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The Valley of Jehoshopbat.
HIS valley is between Mount Moriah (as a continuation of Mount Sion), and the Mount of Olives on the east. It is about three quarters of a mile in width. In winter the brook Kidron runs through it with great violence. By the side of this brook our Saviour and His disciples sat and sang a hymn, thus giving sanction to this kind of divine worship. In this valley the traveller is shewn the well of Nehemiah, where he is said to have restored the fire of the altar after the Babylonish captivity. There are also many grave-stones with inscriptions in Hebrew characters; among these are the reputed tomb of Zacharias and the pillar of Absalom (See 2 Samuel, xviii. 18). The prophet Joel (iii. 1, 2.) names it as a place of pleading between God and the enemies of his people. By many Jews and Mohammedans this passage is applied to the general resurrection and judgment. Hence the former consider it the highest honour to be buried there, and the latter have left a stone jutting out of the wall of the city for the use of their prophet, Mohammed, who they say will sit on it and call the whole <world from below to judgment. We do not believe this, but we are sure that all must appear before the judgment seat of Christ to be judged of the deeds done in the body, whether they be good or whether they be bad, May it be said to all our readers, "Well done, good and faithful servants, enter ye into the joy your Lord."
Tillie's Thrush; or, The Two Prisoners.
ILLIE BROWN was a kind-hearted little boy; such a kind-hearted little boy that I am afraid few of the children who read this story are quite like him. I remember reading of Sir Charles Metcalfe, that, even in the land of mosquitoes, the Indians spoke of him "as the great chief who could not kill a fly ;" and little Willie, like the Indian Governor, had his heart filled with love for every living thing.
Many wondered how the child had learned to be so gentle; for Brown, the miller, was a stern, hard-hearted man; his wife had long been dead, Willie's brothers and sisters were rough, rude children, and Aunt Susan, who took care of them all, though a pious woman, could [not understand Willie, and had even beaten him one day, because she could not get him to drown some little kittens in the burn.
The Browns lived in an old-fashioned house close to the brook that turned the mill-wheel, and (almost hidden from all passers-by on the high road by a copse of hazel and young oaks.
The morning on which my story begins succeeded a night of great storm. Willie, with his brothers Tom and Charles and his sister Marjory, were sent into the wood to gather the broken branches before the villagers could come to take them away; but they found the task far beyond their strength, for the fury of the storm had brought down more than one strong tree, which in its fall had carried smaller ones with it. As they scrambled among the broken trees Marjory exclaimed, "See what I have found!"
It was a young thrush, only half fledged, and quite unable to fly.
"What will you do with it?" asked Tom.
"Throw it away, to be sure," she replied; "who would keep a common bird like this? If it had been a parrot, or even a magpie, that one could teach some tricks to, it would be worth having."
Give it to me," said Tom; "it will be fine cating for the cat."
"Oh, no, no,” cried Willie; "give it to me. nest. Do, Marjory, like a dear, give it to me."
And seizing the fluttering little bird, he began to climb lightly up an oak tree. Pretty high up, in a hollow where several branches met, he had caught sight of the nest; but when he reached it, it was quite empty, and a laugh from Tom explained the reason: "I was up there before you this morning, Master Willie, and I let this youngster fall on the way down.”
Willie could have cried with vexation; but, putting the little thrush carefully in his pocket, he began to descend. Unfortunately, the wind had cracked one of the branches which he had laid hold of, and, as it gave way beneath his weight, he vainly tried to grasp another; but, having lost his balance, he fell with great severity to the ground.
When carried home, it was found that his spine was so seriously injured that he would never again be able to run about, or even to walk without crutches.
I see the
Poor Willie thought this very hard to bear. I have seen stones which glistened in the sunshine just like true diamonds, but when it faded away, all their glory vanished too, and I found them only worthless quartz; and thus Willie's good humour, which had seemed so real when he was healthy and happy, was all disappearing now, and he was fast becoming a peevish and discontented child.
"If I had been doing anything bad, Aunt Susan," he said one day, "it would not seem strange; but when I was trying to save the little bird, God should not have punished me this way."
"Hush, hush, child!" said stern Aunt Susan;
is plenty of badness in you to be punished for; and I've often told you not to be so ready climbing trees, but to mind the work you had to do.”
"I will never climb another," cried poor little Willie, bursting into a passion of weeping. Aunt Susan could not hide a few tears too; but she tried to amuse him by bringing the thrush, which Marjory had taken from his pocket unhurt, and kept for him in a cage.
It was well for Willie that soon after this Aunt Susan's sister Ruth came to the mill; for she was of a much gentler nature, and never tired of trying to amuse and soothe the suffering little boy. He soon told her all his troubles. "If Tom had fallen when he harried the nest, it would have been all right; but I was doing good, and it seems so strange to be punished for it, Aunt Ruth!"
"My dear child," she answered, "we know that sin is the cause of all trouble and sorrow; but we are never punished for doing good, and you may be sure that God was pleased that you helped the thrush; and you see the little creature's life was spared when you fell, I dare say, just that it might be a reward and pleasure to you."
"But, Aunt. Ruth," he asked, "why did I fall and get larned for life?"
Children can ask many questions that older people cannot answer; and this question of Willie's puzzled Aunt Ruth. At last she said,―
Why do you not open the door of this cage and let the thrush away?
"Oh, Aunt," said Willie," how can you be so foolish? It would be very cruel; for the poor little thrush has no home now, and if I let him out he would soon die, he is so young, and the other birds would very likely peck at him."
Well, dear," said Aunt Ruth, " I see it is not cruel of of you to keep the bird in its cage; and it seems to me that you yourself are very like a little bird, whom God, for
some kind reason, has put into a cage; and you must not allow yourself to think that it is cruel of Him just because you do not know why (He does it. Your thrush knew nothing about you, and did not love you, till you found him and nursed him in this cage; and I think, now that you are a little prisoner too, Jesus will teach you to know and love Himself in a way you never did before."
But," said Willie, "when my thrush is big enough, I
And you, dear child," said Aunt Ruth, "will not be always caged either. Do you know, Willie, I think you will not be lame all your life; but even if you should, if this trial teaches you to love and trust in Jesus, we know that when you die He will give you angels' wings,—you will run and not be weary, and walk and not faint.”
Many such conversations Willie and his aunt had; and before she went home she had the comfort of seeing him no longer murmuring and discontented, but a little child who had patiently taken up the heavy cross that was laid upon him.
When he was first able to move upon crutches to the door, he asked Marjory to bring the bird's cage beside him; and, opening the door, he said, Go away, sweet little thrush, and be happy in the woods."
The thrush hopped to the open door, and down upon the gravel-walk, but seemed in no hurry to quit his kind preserver. At last he spread his wings, and flew to the branch of a tree where Willie could still see him, and poured forth a song of thanks; such a sweet, sweet song, that Willie thought he had never heard anything so beautiful before.
At night, when he looked at the empty cage, he felt very sad; but he read in the Bible, that Aunt Ruth had given him, these beautiful verses : "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your