SUCH a cold morning! Such a white world outside! Snow on the grass, and snow on the path, and snow on the ivy round the window, and more snow coming in great quiet flakes, and the sky all full of snow-clouds!
It was warm and cosy in the parlour where Ellie had her breakfast; no snow and no cold wind could come in there. But what about the robin that had been singing all the autumn in the shrubbery? He had had a very pleasant summer of it, with plenty to eat, and plenty to sing about. But now that the snow was come, what would he do? His pretty red feathers and his clever songs would not keep the little gentleman from starving, any more than if he were a common little sparrow that only knew how to chirp and had no handsome dress at all.
So Ellie opened the window, and put some crumbs all along the sill, and drew back a little so that Master Robin might not be afraid to come for them. Presently he spied them. He was very hungry, poor fellow, in spite of his scarlet waistcoat. So he put his head on one side and looked at them, and then he hopped on to another bough a little nearer, and looked at them again. He did not quite like going close up, he did not quite trust that open window, it might suddenly shut down and catch him, and he was not sure about Ellie’s intentions. Wasn’t he silly? He hopped a little farther off. The snow might be gone in a day or two, and he might manage to get on better. Yes, but it might not be gone, and the crumbs might be gone–it might be now or never. And he was very hungry.
So at last he hopped down to the lowest branch, and then on to the ground, and then, hop, hop, hop, on the window-sill–just the most sensible thing he could do. Once there, he found he was all right; the window was not a trap at all, and Ellie meant nothing but kindness. And the crumbs were so good that he made up his mind never to stop starving up in the boughs any more. How Master Robin did enjoy them, and how delighted Ellie was to feed him! For she knew much better than he did what a terrible death he must have died if he had been so foolish as to let himself be starved in the snow.
All at once there was a little rustle among the ivy leaves–such a very little rustle that even Master Robin was not frightened. And out crept a poor little brown mouse, with little sparkling black eyes–very, very frightened, so that even its little tail trembled; but so very, very hungry, that when it knew there were crumbs to be had it really couldn’t help coming. And so it came; and there were plenty of crumbs for it as well as for the little singer, although it could not even chirp like the sparrow, but only knew how to squeak.
If Ellie was pleased to see the robin come and be fed, she was ten times more pleased to see this unexpected little guest. And to see them feeding both together, don’t you think that was nice? What do you think she did? She thought as Mousie had been brave enough to trust her, he should have a good deal more than he ever expected. So she went and got a little bit of mince-pie, and when Mousie looked up from his crumbs and was just going to scamper away, what did he see but Ellie’s hand putting some beautiful mince-meat almost close to his little cold nose! Mousie had too much sense to run off to his hole then, but stayed and had the best feast he ever had in his life, although the snow kept coming down. And if he and Robin could only have understood, they would have heard Ellie telling them that they need not ever be hungry again, for she would give them plenty of crumbs every day, no matter how long the snow lasted. All the same, they did understand somehow! and showed they understood by coming again.
Robin and Mousie had very different homes. Robin had a beautiful nest in a blossoming hawthorn tree, and had lived among the flowers and leaves and out in the sunshine. Mousie had lived in a little dark hole under an old wall. But the cold winter came to both their homes. And both had the same reason for going to Ellie’s window,–they were very hungry. And both of them would have died if they had nothing to eat.
Is there not a little lesson in this about coming to the Lord Jesus? “The rich and the poor meet together” in coming to Him. The girl or boy who lives in a handsome house, and has nice clothes, and is taught all sorts of clever things; and the girl or boy who lives in the poorest little dark room, and wears a very old frock or jacket, and is not clever at all, must both come to Jesus, one just as much as the other, and for just the same reason, and in just the same way. The reason is, because you will perish if you do not come. Yes, really perish! really go away into the outer darkness, where will be weeping and gnashing of teeth! It seems so terrible to have to tell you this, but it is true. Some people think it quite unkind to mention it. But the really unkind thing would be not to tell you; to let you go on not knowing or not thinking about it. Perhaps the Lord Jesus has sent you this little book on purpose to make you think about it, and to make you want to be saved. Don’t you want to be saved? Don’t you want to have all the cold, terrible, dark uncertainty taken away, and to know that you, your very own self, are “Safe in the arms of Jesus”? Don’t you sometimes feel like being hungry to know it? Well now, why need you feel hungry about it any longer? Was it not very foolish of Robin to stay hopping about the cold branches, feeling hungry, and seeing the crumbs all put ready for him, and yet not going at once? And was it not very wise of little Mousie to creep out straight to them as soon as ever he saw them? Now, if you are hungry, do not wait hopping about, but just come at once to Jesus. Tell Him all about it. Tell Him you want to be saved. Tell Him you hardly know what you want, but you know you want something and you want Him.
One Sunday a friend of mine saw a poor little boy, only six years old, crying bitterly. He said: “Well, my little man, what are you crying for? what do you want?” I know how glad my friend was at the little boy’s answer, for he sobbed out, “Please, sir, I want Jesus!” Nobody ever wanted Jesus but what Jesus wanted them. And so, before the next Sunday came, the little fellow’s tears were all gone; and next time the kind clergyman met him he could hardly say the words quick enough for joy, “Please, sir, I’ve found Jesus!”
So, if you want Jesus, remember He wants you; just as Ellie wanted the little bird to come and be fed.
There was a poor man in Ireland who listened for the first time to the story you know so well, of how the Lord Jesus came to save us, and of His exceeding geat love. And instead of waiting to hear it over and over again, as some of you do, he believed it at once, and said “Glory be to God!” And then, with his ragged hat off, he went to the preacher and said, “Thank you, sir; you’ve taken the hunger off us to-day.” You see it came true, what Jesus said so long ago, “He that cometh to Me shall never hunger.” And it will come true for you directly when you come to Him; He will “take the hunger off you.”
You may thank God at once if He has made you “want Jesus” at all. For it is only the Holy Spirit that ever makes any one hungry for Him. I never heard a sadder answer than a young lady gave me the other day. She said, “No, I don’t want Jesus; at least, not yet.” She wanted all sorts of other things, but not Jesus. Are any of you saying that in your hearts? Oh, what will you do without Him? What will you do when the day, not of wintry snow, but of fiery terrors, come? You will want Him then, when “the great day of His wrath is come,” but it will be too late. Will you not pray, “Lord Jesus, make me want Thee now”?
Why should you do without Him?
It is not yet too late;
He has not closed the day of grace,
He has not shut the gate.
He calls you! Hush! He calls you!
He would not have you go
Another step without Him,
Because He loves you so.
Why will you do without Him?
He calls and calls again–
“Come unto Me! Come unto Me!”
Oh, shall He call in vain?
He wants to have you with Him;
Do you not want Him too?
You cannot do without Him,
And He wants–even you.
Frances Ridley Havergal from BEN BRIGHTBOOTS