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.