This seemed to strike all favourably, and was voted upon, receiving an affirmative vote. It was further suggested and decided that Mrs. Lewis should lead all the Bible meetings.
“Then I shall take you in hand at once,” said Mrs. Lewis, “and announce that the next meeting will be at my house next Thursday afternoon, and the subject will be ‘How to Use the Book.’ I shall ask you to look out texts on the subjects, and to bring pencils and Bibles that you will not be afraid to mark, and do, dear sisters, let us give to the study of this Book the same zeal and painstaking that we do to our housekeeping, or our gardening or fancy work, then we shall receive a blessing—I am sure of it.”
THE BOOK OPEN.
Mrs. Lewis’ parlour was not like anybody’s else. Some of her neighbours said she was “queer, as much money as she had, too.” By “queer” they meant that it was perfectly incomprehensible to them, that Mrs. Lewis did not have her parlour hung in dark paper with gilt blommies; have lace curtains with very long trails, a dark, many-coloured carpet, mirrors, and handsome furniture wearing linen aprons; the whole thing shut up stately and dark, except on high days; this, instead of the cheery room where five-minute callers with cards and best toilets seldom came; people always “ran in” here and stayed awhile. This room was large and light, both wall and carpet a delicate tint of grey, brightened here and there by bits of colour in the shape of gaily-covered easy-chairs, rug tidies, and the like, yet nothing was too fine for daily use.
There were fine engravings on the walls, and plants and sunshine in the south windows. In the centre stood a large round table covered with books, newspapers, pen and ink; altogether it looked much more like a gem of a study than a parlour, but was the best and handsomest room in the house, whatever it might be called; and here Mrs. Lewis knit, and sewed and studied, here the fire was always bright and the welcome warm; young and old went in and out with freedom. Her table was supplied with the best and latest books and magazines, so making a sort of reading-room, as free and open to young men as though it were public.
The room was well filled on the Thursday afternoon appointed for the meeting, which was opened by a few earnest words of prayer; then Mrs. Lewis remarked, “I want to say in the outset, that I do not set myself up as a teacher in these gatherings; we are all learners together. Let us conceive ourselves to be miners digging for gold or precious stones, in the Lord’s mine, the Scriptures; then when he points out to one a precious gem that our eyes may not light on as we pass along, let that one hasten to show it to us also with something of the same eagerness that most of us would display if we found a jewel in our path. In thinking of this subject: ’How to use our Bibles,’ I am reminded