ILLUSTRATED IN COLOUR
WITH SIXTEEN REPRODUCTIONS
FROM ITALIAN MASTERPIECES
GEORGE W. JACOBS & CO.
Edinburgh: Printed by T. and A. Constable
TO MY MOTHER
ABOUT THIS BOOK
There is a garden which God has planted for Himself,
more beautiful than any earthly garden.
The flowers that bloom there are the white souls of His saints,
who have kept themselves pure and unspotted from the world.
In God's garden there is every kind of flower,
each differing from the other in beauty.
Some are tall and stately like the lilies,
growing where all may see them in their dress of white and gold;
some are half concealed like the violets,
and known only by the fragrance of kind deeds
and gentle words which have helped to sweeten the lives of others;
while some, again, are hidden from all earthly eyes,
and only God knows their loveliness and beholds the secret places where they grow.
But known or unknown, all have risen above the dark earth,
looking ever upward; and, although often bent and beaten down
by many a cruel storm of temptation and sin,
they have ever raised their heads again,
turning their faces towards God;
until at last they have been crowned with the
perfect flower of holiness, and now blossom for ever in the Heavenly Garden.
In this book you will not find the stories of all God's saints.
I have gathered a few together, just as one gathers a little posy
from a garden full of roses. But the stories I have chosen to tell
are those that I hope children will love best to hear.
Let us remember that God has given to all of us,
little children as well as grown-up people,
a place in His garden here on earth,
and He would have us take these white flowers,
the lives of His saints, as a pattern for our own.
We may not be set where all can see us;
our place in God's garden may be a very humble and sheltered spot;
but, like the saints, we may keep our faces ever turned upward,
and learn to grow, as they grew, like their Master,
pure and straight and strongfit flowers to blossom in the Garden of God.