Little Charley

by the American Sunday-School Union

Charley was a sweet little babe. It was a pleasure to kiss his plump cheek, and pat his fat and dimpled arms. He was a dear babe, and we all loved him, and our blessed Saviour loved him even more than we did.

Before Charley was two years old, he became ill. All that physicians could do was done for him, but he daily grew more and more feeble. The bright blue eyes lost their brilliancy, and became faded and dim. The plump and rosy cheek became hollow and pale. The fat and rounded limbs grew thin and weak, and we all felt that little Charley would soon be taken from us.

The same sweet smile lingered about his mouth, although pain and suffering had saddened that baby-face. He no longer tottered about the floor, but was confined constantly to his bed. Not there even was he to remain more than a few short weeks. The angel of death came, and bore him to the Saviour's bosom. His friends looked at the beautiful casket, and felt that the spirit which had inhabited it, and made it precious, was no more there. They committed it tearfully to the grave, and, lonely and sorrowing, returned to their desolate home. The crib was vacant—the tiny shoe had no owner—the rattle lay neglected. There was no need of the noiseless step lest the sleeper should be awakened. Little Charley slept in death.

How sad and broken those loving hearts! Those parents were Christian parents, and they sorrowed not as those without hope. Jesus, their Saviour, had wept, and they knew their tears were not forbidden. One of the cords which bound them to earth was snapped asunder. They had one child in heaven, there to be a pure and sinless spirit in the immediate presence of his Father—God. There was comfort in the thought that Charley's tiny bark had safely passed over the sea of life, and was securely anchored in the haven of eternal rest.

Charley had a brother, Willie, two years older than himself. Little could he know of death—but he knew he had no baby-brother now, and his mother told him Charley was in heaven.

"I hope, mother," said he, "the apostles will not get him."

"Why, my child?"

"Because they did not want little children to go to Jesus," was his artless reply.

This little boy has recently removed, with his parents, to the city. He does not like it as he did the green grass and shaded fields of the country. He feels lonely without the companionship of the trees and the birds, and he wishes that "God would take him right up to heaven to play with Charley."

How is it with you, my dear child? Are you ready to be taken "right up to heaven?" Do you love your Saviour? Do you obey your parents? Are you truthful and conscientious? Do you study your Bible to learn all you can about God, and what he would have you be and do? Do you pray to him daily for His blessing, and ask Him to keep you from sin? Do you seek His forgiveness for all you have done that is wrong?

So live, that when the angel of death comes for you, he may carry you where Charley is, into the blessed home prepared for all who love God. When He will come, you cannot know. Be always ready, and then He will not find you unprepared.