Images de page

The persecutor heard, but, far from being either softened or convinced, he was filled with fresh rage. "It is a snare," he cried. "O base and wicked Christian! thou hast instructed that child to answer thus." Then, turning to the boy, he said, more mildly, "Tell me, child, who taught you thus to speak ? How did you learn this faith ?"

The boy glanced up to his mother's face, and then replied, "My mother taught me that Jesus loved little children, and I love Him for His love to us."

"Let us see now what the love of Christ can do for you," cried the cruel judge; and, at a sign from him, the lictors, who stood ready with their rods, after the fashion, of the Romans, instantly seized the trembling boy. Fain would the mother have saved her timid dove, even at the expense of her own life. She could not do so; but she could whisper to him to trust in the love of Christ, and to maintain truth. And the child, feeble and fearful as he was, did trust in that love, nor could all the cruelty of his tormentors separate him from it. "What can the love of Christ do for him now ?" asked the judge, as the blood streamed from that tender flesh.

[ocr errors]

'It enables him to endure what his Master endured for him," was the reply of the weeping mother.

Again they smote the child, to torture his mother.

"What can the love of Christ do for him now ?" they asked again. And tears fell, even from heathen eyes, as that Roman mother, a thousand times more tortured than her son, answered,

"It teaches him to forgive his persecutors." And the boy watched his mother's eye, as it rose

up to heaven for him, and he thought of the sufferings of his dear Lord and Saviour, of which she had told him; and when his tormentors inquired whether he would not now acknowledge the false gods they served, and deny Christ, he steadfastly answered, "No; there is no other God but one. Jesus Christ is the Redeemer of the world. He loved me, and I love Him for His love."

Then, as the poor child fainted under the repeated strokes, they cast his bruised body into the mother's arms, crying, See what the love of your


Christ can do for him now."

And as the mother pressed him gently to her bleeding heart, she answered, "That love will take him from the wrath of man to the peace of heaven."


Mother," murmured the gasping child, "give me a drop from our cool well upon my tongue.


Child, thou shouldst not have time to receive it; ere it was here thou shouldst be drinking of the river of life in the Paradise of God."


She spoke over the dying, for the little martyr spake no more. And thus the mother continued: Already, dearest, hast thou tasted of the well that springeth up to everlasting life-the grace of Christ given to His little one. Thou hast spoken the truth in love; arise now, for thy Saviour calleth for thee. Happy martyr, for His sake may He grant thy mother grace to follow thy bright path!"

The boy faintly raised his quivering eyelids, looked up to where the elder martyr was, and said again, "There is but one God, and Jesus Christ, whom He has sent." And, so saying, he died.— Churchman's Companion.



I HAD for many years, from reading Legh Richmond's "Annals of the Poor," a great desire to visit the village the scene of her life, and visit the grave the last resting-place of Little Jane, "the Young Cottager." I had never read without interest the life and death of this young Christian, and therefore, while staying some time ago in the Isle of Wight, I started one evening to behold the


spot where her remains had been commited to the dust, "in sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life." The road to Brading lay through meadows and cornfields, bywoods, and through green lanes, the high hedges of which served to shelter from the rays of the sun; and after a pleasant walk of about four miles, I came in sight of the venerable old church, which is considered to be the oldest in the island, having been built in the year 704. Most of the gravestones contained verses extolling the virtues of the departed, and attributing to them a religion which for the most part they had lived to despise. A stranger visiting a churchyard like this, and reading the gravestones, might, as he left the place, be ready to say, "These all died in faith." But I was not so deceived, knowing the custom of the English to carve their tombstones with "lying verse."

At the north-east corner of the church is the grave of Little Jane. I found the grave in good order, and the gravestone comparatively new, the following lines from the pen of Legh Richmond are inscribed on it :


"Little Jane."

Who died Jan. 30th, 1799, in the fifteenth
year of her age.

Ye who delight the power of God to trace,
And mark with joy each monument of grace,
Tread lightly o'er this grave as you explore
The short and simple annals of the poor.
A child reposes underneath this sod,
A child to memory dear, and dear to God,
Rejoice yet shed the sympathetic tear,

Jane the "Young Cottager," lies buried here.

I thought, as I stood by her grave, of that voice,

and those words John heard from heaven, saying, "Write from henceforth, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord," and I thought too of the challenge of the apostle, "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?" I mused much over her short history, and, as I looked on the village, wondered if any were still living who knew her in her life; I thought to myself as I left her grave, "Farewell, Little Jane; though by this time worms have destroyed thy body, yet in thy flesh shalt thou see God, when He shall come to be admired in all them that believe." By this time the sun was sinking in the west, and the shadows of the tall elms were thrown across the graves; the day was closing with all the serenity of a summer's eve, which struck me as being emblematic of those peaceful hours which witnessed the closing scene of Little Jane's life.

Adjoining the churchyard, and in the centre of a beautiful flower garden, stands the vicarage house, once the dwelling-place of Legh Richmond; from this house and this garden this good minister sent forth the young of his flock to learn the verses inscribed on the tombstones-with what result we know, as in the instance of Little Jane. But Legh Richmond has long since been gathered to his fathers, and this place which knew him once shall from henceforth know him no more. I left the churchyard to visit the cottage where Jane had lived, triumphed, and died. I found it at the far end of the village in a lane which led to the fields; a passion flower, the finest I had ever seen, almost hid the front of the house; it was now in full blossom. I thought, as I looked on the room in which Little Jane died, of her last words. " 'She suddenly," says Legh Richmond," rose up with an unexpected expression, threw her livid wasted arms

« PrécédentContinuer »