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The Christian Household. ,
LITTLE BY LITTLE.
THERE is a beautiful oriental proverb which says,
By patience and perseverance the mulberry leaf becomes satin.” How encouraging is this lesson to the impatient and desponding, who grow “weary in well-doing,” because they fail to realize at once the object of their aim and desire !
It is not by great deeds, but by little ones, often repeated, that the mightiest results are accomplished. One brick upon another, one layer upon another, and the pyramids of Egypt, “the most solid shadow of eternity which has fallen from the figure of our humanity,” were reared in the desert, to be the astonishment and admiration of all future ages. And the coral-workers, those tiny creatures, that must be magnifieil before they can be perceived, have, by their small but continuous efforts, constructed islands in the midst of the ocean which shall remain while our globe itself lasts. “Little by little;" it is thus that all great works proceed, and are consummated.
Have you ever understood this, my reader ?-or if so, have you not too often forgotten it? Have you not often failed in your most laudable resolves, through want of perseverance ?
Shall I remind you how powerfully you were impressed, some time since, as you rose from the perusal of that spirit-stirring biography of one of God's eminent servants, with the importance of cultivating those holy habits that threw such a radiant loveliness around his character ? Comparing yourself with him, you were ashamed of the contrast, and you earnestly purposed, depending on Divine assistance, to follow him as he followed Christ, and to strive after the development of those winning graces for which he was so remarkable, and in which you were
so deficient. And for a little while you struggled against temptation, and watched, with prayerful solicitude, over the growth of good feelings and the budding of generous actions; but it was only for a little while; all seems at a stand-still now, and your spiritual improvement is a beautiful imagining, instead of a living reality. “You did run well; what hindered you?” Your dislike of unremitting self-discipline,- your lack of perseverance.
were willing to begin, but you were not willing to keep on. Had you been told to do some great thing, however large the sacrifice which it involved, or the labour which it required, you would cheerfully have done it ; but a life of incessant pains-taking in little things of the daily, nay, the hourly pruning and training of your wayward tendencies, did not exactly suit you; you wanted to reach the mountain-top, not by a number of successive steps, but by one or two long strides; and as you could not do that, you gave up doing anything. Was rational ?
Will you let me take another leaf out of the records of your experience ?
Do you remember that useful and benevolent enterprise, in which you engaged with such cheerful energy, and such ardent zeal? Your example was quite a stimulus to your more tardy associates ; they caught your enthusiasm, and emulated your labours. But success did not come so speedily as you had expected or hoped for; unlooked-for obstacles presented themselves; you had to buffet your way through storms, and to face frowns of contempt; and the consequence was, that you were disheartened; your interest in the undertaking declined ; and it still goes on, it is not indebted to you for its continuance, for you are no longer to be seen in the ranks of
its supporters. Ah! what a pity it good idea on this subject. A poor is that you did not persevere. You woman had a supply of coal laid at really wished to be useful; you her door by a charitable neighbour. thought of Harlan Page, Thomas A very little girl came out, with a Cranfield, Alexander Paterson, and small fire-shovel, and began to take other kindred spirits, and you longed up a shovelful at a time, and carry to share their labours and to inherit it to a sort of bin in the cellar. À their revard; but you did not con- gentleman who was passing by said sider that it was the repetition of to the child, “Do you expect to get many little acts, not the performance all that coal in with that little of one great one, which won for shovel ?" The child seemed rather them so bright a name among their confused by the question, but mofellow-Christians. They were not at destly replied: “Yes, Sir, if I work their post to-day, and away from it long enough.” Now that's the sort to-morrow; not putting their hand of spirit you and I want—the deterto the plough one week, and looking
mination to toil on until our purpose back the next; but, alike through is accomplished. evil and through good report, they
For in the care and culture of our were instant in season and out of own hearts, nothing worth doing season: always abounding in the is to be done by fits and starts. A work of the Lord; ever ready to do bad habit cannot be eradicated, nor good and to communicate. In one a good one strengthened, by a few word, they persevered.
feeble, intermitting attempts. SancNow, my reader, will you learn tification is the work, not of a day, this lesson from the past, that steady nor of a year, but of a lifetime. progress alone insures success? What is the Christian's motto-the When John Wesley was once asked epitome of his whole history? “This by what magic he had rendered his one thing I do: forgetting those followers so efficient, he is said to things which are behind, and reachhave replied that the great secret ing forth unto those things which consisted in this, that they were "all are before, I press toward the mark at it, and always at it.” Each new for the prize of the high calling of adherent was not only set to work,
God in Christ Jesus.” Without this but kept at work. There was some- unceasing activity, this perpetual thing found for every one to do; and advancement, there can never be the such was the system of responsibility
attainment of the victor's crown. that was established, that they had Are you prepared to persevere; to to do it. And it was by these indi- go on, step by step, until the race is vidual, but constant and united run, and the laurel wreath encircles efforts, that such wonderful results were achieved. And if we want to
Nor is this principle of "patient do a great deal of good in the world,
continuance in well-doing" less we must be willing to do it in little needed in our plans of benevolence things. Drops make the ocean. Dr. than in our purposes of self-improve Johnson wisely observed—“He who
ment. For in trying to alleviate waits to do a great deal of good at sorrow, lessen ignorance, and mitionce, will never do anything." gate evil, there are many difficulties
Then, whenever you are at work, to overcome, and many disappointwhether at home
or abroad, and ments to bear, before our hopes are whatever your work may be, whe
fulfilled and our aims realized. We ther for yourself, or for somebody may sow our seed, and water it else, just make up your mind to daily; and when we think to gather press on, and persevere.
in the harvest, not one green blade One brick upon another, and the
may have peefed above the ground, highest wall is made;
and we must begin at the beginning, One flake upon another, and the and cast in fresh grain--and this, deepest snow is laid.”
perhaps, more than once or twice; A little child once furnished a and unless we are strong in faith
and resolute in perseverance, shall sit down in despair and say, It is of no use to try any longer ; and thus lose the recompence held out to us : “In due season ye shall
faint not.” The missionaries in the South Seas laboured there for many years before one convert cheered the dreary wastes of heathenism, or one voice was heard to ask with heartfelt earnestness the question, “ What must I do to be saved ?” But they faltered not in the delivery of their glorious message; they persevered in their tearful work; and now that wilderness has become the garden of the Lord, and the knowledge of Him covers that once dark portion of the earth, as the waters cover the sea.
Or to come nearer home-Will you step into Greenwich Hospital ? Look at one of its inmates, that old pensioner nearly eighty years of age. He has seen a great deal of service; was in three general engagements, and was three times shipwrecked. During the time he was at sea, very few passed through so many dangers, and had so many narrow escapes, and very few sank deeper in depravity; he was addicted to almost every vice.
And after he entered the hospital, he was never sober when he could get drink; and he has been seen for weeks together with black eyes and a bruised face, the result of his quarrelling and fighting with his mates. Well, a missionary visits this noble institution; and when passing through the ward to which this aged seaman belongs, the remark has frequently been made to him by the ignorant bystanders, “ There, Mr. C, if you can convert that man, you will do something worth doing; he is one of the most wicked in the hospital.” And while he has been conversing with him, others have said, “It is no good to talk with that man; you will never make anything of him.” But the missionary repeatedly replied, “While there is life there is hope; there is nothing too hard for the Lord.” severed, and after seven years continually talking with him, and exhort
ing him to flee from the wrath to come, he prevailed upon him to attend the meetings. After a while there was a great change perceived by his companions ; one sin was given up after another, and he is now quite an altered man. Last winter, when the snow was on the ground, and the weather intensely cold, he was regularly in his place, both at the morning and evening meeting, and appeared deeply interested in the truths of the Gospel which were expounded in his hearing. Is not the joy which the missionary feels at the thought that this is a brand plucked from the burning, a sufficient return for those seven years of earnest and prayerful efforts ?
Reader, have you tried, for a long time, in reliance upon God's blessing, to win back a wanderer from the error of his ways, to guide a soul to the Saviour, and have you hitherto tried in vain ? You are, perhaps, a Sunday-school teacher, and there is some troublesome boy or some selfwilled girl in your class, whose behaviour has caused you many a heartache, and whose ingratitude has well nigh exhausted your patience. And you are inclined to think that you have done enough for such a child; you had better turn your attention now to some more promising object; why should you waste your time and your energies on one who will never repay you for your trouble? Stay, my reader, hold on a little longer; continue still your arduous exertions; for “ he that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him." Do not give over your employment because it hitherto seems fruitless. It is at Christ's own command that you are labouring in His service; say therefore to Him, as Peter said, "Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless, at thy word, I will let down the net;” and who can tell but that the immediate and happy issue shall greatly exceed your largest anticipations? Only persevere.Life's Morning.
So he per
Mary BRYANT, the subject of this writes home to say that he dates his memoir, was formerly a scholar in conversion to the persevering efforts the Independent Sabbath school, of this excellent woman, when he Tiverton, and subsequently became formerly attended her school. there one of the teachers. About A benevolent lady of the town was the age of eighteen she was united in the habit of paying her so much to the church as a member. She weekly for the schooling of some of was one of the most remarkable the poor children of the neighbourwomen in the town, a Christian of hood, and this ultimately led to imno ordinary attainments, a living portant results. Her husband-the epistle of Christ, to be seen and read late and ever-to-be-lamented Amof all. She lived to the glory and brose Brewin, Esq., whose benevohonour of her Saviour, and conse- lence and kindness to the poor were crated to Him her time, her energies, proverbial, and whose loss to the and personal efforts to promote His town was irreparable—was induced spiritual kingdom. She was poor in to erect a large and commodious outward circumstances and condition building for the instruction of the of life, but rich in faith, and full of humbler classes, on the plan of the the Holy Ghost. Like Enoch, she British and Foreign School Society; walked with God, and her entire life and on the day of opening, when since conversion was one act of dedi- addressing the numerous spectators cation to His service.
who were assembled on the interestHaving been the subject of severe ing occasion, pointing to Mary Bryaffliction, and having lost the use of ant, said, “You may thank her that one arm, she was led to keep a small you have such a place built for the day school in Elmore, a district of instruction of your children.” A the town then notorious for its awful large number of young persons have immorality. In this sphere of labour been and are still educated at this she began to serve the Lord in all excellent school, where the most adhumility; and having the responsi;
mirable and efficient teaching has bility of a youthful charge committed been introduced for their mental, to her care, she made it a practice to moral, and religious improvement. talk to them individually on their On Sabbath evenings, from five to personal salvation, and also praying six o'clock, she was accustomed to with them. In this effort she was address the people who assembled at eminently successful. As an instance her house with great liberty, on the of her great fitness for the work of precious truths of the Gospel. Both instructing the young, an individual her rooms were generally crowded, occupying a respectable situation in and many date their conversion to life, and living in a foreign land, her instrumentality at these meet
ings. She possessed, in a remarkable degree, the grace and gift of utterance; and how earnestly she entreated sinners to flee from the wrath to come, and to seek salvation in a crucified Redeemer, can be testified by all who heard her fervid and heart-stirring appeals.
In prayer she so wrestled with God for His blessing on the dark and benighted population of that locality, that I may truly say I never heard the like from the lips of any other individual. She appeared absorbed in prayer, as if she could not let the Angel of the covenant go without receiving His blessing.
She usually rose at five in the morning, and continued in prayer and meditation until seven o'clock. Often did she rise from her bed at night, and go up to the garret in the dark, where alone she poured out her supplications to God for the Elmore people. It was not in vain, for in answer to prayer the time had arrived when it was found necessary to erect a chapel there, to meet the spiritual wants of a growing population.
The Rev. W. H. Heudebourck, the former pastor of the Independent church, kindly undertook the erection of a beautiful chapel, at a cost of £700. The cemetery attached is tastefully laid out, and admired for its neatness and elevated situation. One of the town missionaries has preached there for several years with great success, and this place of worship every Sabbath-day crowded with a most attentive audience, eager to listen to the word of God. A Sabbath school also, consisting of more than one hundred children, is in full operation there. Much good
has been done by the preaching of Mr. King, the excellent minister, whose labours among the people and incessant visiting have been attended with an abundant blessing. Three services are held there every Lord's day.
Mary Bryant was a constant visitor to the poor, and went in and out of their dwellings as a well-known friend, whom they delighted to see. She generally took tracts with her to distribute, and laboured hard for the conversion of her neighbours. She seldom spoke on any other subject but religion, and when she met people in the street she would stop and speak a word for her Master. She singled out individuals for special prayer, and in one instance; in particular, when very anxious for the salvation of a poor man, she wrestled day and night for him, until he was savingly converted to God, and was enabled to rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. She was really burdened in mind for the salvation of sinners, and when in prayer was in agony, pleading with God for the outpouring of the Spirit on the hearts of the ungodly.
No wonder, with such a spirit of prayer, that so many were converted and turned from darkness to light. More than twenty persons are said to have been brought to the knowledge of the truth through her faithful and unremitting labours; and how many more the last great day only can reveal. Like the beloved Persis, she laboured much in the Lord. Like Jesus, she went about doing good. What a blessing to the church and to the world would it be if Christian professors would imitate