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do not mean to say that little children were the missionaries ? Surely that could not be. In the first place it would take children ever so long to learn the language of another country; and then, if they had been ever so well instructed in their religion, grown people would not believe they could know much about it.'
'Certainly not. But is it not possible that children, by their gentleness and goodness, might show the beautiful effect of the Christian faith on those who embrace it? And what should prevent these same children from being real missionaries when come to full age?'
"Ah! I spoke too fast,' said Ernest; 'please to tell us all about it.'
"Yes, pray do!' said Minna. 'I want to hear of some children again; but I hope they will not have such a sad fate as Tullia's and Scipia's.'
"It was in the reign of the Emperor Constantine, just as the Church was enjoying a rest from persecution, that Meropius, a philosopher of Tyre, was studying some ancient records of a country in the south of Africa, and of the people who inhabited it. He could not get all the information he wanted, and there were no travellers or sailors from whom he could obtain further particulars. In those early times there were very few ships that could bear a long voyage, and very few seamen who understood their craft well enough to undertake the management of a vessel out of sight of land. Meropius, however, had a little bark of his own, and accordingly embarked in it with a small crew to make his observations. A short time before this he had adopted two little orphan nephews, called Frumentius and Edesius. These children he took with him, being more fearful of leaving them among strangers, at such an early age, than of their braving the perils of the sea in his frail bark.' "I hope he was successful in his enterprise!' exclaimed Ernest.
"He was, so far as concerned the object he had in view when he set out. He gained the information he desired, collected some treasures, and set out on his return home. When he had made more than half the journey home, he put in his vessel at a small bay, for the purpose of obtaining a supply of
provisions and fresh water. Unfortunately, the coast was inhabited by some barbarians, who had lately been at war with the Romans; and, considering the strangers as enemies who had fallen into their hands, in accordance with a barbarous custom of the times, they slaughtered Meropius and all his crew. They then bound the two children to the trunk of a tree, and proceeded to plunder the vessel.'
"What a dreadful fright the poor little fellows must have been in said Ernest. I wonder they did not die of horror when they saw their uncle and all his poor sailors butchered before their eyes!
“They had now no protector but GOD; and, remembering what their kind uncle had told them of Him Who is the 'FATHER of the fatherless,' and a 'very present help in trouble,' they lifted up their hearts with their hands unto GOD in the heavens,' they prayed fervently to Him, and were comforted. When their captors returned, laden with booty from the ship, they found them repeating to each other the lessons of wisdom their uncle had taught them. Their innocence and beauty softened the hard heart of the leader of the band; and he determined to spare their lives, and present them to the King for slaves. The King was delighted with the present. The gentleness and intelligence of his new slaves so won upon his heart, that he made Edesius (the most beautiful of the two) his cupbearer; and to Frumentius (whose superior education had early brought out the strong talents he possessed) he committed all the public records of his kingdom.'
"That must have been a heavy charge for so young a boy!' said Ernest.
"It was indeed a great trust. But with his excellent abilities, and conscientious desire to do right, he managed all the affairs of the State with so much wisdom and discretion, that he and his brother rose higher than ever in the King's favour.'
"But there was one thing they wanted,' said Minna; 'a Christian teacher, to keep them from forgetting their religion.' "It was indeed a great loss for them to be deprived of the ordinances of the Church; but they strengthened each other in the faith, praying together morning and evening, as they had
been accustomed to do, and repeating to each other the holy lessons they had learnt.'
"How long did things go on in this way?'
"This state of affairs lasted until they had almost reached man's estate. At that time, the King was taken very ill; and finding the hand of death upon him, he gave his young Tyrian slaves their liberty, and, leaving his kingdom and his young son to the care of his wife, soon after died.'
"I suppose they made haste, and got back to Tyre with all speed,' said Ernest.
"It was their first impulse on regaining their freedom. But the poor Queen's heart sunk within her at her heavy charge, and she begged them so earnestly to govern the kingdom for her until her son should come to full age, that they delayed their eagerly-desired journey.'
"Oh!' said Minna, 'I am sorry. They had much rather have got to 'home, sweet home,' I am sure.'
"Undoubtedly. But, feeling that GOD, in His Providence, had been pleased to call them to a place of high trust, they did not dare to refuse the Queen's request. Frumentius was now, in all respects, governor of the kingdom, and made use of the extensive influence he possessed to improve the condition of the people in many ways, and especially by preparing their minds for the light of Christianity, which, with GOD's blessing, he determined should dawn upon them at no very distant period.' "How did he set about preparing the way ?' asked Ernest. "Not only by his pious and Christian example, but by the protection he afforded to all Christian merchants, many of whom came trafficking that way in pearls. The people soon began to look favourably on men who were so much respected by their honoured governor, and lent him their aid to build houses of prayer for them in all the seaports at which they were likely to land.' "Churches, do you mean ?' said Minna.
"No, little oratories, or places for prayer: they could not have consecrated churches, where there were no regular Bishops or Clergy.'
"Go on, please, auntie,' said Ernest. 'How did they manage when the young King grew up? I should think Frumen
tius was inclined to keep the kingdom for himself, when he had got it into such good order.'
"That would have been a betrayal of trust unworthy of a Christian; and besides, as his great object had always been the evangelization of his adopted country, he was very glad to surrender the reins of government into the hands of the young King when the appointed day arrived, and gave an exact account of all he had expended during his regency. The Queenmother and her son had become so much attached to the young brothers, that they were much grieved at the thought of parting; and, promising to load them with gifts and honours, entreated them to remain. But their hearts were full of other projects; and, assuring the Queen that the only reward they desired for their long service was permission to depart in peace, they took a fond farewell. Edesius, whose heart yearned towards his early home, hastened to Tyre; but Frumentius, wholly occupied with his great design, went with all speed to Alexandria, where S. Athanasius was Patriarch at that time.'
"The same S. Athanasius whom the long Creed is named after?'
"The same. Before him Frumentius laid the whole history" of his adventures, and entreated him to lose no time in sending a Bishop and some Clergy to his adopted country, that the no longer wholly barbarous Abyssinians might, by Baptism and the Word, become, in deed and in truth, members of CHRIST'S Body. S. Athanasius immediately called a council of the Bishops and Clergy of his Patriarchate, and it was decided among them that none could be found fitter than Frumentius to accomplish the good work so wondrously begun. He therefore determined to forego the promised delight of visiting his native land, and was almost immediately ordained. So soon as he had been consecrated to the office of Bishop, he set out with a staff of Clergy, to build up in the faith that nation for whose conversion the Providence of GOD seemed to have specially raised him up. On his arrival, he was greeted with affectionate cordiality by the young King and his mother, who were overjoyed to see him again, and, as you may suppose, much astonished to learn that he had not even so much as touched upon his na
tive shores. They would gladly have had him again for an inmate of their court; but Frumentius had now higher responsibilities than the charge of an earthly kingdom
His FATHER, GOD, for one so true,
Had other, nobler work to do ;'
and with the countenance and support of the young sovereign, he speedily established churches all over the kingdom.'
"How glad and thankful he must have been!' said Minna. But what became of Edesius ?'
"He was ordained to the service of the Church in his native city, Tyre; and it is through his means that the history I have been relating to you was perpetuated.'
"Did Frumentius live to be an old man ?' asked Ernest.
"I cannot tell you his exact age; but he lived long enough to see the fruit of his labours, and to the latest years of his life continued to enlarge the borders of the Church, by winning souls to CHRIST.'
"Are there many Abyssinian Christians now ?'
"They are estimated at about a million; and their conicalroofed Churches are so numerous, that the traveller may often hear the sound of psalmody wafted on the breeze from two or more of them at the same time. Unfortunately, they have separated from the Mother-Church, on account of some disagreements in doctrine, and have accordingly, at various times, received from Rome proposals for union with their branch of the Church. With Rome, however, they will have nothing to do, probably more from an objection to her assumption of supremacy, than to any errors of doctrine.'
"How very sad it is to hear of disputes and divisions!' said Minna. 'I wonder if these Abyssinians would be friends with the Church of England?'
"That I cannot tell; but from what I have heard they certainly entertain neither jealousy nor hatred, as far as our Church is concerned."—pp. 97-105.
Mitslav, or the Conversion of Pomerania, by the Rev. ROBERT MILMAN, whose beautiful allegories, and noble exposition of the 53rd chapter of Isaiah are well known, will