The Praying Shoe-maker.
A correspondent of _The American Messenger_ relates this instance of a
poor man in the village where he lived, who, with a family of young
children and a wife in very feeble health, found it extremely difficult
to obtain a livelihood. He was at length compelled to work by the week
for a shoe-dealer in the city, four miles from the village, returning to
his family every Saturday evening, and leaving home early on Monday
He usually brought home the avails of his week's labor in provisions for
the use of his family during the following week; but on one cold and
stormy night, in the depth of winter, he went towards his humble
dwelling with empty hands, but a full heart. His employer had declared
himself unable to pay him a penny that night, and the shoe-maker, too
honest to incur a debt without knowing that he should be able to cancel
it, bent his weary steps homeward, trusting that He who hears the ravens
when they cry, would fill the mouths of his little family. He knew that
he should find a warm house and loving hearts to receive him, but he
knew, too, that a disappointment awaited them which would make at least
_one_ heart ache.
When he entered his cottage, cold and wet with the rain, he saw a bright
fire, brighter faces, and a table neatly spread for the anticipated
repast. The tea-kettle was sending forth its cloud of steam, all ready
for "the cup which cheers, but not inebriates," and a pitcher of milk,
which had been sent in by a kind neighbor, was waiting for the bread so
anxiously expected by the children. The sad father confessed his
poverty, and his wife in tears begged him to make _some_ effort to
procure food for them before the Sabbath. He replied, "Let us ask God to
give us our daily bread. Prayer avails with God when we ask for temporal
good, as well as when we implore spiritual blessings." The sorrowing
group knelt around the family altar, and while the father was entreating
fervently for the mercies they so much needed, a gentle knocking at the
door was heard. When the prayer was ended the door was opened, and there
stood a woman in the "peltings of the storm," who had never been at that
door before, though she lived only a short distance from it. She had a
napkin in her hand, which contained a large loaf of bread; and half
apologizing for offering it, said she had unintentionally made "a larger
batch of bread" than usual that day, and though she hardly knew why, she
thought it might be acceptable there.
After expressing their sincere gratitude to the woman, the devout
shoe-maker and his wife gave thanks to God with overflowing hearts.
While the little flock were appeasing their hunger with the nice new
bread and milk, the father repaired to the house where I was an inmate,
and told his artless tale with streaming eyes, and it is unnecessary to
say, that he returned to his home that night with a basket heavily
laden, and a heart full of gratitude to a prayer-answering God.
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