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Lay not to heart whate'er of ill
Thy foes may safely speak of thee,
God hears, and judges righteously. heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of Why should'st thou fear, if God be on thy side, all these things.'
Man's cruel anger or malicious pride? Be thou content; be still before
Be thou content. His face, at whose right hand doth reign We know for us a rest remains, Fulness of joy for evermore,
When God will give us sweet release Without whom all thy toil is vain.
From earth and all our mortal chains, He is thy living spring, thy sun, whose rays
And turn our sufferings into peace.
Sooner or later death will surely come,
To end our sorrows, and to take us homo.
Be thou content.
Home to the chosen ones, who here
Served their Lord faithfully and well, If he is there, shall harm thee not.
Who died in peace, without a fear, He can lift off thy cross, and loose thy bands, And there in peace for ever dwell. And calm thy fears, nay, death is in his hands. The everlasting is their joy and stay, Be thou content.
The Eternal Word himself to him doth say,
Be thou content! Or art thou friendless and alone,
Paul Gerhardt, 1670. Hast none in whom thou canst confide? God careth for thee, lonely one,
BE THYSELF. Comfort and help will be provide.
Be substantially great in thyself, and more He sees thy sorrows and thy hidden grief, than thou appearest to others; and let the world He knoweth when to send thee quick relief; be deceived in thee, as they are in the lights of Be thou content.
heaven. Hang early plummets upon the heels Thy heart's unspoken pain he knows,
of pride, and let ambition have but an epicycle Thy secret sighs he hears full well,
or narrow circuit in thee. Measure not thyself What to none else thou dar'st disclose,
by thy morning shadow, but by the extent of To him thou may'st with boldness tell.
thy grave; and reckon thyself above the earth, He is not far away, but ever nigh,
by the line thou must be contented with under And answereth willingly the poor man's cry.
it. Spread not into boundless expansions, either Be thou content.
to designs or desires. Think not that mankind
liveth but for a few, and that the rest are born Be not o'ermaster'd by the pain,
but to serve the ambition of those who make But cling to God, thou shalt not fall;
but flies of men, and wildernesses of whole naThe floods sweep over thee in vain,
tions. Swell not into actions which embroil and Thou yet shalt rise above them all ;
confound the earth; but be one of those violent For when thy trial seems too hard to bear,
ones who force the kingdom of heaven. Lo! God, thy King, hath granted all thy prayer.
While thou so hotly disclaimeth the devil, be Be thou content.
not guilty of diabolism; fall not into one name Why art thou full of anxious fear,
with that unclean spirit, nor act his nature How thou shalt be sustain'd and fed?
whom thou so much abhorrest; that is, to accuse, He who hath made and placed thee here calumniate, backbite, whisper, detract, or siniWill give thee needful daily bread.
strously interpret others. Canst thou not trust his rich and bounteous hand, Give no quarter unto those vices which are of Who feeds all living things on sea and land? thine inward family, and having a root in thy Be thou content.
temper, plead a right and property in thee. He who does teach the little birds
Examine well thy complexional inclinations. To find their meat in field and wood,
Raise early batteries against those strongholds, Who gives the countless flocks and herds built upon the rock of nature, and make this a
Each day their needful drink and food, great part of the militia of thy life. -Sir Thomas Thy hunger too will surely satisfy,
MAKE A BEGINNING.
Remember in all things, that if you do not Sayst thou, I know not how or where,
begin, you will never come to an end. The first No help I see where'er I turn.
weed pulled up in the garden, the first seed set When of all else we most despair,
in the ground, the first shilling put in the The riches of God's love we learn !
savings-bank, and the first mile travelled on a When thou and I his hand no longer trace, journey, are all important things; they make a He leads us forth into a pleasant place.
beginning, and thereby a hope, a promise, a Be thou content.
pledge, an assurance, that you are in earnest Though long his promised aid delay,
with what you have undertaken. How many At last it will be surely sent:
a poor idle, erring, hesitating outcast is now Though thy heart sink in sore dismay, creeping and crawling his way through the The trial for thy good is meant.
world, who might have held up his head and What we have won with pains we hold more fast, prospered, if, instead of putting off his resoluWhat tarrieth long is sweeter at the last. tions of amendment and industry, he had only Be thou content.
made a beginning.
A GHOST STORY.
granny' of the establishment, completed Who's dat knocking at de door?'
Though theevening was a comparatively This phrase became first popularised mild one towards the close of autumn, the among us through the itinerant minstrels household party now described were hudwhose good pleasure it was to style them- dled more closely around the blazing logselves 'Ethiopian Serenaders’- -a mon- | fire than necessity seemed to demand. strous misnomer, by the way, inasmuch In truth, few places could be more snug as Ethiopia has been practically extinct as at all times than that parlour; first, bea designation for any part of Negro-land, cause it was of limited dimensions; and since the days of the Father of Geography, secondly, because the enclosing walls on old Ptolemy the Alexandrian. It was three sides were some six feet in thickstill more a misnomer otherwise; and the ness, having been reared in the days when first troop of these bone-and-banjo gen- masonry (not pugilism) formed the real try soon found it necessary to lower 'art of self-defence.' Besides their packtheir pretensions, and to content them- ing themselves together so tightly, the selves with the title of the 'Genuine and countenances of the rural family indicated Original Pseudo-Ethiopian Serenaders,' pretty plainly that something troubled any claim on their part to real Blacky- one and all of its members——the girls, in hood being scouted by the world at large. particular, looking visibly anxious, if not Stand these things as they may, the pre- frightened. Since the evening cup of tea tended Ethiopsintroduced into the mouths had been discussed, moreover, scarcely a of our commonalty not a few choral word had escaped from any of them, 'ower-words,' which have since kept their though there were tongues there prone ground, and this special one among the enough to chat, and hearts usually suffirest, 'Who's dat knocking at de door?' ciently disposed even for merriment. At
Quaint and trifling as the phrase may last the farmer himself broke the silence, seem, it is yet most emphatically appro- and yet he appeared rather to be thinking priate as a heading for the tale now to be aloud, than addressing those around him. told. Let the reader then suppose him- 'I wonder if it will come again toself to have been introduced in the spirit, night,' said he. whether by the passes of Professor Gre- You need scarcely doubt that, father,' gory, or the legerdemain of Herr Eagle, answered the eldest of the girls; 'after into the small parlour of a respectable visiting us sae regularly for four or five farmhouse in the southern Lowlands of weeks, it is not likely to leave off withScotland. The said house was in some out' something being done to drive it respects superior to the common run of If you had ta'en my advice, you such dwellings a few years since, having would have sent for the minister lang ere indeed served as the manor-house of the now.' laird of the land, until he chose to provide 'Ay,' said John, the eldest son, himself with a new habitation in a more with rather a jeering laugh, 'the young modern style. The edifice vacated by minister is the man. He is a wanter, him was a tall, narrow, square tower, and and the new manse would be a bien downhad once been deplorably scant of win- sitting. Bell would fain arn him the dows; though latterly a few of the slits, gate to Windyknowe.' (This was the not or shot-holes, scattered up and down the inapt name of the farma-steading.) Beil otherwise dead walls, had been so en- only looked scornfully at the interlocutor, larged as to permit of the entrance of a as he thus discussed her motives; and ha decent measure of daylight. The parlour, proceeded with his remarks. 'For my at the moment when the reader has been part,' said he, 'I winna believe yet that asked to glance into it, by the aid of there is either ghost, witch, or deil in the clairvoyance, or (which is much the same business. thing) fancy, was occupied by the farmer *Then what is it, callant,' observed the and his whole family, consisting of the old farmer, 'that lifts that knocker on gcod dame his wife, with the four chil- the main-door nightly, and gies sic dren of the pair, two sons and two daugh- thundering raps as are aneugh to gar us ters. The eldest of these young folks | loup out of our skins? Do you ca' that might be about twenty-five years of age, naething? I'm sure you have heard it and the youngest about seventeen. The again and again yoursel. Or is it dune mother of the farmer, the 'reverend by naebody?'
'I dinna mean to deny that there hae ting in her word for the first time, 'but been strange knockings that we canna little Phemie may be no sae far wrang account for,' replied the son. 'I only after a'. You canna but mind, guidsay I canna credit it to be the wark o' à man, that this house was aften said to be spirit, or ony unearthly thing o' the haunted when the laird staid in it. I kind.'
mind, too, what the cause was said to be. "Oh laddie!' cried the aged grand- It was a waesome story. The daughter mother, 'be nae sae wicked as doubt oa cottar on the land had been misled what Scripture tells you is true. If it's by ane o' the wicked lairds langsyne. no a visiter from the dead, it may be a She was very bonny, it's like; but oh! leeving witch or something waur; and we bairns, ne'er forget that beauty, if it be read o them a' in the Book that canna a guidly gift, is at the same time a sair lee.
temptation and a snare. Weel, her folk Father,' said theyoungest girl, Phemie, turned her out o' doors in the middle o' 'I think it a' comes frae that ugly, girn- a cauld winter night. She came wandering knocker o' the auld laird's, that you ing to the laird's house heré; and wae's would insist on keeping, though there's me! wi' a bairn in her arms. She no ane, and never was ane, about ony knockit at the door, and wi' the same other steading in the country-side. Screw knocker that's on the same door even aff the knocker, and we'll hae nae mair now. Some say that the laird heard her, knocking. How can they knock, when and, looking through the shot-hole aboon the knocker's gane ??
the door, cruelly bade her be gane. Others The simple remark of Phemie elicited say, that she was owre weak to mak hera second laugh from her brother John. sel heard. Howe'er it was, the puir crea'Phemie thinks,' he remarked, 'that ture and her infant were found next day ghosts and sic-like cattle want the lying beneath a tree no far aff, and baith knuckles. If they hae fingers able to stane-dead.' lift that heavy knocker, depend on't they 'And did her spirit come after that to may easily treat us to loundering rat-tat- knock up the wicked laird ?' asked one toos with the same five or ten talons, of the daughters. or claws, as they are like to be if the deií 'I canna say I heard o' her knocking,' has a hand in the concern.'
replied the mother;
weel I wot mony 'John,' said the father of the family, a ane was said to hae seen her ghaist, seriously, 'I am not weel pleased to hear gaun yaumering and moaning about the you making light o' what sae sairly vexes woods. But the knocker's a relic o illand alarms your mother and the rest o' deedy men; and Phemie may really be the bairns, and what, into the bargain, right in her notion about its unchanciyou canna explain yoursel. You ken ness.' that we have watched closely, and been The story told by the good-wife, in all nane the wiser for't.'
simpleness of heart, was by no means cal'I should mind that,' muttered John, culated to inspire her family with greater 'since ne'er a ane about the house would liveliness, or revive their courage. Even watch till I stood the main brunt o't my- the eldest son, who was the first to break sel.'
silence, subsequently owned to its depress'You ken that we have mair than ance ing influence. 'Mother,' said be, 'I planted oursels inside the door,' continued wish you would pick a better time for the farmer, 'and burst out the moment your ughsome stories. We are scared that the rapping came; and yet that we aneugh folk already—the mair fools we. saw naething, living or dead, near the But, continued he, rising and stretchplace. You ken, too, that you and your ing himself, 'I am determined for ane no billie stood half a night on the very outer to let mysel be put about mair than I door-stane, and that a' was quiet till ye can help, or than there's guid occasion for. grew tired and came in, when in a crack I think, too, that for this night we may a knock was gien that sounded through be at ease. The hour is past when our the house frae the ground floor to the tricky customer at the door kupples. Now, what could that be? It The young man stopped suddenly, and would be wiser-like to try and keep up sank down in his chair as if he had been folks' hearts, than to scoff at them as shot. He had some cause for the involun
tary movement. At the moment when 'I'm no sure,' said the good-wife, put the last words were leaving his lips, a
tremendous knock.was given on the main- | things exactly in the wrang light. You door, followed almost instantly by a second are for redding up a' natural difficulties by of scarcely less violence. The women in supernatural means, instead o' trying to the parlour cowered together in profound explain what really seems out of the comterror, while the farmer and his sons grew mon in natural ways. By the by, mopale visibly, and looked on one another ther, ye ken the cats are said to hae a with blank dismay. The senior of the king, and a powerfu king to boot-may be youths, as usual, was the forenjost to re- in boots, too, gin the fairy story tells us cover a little heart. 'Father,' he said, true. Now, there is our grey Bawdrons, ‘is there any occasion to go to the door sitting winking at us on the hearth as if this time? Because I'll do it if you desire.' he were musing seriously on every word
'I doubt it will be in vain as before, we say. Pussy, Grimalkin, Cheatie, if answered the father; 'but still I think it you be the king o' the cats, can you no but right to look out. Some explanation help us in our sair strait? Mother, he may be got at last, though it has been would indeed be the best scout for us withheld from us sae lang. Come then, just now, if we could but get him to John. I am strong in innocence and a speak. He roams aneugh about the guid conscience, and weel I trust you are doors in the gloamings, and can scarcely the same.'
bae missed seeing this ghost o' a townSo speaking, he rose from his seat, as postman. What a pity it is that we did his eldest son at the same time. The dinna understand the purring alphabet!' younger was also about to join them, John rattled away in this style, with when the females, with one voice, ex- the kind purpose of rousing the spirits of claimed against being left alone: the the family. He partly succeeded. Angoodwife, indeed, protesting it to be a swering his last remarks, the goodwife tempting of Providence for any of them said, 'Deed ay, John, that cat is owre to go to the door at all. The farmer, wild for me. And he steals, too, whenhowever, after bidding the second son re- ever he can manage it. I shouldna wonmain where he was, lighted a fresh candle, der, for I haena seen him sin tea-time, and left the parlour with John. The pair but he has come straight frae the milkreturned, after an absence of some ten mi- bowies. The lasses are sae mindless o' nutes, and with countenances that plainly the doors.' told their want of success.
John for a time kept up the conver"We are as completely in the dark as ever, sation in the same lively strain, taking bairns,' observed the farmer; 'neither body up any light theme that came into his nor beast, in the flesh or out o't, can we see head; and, as it had never happened that about the main-door or the hail house. the mysterious wielder of the knocker Sae what to think o the matter, I can paid two visits on one night, the family nae mair tell than before.'
of Windyknowe gradually became more 'I am convinced yet that it's a trick,' composed, if not altogether cheerful. Fisaid John, who seemed to be nettled out nally, they retired to their couches for of his fears for the time by vexation and the night, to enjoy the rest that labour, wrath; "and I'll be at the bottom of it, health, and innocence can confer on morif it should cost me a month's waking and tals, in despite even of the most dread apwatching.'
paritional alarmıs. 'Oh!
my bairn,' cried the mother, 'ye All the next day, the heir (of the lease, watched fairly before, and it cam to nae at least) of Windyknowe revolved in his thing. Nane o' our ain folk, surely, can mind the best plan of detecting the nightly be suspected by you?'
visitant to the paternal abode. John was "No, I canna suspect them,' said John, really a bold fellow, and had promised 'seeing that every mortal ó them has nothing overnight that he was not fully been in bed ere now when the knocking determined to perform in due time. He had came. I twice saw them aff mysel.' before watched both close inside and close
'Would ony o' the neighbours do sic a outside of the haunted door. He now rething?' persisted the mother. 'Oh no, solved to conceal himself at some distance, my bairn; it can be naething earthly or but still within clear sight of the house; natural.'
and he also settled on assuming his place That's aye your gate o't, mother,' re- early, that any one coming to play tricks turned the son, adopting a more lively might have the less chance of seeing him, tone; 'you hae a knack o' looking at and taking the alarm.
After swallowing his cup of tea, accord-gular exceedingly. What made the young ingly, John announced his intention of man start back so hurriedły at the first making a brief call on a near neighbour, touch of the animal? Did Grimalkin and left the house of Windyknowe. He musterupits well-known electrical powers, then stealthily entered on his design, by and send an ireful shock through his frame ensconcing himself behind some old and of mortality? John was at all events afovergrown berry-bushes in a half-ruinous fected, as said, very remarkably. After and almost fenceless garden in front of standing for some nioments in a sort of the farm-steading. There did the courage- thoughtful amaze, a broad smile broke out, ous youth remain perdu, patiently watch in fine, on his visage, and he ended by: ing the shades of night, as they closed in throwing himself into a chair, and laugharound him. Still they left him lighting long and loudly, if not almost uproarienough to see the mystic main-door pretty ously. The confðunded family imagined plainly; and he felt assured that no ob- that he had been scared out of his senses ject, of any bulk, at least, could escape while abroad, and were alarmed about his unswerving eye.
him beyond measure. At first, he could One hour, two hours, three hours pass only find words to assure them that he by thus. The wonted time of the visita- was 'quite well;' but by and by he dried tion now approaches. The heart of the his eyes, composed his looks, and observed, lurker begins to throb a little quicker pointedly, 'that he was not merely well then before; but still he strains his vision, himself, but that he would soon make all to keep the door under close surveillance. of them quite well also. He then rose Even a sharp though short shower moves carelessly, and said, 'that he wondered him not. At length two thundering peals they thought so much about themselves of the knocker fall upon his ear! And as not to observe the poor cat to be starvwhat at the same moment falls upon his ing; and, taking it up, he remarked that eye? Something, assuredly, but what, he he would get the creature some food in unluckily cannot well tell. A thin white the kitchen. After an absence of a few body shoots palpably out of the earth like minutes, he returned alone to the parlour, a flash of light, rises to above the height and forthwith begged the grave attenof the door, and is again, and instantane- tion of the family, who still looked anxiously, invisible. It is during the very ously and doubtfully at him, to what he flashing forth of this apparition that the was going to say. He had a secret to retwo loud peals of the knocker are heard. veal to them, he stated, of the deepest
Slowly did John rise from his hiding- consequence. place, and slowly, if not somewhat timo- 'I have been watching for the ghost, rously, did he move towards the house. ye maun ken,' said he, 'this entire night; A spirit, I fear, it must really be,' thought and I have found out baith him, and a' he. 'Nothing human or substantial could about him. He is a very harmless ghost, so have burst forth, and so have vanished.' I can assure you; and I have him now On entering the parlour, he found the fa- completely under my thumb. I can make mily even more alarmed than was their him come when I like, and gang when I wont.
like; and, to show that to be really true, Oh! John,' cried the mother, 'you I now command him to knock at the door mustna gang out late again. 'We have within five minutes from this moment. had twa frights this night instead o' ane. I give him just five minutes;' and the The knocks cam as usual; and just when speaker looked sternly around, as if mewe were in the midst o’our terror, a strange nacing some unseen listener with terrible noise cam to the parlour-door, which, as penalties in case of disobedience. 'Oh, you ken, we have had to keep open a wee John!' and 'Oh, John!' came from the at night for the smoke, but which was shut astonished members of the family, one by chance. We were like to have lost our after another, as they heard the young wits. But your father rase and opened man talk with such seeming wildness and the door, and what was it, after a', but audacity. But John had pulled out his only the cat, poor pussy, wanting in, as watch, and affected to be wholly intent if frighted like oursels!
on the indications of the dial-plate. Fa'Poor pussy !' said John, dreamily; and ther, mother, brother, and sisters sank he stooped down, and stroked the back of meanwhile into a sort of silent stupor of the domestic occupant of the hearth. The expectancy. They were not kept long in consequences of this slight act proved sin- suspense. One and another minute passed