THE HAPPY LITTLE GIRL
by J. C. Ryle
Would you like to know who was the happiest child I ever saw? Listen to me, and I will tell you.
The happiest child I ever saw was a little girl whom I once met traveling in a railway carriage. We were both going on a journey to London, and we traveled a great many miles together. She was only eight years old, and she was blind. She had never been able to see at all. She had never seen the sun, and the stars, and the sky, and the grass, and the flowers, and the trees, and the birds, and all those pleasant things which you see every day of your lives; but still she was quite happy.
She was by herself, poor little thing. She had no friends or relations to take care of her on the journey, and be good to her; but she was quite happy and content. She said when she got into the carriage, "Tell me how many people there are in the carriage: I am quite blind, and can see nothing." A gentleman asked her if she was afraid? "No," she said, "I am not frightened; I have traveled before, and I trust in God, and people are always very good to me."
But I soon found out the reason why she was so happy; and what do you think it was? She loved Jesus Christ—and Jesus Christ loved her; she had sought Jesus Christ, and she had found Him.
I began to talk to her about the Bible, and I soon saw that she knew a great deal of it. She went to a school where the teacher used to read the Bible to her; and she was a good girl, and had remembered what her teacher had read.
Dear children, you cannot think how many things in the Bible this poor little blind girl knew. I only wish that every grown up person in England knew as much as she did. But I must try and tell you some of them.
She talked to me about sin: how it first came into the world, when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, and how it was to be seen everywhere now. "Oh," she said, "there are no really good people! The very best people in the world have many sins every day, and I am sure we all of us waste a great deal of time, if we do nothing else wrong. Oh, we are all such sinners! There is nobody who has not sinned a great many sins."
And then she talked about Jesus Christ. She told me about the agony in the garden of Gethsemane—about His sweating drops of blood—about the soldiers nailing Him to the cross—about the spear piercing His side, and blood and water coming out. "Oh," she said, " how very good it was of Him to die for us, and such a cruel death! How good He was to suffer so for our sins."
And then she talked about wicked people. She told me she was afraid there were a great many in the world, and it made her very unhappy to see how many of her school-fellows and acquaintances lived. "But," she said, "I know the reason why they are so wicked: it is because they do not try to be good—they do not wish to be good—they do not ask Jesus to make them good."
I asked her what part of the Bible she liked best. She told me she liked all the history of Jesus Christ, but the chapters she was most fond of were the three last chapters of the Book of Revelation. I had a Bible with me, and I took it out and read these chapters to her as we went along.
When I was done, she began to talk about Heaven. "Think," she said, "how nice it will be to be there! There will be no more sorrow, nor crying, nor tears. And Jesus Christ will be there, for it says, 'the Lamb is the light thereof,' and we shall always be with Him; and beside this, there shall be no night there. They will need no candle nor light of the sun."
Dear children, just think of this poor little blind girl. Think of her taking pleasure in talking of Jesus Christ. Think of her rejoicing in the account of Heaven, where there shall be no sorrow nor night.
I have never seen her since. She went to her own home in London, and I do not know whether she is alive or not; but I hope she is, and I have no doubt Jesus Christ has taken good care of her.
Dear children, are you as happy and as cheerful as she was?
You are not blind—you have eyes, and can run about and see everything, and go where you like, and read as much as you please to yourselves. But are you as happy as this poor little girl?
Oh, if you wish to be happy in this world, remember my advice today—do as the little blind girl did: "Love Jesus Christ, and He will love you; seek Him early, and you shall find Him."