If you tried to do this, you would sink. Jesus could do it, because He was God as well as man. The disciples think it is a spirit; in the early, shadowy dawn they cannot see clearly : they cry out for fear; then Jesus speaks. That calm, loving voice which spoke to Mary in the garden now says, “Be of good cheer: it is I, be not afraid ; " or as a little infant-school child expressed it, “ Don't be afraid, it's only Me." The same voice spoke to Paul when surrounded by enemies, saying,
66 Be of good cheer” (Acts xxiii. 11).
When we know that Jesus is near, all fear goes away. The disciples felt quite safe when Jesus came to them, for directly He got into the boat the wind ceased. Noah was not afraid of the flood when he was safe within the ark; Joseph felt no fear in prison, because God was with him. Listen to the beautiful words which Jesus speaks to all people and to all children who trust in Him, “Lo, I am with you alway." We cannot see Him, but He is near. The disciples could not see Him at first; but He was praying for
them on the mountain ; and so is He now interceding for us in heaven.
Try and remember what we are to learn from this lesson. Jesus is close to us. He sees us; He knows all that happens to us every day. If you felt that Jesus were at hand, oh how watchful you would be not to grieve Him. [Find some verses to show that Jesus is near His people : Heb. xiii. 5 ; Ps. cxlv. 18; Deut. iv. 7; Isa. xli. 10; Ps. xci. 15.]
This thought of the closeness of Jesus will help you in four ways. 1. It will make you feel safe (Ps. xxvii. 1). 2. It will take away the fear of death (Ps. xxiii. 4). 3. It will help you to keep straight on toward heaven ; if you have hold of Jesus' hand, He will not let you go. 4. It will make you very anxious to please Him, if you remember that His eye is upon you ; because you know that He hates sin.
Do you want Jesus thus to be ever near you? Then you must join yourself to the number of His children, you must turn to Him as your only Saviour, and trust the keeping of your soul to Him, and He will become your guide even unto death."
How old are you, Sarah ?—(Seven, teacher.) Well, suppose we had had no rain for half the years of your life, would it not seem a long time? You would scarcely remember what rain was. Do you think the corn and grass would grow? But if t would be dreadful to have no rain in England for so long a time, how much worse must it have been in the country where Obadiah lived. in which the sun is so scorching; and in addition to this there was no dew at night either.
As the grass and corn withered for want of water, there was a great famine, and there was scarcely any food to be obtained. At last Ahab called Obadiah, who was governor of his house (just what Joseph was in Potiphar's house), and he told him to go one way and look for water and grass, while he himself would go another way. But selfish Ahab was not thinking about providing for his poor people who were suffering so from famine; it was only for his horses and mules that he cared.
As Obadiah went on his way he met some one; who do you think it was? It was Elijah. Obadiah was very much surprised to see him, and still more so when the prophet told him to go and tell Ahab he was there. He did not like at first to go, for he knew that the king was dreadfully angry with Elijah; and he thought that perhaps God would hide Elijah again, while he was gone to tell Ahab, and then the wicked king might kill him if he could not find the
prophet where he said he was. So he told Elijah how angry the king was, and how he had sent into all the countries around to look for him. But Elijah told him that God meant him to see Ahab that day; and then Obadiah went to tell the king.
Had Ahab any cause to be angry with Elijah, do you think?—No, for the famine had come as a punishment for the sins of Ahab and the people; they had brought it on themselves by their wickedness. Ahab and his wife were so wicked that they wanted to kill all God's prophets, that there might be no one to tell them of their sins; but God would not allow them to do so. The Lord Himself had
OBADIAH. “I thy servant fear the Lord from my youth."-1 Kings xviii. 12. I HOPE all my little ones are desirous of knowing the name of the good and pious man spoken of in our text, as well as something of his life ; for his example is especially worthy of imitation by children. He began, as our verse tells us, to serve God in his youth; and his name is an exact description of his character, for Obadiah means “servant of the Lord.”
You all remember, I dare say, the story of the prophet Elijah who was fed by the ravens.
Well, Obadiah lived at the same time as he did. The land of Israel was then ruled by a very wicked king, called Ahab, who worshipped idols ; and God sent Elijah to tell him that, for a punishment, there should be no rain for ever so long, and there was none for three years and a half.