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eyes look right on, and let your eyelids look straight before thee." Thus shall you best ponder the path of your feet, and thus shall all your ways be established.
"I AM ALMOST HOME." "I Am almost home," said a dying Christian to a young friend, to whom she was much attached, and who at her earnest request had come to pay her a farewell visit; "I'm almost home." She was indeed; the labouring breath, the emaciated frame, all told her days on earth were numbered; but the bright eye, through which the passing soul still shone bright, spoke of a hope beyond the grave.
For many years a faithful servant to an earthly master, she had yet more faithfully served her Master in heaven, and lived a consistent Christian life; she could say—" I am almost home."
Looking up eagerly to her friend, she asked, " But my dear, you think I'm safe?"
"Yes," said her friend; "for 'he that believeth on Him shall not be ashamed;' and you have believed."
"Yes," she said, closing her eyes, while an expression of the most entire trust passed over the worn face, "I have. I have hated sin with a perfect hatred, and desired above all things to serve him."
Not another doubt clouded her dying hours: a little more suffering, and she was with him whom her soul loved —her sorrow over. She had been sorely tried the last few years of her life, and now He who had never failed her in times of trouble on earth, took her home. Her last words, when the power of speaking was almost gone, was a message to her husband. She could not see him, for he was dangerously ill in the next room: "Tell him," she said, "I am going to heaven, where we shall meet—where we shall meet to part no more." They have met now: in a few weeks he also was laid to rest beside her.
One word of inquiry to the reader. If you were dying, could you say "1 am almost home." When all of earth is fading from you, when you are leaving all you love below, when you are going to stand before God, will you feel "I am almost home?" Is heaven anything to you now? will it be then a home you have looked and longed for?
Do you know the way thither ?" Jesus can make a dying bed feel soft as downy pillows are;" it is Jesus who takes away the fear of death, it is his love in the soul which lightens the dark valley, and chases from the ransomed spirit even the shadow of a cloud. Is this love precious to you? have you looked to Jesus? Look and live, is God's promise. "I came to seek and save that which was lost," are the Saviour's words. We are all lost in ourselves; do not wait till you come to die to find that out; do not leave the great work of repenting and believing till the last few days or hours of your life. When the body is full of pain and weariness, it is not the time to begin to think about the saving of your soul. Then you want something to rest on, something to comfort you, some one to be with you; and if you would have all this, you should go to Jesus now, ask him for pardon, peace, and strength, to serve him as long as he pleases you shall live here: ask for his Spirit to renew your heart, to prepare you for heaven; and then, when for you time is changing to eternity, when the lamp of life is flickering, soon to be put out for ever, then with you too it shall be well. You too will be going home, and as your freed spirit enters the pearly gate, you shall hear the entrancing words—" Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." You shall join the throng of those who have "washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb;" and from his presence shall you go out no more.
"NEDDY AND ME."
Some time since, while looking over the annual reports of a missionary society, I happened to see an entry which mvich excited my attention: "Neddy and Me, 61." Another year the firm of " Neddy and Me" paid bl., and once again between 61. and 71.
Soon after this time T visited the town where these sums had been given, and made some inquiry of a clerical friend, as to the persons who made use of this rather singular title. My friend smiled and said, "Ah, I can tell you all yon wish to hear: I know both 'Neddy' and ' Me ' very well; and one of the firm is in my Sunday and evening schools. I think the little history of this poor boy will 'interest you.
i "Nearly four years ago I became acquainted with a poor j boy named James W—. He had no parents, and had been taught to read at a 'ragged school.' He was related to one of my servants, and at the annual recitations and school feast this boy had a ticket given him. After tea some of the children recited, and I saw this poor child listened with great attention.
"Many persons say these exhibitions are injurious to the children, and calculated to foster pride and vanity. I shall not enter into this question, but merely state the fact as it really happened. One of the girls repeated a piece well known to teachers and pupils, entitled 'Do something for Jesus.'
"When all was over I saw James W— had tears in his eyes, and there was an expression of great interest spread over his face. I wished to encourage him, and said, 'James, you shall have a tea-ticket for the next feast, if your aunt says you deserve it.' He thanked me gratefully, and went away. I did not see him again for a long time: you may remember I was many months on the continent, and my next school feast took place under the direction of another.
"Christmas came again, and we met for the celebration of our missionary meeting. One by one the young collectors placed their boxes on the table. We read interesting papers connected with missions; we sang and prayed, and then the people retired. One boy lingered, and I asked his name. 'James W—,' he said. He then put into my hand a little brown bag: it was heavy; and emptying it on the table, I counted out, to my great surprise, between 51. and 61., principally in silver and a few copper coins. 'I give that for the missionaries, sir,' he said; and then, as if anxious to say no more, he hastily turned to leave the room. 'Stay a minute, my boy,' I said; 'sit down and let me know how it is you can afford to give so much.'
"James was some time before he found courage to tell his little history, but at last he gave me the following narrative. With the exception of a few words you would hardly understand of broad Somersetshire, I give the history in his own way.
"' All the day after the school feast, sir, I felt very sorry I could not do anything to help the poor people whom the good missionaries teach to read. I had learned to read, and I wished all of them might be taught to know who made them, and who died for them; but days passed, and I could not think of anything 1 could do. Next Sunday was Sacrament Sunday; after the sermon the gentleman went to the pews with plates to put the people's money in, and while they did so, the clergyman stood and said out of the prayer-book some sentences about charity. One was 'Be merciful after thy power: if thou hast much, give plenteously; if thou hast little, do thy diligence gladly to give of that little: for so gatherest thou to thyself a good reward in the clay of necessity.' Then the people soon left the church, all but those who stayed to the sacrament. I went also; but the words stayed in my mind, and I wished very much I could give something, however little. I had no money, but, thank God, I had plenty of strength; and as the long days came, I should have time also.
"' That night a very nice thought came into my mind, and I prayed God to bless it, and to make me able to carry it out. I make my living by buying fruit and vegetables, and selling them again. I determined to put by the money I got one day in each week, and I have done so the last year, sir. I do not wrong any one by this, for Neddy (my donkey, sir) is able to do plenty of work, and we get on bravely. I often wonder to hear boys grumble, and say times are so bad; I am sure I get on well, and I am very happy and thankful. Please take the money, sir; I must make haste, for it is late; and Neddy and me get up long before light in the morning.'
"' Tell me your name,' I said, 'I will put it in the list of ray juvenile collectors.'
"' No, sir, I would rather not; it would not be fair. I only do one half, and poor Neddy does the other. We are partners, sir. I give time, and Neddy gives labour; so one name must not go into the list, unless both names go.'
"' I shall put down ' Neddy and Me,'' I replied; 'and now good night, my boy. May God bless you, and bless this money you have collected. It will be used in sending his holy word to the heathen, that they may be taught to know Jesus Christ as their Saviour, and God the Holy Spirit as their guide and comforter.'
"James left me, and I resolved to find out more of him; and if I should be pleased with what I should hear, I hoped to assist him in some way.
"James did not bring ' Neddy' as far as my place of residence, so I had to go to his neighbourhood, and there in one of the streets I saw the 'partners ' a little in advance. Neddy was laden with potatoes, winter greens, and other ■ vegetables; and James carried a basket full of early salad, I which he grew in boxes. I watched him go to a house, then he turned down a street, and I lost sight of him. I asked to see the mistress of the house where James had sold some vegetables, and she replied to my questions respecting James in a very kind manner.
"' He comes here three days a-week,' she said, ' and is quite a favourite of ours. I have never known him cheat me of a farthing; and, if he says his vegetables and fruit are fresh, I would take his word more than that of the first greengrocer in the town. Only last week my servant being ill, my daughter, a mere child, went to the door to take in the usual supply. Mary saw some very large Spanish onions, and told James to lay them with the rest. James begged her to take others, saying those she had taken were rather injured by the frost. "Don't take these, miss: I bought them by mistake nearly in the dark, this morning. I was very stupid to be taken in; but I will not let anyone be taken in by me: please to take some of the others, miss; I am certain of them being good."
"' I can quite depend on James,' continued the lady, 'and I am beginning to subscribe and take interest in the ragged schools. If they inculcate principles such as these, every one should support them.'
"I then again went in quest of the little costermonger, and found him where the lady told me he lived. I told him to come to my house, for I had a supply of fine table fruit lately sent me; and I gave it to him as a token of my approbation; and, as table fruit was scarce that year, James was delighted with the gift.
"I at first intended to get him some situation, but soon determined to leave him and Neddy to fight the battle of life together, and, if at any time he should need help, to give it to him. So he has gone on, as he says, 'bravely,' and is one of my pupil teachers in the schools. He has left his former abode, and now has a comfortable lodging near us. As you are aware, he still keeps up the subscriptions to the Missionary Society; and certainly from his general conduct, and the little traits of self-denial and truthfulness he displays, I believe him to be one of those rare but beautiful characters, 'a good and happy child.'
"He has great influence with his schoolfellows, and often talks to them in a very useful and kind manner; and he never seems so joyful as when he has brought a fresh boy