“The Mother’s Return” on Proverbs 3:5, is written by Charlotte Maria Tucker (A.L.O.E.) is from “Precepts in Practice,” and is about a mother’s love.
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”—Proverbs 3:5.
“I am so glad that dear mother is coming back today!” cried little Mary Benson; “it seemed as if the week would never be over.”
“Yes; if we had not been so busy knitting these cuffs for her we should have found the time weary indeed,” said Maria. “But how much pleased she will be to have them; and what a surprise it will be to her, when she did not even know that we could knit!”
“It was very kind in Mrs. Peters to teach us. I hope that she will not let out our secret: mother was to call at her house on her way back, to leave the parcel of wool.”
“Poor mother! she will be weary enough with her long, tiresome walk.”
“She will forget all when she presses us to her heart!” cried little Mary, her eyes sparkling with pleasure at the thought. “Oh! to think of being in her dear arms again!—how we shall rush into them!”
“If mother could have afforded to pay for the coach, she might have been here by this time; but it seems as if she had never one sixpence to spare,” sighed Maria. “I cannot help thinking,” added the little girl, after a pause, turning listlessly over the pages of a book which she was rather looking at than reading, “I cannot help thinking that the Almighty cares less for us than he does for the rich and the great. If he is as tender and loving as we are told that he is, how is it that we want for so many things?”
“O Maria! it is very sinful to think in that way. We must trust in the Lord with all our heart, and not, in our naughty pride, fancy that we know what is good for us better than He who is all wisdom as well as love.”
“I should like to know why there are such differences in the world,” said Maria.
“We must remember what the Saviour said to Peter: What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter. In another world we shall see that all God does is right. Do you not recollect what the clergyman told us in his sermon last Sunday,—that if there were no differences of station in this life, the rich would not be able to exercise charity, nor the poor to exercise patience?”
“The task of the rich is much easier than that of the poor,” observed Maria, with a discontented look.
“Perhaps not,” gently suggested Mary; “I do not think that the Bible makes it appear so. We are so often warned of the dangers of riches; and none of us can tell, if we had them, whether we should make a good use of them. I like those lines which mother taught us to repeat,—
‘The greatest evil we can fear
Is—to possess our portion here.’”
“We are little likely to suffer from that evil,” observed Maria, with a bitter smile. “It does seem to me hard that mother, who is always so religious, and patient, and good, should have to work so hard, and yet gain so little, while others have plenty without working at all. It seems as if God were hiding his face from us.”
“Oh! trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. This is one of the verses which mother told me quiets her mind whenever she is tempted to murmur at her lot. But is not that mother crossing the field? Yes! yes! it is our own dear mother!” and both of the children, with a cry of delight, flew to the door to meet her, carrying their little present in their hands.
But what was the amazement of the girls at the reception which they met with from their mother,—from her whom they so tenderly loved, and had been so anxiously expecting! Mrs. Benson’s face was flushed, her manner hurried; not one kiss, not one welcome smile, not one kind word, did she give; but, waving them away impatiently as they sprang forward to welcome her, “Back! back!” she cried; “don’t touch me!” and, passing them in a moment, she hastened up stairs to her own room!
Neither of the children could at first utter a word. With open eyes and lips apart, they stood as if transfixed, their surprise and mortification were so great. Then slowly and sadly they retraced their steps, and returned to the room which they had just quitted. Neither spoke for a little while, till Maria, pettishly flinging down the cuff which she had knitted, exclaimed, “Who would ever have thought that mother could be so unkind!”
“Unkind?—oh! never, never say such a word!” cried Mary, her own eyes swimming with tears.
“She looked as if she would have pushed me back—me, her own child—if I had ventured a little nearer; and after not having seen us for so many days! I cannot think what could make her treat us in such a manner!”
“Don’t think, but trust,” faltered her gentle sister: “we may be certain that mother has good reasons of her own. She always loves us, and acts for our good; and though we can not just now understand what she does, we may be sure, quite sure, that it is wise and kind.”
“Bless you, my child, for your loving trust!” exclaimed her mother, who was at that moment entering the room, and who now pressed her little daughter to her heart more warmly and more tenderly than ever, as though to make up by increasing love for even five minutes’ apparent neglect.
“O mother! why would you not let us come near you?” exclaimed Maria, as she too shared in the fond embrace.
“For your own sakes, my darlings, only for your own sakes! I had called on Mrs. Peters, as I had promised, on my way; and not till I had entered into her cottage did I know that her only son was then lying there dangerously ill of the scarlet fever!”
“Poor Robin!” cried the little girls, full of sympathy for the trouble of their neighbor. “Is not that fever terrible and infectious?”
“Most infectious, my children; and I own that I felt grieved and frightened at having entered the house. I fear not for myself: were it not for you I should have offered to remain to help to nurse the poor boy; but I dreaded lest I might be carrying here death in my very clothes,—that I might be bringing misery into my own happy home; and not till I had laid aside my bonnet and large cloak did I dare to embrace my children. You met me so eagerly at the door, that I was obliged to call out very hastily, or you would have been in my arms before I could stop you; and I had no time for explanations then.”
“Mother had good reasons,” said Maria to herself: “how strange it was that I ever could doubt her!”
“And how is poor Mrs. Peters?” inquired Mary, as her mother took a chair near the fire, and her little daughters seated themselves at her feet. “She is so fond of her son,—she could not live without him. How does she bear this terrible trial?”
“Like a Christian,” replied her mother,—“like one who knows that all events are in the hands of an all-wise Being, who does not willingly afflict his children. All her hopes and her fears are laid before Him in prayer; and, having used all human means to preserve her son, she now rests humbly on the infinite mercy of the Lord, who ordereth all things well. She has been given that trusting, confiding spirit, which is so pleasing in the sight of Heaven.”
“Ah! that is what I want,” murmured Maria, hiding her head on her parent’s knee. “Mother, I have learned a lesson today from the pain which it cost me to doubt your love, and the shame that I feel now that I ever could have done so. Mary deserved your first kiss, mother. I can love, very greatly love, but she can both love and trust.”
Trust in the Lord with all thy heart,
While sunshine glitters o’er thee;
Oh! choose in youth the better part,
When all is bright before thee!
Nor think thy pleasures will decrease:
’Tis Faith that here brings joy and peace,
And leads to Heaven’s glory!
Trust in the Lord with all thy heart
When sorrows gather o’er thee;
When lone and desolate thou art,
And all is dark before thee!
’Tis Faith that can the mourner cheer;
’Tis Faith gives hope and patience here,
And leads to Heaven’s glory!