Courtesy to Strangers by Unknown
"Who was that quiet appearing girl that came into church quite late,
last Sabbath?" I asked a friend of mine who was an active member in
the church which I had recently joined.
"Did she wear a striped shawl and a dark dress?" inquired my friend. "If
so, it was Annie Linton, a girl who is a seamstress in Mr. Brown's
"I did not notice her clothes in particular," I answered, "but her face
attracted me; I should know it among a thousand faces. How could you
pass by a stranger so indifferently, Mrs. Greyson? I expected that you
would ask her to remain at Sabbath school, and go into your Bible class,
but you did not once look at her."
"I did not once think of it, and if I had, probably she would not have
accepted the invitation, as she is a stranger in town, and undoubtedly
will not remain here long," my friend replied quickly, by way of
I said nothing more, for Mrs. G. was really an excellent Christian
woman, with this one fault—carelessness—which sometimes caused her to
make grave mistakes.
But I could not help thinking about the stranger girl. Her large, dark
eyes and finely formed face revealed more than ordinary intelligence,
and in some way I gained the impression that, if not a Christian
already, she desired to be. It seemed to me that she left the church
very reluctantly, and was half waiting an invitation to the Bible class.
The next Sabbath she came again and occupied the same seat,—just in
front of my own. She bowed her head very reverently during prayer, and
once during the sermon I saw her lip quiver with emotion, and a tear
came into her eye.
The services closed, and the stranger lingered as before. My friend,
good Mrs. G., again forgot to speak to the girl. She passed out of the
church slowly, and did not come again.
I thought she must have left town, as I had not seen her for several
days; but one Sabbath, as I attended another church, I saw her again.
She seemed a little more at ease, I thought, and there was a quiet smile
on her face. After the services were concluded, I saw many a pleasant
smile given to the stranger girl, and I understood the secret of the
changed look upon her face. I made some inquiries, and learned that she
had joined this church, and was earnest and active in all its work.
I also learned that she had made a profession of religion just before
coming to our village, and had an unusually happy experience. How much
the indifference of our own people had to do with her finding a home in
another church, I know not.
Several years have passed since this occurred, but I have never
forgotten it. Many a stranger's hand I have clasped, as I thought of
Anna Linton's sweet face.
I was young in Christian experience then, and that lesson was a
profitable one to me.
Speak to the stranger, Christian friend, with the assurance that God
will bless your efforts to throw sunshine and cheer and welcome into the
hearts of others—strangers though they be.