There are many children as destitute as these little girls, and many, very many, who have not even a feeble mother to care for them. Many poor children are sent out to gather the coal from the streets, or bits of wood where new buildings are being erected, and their bread they beg from door to door.
In some of our cities benevolent people have opened schools for these miserable children, where they are taught to sew and read, and to observe to some extent the decencies and proprieties of life. In some, a dinner is given to its pupils, and, where it is possible, a home for the homeless in the country.
Children often save a part of their money for missionary or other benevolent purposes. I cannot conceive a more suitable object for their benefactions than other children who are poor and destitute. “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” the Bible tells us.
I hope you do not forget to thank God for the comforts and happiness of home, which you enjoy; and I hope, also, that you will not forget that we have the poor with us always, and must do them all the good in our power.
“Have pity on them,
for their life
Is full of grief and care;
You do not know one half the woes
The very poor must bear;
You do not see the silent tears
By many a mother shed,
As childhood offers up the prayer,
‘Give us our daily bread.’”
Charley was a sweet little babe. It was a pleasure to kiss his plump cheek, and pat his fat and dimpled arms. He was a dear babe, and we all loved him, and our blessed Saviour loved him even more than we did.
Before Charley was two years old, he became ill. All that physicians could do was done for him, but he daily grew more and more feeble. The bright blue eyes lost their brilliancy, and became faded and dim. The plump and rosy cheek became hollow and pale. The fat and rounded limbs grew thin and weak, and we all felt that little Charley would soon be taken from us.
The same sweet smile lingered about his mouth, although pain and suffering had saddened that baby-face. He no longer tottered about the floor, but was confined constantly to his bed. Not there even was he to remain more than a few short weeks. The angel of death came, and bore him to the Saviour’s bosom. His friends looked at the beautiful casket, and felt that the spirit which had inhabited it, and made it precious, was no more there. They committed it tearfully to the grave, and, lonely and sorrowing, returned to their desolate home. The crib was vacant—the tiny shoe had no owner—the rattle lay neglected. There was no need of the noiseless step lest the sleeper should be awakened. Little Charley slept in death.
How sad and broken those loving hearts! Those parents were Christian parents, and they sorrowed not as those without hope. Jesus, their Saviour, had wept, and they knew their tears were not forbidden. One of the cords which bound them to earth was snapped asunder. They had one child in heaven, there to be a pure and sinless spirit in the immediate presence of his Father—God. There was comfort in the thought that Charley’s tiny bark had safely passed over the sea of life, and was securely anchored in the haven of eternal rest.