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the Prince of Wales offered him pardon if he illuminated into a story of the martyrdom of would recant, and three pence a day for life, a most heroic child.* but as he refused he was cast back into the Pancratius was born of Greek parents in flames.
the year 293 A.D., in the district of Phrygia, On the site of the burning of the martyrs visited by the Apostle Paul at the same time at Smithfield has been erected a pillar-post with Galatia,when he confirmed the Churches. at five hundred years' interval. There used In that sunny and beautiful mountain land, to be seen before this post was put up certain since a wilderness under the Turkish rule, the small paving-stones darker than the rest of child of parents of wealth and rank, Pancrathe market flags, which some knew were tomb- tius was brought up to worship Jupiter, but stones, though ninety-nine out of a hundred seenis early to have lost his parents, and to trod them without a thought. When in 1866 have been placed under the guardianship of they were taken up a discovery was made, his uncle, Dionisius. They removed to Rome such as those expected who knew the mean- in 305 A.D. that the orphan heir to a vast ing of that little patch of black paving. Afortune might enjoy the advantages of being short way
below the surface were found ashes near the court. This happened in the second of burnt wood, bones charred and whitened year of Diocletian's rage against the Chriswith flame, a staple or two of a chain which tians. Not long afterwards, driven for shelter had borne the fire, burnt earth, and all the to the Catacombs, the aged and holy Marsigns of a conflagration. Had London's great cellinus, Bishop of Rome, was brought into fire reached hither, or was the place an old secret communication with uncle and nephew smithery, bakehouse, or furnace? No; hard in their suburban villa, and showed to both the as it is to believe it, men, women and little way of salvation, and through Divine grace children of our blood were here given to the they were both given to his prayers. The boy torturing fires because they chose to worship was then fourteen, and just at the time he God after their consciences, and not after the most needed a protector his uncle fell ill forms of papal Rome.
and died, and he was left alone with his We do not know whether our young friends wealth and his new religion, in a world have ever felt it a task to commit to memory without a Christian friend. But the voice of portions of Scripture ; if so, we should like the solitary lamb reached the ear of the Good them to think a little about the times when Shepherd, and His holy Spirit filled the soul Holy Scripture was taught to the young as of the boy with heavenly grace. Diocletian the most valuable thing that could be inlaid himself was at Rome directing the persecuin their memories; and when to learn it by tion; and it was soon reported to him that heart was the one and only way to secure Pancratius was left alone with his fortune, that its light and blessing should not pass and that he had become a Christian. He away, if perchance the young learners were therefore sent for him immediately to the torn from their Christian guardians by those palace. The emperor's visage was so red, who would bring them up in the ways of that he seemed ever full of fury. He gazed, superstition, or of evil. Many such children it is said, in wonder at the beautiful counteand youths were worthy of their elders, and nance of the child, and told him he had known even took rank in the noble army of martyrs, his father, who had reverenced the gods to and loved the Book enough to be ready his dying day, and threatened him with to die for its truth's sake. Many such are instant death unless he sacrificed to Jupiter. found in the annals of the Vaudois ; and Pancratius at once replied that he was a there is a curious link existing between Rome Christian, and asked Diocletian, in a spirit itself and the parish of St. Pancras, in West-of child-like righteousness, how he dared to Central London, and which dates from the commit such wicked and frightful deeds. Diocletian persecution, A.D. 303, of which He added, that as a Christian he was ready even the British Christians came in for a share. to die. “ For Christ,” said he, our master,
inspires the souls of his servants, even young The common seal of St. Pancras' parish as I, with courage to suffer for his sake.” represents a youthiul saint trampling upon Diocletian made him no reply, but ordered Roman superstition; and an intelligent resi- him to be led out of the city, and put to dent and lecturer in that district seeking in death by the sword on the Aurelian Way. the British Museum library for some history He was at once borne to execution, and at of that saint, came upon a Latin treatise the place appointed kneeling down and comwritten by a Dr. Tenichen of Hesse-Darmstadt, which, though dry as dust in itself, he has Nisbet & Co. 1856.
• "Life and Times of St. Pancras," by Edie and White.
mending his soul to his Saviour, he sealed course; first, he cared for the kingdom of his testimony with his blood-and not un England, and attacked the Papacy; then he wept he fell; for, by the light of early occupied himself more about the kingdom of dawn, a Christian Roman lady wrapped the Christ, and preached the gospel to the poor body in fine linen, and bore it to a catacomb -to carry the glad tidings of the gospel into hard by, covered with fresh hyacinths, em- the remotest hamlets was now his great idea. balming it with her tears.
“If those begging friars," said he, “stroll When the Roman Christians who survived over the country, we, too, must have a vast the persecution once more obtained repose, itineracy to bring poor souls to Jesus Christ. the name of Pancratius, and his brief, sad, Go preach,” he added, to the most pious noble story, were never forgotten by them. of his disciples, “and after your sermon is There is still a church of St. Pancras at ended do you visit the sick, the aged, the Rome, in which mass is said for the souls of poor, the blind, the lame, and help them those persons who are buried in other according to your ability.” This new theochurches of that name. The old St. Pan- logy was that of Christ Himself. cras church was long a favourite burying The “poor priests ” of Wickliffe preached place with Roman Catholics from its vener- the "great mystery of Godliness,” and God able antiquity. The parish was called Saint give them favour in the eyes of the workingPancras in Doomsday Book. It is said of folk. In the fields, in the churchyards, or Saint John Lateran at Rome, “This is the at the cottage-hearths, men listened. Mishead and mother of all Christian Churches, sions of this kind have constantly been reif you except that of Saint Pancras, under vived in England at the great epochs of Highgate, near London.” There are seven the Church. Then the last step was to put churches of Saint Pancras in England, the people in possession of the Holy Word three in France, one in Hesse-Darmstadt, itself. Their reception of it surpassed Wickand many in Italy.
liffe's own expectations. The voice of God Thus is that boy-martyr's name remem- was heard anew in the world. The good bered. Our youths and maidens will not queen of Richard II. welcomed it, some of now be asked to worship Jupiter ; but in this those in high places owned its power and very day, and in this very England, they are suffered for its sake, as Lord Cobham, in being seduced by thousands into the very Saint Giles’s-in-the-Fields. Many of the poor practices from which Wickliffe strove that and lowly died for it. The Reformation in the Bible should set them free. His war England had begun. was with that priestly power of which the The age of Wickliffe was that of preparation confessional is the sign and seal.
for the great changes of the sixteenth century There has been held during the third week in England and elsewhere. Wickliffe himself of March, 1878, a commemoration of the was the prophet of the dawn, “the morning five hundredth anniversary of the rescue of star of the Reformation." He gave new John Wickliffe by London citizens and the announcement to the fact that in the sacred queen mother from his persecutors on the Scriptures “all truth is either expressed or 22nd of March, 1378, signalised by sermons, implied ;” that other writings can only have conferences, and a meeting at the Mansion worth or authority so far as their sentiment House, at which it was said that, “in sending is derived from the Scriptures; also, that if out his army of poor preachers, who went we had a hundred popes, and if all the friars into all the country spreading gospel truths, were cardinals, we should bow more to the Wickliffe was to the thirteenth century what | law of the gospel than to all this multitude; the Bible Society has been to the nineteenth.” and that it was nothing less than blasphemy The Recorder of London, Sir Thomas Cham- for any ecclesiastic or ecclesiastical body to bers, alluded to the Ritualism now prevailing attempt to invest their interpretation with among us, and remarked :-“The conflict the same authority as the Divine record itself. which Wickliffe began must be renewed; Alas! that man has not yet ceased to put his our people, he thought, were as yet sound in word in the place of God's; and that alprinciple, but they were also sound asleep. though the Scriptures have been since printed They thought perhaps there was now no by the million for the million, the same danger from Rome, but there was great enduring heresy of Rome seems of late again danger; and unless they awoke to it, they invading England, and laying hold of our would not hand down to their posterity the young people in a way that will need another freedom they had inherited.”
Wickliffe, and a fresh study of the Word of Wickliffe's ministry followed a progressive God, and of its half-forgotten Story.
And ask for a share of His love."
SUNDAY EVENINGS WITH THE CHILDREN.
him to pieces. Poor old man ! but his face FIRST EVENING.
was calm and bright as heaven, for he was Opening Hymn: Gracious Saviour, Holy Shepherd.” glad to think that so soon he would be Lesson: 1 Sam. iii. 1-10. Concluding Hymn: “Glory to Thee, my God, this night.”
“absent from the body," and would again ONI NE day when Jesus was on earth there be “present with the Lord.” was in the court-yard of a house at
The beginning of this brave old man's lise which He was staying, a little boy, and this was seen when “Jesus called a little child little boy had ventured to come to the en- unto Him,” and to-day He calls you. Yes, trance of the room where Jesus was, and there and you can go to Him. You are quite he stood timidly looking in. The little boy's right when you sing--best friend was Jesus, but he did not know it; “But still to His footstool in prayer I may go, so, after a peep at the Great Visitor who sat in that room, he would have crept away You need to come to Jesus because you are again; but Jesus looked round with a smile sinful, and only Jesus can forgive and help and said, “Come to me.” Then, in he you in your battles with yourself and with sin. went to Jesus and Jesus took him up in His Though Jesus saw all that was good in the arms, and with Infinite love, looked into his child, He knew all about his faults too, and so, delighted, trustful eyes. Jesus was very glad instead of saying, “ Little boy, you can do the boy had come to see Him, and had so without me,” He said, “Little boy, come to promptly come to His side when he was me.” He knew that those who keep near called. And now the boy was there, and to Him will be most free from sin; beJesus was the more pleased because His dis- cause no one can love Jesus and yet love ciples had just made Jesus sorry by thinking what Jesus hates. Our wicked thoughts go it was better to be great than it was to be away when Jesus is near. When a light is good. So now, turning to the disciples, and let into a dark old ruined tower where owls then to the smiling boy by His side, He said, and bats are, the owls and bats all wake up “Unless ye become like this little child, ye and fly away, and the creeping creatures that cannot enter into my kingdom.”
cannot fly away hide in the darkest corners Perhaps it was the very last time the boy they can find; for these cannot live in the saw Jesus on earth, for Jesus was on His way light. And naughty thoughts and sinful to Jerusalem, and there He was taken by actions all go if only our hearts are filled with wicked men and crucified and killed. Not bright thoughts of Jesus. long after this the news came to Galilee that Sorrow and sadness too, and all kinds of people had killed Jesus, and many wept to trouble go away from us if we are near to hear it, and especially the children; for it Jesus. Sometimes you feel neglected and desoseemed to those who loved Him that all the late, and your heart is sore for want of love. Light of the World was gone, now that Jesus You fancy people don't care so much for you was dead.
as for your brothers and sisters. You say, We never read about that little boy again “I am always the one to be blamed if anyin the Bible ; but many people believe that thing is wrong; and if any one is to stay at his name was Ignatius, the man who grew home from some delightful trip, it is always up to be so wise and great that he was my turn." Or you are at school: the holidays chosen to be the Bishop of Antioch. When are over, and you are home-sick, and you cana wicked man called Trajan was emperor, not for a long while go home. Well, at such trouble came upon the disciples of Jesus— times, Jesus, the dearest friend you have, calls many of them were put to death, and Ignatius you to Himself; and as you kneel down to was one of the brave martyrs who would not repeat the familiar prayer, if your heart goes give up their faith. One day the people of out to Jesus and you are glad that He, at Antioch were assembled in a great building least, loves you, you will have sweet fresh called the Amphitheatre. It had many rows pleasure in your heart and feel quite conof seats all round, and there was a circle of tented and happy. empty ground in the middle, and this good Coming to Jesus does not make happy old man was brought out into the empty people sad and dull, but dull people bright ground in the middle of the people, and then and happy. As a little disciple of Jesus, savage lions were let loose on him to tear you will enjoy fun as much as you ever did,
ing we will
and in all the children's games you will be one of the first. You will not be a Christian
SECOND EVENING. when you are disagreeable, but when you
Opening Hymn: “By cool Siloam's shady rill." Lesson : are most lovely; when you give up a pleasure Luke ii. 41--52, Concluding Hymn: “Glory to Thee, my for some one else to have it; when you so
God, this night." rule your temper that you may not return an angry word or a blow; when you are pained to hear an impure or untrue word. Then boys and girls will be right if they say to themselves, “Oh, that boy or that girl is a Christian.”
The child we have been thinking about did not hesitate to come when Jesus called him. He did not say, “I can't understand such a great Teacher, and I am sure I'm not old enough to do what so holy a Saviour expects me to do.” No; he knew that Jesus
HIS did not expect children to do more than
eventhey could do—that He only wanted them to love Him, and to try—yes, that is the
take a flower to word, to try—to please Him. So he went to
be our teacher. Him. Other boys might laugh at the boy
din Many flowers can for coming ; the disciples even might tell
teach, but now it him to go away ; still he was not afraid of
shall be the rose any of them; so he went to Jesus and set us
Si that speaks, and all a good example. And was it not a good
t it shall speak of thing that it was so—that he obeyed Jesus at
Him who was once? for thus he became a little Christian at
called "the Rose once, and his whole future was happier and
of Sharon." better for it.
think we shall The little fellow might have said No. He
find several things had to choose which he would do, say No to
which are true of Jesus or say Yes to Him. Such a time comes a rose that are also true of Jesus, for it is to you whenever sin and Jesus are near. Jesus who is called the Rose of Sharon. Which do you obey? Perhaps it has come Now, what shall we say first? Let us think to-night, when your heart is tender, and holy first of Jesus being a child.
When we thoughts are in you. How will you use it ? plant a young rose-bush, we do not expect
On the summit of a hill in Wiltshire I that it will remain always the same size; have seen a grotto where there is a basin but, because it lives, we feel sure that it that always brims over with crystal water, will grow. It seems a strange thing, and which flows away in two distinct streams. yet it is true, that though Jesus was the Some of the water goes away in one stream, Son of God, He was once a child, and some goes away in another, and on they go “ grew in wisdom and in stature." There flowing away to the sea. But they go to dif- are some very fine pictures which represent ferent seas-seas very far from one another. Jesus as a child. Some of them have I could take a little water in a cup and pour rather foolish things in them, such as rings it into which of the two streams I liked; so of light round His head and round the that just one turn in my wrist would alter heads of His mother and Joseph and His all the course and change the final home of friends, which none of them ever had. One the water in that cup. So is it with a child's of these pictures is by one of the greatest life and its future: what it will be and painters of the world, and though it has where it will end depends on your choice, these faults in it, yet it is a pleasant picture, whether you will try earnestly to please because it reminds us that Jesus was once a Jesus, or whether you will try to keep free child—a real, fine, healthy child (you may from Jesus and all serious thought about see it on page 561). And so it is a chilHim, and only please yourself. Jesus is dren's picture, teaching a children's truth near, calling you to Himself. He wants you which children should never forget. For as to be His dear children, as He wanted that Jesus was once a child, He had the thoughts boy; and He can make your hearts good of a child. He played games and learned and happy, as He made that little boy's. lessons just as you do, and because He
failed in your
never forgets anything, He always under- never used. One day I went down into the stands children. He knows just what they cellar, and on reaching the bottom of the feel; He knows you and sympathizes with steps, I trod on something round and soft, you.
He does not expect you to have the like a ball. Stooping down and feeling in feelings of older people ; He wants you to the dark, I picked it up and brought it out be happy children. So you need not be into the light. Then I found it was a large troubled because you are not older. Jesus onion. It had been in the cellar a long time, loves you to have children's feelings, and you and had begun to grow. It had long shoots must remember it would be wicked to pre- to it, but they were not green, they were tend to have
pale and sickly an experience
yellow, and you have not
the bulb itself really known.
soft If amid your
that it youthful fun
good for noyou love to
thing. It had think of Him,
grown, but beand try
cause it had avoid grieving
grown in the Him – if you
dark it pray to Him
spoilt, for it Lif
required, as all raily tell Him
living things about the trou
require, air ble you had
and sunshine. when you
Now, the Bible
says that if we lesson, or
have not God about your
in our hearts angry temper
they are in the when you were
dark; so, if we vexed—if you
forget Godand thank Him for
live as though all your enjoy
He did not ments, you
us, may believe
hearts grow in yourself to be
the dark. We one of God's
'ought to be dear children
like Jesus, who —for God has
grew up to be dear children
a man in the as well as dear
light of the grown-up
smile of God. people.
Now one Again, the
more thing rose grows not
about the rose. by itself but by
Roses grow in sunshine. And
common soil you cannot
out in grow up good
the open air. by yourself. Thoughts about God, and wishes Some people have conservatories, which are to please Him, will be your sunshine. That very warm, in which many rare and deliis, just as the sunshine is necessary to make cate plants grow. But in such places as the rose in the garden grow stronger and those you do not find ordinary roses. If stronger, so thoughts of God and love of I wanted to show you roses in perfection, I Him will make you better. Jesus, when a should take you to a certain village that I child, grew by the light of God's love, and know of, where only poor people live, where this you want. Once I lived in an old house, are only small thatched cottages, with perunderneath which was a dark cellar that was haps two rooms in them, in which is hardly