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Harry's father ploughed the ground and sowed the seed."
"Just so, Jane; and each seed contained the germ of roots and stalks. After the seed had been hidden under ground a few days it began to put out tiny roots, which drew support from the earth, and soon after a delicate green shoot appeared above the surface. This feeble shoot consisted of a bundle of leaves folded round the future spike, which, in this beautiful cloak of green, was able to resist all the cold of winter. In this we have a proof of God's goodness and power."
"And please, grandfather, tell us," said Harry, "does only one stalk of wheat grow from each seed ?" Sometimes a great many more. I have read of a gentleman who, to make an experiment, divided and re-divided the stalks which grew from one seed until he had five hundred plants, and, at harvest-time, 576,840 grains of wheat."
"If I am a sailor by and by, grandfather, and happen to be cast on a desolate island like Robinson Crusoe, I shall try to save a few grains of seed-corn, and then I may be able to have plenty of bread in a year or two."
"Very well, my boy, but I hope you never will have to try a home on a desolate island. Do you remember the change that took place in this field last spring?"
'Yes, grandfather; the stems grew very long and the green leaves which had covered them during winter faded away; I suppose the warm sun made the corn throw off its cloak; then the ear came, at first covered with little flowers, and it is now filled with seeds.
But, grandfather, why are the stalks of straw hollow ?"
"Well, here is another proof of the wisdom of God. It was needful to have the stalks narrow that they might not take up much room; tall, that the ear might be raised above the damp of the ground and enjoy the bright sunbeams; strong and flexible, so as to bend to and fro with the wind, and be able to bear the weight of the ripe grain without breaking: now a hollow tube is the only shape that would answer all these purposes. And these knots add to its strength, besides enabling it to regain its upright position after it has bowed before the breeze. Besides, the hollow tubes admit the ascent of the sap. When the grain is fully grown the knots become hard, so that the sap ceases to flow, the straw and ear become golden-coloured and bend down ready for the reaper's scythe. But my other lessonbook, my best book, tells me that God has done it all, for it says, 'Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness. The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing.' Now, children, this is your sowing-time; every truth that gets into your heart is a grain of good seed, every untruth a weed. Take care what seed you sow, for reaping-time will come and weeds injure the plants they grow near. Remember, too, that my field would never be filled with plenty, but for the blessing of God and the industry of man. You must also be busy both with head and hands, and never fancy, as some foolish people do, that it is no matter how idle or how wicked they are while young; for my two books tell me that
whatever we sow we shall also reap, the same in quality, but greatly increased in quantity."
The sun was sinking in the west, the shadows grew longer and longer every moment, so the old farmer bade the little girls run home, telling them he would be very glad to see them in a few days at the gleaning; and, watching them till they were out of sight, returned slowly to his humble but happy cottage.
ENGLISH BOYS IN AMERICA.
"ABOUT three years ago," says an American gentleman, two lads, of fourteen and sixteen years of age, came to me as inquirers about their souls. I asked them how they came by their religious feelings. They told me they had a few months before left their Sunday school in London, the John-street School, and that just before their departure their teacher, a pious lady, had put into the trunk of each a copy of James's' Anxious Inquirer,' and had prayed with and counselled them. That little book, with that sabbath-school teacher's prayers and instructions, was the seed planted. It accompanied them across the great Atlantic Ocean, and in the city of Philadelphia the fruit was made manifest in the conversion of these two boys to Christ. From that time to this they have been consistent followers of Jesus.
"A year ago last September I spent a sabbath in London. My time was precious, for there were a good many sermons to hear, and great men to preach them ; but I thought the best way for me to spend a part of
my sabbath would be to go to the John-street School and seek out the teacher of these two lads. I did so, and related, for the encouragement of that teacher in the great work of the sabbath-school, that her words of love and her gift of love had followed her scholars across the deep waters, and had been blessed of God to their conversion. Let Sunday-school teachers be encouraged, and let the young seek to get lasting good from all the loving deeds and words of those who seek to lead them to Jesus and to heaven."
THE MISSIONARY'S REWARD.
MR. MILLS, a missionary in a heathen land, had been preaching on the Lord's day about heaven; at evening he was standing by the bed of a dying convert from idolatry. "Teacher," said the dying man, "I understand that you have been preaching about heaven to-day; before another Lord's day I shall be there, and the first thing I shall do after I get there, will be to go to Jesus, and thank him for sending you from your home across the ocean to this dark land, to teach us poor heathen the way to heaven; and then I shall return to the gates of paradise, and there wait, wait, until you come; then I will take you by the hand and lead you to Jesus, and tell him, 'This is the man who taught me the way hither.'"
"Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." Mark xvi. 15,