He Giveth Songs in the Night.

 •  9 min. read  •  grade level: 8
DURING a summer sojourn in one of the most charming watering places of our island home, I wandered one afternoon over some steep and rugged cliffs, whose precipitous sides are lashed by the Irish Sea; and having walked a long way, I began to feel very tired, and longed for a friendly habitation where I could rest awhile. I cast my eyes around, and a short distance before me stood a tiny cabin, which might possibly be a human dwelling, and yet I asked myself, "Who can dwell here so far from is fellow-man?”
I resolved to seek an answer to my query and the rest I needed. I soon found myself at the door of the cottage; it was larger than I at first fancied, and having given a gentle tap, was answered by a cheerful "Come in." I entered, and found myself in a clean and pleasant kitchen, whose bare walls and scanty furniture betokened the poverty of the inmates. At a small deal table sat an aged woman whose bright contented face, bespoke a heart and mind at peace, happy even amidst the privations which were her lot. I asked to be allowed to rest a little, and most courteously was the permission given, as the old woman dusted a chair with the corner of her apron, for me to sit upon.
During this operation I had time taw notice the things around me, and found that. I had disturbed this aged woman whilst reading the Bible, which lay open on the table at which she had been sitting. In order to draw her into conversation, I asked if she lived there alone, and if she did not feel very lonely dwelling so high above the town. Her answer soon assured me that I had not judged wrongly of her on my first entrance into the cottage. "No, Ma'am," she replied, “I am never lonely or sad, I have my good man through there," pointing to a door," he has been Confined to bed for more than two years, but more than that, I have Jesus ever with me, and He says, am with you always, even unto the end of the world.' Whenever I am weary I just open this Book, and there I find such sweet words of peace and comfort, that I forget all my fatigue. Jesus is so precious to my soul I want nothing else. He satisfies all my desires.”
“Does your husband share your joy, is he happy on his bed of pain?” I asked, feeling very much interested in this aged couple so far away from the world's din and turmoil.
She then told me the story of his illness, that he used to work in the copper mine, and one day, the tackle, which drew the men up from the mine, broke, and they were dashed to the bottom—happily, no one was killed, but all were more or less injured. Her husband was so severely hurt, that he could never again return to his work, and it was not thought probable that he would ever rise again from his bed. When he had recovered a little from the first shock of the fall, he was quite overwhelmed with thankfulness to God for sparing his life.
“It was then," she said,” that I thought God would answer my prayers for my husband's soul, and I spoke to him of Jesus more earnestly than I had ever done before. So eagerly, and so constantly did I tell him of the Father's love in sending His son to die for sinners, and what Jesus was to me, that he one day exclaimed, I see it all now, I am a sinner, but Jesus died for me.' Since he has found Jesus to be his Saviour, he is never tired of hearing me read the Bible, or repeat some sweet hymns. He cannot read at all, so I teach him a text every day, and the hymns he likes best I say over to him so often that he soon learns them too; and when I go down into the town to buy a bit of something to eat, I know he will be quite contented till I come back, for he can talk to Jesus and praise Him for all His love and goodness.”
I asked her what means of livelihood she had since her husband could no longer support her. She replied, “Eh! bless you, Ma'am, my God always finds a way to feed His poor children. The gentleman, who owns the mine, gives us five shillings a week, and the ladies at the manse send us soup in the cold weather; and when we have nothing to eat, I just kneel down and ask God to send us some, and sure enough He does; somebody comes with a loaf of bread, and a bit of tea, or some nice broth for my poor man, which we share together. The Bible says, 'Ask, and ye shall receive; ' Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it.' So you see, ma'am, we have only to take God at His word and He will give us all that we need." She concluded by saying, “If John were awake he would like to talk to you, Ma'am.”
She then arose, and going into the other room, found that her husband still slept, and as I had already stayed more than an hour, I took my leave, promising to go again at an early opportunity. The next week was unfavorable to mountain-climbing on account of heavy rains, and my visit was deferred until the week following, when I started early one sunny morning to ascend the cliffs, knowing that I should find a friendly welcome at the top.
When I reached the cottage, no response greeted my knock for admission. I knocked again, and, after waiting awhile, I venture, to open the door and walk in. There was no occupant of the kitchen, but the door which communicated with the inner room was open, and there, stretched upon the bed, was the sick man of whom I had previously heard. As soon as he saw me he begged me to come in and pointed to a chair near the bed for me to sit upon.
When I was seated he said, “I dare say you are the lady Mary told me about, who called the other day when I was asleep.” I told him I was, and that I had come to talk to him of Jesus whom he loved. He thanked me and. said, “If you only knew what a sinner I've been, you would think I ought to love Him. He has forgiven me so much, and died for me that I might live with Him forever. I cannot find words to tell of all His goodness, ' Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name.' Just when you came in I had been saying to myself those beautiful verses beginning, ' Safe in the arms of Jesus.' Yes, lady, I want nothing else but to rest in those arms forever. I am hastening home." Again he repeated the lines, and. when he came to the words, "Hark, 'tis the voice of angels," a radiance overspread his countenance, his voice became very faint, and ere the last words were uttered, he had gone to finish the song, “in the beautiful Eden above.”
I watched him for some time, for so quietly and peacefully had he passed away, that it seemed as if he were only sleeping, then I knelt in prayer, and ere I rose from my knees the widow entered and joined me, and only as I interceded for her, who was left behind, did she become conscious that her loved one had passed from earth. When I related all that had occurred in her absence she rejoiced, even amidst her tears, that God had taken him so gently. We talked together for some time, of the home to which he had gone, of the joys and glories of the place, the happy meeting of those we have loved and lost, and I read to her Rev. 21. and 22. We were both cheered and comforted. I left her, never to meet her again on earth. I was summoned to a distant sphere, and ere another summer's sun had dawned, she had gone to join her husband in the realms of the blessed.
Dear reader, one word for you ere I close. Do you know anything of this Jesus, on whom these aged people placed their confidence, and their hope? Can you trust Him for time? Are you resting on Him for eternity. If so, you need fear no evil, no sorrow can harm you, no trial crush you. “All things are yours, for you are Christ's, and Christ is God's.
It may be that some will read this, who know not a Saviour, because they have never wanted one. The day is coming, my dear friend, when you will want a Saviour—the hour of death— the Day of Judgment.
Where will you be if you have no Saviour then? Oh! is it not time to be in earnest? You know not how brief your life may be Visit the mining districts of our land, read the reports of our railway traffic, and learn how many leave their homes in the morning to return again no more but as mangled lifeless corpses.
Reader, can you say? “This will not be my case." Pause and think, ere it be too late. Turn to the loving Jesus who waits to receive you, hear the gracious words, " Whosoever will, let him take the water 'of life freely.” You have nothing to do to purchase this salvation, it is free, unmerited. The serpent-bitten, dying Israelite, in the wilderness, asked no questions as to the power of the brazen serpent to heal, he was eager enough to be cured of his malady, he was told to look and he would live; as soon as he raised his failing eyes to the summit of the pole on which was placed the emblem of his disease, he at once felt his breath renewed, his strength increased—he was cured. Oh! sinner, look and live, look unto Jesus, see Him lifted up on the cross for you, look unto Him and be saved. Only believe!
S. J. B.