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A Text For A Lifetime Post by :EricWPM Category :Short Stories Author :John S. Adams Date :October 2011 Read :4112

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A Text For A Lifetime

ONE word for humanity. One word for those who dwell in want around us. O, ye who know not what it is to hunger, and have naught to meet your desire; ye who never are cold, with naught to warm your chilled blood, forget not those who endure all these things. They are your brethren. They are of the same family as yourself, and have a claim' upon your love, your sympathy, your kindness.

Live not for yourselves. The world needs to learn this lesson. Mankind have to learn that only as they bless others are they themselves blest. It was the fine thought of the good Indian, Wah-pan-nah, that man should not pile up his dollars,--they may fall down and crush him,--but spread them out.

"There be dark spot on you brother's path,--go lay dollar there and make it bright," said he.

And since that suggestion came we have thought it over and over, and have found it a text for a lifetime of goodness. Go place the bright dollar in the poor man's hand, and the good you do will be reflected in rays of gratitude from a smiling face, and fall on you like the warm sunshine, to cheer and refresh and strengthen your own soul.

There are in this world too many dollars "piled up," and on the surface we see but the brightness of one. Were these all spread out, what a wide field of radiant beauty would greet our vision! Instead of being a useless encumbrance, a care, a constant source of perplexity to one man, this wealth would make every man comfortable and happy. It would perform its legitimate work, were it not chained by avarice,--that canker-worm that destroys the fairest portions of our social system.

And there is a joy in doing good, and in dispensing the bounties with which we are blest, that hath no equal in the household of man. To know that we have fed the hungry, clothed the naked, wiped away one tear, bathed in the sunlight of hope one desponding spirit, gives to us a happiness that hoarded wealth, though broad as earth and high as heaven, cannot impart.

This is the true wealth. This the wealth that rust cannot corrupt. There is no other real wealth in the universe. Gold and silver, houses and lands, are not wealth to the longing, aspiring soul of man. The joy of the spirit, which is the reward of a good deed, comes a gift from God, a treasure worthy of being garnered into the storehouse of an immortal being.

There was one spot on earth where joy reigned. It was not in marble palace; but in a low cot, beneath a roof of thatch.

There was an indwelling sense of duty done; a feeling somewhat akin to that which we might suppose angels to feel, when a poor, earth-wearied traveller is relieved by them.

That was a subject fit for a Raphael's pencil, as she, of form and feature more angelic than human, sat beside that cottage door, and her mild blue eye gazed steadfastly up to heaven, and the light of the moon disclosed to mortal view her calm and beautiful features.

Two hours previous, over a sick and languishing child a mother bowed with maternal fondness. She pressed her lips to his chilled forehead, and wiped the cold sweat from his aching brow.

"Be patient, my child," said she; "God will provide." And why did she bid him "be patient"? None could have been more so; for through the long hours of that long summer day he had lain there, suffered and endured all; yet not one sigh had arisen from his breast, not one complaint had passed his parched lips.

"I know it," said he. And the mother kissed him again, and again said,

"God will provide."

Mother and son! the one sick, the other crushed down with poverty and sorrow. Yet in this her hour of adversity her trust in the God of her fathers wavered not; she firmly relied on Him for support, whom she had never found forgetful of her. The widow and the fatherless were in that low tenement, and above was the God who had promised to protect them.

Again she whispered in the lad's ear, "God will provide."

The light of that day's sun had not rested upon food in that dwelling. Heavily the hours passed by. Each seemed longer than that which had preceded it.

A rap at the door was heard. She arose and hastened to it. No person was in sight; but in the moon's bright rays stood a basket, on which lay a card, stating that it and its contents were for her and her child, and that on the morrow a nurse and every comfort they might want would be provided.

She bowed herself beside it, and thanked God for the gift. Then with a joyful heart she carried it within, and her child's eye sparkled as he heard the glad news, that He who watcheth the sparrows had not forgotten them.

Let us return now to that thatched cottage. She, whose mild eye gazeth up to heaven, whilst passing the door of the famishing mother and child an hour previous, had heard the words with which that mother had encouraged her dying son.

With speed the maiden hastened to her home, and from her own limited store carried forth that basket, and heaven-like bestowed the gift unseen and unknown, save by Him who seeth and who rewardeth. The deed of mercy accomplished, she hastened to her home; and now, as she looks upward, how her eye beams with joy, and her heart breaks forth in songs of gratitude to Him who made her the instrument of so much good!

Gold, with all its power, cannot bring joy unless dealt forth with a willing heart like hers. The king in his palace, whose sceptre's sway extends over vast dominions, hath no pleasures capable of rivalling that which, by an act of charity, was brought to the soul of that young cottage girl.

Reader, whatever your condition, you can possess a joy like hers. If you have not what men call wealth, with which to help the weak and desponding, you have a smile of sympathy, a look of kindness, a word of love. Give those, and you shall know what a blessed thing is Charity.


(The end)
John S. Adams's short story: Text For A Lifetime

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