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Title: The Children's Tabernacle - Or Hand-Work and Heart-Work
Author: A. L. O. E.
Language: English
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THE

CHILDREN’S TABERNACLE

OR

HAND-WORK AND HEART-WORK.



A. L. O. E. BOOKS.

_Uniform—75 cents each._



    Claremont Tales.
    Adopted Son.
    Young Pilgrim.
    Giant-Killer, and Sequel.
    Flora; or, Self-Deception.
    The Needle and the Rat.
    Eddie Ellerslie, etc.
    Precepts and Practice.
    Christian Mirror.
    Idols of the Heart.
    Pride and his Prisoners.
    Shepherd of Bethlehem.
    The Poacher.
    The Chief’s Daughter.
    Lost Jewel.
    Stories on the Parables.
    Ned Manton.
    War and Peace.
    Rescued from Egypt.
    Triumph over Midian.
    Robber’s Cave.
    Crown of Success.
    The Rebel Reclaimed.
    The Silver Casket.
    Christian Conquests.
    Try Again.
    Cortley Hall.
    Good for Evil.
    Christian’s Panoply.
    Exiles in Babylon.
    Giles Oldham.
    Nutshell of Knowledge.
    Sunday Chaplet.
    Holiday Chaplet.
    Children’s Treasury.
    The Lake of the Woods.
    Sheer Off.
    On the Way.
    House Beautiful.
    John Carey.
    A Braid of Cords.
    Guy Dalesford.
    Cyril Ashley.
    Claudia.
    Lady of Provence.
    Children’s Tabernacle.

[Illustration: FRONTISPIECE.

Children’s Tabernacle.]



    THE

    CHILDREN’S TABERNACLE

    OR

    HAND-WORK AND HEART-WORK.

    BY

    A. L. O. E.

    AUTHORESS OF “THE LOST JEWEL,” “THE GIANT-KILLER,”
    “THE YOUNG PILGRIM,” ETC., ETC.


    NEW-YORK:
    ROBERT CARTER & BROTHERS,
    530 BROADWAY.
    1875.



[Illustration]

PREFACE.


WHILE I was engaged in writing the following brief work, again and
again the question arose in my mind, “Can I make subjects so deep
and difficult really interesting and intelligible to the young? The
importance of reading Old Testament types in the light thrown on
them by the Gospel cannot, indeed, be overrated, especially in these
perilous times; but can a child be taught thus to read them?”

The attempt thus to teach is made in the following pages; and I would
earnestly request parents and teachers not merely to place the little
volume in the hands of children as a prettily-illustrated story-book,
but to read it with them, prepared to answer questions and to solve
difficulties. Sunday books should supplement, not take the place of,
oral instruction. A writer may give earnest thought and labor to the
endeavor to make religious subjects interesting to the young; but what
influence has the silent page compared with that of a father expressing
his own settled convictions, or that of a mother who has the power to
speak at once to the head and the heart?

    A. L. O. E.



[Illustration]

CONTENTS.


                                              PAGE
        I. WANTING WORK                          9
       II. THE TABERNACLE                       27
      III. THE CURTAINS                         37
       IV. PRECIOUS THINGS                      49
        V. PREPARATION                          59
       VI. TYPES                                76
      VII. DRAWN ASIDE                          89
     VIII. SACRIFICES                          102
       IX. CONCEALMENT                         113
        X. DEAD FAITH AND LIVING FAITH         121
       XI. LEPROSY                             136
      XII. NAAMAN                              149
     XIII. THE TWINS                           158
      XIV. WORK                                173
       XV. DIFFERENT MOTIVES                   186
      XVI. THE HIGH-PRIEST                     201
     XVII. THE BIRTHDAY GIFTS                  215
    XVIII. THE ARRIVAL                         225
      XIX. DISAPPOINTMENT                      239
       XX. CONFESSION                          250
      XXI. CONCLUSION                          260


SHORT STORIES, BY THE SAME AUTHOR.

    THE BEAR                                   271
    THE TIGER-CUB                              281
    NOT ONE TOO MANY                           292
    THE IRON RING                              303
    THE ILL WIND                               313



[Illustration]

THE

CHILDREN’S TABERNACLE.



I.

Wanting Work.


“YOU have no right to spoil my desk, you tiresome, mischievous boy!”

“I’ve not spoilt it, Agnes; I’ve only ornamented it by carving that
little pattern all round.”

“I don’t call that carving, nor ornamenting neither!” cried Agnes, in
an angry voice; “you’ve nicked it all round with your knife, you’ve
spoilt my nice little desk, and I’ll”— What threat Agnes might have
added remains unknown, for her sentence was broken by a violent fit of
coughing, whoop after whoop—a fit partly brought on by her passion.

“What is all this, my children?” asked Mrs. Temple, drawn into the room
called the study by the noise of the quarrel between her son and her
eldest daughter.

Lucius, a boy more than twelve years of age, and therefore a great
deal too old to have made so foolish a use of his knife, stood with
a vexed expression on his face, looking at his poor sister, who, in
the violence of her distressing cough, had to grasp the table to keep
herself from falling; Amy, her kind younger sister had run to support
her; while Dora and little Elsie, who had both the same complaint,
though in a milder form than their sister, coughed with her in chorus.

Mrs. Temple’s care was first directed to helping her poor sick
daughter. Agnes, as well as her three sisters, had caught the
whooping-cough from their brother Lucius, who had brought it from
school. It was several minutes before the room was quiet enough for
conversation; but when Agnes, flushed and trembling, with her eyes red
and tearful from coughing, had sunk on an arm-chair relieved for a
time, Mrs. Temple was able to turn her attention to what had been the
cause of dispute. A rosewood desk lay on the table, and round the upper
edge of this desk Lucius had carved a little pattern with the large
sharp knife which he held in his hand.

“I am sure, mamma, that I did not mean to do mischief,” said Lucius,
“nor to vex Agnes neither. I thought that a carved desk would be
prettier than a plain one, and so”—

“You might have tried the carving on your own desk,” said Agnes,
faintly. The tears were rolling down her cheeks, and she dared not
raise her voice lest she should bring on the whooping again.

“So I might, blockhead that I am; I never thought of that!” exclaimed
Lucius. “But if you like we will exchange desks now, and then all
will be right. Mine is a bigger desk than yours, and has not _many_
ink-stains upon it.”

The proposal set Dora, Amy, and Elsie laughing, and a smile rose even
to the lips of Agnes. She saw that Lucius was anxious to make up for
his folly; but the big school-desk would have been a poor exchange for
her own, which was neat and had red velvet lining; while hers, being
scarcely larger than a work-box, would have been of little service to
Lucius at school.

“O no! I’ll keep my own desk; the carving does not look so very bad,
after all,” murmured Agnes, who had an affectionate heart, though by no
means a perfect temper.

“I took no end of pains with it,” said Lucius, “and my knife is so
sharp that”—

“I would rather that you did not try its edge on my table,” cried his
mother, barely in time to save her mahogany from being “ornamented” as
well as the desk.

“Stupid that I am! I was not thinking of what I was about!” exclaimed
Lucius, shutting up the knife with a sharp click; “but the truth is
I’m so horribly sick of having nothing to do that I must set about
something. I don’t like reading, I’ve enough and too much of that at
school; you won’t let me go out, lest the damp should bring back my
coughing and whooping—I’ve had enough and too much of that also; I’ve
only the girls to play with, for none of my own friends must come near
the house because of this tiresome infection; and I shall be taking to
cutting my own fingers off some day for want of something better to do!”

“It’s a case of idleness being the mother of mischief,” cried the
bright-eyed Dora, who was busy embroidering with many-colored silks an
apron for little Elsie’s doll.

“Idleness is indeed very often the mother of mischief,” observed Mrs.
Temple. “I am afraid that my young people often prove the truth of the
proverb.”

“Perhaps it was partly idleness that made the children of Israel do so
very very wrong when they were wandering about in the desert,” observed
Amy, glancing up from a book on the subject which she had been reading.

“Ah! they were shut up in a wilderness month after month, year after
year,” cried Lucius, “after they had come forth from Egypt with their
flocks and herds and all kinds of spoil. They had little to do, I
suppose, and may have grown just as tired of the sameness of their
lives as I have of the dulness of mine.”

“I have often thought,” observed Mrs. Temple, who had seated herself
at the table and taken up her knitting—“I have often thought how
tenderly the Lord dealt with his people in providing for them pleasant,
interesting occupation when He bade them make the Tabernacle, and
condescended to give them minute directions how it should be made.
There were the various employments of carving, ornamenting, working
in metal, to engage the attention of the men; while the women had
spinning, weaving, sewing, and embroidering, with the delightful
assurance that the offering of their gold and silver, their time and
their toil, was made to the Lord and accepted by Him.”

“I never before thought of the making of the Tabernacle being a
_pleasure_ to the Israelites,” observed Agnes. “I always wondered at so
many chapters in the Bible being filled with descriptions of curtains,
silver loops, and gold ornaments, which are of no interest at all to us
now.”

“My child, it is our ignorance which makes us think any part of the
Bible of no interest,” observed Mrs. Temple. “If you remember the
readiness with which, as we know, the Israelites brought their precious
things for the Tabernacle, and if you can realize the eager pleasure
with which, after the long idleness which had ended in grievous sin,
men and women set to work, you will feel that the order to make a
beautiful place for worship must have been the opening of a spring of
new delight to the children of Israel. They had the Lord’s own pattern
to work from, so there was no room for disputes about form or style;
and it was a pattern admirably suited to give pleasant employment to
numbers of people, and to women as well as to men. Fancy how listless
languor must have been suddenly changed to animation; the murmurs of
discontented idlers to the hum of cheerful workers; and how vanity and
foolish gossip amongst the girls must have been checked while they
traced out their rich patterns and plied their needles; and instead of
decking their own persons, gave their gold and jewels freely to God!”

[Illustration: THE TABERNACLE AS PITCHED IN THE WILDERNESS.

Children’s Tabernacle. p. 18.]

“I wish that we’d a Tabernacle to make here,” exclaimed Lucius, whose
restless fingers again opened his dangerous plaything.

Mrs. Temple raised her hand to her brow: a thought had just occurred to
her mind. “We might possibly manage to make a model of the Tabernacle,”
she said, after a moment’s reflection.

“Ah, yes! I’d do all the carving part—all the hard part,” cried Lucius,
eagerly.

“Do, do let us make a model!” exclaimed his sisters.

“It would be a long work—a difficult work; I am not sure whether we
could succeed in accomplishing it,” said Mrs. Temple. “And after all
our labor, if we did manage to make a fair model, to what use could we
put it? We had better consider all these matters before we begin what
must be a tedious and might prove an unprofitable work.”

“Ah, a model would be of great use, mamma!” cried Dora. “At
Christmas-time, when this tiresome infection is over, and we go to our
aunt at Chester, we could show it to all her friends.”

“And to her school children—her Ragged-school children!” interrupted
Lucius with animation. “We’ve let them see our magic-lantern for three
Christmases running, and if the children are not tired of the slides of
lions, bears, and peacocks, I’m sure that I am; besides, I smashed half
the slides by accident last winter. A model of the Tabernacle would be
something quite new to please the ragged scholars, and Aunt Theodora
would draw so many good lessons from it.”

“And could we not do with the model what we did with the
magic-lantern,” suggested Dora, “make of it a little exhibition,
letting aunt’s friends come and see it for sixpenny tickets, and so
collect a little money to help on the Ragged-school?”

“That would be so nice!” cried Amy.

“That would be famous!” exclaimed little blue-eyed Elsie, clapping her
hands.

“Let’s set to work this minute!” said Lucius, and he rapped the table
with his knife.

Dora threw the doll’s apron into her work-box, eager to have some
employment more worthy of the clever fingers of a young lady of more
than eleven years of age.

Mrs. Temple smiled at the impetuosity of her children. “I must repeat,
let us consider first,” she observed. “Possibly not one amongst you has
any idea of the amount of labor and patience required to complete a
model of the Tabernacle which was made by the children of Israel.”

“Of course our Tabernacle would be much smaller than the real one was,”
remarked Dora.

“Supposing that we made it on the scale of one inch to two cubits, I
wonder what its length would be?” said Mrs. Temple. “Just bring me the
Bible. Lucius, I will turn over to the description of the Tabernacle,
which we will find in the Book of Exodus.”

“I do not know what a cubit is,” said Elsie, while her brother ran for
the Bible.

“Don’t you remember what mamma told us when we were reading about the
size of the Ark?” said Agnes. “A cubit is the length of a man’s arm
from the elbow to the end of his middle-finger, just about half of one
of our yards.”

“Eighteen inches, or, as some think twenty,” observed Mrs. Temple, as
she opened the Bible which Lucius had just placed on the table before
her.

“Let’s count a cubit as exactly half a yard, mamma,” said Lucius, “and
then one inch’s length in the model would go for a yard’s length in the
real Tabernacle. If we reckon thus, how long would our model need to
be?”

“The outer court of the Tabernacle was one hundred cubits long by fifty
broad,” replied Mrs. Temple; “that, in such a model as we propose
making, would be a length of four feet and two inches, by a breadth of
two feet and one inch.”

“Just large enough to stand comfortably on this side table!” cried
Lucius. “There will be room enough on this table, and I’ll clear it of
the books, work-box, and flower-jar in a twinkling.”

“Stop a minute, my boy!” laughed his mother, as Lucius appeared to
be on the point of sweeping everything off, including the green cloth
cover; “we have not even decided on whether this model should be made
at all; and if we do begin one, months may pass before we shall need
that table on which to set it up.”

“O, do, do let us make a model!” again the young Temples cried out.

“I’m ready to undertake every bit of the wood-work,” added Lucius,
impatient to use his sharp knife on better work than that of spoiling a
desk.

“First hear what you will have to undertake,” said his more cautious
and practical mother. “The mere outer court has sixty pillars.”

“Sixty pillars!” re-echoed the five.

“Besides four more pillars for the Tabernacle itself,” continued the
lady, “and forty-eight boards of wood, to be covered all over with
gold.”

“How large would each board have to be?” asked Lucius, more gravely.

“Each five inches long, and three quarters of an inch broad,” answered
his mother.

“And quite thin, I suppose,” said the young carpenter, looking
thoughtfully at the blade of his knife which was to accomplish such a
long, difficult piece of work.

“We could get gold-leaf for the gilding, mamma,” suggested the
intelligent Dora, “and pasteboard instead of wood; pasteboard would
look quite as neat, and need not to be cut up into boards.”

“Oh, it’s not the gilding, nor the cutting up the planks neither,
whether they be made of pasteboard or wood, that puzzles me!” cried her
brother; “but think of sixty-four pillars! How on earth could I cut out
so many slender little rods with my knife!”

“Thick wire might be used for the pillars just as well as pasteboard
for the planks,” said Agnes; “when covered with gold-leaf they would
look just the same as if”— The sentence was interrupted by another fit
of coughing; it was clear that poor Agnes was at present little fitted
to join in the conversation.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

II.

The Tabernacle.


“THERE is a picture of the Tabernacle in your Bible, mamma; that will
help us in arranging what is to be done; and you will decide on which
of us should do each portion of the work,” said Dora.

Mrs. Temple turned over the leaves till she came to the picture.

“Here you see a long open court,” she observed, “enclosed by pillars
supporting curtains of fine linen, fastened to them by loops of silver.
I shall supply the linen for these curtains, and I think that my
gentle Amy, who sews so nicely, may make them. This work will require
only neatness and patience, and my little dove has both.”

“Ah, mamma! but the silver loops—how could I make them?” suggested Amy,
who had very little self-confidence.

“I have a reel of silver thread up-stairs in my box,” said her mother;
“you will make the tiny loops for the curtains of that.”

“And I will manage the sixty-four pillars!” cried Lucius; “it was no
bad notion to make them of wire. But they must be fixed into something
hard, to keep them upright in their places.”

“I was thinking of that,” said his mother; “we shall need a wooden
frame, rather more than four feet by two, to support the model; and
into this frame holes must be drilled to receive the sixty-four wires.”

“I must borrow the carpenter’s tools,” observed Lucius; “I can’t do all
that with my knife. I see that I have a long, difficult job before me.”

“Do you give it up?” cried little Elsie, looking up archly into the
face of her brother.

“Not I!” said the schoolboy proudly. “The harder the work, the more
glorious is success!”

“What are those objects in the court of the Tabernacle?” asked Amy, who
had been thoughtfully examining the picture.

“That large square object with grating on the top, from which smoke is
rising, is the Altar of burnt-offering,” said the lady. “Through the
grating the ashes of animals that had been slain as sacrifices fell
into a cavity below. The projections which you see at the four corners
are called the horns of the altar, of which you read in various parts
of the Bible.”

[Illustration: THE ALTAR OF BURNT OFFERING.

Children’s Tabernacle p. 30.]

“Was it not an Altar of burnt-offering that Elijah made on Mount
Carmel,” asked Dora, “when he cut the dead bullock in pieces and prayed
to the Lord till fire was sent down from heaven?”

“Yes,” answered her mother, “but that altar was not like the one in the
picture. Elijah built his up quickly; it was merely formed of twelve
stones. The altar made by the Israelites in the desert was framed of
wood, and covered with brass. It was nearly eight feet square, and
was reached, not by steps, but by a sloping bank of earth.”

“And what is that very large vase farther on in the picture?” asked Amy.

“That is meant for the Brazen Laver, to hold water for the priests
to wash in. This laver was made of brass which the women of Israel
offered. Do any of my girls remember what articles had been made before
of that brass?”

The party were silent for a few seconds, and then Amy said, with a
blush on her cheek, “The mirrors of the women, mamma.” The little girl
was inclined to be vain of her looks, and her mother, who had noticed
how much of her Amy’s time was foolishly spent before a glass, had
drawn her attention, some days before that of which I write, to a fact
which has been thought worthy of mention in the Bible. The women of
Israel had the self-denial to give up the brazen mirrors—which were to
them what glass mirrors, are to us—to form a laver for the use of the
priests when engaged in the service of God.

Mrs. Temple smiled pleasantly to see that the example of the women in
the desert had not been forgotten by her child.

“Is not that kind of large tent which is standing in the court, the
Tabernacle itself?” inquired Dora.

“It is the Tabernacle,” was the reply.

“Why is all that smoke coming out of it?” asked little Elsie.

“That smoke in the picture represents the pillar of cloud which guided
the Israelites in their wanderings,” said Mrs. Temple. “For it is
written in the book of Exodus (xl. 38), ‘_The cloud of the Lord was
upon the Tabernacle by day, and fire was upon it by night, in the sight
of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys_.’”

“What a very holy place that Tabernacle must have been!” said Amy, in a
low tone of voice.

“There was not only the pillar of cloud as a visible sign of God’s
presence resting upon it,” observed Mrs. Temple, “but when Moses had
finished making the Tabernacle, a miraculous light, called by the Jews,
‘Shekinah,’ and, in the Bible, ‘_the glory of the Lord_,’ filled the
most holy place.”

“I wish that it were so with holy places now!” exclaimed Agnes. “If a
cloud always rested on the roofs of our churches, and a glorious light
shone inside, people would not be so careless about religion as they
are now.”

“I fear that no outward sign of God’s presence would long prevent
carelessness and sin,” replied Mrs. Temple.

“What, mamma, not even a shining glory in church!” cried Amy.

“Remember, my child, all the wonders and terrors of Mount Sinai—the
thunders and lightnings, the smoke that rose like the smoke of a
furnace, the trembling of the earth, and the sound of the trumpet
exceeding loud! The Israelites quaked with fear; they felt how awful
is the presence of God; they implored that the Lord might only address
them through Moses—‘But let not God speak with us lest we die!’ cried
the terrified people. And yet, in sight of that very Mount Sinai, in
sight of the thick cloud resting above it, those Israelites openly
broke God’s commandments, and fell into grievous sin! Oh, my beloved
children, the only thing to save us from sinning greatly against God is
for our hearts to be the tabernacle in which He vouchsafes to dwell,
and to have his Holy Spirit shining as the bright light within! Can any
one of you repeat that most beautiful verse from Isaiah (lvii. 15),
which shows us that the Lord deigns to dwell with the lowly in heart?”

Of all Mrs. Temple’s family, Agnes had the best memory; though she had
neither the quick intelligence of her twin-sister Dora, nor so much of
the love of her Heavenly Master which made Amy, though younger than
herself, more advanced in religious knowledge. Dora had often admired
the verse mentioned by her mother, and to the humble-minded little
Amy it had brought a feeling of thankful joy; but it was Agnes who
remembered it best by heart, so as to be able now to repeat it without
making a single mistake. “_Thus saith the high and lofty One that
inhabiteth eternity; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also
that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the
humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones._”

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

III.

The Curtains.


“THE girls will have plenty to do in making the curtains for the
Tabernacle itself,” observed Lucius, who, while his mother and sisters
had been conversing, had been engaged in looking over the description
in the book of Exodus. “Why, there are four distinct sets of curtains!
First, the undermost, ten curtains of fine-twined linen, with blue,
and purple, and scarlet, and cherubims of cunning—that must mean
skilful—work upon them!”

“How splendid that must be!” exclaimed Elsie.

“Then a covering of goats’-hair curtains above these fine embroidered
ones,” continued Lucius; “then a third of rams’-skins dyed red; and
then, to complete the whole, a covering of badgers’-skin curtains the
outermost of all.”

The four young workwomen were somewhat startled at the difficulties
which their brother’s words had raised in their minds. Dora gave a
voice to the thoughts of her sisters when she said, with a look of
disappointment, “It will be hard to get rams’-skins dyed red, but I do
not know where goats’-hair can be bought in England; and as for the
badgers’-skins, I am afraid that it will be quite impossible even for
mamma to find such a thing, unless it be in the British Museum.”

“So we must give up making the Tabernacle,” said Amy, with a sigh.

“Nay, nay,” cried their smiling mother, “we must not be so readily
discouraged. Learned men tell us that the Hebrew word translated into
‘badgers’-skins’ in our Bible is one of uncertain meaning, which some
think denotes a blue color, and which, if intended for a skin at all,
is not likely to have been that of a badger. Blue merino for the outer
covering, red Turkey-cloth instead of rams’-skins, and mohair curtains
instead of goats’-hair, will do, I think, for our model; as well as
the pasteboard, wire, and gold and silver thread, which must represent
metal and wood.”

“Yes,” said Lucius, quickly, “they will do a great deal better than
the real materials; for if we could manage to get rams’-skins or
badgers’-skins to cut up, such curtains would be a great deal too thick
and heavy for a little model like ours. Why, our Tabernacle will be
only fifteen inches long by five inches in breadth.”

All the grave little faces brightened up with smiles at this way of
getting over what had seemed a very great difficulty. Elsie looked
especially pleased. Pressing close to her mother, and laying her little
hand on Mrs. Temple’s arm in a coaxing way, she cried, “Oh, mamma,
don’t you think that I could make one set of the curtains? You know
that I can hem and run a seam, and don’t make _very_ large stitches.
Might I not try, dear mamma? I should like to help to make the
Tabernacle.”

It would have been difficult to the mother to have resisted that
pleading young face, even had Elsie made a less reasonable request.
“I cannot see why these little fingers should not manage the red
Turkey-cloth which will stand for the rams’-skins,” replied Mrs.
Temple, stroking the hand of her child; “the outermost covering of all
will, of course, need finer stitching, and one of the twins will take
that and the mohair besides. To make both these sets of curtains will
take far less time, and require less skill, than must be given to the
embroidery on linen in blue, scarlet, and purple, which will adorn the
inner walls and ceilings of our little model.”

“Do, do let me have the embroidery, it is just the work which I delight
in,” cried Dora; and she might have added, “excel in,” for she was
remarkably clever in making things requiring fancy and skill.

Agnes, her twin, flushed very red, not merely from the straining
of the cough which had frequently distressed her, but from jealous
emotion. Agnes had not a lowly heart, and in her heart angry feelings
were rising at her sister’s asking that the finest and most ornamental
portion of the work should be given to her.

“Of course mamma will not let you have the beautiful embroidery to
do, Dora, and leave the plain mohair and merino to me, her _eldest_
daughter!” exclaimed Agnes, laying a proud stress on the word
_eldest_, though, there was but an hour’s difference between the ages
of the twins.

“Why, Agnes, what nonsense that is!” cried Lucius, bluntly; “you know,
as well as I do, that your clumsy fingers can’t so much as hem a silk
handkerchief neatly, and how would they manage embroidery in purple,
scarlet, and blue? Your bad work would spoil the whole thing.”

“Don’t you meddle; you don’t know anything about work!” exclaimed
Agnes, in a loud, angry tone, which brought on another severe fit of
coughing and whooping.

Mrs. Temple was grieved at the ill-temper shown by her eldest daughter,
and all the more so as Agnes was in so suffering a state as to make
it difficult for a mother to reprove her as she would have done had
the girl been in health. The lady had to wait for some time before the
cough was quieted enough for her gentle voice to be heard, though Amy
had quickly brought a glass of water to help in stopping that cough.
When Agnes could breathe freely again, the mother thus addressed her
family circle:—

“I should be vexed indeed, my children, if what I proposed as a
pleasant and profitable occupation for you all, should become a cause
of strife, an occasion for foolish pride and contention. The Tabernacle
was in itself a holy thing, made so by the special appointment and
presence of the Lord. I would wish the making of its model to be a kind
of holy employment, one never to be marred by jealousy and pride. The
profits of your labor, if there be any, you mean to devote to helping
the poor; therefore I hope that we may consider the work as an offering
to the Lord—a very small offering, it is true, but still one which He
may deign to accept, if it be made in a lowly, loving spirit; but if
selfish, worldly feelings creep in, then good works themselves become
evil. The Israelites were expressly forbidden to offer any creature in
which there was a blemish or fault, and our offerings are certainly
blemished and spoilt if we mix with them jealousy and pride.”

Agnes bit her lip and knitted her brow. She was not without both good
sense and good feeling, but she had not yet obtained the mastery over
her jealous temper.

“I do not see why Dora should be favored above me,” she murmured.

“Dora is not favored above you,” replied the mother, gravely. “The
simple state of the case is this—different talents are given to
different persons. You have a good memory, Dora a skilful hand. Were
the work in question to be the repeating of a chapter by heart, Dora
would never expect to be the one chosen to repeat it. Why should pride
make you refuse to own that there are some things in which a younger
sister may excel you?”

Agnes hesitated, and glanced at her mother. The girl’s brow was a
little clouded still, and yet there were signs that her pride was
giving way.

“I leave the decision to your own good sense and feeling, my love,”
said Mrs. Temple. “Judge yourself whether, if your desire be to make a
really beautiful model worthy of the good object to which we devote
it, it would be better to place the embroidery part in Dora’s hands or
your own.”

“Let Dora do it,” said Agnes, with a little effort, her eyes filling
with tears, for it was hard to her, as it is to most of us, to wrestle
down struggling pride.

Mrs. Temple smiled kindly upon her daughter. “One of the most precious
lessons which we can learn,” said the mother, “is, in obedience to the
command of our Lord, to be willing to be last of all, and servant of
all. The sacrifice of our pride and self-will is more pleasing to our
Maker than the most costly gifts can be. It is worthy of notice that it
was not the _outer_ covering of the Tabernacle, that part which would
be seen from every quarter of Israel’s camp, that was most beauteous
and precious. The richest curtains were those seen far less often,
those that had the lowest place in the building. So our Maker cares far
more for what is _within_ than for what is _without_, and there is no
ornament so fair in His eyes as that of a meek and quiet spirit.”

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

IV.

Precious Things.


“I DO not think that the Tabernacle was a grand building, after all,”
observed Lucius, “though there is so much written about it in the
Bible. Why, it was only about forty-five feet by fifteen—not so large
as the chapel at the end of the town, and not for one moment to be
compared to the grand cathedral which we all went to see last summer.”

“There is one thing which you perhaps overlook,” said his mother; “when
the Tabernacle was raised, the Israelites were a nation of wanderers,
and had no fixed habitation. Their Tabernacle was a large, magnificent
tent, made to be carried about from place to place by the Levites.
Every portion of it was so contrived as to be readily taken to pieces,
and then put together again. This could not have been done with a
building of very great size.”

“Nobody could carry about the great cathedral, or even the little
chapel!” cried Elsie; “but they were never meant to be moved, they are
fixed quite firm in the ground.”

“The size of the Tabernacle was indeed not great,” continued Mrs.
Temple; “but, besides its being filled with a glory which is never
beheld now in any building raised by man, the treasures lavished on
it must have given to it a very splendid appearance. It has been
calculated that the gold and silver used in making the Tabernacle must
alone have amounted in value to the enormous sum of 185,000 pounds!”

Exclamations of surprise were uttered, and Dora remarked—“Why, that
would be enough to pay for the building of forty large churches as
handsome as the new one which we all admire so much.”

“And the new church holds ten times as many people as the Tabernacle
could,” observed Agnes. “I cannot think how a large nation like the
Israelites could find space to meet in such a small place, only about
twice the size of this room!”

“The Tabernacle was never intended to be to the Israelites what a
church is to us,” remarked Mrs. Temple. “In the warm climate of Arabia
the people worshipped in the open air, under the blue canopy of the
sky; no building to shelter them was required, such as is needful in
England. The men of Israel brought their sacrifices to the court of the
Tabernacle, where, as you already know, the Altar of burnt-offering and
the Laver were placed.”

[Illustration: THE GOLDEN CANDLESTICK.

Children’s Tabernacle. p. 52.]

“But, mamma, what was inside the Tabernacle itself—what was so very
carefully kept under those four sets of curtains?” asked Dora.

“The Tabernacle was divided into two rooms by a most magnificent
curtain of rich embroidery called the ‘Veil,’” replied Mrs. Temple.
“The outer room, which was double the size of the inner, was named
the ‘Holy,’ or ‘Sanctuary.’ In this outer room were kept the splendid
golden Candlestick with its seven branches, each supporting a lamp
which burned all through the night, and the Table of Showbread, on
which twelve cakes of unleavened bread were constantly kept—the supply
being changed on every Sabbath.”

“Ah! I remember, it was that show-bread which was given to David when
he was hungry,” said Lucius, “though it was meant to be eaten only by
priests.”

“What other things were in the outer part of the Tabernacle?” asked
Agnes.

“There was the Altar of Incense, my love, upon which sweet perfume was
daily burned, so that the room was filled with fragrance.”

“You have told us, mamma, what was in the first part of the beautiful
Tabernacle; but what was in the very innermost part, the little room
beyond the Veil?” asked Amy.

“That little room, about fifteen feet square, was called the ‘Holy of
Holies,’ and contained the most precious object of all—the special
symbol of the presence of the Most High. That object was the Ark,
with its cover of pure gold which was called the ‘Mercy-seat,’ and
on which were figures of cherubim, wrought also in gold, with wings
outstretched. Over this Mercy-seat, and between the golden cherubim
rested the wondrous glory which showed that God was with his people.
David, doubtless, referred to this when he wrote in the eighteenth
Psalm, ‘_Thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth!_’”

“And were not precious things laid up in the Ark?” inquired Agnes.
“Were not the tables of stone on which the Commandments were written
put into it?”

“And the Pot of Manna, kept to remind the people how their fathers were
fed in the desert?” said Dora.

“And the wonderful rod of Aaron, that budded, and blossomed, and bore
fruit; was not that also in the Ark?” asked Lucius.

“All these most precious and holy things were laid up in the Ark (or as
some think in front of the Ark), beneath the golden cherubim,” replied
Mrs. Temple.

“Oh, I should have liked above all things to have seen them!” exclaimed
little Elsie. “I should have liked to have lifted up the splendid
curtain-veil, and to have gone into the Holy of holies—if the light
had not been too dazzling bright—and have looked upon all those
precious things! Most of all, I’d have liked to see that wonderful Rod
of Aaron, if it was the very very same rod that had once been turned
into a serpent.”

[Illustration: THE HOLY PLACE AND THE MOST HOLY PLACE.

Children’s Tabernacle. p. 56.]

“Ah, my child, none of us would have dared to have lifted that Veil
or to have placed a foot within the Holy of holies!” exclaimed Mrs.
Temple. “No mortal was ever suffered to enter that place, most sacred
of all, except the High Priest, and that but on one day of the year—the
Day of Atonement. Aaron himself, the first High Priest, with trembling
awe must have lifted the Veil, and approached the Mercy-seat over which
the cherubims spread their wings of gold!”

Mrs. Temple spoke in so solemn a tone that the children felt that
the subject was very sacred, and none of them spoke for several
moments. Then Lucius observed—“There is now no place on earth into
which no one dare enter, like the Holy of holies in the Tabernacle of
old.”

“No, my son, because the Veil has been rent in twain, and the Lord
Christ, our great High Priest, has opened a free way for all believers,
even into the Holy of holies where God dwells in glory for ever!” said
Mrs. Temple, with even greater reverence in her manner, and clasping
her hands as she spoke.

“Mamma, I cannot understand you!” cried Amy.

“These are the deep things of God, my love, and it is very difficult
to explain their meaning to children. The Tabernacle and the things
within it were types, or as we may call them, pictures of heavenly
mysteries, revealed to us by the Gospel. But we will not enter now upon
these difficult subjects. I think that you know a little about the
appearance of the Tabernacle of which you are anxious to make a model,
and also of what was contained within it. To understand the meaning of
that holy place, and of its contents, will require much earnest thought
and attention. We may perhaps converse a little about it to-morrow,
which is Sunday. You will have abundance of time, as the fear of giving
infection to others obliges me to keep you from going to church.”



[Illustration]

V.

Preparation.


“I WISH that to-morrow were any day but Sunday!” exclaimed Lucius.
“Just when one is setting about a long work, eager to measure and to
make, to cut and to clip, it is vexatious to have to stop in the middle
of business, to shove away knife, ruler, pencil, pasteboard, and all,
into a drawer for the next twenty-four hours!”

“Perhaps it would be better not to begin the work at all until Monday,”
mildly suggested his mother.

“O no, we’ve all the Saturday afternoon, let’s set to making our model
at once!” exclaimed Lucius.

“Please, please, don’t make us put off!” cried Dora and Elsie.

Mrs. Temple was a very indulgent mother, and was inclined to be all
the more so as every one of her children was either suffering from
whooping-cough or just recovering from its effects. Their mother felt
sorry at the necessity for shutting out her family from many of their
usual occupations and pleasures, and even from the privilege of going
to church. The lady did not, therefore, in the least press the subject
of delay, but offered, as soon as early dinner should be over, to go
and search in her drawers and boxes for such materials as she might
think suitable for the model of the Tabernacle, which her children
were so eager to make. The dinner-bell sounded while Mrs. Temple was
speaking, and the family went together to the room in which they took
all their meals, and gathered round the table which was spread with a
plentiful, though plain repast.

While the young Temples are engaged with their dinner, let me introduce
them a little more individually to my reader. There, at the bottom of
the table, is Lucius, a sunburnt, pleasant-looking schoolboy, with a
mass of brown, half-curly locks brushed back from his forehead. He
has quick eyes and restless hands, which are seldom perfectly still,
even if they have no better occupation than that of tying and untying
a morsel of string; but they are now busily plying a large knife and
fork, for Lucius is a skilful carver, and the joint of mutton is placed
before him, from which to help all the party.

The pale girl seated on the right of Lucius, with eyes weak and
reddened by the effect of her cough, is Agnes, the elder of the twins.
Her brow is furrowed, perhaps from the same cause, perhaps because she
is more irritable in temper than her brother and sisters. But Agnes
is a conscientious girl, one who thinks much of duty: and we may hope
that “prayer and pains,” which it has been well said can do anything,
will give her the mastery over faults against which she is trying to
struggle.

Opposite to Agnes sits Dora, who, though her twin, is not much like
her, being a good deal taller, prettier, and more animated than she.
Dora is a much greater favorite with Lucius and the younger girls
than the elder twin, from being gay, obliging, and clever. Agnes is
perfectly aware that such is the case, and has to pray and strive
against the sin of jealousy, which is too ready to creep into her heart
and poison all her enjoyments.

On either side of Mrs. Temple are her two younger daughters, Amy and
Elsie. The former, with soft brown eyes and long flaxen hair tied with
blue ribbons, is strikingly like her mother, who has, at least so
think her children, the sweetest face in the world. Amy has never been
known to quarrel or utter an angry word, and is always ready to give
help to any one who needs it. It is no wonder that so gentle a girl
is beloved. But Amy knows herself to be by no means faultless, and is
much, on her guard against the silly vanity which a mother’s watchful
eye has found out to be lurking in the mind of her dear little girl.

Elsie is a merry blue-eyed child, full of life and intelligence,
forward—rather too forward for her age. She has for six years held the
place of baby in the home of her widowed mother, and her family are
rather disposed to indulge her as if she were a baby still. She enters
with animation into the amusements of the elder children, and is by no
means disposed to be seen and not heard, as Lucius often laughingly
tells her that such little people should be.

The conversation during dinner was almost entirely on the subject of
the model, and flowed on pleasantly enough, except when interrupted by
coughing; but all the children were glad when meal-time was over, and
their mother, with Amy and Elsie skipping before her, went off to hunt
over her little stores for such materials as might be found useful.
Lucius employed the time of their absence in exploring the lumber-room
for tops of old boxes or other bits of wood that might, when fastened
together, do for the ground-frame of the model, into which the gilded
pillars might be fixed. Dora, with pencil and paper, busied herself
in trying to make an embroidery pattern, introducing the figures of
cherubim. Agnes, who was too weak for much exertion, and who took
less keen interest in the work than did her sisters, lay on the sofa
reading a book, until the return of Amy and Elsie, each of whom carried
some little treasure in her hands.

“Look, Agnes, look at these shining reels of gold and silver thread!”
exclaimed the youngest child with eager delight.

“Gold thread—ah! that’s just what I want!” cried Dora, throwing down
her pencil.

“And here is mamma’s book of gold leaf; there is a little gold sheet
between every one of the pages,” continued Elsie. “But oh! it is so
thin, so very thin, one dare not breathe near, or the gold would all
fly away!”

“I thought that gold was a very heavy metal,” observed Agnes, looking
up from her book.

“But it is beaten out into such extreme fineness that a bit of gold
no larger than a pea would gild all these,” said Lucius, who had just
entered the room with his arms full of pieces of wood.

“See, Agnes, what we have brought for you!” cried Amy. “Here is
a beautiful piece of blue merino for the outer curtains (the
badgers’-skin cover, you know), and blue silk with which to sew it; and
here is another piece of mohair for the goats’-skin cover, so you are
supplied directly with everything that you need; is not that nice?”

Agnes did not look so much delighted as her sister expected that she
would; perhaps because she was scarcely well enough to take much
pleasure in sewing; perhaps because she had still a lingering feeling
of mortification at not having been trusted with the embroidery part of
the work.

“I hope that you have brought me the fine linen for the beautiful inner
curtains, and the veil for the Holy of holies,” cried Dora.

“No, mamma cannot find any linen fine enough, unless she were to tear
up her handkerchiefs, and that would be a pity,” said Amy. “But mamma
has promised to buy some linen both for your curtains and for mine that
are, you know, to hang all round the open court of the Tabernacle.”

“It is very tiresome to have to stop at the beginning for want of fine
linen!” exclaimed Dora. “I hope that mamma will go out and buy us
plenty at once.”

“Ah! Dora, you know that mamma owned this morning that she felt very
tired,” said Amy, a little reproachfully; “and the shops are a good way
off; it is not as if we lived in the town.”

“Besides, it is raining,” observed Elsie, who was looking out of the
window.

“It is merely a little drizzle, that would not hurt a fly!” exclaimed
Dora. “Mamma never minds a few tiny drops when she puts on her
waterproof cloak.”

“Mamma never minds anything that has only to do with her own comfort,”
observed Amy.

“So there is more need that we should mind for her,” said Agnes.

“I’m sure that I wish that I could go to the shops myself without
troubling, any one!” exclaimed the impatient Dora. “If it were not
for this stupid, tiresome infection, I’d get Lucius to go with me this
minute, and would we not return laden with linen, pasteboard, and all
sorts of things! But mamma’s fear of setting other people coughing and
whooping makes her keep us shut up here in prison.”

“Mamma is quite right!” exclaimed Lucius. “I say so, though I hate more
than you do being boxed up here in the house.”

“Mamma is quite right,” re-echoed poor Agnes, as soon as she recovered
voice after another violent fit of coughing, which almost choked her.
“I should not like to give any one else such a dreadful complaint as
this.”

Mrs. Temple now entered the room, with several things in her hand. “I
have found a nice bit of red Turkey cloth,” said she, “so my little
Elsie will be able to set to work on her curtains at once.”

The child clapped her hands with pleasure, and then scampered off for
her little Tunbridge-ware work-box.

“I hope that you have found the linen too, mamma,” cried Dora; “I am
in a hurry for it, a _very great_ hurry,” she added, regardless of an
indignant look from Agnes, and a pleading one from Amy.

“I am sorry that I have no suitable linen,” replied the lady, “but I
intend to go out and buy some.”

“Not to-day, not now, it is raining; you are tired,” cried several
voices; that of Dora was, however, not heard amongst them.

“I have here some pasteboard, though not sufficient for our model,
and a bottle of strong gum which will be most useful,” said the lady,
placing on the table what she had brought; “but gilt paper will be
needed as well as gold leaf, and of it I have none; I must procure
that, and some more pasteboard for my dear boy.”

“And plenty of wire, cut into five-inch lengths for the pillars,” added
Lucius.

“And linen for Amy and me,” joined in Dora.

“But please buy nothing till Monday,” said Agnes; “the work can wait
quite well for a couple of days.”

“Yes, yes, do wait till Monday,” cried the other children; Dora again
being the only exception.

Dora’s selfishness was marring her offering, as Agnes’s pride had
blemished hers. How difficult it is even in the most innocent pleasure,
even in the most holy occupation, to keep away every stain of sin! Ever
since the sad time when evil entered the beautiful garden of Eden, and
Adam and Eve ate of the fruit which God had forbidden them to taste,
pride, selfishness, and unholiness have been natural to the human
heart. Even when we most earnestly try to do what we think good works,
how much we need to be on our guard lest sin creep in to spoil all!

Dora, though silent, showed so plainly by her looks her extreme
impatience to be supplied at once with the materials for which she
could have so easily waited that her gentle mother made up her mind to
gratify the wish of her daughter. Mrs. Temple put on her waterproof
cloak, and, tired as she was, went forth on a shopping expedition. It
vexed the children to see that the clouds grew darker and the shower
fell more heavily not long after their mother had quitted the house.

“If mamma catches cold or has pain in her face it is all Dora’s fault!”
exclaimed Lucius.

“It was so selfish—so silly not to wait,” observed Agnes; “just see how
the rain is pouring!”

“I love mamma as much as any of you do!” cried Dora, her heart swelling
with vexation, so that she could hardly refrain from tears.

“You love yourself better, that’s all,” remarked Lucius; and his words
were more true than polite.

Mrs. Temple returned home very much tired and rather wet,
notwithstanding her umbrella and waterproof cloak. And Dora was,
after all, disappointed of her wish to have the linen and begin her
embroidery work directly. Mrs. Temple had found it difficult to carry
home parcels when she had an umbrella to hold up on a windy day, and
had also feared that goods might get damp if taken through driving
rain. The wire, pasteboard, gold-paper, and linen were to be sent home
in the evening, and the longed-for parcel did not appear until it was
time for the twins to follow their younger sisters to bed.



[Illustration]

VI.

Types.


    “This is the day when Christ arose,
       So early from the dead;
     And shall I still my eyelids close
       And waste my hours in bed!

    “This is the day when Jesus broke
       The chains of death and hell;
     And shall I still wear Satan’s yoke
       And love my sins so well!”


THIS well-known hymn was on Amy’s mind when she awoke on the following
day, and it rose from her heart like the sweet incense burnt every
morning in the Tabernacle of Israel. But Dora’s thoughts on waking,
and for some time afterwards, might be summed up in the words—“Oh,
I wish that this day were not Sunday! How tiresome it is, when my
beautiful pattern is all ready, not to be able to try it!”

[Illustration: THE ALTAR OF INCENSE.

Children’s Tabernacle. chap. 6.]

Mrs. Temple did not appear to be much the worse for her shopping in the
rain. Her children knew nothing of the aching in her limbs and the pain
in her face which she felt, as she bore both quietly and went about her
duties as usual. Dora did not trouble herself even to ask if her mother
were well. It was not that Dora did not love her kind parent, but at
that time the mind of the little girl was completely taken up by her
embroidery in scarlet, purple, and blue.

As the children might not go to church, Mrs. Temple read and prayed
with them at home, suffering none but Lucius to help her, and letting
him read but little, for fear of bringing back his cough.

All through the time of prayers, though Dora knelt like the rest of
the children, and was as quiet and looked almost as attentive as any,
her needlework was running in her mind. If she thought of the happy
cherubim, it was not of their crying “Holy, holy, holy!” in heaven, but
of the forms of their faces and wings, and how she could best imitate
such with her needle.

I will not say that the other children thought about the Tabernacle
only as a holy thing described in the Bible, from which religious
lessons could be learnt,—little plans for sewing, measuring, or making
the model would sometimes intrude, even at prayer-time; but Lucius had
resolutely locked up his knife, and he and three of his sisters at
least tried to give full attention to what their mother was speaking
when she read and explained the Word of God.

Mrs. Temple purposely chose the ninth chapter of the Epistle to
the Hebrews, a very difficult chapter to the young, but one likely
specially to interest her family at a time when the subject of the
Tabernacle in the wilderness was uppermost in the minds of all. It will
be noticed that Dora did not join at all in the conversation which
followed the reading.

“Mamma, that chapter comes nearly at the end of the Bible, and is about
our Lord and his death,” observed Lucius; “and yet it tells us about
the Tabernacle, and its ark, and the high priest going into the Holy
of holies. Now, what could the Tabernacle in the desert have do with
our Lord and His dying,—that Tabernacle which was made nearly fifteen
hundred years before the birth of Christ, and which was no longer of
any use after Solomon’s temple was built?”

“The Tabernacle, the ark, the high priest, the sacrifices were all
TYPES or figures of greater things to come,” replied Mrs. Temple.
“There was a secret meaning in them all, referring to our Lord, His
work, and His death, and the glorious heaven which He was to open to
all believers.”

“I don’t know what a type is,” said Elsie.

“It is not clear to me either,” observed Amy.

“Unless we quite understand what a type means, we shall lose much of
the lesson conveyed by the wanderings of the children of Israel, and
the long account of the Tabernacle, what was in it, and what was done
there, which we find in the books of Moses,” remarked Mrs. Temple.

“It always seemed to me as if that Tabernacle were quite a thing of the
past,” said Agnes, “and that it belonged only to the Israelites of old.
I never could make out why Christian people in England, thousands of
years after the Tabernacle had quite disappeared, should care to know
anything about it, the ark, or the altar.”

“But you say that all these things were types,” observed Amy. “Now,
what is a type, dear mamma?”

“A kind of shadow or picture of something usually greater than
itself,” replied Mrs. Temple.

“I don’t understand,” said Elsie, raising her blue eyes gravely to the
face of her mother.

“You know, my love, that before you came to live in this house, when
none of the family but myself had seen it, you still had some little
knowledge of what it was like.”

“Yes, mamma, for you brought us little pictures of the house, both of
the back and the front,” said Agnes.

“We knew that it was a pretty white house, and had a little tower on
one side, and that trees were growing in front, and creepers all up
it!” cried Elsie.

“Now, I might have described the place to you in writing, but you would
not have known its appearance as well as you did from the pictures,”
observed Mrs. Temple.

“No, from a mere description I should not have been able to find out
the house directly as I did when I walked alone from the station,”
cried Lucius. “There are several white houses near this, but the
remembrance of the pictures made me know in a moment which was the
right one.”

“Now, my children, just what a picture is to the object which it
represents, so is a type to its antitype; that word means the real
thing of which it is a likeness,” observed Mrs. Temple.

“I am afraid that I am very stupid in not making out what you mean at
once, dear mamma,” said Amy; “but if you would explain just one type in
the Bible, I think that I might understand better.”

“Let us take, then, the innermost part of the Tabernacle, the Holy of
holies,” replied Mrs. Temple. “It was a very beautiful place, full of
the glory of God, into which no objects were allowed to be but such
as were precious and pure; there was the mercy-seat like a throne,
and there were the bright cherubim spreading their golden wings. Now,
my children, if we compare small things to great things, cannot you
of yourselves find out of what this Holy of holies was a picture or a
type?”

“A type of heaven!” exclaimed several voices at once; but Amy looked
distressed, and murmured softly, “I hope _not_ a type of heaven.”

“And why not?” asked Lucius, quickly.

“Because no one was ever allowed to go into the Holy of holies save
one man, and he only once in the year,” replied Amy, sadly.

“And that _not without blood_,” said Lucius, pointing to the seventh
verse of the chapter which his mother had just been reading.

“Go on reading, Lucius,” said his parent, and Lucius, as desired, went
on. “_Not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the
errors of the people, the Holy Ghost thus signifying that the way into
the holiest of all was not yet made manifest._”

“Or, in simpler words,” said Mrs. Temple, “that the way into heaven
was not yet made plain. When Christ, our great High Priest, had gone
into heaven, _neither by the blood, of goats and calves, but by His own
blood He entered once into the holy place, having obtained eternal
redemption for us._”

“Then, mother, the high priest must have been a TYPE of the Lord Jesus
Christ!” exclaimed Lucius.

“No,” interrupted Agnes, “the sacrifice was the type, the sacrifice
whose blood had been shed.”

“Both high priest and sacrifice were types of our blessed Saviour,”
replied Mrs. Temple. “The Lord was the victim offered, and He was also
the high priest who made the offering, for He laid down His life of
Himself, since no man had power to take it from the Almighty Son of the
Most High.”

“Was there any particular meaning in the veil of the Temple being rent
in twain from the top to the bottom, as soon as our Lord died on the
cross?” inquired Agnes, who had been listening with serious attention.

“We cannot doubt it,” answered her mother. “The Temple was the far
larger, more substantial building which took the place[A] of the
Tabernacle of the wandering children of Israel; it, too, had its veil
of rich work to shut out from mortal view the Holy of holies. But as
soon as the One great Sacrifice had been offered on the cross, when the
dying Lord could cry out ‘IT IS FINISHED,’ then followed the rending
asunder of the hiding veil, as a sign and type that all the Lord’s
people, through His precious blood, might freely enter heaven, the
real Holy of holies, and appear without dread of meeting His wrath in
the presence of God the Father.”

FOOTNOTE:

[A] The Temple standing at the time of our Lord’s death was not
Solomon’s, which had been burnt more than six hundred years before.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

VII.

Drawn Aside.


THE subject of the preceding conversation had been so exceedingly
solemn that even little Elsie had a grave look of awe on her round rosy
face, though she could understand but little of the great mysteries
of which her mother had been speaking. Elsie could only gather that a
type was like a picture of something much greater and more wondrous
than itself, and said in her simple, childish way, “Is not a type like
your very tiny photo, mamma, so little that we could not make out that
there was any picture at all till we held it up to the light, and then
we could see the Queen’s great palace quite plain?”

“Elsie has given us a type of a type!” cried Lucius, clapping his
little sister on the shoulder.

“What do you mean by that?” asked Agnes.

Lucius was puzzled to explain his own meaning, which was perhaps not
very clear to himself, so his mother came to his help.

“Elsie’s very minute photograph is not a bad illustration of what Bible
types are,” remarked Mrs. Temple. “They look small, and might almost
escape notice, until the eye of faith sees them in the clear light of
God’s Word, and then what seemed little more than a speck, may be
found to be a likeness of something grander far than a royal palace.”

“It would be interesting to find out some other Bible types,” observed
Agnes.

“I was just going to propose that while I attend afternoon service, you
should all occupy the time of my absence in each finding a type, which
we can talk over in the evening,” said Mrs. Temple.

“I should like that!” cried Lucius; “I am glad of anything to make the
afternoon less dull; for I know that as it is damp to-day we shall all
have to keep within bounds,” he added, Agnes having just begun a fit of
coughing.

“I should like to find a Bible type if I could, but I’m afraid that I
am too stupid,” said Amy.

“You and me, we’ll try together,” cried Elsie, laying her plump
dimpled hand on that of her sister.

“Ah! you think that union is strength, Pussie!” cried Lucius; “and that
you two youngest of the party will together be a match for any one of
the rest.”

Little Elsie’s brain had now been quite long enough on the stretch,
and after jumping upon her mother’s knee to give her “a good tight
kiss,” the child ran off to play with her Noah’s Ark. The family then
dispersed to various parts of the house, soon to reassemble at the
cheerful sound of the dinner-bell.

After Mrs. Temple had started for church, Lucius, Agnes and Amy took
up their Bibles to search in them for types, while little Elsie amused
herself with a book of Scripture pictures. Dora went to the room
called the study, in which the children usually learned their lessons
in the morning, and amused themselves in the evening, and in which they
kept their workboxes and desks, and most of their books. Dora found
no one in the study, and sauntered up to the side table, covered with
green cloth, on which stood her neat little workbox.

“Of course I am not going to do one stitch of my embroidery to-day,
because this is Sunday,” said Dora to herself. “But there can be no
harm in just looking at my pretty pattern, and seeing whether it is
likely to do for the inner curtains and veil.”

Dora opened the box, and took out the pattern which lay on the
neatly-folded piece of linen which her mother had given to her just
before the twins had gone up-stairs to bed. Dora admired her own
pattern, which was realty drawn out with some skill, but she saw that
it was not quite perfect. Her pencil lay close at hand; Dora could not,
or did not, resist the temptation to put in a few touches to this and
that part of the drawing.

“I wonder how I should arrange the colors,” thought Dora; “I wish that
I had more scarlet in my reel, and I think that my blue skein is too
dark; Agnes has some sky-blue sewing silk, I know. Perhaps that would
be better, or both shades might have a pretty effect, mixed with the
scarlet and purple.”

Dora took out her reels and skeins, and placed them beside her pattern,
and tried to imagine the effect of the different combination of color.
Would it be well for the cherubim to be worked in purple or blue, or
entirely in thread of gold, like their wings? Dora was inclined to
think the last plan best, only gold thread is so stiff, and difficult
to manage.

“I shall never go to rest till I have made up my mind about this,”
muttered Dora to herself, “and how can I decide what will be best till
I try? And why should I not try?” Dora, with her colored silks before
her, was, like Eve, looking at the forbidden fruit, and listening to
the voice of the Tempter, who would persuade her that evil was good.

“There are some things which even mamma says are quite lawful to be
done on Sundays, such as charitable works. Mamma herself dressed the
cook’s scalded arm upon a Sunday, and put in a stitch or two to keep
the bandages firm. _That_ was surely sewing on a Sunday, but then that
was a work of charity. Well, but mine is a work of charity, too.” Thus
Dora went on, while the dangerous current of inclination was gradually
drifting her on towards breaking in act the Fourth Commandment, which
she had all day long been breaking in thought. “Our Tabernacle is to
be the model of a holy—a very holy thing, just the kind of a thing
which it is right to think about on Sunday. Then it is to be made for
a very charitable purpose. I am sure that bandaging the cook’s arm is
no better work than helping a ragged school; I don’t think that it is
really as good, for aunt’s poor little pupils are taught to love God
and read the Bible. No, it surely cannot be wrong to assist such an
excellent work on any day in the seven.”

Dora unrolled a length of blue silk, took out a needle and threaded
it. She had almost succeeded in silencing conscience, at least for a
time; she had almost persuaded herself that in amusing herself she
was helping a holy cause; and that God would not be displeased at her
breaking His commandment, because she was going to work for the poor.
There is, perhaps, no more dangerous error than to think that the end
justifies the means—that it is lawful to a Christian to do evil that
good may come. Oh, dear young reader! if you ever find yourself trying
to quiet conscience by the thought that to do a great good you may do
a little harm, start back as if you caught sight of the tail of a
snake in your path! Yes, for the serpent who deceived Eve is trying
to deceive you also. If Dora had been honest and candid with herself,
she would have seen, as her fingers busily plied the needle, that she
was really working for her own pleasure; that her embroidering a piece
of linen was an utterly different thing from her mother’s bandaging
a badly-scalded arm, and relieving a sufferer’s pain. To cases of
necessity such as that, the Saviour’s words truly applied—“It is lawful
to do good on the Sabbath-day;” but there was nothing to justify Dora
in following her own inclination, and working on the day appointed for
holy worship and rest.

If there was really no harm in what she was doing, why was it that Dora
started so when she heard her mother’s voice at the door of the study,
and why did she so hurriedly thrust linen, pattern, and silks back into
the workbox as her gentle parent entered the room?

Dora’s back was turned towards the door, so that, from her being
between it and the table, Mrs. Temple could not see the cause of the
little bustling movement which she noticed on coming into the study.

“What are you doing, my love?” asked the lady.

“Nothing,” answered Dora quickly, as she succeeded in shutting down the
lid of her workbox. The word was uttered in haste, without reflection;
but the instant after it had passed her lips a pang shot through the
young girl’s heart, for she was aware that, perhaps for the first
time in her life, she had uttered a downright falsehood. Conscience
could be silenced no longer; the second sin into which Dora had been
drawn by her fear showed her in a strong light the nature of the first,
into which she had been drawn by her love of amusement. If she had not
been doing what was wrong, she would not have been afraid lest her
occupation should be found out by her tender, indulgent mother.

Mrs. Temple never doubted the word of one of her children, but she
could not help thinking that the manner of Dora was strange, and she
would probably have inquired further into its cause, had she not just
then been followed into the study by Lucius. The boy had his Bible in
his hand, and a thoughtful, perplexed look on his face, which at once
fixed the attention of Mrs. Temple. Dora was glad that her mother’s
attention should be drawn by anything from herself, for otherwise she
could not have hidden her confusion. She seated herself on a stool
by the window, with her face turned away from her parent, and there
remained a silent listener to the following conversation between Mrs.
Temple and her son. Whether that conversation was likely to make Dora’s
conscience easier or not, I leave the reader to judge.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

VIII.

Sacrifices.


“I HAVE been looking out for a type, mamma, as you wished us to do,”
said Lucius, seating himself on the sofa on which his parent had taken
her place, and resting his Bible upon her knee. “I am not sure whether
I may not have heard already from you that Abraham’s sacrificing his
dear son is a kind of shadow of God’s sacrificing His only Son; at any
rate, I thought of this as the type which I should choose to speak of
in the evening.”

“You could hardly have chosen a more remarkable type, my boy. I believe
that Abraham was commanded to sacrifice his son not only to try the
fond father’s faith and obedience, but also that Isaac ascending Mount
Moriah with the wood for the burnt-offering on his shoulder, might be
to the end of time a type of the blessed Saviour bearing the cross on
which He was to suffer on Calvary.”

“Ah! mother, it is all that suffering and sacrificing that is such a
difficulty to me!” exclaimed Lucius. “Why is so much suffering needed
at all?” The boy looked earnestly into his mother’s face as he spoke.

“It is a sad mystery, Lucius; we do not fully understand it; but one
thing is certain, not only from what we read in the Bible, but from
what we see in the world around us, and that thing is that sin and
suffering are bound together, we cannot separate them; suffering is the
shadow of sin and _must_ follow it; THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH (Rom. vi.
23).

“But you have taught us that GOD IS LOVE,” said Lucius, thoughtfully.

“Surely God is love,” replied Mrs. Temple; “God loves man, but God
hates sin, which is the greatest enemy of man. It is God’s merciful
will that man should be saved _both_ from sin here, and from its most
terrible punishment hereafter.”

“The Holy of holies is a difficulty to me,” observed Lucius; “why
should no man, save the high priest, be suffered to go in, or draw near
the mercy-seat of God?”

“Ask yourself what lesson this would have taught you had you been one
of the children of Israel,” said Mrs. Temple. “When you beheld the
Tabernacle with the wondrous cloud resting upon it, and gazed through
the opening in front on the veil which hid from your eyes the more
dazzling glory within—that glory which was a sign of the immediate
presence of God, into which on pain of death you dared not enter—what
would have been the thought uppermost in your mind?”

“The thought that God was terribly holy, and that no human being was
fit to come near Him,” replied Lucius, gravely.

“But one man was allowed to draw near,” observed Mrs. Temple.

“Only the high priest, and that with the blood of a sacrifice,” said
her son.

“And so mankind were taught that there _is_ a way to approach a holy
God, but _only one way_; they were taught that sacrifice was needful,
that WITHOUT SHEDDING OF BLOOD THERE IS NO REMISSION (forgiveness of
sin), Heb. ix. 22.

“But, mother, surely God does not require the blood of bulls and
goats!” cried Lucius.

Mrs. Temple in reply turned over the leaves of the Bible, till she
found the fortieth Psalm, and then read aloud,

“_Burnt-offering and sacrifice hast Thou not required. Then said I, Lo!
I come; in the volume of the book it is written of Me, I delight to do
Thy will, O my God._” It is the Lord Jesus Christ who says this by the
mouth of David. The blood of lambs and other creatures was worthless,
save as signs and pledges of the precious blood of Christ which
cleanseth from all sin, (John i. 7,) the blood of Him who is indeed THE
LAMB OF GOD THAT TAKETH AWAY THE SIN OF THE WORLD (John i. 29).

“It seems so sad that the Lord, who had done no sin, should have to
bear all that agony on the cross,” murmured Lucius.

“Christ bore it in our STEAD,” said Mrs. Temple; “He suffered the
punishment for sin, that sinners, repenting and believing, might be
saved, forgiven, and made happy forever.”

“I still cannot clearly make out the use of sacrifices—I mean of
animals,” said Lucius.

“They taught that one being may suffer instead of another,” replied
Mrs. Temple, speaking slowly, that her son might weigh well every
word. “When an Israelite brought a lamb for sacrifice it was just as
if he had said, ‘O holy God, I know that I am a sinner, and that I
deserve to suffer for my sin; but in mercy accept the life of this
lamb _instead of mine_.’ It was to teach this same lesson that Aaron
the high priest was commanded to lay his hands on the head of a living
goat, and confess over him the sins of all the children of Israel. The
scape-goat (as it was called), was then sent away into the desert,
bearing away with him all the sins which had been solemnly confessed
over him by the high priest of God. With a thankful heart and lightened
conscience must every faithful Israelite have seen the scape-goat led
away from the camp. ‘My sins are taken from me, far as the east is
from the west,’ he might say, ‘I shall never, never have to bear that
terrible burden myself.’”

“But why have we no scape-goats and no sacrifices now?” asked Lucius;
while Dora silently thought, “What a comfort it would be to see all
one’s sins carried far away from us forever!”

“We need no more such sacrifices now,” replied Mrs. Temple, “because
the One great Sacrifice which Christ made of Himself on the cross is so
infinitely precious, that it is enough to save a world that was lost
from sin. We need no scape-goat now, for when Christ went forth to die,
He carried away with Him the burden of the guilt of all His people.”

“But then, mother, is every one’s sin taken away, is every one sure to
enter heaven, the real Holy of holies?” asked Lucius. The question was
a very important one, and poor Dora’s heart beat fast as she listened
to hear what answer her parent would give to the boy.

“No, my son,” replied Mrs. Temple, “for not every one has true faith in
the Lord and His Sacrifice, that faith which makes us repent of sin,
be sorry for sin, confess it and try to forsake it. We know that (two
only excepted) all the Israelites above a certain age never reached the
good land of Canaan, but all died in the desert. And why was this? It
was because they had sinned against God. They might have sacrifices but
they had not true faith; they might give up lambs, but they gave not up
sin; they might have God’s presence in the tabernacle to guide them,
but they did not let their conduct be guided by the light of His holy
Word.”

“It almost seems to me,” observed Lucius, “as if the Israelites
wandering about in the desert were types of us—of all who are now
called Christian people.”

Mrs. Temple smiled with pleasure to see that her son was beginning
really to understand a little of Old Testament teaching by types. “Yes,
dear boy,” she replied, “the history of the Israelites is just like a
picture or type of what is now happening to ourselves in our journey
through life towards heaven, our promised Canaan. They were first in
bondage to cruel Pharaoh; we are born into the world in bondage to sin.
The Israelites at the beginning of their journey passed through the Red
Sea; St. Paul shows us that this was a type of Christian baptism (1
Cor. x. 2). I could go on to show you how the history of Israel is full
of many other interesting types of our own, but you have heard enough
for the present. There are just a few most important lessons which I
would wish to impress on your mind. They are:

“First, that we all are sinners.

“Secondly, that we can only be forgiven and enter heaven through the
Sacrifice of our Lord on the cross.

“Thirdly, that His Sacrifice takes away all sin from those who have
true faith in their hearts; that faith whose reality is shown by its
making us repent of and try, by God’s help, to give up our sins.”



[Illustration]

IX.

Concealment.


DORA felt very unhappy. She had broken the holy rest of the Lord’s day;
she had repeated prayers without praying, heard God’s Word read without
attending, had made a vain show of religion; and at last had worked
and worked hard at her needle, as she might have done on any other day
of the week. Dora had disobeyed what she knew to be the wishes of her
mother, and then to hide such disobedience had uttered a lie to deceive
her! The girl could not conceal from herself that she had done what
was wrong—exceedingly wrong; that she had displeased a holy God, whose
eyes are in every place beholding the evil and the good.

“Oh, what can I—what ought I to do now!” thought Dora, as slowly and
sadly she went up to her own little room. Conscience gave an instant
reply, “Retrace your steps as quickly as you can, own your fault to
your mother, and ask forgiveness from God.” But Dora was very unwilling
to do this; she was inclined to take a kind of half-way course.

“I need not say anything to mamma about what I have done,” thought
Dora. “I will not touch my pretty work any more on Sunday; and
to-morrow, as soon as I get up, I will unpick every stitch of what I
have been sewing to-day. That will be a good punishment for me; yes,
that will be the right kind of punishment for breaking the Fourth
Commandment.”

Dora half satisfied her conscience by making this resolution to undo
what ought not to have been done; but the little girl made a grievous
mistake in supposing that any self-inflicted punishment can take away
sin. We must go straight to the Lord for forgiveness, and ask it only
for the sake of the Lamb of God, who suffered to take away guilt; and
when we have sinned against our fellow-creatures, as well as against
our Heavenly Father, we must honestly and openly confess to them what
we have done, and ask their forgiveness. Dora shrank from doing this;
she was extremely unwilling to own to her mother that she had been
sewing on Sunday.

“Perhaps mamma would take away from me the making of the embroidered
curtains altogether,” thought Dora, “and give it to Agnes instead; and
then all the family would know the reason, and I should be lowered in
the opinion even of little Elsie! Oh, how dreadfully ashamed I should
feel, and what a bitter disappointment it would be to see the work in
the hands of another, after I have taken such pains to draw out that
beautiful pattern! Worst of all, Aunt Theodora would hear of my fault
when we go to be with her at Christmas. She would be sure to ask why I
had not embroidered the veil and the curtains, for she thinks that I
embroider so well. Oh, I could not bear that the aunt whom I love so
much—who loves me so much—should know what I have done! No, no, there
is no use in speaking about the matter at all; I will punish myself by
the tiresome unpicking, and then all will be right.”

Would all be right? Were Dora to punish herself ever so severely, would
all be right? No, dear reader, no! self-punishment cannot wash away sin.

    “Could my zeal no respite know,
     Could my tears forever flow,
     All for sin could not atone,
     Thou must save, and Thou alone.”

Dora was only deceiving herself now, as she had an hour before deceived
her indulgent mother.

In the evening, after tea-time, the family assembled again in the
study. Their usual employment on Sunday evenings had been to sing
hymns with their mother, each in succession choosing a favorite hymn;
but the whooping-cough had for weeks past put a stop to all singing,
and it had cost Mrs. Temple some thought to find a way of making the
evening Sabbath hour as pleasant to her family as it had usually been.
The searching in the Bible for types had been a new kind of occupation,
and had made the afternoon seem less long to the young prisoners at
home than it might otherwise have appeared during the absence of their
mother at church. The family circle looked a very happy one by the
light of the fire round which they gathered; for autumn was beginning,
the weather, though not very cold, was damp; and the illness from which
the children were recovering made warmth and dryness so desirable,
that the fire was always lighted at sunset.

“I like when we sit so cosy together before the blazing fire!”
exclaimed little blue-eyed Elsie, cuddling close to her mother. “I
hope that Eliza won’t bring in the candles; no one wants candles to
talk by. Agnes, you won’t cough so badly if you put your feet here on
the fender; please, Lucius, give the fire a good stir, and make the
red flames leap up and dance. Are we not a happy party!” she added,
squeezing tightly her mother’s hand in both of her own.

Smiling faces gave the reply. There was but one face that wore no
smile. Dora sat on the other side of her mother, but the girl had drawn
her chair a little back from the half-circle before the fire, and
held a hand-screen before her face, not really to protect it from the
scorching blaze, but that it might not be seen by the fire-light. Dora
was glad, though not for the same reason as Elsie, that Eliza did not
bring in the candles.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

X.

Dead Faith and Living Faith.


“MAMMA, I’ve been trying to find a type; I’ve been looking all through
my Bible pictures,” said blue-eyed Elsie.

“And did you succeed in finding a type, my darling?” asked Mrs. Temple,
smiling at the gravity of the child, whom she thought scarcely likely
to be able to discover the meaning of the most simple Scripture figure.

“I don’t know—I’m not sure,” said little Elsie; “but I’ve found two
pictures—one in the Old Testament and one in the New Testament—and
they are rather like each other; so, you know, dear mamma, it seemed as
if one might be a sort of a type.”

“And what were your pictures about, Elsie, pet?” asked Lucius, stroking
the hair of his youngest sister, of whom the schoolboy was very fond.

“One picture was of Elijah raising the poor widow’s son, and the other
was of the Lord’s raising a widow’s son. These were two things like
each other,” said Elsie; “but,” she added, shaking her curly head
thoughtfully, “I can’t tell if there was any type.”

“I daresay that little Elsie is right, and that Elijah _was_ a type of
the Lord!” cried Lucius, “for did they not both fast forty days in the
wilderness?”

“I thought that Elijah was rather a type of John the Baptist,” observed
Agnes.

“Yes, he was so,” said Mrs. Temple. “Our Lord’s own words show that
John, ‘the Voice crying in the wilderness,’ came in the spirit and
power of the prophet Elijah, though John worked no miracle. Yet in the
two instances which your brother and Elsie have noticed, the raising
of the dead and the forty days’ fast in the desert, Elijah’s history
shadows forth that of One far greater than himself. Has my dove Amy
thought of any Scripture type?” said the mother, turning towards her
young daughter.

Amy hesitated a little; she was always distrustful of herself, and in
this was a great contrast to Elsie. Mrs. Temple smiled encouragingly
upon her little girl. “I see that there is something in your head,”
said the mother; “tell us, my love, what you have thought of. If you
have made a mistake, I will try to set you right; we are at least
likely to gain some increase of Scriptural knowledge by talking over
such subjects as these.”

“I thought at first that I should never find out anything,” said Amy;
“though you explained to us so much about types this morning, dear
mamma, I felt quite puzzled when I tried to make out one for myself.
At last a verse from the third chapter of John came into my mind, and
I wondered whether our Lord Himself taught Nicodemus in it something
about a type. Perhaps Nicodemus understood the Lord’s meaning, but I
could not understand it—that is to say, not clearly—so I thought that
I had better ask you about it, mamma.”

“What is the verse?” asked several voices at once.

Amy folded her hands reverentially as she repeated the sacred words
once spoken by our blessed Redeemer. Mrs. Temple would never allow
her children to gabble over carelessly any verse of Scripture.—“‘_As
Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man
be lifted up, that whosoever believeth Him should not perish, but have
eternal life_,’” (John iii. 14, 15.)

“Most certainly, our Lord spoke then of a most remarkable type,” said
Mrs. Temple. “To what coming event in his own life did our Saviour
refer in the expression ‘be lifted up’?”

“To His being lifted up on the cross,” said Amy, in a low tone of voice.

“And why was the Son of God lifted up on the dreadful cross?” asked her
mother.

“That we—that all who believe in Him shall have eternal life,” replied
Amy Temple.

“It was indeed as a type of this great salvation from eternal death
that the brazen serpent was lifted up by Moses,” said the lady. “Do you
remember what had happened to the Israelites to make the raising of the
brass serpent needful to save them from destruction brought on by sin?”

As Amy did not immediately reply to the question, Elsie eagerly put in
her word.

“You told us all about it last Sunday, mamma; I remember the story
quite well. The people had been wicked, very wicked, and so fiery
serpents came amongst them and bit them; and many—I don’t know how
many—Israelites died, because no doctor knew how to cure them.”

“Were those deadly bites a type of sin whose wages are death?” asked
Lucius.

“They were so, my son,” said his mother. “Man had no way of saving
those who had received the deadly wound, so God himself showed Moses a
way. The Lord bade him lift up on high a serpent of brass, and promised
that whoso _looked_ upon it should live.”

“I cannot imagine how mere _looking_ could do the least good to a
person dying of the poison of a snake-bite,” observed Agnes.

“The Almighty willed that it should be so,” said Mrs. Temple; “He
willed that the look of faith should bring healing to a sick body, as
the look of faith at a crucified Saviour still brings healing to the
sin-wounded soul. When I read how my Lord says, through the prophet
Isaiah, ‘_Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth_’
(Isaiah xlv. 22), I think of the brazen serpent, and know that I have
but to believe in Christ and be saved.”

“What do you mean by the look of faith?” inquired Agnes.

“Faith is simply _believing_,” replied Mrs. Temple. “To look to Christ
is to believe that He is able and willing to save us, and that none can
save us but He.”

Dora, who had chosen, as we know, to sit a little drawn back from
the circle, and with a screen in her hand, now dropped the screen
on her lap, and leant forward, so that the red flickering gleam of
the fire-light shone on her face as she anxiously asked, “Then are we
quite, quite safe, sure never to be punished for anything evil that we
have done, if only we have faith that the Lord will save us?”

“Yes, if the faith be _real_, living faith,” replied Mrs. Temple.

“Are there then two kinds of faith?” inquired Lucius.

“Yes,” answered his mother; “we read in the Bible of two kinds of faith
or belief—one dead and one living.”

“I cannot understand that at all,” said Amy.

“I will try to explain,” said the lady “and I ask you, my children,
to give me your full attention, for this is a matter of the greatest
importance. You all believe, do you not, that there is an Emperor of
Germany?”

“Yes, yes,” replied the children: and Elsie added with a little nod, “I
believe there is such a man, though I never have seen him.”

“Now does your belief in the existence of the Emperor—that is, your
_faith_ in it—does it make the smallest difference in your actions, or
words, or feelings?” inquired Mrs. Temple.

“No, why should it?” cried Lucius.

“The Emperor does not care for us; he knows nothing about us,” said
Elsie.

“Then your faith in the Emperor is a _dead_ faith, it has no effect on
your hearts,” observed Mrs. Temple. “And this is the kind of faith
which many persons, alas! have in the Lord. They believe in a careless
sort of way that Christ once lived in the world, and died on the cross,
but they believe only with the head, not with the heart. And this is
_dead_ faith, a kind of faith which never can save us.”

“But what is _living_ faith, then?” asked Amy.

“When our belief makes us really love Him who first loved us,—when the
thought of Christ’s dying for sin makes us hate sin, that cost Him so
dear, then our faith must be living faith; and thus looking to the Lord
we are saved.”

Dora sighed and drew her head back again into the shadow. Hers was not
a faith that had kept her from sin—hers was not a faith that made her
now obey the whisper of conscience, confess her fault to her mother,
and make what amends she could for what she had done.

“Depend upon it, that when an Israelite had been cured of his wound by
looking at the brazen serpent, he did not go and stroke and play with
the fiery reptile that had bitten him,” observed Lucius, who had the
clearest head amongst the party, and best entered into the meaning of
types.

“No, he would run away from the horrid creatures, or try to kill them;
he would put his foot upon the fiery serpents and crush them—crush
them,” cried Elsie, stamping her little foot on the hearthrug, to add
force to her words.

“So every one who has living faith dreads and hates sin, and tries to
destroy it,” observed Mrs. Temple. “We will not carelessly trifle with
it _if we believe from our hearts_ that our blessed Redeemer suffered
because of our sins.”

“What a very holy thing was that brazen serpent which Moses set up on a
pole!” exclaimed Amy. “Did he not afterwards put it into the ark, that
the Israelites might carry it about with them wherever they went, and
treasure it as they did the tables of stone on which the Commandments
were written?”

“We do not read of Moses putting the brazen serpent into the ark,”
replied Mrs. Temple; “but the Israelites must have carried it with them
in their wanderings through the desert, and have taken it into the
Promised Land, for we read of the brazen serpent being greatly honored
by the people more than seven hundred years after it was lifted up.”
(1 Kings xviii. 4.)

“It was quite right that the Israelites should honor it very, very
much,” cried Elsie, “because the brazen serpent had saved so many
people from dying.”

“You mistake, my child,” said her mother. “The brass image had no power
in itself to save a single creature from death; it was of no use at all
but as a means appointed by God. The brazen serpent was a _type_ of
salvation; and when the Jews took to burning incense to the mere type,
that is, when they paid to it the honor which is due to God alone, they
fell into sin.”

The younger children looked surprised; and Amy murmured, “Then can even
a holy thing lead men to do what is wrong?”

“Men do wrong, exceedingly wrong, when they put anything, however holy
it may seem in their eyes, in the place of God,” observed Mrs. Temple.
“When good king Hezekiah saw that his people were honoring the brazen
serpent too much, what do you think that he did?”

“Perhaps he locked it up, so that no one could get at it,” cried little
Elsie.

“Hezekiah took a much stronger measure than locking up the image,”
said her mother. “The good king broke the brazen serpent into pieces,
and called it Nehustan, or a piece of brass, to show both by word and
deed that the most holy and interesting relic may lead to the sin of
idolatry, if it draw away our thoughts and our hearts from the Lord who
alone can give us salvation.”



[Illustration]

XI.

Leprosy.


“AS we seem to be giving in our types youngest by youngest, it is
Dora’s turn now to tell us which she has chosen,” said Lucius.

“Ah! Dora will have found out the most interesting type of all, Dora is
so clever!” cried Elsie, who had great faith in the intelligence of the
brighter of the twins.

All eyes were turned towards Dora as she sat in the shadow, but Dora’s
own eyes were bent on the hearthrug. She had been so much taken up
on that Sunday, first with her embroidery, then with the conversation
between her mother and Lucius, and the painful struggle in her own
mind with an upbraiding conscience, that Dora had not even thought of
looking out for a type in Scripture.

“What have you chosen, Dora?” asked Lucius.

“I have not chosen any type yet, I have not had time,” stammered out
Dora, confused and mortified to find herself behind even little Elsie,
who looked astonished at the words of her sister.

“Not time! why, you have had as much time as any of us,” said Agnes.
“What were you doing all the afternoon while mamma was at church?”

“Nothing particular,” said Dora, with a little confusion. Again a pang
shot through the heart of the conscious girl for she knew that she was
again staining her lips with untruth.

“You don’t mean to say that you were sitting from two o’clock till
five, with your hands before you, and thinking about nothing at all,”
said Lucius.

“Perhaps Dora was reading that interesting book about the poor French
Protestants,” suggested Amy.

Dora did not speak. She was too well pleased, alas! that her family
should believe that she had been thus engaged, though she knew that she
had not so much as opened the volume in question.

“It would have been better, my love, for you to have entered into the
occupation which interests your brothers and sisters,” said Mrs.
Temple, in a tone of gentle reproof. “Even reading a nice Sunday book
like the one Amy mentioned may become a selfish amusement, if it keeps
us from adding a little to the general pleasure.”

“I never knew Dora take such a reading fit before,” muttered Lucius;
“she generally likes to use her fingers more than her head.”

The remark was a very commonplace one, yet it added to Dora’s
confusion. Mrs. Temple, noticing her daughter’s look of annoyance,
though she attributed it to a different cause than the true one,
turned the conversation by asking Agnes whether she had thought of a
Scriptural type.

“Yes, mamma,” replied Agnes. “I believe that leprosy is a type of sin,
and the cure of lepers a type of the cure of sin just as the looking
up at the brazen serpent was a cure for the deadly bites.”

“You are perfectly right, my dear girl,” said her mother.

“What is leprosy?” asked little Elsie

“A dreadful kind of illness,” replied Agnes; and as she seemed
disinclined to say more, perhaps from fear of bringing on her cough by
speaking, her mother continued the description of this terrible type of
sin.

“This frightful malady is still well-known in the East,” said Mrs.
Temple. “Your uncle, who came lately from India, has told me that he
has seen many poor lepers there. The leprosy makes them loathsome to
the eye; it creeps over their bodies; it wastes their flesh; when it
fastens on their hands, it will make the very fingers drop off!”

“Oh, how dreadful!” exclaimed all the children.

“Dreadful indeed, but not _so_ dreadful as the sin which it
represents,” said their mother sadly; “for the soul’s sickness is more
dangerous, its effects infinitely more lasting.”

“I don’t quite see how leprosy is a type of sin,” observed Amy.

“I think that we are led to believe it to be such by the very
particular commands regarding it which we find in the law of Moses,”
said Mrs. Temple.

“Did poor people with leprosy never get well again?” asked Elsie, with
pity expressed on her round little face.

“Yes, they did sometimes recover,” said her mother, “but not by such
means as are used in cases of other sickness. Not a doctor, but a
priest, was to judge whether the leper were really cured, or, as it
was called, _clean_; and he had to bring a special offering to be
sacrificed to the Lord.”

“I suppose the offering was that sheep which we see in the picture?”
said Elsie, for the illustrated Bible had again been brought and placed
upon Mrs. Temple’s knee, and the firelight was sufficiently bright to
show a picture representing a cured leper coming to the high-priest, to
find which illustration Mrs. Temple had turned over the pages.

“That picture shows but a part of the offering,” replied Mrs. Temple.
“When the candles come in, I will read to you from the ‘Pictorial
History of Palestine,’ written by the famous Dr. Kitto, a description
of a very peculiar ceremony which took place before the sheep and two
rams were slain as a sin-offering.”

“Ah! here come the candles—just when we want them!” cried Elsie, as
Eliza made her appearance.

“I’ll get Dr. Kitto’s big book!” exclaimed Lucius, jumping up from his
seat by the fire.

The candles were placed on the table near enough to Mrs. Temple to
enable her to read without quitting her warm seat, but merely turning
her chair round to the table. She then read aloud the following extract
from the work of the learned doctor:

“‘When a person was reported to be free of his leprosy, a priest
went out of the camp and subjected him to a very strict examination.
If no signs of the disorder appeared upon him, the priest sent a
person to bring two living birds (doves or young pigeons), cedar wood,
scarlet wool, and hyssop, with which he performed the ceremonies of
purification, to admit the party to the privileges of the Hebrew Church
and communion.’”

“What does that mean, mother?” ashed Lucius.

“That the man was no longer to be cut off, as were lepers in Israel,
from worshipping the Lord within the camp, or mixing with the rest of
the people,” replied Mrs. Temple.

“Oh, mamma, might not a poor leper do that!” exclaimed Amy. “To be
shut out from praying with one’s friends and relations would be almost
the worst trial of all!”

“Remember, my child, that the dreadful disease was infectious; there
was need of the greatest care lest it should spread in their camp.
Lepers had to wear a particular dress, and to live apart from all who
were yet in health. If any one drew near to a leper unawares, the
afflicted one had to cry out ‘Unclean! unclean!’”

“I don’t think that I will ever again complain of being shut up from
friends and playmates because of this whooping-cough,” cried Lucius.
“It is disagreeable enough to be kept as we are even from going to
church, but fancy what it would be to have to cry out ‘Unclean!
unclean!’ if any one chanced to come near us!”

“Please, mamma, go on with the account of what the priest had to do
with the two birds which he sent for when he found that the leper was
quite well again,” said Amy.

Mrs. Temple continued her reading:

“‘He slew one of the birds, and received its blood in an earthen
vessel. Into this he dipped the cedar wood, the scarlet wool, and the
hyssop, and therewith sprinkled seven times the once leprous person.
The other bird was then permitted to escape, as a symbol that the man
was now free of his leprosy.’”

“Oh, how joyful the bird must have been when allowed to fly free up—up
high into the air!” exclaimed Elsie.

“Not more glad than the poor cleansed leper, of whom that bird was a
type,” observed Mrs. Temple. “Think of his joy at being free to return
to his family—his wife and his children; and his thankful delight when
worshipping once more with his former companions in the court of the
Tabernacle of his God!”

“It seems to me that there is a verse in one of the Psalms which shows
that David had the cleansing of a leper in his mind when he prayed to
the Lord to forgive him his sin,” remarked Lucius.

“I was just thinking of the same when mamma read about the hyssop,”
said Amy. “It made me feel sure that Agnes was right when she chose
leprosy as a type of sin.”

“What is the verse to which you allude?” asked the mother.

Lucius was the one to reply, but the lips of Amy silently moved,
as she repeated the same verse to herself from the fifty-first
Psalm—“‘_Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I
shall be whiter than snow!_’”

“Oh, mamma! I remember the story of the poor leper who came to the Lord
Jesus,” said Elsie, “and how he cried, ‘_Lord if thou wilt, thou canst
make me clean!_’”

“How much more deeply interesting is the Saviour’s reply, ‘_I will, be
thou clean_,’ if we look upon leprosy as a type of sin,” observed Mrs.
Temple. “The Lord was able and willing to heal, not the poor man’s body
alone, but also his soul; and make him free from all stain of sin as
well as from all taint of disease.”



[Illustration]

XII.

Naaman.


“THE leper story which has always interested me most is that of Naaman
the Syrian,” said Lucius, when he had put back Dr. Kitto’s large volume
in its place in the bookcase.

“O yes, yes,” interrupted little Elsie; “I know that story too, quite
well. I know that Naaman was a great man, and rich, and a famous
general besides, but he had the dreadful sickness which no doctor could
cure. I remember how Naaman came in a grand chariot with prancing
horses to the house of the good prophet Elisha, and how angry he was
when only a servant came out and told him to wash seven times in the
river Jordan.”

Elsie stopped almost out of breath from the rapidity with which she had
spoken. All the young Temples were familiar with the account of the
cure of the Syrian, which was one of their favorite Scripture stories.

“Was the leprosy of Naaman also a type of sin?” inquired Lucius.

“I believe that it was,” answered Mrs. Temple, “and I am strengthened
in this belief by Naaman’s leprosy coming upon Gehazi, as a direct
punishment for his sin.”

“Ah! that wicked Gehazi!” exclaimed Elsie; “he told a lie, a dreadful
lie! It was right that he should be punished, was it not?” The
question was asked of Dora, Elsie’s favorite sister. The child wondered
at the unwonted silence which had come over Dora, and wanted to draw
her into conversing like the rest of the party.

Dora winced at the question, and only replied by a slight movement of
her head. But little Elsie was not satisfied by this. “Why don’t you
speak?” she said bluntly. “When people are so very naughty as to tell
lies, and say that they are doing nothing when they are doing something
bad, don’t you think that they ought to be well punished for it?”

Forced to reply, for Elsie’s question had drawn every one’s attention
towards her, Dora answered, “Of course they should be punished;”
and having thus pronounced sentence upon herself, she relapsed into
silence, feeling much inclined, however, to start up and escape from
the room.

“Are you not well, my love?” asked her mother, who could not help
noticing that Dora’s manner was different from usual.

“Quite well, mamma; only a little tired,” was the evasive reply.

“Tired of doing nothing,” said Lucius.

The conversation on the subject of Naaman was then resumed by Agnes.

“When Naaman was cleansed of his leprosy, mamma, how was it that Elisha
did not tell him to go and show himself to the priest, and that we hear
nothing about a sin-offering, nor of a bird being set free?” asked the
elder twin.

“You must remember,” replied Mrs. Temple, “that Naaman was not an
Israelite but a Syrian, a Gentile, and that he was therefore not bound
to observe the ceremonial law of the Jews. I think that Naaman was a
type of the Gentile church, to which belong all Christians who are not
descended from Abraham and Isaac.”

“To which we then belong,” observed Lucius.

“Notice, my children,” continued the lady, “how we see, as if in a
series of pictures, the history of a converted soul in the story of
Naaman’s cure. First there is the man possessing all that earth can
give him, but afflicted with a deadly disease.”

“Like the people who were bitten by the fiery serpents,” interrupted
Lucius.

“Here in the leprous Naaman we behold a type or picture of a soul with
unforgiven sin staining and corrupting it,” said his mother. “Next we
find the leper at the door of the prophet. Can any one of you tell me
of what Naaman now is a type?”

“A seeking soul,” replied Agnes, after a little pause for reflection.

“Ah! but the next picture is of the leper turning away quite angry
because he was told just to wash and be clean,” cried Elsie.

“Then Naaman is a type of a proud soul, not content with God’s simple
but wonderful plan of salvation,” continued the lady. “There are some
persons now who think that they can earn heaven by doing some great
thing, who believe that because of their own goodness they can be
clean in the sight of God. Such persons, like Naaman, are offended and
hurt when they are told that all their good works cannot take away sin;
that the leper can only be saved by living faith in Him whose blood is
the fountain opened for all uncleanness.”

“But Naaman did go and dip down seven times in Jordan as he was
bidden,” cried Elsie; “and then he was made quite well, his flesh all
soft and clean, just like a little child’s.”

“This is a picture or type of a believing, forgiven soul,” said Mrs.
Temple, “the picture of one who has become a child of God, and who is
resolved, by the help of His Spirit, to lead from henceforth a new
life.”

“These types are really beginning to be quite plain to me now, mother,”
said Lucius, “and they make the Old Testament seem to me to be very
much more beautiful than it ever seemed before. I remember how puzzled
I have been by some words in one of the Epistles about the rock which
Moses smote in the desert, and from which the waters gushed out. St.
Paul wrote ‘that Rock was Christ,’ and I never could make out what he
meant, for how could the rock be the Lord? But now I understand, at
least I think that I do, that the Apostle meant ‘that smitten rock was
a TYPE of Christ,’ and so everything becomes plain.”

“Some of our Lord’s own expressions require to be explained in the same
kind of way,” observed Mrs. Temple. “When our Saviour declared that He
was the Vine, and his disciples the branches, it was as if He had said,
‘A vine is a TYPE of Me, and its branches a type of My servants. _As
the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no
more can ye_ (bear the fruits of holiness), _except ye abide in Me._’”

“And when the Lord said of the bread at the last supper, _This is My
body_, His words must have meant that the bread was a TYPE of His
body,” said Amy with thoughtful reverence. She was a lowly-hearted
girl, and she felt, as we all should feel, that when so very sacred a
subject as the Lord’s sufferings or death is spoken of by us, it is as
if, through the opening in the Tabernacle Veil, we were entering into
the Holy of holies.



[Illustration]

XIII.

The Twins.


“CAN one object be a type of more than one thing, mamma?” asked Lucius,
“for there is something which we have just spoken of as being a type of
what heals our souls—I mean by that, true living faith in the Lord; and
I have thought of something quite different, of which it seems also a
type.”

“Are you speaking of the river Jordan?” asked Agnes, through whose mind
the same thought had been passing.

“Yes, the river in which Naaman dipped seven times and was cleansed,”
replied Lucius. “When the Israelites, after their long wanderings in
the desert, came to that same river Jordan, there was nothing but its
waters between them and the Promised Land, which mother told me to-day
is a type of heaven.”

“And the waters were divided to let the people pass over quite easily
and safely,” interrupted little Elsie, who never missed an opportunity
of bringing out any knowledge which she had gleaned.

“Hush, Elsie! you distract my thoughts,” said her brother, “and make me
forget with your prattle what I was going to say. Oh, it is this! When
Christians have almost got over their long life-journey, there is only
one thing at last that divides them from heaven, their Promised Land;
and that thing is death. Mother, is not Jordan a type of death?”

“I believe that it is,” said his mother and Amy silently thought of
those beautiful verses which allude to this type:—

    “Oh! could we bid our doubts remove,
       Those gloomy doubts that rise,
     And view the Canaan that we love
       With Faith’s unclouded eyes;

    “Could we but stand where Moses stood,
       And view the landscape o’er,
     _Nor Jordan’s stream, nor death’s cold flood,_
       Could fright us from the shore.”

“I also believe,” continued the lady, “that the dividing of the waters,
which enabled the Israelites to pass over without so much as wetting
their feet, is a type of the terrors of death being taken away from
the Christian. Safe through the atoning sacrifice and happy in the
love of his Lord, the believer can peacefully pass on to his promised
land—heaven—with as little cause for fear as the Israelites had in
crossing the dry bed of the Jordan.”

“Ah! the Israelites were a happy people,” said Amy, softly. “Think of
their having God always to guide them by the pillar of fire and cloud,
and holy Moses always to pray for them; and the beautiful promised land
Canaan before them, and so many wonderful miracles worked for their
good! I almost wish,” she added, “that I had lived in those days.”

“Happier are Christians in these days, my child,” said her mother,
“for they know more, far more, of the Saviour’s love than was ever
made known to the people of Israel. We have God’s sure Word to guide
us in our wanderings through the desert of life, and we have beyond
that desert a far brighter land than Canaan, even heaven, promised and
purchased by Him who prepares good things for those who love Him; and
we have One far greater than Moses—One who ever liveth to plead for
us at the right hand of God while we fight our battles against sin.
Moses was a being of flesh and blood as we are; his arms grew tired,
he needed to have them held up by Aaron and Hur; but the Lord Jesus
in praying for His people never grows weary, and His love never grows
cold. My children, when life was most like a desert to me, when your
father had crossed the Jordan and left me behind, I cannot tell you
what comfort and support I found in the knowledge of that prayer and
the thought of that love!”

Mrs. Temple’s voice faltered, and Amy felt the hand which she was
clasping tremble. The lady now very seldom gave way to any outward
burst of sorrow in the presence of her children; her manner was usually
cheerful and bright; but the elder ones could well remember how great
had been her grief in the first sad days of her widowhood, when their
father’s useful life had been closed by a peaceful death. The young
Temples all respected their mother’s sorrow, and when she paused from
emotion the room was so still that the crackling of the fire and the
tick of the clock were the only sounds to be heard. But Mrs. Temple was
not willing to throw even a brief shadow over the cheerfulness of her
little family circle, and would not now have given way to her feelings
had not bodily weariness and pain made her less able to control them.
Mrs. Temple very quickly recovered her usual tone, and said in her
wonted cheerful manner, “My little Elsie’s eyes are growing sleepy, she
can hardly manage to keep them open! My birdie had better fly up to her
snug warm nest, and prepare by a good long rest for a busy to-morrow.”

“Oh, yes, to-morrow will indeed be a busy day!” exclaimed Lucius; “I
mean to be up with the lark. I hope, mother,” he added, “that you won’t
mind the noise of my hammer?”

Mrs. Temple with a smile assured her boy that she would not mind
anything; she had not been a mother so long without becoming accustomed
to noise, and she would be just as much interested in the progress of
the work of her children as they themselves could be.

“You will like me to get on with my little red curtains?” said Elsie,
in rather a drowsy tone.

A fond kiss was the mother’s reply; and then Mrs. Temple herself took
her youngest child up to her bed-room, for the lady always liked to
hear Elsie repeat her evening prayer.

About an hour afterwards all the other young Temples had wished their
mother good-night, and retired to the several apartments in which
they slept. The twins shared the same room. It was a very pretty one,
adorned with framed pictures painted by their Aunt Theodora, and
lighted by candles in elegant green glass candlesticks, which had been
a birthday present to them from their mother. Both the girls were,
on the night in question, more silent than usual, but from different
causes.

As Agnes sat slowly brushing out her long plaits of brown hair, stopped
every now and then by her cough, her thoughts dwelt much on the subject
of the Israelites and their journey through the wilderness, which she
was now taught to regard, not only as a historical fact, but also as a
type of the life-journey of Christians.

Agnes was not by natural disposition so merry and light-hearted as her
brother and sisters, and this difference between her and the rest of
the family was all the more marked at the time of which I am writing,
from the health of the elder twin being a good deal shaken by her
illness. Agnes had naturally a peevish, passionate temper, which
greatly marred her own peace of mind, and which prevented her from
winning much love from her young companions. Agnes had many faults, and
she knew that she had them; they were to her a trouble and burden. The
young girl honestly wished to get rid of and conquer these faults, but
she wanted energy and spirit to make a really good battle against her
besetting sins. Agnes was too much disposed to conclude that because
she was ill-tempered she must always continue ill-tempered, that there
was no use in striving to subdue her evil nature. Mrs. Temple’s elder
twin was wont to feel vexed and to look sullen because Lucius never
cared to sit and chat with her as he would with Dora; and because
Elsie never threw her arms round her neck as she would round Amy’s. It
grieved Agnes to notice that no one ever called her “pet,” or seemed to
take delight in having her near.

“I know that it is partly my own fault,” Agnes would often say to
herself, in bitterness of soul; “but I don’t think that if I were to
leave home for months, there is any one but mamma who would miss me or
want me back.”

Such thoughts had only the effect of making the poor girl’s temper more
cross, and her manner more peevish; it is so hard for the face to look
bright and sweet when gloom is within the heart.

But better thoughts were in the mind of Agnes on that Sunday night,
as she sat silently brushing her hair. Sweet and comforting was the
reflection that she was not left to fight her battle alone, that there
was One who would not only hear her prayer, but who would Himself pray
for His feeble child—who would both watch her struggle against sin,
and give her strength in that struggle. It was sweet to poor Agnes,
when she afterwards knelt down to pray by the side of her bed, to feel
that if she was, like an Israelite, bitten by the serpent of sin, she
knew where to look for a cure; that if she was like Naaman the leper,
there was the Fountain open to her, in which she could wash and be
clean. Hope had sprung up in the young girl’s heart, and with hope came
increase of courage. Agnes remembered that the Lord who had supplied
all the need of the Israelites could supply hers also; and when
temptations assailed her, as the enemy assailed that people, make her
also more than conqueror through the power of His Holy Spirit.

Very, very different were the thoughts passing through the mind of
Dora, though outwardly she was doing exactly the same things as were
done by her twin sister. Dora was _not_ making a brave battle against
inward sin, but was, like a coward and traitor, going over to the
enemy’s side. It is true that she still intended to unpick on the
Monday morning all that she had sewn on the Sunday afternoon; but this
resolve was made on the false principle of punishing herself for the
sin she would not honestly confess, and of which she had never truly
repented. This idea of self-inflicted punishment was merely Dora’s
contrivance for quieting conscience, that conscience which had been
very uneasy during the conversation on the subject of leprosy, the
terrible type of sin. But Dora was trying, and with tolerable success,
to banish from her mind all thought of that conversation. It was far
more pleasant to think of the pattern of the Tabernacle curtains than
of the holy things of which that Tabernacle should remind us.

A great many persons—even grown-up persons—act, alas! like Dora. They
so fix their attention on outward things in religion that they quite
overlook the inward meaning. Such self-deceivers are ready enough to
work at what pleases the eye and amuses the fancy, and believe that
they are making an offering to God; but the cleansing of the heart, the
giving up sin—these are duties which they shrink from, and which they
willingly put off to “a more convenient season.”

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

XIV.

Work.


ALMOST every inmate of Cedar Lodge was up very early on Monday
morning, Agnes being the only member of the family who did not rise
till her usual hour. The first crow of the cock, strutting about in
the yard behind the house, roused little Elsie from sleep. The child
was restless and impatient in her white-curtained cot, until she was
suffered to rise, dress, and set about her Turkey-red work for the
model. Amy was bending over her strip of white linen almost before
there was sufficient light for her to see how to thread her fine
needle, for the morning was dark and rainy; indeed the sun never showed
his face during the whole of that cheerless day.

Drip, drip! fell the rain, but none of the children regretted that they
were not likely to go out of the house. “I don’t mind the rain one
bit!” cried Elsie. “I’m glad that it rains; we’ll get on so famously
with our work!”

Drip, drip! fell the rain; clink, clink! fell the hammer of Lucius; and
blithe sounded his whistle, as he labored in the midst of his squares
of pasteboard, strips of wood, and lengths of wire. The schoolboy
set to his work with a will; and how pleasant is work when we have
strength and spirit to do it, and feel that we have a worthy object
before us!

No one was up earlier than Dora. She sprang from her bed before
twilight had given place to day-light, so impatient was she to get to
her embroidery pattern again. The noise of Dora’s rising awoke Agnes,
who had not passed so good a night as her more vigorous twin had done,
the sickly girl having been several times disturbed by her cough.

“What are you about, Dora?” murmured Agnes, in a drowsy and rather
complaining tone; “I’m sure that it can’t be nearly time to get up.”

“Oh, I like to set about my new work quickly, and get a good piece of
it done before breakfast,” was Dora’s reply.

“There will be plenty of time for work between this and Christmas; I
wish that you would keep quiet and let me rest,” yawned Agnes.

“You can rest if you wish it; I won’t make a noise,” replied Dora. “But
for my part I like to be up and doing. You know that:

    ‘Early to bed, and early to rise,
     Is the way to be healthy, wealthy, and wise.’”

Agnes said nothing in contradiction of the old proverb which her sister
had quoted, but turned round on her pillow, and with a weary yawn
composed herself again to sleep. She thought that it would be time
enough to get up when Susan should call her at a quarter to seven, and
she only wished that Dora had thought so also, for it fidgeted Agnes to
hear her moving about in the room. But Dora had cared as little about
disturbing the sleep of a sickly sister as she had about letting her
mother go out in the rain. Dora admired her own energy, and looked upon
Agnes almost with scorn, as being lazy, cold, and dull, with not a bit
of enthusiasm in her nature.

“We should not have had a model worth looking at had the embroidery
been left to her,” said Dora to herself, not without a feeling of
self-complacence, as she glanced at her twin who had again sunk into
slumber.

It will be remembered that Dora had resolved to unpick all the work
that she had sewn upon the preceding Sunday. As soon as the little girl
had hastily finished her toilet, so hastily that she forgot to button
her sleeves or put on her collar, she opened her workbox, took out her
work, and seated herself as close to the window as possible, in order
to catch as much as she could of the dim light of dawn. It might have
been expected that Dora would also have forgotten to say her prayers,
but such was not the case. She remembered to kneel down by her bedside
and hurry through a mere form of words, without paying the slightest
attention to their meaning, thinking of her embroidery all the time. It
was a satisfaction to the conscience of Dora that she had repeated a
prayer, and she never stopped to ask herself whether that prayer were
not in itself a sin.

Dora with needle and scissors set first to her work of unpicking. But
every one who has tried such an occupation must know it to be one of
the most tedious and disagreeable of tasks. It was doubly so to Dora,
because she greatly admired the embroidery work which she was thus
beginning to spoil.

“It is a great pity to undo this,” Dora said to herself before she had
been for two minutes plying the scissors. “I won’t go on with this
foolish unpicking. After all, my undoing every stitch of my pretty work
would not undo the fault of my having put it in on Sunday.”

This was indeed true. A fault once committed, no human being has power
to undo; but while looking to the Lord alone for forgiveness, we are
bound to prove the sincerity of our regret for a fault by making what
amends lie in our power. Dora took the easier, but far more dangerous
way, of trying to forget the fault altogether, or to make up for it by
what she considered to be her zeal in charity work. She certainly sewed
very diligently on that dull morning, scarcely lifting her eyes from
the pattern which she had neatly traced on the linen. She was filling
up the pencilled outlines with chain-stitch, satin-stitch, and other
stitches, in bright-colored silks and a brilliant thread of gold.

“Oh, look!—just look how famously Dora has been getting on with her
work!” exclaimed the admiring Elsie, when, summoned by the bell at
half-past eight, the children had assembled in the breakfast-room,
awaiting their mother’s coming down to prayers.

“Why, you don’t mean to say that you have worked all that this
morning?” said Lucius to Dora.

The question was rather an awkward one for Dora to answer—it took the
girl by surprise. Dora replied to it by an evasion, which was another
act of deceit. “I couldn’t begin my embroidery on Saturday night,” she
said, actually congratulating herself that she had this time spoken
_the exact truth_, as if it were not the very essence of falsehood to
_deceive_, even though the lips may utter no lie. As Dora had not sewn
on Saturday, she knew that Lucius would take it for granted that she
had been so clever and industrious as to do all the work which he saw
on the Monday morning, for he would certainly never suspect her of
having put in one stitch upon Sunday.

“Don’t you admire Dora’s curtain, is it not lovely?” said Amy to Agnes,
who was examining the work of her twin.

“Rather,” was the reply, uttered in a hesitating tone.

Agnes could not truthfully have expressed warmer admiration, for she
did not think that the figures of the cherubim were at all gracefully
drawn, nor did she consider that the colors were perfectly blended,
there being too little scarlet in proportion to the purple and blue.
But the cold praise of the twin was not unnaturally set down by her
family as coming from a mean, unworthy motive.

“She is as jealous as a cat!” exclaimed Lucius; “Agnes can’t forgive
poor Dora for having been trusted with the most difficult part of the
work.”

The irritable temper of Agnes fired up in a moment at an observation
which she felt to be unjust as well as unkind. But Agnes on that Monday
morning had not merely said her prayers, she had really prayed for
grace to conquer besetting sin, and now, though she could not help her
cheeks flushing scarlet at the taunt of her brother, she pressed her
lips closely together, and kept down the passionate reply which it was
so hard, so very hard, not to utter.

“How much of your work have you done this morning, Agnes?” asked Elsie,
rather proudly, showing her own three inches of seam in the Turkey-red
cloth.

“I have cut out my mohair curtains,” said Agnes, who had also, though
she did not choose to say so, been mending her gloves, in obedience to
the known wish of her mother.

“Cut out—only cut out?” laughed Lucius, who had been doing great things
in the nailing and hammering line; “if you take the matter so easily,
Agnes, every one will _cut you out_, though you may not be made into
curtains!”

Agnes was provoked at the joke, and all the more so because Dora and
Elsie laughed, and Amy could not help smiling. Few persons like to be
laughed at, and the peevish-tempered Agnes was certainly not one of
the few. But the girl had made a resolve, not in vain trust in her own
power of carrying it out, but in a spirit of humble prayer, to set
a watch before her lips; and if she could not speak kindly, not to
utter a single word. Agnes could not, indeed, yet manage to take a
disagreeable joke with smiling good humor, but she bore it in resolute
silence, she did not utter any retort.

No one admired Agnes Temple, no one praised her self-command: she was
thought lazy because she had not eagerly rushed into an occupation in
which she took no particular pleasure, and for which she knew that she
would find plenty of time without neglecting more homely duties; she
was thought jealous because she had simply spoken the truth; and yet
on that day Agnes had begun a nobler work than that of embroidering in
purple and gold, and her offering was a far more acceptable one than
that of which Dora was proud.



[Illustration]

XV.

Different Motives.


“WHAT a busy, cheerful little party!” exclaimed Mrs. Temple, as she
entered the study on the afternoon of that same day, and found all
her children sitting together, sewing, cutting, gilding, and chatting
merrily as they worked. “You remind me of the busy, happy scene outside
Jerusalem, beheld every year when the Feast of Tabernacles was kept.”

“What was the Feast of Tabernacles, mamma?” inquired Amy. Lucius would
have asked the same question, but he dared not speak at that moment
lest his breath should blow away the sheet of gold-leaf with which he
was trying to cover his wires.

“The Feast of Tabernacles was a yearly festival held by the Israelites
in remembrance of the time spent by their fathers in tabernacles or
tents in the desert,” replied the lady. “This was the most cheerful of
all the feasts, and was kept in a remarkable manner. The people made
booths for themselves of the branches of palm, willow, and other trees,
and for seven days lived in these booths. There were processions, glad
hosannas, and sounds of singing and mirth. The people enjoyed their
out-of-door life, and blessed the Lord for His goodness in guiding
the Israelites through the wilderness to the good land in which their
children now dwelt.”

“One could hardly keep such a feast in England,” observed Agnes,
glancing out of the window at the gray sky and the dripping trees,
which were dimly reflected in the pools left by the morning’s rain.

“I think that living in green leafy booths would be delightful in
summer, even in England!” exclaimed Lucius, who had managed to fix his
gold-leaf. “I should have liked, had I been a Jew, to have kept the
Feast of Tabernacles—better perhaps than to have helped to make this
model Tabernacle,” added the boy, who, after several hours of steady
work, was beginning to feel rather tired. “I should much prefer hewing
down branches, and doing the rough carpentering part of the business,
to gilding these tiresome, fidgety wires, which I am sure to ungild
again as soon as I attempt to fix them into their frame.”

“What, you are weary of your work already!” exclaimed Dora, as she
paused in her sewing to thread her needle.

“Not exactly weary of it now,” answered Lucius, “but I guess that I
shall be so long before this model is finished. It is all very well,”
he continued, taking up his knife to hack away at some stubborn
pasteboard—“it is all very well to make pillars and curtains while
the sky is cloudy, and the rain falls fast, and I am kept prisoner at
home; but suppose that the rain should stop, and the sun shine out,
and the weather become settled at last, wouldn’t every one of us like
running about in the fields all day, playing at cricket, or croquet, or
rounders, better than measuring and cutting and——there! snap goes my
knife, my new knife!” and with a gesture of impatience the boy flung
the unmanageable pasteboard down on the table.

There was much to justify the suspicion expressed by Lucius that
the work so eagerly begun by the Temples would, before it could be
finished, become a burden and a tax upon the patience of all. On the
very next day began a season of warmth and sunshine, which did more to
drive away coughs and restore vigor to late invalids than could all the
skill of the doctor. Even Agnes was able to spend hours in the open
air; and, except at mealtimes, Lucius liked to be out all the day. His
fidgety work, as he called it, could scarcely be done but indoors, and
the boy found it a grievous task.

“But it would be a shame not to go on with the model now, after putting
mamma to so much trouble and expense,” observed Lucius one morning to
Dora. “Besides, I engaged to do it, and no English boy must flinch back
from keeping his word. The new knife which I bought yesterday is not to
be compared to that which I so unluckily snapped over the pasteboard;
but I must hack away steadily, and show a good example to that lazy
puss Elsie, who since the fine weather began has not put another stitch
into her Turkey-red curtains.”

“She has stowed them away in her doll’s cradle,” observed Dora,
laughing.

Mrs. Temple was not surprised to find that the making of the model
now progressed more slowly; she was rather pleased to see the amount
of perseverance shown by her children after the charm of novelty had
worn off. Even the “lazy puss” drew her work from its hiding-place,
and would sew—for five minutes at a time—“just to please dear mamma.”
All the five Temples continued to work, when work had ceased to be
an amusement; but they worked from different motives. Those which
influenced Lucius—a manly, honorable boy—have been mentioned already,
as well as the simple wish to please mother which made Elsie prick
her plump little finger under her Turkey-red cloth. But if you could
glance into the hearts of the three other girls as they sit together
industriously plying their needles, we should find an example of how
the very same effect may be produced by different causes.

Amy had from the very first considered her humble work as something to
be done for her Heavenly Master, and this sweet thought made her take
pleasure in labor, which without it would have been wearisome indeed.
It was this thought which made Amy put fine hemming and stitching into
the long strips of white lawn which represented the linen curtains
surrounding the court of the Tabernacle, and even unpick any portion
which did not seem to her to be sewn neatly enough. Amy tried to give
her best, her very best work, because she was giving it to the Lord,
and some of the happiest hours which the little girl ever had known
were spent over her tedious curtains.

“I cannot think, Amy, how you can go on so patiently with what is so
tiresome, with no variety in it, and a kind of work which will not look
striking when all is done,” exclaimed Dora one day, as she unrolled
some glittering gold thread from her reel.

Amy smiled as she glanced up at her sister’s far more amusing
occupation. “If I could have worked anything so pretty as the veil
which you are making, I daresay that I should have liked it much
better,” she observed. “But I am pleased to do the plain work as well
as I can, as the embroidery would have been far too difficult for me.”

Amy’s curtains might seem plain to the eyes of most people, but her
mother looked upon them with special pleasure; for, as she said to
herself, “they are embroided all over with faith and love.”

Agnes also made steady progress with her not very inviting work, though
she took in it no great pleasure. Agnes regarded the sewing as a matter
of duty, and therefore plied her needle in the same spirit as that in
which she struggled to subdue her temper, and tried to put a bridle on
her tongue. It was the work which had been given to her, and she would
do it, without asking herself whether she liked it or not.

“This material, neither smooth nor pretty, is something like a type of
me,” thought Agnes, as she put the finishing stitch into one of her
mohair curtains; “but the goats’-hair had just as much its appointed
place in the Tabernacle as loops of silver and sockets of gold. I shall
never be as much liked and admired as Dora is—I may as well make up my
mind to that; but if God help me by His grace, I too may lead a useful
life, and be dear—at least to my mother.”

And more and more dear was Agnes becoming to her mother, who watched
with the keen eye of affection the struggle made by her eldest daughter
against her besetting sins. Mrs. Temple guessed what it cost Agnes to
bear a rough joke in silence, to lend pretty things which she feared
that the borrower might spoil, to give up her own way, and to show no
jealous anger when another was preferred before her.

“My girl’s character is becoming stronger and nobler every day,”
thought Mrs. Temple; “I thank the Lord for my Agnes, for I am sure that
it is His grace that is working in her heart. Agnes promises to grow up
into a really valuable woman, one whom her mother can trust.”

Mrs. Temple could not have said as much for her dearly loved Dora. The
lady was perplexed and pained to feel that something—she knew not what
it could be—seemed to have come between her and her bright, clever,
affectionate child. Dora, indeed, gave Mrs. Temple no cause to find
fault with her conduct; her lessons were well learned, her temper was
good, she was a favorite still with her brother and sisters; and yet
her mother felt that there was a change in her Dora for which she could
not account. Mrs. Temple was wont to have little quiet conversations
separately with each of her children at night: in these meetings they
were able to open their hearts more freely to their mother than they
could have done had a third person been present, and their parent could
speak upon religious subjects in the way best suited to the character
and age of each. These quiet moments spent alone with mamma had been
greatly prized by all the children; but Dora could take pleasure in
them no more, and her parent was conscious that such was the case.
The girl generally managed, only too easily, to forget all about her
unrepented sin when the remembrance of it was not forced upon her
now half-deadened conscience, but when her mother sat by her bedside
and softly talked to her about heaven, Dora grew uneasy in spirit.
She did not like to be reminded of the holy God whose law she had
broken—what pleasure could the knowledge of His truth bring to one
who was conscious of unrepented falsehood! The returns of Sundays,
nay, even the hour for family prayer, were never welcome to Dora. When
she repeated texts or hymns, as the rest of the family did, she had
the wretched consciousness that she was acting a hypocrite’s part,
and taking God’s name in vain. Dora’s life was becoming one long act
of deceit. She was secretly ashamed of herself for appearing so much
better than she in reality was.

“But my work—my beautiful work—my work for the poor—I’ll make up for
what I’ve done wrong by taking extra pains with that!” thought Dora.
And so the poor girl usually succeeded in winning much praise from
others, and in deceiving her own sinful heart, only too willing to be
thus deceived.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

XVI.

The High-Priest.


“THERE is one thing which we can’t do, it is too hard for even Dora,”
observed Elsie one morning at breakfast, when, as was often the case,
the Children’s Tabernacle had formed a topic of conversation. “We can’t
make models of the Ark, or the Altar, or the Table of Showbread; our
pretty curtains won’t cover anything, the Tabernacle will be quite
empty!”

“I really could not undertake to do more than I am doing, even if my
fingers could manage to make such tiny models,” said Lucius, who, as
we have seen, already found that he had engaged in a difficult task.

Agnes, Dora, and Amy were silent; they all felt that there would
certainly be a great want in their Tabernacle, but they did not see how
that want could possibly be supplied.

The young Temples little guessed that while their mother was in her own
room, engaged, as they supposed, in reading or writing, or making up
her household accounts, she was preparing for them a pleasant surprise.
Mrs. Temple was not less with her family than usual, she did not
neglect her house affairs, she never forgot either to order the dinner
or to pay the butcher and baker, but she stole time for her novel
employment from her sleep, and from her favorite amusement of reading
library books.

On the day when the model was completed, when the last silver socket
had been fastened, and the last little curtain hemmed, the children had
the pleasure of setting up the Tabernacle in the study, to see how it
looked. There was great satisfaction in surveying the finished work;
every one felt glad that the long labor was over, and that he had had a
share in the work.

“How pleased auntie will be!” cried Elsie.

“And the ragged children, too,” joined in Amy.

“And now go out for your walk, my dear ones,” said their mother; “the
morning is so frosty and bright that you may make your walk a long one;
I should not be surprised should you wander as far as Burnley woods. I
shall not expect you back for a couple of hours.”

“Mother, you will go with us,” said Lucius.

“I will be particularly engaged this morning,” replied Mrs. Temple,
as she shook her head with a smile. Elsie remarked afterwards that it
had been “a knowing kind of smile,” as if there had been some very
particular reason indeed for her mamma’s stopping at home. The reason
was clear enough to all the party when they returned from their walk,
and with their cheeks rosy from the fresh air and exercise re-entered
the study. The children found their mother standing beside the model.
Elsie, who was the first to run up to it, gave almost a scream of
delight.

“Oh! see—see what mamma has been making! Clever mamma!” she cried,
clapping her hands, and jumping for joy.

“What lovely little models!” exclaimed Lucius. “Mother, it is you who
have cut us all out.”

“You have done what none of us could have done,” said Agnes.

“And so quietly too,” observed Dora.

“There is nothing wanting now!” cried Amy, putting her arm fondly
around the parent who had so kindly entered into the little pleasures
of her children.

“I thought that one thing more was wanting,” said Mrs. Temple. The lady
seated herself beside the table, and took off the cover of a little
pasteboard box which she held in her hand. The children looked on with
mingled curiosity and pleasure as their mother carefully drew out from
it a beautiful little figure about two inches long, exquisitely dressed
in miniature garments, representing those which were worn by the
high-priest of Israel. To imitate these garments in a size so small,
had taxed the utmost skill of the ingenious and neat-fingered lady.

I need not set down all the exclamations of wonder and pleasure which
were uttered by the younger Temples. If their mother’s great object had
been to gratify her children, that object was certainly attained.

“The dress which I have tried to imitate,” said the lady, “is that
in which the high-priest appeared on solemn occasions. The Day of
Atonement was, however, an exception; on that most solemn day in the
year, when the high-priest ventured into the Holy of holies, he did so
in simple garments of pure white linen.”

The mother then showed and explained to her family the different
articles of dress on her curious model. The under-tunic, or shirt, of
linen, and above it the mantle of sky-blue color, having at the bottom
an ornamental border or fringe.

“This fringe, which, as you see, I have cut out in the form of tiny
pomegranates, ought to be interspersed with bells of gold,” said Mrs.
Temple; “but my fingers could not succeed in making anything so very
minute.”

“And unless we had looked through a microscope, we could not have
distinguished bells no bigger than needles’ eyes,” observed Lucius.

“And what is this fine uppermost garment, reaching to the knees?”
inquired Dora, looking admiringly on the delicate embroidery in gold
and colors similar to that which she had herself worked for the Veil,
only a great deal finer.

“This is the Ephod,” replied Mrs. Temple. “On the front of it I have,
as you see, worked in very small beads of various colors an imitation
of the high-priest’s breastplate, which was formed of twelve precious
stones.”

The minute breastplate excited more attention than any other part of
the high-priest’s dress, and had, perhaps, given the skilful worker
more trouble than all the rest. Every one of the little beads was of a
different tint. They were closely set together in rows, so as to form a
square ornament, and were fastened to the shoulder parts of the Ephod
by little threads of gold.

“How very splendid the real breastplate must have been!” exclaimed Dora
Temple.

“Had it also some typical meaning?” asked Lucius. “I suppose so,” he
added, “as everything about the Tabernacle and the high-priest seems to
have been a type of something greater.”

“On each of the precious stones in the splendid breastplate was
inscribed the names of one of the twelve tribes of Israel,” replied
Mrs. Temple. “I believe that the breastplate was worn by the
high-priest, who was to pray in the Tabernacle for the people, and
then to come forward and bless them, as a token that he bore their
names on his heart.”

“Oh, that is a beautiful meaning!” cried Amy; “especially when we
think,” she continued, more softly, “that the high-priest was a type of
our blessed Saviour Himself.”

“Who bears all His people’s names on his heart,” observed Mrs. Temple;
“both when He pleads for them in heaven, and when He blesses them upon
earth.”

“The high-priest must have looked very noble and grand in his rich
garments,” observed Lucius; “and yet it seems too much honor for any
mere man to be called a type of the Son of God.”

“Ah, my boy! poor and mean indeed must any earthly type appear when
compared to the heavenly Antitype!” exclaimed Mrs. Temple. “That
thought came strongly to my mind as I was sewing together these little
worthless glass beads to form the model of the glorious breastplate.
‘Can these wretched little atoms of colored glass,’ I said to myself,
‘give any idea of magnificent jewels, sparkling in light, set in
gold, and each engraved with a name?’ But even so mean, and small,
and insignificant was Aaron, in all his splendor, compared to the
sacred Being who deigns to call Himself our High-Priest, and to make
intercession for us above!”

All the party were silent for several moments, looking down at the
little model, and thinking over the words of their mother. Elsie then
pointed to the curious head-dress which appeared on the figure. It was
not exactly a turban, though it was formed of tight rolls of linen. It
had the representation of a plate of gold in front, fastened on to it
by a blue thread.

“That head-dress is called the high-priest’s bonnet or mitre,” observed
Mrs. Temple. “There are rather different opinions regarding its exact
shape. It cost me a good deal of thought to contrive it, and here
again I felt how impossible it is to give anything like a just idea of
the real object in a model so small as this. You see that I have not
neglected to put a little gold plate on the front of the mitre; but I
had no power to form letters so minute as to represent on it what was
engraved on that which the high-priest wore. This was ‘HOLINESS TO THE
LORD.’”

“Then the high-priest had the Lord’s Name written over his brow,”
observed Agnes. “It makes one think of the promise in the Bible, that
saints in heaven shall have His Name written on their foreheads.” (Rev.
xxii. 4.)

“All will be ‘_Holiness to the Lord_’ in that happy place!” observed
Amy.

It was pleasanter to Dora to examine the little model before her, and
to admire and praise her mother’s skill, than to think of what was
inscribed on the mitre worn by Aaron and his successors. It is the
sad, sad effect of sin concealed in the heart, that it keeps those who
indulge it from daring even to _wish_ to be holy.

The Tabernacle was now carefully taken down, piece by piece, to be
packed in a box, ready to be carried along with the rest of their
luggage when the family should quit their home for awhile. Every
curtain was neatly folded, and all the pillars carefully wrapped up
in paper. The figure representing the high-priest was gently put back
into its own little box, and all the other little objects were packed
in cotton, so as to bear without injury a little jolting on the journey
before them.

With additional pleasure the young Temples now looked forward to the
coming Christmas season, and the long-expected visit which they were to
pay to their Aunt Theodora.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

XVII.

The Birthday Gifts.


SEVERAL months have passed away since the Temples began making their
model of the Tabernacle of Israel. The leaves which were then green on
the trees, have become yellow, have faded and fallen; save those on
the evergreens, which wear a silver crusting of frost. But it is not
to Cedar Lodge that I shall take my young readers, but to a large and
rather plain brick house in the city of Chester. It is a house by no
means beautiful to the eye, and its only look-out is into a narrow
paved street; but still that house has a charm of its own, it is dear
to many a heart, for its owner, Miss Theodora Clare, is the friend and
benefactress of the poor around. Many have entered sadly through the
dark green door of that red-brick house, who have left it cheerfully,
blessing the kind heart and liberal hand of its lady.

It is just two days before Christmas: on the morrow Miss Clare’s Ragged
School is to have its annual treat. A feast and gifts of warm socks
or mittens knitted for each child by the lady’s own hands, are not
to form the only, or perhaps the chief attractions of the treat; the
little scholars have been promised a sight of the model Tabernacle,
which its young makers are to bring from their country home, about
ten miles away. Christmas Eve has been fixed upon by Miss Clare as the
time for her Ragged School Fête, because it is the birthday of her twin
nieces, the younger of whom is her namesake. The arrival of the Temple
family is expected almost every minute, and Miss Clare sits by the
window, with the red glow of a December sun upon her, glancing up with
a look of pleasant expectation whenever she hears the rattle of wheels
along the narrow paved street. You might guess at once by the likeness
between them that Miss Clare is the sister of Mrs. Temple, though her
figure is a little taller, and her locks a little whiter than those of
the widow lady.

Miss Clare is evidently thinking; she looks a little perplexed and
doubtful as she examines the contents of a large old-fashioned ebony
box which holds her little treasures. Not treasures of silver or gold;
there are but few indeed of such things in the possession of Theodora
Clare: her silver spoons have fed the hungry; her gold chain has paid
for the benches on which her ragged scholars sit, and her bracelets
for the books which they learn from, and the big blackboard on the
wall. A good many pairs of stout little shoes have come out of Miss
Clare’s silver tea-pot! But there is one article of jewellery which
the lady still possesses, and this is to her the most precious of all.
It is the likeness of her sister, Mrs. Temple, in a brooch, set round
with pearls. This was the gift of Mr. Temple on his wedding-day to the
bridesmaid, Theodora; it is very beautiful as an ornament, and as a
likeness almost perfect. But not even this jewel does the generous lady
intend to keep for herself; it is to be her birthday present on the
following day to Dora.

Miss Clare has for years settled in her own mind that her god-daughter
should receive the precious brooch on completing the twelfth year of
her age; it is no doubt upon this subject that perplexes her now; (for
the lady does look a little perplexed as she searches her old-fashioned
box for something which she seems to have some difficulty in finding).
She opens this little packet, then that little packet, then silently
shakes her head, or murmurs “No, that will not do,” as she replaces it
in the large box. The reader knows that Dora has a twin sister, and
that the birthday of the one is also the birthday of the other. Miss
Clare does not like to give to Dora without also giving to Agnes, and
as her hospitality and her charities leave her very little money for
buying presents, she wishes to find some suitable article already in
her possession of which to make a birthday remembrance. But what should
that article be? Almost everything that would please a young girl had
already been given away.

“I have nothing—nothing that can be compared in value or in beauty with
the brooch,” said Miss Clare to herself, as she locked the box where
she had been vainly searching amongst locks of hair neatly wrapped in
separate papers, old letters, and little pictures faded and yellow
with time. “I hope that Agnes is too sensible a girl to expect that my
precious brooch should be given to herself instead of to my namesake,
who is to me almost as a daughter; but still Agnes is the elder of the
twins; she is, I fear, of rather a jealous temper; her character has
not—or had not a year ago—the generosity and sweetness of that of my
Dora. I should be grieved to hurt the feelings of either of the dear
girls; what can I find that will really please Agnes?”

Miss Clare had really given the subject a good deal of consideration,
though apparently to little purpose, when a thought occurred to her
mind which brought a smile of satisfaction to her kind pleasant face.
Miss Clare rose from her seat by the window, and went to a table which
had in it a drawer, hidden by the neat brown cloth that hung over the
sides. The lady lifted the cloth, drew open the drawer, and then took
from it a flat parcel wrapped in a peculiar kind of yellowish paper,
with that scent about it which usually pervades articles which have
come from India.

“Here is the delicate little embroidered neck-scarf which was sent to
me years ago, and which I have always thought much too fine for my
wear,” said the lady, as she opened the parcel. “This will of course be
a gift not to be compared to the brooch; but still it is pretty, very
pretty; I think that Agnes is sure to admire it.”

It was indeed impossible not to admire the exquisite embroidery in gold
and colors on the small India-muslin scarf. The natives of India excel
in this kind of work, and the little scarf was a gem of beauty for
richness of pattern and brightness of hue. Miss Clare’s only doubt was
whether such an article of dress were not too gay to be given to her
young niece.

Miss Clare had little time to think over this matter, for hardly had
she put back the pretty piece of embroidery into its paper wrapping,
and then replaced it in the drawer, when the rattle of wheels was heard
on the stones, and a large carriage, well filled within, and with
plenty of luggage without, was driven up to the door. Well Miss Clare
knew the smiling eager faces which crowded the carriage window, and the
merry young voices which sounded through the clear cold winter air. The
lady ran hurriedly to meet and welcome the party, and was at the open
door, notwithstanding the cold of frosty December, before Mrs. Temple
and her five children could manage to get out of the carriage in which
they had been too closely packed for comfort, but in which they had
been very noisy and merry. All trace of whooping cough had long since
departed, and the sounds which had been heard in the carriage had been
only those of talking, laughing, and singing!

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

XVIII.

The Arrival.


“MIND, coachman, mind! You must hand down that box very carefully!”
shouted out Lucius to the driver, who was now engaged in taking down
the luggage. The boy had been the first of the party to spring out
of the carriage, but he was the last to enter the house, for all his
thoughts seemed to be taken up by the long, flat deal box which had
been put under the special care of the coachman, with many a charge to
see that no harm should come to it on the journey. Had the box been
a cradle containing a baby, it could hardly have been more gently and
carefully received from the coachman’s hands, and then carried up the
door-steps and into the red-brick house by Lucius. Did it not hold
the result of the labor of many weeks!—was there not in it the work
completed by the family’s united efforts, the beautiful model of the
Tabernacle made by the children of Israel!

“Oh, auntie, here is our great work—our model! Where shall we set it
up? Have you a table ready? It is all finished—every loop! Oh, you must
see it! you must see it!” Such were the exclamations which burst from
the children as Lucius appeared in the hall, laden with the long, flat
deal box.

Miss Clare had not yet seen the model, though she had heard a great
deal about it, and had given notice to many friends and neighbors of
the little exhibition of it,[B] to be held in her house through the
following week, for the benefit of her school. She was amused at the
eager impatience shown by the youthful workers. Except Agnes, who
took the matter more quietly, none of the Temples cared even to warm
themselves by the blazing fire after their wintry journey until the
model Tabernacle had been unpacked from its box.

“Please, auntie, please don’t look at it till it’s all set up!”
exclaimed Elsie, in a tone of entreaty. “You can talk to mamma, you
know, while we are unrolling the little curtains (I did the Turkey-red
curtains)—and fastening them up on the gilded pillars by the wee wee
loops which are made of silver thread!”

Miss Clare was quite willing to indulge the humor of her young guests,
so that she did not even remain in the room while the Tabernacle was
being put up on the table set apart for the purpose. She took her
sister, Mrs. Temple, up-stairs, and helped her to take off her cloak
and furs, and talked over many subjects with her, while the young
people below were busily engaged with their model. It was not until
nearly two hours had elapsed, and after the party had all partaken of a
dinner of roast beef and plum-pudding, that Miss Clare re-entered her
own sitting-room to have her first sight of the wonderful work.

For wonderful it was in the eyes of its youthful contrivers, who knew
the trouble which it had cost them to finish and fix those numerous
pillars and curtains, with sockets and loops. The Temples regarded
their model as a triumph of art and patience, much as the builder of
one of the Pyramids may have regarded his own gigantic work. Miss Clare
was expected to look and feel a good deal more astonished than she
could in sincerity do; but if she was not astonished, at least she was
pleased, and showed that she was so.

“It’s a pity, auntie, that you can’t see more of my Turkey-red
curtains; I wish they’d been the top ones,” cried Elsie, lifting up a
corner of the merino covering to show her own work beneath.

“These linen curtains round the court of the Tabernacle are neatly,
very neatly made,” observed Miss Clare; “with so many silver loops they
must have required a great deal of patience in the worker.”

Amy colored with pleasure at the praise; she had not expected her own
share of the work to attract much notice. She now silently drew her
aunt’s attention to the pretty little gilded pillars upon which her
curtains were hung.

“But the beauty part—the real beauty part—is the ’broidery, the inner
curtains, and the veil!” exclaimed Elsie. “Oh, auntie, you will be
astonished at them. Just stoop down and look in—just look in! We’ve
managed to leave the front open, and the veil is half-drawn aside, so
that you can see the inner part quite well. No one could see the inner
part of the real Tabernacle, you know; but then ours is only a model.”

The lady stooped, as requested, and looked through the space between
the front pillars, not only into the outer Tabernacle, but beyond the
veil into what, in the model, represented the Holy of holies. Dora, who
had for months been looking forward to this moment, listened eagerly to
hear what her darling aunt would say of her work.

Miss Clare, it will be remembered, had that day been examining a lovely
specimen of some of the most finished embroidery to be found in any
part of the world. Dora’s work was clever, regarded as that of a girl
not twelve years of age, who had had to contrive her own pattern; but
it was, of course, very poor compared to that on the Indian scarf.

“Is it not splendid ’broidery?” persisted Elsie, who wished others to
share her own unbounded admiration for the work of a favorite sister.

“It is nice,” said Aunt Theodora, quietly, “but wants a little more
scarlet, I think.”

And was this all that could be said of that which had cost Dora
hours of thought, and many hours of patient labor—these few words of
qualified praise! Dora was bitterly disappointed, far more disappointed
than Agnes, whose curtains, whether mohair or merino, seemed to win no
notice at all. There was good reason why Dora should feel pain which
Agnes was spared. It was not time and labor only which the younger twin
had given to gain success; she had made a sacrifice of conscience,
she had forfeited her own self-respect, she had lost the blessing of
confidential intercourse with her mother, and all pleasure and comfort
in prayer! Dora had given up all this, and for what? To hear the
observation, by no means unkindly uttered, “It is nice, but wants a
little more scarlet.”

If Dora had ever believed that in working her embroidery she had really
been laboring for anything higher than earthly pleasure or human
praise, the extreme vexation which she now experienced must surely have
undeceived her. Why should she care so much for what was said of her
performance if her real object was but to please her Heavenly Master?
Agnes and Amy, who had worked from motives of duty and love, were safe
from any such keen disappointment. They both looked with pleasure on
the completed model, in forming which they had taken inferior parts;
while Dora had to walk to the window to hide from the eyes of her
family the mortification which she felt.

That day was a very happy one to all the members of the Temple
family, Dora alone excepted. She felt a kind of dread of the evening
conversation which she knew that she would have with her aunt. The
eve of her last birthday Dora remembered as, perhaps, the happiest
time of her life. Aunt Theodora had come to sit with her, and talk
to her of her coming birthday—a new milestone, as she called it, on
the pilgrim’s path towards heaven. Dora had on that evening opened
her heart to her aunt, and the two had loved each other more fondly
than they ever had loved before, and their parting embrace had been so
sweet that Dora had felt that she could never forget it. Miss Clare was
certain to come again this evening into her room—in this house Dora
had a little room to herself—and must the niece act the hypocrite’s
part to an aunt so loving and true; must the girl so trusted and loved
make a show of openness while concealing a secret from her aunt, which,
if confessed, must lower her in the eyes of that tender relative and
friend?

Miss Clare did indeed come that night, as Dora had expected that she
would come. The girl soon found herself sitting on a stool with her
arms resting on her aunt’s knee, as they had rested twelve months
before; and she heard the same dear voice speaking to her of holy
things, as she had heard on that well-remembered night. The room was
the same, the furniture, the pictures were all the same, but Dora felt
in her own heart a miserable change. Half a dozen times was the poor
girl on the point of laying her head on her aunt’s knee, and sobbing
forth a full confession to relieve her burdened heart. But to own
repeated falsehood and long deceit to one herself so truthful, to lose
the good opinion of one whose regard she so greatly valued, oh! Dora
could not muster up courage sufficient for this!

“And now that you are making a new start in life’s journey, my child,”
such were the aunt’s concluding words as she rose to depart, “give
yourself anew to the best of Masters, the most tender of Friends. Ask
His blessing upon all that you do: without that blessing our best works
are but like building on sand, or writing on water—all end in vanity
and vexation of spirit. The great lesson taught us by the history of
ancient Israel is this: the path of obedience is the path of safety and
happiness also. When God’s people followed where He led, and did what
He commanded, then were their hearts filled with joy, and their harps
tuned to glad songs of triumph; but when the Israelites turned aside to
paths of disobedience, sorrow followed close upon sin; they hung their
harps on the willows, and, exiles from their beautiful land, they wept
when they remembered the blessings which would still have been theirs,
had they not forsaken their God!”

FOOTNOTE:

[B] A. L. O. E. remembers attending, many years ago, exactly such an
exhibition at the house of a friend, a model of the Tabernacle made by
a lady and her children for some charitable purpose.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

XIX.

Disappointment.


The birthday of the twins had arrived; but the sun rises late on the
twenty-fourth of December, and Dora was up, dressing by candlelight,
long before his first beams shone on the sheet of pure white snow which
had fallen during the night. It might be supposed that Dora’s thoughts
would be on the words of advice which she had heard on the previous
night; but though these words had made some impression at the time, it
was by no means upon them that the girl’s mind was running when she
awoke in the morning. Dora was thinking of her embroidery work—that
work of which she had been so proud, that work which had cost her so
dear. Nothing that Miss Clare had said dwelt so much on the memory of
her niece as the simple observation, “It wants a little more scarlet, I
think.”

For on the mantelpiece of the room now occupied by Dora, there chanced
to stand a glass bottle, corked and labelled; and by the light of her
candle Dora had noticed that “SCARLET INK” was printed upon the label.
The sight of that little bottle had roused in the mind of the girl new
hopes, and again turned her energies into the channel of work.

“My supply of scarlet silk ran short, and I was not able to get
another skein at the shop,” thought Dora. “Aunt is quite right, there
is not enough of scarlet mixed with the purple and blue; it is that
which spoils the effect of my curtains. I wonder that no one noticed
that before! But I have a skein of white silk with me, and why should
I not dye it myself with that beautiful scarlet ink? This is a capital
idea! The school children do not come till the afternoon; I should
have time to dye my silk before breakfast, and after breakfast to work
enough scarlet into my pattern to give a brilliant effect to all that
part which is most easily seen. How pleased Aunt Theodora will be to
find that I have taken her hint, and that I grudge no extra trouble to
make my work complete! How very lucky it is that she put that ink into
my room!”

Dora actually forgot both her prayers and her Scripture reading on that
birthday morning, in her impatience to get down-stairs and quietly
remove her inner veil and curtains from the model, before any other
member of the family should enter the room where it was kept. With
rough hair, and dress only half-buttoned, Dora noiselessly opened her
door, and then crept down the staircase, and into the sitting-room in
which the Tabernacle stood, covered from the dust by large sheets of
silver paper. There was no one in the room except the housemaid, who
was employed in opening the shutters to let in the light of morning.

The model, as we know, was made to be taken to pieces at will; but
as Dora’s set of curtains was the innermost of all, it cost her some
time and trouble to remove them. She pursued her occupation, while the
housemaid went on with that of lighting the fire and dusting the room,
and was at last able to disengage the whole of the embroidered portion
of the drapery of the little Tabernacle. With this Dora returned to her
own apartment, and she laid her work on the pretty little table which
her aunt had placed for her convenience.

“I must be quick about the dyeing,” said Dora to herself, “for I can
hear Lucius whistling up-stairs in the passage, and little Elsie
running about in the room just over my head. The family is now all
astir, and in a quarter of an hour the prayer-bell will ring. If I
don’t dye my silk scarlet at once I shall be sadly delayed in my work,
for I cannot, of course, use it for sewing until it is perfectly dry.”

So Dora took the bottle of ink down from its place on the mantelpiece,
and in a great hurry set about removing the sealing-wax which covered
the cork, for the bottle had not yet been opened. It was a tolerably
easy matter to break off the edges of the red wax, but Dora did not
find it easy at all to pull out the cork, which was low in the narrow
neck of the bottle, and happened to be a very tight fit.

“Dear! dear! how troublesome this is!” exclaimed Dora, hunting about
for her stout pair of nail scissors to help her in forcing out the
obstinate cork.

“Good morning, Dora dear, many happy returns of the day to you!” cried
the merry voice of Elsie, as she tapped at the door of her sister.

“Thank you, darling, don’t come in now; I’ll soon be down-stairs—I’m
not quite ready!” called out Dora, who had just succeeded in finding
the scissors. She heard the little feet patter down the stairs.

“Happy birthday to you, Dora! Mind you’re not late, Miss
Twelve-years-old!” This time it was the voice of Lucius at the door.

“No, no, I’ll not be late; I’ll be down in ten minutes!” cried Dora,
digging her scissors vigorously into the cork. The clatter of Lucius’s
boots showed that he had followed little Elsie.

“Oh, this cork, this tiresome cork!” exclaimed Dora; “there, it’s out
at last;” and setting the opened bottle on the table, she turned round
in a great flurry to get from her box the skein of silk which was to be
changed from white to scarlet.

“More haste, less speed.” Dora was not the first who has proved the
truth of that proverb. She whisked round so rapidly that her dress
struck the top of the bottle which she had carelessly set down in
a place that was not very safe. The bottle was knocked over, but
it fell upon something soft which lay on the table, so that it was
neither broken, nor did it make enough noise in falling to attract the
attention of Dora. It was not till she had found the skein (which she
had some trouble in doing), that on turning back to the table she
perceived the mischief caused by her hasty movement.

What a start and exclamation of distress were given by poor Dora when
she saw on the table her embroidery lying actually under the overturned
bottle, and soaked through and through with the scarlet ink which had
flowed in abundance from it!

Dora stood for a moment as if rooted to the spot, scarcely able
to believe her own eyes. She then darted forward, caught up the
half-emptied bottle in one hand, and the stained, dripping linen in the
other. The first glance at the embroidery showed the poor girl that the
mischief done was utterly beyond repairing; in one minute the fruit of
all her long toil had been completely destroyed!

“Oh, it is all my own fault—all my own fault—it could not have
prospered!” cried out Dora, in a loud tone of anguish, as she put down
first the bottle, then the embroidery, and then, hiding her face with
her scarlet-stained fingers, she burst into a passion of weeping.

That cry, that weeping, reached the ears of her aunt, who had just
approached her door, carrying with her the destined gifts for the
twins—the Indian scarf, and the brooch with the miniature set in pearls.

“My darling girl, what is the matter?” exclaimed Miss Clare, opening
the door in alarm. There was no need to repeat the unanswered question;
the bottle, the little heap of embroidered linen dripping with scarlet
ink, told their own story plainly enough. Miss Clare saw the nature
of the accident which had happened, and, with kind sympathy for her
niece’s great disappointment, folded her affectionately in her arms.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

XX.

Confession.


“IT is vexatious, my Dora, very vexatious,” said Miss Clare, in a tone
of condolence; “it is trying to you, after all the pains which you have
bestowed on your work, to see that work suddenly spoiled. But still
take comfort, dear child, in the thought that no labor undertaken for
our Master can really be lost.”

Dora sobbed more bitterly than before, for she knew that hers had not
been labor undertaken for the Master, and she felt that her time and
toil had been worse than lost.

Miss Clare did all that she could to comfort her favorite niece. She
showed Dora the beautiful brooch which she herself valued so greatly;
she told her that she had brought it as a birthday remembrance; but,
much to the lady’s surprise, Dora only shook her head sadly, and sobbed
forth, “Not for me—not for me! Oh, that model, I wish that I never
had touched it—I wish that I had never set a stitch in one of those
curtains!”

“I see that you are distressed, very naturally distressed, by the
mishap which has befallen your curtains, fearing that thereby the
whole model may be spoilt,” observed Theodora. “You are thinking of
the disappointment of your brother and sisters, of the Ragged-school
children who are coming to-day, of my friends who are invited to see
the model. You think that there is no time to repair the effects of the
spilling the scarlet ink; but I think that I see a way to remedy the
mischief;” and Miss Clare, as she spoke, placed before the weeping girl
her beautiful embroidered scarf. “I had intended to give this to Agnes
when I gave you the miniature brooch, but I will now alter my plan. I
will try to find out, or purchase, some other remembrance for Agnes;
and, with a little alteration, do you not think, my sweet girl, that
this work will do nicely for the inner curtains and veil?”

“A thousand times better than mine could have done!” exclaimed Dora,
darting a glance of almost fierce dislike at the embroidery, now
stained and marred, which she had once surveyed with such proud
admiration.

“No, indeed,” said Miss Clare, very kindly; “for though the Indian
scarf may be—certainly is in itself more beautiful than your curtains,
we cannot see in it the same token of patient perseverance in making
what was intended to be a humble offering of love to the Lord.”

“Oh, Aunt Theodora, I can stand this no longer!” exclaimed Dora, almost
choking with the violence of her emotion; “you must know all, I can
hide it no more; you must hear what a naughty, naughty girl I have
been!”

Then, as well as she could through her tears and her sobs, Dora
relieved herself of the burden of concealment which had become at
last intolerable. She told everything to her aunt—the first fault, the
breaking of the fourth commandment; then the falsehood, the deceit
which had followed, for when did an unrepented sin ever stand alone!
Dora concluded by passionately exclaiming, “You cannot, you must not,
give me the brooch—Agnes has deserved it much better; she has been
conquering her temper and doing all that she can to please mamma, while
I have been only a hypocrite! Please give the brooch to Agnes, and the
scarf for the model; I could not bear now to take either—I who have
only deserved to be punished!”

Miss Clare was surprised, pained, disappointed by what she now heard;
yet there was comfort to her in seeing that now at least her poor
niece was heartily repenting.

“I cannot tell you, my child, how thankful I am that this accident has
happened to your work, and that you have been led to speak out bravely
at last,” said her aunt, putting her arm round Dora, and drawing her
tenderly towards her, so that the poor girl could weep on her bosom.

“Then you don’t despise me—you won’t give me up?” murmured Dora, crying
still, but much more softly.

“Give you up—never!” cried the aunt, and she pressed a kiss upon Dora’s
brow. “It may be a question, indeed, whether I had not better reserve
the brooch till next birthday.”

“Oh, I never could take it, never!” cried Dora, excitedly; “let it be
given to Agnes.”

“Do you think, Dora, that by giving up the brooch you are winning a
claim to forgiveness—that by this sacrifice you are atoning for what
you have done wrong?” asked Miss Clare. “If so, I am bound to tell you
that you are mistaken.”

“No, aunt,” replied Dora, for the first time raising her eyes, heavy
with weeping, and looking her godmother full in the face; “I know
that nothing that I can do can atone for my sin—that there is but one
Atonement; but I feel as if I could not take the brooch which you meant
to give to a good girl, and which I have so little”— Dora could not
finish the sentence, tears came again, and she hid her face on the
bosom of her aunt.

Miss Clare hesitated no longer. She felt that it would deeply impress
on the mind of Dora the painful lesson which she was learning, if she
saw the brooch in the possession of her elder twin. What Theodora had
heard from Mrs. Temple of the marked improvement in the character of
Agnes, convinced her that she was the sister who best deserved to
receive the miniature of her mother. Miss Clare made a sacrifice of her
own inclination in thus deciding to follow her judgment, but she was in
the habit of doing what she thought right, instead of what she thought
pleasant.

“I will confess all to mamma, now, just as I have done to you—I won’t
be a hypocrite any longer,” murmured Dora, as soon as she had recovered
power to speak.

“And there is Another to whom my child must also confess,” said Miss
Clare, still with her arm round her niece, still with Dora’s head
on her breast; “there is One who is ready freely to forgive every
penitent who approaches the Mercy-seat pleading the merits of Christ.
We have no power to remove one spot from our souls;” the eyes of Miss
Clare chanced to rest, as she spoke, on the embroidery, stained and
destroyed; “but there is the Lord’s promise to comfort the broken and
contrite heart, ‘Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as
snow—though they be red as crimson, they shall be as wool.’”

Dora and her aunt knelt down together and together prayed, but in
silence. When Dora rose from her knees, though she was still very sad
and subdued, there was a peace in her heart, a sense of sin forgiven,
which she had not experienced for months.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

XXI.

Conclusion.


“DORA is late—shockingly late—on her birthday too! I _am_ surprised!”
exclaimed Elsie, who was in a fidget of impatience to present her
sister with a marker which she had made.

“And Aunt has kept us twenty—more than twenty minutes waiting for
prayers!” cried Amy; “I am surprised, for she always is so punctual.”

“And Agnes has employed the time mending my gloves, the most surprising
thing of all,” laughed Lucius.

“Why so surprising?” asked Elsie.

“Because a few months ago Agnes was much more given to picking holes
than to sewing them up,” answered the boy. “I liked to plague her and
she to tease me, and I thought that we should always live a kind of
cat-and-dog life together. But now we’re going to be grand allies,”
added the merry boy, clapping Agnes upon the shoulder; “by your example
you’ll help to mend my manners as well as my gloves!”

Lucius spoke in his saucy playful way, but “there’s many a true word
spoken in jest,” and he was but expressing what all the family had
observed, that there was gradual but steady improvement in the outer
conduct of the once peevish and selfish girl.

But the sharpest conflict of Agnes upon her twelfth birthday had been
against a jealous spirit within. From a few words dropped by her aunt
on the previous evening, Agnes felt sure that her mother’s likeness
would be given as a birthday present to one of the twins, and she had
not a doubt that the younger would be the one thus favored.

“It was just the same last birthday,” thought Agnes with bitterness:
“I am given some makeshift, Dora has what is really of value. It is
rather hard that she should always be preferred before her elder
sister because she is called after my aunt, whilst I am named after
my mother. But oh! how wicked is this feeling of jealousy, how sinful
these unkind and covetous thoughts! Lord! help me to overcome this
secret temptation, and to feel pleasure, real pleasure, when I see Dora
wearing that which is so precious to us both!”

As the thought, or rather the prayer, passed through the mind of Agnes,
the door opened and Miss Clare entered, followed by Dora. The lady held
the beautiful brooch in her hand, and going up to the elder twin whom
she had not met before on that morning, with a kiss and a whispered
blessing, fastened the precious jewel on her breast.

       *       *       *       *       *

That twenty-fourth day of December was a day long remembered with
delight by many a poor child in Chester, for large was the number of
scholars (it would be scarcely just to call them ragged) who enjoyed
the feast and the varied amusements provided for them in the large red
house by their benefactress, Miss Clare.

Specially was the beautiful, the wonderful model which the young
gentlefolk had made, the theme of many a conversation in the low
courts and lanes from which the guests had been gathered. Worn, weary
mothers, at their sewing or washing, paused, needle in hand, or with
arms whitened with soap-suds, to hear of the golden pillars, and silver
loops, and above all of the splendid embroidery that adorned the inner
part of the model, that part which, as Miss Clare had told them, was
called the Holy of holies.

“And the young ladies looked just as pleased and happy as we,” a
bare-footed little urchin observed at the end of a lively narration of
all the wonders that he had seen; “all but one, and her eyes were red
as if she’d been a-crying,—what could _she_ have had to make her cry?
But she smiled, too, when we clapped our hands and shouted for joy as
we saw the beautiful tent!”

What delighted their eyes, and pleased their fancy, was what naturally
made the greatest impression on the ragged scholars who had stared in
wondering admiration on the model of the Tabernacle of Israel. But the
concluding words of a little address made by Miss Clare to the children
were what sank deepest into the memories and hearts of her twin nieces.

“I have described to you, my dear young pupils, the various parts of
this model,” she said: “let me now briefly point out a few lessons
which we should all carry away. In Israel’s Tabernacle we see a TYPE of
every Christian, in whose body, as St. Paul tells us, God’s Holy Spirit
deigns to dwell (1 Cor. iii. 16). In that living Tabernacle, the lowly
heart is the Holy of holies, because it is cleansed by the blood of
sprinkling, in it the Commandments of God are treasured, and the light
of His love shines within. But as the Tabernacle was not intended to
last forever, but to give place to a far more splendid building, so is
it with these bodies of ours. As Solomon’s magnificent temple, glorious
and fair, and firm on its deep foundation, far surpassed the Tabernacle
made to be moved from place to place; so will the glorified bodies of
saints, when they are raised from their graves, surpass these weak,
mortal bodies in which they served their Lord upon earth. For what
saith the Apostle St. Paul:—‘WE KNOW THAT IF OUR EARTHLY HOUSE OF THIS
TABERNACLE WERE DISSOLVED, WE HAVE A BUILDING OF GOD, A HOUSE NOT MADE
WITH HANDS, ETERNAL IN THE HEAVENS.’” (2 Cor. v. 1.)

[Illustration]



SHORT STORIES

BY THE SAME AUTHOR.



[Illustration]

THE BEAR.


“HE is just like a bear!” that is a very common expression when we
talk of some ill-tempered man or boy, who takes a pleasure in saying
rude things, and who seems bent upon making every one near him as
uncomfortable as he can.

But we may be unjust even to bears. Could you have gone to wintry
Greenland, and seen Mrs. Bruin amidst her family of little white cubs,
each scarcely bigger than a rabbit, you would have agreed that a bear
can be a kind and tender mother, and provide for her four-footed babies
a snug and comfortable home.

You would, indeed, have had some difficulty in finding Bear Hall, or
Bear Hole, as we rather should call it. Perhaps in wandering over the
dreary snow-covered plains of Greenland, you might have come upon a
little hole in the snow, edged with hoar-frost, without ever guessing
that the hole was formed by the warm breath of an Arctic bear, or that
Mrs. Bruin and her promising family were living in a burrow beneath
you.[C] How wonderfully does Instinct teach this rough, strange-looking
creature to provide for her cubs! The mother-bear scrapes and burrows
under the snow, till she has formed a small but snug home, where
she dwells with her baby-bears during the sharpest cold of an Arctic
winter. So wonderfully has Providence cared for the comfort even of
wild beasts, that the mother needs no food for three months! She is
so fat when she settles down in her under-snow home, that her own
plumpness serves her instead of breakfast, dinner, and supper; so that
when at last she comes out to break her long fast, she is not starved,
but has merely grown thin.

I need hardly remind my reader that the Arctic bear is provided by
Nature with a thick, warm, close-fitting coat of white fur; and the
snow itself, strange as it seems to say so, serves as a blanket to keep
the piercing air from her narrow den.

Yes, Mrs. Bruin was a happy mother though her cell was small to hold
her and her children, and the cold above was so terrible that water
froze in the dwellings of men even in a room with a fire. Mrs Bruin
found enough of amusement in licking her cubs, which was her fashion of
washing, combing, and dressing, and making them look like respectable
bears. She let them know that she loved them dearly in that kind of
language which little ones, whether they be babies or bear-cubs, so
soon understand.

But when March came, Mrs. Bruin began to grow hungry, and think that it
was full time to scramble out of her under-snow den, and look out for
some fish, or a fat young seal, to eat for her breakfast. The weather
was still most fearfully cold, and the red sun seemed to have no power
at all, save to light up an endless waste of snow, in which not a tree
was to be seen save here and there a stunted fir, half crusted over
with ice.

Safe, however, and pretty warm in their shaggy furs, over the dreary
wilds walked Mrs. Bruin, and the young bears trotted at her heels.
They went along for some time, when they came to a round swelling in
the snow; at least so a little hut appeared to the eyes of a bear.
Indeed, had our own eyes looked on that snow-covered hillock, we should
scarcely at first have guessed that it was a human dwelling.

Perhaps some scent of food came up from the chimney-hole, which made
Mrs. Bruin think about breakfast, for she went close up to the hut,
then trotted around it—her rough white nose in the air. She then
uttered a low short growl, which made her cubs scramble up to her side.

Oh, with what terror the sound of that growl filled the heart of
poor Aneekah, the Esquimaux woman, who was with her little children
crouching together for warmth in that hut!

“Did you hear that noise?” exclaimed Aleekan, the eldest boy, stopping
suddenly in the midst of a tale which he had been telling.

“There’s a bear outside!” cried all the younger children at once.

Aneekah rose, and hastily strengthened the fastenings of her rude door
with a thick piece of rope, while her children breathlessly listened to
catch again the sound which had filled them with fear.

“The bear is climbing up outside!” cried little Vraga, clinging in
terror to her mother. “I can hear the scraping of its claws!”

There was an anxious pause for several minutes, all listening too
intently to break the silence by even a word. Then, to the great
alarm of the Esquimaux, the white head of an Arctic bear could be
plainly seen, looking down upon them from above. The animal had, after
clambering up to the top of the hut, enlarged the hole which had been
left in the roof to let out the smoke.

“We’re lost!” exclaimed Aneekah.

“O mother let us pray! Will not God help us?” cried one of the
children.[D]

The prayer could have been but a very short one, but the presence of
mind which the mother showed may have been given as the instant answer
to it. Aneekah caught up a piece of moss, stuck it on a stick, set it
on fire, and held the blazing mass as close as she could to the nose of
the bear.

Now fire was a new thing to Mrs. Bruin, and so was smoke; and if the
bear had frightened the Esquimaux, the Esquimaux now frightened the
bear. With a snort and a shake of her shaggy fur, the animal drew back
her head, and, to the surprise and delight of the trembling family,
they soon heard their unwelcome visitor scrambling down faster than
she had clambered up. Mrs. Bruin trotted off to seek her breakfast
elsewhere; let us hope that she and her cubs found a fine supply of
fish frozen in a cleft in some iceberg floating away in the sea. At any
rate they never again were seen near the Esquimaux home.

Do you wonder how the poor Esquimaux child had learned the value of
prayer? Would any one go to the dreary wilds of Greenland to carry the
blessed gospel to the natives of that desolate shore?

Yes, even to “Greenland’s icy mountains” have missionaries gone from
brighter, happier lands. There are pastors now laboring amongst the
poor Esquimaux, for they know that the soul of each savage is precious.
The light of the gospel is shining now in Esquimaux homes, and, amidst
all their hardships, sufferings, and dangers, Esquimaux have learned to
show pious trust when in peril, and thankfulness after deliverance. It
is from the pen of a missionary that we have learned the story which I
have just related of the Esquimaux woman and the white bear.

FOOTNOTES:

[C] See “Homes without Hands.”

[D] This incident of the intrusion of the bear, and the exclamation of
the child, has been given as a fact.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

THE TIGER-CUB.


“REALLY, Captain Guise, you need trouble yourself no more in the
matter; I am quite able to take care of myself!” cried young Cornet
Stanley, with a little impatience in his tone.

The speaker was a blue-eyed lad, whose fresh complexion showed that he
had not been long in the burning climate of India. Cornet Stanley had
indeed but lately left an English home, for he was little more than
sixteen years of age. With very anxious feelings, and many tears,
had Mrs. Stanley parted with her rosy-cheeked Norman. “He is so very
young,” as she said, “to meet all the trials and temptations of an
officer’s life in India!”

Mrs. Stanley’s great comfort was that her Norman would have a tried
and steady friend in her cousin, Captain Guise, who would, she felt
sure, act a father’s part to her light-hearted boy. Young Stanley was
appointed to the same regiment as that of the captain; and almost as
soon as the cornet had landed in India, he proceeded up country to join
it. The season of the year was that which is in India called the cold
weather, when many Europeans live in tents, moving from place to place,
that they may amuse themselves with hunting and shooting. Norman
Stanley, who had never before chased anything larger than a rabbit,
was delighted to make one of a party with two of his brother officers,
and enjoy with them for a while a wild, free life in the jungle. There
would have been no harm at all in this, had Norman’s new companions
been sober and steady young men; but Dugsley and Danes were noted as
the two wildest officers in the regiment.

Captain Guise was also out in camp, and his tent was pitched not very
far from that of his young friend Norman. The captain took a warm
interest in young Stanley, not only for the sake of his parents, but
also for his own; for the bright rosy face and frank manner of the
lad inclined all who met him to feel kindly towards him. It was with
no small regret that Captain Guise, on the very first evening when
the officers all dined together, saw that young face flushed not with
health, but with wine, and that frank manner become more boisterous
than it had been earlier in the day. Not that Norman Stanley could
have been called drunk, but he had taken a little more wine than was
good for him to take; and his friend knew but too well in what such a
beginning of life in India was likely to end.

The captain was a good and sensible man, and he could not see his young
relative led into folly and sin without warning him of the danger into
which he was heedlessly running. Captain Guise, on the following day,
therefore, visited Norman in his tent, and tried to put him on his
guard against too close a friendship with Dugsley and Danes, and to
show him the peril of being drawn by little and little into intemperate
habits.

Norman Stanley, who thought himself quite a man because he could wear a
uniform and give commands to gray-bearded soldiers, was a little hurt
at any one’s thinking of troubling him with advice. Captain Guise had,
however, spoken so kindly that the lad could not take real offence at
his words, but only tried to show his friend that his warning was not
at all needed.

“I shall never disgrace myself by becoming a drunkard, you may be
certain of that,” said the youth; “no one despises a sot more than I
do, and I shall never be one. As for taking an extra glass of champagne
after a long day’s shooting, that is quite a different thing, and
nobody can object to it.”

“But the extra glass, Norman, is often like the thin point of the
wedge,” said the captain; “it is followed by another and another, till
a ruinous habit may be formed.”

“I tell you that I shall never get into habits of drinking,”
interrupted young Stanley. Then, as he took up his gun to go out
shooting, the cornet uttered the words with which this little story
commences.

Captain Guise did not feel satisfied. He saw that his young friend
was relying on the strength of his own resolutions, and in so doing
was leaning on a reed. He could not, however, say anything more just
then, and Norman Stanley started a new subject to give a turn to the
conversation.

“By-the-by, Captain Guise, I’ve not shown you the prize which I
captured yesterday. As Dugsley and I were beating about in the jungle,
what should we light upon but a tiger-cub—a real little beauty, pretty
and playful as a young kitten.”

“What did you make of it?” asked the captain.

“Oh, I’ve tethered it to the tree yonder,” said Norman, pointing to
one not a hundred yards distant. “By good luck I had a dog’s chain and
collar which fitted the little creature exactly. I mean to try if I
can’t rear it, and keep a tiger-cub as a pet.”

“A tiger-cub is rather a dangerous pet, I should say,” observed
Captain Guise, with a smile.

“Oh, not a bit of it!” cried Norman, lightly; “the little brute has no
fangs to bite with, and if it had, the chain is quite strong enough to”—

The sentence was never finished, for while the last word was yet on the
smiling lips of the youth, the sudden sound of a savage roar from a
neighboring thicket made him start, turn pale, and grasp his gun more
firmly. Forth from the shade of the bushes sprang a large tigress. In
a minute, with a few bounds, she had cleared the space between herself
and her cub! Snap went the chain, as the strong wild beast caught up
her little one in her mouth; and before either Norman or the captain
(who had snatched up a second gun) had time to take aim, the tigress
was off again, bearing away her rescued cub to the jungle!

“That was a sight worth seeing!” exclaimed Captain Guise; “I never
beheld a more splendid creature in all my life!”

Norman, who was very young, and quite unaccustomed to having a tiger
so near him with no iron cage between them, looked as though he had
not enjoyed the sight at all. “I should not care to meet that splendid
creature alone in the jungle,” he observed. “Did you not notice how the
iron chain snapped like a thread at the jerk which she gave it?”

“Yes,” replied Captain Guise, as he turned back into the tent; “what
will hold in the cub, is as a spider’s web to the full-grown wild
beast. You had, as I told you, a dangerous pet, Norman Stanley. You
might play for a while with the young creature, but claws will lengthen
and fangs will grow. And,” the captain added more gravely, “this is
like some other things which are at first but a source of amusement,
but which are too likely to become at last a source of destruction.”

Norman Stanley’s cheek reddened, for he felt that it was not merely of
a tiger’s cub that his friend was speaking. Evil habits, which at first
seem so weak that we believe that we can hold them in by a mere effort
of will, grow fearfully strong by indulgence. Many a wretched drunkard
has begun by what he called merely a little harmless mirth, but has
found at last that he had been fostering something more dangerous still
then a tiger’s cub. His good resolutions have snapped; he has been
carried away by a terrible force with which he has not had the strength
to grapple; and so has proved the truth of the captain’s words, that
what is at first but a source of amusement may be at last a source of
destruction.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

NOT ONE TOO MANY.


“NO, neighbor, you’ve not one too many,” observed Bridget Macbride,
as she stood in the doorway of the cottage of Janet Maclean, knitting
coarse gray socks as fast as her fingers could go.

“It’s easy enough for you to say so,” replied Janet, who was engaged
in ironing out a shirt, and who seemed to be too busy even to look up
as she spoke—“it’s easy enough for you to say so, Bridget Macbride.
You’ve never had but three bairns [children] in your life, and your
husband he gets good wages. You’d sing to a different tune, I take it,
if you’d nine bairns, as I ha’e, the oldest not twelve years old—nine
to feed, to clothe, and to house, and to toil and moil for, and your
goodman getting but seven shillings a-week, though he’s after the sheep
from morning till night!” Mrs. Maclean had been getting quite red in
the face as she spoke, but that might have been from stooping over her
ironing work.

“Still children are blessings,—at least, I always thought mine so,”
observed Bridget Macbride.

“Blessings; yes, to be sure!” cried Janet; “I thought so too till there
were so many of them that we had to pack in the cottage like herrings
in a barrel.” Janet was now ironing out a sleeve, and required to go
rather more gently on with her work. “I’m sure nae folk welcomed little
ones more than Tam and I did the four first wee bairns, though many a
broken night’s rest we had wi’ poor Jeanie,—and I shall never forget
the time when the measles was in our cottage, and every ane o’ the four
had it! Yes,” the mother went on, “four we could manage pretty well,
with a wee bit o’ pinching and scraping; but then came _twins_; and
then little Davie; and afore he could toddle alane, twins again!” and
Janet banged down her iron on its stand, as if two sets of twins were
too much for the patience of any parent to endure.

“You must have a struggle to keep them all,” observed Bridget Macbride.

“Struggle! I should say so!” cried Janet, looking more flushed and
angry than ever. “We never could have got on at all, had I not taken in
washing and ironing; and it’s no such easy matter, I can tell you, to
wash and iron fine things for the gentry with twin-babies a-wanting you
to look after them every hour in the twenty-four!” It seemed as if the
babies had heard themselves mentioned, for from the rude cradle by the
fire came a squall, first from one child, and then from both, and poor
Janet was several minutes before she could get either of them quiet
again.

“You’ve a busy life of it indeed,” observed Bridget, as soon as the
weary mother was able once more to take up her iron.

“’Deed you may say so,” replied Janet sharply, plying her iron faster,
as if to make up for lost time. “And for all my working, and Tam’s, we
can scarce get enough of bread or porridge to fill nine hungry mouths;
and as for meat, we don’t see it for weeks and weeks—not so much as a
slice of bacon! Then there’s the schooling of the twa eldest bairns to
be paid for, as Tam and I won’t ha’e them grow up like heathen savages;
and we’ll hae them gae decent too, not in rags and barefooted, like
beggars. And I should like to know”—Janet was ironing fast, but talking
faster—“I should like to know how shoon [shoes] and sarks [shirts],
and a plaidie for this ane, and a bonnet for anither, and breakfasts
o’ bannocks, and porridge for supper, are a’ to come out of that
wash-tub?”

“And yet,” observed Bridget Macbride, “hard as you have to work for
your children, I don’t believe that you would willingly part with one
of them, neighbor.”

Even as she spoke, there was a distressful cry of “Mither! mither!” as
Janet’s two eldest children burst suddenly into the cottage, looking
unhappy and frightened.

“What ails the bairns?” asked Janet anxiously, turning round at the cry.

“O mither, we’ve lost wee Davie; we can’t find him nowhere in the wood,
and we be afeard as he may have fallen over the cliff.”

“Davie! my bairn! my darling!” exclaimed poor Janet, forgetting in a
moment all her toils and troubles in one terrible fear. Down went the
iron on the table, and without waiting to put on bonnet or shawl, the
fond mother rushed out of the cottage, to go and search for her child.
Bridget had spoken the truth; Janet might complain of the trouble
brought by a large family, but she could not bear to part with one
out of her flock. If Davie had been the only child of a rich mother,
instead of the seventh child of a poor one, he could not have been
sought with more eager anxiety, more tender, self-forgetting love.

Followed by several of her children, but outstripping them all in her
haste, Janet was soon at the edge of the wood. “Davie! Davie! my bairn!
my bairn!” resounded through the forest. The mother’s cry was answered
by a distant whoop and halloo;—Janet knew the voice of her husband, and
her heart took courage from the sound. But her hope was changed into
delight, when she caught a glimpse between the trees of the shepherd
coming towards her, with her little yellow-haired laddie Davie perched
on his broad shoulders, grasping with one hand his father’s rough
locks, and with the other a bannock, which he was nibbling at as he
rode.

“The Lord be praised!” cried poor Janet, and rushing forward she caught
the child from her husband, pressed Davie closely to her heart, and
burst into a flood of grateful tears.

“You must look a bit better after your stray lamb, Janet,” said Tam
with a good-humored smile. “I was just crossing the wood when Trusty
set up a barking which made me go out o’ my way just to see if he had
found a rabbit, or started a blackcock. There was our wean [child]
sitting much at his ease, munching a bannock, as contented and happy as
if he’d been a duke eating venison out of a golden dish. But you mustna
let the wee bairn wander about by himsel’, for if he’d gaen over the
cliff, we’d never hae heard the voice o’ our lammie again.”

Very joyful and very thankful was Janet Maclean, as, with her boy in
her arms, she returned to her cottage. Bridget had remained there
to take care of the twins during the absence of their mother. Mrs.
Macbride received her neighbor with a smile, and the words, “Didna I
say, Janet, that ye’d not one too many, nor would willingly part wi’ a
single bairn out o’ your nine?”

“The Lord forgie my thankless heart!” said poor Janet, and she fondly
kissed her boy. “We ne’er are grateful enough for our blessings until
we are like to lose them.” Then putting the little child down on the
brick floor, with fresh courage and industry the mother returned to her
ironing again.

May we not hope that all Janet’s toil and hard work for her children
had one day a rich reward? May we not hope that not one out of the
nine, when old enough and strong enough to labor for her who had
labored so hard for them, but did his best to repay her care and her
love? How large is a parent’s heart, that opens wide and wider to take
in all the children of her family, however numerous those children may
be! Though each new babe adds to poor parents’ toils, and takes from
their comforts, still the kind father and the fond mother, as they
look round their home circle of rosy faces, can not only say but feel,
“There is not one too many.”

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

THE IRON RING.


CHANG WANG was a Chinaman, and was reputed to be one of the shrewdest
dealers in the Flowery Land. If making money fast be the test of
cleverness, there was not a merchant in the province of Kwang Tung who
had earned a better right to be called clever. Who owned so many fields
of the tea-plant, who shipped so many bales of its leaves to the little
island in the west, as did Chang Wang? It was whispered, indeed, that
many of the bales contained green tea made by chopping up spoilt black
tea-leaves, and coloring them with copper—a process likely to turn
them into a mild kind of poison; but if the unwholesome trash found
purchasers, Chang Wang never troubled himself with the thought whether
any one might suffer in health from drinking his tea. So long as the
dealer made money, he was content; and plenty of money he made.

But knowing how to make money is quite a different thing from knowing
how to enjoy it. With all his ill-gotten gains, Chang Wang was a
miserable man, for he had no heart to spend his silver pieces, even
on his own comfort. The rich dealer lived in a hut which one of his
own laborers might have despised; he dressed as a poor Tartar shepherd
might have dressed when driving his flock. Chang Wang grudged himself
even a hat to keep off the rays of the sun. Men laughed, and said that
he would have cut off his own pigtail of plaited hair, if he could have
sold it for the price of a dinner! Chang Wang was, in fact, a miser,
and was rather proud than ashamed of the hateful vice of avarice.

Chang Wang had to make a journey to Macao, down the great river
Yang-se-kiang, for purposes of trade. The question with the Chinaman
now was in what way he should travel.

“Shall I hire a palanquin?” thought Chang Wang, stroking his thin
moustaches; “no, a palanquin would cost too much money. Shall I take my
passage in a trading vessel?” The rich trader shook his head, and the
pigtail behind it,—such a passage would have to be paid for.

“I know what I’ll do,” said the miser to himself; “I’ll ask my uncle
Fing Fang to take me in his fishing-boat down the great river. It is
true that it will make my journey a long one, but then I shall make it
for nothing. I’ll go to the fisherman Fing Fang, and settle the matter
at once.”

The business was soon arranged, for Fing Fang would not refuse his rich
nephew a seat in his boat. But he, like every one else, was disgusted
at Chang Wang’s meanness; and as soon as the dealer had left his hovel,
thus spoke Fing Fang to his sons, Ko and Jung:

“Here’s a fellow who has scraped up money enough to build a second
porcelain tower, and he comes here to beg a free passage in a
fishing-boat from an uncle whom he has never so much as asked to share
a dish of his birds’-nests soup.”[E]

“Birds’-nests soup, indeed!” exclaimed Ko; “why, Chang Wang never
indulges in luxuries such as that. If dogs’ flesh[E] were not so cheap,
he’d grudge himself the paw of a roasted puppy.”

“And what will Chang Wang make of all his money at last?” said Fing
Fang more gravely; “he cannot carry it away with him when he dies.”

“Oh, he’s gathering it up for some one who will know how to spend
it,” laughed Jung. “Chang Wang is merely fishing for others; what he
gathers, they will enjoy.”

It was a bright, pleasant day when Chang Wang stepped into the boat of
his uncle, to drop slowly down the great Yang-se-kiang. Many a civil
word he said to Fing Fang and his sons, for civil words cost nothing.
Chang Wang sat in the boat twisting the ends of his long moustaches,
and thinking how much money each row of plants in his tea-fields
might bring him. Presently, having finished his calculations, the
miser turned to watch his relations, who were pursuing their fishing
occupation in the way peculiar to China. Instead of rods, lines, or
nets, the Fing Fang family was provided with trained cormorants, which
are a kind of bird with a long neck, large appetite, and a particular
fancy for fish.

It was curious to watch a bird diving down in the sunny water, and
then suddenly come up again with a struggling fish in his bill. The
fish was, however, always taken away from the cormorant, and thrown by
one of the Fing Fangs into a well at the bottom of the boat.

“Cousin Ko,” said the miser, leaning forward to speak, “how is it that
your clever cormorants never devour the fish they catch?”

“Cousin Chang Wang,” replied the young man, “dost thou not see that
each bird has an iron ring round his neck, so that he cannot swallow?
He only fishes for others.”

“Methinks the cormorant has a hard life of it,” observed the miser,
smiling.

“He must wish his iron ring at the bottom of the Yang-se-kiang.”

Fing Fang, who had just let loose two young cormorants from the boat,
turned round, and from his narrow slits of Chinese eyes looked keenly
upon his nephew.

“Didst thou ever hear of a creature,” said he, “that puts an iron ring
around his own neck?”

“There is no such creature in all the land that the Great Wall
borders,” replied Chang Wang.

Fing Fang solemnly shook the pigtail which hung down his back. Like
many of the Chinese, he had read a great deal, and was a kind of
philosopher in his way.

“Nephew Chang Wang,” he observed, “_I_ know of a creature (and he is
not far off at this moment) who is always fishing for gain—constantly
catching, but never enjoying. Avarice—the love of hoarding—is the iron
ring round his neck; and so long as it stays there he is much like one
of our trained cormorants—he may be clever, active, successful, but he
is only fishing for others.”

I leave my readers to guess whether the sharp dealer understood his
uncle’s meaning, or whether Chang Wang resolved in future not only
to catch, but to enjoy. Fing Fang’s moral might be good enough for a
Chinese heathen, but it does not go nearly far enough for an English
Christian. If a miser is like a cormorant with an iron ring round
his neck, the man or the child who lives for his own pleasure only,
what is he but a greedy cormorant without the iron ring? Who would
wish to resemble a cormorant at all? The bird knows the enjoyment
of _getting_; let us prize the richer enjoyment of _giving_. Let
me close with an English proverb, which I prefer to the Chinaman’s
parable,—“Charity is the truest epicure; for she eats with many mouths.”

FOOTNOTE:

[E] Noted Chinese dishes.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

THE ILL WIND.


“IT’S an ill wind that blaws naebody good, Master Harry—we maun say
that,” observed old Ailsie, Mrs. Delmar’s Scotch nurse, as she went to
close the window, through which rushed in the furious blast; “but I hae
a dear laddie at sea, and when I hear the wind howl like that, I think”—

“Oh, shut the window, nurse! Quick, quick! or we’ll have the casement
blown in!” cried Nina. “Did you ever hear such a gust!”

Ailsie shut the window, but not in time to prevent some pictures,
which the little lady had been sorting, from being scattered in every
direction over the room.

“Our fine larch has been blown down on the lawn,” cried Harry, who had
sauntered up to the window.

“Oh, what a pity!” exclaimed his sister, as she went down on her knees
to pick up the pictures. “Our beauty larch, that was planted only this
spring, and that looked so lovely with its tassels of green! To think
of the dreadful wind rooting up that! I’m sure that this at least is an
ill wind, that blows nobody good.”

“You should see the mischief it has done in the wood,” observed Harry;
“snapping off great branches as if they were twigs. The whole path
through the wood is strewn with the boughs and the leaves.”

“I can’t bear the fierce wind,” exclaimed Nina. “When I was out half an
hour ago I thought it would have blown me away. I really could scarcely
keep my feet.”

“I could not keep my cap,” laughed Harry. “Off it scudded, whirling
round and round right into the river, where I could watch it floating
for ever so long. I shall never get it again.”

“Mischievous, horrid wind!” cried Nina, who had just picked up the last
of her pictures.

“Oh, missie, ye maunna speak against the wind—for ye ken who sends it,”
observed the old nurse. “It has its work to do as we hae ours. Depend
on’t, the proverb is true, ‘It’s an ill wind that blaws naebody good.’”

“There’s no sense in that proverb,” said Harry, bluntly. “_This_ wind
does nothing but harm. It has snapped off the head of mamma’s beautiful
favorite flower”—

“And smashed panes in her greenhouse,” added Nina.

It was indeed a furious wind that was blowing that evening, and as
the night came on it seemed to increase. It rattled the shutters, it
shrieked in the chimneys, it tore off some of the slates, and kept the
children awake with its howling. The storm lulled, however, before the
morning broke; and when the sun had risen, all was bright, calm, and
serene.

“What a lovely morning after such a stormy night!” cried Nina, as
with her brother Harry she rambled in the green wood, while old Ailsie
followed behind them. “I never felt the air more sweet and fresh, and
it seemed so heavy yesterday morning.”

“Ay, ay, the wind cleared the air,” observed Ailsie. “It’s an ill wind
that blaws naebody good.”

“But think of your poor son at sea,” observed Harry.

“I was just thinking o’ him when I spake, Master Harry. I was thinking
that maybe that verra wind was filling the sails o’ his ship, and
blawing him hame all the faster, to cheer the eyes o’ his mither. It is
sure to be in the right quarter for _some one_, let it blaw from north,
south, east, or west.”

“Why, there’s little Ruth Laurie just before us,” cried Harry, as he
turned a bend in the woodland path. “What a great bundle of fagots she
is bravely carrying!”

“Let’s ask after her sick mother,” said Nina, running up to the orphan
child, who was well known to the Delmars. Ruth dwelt with her mother in
a very small cottage near the wood; and the children were allowed to
visit the widow in her poor but respectful home.

“Blessings on the wee barefooted lassie!” exclaimed Ailsie; “I’ll be
bound she’s been up with the lark, to gather up the broken branches
which the wind has stripped from the trees.”

“That’s a heavy bundle for you to carry, Ruth!” said Harry; “it is
almost as big as yourself.”

“I shouldn’t mind carrying it were it twice as heavy and big,” cried
the peasant child, looking up with a bright, happy smile. “Coals be
terrible dear, and we’ve not a stick of wood left in the shed; and
mother, she gets so chilly of an evening. There’s nothing she likes so
well as a hot cup of tea and a good warm fire; your dear mamma gives us
the tea, and you see I’ve the wood for boiling the water. Won’t mother
be glad when she sees my big fagots; and wasn’t I pleased when I heard
the wind blowing last night, for I knew I should find branches strewn
about in the morning!”

“Ah,” cried Harry, “that reminds me of the proverb, ‘’Tis an ill wind
that blows nobody good.’”

“Harry,” whispered Nina to her brother, “don’t you think that you and
I might help Ruth to fill her poor mother’s little wood-shed?”

“What! pick up sticks, and carry them in fagots on our backs? How funny
that would look!” exclaimed Harry.

“We should be doing some good,” replied Nina. “Don’t you remember that
nurse said that the wind has its work to do, as we have ours? If it’s
an ill wind that does nobody good, it must be an _ill child_ that does
good to no one.”

Merrily and heartily Harry and Nina set about their labor of kindness.
And cheerfully, as the children tripped along with their burdens to the
poor woman’s cottage, Nina repeated her old nurse’s proverb, “’Tis an
ill wind that blows nobody good.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber’s Notes:

Obvious punctuation errors repaired.

Page 199, “grow” changed to “grew” (Dora grew uneasy)

Page 227, originally, footnote, right side of text missing, original
read:

  [B] A. L. O. E. remembers attending, many y
  ago, exactly snch an exhibition at the house
  friend, of a model of the Tabernacle made by a
  and her children for some charitable purpose.

This has been changed to:

  [B] A. L. O. E. remembers attending, many years ago, exactly such an
  exhibition at the house of a friend, a model of the Tabernacle made
  by a lady and her children for some charitable purpose.





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