Many and many a time during Lucy’s after-life did the words of that sermon come back to her mind, associated with her father’s earnest, solemn tones, with the peaceful beauty of that summer Sabbath evening—with the old church, its high seats and pulpit and time-stained walls, and the old familiar faces whom all her life she had been wont to see, Sunday after Sunday, in the same familiar seats.
And what of the others? Bessie Ford, too, had noticed the coincidence, and had listened to the sermon as attentively as a somewhat volatile mind would allow her, and had gathered from it more than she could have put into conscious thought, though it was destined to bring forth fruit.
And far back, in a dusky corner of the little gallery, gleamed the bright brown eyes of little Nelly, who had ventured back to the church, and, hearing the familiar sound of the text, listened intently and picked up some things which, though only half understood, yet awakened the chords which had been already touched to a trembling response.
Even little Harry in some measure abstained from indulging in his ordinary train of meditation during church-time, consisting chiefly of planning fishing excursions and games for the holidays. How many older and wiser heads are prone to the same kind of reverie, and could not have given a better account of “papa’s sermon” than he was usually able to do! Fred, the quiet student, listened with kindling eye and deep enthusiasm to his father’s earnest exposition of the divine truth which had already penetrated his own mind and heart; and Alick heard it with a reverent admiration for the beautiful gospel which could prompt such noble sentiments, and with a vague determination that “some time” he would think about it in earnest.
Stella alone, of all the young group, carried away nothing of the precious truth which had been sounding in her ears. She had gone to church merely as a matter of form, without any expectation of receiving a blessing there; and during the service her wandering eyes had been employed in taking a mental inventory of the various odd and old-fashioned costumes that she saw around her, to serve for her sister’s amusement when she should return home. It is thus that the evil one often takes away the good seed before it has sunk into our hearts. Stella would have been surprised had it been suggested to her that the words of the last hymn, which rose sweetly through the church in the soft summer twilight, could possibly apply to her that evening:
“If some poor wandering
child of thine
Have spurned to-day the voice divine,
Now, Lord, the gracious work begin;
Let him no more lie down in sin!”
More Home Scenes.
“Tell me the story often.
For I forgot so soon;
The early dew of morning
Has passed away at noon.”