And Ester, unused to it, and confused with her own attempt, kept silence, and let poor Sadie rest upon the thought that it was Florence’s goodness which made her ready to die, instead of the blood of Jesus.
So the time passed; the grass grew green over Florence’s grave, and Sadie missed her indeed. Yet the serious thoughts grew daily fainter, and Ester’s golden opportunity for leading her to Christ was lost.
THE SUNDAY LESSON.
Alfred and Julia Ried were in the sitting-room, studying their Sabbath-school lessons. Those two were generally to be found together; being twins, they had commenced life together, and had thus far gone side by side. It was a quiet October Sabbath afternoon. The twins had a great deal of business on hand during the week, and the Sabbath-school lesson used to stand a fair chance of being forgotten; so Mrs. Ried had made a law that half an hour of every Sabbath afternoon should be spent in studying the lesson for the coming Sabbath. Ester sat in the same room, by the window; she had been reading, but her book had fallen idly in her lap, and she seemed lost in thought Sadie, too, was there, carrying on a whispered conversation with Minnie, who was snugged close in her arms, and merry bursts of laughter came every few minutes from the little girl. The idea of Sadie keeping quiet herself, or of keeping any body else quiet, was simply absurd.
“But I say unto you that ye resist not evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also,” read Julia, slowly and thoughtfully. “Alfred, what do you suppose that can mean?”
“Don’t know, I’m sure,” Alfred said. “The next one is just as queer: ’And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.’ I’d like to see me doing that. I’d fight for it, I reckon.”
“Oh, Alfred! you wouldn’t, if the Bible said you mustn’t, would you?”
“I don’t suppose this means us at all,” said Alfred, using, unconsciously, the well-known argument of all who have tried to slip away from gospel teaching since Adam’s time.
“I suppose it’s talking to those wicked old fellows who lived before the flood, or some such time.”
“Well, anyhow,” said Julia, “I should like to know what it all means. I wish mother would come home. I wonder how Mrs. Vincent is. Do you suppose she will die, Alfred?”
“Don’t know—just hear this, Julia! ’But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you.’ Wouldn’t you like to see anybody who did all that?”
“Sadie,” said Julia, rising suddenly, and moving over to where the frolic was going on, “won’t you tell us about our lesson? We don’t understand a bit about it; and I can’t learn any thing that I don’t understand.”