Work - Youth's Companion
Near one of the tiny schoolhouses of the West is a carefully tended mound,
the object of the tenderest interest on the part of a man known far and
wide as "Preacher Jim," a rough, unministerial-looking person, who yet has
reached the hearts and lives of many of the men and women in that region,
and has led them to know the Master whom he serves in his humble fashion.
Twenty years ago Preacher Jim was a different man. Rough and untaught, his
only skill was shown by the dexterity with which he manipulated the cards
that secured to him his livelihood. Then, as now, he was widely known, but
in those days his title was "Gambler Jim."
It was during a long, tiresome trip across the Rockies that a clergyman and
his wife, having undressed their little boy and tucked him snugly into his
berth, repaired to the observation-car in order to watch the November
An hour passed swiftly; then suddenly a rough-looking fellow made his way
toward the group of which the clergyman was one.
"Anybody here got a kid what's dressed in a red nightgown and sings like a
bird?" he demanded, awkwardly.
The father and mother sprang excitedly to their feet, gasping in fear. The
man nodded reassuringly.
"The' ain't nothing the matter of him," he said, with yet deeper
embarrassment. "The matter's with—us. You're a parson, ain't you? The
kid, he's been singin' to us—an' talkin'. If you don't mind, we'd take it
mighty good of you to come with me. Not you, ma'am. The kid's all safe, an'
the parson'll bring him back in a little while."
With a word to his wife, the minister followed his guide toward the front
of the train, and on through car after car until thirteen of them had been
traversed. As the two men opened the door of the smoking compartment, they
stopped to look and listen.
Up on one of the tables stood the tiny boy, his face flushed, his voice
shrill and sweet.
"Is you ready?" he cried, insistently. "My papa says the Bridegroom is
Jesus, an' he wants everybody to be ready when he comes, just 'cause he
loves you." Then, with a childish sweetness, came the song which had
evidently made the deepest impression upon the child's mind: "Are you ready
for the Bridegroom when he comes?"
"He's sung it over 'n' over," whispered the clergyman's companion, "'nd I
couldn't stan' no more. He said you'd pray, parson."
As the two approached, the boy lifted his sweet, serious eyes to his
"They want to get ready," he said, simply. And, his boy snuggled childishly
in his arms, the minister prayed, as he never had prayed before, for the
men gathered about the child.
It was only a few moments before the clergyman bore the child back to the
sleeping-car, where the mother anxiously awaited his coming. Then he
returned to talk with the men, four of whom that night decided to "get
ready," and among them was, of course, the man who sought out the father of
the child, Gambler Jim.
To this day it remains a mystery how the child succeeded in reaching the
smoking-car unnoticed and unhindered.
As for the little fellow himself, his work was early done, for a few weeks
later, upon the return trip through the mountains, he was suddenly stricken
with a swift and terrible disease, and the parents tenderly laid the little
form under the sod near the schoolhouse where Preacher Jim now tells so
often the story, which never grows old.—Youth's Companion.
Christ Is Coming
Little children, Christ is coming,
Coming through the flaming sky,
To convey his trusting children
To their glorious home on high
Do you love the Lord's appearing?
Are you waiting for the day
When with all his shining angels
He will come in grand array?
All who keep the ten commandments
Will rejoice his face to see;
But the wicked, filled with anguish,
From his presence then will flee
Now while yet probation lingers,
Now while mercy's voice is heard,
Haste to give your heart to Jesus,
Seek to understand his Word
Quickly help to spread the message,
You to Christ some soul may turn.
Though the multitudes his goodness
And his tender love may spurn.
Little children, Christ is coming,
Even God's beloved Son;
When in glory he descendeth,
Will he say to you, "Well done"?