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God, that we keep his commandments." And his commands are not grievous, but in keeping them there is great reward.
THE CRUSHED CASKET.
MISS LILLY was in trouble. An accident had befallen her jewel case. It was broken, and the owner was in deep sorrow. She wept, she blamed her servant, she found fault with everybody. In vain her mother promised to buy another, and in vain her father pointed out the folly of making such a to-do about a trifling box, when the jewels it contained were uninjured. Miss Lilly loved the casket, and over its fragments she shed tears. I was a visitor at her father's house at the time, and, on a hint from him, I took the affair in hand, in the hope of turning the young lady's grief from what she considered the greatest trial of life that had visited her.
"Come, Miss Lilly," I said, " sit down by my side; dry those tears which you are shedding over a little box which can soon be replaced by a better, and I will tell you a story about a crushed casket, which I saw the other day. It is a true story, every word of it; you may rely on that. Your father knows all about it as well as myself, although perhaps you may not have heard him speak of it."
"Of course it is true," she said, trying to forget her grief, or you would not tell it me; but a story about another broken casket will not mend mine, will it ?"
"No, it will not; but it may do you good for all that. So will you listen ?"
"Well, the owner of the casket I speak of was ten years old at the time of the accident, just two years younger than you are at present, and as it is seven years ago, of course she is now seventeen. She was out trundling her hoop, and, falling on the kerb-stone, one of her legs was broken. A gentleman passing at the moment saw her falling and quickly lifted her up, but, poor dear, she could not walk. A cab was called, she was brought home, and a surgeon was sent for without delay; he set the bone, and everything that human skill could do was done. It was found, however, after many days, that though the bone was set and the leg likely to be restored to its former use, the spine of the back was also badly injured.
"You may be sure that Miss Elwyn's parents were in great distress about their dear child. More aid was sought; but, after many months of great suffering, it was found that the case was hopeless. The disease would not yield to human skill, and though seven long years have passed since the accident happened, dear Miss Elwyn has never stood upright since, and never will again so long as she lives in the world. She lies constantly on her back, and can do nothing for herself by way of moving her body, although her busy hands are seldom unemployed.
"Her father had a little couch on wheels made for her, on which she lies while her nurse takes her out on fine days to breathe the fresh air; and he had a pew formed for her in church, on which she lies on Sundays
looking up to the minister as he preaches the glorious gospel of Christ.”
"Poor thing!" said Miss Lilly, with a tear in her eye, "how very sad! I am truly sorry for her."
"Well, that is right; you should be sorry for the afflicted. The apostle says, 'Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them, and them who suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body;' but Miss Elwyn herself does not think the matter sad at all. She mourned over the crushed casket for a long time, but one day through the rent she saw a spark. ling gem of great value, of which she scarcely knew before; and now, would you believe it? she actually thanks God for the injury which was done to the casket, although she knows it can never be repaired in this world; and though her father is a rich man, all the wealth he has cannot buy another.".
My young listener looked at her parents and then at me, not knowing what to make of all this.
"Oh, sir!" she suddenly cried, you are surely speaking a riddle. You have not told me a story about a broken casket, as you promised.".
Indeed, I think I have. Was not Miss Elwyn's body a casket? and is not her soul a very precious jewel? Her severe trial was blessed by the Holy Spirit as the means of opening her eyes to the value of this jewel, and now she loves Jesus with all her heart, and is one of the happiest creatures I ever knew."
"Is she really happy ?"
Happy, my child! she truly is so. She sings nearly all day long, while she makes garments or
knits with her busy needles warm and useful articles for the poor. On two evenings every week she has a Bible class of young people. They come into her room, and attend to what she says, and go away again so noiselessly, for they all love her, and greatly prize her instructions. Besides all this, she reads a great deal, especially in the Bible, in which she takes great delight. Then she remembers the sermons wonderfully well, and talks over them with her brothers and sisters. No one can doubt for a moment that she is a true child of God, a happy disciple of the Lord Jesus.
"In a Sunday School and a District Visiting Society she takes a deep interest, selecting books for the former and tracts for the latter, and making herself useful in a great number of ways. At her request, too, the committees of these institutions often meet in her room, when she seems so happy to hear of their progress, and to aid them with any hints for their better working that may occur to her. But that which gives her the highest pleasure of all is to hear of the conversion of any sinner to God. Her heart swells and her eye sparkles with joy when told that a soul has been saved."
Does she suffer much pain ?" asked Miss Lilly. "At times she suffers severely."
"Does she not fret and feel unhappy, then, sir ?"
"No. At such times, if she is unable to hold the Bible herself, she asks some one to read about the sufferings of her Saviour, either in the twenty-second Psalm, the fifty-third of Isaiah, or at the close of the Gospels. But, indeed, it is hardly necessary to read to her, for she has committed to memory all these
passages, and very many more. As to fretting or even feeling impatient, she would think it a great sin, as indeed it is in any one; for we are all constantly receiving mercies at the hand of God, from whom we deserve nothing but anger on account of our sins. And not only have we many mercies from him, but he has also given us Christ, a glorious Saviour, the greatest and best gift of all; and if we believe in him, and love and serve him, we cannot but be happy."
"I FORGOT," says Freddy Osborne, when he is called up to recite his geography, "I forgot my book;" so he misses his lesson, and, besides the disgrace of going "down in the class," he loses much instruction, and discourages his teacher.
When his sick sister asks him to call, on his way to school, and invite her cousin Emma to come and sit with her the next day while her mother is away from home, Freddy says, "I will." The next day comes, and, relying on Freddy's promise, Mrs. Osborne goes out, and little Julia spends the day alone, watching and weary, with nothing to amuse her, and by the time her mother returns has cried herself sick with lonesomeness; and all because Freddy forgot.
Freddy's grandmother is very fond of him. She knits his stockings, tells him stories, nurses him when he is ill, and is a second mother in every respect. She has always been well, and seldom required care. Last winter she broke her leg on the ice, and now she sits