The children were quite interested in what their mother had told them. They knew that she earnestly desired rain, and that she often asked God to send it, before vegetation perished for want of it. They watched the sky with great anxiety, and when it became cloudy, and continued so from day to day, they thought surely a storm was near. After several days, there was a slight shower, but not enough to refresh the plants. Mary was greatly disappointed “I thought,” (she said to her mother,) “it was going to rain in answer to your prayer.”
“I thank God for that little rain,” said Eddy, as he talked about it. Mrs. Dudley told him that was right, but they ought to pray for more, it was so much needed.
The next Sunday Mrs. Dudley was not well, and could not attend church. When her children returned she asked Mary if they prayed for rain. “No, mother!” she answered; “but I did.”
The sky continued cloudy for some time, and then the rain gently fell for a day and a night, and all nature was refreshed and cheered.
Soon afterwards I left Mrs. Dudley’s family. When I had been absent about a fortnight, I received a letter from Mary. She told me about the bantams, and the flowers, and many other things in which I was interested. She wrote that it had “rained on Sunday, and all day Monday. I cannot help thinking,” she continued, “how good God is to send us rain when we most need it, and what cause we have for thanksgiving.”
I hope Mrs. Dudley’s children will never forget that God is the giver of every good gift, and that he likes to have people ask him for what they need. Children should think of God as their best friend, and should go to him in prayer, feeling as sure he can and does hear them, as they are that their mother does. In a season of drought they should ask him for rain, and when he sends it to make vegetation grow, they should thank him for that evidence of his loving-kindness.
Very beautiful were the grape-clusters as they hung on the graceful vine, and very tempting to the hand that was near enough to pluck them.
Two little boys came on an errand to the lady who lived in the house which the grape-vine shaded. It was reviving to come out of the city’s heat and dust, and enter that pleasant parlour, screened from the fiercer rays of the summer’s sun by its green curtain of leaves. The hot pavement and the glaring walls of the city seemed far distant, for the charm of the country was spread over that retired room. All city sights were shut out, and peace and quiet reigned within.
The lady was sitting at her desk, writing, when the boys entered. She spoke to them kindly, for they were objects of her kind care, although they did not live with her. They handed her a note which required an answer. She gave them permission to play in the yard, while she should write it. They were very happy, for it was an unusual pleasure for them. They examined the flowers which grew in the narrow bed by the high, close fence, and then they began to look wistfully at the rich bunches of grapes, which were within their reach. The lady had not told them that they might gather any, and they felt that they ought not to do so. But the tempter was near, and they listened to his suggestions.