On my table lies a little bag. It has no beauty to render it valuable. It is not made of silk or velvet. The material is plain muslin, and that by no means of the finest texture. It is not very neatly made. The stitches are irregular. Sometimes they are piled one above another, and again they are scattered far apart. The hemming shows that no skilful seamstress held the needle. And yet this bag has afforded me much pleasure. Every stitch was made by the hand of love, and with a desire to gratify me and add to my happiness. It was a work of toil, for the fingers were unused to such labour. Patient industry and persevering effort were required to accomplish it. Self-denial, too, was practised, for play was forsaken on its account.
It was a gift to me from a dear child; a token of his purest and warmest affection; and that has made this coarse muslin more precious than the richest material could be, which had no such extraneous value.
What a blessing is love! How it enriches us! Without it we must ever be poor. “God is love,” and he has taught us to love one another. “Love is the fulfilling of the law.” We must love our neighbour as ourselves.
“Little deeds of kindness,
Little words of love,
Make our earth an Eden,
Like the heaven above.”
No offering of true love is valueless, however small or imperfect it may be. My little bag is rich in pleasant associations, and I never look upon it but with a full heart.
God does not accept what we do for him because of any peculiar excellence in our devotion, but because it is the result of our love to him.
On the day after one Fourth of July, I was obliged to go into the city. The cars were crowded with those who were returning, after spending our national anniversary in the country. How much they must have enjoyed that day of release from city labour, and dust, and close streets bounded by high brick houses! How beautiful to them the green fields, the shady trees, and the soft-flowing river! How they gazed on the hills luxuriating in verdure, and the valleys rich with their treasures of wealth and beauty!
“God made the country,” and all his works are perfect. I pity those who are pent up in a large prison-city with nothing but a dwarf-maple before their windows which at all resembles the country, and who have to look up, up, up, before they can get a glimpse of the blue sky, and the fleecy clouds which sail majestically along, ever varying from one form of beauty to another. Thank God, my young friends, that he has given you a country home, and never leave it, unless stern necessity compels you to make your abode in the hot, crowded, feverish city.