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There are many Christians whom you will meet in hospital or workhouse who will think that there is nothing that they can do for their LORD. He has redeemed them—they are consciously trying to be His faithful ones, and yet they say, What can I do ? laid aside by illness, blindness, infirmity, old age-I can do nothing for CHRIST. Now indeed to these you have a message.
Can you not point out to them the teaching of their suffering ? that by it they may glorify God in the way they bear it; and can you not tell them of the gold needing purifying, and that their suffering is as the purifying fire to them? Can you not tell them that they may be made more and more like their Master, if only they will receive all the trial is intended to teach them, that they may in due reverence and humility have a fellowship even in His sufferings ? And work for Him.-Can they not set an example of patience, faith, love? Can they not say a word of comfort or help to others ? Can they not speak for Jesus? Can they not pray for others ? Surely then they can find something to do for Him. A beautiful prayer I once saw is most suited to those who are thus laid aside; I quote it here:
“LORD, Who art merciful as well as just,
Incline Thine ear to me a child of dust :
My nothingness, my wants, my sins, and my contrition.” Lastly, I would say, visit as regularly as you can. Spasmodic visits are not so useful in the long run, and a regular visitor is a pleasure to be depended upon that the people look forward to.
Work then patiently, lovingly, prayerfully, and though you may see little visible result, remember that good may be done that you cannot yet see, and the word for JESUS may bear much fruit.
There is present reward in the work, for it is not possible to give pleasure and receive none—and hidden away in the future which eternity alone will disclose, there will be much compensation for the hours you have spent in the wards, if spent for Jesus, by His smile and gracious "Inasmuch.”
L. E. D.
S. VALENTINE, B.M.
“As long as we can love and pray life has charms for us."-E. L. E. B.
AND are there yet no charms for thee
Some, that as music unto ears
O rising bells and bells of hope
Yea, for his darkest life, who learns
A GREAT deal has been said and written about those whose brave and glorious deeds have entitled them to be called heroes, and whose praises have been sung from world's end to world's end; but there are other heroes, braver and nobler, because more unselfish, of whom the world hears nothing; soldiers in that large army of men and women whose ensign is the Cross and whose leader is the Redeemer of mankind, who struggle with their invisible foes, and obtain the most glorious victory which crowns any mortal, the victory over their own passions and desires. No history records their deeds, no public memorial is erected to their memory, but on that day when all secrets shall be made known, many of them will be put before all the heroes who have been worshipped on the earth.
It is about one of these that I am going to tell you, though to form an estimate of a good man's character in all its strength and virtue, one must follow him through the temptations, trials, and joys of a lifetime; the record of a few weeks, be they never so eventful, would be quite insufficient.
Valentine O'Brien, universally known as “Val,” was an Irishman, " a regular Irisher,” his English friends called him, and certainly his broad, good-humoured face and twinkling blue eyes were very characteristic of the Emerald Isle, and so was the smile which lurked about the corners of his mouth, ready to break out, bright and sunny, directly anything touched his keen sense of the ludicrous. By profession he was a gentleman farmer, working his own little freehold farm with such success that he had saved quite a considerable sum, upon which he hoped soon to be able to marry Doris Mildmay, whom he had loved for several years with all the strength of his tender, manly heart. She was the daughter of Edward Mildmay, an Englishman by birth, who having married an Irish wife, had come some years previously to settle at Ochnaballagh, a large village in a remote part of Ireland, and was now land-agent to Colonel Baldwin, the largest proprietor of the neighbourhood.
1 “Valentine was especially remarkable for his love to God and man."
Doris was considered rather a beauty by the good folk of Ochnaballagh, and deservedly so; her face she had inherited from her dead mother, for it was a decided Irish type ; large deep-blue eyes, with dark brows and lashes, a sweet, sensitive mouth, and curly brown hair, were her chief beauties. A charming little face truly, with its candid smile and earnest brow, and yet certainly not a perfect one, for the nose was insignificant, and her firmly-moulded chin partook too much of her father's stern face and matched ill with her rather infantile features. Poor little Doris ! Her character was as contradictory as her face, for the English and Irish elements within her were continually at war, prompting her first one way and then another ; English caution and Irish impulses, English strength of will and Irish susceptibilities, English reserve and Irish warm-heartedness, all jumbled together made one of the strangest pot-pourris of character that ever tormented a pretty maiden of twenty. She needed a wise, firm hand to direct and mould her into a noble woman, and as yet she had received nothing but spoiling from every one ; her father, though a severe, upright man in his dealings with the world at large, was a willing slave to his only child; and servants, friends, lovers, even the poor cottagers, who loved her dearly, all conspired to ruin her temper; all save Val, who perbaps loved her more deeply than all the rest put together. But not for all the love he bore her would he abate one jot from the obedience he owed to the Higher Power Whom he had served unflinchingly all his life. He always told Doris exactly what he thought of her, and never omitted a reproof for fear of offending her ; more than once she had quarrelled with him in consequence of his out-spoken tongue, though in her heart there was no one she respected so much as Val.
The day on which I introduce to my readers the personages of this little tale, was a very important one for my hero, for it was the day on which he decided to ask Mr. Mildmay for his daughter's hand in marriage. He had originally intended waiting a little longer, but rumours of a rich and handsome young Englishman who had come to Ochnaballagh with the express purpose of winning Doris, rumours which proved correct in the main, made Val sò anxious that he determined to delay no longer. Accordingly on this bright summer morning he stood at the door of the agent's house, waiting admittance. Down in the smiling garden beneath he could see Doris sitting in the oak-tree swing, swaying gently to and fro in a sort of dreamy rhythm, herself the prettiest spot in the broad, sunny landscape; her curly dark head resting against one of the ropes, her soft eyes fixed on the distant line of purple-grey hills, a book lying open in her lap, she is too much absorbed in that favourite amusement of girlhood, -day-dreaming, to see him, and presently the door opens, and Val goes in to meet his fate.
Half-an-hour later he is hurrying away with quick excited steps and a fierce white face. One glance at the swing, a glance which brings fresh gall to his heart, and he is gone; by Doris' side stands a tall, good-looking man, whom Val recognises as Horace Mudie, his new English rival, to whom the girl is talking with great animation. Val, who bas met young Mudie the day before, laughs bitterly to think of his darling being linked to this dandy with his eye-glass, his indifferent face, and nonchalant, indolent manners. Had he been near enough to hear Doris defending her old friend, (whom Mudie had accused of being peculiar and “very Irish,") with all the eloquence of her own Irish tongue, he would perhaps have gone away softened ; but he, foolish fellow, imagined that she was coquetting with the Englishman. “Poor fellow !” thought the latter, who saw Val plainly, taking in the facts of the case at a glance, and having gone through the same ordeal that morning, though with more favourable results, he could afford to pity his unsuccessful rival. “Ah, well, one of us must go to the wall, I suppose, but I wish I felt more sure of her. What if poor Val were to be the favoured one after all ?"
Poor Val, indeed! Speeding away under the clear summer sky with rapid, uneven strides, blinded and choking with rage, anxious only to escape from the vicinity of Doris and her sunny home, and scarcely noticing where his steps led him, his lot seemed certainly very hard to