Page images

it was he who first led the way to the reformation. He very properly maintained that those who desired to know the truth should be allowed to search the Scriplures for themselves; and he spent many years in the great work of translating the whole of the Bible into English."

"Oh, but were the people permitted to use it ?"

" I'm afraid I cannot exactly tell you how far the translation was permitted at first to be used. Of course the number of copies would not have been very great, for the art of printing was not, you know, yet invented, and to copy out the whole of the Bible in writing was a work of immense labour. Wycliffe managed, however, to circulate his translation more than might have been expected, for he had been in the habit of bringing into his sermons long passages taken from the Old and New Testament, and these passages seemed so beautiful to his hearers, that they were anxious to know more of the book that contained them."

"I hope," said Robert, "poor Wycliffe did not get into trouble for what he taught, I'm afraid of hearing that he met with some horrible death at last."

"You need not be, Robert. Wycliffe had indeed many enemies, and he would probably often have been in great danger, had he not found a powerful friend in John of Gaunt (who was son, you know, to king Edward III). John of Gaunt seems to have approved of his doctrines, and through his protection Wycliffe was enabled to continue preaching and striving to reform the church. When more than sixty years of age, this stern old reformer was seized with a paralytic stroke, of which he died, in his own rectory at Lutterworth. He appears to have been buried in peace, but many years after his death his bones were dug up and burnt, in order to show the hatred in which his memory was held.”

"Oh but that seems a very mean thing to do, though!" cried Emma, “it could do him no harm indeed, yet it was such a miserable sort of revenge! Papa” added she, “were not his followers called Lollards, and didn't they afterwards increase very much in England ?”

"Lollards!” exclaimed Robert, “what a very odd name, why were they called Lollards, I wonder?"

“My dears, don't overwhelm me with so many questions at once,” said their father smiling, “or I shall never be able to answer them properly. Yes, Wycliffe's followers were called Lollards, though it doesn't seem certain how they came by the name. Some say the word “Lollard' comes from an old Saxon word meaning to lull,' or sing to sleep, and that it was given to these people in consequence of their fondness for singing hymns, -others say that ‘Lollards' means a poisonous weed, and that it was first used as a term of reproach. After Wycliffe's death, the Lollards increased so much in numbers, that the clergy began to grow alarmed, and thought it necessary to punish those who would not give up their errors, as they were called.”

B. A. J. SELF.DENIAL. 26 Now, girls, what is the lesson for to-dày ? Mary, you read it.” Mary ; 21st and 22nd verse, 19th chapter Matt. “ Jesus said unto him, if thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor,

and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful : for he had great possessions."

Now to-day, instead of explaining the passage word by word, I will tell you a story, which I think will illustrate the meaning of our Lord's words. You all know Margaret Dowson. Oh! Ann, I see a smile upon your face: you wonder, I daresay, what story I can have to tell you about such a poor lame creature; wait awhile, and listen to me.

Last night I was going up Bedford-street, calling at a few houses on my way, and among others called on Margaret; you all know she lives with her old mother, and also there is a young girl who calls her Aunt. Margaret was not at home, but everything about the house was beautifully neat, though the place was poorly furnished, Mrs. Dowson was in bed, which she


has not left for nearly two years. When I inquired after her health, and said, “how sorry I was she could not get up," she answered, “oh Miss, if you only knew how many things I have to be grateful for, you would not pity me. Now there's my girl, she would make any one happy, however ill and miserable they were. And poor girl, she has had pain and sorrow in her life, too."

I naturally inquired what she meant.

"Oh, it's a long story, but I should like you to know how good my Maggie is. Ten years come next Whitsuntide, we were all going to Dunham Park; then, you know, there was no railway, and we were all going by .boat.' We were happy that day. Maggie had been looking forward to it with so much pleasure, as a rest from mill work. It was just one of those days when you might ha' thought that Heaven and Earth were real friends, and that God smiled on all. There were four of us; father, ah! he is gone now), Maggie, her sweetheart, and I. We were merry enough as started off: but it's always the way, as sure as we think only of ourselves, we shall suffer for it. When we started we never thought of trouble and sorrow, nor did we rightly think who was giving us the pleasure. We spent a merry day, the young ones dancing and playing amongst the trees, and eating plenty too. Six o'clock came very soon, and we were obliged to be off. Father and I went first into the boat, and after us came Maggie and Jem. Just as our girl was coming down the steps, her foot slipped, and before we could save her, she fell into the water. Jem jumped in after, and soon caught her dress, and dragged her up the steps. But in falling she had knocked her knee against the side of the boat, and broken her leg. My poor child! It was a weary time before we got her well again ; and then how changed she was : no longer the merry bright creature, but a poor cripple. It seems a sad thing to talk about, young lady, but looking back now, I can say, thank God for it!

Well, there was one great trouble my poor girl had to bear; that was, all the lads and lasses about laughed at her, and called after her as she went down the street. One day she said to me, · Mother, don't


[ocr errors]

think I might do something to make those children love me? Ever since I have been to the Sunday School, it seems somehow, as if I was getting better in my mind like, and as if I wanted to make everybody love me, by doing them some good.'

“Well, child," said I, (for then you know miss, I did not understand my Meg), “ do you want to give them a treat to anything, do you think it will answer ?”

""Oh! Mother,' she answered, 'I don't mean anything like that, I want to make them love me, and also to love one another, as teacher said we should. Well, so the year passed on; and my girl got me to go with her to chapel of a Sunday night; and then I like understood what she had meant. So then she set to work, and after she came home at nights, just got a few children together to teach them a bit; for you see, she was always rather clever at her books. It was cholera time that summer, and she tried to help nurse a bit, by sitting up at night, and by saving her money, managed to buy a thing for some poor body, now and then.

“One night she came home, leading a little girl by the hand, whose father and mother had died that day of cholera. The poor child was in a sad taking, but our Maggie managed to comfort her. She has lived with us ever since, and my girl is as fond of her, as if she was her own child. So Maggie now need not fear that people will laugh at her; she is loved wherever she goes, and now spends her time and the little money she has, upon one or two girls trying to make them good.”

Now, do you see, how this shows what our Lord meant when he said, Go, and sell all that thou hast, and give to the poor.”

How truly has Margaret tried to do what she thought to be right, and how wrong of us to laugh at her peculiarities. We may all do something if we try. First, by performing little duties at home with right good will; then, perhaps, at some future time, we may look forward to working in a larger sphere. But, meanwhile, let us " be up and doing ;"-ever ready to give sympathy and a helping hand

to those around us ; so that, hereafter, we may have, like Maggie, a "treasure in Heaven."

[ocr errors]



(Concluded from page 145.) ONE summer

it was in the month of July, we had had a hot bright day, but towards evening the sky became grey and the air oppressive,-with a sensation of thunder. The window of the large, shady room was open, and Lucy and Helen sat' drawing at the centre table. I caught the murmur of their quiet conversation, but did not take in a single word that was said. Outside there were some birds twittering; and then the cackle of a few geese as they waddled across the lawn; the click of a gate at a little distance, that was all. I sat with the quiet pictures of Schiller and Lotte in a. book

upon my lap.* They, I thought to myself, were dead now; they had lived and worked, and now, “after life's fitful fever, they slept well.” Why should not I live and work? How dull and subdued everything was around ;—my heart was filled with a great depression ;—there was a great world of sound and life out there, I knew, beyond the horizon, and beyond my hearing. Again I listened, listened for the hum of the life that I was shut out from ; there was nothing; only the twittering of girls and birds. Oh my heart ! how I longed to go out into the unseen world; how dreadful, I thought, to be in deuth, surrounded by life! One, two, three, four, five, so the clock tolled. cousins got up and shut down the window, and began to clear the table for tea. I did not rise to help her,, but went dreaming on till awakened by my uncle's sudden entrance.

He walked up to me and said, Oh, here Annie ! I forgot to give you a letter that came for you this morning, from your brother I suppose." A letter was a welcome thing to me; I tore it hastily

and read. Yes, it was from Alfred, written just in his bright, buoyant, happy way, and telling me he was getting on admirably, and hoped I was too, " for," said he, "a farm-life must be full of interést, I think, and

One of my



course the more uncultivated the place is, and the more that wants doing about it, the more interesting it * Schiller was a great German poet, and Lotte was the name of bis


« PreviousContinue »