"A child went merrily forth to play, But a thought, like a silver thread, Kept winding in and out, all day, Through the happy golden head.
Mother said,--'Darling, do all you can; For you are a part of G.o.d's great plan.'
"So he helped a younger child along, When the road was rough to the feet, And she sung from her heart a little song That we all thought pa.s.sing sweet; And her father, a weary, toil-worn man, Said, 'I, too, will do the best I can.'"
"A n.o.ble Boy." "Not long ago," said a Christian lady, "I saw a boy do something that made me glad for a week. Indeed it fills my heart with tenderness and good feeling whenever I think about it. But let me tell you what it was.
"As I was walking along a crowded street I saw an old blind man walking on without any one to lead him. He went very slowly, feeling his way with his cane.
"'He's walking straight to the highest part of the curb-stone,' said I to myself. 'And it's very high too. I wonder if some one won't help him and start him in the right direction.'
"Just then, a boy, about fourteen years old, who was playing near by, ran up to the old man and gently putting his hand through the man's arm, said:--'Allow me, my friend, to lead you across the street.' By this time there were three or four others watching the boy. He not only helped the old man over one crossing, but led him over another to the lower side of the street. Then he ran back to his play.
"Now this boy thought he had only done an act of kindness to that old man. But just see how much farther than that the use of his one talent went. The three boys with whom he was playing, and who had watched his kind act, were happier and better for it, and felt that they must be more careful to do little kindnesses to those about them.
"The three or four persons who stopped to watch the boy turned away with a tender smile upon their faces, ready to follow the good example of that n.o.ble boy. I am sure that I felt more gentle and loving towards every one, from what I saw that boy do.
"And then, another one that was made happy was the boy himself. For, it is impossible for us to do a kind act, or to make any one else happy, without feeling better and happier ourselves. To _be_ good and to _do_ good, is the way to be happy. This is our mission here in this world. Whatever talents our Master has given us, he intends that we should use them in this way."
"Tiny's Work for G.o.d." Two little girls, Leila and Tiny, were sitting, one summer day, under the tree which grew beside their home.
Both children had been quiet for a little while, when suddenly Tiny raised her blue eyes and said, "I _am_ so happy, Leila. I do love the flowers, and the birdies, and you, and everybody so much." Then she added, in a whisper, "And I love G.o.d, who made us all so happy.
Sister, I wish I could do something for him."
"Mother says if we love him, that is what he likes best of all," said Leila.
"Yes, but I do want to _do_ something for him--something that would give me trouble. Can't you think of anything?"
Leila thought a little, and said, "Perhaps you could print a text for the flowers mother sends every week to the sick people in the hospital. They are so glad to have the flowers, and then the text might help them think about our Father in heaven."
"Oh! thank you, sister, that will be so nice! I will write--'Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not.'"
But Tiny was only a little over four years old, and it was hard for her to hold a pen, but she managed to print two letters every day till the text was finished. Then she went alone to her room, and laying the text on a chair, she kneeled down beside it, and said--"Heavenly Father, I have done this for you: please take it from Tiny, for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen." And G.o.d heard the prayer, for he always listens when children truly pray.
So Tiny's text was sent up to London, and a lady put a very pretty flower into the card and took it to the hospital. She stopped beside a bed where a little boy was lying. His face was almost as white as the pillow on which he lay, and his dark eyes were filled with tears.
"Is the pain very bad to-day, Willie?"
"Yes, miss; its dreadful-like. But it's not so much the pain as I mind. I'm used to that, yer know. Father beat me every day a'most, when he was drunk. But the doctor says I'm too ill for 'im to 'ave any 'opes for me, and I'm mighty afeard to die."
"If you had a friend who loved you, and you were well, would you be afraid to go and stay with him, Willie?"
"Why no, I'd like to go, in course."
"I have brought you a message from a Friend, who has loved you all your life long. He wants you to trust him, and to go and live with him. He will love you always, and you will always be happy."
Then the lady read Tiny's text, "_Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not._" She told him how Jesus had died, and then had risen again, and had gone to heaven, to prepare a place for _him_, and for many other children. She told him how Jesus is still saying "Come," and his hand is still held out to bless.
So Willie turned to the Good Shepherd, and was no longer afraid. A few days afterwards he whispered--"Lord Jesus, I am coming;" and he died with Tiny's text in his hand.
That little girl used the talent that was given her, and it helped to bring a soul to Jesus.
EVERY TALENT USEFUL.
"Though little I bring, Said the tiny spring, As it burst from the mighty hill, 'Tis pleasant to know, Wherever I flow, The pastures are greener still.
"And the drops of rain As they fall on the plain, When parched by the summer heat, Refresh the sweet flowers Which droop in the bowers, And hang down their heads at our feet.
"May we strive to fulfill All His righteous will, Who formed the whole earth by His word!
We would ever be Thine, And serve Thee--our G.o.d, and our Lord!"
Let us never forget this third lesson from Olivet, the lesson about,--the talents.
_The fourth, and last lesson from Olivet is the lesson about_--THE REWARDS.
The parable tells us that when the Master came back, and reckoned with his servants, he said to each of those who had made a right use of his talents:--"Well done, good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy lord." In the parable in St.
Luke we are told that the servant who had gained ten pounds was made ruler over ten cities; and he who had gained five pounds was made ruler over five cities. This shows us that G.o.d will reward his people, hereafter, according to the degree of faithfulness with which each one shall have used the talents given to him. And this is the lesson which the apostle Paul teaches us when he says that, "Every man shall receive _his own reward_ according to _his own labor."_ I.
Cor. iii: 8.
All the willing, loving servants of G.o.d will receive a crown of life when Jesus comes to reckon with them. But those crowns will not be all alike. They are spoken of as "crowns of gold:" Rev. iv: 4; as "crowns of glory:" I. Peter v: 4, and as "crowns of life:" Rev. iii: 11. But still there will be very great differences between these crowns. Some will be simply crowns of gold, or of glory, without any gems or jewels to ornament them. Some will have two or three small jewels shining in them. But, others again will be full of the most beautiful jewels, all glittering and sparkling with glory. And this will all depend upon the way in which those who wear these crowns used their talents while they were on earth, and the amount of work they did for Jesus. There is an incident mentioned in Roman history about a soldier, which ill.u.s.trates this part of our subject very well.
"The Faithful Soldier and His Rewards." This man had served forty years in the cause of his country--of these, ten years had been spent as a private soldier, and thirty as an officer. He had been present in one hundred and twenty battles, and had been severely wounded forty-five times. He had received fourteen civic crowns, for having saved the lives of so many Roman citizens; three mural crowns, for having been the first to mount the breach when attacking a fortress; and eight golden crowns, for having, on so many occasions, rescued the standard of a Roman legion from the hands of the enemy. He had in his house eighty-three gold chains, sixty bracelets, eighteen golden spears, and twenty-three horse trappings,--the rewards for his many faithful services as a soldier. And when his friends looked at all those honors and treasures which he had received, from time to time, how well they might have said as they pointed to those numerous prizes--that he had "received _his own reward_, according to _his own labor_," and faithfulness! And so it will be with the soldiers of the cross, who are faithful in using the talents given them by their heavenly Master.
"A Great Harvest from a Little Seed," Some years ago there was a celebrated artist in Paris whose name was Ary Scheffer. On one occasion he wished to introduce a beggar into a certain picture he was painting. Baron Rothschild, the famous banker, and one of the richest men in the world, was a particular friend of this artist. He happened to come into his studio at the very time he was trying to get a beggar to be the model of one which he desired to put into his painting.
"Wait till to-morrow," said Mr. Rothschild, "and I will dress myself up as a beggar, and make you an excellent model."
"Very well," said the artist, who was pleased with the strangeness of the proposal. The next day the rich banker appeared, dressed up as a beggar, and a very sorry looking beggar he was. While the artist was engaged in painting him, another friend of his came into the studio.
He was a kind-hearted, generous man. As he looked on the model beggar, he was touched by his wretched appearance, and as he pa.s.sed him, he slipped a louis d'or--a French gold coin, worth about five dollars of our money--into his hand. The pretended beggar took the coin, and put it in his pocket.
Ten years after this, the gentleman who gave this piece of money received an order on the bank of the Rothschilds for ten thousand francs. This was enclosed in a letter which read as follows:
"Sir: You one day gave a louis d'or to Baron Rothschild, in the studio of Ary Scheffer. He has invested it, and made good use of it, and to-day he sends you the capital you entrusted to him, together with the interest it has gained. A good action is always followed by a good reward.
"JAMES DE ROTHSCHILD."
In those few years that one gold coin, of twenty francs, had increased to ten thousand francs. And this ill.u.s.trates the way in which Jesus the heavenly Master rewards those who use their talents for him. See how he teaches this lesson, when he says--"Whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in _no wise lose his reward_." St. Matt, x: 42. And in another place we are told that the reward shall be "an hundred fold," and shall run on into "everlasting life." St. Matt, xix: 29. How sweetly some one has thus written about
THE REWARD OF HEAVEN.
"Light after darkness, gain after loss, Strength after weariness, crown after cross; Sweet after bitter, song after sigh, Home after wandering, praise after cry; Sheaves after sowing, sun after rain, Light after mystery, peace after pain; Joy after sorrow, calm after blast, Rest after weariness, sweet rest at last; Near after distant, gleam after gloom, Love after loneliness, life after tomb.
After long agony, rapture of bliss, Christ is the pathway leading to this!"
The last lesson from Olivet is the lesson about the rewards. And taking these lessons together, let us remember that they are--the lesson _about the Master_: the lesson _about the servants_: the lesson _about the talents_: and the lesson _about the rewards_.
The Collect for the thirteenth Sunday after Trinity is a very suitable prayer to offer after meditating on the lessons from Olivet:
"Almighty and merciful G.o.d, of whose only gift it cometh that thy faithful people do unto thee true and laudable service: Grant, we beseech thee, that we may so faithfully serve thee in this life, that we fail not finally to attain thy heavenly promises; which exceed all that we can desire; through the merits of Jesus Christ our Lord.
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