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CHILDREN who have all their wants supplied by the kindness of loving parents scarcely imagine wbat it is to be poor, and aged, and lonely.

Whenever we see an old man begging for relief in the streets, we cannot but feel sorry for him. It may be his own fault that he is now

a poor man begging for bread in his old age; but even if it is we cannot help

being sorry for him. But it may not be through his own fault that he is now poor and lonely. If you knew that old man's history—if you were to ask him to sit down and tell it you, he might a tale unfold that would make you weep for pity. Perhaps he might tell you some such tale as this :

“When I was a boy my father and mother loved me, and I had brothers and sisters who loved me, and I loved them. I went to school and played like other boys. When I grew up to be a man I married and had boys and girls of my own, and we all lived in a good house, and had plenty to eat and drink and wear. But my wife died, and then several of my children died too, and the others, when they grew up, married and went abroad, and I never heard of them again. I then had a long illness, during which I sold all my furniture. Now I am left alone, and nobody cares for me, so I go about to beg a few halfpence that I may pay for my lodging and have something to eat."


“ Pity the sorrows of a poor old man,

Whose trembling limbs have borne him to your door;
Whose days are dwindled to the shortest span,

Oh! give relief, and Heaven will bless your store!". If he told you such a sad tale as this would you not be sorry for him ? Perhaps you may ask why do not the people of the town provide some place where poor old men may go and be comfortable? In some towns there are such places called almshouses, where aged men and women have a little room for themselves, with a bed in it, and a few shillings a week allowed them for food. In those towns where there are such places they are a great comfort to many such poor old people.

But every town has not such places where the aged poor can end their days in peace. We wish every town had such a place. We know there is the Union House to which they may go if they will, and have a bed and plenty to eat and drink. But they do not like to go there, for they think it is like being in prison, and there are so many noisy men, and women, and children in the house. This, we believe, is why many old people do not like to go there. And we do not know how to blame them, for we all love to be at liberty to go where we like. We wish there was some place in every town where the aged poor could be by themselves in peace and quietness.

We have written this about poor old people, that you may always treat them with kindness, and help them if you can.




But now came a day of trial for Abraham-a trial such as he had never yet been called to endure-a trial, under all the circumstances, such as never mortal man, before or since, was ever called to pass through.

How the Most High spake unto Abraham we are not told distinctly. Sometimes by a vision or a dream; but more frequently, it would seem, as in this case, by a living voice, face to face, as a man speaketh to his friend. Wonderful as now it seems to us, this favoured man appears before us as the companion and the friend of God, walking and talking with him; as conscious of the presence of the Lord as he ever was of any human being.

One evening, when all alone, perhaps engaged in private devotion, the well-known voice was heard, calling Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. But instead of a renewed promise, an awful and astounding command followed—Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains, which I will tell thee of.

Such a command was enough, one might almost think, to stagger the faith of an angel; enough, at all events, to shake the faith of any human being. But Abraham staggered not through unbelief. God had spoken, and he was dumb, he opened not his mouth. Not a word said he to Sarah-how could he !--not a word to any living soul. Within his own breast, all that awful night, he kept the solemn secret.

And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you. And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife ; and they went both of them together.

Such is the concise narrative of the sacred historian. What decision! what promptitude! Not a word of the reasons for the distant journey, or of the parting with Sarah, or of the thoughts of Abraham during the three days' travel, or of the inquiries of Isaac by the way. Now they are winding round the skirts of the Mount of Olives up the valley of Jehoshaphat, that they may reach the more gentle ascent to Mount Moriah on the north.


The silence which had prevailed during the journey was now broken by Isaac, and the short dialogue recorded in the sacred narrative took place. As in other parts of holy writ, the whole of what was said or done is not told-only the leading facts. Adhering to them, we attempt a paraphrase of that dialogue :


Behold the fire and the wood, my father:
But where the lamb for a burnt offering?

My Son, God will himself provide a lamb
For a burnt offering.

Son. (aside)

What can father mean?
All through the journey I have noticed
A strange and solemn sadness sit upon him.
Few are the words he speaks, and they
Are full of mystery. God will provide a lamb.

What can that mean? For is it not our custom
Always to bring the lamb for sacrifice ?
And then how slow and solemn were the tones
In which he spake; and when he looked at me
His eyes were filled with tears of tenderness,
I, wondering, was fain to ask the reason,
When he turned round and bade me follow him.
What can this mean?


Here we must stop.
Lay down the wood from off thy shoulders, Isaac,
And gather up these stones to build an altar.
Bring of the largest first, and I will place them.

'Twill be a large one, father, and much longer
Than that at Beersheba.

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