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When the sun shone brightly, the ground glittered and sparkled as if strewn with thousands of diamonds. Emma and Jane, with their father and mother and little brother, all went to the house of God together, and much they heard about the birth of that Saviour, "who, though he was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, that we through his poverty might be rich;" and how he came to earth as a little child, and suffered all his pain and sorrow, and died on the cross to save us. A great deal more they heard, which their father tried to help them to remember, by talking about it during their walk home.
When they had finished their dinner, their mother gave them a miuce-pie to take to poor Jessie Lee, the lame girl. She also bade them take some sprigs of holly with them to make the room look “cheerful like;" for Jessie had no kind mother, as Emma and Jane had. Her parents both died when she was quite young, and left her to the care of an aunt who went out to work at the gentlemen's houses in the neighbourhood. Many a long weary hour did Jessie spend on her bed in her lonely room; but no murmuring ever was heard from her lips, for the kind minister and his sister, who often came to see her and read to her from God's holy book, had led her to see how all her sufferings were a token of God's love to her, and that she must prove her faith and love to God by the way she bore them. And when her pain was very bad she would think of all her Saviour suffered for her, and then she said “her own pain seemed to grow better.” She loved, too, to think of that bright home the Saviour has gone to prepare for those who love him, where there will be no more paiu
or sorrow, and where God will wipe away tears from all eyes. She would learn by heart passages in the Bible, and hymns, so that in the dark hours it might not seem so long. She was very fond of Emma and Jessie. Often when school was over, and on balf-holidays, they would take their work and sit by her bedside and hear her repeat her hymns. She would, in return, make them tell her all they had learned at school. Many a lesson did the little girls learn at her bedside, which was never forgotten in after life.
Jessie's eye brightened, and a sunny smile lighted up her pale face, as they now came running into the room to wish her - a happy Christmas ;" "and yet," said Jane, “it hardly seems right to wish you a happy Christmas, when you are obliged to lie here all day on that hard bed.”
Oh, yes,” said Jessie ; “it has indeed been a happy day to me, for I have tried to join at home in the beautiful service of God's house. It would be a happy day to every one, if they would remember why our Saviour came to the earth, and all the numberless blessings his coming procured for us. Oh, how kind of you to bring me some holly: I was just wishing for a piece to hang up beside the picture of our Saviour's birth, which kind Miss Mary brought me yesterday, for a Christmas present.”
“I declare," said Emma, “your room never looked 80 smart before;" and she called upon Jessie and Jane to admire the way she had fastened the sprigs of holly about the room and window. “ Thank you so much," said Jessie, “it does indeed look pretty; but please give me one little piece here close by me on my bed, I love so
to look at it. The beautiful glossy leaves and bright scarlet berries make me think of the bright event of our Saviour's coming. I have got by heart such a pretty little hymn for to-day, which I must say to you before you go."
Jessie then repeated to the little girls a hymn for Christmas day, beginning, “Once in royal David's city.” After which, as she was getting very tired, Emma and Jane went home, promising to come and see her every day of their holidays.
After tea, they sat round the fire and sang some hymns, and their father read aloud a little story for Christmas, which he had bought the day before ; and thus ended their happy Christmas day; and if other little girls and boys would be as happy, they must begin by asking God to help them to do right, as Emma and Jane did. They must also try, as they did, to make others happy, instead of only pleasing themselves.
Again, before going to bed, they did not forget to kneel and thank their Father in heaven for all his blessings he had sent them. Those of our young readers who wish to partake of their happiness and of God's love and blessing, must try to act as they did.
THE LAST SIXPENCE. THE biting north wind had swept across the moor for several days. It had shaken the last leaves from the trees, which now stood naked and dreary in the blast. And on the wind's broad dark wings the frost had come
too, leaving many a mark of its progress on the lonely
It had bound the little streams in chains; had flung, in passing, its crystal ornaments of hoar over every blade of
grass ; had tamed the wild freedom of the birds, and forced the timid hare to leave her safe
retreat in search of food. Indeed, the frost and north wind seemed to like that wild moor so well, that they were resolved to winter there.
Not that the place was very tempting; for the old farmhouse, which had once been so full of busy life, was now empty, and, except the little cottage at one
end of it, where Mrs. Duncan and lier two children had lately come to live, there was not a spot, as far as the eye could reach, to tempt a visitor to stay. The very first night the north wind and frost came near that cottage, they made many an attempt to get in. They tried the keyhole, and shook the doors and windows, and got down by the chimney. Then the frost returned to the ttle window and peeped in. There were two children, a boy about ten, and a girl not more than eight years of age, kneeling, with bowed heads, by their mother's side, and praying for many a good and perfect gift, especially for the safety of their dear father, who was far away. And as the children crept to bed, the frost wove a beautiful feathery curtain and flung it across the window, to surprise and delight the little ones in the morning, then turned to freezea falling shower; so that, before Agnesand Donald Duncan woke, the gh hills, the broad moor, and their own little brown cottage, were all dressed in a mantle of purest snow.
Long before either the sun or the children rose from their winter sleep, Mrs. Duncan got up, and, throwing some bits of bog-wood on the peat fire that still smouldered on the hearth, opened her Bible to read, by the uncertain light, some of those precious promises which are in the thirty-seventh Psalm. “ Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed," she read, and then paused a moment to think. “ Trust in the Lord.” “Well, I believe I do, both for soul and body.” And do good.” “I fear I have fallen short here. James did good, I know; still, he has been obliged, by the wickedness of