Elsie at the World's Fair by Martha Finley
Most of the Dolphin's passengers went into the city to attend church the next morning, but Grandma Elsie and Grace, not yet entirely recovered from their fatigue, remained behind with the little ones. They watched the departure of the others, then Elsie, taking a seat close at her grandma's side, asked for a Bible story. "I like so much better to hear you or papa or mamma read or tell it than to have to read it for myself," she said.
"Yes, dear, and I always enjoy reading or telling those sweet stories to you," replied Mrs. Travilla, turning over the leaves of her Bible.
"Please read 'bout Jesus walking on the water, grandma," pleaded Neddie.
"Yes," she said. "Here in this chapter Mark tells about Jesus feeding the multitude--five thousand men--with five loaves and two fishes; making so much of that small quantity of food that they all ate and were filled, and there were twelve baskets full of fragments left. Then he constrained his disciples to get into the ship and go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people. Now, do you remember what he did after the disciples and the people were gone?"
"Went up into a mountain to pray," answered Elsie. "Grandma, why did he pray when he was God and could do everything?"
"We cannot fully understand it, dear, but he was both God and man and loved to talk with his Father, God."
"Yes, grandma, I love to talk to my father," said Ned.
"So do I," said Elsie; "he is such a dear, kind papa, and we all love him so much."
"That is right," grandma said with her sweet smile; "and I hope you sometimes thank God, our heavenly Father, for giving you such a good, kind papa."
"Yes, grandma, yes indeed!"
"Now listen while I read," she said, and began: "'And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land. And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them. But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and they cried out: (For they all saw him, and were troubled.) And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid. And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered. For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.'"
"Oh, grandma, I don't want my heart to be hardened like that--so that I won't believe in Jesus and love and trust him," Elsie said earnestly.
"No, dear child; ask God very often not to let it ever be so hardened; but to give you strong and abiding faith; faith that will never for an instant doubt his power or love. Remember he says, 'I love them that love me, and those that seek me early shall find me.'"
"Early in the morning, grandma?" asked. Ned.
"Yes, dear; and early in life--while you are a little child."
"How, grandma? What's the way to do it?"
"Perhaps you may sometimes want papa when you do riot know exactly where he is, and you go about the house and grounds looking for him; that is seeking him; and when you have found papa you say to him what you wish to say. But Jesus, being God, is every where; he sees you and hears all you say, knows all your thoughts; so if you speak to him only in your heart he will know it--know all you want and listen to your prayer; for he is so good, so kind, so condescending that he will not turn away from anyone who really prays--asks with all his heart to be cleansed from his sins and made truly good--such an one as will be pleasing in the sight of God."
"Yes, grandma," said Elsie, "that's what papa and mamma, too, have told Neddie and me many times; and I do ask God earnestly very, very often to give me a new heart and make me his own dear child. Grandma, papa often tells me he loves me very dearly, but that Jesus loves me still more."
"Yes, dear child, the Bible tells us so and it is very sweet and comforting to think of. Jesus loves to have us carry our troubles to him and he feels for us in them all. He says, 'As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted.'"
"And mamma is such a dear comforter when we are in any trouble or suffering pain," remarked Elsie.
"Yes, your mamma loves you very dearly, but Jesus' love is still stronger. Now I will read of another time when Jesus stilled the waves with a word. "'Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth. But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind, and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm. And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.'"
"Nobody but God could do that," Neddie remarked, half in assertion, half enquiringly.
"No, dear child, it is only the voice of God the winds and waters will obey, or the dead when summoned to come forth from their graves. Jesus is God; and he is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God, by him. The Bible tells us so; the Bible which from beginning to end is God's own holy word. Listen to its closing words;" and again she read aloud from the Bible in her hands.
"'I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. And the spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book. If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city and from the things which are written in this book. He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly: Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.'"
"Is it Jesus who says, 'Surely I come quickly, grandma?" asked Elsie.
"Yes, dear; and he says to each one of us: 'Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock-crowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.'"
"Watch," repeated Neddie. "What for, grandma?"
"That we may be ready to meet him with joy; our hearts full of love to him and his cause, caring little for the things of earth, but very much for things heavenly and divine; setting our affections on things above."
"Oh, there they come!" cried Neddie the next moment; "papa and mamma and all the rest," and he ran to the side of the vessel to give them a joyous greeting as they presently stepped upon the deck. In the afternoon the captain gathered his young people together for a Bible lesson, which all liked as he was sure to make it both interesting and instructive. The subject was the miracle of Christ wrought in the healing of the paralytic as related in Mark II. 1-12. "'Seeing their faith?' How did they show their faith, Lucilla?" asked the captain.
"By their works, papa. I think that if they had not believed that Jesus could and would heal their friend they would hardly have taken the trouble to break up the roof that they might let him down before the Lord. And the paralytic too must have had faith in the power and willingness of Jesus to heal him or surely he would have objected to being moved so much--carried from this house along the street to the place where Jesus was, then up to the roof, and let down from there in his bed."
"Yes, he, too, surely must have had faith in the power and willingness of Christ to heal him, and is included in the number of those spoken of as having faith. Let it never be forgotten that faith in Christ is necessary to salvation; for without faith it is impossible to please him'; but, 'all things are possible to him that believeth.' 'Ye believe in God, believe also in me,' Jesus said to his disciples in his farewell talk with them the night before his crucifixion. If we would be saved we must have 'the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe.' None can be justified by works, 'for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,' and if we are justified it must be 'freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.' Ah, let us all pray as did the disciples, 'Lord, increase our faith.'"
"Why did Jesus say to the man 'Son, thy sins be forgiven thee,' papa?" asked little Elsie. "I thought it was to be cured of his sickness the man came."
"Yes, daughter, but sin is the cause of all sickness and disease; if man had not sinned there would never have been any sickness or pain, and there will be none in heaven where all are holy.
"And in pronouncing the man's sins forgiven Jesus asserted himself to be God. The Scribes sitting there understood it to be so, and said in their hearts, 'Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God only?' And Jesus knew their thoughts, for he asked, 'Why reason ye these things in your hearts?'"
"That he could see their thoughts I should think was another proof that he was God," remarked Walter, "and when that was followed by the instantaneous healing of the man, it seems to me wondrous strange that they were not convinced beyond the possibility of a doubt."
"The trouble with them was the same with that of many in these days," returned the captain; "their hearts were more in the wrong than their heads; they did not want to be convinced."