Small Means and Great Ends online

. (page 1 of 7)
Online LibraryUnknownSmall Means and Great Ends → online text (page 1 of 7)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Produced by Amy Petri and PG Distributed Proofreaders. Produced from
images provided by Internet Archive Children's Library and University
of Florida.

[Illustration: THE WIDOW'S POT OF OIL.]



Word of Truth, and Gift of Love,
Waiting hearts now need thee;
Faithful in thy mission prove,
On that mission speed thee.



From the encouragement extended to our worthy publisher on the
presentation of the first and second volumes of the Annual, we conclude
that the experiment of 1845 may be regarded as a successful one, and the
preparation of a little work of this kind an acceptable offering to the

The present year, our kind contributors have afforded us a much more
ample supply of interesting articles than could possibly appear. We
regret that any who have so generously labored for us and our young
friends, should be denied the pleasure of greeting their articles on the
pages of the Annual. Let them not suspect that it is from any
disapproval or rejection of their labors. Be assured, dear friends, we
are more grateful than can properly be expressed in a brief preface. Our
warmest thanks are due our old friends, who, in the midst of other
arduous duties, have willingly given us assistance. Let our new
correspondents be assured they are gratefully remembered, although we
have not the pleasure or opportunity to present their articles to our
readers in the present volume. They are at the publisher's disposal for
another year.

May the blessing of our Father in heaven rest upon the little book and
all its mends.



* * * * *

Small Means and Great Ends

Mary Ellen

The Dead Child to its Mother


The Young Soldier

The Stolen Children

My Grandmother's Cottage

The First Oath

The Fairy's Gift

A Lesson taught by Nature

Florence Drew


The Little Candle

"Are we not all Brothers and Sisters?"


The Boy who Stole the Nails

The Childless Mother

The Motherless Child






"Oh! how I do wish I was rich!" said Eliza Melvyn, dropping her work in
her lap, and looking up discontentedly to her mother; "why should not I
be rich as well as Clara Payson? There she passes in her father's
carriage, with her fine clothes, and haughty ways; while I sit
here - sew - sewing - all day long. I don't see what use I am in the world!

"Why should it be so? Why should one person have bread to waste, while
another is starving? Why should one sit idle all day, while another
toils all night? Why should one have so many blessings, and another so

"Eliza!" said Mrs. Melvyn, taking her daughter's hand gently within her
own, and pushing back the curls from her flushed brow, "my daughter, why
is this? why is your usual contentment gone, and why are you so sinfully
complaining? Have you forgotten to think that 'God is ever good?'"

"No, mother," replied the young girl, "but it sometimes appears strange
to me, why he allows all these things."

"Wiser people than either you or I have been led to wonder at these
things," said Mrs. Melvyn; "but the Christian sees in all the wisdom of
God, who allows us to be tried here, and will overrule all for our good.
The very person who is envied for one blessing perhaps envies another
for one he does not possess. But why would you be rich, my child?"

"Mother, I went this morning through a narrow, dirty street in another
part of the city. A group of ragged children were collected round one
who was crying bitterly. I made my way through them and spoke to the
little boy. He told me his little sister was dead, his father was sick,
and he was hungry. Here was sorrow enough for any one; but the little
boy stood there with his bare feet, his sunbleached hair and tattered
clothes, and smiled almost cheerfully through the tears which washed
white streaks amid the darkness of his dirty face. He led me to his
_home_. Oh, mother! if you had been with me up those broken stairs, and
seen the helpless beings in that dismal, dirty room you would have
wished, like me, for the means to help them. The dead body lay there
unburied, for the man said, they had no money to pay for a coffin. He
was dying himself, and they might as well be buried together."

"Are you sure, Eliza, that you have not the means to help them?" asked
Mrs. Melvyn. "Put on your bonnet, my dear, and go to our sexton. Tell
him to go and do what should be done. The charitable society of which I
am a member will pay the expense. Then call on Dr. - - the dispensary
physician, and send him to the relief of the sick one. Then go to those
of your acquaintance who have, as you say, 'bread to waste,' and mention
to them this hungry little boy. If you have no money to give these
sufferers, you have a voice to plead with those who have; and thus you
may bless the poor, while you doubly bless the rich, for 'It is more
blessed to give than to receive.'"

Eliza obeyed, and when she returned several hours after, her face
glowing with animation, and eagerly recounted how much had been done for
the poor family; how their dead had been humanely borne from their
sight; how the sick man was visited by the physician, and his bitterness
of spirit removed by the sympathy which was sent him; how the room was
to be cleaned and ventilated, and how she left the little boy eating a
huge slice of bread, while others of the family were half devouring the
remainder of the loaf; her mother listened with the same gentleness. "It
is well, my daughter," said she; "I preferred to send you on this errand
of sympathy, that you might see how much you could do with small means."

"I have a picture here," she continued, "which I wish you to keep as a
token of this day's feelings and actions. It is called 'The Widow's Pot
of Oil.' Will you read me the story which belongs to it?"

Eliza took her little pocket Bible, the one that she always carried to
the Sabbath school, and, turning to the fourth chapter of the second
book of Kings, read the first seven verses. Turn to them now, children,
and read them.

"You can see in this picture," said her mother, "how small was the 'pot
of oil,' and how large were some of the vessels to be filled. Yet still
it flowed on, a little stream; still knelt the widow in her faith,
patiently supporting it; still brought her little sons the empty
vessels; the blessing of God was upon it, and they were all filled. She
feared not that the oil would cease to flow; she stopped not when one
vessel was filled; she still believed, and labored, and waited, until
her work was done.

"Take this picture, my daughter, and when you think that you cannot do
good with small means, remember 'the widow's pot of oil,' and
perseveringly use the means you have; when one labor is done, begin
another; stitch by stitch you have made this beautiful garment; very
large houses are built of little bricks patiently joined together one by
one; and 'the widow's small pot of oil' filled many large vessels."

"Oh, mother," said Eliza, "I hope I shall never be so wicked again. I
will keep the picture always. But, mother, do you not think Mr. Usher
would like this picture to put in the 'Sabbath School Annual?' He might
have a smaller one engraved from this, you know, and perhaps cousin
Julia will write something about it. I mean to ask them."




"O, lightly, lightly tread!
A holy thing is sleep
On the worn spirit shed,
And eyes that wake to weep;
Ye know not what ye do,
That call the slumberer back
From the world unseen by you,
Unto life's dim faded track."

How beautiful, calm, and peaceful is sleep! Often, when I have laid my
head upon my pillow happy and healthful, I have asked myself, to what
shall I awaken? What changes may come ere again my head shall press this
pillow? Ah, little do we know what a day may unfold to us! We know not
to what we shall awaken; what joy or sorrow. I do not know when I was
awakened to more painful intelligence, than when aroused one morning
from pleasant dreams by the voice of a neighbor, saying that Mary Ellen,
the only daughter of a near neighbor, was dying. She was a beautiful
little girl, about three years of age, unlike most other children. She
was more serious and thoughtful; and many predicted that her friends
would not have her long. She would often ask strange questions about
heaven and her heavenly Father; and many of her expressions were very

One day she asked permission of her mother to go and gather her some
flowers. Her mother gave her permission, but requested her not to go out
of the field. After searching in vain for flowers, she returned with
some clover leaves and blades of grass. "Mother," said she, "I could
find you no flowers, but here are some spires of grass and clover
leaves. Say that they are some pretty, mother. GOD made them." Often,
when she woke in the morning, she would ask her mother if it was the
Sabbath day. If told it was, "Then," she would say, "we will read the
Bible and keep the day holy." Her mother always strove to render the
Sabbath interesting to her, and to have her spend it in a profitable
manner. Nor did she fail; for little Mary Ellen was always happy when
the Sabbath morning came. The interest she took in the reading of the
Scriptures, in explanations given of the plates in the Bible, and the
accuracy with which she would remember all that was told her, were truly
pleasing. Her kind and affectionate disposition, her love for all that
was pure and holy, and her readiness to forgive and excuse all that she
saw wrong in others, made her beloved by all who knew her. If she saw
children at play on the Sabbath, or roaming about, she would notice it,
and speak of it as being very wrong, and it would appear to wound her
feelings; yet she would try to excuse them. "It may be," she would say,
"that they do not know that it is the holy Sabbath day. Perhaps no one
has told them." She could not bear to think of any one doing wrong

Whenever she heard her little associates make use of any language that
she was not quite sure was right, she would ask her mother if it was
wrong to speak thus; and if wrong, she would say, "Then, I will never
speak so, and I shall be your own dear little girl, and my heavenly
Father will love me." We often ask children whom they love best. Such
was the question often put to Mary Ellen. She would always say, "I love
my heavenly Father best, and my dear father and mother next." Her first
and best affections were freely given to her Maker, not from a sense of
duty alone did it seem, but from a heart overflowing with love and
gratitude; and never, at the hour of retiring, would she forget to kneel
and offer up her evening prayer. Thus she lived.

Now I will lead you to her dying pillow Many friends were around her.
No one had told her that she was dying; yet she herself felt conscious
of it. She wished to have the window raised, that she might see the
ocean and trees once more. "Oh!" said her mother, bending over her, "is
my dear little girl dying?" "I want to go," said Mary Ellen; "I want my
father and mother to go with me." "Will you not stay with us?" said the
stricken father; "will you not stay with us?" She raised her little
hands and eyes - "Oh no," said she; "I see them! I see them! 't is
lighter there; I want to go; get a coffin and go with me, father. 'T is
lighter there!" She died soon after she ceased speaking. Her pure spirit
winged its way to the blest home where we shall _all_ have more light,
where the mortal shall put on immortality.

She died when flowers were fading; fit season for one of so gentle and
pure a nature to depart.

"In the cold, moist earth they laid her
When the forest cast the leaf,
And we wept that one so beautiful
Should have a life so brief.
And yet 't was not unmeet that one,
Like that young friend of ours,
So gentle and so beautiful,
Should perish with the flowers."

But Oh! when that little form was laid in the cold grave, - when the
childless parents returned to their lonely home, once made so happy by
the smile of their departed child, - Oh! who can express or describe
their anguish! In her they had all they could ask in a child; she was
their only one. Everything speaks to their hearts of _her_; but her
light step and happy voice fall not upon their ears; to them the flowers
that she loved have a mournful language. The voice of the wind sighing
in the trees has to them a melancholy tone. The light laugh of little
children, coming in at the open window, - the singing of birds which she
delighted to hear, - but speak to their hearts of utter loneliness. They
feel that the little form they had nursed with so much care and
tenderness, so often pressed to their bosoms, is laid beneath the sod.
Yet the sweet consolation which religion affords, cheered and sustained
the afflicted parents in their hours of deepest sorrow. They would not
call their child back. They feel that she has reached her heavenly home.
Happy must they have been in yielding up to its Maker a spirit so pure.

Two years Mary Ellen has been sleeping in the little grave-yard. Since
then another little daughter has been given her parents, - a promising
little bud, that came with the spring flowers, to bless and cheer the
home which was made so desolate. The best wish I have for the parents,
and all I ask for the child, is, that it may be like little Mary Ellen.
I have an earnest wish, too that all little children who read this
sketch may be led to love and obey God as much as Mary Ellen.




Mother, mourn not for me;
No more I need of thee;
Call back the yearning which would follow where
No mortal grief can go;
All thine affection throw
Around thy living ones; they need thy care.

Let not my name still be
A word of grief to thee,
But let it bring a thought of peace and rest;
Shed for me no sad tear,
Remember, mother dear!
That I am with the perfect and the blest.

Yes, let my memory still
With joy thy bosom fill;
For, though thou dost along life's desert roam,
My spirit, like a star,
Bright burning and afar,
Shall guide thee, through the darkness, to thy home



Expectation is not desire, nor desire hope. We may _expect_ misfortune,
sickness, poverty, while from these evils we would fain escape. Bending
over the couches of the sick and suffering, we may _desire_ their
restoration to health, while the hectic flush and the rapid beating of
the heart assure us that no effort of kindness or skill can prolong
their days upon the earth. _Hope_ is directed to some future good, and
it implies not only an ardent desire that our future may be fair and
unclouded, but an expectation that our wishes will, at length, be
granted, and our plans be crowned with large success. Hence hope
animates us to exertion and diligence, and always imparts pleasure and
gladness, while our fondest wishes cost us anxiety and tears.

There are _false_ and _delusive_ hopes, which bring us, at last, to
shame. There are those who expect to gain riches by fraud and deceit, in
pursuits and traffics on which the laws of truth, love, and justice,
must ever darkly frown. They forget that wealth, with all its splendor,
can only be deemed a good and desirable gift when sought as an
instrument to advance noble and beneficent aims, - when we are the
almoners of God's bounty to the lonely children of sorrow and want.

If we seek wealth, let us not forget that pure hearts gentle affections,
lofty purposes, and generous deeds, can alone secure the peace and
blessedness of the spiritual kingdom of God.

There are some who have a strong desire for the praise and stations of
men, yet are often careless of the means by which they accomplish their
ends. Remember, my young friends, that no station, no crown, or honor,
will occupy the attention of a good and noble heart, except it opens a
better opportunity for philanthropic labor, and is conferred as the free
offering of an intelligent and grateful people.

There are many, especially among the young, who seek _present_ pleasure
in foolish and sinful deeds, vainly believing the wicked may flourish
and receive the blessing of the good. Believe me, young friend, such
hopes are delusive, and such expectations will suddenly perish. Let
fools laugh and mock at sin, and live as if God were not; but consider
well the path of _your_ feet! When your weak arm can hold back the
globes which circle in space above us in solemn grandeur and beauty
forever, then may you hope to arrest the operation of those laws which
preserve an everlasting connection between obedience and blessedness,
sin and sorrow.

In the spring-season of life, how beautiful are the visions which Hope
spreads out to our admiring view, as we go forth, with gladsome heart
and step, amid the duties of life, its trials and temptations. It begets
manly effort by its promises of success, and leads us to virtue and
self-denial, in our weakness and sin. When our heads are bowed to the
earth in despondency and gloom, hope putteth forth her hand, scattereth
afar the clouds, dispelleth our sorrow; and again, with a firmer step
and a more trustful heart, we go forth on the solemn march of life! It
is our solace and strength in the hours of woe and grief, when those in
whose smile we have rejoiced pass from our presence and homes to the
valley and shadow of death. And if we weep that they are not, and can
never return,

"Hope, like the rainbow, a creature of light,
Is born, like the rainbow, in tears,"

and we rest in the calm and blest assurance that we shall ultimately go
to them, and with them dwell forever in a land without sorrow.

It may be said that we scarcely live in the present. =Memory=, in
whose mysterious cells are treasured the records of the past, carries
us back to our earlier years, and all our pursuits, and sports, and
joys, and griefs, pass rapidly in review before us; and =Hope= leads
us onward, investing future years with charms, and bidding us strive
with brave and manly hearts in the conflicts and duties that remain. The
former years - sorrowful remembrance! - may have been passed in luxury,
indolence, or flagrant sin; the fruits of our industry and skill may
have wasted away; friends, whose love once cast a golden sunshine on the
path of life, may have proved false and treacherous; our fondest
desires, perchance, have faded, and sorrows may encompass us about; - yet
above us the voice of Hope crieth aloud, "_Press on_!" - through tears
and the cross must thou win the crown; be patient, trustful, in every
duty and grief; "_press on_," and falter not; and its words linger like
the music of a remembered dream in our ear, until, at the borders of the
grave, we lay down the burden of our sinfulness and care, and, through
the open gate of death, pass onward to that world where hope shall be
exchanged for sight, and we, with unveiled eye, shall look upon the
wondrous ways and works of God.



A soldier! a soldier!
I'm longing to be;
The name and the life
Of a soldier for me!
I would not be living
At ease and at play:
True honor and glory
I'd win in my day!

A soldier! a soldier!
In armor arrayed;
My weapons in hand,
Of no contest afraid;
I'd ever be ready
To strike the first blow,
And to fight my good way
Through the ranks of the foe.

But then, let me tell you,
No blood would I shed,
No victory seek o'er
The dying and dead;
A far braver soldier
Than this would I be;
A warrior of Truth,
In the ranks of the free!

My helmet Salvation,
Strong Faith my good shield.
The sword of the Spirit
I'd learn how to wield.
And then against evil
And sin would I fight,
Assured of my triumph,
Because in the right.

A soldier! a soldier!
O, then, let me be!
Young friends, I invite you -
Enlist now with me.
Truth's bands will be mustered -
Love's foes shall give way!
Let's up, and be clad
In our battle array!




Not many years ago, the beautiful hills and valleys of New England gave
to the wild Indian a home, and its bright waters and quiet forests
furnished him with food. Rude wigwams stood where now ascends the hum of
the populous city, and council-fires blazed amid the giant trees which
have since bowed before the axe of the settler. Between that rude age
and the refinement of the present day, many and fearful were the strifes
of the red owner of the land with the invading white man, who, having
crossed the waters of the Atlantic, sought to drive him from his
hitherto undisputed possessions. The recital of deeds of inhuman cruelty
which characterized that period; the rehearsal of bloody massacres of
inoffensive women and innocent children, which those cruel savages
delighted in, would even now curdle the blood with horror, and make one
sick at heart.

It was in this period of fearful warfare that the events occurred which
form the foundation of the following story.

Not far from the year 1680, a small colony was planted on the banks of
the beautiful Connecticut. A little company from the sea-side found
their way, through the tangled and pathless woods, to the meadows that
lay sleeping on the banks of this bright river; and here, after having
felled the mighty trees whose brows had long been kissed by the pure
heavens, they erected their humble cottages; and began to till the rich
alluvial soil. The colonists were persevering and industrious; and soon
a little village grew up beside the shining stream, fields of Indian
corn waved their wealth of tasselled heads in the breezes, the
rudely-constructed school-house echoed with the cheerful hum of the
little students, and a rustic church was dedicated to the God of the
Pilgrims. He who officiated as the spiritual teacher of this new parish,
also instructed the children during the week. A man he was of no
inferior mind, or neglected education; of fervent, but austere piety,
possessing a bold spirit and a benevolent heart. His family consisted of
a wife and two daughters; Emma, the elder, was a girl of eight summers,
and Anna, the younger, was about five.

Never were children so frolicsome and mirth-loving as were Emma and Anna
Wilson, the daughters of the minister. Not the grave admonitions of
their mother, or the severe reproofs of their stern father; not their
many confinements in dark and windowless closets, or the memory of
afternoons, when, supperless, they had been sent to bed while the sun
was yet high in the heavens; not the fear of certain punishment, or the
suasion of kindness, could tame their wild natures, or force them into
anything like woman-like sobriety. Hand in hand, they would wander amid
the aisles of mossy-trunked trees, plucking the flowers that carpeted
the earth; now digging for ground-nuts, now turning over the leaves for
acorns; sometimes they would watch the nibbling squirrel as he nimbly
sprang from tree to tree, or overpower, with their boisterous laughter,
the gushing melody of the bobolink; they mocked the querulous cat-bird
and the cawing crow, started at the swift winging of the shy blackbird,
and stood still to listen to the sweet song of the clear-throated
thrush; now they bathed their feet in the streamlets that went singing
on their way to the Connecticut, and then, throwing up handfuls of the
running water, which fell again upon their heads, they laughed right
merrily at their self-baptism. They were happy as the days were long;
but wild as their playfellows, the birds, the streams, and the

One beautiful Sabbath morning in July, their mother dressed them tidily
in their best frocks, and tying on their snow-white sun-bonnets, she
sent them to church nearly an hour before she started with their father,
that they might walk leisurely, and have opportunity to get rested
before the commencement of services. But it was not until near the

1 3 4 5 6 7

Online LibraryUnknownSmall Means and Great Ends → online text (page 1 of 7)