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“I must get outside, then," said the man, "for I have not much time for waiting," so he mounted, and the driver spread part of his own wrapper over his legs, another passenger having lent a hand to help him up.
"Thank you, sir," said the man; “I am but weak; but I'm sorry to give you the trouble.”
“No trouble, no trouble," answered the outside passenger—and he muttered to himself, “ You are not likely to trouble anyone long."
“That's where you come from, I suppose," said the driver, pointing with his whip towards the house for consumptive patients. “Yes," said the man, “I have been very
ill indeed; but I'm better now, wonderfully better. They say I may last for years with proper attention, and they tell me to be very careful of weather; but what can I do ?”
very cold and windy for you up here,” said the driver.
The man shivered, but did not complain; he looked about him with a bright glitter in his eyes, and every time he coughed he declared that he was much better than he had been.
After telling you so much about Could, his kind wishes, projects, and aspirations, I am almost ashamed to mention Can to you again; however, I think I will venture, though her aspirations, poor little thing, are very humble ones, and she scarcely knows what a project means.
So, you must know that having concluded most of her business, she entered a shop to purchase something for her dinner; and while she waited to be served a child entered, carrying a basket much too heavy for her strength, and having a shawl folded up on her arm. " What have you
in your basket ? ” asked Can. “Potatoes for dinner," said the child.
“It's very heavy for you,” remarked Can, observing how she bent under the weight of it.
“ Mother's ill, and there's nobody to go to the shop but me," replied the child, setting it down, and blowing her numbed fingers.
“No wonder you are cold,” said Can; "why don't you put your shawl on instead of carrying it so ?”
“It's so big,” said the child, in a piteous voice. “ Mother put a pin in it, and told me to hold it up; but I can't, the basket's so heavy, and I trod on it and fell down.'
“It's enough to give the child her death of cold," said the mistress of the shop, "to go crawling home in this bitter wind, with nothing on but that thin frock.”
“Come,” said Can, “I'm not very clever, but, at least, I know how to tie a child's shawl so as not to throw her down." So she made the little girl hold out her arms, and drawing the garment closely round her, knotted it securely at her back. Now, then," she said, having inquired where she lived, "I am going your way, so I can help you to carry your basket.”
Can, and the child, then went out together, while Could having reached his comfortable home sat down before the fire and made a great many reflections; he made reflections on baths and wash-houses, and wished he could advance their interests; he made reflections on model prisons and penitentiaries, and wished he could improve them; he made reflections on the
progress of civilization, on the necessity for some better mode of educating the masses ; he thought of the progress of the human mind, and made grand projects in his benevolent head whereby all the true interests of the race might be advanced, and he wished he could carry them into practice; he reflected on poverty, and made castles in the air as to how he might mitigate its severity, and then having in imagination made many people happy, he felt that a benevolent disposition was a great blessing, and fell asleep over the fire.
Can only made two things when she had helped to carry the child's basket, she kindly made her sick mother's bed, and then she went home and made a pudding.
THE PATRIARCH'S MISTAKE.
“All these things are against me!
So thought, and so said, the aged patriarch; and the circumstances in which he was placed seemed to justify his mournful conclusion.
His life had been a life of care and anxiety. His early flight from home, his painful disappointments, bis family discords, together with the death of his wife, and the sudden loss, in a deeply afflictive manner, of his favourite son, were events which might well have given a pensive tone to his character. And now, in his old age, the approach of famine was combined with the captivity of his second son in a distant land, and with the stern command which required him to part with his youngest born, his best beloved.
In deep anguish of spirit he exclaimed, "All these things are against me.'
It was very natural that he should feel thus ; that the thought of his children should depress his spirits. His springs of domestic joy had become the sources of his bitterest sorrow. It seemed as if every event which happened to him conspired against his welfare. The present filled him with grief, the future with fear; and yielding to the despondency which came over him, he wound up this pathetic enumeration of his trials-"Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away
"—with the touching words, “All these things are against me."
And many of us can respond to Jacob's feelings. Either in mind, body, or estate--in things temporal, or in things spiritual—we have great and unexpected trials to bear; and we are inclined to draw exactly the same inference from them that the patriarch did. We think we could get on with tolerable comfort through the remainder of our earthly career, if certain heavy misfortunes did not befall'us; we imagine that we should make rapid progress in our path to heaven, were we not hindered by numerous unforseen obstacles. Weary and discouraged by the opposition which we encounter from within and from without, we are ready to echo the patriarch's complaint, and say, “All these things are against me.'
It is natural, very natural, to reason in this way; but is it wise to do so ? Is our decision the result of right judgment ? It may appear so at the first moment; but, as hastily formed opinions are frequently incorrect ones, it will be as well to examine the subject more calmly:
Look at Jacob's subsequent history; did it corroborate the view which he had once taken of present and impending trial? You are acquainted with the beautiful records of his closing life, and you can therefore answer this inquiry. Ah! you know that the reality was exactly the reverse of his fears ; that the things which he chronicled as being “ against him,” proved, in a remarkable manner, to be “ for him.” The events which he deplored as calamitous were essential to his happiness. He had therefore made a mistake, a great mistake, in his calculations.
Now, gather this important and cheering lesson from the experience of Jacob—that your troubles, instead of being adverse to your true interests, are absolutely necessary for your future peace.
But you cannot see any probability of there being a bright sequel to your difficulties and disappointments.
Very likely not; neither could Jacob, when he be
wailed his lost son, and mourned over the departure of the child of his old age ; and yet it came at the appointed period. “At evening time it was light.” You must wait with hope and patience, till you shall read in your inner and external life, the happy development of God's gracious designs.
Or, if you never read it there, doubt not, but earnestly believe that wise, and holy, and loving purposes will receive their full accomplishment in your chequered and painful history. Cling with the full confidence of a loving faith to the comprehensive and cheering assurance, that “All things work together for good to them that love God." All things ? Yes; those sad disappointments, those arduous strug. gles, those pecuniary difficulties, and those heartrending bereavements, which you recall with such deep emotion, are as indispensable in the working out of God's long-formed plans of mercy and goodness, as those bright pleasures, those happy hours, and those prosperous circumstances, on which memory dwells with such regretful delight. Your troubles help to form the path-the only path-which can lead you to a happy futurity.
“All these things are against me!” Was this the language of the venerable patriarch, when he was folded in the embrace of his long-lost son, and when he beheld his glory and exultation as ruler over all the land of Egypt? Nay, in that blissful and dreamlike hour, the spirit of heaviness was exchanged for the garment of praise ; and the tried servant of the Most High felt how wise were all God's arrangements, and how mistaken had been his own ideas.
And such shall be the experience of all troubled and faint-hearted Christians. The time will come either in this world or the next-when they shall plainly see the true bearing of all earthly events; when they shall recognize the beautiful adaptation of the darkest providences to the end which God had in